Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bittersweet Blankets

It seems this whole summer has been building in momentum toward this one week in August, the week Eliana would have been born. Not just this summer, of course, but the last nine months. It’s so strange how the events of May 9th didn’t change this feeling that something was building, we were preparing for something, something big and life-altering...and it took on a shape I would never have expected.

Since losing Eliana I have felt all the love and energy that a mom showers on her new baby, but it was without a recipient. When I got in touch with Birthright in our city, it was like a healing balm to my heart, to talk with the director and come up with a way to use my passion to help unborn babies and their mother’s in a loving, tangible way.

Birthright is an organization who provides free pregnancy tests and counseling to women facing an unplanned pregnancy. They educate women on the facts about the baby growing inside of them, and offer them lots of love and encouragement. At the end of their visit, they give pregnant women the first gift for their baby. It is a bundle containing a blanket, onesie, and stuffed animal. In many cases, this helps the mom to begin a bond with her baby. She can feel the soft blanket and imagine the softness of her baby’s skin, look at the onesie, and think of the baby growing big enough to dress in it, and imagine playing with her child with the stuffed animal. There are many success stories of women who come into Birthright strongly considering an abortion, who decide either to keep the baby, or have them adopted.

I decided to host a shower for Birthright through our church. I spent the next month picking out adorable fleece fabric, and enlisting the help of lots of awesome friends at church to pick out onesies and stuffed animals and cut fabric. One girl who is a teacher had the cool idea of adding in a baby board book as an extra touch so we did that too. Another friend made special invitations to the event and tags to put on our bundles that say we are praying. Many ladies brought other special items like diapers, wipes, and other newborn layette items to donate, and others contributed financially.

Jayden was so excited about all the ducky's when I brought the fleece home.

Here are all 40 blankets ready to be finished

Last night was when it all came so beautifully together. We all gathered and had a prayer time for Birthright, tied the fleece blankets, and made all the bundles. It was so great to see all the women there united in the cause, working together with a common purpose to honor the lives of unborn babies, and knowing it was all born out of my love for Eliana and all she brought into our lives.

Of course the whole thing was bittersweet. Leading up to the shower I spent evenings cutting fleece for the blankets, praying over the babies and mommy’s who would receive them, while crying for Eliana. I long to be spending this week giving birth to her, getting to know her, and showering her with love, but I am so thankful that God gave me a vision for something else I could do with that love. It was so much fun to see how he worked for this to come together, and I know as we continue to pray for the recipients of our bundles, even though we don’t know who they will be, He will use those prayers on an individual basis to work His plan in their lives.

Today I got to deliver all of our donations to Birthright, and it was so amazing to get to meet Judy, the director face to face. We had several great conversations over the phone and shared lots of stories together. She is a dear woman who has such an amazing heart for God and such a passion for the ministry at Birthright. It is a joy just to know her, and be a part of this work, and it is just one more awesome thing that has come about because of Eliana.

Here I am at Birthright with Judy, the shelf behind us is where they will store all the blanket bundles we brought in.

How beautiful it is to see the mysterious way that God works to bring about His plan for our lives. We planned to hold our baby, to breath in the smell of her hair, and savor the softness of her skin. To go girl-crazy with pink bows, hearts, and flowers, to wrap her up in soft blankets and cuddle her as she sleeps…but that wasn’t to be. Instead we gathered an abundance of fleece blankets, onsies, newborn hats, and stuffed animals in gender neautral colors, to wait for babies who we will never see, but who we love and pray for. I am so blessed by the way we have been able to honor Eliana’s life this week, and so excited as I think of how God can use this in the lives of pregnant women, and even to save the lives of precious babies!

There has been so much momentum leading up to this week...and now here we are, our arms so empty but our hearts somehow full. Our eyes still tearful, but our hearts hopeful. Pain in what has passed, but peace for what lies ahead…peace like a river. There are still lots of tears, there is sadness daily, but hope seeps in slowly, waiting to well up within us and spill over.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 16-18

1 comment:

  1. Wow. You are amazing! I too found that reaching out and doing things for others the week of Ella's due date to be very healing. You blankets are beautiful. I'm thinkng of you during this difficult week.