October is a special, and full, month! It is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Pastor Appreciation Month, all of which are very near and dear to my heart. (You can click on any of those links for more information.)
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month~This is one thing I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that I would need to celebrate. But here I am, a mom to four children in heaven, three miscarried early in pregnancy, and one stillborn at 23 weeks. I love all of my children, and it is really hard knowing that people in my life meet will never know my children. I was so privileged to have the short amount of time with each of them growing inside of me, and I will never forget one moment. I'm so looking forward to getting to heaven and getting to be with Jesus and my children for eternity!
I'm doing some special things, along with my new friends in this journey of losing our babies, to honor Jonathan and my other three little ones. I've tied ribbons around my trees in my front yard to let everyone know that I'm proud of my babies and remembering them. Elisabeth, my friend who lost her little girl Estella five weeks ago, made Jonathan's ribbon for me with his initials and birthdate on it. Thank you Elisabeth! Another friend, Jodi Sue, and her children, gave me the sweetest gift on my last day of subbing. They picked out a beautiful locket and spent the time to put the picture I posted on my blog awhile back, of Jonathan's little hand holding my finger, inside the locket. I've added his name and birthdate to the other side. What a treasure this locket will always be! Thank you so much Andersons for your thoughtful gift! I love you guys!
For those of you who have lost babies, whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or after they were born, I grieve with you. I never would wish this pain on anyone, but in a weird way, I am thankful for it so I can better understand the hurt that others are going through. I know that God will use my losses for His good. I don't know exactly what that is going to look like in my future, but I know God's plan is amazing beyond anything I could ever imagine. If anyone in your family has lost a baby, or you know someone who has, you can join with us on October 15th, the actual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, in making a wave of light around the world. From 7-8 pm, all across the nation, people who have lost a baby are going to burn a candle for that whole hour to remember them. The goal is that if people do this all over the world, there will be a continuous "wave of light" around the world!
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
I'm so happy to be able to celebrate this month for my mom, a breast cancer survivor! My mom, Joyce, had breast cancer when I was in 6th grade. I will never forget that time--I remember the day my mom had surgery, and the doctor telling us her lump was cancer. I thought my world was over. I had a friend in third grade whose mom had died from breast cancer, and in my 11 year old mind, breast cancer = death. It was a scary time for our family, but thankfully, it was a time that turned out for the best. My mom's cancer was caught early, and she only had to have radiation. She was able to be home for that entire school year, and I loved having her around. She has been cancer free for 16 years now, and we are thankful every moment. My mom is my best friend, and I cannot imagine my life without her. She is my confidant, my personal shopper, and my prayer warrior. Someday, hopefully soon, we are planning on doing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure together. Maybe when she moves to Dallas! I love you so much, Mom, and I honor you this month!!
Pastor Appreciation Month
I cannot begin to say how much I love my church, Hope Fellowship, in Frisco, Texas. Justin and I have been going there for three years, and have grown so much stronger in our faith. We appreciate all of the pastors and people that work so hard to make Hope such an amazing place of worship. You have been there for us during this time in our life that has been so hard, and I just don't know the words to convey how much I appreciate you!
John--You are an amazing pastor, teacher, and friend. You have a way with words that makes it so easy to understand the truths God gives us in the Bible. Your sense of humor never fails to make us laugh! We can tell how much you truly love each and every person in our church. Thank you so much for coming to visit us in the hospital and doing Jonathan's funeral for us. Your words were from God, and could not have been more perfect and exactly what we, and our families, needed to hear. Justin and I are praying for you each day!
Larry--You have an amazing ability to let God use you. Justin and I have talked so many times about how God brought you into our lives, multiple times, at the exact time we needed Him to be there. God's love, compassion, and comfort flow from you to each person's life you touch. Your smile is an encouragement! We thank God for you and what you have meant to us throughout these last 3 months. We are so glad that you are at Hope and we are praying for you!
Aubrey-- You are an amazing man of God, and He truly uses you in worship. Over the last 3 years of knowing you, we have seen your heart--for God, for others, and for kids. Thank you so much for letting Him use you to lead us all into a deeper worship. Justin and I love to be in worship when you are leading--your face shines with the deep love you have for God, and through that, we are led into worship! We are so honored to be your friend, and we are praying for you!
And to the many other amazing people at Hope--thank you for all you do in making our church tick. We know that it takes all of you amazing people, serving God with your whole heart, to bring each service and ministry event to us. Thank you for everything you do, and know that you are appreciated--not just this month, but each and every day!
I'm sorry that this blog ended up so long, but it was important to me to get it all in! I'm off tomorrow to Washington, DC, for my brother Aaron's wedding. I'm so excited to be able to go! I won't be able to blog until next week, but will hopefully have some great pictures to post! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!