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Archive for October 1st, 2015

Special price of $9.97 for paperbacks for the month of October

Hope During Heartache:

True Stories of Emotional Healing from Infertility, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Death of a Child

 

Dear Sister:

I have a friend who cannot attend church one Sunday every year.  She just can’t.  It’s not because she’s angry. It’s not because she’s jealous. It’s not because she’s mean spirited or hates God. It’s because it hurts too much.

You see…she’s a mother whose only child lives in Heaven and not here with her. Most days she’s okay with it. She focuses on the blessings and joy he brought to her life in the few short months she was allowed to love him in her arms. Most days she thanks God for the privilege of always being able to call herself “Mom,” knowing she made a difference in the life of a precious little boy, born from her heart, not from her genes.  And most days she’s able to remember with laughter the way he loved butterflies, watching their dog play, or would snuggle close to her to drink his bottle as he drifted off to sleep.  But not on Mother’s Day.

I never had the privilege of meeting her son while he was alive just as I haven’t had the privilege of meeting my own child yet, born too soon.  However, my friend and I both have the assurance that our children are alive and well, having already met and probably become friends, waiting for us to meet or rejoin them in Heaven where we’ll never have to say goodbye again.

I wrote this letter, my sister, my friend, to let you know that you aren’t alone.  You aren’t the only one that hurts.  You aren’t the only one who knows the feeling of loss that comes with having to give up a child before you’re ready or never having had the chance to raise a little one.  You are loved.  You are understood.  And, it’s okay if you just stay home.

Signed,

A fellow Sister who understands

 

Hope During Heartache

 

You can learn more about the incredible story of my friend, Shannon, who wrote a chapter in Hope During Heartache, available on Amazon. She is one of 13 incredible men and women who chose to share their story of hope after losing a child to miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of an older child.

Available at:  Amazon – amzn.to/1sKLduh

(Paperback and eBook)

 

Special price of $9.97 for paperbacks for the month of October

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Ask. Listen. Step.

“If you are willing to ask and listen, God has a step for you to take.” Joshua Prius

 

I heard a fantastic sermon recently at our church.  Joshua Prius spoke about the journey God has been taking him and his wife on.  And while listening to his sermon, I was reminded of the similarities to the journey God has taken our family on which began in the spring of 2013. Back then, my husband and I started reading a book that would forever change the course of our family’s life. It was The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. We realized we wanted to be a family that was different, that would make a difference in the lives of others.

Joshua used the story of Peter stepping out of the boat at Jesus’ command and walking on water.  If you aren’t familiar with it, you can find the story in Matthew 14: 22-36.  I would encourage you to read it because it has so many nuggets of wisdom hidden inside 14 verses.  I’ve heard that story many times in my life but Mr. Pruis brought fresh understanding of it to me that weekend.  The first lesson was simple, but hard.  If I am willing to ask and listen, God does have a step for me to take.

Isn’t that the truth?  Sometimes the hardest part is deciding that I want to be used of God…harder even then the step required after I make the decision. Our family decided back in the spring of 2013 that we wanted God to use us and we started praying along those lines.  We had no idea what that meant at the time…just that we were willing to do whatever He wanted us to do. So we prayed.  We fasted.  We listened.  And while our antennae needing some practice tuning into His voice, He took our hearts that wanted to obey and answered our prayer.  We didn’t get the whole picture for the journey, in fact if I’m honest we still don’t have the whole picture, but He gave us what we needed to begin.

I noticed for us, maybe because of my personality and the areas where God knew I needed growth, He started out small and gentle.  He gave us a glimpse of five things to pray for consistently.  Once I was beginning to trust God for those, He allowed the next part of the journey to unfold, which was scary.  For that leg of the journey, He gave me a specific verse to cling to, Exodus 14:13-14: “Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians that you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you only need to be still.’” (NIV)

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Then He allowed a period of rest. I thought it was the end of the lesson, but no, it was the calm in the middle of the storm.  For the second half of the journey, He gave me two verses, about a month apart, to meditate on: Isaiah 41:13 (NIV): “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.’”  And then the second verse was Ephesians 3:21 (NIV): “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…

Do you notice the subtle difference between the verse in Exodus and the verse in Isaiah?  Through both of them God is instructing me not to be afraid.  I’ve had a problem with fear most of my life and God wanted to release me from that to live a life of peace and faith.  As a result, He was kind enough to continue to remind me I didn’t have to be afraid.  However, in the first verse He tells me that He will fight for me, I just need to wait, be still.  In the second verse, though, He tells me that He will take ahold of my right hand and He will help me.  He wants me to start stepping in the second verse, in the second leg of the journey He allowed our family to travel.  But He also reminded me He would help me.  I wasn’t alone, I didn’t have to be afraid – He had hold of my right hand.

Our journey still isn’t over.  We might be in another period of waiting (resting) or we might be closer to the end than I think. In the meantime, God has taught me that as long as I ask and listen to His voice, He will guide the steps that He wants me to take.  While this has been at times a difficult path, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  As long as I know I’m where God wants me, and have His promise that He will fight for me or help me do the fighting…then I know I’m right where I want to be which is being used of Him.

Come back next time for the next truth I learned about this wonderful story.

© Cheri Swalwell 2015

 

 

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