December 15, 2011

The Stocking That Was Never Hung

There it was. I saw the white fluffy top peaking out from behind the Christmas boxes and a bunch of tangled lights. I pulled out the tiny, white stocking and tears came to my eyes. I shouldn’t be surprised by this as every year when it comes time to pull out the Christmas decorations it happens.
Today I’m going to let you a little bit into my life.  6 years ago we lost our first pregnancy. The tiny white stocking that I pull out every year was the stocking I bought before I knew we lost the baby and it was the stocking I bought to hang on our mantle for our first Christmas pregnant.
It is the stocking that was never hung.
My husband and I had been married for nearly 3 years. We knew we wanted children and had been praying about when the right time was to start trying. We got pregnant very quickly, however, I immediately had an uneasy spirit about it. I had no real reason to feel this way. After all, I was young and healthy but I just couldn’t shake it.
9 weeks into it I had some complications and called the doctor. I remember waiting that day until the ultrasound appointment. Trying to rest in God, knowing that He had everything under control, but that sense of uneasiness came back.
We went to our appointment and I could tell right away things weren’t right.  Sure enough, we got word from my nurse. There was no heartbeat. The ultrasound showed that the baby had passed quickly (at around 6.5 weeks) even though I was almost 10 weeks along. (A missed miscarriage is the technical term)
OF course I cried and my heart broke, but oddly enough, I sensed peace for the first time in a while. With the confirmation that the baby was indeed gone, we scheduled a D&C. I’ll never forget laying on that hospital bed and crying as I was being pulled into the OR.
Why, God? We have sought Your will! We waited for Your timing!
After the surgery, the wonderful staff at my hospital told me that what they got from me would be buried at a tombstone with a verse. They also gave me some brochures and one of them referenced Psalm 139. I read that passage many times before but it took new light for me that day. That passage gave me the strength to press on over the dark, lonely days that were ahead of me.
I remember being at a crossroads. I had 2 choices; to let this bring me closer to God or to draw me further away from Him. God had never failed me before that point in my life, so I had no reason to think He would at that moment, so I chose Him.
I’ve been able to use my story as encouragement to many other women since then. I’ve cried and prayed with many women who have gone through the same thing and have been able to share my hope that got me through it. My wonderful sister in law had her 2nd son just days after our miscarriage and had some complications that ended up taking away the chance to have children again. Here we were. 2 sisters (who married brothers) each struggling with loss, but in different ways. Our hearts were able to bond quickly and share in our pain of loss.
My nephew and sister-in law, Sue, a week after my miscarriage.
You know the rest of my story. I have 2 wonderful children! But this doesn’t take away the memory of my little one in heaven. Every Christmas I am reminded of this painful time in my life but I’m also reminded of how God graced us with 2 more! I am reminded of how God gives each one of us a story and that He wants it to glorify Him.
I’m also reminded of the crossroads I approached. I shudder to think if I would have turned my back on the Lord at that time and I’m thankful that He drew me to Him in those tender moments. Dear Sister, are you at a crossroads now? Turn to HIM. He will not fail you!
So the stocking? Well, the stocking will always be a part of our family.  It may never have been hung, but it’s never going away. It’s a representation of the blessing that God gave to us and then took away, but, Blessed be the name of the Lord.


Clare Smith
Clare and her husband and 2 children live in Northeast Ohio. She has her bachelor’s degree in business management and left a promising career to be a stay-at-home mom to her children. She is a certified fitness instructor and teaches pilates and group fitness classes at her church and local university. Clare’s passion (outside of raising and nurturing her children and home) is motivating women of all ages and stages of life to live well physically, emotionally and spiritually. Visit her at Peak313and on Facebook!

November 15, 2011


After the loss of a little one, after experiencing such great sorrow and loss, how can we not help but worry. We worry about the future and the unknown that the future brings. How easy it is to experience something as little as a headache and before we know it we are worrying that maybe it is a symptom of something bigger and life threatening. 

Today I want to share with you a post written by Kara Chupp. Kara blogs as The Chuppies and also shares at The Better Mom. Kara has walked the path of loss that so many of you have experienced. Back in 2008 she and her husband lost their beautiful daughter Selah Noelle who was only 4 months old, to the disease Pompe. Kara knows the worry that loss can bring. She shares...

"Worry is never over.
It’s a constant struggle.
But when I start to sink into a swirling pit of fear,
I want to face and fight the battle–
With Him and through Him.
 …for God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control. ~2 Timothy 1:7"

Please take the time to read Kara's post "Worry- I Wish I Wasn't So Good At It" over at The Better Mom. I pray that you will be as blessed as I was to hear how Kara keeps her mind and heart on what is true as she encounters fear and worry. 

October 17, 2011

Verses that Comfort

Over the last few months, Chris and I have had the privilege of speaking at two different hospital sponsored memorial services remembering babies that have been lost while still in the womb or shortly after birth. Here is a summary of what we shared at those services...

I started and shared about Mason's short but precious life (you can read more here or listen here). My husband then went on to share the following... 

Having our son die on Father’s Day is by far the most heart-wrenching thing we’ve ever gone through. And yet in the midst of our sorrow and sadness we did have and experience the hope, peace and comfort that is found in God. Both Anna and I love, serve and follow Jesus and we have found forgiveness of sins and life in Jesus, through His perfect life, death on the cross, and then resurrection from the dead.

His grace & love sustained us through our sorrow and we never doubted that He was in control of our situation and Mason’s life. We firmly believe, based on what the Bible says, that Mason, along with every infant and young child that has ever passed on from this life, is in heaven safe with God.  And we believe that one day we will see Mason again made whole and complete.

This morning we wanted to share with you some of our favorite Bible verses that gave us comfort and peace during our time of sorrow.

God said to a man named Jeremiah...
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…”  Jeremiah 1:5a 

God knows us all and loves us all long before we’re ever born.

A man named David wrote...
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed from me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! Psalm 139:13-17.

God Himself is the Creator and the Author of life. Therefore, all life…even a very short life…is a precious life and a gift from God.

In Mark chapter 10 we’re told about how one day some people were bringing their little children, their infants and babies to see and visit Jesus. The account reads like this… 
"And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them 'Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.' And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them."  Mark 10:13-16

Jesus was indignant, Jesus was angry, that His disciples would try and prevent these little children from coming to Him. Jesus had a very special care and concern and love for these infants and little ones. Why is this? Why does Jesus love and care for these little ones? Throughout the Bible, we see the truth re-told again and again that God delights to save and use and love the weak and the helpless…and there is none so weak and helpless and innocent and precious as an a little child.

So what happens to little ones who die? Where are they? I believe that Jesus has already told us when He said….
“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”

There’s a man in the Bible named David. He was king over Israel and, like many of us, he had a son who only lived a few short days and then died. After his son’s death, David said something very profound and significant. He said....
"While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”  2 Samuel 12:22-23

David was comforted/confident in the fact that he would again see his son and go to be with his son.

As you well know, this world, this life, can be filled with trouble and sorrow and pain and death. That’s a fact. That’s reality. Is there any hope? Is there any comfort?

Listen to what Jesus said in: Matthew 11:28-29 
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

September 15, 2011

A Video From "Grace To You"

We hope that this video from "Grace To You" will be a help and encouragement to you! The couple featured in this video beautifully shows their hope and strength in the Lord even in the midst of great tragedy and loss. We pray that it will be a blessing to you.

August 16, 2011

Exciting New Opportunities!!!

This month at “4 Days to Eternity” Anna and I wanted to write telling you about some exciting new opportunities that the Lord has brought our way!
            A few months ago Anna and I were invited to speak at a “bereavement conference” put on by various hospitals in the Indianapolis area. In attendance were nurses who wanted to learn how to better help their patients who have lost babies. We shared our story with them hoping it would help them better learn how to care for parents who lose little ones. In the course of speaking with them we were able to talk freely and openly about the hope, joy and peace to be found in Christ and we were able to tell them about our outreach “4 Days to Eternity”.
            After the conference we stuck around to speak one on one with the nurses and, in the course of conversation, made contact with three new hospitals in the Indianapolis area! They have all graciously agreed to give away copies of “Safe In the Arms of God” to couples and families who lose little ones. This brings our total number of hospitals we are working with up to six! We are also currently supplying books to two funeral homes as well.
            In addition to the new hospitals we will be donating books too, the Lord has given us another speaking engagement with St. Vincent Women’s Hospital, the hospital were Mason was cared for. We have been invited to speak Saturday morning, August 20th, to a group of parents who have recently lost babies. We will share our story with these parents, talk about Christ and His mercy and grace, and offer a free copy of “Safe In the Arms of God” to any in attendance.
            As difficult as it is to re-live and re-tell the story of Mason’s brief life and death, we are thankful for the opportunity to speak of Christ and of His glory and goodness. Please continue to pray that God would open opportunities to share the Gospel and the hope of eternal life.

July 15, 2011

A Prayer of Trust

This beautiful pray is found in "Safe In The Arms of God". It has been a wonderful blessing to me over the last year as it reminds me to fully rest in the Lord's perfect plan and to keep my eyes on Him as we walk the road He's prepared for us. I have this prayer written in my prayer journal where I can easily find it when needed.

"Lord, help me to express the joy that is befitting a Christian. Help me to trust You with the timetable of my life and the lives of all those I love. Help me to have a more eternal perspective on what happens to me and to those I love. Help me to learn and to discover what it is that You want me to know. Give me your wisdom. Help me to submit myself to Your will and to do so completely, in every area of my life. Help me to trust You that You know what is best for me. You desire to bring about what is best for my life, and You are at work causing all things to come together for my eternal good and the eternal good of all those I love. I pray this with faith, Lord. I look for the answers You will give as I pray in Jesus' name, Amen" 
Safe In The Arms of God pg. 149

It is our prayer that this prayer will be a blessing to you as you seek to mend your broken heart and let go of the "why" questions so you can go on fully trusting the Lord and His plan for you and your family members' lives.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

June 15, 2011

It Was Not Wicked for the Lord to Take Our Son

On March 31, my husband, Ernie, and I walked into labor and delivery. I was 33 weeks pregnant, and we had come to monitor our son’s movement. We had little concern, thinking we’d be leaving within an hour or two. Perhaps I just needed to drink more fluids or get more rest. Not all babies are super active; maybe he was just so big that there wasn’t much room. These were several of my thoughts as I was just waiting. But after six or seven doctors and nurses looked over the sonogram of our son, they quickly decided they needed to do an emergency cesarean because they weren’t sure why he wasn’t responding. Our emotions could not keep up with the events. I found myself changing into in a hospital gown, wheeling around for a spinal shot. I was instantly numb and entering the first surgery of my life, completely unprepared. Haddon Brooks Blanco arrived within about 20 minutes, 6 weeks early. Through a lot of tears, confusion, and fear, Ernie and I still looked at each other with joy that our son was here, not knowing that we had entered into the darkest weekend of our lives.
Haddon struggled through severe anemia and a virus, and his sweet daddy visited him nearly every hour, loving his little son who looked almost identical to him. For 40 hours we were with him, hearing a roller coaster of good news and bad news. On April 2, the Lord took our sweet boy to be with him. Just before he passed, we were able to sing to him. Ernie sang “It Is Well” and I hummed “A Mighty Fortress” the best I could. I held him for the first time, telling him we’d see him soon. I passed him to Ernie, and when the time came to take all the machines off, Ernie quoted Numbers 6:24-26 as the last words Haddon could hear:
The LORD bless you, and keep you;
The LORD make his face shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up his countenance on you,
And give you peace.
As our plans as parents have been thrown into confusion and sadness, we are faced with the question of what happens next. I long each morning to wake up to a crying baby to console in my arms. Ernie longs to come home from a long day of work to play with his son, and each time we walk to the garage we have to pass an empty nursery painted in blue. Through each seemingly impossible fear that rushes to our minds, the Lord has calmed us with several great truths about himself and our circumstance.

The Lord Does Not Delight in Wickedness

It was not wicked for the Lord to take our son. The Lord does not delight in wickedness or evil, his Word tells us in Psalm 5:4. His Word in Psalm 89:14 tells us that his throne is actually built on a foundation of righteousness and justice. I think this is how we can grieve well, when we long to take care and hold our son, to remember God’s foundation of righteousness in all that he does as we grieve in a world of sin and death. Somehow, in the death of our son, God will show us a greater picture of his goodness. Somehow, for our good, this is going to make us look more like his Son, Jesus.

God Is Still on Plan A

Ernie has reminded me that God is still on plan A in his plan of redemption. When Haddon died, God was not surprised or needed to start a plan B because something went wrong. 1 and 2 Peter reminded me that all the trials and suffering I will face here will result in praise and glory in the great day of Jesus Christ when he returns again. Haddon’s death has been part of God’s plan from eternity past; nothing is out of his control.

Haddon Is Now Looking Upon the Face of Mercy

There is a sweetness and gentleness of God that I’ve felt in my pain as I cry out to him, as I sit in Haddon’s nursery, and as I read my Bible. The same sweet, gentle, and kind God is the same God who took my boy to safety. He is in a place where he can see the love of God and hear the gospel of Jesus purely without the distractions of a sinful world. When you watch your son breathe his last, you have an overwhelming sense of not being able to control anything. But I don’t have to worry as his mother about his moment of passing from death to life, because he was instantly and safely ushered into the presence of Christ. Haddon was able to look upon the face of mercy and be sick no more.

Haddon Will Rise Again

This same gentle God got us through his burial with an amazing peace. I dreaded seeing his tiny casket, but when the time came the Holy Spirit quickly reminded me he is not there, but only his body, which he suffers in no longer. He reminded me that, just as Jesus rose from the grave, so too will Haddon rise again. The weight of that peace was unlike any peace I’ve experienced in my entire life. I looked around at all the baby graves, which were many, imagining all these babies one day rising to glory. I love hearing myself say it,Haddon will rise again. It’s our hope for our little boy.

Our Eternal Joy Is Yet to Come

My aching heart is learning to believe that being a mother is not my ultimate happiness. I understand, in a way I never did before, that this world is not a place where we will feel eternal joy. When the people of God finally stand before Christ, who took the punishment for their sin, they will feel the fulfilling, eternal joy that they long to feel here on earth. God has not promised those who belong to him a quick and easy road to heaven, but he does get us there, he promises. Until then, he’s assured us he is “near the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

My Greatest Need Is Taken Care Of

Through many tears and days of great sadness, we want people to know that the only reason we feel comfort in our grief is because Jesus has taken the punishment of our sin, has been raised from the dead, and has crushed death. For the Christian, death is not the end. The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes even calls death “greater than our day of birth” (Ecc. 7:1). For those who do not lean upon Jesus Christ as the great Savior from sin, death is the great entrance to eternal punishment, and their life now is the best they will ever have, because eternity after will be torment. I pray you would know this good news today and trust in Christ, the great conquerer of death.
Lisa Blanco lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, Ernie, who is a Bible Teacher at Pusch Ridge Christian Achademy. Lisa enjoys writing in her free time.

May 16, 2011

Trusting God with Infertility and Miscarriage

Today we have a special message from Lisa Martin. She had a chance to share at a ladies event at her church. She did a beautiful job presenting the hope and security we can find in Christ even in the midst of sorrow, hardship, and trials. I think that this would be helpful for everyone and anyone to listen too. I'm sure it will be a blessing to you and will better equip you to love and comfort those who have experienced the loss of a baby or who are struggling with infertility.

Throughout the message, Lisa shares many wonderful resources. Below you can find links to all of them. I look forward to reading many of them myself!

Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong by John MacArthur and the Leadership Team at Grace Community Church.

Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges

Grace Grows Best in Winter by Margaret Clarkson

Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of a Child by John MacArthur

The Letter of Samuel Rutherford by Samuel Rutherford

God's Faithful Discipline Sermon by John MacArthur

Girl Talk Blog Posts:
No Grace for "What If?" by Carolyn Mahaney
Tell Your Soul by Nicole Whitacre
Q & A - A Holy Longing by Nicole Whitacre

April 29, 2011

Pressing On Part 3

Today we have part 3 of Julie's story. If you missed the first two parts you can find part 1 here and part 2 here.


Six more months passed.

Because no medical reasons had been found for the last two miscarriages, we stepped out in faith again, after much prayer and waiting, to have another baby. Again, the Lord opened my womb and I was pregnant in April.  We made our announcement on our parents’ anniversaries-which both happened to be on June 6. They were excited, but with some hesitation due to the recent loss. It was understandable, as Josh and I had been through the same emotions.  But we really thought everything was going to be fine this time.  What were the chances that we would have another miscarriage? 

Everything was going well throughout the summer. Two of our friends were also expecting around the same time and we were looking forward to having our babies grow up together.  In July, we heard a good strong heartbeat at the doctor’s office.  But that would be the last time.  Within 3 days of that appointment, another life quietly slipped away, unbeknownst to any of us.  It wouldn’t be for another 3 ½ weeks until I went in for another appointment that we would learn this information. After having some cramping, I went in a few days early to see my doctor.  I figured she would tell me to drink a little more water and try to stay off my feet for awhile.  As she began looking for the heartbeat, I heard the same words from 10 months earlier, “Where are you hiding baby?”  I thought, “This is surreal. I feel like I’ve already done this before-Dr. R’s saying the same things, but this can’t be real. It just can’t be happening again.”  Sure enough, within a few more minutes, I was looking at our baby on a large screen, but seeing no movement or heartbeat. I was supposed to be 17 weeks pregnant. 

At that moment, I went into “auto-pilot.”  I had done this before, so I knew what to expect.  This time though, my emotions seemed to be hiding from me.  The tears and sadness were different, more for how others were going to react, rather than for myself.  I tried to praise the Lord, but all I really wanted to do was be alone.  I didn’t understand why we were losing another child, but I was trusting in the Lord for the reason.   We couldn’t even call our parents that day.   We felt numb.  In shock. Depleted.  And I hadn’t even delivered the baby yet.

But God was so good to us during the loss.  On August 10, the day of our 8th anniversary, I was going to the hospital to have another baby that I wouldn’t get to bring home.  I was so thankful that my doctor was on call, and that the nurses I had come to know were tending to my needs.  Two of our pastors, including Chris Fritz, spent some time with us at the hospital.  The baby came quickly, after about 4 hours of labor.  My doctor stayed past her shift to be there with us.  I had a hunch with this pregnancy that this baby was a boy, and I was right.  We named him Matthew Levi.  He was smaller than Haddie had been and his color was grey.  I wasn’t prepared for that.  I cried for the loss of this baby and the dreams we had for him.  Another baby of ours was now safe in the arms of God.  To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

I continued to pray, “Lord, what are we supposed to learn from this?  What did we miss the last time around?  Please don’t let us miss the lesson you are trying to teach us.” 

The placenta was delivered 15 hours later, early the next morning. I was so weak from losing a lot of blood.  Somehow, by the grace of God, I was able to make it home that afternoon.  But by the evening, I received a call that told me the ordeal was not over yet. Not all of the placenta had been removed, and I was at risk for continued blood loss or infection. I would still have to have a D & C to remove the rest of the placenta.  At this point, I really began to think that I could not survive a surgery because I was so weak. After a lot of tears, I finally accepted the thought that I might die before the week ended.  And yet, there was a peace in my spirit about that.  I knew that I would be in the presence of the Lord, should He decide it was my time to go.  I knew that my faith was in Christ and His finished work on the cross that took my sins away.  I knew that it was He who gives me eternal life, and I found myself longing to be with my babies who never knew sin. I was ready to go. 

I meditated on the Psalms a lot that week. The Lord helped me to remember that He is my Rock, my Redeemer, my Good Shepherd, my Strong Tower, my Refuge, my very present Help in time of need.  He again provided truth for us to meditate on when things seemed so unclear.

I awoke from surgery and immediately realized I was not in Heaven. God still had a purpose for my life here on Earth.  I would still know the joy of being a wife to Josh and a mother to Lydia and Isaac.   

God was gracious to answer our question, “What are we supposed to learn from this experience?”  In due time, we learned about a genetic blood clotting disorder that I have, called Factor V (five) Leiden.  This was most likely what caused the babies to die-a blood clot that stopped the flow of blood to the baby. In God’s sovereignty, He showed us something that we otherwise would never have known.  He didn’t have to, but we are so thankful that He did. We have closure on the past, and information for the future.  We also realized that our two healthy children were an even bigger miracle, considering that this condition existed through my pregnancies with each of them. 

Looking back, we have seen how God prepared us with our first miscarriage, so early into the pregnancy, to be ready for the second and third miscarriages. We have seen how His hand was moving and guiding us each time to be surrounded by the people who would show us His love and compassion.  We experienced a peace that passes all understanding and strength that comes through Christ to face some of our most difficult challenges as a married couple. We have been blessed with two healthy children that we are striving to raise for the glory of God. We have counted it all joy when we have fallen into these various trials, knowing that our faith has been tested.  We have gotten a new glimpse into the character of God.  And we have been blessed.  

April 22, 2011

Pressing On Part 2

Today we have Part 2 of Julie's story. If you missed part on you can read it here.


Seven months later, our story continued.

I had wanted a spring baby, so after our time of waiting, we decided to try again to have another baby.  I got pregnant right away in July 2009.  We rejoiced that God was going to bless us with another baby and everything seemed to be going along well.  At the 6 week checkup we saw the heartbeat and the little baby moving around in my womb.  We breathed a sigh of relief, and started making plans to tell our families.  Our daughter drew a picture of our family, and we copied the ultrasound picture of the baby, cut it out and pasted it in my belly.  We used that picture to announce to our families that we had a new life growing in my womb and we were so excited!  

Everything was progressing well and I felt the first kick during a church service at about 16 weeks.  I smiled, thinking that this baby must like music!

On October 26, 2009, things changed again.  I had gone to a routine doctor’s appointment and had brought the kids along with me.  Lydia was now 4 and Isaac was 2.  I was so excited that they would get to hear the heartbeat at the appointment.  We had heard it at home the week before with a heart Doppler, so we didn’t think anything of it when my doctor couldn’t pick up the heartbeat right away.  I started praying, “God, this would be a good time for the baby to move so she can hear it.”  She decided she would bring in the small ultrasound machine to get a better view of what was going on.  I was excited that the kids would get to see the baby moving on the screen.  Dr. R’s demeanor changed when she turned on the ultrasound.  She wasn’t seeing any movement and still could not pick up a heartbeat.  She was going to have me move down the hall to the bigger machine to get a better view.  I told the kids, “We need to pray that God will let the heartbeat be heard and found.”  I was starting to get a little worried, especially since my husband was at work and had no idea that any of this was going on.  I did not want to carry this burden alone.  I was finally able to reach him on my cell phone and said, “Dr. R. can’t find a heartbeat, she’s taking me in for an ultrasound, please pray” and then my call got dropped. 

I was looking up at a large screen now, a view of our baby at 16 weeks.  Things looked normal and I was so happy to see how much bigger (she) was.  But Dr. R and the nurse zoomed in on the chest, and there was no movement.  When she said, “I’m so sorry. . .” I knew what she was telling me, but in my mind I kept thinking, “Just wait . . . the baby will move . . . .you’ll see the heartbeat.”  In just a few moments, I went from being pregnant, to having a lifeless child in my womb.  How do things like this “just happen?” 

I turned to the nurse and the words just rolled off my tongue:  “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. . . I guess this baby wasn’t ours to keep.” 

I turned to my doctor assuming that I would have to have another D & C and she told me that since I was further along this time, I’d have to go through labor to deliver the baby.  That is when the tears went from leaking from my eyes, to a cry of “O God, how can I do this?”

As we left, I was crying and Lydia asked me why.  I told her our baby died and was in heaven with Jesus now.  She asked me why the baby died.  I didn’t know, but God did.  He may not tell us why, but He was still good.  She was okay with that answer, even if none of us knew the full answer.

We had just talked on Sunday morning about Philippians 4:4  “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.” What does that mean?  It means that we don’t rejoice in our circumstances because sometimes, they aren’t good.  But we are to rejoice in God, in His unchanging character and attributes, on His Sovereignty, on His love and kindness, on His mercy, on His everything.  God’s timing was again, perfect, in this situation.  So as we drove home, we began to do just what that verse says.  We rejoiced in God.

The day passed slowly as I kept praying for a miracle.  I knew that since God had healed Jairus’s daughter, it would be just as possible for Him to let our baby’s heart start beating again.  But God had another plan, and a few hours later, I was finally able to accept His “no” and move into the next phase.  That night, we called our families again.  It had only been 10 months since we had made similar phone calls, and it was no easier this time.  In fact, it was more difficult as we had already had a time to celebrate, and now we had to face what would be one of our darkest hours in the days to come.  Once again, God showed us His compassion through the tears of our family and friends. 

Interesting things began to happen the next day.  The exact people I needed to talk to called me throughout the day.  They shared of their losses at 3 and 7 and even 9 months into their pregnancies.  They prepared me for the delivery and the emotional aftermath.  They were a gift from the Lord. And then I got a call from a friend who shared that she’d just lost her baby in the 6th week of her pregnancy.   In the midst of my sorrow, God put someone in my path to comfort through the experience of my first loss.  His timing is perfect. 

Two days had now passed, and Josh and I were preparing to go to the hospital in the early morning.  There was no hurry this time.  I hadn’t slept well during the night, so I had read through a book by Osswald Chambers called  My Utmost For His Highest. 

I found the passages on suffering to be especially applicable.

One passage (Nov 1) said, “God breaks up the private life of His saints, and makes it a thoroughfare for the world on the one hand and for Himself on the other . . . Why shouldn’t we go through heartbreaks?  Through those doorways God is opening up ways of fellowship with His Son.  . . . He comes with the grip of the pierced hand of His Son, and says-“Enter into fellowship with Me; arise and shine.”  If through a broken heart God can bring His purposes to pass in the world, then thank Him for breaking your heart.”

Another one (Nov 5) said, “If you are going to be used by God, He will take you through a multitude of experiences that are not meant for you at all, they are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what transpires in other souls so that you will never be surprised at what you come across.”

Another one (Dec 15) “Always make a practice of provoking your own mind to think out what it accepts easily.  Our position is not ours until we make it ours by suffering.  The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance. . . .  Lord, I would bless and praise Thee, but how hard I find it to praise Thee when I am not physically fit, yet why should it be so?  This means that I praise Thee only when it is a pleasure to me.  I would that my soul were one continual praise to Thee!”

Again, we marvel at the people God kept putting in our path-to let us know that He was with us and understood our pain.  My nurse in the morning had lost 2 babies during 2 pregnancies and knew what we were going though.  Another nurse was an answer to prayer, as she was a Christian and was so kind to us.  Yet another nurse during the day would be used to give us hope, a year into the future.  God’s timing was perfect, again.

Our little baby girl, Hadassah Grace, was delivered around 5:30 that evening.  As I held her, the first thing I remember saying and thinking was, “AMAZING!”  This little baby, only 3 ½ months old and just over 6 inches long, was a perfectly formed little person.  Her right hand was laid across her chest and we saw her fingernails on the ends of her tiny little hands.  Her little feet were so tiny, and yet the toes and nails were so clearly seen.  Her tiny little head had closed eyes, and a sweet little nose and tight lips.  Her skinny little arms and legs reminded me of the kids.   I didn’t cry at this time, because I was just in awe of the handiwork of God in an infant so young.  My thought was, “let no one ever tell you a fetus is just a blob of tissue to abort.”  That is a lie straight from the devil!

We were given some time alone with our baby, and as we prayed, we cried; and as we cried, we prayed.  This is one of the very few times in my life that I have ever seen my husband cry.  It was very humbling. 

I’m so thankful that we took some pictures of our little girl.  They are the only ones we will ever have of her.  They are the only reminder of a life that was so short, but so powerful and meaningful to us. 

These footprints are only about 5/8” long, but left a huge print on our hearts.

We left the hospital empty handed that night, but with a greater view of God at work in us, especially in the hidden places of the womb.  We adjusted to a new normal, and moved ahead with our lives, so thankful for the children we had at home.  


Read part 3 here, and if you missed part 1 you can find it here.