Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Pain comes in multiple forms.  We have physical pain (hitting your thumb with a hammer).  We have emotional pain (a relationship problem or loss of a loved one).  Sometimes the two are combined (being sick and knowing your family will suffer from it... e.g. cancer).

With pain often comes exhaustion.  With just simple physical pain rest often makes it go away.  With emotional pain there are fewer choices for healing.  We have time.  We have pills (to dull the pain or to help us deal with it).  And we have Jesus.

Sadly, not all of us know Jesus as our Savior and Lord.  In dealing with our losses (Jon's and mine, not losses in a generic sense) I have struggled.  I have dealt with what I see as injustice.  Why are there women who can have babies for any man who rings their door bells while I can't give my husband, the man I waited 24 years for, just one?  God hears this from me frequently.  I am a stubborn woman.  I was a stubborn child.  This isn't a new thing.  However, God frequently reminds me that He has a plan, and His plan is perfect.  I don't know what His plan is, but I know that I need to be in tune to it.  Daddy taught me to listen more than talk.  Now I'm praying that God will open my heart to hear Him when He speaks, and to speak the things to others as He gives me the words.

Our family has endured yet another tragedy, and we have yet another little one in Heaven.  I am so thankful that his mama and daddy know Jesus, and that they will be with their baby in Heaven.  Again, I am asking "why?".  This little one's mama is clinging to John 13:7.

“What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

Isn't that amazing?  So profound for one in such pain.  I grieve with the two who have lost.  I don't know how they're feeling (I touched on that in a previous post), but I hurt with them.  I grew up with one parent, and have come to love the other dearly in the past few years.  There are no words to say beyond, "I love you and I'm here."  

God is showing me my ministry--to those who have lost as I have.  I pray for wisdom and guidance from Him.  I pray that I don't pull a Jonah and run the other way!  But most of all I pray that I am a comfort to those I've been called to minister to.  

Please pray with me now:

Father God, thank You for Your mercy.  Thank You for the time, albeit short, that we had with our babies.  You know the hearts of the mothers and fathers who have had babies go to Heaven before they were able to chose You.  You know our pain, but you are our Comfort.  We don't know why things happened the way they did, but we trust You to make us stronger.  Help us to live for You, and to keep our faith even though we may feel abandoned.  We know that one day we will be with You, and Your Son, and with our babies.  When the time is right, help us to help others in pain.  Please, Father, hold us.  Let us feel Your Spirit upon us so that we are comforted.  Don't let us forget that You love us, and that you will never harm us.  Thank You for your Word full of promises.  Most of all, thank You for sending Your Son to die for us so that we will spend eternity with you and our babies who are already with you.  In Your Son's Holy Name I pray, Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2012


Warning:  This post is a bit graphic in nature.  It is definitely contraversial.  However, to God be the glory!

Words bring joy.  ("The test was positive!")  Words bring pain.  ("I'm sorry, but I can't find the heart beat.")  Words are irreversible, even if one's heart or mind is changed. 

Words, I believe, are directly linked to our thoughts and feelings.  While we do have much control over our words there are still times when they get the better of us.

I am a fortunate woman.  Growing up my parents taught us to be careful with our words; they can't be taken back.  I am not always careful with my words, but often I try to be.  I don't want to hurt anyone.  Over the last eight months I've tried to be more encouraging to others than ever before.  I've learned how words can change the (my) world.

When we lost Ellie there were so many people who said, "I know how you feel.  I lost a baby, too."  I don't mean to be rude, but no, they didn't know how I felt.  I didn't even know how I felt.  I don't know how one person can tell another that.  Jon and I lost the same child, but I guarantee you we didn't feel the same things. 

Over the past week I've had opportunities to let words beat me up.  And honestly, they did.  If you've read my earlier posts you know how important life is to me.  I believe that life begins when an egg and sperm come together (conception).  My Bible tells me that God knew me before He knit me together in my mother's womb.  That means He also knew our Ellie and Poppy.  If God recognizes the unborn as lives I have no reason not to.

That said, the state of Virginia recently passed a law requiring women who want abortions to have ultrasounds done prior to the procedure.  (I believe this is a wonderful step in the right direction.)  Babies are too small to see inside the womb before 12 weeks.  Because of this, transvaginal ultrasounds are used.  Most abortions are performed before 12 weeks.  That means these government mandated ultrasounds are transvaginal.  People who are upset about this law are calling this "government forced rape."  I had a friend on Facebook who posted this.  I had to (mostly respectfully) disagree with him, as I have experienced them.  Don't get me wrong; I don't think I'll have them just for fun on days the library is closed, but it's far from rape.  Another poster replied that they are more like an unwanted gynocological exam.  I have to agree with her.  After some debate, someone called our children (and all unborn children) "clumps of cells."  At that point Jon advised me "not to argue with idiots."  He said I'd just get more upset.  And he was right.

Two nights later Jon found me in bed squalling for all I am worth and them some.  He had no idea what was wrong, but thought he'd done something.  I managed to tell him that those words were still hurting.  I know it had to hurt him, too.  I just could not (and still can't) believe how cruel people are with their words.  Because he let such horrid (in my opinion) things go on on his FB wall, I had to unfriend this person.  I've known him for years, but that no longer matters.  My counselor told me to delete people who hurt me.  It's Facebook.  This was the first time I've followed her advice.  (There are other instances of when it should have been done, but this was the first time I actually had the nerve to do it.)

I know we live in a democracy, and abortion has been legal my entire lifetime, but it is still a very hot topic.  I wonder how many people who support it have experienced miscarriages.  I wonder how many who have had abortions regret having them.  I know that had Ellie been born our lives would be drastically different now.  I know that had we not lost Poppy I'd be about halfway through the pregnancy now and Jon most likely wouldn't have been able to change jobs.  That doesn't mean I don't love them and miss them every day.  It does, however, make me want to NOT extend grace (Ellie's middle name) to those who view the unborn different than I.

And then Jesus reminds me that He died for Conservatives AND Liberals.  He died for all of us, not just those of us who follow (or attempt to, anyway) Him.  Jesus has extended the same offer of grace to the person who believes Ellie and Poppy were nothing more than "clumps of cells" that He did to me.  As His follower, as a child of God, it is MY responsiblity not to tell these people that not that they are going to hell for their beliefs, but to show them the way to Heaven through mine.

Think about what you say before you say it.  It could make or break your witness.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Grandma Jones

Everybody ought to have a Grandma Jones.  I went to see mine this afternoon.  My Grandma Jones is 87 years old.  She has really seen a lot in her lifetime.  She raised nine children.  She buried her husband, one child, and a great-grandbaby.  She has led a full, productive life.  And I've never known her to lose her temper.  I remember sitting on her lap as a child and her reading me stories.  My very favorite was this huge book about the gingerbread man.  When I spent the night with her she'd tell me bedtime stories.  Her version of The Three Little Pigs is the best one I've ever heard.  And in the summertime we didn't sleep at the head of the bed.  We slept at the foot... 'cause that's where we could feel the ceiling fan best.

Grandma has 22 grandchildren.  She has only spanked one of us.  It was not me.  (I'm sure there were times I needed it, though.)  While she was taking care of this particular cousin and his sisters and brother (their parents were in Seattle; their mother was battling leukemia and having treatments out west) said cousin absolutely refused to do his homework.  I wish y'all could hear Grandma say, "And he WOULD NOT do his homework!"  I don't know that she means to be funny when recounting this story, but it is hysterical to me.  I remember Grandma having a pillow with a stick (almost like a paint stirrer) attached with "Grandma's Paddle" embroidered on it.  However, I don't think that's the one she used on my homework hating cousin.  All in all, though, she's pretty laid back.

When we were children four of my cousins who lived far away would always come to visit during summer for two weeks.  About four others of us would spend the days with Grandma enjoying our cousins' visits.  One of the best parts of those two weeks was us taking turns picking out that day's flavor Kool Aid.  Orange is still my favorite.  One of my least favorite times was one particular cousin telling me to touch the electric fence we kept the hogs in (he did this frequently).  Daddy told me not to touch it, so I knew it was in my best interest to leave it alone... for multiple reasons.

Have you ever seen your grandmother run?  I have.  One time.  It was in 1990.  I remember this specific event because it was the night my sister cut her finger off.  (Don't worry, it was sewn back on.)  We lived next door to Grandma.  The running event started this way:  Mama was in the kitchen fixing supper.  Jessica, about nine months old, was playing with a green bean can.  All we can figure is the can mashed her finger off.  Meanwhile, in the bathroom, Daddy was overseeing my bath.  I wasn't supposed have the water past my belly button.  I don't remember for sure, but I reckon Mama hollered and Daddy left me to drown.  I didn't know what was going on, but I sure wasn't going to let the opportunity pass to have deeper-than-I-was-supposed-to bath water.  And that's when Grandma came running in the bathroom. Apparently Mama and Daddy called her to come watch me while they rushed Jessica and her barely hanging on finger to the emergency room.  I will never forget the panic of her disposition as she hurriedly turned off the water.  Me?  I was just as calm as I could be.  Now we joke that that was the night Mama tried to chop Jessica's fingers off and Daddy tried to drown me.  Didn't work.

I've always loved being told stories.  One of my favorite about my family is Grandma talking about Great-Grandmama Jones wanting a milk cow.  Great-Grandmama had gotten on up in age, and she and Great-Grandaddy built a house next to Grandma and Grandaddy.  (My Grandaddy Jones, F.W., was their oldest child.  I didn't know him.  He passed away when Daddy was in college.)  Anyhow, my laid back Grandma put her foot down about that milk cow.  She said something along the lines of, "Oh, no.  Not more work for Vera."  (Vera is Grandma's first name.  It's of Russian origin and means "faithful."  I think that's a very appropriate name for her.)  I really wish y'all could hear my Grandma talk.  She's so serious, but like my daddy, that just makes it all the funnier.

And then there's the story of why the Joneses buy chickens from the grocery store rather than raising them on the farm.  Grandma had a chicken coop.  Grandaddy had dogs.  Grandaddy's dogs got after Grandma's chickens, and that didn't sit too well with Grandma.  My demure, laid back Grandma said, "F.W., we can either have your dogs or the chickens."  Grandaddy chose his dogs.  Grandma had a neighbor lady, Miss Ceely, come help her dress all the chickens and put them in the freezer.  And from that point on, "Vera bought her chickens in town."

Oh, I wish everybody knew their grandparents!  I enjoy hearing the three I know tell me about when they were young.  I value their opinions and advice as an adult.  Grandparents are priceless.

The best thing about my grandparents, though, is that I know that my grandparents will be with me (and my babies) in Heaven.  Not only do I have them on Earth, I'll also get to spend eternity with them!

This picture was taken at Providence Baptist Church, Mothers Day 2004.  It's three generations and absolutely priceless.

Friday, February 17, 2012


This past year I've experienced a lot.  Job changes and moves... Highs and lows...  Honestly, through it all I've been thoroughly shaken.  There is one thing I know for certain, though.  

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) 

The move to Georgia was a good thing.  I was glad to be closer to my parents, siblings, and grandparents geographically.  Jon and I found a town home an hour and a half from Lyons.  Home is where one's mama is, and my mama is in Lyons.

In amongst the good things we've also had devastation.  Reading my post from almost a year ago led me to write this one.

Governor Nathan Deal, last year at Ag Day at the Depot, pointed out that on the farm we learn to value life.  As a child I experienced piglets, kids (of the goat variety), and my very own sister and brother.  I remember how excited I was when Mama was expecting Jessica and John.  I often remind Jessica that I loved her before even Mama and Daddy did.  I remember hugging our baby (John) when Mama was expecting him.  I was going to be a big sister again!  Really, I have loved them both longer than they've been drawing breaths of oxygen.

(My parents planned on me being an only child.  They lost a baby between Jessica and me, but I didn't know it until years later.  When I told my mother I wanted a little sister she told me to pray for one.  I did.  Two weeks later we found out we were going to have a baby!  And to top that off, the baby was due around my birthday!  So I started praying for my little sister to be born on my birthday.  Jessica was born at a time when ultrasounds were only done when the doctor thought there could be a problem.  We didn't know she was a girl--for sure-- until the day she was born... my fifth birthday.  I think if she'd have been a brother we'd have had to have traded her.)

I remember a sermon being preached on abortion. (It was probably Sanctity of Life Sunday.)  I was little, although I don't remember my exact age at the time.  I didn't know what the word meant, so after church I asked my mother, and as tactfully as one can explain something like that, she told me.  I was appalled!  I knew how much I loved Jessica and John BEFORE THEY WERE BORN.  I couldn't imagine someone choosing to take the life of someone who hadn't had a chance at all!

After the last eight months I've become even more passionate about life.  Jon, my husband, and I saw the most magnificent thing we've ever seen last May.  We saw our child!  We saw the baby's heart beat, and it looked like a lightning bug.  I can't tell you how amazing it was!  I was six weeks pregnant and we saw the OBGYN for a confirmation of pregnancy.  The baby looked like a blob, but it was a beautiful blob.

If you're a mother you may have felt that your child was either a girl or a boy early in your pregnancy.  I really believe our first baby was a girl.  We chose the name Elizabeth Grace for her.  We decided to call her Ellie.  (Elizabeth was Jon's grandmother's middle name.  Grace is something none of us could live without.)  Two weeks later our hopes and dreams for the family we were becoming were shattered.  The ultrasound tech couldn't find Ellie's heart beat.  I had a D and C four days later. 

We decided that we would try again.  After all, 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.  November 7, 2011, there was a faint second line on the pregnancy test.  Jon saw it before I did.  Again, we were overjoyed, but scared to death.  We decided to keep it a secret until I was through the first trimester.  Then the problems started.  Two days after the positive I knew something was wrong.  I called my doctor and was told not to call back unless my problems were much more severe.  (I then changed to a more caring practice.)  By Thanksgiving it was all over... again.  I call our second baby, whom we never saw but loved very much, Poppy.  He was the size of a poppy seed when he went to Heaven.

In Heaven I have so many loved ones.  My great-grandparents are there.  I have a sister or brother there.  I often think of my Mammy (who passed away in 2005), my Aunt Jenny (who passed away in 1985; I don't remember her, but I know I would have loved her), and my grandfather's second wife Ruby (who passed away in 2009, five months after Jon and I were married) loving on my babies. I also think of Jon's grandmother, the one for whom Ellie was named, loving on them.  I didn't know Mrs. Conrad; she passed away shortly after Jon's parents were married.  I do know, however, that her faith was very dear to her.  I trust her son, my father-in-law, when he says without a doubt that she is in Heaven.  That makes one more person to hold and cuddle Ellie and Poppy until I can get to Heaven to do it myself.

All that said, I can't believe some people purposefully take their children's lives.  I miss Ellie and Poppy every day.  I long for the day I'm with them (and Jesus) in Heaven.

Now I have a chance to share my story.  It's a story of loss, pain, hope, and healing.  I still have a long way to go, but I hope and pray that my story of our little ones in Heaven will help further the Kingdom.