I started Lettered Hope after my first miscarriage with the mission to point women towards Christ. Specifically women who found themselves grieving, whether it be from a miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, or any other type of loss. And I wanted to find a way to give back to these women and to help them find some comfort, through Christ, along their journey.
That is why I started The Painted Name Project (TPNP). I knew from experience, and from feedback from other bereaved mothers that seeing their child's name written out is so meaningful. We don't get to see our child's name written out constantly; it won't be printed on report cards or birthday party invitations, just occasionally in a sympathy card. And I have been absolutely blown away by the response to TPNP. I'm sure a large part is due to it being a free service, but that's the way I wanted it to be and intend to keep it that way. I've received several generous donations that have brought me to tears!
On the request form for TPNP I have a prayer request section. Many women leave it blank, but for the women that do fill it out I quickly noticed a popular trend. Women were asking for me to pray that their baby was safe, happy, not scared or confused, etc. And that grieved me.
Because as Christians we have a H O P E !
That's not to say that this precious hope minimizes the pain we feel here on this earth. But it does keep us from feeling hopeless. I'd be lying if I said that I've never felt hopeless. Sometimes that feeling of hopeless despair attacks me from seemingly out of nowhere. It's usually over something small, like seeing friends with their children and wondering if I'll ever get to sit with my friends holding their babies while I'm holding my own, or just something random, like seeing a girl younger than me pregnant with her third or fourth child.
But PRAISE THE LORD that feeling is not permanent!
It comes and goes with a vengeance at times, but it does go!
And my despair is only fleeting because deep in my heart, deeper even than the pain I'm feeling, is God's love for me and my love for Him and the knowledge that He is good (Ps. 145:9). And even though momentary afflictions can sometimes cause me to forget, I know that I know that I know that this isn't the end. As cliche as it often sounds, my life here on earth is truly only the beginning. And Romans 8:28 reminds me that even if my circumstances aren't good, God's purpose IS good.
He is the Master at redeeming the ugliest of situations. Just as He redeemed the brutal murder of His Son, He will redeem the death of my babies.
Some days I feel like He's already in the process of redeeming those two precious souls gone far too soon, and other days when I'm feeling especially sad, I don't. Sometimes it's just really hard to see past the pain of grief and I get mad and hate my circumstances and truly wish I could just die to escape the pain on this earth. But on days when my perspective is particularly eternally-focused, I can see His redeeming hand in my life and all of the ways He's already brought healing to the depths of my very broken heart.
So back to TPNP prayer requests. There are so many women who request a painted name who are worried that their baby might not be okay. They often specifically reference heaven, so I assume that they are Christians or believe in Christian theology. So let me just assure you, sweet sisters in Christ, if you are a Christ follower and believe in all of the promises God has promised to us, then you have absolutely no need to worry or fear. Once your child passes on, the next thing she will remember is waking up in a place unworthy of any words I could possibly come up with to convey the GLORY of! Revelation 21:4 fills my mind with so much promise and wonder every time I read it:
There will be NO more tears, NO death, NO sorrow, NO crying, NO pain! It is extremely hard to fathom in such a broken place here on this earth, but this promise brings so much comfort to my aching heart! I mean, no more crying? If you've had a miscarriage I'm sure you can relate to me when I say that I've had my fair share of days where I was unsure if the tears would ever stop. And He's going to wipe every single one of those away. What a loving Father.
I have loved being able to serve grieving women these last few months. Where I am today is a direct extension of God's redeeming love and grace, because through my grief, He has shown me my passion and calling.
From the very beginning of Lettered Hope, I knew I wanted to do something special just for women who have suffered a first trimester loss. There are so many ministries and organizations out there for bereaved mommas that focus on infant loss and stillbirth and I get the vibe that they include early miscarriages just because it would look bad if they didn't. Surprisingly enough, I used to be someone that thought women who had an early loss and grieved because of it were being weak, dramatic, pathetic, etc. Boy, did God teach me a lesson.
So, out of a deep desire to not just comfort women grieving a miscarriage, but to point them to THE Comforter, I have started giving away one Comfort Bible a month. And I am thrilled to tell you that two women entered the giveaway for the month of November, and I have a winner (selected at random). I will start working on her Bible soon and then feature her story on this blog.