This little light of mine.

I used to equate October 15 with just middle of October and around the time of the State fair. Now it’s something more to me. October 15 is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. I’ve lit a candle for my sweet friend and her son for many years now but this is my 2nd year to light a candle for my own loss. This is my second year to be a part of this “club” I never intended to be in.

I have lost two babies. Two little lives gone before they had a chance to even start. I am 1 in 4, but I’m not just a statistic. I am a bereaved parent. A piece of my heart is in Heaven and I will forever long for it until the day I go Home.

One in four, y’all. That’s the odds of someone you know being in that number. That is a huge number of your sisters, friends, mothers etc. That’s how many women have a story like mine yet so uniquely painful. Whether it’s through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss-whatever name is attached to it-the fact remains. One in four women live with their hearts outside their bodies, their emotions on their sleeves, their breath held waiting their the next shoe to drop, their longing for something that this world can’t provide.

So tonight I light a candle. For mine. For yours. For anyone who has lost a pregnancy or baby. For anyone hurting in this unfathomable valley. Tonight, I will light a candle and let that little light shine in this wave of light and remember lives gone far too soon. Please join me in remembrance by lighting a candle as well. I’d love to see your photos. ♥️

From Rachel Lewis- Speaker and Author: October 15 is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. Bereaved parents, or anyone who has been affected by infant and pregnancy loss, are encouraged to participate in the wave of light. At 7 pm your local time, light a candle in remembrance of your baby, and together, we’ll create a wave of light around the globe. This October — my candle will be lit for my losses — and will be lit for yours too. 

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Testimonial time

Testimonial time…. There have been times in my life (even in recent days) where I’ve thought “oh it wouldn’t matter if you were gone.” Or “there’s no purpose for your life.” I was so incredibly wrong. 

God has a way of making us see the light however possible and let’s just say, He got my full attention. I was recently in a pretty serious car accident. I don’t know any of the details since I wasn’t conscious through the whole thing but it is terrifying to wake up and some stranger is prying your door open and telling you not to move because the accident was so bad. I wish I could say I knew what happened….but what I DO know is it would matter if I weren’t here and it very well could’ve been worse. Furthermore, I knew I hadn’t been diligent in making sure I was right with the Lord. 

Let’s go back a while….I’ve mentioned before I’ve been struggling with salvation and purpose in life. See, I was saved when I was a teen. Or so I thought. But the closer I’ve grown in my walk with the Lord, the more unsure of that I became. Did I know for certain He’s my savior? Yep. Did I live my life like it? Sadly, nope. I’ve spent a majority of my adult life just making it day by day, working whatever job brought money in and basically still being the one on the throne. As much as I hate to say it aloud, I lived how I wanted to, listened and watched what I wanted to, acted how I wanted to, lived for myself and my own comfort, and my prayer life was basically relegated to when I wanted something from God. It grieves my heart to know that I walked so far away from the One who promised to never leave me.

I’ve said before losing Gabriel forced me back towards God, well, it did that but it also forced me to get down and dirty about my salvation. Did I know for certain I would lock eyes with Jesus one day? Did I know I was fulfilling my life purpose using my God given talents? I couldn’t answer those two questions definitively. But I can now

We had a particular sermon about Peter walking on water and how he got out of the boat and did fine as long as his eyes locked on Jesus. As soon as he looked away, he began to drown. My life looks so much like that. I had grown accustomed to staying in the boat where it’s safe. Through some powerful time at the altar I realized I was called to do more. That was about 4 months ago. Since then, I’ve found my mission ground. My purpose. I’m a hospice nurse. I always swore I wouldn’t be and couldn’t do it, but it feels like home. And what better opportunity to minister to people than in their last moments. I’m so thankful to be given this opportunity. 

That other question…I finally surrendered. I finally truly let go of the reigns and gave my life to Jesus. But I felt led to be obedient in baptism even though I’ve done it before. See last time, there was no inward or outward change in me. Christ was not in me. I know that now. So this past weekend I had the privilege of being baptized along with 43 brothers and sisters in Christ in the local lake. No, there’s nothing magic about that dirty lake water, but let me tell you, the feeling of knowing you’re washed clean spiritually and symbolically-that’s as real and magical as it gets. So happy to have my family and friends there and my precious husband assist Brother Terry in my baptism. I will never forget that feeling and pray it shows in my life. ♥️ I say all that to say-if you don’t know for certain where you’re going to spend eternity, do business with God NOW. You may not have tomorrow. I may not either but at least I know now for certain I will see my savior. Friend, this is one question you can’t afford to not know the answer to. And if you know-tell someone. Make sure they know. Let’s get as many people on this “grace train” as possible!  Sharing a few photos from my baptism just because I have to show what it looked like as I took that first breath CLEAN. Friends, clean is an amazing feeling. The peace that comes with it is phenomenal. You want it. I promise.

Because I can’t do anything without song lyrics…here’s one currently on my mind. 

🎶Couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell on my knees Saying, “God, if you’re there come and rescue me.”

Felt love pouring down from above

Got washed in the water, washed in the blood and now I’m changed And now I’m stronger

There must be something in the water

Oh, there must be something in the water

And now I’m singing along to amazing grace Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face

Got joy in my heart, angels on my side Thank God almighty, I saw the light

Gonna look ahead, no turning back Live every day, give it all that I have. Trust in someone bigger than me

Ever since the day that I believed I am changed, And now I’m stronger🎶

-Carrie Underwood “something in the water”

It’s not about getting over it. 

Do you ever have those moments where you realize something painfully obvious and feel certain that God is just exhausted with you? Thank you Jesus that He knows we are like feeble sheep and lead easily astray and He cares enough to show us the way back-time and time again. 

At this past Sunday’s service during the altar call, the pastor asked what our prayer needs were or what our struggle was with. After what felt like an eternity I finally I choked out the words “recurrent miscarriage” as I collapsed in a puddle of my own tears on the altar. I didn’t think it was loud enough for anyone to hear, but someone behind me clearly did hear me and immediately laid her hand on my back praying. I, of course, wept even harder. As I returned to my seat, a precious woman I do not know embraced me and said “I’ve had 4 miscarriages myself. I know how badly you hurt”. In that moment I realized I’m really not alone. There are so many women like me dealing with grief of many kinds, loss, infertility and like issues. The common thread… it hurts and it doesn’t necessarily get “better” with time. Now to my ah-hah moment…

I’ve spent so long trying to make myself feel better. To get over it. To dull the pain. I thought the goal was to get past it. But now I see, it’s not about getting over it-(yeah I know I’m late to the game) it’s about learning to live with it but letting God use you, the broken vessel that you are, in the process.

The way I see it-there are two paths I can take after these losses. 

1- be an angry, bitter shell of a person and remain in misery isolated by the enemy’s whispers and probably wreck my own testimony by my wicked flesh.

Or

2-trust that God cares for me and that this is drawing me closer to His side, where I shall remain until the day He carries me home. And show me that there is a purpose in my pain- and perhaps that’s for me to be a light to others who are in their darkest season. May as well use this fleeting life to help bring light to someone else, right?

No matter the circumstance, whether it be loss, grief, depression, divorce, addiction-whatever. No one should have to suffer alone. I am determined not to let the darkness overcome me. Friend, if you find yourself in a dark spot, I’d be glad to talk with you and share with you about the amazing Savior I have and how He is the only way I’ve survived much less learned to live with these circumstances. I am not perfect. I have not by any means “arrived” but I will listen. And I will love you fiercely. Don’t stay in that pit of despair alone….let someone crawl in to help…maybe even shine a little light. 

John 1:5 “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

Where DOES Fear Meet Faith?

As you all know, I made this blog to talk about fear and loss and my journey to faith. In fair disclosure, there’s a lot I haven’t written about so this may be information overload. We will consider this post a summary of why this blog is called what it is. This isn’t a woe is me post. Or a “look how bad I have it.” This is just how I need to get out all of the jumbled emotions in my head. These are my “dirty little secrets.” There is this stigma attached to the words “I’m a Christian. Oh and I suffer from depression and anxiety.” But y’all, life is hard. Admitting your faults and taking care of you isn’t something to be ashamed of. I’m not sure why I’m sharing all of this but I feel a pressing need to do so. I’m sure someone out there will judge me differently for this but that’s ok. Ever since last Wednesday night when I wept through an entire rendition of Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) I’ve felt a burning need to share my story with people. Just the lyrics bring me to tears in their own 

Amazing grace. How sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind, but now I see

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear. And grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear

The hour I first believed….The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be. As long as life endures. 

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since right after the birth of my first daughter, almost 8 years ago. I had a normal pregnancy, wonderful husband and beautiful, healthy baby girl. But I was inexplicably overwhelmed and sad. I was told it’s just baby blues and would pass. It didn’t. I was told it’s post partum depression and would just need treatment for a few months and I’d get better. It didn’t. Fast forward to the birth of our second daughter which was perfectly normal, until she was born and couldn’t breathe. The first time I ever felt that immobilizing fear of the unknown and the realization that I was utterly helpless was watching my baby retracting and struggling to breathe with tubes coming out of her. After weeks in the nicu, we got a diagnosis-she had several congenital heart defects. We took that tiny baby home and every time I felt her heart speed up, mine nearly stopped. 

I’ve sent her into surgery 4 times now and prayed each time that God would return her to me…and He did. But I was still so consumed by the depression and now overwhelming anxiety that I kept waiting for the ball to drop and the next terrible thing to happen. I was so scared to have another baby for the fear of having another baby with CHD. But we wanted one more. I even weaned off the depression meds to help encourage a healthy pregnancy. Sometimes, even though I know it’s not true, I feel like I tempted fate and this was my punishment. Foolishly, I never considered fetal death could happen to me. But it did. I say all of that to say that fear has played a predominate role in my life. I let it take the reigns. I listened to the enemies whispers of inadequacy. 

So, how does faith play into all this? Well, I was saved years ago as a teenager, but like a lot of people, thought I knew best and started living for myself. I strayed from church and the Word. I pulled the “I can be a Christian and not go to church” card and even the “but I’m a good person” one. But see there’s this amazing thing about Christ. He will always let you return. Lucky for me, he gives second and third and fourth chances and beyond. I’ve taken various medications to help with the depression and anxiety and thankfully have found what works for me. I have gone through counseling and therapy and sought help from everything from a friend to a bottle but nothing eased the pain like His amazing love did.

After losing Gabriel I really struggled with how something like this could be in “God’s Will.” I begged and pleaded for answers and still do sometimes but I now know that God stops at nothing in pursuit of us. Perhaps losing Gabriel was the final push I needed to get my walk right with God. But I believe it’s bigger than that. I have a purpose. Something bigger than myself. My suffering isn’t just for me to say look what I survived. My suffering is nothing compared to Christ’s suffering and yet He still wants me. I cannot wrap my brain around that. 

This is where faith enters the picture. Faith is believing in something you can’t touch or see. That’s where I am right now. My fear has to turn to faith. So, where does Fear Meet Faith? It’s right here. Right in the middle of ordinary life, with its hills and valleys and everything in between. It’s in the smiling and saying “I’m ok” when I know I was just crying alone in my bathroom. It’s in saying it’s ok to not to be all the time. It’s right here in opening up and being vulnerable and saying “this is me. All of me…and having faith that God will see you through every last bit of it. 

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. -Romans 8:24-25

That must have hurt…

So most conversations seem to go something like this these days…

“Aw you have two beautiful girls! Don’t you want a little boy?”

“Well, yes, God willing, but that’s been a long road.”

{Insert puzzled look here.}

“See, we lost our son, Gabriel, at just under 20 weeks gestation in a perfectly normal pregnancy.” 

“Oh that must have hurt.”

{Sighing.} “Yes, it does. Still.”

“Well, you could always try again!” (In the most upbeat voice.)

“Well, I’ve had quite a few complications so it appears a viable pregnancy isn’t likely.”

“Oh, well don’t give up. I know it’s hard…”

“I’ve heard these two particular phrases quite a bit, and while I understand the sentiment and I don’t hold it against anyone (because, let’s get real, there’s no instruction manual to dealing with loss.) I can’t help but think how inadequate the words are. 

Hurt. What a simple, four letter word. But no, this was far more complex. Far more devastating than I could’ve ever imagined.

Hard? No, try impossible. Terrifying. Immobilizing fear. Destroying. Incomprehensible. Those work better. 


Losing my baby, losing the child he would’ve been, nearly destroyed me and threatens to do so every day still. As much as I smile while I hold babies and try to be positive and remain hopeful, part of me died the moment I heard those words telling me he was gone. Lord, help me reach out to you, and you alone, because it hurts again. It’s devastating me again and You are the great comforter. 

Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days – when your heart is broken, when you feel abandoned, when your out of options, when the pain is great – and you turn to God alone.” ~ Rick Warren

In the broken places.

I feel like this statement is so true. The past year and half of my life has been the hardest, most brutal thing I’ve ever lived through. Between losing Gabriel, then having two surgeries, getting diagnosed with Ashermans, then another early loss then another surgery…I’m tired. I’m broken. But friend, let me tell you-God uses broken things all the time. I pray He uses me in my brokenness to reach even one person. 

Some days I wake up and truly think I can’t do it anymore. Most days actually. I wake up and see friends giving birth and many complaining about the beautiful blessings they’ve been given and my heart is so grieved I can barely stand it. I feel that familiar whisper of the flesh telling me “I wasn’t good enough” or “faithful enough” or whatever the lie of the day is. But then I’m reminded that God knew this was going to be in my story from before I was even created. He knew I’d fight this battle and that I’d feel like giving up. He also knew that I would scream and cry and even blame Him but that ultimately, it would bring me closer to Him and that I would cling to the only thing I know for certain. The only thing unchanging-Jesus Christ. 

It’s hard to reconcile this type of pain you feel losing a loved one with the thought of an all knowing, all loving God. I know I struggled with it. How can someone who loves me so much do this to me? But then I’m reminded of what Jesus suffered through and my worst times pale in comparison. Jesus suffered what he did for a purpose…our salvation. I now know that there was a purpose for all of this. Perhaps this broken place is where God needed me to reach others? Perhaps this brokenness was needed for Him to reach ME? I don’t know but I feel a deep seated need to reach out and hold someone who feels alone in this journey. To share with them the promise of a Savior that can heal the brokenness and use pieces to make something beautiful. Of course, I could be of use to His kingdom in many ways, and I try to plug in where I can, but I need to find purpose in this. I need to find peace in this. I need to SHARE peace in this. 

It’s time to stop letting fear reign and be bold. It’s time to step out of my comfort zone and talk openly about loss, and grief and finding my own faith. After all, this is where fear meets faith, right?

The impossible question…

“So, how many children do you have?” Or “You just have two little girls?”

Such an innocent questions…usually asked by a relative stranger who is generally interested or curious about my family. But that one question has the ability to rip me to shreds. It seems so impossible to answer.

The first time someone asked me I was at the state fair on a beautiful October day. A well meaning elderly gentleman asked me if those two were my only children (while motioning towards my girls.) It was the first time I had been asked that since we lost Gabriel, and I wasn’t sure how to answer because they’re not. I have a child no longer with us. A child I never got to meet and that realization nearly ripped me apart. Not that I haven’t known it all along, but grief has a way of piercing you all over again when you least expect it. My arms were empty where a 4 month old baby should’ve been. I think I mumbled “yessir” as the tears filled my eyes but I walked away feeling so guilty that I didn’t acknowledge my other child. A child that I carried for 5 months and felt move and planned for and loved. Wasn’t he worthy of being mentioned? I told myself “people don’t want to hear about lost babies. It’s uncomfortable for them.”

Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we silence and bottle grief and stifle our voices when they most need to be heard? When there’s a sister out there who is praying she isn’t alone in this battle and hearing us could help heal her. Why do we worry about making someone uncomfortable by telling them we’ve lost a baby? It has taken me a year and a half and I’m finally to the point where I can say out loud “yes, I have two beautiful girls, but I have a child waiting for me in Heaven.” I’m working my way to saying I’ve actually lost two babies. That still doesn’t feel real to me so I’m taking small steps. 

Am I better? No. Not always. I’m drawing near to God, surrounding myself with people who I can trust with my vulnerabilities, and taking better care of myself mentally and physically. In spite of that, sometimes I still feel that twinge of pain that I fear is my heart literally breaking in two. But saying his name doesn’t make my lungs feel like they’re going to collapse anymore. That’s a win in itself. 

I hate this stigma. This feeling that we can’t speak of our losses for fear of making someone uncomfortable. I’m not sure how, but I want to make a difference. I need to show women that they aren’t alone. That it is ok to feel each and every emotion you feel right now. And that it’s ok to say out loud, “I lost a child.” 

One in four women have lost a baby. That’s a huge number…and yet, we are relatively unheard. It’s time for this to change. 

Thoughts on Mother’s Day 

I’ve relished every Mother’s Day since having my girls. The sweet homemade gifts, the flowers or gifts with help from daddy, the extra helpfulness the kids do. Nothing is different this year…except everything is different. I’m missing a child. Two in fact but one that I actually carried for a while and had a whole 5 months to fall in love with. I find myself not wanting to take a photo of myself and my children because you can’t see them all. When people ask how many children I have I freeze-not knowing how to answer. My heart races and I usually change the subject or just say I have two girls. It’s not a lie…but then I feel so guilty for not mentioning Gabriel. Or the baby we lost most recently.  How is it possible to feel so thankful and blessed and yet so broken and sad all at once? 


I feel like a walking contradiction. Like with each breath I might smile or I might cry…not sure which. It’s hard to look at holidays, especially one centered around mothers and children without thinking about who is missing. I sit here and stare at these beautiful little girls and I can’t fathom how blessed I am to be their momma. But then I think about the children I never got to meet. The ones born into heaven and it rips me to shreds. What I would give for one glance at my Gabriel. How is it possible for your heart to feel so full and so empty at the same time? 

Yes, I know everyone has struggles and mine are not unique. We all have our stories. Some are missing their moms. Some are longing to be a mother period. Some finally have gotten their miracle and can’t believe their luck. Some have estranged relationships. Some are like me and have children but have also lost a child. I’m not going to sit here and tell people not to share their joy and complaints about their pregnancy or feel that the world owes me something and they should be overly concerned about my pain. 

I went to church even though I knew I’d see all the pregnant bellies and newborns. Church is where I need to be. It’s where my soul feels at rest. Our preacher talked today about finding your place to serve. God has been impressing upon me pretty heavily that the grief and loss spectrum is where I’m needed….I just don’t know that I’m up to that challenge but I have a feeling I’m not alone in needing the support. Particularly on days like today. I refuse to live in bitterness. So even through my tears I will type congratulations many times today and the days to come to pregnancy announcements. I will smile and shed a tear with each friend I see give birth. I will try my best to remember God’s promises and that this is the valley…but He is working on my behalf. 

I realize this post doesn’t have much point so I apologize for the lack of wise and comforting words. Today I just needed to talk. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all out there. No matter your situation, I pray you find peace today. And for those of you who gave a child back to God…Mother’s Day is indeed still for you. You are more than worthy of this and every day. 

Oh, my soul. 

Some days I truly wonder when is it going to end? Will it ever let up? The physical pain. The emotional toll. All of it. This is going to be one of those posts that our preacher likes to call “ugly honest.”

I admit I had this mistaken understanding about miscarriage that you just lost a baby….a very sad occurrence but I never realized what it’s really like. That it’s not just an isolated event of losing a baby. It’s losing a baby, a child, all of the tomorrows, hopes and dreams you had for that little life. It’s losing trust in your own body. It’s losing faith in “things working out.” Its physically painful and that doesn’t always stop once the miscarriage is completed. It’s wholly devastating emotionally. It wears you down. 

Now, here I am-a year and some odd months later, 3 surgeries in and 2 miscarriages weighing down my heart and I find myself in the familiar position of being in near constant pain. My body isn’t responding like it should. Ultrasound is inconclusive so back to surgery we go to determine if my adhesions are back and see if there is a remote chance of becoming and sustaining a pregnancy. I’m tired. My soul is so weary. I’m exhausted from pretending to be stronger than I feel. This is not ok. I am not ok. I’m scared to do this again. I’m mad this is still happening. I feel like I have zero control over my own body. I feel like I’m letting so many people down yet I can’t muster the strength to defend myself.  

Here I go again with the song lyrics but this one is weighing heavily on me today because my soul is so weary and I feel like this song speaks to that because my flesh and the enemy tells me to just give up. No one will see it. Just cry. Admit defeat. Let it go. Stop believing completely. This is how things will be…pain, fear, the whole shebang. Just accept it. It’s so tempting. 

But my God…my God has promised more. He has promised to make beauty out of the ashes and I have to believe that. “Oh my soul” by Casting Crowns Give it a listen at https://youtu.be/Tn5aq54yu8A

Oh, my soul. Oh, how you worry
Oh, how you’re weary, from fearing you lost control. This was the one thing, you didn’t see coming And no one would blame you, though If you cried in private. If you tried to hide it away, so no one knows. No one will see, if you stop believing 

Oh, my soul, you are not alone

There’s a place where fear has to face the God you know. One more day, He will make a way. Let Him show you how, you can lay this down. Cause you’re not alone.

Here and now, You can be honest. I won’t try to promise that someday it all works out ‘Cause this is the valley And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones and there will be dancing

There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone. This much I know.
I’m not strong enough, I can’t take anymore (You can lay it down, you can lay it down)

And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore (You can lay it down, you can lay it down)

Can He find me here? Can He keep me from going under?

Oh, my soul. You’re not alone. 

 

God, please take this. 

We’ve all heard that quote, “when you’re happy you enjoy the music but when you’re sad you understand the lyrics.” I’m finding that to be especially true these days…but I’m also finding that it’s not always mutually exclusive. I understand the lyrics more, yes. But I enjoy them more too. Because they’re showing me what a Savior I have. 

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this song but if you haven’t, it’s so good and it speaks to me in ways I’m not sure I’ll even be able to explain. You’ll find through this blog I relate often to music. It helps me find the words my heart desperately needs to say, but doesn’t know how. Here are the lyrics for “Need you now” by Plumb….read it then let’s talk. 


I can honestly say that I’ve sat here on many occasions and pleaded with God to take this pain away. It’s too hard to lose a baby. It hurts too badly to see the rest of the world move on with their babies. It is torture to think of the what ifs. Many times I’ve been so angry with God to ask why this is continuing to happen. Every time, His grace has been sufficient for the moment and just kept me breathing. Everyone knows about losing Gabriel but many don’t know that we lost another. Just a few months ago and it dredged up that pain all over again. It again had me begging God please put an end to this suffering. But somehow, He has kept me going…Putting one foot in front of the other. There is a reason for this pain. God is doing something within me for his Kingdom using Gabriel’s short life. That I know. Like we discussed in church today, Jesus doesn’t always calm the storm. Sometimes he calls you out into the stormy waters so you’ll put your faith in Him and his ability to be the great rescuer, instead of fearing the storm. 

Like the song says, I didn’t plan to be here. None of us did. I planned to be picking out themes for a one year old birthday party and teaching my son to walk right now…not writing a blog on loss and grief. But here I am. I have to believe there’s a purpose. That somewhere in all the pain and hurt, there’s beauty hidden. This entire song resonates in my being and I find myself singing it often. Especially on “bad days.” 

This is all harder than I ever imagined. I want my baby. I want this pain removed. I want to go back to “before.” I want to be able to become pregnant and sustain a pregnancy again. But thus far, the storm is still raging and none of that is a viable answer. On days like today when everything is just too heavy and I’m drowning in sorrow, I have to just keep crying out “God I need you. Oh I need you now” and trust that He will deliver me instead of begging him to remove the storm. 

Being still in the storm is the hardest thing we will ever endure….but rest assured, He hears my cries. And sweet friend, He hears yours too, so cry out to Him. Be honest. Be real. He knows the language of your heart anyway. ♥