Love Letters from a Savior

After hearing our news of losing the twins, one of my close friends emailed to share what she had recently learned in her bible study. A girl had shared that when she cried out to God for hope, guidance or in pain- she asked him to send her love letters. We both loved this analogy! In my friend's words, "His love letters to us are all around us every day, things that we can see and touch- that God has given us as gifts."

Immediately, I saw Scott and Carter as love letters to me. They bring me joy and love beyond what I can even articulate. Despite the pain of losing five babies, Scott and I can look at Carter and know that we will still feel incredibly blessed even if he is the only child we ever have on earth.

As I surveyed my life over the last couple of weeks, I have seen God writing more love letters to me in various fashions and through numerous channels.

Some of these love letters have come through books. Jesus Calling, a devotional by Sarah Young, consists of daily "letters" written to the reader from the viewpoint of Jesus. Some of these letters have resonated so deeply with my pain and struggles that I felt like Jesus was truly talking directly to me, validating my hurts and reminding me of His love and faithfulness.

God has used people to send his love letters. Notes, emails, meals, flowers, prayers, and phone conversations from family and friends have brought incredible comfort and sweetness! Scott and I have felt so loved, and the outpouring of support and prayers has been a beautiful image of God's family and His abounding love.

While I watched for God to perform something big during my pregnancy, He did something just as great in my loss. A woman who had prayed with me a few weeks ago sent an email with what she felt were God's words to me. It is too personal to share here, but it was written as a letter to me, reminding me of His love and presence and of His great plan for my life. Reading it three times in a row, I just bawled. I NEEDED to hear that He loved me so deeply and was with me. Yet, within minutes, I began doubting that the words were really from Him. So what did our Great God do?? He gave the SAME message to another woman who disciples me! Abbie called a couple of hours later, delivering the same message and terminology of how God was specifically going to use this trial in my life, how He loved me, not to push Him away, etc. Quite honestly, I was blown away!

I have to admit my tendency to become very skeptical when someone says God has spoken to them. But I can vividly remember numerous times when the Holy Spirit imprinted on my mind or heart a passage of Scripture, an image, a specific thought, even a gentle rebuking! No, I didn't audibly hear His voice. But the messages were unmistakably from Him. I was reminded this week of one such instance...it occurred after our 2nd miscarriage. I was full of tears and without words. Sitting on my bed, I placed my Bible in my lap and just cried out to God, "Lord, I don't even know what to say or ask." The following passage came to mind, and I flipped open to read this:
Psalm 63:6-8
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.

Mind you, I had never read this psalm before! With sudden clarity, I knew that God was trying to say, "Kelley, I am so pleased that you are simply remembering Me as you sit on your bed and grieve. Let me remind you of my strength and faithfulness to uphold you if you continue to seek Me as your Helper and Comforter."  I love how He always meets you wherever you're at.

And finally, a sweet acquaintance from college found my blog, and having also just experienced a miscarriage recently, directed me to a website called Sarah's Laughter. This amazing ministry provides support, resources, devotionals, encouragement, and prayer groups for women facing infertility or child loss. It's hard to see shared heartaches as evidence of God's love. But I believe He demonstrates His love to us by connecting people who can relate to each other's experience, allowing us to see that we're not alone in our situation. I have a couple of friends whom I have connected with simply through our shared experiences of miscarriages, and it has been so validating and uplifting to walk through our grief together.

Maybe you will find some of these resources as a love letter from God to you. We all experience painful times...breakups, deaths, infertility, job loss, divorce, affairs, illness, and various trials. I am not sure I could endure the hard times if I didn't know the love and peace that comes from my Savior, Jesus Christ. He truly SAVES me day by day from despair, isolation, bitterness, anxiety, and all the consequences of living in that darkness. I hope that this analogy of love letters from our Savior will help all of us recognize the message God sends us through His gifts and blessings. We are indeed loved by the Creator of the universe and the Author of life. And at the end of a difficult, tear-filled, heart-wrenching day....that makes all the difference in the world to me.

With love and gratitude,

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A Day at the Park

It was Carter's first time down a slide, and he LOVED it. Talk about an adrenaline rush. The kid did this over and over again for at least 45 minutes. :)
Down the slide with sippy cup in tow. (You never know when you might get thirsty.)

Is it just me, or does he not look like a baby anymore?? Where did this LITTLE BOY come from?

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This morning I put on the Praise Baby dvd for Carter so I could clean up dishes and make my coffee.  The words of a familiar praise song floated into the kitchen: "He gives and takes away. He gives and takes away. My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your Name." 

Those few lyrics gripped my heart.  Whenever I have sung that song before, it never seemed difficult to bless God's name.  It seemed hard to fathom that a decision would ever need to be involved.  But this morning, I realized I had to make a choice.  You see, I am angry and disappointed, and though God's ways are above our ways, though I know His plan is best and His lovingkindness and faithfulness are everlasting, I am finding it hard to praise Him.  My head knows truth, but my heart feels jaded.  

Yesterday, our doctor confirmed that we have miscarried twins.  After weeks of constant monitoring by a specialist, giving myself three shots a day, and taking precautionary measures to achieve a successful pregnancy, we've experienced loss again.  I have wanted twins since I was a kid, so this loss was even more devastating than I could imagine. After all, what are the chances that I will conceive twins again?  It's also been quite an emotional roller coaster. Last week, we were told that we might lose both babies. One sac was even empty, signaling a potential case of the vanishing twin syndrome.  By Friday, after family and friends lifted us up in prayer, the smaller sac miraculously revealed growth inside. Against all odds and expectations, the Lord seemed to be answering our prayers!  Our doctor was very encouraged and felt that at least the larger baby was doing well.

Yesterday's results were quite a shock to say the least.  I had believed God was demonstrating the power of prayer, and all glory would have been given to Him since our babies were defying medical odds. I was suddenly faced with a question of monumental importance: Is God really good?

Carolyn Custis James wrote an amazing book entitled "When Life and Beliefs Collide."  She wrote of the importance of women having a solid theology, a true understanding of God and His nature.  Because when life throws us sadness, disappointments, and in worst cases, tragedies, it becomes so easy to throw our hands up and doubt everything we've ever claimed about God and who He is.  Yet when we read God's Word, which we know to be steadfast and true, we are reminded of His promises.  

As I've read Scripture that speaks of His lovingkindness, faithfulness, compassion, mercy, and power, my anger has slowly begun to dissolve. The ice around my heart has begun to melt.  Reading Psalm 111, a psalm which I read every night since last Friday in praise of God and His deeds, I am reminded of the truths I so readily believed when circumstances matched up with my desires.  The real test comes when outcomes do not end up as we expect or desire, when situations don't make sense in our human understanding.  In those moments, we really do have a choice. A choice to believe God's Word and to allow Him to lead me forward. Or a choice to turn my back and remain angry. I know God is big enough to handle my anger, but staying in a place of frustration will only make my path of grief and healing nearly impassible.

I continually stare at our numerous ultrasound pictures, trying to grasp the reality that these sweet babies (whom we nicknamed Peanut and Lil' Bit) are no longer with us.  They have joined their siblings in heaven.  Five children in heaven. Wow. What a joyous reunion we'll one day have. But how bittersweet everything seems now.

As I await that glorious day, I choose to follow my Lord and Savior.  It's not necessarily an easy choice.  It's not what I "feel" like doing.  But the more I allow God to be my refuge and my comforter, the more I find peace and rest amidst this unbearable sadness.  Perhaps my faith untested is not real faith at all.   

If you feel led at all to pray for us, please pray that I will, moment by moment, choose to bless God's name. This struggle within me is real and painful. As I read God' Word, I am praying that it will work on my inner being to transform and renew my mind.  Thank you for allowing me to share my heart. 

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." Nahum 1:7

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At six a.m., I jumped out of bed and ran to the windows. The forecast had predicted snow, but Birmingham hasn't received a good snowfall in years. So many people were skeptical about the outcome. I, on the other hand, was very hopeful. :)

I squealed with delight at the snow covered scene before my eyes!! Growing up in NJ, I desperately miss the snowy winters that I grew up experiencing. All I ask for is one good snowfall a year. :) Unfortunately, it seemed Birmingham had been on a snow strike for as along as I've lived here!

But today broke the snowless streak! YAY! It snowed for most of the morning, and we ended up getting 3". My only disappointment was that it had nearly all melted away by late afternoon. Here are some pictures of Carter's first snow.Carter LOVED going outside to watch the snowflakes fall. He wasn't much into playing in it. Though he did pick up a few handfuls of snow. Every time we brought him inside, he fussed to go back out. After his nap, he even found his coat and brought it to me to put on him. He walked around in it for an hour. :)
Stylin' with his puffy coat, pajama pants, and paci.

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