Anticipating Heaven

Today I am anticipating so many things. Finishing some things on our house. Moving day. Baby Nine’s arrival. Heaven.

Wait a second, did you read that right? Yes, indeed: you did. I said heaven.

I suppose heaven is something that most Christians would say they anticipate, but today I am anticipating it in a particular way. It’s October 15th again. That’s the day for national remembrance of pregnancy/infant loss. Last year, Gabriel and I did some special, tangible things to remember his brothers and sisters, including letting balloons float away up into the sky in their memory. If you remember, though, unfortunately the bunch of balloons was blown into our neighbor’s super tall pine tree in their backyard! Oops! So umm… while some of the balloons have slowly escaped the branches and fallen to the ground, there are still at least two left up there. So yeah… we decided not to do the same thing this year. Maybe next year the boys and I will let balloons go from the vast expanse of our own pasture. Away from trees. πŸ™‚

This year I am being low-key about things. I will light seven candles this evening to reflect a tiny spark of the glorious beauty our seven “heaven babies” are enjoying, and to remind us of the brightness & joy each of them have brought to our family. And besides that, I am simply anticipating. Anticipating with curiosity as well as great joy.

There are many things I anticipate about heaven. No more tears, no more sorrow, no more grief, no more pain (Revelation 21:4). Rejoicing and praising our Father forever alongside our Brother Jesus Christ (Psalm 11:4 and Psalm 103:19). Joining the ranks of all the saints who have gone before ~ including my seven children.

I don’t know a lot about heaven. Details, I mean. But I trust in the covenant promises of my heavenly Father (Hebrews 9:15), and believe that His faithfulness extends even to a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9 and Psalm 105:8) ~ so one thing of which I am confident, is that I will meet my children again (1 Corinthians 13:12 and Philippians 3:20-21). My little host of redheads are not in my home and will not return to me; but someday I will join them in the mansion created by God the King (John 14:2-3) and I will go to them (2 Samuel 12:23).

So while I anticipate some ordinary things like my new house and some extraordinary things like holding a living baby of my own again soon… I am also anticipating some truly inconceivable things like the glories of heaven. Today I reflect on God’s goodness in sustaining us through long-repetitive grief, His mercy in allowing us to have a bigger covenantal family than we ever imagined, His grace in providing us with covenantal promises to claim, and His gift of hope for our reunion with our beautiful children once He calls to our eternal home with them.

So today I am honoring and remembering my adorable children,

Covenant Hope (July 29, 2007)
Glory Hesed (March 30, 2009)
Promise Anastasis (June 20, 2009)
Peace Nikonos (November 5, 2009)
Mercy Kyrie (January 26, 2010)
Victory Athanasius (May 18, 2010)
Hosanna Praise (November 8, 2010)

and while I continue to grieve the emptiness I feel over their absence in our earthly home, I joyfully anticipate being present with them for eternity in our heavenly home.

Anticipate the glories of heaven with me today!!

Remembering Mercy

Daniel 9:17-18

Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his pleas for mercy,

and for Your own sake, O Lord, make Your face to shine upon Your sanctuary, which is desolate.

O my God, incline Your ear and hear.

Open Your eyes and see our desolations…

For we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness,

but because of Your great mercy.

Sweet Mercy Kyrie, we remember you today, and marvel at the fact that is has been an entire year since we held you. We are thankful that our Lord blessed our family with your life. You proclaimed the Gospel, sweet girl. You still do. Amen!

I love you sweetie-babe.
xo Mommy

Psalm 123:3

Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.

My Face

It’s October now.
Many people don’t know that this month is designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. (now you do.)
Furthermore, October 15th is the specific day set aside as a remembrance day for the loss of all these children.
Including six of my children.
So while I remember and love my children every day of the year, and miss them even more specifically on their loss dates and due dates… this is a special national time to openly remember my kids. While I am never afraid or ashamed to speak of Covenant, Glory, Promise, Peace, Mercy, and Victory ~ but, in fact, love to do it because I love them and also because I want to use their lives to impact the world ~ this remembrance day/month affords extra opportunities for me to share my story. Their stories. Our story.

In honor of that, I finally got the courage to post my story on a site called Faces Of Loss, Faces Of Hope. It’s sort of a sister site to the Grieve Out Loud site that I participate in.
I was glad to get my story up there. To talk about my children. To share my faith. To give the glory to God. To cry while I did it.

Take a look at my face. I am the face of recurrent miscarriage. I am the face of grief. I am the face of a bereaved mommy. I am the face of plowing in hope.

Missing Mercy

Mercy darling, how I wish you were here in my arms today. It was so much fun to anticipate a summer birthday for you, with picnics and swimming parties and sundresses with barefeet.

For myself, I am sorry that your birthday was January instead of August as we had hoped.

For you, I am thankful that you have already been dancing in Paradise for over six months and that you went from the warmness of my womb to the beauty of Heaven. You didn’t know anything but comfort and love.

For myself, I wish I could be laboring today in the hospital, groaning and screaming and pushing. I wish your Daddy could be catching you in his hands, severing the cord that once tied your little body to mine, and announcing your name to the world. I wish your Grandmama could be taking pictures and crying with me and helping me count your tiny fingers & toes. I wish your Grandpapa could give you a clean bill of health and an official stamp of redhead approval, pray a blessing over you, and wrap you up like a little burrito. I wish your big brother could be meeting you today, poking you all over, saying bebe repeatedly to you & about you, fighting jealousy, loving on you, protecting you, kissing you.

For you, I wish nothing. I would never wish you away from praising our Father. I would never wish you back into this world of pain, sorrow, sin, and death.

I miss you, sweetheart, my own little Mercy. Mommy’s heart lives in a dichotomy of sorrow & rejoicing. Some days the contrast is starker. Today is one of those days.

My womb has ached for you for almost seven months. Today it is my arms and breasts that ache.

Tuesday February 2, 2010

Today would have been Promise’s due date, and I could have shared newborn photos.
Or today I would have had Peace’s “big ultrasound” pictures to share with you.
But God’s ways are most certainly not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts.

So today I am sharing Mercy’s memory photos with you instead.
This mommy loves my children not one mite less for the fact that I only got a handful of weeks with each of them.





Tuesday January 26, 2010

Brothers and Sisters,

The last few weeks we have been asking for prayer that Melissa would be able to miscarry safely and naturally, and for comfort in our grief. We wanted to thank you for your prayers. The Lord has allowed the process to finally take place. In one sense this is relieving and in another it is still heartbreaking for us. Please continue praying that the God of peace would give us comfort in our mourning.

We have been grieving the death of another tiny saint these last few weeks. Grieving is never an easy thing. It feels like it gnaws at our very souls. It isn’t something that can just be cheered up. It is a death. Very real. Very poignant. It reveals that this world is still very badly broken. But we do not grieve and mourn like those without hope. We know that Christ has defeated death and one day we will taste it in full, as our tiny baby does now. We now have five very good reasons to hope in the surety of God’s promise of the resurrection. Even so, you can also pray that we would not fall to temptations of despair, unrighteous anger, or doubt.

In our afflictions, we cry out to God to show mercy. We have named this little saint Mercy Kyrie, (“Mercy, O Lord!”). Mercy has joined four older siblings in the ranks of the church triumphant. We are confident of this because God’s promises are sure.

Brothers and sisters, please grieve with us. This tiny saint is your brother or sister in the Lord.

To You I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till He has mercy upon us.
Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us!
-Psalm 123:1-3

S, M, & G
(and our little ones in heaven: C, G, P, P, & M)


Psalm 25:6

Remember Your mercy, O LORD, and Your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.

 

Daniel 9:17-18

Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his pleas for mercy,

and for Your own sake, O Lord, make Your face to shine upon Your sanctuary, which is desolate.

O my God, incline Your ear and hear.

Open Your eyes and see our desolations…

For we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness,

but because of Your great mercy.

 

Psalm 123:3

Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us,
for we have had more than enough of contempt.

 

Psalm 40:11

As for You, O LORD, You will not restrain Your mercy from me;
Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness will ever preserve me!

Tuesday January 5, 2010

Psalm 123:2
Behold, as the eyes of servants
 look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maidservant

to the hand of her mistress,

so our eyes look to the LORD our God,

till He has mercy upon us.

Please beseech the Lord with us for His grace and mercy, and look to Him with us in our time of need.
We found out that our dear little Baby Six has joined our babies in heaven.

Psalm 119:28
My soul melts away for sorrow;
strengthen me according to Your word!

Please pray for the Lord to strengthen us, even in the midst of overwhelming sorrow.

Please rejoice with us in this bittersweet time that God’s covenantal promises are for us and for our children, and that we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We will meet our children in the heavenly gates someday! How my heart longs for that moment. I am so eager to worship alongside these five little redheads who my arms so ache to hold.

Please, also, pray that my body would realize that the baby has died, so that I do not continue with pregnancy symptoms and growth, and would not need medical intervention. If there is one thing that compounds the grief of a bereaved mother, it is when such things become medicalized & sterile.

Once the baby has been delivered (we are praying the Lord mercifully allows this sooner than later), I will update with the baby’s name and birthdate and Bible verses.

Thank you, and peace be with you.

Daniel 9:18
O my God, incline Your ear and hear.
Open your eyes and see our desolations…
For we do not present our pleas before You because of our righteousness,
but because of Your great mercy.

Saturday December 19, 2009

I can’t believe Christmas is less than a week away! I hope your preparations and celebrations are going wonderfully, and that the joy of the Lord is your strength.
First of all, thank you all for your continued prayers for our family! The Lord is good, and continues to provide our daily bread. We rejoice in His mercies!
As a quick update on Baby Six, we have gotten two sets of good hormone levels this week – and the first ultrasound went well, too. Each day is a milestone at this point, and we continue to beseech the Lord to use our new treatments to help protect Baby Six.
Also, I realized I needed to upload a few more pictures before Christmas! Enjoy.

Going on a walk with Gabriel when it was only about 15 degrees out – it didn’t last long. πŸ™‚
 
Although we were able to buy gifts for family members this year, I still enjoyed making goodies for the deacons & elders, other church workers, Bible study leaders, neighbors, and some friends. I did various types of candied nuts for most everyone, with gift bags full of jarred gifts for some people too – either pancake mix and strawberry sauce or a jar of soup mix with a small jar of cornbread mix. To fatten up our friends! πŸ™‚

I made a super amazing food creation not long ago. Yes, I am patting myself on the back. πŸ™‚ These are 3 Cheese Pesto Rolls. With dough made like my cinnamon roll dough (only slightly less sweet), I filled them with a mixture of cream cheese, butter, homemade pesto, and two grated cheeses. They were a huge hit!! I am already eager to make them again. πŸ™‚ One night we had them for dinner with breaded pork chops, and another day with tomato soup (that was on a Sunday – notice the Advent candles?).

A short series of pics from when we took our Christmas photo. πŸ™‚

And the winner was….

 

Decanting some delicious port.

Celebrating Advent with readings, music, and -Gabriel’s favorite part- chocolate truffles!

For the first time, we were invited to a Christmas party! A cocktail Christmas party. It was so much fun to have an excuse to get dressed up and go out! And -for once- we stayed up late too. πŸ™‚

We also recently had a Family Date Night – I think this “first” must become a tradition of sorts. πŸ™‚ We took Gabriel out to our favorite local burger joint, and he got his very first cheeseburger. He loved it! Didn’t even want fries. πŸ™‚ Then we went to a toy shop and let him roam the aisles for a while. It was so cute! We bought him a Christmas toy (a super cute little tractor, complete with animals in a trailer that make noises), after judging his favorites. πŸ™‚

Thursday December 10, 2009

I have a new diagnosis – I have a somewhat rare autoimmune disorder that gives my babies only an 8% chance of survival without treatment.
Thus, I have new treatment – it’s called IVIg, where my blood gets infused via i.v. with a medicine made from about 1000 people’s plasma. This monthly (or so) treatment should give our babies at least a 50% chance to survive.
And also, my womb has a new tenant Baby Six has slipped in as secretly and quietly as Peace slipped out. Praise be to the Lord, who does all things well!

Please uphold us in prayer.
We are still in grief, and trying to plow in hope.
These next few days and weeks are very tentative and scary.
May God have mercy upon our family, and preserve Baby Six for life in the Kingdom on earth.
And may He use His gift of medical advances to enable my womb to care for this (and future) baby(ies).