Choosing Life

We have been with child, we have been in pain;
We have, as it were, brought forth wind… Isaiah 26:18 (NKJV)

A few weeks ago we had sad news from our daughter.  She and her husband were losing a baby at just 8 1/2 weeks in the womb.  I know miscarriages happen all the time, I know how awful it feels, because it’s happened to us three times.  Yet, the pain is still there when it happens again to another loved one.

Just a week earlier I had shared about our babies at a local church.  I realized as I was preparing for the talk, that I hadn’t cried in a long time.  God had allowed us a time of peace.  Then, boom (that’s how things always hit, isn’t it?), the heart-breaking news from our daughter.  A little grandbaby is joining our babies in heaven.  Our hearts were torn open once again. Our daughter put this beautiful post on her Facebook page:

How we pray for God to comfort them  and bless them with another sweet baby to ease their hurting hearts! I pray this for all moms who have lost babies.  May Jesus send a child for you to love and cherish. Just this month in my Samaritan Ministries prayer guide, where we pray for one person a day (and I only have a small portion of people whose last names begin with “W”), there were 11 babies and two were miscarriages. Many moms and dads are hurting out there.

For some people, though, there is pain through bad choices.  Woman have been lied to in the United States for almost 50 years that they have a choice to make for babies.  It is the serpent from Genesis whispering into Eve’s ear that he has something better for her. This is not new, for we read in the Bible verses that make me cry…

Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces,
And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb;
Their eye will not spare children.  Isaiah 13:18 (NKJV)

Satan brings death.  Jesus gives life.  I exhort you to choose life your baby, no matter what. And if it is too late and the decision is behind you, come to Jesus, my friend, and find the forgiveness and healing for which you are longing.  His arms are wide open for you. Someday we will see all these babies in heaven! If only we could match all these babies with the empty arms and hearts that are longing for a child.

Today’s TEA CUPP: Oh, Jesus, our hearts break when babies die before they have a chance to be born due to miscarriage. It hurts that people are choosing to kill babies before they are born through abortion.  It’s unbearable to hear of little ones being hurt and killed.  We know we live in a fallen world where pain and sickness happen, but it still hurts.  Please wash away our pain. Forgive us.  Pour your oil of joy on our hurts.  Comfort our hearts. Give us beauty for ashes. Help us to honor the lives you have given us.   We look forward to seeing our precious little ones with You in heaven someday. Thank you, dearest Jesus.  

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.  Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV)

Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5 (NKJV)

Scripture from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

 

My Gluten-Free Story

gluten-freeAnd He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:34 (NKJV)

Everyone has a story. That’s what the “U” part of My TEA CUPP Prayers is all about, Understanding our stories in the light of God’s Word.  When we know our stories, it helps us share our testimony with others, encouraging them to follow Jesus.

But today I want to share a different kind of story with you, this story is how God brought me healing in a unique way. I share this in hopes that my readers might find healing, too. This is My Gluten-Free Story.

I have always had tummy troubles.  Forever there has been a bit of pain in my stomach area.  When my two oldest kids were little, I was diagnosed with chronic pelvic pain and IBS.  This was after several mortifying doctor visits where I was poked and prodded.   When our third child was born, I had an epidural.  It was the only time I could ever remember not having pain in my abdomen.  Too bad those epidurals wear off!

As my children grew, I continued to have tummy troubles, trying various supplements and healthy shakes to no avail.  We were praying for more children, but never thought about how my condition could be connected to the ability to conceive.

Finally, in the summer of 2009 we were expecting again, only to lose that baby in a painful miscarriage.  That very autumn, we were expecting again, and also lost the baby.  The following June, we lost a third baby soon after conception.  “Why is all this happening?” I pleaded with God.

At the time, we were working at a church camp.  I was in charge of ordering food from Sysco.  In the fall of 2010, Sysco offered a webinar for its customers about gluten-free cooking.  I chose to participate, thinking it would help me order the right foods for our guests.

The Sysco webinar turned out to say very little about their products. Instead, it went into great detail about Celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity.  They discussed the symptoms of those with gluten-intolerance, including stomach pains and miscarriages.  They explained how the walls of the intestine are covered with little fingers called villi. These villi absorb the nutrients from food, providing nourishment to the body.  The problem for a gluten-sensitive person is the gluten wraps itself around the villi. This makes the person not absorb nutrients, thus causing miscarriages and other health issues.  The webinar also explained that a traumatic  event, such as a miscarriage, could cause a person who was only slightly sensitive to suddenly become gluten-intolerant.

So, there I sat in our camp office, expecting to make a shopping list for the dining hall. Instead, God gave me information to make some new healthy choices.  And that is what I did.  I went back to our house and announced to my family what I had learned, giving up delicious pizza crusts and cinnamon rolls forever, in favor of better nutrition for my body.

And guess what, it was exactly one year later, in the fall of 2011, that God blessed us with our fourth child.  God healed me and answered my prayers.

I still have tummy problems off and on, giving up dairy a few years ago, too. But I don’t catch as many colds, and I know that by eating gluten-free, I’m doing my part to keep healthy for serving the Lord.  And so I share my favorite gluten-free recipes with you, even some pizza crust that is thick and yummy like the real thing.  I pray that you will enjoy these recipes and be blessed with better health.

And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent out into all that surrounding region, brought to Him all who were sick, and begged Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment. And as many as touched it were made perfectly well.  Matthew 14:35-36 (NKJV)

 

My Sweet Baby Blessing at 45

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.  John 20:31 (NKJV)

This story is written…
*To give glory to God,
*To thank all of you who have prayed for us and our new baby, welcoming him into the world (2 Corinthians 1:11),
*And, to encourage you to pray and not give up when God puts a desire in your heart.

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,
         The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Psalm 127:3  (NKJV)

October 29, 2011, Joel Kent reluctantly pushed his way into the world at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital in Montana, making me one of the happiest moms ever.  It has been almost 12 years since the last time I had such a joy, holding a miracle shaped by the hands of God.

For You formed my inward parts;
         You covered me in my mother’s womb.  Psalm 139:13 (NKJV)

For some moms, babies come easily, but for others the road is one of tears and prayers.  I came from a family of five children,  so I expected my family would be similar.  God sent us our first two children with only a few months of prayer.  After our August wedding, my husband Kent and I prayed for a baby.  By Christmas we knew we were expecting.  The following August (1990) our beautiful daughter Kallie Grace was born.  Our doctor discovered Kallie had a heart murmur.  It was a test of my faith when Kallie had heart surgery at eight months old.

Just before Kallie turned two,  I stopped nursing her and we prayed for another baby.  It was only a month and God had a little boy on the way for us.  Our Jacob Lee was born in June of the following year (1993) with a small hole in his neck.  It was a sinus tube that drained like a runny nose.  At the age of two, Jacob had surgery to close the hole, another test of my faith. And I wondered if I was capable of having a healthy baby.

When Jacob was just a few hours old, I was lying in the hospital bed holding him in my arms. God put the desire in my heart for more children.  Little did I know this desire would become one of the hardest prayers of perseverance in my life.

When Jacob was half a year old, I started reading a One Year Bible, a goal I’d had for many years.  I continue these daily Bible readings today. That same year I was introduced to prayer journaling by author Becky Tirabassi.  Along with my Bible reading, I started jotting down my prayers (later this became My TEA CUPP Prayers).

One of my main prayers was for friends having babies.  At the time we barely had enough money for groceries, so I couldn’t send my friends baby gifts.  Instead I sent them a poem and promise of prayer.  When I learned about friends who were trying to conceive, I added them to my prayer list.  Over the years, I lifted dozens of couples and babies to Jesus in prayer.

At one point I decided to add my name to my baby prayer list, hoping God would bless our family again.  But God needed to put the desire in my husband’s heart, too, and I had some chronic health issues to correct.

When Jacob was six, I was reading my One Year Bible when a verse from  2 Kings 4:16 popped out at me that I had never noticed before.  “Next year at this time you will hold in your arms a son.”  I claimed this promise and a month later we were expecting!

I cried out to God with my voice—
         To God with my voice;
         And He gave ear to me.  Psalm 77:1 (NKJV)

When Kallie was almost ten and Jacob was almost seven,  Kevin Jon came into the world (2000).  I was so happy that God had filled this desire of my heart after seven long years of prayer.  I never thought God would make me wait longer than seven years to answer another prayer.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
      But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.   Proverbs 13:12 (NKJV)

Kevin is worth every bit of prayer and perseverance.  He has no health problems, except a tendency to dislocate his elbows.  He was a quiet baby until he discovered being louder than his brother got attention.  Soon Kevin was the one dominating the dinner conversations, and I wondered what God’s calling would be on his voice.

As Kevin grew out of his baby clothes and car seats, I asked Kent what he’d like me to do with these items.  Kent shrugged and said, “Give them away.”  I was disappointed that he didn’t want to make use of them again.  The years went by and I kept praying, slowly giving away our baby things.

Every day Kent took Kevin for an hour in the afternoon to “help Daddy.”  They did a project together at the church camp where we lived. As I watched Kent work with Kevin and his big brother Jacob, I couldn’t shake what a good Daddy he is, and thought he should be a Daddy again.

One day a lady was chatting with me in the dining hall at camp.  She mentioned how God doesn’t just have a little basket with one blessing for each person.  He has an overflowing basket of blessings for each of His children.

And so I prayed for God to shower us with those blessings, for our camp and family.  I wrote to three friends and asked them to specifically pray for another baby for us.  One evening Kent and I were on a rare date and Kent asked me an unusual question, “If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?”

“What do you mean?”  I replied, already knowing my answer.

“Well, I’ve always wanted to try fly fishing, so I might like a fly-fishing pole.” Kent explained.

“Oh, well I’ve always wanted more children, so I’d like to have another baby.”

Kent took my answer to heart, and from that day forward he joined me in prayer for another baby (poor Kent still doesn’t have a fly-fishing pole).

When Kevin was nine years old we discovered we were expecting.  I rejoiced that God had answered our prayers after all these years!  But instead, God was allowing me to go through a time of deep sorrow and grief.  We lost this baby in a miscarriage at three months, nearly losing me as I bled too much (July 2009).  We named our baby Gloria Anne in hopes that God’s name would be glorified in our sorrow.  With the help of friends, we started a childcare building at camp in her memory called Gloria Anne’s Place.

Just a month after losing Gloria Anne, I became pregnant again. This time I thought God had answered my prayers for sure.  But our faith was further tested as I endured another grueling miscarriage that took over six weeks to complete (November 2009).  We named this little one Angelica May because she was with the angels and due in May.  She was just two months along.

They say that a mom’s body is ripe to conceive for the first six months after a miscarriage. When six more months went by with no babies, I wondered what God had planned.  Then, before I knew it, I was pregnant again and lost the baby while traveling.  This little one was only eight weeks along.  We named her Gabriella Hope, still hoping God had a baby planned for us (June 2010).

Because of these three miscarriages, more people were praying for us.  In the meantime, I was getting older.  I kept reminding God that time was running out. Did He remember my biological clock?  My doctor told me a person my age has a miscarriage rate of 75 to 80%. That was not very encouraging.  But as we can see with Sarah in the Old Testament and Elizabeth in the New Testament, God doesn’t worry about biological clocks.

In the fall of 2010 I heard a program on celiac disease given by our camp food service company.  As I listened, I noticed many of the symptoms were mine.  Twice during the program they mentioned miscarriages.  A person with celiac can’t absorb enough nutrients for herself, so her body can’t absorb enough for a baby, unless she eats a gluten-free diet.  I was ready to try anything, so I gave up my favorite whole-wheat and all food with gluten.

On January 30, 2011, Kent, our two sons Jacob and Kevin, and I gave our lives officially to Jesus in baptism.  We had all been Christians for a long time, but hadn’t yet publicly proclaimed our faith and followed Jesus’ example of believers’ baptism.  It was a special day.  Little did we know that exactly nine months later, God would finally bless us with a healthy baby boy, our new blessing, Joel Kent.

For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.  1 Samuel 1:27 (NKJV)

Now I am 45 years old, with seven children ages 21, 18, 11, and 0, and three angel babies in heaven.  I love all my kids. When Kallie was in kindergarten, God called us to homeschool. We’ve been homeschooling our children ever since then, planting God’s Word in their hearts.   Today our independent Kallie is about to graduate college, our athletic musician Jacob will soon graduate high school, and our inquisitive Kevin is in 6th grade.  And now we begin the adventure again with baby Joel.

Joel’s name means “the Lord is God” and “God’s messenger.”  The theme of the book of Joel in the Bible is the Day of the Lord.  We proclaim through our sweet baby miracle that the Lord is God.  Jesus is coming again.  I encourage you to give to Him your life and the desires of your heart.

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
      And sound an alarm in My holy mountain!
      Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble;
      For the day of the LORD is coming,
      For it is at hand.  Joel 2:1  (NKJV)

Our church family has blessed us because of this little one.  All those prayers and baby items we gave away have come back to us in the prayers and gifts of dear friends.  We are so thankful for how God has answered our prayers and provided for us.  To God be the glory great things He hath done!  Thank you, Jesus, for all our children. Thank you for this new blessing of baby Joel.  Please help us raise him to love you, Jesus.  Amen.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights… James 1:17 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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Heaven is for Real

I just read the most wonderful page-turner called “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo.  Friends have been telling me for months I need to read this book, and finally I borrowed a copy from my dear neighbor Marie.

This true story describes the journey of an almost four-year old boy who goes to heaven while undergoing a late surgery for appendicitis.  In the months following the surgery the boy, Colton, shares his heavenly experience with his parents.

Things I love about this book:

The description of Jesus in the throne room with God.  When I pray to Jesus, I have a vague picture of Jesus in my mind.  Because Colton went to heaven for three minutes during his appendicitis surgery, I now have an image of the throne room of God.  Colton tells his parents all about the rainbow colors of heaven and how Jesus sits at the right hand of His Dad.  On the left side sits the angel Gabriel.  Colton even meets John the Baptist and God the Holy Spirit who is sort of “blue.”  I now have this picture in my mind as I have my TEA CUPP prayer time with Jesus each morning.

When Pastor Todd (Colton’s dad) is ranting at God in the hospital, asking God “is this how you treat your pastors?!!!”   Todd had just endured a year of testing with three major attacks on his own health.  Now was God going to take his son?  No!  Jesus showed Todd’s son the wonders of heaven and sent Colton back to earth in answer to Todd’s prayer.  Wow!  I love that we can be real with God and share our deepest hurts.  How many times did I ask God, “Is this how you treat your church camp managers?”  when fires and flooding and financial troubles engulfed us.   The Lord loves us so much that He hears and answers our prayers, despite our anger and doubts.

The promise that our unborn babies are waiting for us in heaven.  In one chapter we learn that Colton has two sisters, his older sister Cassie on earth and another sister he met in heaven. This heavenly sister was miscarried at just two months gestation, but Colton’s parents had never told him about her.  They didn’t even know she was a girl!  What hope this gives me with the three babies we have lost. They are all waiting for me in heaven.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  You need to read this tear-jerker if you are…

Wondering what heaven will be like,
Need reassurance that Jesus hears your prayers,
Or have ever lost a baby or child.  You will be blessed.
Heaven is definitely for real!

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.  Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:1-4 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

 

“It was then that I carried you.”

Your way was in the sea,
         Your path in the great waters,
         And Your footsteps were not known.  Psalm 77:19 (NKJV)

I was unpacking a few more boxes the other day. This sea of moving boxes in our house is overwhelming, but if I take one box at at a time, I can do it.

I decided to tackle the bathroom. We have an ocean theme with a fish shower curtain, lighthouse wall-hanging, etc.  On the counter I placed the decorations from our old home, a jar of shells from the ocean and the Footprints Poem given to me by my college roommate.

The poem tells the story of a person walking along the beach and looking back at the footprints.  He notices that at the hardest times in his life, there is only one set of footprints and he asks the Lord, “Why?”

Often I just look at the poem and smile, not really reading it. But two years ago today, July 25, 2009, we lost a baby and almost lost me.  After giving up too much blood and moving towards unconsciousness, the ambulance came and carried me away from our mountain camp.  What followed was heartbreak and loss of strength for me.

Then one day when back home, I was in our ocean bathroom and read the Footprints Poem again. When I came to “It was then that I carried you” I finally understood. God carried me through that first miscarriage and two more miscarriages with the prayers and love of friends and family, and by His own grace and mercy.

Now, two years later, we are expecting again.  This dear baby is six months along and by God’s grace he will make it to his due date!  But the Lord in His great sense of humor, decided we needed a little more action in this pregnancy, calling us to a new job and home.

Once again, I feel overwhelmed by changes and a sea of boxes and baby hormones…but I read the Footprints Poem and God’s Word, and I am reminded — Jesus is carrying me!

Today’s TEA CUPP: Are waves of trouble pounding against the beach of your life?  Or, do you have a friend whose sand castles are collapsing?  Write out the Footprints Poem and claim God’s Promises.  He will carry you all the way home!

The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:27 (NKJV)

Footprints
Also Known As “I Had a Dream”

One night I dreamed a dream.
I was walking along the beach with my Lord. Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

When the last scene of my life shot before me I looked back at the footprints in the sand. There was only one set of footprints. I realized that this was at the lowest and saddest times of my life. This always bothered me and I questioned the Lord about my dilemma.

“Lord, You told me when I decided to follow You, You would walk and talk with me all the way. But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don’t understand why, when I need You most, You leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints, It was then that I carried you.”

Margaret Fishback Powers, 1964

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

In Memory of Gabriella Hope

To my sweet baby who went to be with Jesus one year ago today,

I love you,

I miss you,

I’ll see you someday.

Gabriella Hope

June 10, 2010

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. John 16:22 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

 

In Memory of Angelica May

Thus says the LORD:
“ A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation
and bitter weeping,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted for her children,
Because they
are no more.” Jeremiah  31:15 (NKJV)

We have been with child, we have been in pain;
We have, as it were, brought forth wind…
Isaiah 26:18 (NKJV)

What do you do when you come to such sad verses in your Bible?  For those of us who have lost babies, these words can bring us to tears.  Yet we know the God of the Universe understands our sorrow, for it’s right here in His Word.  I underline the verses and write a “U” for “Understanding my story” next to them.  This is my story right in God’s Word.  Perhaps it is your story, too. 

But I don’t need to stop there, for God also has words of comfort for me…

I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
And joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her,
Nor the voice of crying.
“ No more shall an infant from there
live but a few days… Isaiah 65:19-20 (NKJV)

He will swallow up death forever,
And the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces…
Isaiah 25:8 (NKJV)

I underline these verses and write a “P” for “Promises” next to them.  I claim God’s promises that He will wipe away every tear, and that babies will always live in heaven. Jesus comforts me with His Word and promises, as we share our TEA CUPP time together.   And that is how it is today, as I remember our  dear Angelica May.

In Loving Memory of Our Babies…

Angelica May

November 6, 2009

Gabriella Hope

June 10, 2010

Gloria Anne

July 25, 2009

Dear Jesus, please hold our babies for me until you call me home.

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Continuing the Race

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” Acts 20:24 (NIV)

Bump. Bump. Bump.  Our old Suburban found every rock and pothole in the road as we made our way to church yesterday.  The jostling vehicle reminded me of the ride I took exactly one year ago.  At least this year I could look out the windows and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.  Last year, if I had been conscious enough to look around, I would have seen the sterile insides of an ambulance.

I remember the EMTs bravely combating the bumpy road, taping IV bottles, securing cupboards, keeping their balance as they moved around the ambulance.  Then they gave me something for the pain and I was able to sleep through all the bumps after that.  Finally, a relief from the intense sadness and aches that had engulfed me for the nine days since the doctor told me our baby had no heart beat.

I had awaken that morning at 4:15 a.m. with profuse bleeding.  I grabbed my Bible and prayer journal and headed to the restroom as the doctor said I would bleed for an hour. There I was in our tiny purple bathroom, having My TEA CUPP time with Jesus, trusting Him for a good outcome.

At almost 7 a.m. Kent knocked on the door to see how I was doing.  I decided to take a shower because I was so tired from sitting.  After the shower I was very dizzy, then sick to my stomach, and then the painful contractions began.  I no longer could sit in the bathroom, but had to lie on the bedroom floor.  I had been bleeding for almost 4 hours at this point and was very light-headed.  Soon I couldn’t feel my contractions as I was slipping from this world. Kent called 911 and invited our older three kids to say good-bye to me.

The ambulance arrived at 10 a.m.  It took them awhile to get me loaded and out to the ambulance.  Our 9-year old son Kevin had to watch his Mommy be carted away on a stretcher, he even helped carry the oxygen tank.   My brother George who was visiting took care of Kevin, while Kent rode the ambulance with me.  Our daughter Kallie was cooking for the campers and our son Jacob was mowing lawns.

When the EMTs brought me out of our dark bedroom into the glorious sunlight of our front yard, I thought “This is it. Jesus is coming, this is the bright light!”  The sky was so blue with the mountains and pine trees shaped so clearly against it, an upside down view of the world I don’t often see.  I was thinking, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7 (NIV).

That glorious moment soon ended as God said, “I’m not finished with you yet.” I was whisked into the ambulance and poked with an IV, and endured the very long ride to the hospital in Big Timber.  A nurse met us part-way down the road, and she put some pain killer in the IV, which let me rest the remainder of the trip.  In the emergency room, the doctor made certain I had delivered everything and sent me with an IV and medicine to rest in one of the hospital rooms.

I remember how the stretcher felt as they carried me to the ambulance.  It hugged me closely, swaddling me like a blanket around a new born baby. Perhaps because our prayer friends were already praying, perhaps because the the Sweet Grass County Ambulance, doctors, and nurses all took good care of me, or perhaps because our camp ministry team kept the camp running while we were gone…I sure felt like those were God’s arms wrapped tightly around me, a sensation that continued for weeks after our miscarriage.

The eternal God is your refuge,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Deuternonomy 33:27 (NIV)

In my partially-conscious state in the ambulance, still wondering if I would make it, I prayed for everyone I could think of…my family, our ministry team, our campers, our prayer friends, the EMTs, and everyone on my salvation list that they would come to know Jesus.  Because if I leave this world to be in heaven with Jesus, I want others to be there, too!  Yes, I had My TEA with Jesus, even in the ambulance, and I didn’t spill a drop on that bumpy road!

Still, a year later, we do not understand God’s plan in all this.  We don’t know why God would give us this hope of 9 years, begin knitting this baby together inside of me, only to stop knitting.   We thought He had given us the desire of our hearts, yet now she is no more. In all our grief, we still pray for God’s name to be glorified, so we named our sweet baby, Gloria Anne.

This very morning, one year and day after she left me, two friends came to our door and asked if they could paint a mural in Gloria Anne’s place, a new childcare building we hope to open at our church camp.  Already I can see, God’s name being glorified.

Thank you, dear Jesus, for Gloria Anne.

Please bless this new childcare building called Gloria Anne’s Place.  May all the children who come here, come to know You.

And please help me keep running the this race.

Amen.

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica

In Loving Memory

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the LORD.
Job 1:21 (NKJV)

In Loving Memory of Our Babies…

Gloria Anne

July 25, 2009

Angelica May

November 6, 2009

Gabriella Hope

June 10, 2010

Children of the heavenly Father
Safely in His bosom gather
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge ne’er was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living. Psalm 27:13 (NKJV)

Dear Jesus, please hold our babies for me until you call me home.

“Children of the Heavenly Father” hymn by Carolina Sandell Burg
Traditional Swedish Melody, translated by Ernst W. Olson

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

Three Babies in Heaven

Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But
when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 (NKJV)

We have three babies in heaven now.  Gloria Anne was inside me almost three months before going to be with Jesus last July.  When she left this earth, I almost went with her, losing so much blood that an ambulance was needed.  Angelica May stayed just two months inside me before going to heaven.  Her miscarriage was so long, from mid October to December of last year.  Then just a few weeks ago we lost Gabriella Hope.  She was barely a whisper of life at seven weeks, going straight to the arms of Jesus.

And so our hearts are heavy with sorrow again.  Why do these things happen? My dear friend Lorinda sang this song at church yesterday:   “If this is what God wants.”  The chorus helps me through this part of my story…

If this is what God wants
If this is what God says
Then who I am to doubt
Or try to figure out this circumstance?
If this is what God chose for me
In all His majesty
Then surely I can trust and lean
on what God says

And I search God’s Word for comfort…

My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:15-16 (NIV)

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. John 16:22 (NKJV)

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Revelation 7:17 (NKJV)

I cling to Jesus and His promises.  His eyes saw our babies’ unformed bodies.   I look forward to that day in heaven when there will be no more sorrow or tears.  As I ponder all our babies in heaven, God reminds me of this verse…

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Matthew 16:19-20 (NKJV)

And I imagine our three treasures in heaven…three precious babies in the arms of Jesus…waiting for me and their Daddy and big sister and brothers, and all their relatives to come someday.

New King James Version (NKJV)Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.