I Birthed A Soul In Heaven

Hello, dear friends! I have decided to resurrect my old blog. I plan to post photos with scriptures and short messages just as before. It just occurred to me as I type this message that it has been almost exactly two years since my last post. A lot has happened in my life since then. My husband, who is still in the Navy, now works in another state. Our daughter is now two, and in April I gave birth to a soul in heaven. This post will be much, much longer than future posts, but I would like to share my story with those who would like to listen. (Okay, it’s like a short book.) This post is pretty detailed and graphic about giving birth to our stillborn child. It may make some people uncomfortable to read it. It may not be suitable for everyone. I need to tell my story, and for those that read it until the the end: Thank you for listening! It means more to me than words could ever say.

Our baby’s due date would have been today: August 26, 2016. My husband and I named her, but we would like to keep this information private on this site. I dedicate this blog to her memory. My husband and I were looking forward to our living daughter having a younger sister to go with through life, but the Lord had other plans for our family.

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Let It Go

Psalm 37 7I grew up near the ocean, and whenever I was upset about something I would go down to the beach and listen to the sound of the waves crashing upon the rocks. It was as though the waves carried away my troubles and sent them out to sea.  As a mom to a newborn baby, I know that the inside of my house will never look like a fancy showroom; the yard will never appear on Better Homes & Gardens magazine; and I won’t be trying out for a chance to be crowned Miss Pennsylvania. I know that what really needs to get done will be finished by the end of the day, and that God will help me prioritize. I am learning not to sweat the small stuff. As Christians, we often have to learn to let go of our agendas and let God create His own agenda for our lives–each and every day.

As a military spouse, I move around the country with my husband’s career. With each move, God and family remain constant while everything else changes. I feel like each move represents a new mission field, and God will set the stage and create the agenda. I have a blank slate that I know only He will fill in His perfect way. He will place circumstances and people in my life and orchestrate the details. It is up to me to see how things play out and how best to respond. As a new mom, I marvel at the opportunities before me to help my newborn baby discover how God plans to fill the blank slate of her life.

It is so easily to hastily jump into our day without first consulting God. It’s pretty simple to make long-term plans that suit our needs or the needs of others. We often fill our days with unnecessary busyness. And although we may do much to help prosper the ways of man, by the time we hit the pillow we may find we have done little to prosper the Kingdom of God. Each and every day should have an eternal impact, and only God can determine what needs to be done here on Earth to impact eternity.

Many of the things we do will be consumed by fire in the end because they do not matter. There will be some things we do that are worth gold in the eyes of God–pure, undefiled and beautiful because they reach of the heart of our Creator. Have you taken the time to today to ask the Lord to examine your heart and your motives? Are you sure that what you are doing with your time is what your Heavenly Father desires? Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. He will help guide your steps.

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Awaiting a Heavenly Reunion

Philippians 3 20 21

A week ago my Bible study group got together one last time to say goodbye to our leader before he and his family moved down south to Texas for a career opportunity. It was a bittersweet gathering. On the one hand it made my heart happy to know his family was making the best decision for their future, but on the other hand I knew I would miss them something terrible. When the military first relocated us to Erie, Pennsylvania, USA my husband and I didn’t know anyone. By divine intervention, we met each person in our small group. Our Bible study leader and his family connected with us immediately because of the loss and grief we both shared in trying to expand our families. Together our small group has shared testimonies, lifted up prayers, broken bread, kept accountability, studied God’s Word, endured hardships, carried burdens, celebrated blessings, worshipped and praised the living and Almighty God, and enjoyed sweet fellowship. As a military spouse, I have to say goodbye to dear friends often as my family moves about the country from place to place. I take comfort in knowing that someday my Christian friends and I will all be together again in heaven as fellow citizens with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Someday we will have a heavenly reunion, a meeting in the clouds. I look forward to seeing the people I love again. I cannot wait to see my grandparents and my uncle whom I sorely miss. They will not have the sick and broken bodies they had as they left this world, but new bodies free of pain and disease. I want to hug the children I never got to meet on this Earth. I anticipate catching up with friends who here on Earth were separated from me by many miles. I get excited to shake the hands of the heroes and giants of the Bible. The military calls each of my family’s relocations a “permeant change of station.” As a Christian I know the truth: My permanent home for all of eternity is in heaven. Here we are all aliens and strangers just passing through and sharing the Good News along the way. What a glorious day it will be when we leave this fallen world behind and say hello to the One who created us and loved us enough to give us His life so we may live with Him forever. In heaven we will experience the fullness of the Trinity. We won’t be worshipping from distance, but worshipping right there with our Creator. You and I and every believer will have a giant family reunion with our Heavenly Father.

The splendor of heaven is beyond all comprehension. Think of the most amazing sunrise and sunset you have ever seen. Visualize the best vacation you ever took. Imagine all of the destinations you wish to visit. Conjure your most precious memories with friends and loved ones. Dream of all you find indulgent. Heaven will be so much more magnificent, beautiful, perfect and satisfying to our souls. We will want for nothing. We will be at peace. There will be harmony. We will be ever present with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Just as the butterfly in the above photo, we will each undergo an amazing transformation as we partake in our citizenship. Do you get excited thinking about all that awaits you when you leave this world? Are you certain of where you will go when you die? If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and repented of your sins, then you can rest assured that you have secured a special place in heaven. No matter what happens here on Earth, the promise of heavens awaits us!

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Helpless On Our Own

Romans 5 6Babies learn to do a lot in utero. They practice sucking, swallowing and developing their five senses. When they are born they have even more to learn. They cannot lift their heads on their own, or even feed, bathe and clothe themselves. They need help just going to the bathroom and simply getting comfortable. Newborn babies are pretty helpless without their caregivers. They let out a piercing cry whenever they need something. A lot of times they just want to be held close to their moms and know that they are loved. When you and I first accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior we had to acknowledge that we too were helpless to secure our salvation. We will never be good enough to make it into heaven. As we mature in Christ, we learn more and more just how much we need to cry out to God for help with every area of our lives.

The world is constantly sending us messages on ways we can help ourselves. If we are able, we help ourselves to more food when we are hungry, we try the latest fad diet to help ourselves lose weight, and we take courses to improve ourselves or get in touch with our inner selves. We are bombarded with messages that tell us we can find the power within ourselves to heal physical and mental damage or to become the best we can be. Satan convinces us we need to embrace ourselves without any help from God. We had to come to the end of ourselves to become followers of Christ. We had to cast off the old man and put on the new man. We realized that there is nothing inherently good about us. We were born into sin and have a sinful nature from birth. It is human nature to be evil. Only Jesus Christ can free us from sin. Only He can help us become the people God intended us to be when He created us. We must be transformed into the image of Christ and let go our selfish and fleshly desires. It requires total and complete submission and obedience. We are His bondservants for life.

The Lord has given us many tools to help us in this life. The Bible says we should pray continually. We need God’s help with the things we think about and the words that come out of our mouths. We need to rely on God when situations are out of our control. We need to ask God for discernment before we make difficult and important decisions. We are helpless with Christ, and we should go before Him in prayer when we need direction and guidance. We need to read God’s Word. He will speak to us through His Word and help us take on the right mentality or course of action. The Holy Spirit can also help us when we cannot find the right words to pray or say. He will empower us and help us walk in righteousness. We should tap into the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. He is a great resource in our times of need. We also have fellow believers to turn to for support when we need help. Perhaps their testimonies can offer encouragement at the right moment. Fellow believers can hold us accountable for things and steer us back into the right direction when we find ourselves going off course. We can do all things in this life through Christ who will give us strength.

Jesus Christ loved us when we were still weak and helpless sinners. We had nothing to offer Him expect our ugly and broken selves. No man in his right mind would be willing to die for us in our filthy, unrighteous and unholy state. He helped you by dying on the cross for your sins and offering you eternal life, and He can help you with whatever it is you are facing in your life today. Whether it is a broken arm or a broken relationship, God knows what you need. Just ask Him to help you, and He will respond in one way or another. We always have unlimited access to God, and we’ll never get a busy signal on the other end. The Lord loves it when we remain close to Him, and we can see just how much He cares for us when we trust Him to help us. Be thankful that the Lord is always there for you when you need Him!

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Craving Spiritual Milk

1 Peter 2 2-3 copyI have a newborn baby girl at home. She drinks a lot of milk every single day, and she is currently going through a growth spurt. She wails at the top of her lungs for milk on demand when she is hungry. She needs milk every few hours–day and night. She doesn’t care if it is three in the morning or the middle of my lunch break. Even while I was in the early stages of recovery from my C-section at the hospital I was encouraged to breastfeed. As a new mom, I find it difficult not to feel like a human milk machine for my baby during the first stage of her life. I once had to feed her a bottle of formula while I was out shopping, and she immediately knew the difference between breast milk and that other stuff. She gave me a look of disgust and would hardly drink any of it. You and I should crave the Word of God as a babe craves her mother’s milk.

I hope and pray the Word of God never becomes boring to you. There is always something new to glean from the Bible until the day we go to heaven. The Holy Spirit will reveal some spiritual insight that speaks directly to your heart and life. We should eagerly anticipate that quiet time when we can crack open God’s Word and drink in all that it has to offer. We should crave it to the point where we cannot get enough of it and need to go back to it again and again each day for more sustenance for our spiritual journeys. You could even say that is a healthy addiction as a follower of Christ. Reading a verse or two may offer you a quick spiritual nugget, but the truth is that we need to read deeper into it and truly meditate on it to absorb every last drop and satisfy our hunger.

When we first come to Christ we cannot get enough of God’s Word. Every page and every paragraph offers something new and exciting. As we mature in our faith we should be able to look at these verses, chapters and heroic stories again with a deeper understanding of their meaning and a fresh perspective. Going through the different stages of life often propels us to seek out God’s Word for new direction, instruction and inspiration. Satan can easily gain a foothold when we stop drinking our spiritual milk and try to feed our hunger in other ways. Our spiritual lives don’t need to be mucked up with all of the crud in this world. No self-help book or practice will every free us from the root of our problem (sin). Our goal is to let go of ourselves and to become more like Christ and the person He has desired us to be when He first made us.

Nothing can ever satisfy our spiritual hunger like the living, breathing Word of God. It is refreshing and delightful to our souls. Just as newborn babies forge a strong bond with their mothers when they breastfeed, we can strengthen our bond with God when we read the Bible. It is one way we develop a relationship with our Heavenly Father and better understand His character and His heart. It is how we stay grounded in our faith and how we grow to become more like the image of Christ. Your Bible should be more than a coffee table display or a dusty book on your bookshelf. It is our connection to God, and we should be passionate about it and desire to share it with everyone we encounter. I ask you: How often do you read the Word of God? Do you crave it and look forward to reading it each day? Ask the Lord to show you how to spend more meaningful time in His Word and to help you grow in each stage of your spiritual journey.

 

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It’s the Little Things

1 Corinthians 10 31Every expectant mother anticipates the day she will meet her child for the first time. It is indeed an amazing moment when she first gazes into the eyes of her newborn babe. First-time moms have many visions in their heads about what to expect in those early days. Glossy magazine covers and colorful pages are filled with smiling mothers who look well put together and happy, dressed-up babies that do nothing but coo and giggle. There are many special moments like these ones, but the reality is that new moms will often spend a lot of time calming a crying infant, changing dirty diapers, washing stained clothes and milky baby bottles, and cleaning up after the baby. It may not be glamorous work, but it is still important work that moms should try to do with a joyful heart and for the glory of God. (Even if it is a challenge at three in the morning!)

God cares about little things we do like housework that only He sees as much as grand things like public speaking in front of a captive audience. Our work never goes unnoticed. Ever. It should scare us a little and greatly motivate us to know that our Heavenly Father is always watching us. With every breath we take and each action we make, we have a choice whether we will honor the Lord or cave into our fleshly, selfish desires. Our attitudes will help dictate our decisions, so it is important we remain in God’s Word and let it affect our thought life. Some days are definitely easier than others. During our most challenging moments we can ask God to help us keep a Christ-like mentality and to give us an inspiring verse to dwell upon for that day. We can pray for the strength to make it through from sunrise to sunset. God loves us in spite of the wrong choices we may make in a day. We shouldn’t beat ourselves up over them. We can ask for His forgiveness when we make a mistake and then repent moving forward. It is simple to conclude that certain mundane tasks don’t matter to anyone, but keep in mind that they do matter to God.

The next time you fold the laundry or take out the trash, do it with a thankful heart. Try hard not to grumble or complain. You are blessed with clean clothes to wear and items to consume that meet your needs. Everything we possess is from the Lord, and by being good stewards of them we are acknowledging these things as blessings from above. May we use all that we possess and that comes across our path for the glory of God. Being a parent is exhausting, all-consuming and overwhelming. It is also exciting, wonderful and richly rewarding. Every child is a gift, even though raising a child poses many expected and unexpected challenges at each stage. Ask the Lord to show you the areas in your life you need to give over to Him. Let Him show you how to transform the ordinary ho-hum into extraordinary “glory moments” that will further the Kingdom of God.

 

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Miracles Still Happen

Baby Feet and Scriptures

I have not written a blog for some time, and I have REALLY missed writing to you all. I have a special announcement to make to all of my followers. After four long years of trying to expand our family, God has blessed my husband and I with a little girl! I want to thank all of you who have offered me words of encouragement and support during my infertility journey. It has been a difficult road to walk, but the Lord has taught me many things about His character and about myself along the way. I believe my experience has made me a more compassionate and empathetic person towards people who are experiencing grief, hopelessness, heartache and many of the other unpleasant circumstances we often encounter in life. I know God has used my long battle to mold me more and more into His image.

God is so amazing! My precious daughter is a miracle child. All of the statistics and odds were stacked against her ever being born. My female anatomy is so messed up, and I was told more than once I would never have a child via natural conception. I have had two life-threatening pregnancy losses due to ectopic (out-of-place) pregnancies. All of the many doctors I have seen have told me it would be too risky to try again naturally for a child. But I believe God is the master of the impossible. I told the doctors I would not seek out assisted reproduction, despite their promptings. I felt God give me peace that one day soon I would have a child without an IUI or IVF treatment. It took a lot of faith to turn away from the medical advice I received and to trust in what the Lord was telling my heart to do. I never gave up hope my daughter would one day be born, although Satan often played many mind games with me and would discourage me. My daughter was born in perfect health, and the doctors were all shocked she was born full term.

My daughter is my joy after so much grief. Her middle name is Joy. Jesus Christ is the joy I experienced in my grief and everyday I live. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” God’s Word is a living hope and real encouragement during our most desperate times in life. I do not know where I would be today without my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible should always be our guiding hope no matter what trying circumstances we fall under. Some of our trials and tribulation last for a moment, and some last for years. In the Bible Paul had a thorn in his flesh that persisted until his death. Perhaps you are suffering from something physical, mental and/or spiritual right now.

My friend, do you find yourself on a hard road to walk? Don’t give up! Look up and say a prayer. God hears you day and night, and He will ALWAYS be there for you. In your moment of despair and the pain and agony of a terrible loss, He is ever present. He has not abandoned you. He is waiting for you to run to Him and let your burdens go. He will give you peace and rest in the midst of a great storm. With His help, you can even learn to walk on water. Miracles still happen everyday to those who believe.

Jesus Christ is the answer to all of life’s problems. He loves each one of us with an everlasting love that will endure forever. He loves you right now, right where you at in life. He never leaves us nor forsakes us, and He will draw near to us as we draw near to Him. It is my hope and prayer that everyone will learn to look up to heaven and experience the love, joy and peace of God when life gets them down. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus overcame the world, and we can overcome anything in this life with His help! 1 John 5:4 says, “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” One day we will be in eternity with Him forever and will experience the fullness of His presence. It will be an incredible and everlasting joy when we go home someday and leave this broken and fallen world behind us. This is our greatest gift from the amazing Creator of Life.

I look forward to my new chapter in life as a mom, and I hope to share with you what the Lord teaches me along the way. I already have some new blog ideas! The Bible has much to say about the role of parents and the community in raising a child. Each and every child is a gift from Jesus, and I hope my daughter will one day accept Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.” This is my mission as a new mom. May God bless you all in whatever chapter of life you are in right now!

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