Sunday, September 30, 2012

Missing You Today

Tears falling down my face
The first time that I saw you
Another little angel
That I could hold onto
I had so many dreams for you
I prayed, and hope, and planned
For God to send us a little man
To have, to hold, and to watch grow old

And then came the day we found 
God had answered all our prayers
A little boy on the ultrasound
Showed We had our little man
We listened to your heart 
And watched you squirm around
I laughed, I cried, and I thanked God
For my little man

I couldn't wait to hold you
And rock you to sleep at night
I dreamed of playing ball with you
And bought clothes all covered in blue
My second little angel
Being Sent down from above
Mom and daddy's hearts were already full of love

But soon the joy we felt
Was snatched right from our arms
We had no time to understand
Why our boy was so soon gone

Things happened all so fast
No one knew how to feel
Sorrow, sadness, emptiness 
Our little man had suddenly
Become God's angel instead

So until I see your face again
Know that momma misses you
The tears are falling once again
But I know that one day they'll be gone
And I'll see my little man again

It won't take me long to find you,
I'll know you instantly
And I'll run to you with open arms
And cover you in love

I'll tell you all about 
The joy you've brought to me
How many lives you touched
And how God used you to change me

And then I'll listen anxiously
As you tell me all about 
The Savior I have longed to see,
The One you already know so well

Friday, September 28, 2012

A Giving Heart

Yesterday, I posted about Robby's Rabbits. Audrey and I had gotten some stuffed rabbits and bears to send them. This morning, we were packing them up to ship when Audrey amazed me once again. I was closing up the second box when Audrey said "Mommy, we are going to need a lot more boxes.". Now I'm wondering why she would think this because all of the animals fit into the two boxes I had. So, I asked her "Why do we need more boxes?".

When Audrey had asked me why we were getting the stuffed animals, I told her that they were for other mommies and daddies who had angel babies. She was so excited about getting to do this, just as she gets excited every time someone sends a blanket or I finish one for the babies.

When I asked Audrey why she needed the boxes, she looked at me and answered me in the sweetest little three year old voice: "Because I want to give all of my toys to the angel babies. I don't need them".

I didn't even know what to say. My eyes just teared up. I have so many selfish thoughts every day, and here is my baby wanting to give all of her toys away. Now, to a three year old, toys are a prized possession. The fact that she wanted to give all of them to angel babies like her brother, blew me away.

I was so deeply convicted by the words of my daughter. Here I am, finding myself being so selfish every day, yet my baby is wanting to do the most unselfish thing a child her age could think to do.



Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

2 Corinthians 9:7

I've read and heard this verse countless times, but this morning Audrey illustrated its meaning so beautifully. She reminded me what it means to be a cheerful giver.

I am so thankful for the lessons my daughter is learning through Barrett's Blankets and all of the other amazing organizations we have been a part of the last month. She is learning how much joy there is in giving something to others and that is a beautiful thing to watch her discover.


*Love you little man* 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Few Good Things

During the past few weeks I have talked to so many people who are working to accomplish a goal similar to that of Barrett's Blankets. Many of them are also helping us to remember our sweet Barrett. I just wanted to share a few with you, and I hope you will be blessed by their missions.

Robby's Rabbits:

Robby's Rabbits places stuffed animals, mostly rabbits, into the arms of bereaved parents. They do this in memory of their angel.

Facebook:
Robby's Rabbits Facebook

Website:
Robby's Rabbits Website

Held Your Whole Life:

This organization creates hand stamped jewelry for mother's of angels who never took a breath on earth. Some of these beautiful necklaces are displayed on her Facebook page. What a wonderful things she is doing in memory of her angel.

Facebook:
Held Your Whole Life Facebook

Website:
Held Your Whole Life Website

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hard Questions

For those of you who were not around Audrey when I was pregnant with Barrett, I have to tell you she was extremely excited. She talked about the baby all of the time and was always wanting to buy things for him.

When we first told her that Barrett was an angel, she didn't really mention it for awhile. Then every once in awhile she would say something about him being in heaven. Lately, she has been asking a lot of questions as most three year old's do. A lot of her questions now revolve around her brother.

It broke my heart when she started crying for him at the cemetery on Sunday, and yesterday she broke my heart all over again. When I picked her up from school, she started crying when we got back into town. I was shocked because nothing had happened to make her cry.

Me: Audrey what's wrong?

Barrett's One Month Balloons
Audrey: Mommy, big sisters are supposed to read to their little brother. I don't want Barrett to be sad because I can't read him baby books.

I had to catch my breath as I struggled to pick up the pieces of my heart when it shattered right there in the car. How do you even answer that? I didn't realize she even thought about those things. I know that I am always thinking about the things I didn't get to do with him, but it never occurred to me that Audrey would be doing the same thing.

 I told her that next time we went to visit him, she could take a book to read to him and that I felt very sure Jesus would make sure that Barrett was listening to his big sister. I thought the conversation was over. Then as we were coming into our neighborhood, she started again.

Audrey: Mommy when is there going to be another baby in your belly?

Me: If God blesses us with another baby, then that is when another baby will be in Mommy's belly, but I don't know when that will be.

Audrey: When there is another baby in  your belly, will I get to hold it this time?

My already broken heart dropped into my stomach and broke all over again. Brent and I are both terrified of going through this again, as I am sure everyone who has been down this road is. I never even considered that my young daughter shared the same fears in her own way. I told her that if it was in God's plan then of course she could.  I fought back a river a tears the entire time. She is wise beyond her years.

Though she hasn't really expressed much grief until the past few days, I am starting to realize that she is grieving in her own three year old way. As her father and I long to hold Barrett and watch him grow, she longs to do all of the things with him that a big sister should.

I am sure there will be more hard questions to come, and I pray that when they do, God will give me the words to say that will bring comfort to my brave little girl.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Dear Barrett

Barrett's Grave
Today makes one month since my Barrett was born, and one month since he died--two things that should never share a date. His big sister wanted to have him a birthday party and I thought that would be a good idea. I wanted to visit him, and I thought letting her do that might help me to make it through without losing it.

I've been transparent thus far, and I will be today. Today was hard. The drive to the cemetery seemed to last a lifetime. When we pulled up, memories came flooding back. I saw his grave immediately. The familiar blue wreath and flowers from his service were still there; the dirt on his grave still as fresh as the hole in my heart.

This was Audrey's first time to go to the cemetery. I knew she wouldn't quite understand, so I've spent the last week trying to prepare her that we wouldn't actually see Barrett. I explained to her multiple times that Barrett wouldn't really be there--only his body and that Barrett is in heaven with Jesus. I wanted to be sure that she knew that Barrett wouldn't miraculously be there for his party.



Audrey picked out everything for today--the balloons, the card, the flowers, and a stuffed horse because horses are her favorite. I set the card down with his wreath and put his flowers in the ground. I tied the balloons where they wouldn't fly away, and Audrey gently set the horse down on the side of the dirt. She told me that she didn't want to squish him.

As much as Audrey and I had talked about today, she still didn't quite understand. Several times I choked back tears as she begged me to please dig him up so she could tell him happy birthday and I love him. My heart broke into a million pieces. I explained to her that we couldn't dig him up and even if we could it wouldn't really be him because he is in heaven.

A few minutes later she said Where is God? I told her that He is in heaven, but He is all around us too and He can hear everything we tell Him. Then, Where is heaven? I didn't really know how to explain that, but I did the best I could.

Then, I saw her over by Barrett with her daddy and I heard him trying his best to explain it to her through tears. And then, my little girl started to cry and my composure was gone. She laid her head on her daddy's shoulder and she cried for her little brother. I see people all the time who don't give children enough credit as far as what they can understand--I'm bad about it myself. My daughter knew her brother was gone and she couldn't see him and she grieved for him.

Audrey and I talking about Barrett
Watching my daughter cry like that was the hardest part of the day. My son is gone and I can't do anything about it. My daughter desperately misses her little brother, and there is nothing I can do about it. I felt so helpless as I sat there and watched my husband and daughter grieving for our Barrett. I want to fix everything and I can't.

This is when I have to put my trust in God and His plan--his perfect plan. One thing losing Barrett has taught me is that I can't control everything and I can't fix everything--I just have to give everything to Him.

Dear Barrett,

Today you would be one month old. I had these football stickers I had planned to buy for you to put on your onesies each month for pictures, but I didn't get to do that. Instead, we celebrated your birthday at your grave. We cried, but we are so thankful for your life, no matter how short. I try to imagine what your smile would look like and what it would be like to see your eyes light up. I hope and pray that you know how much you were wanted here and how much we love you. Your big sister thinks the world of you even though she never got to meet you. I got your pictures out today and I stared at each one of them--taking in every single detail of you. I don't know why I am so afraid that I will forget how beautiful you were--how could I? I know that you are way too busy worshiping Jesus to worry about what we are doing here, but I hope you have at least some idea of the ways God is using your precious little life--I hope you know how proud I am to be your momma. Each time someone messages or emails or calls to tell me how you have impacted their life, I think back to that moment when I first held you and I knew in my heart that your journey wasn't over yet. Momma has a very special place in mind for your blanket I made you and I can't wait for you to see where it goes--I know you probably already know though. Momma is very busy trying to keep up with all of the things God is doing in our lives through yours. You must have known that your momma would need to keep busy in order to heal. I can't wait to see you and hold you and rock you--I love you my little man and I am so proud  of you--

Momma

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Different Path

A SMALL portion of the yarn we have received.
Today, I am walking a different path than I had planned out for myself. That's because I am not in control; God is. Overwhelmed no longer seems to do justice to how I feel. I don't think that there is a word. I have been amazed at the response we have received to Barrett's Blankets. I pray that this will help other moms and dads out there.

In 2 days we will celebrate Barrett's one month birthday. Yes, celebrate. Balloons, cupcakes, candles and presents--everything a little boy could want. His sister is extremely excited about this.

One month ago, I dreaded anniversaries like this as we passed moments that should have been milestones in Barrett's life. I thought these days would be the hardest. I am not naive. I know that I will have my moments Sunday, but I also hope that my joy overflows as we celebrate Barrett's life. We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for.

For us, Sunday will be a time of joy, celebration, and praise. We celebrate the son we were given and the impact he has already had on so many lives. We praise our Savior, Jesus Christ, for blessing us with a beautiful baby boy. I am so PROUD to be Barrett's mommy.

There is no foot too small that cannot leave an imprint on the world--

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Hardest Day

You might think that August 23rd was the hardest day of this journey--the day my son was born sleeping. Or, maybe you think it was the day before when I got the news that he was gone. But thinking back over the past 4 weeks (Today makes 4 weeks since he was born), the hardest day was August 26. This was the day of Barrett's funeral. There was a book signing at the funeral home that morning, but I couldn't bring myself to go. I was terrified to see anyone face to face because I knew I would break all over again. I spent all day that Saturday thinking about the finality of his funeral.

His funeral meant that I wouldn't wake up from this dream. It was definite. My son himself was gone and I was laying his earthly body to rest. I would never be able to look in his beautiful eyes again. I would only have pictures and memories. No birthday celebrations with him, no first steps, no football games, no graduation, no watching his face when he got married--I would never hold his children in my arms--only could have beens. At this time, I had no idea of the "would be's" that he would bring to us.

In the days prior, I had not been able to make any decisions. I remember my mom calling me on Friday to ask me about the book signing and I couldn't even get a word out. I just had to lay the phone down. My husband looked at me and through tears I said "I can't do this". I am so thankful she understood that meant I trust you--please handle it for me. I know it was not easy for her and my mother-in-law to make these decisions either--Barrett was the first grandson for both of them. I am so thankful for all they did--everything was beautiful and I was in no state of mind to make those decisions.

The morning of the funeral, my friend came over to stay with Audrey. My husband and I both agreed that we didn't want to take her. At this point, I still had not told Audrey her brother was gone. When I was getting dressed for the funeral, I looked in the mirror and I lost it. My beautiful baby belly was gone. This was the first time I had worn anything fitted and I just remember how real that moment was when I faced myself in the mirror for the first time since losing Barrett. I looked so tiny and I hated it. I felt so empty.

Audrey walked back to my room and I felt the urgent need to tell her about her brother. I felt like God was telling me that it was time to tell her. So I sat down with her on my bed and made it through the conversation the best I could.

I composed myself as my husband and I went to meet our family for them to follow us. When we got there, the reality of seeing everyone hit me so hard and I locked myself in the car like a child. I just wasn't ready to break yet. I so badly wanted to keep myself composed. I don't know why, but I did.

On the ride to the funeral, I remember having The Message playing on XM radio. I remember staring out the window as I sang along to every song. In a way, I was talking to God through the songs because at the time words were escaping me.

The Flowers on Barrett's Casket
When we pulled up, I saw it. I saw where my baby boy would be buried. And that was it. I lost it. All composure was gone. When we walked to our seats, I saw his casket. It was so tiny. I know this shouldn't be shocking since he was so tiny, but it was. I remember thinking God, why do they even have to make caskets this small?. But, even then, God was in control and covering us in His love. I made it through the service in a zombie like fashion. I don't remember what anyone said, I just remember crying on my husband's arm as I stared at my son's casket and begged God to take care of him and let him know how much I loved him and wanted him. I remember thinking Please, God, don't let my baby feel alone. He needs to be held tight. I know that seems so silly knowing that my son is in the best place and best care he could possibly be, but though my son was gone, my mothering instincts were not. I wanted to swaddle him and make him feel secure.

I decided to write about this day, because Sunday will be one month since he was born. I plan to go visit him Sunday. I haven't been able to write about this day yet, because it was the hardest thing I've ever done. But today, I felt compelled to share about this day, because it is a harsh reality of what so many mothers have to face. Please remember these angel mommies and daddies in your prayers--

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Big Sister

Today I have to brag on Barrett's big sister, Audrey. While in the store tonight she said, "Mommy, I need to get a card for Barrett". When I asked her what kind, she said "a brother card". The only brother card we could find was a birthday card, so that's what we got. There was no way I could tell her no. So we bought Barrett a blue brother birthday card for her to send to him. Her love for her brother is such a blessing to me.

When I first explained to her that Barrett had gone to heaven, she asked me if she was still a big sister. Of course I told her yes. Since then we've had another conversation about that. It went a little something like this:

Audrey: Mommy am I still a big sister?

Me: Yes, baby. Even though Barrett isn't here with us, he is still your little brother.
Barrett's first card

Audrey: But mommy, how can I be a big sister if the baby isn't here?

Me: Well, one day we will see him again and he can hug his big sister for the first time. You will always be his big sister.

It is very important to me that Audrey understand that her brother was a life--even though she didn't get to meet him. We talk about him often, and involve him in a lot of our conversations. She thinks it is pretty cool that her little brother is an angel.

It really made me smile today to see her want to do something for Barrett. It made me a little sad to know that we can never give him birthday cards, but I think Audrey has started a great tradition--I think that by allowing her to give these messages to him, she will one day have them to look back on and treasure.




Monday, September 17, 2012

What's the Point?

Have you ever been at that point in your life where you wonder What am I supposed to do with my life? Of course, I remember thinking this several times during high school as I decided what major and career to pursue, but I distinctly remember thinking this very recently. In fact, it was two weeks ago on a Sunday. I was thinking of my little boy and all of the plans and dreams we had for our family just a few days before. But I thought, those dreams are gone. I can't get them back.

Let me just say, I am a planner. I like to write things out and make lists so I can make sure I don't forget something. When I do forget something, I literally cannot think about anything else until I get it taken care of. So, when I was pregnant with Barrett, I had all of these wonderful plans of how our lives would be leading up to his birth and after his birth. Then, my son's birth became a day of sorrow instead of joy. It was horrible being in labor with my son knowing that after all of this I would be holding his lifeless body. I grieved for my son and I grieved for what could have been. Little did  I know what God had planned for us....

So on this Sunday two weeks ago I was beginning to put together my new life. And I thought Lord what do you want me to do now? Where do I go from here?. It was that night that the dream for Barrett's Blankets was born. I spent a week and a half writing down my goals for this project and covering it in prayer.

On Friday, I unveiled the idea for Barrett's Blankets and I have been blown away. The response we have received has genuinely touched my heart in a way that I could never describe. God is opening so many doors through this. Today I realized that though I don't know exactly where the future will take us, right now God is leading us into a great ministry that has grown beyond anything we ever dreamed. My plan ahead self is learning to focus on the here and now. Each and every time someone messages us with another ministry opportunity through Barrett's Blankets, I have to stop and thank God. After all, He opened these doors.

When I hinted that we were beginning this project and asked you to be in prayer, I received thousands of responses that you were praying. Thank you, thank you, thank you for covering this in prayer.

There have been so many moments this weekend that I was so amazed I literally felt weak in the knees and would just have to hit the floor and praise my Jesus who made this possible. I feel like God has me right where He wants me and I pray these doors continue to open. I am so thankful to be so busy crocheting, answering emails and Facebook messages, and coordinating with different people to work with.

One of the beautiful days that Barrett was with us
To my fellow angel mommies, do not hesitate to shoot a message if you want to talk. So many of you already have. I understand the need to talk about the trials we have faced and I am glad to be your ears. I feel like so many want to talk, but they don't. I feel like we don't talk sometimes because when people avoid the subject like the plague around you, it almost makes you feel like you shouldn't talk about it. But the thing is a lot of us need to talk. So I'm here I promise. I make a huge effort to personally read and respond to every message and I add each and every one of you to my prayer list. Your babies are all so special, and if you're like me, you just want others to know how special they are.

If you know an angel mommy but you aren't sure what to say, sometimes you don't have to say anything. Just listen  if they want to tell you about their baby.

So, back to the title of this post What's the Point?--the point is that our plans are not always God's plans. Where I am at in my life right now is nothing like the plans I had for myself. But the thing is, I am exactly where I need to be. Praise God that He is in control and not me.

Thank you for your love, support, and prayers--I know my son is busy worshiping Jesus, but when I see him again I can't wait to tell him how God used his life here. I can't wait to introduce him to the people who are in heaven because they accepted Jesus after God touched something in their hearts when they read his story. I can't wait to tell him what my daughter is learning right now because of you all--that there are a lot of people in this world who truly care about others.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Dreaded Question

I knew this day would come, and to be honest, I haven't been looking forward to it. I knew that one day, someone would ask me if Audrey was my only child. Now, I love talking about my son, but I just haven't been sure how I should answer that question without making the other person feel awkward. I've prayed about it, but I still had not decided how I would handle it.

Today, I ran into someone I didn't know. She was talking about Audrey, and then came the question: Is she your only child?. Without even thinking about it, I said She is my only child here, but she has a little brother in heaven. I had no idea how I would answer this, but when the time came, my answer was out of my mouth before I even realized what I was saying. Once again, God opened a door for me. In telling this person about my son, I was given the opportunity to tell them about my Jesus.

To me, it goes hand in hand. There is no way that I can tell Barrett's story without telling them about Jesus. If you ever ask me about my son, you will see my face light up. I never imagined 24 days ago that I would be sitting here now so full of joy.  Yes, I want to hold and rock my boy like other mothers do, but even from heaven Barrett has brought me so much joy in being his mother.



If you're just starting to follow Barrett's story, you should go back and start reading my posts from a month ago. God has done some amazing things through his life. If you have been following us, then you know why I can't talk about one without telling you about the other.

When I tell people my son is in heaven, it is natural for them to want to know what happened. I used to think that I would never be ok with talking about it. Instead, it's just the opposite. When I answer their questions about Barrett, their next question is usually--wow, you just lost him last month? I know they think I'm crazy for smiling so much. I should be sad and depressed, right? Wrong. Yes, I do have my moments, but that's normal. Overall, though, I am overjoyed. Then, I have the opportunity to tell them why I am so happy--my Jesus.

Today proved to me that I often waste time dreading something for no reason. This question that I thought would be awkward and painful, was an open door to share my Jesus with another person.

I've always told people going through a bad situation that God had a plan and He would bring good from it, and yes I believed it. Now, I am living it. The worst thing I could have ever imagined has brought me so much joy and has changed so many lives. My God is that good--He can take the worst situation and use it to bring glory to Him.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Truth

When I started this blog, I had intended to use it share the joyous times my family was experiencing. Most of the posts revolved around Barrett. The last post I wrote before Barrett was born was a Pregnancy Diary. The last sentence of it said that my next post would be an 18 week update. Then, before I got the chance to write that update, my son was gone. My dreams for him were shattered in 3 words: no cardiac activity. Those three words haunt me.

When, I got home, I couldn't bear to look at that last post. In fact, since he was born, I haven't read any posts I wrote before August 23. I debated on whether I would even continue the blog. Why should I? But as I prayed, I had this nagging feeling that I needed to write. Honestly, at the time I wasn't thinking about the good it might do for anyone else. Instead, I just needed a way to get everything out of my head without that awkward conversation where the other person is searching for the right words that don't exist. Before I wrote The Post I Never Wanted to Write, I made a commitment to myself. I decided that if I was going to blog this journey, I would do it honestly and be as transparent as possible. I would share my pain, my heartache, and my joy. Little did I know that the joy would soon overtake all of the other emotions I felt.

When people started to contact me, I vowed to answer their questions with complete honesty about the storm we were walking through. Today, I had a question that made me stop dead in my tracks. The subject line just said question. That wasn't unusual, but the question itself was unlike any other I've answered.

Several times today I have posted on here and on Facebook that my God never changes. He is always the same. I posted that because of the question that was asked of me today.


How do you trust in a God who allowed your son to die?

I wasn't sure how I should respond to this. As I sat here staring at the question, I broke. For the first time in a few days, I had a good, long cry.

I don't know exactly why this question hit me like it did. I can't explain that. All I know is that it really got me thinking.

The people closest to me would tell you that I am a pretty independent person. I have a really hard time asking for help. I will do whatever I need to do to get something done on my own. Those few minutes on that ultrasound table waiting for the doctor to come back were the most humbling three minutes of my life. My child was in trouble and there was nothing that I could do about it. I had no choice but to ask my God for help. Did God heal my son physically? No. Was I angry? Momentarily. I had done everything right. I searched my mind for something I may have done to cause him harm and I couldn't even think of one reason it could be my fault. I had been that careful during my
 pregnancy.

After I received the news about my son, they left me alone in the ultrasound room to call my husband. Before I called him, I called on my God. I didn't care who heard me outside that door. I talked to God and I was loud and full of emotion. I don't even know how many times I asked Why?. I begged God to heal my son and take me instead. Then I remembered a well known verse that says:
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

The word that stood out to me was hope. I have hope in Jesus. While I was waiting outside the ultrasound room, I kept rubbing my belly and thanking God for the beautiful boy inside of me. As I sat there after, I was rubbing my belly, but this time I was longing for a child that was gone. I thought to myself, Am I any less thankful? If God was with me in the good times, is He not with me in the hard times? No, I was not any less thankful. I would never trade this pain away because it would mean I wouldn't have had Barrett those 18 beautiful weeks. I love my son and I am thankful that God gave him to me. I knew that as far as my God was concerned, nothing had changed in those last few minutes. Though my world had been rocked, He was constant. I was clinging to Him in that moment. I use the word cling because that is truly how it felt. I felt like a broken child crawling in her Father's lap and clinging to Him. I felt like that because that's exactly what I was doing. Every scripture I've ever memorized came streaming through my head at rapid speeds.

So, back to the question. After having that raw moment after reading it, I answered it. I said:

In response to your question, I have one for you. How could I not trust Him? Before I got that terrible news, He was right beside me in my joy. When I lay there crying on the ultrasound table, He was still there. I could feel Him all around me. How was I able to compose myself to make decisions? How was I able to hold my head high as I walked to my car? How was I able to drive an hour to my house to pack my bags without completely losing it? On my own, I wouldn't have made it out of the room. But that same God who walked beside me in my joy, carried me in my sorrow. My world was rocked, but my Jesus was the same.

We talked some more, but I was so glad someone asked me this question. We are trust Him in the good times, we are to trust Him in the bad. We are to rejoice when things are going our way, we are to rejoice when they aren't. We are to be thankful always, we are to be prayerful always.

Do Not Be Afraid

If you know someone who lost a child and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died, they didn't forget they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived and that is a great, great gift.

Elizabeth Edwards


Before I lost Barrett, I would never have known what to say to someone who had been through this. In fact, I would probably try to avoid baby talk at all. I'd be lying if I didn't say I didn't feel just a little hurt in my heart when I see beautiful pregnant bellies, but avoiding babies isn't going to make that go away. I love children with all of my heart, and being a mommy is my favorite job God has given me in this life. I have no intention of hiding under a rock--it won't help the pain. I thought about it at first, but then I realized what good would it do? 

Then, I started talking about my son, and I realized the more I talked about him, the easier it got to walk by his empty nursery or look through his scrapbook. 

So many people come up to talk to me and I can tell they are afraid to talk to me about it. I know they are scared they will say the wrong thing and I can't blame them. If it were the other way around, I would be the same way. Nothing in life can prepare you to handle this. There is no handbook on what to say.



So, I just wanted to say, it is perfectly ok to mention Barrett to me. In fact, I welcome it. My son is just as much a part of my life as Audrey is. It would be impossible for me to not talk about him--just like I can't go five minutes without mentioning Audrey. I love talking about both of my children. I can't promise I won't tear up. It usually happens when I least expect it. But I promise, my tears do not mean you have to avoid him in conversation. I adore my son and I love  telling people about him. I am incredibly proud of both of my children. 

I encourage you to ask me about my son and let me tell you what God is doing through his life. Even if I tear up, I promise my face will light up as I tell you about my little boy. 

For this child I have prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition.

1 Samuel 1:27

I always used this verse to refer to Barrett, and I still do. He was and is the little boy my husband and I longed for. Only, he is so much more. Like Audrey did before him and still does, he has made me so proud to be his mom. I don't have my son here with me, but the Lord did answer my prayers. The Lord is faithful, and He doesn't change. He was a loving and faithful God as I walked into the ultrasound room thinking I would see my boy again on August 22, 2012 and He was the same loving and faithful God the next morning when I held my lifeless son in my arms. I am understanding more and more everyday, that, though God didn't answer my prayer the way I had planned, He answered it in a much bigger way.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Big Reveal

A few days ago, I hinted at a new adventure I was embarking on. After being hounded to tell, I'm going to reveal this new project a little earlier than I had originally intended--plus I'm so excited I'm about to bust at the seams. I say "hounded" jokingly, but seriously thank you so much for all of you who have been praying over this new mission field for us.

Barrett's Hand print
When Barrett was born, I was so thankful for the camera provided to us by the hospital that allowed me to have the precious pictures of my son that I now treasure so much. However, I had one huge regret. I wish so much that I had taken the blanket my angel was wrapped in when I held him for the first time. I would love to have that in memory of my son. During the last three weeks as I spoke to other angel mommies, I realized that I shared this regret with so many mothers. So, I prayed about it. Then, as I crocheted a blanket for Project Linus, I thought What if I could do these for other angel mommies?. My thinking was that if the hospitals had these handmade blankets especially for angel mommies, it would be a lot easier for them to remember to send the blankets home with the mommies.

Please keep in mind that this is just in the very beginning stages, but we are covering it in prayer and I know that you have been as well. The blankets will go to all angel mommies, no matter what stage of pregnancy they gained their angel. Even if they don't get to hold their baby in the blanket, they will still have it as a reminder of their angel baby. We will also be including Psalm 139:13-16 with the blankets that remind me so much of Barrett.

I am still working with Project Linus--all blankets made and yarn donated thus far will be used for Project Linus blankets, unless you tell us otherwise.

The site for Barrett's Blankets is:
Barrett's Blankets

To "like" us on Facebook:
Barrett's Blankets Facebook

Please bear with me, as both of these sites are just getting started!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Washed in the Blood, Saved by His Grace

Overwhelmed--I feel like I've been repeating myself when I say I have been overwhelmed the last 3 weeks, but seriously, it's an understatement. I love talking to each and everyone of you. It has truly blessed my heart. Seriously--you all are amazing. Your encouraging words have meant so much to me. All of your cards and notes you have sent and those you have included with yarn are all together in a box--your kindness is so inspiring.

Inspired--that is a good word for how I feel. Each and everyone of you that have taken the time to message, email, call, send a card, send yarn, come by, and share Barrett's story have been an inspiration to me. Those of you who continue to read the words of a crazy lady--thank you so much--I'm in awe that you take the time out of your day to do that.

Small--that's another word for how I feel. I feel like such a small part of a big world. After losing count of how many people I had talked to and from how many countries, it really gives you some perspective on how big the world is. As many people as I have talked to, it's not even a dent. Want some real perspective? Think of how many people there are in this world and how many of them are longing for hope--hope that we only have in Jesus.

Blanket #6 in Progress
Encouraged--I have always heard that words can build you up or tear you down. That is such a true statement. There have been moments where I wanted to just give in and retreat into myself, and God would send just the right person with just the right message my way. Your words the last 3 weeks have been so kind and uplifting. I am so thankful for my family in Christ.I appreciate your words so much. One thing I ask though, is please remember that I have done nothing. It is all God, and all the glory goes to Him. So when you share or tell people about my son, I ask that you tell them what God has done and not what I have done--because it is All Him.

As much as God has done these past 3 weeks, I know this is only the beginning of more to come. Yes, I have something else up my sleeve. I'm going to leave you wondering about that one for a little longer, but until then I ask that you pray over this new adventure God is taking us on as we remember Barrett. God is opening up yet another ministry for us and we are incredibly excited about it. I promise I will share when I can, but until then please keep it in your prayers. It will only succeed if God is in it.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Memory

Ronald Reagan declared October 15th National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I wanted to participate in an event. The closest one to us is in Pascagoula, MS, so this is where we will be heading on October 13th. The event will be that Saturday (Oct 13th) from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on the beach. There will be a walk, raffles, and other activities throughout the day. There will also be a balloon release for all of the babies and a candle lighting to end the day. They are selling T-Shirts that will have the names of all of the angel babies whose families are participating. These shirt orders must be in by Friday, September 14, so if you want one I need to know ASAP. Unfortunately, I do not know what the price will be right now because the price will depend on how many are ordered--more shirts=cheaper shirts. Barrett's name will be on the shirts. If you would like to participate to honor your angel baby, you can do that as well.
The website for the event is:
Gulf Coast Angels

The Facebook Page is:
Gulf Coast Angels Facebook

To find an event in your area, or information on creating your own event, visit:
October 15th


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Good

As I have told you many times, I have been overwhelmed the last 2 weeks with the outpouring of love that we have felt. So many times I have been asked "How are you doing?". At first I would say alright or OK. Yesterday, someone asked me and without even thinking I said "good". They just stared at me like they were wondering if I meant it. Then, I began to question it myself. Am I really good? Or did I just say that out of habit?



I spent a good while thinking about this and I realized that I said that because it was true. I hurt and I cry. But I also rejoice and give thanks. I hurt because I don't have my son here, but how amazing is it that he never had to suffer through anything on this earth? He went straight from the safety of my womb to praising our Creator in heaven. While it is hard on us here on earth, what a life he had!

I have felt closer to God the past two weeks than I ever have in my life. When there is nothing on earth I can cling to, I cling to Him. I rejoice that I have a Savior who has brought so much joy to me in such a time of sorrow. I rejoice that I have a Savior who is carrying me through this trial and cares about what I am going through. I am thankful for a Savior who gave everything to save us.

Rejoice always.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 

Though I may tear up when you ask me this, I sincerely mean what I say when I tell you that I am doing "good". The more I thought about it though, I realized I am more than good. I am blessed. I have a beautiful daughter, a loving husband, a beautiful son in heaven, an amazing family in Christ, and a Savior who saved me by His grace. I am beyond blessed. I don't have anything to complain about.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4





 



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Never Failing

Audrey and I were jamming out today when I heard a song I haven't heard in awhile. (If you haven't noticed I love music and lyrics mean a lot to me). The song was "Rescue" by NewSong. I have always thought it was a beautiful song--like a powerful prayer put to music. It says:

I need You Jesus
To come to my rescue
Where else can I go?
There's no other name by
Which I am saved
Capture me with grace
I will follow You

This world has nothing for me
I will follow You

Completed Blanket #5
On August 22, when I got news that made it seem like my world was crashing down, for a moment I felt so alone. I thought How could this be happening?. So many emotions flooded me all at once--sadness, hurt, anger, and so much more. Then God sent me that perfect song on the way home that caused me to be flooded with something else--hope. I was reminded that no matter what storm I am walking through, I have hope. In that moment, I knew that I could cling to my Jesus--that I had to cling to Him.

When I heard this song today, it took me back to that moment where hope mixed in with all of those other emotions and I could feel God holding me and walking with me.

How many people do we come in contact with every day who have no hope--who are searching for the hope we carry with us? We will all go through some tough storms in this life, but God is always there every step of the way. He will never leave us.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

It doesn't matter what you are going through, you can always cling to Him. He is always faithful, though we are not. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Power of Prayer

We all know that prayer is powerful. I think sometimes I get so caught up in what I'm doing in life that I don't realize just how powerful it can be. The past two weeks, God has given me an amazing reminder of just what can happen when His people pray.

If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

I cannot count how many people have told us they have been praying for us. In fact, I completely lost count after 7,000. What is so amazing, is that we feel that. Every day gets a little better, but there are always those bad moments where something triggers a breakdown. During those moments, I can almost feel God wrapping His arms around me. Never once, even in my worst times the last two weeks, have I ever felt alone.

The night before Barrett was born, I was so broken. I was lying there in the hospital, wide awake and all I could do was cry. I wanted to sleep, but I couldn't. I kept asking God Why? How am I supposed to get through this? Then, I remembered that I have a Bible on my iPad. I read until four in the morning and it was almost like every verse I read was something about how God is always with us. I remembered that footprints poem and it hit me. I can't do this alone, but with my God I can. I can truly testify that God has carried me through the last two weeks. Whenever I started having a bad day, God would send just the right verse, the right person, or the right song to remind me that He has never left me and He never will. 

After hearing Bring the Rain on the radio I prayed that somehow God would use this to bring glory to Him. I asked Him to show me what He wanted me to do. That next day after Barrett was born, I stumbled across something about Project Linus. I had heard of it before, but it had never crossed my mind again until then.

Riding with us always
When I prayed that prayer, I had no idea what the next few days would bring. I never imagined that this door would be opened for me. God has opened a whole new mission field for me, and thousands of you have ministered to me. I cannot describe how blessed I feel that God allowed me to have this amazing little boy and that He has allowed me the opportunity to speak with you all, to pray for you, and to love you. I cannot describe how blessed I feel to have received your words, your prayers, and your love.

Right now, Audrey doesn't understand, but I pray one day she will. I have been saving all of this to add to Barrett's scrapbook so that one day when she is older she can see what our God can do when His people pray.

Two days ago, I asked for you to volunteer or help someone out in memory of my son. I prayed that God would bless lives through that as well and many of you were praying the same thing. By one in the morning, I was already reading through countless responses. Reading your stories was overwhelming in the best way possible. I hope you were just as blessed by what you did as I was when I read your stories. Now, I challenge you to continue that. There is a line in a song by Sidewalk Prophets that says Even if they don't know my name, is there evidence that I've been changed? When they see me do they see You?. That sticks with me. Even if people don't know me, can they still see Jesus?

Through this heartache, God has opened an amazing mission field for us. While I grieve for Barrett, I praise God for what He is doing. As a parent, I have always prayed for God to use my children. I pray that they will be successful and make a difference--a difference in the world and for God's kingdom.

Barrett--You have done far beyond what I ever dreamed. God called you home and though you never took a breath here, He has used your life abundantly. I am one proud momma little man.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Another Year Older

Tomorrow is my birthday. I was supposed to be celebrating with my family, laughing and happy thinking about what this new year would bring. Instead, I'm wishing tomorrow didn't exist. When people have asked me what I want to do for my birthday, my answer has been nothing  or pretend it doesn't exist. There is no way I feel like celebrating at all.

On top of that, I go back to the doctor tomorrow. Just another reminder that my son is gone. When they gave me my appointment, I immediately noticed the irony. I'm not trying to be a "Debbie Downer" or anything, but doing something for my birthday is the last thing I want to do right now.

The more I thought about it, I thought maybe I was being a little harsh. People are just trying to be nice and help, and I'm cutting them off. So I thought about it, and I know what I want for my birthday.

If you want to do something for me for my birthday tomorrow, make a difference in the life of someone. Volunteer, do a good deed, help someone out, share the Gospel, do something and do it in memory of my son. Even the smallest thing can make a huge difference in someone's life. Even if you just slow down and take the time to listen to someone who needs to talk, or pick a penny up for someone in the grocery store, you never know what that small act of kindness can do for someone. If you have the time, volunteer to help out with something--serve at a soup kitchen, read to a child, or help out at a church. Find something you can do to help someone out in memory of Barrett Luker. That's what I want for my birthday--God has done so much through Barrett's life and I want to see what happens when we pay it forward.

I can't wait to hear from you all and I hope this blesses you as much as or more than it blesses the person you stop to take some time with.

Love you all and praying for you constantly--

 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

1 Corinthians 12:21-26

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lessons Learned

My daughter learned a lesson this afternoon. I picked her up as usual and when we got home, she saw the mail truck drive by the house. She runs up to me begging to go check the mail. So, we walk down to the mailbox and when I opened it, I fell to the ground. I sat there by my daughter on the curb and I cried. Rather, I bawled. Less than 2 weeks after Barrett became an angel, my mailbox continues to be filled with yarn everyday along with people who have brought it by or sent it our way. Today, your generosity overwhelmed me.

The lesson Audrey learned is that sometimes grown ups cry because they are just that happy. She kept asking me what was wrong. I finally got myself together enough to tell her that nothing was wrong. Mommy was just happy.

Right in my front yard, I was brought to my knees by your generosity--the generosity of people who have watched us grow up, acquaintances, and people who only know us through this blog. In the process, my daughter is learning another lesson. Though, at the age of three she doesn't quite understand everything, one day she will. One day, she will see what God has done through her little brother. She will see what God can do. She will see just how caring, thoughtful, generous, and loving people can be.

I feel like in today's world, we so often focus on all the bad that goes on. We focus on the crime and the horrible sin our world embraces. Sometimes, I think we forget the good. We forget that there are still people willing to touch the heart of another person, often times a complete stranger.

I know that I can never say thank you enough. I do not have enough time on this earth or enough breath in my lungs to say it enough to equal what I feel. But I sure can try. So, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

Completed Blanket #4
The past week and a half, my husband and I have felt a lot of things. We have hurt, we have been broken, we have been amazed, we have been grateful, but most of all, we have felt loved. That is one thing that you and our Father in heaven have never let us forget.

In all of this, God has taught me some amazing things. He has taught me that He can use anyone to glorify Him and advance His kingdom, including my son who never even took a breath on this earth but has done more in 12 days than I have done in almost 22 years. He has taught me to never underestimate the generosity of people. He has taught me that sometimes Satan makes a big mistake when he chooses to attack a believer--because when he attacked our family, our family in Christ pulled together in the biggest way I have ever experienced.


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Dread

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25



Lately, I have been dreading a lot of things. I dread walking by the empty baby room every day knowing my precious Barrett will never use it. I dread going out in public and running into someone who doesn't know about our loss. I dread putting on that brave face when people ask me about my son. I dread going back to the doctor, because I am scared we may never know what happened to Barrett, and also because part of me is scared of what they may find. I dread January when all I will be able to think about is that we should be hustling around getting ready for Barrett.

Today, I was thinking about all these things I have been worrying about just the last week. How much of my time have I spent worrying about things and living in dread, instead of trusting in God? What made me sad, was when I realized that every moment I spent thinking about those things, was a moment of joy that I lost. Fear just breeds more fear.

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

2 Peter 1:5-7

After I realized how much of my joy I let dread steal from me in the past week, I began to think about how I do that on a daily basis. I dread washing the dishes. I dread bathing the dog. I dread having to mop the floor. I was floored when I realized how much of my time I spend doing that each day. 2 Timothy reminds us that God has given us a spirit of self-control. How we look at a situation or task, is totally up to us. We choose what attitude to have about each thing we do every day. 

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7

We have to make up our minds to face everything with a positive attitude. When we don't, we lose moments of joy.

Then I said to you, "Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight for you, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place."

Deuteronomy 1:29-31

When you dread doing something, you are basically expecting an unpleasant experience. You allow no room for the thought that it could be positive. Dread can really sneak up on us and steal our joy because everyone does it all the time, so we rarely think about it.

When you think about faith, you probably think about looking forward to something good, right? So, what role should dread have in your life as a believer if it is causing you to always expect something negative? It shouldn't have a role at all. It is just another way that the devil steals our joy.