July 2, 2012

Spilling Over

Another Hope Mom and I were recently discussing how our losses have affected our love for our other children. After her son went to Jesus, someone had comforted her with the words that her heart had expanded to love three children, and with one of them in Heaven, the other two would be experiencing a little extra love that many children don't receive. She reflected to me how accurate that word had become to her, and that her love for her son in Heaven had now overflowed onto her other kids. Her love for him was not stifled, stopped, or locked away in a memory box. It is a live, participating love that enables her to relish the smiles and joys of her living children. It enables her to bear with them more gently on difficult days, during tantrums or sickness, because she remembers how precious it is to have them in the first place.

Her love spills over.

It costs us something precious to allow love for our Hope Baby to spill over. It's tempting to snuggle the memories close to your heart, filling your days with "What if" and "If only". It's tempting to view the world through the lens of your heartache, and seeing his or her shadow in your everyday activities. It's tempting - so tempting - to think, "I should have two children with me. I should be going crazy trying to juggle this many children..." And of course, we should not forget our Hope Babies. They are a beautiful and unique blessing, a precious sprinkling of the truth that the best (Heaven) is yet to come. But in order to allow our love for them to spill over, it requires little sacrifices along the way. It requires laying down our longing for them in order to fully engage with our living children. It demands the courage to see each day with our living children (and husbands, family, and friends for that matter) as of infinite value - an undeserved gift.

I'm thankful for this Hope Mom, and her beautiful determination to be a better mom because of her Hope Baby. Her love for him has indeed expanded, spilling over onto her family and even unsuspecting friends like me.

April 3, 2012

Happy Easter

Wow, I'm behind on an update for this blog!

It's been a busy spring, and Easter is upon us. For Hope Moms and families who are still deeply grieving, I'm praying that this Easter will mean something more than candy, baskets, and bunnies to you. I'm earnestly praying that the truth of what we celebrate will knock you off your feet, onto your knees, and fill your hurting soul with hope.

I love each of you; though Christ loves you more, and proved it by His resurrection. I personally have been rejoicing in this day since Gwendolyn went to the Lord, and wrote about it on my blog: www.ourblessedhope.blogspot.com.

Because He lives, I hope.


July 18, 2011

the test

"The crucible is for silver and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts." - Proverbs 17:3

Yesterday I came across this verse, and found much comfort in it. These were my observations:

1.  Silver, gold, and other precious metals are of great worth.

2. Because they possess value, they must be made pure and spotless; who would purchase imperfect, muddied gold? The inherent worth of the material demands purification.

3. The materials, while raw, must be proved genuine. (The silver looks shiny, but will it endure age, wear, and the elements?) It must be tested to prove it's authenticity.

4. Testing of precious metals is achieved and efficient only when it has become hot enough to dismantle the material. Silver and gold are changed into an altered state - liquid, rather than solid - in order for the impurities to rise to the surface.

5. The impurities come from within the gold and silver; they are rooted deep under the surface. It takes great pressure, heat, and time to bring what is impure and imperfect to the light so that it may be removed.

There is comfort in this, friends! Do you see it?

1. Our hearts are of GREAT worth. They are valued. They are important. They are rare. They are unique. You, friend, are of great worth.

"Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." Matthew 10:31

2. Because we're of great worth -- image-bearers of God, called by Him, and (to those who believe) bear the name Christian -- we must be made perfect. Our inherent value as God's creation calls for it.

"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it. For how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another." Isaiah 48:10-11

What is the glory that God will not give to another? That of His own name and salvation. We call ourselves Christians. But do we allow that undeserved title to be muddied, despised, and undervalued by sin, laziness, hardened hearts, unfaithfulness, and disobedience? How then could we NOT expect God to purify us for His own glory? We bear His name and His image, walking under His banner of grace. We should anticipate God's purification process, and accept it with joy rather than grumbling.

3. We must be tested to prove our authenticity. There's a wonderful quote by C.S. Lewis concerning this: 

"God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn't. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down." -C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Our authenticity is not placed in us, but in who we are IN Christ. When tested and found lacking (which we WILL be found lacking), we must waive the white flag of surrender and claim Christ as our only hope for authenticity.

"For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3

"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold- though your faith is far more precious than mere gold." 1 Peter 1:7

4. Our hearts are hardened by sin (Hebrews 3:13, Ezekiel 36:26). The Word of God has to actually cut into us, penetrating our joints and marrow, so that it can cut out what is sinful and replace it with what is good, and pure, trustworthy, lovely, and noble. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

Friends, our hearts must be dismantled - broken, shifting, undone - so that Christ can accomplish His work in our lives. Our calloused souls do not often yield to soft entreaties and slaps on the hand; if they did, perhaps Christ's death would not have been necessary. But it was, and He suffered much so that we could obtain salvation. Our suffering will never outweigh His, endured on our behalf.

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed." 1 Peter 4:12

"But you O Lord know me; you see me, and test my heart toward you." Jeremiah 12:3

5. The greek word "dokimazo" means "to test (literally or figuratively), to approve, to prove, to try, to discern, to examine." It means to "prove with a view of approving". 

The Lord wants to bring change in our hearts, and He works from the inside out. It takes time, pressure, heat, and trials to bring the impurities, sinful thoughts, attitudes and behaviors, and our own faulty theologies and ideas of God to the surface. 

The Lord already knows the value, measure, and goal for our hearts. Often, we do not. I think that He tries us in order to show us His surpassing grace upon us, His covering over our failures and sins, His greatness working through our infirmities, and His healing power working at the depths of our soul. He already knew this was the true state of our regenerated hearts; we rarely walk in the knowledge of it. 

He tests us with a view of approving. Find comfort, friends.

"Search me O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" Psalm 139:23-24

"...that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." Colossians 1:9-10

July 2, 2011


At the beginning of each month, I update our Hope Babies Calendar for the website so it will accurately reflect how old our children are if you click on their name.
Each time I edit one of the birthdays, my heart feels like it sinks a little bit lower with each passing month. I look at the names of the sweet babies that are only 3 months old in Heaven, and my heart breaks for that family, remembering the tenderness and raw heartache at 3 months.
This month two of our sweet babies are turning 1 year old. Although I'm still a few months away from Gwendolyn's first birthday, I'm already aching at the thought of it. Its so hard to believe that an entire year has passed... and yet God has waited faithfully for us each day, ready to carry our burdens and bind our wounds with every passing hour.
Hope Mommies wanted to give each Mom something unique for this first birthday... something that will be a small measure of encouragement, and reminder that we're One Year Closer.
We've been working with an amazing ceramics artist from Seattle, Kristin Love. She's currently creating a beautiful ceramic wall plaque or coffee mug with the words, "One Year Closer" for each Hope Mom. We'll post more details and photos soon, with information on how to receive your own One Year Closer gift  OR how to donate/buy one for someone you know.
I encourage you to take five minutes today to look over the calendar on the website, and pray for those families listed. Each of them is still burdened and hurting, and needs a lollipop of grace to get through the day.

Thank you for praying with us!
Because He lives, I hope.

June 22, 2011

new happenings

Hello Friends!

I'm excited about writing and telling you all the thoughts of the day. Since Mother's Day, I've been overwhelmed with summer camp and haven't had as much time to devote to praying/brainstorming for Hope Mommies. But today the Lord has given me a lot of ideas and I'm excited about all of them!

Currently, our amazing Creative Director, Constance, is at work to design our brochures. Once those are printed, they'll be going in a variety of mailers/boxes, etc:

1. Hospitals
We want to contact local hospitals and ob/gyn offices and offer our information. As much as it pains us to know of the new Hope Moms added to our number each day, we want each of them to know that there is truly Hope to be found in such a deep loss. We'll be sending participating hospitals and offices our brochures and Hope Mommies bracelets.

2. Speaking of bracelets...
We have www.hopemommies.org bracelets! The bracelets have our website and the word "seventy" - the number of women each day that lose a child from miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Skip your venti latte for one day and buy a bracelet here. Help raise awareness and bring hope!

3. Birthdays
Hope Mommies has been on the hunt for something very special for birthdays this year. We all know that our sweet baby's first birthday (and all birthdays following) is going to be heartbreaking. While no gift can come close to filling that hole, we do know the One who does, and He's a gift giver. So following the suit of our Savior, who gives good things, we want to give something special to each Hope Mom on her baby's birthday. Details are still being worked out, but I'll update you soon!

4. Boxes
We want to be able to send a little something to each Hope Mom that we hear of. After we get our brochures printed, our plan is to put together a Hope Box which will include a brochure, bracelet, a Bible with special "Hope Mom passages" already bookmarked, and another helpful resource or two. More details to come!

5. Retreats
Let's just say that we're scheming. :)

We're excited about the new ideas and opportunities that God's given us to help bring Hope to hurting Moms! If you want to be a part of the ministry, please check out our Donate page, or email Erin with any questions!

May the Lord be brought glory from our efforts, and may the broken know the Healer.


May 9, 2011

The Gift

The woman is kneeling, offering up her tears and sorrow to God. 
Her tears flow to the ground, watering the tree of life which yields a single blossom above her, representing growth, beauty, and hope. The sunrise represents God, full of Light, shining on her 
and shattering the dark of night, bringing forth a new day full of hope.
Phung Ngo Martin, Artist

This Mother's Day needed something special. We Hope Moms would face a holiday centered around what we are designed to be, but are without: our children, and the glory of motherhood in us. 

One of the goals of Hope Mommies is to provide continued care in the months and years that follow miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. And one of the ways that we do that is to provide gifts - gifts that can encourage, something that says "We love you and know you're hurting; you're baby is not forgotten." 

Our gift for this Mother's Day is the painting above. Phung is a dear friend and college roommate, and an incredibly talented artist. I had asked her to try to capture what it means to be a Hope Mom - a woman full of sorrow, full of hope. I can imagine that it's nearly impossible to capture two deep, distinct emotions in one painting, but I believe she did just that -- and beautifully!

Hope Mommies had twenty-two women on the list to receive the painting. Most of the women are being served through our Prayer Ministry, or they responded to the facebook group message we sent out. The prints, frames, and shipping supplies were all paid for by donations. 

For those of you who donated or prayed for this gift, thank you for helping make it possible! I loved reading the women's updates on facebook, and seeing how blessed they were to receive the painting. You made a difference in their Mother's Day. 

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."

April 11, 2011

Psalm 62:8

Trust in Him at all times, O peoples; pour out your heart to Him;
God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:8

The word “times” in this verse denotes a “season” or “opportunity”. The psalmist David implores us to trust the Lord at every opportunity, in every season of life. He also makes a very valuable connection between our volitional will and emotions: to truly place your trust in the Lord, it must involve honest transparency with God concerning your heart, not merely offering lip service.

He urges the people of Israel to “pour” (literally, to “spill forth”) out their hearts – all their concerns, thoughts, emotions, and desires – before God, because God is a refuge. He is a safe place for everything you may be experiencing and feeling. He is not afraid of the strength of your sorrow or anger; He does not shy away. He is a Shield and place of protection for those who run to Him.

Have you poured out your heart to Him and taken refuge in Him?