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

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

With Hope by Jodi Whisenhunt

The loss of a child fits into no one's plans. "This is not at all how we thought it was supposed to be," Steven Curtis Chapman's song "With Hope" begins. "We had so many plans for you, we had so many dreams," it continues. But God works differently than we do. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11) Who could imagine that such pain and sorrow that the loss of a child brings could be part of God's purpose? But, "He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee." (2 Corinthians 5:5, NKJV)

"And never have I known anything so hard to understand," begins the second verse. "And never have I questioned more the wisdom of God's plan." We do need to accept that despite the pain we endure at the loss of a child, God is indeed in control. We may not understand His wisdom. In fact, it may seem like folly, but "the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." (1 Corinthians 1:25)

He calls us to this task, and as Hebrews 13:20-21 assures us, God equips us with everything good for doing His will. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, our Heavenly Father sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. He fills us with Himself! That's all the equipment we need to fulfill His purpose. We must allow His will to be done in our lives, even when it is difficult to do. We must answer the call to duty. Can God do all things? Absolutely! If He lives in us, can't we do whatever He asks us to do? Absolutely! "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13, NKJV)

Often in our Christian walk, when we seek to serve God, we search for areas we're interested in, maybe where we feel we have natural abilities. God, however, searches for areas in which we are weak. The Lord told Paul, "My power is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) Sometimes God places us in moments of extreme weakness so that His strength will be revealed. "But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." (Exodus 9:16) "So we must learn to seek God's will and obey Him no matter how difficult and uncomfortable the assignment and no matter how high the cost -- knowing that we're called to accomplish those tasks not according to our own capacity, but according to the fully enabling power of the Holy Spirit." (WHAT'S SO SPIRITUAL ABOUT YOUR GIFT?, Henry and Mel Blacaby) Difficult situations arise, like the death of a child, so that we will rely not on our own strength and ability, but on God's.

"So do not fear, for I am with you," says the Lord in Isaiah 41:10. "He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." (Job 8:21) As the song continues, "We can cry with hope, we can say goodbye with hope, 'cause we know our goodbye is not the end, oh no. And we can grieve with hope, 'cause we believe with hope, there's a place by God's grace, there's a place where we'll see your face again." "Therefore, do not lose heart." (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Romans 5:5 states that hope does not disappoint us. "You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy." (John 16:20) "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

The Early Angels Ministry at First Baptist Church in McKinney, Texas, provides care, support and encouragement to parents who have lost a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death. We've established this blog to post numerous resources for bereaved parents and families. We pray that God would comfort grieving hearts and turn grief to joy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Is Loss Part of God's Plan? by Jodi Whisenhunt

The Early Angels Ministry recently held its 2nd annual Mother's Day Dessert reception, an intimate gathering in the Hospitality Room with a delicious array of cheesecake bites,creampuffs, and fresh fruit. The sweets softened the tender wounds we mothers in this unique group share.

The loss of a child is a traumatic experience that leaves grieving families with multitudes of questions for our Heavenly Father. One such question I wondered after the loss of my daughter in 2002 was, "Is this really God's plan?" While in the midst of such extreme sorrow and grief, I could not grasp God's purpose. Over the 5 1/2 years that followed, however, He has allowed me to perceive portions of His "big picture". At the Mother's Day Dessert, special guest Bryan Doyle shed more light on this subject as he spoke on the account of Lazarus in the Gospel of John chapter 11.

I have called you friends. (John 15:15)

Bryan emphasized the friendship Jesus held with Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. They shared such amity that the sisters referred to Lazarus simply as "the one you love" when they sent word of Lazarus' illness to Jesus. (John 11:3) The description was enough.

As Jesus neared Bethany, Mary came to Him weeping. When He saw her, "He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled." (John 11:33) He was so distraught over his beloved friend's death that He wept. "Then the Jews said, 'See how He loved him!'" (vs. 36)

Our God calls us friend, too. Our friend, our Lord and Savior, exhibited His great love for us when He died on the cross to pay the price of our sin. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) Proverbs 17:17 tells us that a friend loves at all times. His great love for us is evidence that He would not allow us to experience anything that is not part of His divine plan.

The murky fish tank of humanity

Bryan gave a great illustration of God's love. He said that several years ago he and his family moved into a new house. The previous owner had moved out a few weeks prior and left behind a large fish tank. Much muck had accumulated in the tank during the time the house was vacant, so Bryan decided to clean it.

Upon reaching his arm into the murky water, Bryan discovered one solitary fish remained. Bryan said that during the initial cleaning and every tank cleaning thereafter, the fish, nicknamed Freebie, was terrified of him. Freebie the fish did not understand that Bryan was trying to help him, that he cared for him and wanted to take care of him.

Bryan thought to himself, "How can I make Freebie understand I mean him no harm?" The only way, Bryan determined, would be for him to become a fish himself. Then he could communicate in fish language and put Freebie's mind at ease. Of course this was impossible!

Fortunately for us, nothing is impossible for our Creator! God, Himself, became human and entered our world. Jesus the Son plunged into the murky fish tank of humanity to demonstrate His great love for us.

Learning to fly

God has a plan for everything. He ordains every event as Jeremiah 29:11 states, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord." In the first chapter, the Lord assured Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart." (Jeremiah 1:5) Jesus tells us in John 15:16, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you."

He doesn't just turn us loose on our own, though. We must be trained. The song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, verse 11, informs us that the Lord trains us, "Like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions."

The eagle builds its nest on the edge of a cliff. When its young are a few weeks old, the parent eagle stirs up the nest. It squeezes the young out of the nest and over the edge. The young bird flaps frantically as it freefalls. Just before it hits the ground, the parent bird swoops down and catches it, carrying it back to the nest. This process repeats until the young bird learns to fly on its own.

This illustration is a harsh reminder that sometimes God's methods are not easy for us to endure. Sometimes the jobs He asks us to perform are terrifying. Sometimes we flap our wings frantically, because the ground is fast approaching. However, the Father is always there to catch us. During the process, we grow and we learn. As Bryan said, you can't learn to fly when you're in the nest.

The Master Plan

"All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:16) God knows us. He loves us. He chose us. He cries with us. He cries, because He understands. "Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love." (Lamentations 3:32) All that we are and all that we do is for God's glory. He invites us to trust Him with His plan.

As the reception drew to a close, Bryan opened it up for discussion. One mom mentioned that the passage of time does bring healing. God may seem to delay, but His timing is always right. It is our responsibility to trust Him and to wait on Him. Bryan said, "God does more in us while we wait than when we get what we are waiting for." While we wait, our Heavenly Father shapes us and molds us, "Like silver refined in a furnace of clay." (Psalm 12:6)

The Lord prepares and enables us to fulfill His Master Plan. "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God." (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)