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)


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)

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,
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.

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,
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.

His Way, Not My Way


Women of Faith
Hello, prayer friends! I just arrived home from an amazing weekend at Women of Faith in Billings, Montana! I met new and old friends from around Montana, and heard some of the most inspirational messages, given by ladies God has gifted to encourage us in our faith walk. You can visit the link above to find an event in your area. I highly encourage you to attend!  Natalie Grant mentioned this verse below, during her concert.  I had chosen this same verse last month to write about my experiences.  And so I jump ahead a bit today to the “U” section of My Tea Cupp Prayers, as I use God’s Word to help me Understand my story.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways,   And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Prayers.  I believe in prayers.  I believe in Jesus.  I believe Jesus meant it when He said, “Ask and you will receive.”  When things don’t go my way, I wrestle with God.  I’m a grumpy kid who is not getting what she wants from her Father.  I can’t see the big picture.  But God is teaching me.

Two summers ago, my friend Anna mentioned to me that she was expecting again.  This would be her fourth child.  Anna asked me to pray it wouldn’t be twins.  I had already been praying for eight years for more children, and seven years before that I had prayed for our son Kevin.  I had even written to three friends who love babies and asked them to pray for me.  So, I couldn’t pray for Anna not to have twins; that just seemed like a double blessing to me.  So, I prayed, “God, please give Anna a healthy baby, and if you need to give someone twins, please give them to me.”

At the same time, I thought I’d try out specific prayer.  I’d heard God likes us to be specific.  So, I prayed for specific twins, one blonde, one red head, one boy, one girl, blue eyes, healthy, hearts for Jesus, to be born in Livingston, Montana on May 17, 2009 at 3:07 p.m.  Yes, I was that specific. In order for this to happen, I needed to be expecting by fall 2008. As September of that year came and then October, I thought, well maybe they will be premies. Then winter came with still no babies-on-the-way, and a job lay off instead.   I just about gave up on praying, but my husband kept on praying.  Then late in the spring of 2009, just before the time I had specifically prayed our babies to be born, we miraculously became pregnant. After nine years of waiting, I was so joyous that God had heard our prayers.

In July 2009 we went to our first doctor appointment.  The doctor had trouble hearing the baby’s heartbeat, so he wanted to do an ultrasound.  I thought, “O good, now he will see there are two babies in there!”  Instead, there was just one cute little baby shape, with no heart beating.  After praying nine years for more children, to be told in the doctor office that my baby didn’t have a heartbeat, my first thoughts were, “Doctor, you are so wrong, I prayed for this baby.”  But as reality set in, my soul cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  It crossed my mind to abandon my prayer time with God the next day.  But the next morning I was up with the sun as usual, sitting on my corner of the sofa, mug of hot water in hand, reading my Bible with God.  Even I was amazed that God didn’t let go of me, as we waited over a week for the miscarriage that nearly took my life. We named our baby Gloria Anne, in hopes that God’s name would be glorified.

Just a month later we became pregnant again.  I hardly dared to hope that this baby was twins.   In mid October 2009 we found out that this baby also didn’t have a heartbeat.  This time we had to wait three weeks for the miscarriage which took six weeks to complete, well into December.  We named this baby Angelica May, because she is now with the angels and was due in May 2010. The whole time I was wondering, “Why do I have to go through this again, Lord?  Is there something I didn’t learn the first time around?”

In September 2009 we planted a cherry tree in our front yard in memory of Gloria Anne.  Now the tree is in memory of both our babies.  It wasn’t until we ordered the plaque to put on a rock by the tree that it hit me.  The plaque says

“In Memory, Our Babies, Gloria Anne, Angelica May, 2009”

With their names together on the plaque I realized, we had our twins.  They did not come when I asked. They were not healthy.  I never saw the color of the hair or their eyes.  Even their names were ones I had never thought of before.  Even though I know that someday in heaven I will hold them in my arms, I ache, while learning that God’s ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts.

Judges 6:13 (NIV) says “O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?  And where are all His miracles?” I often pray this petition as I wrestle with God in prayer.  Because I didn’t get my way, I think His miracles aren’t there, but they are.  His miracles are in a hug from a sister in Christ, the box of chocolates sent by an old friend from high school, the prayer shawl knitted by our church, the DQ Buster bars delivered by our neighbors, the money for doctor bills slipped to us by friends, the card box decorated in pink for our baby, my husband washing the dishes for me, the prayers of so many, and the hope I still have in my heart.  Yes, God sent His miracles.  His ways are just much higher than my ways…and I’m still praying.

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