Thursday, March 19, 2009

Abide in Me by Jodi Whisenhunt

About a week before our Rachel Faith was born, I felt a sharp pain on my lower left side. I feared its significance; I knew her birth was near. By this time, the trisomy 18 had been confirmed, and the grim outlook bore gravely down upon me. I fell to my knees and wept. Through tears, I whispered to Rachel, though she couldn't hear or understand, "Stay with me! Don't come out! Don't go!" As long a she was in me, her heart beat. In me she was alive and strong, vital. Apart from me, her imperfect body could do nothing.

It reminds me of John 15:5 (NKJV), "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." The Greek meno means to stay in a given place, to abide, continue, endure, or remain (Strong's Concordance). Jesus tells us to stay in Him. In Him, we are alive and strong, vital. In Him, we bear much fruit. Apart from Him, we wither. Apart from Him, we perish.

Jesus wants us to produce fruit for Him. What does that mean? In Genesis 1:22, we're told to "be fruitful and multiply" to increase the number of humankind, but that's not what Jesus refers to in this passage. The type of fruit we produce by remaining in God's love is what results from our example of faith, things such as reaching the lost, drawing His children closer to Him, and exemplifying His gentle mercies. We must continue in Him. We must remain attached to the vine in order to bear fruit. He tells us this 10 times from verses 4-10, thus driving home the point that "the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine" (John 15:4).

Jesus says in John 15:2 that every branch that produces no fruit is cut off by God, "the gardener", while every branch that does bear fruit is pruned to be even more productive. Now, my Rachel could not physically remain in me forever. Her departure from this world was an act of the Father pruning my husband's and my branches. We faithfully allowed God to work His will in our lives out of obedience to Him. "By this My Father [was] glorified, that you bear much fruit" (John 15:8).

If I abide in Him, and He in me, I am vibrant. As Rachel was alive in me, I am alive in Jesus! "These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full" (John 15:11).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Rachel Faith is There" by Margie Stewart (Grandma)

Today is Remembrance Day. A special day officially set aside by President Bush as a time to honor our precious little ones who preceded us in death. Below is a poem my mom wrote for our "early angel", Rachel Faith. As we observe this unique day, let us rejoice that our beloved children are in the arms of Jesus. I pray that the Heavenly Father will hold each of us in His arms today and envelope us in His love and peace.

Sincerely, Jodi Whisenhunt

"Rachel Faith is There" by Margie Stewart (Grandma)

There is a place in Heaven
With laughter in the air.
It's filled with little children.
And, Rachel Faith is there.

There are no tears nor sorrow.
There's love and joy to share.
There's praising and rejoicing.
And, Rachel Faith is there.

We may not know her laughter
Nor see her smile so fair.
But, we know that there's a heaven
And, Rachel Faith is there.

For Jesus calls His children
To the home He has prepared
Where we'll behold His glory...
And, Rachel Faith is there.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Remembering by Jodi Whisenhunt

When I am asked, "How many children do you have?" I don't know how to respond. "Three," I answer, while I finish the sentence in my head, " with me and one in heaven." I will never forget my daughter, even if the only life she experienced was in the womb. Rachel is always with me. As beautiful as she was at birth and at death, those images are not what flutter through my mind. I imagine her dancing with her sister. I envision her dark curls. I embrace her, though she's not physically here. Rachel died at birth and age stopped counting, but to me she's almost 6.

Rachel lived in me. Her heart beat loud and strong while she stayed with me. But, she left my body, and our hearts no longer beat in harmony. She was here. Then she was gone.

Losing Rachel evoked desperate emotions. "May the day of my birth perish...That day -- may it turn to darkness...May darkness and deep shadow claim it once more; may a cloud settle over it; may blackness overwhelm its light. That night -- may thick darkness seize it, may it not be included among the days of the year nor be entered in any of the months...for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me to hide trouble from my eyes" (Job 3:3-10). The pain was so intense it would be better never to exist at all than to experience such heartbreak.

Though I lingered awhile in the darkness, I could not wallow forever in my misery. I emerged from the pit despair plunged me into, and, "I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 4:2-3, emphasis mine). Rachel existed, but she did not live to "see the evil that is done under the sun". I know she is truly happy, because to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

From time to time, I gaze my affection upon memories of Rachel. She was here so briefly, they are but a few, so I hide those treasured trinkets in my heart. Often in regard to writing, I tell people I know it's a God thing when my writing goes a completely different direction than I planned. The same is true in life. I had plans for Rachel. Big ones! But God's plans were even bigger. Better than both is he who has not yet been! All Rachel has ever known is Glory. I rejoice in God's plan. Sure, I cry tears of sorrow sometimes, but I long for time without end when I'll join her in God's presence and see what she's always seen.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"God's Lent Child" by Florence Correa

"I'll lend you for a little while A child of mine," God said --
"For you to love the while she lives, And mourn for when she's dead.
It may be one or two years, Or forty two or three;
But will you, till I call her back, Take care of her for me?
She'll bring her charms to gladden you, And -- (should her stay be brief) --
You'll have her lovely memories, As solace for your grief.
I cannot promise she will stay, Since ALL from earth return;
But the lessons taught below, I want this child to learn.
I've looked the whole world over, In search for teachers true;
And from the throngs that crowd Life's lane -- I have chosen you.
Will you give her all your love? Nor think the labor vain?
Not hate me when I come to take, This lent child back again?"
I fancied that I heard them say "Dear Lord, They will be done.
For the joys Thy child will bring, The risk of grief we'll run.
We will shelter her with tenderness, We'll love her while we may --
And for the happiness we've known, Forever grateful stay.
But should Thy angels call for her, Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the grief that comes, And try to understand."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is officially on October 15th. Each year Early Angels observes Remembrance Day on a Sunday near the 15th. This year we will have our Remembrance Service on October 19th at 11:00 am. I hope each one of you can join us for this wonderful time to remember our litte angel/angels in heaven. Signups will begin on October 5th in the Connection. The reason we have to have signups for this event is so that your angel/angels will be listed in the program and we have the correct color and number of balloons for each of you. If you are unable to sign up in the Connection please email us at

Monday, September 1, 2008

"A Pair of Shoes" Author Unknown

I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
Uncomfortable shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in this world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by
before they think about how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.
Author unknown

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Acceptance by Amanda Downey

What is acceptance? It is a word that can mean different things to different people. Acceptance for some may be accepting a new job, accepting an unplanned pregnancy, or accepting an event in life that did not turnout as planned. For me, acceptance took on a new meaning the day Kate died. Acceptance became one of the stages of grief. It is actually one of the final stages, although I do not believe that grief ever ends completely. I think you just learn how to live with it. I never thought I would get to the point of acceptance. If you were to ask my husband, he would probably tell you that he also wondered at times if I would ever reach that point.

I believe I am finally beginning to accept Kate’s death. Do I want to accept her death? No. I would still prefer for her to be here with me.

Do I have to accept her death? If I never accept her death, I am as my husband tells me “Living among the dead”. I believe I have reached the point that I am accepting my new “normal” life and beginning to move on. The past month I have found myself wanting to do more things. I have started working in the yard, planting flowers and trying harder to lose weight.

Do I think I will have days that I do not completely accept her death? Yes. I do think those days will come. Hopefully, those days will become fewer and fewer.

Acceptance is definitely on the terms of the person grieving. For me, there are many people who wanted me to be at this point 2 ½ years ago, at a time I could not even function, much less accept the fact that my baby that I had carried for over 9 months had passed away. As one of my Early Angel friends said, “You went to the hospital thinking you were coming home with a baby”. Not coming home with a baby is one of the hardest things I have ever had to accept.

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16(b) – NIV