Peace Like a River

Sharing our stories with one another is so important. It can bring hope, peace, comfort and help us to realize that we are not alone. Thanks in large part to social media and a shifting culture, before this year I knew of countless women who had experienced miscarriage. And the truth is, so. many. women. go through this, now myself included. Many of us have heard the 1 in 4 statistic*, but my doctor shared that in his experience he is seeing an average of 2 losses per woman during childbearing years. Whether this statistic is accurate or not, it shocked me; but coupled with the experiences of women in my own life, it helped me accept that this is not my fault. Now that I’ve been added to the ranks of so many brave and strong women, I want to share my own story in the hopes that another women might find hope, peace, comfort, and realize that she is not alone.


Today I would have been 17 weeks and 2 days pregnant with a baby, well into my second trimester, and he would have been the size of an onion.

I saw those two pink lines at the end of July and couldn’t wait to surprise my husband when he got home from work. We immediately started dreaming and planning – our toddler would be turning 2 right around my due date. The spacing was absolutely perfect and just what we had planned.

But even then, God was protecting my heart.

I decided that I didn’t want to tell anyone about the pregnancy. I struggled so much during E’s pregnancy that I didn’t want all the attention this time around. I prepared for “the worst” in terms of symptoms and was ready to power through; but the nausea never came. Different pregnancy: different symptoms? Maybe, but I felt nervous.

When it was finally time for our first doctor’s appointment around 8 weeks I told my husband, “if we hear a heartbeat, I will cry tears of joy.” You see, God was continuing to protect and prepare my heart. I’ve learned that a mother’s intuition is a God-given gift. It has served me well so far in my relatively short time as a mother. And sure enough, no heartbeat. Our doctor said he was “cautiously optimistic,” but more on the side of caution. We would wait a week and see if our baby would continue to develop before making any decisions.

No one ever told me about the wait. It was excruciatingly painful. I tried to hold on to some hope, but I feared for the worst. Ultimately I yearned for closure. This is when I connected with two friends who had gone through miscarriages: one had miscarried naturally, and the other had undergone a D&C procedure. The conversations I had with these women were hugely impactful to me. They brought me hope and support.

I personally was convinced that a D&C was the inevitable outcome. I had failed to go into labor on my own with my first child, so of course this would be the next step here. But during that week I started bleeding, then, on August 22 at 8:00 pm it happened. It was such a blessing for me that God spared me from making any more medical decisions (I had agonized over so many for E’s birth and was preparing to do the same now). I called my friend and she prayed with me over the phone as I wept. I felt such a mix of emotions, but my instincts had been right and I could begin the grieving process.

Grieving the loss of a child you’ve never met is complicated. I have no memories of my baby, not even an ultrasound image, only the hope and dreams of what could have been. We decided to name our child River and to refer to “it” as “he.” While I am able to talk about River more now, it was hard for a quite some time. I found that I needed to wait until I was ready to tell people about what had happened. As I did start opening up and sharing, some people said exactly what I needed to hear. But unfortunately, some well-meaning people also said things that really stung. The best thing I could do was to lean on God through the Bible and prayer to begin to heal.

A particular verse that brought me so much peace is:

Isaiah 66:12-13a

“For thus says the Lord:

“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;

and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees.

As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you;”

There are so many ways I can see that God blessed me and was so gentle with me and my husband throughout this process. And He has brought us comfort.

When I think of our theme this year, Find Your Fire, we talk a lot about tending the God-given flame inside of us; but I also think about fire as a strong and challenging element. There have been times in my life when I have had to “walk through fire,” like when I lost baby River. Each time I walk through a fire I am drawn closer to God and I find my own internal flicker is reignited by the surrounding flames, and is able to burn brighter.

❤ Amanda Good


*1 in 4 statistic: Miscarriage affects 1 in 4 pregnancies (commonly referred to in Social Media as “1 in 4 women,” which inaccurately distorts the ratio).

FLOURISH LIKE A PALM TREE

FLOURISH LIKE A PALM TREE

palm tree

Psalm 92:12

The righteous man will flourish like a palm tree.

God compares us to many things in the scriptures:  salt, mustard seed, light, etc.  Today we are going to look at PS 92:12 where we are compared to palm trees.  Why does God do this?  So we can better understand what HE desires for His children.

Let’s look at three qualities of a palm tree.

  1. GROWTH- A palm tree is known for their long life.  To flourish like palm trees means to stand tall and live long.  A palm tree never grows wild.  It has to be planted with intensive care.  It has an internal column of living tissue protected by it’s bark.  The bark can be bruised or cut but you cannot kill it.  With the tissue protecting underneath, the palm tree grows to the sky.   Our outward man is like the bark of the palm tree.  It can be abused and battered by many circumstances of life, but with much patience, perseverance, determination and feeding on God’s word and staying on our knees in prayer, we can grow in Christ.  II Peter 3:18
  1. USES- The palm tree has over 200 uses.  Wood, rope, textiles, mats, brooms, hats, food and rubber are just a few.  One use of the palm tree branches is found in John 12:12-13, where the people laid across Jesus’ path as HE made HIS triumphal entry into Jerusalem right before HIS crucifixion.  In comparison:  we yearn to be used by God in different ways:  to feed others, teach, reconcile, love and many other things.  The palm tree does not wither because it’s roots are deep.  We need to have deep roots in our Christian life to be strong.  We need to go deep and stay connected to HIM and trust God and grow stronger.  With these deep roots, a palm tree can bow and be tossed about in a storm, but won’t break.  CHRIST strengthens us in the storms of life that we face and can teach us to flourish, fiercely.
  1. FRUIT- In contrast with many fruit trees, the palm tree’s fruit is much sweeter when it is older. So should it be with us.  The more we mature in our Christian life, the more bountiful and sweet should be the fruit we bear as a result of a life in Christ Jesus.  Because of our life in Jesus Christ, we can flourish as we come along side of other women, who may not know Christ as Savior and Lord and we can share HIM with them.  1:10-12.  The pulp of the palm tree gives off oil when heated.  This is used in soaps and lotions.  When we find ourselves in the furnace of affliction, God wants to use us to be a healing balm to others.  They may be going through the same thing and we can be there to help them through it.  Fruits of the Spirit:  Gal.5: 22-23

Conclusion:  You may be bent over by the force of winds, but get up.   You may be bent, but you’re not broken.  Your roots are grounded in the word of the Almighty GOD, continually growing stronger as the storm rages on.  Don’t lose your peace or joy.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and have that FIERCE FLOURISHING that only HE can give.

Devotional By:

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Mentor Mom – Martha Rudd

A Year to Fiercely Flourish

Hello moms! As we are about to begin MOPS 2015-2016 “A Fierce Flourishing” Year, I have been reflecting on how this theme applies to my life as a mom and what it really means to Embrace Rest, Notice Goodness and Celebrate Lavishly so ultimately I could Flourish as a woman, a mom, and a wife.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know how to apply this to my life. I didn’t quite “get it”. It seemed like MOPS was stretching it to make it work, but what I didn’t realize, that I myself needed to actually put the 3 points of this years theme in to practice. It wasn’t until then, that I finally understood what this theme really means and how much I’m blessed by it!

As I have been reflecting on these 3 points of rest, noticing goodness and celebration, I realized how often I have filled my time with things that really don’t matter and how many times I have missed the point.  There have been many parties and celebrations that I have spent tons of time being busy by perfecting the plans, and decor that by the time the party rolls around, I’m too tired to actually enjoy it.

Being the mom of 2 boys, soon to be 3, I have realized that children really do grow quickly.  My oldest began Kindergarten this year. This major milestone in his life snuck up out of NO WHERE.  Where did the time go?  Where did my little baby boy go? He now proudly goes to school and I feel the ties that binds him to me begin to unwind as he takes steps forward to one day becoming an adult, a man, who I hope I haven’t failed or forgotten to teach him something important or valuable.  As I prepare myself for the birth of #3, I look at my soon to be middle child and cannot believe that he is my wild, independent little boy who soon will no longer be my “baby”.

They are only little once and it is for such a short time, I need to stop and embrace this time with them, to take ques from them and live life with unabashed celebration like they do (well, maybe not quite like they do because for them, it sometimes includes running through the house naked).  But by slowing down to stop and rest, to notice all the good things in life and to celebrate all the big and little daily events.

Soaking up these moments with my boys, the seasons of life that can sometimes seem mundane and monotonous, these are the important ones.  It isn’t a time to be running around with our checklists of perfection, or lists of daily activities that must be done that I barely have time to notice the beautiful rainstorm or sunset, the thoughtfulness of my oldest when he brings me a flower to put in my hair (really?!? how can you not stop for that?).

I remember a time when I was in college, I realized one day, that I had been so busy with my classes, 4 to 6 hour science labs and training for Track and Field that I hadn’t stopped to notice the clouds in the sky…the clouds!  When did we allow ourselves to get this busy in life? Do you remember a time where you just stopped the craziness and just enjoyed simple things like clouds?!?  I do, and it was a long time ago.

It is really easy for us moms to fill our time with lots of activity and then end up missing the precious moments in life, like the unplanned moments with our kids that can only happen when we have actually stopped in our busyness and hear their little voice say the funniest things or run around with joy that we have forgotten how to do ourselves because we are too busy to let loose.  Let this new MOPS year break down the walls of rigidity and planning in your life, so we can all Embrace rest, Notice the Good and Celebrate in ways we have forgotten or never experienced before, so we can FLOURISH in who we were created to be!  Take the challenge this year to stop the craziness by Embracing Rest so you can Notice the Good things in life and once you do those things, you will be able to Celebrate life Lavishly!

Andrea Madison GCBC MOPS Coordinator

Andrea Madison,  GCBC MOPS Coordinator

Memorial Day – It’s not just another three day weekend

When I began thinking about the first blog post for the relaunch of the website, I had hundreds of ideas flood my brain.  There are so many areas of the website that still need to flourish; but when I looked at the calendar I knew instantly the topic I wanted to cover, Memorial Day.  Growing up in a military family I was always sensitive to the sacrifices made by all of our military service men and women and I always remember that some had to give it all leaving behind mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.

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As a child Memorial Day was always the beginning of Summer Vacation.  The pool was usually warm enough to swim and my dad, if he was home, would typically BBQ chicken and my mom would make baked beans and potato salad.  I remember having gatherings with other service families as well, one of my favorites is when we were stationed in Hawaii because there was always Kailua pork.  I remember being fascinated that they took a whole pig and slow roasted it in the ground which made it so tender and it had an amazing flavor that just cannot be duplicated.  It is hard for me to believe that was twenty years ago and since then my dad has gotten out of the service; my brother joined and was medically released; and, my sister’s husband is finishing up his term this Summer and will be going to college while in the National Guard.  Despite knowing the sacrifices, my family just like many American families focus on food, but that isn’t what Memorial Day is all about.

I was curious to know how did Memorial Day become one of our nations 10 federal holidays and so my research began.  Since I know as the mothers our time to read is fleeting here is a brief synopsis of the history behind Memorial Day:  Some local areas had begun placing flowers on the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers in 1966 just after the Civil War ended.  This led to the GAR instituting Decoration Day on May 30, 1968 as a way to honor the fallen service members of the Civil War by placing a flower on each grave.  It is believed that they chose May 30th because throughout most of the country flowers are in bloom by this time.

Over the next century the name changed to Memorial Day; made official by the U.S. govt in 1967.  It also went on to include all soldiers who have died protecting and serving our Great Nation.  In 1968, the government passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which moved the date to the last Monday in May. The act was effective in 1971 allowing federal employees more three-day weekends.  It is because of this act that we will celebrate and remember the fallen soldiers this coming Monday, May 25th.

In the midst of my reading I found another interesting fact, in 2000, the government passed “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” which “encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.”

So as you go about your Memorial Day festivities whether it be by a pool, on a hike, or at home please remember those who have fallen for our country.  My family has decided to set an alarm for 3 p.m. to have a minute of silence followed by prayer; I hope you will join me!

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