As I mentioned in the last post, I have several things that are daily reminders of Raelyn that I either carry with me all the time or keep close when I need to see more.

This is a necklace that I ordered from and I love it.  They are her footprints!  I just sent them a .jpg scan and they engraved them onto this sterling silver heart.

The back side is also engraved with her name and birthdate.  Many times I get lost in thoughts of Raelyn throughout my day and when I come out of my reverie, I find that my hand is covering my heart and I am holding this pendant.  I guess it is the closest I will get to holding her again.

My husband bought me a ring when we were seniors in high school and gave it to me for Christmas.  We never called it a promise ring, but that's kind of what it was.  I loved it because a) I'd never seen one like it before and b) he picked it out for me.  Fast forward six years. (wow that sounds like a long time!)  When we found out we were pregnant, I introduced my husband to the idea of "push presents," gifts husbands get their wives as thanks for carrying and birthing their children, and I told him that I had always wanted a sapphire ring and that now he had nine months to look for something.  :-)  When Raelyn was born and died in September, we took the center diamond out of that promise ring and turned it into a mother's ring.  This was not how I wanted my sapphire, but I think it is beautiful and I wear it every day.

My mom gave me a gift the first time we went to her house after I was released from the hospital in September.  It was a James Avery bracelet and charm called "Flower of Hope."  I don't generally like charm bracelets but this one has special significance because hope is exactly what I needed then and my mom was the place that I least expected it from.  That night was also the first time in our marriage that she hugged my husband so that hope was far-reaching.  Also, if you turn the charm sideways, it says 'be' which is comforting because sometimes that is all I can do.

This is the picture I mentioned in the last post as being part of my special place in the house for Raelyn.  My mom made it for me and gave it to me for Christmas.  She has never said Raelyn's name out loud but she mentioned one time that she had a miscarriage of her own.  She said that she didn't even know it had happened until she went to the doctor weeks later.  The fact that she remembers makes me think that she has an idea of what this road feels like, but we don't ever talk about it.

Sometimes my husband and I just sit on the couch opposite this wall, gazing at these pictures and just remember, dream, hope, grieve, pray.  These are the only ways that we can parent.  We can remember Raelyn and our short time with her.  We can dream of what she might have liked to do, eat, or play.  We can hope for the future and keep moving forward.  We can grieve the death of not only our daughter, but also the death of the dreams we had for our future.  We can pray to the most high God to give us peace and strength as we walk ahead, every minute spent here one minute further away from the last time we saw her. 

Draw near to us, O Lord, as strive to daily walk with You.  Let us be a light to each other as well as to those we meet along the way.

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.  ~Psalm 34:17-19

Under The Tree

It is time for this month's Under the Tree! If you don't know about this gathering, check out Carly's blog for more information. If this is your first time to join us, we welcome you, although we all wish we didn't have to...

Do you have a special place in your home for your baby? What is it like? Do you have any rituals that you perform in memory of your baby?

I do not have a special place at home for Raelyn but I do have three pictures hanging on the wall in the living room—her name in the sand, her precious feet, and one my mom made with a James Avery Mother’s Love ornament and her name and birth date on a pink mat. I carry her pictures with me in my purse so she is with me always. I also have a few jewelry pieces that I always wear in her honor. During the moments in my day that I just stop and remember her, I hold onto my necklace which has her footprints engraved into the silver heart pendant. It stays close to my heart and is a comfort to me.

If you believe in an afterlife, do you receive signs from your baby? Have you ever felt their presence? Do you find them in nature? Do they visit you in your dreams?

I believe that Raelyn left the safety and comfort of my womb and was welcomed directly into the arms of Jesus. When I am at my lowest points, thinking of her singing and dancing before the throne of God side by side with three of her grandparents brings a smile to my heart. I am currently reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn and it is giving me a whole new perspective!

Do you have a special poem, song, prayer or quote in memory of your baby?

"You are a great God.
Your character is Holy.
Your truth is absolute.
Your strength is unending.
Your discipline is fair.
Your provisions are abundant for our needs.
Your light is adequate for our path.
Your grace is sufficient for our sins.
You are never early, never late.
You sent Your Son in the fullness of time and
will return at the consummation of time.
Your plan is perfect.
Bewildering. Puzzling. Troubling.
But perfect."

- Max Lucado

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. ~Isaiah 61:1-3

Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life. ~ Psalm 119:49-50

Savior Please

Savior, please take my hand
I work so hard, I live so fast
This life begins and then it ends
And I do the best that I can, but I don't know how long I'll last

I try to be so tough
But I'm just not strong enough
I can't do this alone, God I need you to hold on to me
I try to be good enough
But I'm nothing without Your love
Savior, please keep saving me

Savior, please help me stand
I fall so hard, I fade so fast
Will You begin right where I end
And be the God of all I am because You're all I have

Everything You are to me
Is everything I'll ever need
And I am learning to believe
That I don't have to prove a thing
'Cause You're the one who's saving me
~Josh Wilson

This is the song that speaks to my heart right now. Most days I feel like I am trudging through quicksand, just doing everything in my power to keep upright when all I really want to do is let myself sink. The days when I am most exhausted from the struggle are the days that I try to do it all on my own. I know that the other days, the ones where I can drift off to sleep in peace, those are the days that I have grabbed on to the hand of my Father and let Him help me through the day. Sadly, those days are fewer than the exhausted ones...

I, you, we are called to be holy. ( those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours...1 Cor. 1:2)

I used to wonder how in the world I could ever live up to this calling. Who am I that I might be holy or even anything remotely close? Then, I looked closer. The word 'holy' means: consecrated, having a spiritually pure quality. Okay..... still not a chance of ever achieving this goal. Then, I looked closer still. The definition that stood out is this: specially recognized as or declared sacred by religious authority. I cannot be holy. Ever. Period. But He can declare me holy by the blood of Jesus. By His act of ultimate sacrifice, He recognized His children as holy and I became sanctified when His blood covered my sins. He fulfilled the calling 2000 years ago on the cross and all I have to do is believe! God hasn't called me to be anything that I can be on my own--our callings are God-anointed and God-bestowed. He calls, and then gives us the means to enter in. To paraphrase that first scripture: those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saved, sanctified, blood-bought worshippers of the most high God... He has already authorized my entry into my callings, I just have to step up, step out, and walk in them.

Also, the same God who has called
us is faithful to His promises for us. (God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. 1 Cor. 1:9) That means He will never leave me alone in my calling, in my happiness, in my anger, in my joy, in my grief... I will never be alone. Even when I don't feel His presence or His saving grace, I know that I am never alone.

I try to be so tough
But I'm just not strong enough
I can't do this alone, God I need You to hold on to me
I try to be good enough
But I'm nothing without Your love
Savior please, keep saving me


I don't have any idea what I want to say, so this might be a jumbled post... but that's okay. Here, I have the freedom to speak my feelings without the fear of being psychoanalyzed. Here, I can be angry without getting a salvation speech. Here, I can cry onto my keyboard and no one will fault me for it.

These last two weeks have been brutal. Two babies have gone home to Jesus and in both instances, my heart was broken to no lesser degree than when we were told Raelyn would not live. I feel like I have been transported back in time 159 days to the day we left the hospital alone. Grief is a strange beast that hides and waits for the time to strike. This is a whole new level I have never experienced before and its a little scary. I have never had this much empathy for another person before--to feel like I am right there with them even though I don't know them very well or at all.

I have realized how inadequate it is to say "I'm sorry" and how the urge to try to console could cause someone to say hurtful things. I was told I don't know how many times that "this is just God's will for you" or "Just remember Jeremiah 29:11" (For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.) or "maybe its just better this way". Really?!? Because I'm pretty sure this is not better than bringing a living child home and if this is God's plan to prosper me and not to harm me, then He messed up because this has harmed me somethin' fierce! (Just to let you know, these responses no longer mirror my true feelings, but I thought each one of them and more during the initial shockwave of grief.) I have learned that the canned scriptural responses that are always accompanied by a pat on the shoulder are not an acceptable offering to a grieving family.

When I learned of my friends' losses, I had this urge to comfort them, to let them know that there is someone here they can talk to, to let them know that they will breathe again. That reassurance alone is what I longed for in the weeks following Raelyn's death. I needed to know that the crushing weight in my chest that held me down would lift slightly so that I could breathe. I looked into the eyes of women who had lost children and saw no compassion, no spark of empathy, no prickling sensation of sorrow for their own losses much less for mine. To me, this was inconceivable! How could these women who have been where I am do nothing? I knew in those moments that this was a small part of God's (much bigger) plan--that there would never be a woman in my path who would have to walk this path alone. If she chooses to keep it inside, she may, but I will always be there for her to cry on.

I had one friend who took me in and cried with me. She looked at Raelyn's pictures and showed all the pride of a mother. She let me know that it was okay to be angry, to be broken, to be a mother even though I have no living children. She just listened and cried with me--and that's okay. Now, I am to be that shoulder for someone else, no matter how broken I become in the process.


My heart hurts today...
He went home last night at 8:00 and she followed at 12:45.

My coworker's 11 month old son lost his fight last night and the doctors and family don't even know why. He had a random seizure Tuesday night, progressed to a coma and brain bleed Wednesday, and died on Thursday. How does a healthy, happy baby go from perfect to gone in three days? I have only tasted the pain that this young mother is feeling right now and I just learned that there is an abuse investigation pending. Please keep this family in your prayers.

My husband's Granny also passed away last night after a long struggle in the hospital. We were saddened by the news but also relieved because she was through fighting. She was welcomed home by her husband, daughter, great-granddaughter and countless others whose lives she blessed during her life here. My husband said that she was kind of our first messenger to carry our love to Raelyn and he was comforted by the fact that they would be together.

Last night, I also learned of the distinct (almost inevitable) possibility that someone from my past will be entering my future. When I knew this person before, this person made me feel like I was not good enough for God to use me, speak to me, or be with me. I went through a very dark and lonely time spiritually and although now I know better and I don't believe those lies, I am still very non-excited about this person's reentry into my life.

My heart hurts today...


At my workplace, I have roughly 45 coworkers from management down to new-hires. In the last 6 months alone, there have been two parents and three children of employees in my department that have passed away and there is an 11 month old fighting for his life in the PICU right now. I don't know what is going on down here in the basement, but it is heartbreaking.

Please pray for this little one, Shawn, who is in a coma in PICU and for his family as they stand by his bedside. Please pray for the five other families who have been forever changed by the death of a close loved one as well.

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you. ~Isaiah 54:10