Saturday, July 28, 2012

Leading to Carry to Term

 Part 1 

Strong Enough by Matthew West

Part 2: (not focusing on the debate of when life begins)

  • “Why would God do this?”
2 Cor. 1:9- But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.

Exodus 9:16- But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Everyone has a purpose. So God might 1) show you His power and 2) have his name proclaimed in all the earth.

Instead of asking “why is God doing this?” Ask yourself, “what purpose do we have?” “We” being you and your unborn child. God wants us to know Him and to feel His love. And, "what are we to learn from this?"

But you might ask, “how is His love being shown through the death of my child?” By choosing to carry to term, you show the world around you the unconditional, unfailing love you have for your child. That you would do anything for your child. Giving God the time He might need to work a miracle. Whether that miracle be to heal you child or in other ways, by bringing others closer to God. God has unconditional love for us.

1 John 4:4, 8, 18- 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world [Satan]. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

  • Some say, “I can not put my family through this pain.”

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out fear.” This  feeling of protection may seem like love for the rest of your family, but it won’t show love for your unborn child. If you show your family how much love you have for you unborn child by carrying him or her to term, you cast out that fear by showing them love that overcomes all.

And as for the “fear has to do with punishment”… terminating a pregnancy might not seem to have a punishment, but it raises many questions and emotions that wouldn’t be there if you carry to term. All the “what ifs?”, guilt, and some may not know if “boy or girl?”

So have the courage to educate your family and children on the process of life and death. Not everyone leads a full life to the age of 90. If you walk around a cemetery, there are people of all ages. They were all sent with a purpose. Will you give your child the chance to fulfill their purpose?

  • Love

Titus 2:4- “Then they can urge [teach] the younger women to love their husbands and children”

Sometimes LOVE doesn’t come naturally. Some must be urged or taught. Through this experience one learns a deeper love than can ever be expressed in words. 

  • To Carry to Term:
  1. Shows your love for your child, others are encouraged by that love, the love brings hope.
  2. No Regrets, no worries of “what- ifs”
  3. Parenting, making decisions for your child’s life, birth planning
  4. Community support: don’t be afraid to share, the love will be returned and multiplied.
  5. TIME/Moments: Cuddling, bathing a child, dressing a child and inviting relatives to visit.
  6. Selflessness
  7. Keepsakes: videos, hand/foot prints, pictures, clothes, blankets
  8. Perinatal palliative care support

Making memories, celebrating a life.

"These little mementos can really help down the road," Spicketts said. "You can look back and say, 'Yes, this was a part of my life.' That way you treasure and deal with the emotion rather than try to stuff it away."

  • After a termination one may proclaim that she feels “alone and empty”.

These feelings may often come up with an infant death at term as well. The child is not inside you or with you anymore. But when one carries to term, the feelings of being alone or empty don’t last as long. Your love that you have shown starts to come back to you, if it hadn’t already. People rally around, give support back. The natural way of life has come full circle and things are complete, without questions. Some say that there is something missing in there heart, or a hole. That hole isn’t empty, it become full of love. Your child being gone is not the hole, but your child fills that hole in your heart.

John 13:34- A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

(Updated) Someone asked me to address more of FEAR.

Again: 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Fear is hard to over come. Fear of the unknown; of this child inside you with what seems to be no hope. This pit in your stomach of confusion, heartbreak and pain. These verses give hope that love is more powerful than fear. When we choose to carry to term, God is there (we aren't alone) with comfort and strength that prevail.

  • Anxiety

 Phil. 4:6-7- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 3:5- Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.

We may not ever understand, but unless we carry out His will we will never understand. Carrying to term could give more understanding than not doing so and always wondering.

I encourage you to read Mark 5:21-43
God is powerful! And says, "Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Once you fully give your fears to God, you gain peace.

John 14:27- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Children are a blessing. Whether here for a short time or a lifetime. When given a child, are you going to say, "I wanted a child, just not that child?"

Deut. 30:19-20- Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.

My journal to Kendall two days before I found out she had anencephaly:
"Feb 14, 2012: Happy Valentine’s Day! 20+weeks. I’m starting to feel some bigger kicks. Thursday is our big ultrasound. 2 more days! LOVE you!"

She was living inside me. She was my baby. I loved her just as much as my other kids already. There's no way I could give up on her.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

God, Jesus and our Children

Continuing to build The Kendall Keepsake Foundation-
Our mission statement and business plan is in progress:
“To spread the love of Jesus Christ by providing parents of unborn children with an adverse diagnosis with a keepsake package to memorialize their child through creative and personalized art that embraces the legacy of life that God has created.”

More details to come, but I'm excited about the creative part and helping others celebrate their baby's life. This will be easy with families who choose the same path we chose.

And I remind myself everyday that this is a Christian ministry, and Christ comes first. And where are most of the unbelievers? The 97% confused and not carrying to term. 

Part 1:

This week on the anencephaly group that I'm in there have been some new comers. Some who choose full term and others who don't. And I can feel the pain of the ones who have chosen not to. They are torn, struggling, and confused. As someone who has grown up a Christian, it's hard for me not to want to reach out, shake them and say "why can't you just get it!?". But as our ministry is starting, I'm using it as a way to prepare for the hard questions. Where is my baby after they are gone? Is there a God? Why would God allow this to happen? Many have said they don't want to put their family through such pain. And how to I convey that without such pain they wouldn't be able to feel the depth of love that I know I have felt. And how awesome that feeling is. And how that feeling overcomes the negative.

We won't be able to talk with everyone face to face. So, I've been trying to compile some scripture that we'll eventually have on a website to help point in God's direction...

It seems easy to believe our babies are in Heaven. (Matthew 18:1-5) Many people also say, “we’ll see them again”. And many say that they are (like) Angels looking over us. I believe they are in Heaven as well. But it’s whether or not you/we will get to Heaven to be able see your/our baby.

How do you know you will be there?

John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

God knows our pain of losing a child. But what does it mean to believe? Faith? A lot of people believe there is a God… but what do they do with that?

John 14:6- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

We have to believe in Jesus, but what does it mean by “through me”?

Romans 10: 9-13- that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Matthew 7:21- “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
Mouth Confession? Whoever Calls? Prayer to God to be saved. What to Pray?

Faith, Repentance, Obedience, Confession:

Hebrews 11:6- And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

1 Kings 8:47- ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’

Leviticus 5:5- when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned.

James 5:16- Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Romans 6:17-18- But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

Okay, I prayed a sincere prayer to God that I know I‘m a sinner, I believe that He sent Jesus to save us from our sins and that I want to obey and live for Him… now what?

People put Christians up on a pedestal. But we’re all human. We all still sin. But it’s that Christians try to turn away from sin that sets us apart. We realized we’ve done wrong and our hearts change to do better. We strive to be Christ-like. We obey. We read His word. We feel the Holy Spirit inside us leading us the right way. And we show and tell others about His love.

Acts 2:38-Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 22:16- And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

Matthew 22:36-40- 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

2 Timothy 1:8- So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord

Matthew 4:18-20- Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.

Acts 1:8- But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” 

Mark 16:15- He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

Job 1: God knew Job was strong in his faithfulness and let Satan test him, taking away all he had. He proclaimed:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

So going back to "why God would allow this to happen?" God didn't make this happen, but He uses these times for us to grow closer to Him...

Part 2 to come... probably focusing on a response to "I can't put my family/children through this". Benefits to going full term verses not.  Trying not to be condemning throwing out abortion verses, but compassionate to the pain people are feeling... This part might not be so straight forward in the Bible, so I'll need some prayers on the right wording.

Update 7/26/12: I've always been one to listen to people's issues, hear both sides of a story and give understanding to both parties. I was President of a sorority for 2.5 years... comes with the territory with 18-22 yo girls. So I realized today that to better give support on the reasons why I believe in going to term with pregnancies, I'll have to understand the (good?), bad and ugly of the opposite.

After reading about someone who is terminating their pregnancy, the word "miscarry" verses "terminate" or "abortion" gets thrown out. I know this is a touchy subject, and again, I know I'm not the one to judge, God is. I'm just educating myself. If you Wikipedia "miscarriage", "spontaneous abortion" is right next to it. So there again, it shows many people seemed confused by what they are doing... what is natural and in God's timing verses un-natural and in man's timing. 

Jesus Friend of Sinners (Casting Crowns)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Greater things have yet to come...

It's been two weeks since I've blogged and so I wanted to give a short update. Kristen and Drew have been keeping us busy this Summer and staying up late, so when we actually get time to sit down after everyone is in bed, it's almost time for us to get to bed.

But I think Kendall-wise so much has been going on that it's keeping me busy. Last Friday night I had so much running through my head that I couldn't get to sleep and ended up staying up till 4:30am working on things in the making.

I am still trying to get the book written but a during 4th of July holidays I got an email from my sister-in-law that put a small hold on my progress of writing. I hope she doesn't mind me copying her email... some parts deleted for her privacy.

First, remember from my last entry, " And now I seem to ask myself what I'll do with this new me? I have a sense to help others, but how and when? I am a stay at home mom to little kids still, and that comes first (so I say now, just hope God agrees). I will toy with the idea of putting all this in a book form, but it will take some time. And there's being a Steven Minister at church, maybe in due time. We'll see how things play out."

When I get back from Ecuador [she was on a mission trip] I want to talk with you about an idea God has given to me for a ministry.  I have been praying about ... serving in a ministry....  I know you have also been praying about things as well.  This is an idea about how to minister to families that have a child diagnosed with a birth defect during pregnancy.  I will keep praying because I want to make sure it is from God and not just my idea!  Talk with you more when I am back.

This email to Kirk and I was almost a shocker, but I couldn't wait for her to get back so we could talk! I looked at Kirk and said, "Wonder where God's taking us now!?" Last Sunday we talked about Isaiah's Commission (Is. 6:1-8), and what I took away from the sermon was what I put up on Kendall's FB page, "Here I am. Send me!" Kendall was sent, and if she could do so much with her little life, what could I do to keep that going?

Last Thursday was a stinky day at our house... some emotional, some having to do with the kids constantly screaming. And I was in the bathroom with Drew (beginning stages of potty training) and had a thought. Just a thought, not a specific prayer... "wish something good would happen today, maybe Ashlee would call". That SECOND, the phone rang! Guess who it was... :)

[Leaving out some boring details]  Now it looks like we are on our way to keeping Kendall's legacy alive through a non-profit organization that focuses on spreading Jesus' love, providing keepsakes to families in similar situations and embracing the little lives God has created!

There's a lot of details in there I choose to keep on the hush till we have things up and ready, but this has been what we're up to. [Hehe- excited and scared at the same time. Did I think I a year ago I'd be having a third child (with anen.), writing a book and starting a non-profit?? Three things I know NOTHING about!]

I wanted to share already this for two reasons: 1) like losing weight, telling people keeps me goal driven and makes me want to continue what I'm doing and be excited about it! 2) We still are in need of your continued prayers! This is going to be HUGE!!!!

Greater things have yet to come, and greater things are still to be done!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

It's July!

(Just for my records in later reading... 106 was the record high yesterday)

The 3rd will be our 8th wedding anniversary, the 4th is always fun whether we're on vacation or with family, but the 5th this year was/is my official due date for Kendall. And now the 2nd, tomorrow, is my first appt back at the OB for my post op. evaluation. (Updated 7-2-12: I guess I should round out with the 6th being Kendall's one month birthday)

We were talking with another couple at church today about the unexpected things that could make us cry or think about Kendall. Kirk had a moment this past week, while watching a TV couple find out they were going to have a baby. Today I started to worry about walking back into my doctor's office, but I have to remember to "give it to God" and I can get through it.

I have been starting to type out more of the beginnings of Kendall's story, before finding out of her anencephaly. Kirk asked what I was working on last night and was surprised I actually said, "the book". Between starting this and getting finished with projects (I got the hand print tree and finger print tree framed with a couple other things, got pictures developed and put in a book and I'm still finishing up announcements and thank you cards) my free time has kept Kendall on my mind and my mind busy.

After starting to think too much about tomorrow, I decided on sitting down to type some more for the book to get my mind off of my appointment. I've typed out how Kirk and I met, just the main details, b/c that in itself could be a small book. Then went on to spot light Kristen and Drew's births, before getting to where I am now... Kendall.

And here came the flood gate for a few minutes. I opened up my journal/file that I started for Kendall when she was conceived. I have one for each of the kids. I've mentioned it before. Here's Kendall's before we found out. Afterwards, this blog became my journal.

October 27, 2011
To Baby #3:
Kristen is 4 now, Drew is 14 mo., and we’re not getting any younger, so YOU’RE ON THE WAY! I started a journal about a year before Kristen was thought about. It talks about how we were planning for a family and how excited we are for having kids. Drew’s journal started to slow down as life got more crazy. I started his before he was conceived but, yours started the week we found out you were coming! #3 will round out our beautiful family! I’ll have to journal a little more and keep up with everyone, for you to look back on how life was “a long time ago.” And for your back story so far… Daddy is 39 and wants to be done having kids before he hits 41, so that’s why the shorter age difference between you and Drew then there is between Drew and Kristen. Daddy will be 40 and I’ll be 29 next year when you’re born. And you took only 2 months to conceive. We’ve already been praying for you and thank Him everyday for you! God is GREAT! My first doctors appt. for you isn’t till Dec. 1, so don’t expect much till then. But we will be telling the family about you this weekend! YEA!! Oh, one more thing. Since we have a girl and boy, we think we won’t find out what you are till you’re born. We love you all the same!  XOXOX

January 5, 2012
Happy New Year and the year you will be born! So our first doctors appt wasn’t on Dec 1, b/c I ended up fainting at 6 weeks and going to the ER to make sure everything was okay. It was. They wanted me to see a cardiologist and my heart has a few extra beats, but not enough to be alarmed. And I went to the Women’s Center to get you checked out after the ER visit. Got my blood tested and they put me on progesterone supplement. I was at the low end of normal and it was a precaution. I had to take that till 12 weeks. And I am now going on 15 weeks! 6 more till the big U/S, which we do not plan on finding out what you are. Only b/c we have everything for a boy or girl and we feel prepared and will be excited for a surprise. But we’ll see if that happens.

I’m still going to the gym. I’ve gained about 8 pounds so far. Feeling good now that I’m in the 2nd trimester! But I formed rhinitis of pregnancy at Christmas time.

We think we have your name if you are a girl, but no name yet for a boy. Kendall Mackenzie…. I’m shooting for Kaleb?? We’ll see. We love you and are so busy with your sister and brother that the time is flying by.  Love you and praying for you everyday!

January 22, 2012
Dad likes Kolby…. Maybe? Starting to feel you this week (16wk)! Gained about 10lbs. Drew kissed my belly today!

Feb 14, 2012
Happy Valentine’s Day! 20+weeks. I’m starting to feel some bigger kicks. Thursday is our big ultrasound. 2 more days! LOVE you!

To re-experience where we were till two days before our lives were turned upside-down brings back a little of the painful moments. Who we'll never be again and what we would give the hit rewind and do it all differently.

But as much as it hurts to say it, I've said it before, we're better, newer people for God now... and that was His plan.

I didn't go back to write anymore for the book, as I jumped on here to write this post instead. 

I finished the last few pages of Choosing to SEE this afternoon. Brokenness is a word the stood out. And then the song Holiness. Minute 4:00 of the song.... Sang over and over through the years "Brokenness is what I long for, brokenness is what I need." Didn't know the magnitude of that word. "Brokenness is what You want from me."