Sunday, January 26, 2014

We Remember You Update

Hello there! This is Karen, and I think this is like my second entry here! I don't often get to be the author on this blog (I need about 12 more hours in my day!!), so I am excited to be the one to update you on our very first We Remember You conference!

So much time, effort, thought, and love went into the planning of this event. We had such amazing support from volunteers who took on setting up, baking, decorating, and so much more. Becky, Rachel, and I cannot thank those people enough. We have felt so loved and so supported by your sacrifices to make this event a success! The decorations were beautiful, the food was delicious, the garden was precious, the crafts were amazing, the speakers were wonderful, and the women were blessed.

What a beautiful, beautiful day. I think pictures speak louder than words, so here are a few from the event...

We had a WONDERFUL turnout of about forty women, and each one had a unique and special story and reason for being there. I talked to women who were struggling to start their family, who had an abortion years ago, who lost one baby, two babies, five babies through miscarriage or stillbirth. There were women who's losses were four weeks ago and women who's losses were forty years ago. There were mothers, sisters, and friends of women who've struggled, who came simply to support them and learn more about how to love them through their grief. There were women of all ages and all walks of life, and it was truly an honor to be counted among them.

I personally was able to sit in on two workshops, and it was so amazing to listen to the stories, the encouragement, and the truth that was offered to these women from others who have walked the same road. I am so proud of each of the workshop facilitators who took such a huge risk at being vulnerable, real, and honest in sharing their stories and the lessons they've learned. I learned a lot myself!!!

Because each woman that attended has such a unique background and experience, I am sure that each woman walked away with something completely different. I can only speak to what I walked away with, and that is how incredibly strong we are, how incredibly special we are, to have been chosen to carry so much pain. Many times in my life, especially in the past couple of years, I have felt...almost cursed. As if I had been "pegged" by God, to be picked on and tested and asked to carry far more than I was capable of. I look at other people and wonder why they seem to have it so easy in this life. Why is it that some of us just seem to be "chosen" to be the Jobs of this world, and some of us seem to fly through life unscathed?

I have come to believe, though, that those of us who have been "chosen," have been plucked up by the hand of God himself, just as a beautiful flower you can't resist picking, and have been given the honor of experiencing a deeper and more intimate relationship with the Lord, because of the deep sorrow we have endured. As I sat among those women, I felt incredibly honored to be one of them, and I realized that I did not feel cursed, I felt chosen. I don't think a single one of us would have asked to be there, would have chosen this path for ourselves, but there we were. And we were together in our pain, together in our healing...just together. It was a pretty powerful thing.

There were a lot of wonderful things about this day, but I have to share with you the MOST wonderful thing, and that is that one of the women that came decided to accept Christ!!! That one decision, that one woman coming to the event and speaking with our mentors and deciding to accept the free gift of salvation and begin a relationship with Jesus, that makes all of it, and I do mean all of it, completely and totally worth it. 

From the event, we have also been contacted by several people who either attended or heard about our event, and Becky and I are busy trying to follow up with each of them and are so excited to see where all of it leads!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support in these past several months as we have launched this ministry and planned this event. We cannot wait to see what God does with it all. Each of us within Forget Me Not feel very strongly that God has big plans for this ministry! We hope you will continue to follow us along this journey and see where it takes us!!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

...Someone Doesn't Want this Event to Happen...

I walked down the driveway feeling encouraged.  Hopeful.  Like this could all really happen.  And yet.  And yet her final words to us were still ringing in the back of my mind.

"If you are going to do this, then you better be ready.  Because this is from the Lord and it will be used in huge ways if He continues to bless it.  And there is someone who will not want that to happen.  So be ready.  Because the enemy will do everything he can to stop you.  Be ready."

And that was July 11, 2013.  Nearly 8 months ago.  And this week, her warning rang true.

See, it's been a week.'s been a week.  I will spare you all of the gory details, but to make some very long stories short-- I made some  mistakes at work (that nearly could have cost me my job--in fact, they really could have-), was left to clean up my own mess--  And then there was the nasty case of respiratory crud that hit (which is really not that unusual for this asthmatic), but hit in the mist of the work fiasco and nearly drove me to the ER on Thursday night.  We managed to avoid that, but I have been down and out for the last day and a half, dead to the world and unable to work on anything for the ministry or our fast approaching event.  And in the midst of it all, my mind has been plagued with overwhelming thoughts of worry, despair, and darkness.

Worry?  Despair?  Darkness?  These do not come from God.  These come from one place only.  And that is how I know

Someone does not want this event to happen.

Well all praise and thanks to God for carrying me (literally carrying me-- ever had one of those days/weeks/journeys where the evidence that He gently picked you up and carried you when you could no longer walk was just undeniable??!) through my work mess, giving me the strength  to face the office another full 3 days this week, and to make it through this illness while managing to avoid any major setbacks.  It all could have been a lot worse.  Much worse.

And guess what else I realized in all of this?  I have been handling a large part of the administrative responsibilities with this ministry and next Saturday's event--but I was MIA the majority of the week because of all that was going on and -- things kept on moving right along without me.  

Cuz guess what.  This ministry is going to move forward regardless of my involvement or what the enemy decides to throw in our way.  Because there is a need.  (4 boxes went out this week alone.)  A  need for wounded women to find hope and healing through Christ and His love.  And He isn't about to let anyone or anything to get in the way of that.  He's too big.  And He cares too much. 

One more time-- here is the kick off event info.

And so.  Come rain or shine.  Regardless of whether all of our planned tiny details come together perfectly the way that we've planned or they don't.  This event is happening.  And there is a team of us who have been praying for you.  Praying that if your heart is hurting in this area, that you will come.  And that we will be able to encourage you.  To love you.  To show you that you're not alone.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.   Proverbs 19

Sunday, January 5, 2014

We Remember You - A Day of Hope and Healing

You've seen our fliers.

You've watched our video.

You've heard about our box ministry.

You've read our requests for help and prayer.

So what's this all about?

This is our dream.  This is our hope.  Our mission.

The first step was our box ministry.  Our vision was that through the church, any woman who knew of a friend, family member, neighbor, or perhaps even herself, in need of comfort and encouragement because of a miscarriage, late loss, stillbirth, or early infant loss could get a small box of comfort items and to her know that both she and her baby were remembered and loved.  And to date:

-50 total boxes are ready to go

-8 boxes have gone out

-1 box went to a family who just lost their baby boy on Christmas Eve

-2 of those boxes have gone to two different churches in Oklahoma--those two pastors are now planning to work with us to help them build their own FMN ministries at their churches

-many MANY conversations about FMN and thus about Jesus have transpired between those of us in the ministry and others--some of which have been perfect strangers (strange things can happen at the Jo-Anne's cut counter, ok?!)

And the second step is really what this post is all about. 

We Remember You is a day of healing for women affected by pregnancy loss, abortion, or infertility.   We invite you to attend this special seminar on Saturday, January 18th, 2014 in the Education Center at Palmcroft,  9am- 1pm with a light brunch beginning at 8:30 am.  If you are able, the suggested donation is $5.  Palmcroft is located at 15825 N. 35th Ave.

Click here for event flier

In exactly two weeks, we will be holding this, our first kickoff event.  This is likely the part you have seen us advertising whenever and wherever we can, but you're probably still asking yourself, "what is it??"

Want to know if this event is for you?  Or who you should consider inviting?  So here's the scoop.  This Saturday morning event is going to be run like a workshop.  In fact, here are some details that we haven't previously released:

Healing From Pregnancy Loss (Workshop 1)
This session will be directed toward women who have experienced any type of pregnancy loss including early miscarriage, late loss, stillbirth, and abortion.  Questions and topics discussed will include:

    • Will I see my baby again?
    • How do I deal with the emotions that follow loss for months and years to come?
    • Why is God letting this happen to me?
    • Why do other women get a healthy baby while I do not?
    • If I had an abortion, does God forgive me and how do I deal with guilt and grief?  Will I see my baby again?
    • If I had an abortion, how do I talk about that with other Christian women?  Won’t they look at me differently?

The Struggle of Infertility (Workshop 2)
This session will be directed toward women who have experienced or are experiencing difficulty in conceiving.  Questions and topics discussed will include:

    • Why is God allowing this struggle in my life?
    • Why do other women who get a baby while I don’t?
    • If I take advantage of modern medicine to try and conceive, am I “playing God?”
    • How do I maintain romance and connection with my husband in the midst of this journey?
    • What does the Bible say about infertility?
    • What does the Bible say about IVF and other options for conception?
    • Why should I/shouldn’t I consider adoption?

    Pregnancy, Parenting, and Maintaining a Godly Marriage in the Midst of Grief (Workshop 3)
    This session will be directed toward women who are married and experiencing the stressors of pregnancy loss or infertility, women who might experience pregnancy again after loss, and women who are parenting other children through/after a loss.  Questions and topic discussed will include:

      • How do I reconnect with my husband after loss?
      • How do I reconnect with my husband during our infertility struggle?
      • How do we find romance and hope in our marriage in the midst of grief?
      • How do I deal with a husband who doesn't know how to be supportive of my loss and/or infertility?
      • Does my husband grieve differently?  How?
      • What are some practical ways that I can protect my marriage during this time?
      • How do I deal with the paralyzing fear that comes with pregnancy after loss (or that comes after watching my friends experience losses?)  
      • How do I explain my loss(es) to my other children?  

    Supporting a Grieving Loved One (Workshop 4)
    This session will be directed toward women who have walked the road of grief as a result of pregnancy loss or infertility with a family member or friend.  Questions and topics discussed will include:
      • How can I show love to her during this time?
      • What should I say?  What should I not say?
      • How do I support her while I grieve the loss and/or unmet desire too (as grandmother, aunt, etc.)?
      • How can I love a friend/family member who is hurting from abortion?
      • What are some practical things that I can do to help?

    Each woman in attendance will be able to choose 2 of the 4 workshops to attend.  Each of these workshops will be led by a pair of very brave women who will be sharing from their own personal life experiences in these areas.  It will be vulnerable and real.  

    Think you want to attend but feel like maybe only one session is a good fit for you?  No problem.  While all of these workshops are going on, so will our "Memory Making" session.  This is an informal session in which any woman who attends will be able to make a small craft, like a bracelet, keychain, or Christmas ornament by which to remember their loved little one who is no longer with us.  We will also have the materials to make a beautiful little journal to take home if your struggle is more related to infertility, or if you are attending in support of another woman and wish to make something for her.  

    And if the thought of putting together a craft project totally stresses you out (not everyone's favorite color is glitter!!), then we will have places where you can hang out, grab a bite to eat, and even a quiet room where you can go to think, pray, or talk with one of our trained mentors.

    We will also be "planting" our Garden of Remembrance.  "What's that??" you ask.  Come join us and find out.  In fact, we can't wait to show you.  We think that it will be a beautiful visual representation of the little ones that we will meet again and of the countless who struggle to ever even conceive.  

    We have tried very hard to make sure that there will be something for every woman who attends.

    The bottom line we want to make sure that you understand about this event with which we have been bombarding your Facebook newsfeed as of late?

    In order to attend this event it is not necessary to have personally had an experience with pregnancy loss, abortion, or infertility.  It is only necessary to have a desire to want to reach out and minister to other women who are hurting in these areas.  And if you're reading this post?  Then you already know one.

    We will be announcing our plans for support groups, box packing parties and more at this event.  Please.  Come join us.  We would love to have you.  We hope that this is just the beginning.

    Please let us know if you have any questions at all or would like more information or some fliers for your own distribution.

    Thank you for reading this lengthy post and we hope to see you there.  

    If you choose to come?  You will be amongst friends.  Friends who love you, support you, and understand the road you walk.  We don't want you to suffer in isolating silence anymore.