Sunday, December 6, 2015

My Life Matters

Something has been on my mind for a few days now and I thought I'd take time (sometime) to write a proper blog entry - but I hadn't. In the meantime I've seen evidence more than once that maybe my perspective on this should be shared. So I won't put it off anymore regardless of how much is on my to-do list right now.   Hopefully, everyone can take something from what I have to say about this.

I'm going to borrow the words from the writer of a separate blog from #stillstandingmagazine #stillstanding because frankly I think what she's said is profoundly true - "DEATH DOES NOT NEGATE EXISTENCE" I'm not screaming at you - I'm making the important words BOLD. Let me say that again. Let it really sink in. Absorb each word for what it is and what it means: "Death does not negate existence."

Two days ago I read a blog on her page (you can read it here Still Standing Magazine - Death does not Negate Existence) about a little boy, Nicholas, who brought a photograph of his family that included his deceased brother. His teacher sent him home with an unsealed note that said the photograph was inappropriate and he should not have brought it to school.

This could be interpreted many many ways and as a school teacher of young children I know I've made mistakes but I have had a really hard time wrapping my head around this one. I think of poor Nicholas, who no doubt was so excited to be a big brother, who probably shared with all his classmates that he was having a baby brother, and not only is he unable to ever bring that baby brother home with him, society tells him you can't share him with your friends either. Well, I say society because to a child family and school pretty much make up the entire world.  It broke my heart to read about this and I tried very hard to put myself there, in that classroom, with those kids.  I know it's a very delicate subject matter but we are supposed to be, in my opinion, above all else, a safe place for the children we are entrusted with to come to for love, support, and learning.  Yes, I understand it opens up your classroom to conversation that can go anywhere (believe me - I've been there) but more than that this could have been an opportunity for the entire class to learn a huge lesson that can't be taught in books - and I don't just mean life and death, I mean empathy, sympathy, love, and more importantly learning that it's okay to talk about death.

One of the biggest misconceptions that I've found in my own grief journey is that social etiquette (or whatever guides our social norms) dictates that you don't bring up death, or the deceased, I assume because you could somehow make the loss worse by talking about it. I understand - I too had that mindset before the loss of Owen.  I remember every single time I saw my friend Jeff's mom, Mrs. Judy, I wanted with all my being to tell her one funny story about Jeff, or how his accident had changed my faith (in a powerful way) or anything about the wonderful, funny, carefree child she had loved and lost - but I never would, because I sure didn't want to say the wrong thing and I sure didn't want to upset her by bringing it up.  I was so wrong and if you avoid those kinds of conversations because you don't know what to say or because they make you uncomfortable then you are wrong too.  I cannot for the life of me think of ONE single time that someone has mentioned Owen to me that I've walked away and thought man I was having a great day until just now?!  That has NEVER happened. People mention Owen and my heart smiles because his death DOES NOT negate the fact that he LIVED. HE EXISTED. HE WAS HERE AND HE MATTERED. And when you share your words, thoughts and feelings it shows us that our loved ones matter to more than just us (and that is probably the BEST gift you can give a grieving parent).  I'm certainly not saying you approach someone and say, hey I remember when your kid died - I mean if you have something meaningful to share and you feel compelled to share allow those words, thoughts, or feelings be a gift to that broken heart. They may smile, they may cry huge ugly crocodile tears, they may hug you - but my personal experience - on both ends of this is that they will be grateful that you cared about their loved one and that you cared about them enough to share.  It's been about 12 years since the accident that took Jeff's life. A couple years back, sometime after we lost Owen, I ran into Mrs. Judy in the middle of the grocery store, next to the eggs - a moment worth remembering - and I finally told her what I wanted to share at his funeral but couldn't. I know it caught her off guard, and I could see the tears getting ready to come but it was important to both of us. I even apologized for waiting so long to tell her and she understood like only a grieving mom does.

On the other side of the coin there's a chance that maybe you are in the presence of a grieving parent and they share their story with you (God knows I've done this a thousand times).  I know it's not the most comfortable thing to talk about - I do - but that isn't going to silence me. My son mattered - he was part of me and always will be. If I talk to you about Owen just listening is ministering to my needs.  If I talk to you about Owen it was on my heart to share or I am trusting you with a sacred piece of my heart.  Accept the gift I'm giving you - to know my child.  Owen's story stops when I stop sharing it. His legacy ends when I am silenced. I have NO INTENTION of being silent anytime soon. His life, his love, it changed me, made me better, stronger, more faithful. He is so much of my testimony. I am not stuck where I left him, I am simply bringing him along for the part of the journey he is missing oit on.  There is nothing wrong with me - I'm human. If we love something deeply we also hurt deeply when we lose that love.

Tonight an old friend who recently lost a grandchild was talking to me. And in the conversation she casually says, "well they told me to delete her [the grandchild's] pictures off my phone and quit showing them to everyone." I was appalled and I immediately thought of little Nicholas. So I told her, "Tell them 'Death does not negate existence' she was your granddaughter - she still is and you tell everyone you need to about her."  Just because you don't understand something or it makes you uncomfortable doesn't give you the right to tell someone how they should grieve or when they should move on.

There's a part of me that heals every time I talk about Owen.  I'm not stuck but I didn't quit being his mom just because he died. I still mother his spirit whenever I get the chance.

Another thought, going back to the quote "death does not negate existence." I feel that this quote is a powerful truth to moms who suffer a miscarriage.  We've all seen the pro-life ads that say, "life begins at conception," yet society (why are we as a collective group so wrong about so much), says we don't talk about or grieve a miscarriage publicly or in the same manner we grieve someone who has been born.  Isn't this quite the double standard - we celebrate the coming of a new baby - before the baby is born, but if that baby doesn't make it out of the mother's womb we should just act as though it didn't happen?  We certainly don't talk about it because well we never actually saw the baby so let's pretend it wasn't real. I know not everyone is this way - believe me I do - but I've spoken to so many grieving mothers in my work as a peer counselor and many said, it's like it wasn't real to anyone but me. 1 in 4 women (probably more) have or will experience a miscarriage and to add insult to injury most will grieve silently, alone, because people don't talk about that.  I understand it is incredibly private and delicate and sensitive and it should be approached that way but a caring card, a kind text or call, a simple prayer, better yet a meal or helping out in some way would go a long way toward showing love for someone who has suffered a devestating loss.

Finally, and this is my final thought, in talking with that grandmother today I was reminded of a revelation I'd had years ago. My mom (will probably kill me for sharing this but) well she kind of commands a room.  She loves deeply but years in management make her a take charge kind of person. If any of our NICU nurses are reading this they are probably getting a chuckle. My mom loved and still loves Owen deeply. It is a hurt that will likely never heal and some days it's as raw as the day it all began and that's perfectly fine.  She would sometimes, how can I say this, overstep (don't worry mom I'm laughing about this - hope you will too). For example, she was known to walk right into the room no matter who was holding him and just take him.  More than once I remember her taking him out of my arms and me still sitting looking dumbfounded knowing I should have a baby in my arms, but she (most of the time) would give him right back - to me at least - until I was ready to share. It all came from a very loving place - from a very grandma place that I won't know about for many years. Anyways, I say all that to say I remember a conversation we once had that really upset me. [Just a disclaimer: most of my communication failures with my mom involve me misunderstanding her tone and thinking she means something based on the way she says it - so . . .] She started with "you have no idea how hard this is for me" but it was said in a way (in my opinion) as though to say it was somehow harder for her to face losing Owen than it was for me. In the moment I took great offense - like somehow she cared more and therefore what was happening to MY child was harder on her than it was on me.  It was sometime later, much later, when I was driving down the road - thinking about my brother actually and how he had stood by and watched his only sibling lose her only child and how, while he loved Owen (and he truly did love Owen) he always seemed to have more concern for how I was doing in all of this.  In that moment I had to pull off the road because the tears overwhelmed me and I finally understood that my mom was so right. I really didn't have any idea how much harder this was for her and it had NOTHING to do with my lack of love for Owen and EVERYTHING to do with how much she loved me.  I had looked at it as I'm the one losing a child, you are losing a grandchild, therefore, my loss is greater. And while I had lost the most important thing in the world to me it suddenly became clear that my mom's loss was twofold.  Surely she couldn't have loved Owen more than me (grandparents you can argue that elsewhere) but she loves me the way I love him and she had to stand by powerless to stop the crushing heartbreak that was headed my way.  She had to go through the heartache of seeing her only daughter lose her only child, on top of losing her only grandchild at the same time.  She would grieve my loss as well as her own. So, here's my point, to the grandmother I saw tonight - I understand that your loss is multiplied. I also understand that grief is different for everyone and it's not a competition of who grieves the longest, hardest, most, ect. We grieve until. That's what I know. And we can't judge one another for grieving differently.  Me, I don't visit Owen in the cemetery very often. I've asked Ed and my mom not to judge my love for him by the number of times I go to his final resting spot because for me Owen is the wind, the sunrise, the moon, a ladybug, he's all these things but he is not there [in the cemetery] - he's free in Heaven. There are those who feel closer to their loved ones when they are at the cemetery and that's okay too. People grieve differently. Let's just try not to measure our love by how long or how deep we grieve.

That's it. That's what I wanted to share.  I thank you for taking the time to read this. I thank you for being on this journey with me and my family. I hope something I've said in some way ministers to your heart and spirit and that you can somehow grow from what I've shared here.  Please take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments. Have you wanted to say something to a grieving parent but didn't for some reason?  Have you been on the receiving end of that kind of conversation? Agree, disagree - let me know.

May God bless you and yours,
Jerica Elizabeth Ward

Disclaimer: I really wanted to name this blog "Death does not Negate Existence" but Lori Ennis already wrote a great blog called that so I'm going to use her quote and share the link here: Still Standing Magazine - Death Does Not Negate Existence

Saturday, August 8, 2015


I cringe every single time I hear, think, or say, "I wish time would stop," or "Why can't time stand still?" Because time did stop for us on March 16, 2011. And it did stand still for us until August 8, when Elizabella was born. I know it's a natural impossibility, the idea of time stopping, but as parents we just want to be able to soak in so much more than we get to, and often our children are changing before our eyes faster than we realize.  Those phrases never bothered me before and I still think those thoughts but they carry new meaning for me now.

Today though, I took some time to think about the elusiveness of Time and found this to be true: we can't stop it, we can't know when it will end, we can't get it back when it's gone, and we can't store up more for a rainy day, all we can do is make the absolute most of it.  So, looking back over the past (almost five years with Owen,) 2 years today with Elizabella, and 8 months next Saturday with Mattie, I've decided they deserve more of me and I more of them because the two things that will matter most when my time is gone is my walk with Christ and the time I spent with those I loved the most.

So, yes there are a million things I needed to have done before school starts Monday but I couldn't think of one single thing more important than spending today celebrating my children and loving on them and their daddy.  Happy Birthday sweet girl. Mommy loves you!

See how much time has changed her in a year?!!  And that's just physically!


I won't wish for time to stop,
because our hearts all beat with the ticking of the clock.

I can't ask that time stands still,
because I know my love for you never will.

My greatest wish is that it sloooowly fades away,
leaving shared moments we will cherish all our days.

For one day we know that clock will stop beating,
and looking back it's clear that time - she is fleeting.

So today I promise to give you so much more,
for you are the ones my heart so much adores.

And then when this life does come to it's end,
you'll have a thousand ways to say, "Do you remember when . . ."

Jerica Ward
August 8, 2015
For Edward, Elizabella, and Mattie

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mattie's Dedication (oh and God's Perfect Timing)

I'm so excited about tomorrow morning when our family will publicly dedicate our youngest child, Matilyn Faith's, life to our Lord and Savior.  It's such a special day for our family to stand before our church family and publicly proclaim that we put all our faith in God and trust the plans He has for her. During every baby dedication I've seen over the past 5 years I get super emotional because I know what it really means to trust God when His plans are not what we would choose for our child. But at the same time I know without hesitation or doubt that His plans are perfect. Our pastor/church equates laying the child at the alter to giving that child back to God. I know what it is to physically give your child back to God but I also know the peace that I have in my heart to know that Owen is in heaven, he is healed, he is safe, and he is loved. Tonight, as I prepare for this special occasion I can't help but be reminded of God's perfect timing.

When we scheduled Owen's dedication I really hoped to do it around Thanksgiving which didn't work out (kinda perfect since we didn't get out of the NICU before Thanksgiving). Instead his dedication was scheduled for January 9, 2011. On January 4th we were sent home with hospice and I feared we'd be attending a funeral instead of a dedication that weekend but God knew better and that wasn't the case. In fact, thankfully, the Holy Spirit dealt with me and very clearly spoke to me to say, "This child is not dead yet. Do not speak of death, instead speak life into him," so that's just what I did. His dedication was much more a time of celebration and hope, and also a time of letting go of our burdens and picking up the burdens of our neighbors.

At first glance there was nothing particularly "timely" about Elizabella's dedication. She was 4 months old and it was scheduled for December 15, 2013. It wasn't until the following year when her sister was born on that exact same day that we realized once again we'd witnessed God's perfect timing in our life.

Tomorrow's date isn't particularly special - in fact, I'm not even really sure what tomorrow's date is but I know it's special. Not only is it a monumental day for us as parents - committing to our child and our church family that we will raise her in a Godly way - but in a way this week also marks the end of a particularly difficult chapter in our lives.

On December 15, 2014, about the same time I was delivering Mattie, a doctor down the street was delivering some difficult news to my grandmother. She'd been diagnosed with lung cancer. I found out shortly after I'd held my little girl for the first time despite efforts to keep it from me as not to take away from our special day. It was absolutely a bittersweet day.  Since then my grandmother was told she wasn't a candidate for surgery, she's undergone multiple treatments, and fought hard to beat this beast with a whole lot of prayers throughout the process. A little while back they sought a second opinion and after a lot of testing (and even more prayers) it was determined she was able to have the surgery.  Last Monday (ironically enough on my niece's birthday), my grandmother underwent surgery to remove part of her lung and try to get all the cancer. This week, we got the amazing news that she is now 100% cancer free (PRAISE THE LORD). One doctor said it wasn't possible but the Almighty Physician reminds us that "nothing is impossible for Him."

Not that I needed a reason or reassurance to dedicate Mattie's life to Christ but it just makes my heart smile to be reminded this week of His perfect plans for our lives, of His incredible timing, and of His unconditional love for each and every one of us.

So all that being said I'm honored to stand before everyone tomorrow and dedicate my baby's life to the Lord, to publicly proclaim that I trust His plans for her life, and to promise to raise her in a Christ-centered home. I'm so excited and if you are in town please join us at Evangel at 9:30 am and if you aren't in town then I encourage you to go anywhere that preaches the word of God and to claim the life God has planned for you. God bless yall!

And just a PS to my many friends who are fighting the C-monster my prayers are still with you and I pray you grab hold of the Hope that is in the Lord and you claim your victory and Thank Him in advance for the mighty healing that is coming your way. And to a very special friend who is waiting on an answered prayer I pray you can find peace in God's perfect plan and God's perfect timing - your time is coming and I know it and claim it for you (with all my heart).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Heaven & Home

Today has been a really tough day for a lot of people and my little Owen has been on my mind a lot today. I told a friend a couple of weeks ago that for the most part I'm okay and I am. There are about 5 specific days a year I can count on being unbearable and then ever so often a day catches me off guard - and those days are so much harder than the ones I anticipate.  It makes sense too I suppose, I mean afterall if we know something bad is coming we can prepare ourselves mentally & emotionally to embrace it. We can even busy ourselves to make it easier - but when it sneaks up on you it's so much harder.  

Here's a condensed backstory on today (for those of you reading this who don't live in my hometown).  Four months & ten days ago, on what would have been Owen's 2nd birthday, three precious boys from Sneads tragically lost their lives in a fatal car accident.  Teddy, Bo, and Brandon were all good as gold by all accounts and that afternoon after leaving school they went and joined Owen with our father in Heaven.  The small town they left behind is forever changed.  These boys will never be forgotten. 

So what does that have to do with today? Well today would have been Teddy's sixteenth birthday.  Of the three I only knew Teddy & Bo but really it was more I knew of them, knew their families well, but truth is I didn't really know the boys on a personal level. Even so, I hurt for the loss I know their families feel.  

I feel it's important that I really clarify some things because I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to get attention or that I'm hi-jacking a day where attention should be on Teddy & all I'm thinking about is my Owen - I know someone will tell me I'm crazy for that statement but nonetheless I feel the need to say that.  Truth is its because of Teddy that I've been thinking about Owen all day & as hard as today has been in grateful for the reminders of my baby even the hard ones.  

A part of me feels like these boys lives are tragically intertwined. The day I celebrate the sweet gift that Owen was to us will forever be the worst day of those parents lives. And tonight as Ed and I were talking about Little Teddy's sixteenth birthday over our dinner I realized suddenly that today marks 22 months since I've held my precious baby in my arms.  My heart is so broken tonight not just for Owen but for those boys families too.  I know too that those three moms hearts broke for me when I lost Owen. We are all forever connected not just by dates & events but through our losses too. 

So I'm going to attempt to turn this post around because so far it's quite depressing. I want people to understand I think about and talk about Owen daily and usually it is with ease and very casual so it's not like I never think about him & when I do I fall to pieces.  It's really quite the opposite.  Especially lately, I find I mention my pregnancy with Owen a lot - comparing it to this pregnancy. I share Owen's story with people who don't know it - in a very matter of fact way. I can sometimes even share specific memories or stories without so much as a crack or tremble in my voice. But then there's this kind of day. In a moment I'm back on the couch with him watching him take his very last breath and I can't breath, I can't see through the tears, and I worry they will never stop falling from my eyes. Sometimes I do feel cheated - one time I even asked God why me?!!!  But after awhile the tears do finally stop and I can catch my breath and I remember it never was about me. I have no doubts that Owen is in a better place and he's okay. He never has to be sick again. He will never seize until he turns blue from lack of oxygen again. He will never throw up or even have to feel one ounce of pain ever again. And that alone is worth every single thing we will never "get" with Owen - because it's not about us.

I have a really hard time picturing heaven but I think that's only because I know it's so much better than anything I could ever envision.  I know though that my Father is there and my baby is there too. I've already bought my ticket - well actually Jesus paid my way but I claimed my place whenever my time is up.

Over dinner after our talk about Teddy while I was thinking about Owen something occurred to me - who knows maybe Owen whispered the thought into my subconscious? Maybe we were his heaven and heaven was always meant to be his home? Makes complete sense to me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Moments to Remember

So I know I've been pretty quiet lately but that doesn't mean things haven't been happening. As usual though once I set my mind to writing a million things flood my mind and I can't hardly contain myself. Hopefully I can type as fast as I'm thinking tonight. So, I came to share with you something pretty funny that happened today (I'll probably get to that last) but as I got ready to post it asked me for a title. I racked my brain for something clever and came up with "Moments to Remember" which immediately made me think of two other things that have happened recently that I absolutely should blog about and share with all of you. So, there you have it - three stories, or maybe two stories and one statement? We shall see.

*Spoiler Alert* One's a tearjerker! Haha, I can't help but grin at that because if you're reading this and you've ever read ANY of my blogs it wasn't so much of a spoiler alert as it was a simple reminder - you're probably going to CRY. But hopefully you'll be encouraged and uplifted through it all too.

And can I just say, Thanks for reading this. I always wonder who would read this when I write something but I'm often told how my blogs effect people and I'm just glad someone thought enough of the fact I wrote something to take the time to read it. So I thank you sincerely.

#1 A Dream to Remember

Okay first off, I want to share with you one of the most breath-taking things that has happened to me in awhile. It literally stopped me in my tracks and I haven't been able to share it with one person I don't think without sobbing. **I've already had to stop and wipe crocodile tears from my eyes and I'm haven't even started yet** I was reluctant to share this initially because I didn't want to jinx it but then I'm reminded we can't jinx God's promises in our lives.

About a month and a half ago I received a text out of the blue from a friend. It started out saying "I dreamt of Owen last night. . . " I was blessed already because it always means so much to me whenever I hear that Owen is still in the thoughts of others - I don't know why I fear that his memory will disappear completely or that it will be as if he never existed. I know there's an enormous crown in heaven that proves otherwise but it just means the world to me to know people still love him and think of him. So already her message was enough to make my day, but she went on. " . . . He was so happy, all smiles and giggling away. He was so handsome . . ." Of course he was I thought. Of course he was smiling and happy - he isn't hurting, he doesn't have seizures, every breath every moment isn't a fight, of course he's happy, he's with Our Heavenly Father, he's home. Of course he's handsome - he was so beautiful. Of course it was Owen and then when I needed nothing more in this message, there it was - a message of love and hope. ". . . and he said he had a present for you."

Wow. I was smiling but tears were falling by the bucket full. And isn't it awesome that God counts every single tear we cry - he loves us that much - just had to throw that in there too. So, I thanked her for sharing that with me and then as if realizing it was all okay with me and not too upsetting she went back and elaborated on it all. She said in her dream he walked up to her and she knew it was him and she started crying, she hugged him and told him "your parents love you and miss you so much" to which he responded, "I know but I have a present for them" then he smiled and ran off. I know it was just a dream but for me it was a reminder that he's safe and happy and it was a reminder that God has wonderful things in store for us. More than anything else it was a message of hope and God's faithfulness - for me.

Here's the actual message

Okay so if that was the ONLY moment to Remember wouldn't it be enough?!!! Yes, absolutely but it's not. While I'm at it there are a couple of other moments that mean so much to me that I want to document them here so as not to forget about them (those who know me well know I'm good at forgetting)!!!!

# 2 A Day to Remember

So my 2nd moment to remember is really very personal but worth sharing (I think).

Do you ever have moments where you really feel like your life matters to someone? Well, not just someone but to God?! I know my life always matters to God but sometimes don't you feel so small in the mix of it all. In the grand scheme of things I mean, don't you ever think who am I in the grand scheme of things? What difference does my life make in this world? Well, I do and I'm not THAT deep of a thinker so I know that there are others who question it too. Sometimes I wonder what we're all here for, what's it all for, but I know - it's all to bring glory to God. Well, every once in awhile we get these amazing moments where we know without a doubt in the world that our life matters in the grand scheme of things. Last Sunday was one of those days for me.

First of all, those of you who have been on my facebook page, or my photography page know how much our recent Mission Banquet meant to me and so many others. I believe God called me out to do something for this family. I'm reminded of the scripture, "To whom much is given much is required." And that's how it is for me. Many would say look at what all was taken from you, Jerica, but I don't see it that way, look at what God gave me, look at what he entrusted to me, a precious sick child, one who needed so much in such a short amount of time. He chose me and he gave me a wonderful support system and a community who loved our son and took care of us so that we could be with him everyday. So, anyways, I got involved and I found my own way to give back to this family. In doing so I was the one who was blessed. I got to meet this incredible family and I got to see the heart of this amazing mother. I spent a short amount of time and energy in missions because I chose to help this missionary family. I would say it came full circle Sunday at our church service but it won't truly come full circle until they are back in Spain serving the youth of Europe and winning hearts over to Christ. But for me Sunday was the day we found out how successful it all was - in terms of raising the money to send them on their way. I stood in complete awe as our Pastor and his wife presented the check to this family and that alone would have made my day. It was beautiful and amazing and God was all over it. Prior to doing my "Making Memories for Missions" fundraiser I had spoken to Mrs. Anna once. I made a point to introduce myself at our women's bible study group. There are a lot of us women and I just hadn't had a chance to meet her until then. God had already planted a seed in my heart to do something to help her and her family but I didn't know what at that time. Well, looking back on it all this whole situation was like watching a room full of dominoes falling one by one all set in motion by a story shared with us from our Pastor's wife. That got the first tile falling then I got involved, then I just had to do a family shoot for this family, then I fell in love with them, their story, and their heart for missions, then we had the banquet, then I cried with Mrs. Anna - her on stage and me in my seat as her family was presented with a check for $50,000 - almost twice what they needed, then God and Mrs. Anna blessed my heart. I was on top of the world coming out of that service - it was awesome - the banquet the night before had left me so proud of our community and empowered by what a group of like-minded people can do when something really matters to them. And then God took it just one step further. As Mrs. Anna and I were chatting for what I'm sure will be one of our last conversations before she returns to Spain, she said I need to tell you something but I don't want to upset you. Well, if you know me I was like "Oh no, what is it? She hates her pictures? What did I do? What is it?" But with tears in her eyes she said, "I just wanted to let you know that I just know God is going to fill your arms again."


God is so good. That's all I know to say about it. And then as if that wasn't enough for one day, I mean so much good jam packed into a morning service at church, it happened again that day. Later, while finishing up a "Making Memories for Missions" photo shoot, a guy who I didn't know prior to that shoot, who hadn't been involved in planning or purchasing the photoshoot, who had no idea I was doing the shoot for missions, spoke prophetically into my life too. Twice in one day?! Man, it is GREAT to be highly favored!!! It was so sweet. He was the nephew of my client who had booked the session and he stuck around afterwards to tell me what God was getting ready to do in my life. Did I mention that this was a day worth remembering?!


# 3 A Prayer to Remember

Okay and finally the reason I was actually logging on to blog tonight (which may pale in comparison to the others but maybe not). Have you ever had one of those moments where a kid puts you in your place or teaches you a lesson - maybe even a lesson you already knew but needed to be reminded of? Well, that happened to me today and left me laughing (albeit scratching my head a little too). So here's how it all went down.

Currently, as many of you all know I'm working with the summer enrichment program at our church. So today I thought I'll teach my students an important lesson and take advantage of an opportunity for myself as well (it's not as self-serving as it sounds - or, well, maybe it is?)! So, I call all my little girls around me and I explain to them that God hears all our prayers but when a child prays it really touches his heart and a child's prayer is very powerful. I wanted them to understand how much God loves them and how he really hears them. I explained how sometimes we want something really bad and we just have to ask God for it (not like a toy or money but BIG things, important things).  Do you see where I'm going with this? Yes, I had innocent little children pray for me on the premise that their prayers are VERY powerful! So, sweetest thing ever, eight or ten little girls hands on my belly (oh and one very curious little boy) asking God to "put a baby in my belly." I know right?! Precious!  Precious in His sight as well as my own.  I wish ya'll could have seen it, or heard them, using their own little words to ask God for a baby for me.  So, then (and this is where I got schooled) I asked a couple of the girls if they said their prayers every night. And then I mentioned to them that if they remembered when they were praying that they could ask God to give me a baby.  Well, one of my sugary sweet little girls says to me, "You can't put two babies in your belly silly, we already asked him for one, you can't have two at one time."

SMACK!  In my face!

She showed me the faith of a child, in her eyes it's done because she asked for it, so asking again would just get me two babies instead of just asking again (like added insurance) for what it is I  want.

In doing so she reminded me of a story I heard once about laying your troubles at the cross and leaving them there - stop picking it up and trying to carry it around all the time.  I'm telling you she really taught me a lesson, this little five year old. Sometimes we just need to trust God and then . . . wait!  That's powerful stuff too!

So like I said this was a lot crammed into one blog but I hope you got something out of it, hope, inspiration, encouragement, a SMACK in the face, anything. And when you experience these "Moments to Remember" that help you SEE that you are highly favored in God's eyes I hope you'll document them in some way so you don't forget them either!

Til next time,

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Time to Remember - NEW YEAR'S EVE 2011

I wrote this (well, started writing it) on 12/31/2011 in preparation of the New Year. I didn't finish it. Tonight (4/6/12) I stumbled upon Owen's blog to read one little thing. Remembering how I was feeling this past New Year's I was compelled to read that blog but before I could, I remembered that my New Years 2010 blog was especially good - at least I thought so -and I wanted to read it first then read the 2011 one because my feelings about New Years were completely different. Well, much to my surprise after reading the 2010 New Years Blog I couldn't find 2011's. I knew that I had written one. I remembered feeling how I felt and I even remembered re-reading the previous year's blog before I wrote this year's blog. But there between November 2011 and February 2012 was NO BLOG for New Years. I checked my drafts - I had to - it was that feeling when you know you know something but can't prove it. I knew I had written something and there in my drafts was my New Year's blog for 2011. Unfinished and unpublished. So tonight - over 3 months later I'm posting my New Year's blog - still unfinished but still worth posting all this time later. So here goes:

December 31, 2011
I've always LOVED New Year's - just look at my blog from last New Year's Eve. Ed proposed to me on New Year's because he knew how much I loved it, with all it's possibilities of what the new year would bring. But this year the thought of starting a new year is almost unbearable. Amazingly enough I held it all together through the Christmas holidays (mostly) but here I am on the Eve of the New Year falling completely apart asking now, of all times, for time to stand still.

As hard as 2011 was for all of us I just don't want to close the book on the year because Owen was part of 2011 and I just can't bare the thought of having to leave him behind. I know it's kind of ridiculous but us parents of angel babies get to be kind of ridiculous from time to time. I know Owen left us months ago but to think of moving on to a chapter of our lives that he won't be any part of hurts so bad. Yet at the same time I know that for the rest of our lives he will be part of us and part of our future.

I think I worry more that others will forget him and leave him behind. That as time goes on his memory will fade in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. I know we all move on and it's natural for us to do so but to think of it just hurts so bad . . .

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Souvenirs of You

Souvenirs of You
In loving memory of Baby Owen Wesley Ward
September 6, 2010 - March 16, 2011

Safe here in my bubble, protected by God's grace
yet everything around me, reminds me of your face.
My angel here on Earth, in heaven now you reign
and everywhere I look I see your life was not in vain.

Oh my son, I love you so, and surely you must see
even though you got your wings you are still right here with me.
In every breath I've yet to breathe in every tear I'll cry,
in every moment I want to quit but insist instead to try.
In every good deed I've left on this Earth to do,
in everything, with every hope there will be the thought of you.

In every corner of our life, pieces of you remain
and though you're gone, for now at least, these pieces they are staying.

A drawer holds cards from states afar where friends were all in prayer,
your nursery hasn't changed at all - it's still hard to go in there.

In the window where I wash the dishes there's a rose from the spray
that sat upon the treasure box we buried you in that day.

We kept a piece of your prayer cloth, it's in your bible still,
your toys are in the living room, I haven't moved them yet, I'm not sure if I will.

There are pictures of you nearly everywhere you look
and just yesterday in some paperwork I found your favorite book.

I saved the candle from your cake, the teddy bear topper too,
I keep these things sometimes because I don't know what else to do . . .
      there will be so few, new souvenirs of you.

There's a monkey in your crib still - well you remember "Mo,"
one you took with you that day and one we just couldn't let go.

There are arms with no baby to cradle - that's the saddest reminder of all.
   Letters and cards still come in the mail, people still pray and still call.

I wear your photo around my neck almost every single day.
A beautiful precious gift from God, I hope you're remembered that way.

I painted a flower pot last year with some kids who'd lost someone too
it holds a peace lily someone sent, in memory of you.

That windmill still sits outside - it reminds me of your last moments here
and when the wind blows and it rattles, I know you are always near.

Now every September and March, every blue sky and rainbow,
reminds me of my precious son, who I never wanted to let go.

And everytime a tear falls, from your daddy's cheek
and every moment frozen in time when the pain makes us too weak,
is another chance for us to grow and for us to heal,
       a time for us to acknowledge your life was God's will.

I miss you more than there are words - it's a pain you will never have to know,
and because of that I understand, why God felt it was your time to go.

My angel boy I love you - mommy misses you, I do,
      so I hold on to all these souvenirs,
              while our Heavenly Father holds onto you.

With all my love,
Written by: Jerica Elizabeth Ward
March 29, 2012