Sunday, December 21, 2008

Thank you

I wanted to take some time and let you know how thankful I am for the gift the readers of MCK Mama's blog gave to String of Pearls.  For those of you who don't know Jennifer set up a raffle on her blog....the money that was given went to 3 different organizations.  Over $19,000 dollars was raised and String of Pearls will receive almost $4,000 from the raffle.  Each day as I watched the numbers climb...I knew this was not just people wanting to win a great camera.  This money was from people who were wanting to make a difference in others lives.  These were people who wanted to help families in crisis and to make this heart wrenching journey more bearable, somehow.  

The vision for String of Pearls was created out of a need to reach families with another alternative instead of termination when faced with a fatal prenatal diagnosis.  This dream to walk with families has been growing in our hearts and is quickly becoming a reality.  I can't help but to think of Mary, the mother of Jesus.  She knew God had created something amazing for her...but maybe it didn't feel like a reality until she felt the first kicks in her womb.  I feel like we are feeling the first kicks of the dream God planted in our hearts.  Yes, there is fruit already and families are being reached, but I know there are still big plans in store for String of Pearls.  Each of you who donated are part of the quickening I am feeling in my heart as I sit and write this.  Thank you so much for giving so willingly.   Know each dollar we receive will be used in the best possible way.  

This money will be used to provide families with baskets full of items to make memories with their baby for the short amount of time they have them in their arms.  The money will be used to print brochures about String of Pearls to leave in Dr's hands who counsel patients following a fatal prenatal diagnosis.  Money will allow us to educate staff in hospitals about the concept of perinatal hospice.  I want all of you to know what a gift your donation is to these families....we will be able to let them know they are not alone on this journey. 

I cannot begin to tell you how this touches my heart.  To know that myself and these families are not forgotten is an incredible feeling.  I am so thankful and honored I have the opportunity to walk alongside families who have found themselves on the journey of a lifetime.  I know I will never forget the generosity of so many.  

I also want to thank Jennifer for her precious heart and desire to be a part of what String of Pearls is doing for families.  I had the honor of talking with her when they were not sure if Stellan would live or die.  Even though our stories ended differently she did not forget those of us who belong to the club, the club of families who have had a baby die.  She could have moved on and never spoken to me again.  She did not forget and I know I will never forget her either.  I am so thankful she has Stellan in her arms today.  Both Jennifer and I are the owners of a miracle....hers is in her arms and mine is in heaven.   I am honored she has chosen to remember the families who are walking this journey.  

Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.  

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The ache

This month is flying by. School projects, cookies, Christmas trees, lights, Advent activities, Oodle, sick kids, budgets, meetings, shopping, Christmas music, going to bed way to late! We have much to be thankful for this season but I cannot help to feel the ache that is just below the surface of my heart. The ache sneaks up on me and catches me by surprise sometimes and other days the ache is just right there. I know this time of year will always be ornament on the tree put there by our hands not hers, a missing stocking and placing flowers at her grave instead of presents under the tree. I can't help but to think of the ache Mary must have felt too. She was like so many of us...was giving birth to a son who she knew would die. She treasured every moment...just like I did and she too missed him before he was even gone. I know someday the ache will be gone....when we see Him face to face. For now, the ache is still there...some days I can walk with the ache and other days I just need to lay down and feel the pain in my heart and remember what my sweet baby felt like in my arms.

I read the first 2 books of the Twilight series.....I know, maybe not deepest book to read! I have a sweet friend who loved the books and I always like to see what moves her heart. I was moved by one section of this book. The main character, Bella, is missing Edward...her soul mate. She has been missing him for several months and is slowly coming out of the fog. This is one part of the book that made me cry and spoke to where I am at this moment.

"I lay in my bed a few minutes later, resigned as the pain finally made it's appearance.

It was a crippling thing, this sensation that a huge hole had been punched through my chest, excising my most vital organs and leaving ragged, unleashed gashes around the edges that continued to throb and bleed despite the passage of time. Rationally, I knew my lungs must still be intact, yet I gasped for air and my head spun like my efforts yielded me nothing. My heart must have been beating, too, but I couldn't hear the sound of my pulse in my ears; my hands felt blue with cold. I curled inward, hugging my ribs to hold myself together. I scrambled for my numbness, my denial, but it evaded me.

And yet, I found I could survive. I was alert, I felt the pain- the aching loss that radiated out from my chest, sending wracking waves of hurt through my limbs and head- but it was manageable. I could live through it. It didn't feel like the pain had weakened over time, rather that I'd grown strong enough to bear it.

Whatever it was that had happened tonight- and whether it was the zombies, the adrenaline, or the hallucinations that were responsible- it had woken me up.

For the first time in a long time, I didn't know what to expect in the morning." New Moon Stephanie Myers p. 118-119

Knowing you can survive through the pain.....a gift only God can give us. He has already given this gift, we just need to receive it. My hope for so many familieswho are hurting this season is that they will see the gift that has come...the gift that we cannot fully understand, the gift that will not take away all the questions, the gift gives us hope that we will survive the pain and can have hope in our hearts.