The Sacrifice of Servanthood

amanda singing

As I prepare for an upcoming SGM Perinatal Loss Support Training in Nebraska, I’ve been mulling over how to convey the heart of servanthood. How can one explain the incredible beauty of sacrificing yourself for someone else, laying down your own needs to look after aching soul? How can I describe the hearts of the volunteers who enter to stand on the sacred ground where heaven meets earth to walk with a family as they say hello and goodbye to their precious baby? Women who hold a mother’s hands in the wee hours of the morning as she looks into your eyes with the anguish of “why” when there is no earthly answer to her agonizing question.

Last night, while most people were sleeping, SGM volunteers did what only could be described as a Cuddle Cot Tag Team Relay to get our Cuddle Cot back to NW Ohio from the Cleveland/Akron area to serve a family in need. We are currently sharing one for all of our Ohio branches. (For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, it is a piece of medical grade equipment that enables parents to spent more time with their baby who has passed away.) Four drivers, including a spouse and child of one of our NE Ohio Regional Coordinators drove in the middle of the night…each taking a leg of the journey to pass the equipment on to the next…to get the CC to the parents in need, who were over 3 hours away, as another SGM volunteer supported the family and captured images of their time with their baby.

I have no adequate words to describe the type of valor displayed amidst a different kind of battlefield of brokenness. One that’s hard to grasp for those who have not stood in that place. All I know, is the women and men…the families…who serve together on this mission field are the very definition of servanthood. In all their imperfect, grace oozing through the cracks, hands and feet of Jesus as His love pours through them…glory. They are kind of gladiators who not only serve alongside you, they lift you up when you’re too tired to keep going…one on each side…pulling you along…saying…”I’ve got you” with every teary cry lifted toward heaven.

(Last night one of them quite literally found me exhausted and sleeping in the church parking lot where we agreed to meet for me to drive my leg of the CC journey…and said, “Get in my car. I’m driving you.”)

If you see any of them…of us…and we are scattered and distracted, disheveled and forgetful, tender and emotional, if we never call anymore…please know there is a reason for our brokenness and embrace the beauty found there buried under what appears to be weakness. If we cancel at the last minute, miss out on events, can’t man the concessions, know we are doing something few are willing to do…something hard to imagine for most…but so very essential to the people who are saying goodbye to their children. Please give grace to those who have chosen to serve as we stumble to the golf match without sleep or get our child’s physical at the last moment…or can’t pick him up because the hospital called…because everything stops when that happens.

For those wanting to embark on this journey, I want to ask the question, are you ready? Have you counted the cost…because, there is a price to serving others. Is your heart fully called to enter in with those suffering through unimaginable grief….grief  you can’t carry or mend with your human hands or the  best intentions of your human heart? So much more than good intentions, or even the desire to build a legacy for your own children in heaven, will be needed for you to leave your bed at 2am, to leave her debut in the dance recital, his solo, her soccer tournament, his golf match…when the call comes. While it will bless you, because we are always blessed and filled in the pouring out when done with the heart to serve, it can’t be about you. It must always be about loving the one in front of you. Because love lays it all down.

Humbled and grateful that there are those willing to answer this call to serve others. And, grateful to stand with families on the sacred ground where heaven meets earth. Again and again.

As a side note, SGM is currently sharing one Cuddle Cot, generously donated by Owen’s Gift in memory of Owen Plunket. We need more Cuddle Cots so that all of our branches have this much-needed piece of equipment to give parents the gift of more time with their baby whose life was brief.  Another amazing SGM family, baby Gavreel’s family, is planning to host a garage sale this month to raise money for a second Cuddle Cot and Moses baskets (valued at about $3,500), so that more families can receive this amazing resource. If you are local, please stop by or donate toward their sale. You can also donate from anywhere using SGM’s donate button on our support page (please specify that you would like the donation to go toward the Cuddle Cot.) We have many other needs listed there as well.  SGM needs three new laptops with DVD/CD burner  and SD card reading capability, high quality to handle many files and to edit photos. And, a whole ongoing list of items.

SGM Christmas Extravaganza Giveaway Day Two ~ Dreams of You items and SGM shirts

Welcome to Day Two of the SGM Christmas Giveaway Extravaganza 2014…

Every year, SGM donates hundreds of beautiful Dreams of You items to bereaved families worldwide. While we never charge families for our materials or services, we’ve had to ask for shipping costs the last couple years. Today, we are giving away to 5 families who enter or nominate a family a beautiful Dreams of You package or Dreams of You Miscarriage package (for losses prior to 18 weeks)….with FREE SHIPPING.

Dreams of You items Carmine2

We also have two SGM Because Every Life Matters Tshirts to give away in size M, L, or XL…one in pink and one in grey.

because every life matters tshirt

You can enter to win both prizes, if you wish!

Today is also Giving Tuesday. And, if you’re not familiar with the services we provide for grieving families through Sufficient Grace Ministries, I encourage you to visit our website to learn more about the worldwide outreach of this amazing non profit organization…changing the way we care for bereaved parents.

Please visit sufficientgraceministries.org to learn more.

You can also donate financially, through volunteering, or with much needed items to support SGM or to add your baby’s name to our SGM Christmas Tree by donating on our Support SGM Link.

Donate to have your baby’s name on our SGM Tree. Any donation $5 or more (Add an additional $2 if you would like your ornament sent to you after Christmas). Just use the general donation button on our Support Page and leave your information in the instructions or EMAIL them to us with a subject heading. Choose from the snowflake or dove ornaments in picture 2 below.

sgm ornaments

To enter for the free shipping Dreams of You items or the SGM Because Every Life Matters tshirt, please leave a comment telling us which items you are entering for…if the shirt, include color and size.

Additional entries:
Like SGM on Facebook

Like the Kelly Gerken FB Page

Share this post on Facebook or Twitter

Operation Support Sufficient Grace 2014

Some beautiful, amazing support has been displayed during Operation Support Sufficient Grace 2014. Our last big fundraiser of this season is coming up, and we would love to see the outpouring of support continue for this organization. We do not take government grants or support, so our donations come mainly from individuals and some private grant funding. SGM currently needs about $3,000 a month to make our budget. But, those needs are growing exponentially. We are looking into the possibility of purchasing a building, a monthly expense, we do not currently have. We also need to hire some staff to help run SGM on a day-to-day basis, and to be available to families for hospital calls. We will still mainly have volunteers, but we need a couple staff members to keep things running in order to have this outreach work effectively. (The recent addition of our beautiful summer intern, Emily, has been a huge blessing!)

SGM Spring Auction: $1,970
SGM Ice Cream Social: $1,600
Donation by Amie and Edward Gardener: $4,300 collected and donated. Edward ran in the Boston Marathon in memory of his son, Matthew and in honor of SGM.
We also received a $587 donation from the Whoo’s Your Doula? Fundraiser hosted by Katy Larsen
Many others have donated as well to help support SGM already in 2014.

SGM Golf Outing 2014: Still collecting donations!!! And, we could use your help!

in memory3_edited

Do you know a business, own a business, know a family that’s been supported by SGM, or are you a family that’s been supported, and you would like to give back in memory of your sweet baby?

in memory2

You can sponsor a hole $100 or share a hole sponsor $50 in memory/in honor of a loved one or your business or even your family. We will put a sign with the name of your family member or business on the golf holes at the event. You can donate a door prize, sponsor dinner, offer a large raffle prize, or donate in any amount.

My least favorite part of ministry is promoting/asking for support. I do it, not because I enjoy it. And, certainly not because I’m comfortable with it. But, because, without donations, we cannot continue to give to families, and without promoting this organization, people will not know the resources are available when they have a need. I recently met a colleague in the baby loss support community, who was shocked to find out how small SGM was compared to how much we give away to families worldwide, and how incredibly small and stretched our budget is compared to the services we provide. (We have a big God!!) Last year, more than 500 families were sent Dreams of You packages worth $25-$100 last year (not including shipping costs). More than 30 families received in person support from SGM through trained birth and bereavement doulas and remembrance photographers. We want to do more. We want to train more hospitals, and more SGM support staff…in more states…so that families can receive quality care. The vision is there. The opportunities are there.

But, we need the support to make this happen. Please pray for the many needs of SGM…and prayerfully consider donating. We would love to see families who are able to show support for an organization that has hopefully been a blessing to you donate in memory of your little one…or in honor of a loved one. We would also love to see some businesses and others in the loss community moved to give with signs at our upcoming golf outing fundraiser.

We also have team spots open if you would like to join us for a day of golf and fun…and honoring sweet babies in heaven. Plus, I would love to hug you in person! You can learn more on our event page on Facebook.

Donate online or by check to: Sufficient Grace Ministries; P.O. Box 243; Deshler, Ohio 43516

We are also in need of more volunteers for our various branches: NW Ohio, NE Ohio, SW Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, St. Louis are, Central Jersey Shore area, Central Kentucky, and more states coming soon (in New York, Oklahoma, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, Michigan, and more!)
You can learn more about becoming a doula or photographer in an already established region on the links below, or how to become a Regional Coordinator in and area that does not currently have a branch of SGM.
Information/Application to become an SGM/SBD Doula
Information/Application to become an SGM Remembrance Photographer
Information/Application to become an SGM Regional Coordinator
For more information about our upcoming events, please see our Coming Events Link on the SGM Page.

Thank you for your continued love and support!! Blessings to all!

To Better the Man

Alpha Sig flyerA couple years ago, Ian, one of my son’s best friends, used to sit in my kitchen telling me how fraternities weren’t all about partying and mayhem. He spoke of philanthropy in flowery words filled with conviction. An excellent spinner of the words, I listened to his spiel with a smile and allowed him a slight victory this time. His examples were valid and respect worthy. Still, I wondered as a skeptical and protective mother does.

The years my son and his friends spent in my kitchen, eating and telling their boy stories were the most fun season of my life thus far. It was easy. I felt like they always blessed me more than I ever did for them, even then. They went off to college, and one in the Navy. Sometimes, they come back for visits, and tell their stories again, in my kitchen. Those times are sweet gifts.

Last year, Ian’s fraternity, Alpha Sigma Phi Gamma Zeta Chapter at Bowling Green State University, invited the ladies of SGM to bring our Comfort Bear supplies so they could help us stuff bears for mothers with grieving hearts. We gathered in the middle of their frat house and worked. It was such a blessing. I’ll admit, my heart softened a lot that day toward the idea of a college fraternity. All that I love about grace and way our Jesus accepts us as we are, well making our bears in the middle of a frat house…I think that sounds about right.

Last month, when Ian called me to ask if the gentlemen from Alpha Sig could host a fundraiser/service project for us, we were thrilled with the idea. We would set up in the middle of the student union and students could donate $5 to stuff a Comfort Bear for a grieving mother. So, not only would they be raising money for SGM, but also making bears! The boys worked and planned the event, making beautiful flyers and precious ribbons, all themselves. Those who couldn’t stuff a bear due to time constraints, could donate $2 for a ribbon. Ribbons made with the hands of these fraternity boys. The SGM Comfort Bear Team of six ladies worked hard, as well, cutting and sewing 125 bear shells to be stuffed in less than a month’s time! So grateful to the dedicated and hard-working volunteers at SGM. You ladies rock!

ians ribbon

This is what 125 unstuffed Comfort Bears looks like:
unstuffed bears

We were so excited for Tuesday’s event as Lynette and I loaded the van with stuffing and bears!
stuffing and bears

We arrived to find the gentlemen of Alpha Sig well prepared.
alpha sig boys

Students stopped to inquire about the enticing cute bears, and I listened as college boys explained to each one that these bears would be offered in packets sent by Sufficient Grace Ministries, to comfort grieving moms who have lost a child in pregnancy or at birth. My heart swelled with pride and a myriad of other emotions as I listened to Ian speak words that many seasoned adults would ignore listening to, much less have the courage to speak. Because people don’t want to know that sometimes babies die. Some members of my own family do not come to SGM or speak the names of my children. But the boys from my kitchen know their names. The faces of the students changed when they heard that these bears had such a somber purpose, and one by one, many dug into their wallets to donate $5 to stuff a Comfort Bear.

The managers of Starbucks came to ask about our setup and donated $40 after the gentlemen explained about SGM.
zachwork

three

sweet

quality control

pedro

more stuffing

letters

lauren

group

girls

girls stuffing

danny

cuilin

boys

boys sewing

audrey

anthony2

anthony

 

my hannah
Above is my son’s beautiful girlfriend, Hannah, a student of BGSU and fellow SGM volunteer.

This is my Ian, the young man who used his position as philanthropy chair of Alpha Sigma Phi to make this amazing Build a Bear for Moms event possible. His incredible efforts and hard work, along with his team of brothers and the generous students and staff of BGSU earned $900 for SGM and stuffed 85 Comfort Bears to be sent around the world in Dreams of You care packages!!!! I love him like a son, and could not be more honored by him or proud of him for what he accomplished on Tuesday, and for his willing and beautiful heart to do it.

my ian

The motto of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity is to Better the Man. On Tuesday, I would say these brave young men took giant steps toward being better men than most. The courage to show compassion, to look on the pain of another and offer something…even if just acknowledgment, to look even when it hurts or makes you feel emotion, the willingness to stand in the gap with another, to lay down your own comfort for someone else, to speak while others remain silent…that is the making of a better man. Those are the kind of men worth following.

Tears fell from my grateful cheeks as I struggled to find the words to convey to these gentlemen what their efforts meant for me and every other parent who has said goodbye to their sweet baby. I still can’t find the words, or stop the tears. The beauty of their hearts and their willingness to stand with us awhile, to offer all they could…well how can a mama find words for what that means to her heart? The ladies of Sufficient Grace Ministries love the gentlemen of Alpha Sigma Phi. And, you boys are welcome in my kitchen anytime. You will always have a place in my heart. Thank you is not nearly enough.

Bereaved parents, this day, the students of BGSU stood with you.
group pic build a bear day

*You can read more thoughts on this day and a bit about another Alpha Sig member named Zeke on my Still Standing post.

More pictures of the event are displayed here.

An SGM Angel Tree and A Plethora of Other Ways You Can Help Us

God is growing Sufficient Grace Ministries in exciting ways, and we are so blessed to be part of this adventure! We are moving into our new building. Monday, Tim and I hope to make a trip to Cincinnati to pick up some furniture being donated to SGM. Most of the walls are painted. The bathrooms are clean and in use. We have held a couple work days at the new space. One Way has enjoyed several practices for upcoming events (one taking place tomorrow at St. Stephen’s in Hamler, Ohio) in our new music room. We are so thankful to the folks of Enviroscape and the Deitering family for allowing SGM to use this beautiful space. Holly and I are travelling to Chicago next week to meet with some moms and the amazing ladies of The Haven Network to discuss our plans to offer perinatal hospice services.

We continue to send Dreams of You packages to families all over the world, free of charge, thanks to the support we receive from so many of you. The cost to SGM to service a family is at $50-$75 and sometimes more, depending on shipping costs and materials offered.  As we reach out to more families, and offer more services, our needs are growing by the day. With 2012 coming to a close, we would like to share several ways you can help us.

First…the SGM Headquarters needs a Christmas Tree. We consider so many of you part of our family, and it has been a privilege to pray for your families, and learn the names of your sweet babies through the years. So, we thought maybe we could have our very own Angel Tree, and support the families we serve at the same time. We would love for you to help us fill the tree with ornaments!! If you make a donation of $5 or more now through December 31, 2012, we will add an angel ornament to our tree. You can give in memory of your baby, someone else’s baby, in memory of a loved one of any age, in honor of someone, or in your family’s name. We have white or light teal ornaments to choose.  You can use the donation button on the Support SGM Page to donate securely online, or mail donations to:

Sufficient Grace Ministries

P.O. Box 243

Deshler, Ohio 43516

*Please specify in the notes section if you would like white or teal, and the name of the person you are donating for. We will post pictures on a special post, honoring your families with ornament/Christmas tree pictures.  Also, if you would like the ornament shipped to you after the holiday season, please include an additional $3 for shipping. 

——————————————-

Another way to help: Please prayerfully consider sending a donation to Sponsor a family or item from the Dreams of You Shop.

 

——————————————–

In addition to our exclusive Dreams of You Memory Book, Comfort Bears, Gowns, and Bracelets, we also offer resource books to many families. We have created a Sufficient Grace Ministries Wish List on Amazon including several of the books we give to families, so that you can purchase the books to donate. They will then be shipped directly to SGM so that we can send them to the families we serve!!

——————————————–

If you are local and want to help in any way with Comfort Bears, here is a list of needs and supplies you can donate by dropping them off at the SGM Headquarters; 299 Chestnut St.; Deshler, Ohio.

Sufficient Grace Ministries, located in little Deshler, Ohio, sends about 350 comfort packages to grieving families and reaches out to thousands more all over the world each year. Due to the increasing needs of the grieving families we serve, we are in need of some help. One of the items we offer to mothers is a handmade Comfort Bear meant to help ease the ache of her empty arms. Currently a team of ladies at Harvest Fellowship meets monthly to work on the bears, but we need more willing hands to join their efforts, as we continue to receive daily requests from grieving moms around the world.

Here are some ways you can help:
If you sew, and would be willing to form a group of volunteers from your church or community, we will be happy to meet with you, supply with a pattern and materials, and train a few ladies to make our Comfort Bears. Comfort Bear workdays take place the first Saturday of each month at the SGM office from 9am-11am. We do ask that you follow the guidelines that we show you, and use the materials specified. You will also need stuffers…people who may not sew, but wish to help. It takes time to stuff the bears! We also need cutters and gluers. So there’s plenty to do!!
You can donate some items that we need. Again, please follow the specific guidelines when purchasing materials:
Polyfil 100% Premium Polyester Fiberfill stuffing (WalMart and JoAnn Fabrics carry the kind we use. We appreciate packages that are 50 oz or more (5 and 10lbs packages also acceptable)
We also use Cream or Off White Colored Blizzard Fleece material from JoAnn Fabrics. If you would like us to provide a sample bear to check color, we can do that. Please ONLY purchase from JoAnn Fabrics as colors can vary from other places.
Sheets of Black Felt (WalMart, JoAnn Fabrics, Hobby Lobby)
Sheets of Tan Felt
Also helpful would be gift cards to WalMart or JoAnn Fabrics for us to purchase supplies.
————————————————————–
An easy and free way to help SGM this Christmas season, as you’re shopping online, and throughout the year, is to use GoodShop and list Sufficient Grace Ministries for Women, Inc. as your charity. Many businesses, including Amazon, will donate a percentage of your purchase to the charity of your choice…with no cost to you. Just go to Good Shop and go to the site you are going to purchase from on their site.
————————————————————–
Thank you to everyone for your continued support. Please keep praying for this ministry and the families we serve. Blessings to all! And, please know, we are so beyond words grateful for your generosity, and for the grace of our loving God.

SGM is Teaming up with Avon! Find out How you can Get a Precious Ornament and Support SGM!

As many of us know…

Most families have the joy of bringing home their newborn baby and have the pleasure of watching them grow. This is not the case for all families. When joy turns to devastation, and parents face the agony of empty arms in place of the joy they hoped for, we are here

Christmas is an especially difficult time for those missing a loved one, and most certainly for grieving parents. This year, as always, Sufficient Grace is looking for ways to reach out to hurting hearts, to offer hope and encouragement.

My dear friend Lori Vance is a wonderful mother, and very successful businesswoman working for Avon.  She has walked through a great deal on her journey to become a mother, struggling with the effects of diabetes and enduring fertility issues, and the loss of one of the babies she conceived on her journey to become the mother she is today, to her beautiful, curly-haired daughter.

She has a heart for women who have longed to be called mother, and women who have endured loss. She also has a passion for Avon, the company she has worked for, building a successful career as she heads a very large district of representatives. I have had the privilege of sharing about SGM to some of her representatives from Avon, and they are inspired to help support the worldwide outreach of Sufficient Grace Ministries, kicking off a fundraiser that is going to offer my favorite kinds of blessings. The kind that are multiplied.

Have you noticed how God loves to multiply the blessings, when we give just a little?

This is one of those times.

Avon is currently offering these beautiful “Baby’s 1st Ornaments” ($7.99) in pink or blue, and for each one you purchase from the link to one of the Avon Representatives posted on this site, she will donate $1 to Sufficient Grace Ministries!

Everyone loves to buy a baby ornament for a new little one, or an expectant mother. They are also wonderful for mothers who have a baby in heaven and want to honor the memory of their child on the Christmas tree. There is a special place on the back where you can personalize your ornament. These make great gifts if you want to purchase one to keep for yourself or give as a gift, and we will ship it to you if you aren’t local. But that’s not all!! If you, or someone you know wants to purchase an ornament and donate it back to SGM, not only will the ministry receive the dollar you give, but also we will receive an ornament to give away to a grieving family!! Just tell Tracy, you want to buy the ornament and donate it to SGM. So…you can buy it to keep or give to someone as a gift for yourself. And/or, you can buy one to donate to SGM for another grieving heart. Either way, $1 is also donated to SGM for the work we do to support grieving families!! 

Cool, huh? Multiply the blessings! I love it, and I’m super excited. Will you please help us spread the word by sharing this post on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, or anywhere. Ornaments are only available for a limited time, so place your order soon!!

Ok…here’s how you can order:

Go to Tracy’s Avon site: youravon.com/tracyblack

Click on: “Shop my eBrochure” (tab on the left side of the page)

Click on the picture of Campaign 21-22 Brochure with the Penguin on the front

Go to page 6 and you’ll see the ornament, with instructions to click on the ornament to view and place an order online.

Please specify when ordering if you would like the ornament shipped to you or if you are donating it to SGM. If donating, you will receive a certificate so you know your ornament went to SGM. 

If you have any questions about ornament purchases, you can email Tracy Black at: heavenlymemory at yahoo dot com

Any other questions, contact Kelly Gerken: sufficientgraceministries at gmail dot com

For more information about Sufficient Grace Ministries, go to www.sufficientgraceministries.org

 

 

 

October 15th Remembrance Day Happenings & A PAIL Rosette/Ribbon Giveaway

CONTEST IS CLOSED! CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS: Betty Jackson, Hazel Flint, Becky Clancy, Stephanie D, and Jackie!!! Please email me your address ASAP so we can ship your ribbons within the next day or 2!! Thank you!!

You can still donate $5 to SGM to receive one of our beautiful PAIL ribbons by using the donate button on the right sidebar. You can also still comment on this post to enter your information to be included on the October 15th Remembrance Page. However comments will no longer count toward the ribbon contest.

———————————————-

For the last couple years on October 15th, we honored and prayed for many families who lost a baby or child. And, I would like to do it again this year. I hope you will join us. Here is an excerpt from last year’s post:

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I have met so many beautiful families through Walking With You, this blog, and through Sufficient Grace Ministries. Your stories have touched my heart, and I want to remember each one of your precious babies. Every life is precious in the eyes of the Lord. Every life has value and purpose. While I have prayed for everyone who has crossed my path, it would be nice to have a list to pray for all in one place…with names and birth dates (and heavenly home-going dates). I thought it would be special for us to compile a list of our precious babies and post it here on October 15th. So, if you are a mother who has lost a baby/child and would like to include your family on our list, please leave your information in the comments below or email it to me at sufficientgraceministries@gmail.com. If your information is on last year’s list, please note I will be including those previously listed and just adding any new names and re-posting the list. 

Even if we’ve never met (in real life or blog land!), you are welcome to participate. We want to remember all of the precious babies and their families. On that special day, I will post the list here and pray throughout the day for each of you…as we remember together. If you would like to help us spread the word on your blog so that we could include more families, please feel free! If you would like to include your child on the October 15th Remembrance Page, please leave the following in the comments below (on this post):

Child’s Name
Parents Name
Birth Date
Entered Heaven:
Any message you may wish to share…or bible verse that brings you comfort

Also…if you are a grieving parent, and new to our site, please visit the Dreams of You Shop. If you would like a Dreams of You Memory Book or Comfort Bear, please email the shipping address listed on that page. We do not charge parents for our products or services. It is our desire and prayer to offer comfort and hope to every family who crosses our path.




*We would also like to bless 5 moms who comment on this post with a beautiful PAIL Remembrance Rosette/Ribbon, inspired by Franchesca from Small Bird Studios and made by our own Holly Haas. You must enter by Friday, October 5, 2012 at 5pm. You may comment after that with information for the Remembrance Page. But, comments after 5pm on Oct. 5th will not count toward the giveaway. (Holly is also hosting a PAIL Ribbon giveaway on the Caring for Carleigh blog until Friday!!

You can also purchase one of these gorgeous ribbons by clicking on the donate button located below the ribbon picture on the Dreams of You Shop page and on the right sidebar of this blog. Your $5 donation goes to support the outreaches of Sufficient Grace Ministries as we continue to provide free services to families who have lost a baby or child. So, if you don’t win, you can still get a ribbon to remember our babies in heaven…and help a great cause at the same time! Order by October 8th so that you can receive your ribbon by October 15th!
—————————–
We are also hosting a very special Grace for the Journey conference for grieving mothers and anyone wanting to know how to minister to the needs of grieving families, which includes a sky lantern release in memory of our sweet babies in heaven on October 13th. For more information, please visit the Coming Events Page. We would love to see you there!!

An Angel Pin Giveaway and an Opportunity to Support SGM

CONTEST CLOSED…WINNER CHOSEN…CONGRATS TO KRISTINA BODEY!

 

Debby Waggoner from Angels from my Heart recently contacted Holly and Kelly (me) from Sufficient Grace Ministries to offer an opportunity to partner with her in order to raise funds for SGM. She is offering the Joyous pin and the Grace ornament (a fitting name!) and giving a portion of the proceeds to Sufficient Grace Ministries. You can visit this link for more information and to order from Debby to support SGM:

Angels from My Heart

This is a fun way to support SGM and to get something beautiful at the same time! For a limited time, we will also be giving the Joyous pin for those who donate $20 or more  directly to SGM. You can donate by visiting our Support SGM Page.

And, because we love you, we would like to give away a Joyous pin on this post. Just leave a comment about something that brings you joy to enter. We’ll pick a winner by next week.

For the next couple days, the ladies of SGM will be at the Women of Faith Conference. Please keep us in prayer as we travel.

 

Joyous pin

 

Grace ornament

 

 

 

 

 

 

SGM Golf Outing 2012 ~ Thank You!

The fifth annual SGM Golf Outing took place at Country Acres Golf Club in Kalida, Ohio on July 7, 2012. Thirteen teams golfed in the tournament, enduring temperatures over 100 degrees, and several others joined us for dinner after the 18 holes of golf. We had a wonderful time, despite the heat, and our golfers and supporters helped to raise close to $3,000 to support the outreach of Sufficient Grace Ministries. Hundreds of grieving families each year receive Dreams of You materials and support free of charge, because of those who are faithful to support and pray for this ministry. Thank you so much for your support, and for those who joined us once again this year for a day full of golf, fun, fellowship, good food, and wonderful prizes! A full listing of our golf outing sponsors appears below the pictures.

 

First Place Team ~ Jim Shoemaker, Dave Franz, Kyle McGraw, and Tim Gerken

Second Place ~ The Vollmer Team

Third Place ~ Amspoker Team

 

Thirteenth place went to Team Sufficient Grace this year, but that didn’t stop us from having a fabulous time! Special thanks to Gwenn Maas for filling in at the last minute as our sweet Holly-girl was in the hospital, and unable to make it! And, thanks to her son, Jarrett for being our caddie and James and Grandma for toughing out the heat as well!

 

 

SGM Golf Outing 2012

We are so thankful to everyone who has given their time, talent, abilities, financial resources, and most of all prayers to help supportSufficientGraceMinistriesand to help make this outing a success. Thank you for helping us offer comfort and hope to grieving parents all over the country and beyond. ~ Tim, Kelly, Becki, & Holly ~ SGM

Special Thanks to:

Our Harvest Fellowship Church family

All of today’s golf teams

Greg Klausing and the wonderful staff at Country Acres Golf Course

Rachel Wenzinger for the delicious cake

Melissa Hill for taking pictures at the event

Beverage Sponsor ~ Deitering Landscaping, Inc.

MaumeeValleyBottlers (Water)

Dinner Sponsor ~     Ned & Tracy Sponsler

Hole Sponsors

In Loving Memory of Kathy Rutter

In Loving Memory of Faith, Grace,and Thomas Gerken

Ned and Tracy Sponsler ~ InLoving Memory of Kelly Michelle Sponsler

Haas Family ~ In Loving Memory of Carleigh and Jordan Haas

In Memory of Michael Clifford “Peanut” Vollmer

Rodenberger Funeral Home

Floral Art ~ YourHome Decorating Store ~ Downtown Napoleon

Rachel’s Cakes

Avina Specialties Inc. ~Embroidery and Silk Screening ~ Napoleon

Pro-Tec Coating Company ~Leipsic,Ohio

The Parry Family

DavisFarm Services

Dave and Brooke Amspoker

Brian and Nicki Strunk

Glenn and Toni Christiansen

TNT Body Shop ~Deshler,Ohio

D.S. Nickels Inc. ~ ElectricalContractors ~ Dave Nickels

HenryCountyHospital

Verhoff Machine & Welding Inc.

Farmers and Merchants State Bank

Gerken Construction

Elite Therapy LLC

Pisanellos

Glenn McKee

ML Tech Services

Darlene Steiner ~ State Farm Insurance

Door Prizes and Donations

Subway ~Deshler

Ron’s Super Valu

NAPAAuto ~ Deshler

10K Korner Mart

My Image Salon

WalMart~Findlay

Meijer~Findlay

SufficientGraceMinistries

Country Acres

Deborah Pucci

Corn City State Bank

The Wright Insurance

Country Gourmet

Chief’s

Just Like Dad’s BBQ

Chris Koppenhofer

Farmers & Merchants

 

 

Oh…That’s so Nice of You

 

I stand in line at the craft store buying cream-colored fleece, and carts full of stuffing.

“What are you making?” is always the cheerful question, this time from the lady with the scissors, unfolding the yards of fabric.

I clear my throat, knowing what’s coming, feeling almost apologetic.

“This fabric will be used to make bears for mothers who have lost a baby.”

She drops her eyes immediately, no longer willing to meet mine.

She murmurs…

“Oh…that’s so nice of you.”

I nod, uncomfortable, knowing there’s little that’s nice about it. It’s been a gritty walk of faith, clinging to the hem of His garment, only-but-for-the-grace-of-God thing. I find myself wondering how it is again that I’ve come to desire such a lonely calling. Babies dying must surely be in the top ten things that no one wants to talk about or even wants to think is possible.

No one, that is, except those walking this bumpy road.

Me. The girl who used to crave attention on the stage, or from every person in the room at a party. The girl who fell in love with the boy because he made her laugh, and who is happiest when she is making others do the same.

Now, I take the stage to tell the story, of the God who will find you, even in the lowest of pits, making beauty from the mess, and covering the pain with grace for every step. The God who comforts. The One who gives hope and restoration. To tell the story, I have to remind the audience that babies die. Some avert their eyes. Some shift uncomfortably in their seats. Some tear-filled eyes meet mine, reflecting understanding or compassion.

Then I remember my Jesus, the One who looks deep in the faces of all that is marred and ugly with sin and brokenness, loss and grief. The One who sees the joy on the other side, even as He weeps and walks in the fiery furnace, taking the very heat of the flames meant for us. He asks us not to look away, but to have the heart of compassion, to look even when it hurts, and to love, even when the cost is great.

I was talking to my dear friend a couple weeks ago, about the funding needs of SGM as we send more and more Dreams of You packages to grieving families all over the United States. Almost daily mothers with stories of loss and heartache fill my inbox. Since we do not charge families for our products or services, we are spending hundreds of dollars every couple weeks on materials and shipping costs alone. This is just one corner of our world’s brokenness. But, it’s the corner He’s asked me not to look away from. I was telling him that I know I have to do more to share about this ministry, to travel some, and to raise more funds. Even though fundraising is my least favorite aspect of ministry. He said, “You have the vision for this ministry, that God has given. You need to share that vision with others, so they see the need.”

It is difficult, when the eyes are cast down, looking away. I know how hard it is to look. I may look away, myself, sometimes, if the truth didn’t keep making itself known each day in my inbox, through requests for support or materials to honor these precious babies with brief lives.

I am so grateful for those who continue to support us, helping to make it possible to give something to these aching hearts…something that says, “You are not alone. And, we are here, walking with you. Your baby’s life is precious and worth remembering.”

I know their heart wrenching emails are not in your inbox, so it’s easy to look away. But, if you could imagine, for a moment the loneliness, grief, and pain a mother feels after she has lost her precious baby, and the comfort it gives (however small in the face of such pain) to receive a gesture…a package…filled with love…covered in prayer. A package filled with a book where mothers can write the dreams they held for their sweet baby, the memories of a dearly treasured life, and a Comfort Bear to hold, helping to ease the ache of her empty arms.

It can’t take her pain. But, it can let her know that there’s a God who loves her, and a mother who has walked this path before her and is willing to walk it with her now…so that she may know…she is not alone.

If you do not currently support SGM, please consider doing so in whatever capacity you are able. If you wish to give a one time donation, to sponsor a family, a hospital, or if you would like to pledge monthly support, you can find more information by clicking here. Sufficient Grace Ministries for Women, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible.

And, to those who currently support us or have in the past…thank you. There aren’t words to tell you what your support and prayers mean to us and more than that to the families devastated by loss.