Thursday, October 27, 2011

Divine Sisterhood

As many of you know, Evelyn has two blood related sisters here on earth. I loved these little girls as my own, so when their father and I broke off the engagement, I experienced a great loss. I was cut out of their life in an instant, when he had previously made me vow to never leave them because of the great impact he saw that I had on their lives. I was never really sure if Moriah or Isabella had been told about their sister, whom was growing in my womb, and I worried constantly how this new life would be embraced...or not embraced.

What I didn't know at that time was that God had a plan to restore a family to Evelyn and I, but not the one I had sought to reconcile with for the many months during my pregnancy.

After Evelyn passed away at almost 40 weeks gestation due to a cord accident, I attended various support groups. I have made some great friends, and I have developed a family of bereaved moms and dads that share an experience that only we can understand. I want to tell you specifically about two families and 3 little girls that are Evelyn's new sisters in heaven.

I met Holly at the Gwinnett hospital support group, Open Arms. She just wept the first time she came and shared much of herself with us in such a vulnerable and genuine way. She has three boys but longed for her little girl, Nevaeh. Her boys were so excited about their sister and grieved with her. The second time I saw her at group, she shared with us that she had accepted Christ as her savior, and I wanted to leap for joy at that moment. I was in such awe and amazement to see how God used this precious girl to bring her mom the gift of eternal life. I was so inspired and filled with the Holy Spirit a few days later thinking about this miracle of Him, that I wrote a poem for Holly, in honor of Nevaeh, titled, "Nevaeh "Grace"."

Nevaeh “Grace”

She has three boys at home, I know
To kiss and hold them close
They play trains and tractors
And wear all the same clothes
But on that day she had a sparkle
In her eye to know
She could put away the camo and the collars
And buy little pink bows
The boys were going to dote so well
on this little baby girl
They named her Nevaeh Luag Ntxhi
No, they didn't even know
That God had a plan to take her home
Nothing less than a mighty blow
To heaveN He prepared a place for her
And with it, a new name like so…
He spoke to me so softly, "Nevaeh Grace, to you"
Because it was grace that saved her mommy, Holly
When she said, "Yes Jesus, I want to know you too
Because I can see you on that cross right now
So we could know our Father through you
I know my baby girl is there,
And I want to be with you one day too"
Spell her name right to left, and you'll know
His purpose was spoken before anyone ever knew
"Smiling happily" says her mom
Is the meaning of Luag Ntxhi
But, oh, sweet little Grace
When Heaven took you in that day
So happily you were smiling
When He told you that your purpose was
To save your mommy by His blood, and your little brothers, too
And now the time you have
With your loved ones who are so dear to you
Is more than you would ever have on earth
Don’t you know it’s so, so true
He chose you as His child, sweet one
Nevaeh, in heaveN they’ll surely be with you

Holly is a great friend and is now a part of the Jewels from Heaven benefit on Oct. 28th, 2011 to honor her baby girl to help prevent the human trafficking of children. Nevaeh is surely playing with Evelyn up in Heaven, and when I am with Holly, I feel the great love she has for her daughter. We are all adopted into God's family, and so God gave Evelyn a sweet sister named Nevaeh. Nevaeh was born on March 27th, 2011.

Evelyn's other sisters...
On December 8th, 2010, not even two months after I lost Evelyn, I received this message from Chelsea Wallis on Evie's memorial site:

"I woke up this morning only to have your and Evelyn's miraculous story cross my path. I too go to 12stone. I too have a sweet baby girl born to heaven on Oct 29th 2010. Oh mama how I wish I could hug you! Email me if you like May God bless you and your family today as Evelyn looks down upon you. = )"  

As Chelsea shared her story of losing Lainey Grace on 10.29.10, I learned that she had actually experienced a second loss at 32 weeks gestation just a couple weeks prior on August 11th, 2011 with her second daughter, whom she named Evelyn. I was shocked to hear of her second loss and equally shocked to hear that name. That beautiful name. She also mentioned that they had nicknamed her Evie, but pronounced E-V, as opposed to eh-V. I then shared my story and told her and her husband how shocked I was that God had given us TWO unbelievable connections with the date of our losses on 10.29.10 and with the name Evelyn.

Chelsea and Erik are also now a part of the Jewels from Heaven benefit, and are representing their sweet girls to help prevent human trafficking. Chelsea and I were instant friends, and are still in shock at the connections God has given us. Lainey Grace and Evelyn Juliet are now sisters to my Evelyn Marie in heaven, and I believe that full well.

God spoke to me one morning a couple months ago, and I heard something like "come together all you who mourn." I now fully realize the importance of these ladies in my life, along with the other ladies and couples I have developed friendships with that have experienced similar losses. We can look into each other's eyes with an understanding that only we can have towards each other, and it is very comforting. This is the closest thing to God's comfort that is available in the seen world. I believe that is why he spoke that to me, because he understands the importance of having that comfort to allow for healing after a loss. 

"Blessed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ."-2 Corinthians 1:3-5

At the time He spoke to me, I did not really understand or accept my new identity, but have come to the full acceptance of the "new normal" of who I am with the memory of Evelyn held in my heart for the rest of my life. I have also embraced and fully seek to cultivate the relationships in this new family that God has given me and Evelyn.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" -Matthew 5:4


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Jewel

God has put it on my heart for a while now to blog, and He has been relentless in His pursuit to get me to share the things He has spoken to me. I have been journaling since my daughter, Evelyn, passed, and it has been very helpful to me. I have written to her directly, and I also document the miracles and the works the Lord is doing in my life, but I felt that He wanted me to step out and share these things with encourage you to seek Him, and experience His glory and His grace for yourselves, through a real, personal relationship with Him. You can view my daughter's memorial page and my testimony on the Baby Evie Website.

"They tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might, so that all people may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom." -Psalm 145:11-12

I will try to explain how the Lord has spoken to me, so that you can be attentive to receiving a personal message from Him yourself. Because unless you have a personal relationship with God, it is really hard to get how He speaks and how He works, and even harder to understand what you are missing if He is not in your life. To hear from God and to see Him working in your life takes accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior, truly seeking Him by praying, being still and listening, being transformed by the word, and eventually learning to recognize the Holy Spirit's guidance through the new eyes and ears He will give you.

"Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear." Matthew 13:16

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8

You will also become keenly aware that it is Him working in your life, especially through the "coincidences" that are not actually coincidences at all! Even when He is working in your life, it is hard to explain His mysterious ways, but I will try my best! His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

   “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
   declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts."
   (Isaiah 55:8-9)

To try and understand God's ways is like trying to understand infinity. But when He is in your life and you have accepted His grace and have given over your own agenda, you will be filled with joy and peace in His presence. He is a BIG God, so mighty and full a love that is so great for His children. You will be overcome and in awe of this loving God who is full of grace. We are to thank him and praise Him for the miracles and the blessings He pours out, and more importantly, praise Him for who He is, singing, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty." That is what all of heaven is singing, along with my sweet daughter, so I figure these are the best words available to me as an earthly creature :). Although we live on this earth, we do not have to be of this world.

(In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
-Isaiah 6:1-4)

("Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever." -1 John 2:15-17)

I was a lukewarm Christian for a long time, and I did not think it was necessary to give over my will and live according to His commands and His will, and I did not seek a relationship with Him...but the blessing of living in His grace far outweighs anything I could have planned or dreamed up for myself living under my own will. There is freedom like none other in fully surrendering your will over to God, and I so desperately want this freedom for other people. Every soul is of such great worth to Him, and His desire is that every one love Him, worship Him, and know Him on an intimate level.

...who desires all people to be saved and come to the full knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 1:4

There is Freedom...
Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:31-32

He loves us so much, He sacrificed His only son...
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

We are worth so much to Him...
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." (Matthew 10:29-31)

We are nothing without Him

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

We are new in Him...
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure"...Jeremiah 17:9
 BUT He says,
''I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees . . . '' Ezekiel 36,:26-27.

I pray that you will become a man or woman open to receiving His living word, His message for your life, and that you would be able to discern the gifts of God...the hidden manna.

"To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it." Revelation 2:17

However, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot not understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Corinthians 2:14

The Lord has given me spiritual discernment to hear from Him in a real way, and I am going to share these experiences in stories. My first story is about mine and Evelyn's worth to the Lord, and the new names He has given us. He can give you a new name too. His love is so great, and He desires to give you the eternal blessings in heaven that I know Evelyn is already receiving! The clock is ticking on earth, but where will you be when time is obsolete? "Man is like a breath, his days are like a fleeting shadow." (Psalm 144:4) 

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire." -Matthew 3:11

"Then Peter said unto them, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."" -Acts 2:38

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. -John 3:5
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:-3

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

I received eternal life through Jesus' sacrifice, and was awakened to a God-centered life through the blessing of my daughter, Evelyn.

God told me that Evelyn is my jewel in this life. How? No, He did not come down from a cloud and say in His mighty tone, "Christy, Evelyn is your jewel!" But nonetheless, He has told me that in a more complicated, woven manner using His Word, my thoughts, other people, and His perfect timing.

Shortly after I lost my daughter, I just opened the Bible and I began reading in Job. I came across some powerful and relevant scripture, especially in his plea to have been "like a stillborn child."

"Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child, like an infant who never saw the light of day?" (Job 3:16)

This made me realize how blessed my child was to go straight to heaven before she ever took a breath in this world.

I could also relate to Job's grief, given we had both lost our child/children...and experienced the same suffering that follows. But please know that after reading ALL of what God allowed Satan to do to Job, I was actually thankful that the Lord did not find me to be that strong of a person, to be used as an example of faith like he chose to use Job. It was like, wheww, thank you Lord that I am not Job! I talked to my friends about reading Job, and my friend Sarah said, "Christy, you know what God gave Job in the second half of his life, right??" I didn't know, because I had not gotten that far yet, and not having much knowledge of the Word up to this point in my life, I was unaware, so she began telling me how God gave him twice as much in the latter part of his life, giving him the same exact number of children he had lost(so we thought), three daughters and seven sons.

So, excitedly, I kinda skipped past all the back and forth speeches between Job and his friends, and read at the end of the book that Job was given so many sheep, camel, oxen, and donkeys, and that he had three daughters, and seven sons, his first daughter was named Jemimah, etc, etc, etc...and that was all I could really focus on, because after losing my daughter I was desperate for answers and something to "fix" it. I wasn't sure how God could make it right...and in my naivety, I thought that he would give me another daughter, like He gave Job, to somehow make up for the one He had taken. And not fully grasping at that time the worth and true, permanent relevancy of my daughter, Evelyn, as my first daughter, the thought came to me that if God gives me another daughter, I will name her Jewel after Job's first daughter, Jemimah (Jem/Gem=Jewel), and I wrote this in my journal.  

The next day I was cleaning and I stopped to open this small, pink leather Bible that was sitting on my nightstand, given to me as a gift at the 12Stone Single Mom's Christmas party, and I just started reading. In a matter of moments I read the following scriptures: Song of Songs 3:9-"You have stolen my heart with one jewel of your necklace, then Song of Songs 5:12-"His eyes are like doves mounted like jewels," Song of Songs 7:1-"Your graceful legs are like jewels." Then I flipped open to another place in the Bible and read Isaiah 13:19-"Babylon, the jewel of Kingdoms..." At the time I thought, WOW, God is giving me such amazing confirmation about having another daughter someday!...Jewel. I was filled with hope.

Some time later I read about Jemimah, Job's first daughter, in the Book, All the Women of the Bible, by Herbert Lockyer, that I found in our garage. I read that Jemimah means "little dove" after some occurrence of early infancy...and was overwhelmed by the connection to Evelyn, since her name means "little bird" in French. I also read that it is not very clear at the end of Job if God actually gave him another three daughters and seven sons...or if it was referring to the original children Job had. Because once you have children, they are yours for eternity, and they have relevancy in this life as well. I was starting to see the connection between Jemimah and Evelyn. I realized that God was telling me that Evelyn was my first daughter. As I looked at her picture and saw His majesty in her face, and all that she had taught me and brought me in this life...I was filled with my love for her, and for God, that He loved me so much to bless me with such a special child...the purest gift, an angel, free from sin and free from pain or hurt. She is my first daughter, and Evelyn is the "Jewel" that he promised me...that He had already given me. This was the new name that He gave her.

The Lord also gave me a new name:
I am His Diamond. I went to a local church to have a *prophetic session done in January and the lady that prayed over me used the analogy of a diamond to describe me and what God was doing in my life. The lady was describing the process that a diamond goes through to become a a diamond starts out as a black hole and after so much pressure it turns into a beautiful, shiny diamond. She said that God knew how hard things had been for me, but that it was necessary for me to be put under all that pressure, so that I could come out shining. She also said that she heard Him singing the song, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine" over me. And from the gentleman there with her, that I am a love and a hope agent, and that teaching and healing are my gifts. Teaching to my peers, and healing, not by my words, but by His healing presence through me. She told me that there is so much of who God is, in me. She said to keep smiling at strangers, because someone may be touched by God's love that hadn't felt it in a long time...or ever before. They gave an example of people being healed by Peter's shadow, over-shadowing them. (Acts 5:12-16).

I tell you this to give you a picture of what it is like to to receive your true, glory-filled identity when you are in God's will. He created each of us so uniquely and with purposes equally beautiful. Your new identity and new name in Christ is waiting on the other side of fully surrendering your will over to Him.

Upon my realization of what the Lord was telling me, and after many conversations about the little miracles I was receiving, I said to my mom, "see, I am His diamond and she is my jewel." After this, in a listening prayer session with my friend, she asked me if I wanted to ask God what my new name was from Him, and I told her, I think I already know, and I think I know Evelyn's new name, too. Before I could tell her, she said, it would only make sense that your names are very similar. I had to laugh knowing it was God that gave her that insight in that moment to help me confirm I had heard from him correctly about our new names. His "coincidences" are like little miracles, little shots of joy!

"To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it." Revelation 2:17

Before learning of this scripture, I was on a mission to make memorial rocks, so I created my own mold using layers and layers of silicone, and then poured concrete in it when it was ready. It was quite the process, making the model just the right shape out of clay, and then painting each layer of silicone on it, letting each layer dry before adding another. Mixing the concrete...getting it wrong multiple times. And finally, making my first stone, writing Evie on it and drawing the side view of a butterfly. After a few attempts to make additional stones, the first one was the only one that remained, and I felt done with the project. I believe God led me to do this to understand the process of "overcoming...the patience, the layers, the mistakes, and the perfect gift at the end, and then to also help me realize once again the relevancy of His perfect gift to me...the gift of Evelyn, existing singularly and perfectly by His will, and not to be replicated. And more clearly, to symbolize the white stone he had given me with a new name written on it, all due to and linked to the existence of my daughter. It only made sense that her name would be written on my stone.

What exactly does it mean that Evelyn is my jewel? I interpret this partly through something else the gentlemen said in my prophetic session...that "many things will be birthed from this." He was explaining a vision he had of what he thought was me crawling into the Father's arms like an infant being held by her father(not knowing about my situation)...and that that was my hallmark in life (my jewel)...being so close to God, being able to come to Him in a real way, as if I could just crawl right into his lap...and that many things would birth from this...from that type of relationship. In my interpretation, he was also talking about Evelyn when he was referring to an infant in the Father's arms...and my close relationship with God birthing from Evie, my jewel. My precious jewel that is in His lap, that would draw my eyes to heaven, as if I could crawl right into His lap with her. This gift that He used to create such a real relationship with Him, just as real as the relationship I had with Evelyn the nine months she lived inside of me and the 13 hours I got to spend with her in my arms...AND that many things would birth from this...that many things would "birth" from giving birth to Evelyn, from my experience, from my love for her, and from my relationship with God. And oh, how He used her to draw me right into His heavenly presence.

As He reveals these things that will be birthed from Evie...I hope to blog about them, so that others can walk this journey with me, and see His miracles and His grace unfold in my life to encourage you of the miracles and the grace you can experience in your own life. You are one decision away from experiencing a life full of miracles for yourself! I saw the mansions in heaven in a dream...the place he is preparing for his sons and daughters, and I assure you, it is real. Heaven is a real place! Read, "Heaven is for Real," by Todd Burpo, and please let me or someone you know pray with you about your life and your eternity

Some of these "things" have already started to take I hope to share them with you soon...

Glimpse of next story: "Wisdom through Jewelry"
After writing this blog, and after getting hired at Rahab's Rope, an anti-human trafficking ministry using jewelry as a tool, I was walking from the storefront to the office, separated by a couple stores, and saw the engraved plaque of the store next to ours that reads "Gem Jewelry Co." All I saw was "Gem Jewel" as if the rest was cut-off(Jem/Gem=Jewel, referenced above)...and experienced a "God moment" knowing I was in the right place at that exact moment, that he had me right where he wanted me! What a peace that came over me to know that I was walking in His purpose for me at this time in my life. Prior to getting hired at Rahab's Rope, the Lord also brought me to the opportunity with Premier Designs(high fashion jewelry), which I am still involved with. He confirmed my starting with Premier Designs using scripture about wisdom and jewels and through a dream about learning public speaking. He confirmed my starting with Rahab's Rope through my first conversation with one of the founders(multiple connections/coincidences). Then, He also confirmed that I be involved in both! Two jewelry companies! I am also planning a benefit to prevent human trafficking on my daughter's one year anniversary to heaven that has recently been renamed to "Jewels from Heaven" through God's prompt. It's like I am hearing jewel, jewel, jewel, jewel, jewel, just like I read in the Bible that day! God is so good!

*prophetic session: just wanted to clarify that this is nothing like a psychic reading. The people that do prophetic sessions have the gift of prophecy, which is really just receiving words of edification from the Holy Spirit to fellow Christians. Do some more research on 'gift of prophecy' if you want to know more.