Walking With You: Intro. and Where we are Now…


Welcome to the first segment of this WWY series for mothers/families who have lost a child. This week we are introducing ourselves and sharing where we are now in our “grief journey”. For a full list of weekly topics, visit this post.

Tonight, we are hosting our very first “in person” support group for families who have lost a child…of any age. I  am thinking of that gathering as I begin typing this post. I hate the word support group, and want to call it something else. Anything else. It will be more of a gathering of girls who get it, which is also what I hope for this online gathering. There will be no lofty goals, no brilliant answers…just a safe haven to share, encourage, experience grace, and walk together. Still…as I sat down this morning to write this post…I am struck with that support groupy image.

Hello, my name is Kelly and I lost a baby…well, three actually. Group replies in unison: Hi Kelly.
Ugg.

Did I mention I hate the name support group?

Ok…enough about that. I’m going to pray and anticipate God’s faithfulness where I fall short. He will meet us there. Now…let’s back up and do this in order, shall we?

I am Kelly, daughter of the King, wife to Tim, mother to five children, two boys (Timothy – almost 19 and James- 11) who fill my heart with joy and, at times, make me crazy on this earth, and three children in heaven…twin daughters (Faith and Grace) and one son (Thomas Patrick).

You can read more about our sweet babies here.

It has been sixteen years since we said goodbye to our daughters Faith and Grace, born still at 26 weeks gestation from a condition known as twin to twin transfusion syndrome. We were 21 years old when I held them…one in each arm…singing Amazing Grace. Twenty one years old when we stood by the grave on that cold November morning. We were babies, saying goodbye to our babies, clinging to each other…and clinging to God’s grace.

It has been more than fourteen years since we held our sweet Thomas Patrick. He was born full term and lived for six hours before going home to heaven from a condition called Potter’s Syndrome. We heard the words “incompatible with life” from the doctor diagnosing our son in mid-pregnancy, and chose to continue the pregnancy despite the fatal diagnosis. Holding our son, singing to him on his way to heaven…as He went straight from my arms to the arms of Jesus…well, it remains one of most sacred and precious moments of my life. His peace filled my heart beyond what my mind could grasp and His grace carried me…sufficient grace, meeting me there…just as He promised in His Word.

It occurs to me that it looks all tied up in a neat bow as I write it here. It wasn’t. It isn’t. If you’re reading here, most likely, you already know there’s nothing neat and tidy about walking through grief. It’s messy. And, although much healing has taken place in the hearts and lives of those in our family, there will always be those tender places of missing.

We started Sufficient Grace Ministries in 2004, and since that time, we have been able to reach out to families all over the world, because our children lived. Today, I will go the beautiful SGM office where their pictures hang on the wall, and package boxes filled with prayers and items of comfort and hope to be shipped to mothers with grieving hearts, far and wide. It is a privilege and blessing to be the mother of Faith, Grace, and Thomas, and I love to tell their story over and over again…to churches, women’s groups, hospitals, at events, on this blog, and to whoever asks. (In fact, I’m writing a book, telling their story, His story…and it’s almost finished.) Only God could write the story of their lives…and of this family. Only God would use three little babies to restore our broken places and teach us about believing without seeing. Only God would comfort thousands using two little girls who never took a breath on earth, and one sweet boy who only opened his eyes to see his mama for a millisecond.

But, even still, just last week, while watching an old episode of Everybody Loves Raymond on TV Land, I felt the hot salty tears fill my eyes and spill over when they showed the day Debra told Raymond they were having twins. I felt the ache. More than sixteen years later. The ache of what we missed. The re-living of the joy of that moment when life still held so much possibility, mixed with the sorrow of what would never be…at least not this side of heaven. It stung even more as Ray rejoiced in his manhood…that he could produce two babies. Oh…the simple joy of thinking that pregnancy means a baby…or two babies…or three.

God is making beauty everyday out of the ashes of our brokenness. He has and is restoring more than I even realized needed restoration in us. He does that. He multiplies…the blessing, the healing, the restoring, the teaching…whatever He does. It’s always more than we could conjure with our limited, human minds. And, I stand in awe.

That doesn’t take away the missing we carry until heaven’s reunion. The hope lies in the truth that He will make it all right one day. And, I cling to that hope, even as the missing washes over me in unexpected moments. We have to trust in what we don’t see or feel at times. And, walking this path has grown and stretched me to see beyond what my eyes look upon and my mind can grasp. There are precious gifts…even in the brokenness.

We cling to Him…even if…

Well…even if the healing doesn’t come. Please listen to this song. It encompasses what my heart wants to convey about clinging to Him…even if.

Please link your post below, or share your thoughts in the comments. And, please remember to take a few minutes to stop by the blogs linked here and offer a word of love and encouragement for those participating. It means so much to know we aren’t walking alone. Love and grace to all…



Comments

  1. Beautiful…. the lives of three precious children, Faith~Grace~Thomas, your love mixed with encouraging hope, and your love that spills throughout your words. God is using one strong woman, to oversee this awesome ministry, and flooding your e-mail with a “flock” of broken hearts, to be lead by a woman that was placed right where you were meant to be. Building friendships, mending the broken pieces of shattered hearts and releasing a hope through your words.

    Love to you…always.

  2. Tears. Sorrow and gratitude; heartache and joy in knowing you. That’s what this post is doing for me. <3

  3. I guess I had forgotten how young you were as well when you lost your sweet babies…thank you, Kelly, for everything you do to serve this community. Your testimony of hope, healing, and clinging to Jesus through the storms of life is beautiful and powerful. You honor and remember Faith, Grace, and Thomas in incredible ways. I am honored to know you and your babies. They live on through you. Thank you for hosting this series. I look forward to it – to sharing myself and to reading the hearts of others. That is awesome you are writing a book!! I can’t wait to read it! :)

    Love and Hugs,
    Hannah Rose

    • Yes…seems like a lifetime ago. We do share walking through this difficult path as very young women, Hannah. I love the grace God has poured over your life. You are an encouragement to many as you share your journey. He is a beautiful mender of our broken places.

  4. I will just comment here this time. It has been so long since I have blogged. I have started several blog post but always wind up erasing what I have typed. I have a bad case of writer’s block. It doesn’t mean I am all better just that I started sounding like a broken record, even to myself. Time has done wonders for my broken heart but it will always be broken. Amost three years…I don’t know how that has happened. Some days are still quite hard. Like you said Kelly, random things like funny sitcoms trigger an emotional upset. It is strange, even to me, what makes me sad sometimes. Most days are not hard now though. It is almost like the intensity of the pain subsided ever so slightly and I was able to catch a glimpse of the utter beauty of my son and that is what I want to focus on. Sometimes though the pain is too much and I give in to it. I allow myself to just be sad. God has been my strength and my shield and I know He will continue to. Thank you for all you do Kelly. This community has been and is just wonderful! Made lots of friends that I want to give a big ole squeeze one day!

    • Thank you for joining in and sharing your heart, Jennifer. I cannot believe it has been three years since you said goodbye to your sweet Eli. I’m so grateful to have met you and to call you friend…however difficult this walk is, there are beautiful blessings along the way. The friendships we’ve developed are some of those precious blessings. There is much healing…and the intensity subsides after those early months…but there will always be moments of missing…even amidst the healing and grace. I’m grateful to know that this community exists…a gathering of girls who get it. To encourage one another along the way. Much love to you, dear friend.

      And, what a mighty and able “strength and shield” He is. We can rest in Him…for He is faithful.

    • I get those writer’s blocks to at times. Sometimes I do feel like a broken record but remember writing is for YOU. And even if you say it 1000x as long as it helps you to get it out that’s what matters.

  5. Thank you for this Walking With You!

  6. Andi Soergel says:

    Beautiful words, as always. This is a club I never wanted to join, nor did I ever think I would belong to. After very easily having two healthy babies, a boy and a girl, I thought that kind of loss happened to “other people”. Our third pregnancy ended very early on in miscarriage. It was difficult, for sure, and I grieved for that baby, but my son was only 9 months old, so I found much comfort in his baby-ness, if that makes sense. Needless to say, it was a wake up call, that I was not in charge and things don’t just happen to other people. At 12 weeks into our 4th pregnancy we were sent to Akron as the result of an “abnormal” 9 week ultrasound. They gave us no indication as to what they were looking for, so it was a shock when the doctor came in and promptly said “it is what we suspected. Anencephaly.” We didn’t know what in the world that was and he apologized and explained that it was a neural tube defect and it is always fatal. He gave us the option to “terminate”, of course, but never pushed the issue when we explained that we would carry our son as long as The Lord allowed. What followed was 20 weeks of the highest highs and the lowest lows. But, we were determined to enjoy every kick and squirm from our boy. It is so strange to begin to grieve a child that is still alive. I delved into Job and it completely changed my faith and my walk with The Lord, and my perspective. So, basically, my life! At 32 weeks, God took Haven William home. He was born to this world 3 days later, February 13, 2004. I wouldn’t trade those 32 weeks and all that my precious boy taught me in his brief life for anything.

    • Thank you so much for joining us on this WWY. It is strange to grieve a child that’s still alive…I know exactly what you mean…to plan and prepare, to pray and ache for a miracle while planning a funeral. So get that. I’m grateful for the beauty that Haven’s life has brought to yours, drawing you closer to God through His word. Oh…how God has used my own children to change, stretch, and grow my faith, as well. And, I agree and wouldn’t trade that precious time with my children in heaven…or the gifts left behind because they lived. Beauty upon beauty…and grace upon grace…it just keeps flowing through our lives…because they lived. So grateful.

      Thank you, Andi…really appreciated reading your heart here. Blessings and love to you…

    • Thank you for sharing about Haven <3

  7. I’m late joining but I hope I’m still welcome! I’ve tried to join a few times and never made it past the first post! Maybe this time I’ll do it fully!

    Thank you for this Walking with You

  8. Kelly,
    Thank you so much for organizing the WWY series… It is always so comforting to know that none of us are alone on this journey of grief and sorry. We all miss our children so much and I think writing about them and sharing them with others helps to heal our hearts!

  9. Thank you for this series, Kelly, and for sharing your children. You and your ministry are such blessings. God truly does make “beauty out of the ashes of our brokenness.” I have found much healing and strength in this community, full of wonderful “girls who get it.” I am grateful for you all.

    • Thank you, Elena! I’m so glad you are walking with us. God is so faithful to make beauty from the ashes of our brokenness…yes! I know what you mean about the healing found in this community…I feel the same. Together is always better than alone. Thank you for your kind words…and for walking with us.

    • This community is wonderful and full of so much support and love!

  10. I found your blog through Small Bird Studios and The Sisterhood of Loss & Support. The song is beautiful and so true. I read over your topics for the Walk With You series, and I believe it is wonderful what you are doing. I will be linking up “walking with you” and all others through this journey.

    Those words “incompatible with life” are so ugly and mean. I cannot stand to hear them because your children, my child, all of our children were not “incompatible with life.” If anything, they are more compatible. They are living their eternal lives, while we are still just living our earthly lives.

  11. Thank you Kelly for another series of WWY and for sharing the lives of Faith, Grace, and Thomas. Because of what God put on your heart those years ago, look what He has done because you were faithful even in hard times. Bless you!

  12. Even though it is now Jan. 11, may I still participate in this walk?

  13. Christine Johnson says:

    Hello, I am a wife and mom and grandma to one in heaven. I have had 5 children and two of them are in heaven.

    I married when I was 19 and we had our first daughter, Robin, at 39 weeks, she was stillborn. She was my first baby and I was so naive that I didn’t realize what was taking place until it was all over. I had a son in 1982 who is now 30; then I had another son in 1984 who died in 1987 from an allergic reaction to Codeine.

    I divorced my first husband in 1987 before our son died. It was a nightmare and I was so despondent about losing a second child. I became very angry at God when I watched other people neglect or even abuse their children. I didn’t understand what was happening and became very bitter.

    In 1993 I met my current husband. I was approxinately 6 weeks pregnant when we married. As soon as we realized I was pregnant, we repented and met with a pastor for counsel. We rededicated our lives to the Lord at our wedding ceremony. As the Lord has a sense of humor, we found out that we were expecting twins. The pregnancy was very difficult, I was very worried that they would die because it seeed so familiar to me.

    I have learned so much about God and His faithfulness to me. I understand that God is Sovereign and He makes no mistakes. I trust and rest in the promise that I will see my two children in heaven someday. I thought our grieving days were over but this past May our son and daughter in law had a son with VADER’s Syndrome and he lived for one week. We begged and pleaded with the Lord to heal Jaxson and to let him live but that wasn’t the case. Grieving over a grandson is a whole different scenario for me. I was heart broken for my son and daughter in law and pleaded many times with the Lord to let Jaxson live a healthy life. We don’ t understand why he left us but I know that I will spend eternity with Jaxson who is now healed.

    The grieving process is different for everybody. My advice is that we need to communicate to those who have lost babies or children and not be afraid to go see those hurting faces, reach out and just let them cry or vent. I have not solutions but I know that old adage of “Time heals all wounds” is a lie. God is the only one who can heal all old wounds. There were so many beautiful people who ministered to us when we lost Jaxson. Again, I was shocked at how I reacted to his death. I trust that God has a purpose and I work every day to choose joy.
    That’s my story and I look forward to getting to know some of you other moms who walk with me through this life with babies and grandbabies in heaven.

    Thank you for doing this.

    Christine

    • Christine,

      I’m so glad you joined us on this walk…and my heart just aches, reading your journey. I’m so sorry for the loss of your two precious children and your sweet grandson. You have known, not only the heart wrenching grief of a mother aching for her baby…but the ache of a grandmother for her grandchild and for her precious daughter who is grieving. I remember watching my mother wrestle, not only with her own grief, but the pain of watching me hurt and not being able to make it better. I’m so, so sorry for all the heart ache.

      You are right…time doesn’t fix it. God works to heal our broken places, in time. But, the missing stays until all is made right in heaven. I’m grateful we can cling to Him for comfort. He is our hope and our salvation. Grateful for the promise that we will hold our babies again one day.

      Thank you so much for sharing your heart here. Praying God’s peace and comfort for you and your family.

      In His Grace,
      Kelly

    • So glad you are joining us. I’m so sorry for the loss of your children and your grandson. My heart aches for what you have been thru. I pray that once my girls get older that they never have to know what it is like.

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  1. [...] Walking with you~Week 1 I have decided to join in a blog hop called Walking With You, hosted by Sufficient Grace Ministries.  It’s as much for me as it is for you.  I hope we both get something out of [...]

  2. [...] recently discovered Kelly’s blog and earlier this week she started the Walking With You series for people who have lost a child to [...]

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