Life After Miscarriage by Jodi Maxwell

11:18 AM 3 Comments A+ a-


Jodi Maxwell has been attending Calvary Baptist Church since January 2010 and resides in Grand Prairie, TX with her husband and three boys.  During the month, Jodi volunteers in the Park and Refinery areas of Kid City as well as supporting several of Calvary's electronic communication avenues.  In her spare time, Jodi enjoys keeping her family busy exploring DFW's many cultural attractions and parks. 



Life After Miscarriage


I prayed for you before I wrote this.  I asked God to speak through my words to the depths of your soul.  He sees you, all of you. Whole you and shattered you.  Then and now you.  I pray that these fumbled sentences can encourage you as you embrace this new life before you.

Our family of five is really a family of seven. In 2013, we lost two pregnancies; yes, in the same year.  I don't want to focus on the losses, but rather what life is like after you've carried a child (or children) back to the Creator.  Please know that grief will accompany you now like a shadow that looms large at times or quietly follows behind barely noticeable. At times, especially early on, grief will seem to threaten every fiber of your existence.  You'll wonder how you can continue under the a burden that seems to suffocate you at every turn.  Without coming to know a Sovereign God many feel it is nearly impossible.

God promises He will sustain you (Psalm 3:5).  Some days you will feel like you are being hit with wave after wave of suffocating grief, but He will not allow you to drown. Cling to the One who controls the storm (Luke 8:22-25).  Other days you will do all in your power not to think or feel before collapsing under the exhaustion; He will renew you (Jeremiah 31:25).  As you continue to trust God to fulfill His promises to you, You will feel His presence more each day as He takes what is broken and makes it beautiful again (Isaiah 66:9).

At one point, I remember feeling very numb, disconnected.  I didn't know where we go from there.  I participated in a bible study through Hope Mommies and found great comfort in studying topics like biblical mourning, where our babies are now, and how God has now given me a platform to share the gospel with others. I realized that just as the Father chose Mary to carry the Savior, the almighty God chose us to carry our babies.  We now walk this path for a specific purpose.

I learned that our babies, no matter how long s/he resided in the womb, has a soul that lives on in Heaven.  They are whole, happy, and bathed in light praising the God who formed them. I love imagining that when I am singing praises to the God who sustains me, that I am singing at the same time as my children in glory.

I know you have questions and I encourage you to ask them. God isn't afraid of questions and looks forward to revealing His truth to you.  He's happy to dig into the trenches with you and show you His answers.  They're there for you to discover.  Maybe you are angry with God or feel completely abandoned.  It's not God who's disappeared, but a sense of hope that has been stolen from you.  God sent Jesus to restore our hope for a life lived in perfect harmony in heaven.  He's not gone; He's simply waiting for you to seek Him out.  I wish I could help you feel Him because He is there.  

And mothers, you aren't grieving alone.  Fathers are grieving in their own way too.  My husband wants you to know that you should allow yourself to feel all those emotions - anger, sadness, grief, confusion are OK. You don't have to fix this, you just have to roll with it. Remember not to push each other away even when it hurts.  Find new ways to connect.  Pray - a lot.  This is a season that requires significant prayer to get through.  Allow your family and friends to support you and love you. If you are struggling with the loss of a pregnancy or child, you don't have to carry your grief alone.  Even though our journeys are very personal, we are all part of a group (1 in 4 in fact) we never imagined would hit so close to home.  

Community, how do you support the parents struggling to find the new normal?   


Meet the physical needs. Meals, cleaning, errands, etc. are areas where you can serve one another.  Often parents who are grieving cannot articulate what they need, so think creatively.  A gift card for delivery or carry out can provide a meal.  Offer to mow a lawn, wash dishes, vacuum/sweep/dust.  Your friends are physically exhausted and completely spent.

Meet the emotional need.  So many mothers and fathers suffer in silence because they don't want to carry the burden of reliving the story, but they need to know that you recognize they have lost someone they deeply love.  You cannot lessen the pain, but you can stand alongside grieving parents and let them know you are there.  A note, a gift left on a doorstep, a hug, a call.  

Meet the spiritual needs. Fight for them.  Go to battle for them.  Our common enemy will use these fragile times to build a stronghold.  Pray for those who are grieving since they often cannot bring to mind the words to pray for themselves.  God knows what they need better than they do. After all he called them for such a time as this.  None of us know what God has planned, but we can stand firm on his promise that He he does have a plan for this season.  Pray that He makes clear what these parents need to know.

Pray that they feel anchored by hope.  

Sing Loudly in Church

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I’m excited to start sharing some articles and other resources that have impacted me these past few years of ministry. This article in particular is a timely reminder of the importance of singing in worship. Keith Getty, a popular modern hymn writer and worship leader, gives the reader five specific reasons why we should sing in corporate worship. I hope this article encourages and challenges you like it has done me.

In Christ, 
Brandon H.
Each week, upwards of 100 million people in America attend church, listen responsively to the sermons, and pray sincerely. But when it comes time to sing the hymns, the level of engagement drops dramatically.
There are many proposed reasons for this fall off, all of which hold validity. It could be the wider culture’s waning interest in community singing, the diminishing levels of music education in the West, the role of choirs in schools, the unstable and increasingly narcissistic elements in church music, or even the spiritual state of our nation as a whole.
For millennia, music has been an integral part of corporate worship. The first hymns are as old as the early books of the Bible. The disciples and early church leaders sang those songs and added some of their own.
Notable thinkers throughout history (and into the current era) — everyone from Luther to Bach to John Newton — have so believed in the importance of corporate worship that they, too, contributed to the grand canon of hymns we know today.
As a contemporary hymn writer who travels to cities worldwide, I love to meet pastors and worship leaders and encourage them to lead their congregations in deeper, more passionate singing. Here are just five of the many reasons we should all sing passionately in church this Sunday:

1. We are commanded to sing.

We are called to sing — indeed, the Scriptures command us more than 250 times to sing. It’s hardly one of those “controversial” issues that is hard to ascertain precisely what scripture is saying. It’s not a choice. It’s not dependent on “feeling like it.” It’s not our prerogative.
Throughout biblical history, in every place and circumstance — in victory and defeat, in celebrations and festivals, in death and mourning — singing was second nature for people of faith. Indeed, the largest book of the Bible — Psalms — is itself a songbook that explores the range of human experience and interaction with God through singing.
In the New Testament, Paul tells the early churches to get together and sing. In Ephesians 5, he reiterates the call of old to engage with each other in the singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, making music from the heart.

2. Singing together completes our joy.

Celebrating with each other is as natural as breathing. At our kid’s soccer game or when we watch football or March Madness, it’s not enough for our team to win. We want to revel in the moment and share it with others. Marking a birthday, winning a prize, or getting a raise are all incomplete until we get to share them with those we love.
Similarly, for the faithful, the joy of living, of praying, of studying Scripture cannot be complete until shared. Singing together reminds us — not just intellectually, but experientially — that we are not slaves to the rugged individualism promoted by society. We’re actually responsible to one another.
Christian apologist CS Lewis believed that singing completes our faith. In his Reflections on the Psalms, he writes, “I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is appointed consumption.”

3. Singing is an expression of brotherhood and unites generations.

Singing together is a picture here on earth of the hope of heaven where every tribe, tongue, and nation will sing to God. Throughout history, God’s people have both discovered and affirmed their solidarity in times of celebration and in times of tragedy through singing.
Consider again those first churches Paul was leading. They often had little in common — they were culturally different, citizens of national enemies, sometimes with different religious traditions or no tradition at all, and sometimes even lacking common language or dialect. His admonition in Ephesians is not a simplistic instruction; it was a hard thing. But, all the more is the importance of their (and our) singing together as it was an undeniable expression of their brotherhood and unity.
It is a curious thing that stats may show the subject of congregational singing (or sadly, perhaps, the larger topic of church music) may have caused more splits within Christian communities than any movement since the Reformation.
The depth of brotherhood that could have been achieved by something as simple as singing together shines a harsh light on the insensitivity of church members and leadership who have broken congregations over so-called “worship wars.”

4. We are what we sing.

Singing affects how we pray, think, and feel. It influences our memory banks and even the deepest parts of our subconscious.
My wife, Kristyn, and I have noticed when we sing children’s hymns in the car with our girls they actually behave better than if, say, they were watching television.
At the other end of the scale, my grandfather arrived at church early on Sundays — very early. He sat in the pew, opened a hymnal, and rehearsed the songs to himself over and over. And though I was glad when we visited him, quiet reflection early on a Sunday morning was not my forte.
But, many years later, when he was in his nineties and unable to remember my name or how to accomplish even the most basic tasks of daily life, he still could recite or respond to the words of those hymns. They were songs he carried for life, and they brought him considerable peace, even at one of the most difficult stages of life, because they were so deeply engrained to his being.
In Deuteronomy 31, we read the instruction of the Lord to Moses to write down the words of the song he was given and to teach it to his children so that when many evils and trouble befell them, the song would be a reminder to them lest they turn away.
If the songs we sing to ourselves and to each other are just of the moment, detached from Scripture and lacking in history or perspective, we’ve little to keep us moored to Truth. But when we are intentional about singing and the songs we sing, we build up a testimony that will travel with us through life.

5. Singing bears testimony to our faith.

How we sing, if we sing, how passionately we sing — our singing itself — is a witness to those looking on. There is no choice in the matter. In the level of our engagement with the songs and participation in the singing, we testify to the joy of an excited believer or betray the chill of a disinterested spectator.
In the New Testament, we read of Christians gathered together who so passionately expressed their faith together in song that the people looking on thought them to be drunk because that was the only explanation for their uniformed experience.
Ultimately, those who may feel they are on the outside looking in will, from the deepest part of themselves, respond to authentic and passionate singing to discover the truth held in the God songs we sing.
* * *
As we head to church on Sunday — as overworked dads, stressed out mums, grandparents struggling with health, and young people looking for wealth — we can, with integrity and relief, go with repentance and thanksgiving to the One who has created us, forgiven us and who lives within us. How can we not sing?
It was King David who, in the aftermath of the debacle of his adultery with Bathsheba, turned to God and said, “ . . . my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise” (Psalm 51).
Reprinted with permission from OnFaith. Copyright 2015 Keith Getty & FaithStreet. Find the original article here at http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2015/04/09/why-you-need-to-sing-loudly-in-church/36521.

Run Pt. 1 | Jonah: The Astonishing True Story

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I’m going to be honest with you. I never liked running. It never made sense to me. Especially track running. What’s so exciting about running around in circles? It’s exhausting and you always end up right back where you started. It’s like a race to see who can be first to get back to where you already are. I don’t get it! I never liked running.

Until my senior year of college.

My suite mate was a runner. This guy would run ten miles a day! And he didn’t even run track. He just did it because he liked it. And I just thought he was stupid for doing it. But seeing him always running and sweating kind of hurt my ego. I was lazy. I didn’t run unless I was late for class, and then I would show up all wheezy and sweaty. It was a little embarrassing. I realized that year that I should probably try running more often.

So I tried it. And for the first two weeks I hated it. I was sore, and it wasn’t even fun. Totally not worth it. But just shortly after those two weeks, I stopped being so sore. And I got used to running. In fact, don’t tell anybody this, but I actually started to like it. I liked pushing myself. That feeling of accomplishment was nice every time I beat my own distance. Feeling the wind fighting against me was a challenge I enjoyed. The sense of freedom I got while running full speed was invigorating. And best of all, I had a new sense of healthiness. During that year, I got used to running, and I liked it.

God is passionate about people; sinful people- those that are religious sinners, like Jonah, and those that are rebellious sinners, like Nineveh. Now, we’re all sinners, and we were all lost at some time. But He is relentless in running after lost, sinful people. Actually, He specializes in it.
Throughout the story of Jonah, there is a theme of running. God tells Jonah to run to Nineveh, but Jonah runs from God. Then Jonah gets convicted and chooses to run to Nineveh. It’s all throughout the book. But the whole reason of this running is because God cared deeply for the sinful city of Nineveh. But he also cared just as much for the runaway missionary, Jonah.
The story really has the same features of anybody reading this book. Either you haven’t yet completely understood the Gospel and let it have its saving grace implanted into your soul, like Nineveh. Or you’ve heard it, maybe even put your trust in it, but you are still trying to do things you’re way, like Jonah. Both are running in the wrong directions.
So as we walk through the story of Jonah, you’re going to see some very obvious comparisons between this story and your life. There are some things that will jump out at you and be so obvious that you can’t ignore it. But also certain treasures that require a little digging and a little more introspection. So let’s start with the main character of this story.
Interestingly, contrary to the popular children’s Sunday School belief, the book of Jonah is not about the fish, which is only mentioned three times. It’s not about Nineveh, which is mentioned only nine times. And it’s not even about Jonah, who is mentioned eighteen times. It is about God who is mentioned a whopping 38 times in the 48 verses of the book. It’s about His endless grace in pursuing the religious and rebellious sinners like you and me.
So the story is about God, and more specifically the character of God, who is both loving and merciful and who relentlessly runs after His people. If you think about it, it’s the same message as the rest of the Bible: Jesus loves people.
But that’s just the beginning. There’s a second part to this theme. Yes, Jesus loves people, but He also calls us to love people. And this part is really what we struggle with the most. We all love to say, “Oh, Jesus loves me! Jesus loves you! Jesus loves everybody!” And He absolutely does. But He calls us to love everybody too. That’s not as easy and acceptable as just letting Jesus love us.
Jonah vividly displays the hesitation to love people. God commanded Him to love a specific group of people with a specific truth, and Jonah was not willing to obey. At least, not at first. He was happy to let Jesus love him, but he wasn’t so happy to love people himself. So he did what so many of us have done at some time. Run.
What about you? We'll look a little bit more at this question and study the cause of running, but for now I simply want you to do an honest gut-check: Have you been sitting comfortably in God’s unconditional love for you without reflecting that love towards others? Have you been running from God’s command to love others like He loves you?

Trusting God's Timing

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QUESTION:  Did you ever receive a Christmas gift that turned out to be something totally different then you expected it to be?  I mean, you looked it over and sized it up…you shook it.  And you were just SURE you knew what you were getting!  But when you opened it…

“Sometimes Christmas gifts are real surprises.  Maybe you’ve had that experience.  When I was a kid, I wanted a basketball so bad I could scream.  I dropped all kinds of hints.  I made false phone calls to my mother in another voice, telling her that her son really ought to have a basketball.  I found the cheapest prices.  I dropped those on the breakfast table.  You know, all those things.  And finally there appeared under the Christmas tree a box, looked just the size of a basketball.  Whew!  I could just feel myself making shots with it.  Christmas Day came.  I tore into that thing!  And it was a world globe.  Have you ever tried to dribble a world globe?  I mean, you can’t even inflate the dumb thing.  Unbelievable surprise!  Didn’t look at all like what I expected!” -Chuck Swindoll

Have you ever had that happen?
Well as strange as it may sound this morning, following God is often very much like opening that unexpected Christmas gift.  You THINK you know what you’re getting.  But when the wrapping paper of your assumption is torn away…you’ve got something much different

Two truths on this last Sunday of 2013:
 “Often, our expectations and God’s intentions are two very different things.” 
“(Many Christians) have discovered that following Jesus has turned out far differently than expected.  They feel confused and disillusioned – maybe even betrayed by God.  …For decades of my life as a Christian, I didn’t understand, either.  And because I didn’t, I fell out of fellowship.  I struggled against God.  I settled for a spiritual experience often characterized by disappointment, doubt, and even anger.”

“Often, our timing and God’s timing are two very different things.”
Maybe you’re here today and at some point in your life, you felt sure that God was giving you a preview of great things to come
·        Maybe it was in regard to your career / finances…
·        Maybe it was in reference to your mate…
·        Maybe it had to do with your kids…
·        Maybe it had to do with some area of spiritual service…
Whatever the area, at one point you felt that you had A DATE WITH DESTINY…but now you’re starting to wonder if God has STOOD YOU UP.  You thought God had something special for you…but now it’s been months / years / decades – and still no fulfillment. 

Well my friends, that is EXACTLY where a man named Simeon found himself in the Gospel of Luke chapter 2.    

Luke 2:21-22; 25-26  21And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
25And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Now one word absolutely jumped off the page at me the first time I read this text – and it is the word “WAITING.” 

“There was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon…and he was WAITING.”

Now let’s set the stage just a bit.  Forty days prior, Jesus Christ had been born in Bethlehem and was now being taken to the temple in Jerusalem for the purification rites described in Leviticus 12.  
“In that city of Jerusalem there was a company (however large or small we have no means of knowing – perhaps a very small company) of devout souls who were looking for the redemption of Israel; and it is evident that they were accustomed to foregather in the Temple courts to pray, and perhaps sing songs of hope, and talk to one another.”

So there was a group of people gathered in Jerusalem, WAITING for the coming of the promised Jewish Messiah…and one of them was named Simeon.  Now the text tells us several things about the man.

Luke 2:25-26  25And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just (upright) and devout (dedicated to the service of God), waiting for the consolation of Israel (coming of the Messiah): and the Holy Ghost was upon him.   26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

Oh, now get this.  God had given Simeon a preview of things to come in his life!  Simeon had a date with destiny…to physically see Jesus Christ before he died. 

But before you get too jealous…realize this: Tradition tells us that by the time the events of our text transpired – Simeon was 113 years old!  Now allow me a little conjecture at this point.  You see, I just believe that Simeon received this promise from God much earlier in his life.  I think that somewhere around his mid 40’s the Holy Spirit told Simeon, “You’re not going to die until you’ve seen the Lord’s Christ.”  And then he had WAITED, and WAITED, and WAITED… 

That might be right where your at today - God has shown you He wants to use you.  By the way, I believe it IS God's will; to give you a marriage that honors Him, to honor Him in your finances, to raise kids in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  You say, "but Preacher, I've waited SO LONG."

What would he do?  What would WE do?
Luke 2:27-32  And (one day, Simeon) came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Simeon KEPT ON waiting, KEPT ON serving, KEPT ON trusting…in spite of this terribly long delay.  HOW?! 

(3 things:)
·        SIMEON UNDERSTOOD THAT HIS DESTINY WAS TIED TO THE DAILY.
Luke 2:25-30A  25And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God…

Now get this.  Long before Christ was born…Simeon was serving God on a daily basis.  Verse 25 says that “the Holy Ghost was upon him.”  Verse 26 says that the Holy Ghost was talking to him.  And then in verse 27, the Bible tells us that on the particular day when Simeon was going to fulfill his destiny…the Holy Ghost led him into the temple.  But here’s the thing?  If Simeon hadn’t been listening to the Holy Ghost back in verses 25-26…do you think he’d have fulfilled his destiny in 27?

Oh friend, listen to me!  Your destiny is not decided primarily in the great CRISIS moments of your life.  Your destiny is decided in the small, seemingly insignificant decisions of your everyday life. 

“Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men.  Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grow and wax strong, we grow and wax weak; and at last some crisis shows us what we have become.”

It’s the small things that you do for Christ when no one is watching that ultimately determine your destiny.  It’s the tiny compromises with sin that you make behind the scenes that ultimately determine what you become.  That which is done from day to day behind closed doors.  The secret devotion.  The oft-used prayer closet.  The tithe and love offering.  Or on the other side of the coin – the casual lying, the lustful thoughts, the slightly shady business deals.  All are done in the privacy of your life until one day some crisis brings them out into the light and shows you and everyone else what you have become.   

“You can map out a fight plan or a life plan.  But when the action starts, you’re down to your reflexes.  That’s where your road work shows.  If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, you’re getting found out now under the bright lights.”            -Joe Frazier

·        SIMEON’S LIFE WAS CENTERED AROUND GOD…NOT SIMEON.
Luke 2:28-29  28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word…

Lord“One who rules with unlimited authority; A Master.”
Servant – “slave”
Simeon“One who hears and obeys.”

·        SIMEON SAW HIS LIFE IN ETERNAL PERSPECTIVE.
Luke 2:28-32  28Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

The term “depart” in the New Testament is really interesting – because there are 22 different Greek terms that translate into that one English word.
“The word depart in the Greek has several meanings, and each of them tells us something about the death of a Christian.  It means to release a prisoner, to untie a ship and set sail, to take down a tent and to unyoke a beast of burden.”                        -Warren Wiersbe

One of the hardest things about “waiting” is that we feel strained by the brevity of life.  Hey, the clock is ticking!  So we feel that we’ve got to do something NOW! 
But I love what I read this week:

“Since God is working for eternity, why should we be concerned about the time involved?”

There are those who teach what we call the prosperity gospel which says you are never supposed to struggle financially, you were built to be wealthy. healthy, to basically conquer in every part of life.  I have to tell you, I absolutely disagree with the prosperity gospel.  I will tell you one thing that's accurate - my friends are struggling with cancer, heart disease, with some malady that threatens to take your life God may very well heal you in these days to come.  Let me tell you something, He's gonna heal you one way or another.  In the real life, the NEXT life, where you know you are there and you're personality continues to exist.  Where every mark of sinful, fallen humanity ceases to exist - from sadness, to brokenness, to abuse - all of it will be healed!  Every sickness, every pain, every trouble, every trial.  We don't have to try to wring out of every drop of joy from this life.  We can lose and suffer for Jesus because we know THERE IS MORE TO COME.

CONCLUSION:

“If God told you on the front end how long you would wait to find the fulfillment of your desire or pleasure or dream, you’d lose heart.  You’d grow weary in well doing.  So would I.  But He doesn’t.  He just says, ‘Wait.  I keep My word.  I’m in no hurry.  In the process of time I’m developing you to be ready for the promise.”        -F.B. Meyer