My short stint in Texas with an amazing ministry was full and worth every minute. I really enjoyed my time there and met some amazing moms and dads, all of whom are working their hardest at going through this journey called grief.
I arrived at the church where the event was to be taken place and walked down a sidewalk and on either side of me were huge bunches of balloons all tied together. Pink, blue, and white (for miscarriage). I had no problem preparing myself for the next few hours because grief was in front of me all the time. The balloons, the t-shirts that families came in wearing with their babies names or footprints on them, a memory table for you to display anything you wanted that had to do with your baby(ies), mommies wiping away tears, people hugging one another, etc. It was so moving and so sad. So many losses and so many hurting hearts. I could not help but think about how wonderful Heaven would be for so many. It just put it into perspective for me just how many people out there are going through loss and grief.
The ceremony went well. They sang a few songs, some of which I helped pick out. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Untitled Hymn by Chris Rice, and Jesus Loves me. The songs were sung by someone they had come in for the music, not the actual songs played over the speakers. I think that helped me because I wasn't so emotional going up to speak just after hearing Untitled Hymn. It was still hard to hear, but it could have been harder had it been Chris Rice singing it. (Untitled Hymn was the song we had played at Molly's memorial service. It was the last song we listened to before we went outside to release balloons to Heaven for her.)
Then there was a time where two of the women who help with the walk got up and read off the names of all 140 babies who were being remembered that day. That was incredible hard to listen to. And when each name was read, the families of that baby would get up and place an ornament on a magnolia tree to remember them. It was really bittersweet.
I got up to speak and the first thing I said to everyone was "I wish I could hug each and every one of you and tell you how sorry I am for your losses." I was just so moved by all the sadness in the room and all the hurting hearts. It was so palatable. So heavy with hurt.
I went on with my talk, spoke mostly about Molly's story and talked basically about how we can have perspective in the midst of loss and pain and suffering. I just shared with them my own journey through grief and loss and then encouraged them to put their hope and trust in Jesus to help them through this most difficult season.
It went really, really well. I saw a lot of nodding heads while I was speaking and a lot of people crying along with me when I talked about removing life support from Molly. I did start to cry a few times but it never lasted long and I was able to get through it which was good.
Then we all went outside, got balloons for our babies, and then did a short walk and released them into the gorgeous blue sky. The weather could not have been better. It was dry and warm and absolutely no humidity!
Then I stood at the resources table and sold a few of my books and signed a few as well. I got to tell several of the moms and dads how sorry I was and got to hug a few too. It felt good for me to hug them and tell them how sorry I was. I genuinely felt their pain because I am where they are.
All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I am SO glad that I went and did it. I was so nervous but so glad that I followed through with it. It was a great reward for me. I also really enjoyed the quiet and the time alone. It was refreshing for my soul and heart. I was able to rest and do a lot of thinking and processing.
Thanks so much for the prayers!! I am SO grateful for them all!!