Friday, July 15, 2011

365 Days of Heaven and Hell

I know that's not a "pretty" title. But tomorrow would be Sarah's birthday.
365 days ago  I held her in my arms.
365 days ago I could kiss her little face and hold her little hand in mine.
365 days ago July 16, 2010 was one of the best days of my life when my little princess finally came to us.
365 days ago, July 17, 2010 was the worst day of my life when she left us to go home to be with Jesus.

I can't put into words the deep ache I have in my heart for her. I miss her more and more with every passing day.
There is a dark empty place I have for her within my soul that can only be touched by my Heavenly Daddy.
It hurts so badly, but he holds my heart so tenderly in his hands.
There are moments that go by, when grief explodes over me like a crashing wave, and I long to go home to be with her and to be in the arms of Jesus myself.
I long to go to the place where God shall wipe away all tears from my eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain.....
I know this is not my home.

I am so thankful for the people that God has placed in my life.
Never underestimate how God may use you, my friend, to touch the heart of another to reveal Christ's love in a very real and special way.

I have been so blessed by the outpouring of love from the body of Christ and the prayers that dear friends have lifted up on behalf of my family. I know that they have helped to sustain me, they have been a life line to me.

Some verses that were shared with me this week have been:

Romans 1:9~
God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God...

Romans 15:13
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.

Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I hope all of you have special friends like these who will help you along in your journey and always be pointing you to our Heavenly Father who loves you more than words can say.

I'm going to include a post from one of my closest friends for you to also read. She has been one who has continued to walk through the fire with me without being afraid of seeing my tears. She has helped me to hang onto life and to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Here are a couple of excerpts: 
Did you realized that when you walk with someone who is oppressed you are directly involved in carrying out the law of Christ?  Jesus, Himself is being honored in your burden bearing.

Bearing one another's burdens is like being that tomato cage for someone.  The tomato plant will grow heavy and fall over if the support stick or cage is not placed around them.  The best fruit will come when the plant is staked and has the support it needs!  Be the stake for someone.  Attach yourself to the one God is showing you and stake yourself there as long as it takes!  Ask God for someone who can act as a stake for you--one who will encourage you to stand straight and tall in God--one who will be a support as you grow and bear fruit for God.

I do hope that you take time to read what she has written, and I encourage you to be that person for someone who needs you as she has been that person for me. I encourage you to be that safe place for someone that God has placed in your life.

Don't be afraid to sit with someone while they cry. Don't be afraid to let them weep. Don't be afraid to hold their hand when they need it. Don't be afraid to "talk about it", they will let you know if they want to or not at that moment. Don't be afraid to "bring it up" Believe me, it's already there. Don't be afraid to just listen and not try to fix anything. Don't be afraid to offer an embrace. Don't be afraid of finding the right words to say,,,,you don't have to search for them,,,they really don't exist, just be there. Don't be afraid to look sorrow and grief in the eye with compassion and kindness.The worst thing you can do is pretend that there is no pain, and pretend like they aren't there. (that hurts badly)  Don't be afraid to offer a prayer. Don't be afraid to just be with them in the quietness.

Has the Lord not said:

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour:

 I miss you sweet baby girl. I pray that Jesus will give you special birthday hugs and kisses from me and Daddy and that the angels will sing you a beautiful birthday song! I pray that your day will be filled with unspeakable joy as you delight in the presence of your Heavenly Daddy and that you will play and giggle among all the ever blooming flowers and be dazzled by all the beautiful colors in Heaven.
Always remember that I love you forever and dream of you every day. Some day we'll play and dance and sing together! Momma's voice will be a lot prettier in Heaven too! Can't wait!!
I love you sweet Sarah! Give Jesus a kiss from me!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a Time there was a beautiful little princess named Sarah,,,
Born into my kingdom...
In my mind there was nothing more perfect than to have
three handsome young princes on one side of the table and
three beautiful young princesses on the other side of the table,
with the King on his throne at the head of the table,
and the Queen (that would be me) at her place at the other end of the table....
And we all lived Happily Ever After.......
That's how I would have written the story.

But I know that God has already written down all of my days.
He knows the plans he has for me,,,and they are good.

He pointed out to me that "Happily Ever After" doesn't come until the END of the story.
Sarah has come to live in her "Happily Ever After" in the Kingdom of Heaven.
In the presence of the Lord, The King of Kings, beholding his glory and forever praising him....

The Lord showed me where I will find my "Happily Ever After"
It comes at the END of THE BOOK!
In Revelation 21:4 I read,
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.

That will truly be HAPPILY EVER AFTER!

In Isaiah 35:8-10 the Lord says,
A highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there; and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sighing shall flee away.

We have A LOT to look forward to!

Jesus said unto me in John 16:22
Ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.

Six Months have passed since my sweet little Sarah woke up in the arms of Jesus.
Six months has always been my favorite baby stage, when they are able to sit up by themselves, and they start to really giggle and play.
I still think of her every day. I still see her tiny little face. I can still feel her in my arms even though they are empty. There is a weight that sits upon my heart that is as heavy as the stone that now sits upon her grave.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen; but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

I went to see her monument two weeks ago....but it's taken me a while to be able to take in that sight.
I drew out the design of it on paper and then put it into words to give to my friend Bill at Shelby Monuments. I never showed him my drawing,,but Sarah's memorial stone came out just like my drawing.
The butterfly on the front represents a very short beautiful life. Across the bottom it says, "Safe In The Arms Of Jesus" 

The five daisies across the back represent our 5 little ones in Heaven. The largest one in the center is for Sarah, and the other 4 are for our  little ones that were miscarried. They also represent their 5 siblings here on Earth.
These verses from Psalm 73 comfort me,
~Nevertheless I am continually with thee; thou hast holden me by my right hand.
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
 ~My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.
 ~It is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God,
that I may declare all thy works.

In Isaiah 66:13a the Lord says,
As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you...

He is the God of all comfort....
And comfort me He does.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

How Long?

How long will my heart be heavy?
How long will it be before my heart stops physically hurting from the pangs of grief?
How long will it be before I can make it through a day without crying?
How long will it be before I can make it through a week without weeping?
How long will it be before I stop keeping track of the weeks since little Sarah left us?
How long will the enemy of my soul accuse me and hound after me?

Psalm 42:5~8
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?
Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee....
Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

These are my thoughts this day.
I don't cry all day, but I do still cry everyday.
I can't imagine what the storehouse looks like where God is keeping all my tears that have fallen.
The Lord does carry me through my days, and he is with me during the night.
I know there are times that I disappoint him with my thoughts, with my words, and even with my actions.

Yet he still shows me his loving kindness.
His love and his grace is greater than all of this.
I am very aware of his tender presence with me.

Psalm 103:10~14 says,
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.

I had a dear friend of mine point out to me that if you go keep going North, you will eventually be going South around the Earth, But if you keep going East, you will never end up going West around the Earth. Isn't it interesting and wonderful that the Lord has removed our transgressions that far from us.

He does give me joy in the midst of  my sorrows.
He does bind up my broken heart.
He does comfort me.
He does give me beauty for ashes.
He does give me the oil of joy for mourning.
He does give me the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

How can I not praise him?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sarah's Story

Many have asked "What happened?" concerning Sarah. Wanting to know the cause of her death. Wanting to know what happened that night.

 At some point in time when she was in my womb, she inhaled a lot of meconium, which is a thick tarry substance. When a baby is in the womb, they are breathing liquid, so it wouldn't have mattered. However, once she was born and needed oxygen, there was no way for that to happen.
The medical term I believe is Fetal Asphyxia. It occurs in about 2 out of every 1,000 live births.
We of course had no idea of these things until the autopsy was done Monday morning. It revealed that her little lungs were COMPLETELY filled. Even immediate intervention would not have been able to help.

When Sarah was born, she didn't seem like she was in distress. She had a VERY strong heartbeat all through labor and delivery. The only strange thing was that she wasn't crying like babies are supposed to cry when they are born. She cried a little bit, but mostly she was very quiet.

My midwife told us right away, however that we needed to pray for our little baby because she seemed to have some "lung congestion"
Now for us, we had experienced that before when our first son, Josiah was born. He was clearly in distress, struggling to breathe. My midwife had been on the phone with a Dr and had suctioned out a lot of the liquid from his nose and mouth. We cared for him through the night and took him to see a Dr in the morning. He was FINE, so we weren't really worried here. We were giving Sarah the same tender care.

After we gave her a warm bath, she suckled just a little bit, that was a good sign. We had both had a very long day. The labor was just slightly over 12 hours, which I didn't think was quite fair being the 6th child. But, as many of you know, life isn't always fair. Sarah seemed to be fine though, just not very warm. We kept her skin next to my skin and wrapped us both in a big cozy blanket.

A couple of hours after she was born, my midwife got called to another birth in Ashland, this was around midnight. So she went in the other room to take a little nap before heading off. I needed to get things taken care of after her birth, so I went in to take a bath. We wrapped Sarah up in a little blanket and handed her to my oldest daughter Cosette who rocked her and sang "Come thou Fount of every Blessing," One of my favorite hymns.
While she was singing, Sarah began to cry, which was a good sign, so we thought. My midwife came in and checked her and said that she seemed to be doing well, but suggested that we keep her warm through the night and take her in to see a Dr in the morning.

After she left, we brought Sarah in the tub with me to warm her up and see if she would nurse. While in there she seemed to start having trouble breathing. My husband called a Dr from Akron. Being after midnight we had to wait a short while for him to call us back. In the meantime, my husband came in and helped us both out of the tub and dressed Sarah in her little white t-shirt, and wrapped her in the same little blanket. He then handed her to my other daughter Madeline to rock her while I was getting dressed. I was so thankful that both girls got to hold their little sister before she left us.

In the meantime the Dr had called us back and suggested that we call a squad to come and take her to the nearest hospital. That way they could give her oxygen right away.
I was now holding Sarah as Dean called the squad, which is  less than 2 miles from our home.
As I was holding her, I heard the sirens of the ambulance coming and thought,,,,she's going to be OK, someone is coming to help.

I then realized that I really couldn't tell if she was breathing. I said to my husband,,,"I can't tell,, I can't tell,,," I couldn't even say the words. I couldn't breathe.
I put my ear down to her mouth to listen for her soft breath, there was nothing,,so I put my ear to her little chest and heard the last two beats of her heart.
How can something so small sound like thunder? Think of the biggest, loudest, thickest, metal doors slamming shut, first one and then the other,,,forever,,, and there is nothing you can do to open them. That noise still echoes in my soul.

The voice on the phone began to give my husband and I directions on infant CPR. I can't describe that to you.

An EMT came into our home and into our bedroom and quickly took her out to the waiting ambulance.
My husband followed them, I have no idea what I said to my daughters as I left them to care for their sleeping brothers alone in the night. I remember running through the yard to the back of the ambulance. I can't tell you how tiny her little body looked surrounded by all those people. Never in my life have I felt so helpless. Never in my life have I so desperately cried out to the Lord from so deep within my soul. Only 7 words would come,, "Oh God, Please Don't let her die"

We arrived at the hospital. They worked on her for maybe an hour. By this time I had lost all track of time. They were never able to revive her.
They wrapped her in a little blanket and handed her to me. I  was able to hold her all through the night. I baptized her with my tears.

A million thoughts were going through my mind. Was God punishing me? Every sin that I ever committed was flashing through my brain,,all I could think was "I'm so sorry"   I am reminded in my spirit that the Devil is the one that is the accuser of the brethren day and night (Revelation 12:10) He was working overtime that night and in the days to come.  His job is to Steal, and to Kill and to Destroy. (John 10:10) He is filled with cruel hatred for every soul that lives. He wanted to use this in every way he could to make us hate God and to doubt God's love for us and ultimately turn us away from God. However,, we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Cor 2:11)

What has God done for us? Who knows better than he what it is like to lose a child? I believe the only thing worse than losing a child is to watch someone beat and murder your child. Didn't he endure that too? WHY? Because of his GREAT love for each and every one of us. So that each of us could have redemption and be made right with God. Who else on this earth would give their life for your ransom?
(We all sin and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3:23) Every sin that I have committed and WILL commit has been nailed to the cross. I am fully forgiven. How can I not give myself completely to him? I want to please him in all that I do. I love him because he first loved me. (1 John 4:19)
My hope and trust is in Jesus, the one who freely gave his life for me. I know that one day I will hold Sarah in heaven because I have put my trust in Him. I also know that I am and will be held by Jesus himself all of my days and forever in all of eternity.
Praise the Lord Oh my soul and all that is within me bless his Holy Name.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Finding Grace

Tomorrow will mark the 4th month since Sarah's birth and death. I suppose in time, I might stop keeping track of the weeks that have past. But each day is one day farther away from her, and each day is also one day closer to being with her again. I've been praying that the Lord will teach me to number my days.

Each day I see photos from my dear friends of little their babies, or hear of how they are growing. Or I hear reports of excitement and anticipation of little ones who will be arriving soon. There is an incredible pain in my heart, an emptiness that has been scooped out and has left a wounded gaping hole.
I'm reminded of the verse from
1 Corinthians 13:4
Charity suffereth long, and is kind, charity envieth not...
The feelings that I have are not of envy or bitterness,,,,,,,It's by God's grace that I am able to rejoice with those who rejoice,,,who also do weep with me when I weep. (Rom 12:15)
Each little baby is a miracle, an incredible blessing from God. I rejoice with them even with tears in my eyes.

Another thought to ponder is this:
Which of my dear friends who rejoice this day with their new little ones have not already endured affliction in earlier days or in days ahead?
Doesn't Jesus promise us in John 16:33 that in this world we will have tribulation?

1 Peter 5:9,10
...Knowing that the SAME afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

I know that some of them have had their time of affliction, some have had the same affliction as mine, some have had different afflictions,,,
but nevertheless,,they have had or will have their own affliction.
But for now, this is THEIR time of joy.
How can I not rejoice with them? I celebrate these new little precious lives with them!

God custom designs each of our lives. He sends sorrow or joy to each one of us in turn.
He refines us and perfects us to become more and more like him.

Psalm 138:8a
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.
Thy mercy O Lord, endureth forever...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

15 weeks in Heaven

Imagine the thought of that, 15 weeks in Heaven. I wonder what little Sarah is seeing with her little baby eyes.
I wonder what angelic songs she is hearing in praise to our heavenly Father. I would love to see how much she's grown. I would love to see her precious little smile, and feel the softness of her face, and kiss her little baby lips.
I would love to caress her delicate golden baby hair. It was so pretty, I wish you could have seen it. She was the blondest of all my children. I wish I would have taken a photo of the back of her sweet little head so you could have seen how pretty her hair was. The nurse at the hospital gave me a little snippet of it to keep. Every once in a while I take it out of the envelope and look at it. Actually, I've only been able to do that once. I don't want to loose any of it. Plus, I would have to prepare myself for a good deal of weeping.
My arms still ache to hold her.

Her little pink cradle still sits in the corner of my room. My daughter Madeline made a new cover for it last spring. It's kind of bright pink soft corduroy with dark brown trim along the bottom and white eyelet trim around the top. In it is the softest of soft pink blankets that a friend of mine gave me. It has the words, "Thank Heaven for little girls" embroidered on it. There is also a soft little pink teddy bear sitting in her cradle that says "My first Bear" sometimes I give him a little hug when I walk by.
Her dresser is still filled with pretty little frilly dresses and little pink onesies and fancy little socks that I never got to dress her in. My husband was the only one to dress her. He had put on her a little white t-shirt. I sleep with that little t-shirt beside my pillow. Sometimes I lay it over my leg and try to imagine her little body in it. I still weep.
I don't open the dresser very often either. It still holds all the special little things that the girls and I made for her. Little booties, little hats, special little blankets, that little pink sweater that I crocheted for her last winter by the  fire as I was waiting for her to arrive. I remember feeling her move inside me. I miss being able to feel her. I still feel so empty inside.

This morning I read from Psalm 139:1-3
 O Lord,  thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
I think of Sarah when I read verses 14-17
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

I love reading verses in the Psalms where there are exclamation points!
Praise the Lord, O my soul.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Comfort for the day

I started reading a little booklet titled Grief, Finding Hope Again, by Paul  David Tripp.
I'll share some of the words that I read today.
Death is a cruel indicator that the world is broken; it's not functioning according to God's original design.
It makes us long to live with the Lord in a place where the last enemy~death~ has been defeated.
(1 Cor. 15:26)

You are not alone in death. One of the names of our Savior is Emmanuel ~ God with us.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

The Lord of light is your friend in darkness.
The Lord of life stands beside you in death.
The Lord of hope is your companion in despair.
The Prince of Peace supports you when no peace can be found.
The God of all comfort waits faithfully near you.
The source of all joy is close when death has robbed you of all joy.

His name is Jesus, and I know that he weeps with me.