Beauty from Ashes – The Gathering 2008

October 22, 2008 - One Response

This is the video for The Gathering to Remember on April of 2008.

 

Chances we miss…

January 14, 2008 - 2 Responses

Has it been forever since I blogged?  Yes…can you tell life has been busy?!  October was a huge month for Tiny Purpose, followed by November and December which are full of holidays and preparations.  But today, I wanted to post something that I’ve been wondering about…I wanted to share this at the November meeting, but ran out of time…I didn’t want to share it at the Christmas party because it was our special night…and I don’t want to run out of time tonight…so I sit and share it this afternoon…

I read the book “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom this fall, and I found it to be poignant.  Over the Holidays, Oprah and one of the Networks made a movie of it–maybe you saw it, or maybe you’ve read the book…For those of you who haven’t, it is the story of a man who believes his life is over and after a tragic accident, finds himself spending the day with his mother, who had passed away. 

The part of the book that got me thinking was the idea of “one more day”…What would you do if you could have one more day with a loved one you have lost?  If you could have one more day with your baby, what would you say?  What would you do?

I have a hard time answering these questions…Would I go back to my pregnancy?  If so, I would want to be able to feel Hope move, which unfortunately I never experienced.  I would want to feel and experience a normal day of pregnancy with her and feel the excitement and joy of expecting your child that I was robbed of… I would take photographs of me pregnant…I even think I might have a plaster molding made of my very slight baby bump…I would tell her over and over again how excited I was, how loved she was, and how I couldn’t wait until she was here with me.

Or would I want Hope as a newborn?  The chance to hold her and look into her eyes as she look into mine…the chance to say “I love you” over and over and know that she is hearing my voice, and seeing my expression as I say it…the chance to watch her as she sleeps and hear her cry in the night…the chance to dress her in pink and frills… 

Even though I think the age of three is really tough, part of me wonders what Hope would be like at three and thinks maybe that is the age I would want her to be for our day…I would love to hear her chatter on about anything and everything…I’d love to see how her face had changed–did she still look like Kelly, or would I see some of myself in her?  What would be the important things that she would share with me about our time together and our time apart…

I have no idea what Heaven will be like or how old Hope will be when I get there, but I know that she’s waiting there for me and that we will spend eternity together there.  I know that when the day comes for us to be reunited, it will be a day that I could never have even come close to getting right in my dreams…but while I’m here, apart from her and wishing that I wasn’t, I can’t help but wonder what she would have been like and what our time together could have been like.

How would you spend the day if you were given one more day with your baby?  What would you say, what would you do? What do you wonder about as you dream of your baby…no matter how long it has been, we still all have moments when we wonder about the chances we missed…let’s share them with each other.

Open house videos

November 30, 2007 - One Response

Can you be thankful?

November 22, 2007 - 3 Responses

     WOW!  Here it is Thanksgiving morning.  Another year passed by in the blink of an eye.  November is a tough month for me.  My Dad died in November of 1997 and then my son, Cole, in 2003.  Losing a parent at 25 and then losing a baby are grief journeys I never thought I would have to travel, yet here I am.  Everyone wants to know what you are thankful for on Thanksgiving.  Maybe that is a tough question for you this year or maybe you don’t feel thankful for anything.  That’s OK.  Each year is as different and individual as are the feelings that follow after losing a baby.  In years past I did not feel very thankful but this year I am thankful.  I am thankful for my husband who loves me and takes care of me in so many ways.  I am thankful for my two living children who bring me happiness and joy everyday.  I am thankful for my extended families and the health we have had this year after years that have been filled with illness and for the blessings that we have all received.  And lastly, yet most importantly, I am thankful for Christ and the relationship that I have with Him and that through Him I will someday hold my son again and that someday I will be held by my Dad.  Can you find something to be thankful for?  Have you survived the hardest year of your life?  Have you learned to be the proud mother of a heavenly child?  Has God brought you peace after your loss?  Have you formed friendships or become closer to people you never knew would be there for you?  Search your heart today and ask yourself . . . what can I be thankful for this year?  Maybe there is something.

Kristin                                                                                                                                               

Group tomorrow, Oct. 8th, at our new location!

October 8, 2007 - One Response

It is hard to believe that our new location is complete and ready for us to meet at!  We have put many months into preparing a special place we can all call our own and we are so excited for you to see Tiny Purpose’s new location!  It is peaceful and comforatbale, it is safe and promotes openess and sharing and it is a place that we can all enjoy.  We hope to see you at 357 Sherman Street in Blissfield tomorrow night, October 8th (remember with a new location comes a new night) from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.  If you have any questions about directions feel free to call 517-486-2140 and speak to one of us directly.  Look for the green Tiny Purpose signs at the corner of US 223 and Jipson Street and then again at the corner of Jipson Street and Sherman Street.

A Mother Remembers…

September 12, 2007 - 3 Responses

When I woke up this morning at 5:00 a.m., I immediately began the journey back to September 12, 1998.  Nine years ago today shortly before 5:00 a.m. I was awakened by my nurse telling me my son was not doing well.  By the time I got both of my kids on the school bus today the hour had already passed when nine years ago my son took his last breath here on earth.  If I was honest I would say that although the date of September 12 never passed without my awareness of what that day stood for, I often spent the day running from the memories.  I don’t often allow myself to recall the events of that early morning.  For the first few years, I didn’t feel entitled to be sad.  Because of having a twin pregnancy I was able to bring one baby home.  But now when I allow myself to recall how it felt holding my tiny baby boy, all of 2lb 7ozs, for the first time….well words seem to fall short.  I felt my heart swell out of my chest at the elation of having this baby I carried for 30 weeks finally in my arms.  It was an amazing feeling of completeness.  But as quickly as my heart swelled, it busted into a million pieces when I heard the doctor call out his time of death.  For those brief moments I was simply a new mom holding her brand new baby boy for the first time.  I was enjoying the shape of his nose and the fuzz on his head.  There was no room in that moment for the reality that he was dying or the knowledge that the first time I held him would also be my last.

I’m not the same person I was when I was admitted to the hospital back in 1998.  The experience of those 3 shorts days with both of my first sons has left its mark.  But I’m not running anymore.  Today I allowed my memory to take me back to that moment when they first laid Chase in my arms.  I am letting my heart remember the details of his little face and his tiny little hands.  I am giving myself permission to revel in the completeness that his life brought to mine.  The pain of having that bond severed is still part of that memory but without the pain I would have never experienced the tremendous comfort and healing that God has provided for me.  That alone gives me a hope that still sustains me through this life nine years later.

 

God bless,

Renee

Caleb & Ian: A Father’s Story

September 8, 2007 - 2 Responses
For those of you who don’t know, my wife and I had to deliver our 
still born twins two nights ago at 17 weeks.  We have been trying for 
these babies for 10 years and through the miracle of fertility 
medicines and procedures we became pregnant with these wonderful 
lives.  Of course, we are emotionally devastated and still don’t 
understand the depth of our grief and sorrow. The next few months, all 
that will play out.  All we know that our God is still Sovereign.  For 
many, this could of shaken their faith and maybe even keep God distant 
for a time.  For us, this has strengthened our faith and made our 
trust and love for God so much stronger and deeper. I can say that 
Andrea and I feel closer and more intimate bond with God now than ever 
before.  As we held these babies in our hands and said goodbye to them 
for the time we are on this earth, we worshipped and thanked God for 
them.  In 2 Samuel we see the same situation with David
 
16 David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and went into his 
house and spent the nights lying on the ground. 
17 The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground,
 but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. 
 18 On the seventh day the child died. David's servants were afraid to 
tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, "While the child 
was still living, we spoke to David but he would not listen to us. How 
can we tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate." 
 19 David noticed that his servants were whispering among themselves 
and he realized the child was dead. "Is the child dead?" he asked. 
 "Yes," they replied, "he is dead." 
 20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on 
lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD 
and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they 
served him food, and he ate. 
 21 His servants asked him, "Why are you acting this way? While the 
child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, 
you get up and eat!" 
 22 He answered, "While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. 
I thought, 'Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the 
child live.' 23 But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I 
bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me." 
 24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and 
lay with her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. 
 
There is no other option for Andrea and I but to trust God. True trust 
is trusting him when he doesn’t answer. Trust is not authentic when we 
have an escape route or a backup plan if God doesn’t come through.  We 
have no other option but to draw closer to God and know that he will 
work everything out to our good, because we love and serve him. Just 
like God gave David, Solomon, maybe he will give us another 
opportunity for a child. Andrea and I did and will continue to praise 
him through this storm and every storm God walks us through.  The 
words of this song by Casting Crowns are the words of our heart right 
now
 
 
I was sure by now
that you would have reached down
and wiped our tears away
stepped in and saved the day
but once again, i say "amen", and it's still raining
 
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear your whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as you mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the god who gives
and takes away
 
I'll praise you in this storm
and i will lift my hands
for you are who you are
no matter where i am
every tear i've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm
 
Paul said that we should “consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever 
you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of 
your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so 
that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”.  Andrea 
and I both understand that God has a reason for this storm and in his 
infinite wisdom he will unveil to us that reason.  It may be in a few 
months, a few years, or maybe in heaven.  Either way, he is a good God 
and wants to give us good gifts, because we are his Children and He is 
our Daddy.  Whether God answers our prayers or chooses to ignore our 
pleas, he will always offer calm and peace through the storm. He will 
stop the storm, or calm the child through the storm
 
All who sail the sea of faith 
Find out before too long 
How quickly blue skies can grow dark 
And gentle winds grow strong 
Suddenly fear is like white water 
Pounding on the soul 
Still we sail on knowing 
That our Lord is in control  
 
He has a reason for each trial 
That we pass through in life 
And though we're shaken 
We cannot be pulled apart from Christ 
No matter how the driving rain beats down 
On those who hold to faith 
A heart of trust will always 
Be a quiet peaceful place
 
Sometimes He calms the storm 
With a whispered peace be still 
He can settle any sea 
But it doesn't mean He will 
Sometimes He holds us close 
And lets the wind and waves go wild 
Sometimes He calms the storm 
And other times He calms His child
 
For the past week, my wife and I could not feel God, rather, it felt 
like God was turning his back on us. Everytime we pleaded and cried out 
for help. Last night, Andrea was shivering uncontrollably from the 
fever and the sorrow and emotions of the week. She had several muscle 
spasms and no matter how many people held her down, the shaking would 
not stop.  She started to worship and all of a sudden, peace entered 
the room and her body relaxed and was at rest.  She closed her eyes, 
and as she did she saw Jesus, like a man, with a circle of light 
around him.  In his two hands, Andrea saw both of our babies at full 
term, kicking and laughing.  Jesus was smiling and in his face, Andrea 
could tell that he was saying these babies are alright and they are 
waiting for her.
 
Thank-you so much for your prayers, emails, phone calls, visits and 
support.  It has not gone unnoticed to us and to God.  Our baby boys, 
Caleb Joshua and Ian Mackay are now in heaven dancing with Jesus. 
There are no tears, no pain, and no distress.  For the first time, 
they are smiling as they see the beauty and joy of heaven.  Our hope 
now, is the day when we meet them in heaven and we get to wrap our 
arms around them and pour out our love for them.  They are not gone, 
but only waiting for our arrival.  Jesus is taking care of them now, 
and I can’t think of anyone else’s arms and care I’d rather have them 
in. So what should our response be to these recent events.  As David 
did, we have no other option but to worship and thank God that he is 
still in control. God gives and takes away, but still my heart will 
choose to say, Blessed be the name of the Lord  
 
 

 

Lessons from Lazarus pt. 5

September 5, 2007 - Leave a Response

The final lesson that Mrs. Weaver teaches from the death and resurrection of Lazarus is this: 

5)     The “end” is never the end; it is only the beginning.  “I can only imagine what went through everyone’s mind when Jesus asked that the stone to Lazarus’ tomb be taken away.  Martha’s response in the King James’s translation is “Lord…he stinketh!”  Martha wasn’t getting the picture…You see, Martha had faith for what could have been…she had faith for what would be…but what Martha needed was faith for what was happening now.  It is the same question Jesus asks of us today: ‘Will you believe?’” 

“We will all die.  Lazarus eventually did…But never forget: the end is not the end.  It is only a beginning.  1 Corinthians 15:55 was written to remind us of this: ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’  And yet death does sting, even when we know better.  It hurts to leave behind the people we love.  It hurts to be the one left behind.  We will all encounter many more hurts on our journey toward the grave.  Sometimes the story of our lives seems like one painful episode after another.  And Jesus knew that.  Even though Jesus knew Lazarus was about to be raised from the dead, he understood Mary and Martha’s pain.  He did more than understand it.  He felt it too: ‘Jesus wept (John 11:35).’  Because Jesus loved this family from Bethany, he wept and he weeps with us as well.  Though Jesus knows our triumphant outcomes, though he sees the joyful ending just around the bend, he still gets down in the middle of our sorrow and holds us close, mingling his tears with our own.”

What do you think about the idea of the end being just a new beginning?  What new beginnings can you see in your own life?  Do you believe that Jesus grieves with you because what hurts you hurts him?  Are you ready for whatever this newest chapter in your life has to offer, or can you only see what you have lost?

Anxious to see you all for group in a few weeks…anxious to know how you’ve been…if there is anything you need, or if you want to talk, just call…Thank you for sharing this part of the journey with me…I know what the book “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World” by Joanna Weaver has done to stretch me and I hope that you haven’t minded my sharing this chapter of it with you…Alaina

Lessons from Lazarus pt. 4

September 4, 2007 - 3 Responses

When I read the fourth Lesson from Lazarus, I felt a little overwhelmed…believing and obeying are things I’ve always felt that I did, but as you know by now, I’m learning more and more everyday what faith is all about…and usually it’s with a little help from the people around me!  But the idea that the God of the universe seriously wants to interact with me and be involved in every aspect of my life is something that I’m still trying to really grasp…and really put into practice in my everyday life…and that leads to the question of whether or not I let him work in my life…Mrs. Weaver’s fourth lesson touches on this very idea…

4)      God’s plan is released when we believe and obey. “The house in Bethany was most likely filled with people following Lazarus’s death…But when someone brought the news that Jesus was coming, it was Martha, who ran to meet him… With all of the anguished honesty of deep sorrow, Martha poured out her grief. ‘Lord,’ she cried, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask (verse 22)’.  Instead of trying to rewrite the story of her brother’s death—instead of putting a comma where there was a period, or a period where there could be a comma—Martha was putting the quill of their lives in Jesus’ hands.  Do whatever you want, she was saying.  Punctuate as you please.  Thy will be done.  It is this kind of surrender and that kind of resolve that sets in motion the miraculous…  We are an integral part of the writing process of our lives…  Think about this: faith and obedience go hand in hand.  It takes faith to choose obedience, and if you’re like me, it takes obedience to choose faith when you’re quaking with fear.”

Punctuate as you please.  Thy will be done.  It is this kind of surrender and that kind of resolve that sets in motion the miraculous…

This statement is so powerful to me…the concept of believe and obey can change so much in our hearts and our lives.  Could you have said at the time of your loss–“Okay, God–punctuate as you please”?  Or even today, wherever you are in your grief journey–“Thy will be done”?  I thought I was at the time of my loss, though maybe I only did to a certain point…I believe I am today, but am I giving Him my all?  What about you–regardless of where you are with a relationship with God, what does the idea of letting him be in control mean to you?

Faith and obedience go hand in hand.  It takes faith to choose obedience, and if you’re like me, it takes obedience to choose faith when you’re quaking with fear…

Tell me this–does the statement on faith and obediance ring in your spirit?  Do you have the faith to obey what God is trying to work out in your life?   Or do you have the obediance to choose faith, even when it seems foreign, or you’re unsure?  Can you look back on the steps and stages of this chapter of your life and see the Lord working in and around your life, and yet still struggle with him at the core of who you are? 

Open yourself up to see what He’s been doing in your life.  You might be surprised by what you find.  Hoping this is touching you wherever you may be in your grief journey–hoping these lessons are stretching you.  Let us all know if they are…Alaina

Lessons from Lazarus pt. 3

September 3, 2007 - 3 Responses

Were you as blown away as I was reading the responses to pt. 2?  I love how hearing what speaks to each one of you and I love seeing how a different perspective can bring a fresh healing or outlook to my own situation as well as to yours!  Today I’m going to dig right into Lesson Three of the story of Lazarus–courtesy of Mrs. Joanna Weaver! 

3)     God’s ways are not our ways, but his character is still dependable.  “We can only trust people we know, says Martha Tennison, popular speaker. ‘If you’re struggling to trust God, it may be because you don’t really know God…You find out what you really believe in the darkest hours…You find out that the God you know is the God you can hold on too’…Even when his stories don’t unfold the way we think they should.”  Know this…God’s grammar is a little different than the grammar we’re used to.  He has two simple rules for us to follow:

a.      Never put a period where God puts a comma.  “Too often, according to Ray Stedman, we interpret God’s delays as God’s denials.  But the story of Lazarus tells us that ‘a delay in answer is not a sign of God’s indifference or his failure to hear.  It is a sign of his love.  The delay will help us and make us stronger.’  While God is never late, I’ve found he’s rarely early…Waiting four days to visit Lazarus and his sisters might have made him late for a healing, it made him right on time for a resurrection.  So never put a period where God puts a comma.  Just when you think the sentence is over, the most important part may be yet to come.”

b.      Don’t put a comma where God puts a period. “There are times in every life when God writes the end to a chapter, when he asks us to say good-bye to something or someone who has been important to us…Endings, in a sense, are inevitable.  Dead ends, failed possibilities, and brick walls will disappoint us all.  And when those endings come, we can fight them…Or we can accept them as Jesus did, coming from the Father’s hand.  Laura Barker Snow writes beautifully about these times: ‘My child, I have a message for you today; let me whisper it in your ear, that it may gild with glory any storm clouds which may arise, and smooth the rough places upon which you may have to tread. It is short, only five words, but let them sink into your inmost soul; use them as a pillow upon which to rest your weary head…THIS THING IS FROM ME.’ The Father knows best.  His periods may not be our periods.  His commas may not be our commas.  His ways may not be our ways.  But God is the One telling the story and we can trust him to take the tale in the right direction.  We can have faith that everything really will turn out all right.”

I feel like the principals of God’s style of grammar go hand in hand with Sunshine’s comments about believing UNTIL…One of the comments that Mrs. Weaver rights is as follows: “I wonder what Mary and Martha felt when they finally received word from Jesus.  They’d been waiting for days.  But instead of the Master, the only person they saw walking up their path was an out-of-breath courier with a message that must have rung hollow in their ears: ‘This sickness will not end in death.’  It’s hard to hope when hope is dead.  It’s hard to believe God’s promises when your brother’s body is lying in your living room.” 

We have all found ourselves in that place where the “rubber meets the road” and we find out what we are truly made of…as well as whether or not our value system, or outlook on life, is correct.  What do you think about the ideas of UNTIL that Sunshine wrote about with the last part and how does that fit in with your thoughts on God’s grammar lesson?  Do you feel like your grief journey started after a period or comma in the story of your life? 

What does the statement “God’s ways are not our ways, but his character is still dependable” mean to you?  Do you feel like God is dependable, or is he not to be trusted?  Do you find yourself wanting to know more about him, and yet still struggle with the why’s and why not’s in your heart?  Do you wonder if you really know him?

Share what your thoughts are on these lessons–I know what they have been doing in my heart and even more so with the fresh perspectives from your responses!  Thank you for being transparent!!  More to come…Alaina