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5 Things to do after a Miscarriage

First off let me just start this post off by giving my deepest apologies if you are or have experienced a miscarriage, either personally or through a close loved one. This post is not an easy one to write and one I wish I didn’t have to write. But, since going through six miscarriages myself, it has become one of my missions to help others overcome their miscarriage. I experienced my first loss in 2008, just 7 short months after we were married. It was an unexpected pregnancy that resulted in an unexpected loss. This type of loss never occurred to me as a young woman. My expectation was crushed as I laid on the bathroom floor clenching my fists to my stomach. I sobbed trying to figure out how I was going to tell my family and sobbed that I never had the chance to tell my friends. I was overcome with so much quilt thinking it was something I could have prevented. I layed there on the cold ceramic floor, helpless, as I thought of everything I could have done differently. While my husband slept soundly in bed my mind went back to the very moment I told him we were expecting. It is a moment we will never get back. A moment that is now tainted by excruciating pain, not joy.

Through the years I have used this blog to share what God has done through each of these miscarriages. God has brought me to a place of not only understanding why he allowed me to experience that type of pain but also to a place of thankfulness. I wouldn’t take back a single loss because each loss brought me closer to Him. That thankfulness didn’t come easy and it took a lot of work. I hope I can help you get there too.
One thing I wanted share today is 5 things to do after a miscarriage. This post doesn’t address what to do medically after a loss but it does address the top 5 of things that helped heal my soul.


1. Share the Loss with you Husband.
Not only share the news with him but also share your heart with him. Sharing the news with your husband is one of the most important things to do. There may be some temptation to hide your miscarriage, especially if you didn’t get the chance to share that you were pregnant. The enemy wants us to believe that by hiding this you are being strong. But that is the complete opposite. When you let the light touch your pain it allows the Holy Spirit to come in and heal. Once you share the news with your husband make sure you also share your heart. Your husband is not going to understand how you are feeling. He doesn’t have a uterus and will never know the feeling of having a tiny human inside of you. He won’t know the right words to say or the right actions to make you feel better. He may even say the wrong thing. Be honest and open with him with what you need and offer up a lot of grace. He WILL however experience pain but it will look a lot different than how you express your pain. That is why it is very important to talk with each other. Make sure you establish a safe atmosphere where nothing is off limits. You two need to know your feelings are not only honored but trusted.

“and the two will become one flesh.’So they are no longer two, but one flesh”

(Mark 10:8 NIV)

2. Share your Story.

This is similar to the last point, I highly recommend sharing your loss with a close friend, a family member or writing your story out. When you allow loved ones to walk along side of you during this time they become your support, someone to lean on when the path gets rocky and surrounded by weeds. There may be hesitation to share because you don’t want to show emotion or you are afraid of the uncontrollable sob, but crying is therapeutic. Its messy but it is healing. If you are not ready to share your experience with others I would recommend writing it out on paper. Write it as if you were telling a story. Try to remember every detail, every thought and every feeling. There is nothing off limits here. This is for you. Ask the questions you are afraid to ask, say the things that are too hard to say out loud and voice your pain. Let the pen flow with out hesitation.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

(Galatians 6:2 NIV)

3. Mourn/grieve

You need to allow yourself to grieve this loss. It is a loss no matter how far along you were. I lost many of my babies at 6-8 weeks. I was early but I not only lost a living human being with a heartbeat, I lost the hope and dreams I had for this baby. Your feelings are real and they are seen and heard by God. He understands what you are going through and grieves with you. There are many ways and stages to mourning. It is wise to know the different stages in the process so that you can recognize which stage you are in and understand each stage is normal and appropriate for the healing process.

“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

(2 Cor 1:3-4 NIV)

4. Be with God.

I thought about putting this one first because that’s the churchy answer but I want to be honest and real with you. I didn’t want to talk or be with God right away. I was upset and I didn’t understand why he would allow me to go through such pain. At some point I reached out to God and that is what matters. Start by being silent and allowing him to speak to you. Don’t be afraid to ask him questions and expect answers. Cry out to him and voice your pain, he understand. Just be and let Him heal. Many times I wasn’t ready to talk with him so I would sit and listen to worship music. I would let the words seep into my heart until it would burst and then words would come crying out.

“When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.”

(Psalm 34:17 NIV)

5. Hope.

Never give up hope. With most of my losses I came to a crossroad. I had a choice to make, I could give up or hold on to that glimmer of hope. Don’t ever let that hope fade. God has a plan and reason for this pain. He won’t let this pain be wasted and will use it for his glory. He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Hold on to that truth.

“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 NIV)


I pray you have been blessed by reading this and know I am praying for you. If you need someone to talk to or ask questions I am here to listen or help. Feel free to reach out! Much love my friend.

-Audra

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Raspberry Jam and Refining my Soul

Recently, my family and I visited an apple orchard close to our home called HoneyHill Orchard, in hopes of picking some scrumptious apples.  My girls love apples so much that I need to always have one on hand.  And I frequently find half eaten one’s randomly lying around the house with tiny bite marks in it from my youngest daughter, who doesn’t like the skin but insist on still eating the apple like her big sister.  Upon our arrival to the farm we quickly learned that we were 4 days to early for the apple picking season. In our attempt to be spontaneous we forgot to check the schedule. So we picked raspberries instead.  My family isn’t too fond of raspberries but will eat them on occasion.  I find the store bought fruit rather tart and shy away from eating them all together.  Since we were there I decided to live in the moment and let my family pick as many as they wanted for the experience.  My middle child ate more off the bush than she put in the bucket, but this momma wasn’t complaining.  It just meant I didn’t have to feed her lunch!  Just kidding of course!

  

  
My youngest got involved too! “Let’s Taco about how cute he is!”   
 

We picked about a 1lb of raspberries and then headed home.  I knew that we would not be able to eat the whole pound so I began researching jam recipes.  I found this Old Fashion Raspberry Jam Recipe and decided to try it.  Thinking it was a somewhat easy process I talked myself into making my very first raspberry jam.  I ran to the store for some mason jars and then began the process while my youngest was napping.  

  

I rinsed the berries and added them to a stainless steal pot.  

   

 I began mashing them until they were in a liquid form.  (Confession:  I used my daughters ikea utensil for the job since I didn’t have an adult size version🙂 It ended up working out perfect.) 

  
 
Then, I added the warm sugar to the mix and then started the sterilization of the jars.  (note: I forgot this process and would probably work better if done ahead of time)I learned a couple things during this process of making jam.  

  1. I didn’t have proper canning tools but I made it work this time.  Next time I will be a little more prepared and maybe attempt this at night when all the kids are asleep.  
  2. God was showing an amazing refining process that looks messy at first but comes out so sweet in the end.  

This past year God has been and still is working on refining my soul.  Pulling out the bad things inside of me such as rejection & comparison of others, needs vs. wants and my will over His,  just to name a few.  There are so many more but I won’t go into that now!  Youre welcome.  But what that looks like sometimes is a hot mess with lots of tears, the ugly kind.  To begin to pull these things out we have to ask God to reveal these things within us and then let God change us. Hopefully when He’s done something far sweeter will be present.  I would love to get into each of these awesome qualities of myself but for now I want to just focus on the process because that is where I am now.  God loves the process.  Don’t be afraid of the process.  It may take a long time and it could look really messy from worldly standards, but to God it is beautiful.  Embrace the mess, embrace the hurt and go there.  God wants to bring us somewhere more fruitful and nourishing so that we may be fully ready to be used for his glory.  When we have impurities attached to our soul it is hard for it to be used properly.

 

The raspberries were picked with dirty hands and contained lots of bugs, in that state they were not going to get used or eaten by my family.  But a little journey into an unknown messy process turned into the sweetest jam we ever tasted and we will be able enjoy it all year.  

  

   

 

Turning a worn out Vintage find into a Little Girls Treasure

Ever since my daughter graduated out of her crib she has been in her very cute ikea bed.  It had me at “expandable bed.” You see, this amazing bed goes from toddler bed to in-between bed and then to a twin bed.  The ikea mattress comes in three sections and you add or take away depending on your desired length!  Did I sell you yet? Here is a picture from when we first bought her bed.

alivias-bed

Yes I was in love with this bed and envisioned my daughter in this bed forever! Well not forever but at least till she was a pre-teen.  Recently my daughter let me know that her bed was too “kiddish” for her now and she wanted a big girl bed.  All my insides screamed as I heard her say “big girl.”  Say it’s not true!  She can’t be there already, just yesterday we transitioning her into this amazing bed.  I didn’t want to just drop everything and go out and purchase her a new  bed just because of this confession & I would admit I was still in denial.  Then, one day I randomly stopped off at a thrift store to see what treasures I could find, and treasures we found!  I ran into this beauty!  A very beautiful vintage twin poster bed.  (Don’t mind my not so beautiful garage! )  I loved every inch of this bed and wished it came in a king. The details are stunning. 

I wasn’t sure if this would fit the “big girl bed” criteria, but I took a chance and bought it anyway.  It was in great shape and too perfect to pass up.  Upon her inspection she fell in love!  I gave her three options, we could leave it as is in its beautiful original color, paint it white (always my go to) or paint it a fun color.  She picked it option three, paint it a fun color.  Together we went to the paint store and found the perfect color, a pale pink called “pink beach” by the nautical line. We used the armor hammer paint in satin to eliminate fumes and shine. It took about three coats to completely cover the wood finish. The light color brings forth the detail in the post more and the hint of pink adds some flavor to the room with out an overwhelming color.

Here is our finished product and she loves every part of it. Also, this is probably the only time her bed will be made so I had to take a picture (or 10) of course.😉


   
   

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Missing our Target

The young boy grabs his jacket off the hook and runs after his dad into the crisp morning air.  The sun is just peaking over the pine trees casting glimmers of light onto the dew in the grass. His rain boots squeak as they follow a much larger & aged pair of work boots. The sound of the rustling leaves in the trees above his head tells him winter is right around the corner. And on this day this boy’s father is going to teach him to hunt for their food. The boy watches his fathers every move as he pulls out the bow and arrow from his bag. He sees the target and quickly runs to set it up a few steps in front of them. When the boy returns the father gives him a lesson on handling the bow and arrow, pulling the string back close to your mouth and holding your breath for steadiness, aiming at the target, waiting for the right moment and then releasing the string from your fingertips. The father steps back and watches the boy take over the weapon. He stays quiet as he attempts to follow the instructions. The boy struggles a bit with positioning but fires anyway and the arrow lands 2 feet in front of the boy. Frustrated but determined the boy picks up another arrow and fires again with the same results. Each arrow coming a little closer to the target but not meeting it. Eventually, the boy caves and ask for help from his father. He nods and the boy releases his grip and allows his father to come behind him and guide him in each move.  The fathers hands wrap around his sons and he bends down to his level. As they set the bow to aim at the target they both pull back on the string and with an exhale they both release the arrow together. The arrow not only reaches the targets distance but it exceeds it, going over target into the woods far off in front them. The son turns to his father questioning him, upset that he didn’t hit his target once again. The fathers lips curl up on one side as the boy complains, as if his actions were somewhat cute and humerus. With a small chuckle the father sent his son into the woods to look for the over shot arrow. Head lowered and tear filled eyes the boy set out for the woods, watching the ground as his rain boots dodged sticks, leaves and uneven grounds. About to give up the boys head lifts as he sees the overshot arrow. His mouth dropped in shock, the back part of his hand wipes away a falling tear and he sighs as his hands fall to his side and his knees hit the ground. He looks up into the heights of the pines and his little lips curl with the same exact smile. “Thank you” leaves his mouth and he turns back to see his father standing right behind him. “Did you see what happen father?” and the father responds to his boy as he knelt down next to him and laid his hand on his shoulder, ” I know. I saw the deer in the distance as we were practicing. When you let go of control and allowed me to help you, I helped position the weapon to hit prize, not the target.”

The boy and his father knelt down together, arms around each other, in amazement of what just happened. His father looked down at the boy and quietly said, “I’m proud of you son. You’ve done a great job today.”

………
Just like the son in this story we set our eyes on the targets we set up for ourselves.  We go about life thinking we have control and making decisions on our own. When we miss those targets we get upset and question God. He wants us to see that sometimes missing the target gets us the prize, His plan and will for our life. His plan is better than our plans, we just have to let go and have faith that where God leads us is somewhere far greater than we can imagine or plan for ourselves.

Allow God to come in and guide you today. Allow him to lead your steps and bring glory to his kingdom. Whatever that may be, know that missing the target we set for ourselves may be failure to this world but it isn’t failure from Gods viewpoint. It is setting us up for Gods ultimate plan, a far greater plan than any man of this world could create.   Our only task is to believe that God knows what He is doing and stop trying to figure out his plan and purpose for our life. We need to only trust that He will align us with a much bigger target than our own.
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

(Col 3:23-24)

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

(Phil 3:13-14)

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Better than diamonds

On Mother’s Day I wrote a post that eventually was deleted by my own mistake. At first I was upset, but ultimately I’ve always taken the approach of Gods perfect timing with my writing. I never push a post, they must flow from the mouth of God through my fingertips to your eyes. When a post accidentally gets deleted,  I wait for Gods timing in rewriting it. Now is the time!

It was the morning of Mother’s Day and I walked up the stairs like any other day. Half awake and needing coffee as soon as possible. I honestly forgot the importance of the day until my 6 year old came screeching around the corner, telling me to go back to bed. She had a special suprise awaiting in the kitchen and she didn’t want me to ruin it. So, half asleep and pushing through my coffee hang over, I headed back to bed. I sat patiently waiting for this big suprise. With in minutes she enters the room holding a chess board that was doubling as a serving tray. Laid out across the tray was a glorious cup of black coffee, a plate full of an assortment of fruits and a slice of lemon loaf. Next to the plate sat a very subtle yellow plastic Easter egg on top of a handmade card.

Her toothless grin stretched across her face as she awaited the appropriate affirmation. I thanked her for this very thoughtful gift and then proceeded to ask her the importance of the Easter egg. I couldn’t quite figure that one out. She jumped with excitement and announced that my gift was inside. I was rather curious now so I bypassed the cup of black gold to see what precious gift awaited for me inside this tiny plastic egg. I open it with caution and out dropped a small delicate necklace.

The modest chain was a bronze color, a color you only get with age. I instantly knew this necklace must have been well loved before it fell into my hands. The pendant hanging from the chain wasn’t a precious jewel or a diamond, it was something far better. It was a small vintage Mickey Mouse that hung proudly. “Do you love it?” She asked. “Absolutely” I cried with pure love in my eyes.

This child stood before me and watched intently as I put the chain around my neck. Her hands held tightly together in front of her mouth as she awaited for me to reveal what it looked like. As my hands fell she held onto her mouth so the joy wouldn’t pour out. Dropping her hands she said, “it’s beautiful. You really like it?” “I love it” I told her as I gave her a hug and kiss. She immediately skipped out of the room so she could finish her morning cartoons.

As I sat there in silence, sipping on my coffee, I couldn’t shake what God wanted to speak to me in this tender moment. He helped me understand the similarity of receiving this gift and how He sees His children. You see, my daughter didn’t have to give me diamonds or even a gift that day but what she gave me was something far greater, her heart. She poured her whole self into this gift and that is why I loved it so much.

Many times we can come before God with a religious heart. We come with a check list. We feel the need to do certain things and complete certain tasks for him to love us. If we serve more in church, if we give more, if we spend more time reading bible, or if we just play the part we will be loved and accepted by God.

Or other times we don’t come before God at all because we feel like we have nothing to give. Our tank is empty and we feel inadequate. We feel incapable of being loved because we are broken, bronzed with aged, or considered unwanted by the church. We fall away and never approach His glorious throne.

What God showed me that morning was it wasn’t about what we brought to the table, it’s only and always about our heart. My daughter gave me her whole heart that day. She didn’t give it to me out of guilt or with hold the present because she felt it wasn’t good enough, she showed up and gave everything she had. God wants our hearts wholy and solely for himself. How are we approaching him? Are we coming to Him at all?  What condition is our heart in? What are our intentions? We need not do anything but seek him and we will find his love ready and willing to embrace us.

He wants us to come before Him with all that we have, our brokenness and our treasures, and lay them at His feet. We are the most precious gift He could ever receive, we are better than diamonds.

proverbs 3:15

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Stone by Stone

Hands tightly grabbed each of her arms
carrying her down the long dirt path
A sin exposed for all to see
regret, sorrow, pain, and presumable death

They threw her down against the wall
her face landing in the dirt
Her hands gripping the tiny stones beneath her
tears falling onto her soiled scarlet skirt

Stone by stone the men reached down by their dirty covered feet
searching for just the right one

Stone by stone their eyes filled with judgement
no remorse was shown, no love was given

Then the crowd grew silent
everyone turned to look
A shining light arose forth
with each step the ground beneath her shook

This man glanced toward the woman who settled on the ground
In a second He admired her soul
He knew every thought with out one word spoken
He knew she was worth saving THAT was his only goal

He bent down low and with one finger he wrote in the dirt
The men watched intently, captivated by what this man would say
He said, cast the first stone if anyone of them was with out sin
He did not look up at them but began to hear them walk away

Stone by stone judgement fell hitting the the dirt
starting with the oldest leaving first

Stone by stone the women grew stronger
faith became restored.

He never walked away
He never picked up a stone
He immediately extended grace
He only showed love

She pulled her self up and dusted off
She wiped the tears and glanced only at him
She straightened her hair and pulled the cloth over her head
then took her first step toward freedom

Stone by stone this man picked her up off the ground
where the others left her

Stone by stone the sin was forgiven
and she never looked back

We are called to love not hate
We are called to extend grace and be redeemed
We are called to seek wisdom and spread the truth
We are called to disciple not save

Stone by stone we can know there is one savior and one final judge
and leave destiny up to him

Stone by stone we can allow hate to fall to the ground
and let love conquer from within

Let us drop our stones to ground and be wise enough to be the first to
choose love over hate.

(John 8:1-11)

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After the “exodus” 

Almost a year ago we moved out of our house, in obedience, unsure where God was leading us. We only knew we were called to leave. We minimized our belongings and moved into the basement of my parents house until we heard the next step. We had/have no idea where God may be leading us but we wait with as much faith as possible. If I told you it wasn’t hard I would be lying, but God never said that his will would be easy to follow. But He did promise us He would walk beside us the whole way.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the Israelite’s leaving Egypt. When God told them to leave many were scared and wanted to stay because they feared the unknown, but they obeyed and left Egypt with Moses anyway. What interest me in the last week or so about this chapter is what happened after the “exodus”? What happened to the Isrealites after they left Egypt? They waited. They questioned. They feared.

Many times in life we will question if we have heard God wrong if we are stagnant too long. Or we may find ourselves in a spot where we feel stuck, backed into a corner with no way out. I’ve ponder both of these scenarios as we are currently waiting for God’s leading. I feared because we aren’t moving forward or I can not see the way out that we have made a mistake. Not only are those statements untrue but we are exactly where God wants us to be. He wants us in a place where the only way out is through him and it comes at his perfect timing. Let’s look at what Exodus says when the Isrealites leave Egypt.

In Exodus 13:17 God brings the Israelite’s out of Egypt and then he sends them on road through the philistine country. There was a shorter path they could’ve taken but God sent them on the longer journey. God directed them down the longer path because He knew that if the Isrealites faced war they would turn back, and the shorter path promised war. Their faith was not where it needed to be to face certian trials, they needed time and a protective path to get to where they were going.  Just because the path you are on seems longer than you expected, it may be because God is protected you from something or He is waiting for His best timing.

Then, in chapter 14:2-4 God tells them to turn back and camp by the river. Why did he have them turn back? Have you ever felt like you took a few steps back in your journey? Many times this past year I felt as if we were not making any progress, only taking steps backward. This not only created fear inside of me but I began to question God again. When God sent the Isrealites backward He did this to send confusion to Pharaoh. God wanted Pharaoh to believe he had chance at capturing the Isrealites once more. God knew what was coming then and He does today as well. Many times we may need to take a few steps back to confuse our enemy of God’s mighty plan for our life, the parting of the seas.

As the Israelite’s camped by the sea they began questioning Moses and God. They saw no way out and feared they were trapped. The sea was in front of them and the Egyptians were behind them. They began to wonder if they made a mistake following Moses. Moses answered them in verses 13-14 “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Many times we fear we are trapped and see no way out of our situation. “Where could we possible go?” What we can’t see is great parting of the seas that God has in store for us right around the corner. We only see what we know, a wall. Ever think about what would have happened if they turn back that night? They would’ve never seen the amazing miracle of the parting of the sea and the glory of God being confirmed. Instead, they would have most likely ended up back in slavery.  Have you ever given up when you thought there was no way out? No answer coming? I have.

Let’s learn from this and believe in obedience and in faith that our parting of the Red Sea is coming very soon.

God parts the waters that night and the Isrealites walk on dry land across the bottom of the sea that next morning. He did not let them walk on mushy wet sea bottom, it was dry and perfect. When they reached the other side the Egyptians were crushed by the water and the Isrealites saw the mighty power of the Lord and there faith was restored. God did not just show up at the end, He was there the whole time.  In Exodus 13: 21-22 it states, “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.” Not once did He leave the isrealites, not once will God leave you.  He will guide you just as he guided the Isrealites.

If you are in a waiting period such as myself or the Isrealites, I encourage you to have faith and hold out for God to reveal his plan. His mighty plan, one that seems impossible but will only become possible through Him. If we wait for his perfect timing He will receive the glory and the enemy will be crushed.