Tuesday, October 8, 2013

This month brings awareness to two things that are near and dear to my heart: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness and World Hunger. Both are issues that are hard, painful, and not always talked about. Both have the ability to tear families apart. Something that didn't occur to me until recently is how one can (and sometimes does) affect the other. First, some statistics on Pregnancy and Infant Loss: There are estimates that about 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, with stillbirths occurring more than 4.5 million times a year. Those numbers take my breath away. That means that more than likely you know at least one person (probably more) that has suffered a miscarriage and/or a stillbirth. I had no idea until I had my miscarriage, and then our journey with Layla, how many women had walked this hard road. I found that once I started talking about what had happened to me, other stories started emerging. I found so much support in my fellow mommas, in knowing I wasn't alone! That's why this month of awareness is so important-to let other moms and dads know that they aren't alone, that their little ones are cherished and remembered. Now, some hunger statistics: The U.N. is currently estimating that about 780 million people in the world are hungry. That breaks down to almost 1 in every 8 people in the world is going to go to bed hungry tonight. WHAT?! This blows my mind! I go into the grocery store and see aisles and aisles of food and think how can this be? It is heartbreaking. It is unacceptable. I have to decide WHAT to feed my family on any given day, many have to decide IF they will be able to feed their family that day. I cannot even begin to wrap my mind around that. Right now the crisis in Syria has made over 6.5 million people have that question. They are in desperate need of many things, especially food and clean water. I want to share a story with you via World Help about a couple enduring the crisis in Syria that opened my eyes to the connection that these two issues have with each other. The full story can be found here: (http://blog.worldhelp.net/2013/03/growing-health-crisis-puts-millions-of-syrian-refugees-in-danger/) but here is the summary: Roa and Mohammed are a couple currently living in a refugee camp in Jordan due to the conflict in Syria. Before their journey, Roa had already lost two precious babies, and is currently pregnant with their third. This family is living in squalid conditions and terrified of losing yet another child. This story brought me to tears. Here is a fellow mommy, tired, stressed, living in filth. She isn't getting prenatal care, she is living in a tent susceptible to the elements, she more than likely isn't getting the nutrition that she needs for herself and her child. This is unacceptable. I know it can be overwhelming to read a story like this, to wonder "what can I do?" For only $100 you can provide ALL the resources a family needs FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH! A month!!! That is significantly less than what I spend on groceries for my family for a month. It is a tragedy to lose a child, but hunger should NEVER be the reason a child (or any person for that matter) dies. There is enough if we will reach out and help. Please prayerfully consider helping a refugee family survive. We need to support each other, to love on each other, to let each other know that there is someone who cares for them, that God cares for them. World

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Layla's Legacy

It has been so long since I have posted on here. So much has happened, it has been difficult figuring out how to put it all down in words. Since I last posted, we celebrated sweet Layla's first birthday in Heaven, and just 5 days later, welcomed her little sister Ellie into the world. Ellie is short for Elliana, which in Hebrew means "God has answered". We truly feel like He answered our prayers in our healthy, smiley, silly baby girl. This past year has been filled with late nights, lots of diaper changes, and just learning how this parenting thing works. In addition to loving on our sweet Ellie we are learning how to navigate grief over a daughter lost. It is a strange thing to feel so much joy over the child you have, yet still ache for the children that are gone. I know for me it has made me a very cautious mommy with many fears over losing Ellie. Thankfully God is helping me daily trust Him with her. He is good! Lately I have been very worried that I would "forget" Layla. Not so much that I would actually forget her, but that I wouldn't talk about her or think about her as much as I used to. It is very natural to talk about the baby you have right there with you, but bringing up your baby that died is much, much harder. Yet I long to talk about her, to let her short but wonderful life speak out through our lives. I want Ellie to know about her older sister. So I have been praying for a way to honor Layla's memory. Recently I found out that World Help, which is, to quote their website, "a faith-based humanitarian organization that exists to serve the physical and spiritual needs of people in impoverished communities around the world", was looking for bloggers to help spread their message. We sponsor a little girl in Layla's name through World Help and also housed the two cutest little boys you will ever meet through their Children of the World Choir last fall. We LOVE this organization. They truly live out the Gospel message and serve all over the world. I started looking into what it would mean to be blogger for World Help, and I felt God impress upon my heart that I could honor Layla by raising my voice, her voice, to the needs of others in our world. I pray that God is honored and that Layla's legacy brings many to the Father's loving arms. So here we are! I am now a blogger for World Help, and get to share about all the wonderful work God is doing through this organization! I feel like this is Layla's legacy, to help me wake up to the needs of this hurting world and do what I can about it. To be awake to what He is saying and calling us to do for Him. When we decided to carry Layla through her short life, it was and still is one of the hardest things I have ever been through. It was also one of the greatest things I have ever been through. I feel like being awake to what Jesus has called us to do-die to ourselves, follow Him wherever He leads, stand up for the oppressed, care for the widow and orphan, love and serve-can be hard. It is also our greatest joy. World Help's Vice President Noel Yeatts has recently come out with a book about this called Awake: Doing a World of Good One Person at a Time. I encourage you to check it out and pray about how God is asking you to be His hands and feet to someone in your life. 1 John 3:16: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Layla




On Friday we received our photos from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Valerie (the photographer) did such a beautiful job! Drew and I just cried as we looked through them. There is such a mixture of joy and sorrow in this-I miss her so much it hurts, but I am SO proud to be Layla's mommy and so thankful God blessed us with her. She is one of the greatest gifts He has given us. I heard this a while ago and I feel like it fits how I feel so well-my arms are empty but my heart is full. Can't wait to hold her again...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

God Moments

Have you ever had God speak to you in a way that you knew it was just for you? When you knew He was showing His love to you in a special way that would hold meaning to you? I hope so because it is wonderful. He did that for me this weekend. Friday night was not a great start to the weekend: we were having a great night at first, and then I got a call from the hospital Layla was delivered at. The nurse calling said "I am just calling to confirm your c-section for tomorrow morning". Huh? I completely forgot that we had scheduled that a while ago thinking that I would still be carrying Layla. I guess there was some kind of miscommunication at the hospital and it never got canceled. The nurse was very apologetic after I explained that my daughter was born 6 weeks ago. I hung up the phone and bawled. Then Sunday we went to church for the first time since Layla died. I was very, very anxious.  I cried through almost all of the worship songs. It was really good to be back, but emotional for both Drew and I. After church we went out to lunch with some friends; afterwards, as we were getting into our car, I happened to glance over at the cars parked next to us. Two spots away a car had been shoe polished over all its windows. Guess what the window facing me said?! "LAYLA LOVES YOU". I couldn't believe it!! I hardly ever see the name Layla, especially spelled with a Y. Of all the restaurants and all the parking spots, this is where we ended up. As cheesy as this may sound, I knew God meant for me to see that message that day. He knew it would touch my heart. I was so excited and showed Drew the message, which he thought was amazing too. I am SO thankful for a God that speaks to us in such tender ways-He knows when we need a little extra love and comfort and He is so extravagant in giving it. He is SO GOOD.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Promises

I have struggled with knowing what to write on here. To be honest I have had many moments where I didn't want to do much at all, much less write. All I know is, this is hard. SO HARD. It hurts everyday. We miss Layla, every day. Sometimes I am doing okay, and then I just burst into tears. It is a daily challenge. I have never felt sorrow like this, but I will share something else as well: I have never felt God's comfort and peace like I do through this. I have felt the truth of this verse: "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit." -Psalm 34:18. He is the ONLY one who can get us through this. I still don't understand why this happened, and I don't think I will until I get to Heaven. That is hard for me-it makes me frustrated and sad. I have been very angry with God. Something my Bible study leader said to me last week really helped: "Yell and scream at God, He can handle it. But don't walk away from Him." He can handle my pain. He is faithful, He is peace, He is love, He is good. He promises that we will see Layla again, and she is perfect, healed, and happy with Him. I pray that if you are going through a trial right now that you will cling to Him through it. Please pray for us as well as we struggle with giving all our hurts to Jesus and trusting Him. His promises are true. He hasn't abandoned you, He hasn't abandoned us. He is close.