Wednesday, December 29, 2010

How are you living TODAY?

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


I realized something tonight. I live in a world surrounded by people who take life for granted on a daily basis, including myself. We are fast to yell, fast to get angry and slow to love or forgive. People walk around bossing one another around, disrespecting loved ones, and often push away those who love them the most because of fear. The night I learned my daughter had died had started out as a typical Saturday morning in our house. We woke up to the sounds of our other three children playing in the living room and sneaking their little faces into our room, hoping their breakfast was soon to come. Like most Saturday mornings, it was the arguing of who got to watch which cartoon going on that usually woke us up.  Needless to say, it never quite put me in the best of moods when I woke up. I got out of bed, fed my children and got dressed. I am sure that as I left the house that morning for my baby shower I had not been the nicest mommy to my other children. I never could have imagined that my typical Saturday morning would have ended anything but typical. I remember the nurse bringing Bethany to me after the drugs had worn off. I gently laid her on the bed and unraveled the blanket they had her wrapped in. I could not believe she was really gone.  I examined her perfect lifeless little body, her toes, fingers, legs, arms, head and face. I then dressed her and wrapped her back up and gently held her close to me. As I was sitting and just praying tonight, I realized all I missed with her. I never rolled her over and looked at her back. I never checked for myself to see that she was really a little girl. I wish I realized the reality of that being my only moment, my only chance, my only day with her. I should have examined every inch of the perfect little miracle that God had so perfectly created inside my body. God has shown me firsthand how fragile and how short life can be. If you knew today was all you had would you live it in anger or fear? If today was all you were given would you push away love just because someone has hurt you or let you down. We live in an imperfect world with a PERFECT God! Tomorrow is no guarantee; today may be all you have. Don’t let today pass you by. I have so much to still work on in my own life. I have so much around me to be grateful for and yet I’m not sure I tell the people I love the most how blessed I am that God has given me another day with them in my life.  Life is not always easy and obstacles will undoubtedly come your way.  Choose to overcome those obstacles by allowing Christ to rule in your heart and show you the blessings in your life. 
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

 
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his sholder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace".
Isaiah 9:6
The stockings are hung, Santa has come. The children are gleaming and snow is falling. Laughter and excitement fill the air and Joy surrounds me as I sit in awe as Christmas begins to unravel in our house. I always seem to have butterflies in my stomach as I get so excited to see the joy and excitement as my children open each gift with anticipation and hoping its that special gift they put on their Christmas list to Santa. My children will bring their father and I our gifts, but mine slowly just pile up beside me because I just can't stop watching them!  This Christmas we are at my mothers house with my siblings and their children. As I am sitting and watching my children and their cousins opening gifts, I can help but let my mind think of my sweet Bethany. My heart begins to miss her and feel sad that she is not here and can not be part of the excitement. I imagine her walking by now and how much fun she would have opening presents with everyone. I can feel the tears starting to come so I decide to open two of my presents, one from my husband and one from my children. My children rush over with excitement as I start to open their gift. As I pull out the ornament from the beautiful red box the tears I was so desperately fighting begin to uncontrollably stream from my face. The children (with help from their father) had an angel ornament made for me with the following words engraved:
 
 Bethany Hope
7 lbs 3 oz 21 in
May 3,  2009
Our Angel Above
 
It was the most thoughtful gift and I LOVED it. Well I then went on to open my husbands gift. He read the words to a beautiful song at Bethany's luncheon our church gave us the day of her funeral. He had the words put onto a plaque and then it said, from your father. It made my Christmas!  My mother also gave me a beautiful hope chest to store all of Bethany's things from the hospital and from the day she was born. I really felt like she was part of our Christmas. I learned today that I am sure Christmas will always be a little hard for me. There will always be that part of me that will desire for her to be here, but God had other plans and at the end of the today I am blessed. No, I do not get to have her here, but I did get to see the joy and excitement on my other children's faces as they opened their gifts. I got to celebrate the birth of a Savior that has saved me from so many dark days and still pulls me through even in moments like today. My baby is not here with me today, but I will see her again because of a little baby born in a manger so many years ago.  Praise God for sending his Son to give us a Christmas in the first place. Without Him, I would not be here to hurt in the first place, and He gladly takes that hurt away and replaces it with love, laughter and peace! Merry Christmas!
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Emptiness

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

I remember this day as if it were yesterday as I wrote the following words in my journal:

 Today my sweet little Bethany Hope would have been 2 weeks old. I find myself wandering around aimlessly playing out what life would be like if she were still here. I wonder how I might juggle the responsibility of four children or how exhausted I should be.  I start cleaning the kitchen, trying to find something, anything to distract my ever wandering thoughts and I begin sobbing with tears of anger. I should be rushing to get house work done because Bethany will wake up any minute and need a new diaper or need to eat; but wait, I'm quickly reminded by my breaking heart that there is no baby to care for. I feel empty in a way I never dreamed would be a reality. I'm lost and alone, or at least I feel alone. Where is my savior who is supposed to guide me and protect me from this kind of pain? I fall asleep at night wishing she were here and I wake up praying this was all a bad nightmare! I am running on a never ending treadmill of emotions right now and I am getting nowhere. I walk around wondering how my life can seem so full and yet my heart can feel so empty. My mother once told me that if we never sailed into the storms of life then why would we ever need a Savior?  She's right!  I do need a Savior because the storms of life are inevitable and I can't get through them alone. My Lord is my anchor and I choose to hold on tight and remind myself that he knows my deepest fears and thoughts. He knows how deeply my heart is broken. He knows how empty I feel and he is there ready to remove this emptiness from my heart. I have to be willing to hand my control over to Christ and allow him to take my hurt and pain, allow him to heal my heart! I CAN'T do this alone!
~Father, emptiness fills my soul and you sweep in and fill my entire being day after day. Thank you for loving me!
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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Funeral


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
My heart was pounding as we pulled into the parking lot of the funeral home. I remember looking around thinking that this place would forever be part of my life and my memories. I walked inside the entry way and looked at the doors leading into my daughters funeral. What I'm sure was only a few seconds seemed like an eternity as they started to open the doors. I took about three steps and then there it was. I did not see the canvas picture or beautiful flowers surrounding her, I simply saw the smallest little urn sitting on this small round table and my heart sunk and my knees buckled, I was not sure I could keep going. Seeing the urn as I walked to the front of the church was a reminder that Bethany was gone and all that was left were her tiny remains in this tiny little vase, "how do I keep moving?" Somehow I made it to the front of the church and sat down as I sobbed on my husband's shoulder. Why was this hard? I could never have prepared myself for something like this and yet here I was with a front seat view to my own daughters funeral, it just doesn't seem right. I listened as our pastor spoke so perfectly of her name, Bethany Hope, and then as a friend began to sing the words to my favorite song. I had not ask her to sing this song, but I know that God laid it on her heart to sing, "You are my all in all". I remember thanking God at that moment for caring me through this and being my all when I had nothing left of myself. We left the funereal and I came home and crawled into bed. I had somehow spaced out the people and voices circulating throughout my home and slipped away into the covers. I think part of me just wanted that day to be over. I drifted off to sleep as I sang the following words through the tears hitting my pillow:
 
Words to ALL AND ALL
You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
Seeking You as a precious jewel
Lord to give up, I'd be a fool
You are my all in all
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God, worthy is Your name
Taking my sin, my cross, my shame
Rising again, I bless Your name
You are my all in all
When I fall down, You pick me up
When I am dry, You fill my cup
You are my all in all


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Friday, December 10, 2010

The beginning-Part 2


"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
 Psalm 18:2
I was coming too as the drugs they had given me had began to wear off, I see the nurse walking towards me holding my precious little girl. Tears begin to flow from my eyes as she places my little girl into my arms. I gently pull her close and sweetly kiss her head as I look at how perfect she appears. I can feel the silence in the room and see the tears falling from all who surround me, and yet I feel as though this can't be real. I lay Bethany on the bed gently cradling her head and began to dress her and carefully exam her perfect little body. My heart is pleading for her to open her eyes and this all be a mistake and yet she sweetly lays there, no motion, no sound, she's really gone! I had imagined this moment in my head a million times, the moment she was born and I saw her for the first time and yet this was nothing like the visions I had imagined. My heart began to pound as I thought of my other three children who were at a friend's house and had no clue, HOW would I ever tell them? Brad and I both felt we just needed to get through the day and God would show us how to tell them. We did agree that we felt it would be too much for them to see her pale body and red lips, I know God lead us to make the right decsion (Although any decision is ok, God will lead your heart in how to tell your children and if you should or should not let them see their lost sibling, this was just right for us). I'm sure many people had come and gone from my room that day, but I honestly can't remember. I curled up in the bed with my baby girl tight in my arms and drifted off to sleep. As I awoke from our nap for a minute I closed my eyes and prayed this was all a bad nightmare. As I placed her tiny face next to mine it was cold and I new this was only the start of my nightmare. Handing her over to the nurse felt like someone was ripping my heart out and simply walking out of the room with it. As I sobbed in my husbands arms, he bagan to sing the song, Restore to ME. At that moment we both knew that was exactly what we needed from our heavenly father, complete restoration. I had the honor of sitting in church months later and listening to him sing this song after telling our testimony. I felt touched and honored that God was being glorified even through our tears. We are being restored and will countinue  to be because Jesus Christ can and will restore even the broken heart that has been ripped away! 

Restore to Me by: Glory Revealed
Hide Your face from my sins
And cover my iniquities
Create in me a clean heart
And renew a right spirit within me

Don't cast me away from Your presence
Don't take Your spirit from me

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
Restore to me the wonders of Your love
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
Restore to me, restore to me

Deliver me from this hour of darkness
Through the pain and brokenness
And I will sing of Your loving kindness
and of Your righteousness
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Thursday, December 9, 2010

The beginning

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."  Matthew 5:4
May 3, 2009 is a day I will never forget, although many of the memories are vague in my mind, I will never forget the reality of that day! May 2, was my baby shower at church. It was a perfect, but a very long day and I was exhausted! By the time I returned home I had been gone a total of five hours, I was tired, swollen, hungry, and all of the other so called clich├ęs very pregnant women seem to experience late in pregnancy!  It had been a long hot day, not to mention that I was 37 weeks pregnant and feeling rather large and ready for this baby to come. I quietly sat in the nursery and put away the wonderful gifts we had received and laughing at all the pink stuff we had been given, considering we did not know if it was a boy or girl! I crawled into bed for the evening, expecting the baby to keep me awake with her dancing in my belly, and yet nothing! I anxiously began to watch the clock and my heart began to pound harder and harder as my baby never moved. The drive to the hospital felt like an eternity. I tried to convince my self the whole way there that the baby would start moving and I was just crazy. I prayed  as tears rolled down my face. I would not let my husband take me to the hospital because I assured him everything was fine. I think I could feel God telling me the whole way to the hospital that it was not fine, but I was not ready to listen. I was beginning to feel very sick as they rolled the ultrasound machine over my stomach to reveal a curled up and lifeless baby girl. I laid my head back and cried, "God no, God why?"  The next few hours are somewhat of a blur. I don't think I talked much, I just laid and cried. The next morning, I was being induced to deliver my stillborn 37 week baby girl. Three pushes and out she came. I did not see her, I simply laid my head back, and closed my eyes as tears rolled down my face. My husband watched as her lifeless body came into the world. He fell to his knees and sobbed as he tightly held my hand. I am still not sure I will ever understand the reality of that day or how what I thought would be the worst day of my life GOD has turned into one of the best. I was meant to have my daughter and God has an amazing plan for her in our family, HE is the creator of life. On hard days, I remember that she is the arms of my savior and one day I will see her sweet face again....until that day, I cling to a Savior who has proven that Joy can shine even through death!
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