Wednesday, July 2, 2008

THE Trip

Deacon and I traveled to Atlanta on Monday (the 23rd) to find our sweet Ita (Deacon's grammy)waiting for us at the massive and chaotic Atlanta airport. We grabbed our bags and some ice cream and headed to the car for the 3ish hour drive to Greenville, SC. During those hours Dusty's mom and I were blessed with some time to talk with few interruptions, hearing only the occasional "yeOW KeCHOW" or "the checkered flag is mine" from the backseat. We discussed everything under the sun, from mundane, everyday events, to the losses that we have both experienced and walked closely with one another through these past several years. Alma has been a beautiful example of the faith that we should always place in Jesus Christ... alone. I remember watching her during her loss (all of our loss) and thinking I could never be that strong or dependant on the Lord in everything. I had no idea that 3 1/2 years later my faith would be challenged in such a way and yet, that I would only know one way to walk it.... Thankfully, she had already modeled it for me and I continue to stand amazed at her strength.
We arrived in Greenville late Monday night to my sweet friend Christa's house. We were SO excited to see each other as several months had passed since our last "goodbye" in Katy while their house was being packed away. How wonderful it was to see her sweet face and hug her!
We spent three awesome days with Christa, Charles and precious Audrey. We played outside, explored their backyard bamboo forest, walked by a stream with flowers and hiking sticks (exciting stuff for 2 year olds!), went to the zoo, ate awesome food cooked by the famous Chef Christa, and just wore ourselves out talking. It was such a blessing to see their new home, see their smiling faces and walk away knowing better how to pray for this family that we love so much! By Thursday morning, Deacon, Ita and I all settled back into the car for the drive back to Atlanta. Deacon was getting excited for his second part of the trip with Ita and I was getting excited about my second half of the trip too... the trip to see the girls I have "known" for so long and yet never seen face to face (except my sweet Kim!).

I arrived at our hotel to see Yvette, Trayc and the boys coming out of the doors to greet us. It was amazing as we hugged and instantly everything just felt right. I knew it was going to be a wonderful weekend of deepened friendships and lasting memories.

A short time later Yvette and I hopped on a shuttle to wait for each of our friends at the airport. I anxiously awaited each arrival, so excited to hug and love these girls that have meant so much to my journey. Chrissy and Kristy arrived first, then Angie, and then Kim. Much later that evening Emily arrived and the next afternoon Karen's flight finally landed.

It was absolutely amazing to see each of the girls face to face. We all commented on what seemed to be just as we pictured and other things that seemed very different than we had imagined. Each moment was amazing as we talked openly and honestly about our babies, the time they spent with us, they way the Lord has brought each of us through, and how He has brought all of us together. We also were blessed to spend a short time with Kirsten, who also lost a baby recently. For those intimate moments we were 9 women standing together, united in Christ and in our common circumstances. The beautiful thing that I instantly recognized in each of us was that through the grief and pain, each of us were still able to laugh, rejoice, and praise God... maybe a little like the Proverbs 31 woman.

Friday evening and all day Saturday we spent at the Deeper Still Conference. In wearing our own Tshirts that linked us together as united women, we each represented our own child/children that are now with the Lord. It was an incredible opportunity to give witness to the faithfulness and power of Christ. We were each stopped numerous times to ask about our shirts and, often through the tears, we were able to stand by each other and simply nod in agreement as someone described the beauty of us being together for the first time while our children in Heaven are also together. The speakers (Priscilla Shirer, Kay Arthur, Beth Moore), the worship (Travis Cottrell & worship team, Mandisa), the blessed company... everything was perfect. Probably the most impactful of everything I heard during the two days was Ms. Priscilla speaking of God using the Israelites in their wilderness period (Exodus 19). She spoke regarding how although "the wilderness" is uncomfortable and nothing we would ever ask for ourselves, our Father uses us, molds us and blesses us in those times. Amazing how He can speak to us so personally with 19,000 other people listening too.

The worship... I honestly can't even describe the feeling I had during praise & worship as I raised my arms and praised God with these incredible women that have truly "carried the mat" (Luke 5:17-20). With tears steaming down my face, my eyes closed and my hands high in the air, I could only imagine what a beautiful sight the arena was to the Lord. I pray that He has been pleased with us... with each of our families as we have trusted in Him.

As the Saturday conference drew to a close, we were ushed backstage by Michelle Hicks, one of the event coordinators. As we were arriving, Beth Moore followed us in with her daughter Amanda. The time with them was something beautiful as Ms. Beth talked to each of us and then asked us to kneel all together. As she began praying the sobs throughout the room were audible and authentic. If there was ever a time of surrender and giving everything to the Lord, that was it. Ms. Beth prayed a prayer of boldness, courage and strength over us as she, Amanda and Michelle each walked around and laid their hands upon our heads and shoulders. To see someone so strong, so passionate, so ordained by the Lord and so touched by our stories was breathtaking. I know the work she is doing for God's kingdom has been well-received by the Lord Himself.
Sunday came much too quickly and with all the late nights (or maybe I should say early mornings!) we were exhausted, but overflowing with joy and thankfulness. To meet each precious mother and be able to hear about their sweet babies that are now with Maddox completely filled me up. Shockingly, I never felt nervous or afraid of all of us finally meeting... I just knew all along that it was meant to be. I quickly realized that through each other, God has given us a tiny glimpse of Heaven.

To my girls: Yvette, Angie, Kim, Emily, Chrissy, Kristy, and Karen~ Each of you are amazing! Individually you have blessed my life in a way that is unmatched with words. Through your openness, your boldness, your trust, your falling apart, your vulnerability and your falling down at the feet of Jesus in surrender, I HAVE BEEN BLESSED. Each of your babies, Tristan Asher, Poppy Joy, Mary Grace, Miller Grace, Eva Janette, Issac Matthew, Asher Joseph, Jacob Ryan; each of your stories have brought me closer to the Lord and have challenged me to stand with boldness and courage to face tomorrow. Some of you began your walk before I did and some of you have followed behind... but we have all been in this together. Thank you for the blessing of knowing you, seeing your hearts, hearing your words, listening to your prayers and mostly for loving me, my family and my Maddox with everything. I am truly blessed!

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come...Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her." - Proverbs 31:25, 28

19 comments:

M said...

What a special time together! Each of you are so special and amazing in my eyes. You continue to encourage those around you and those who only know you through your blog. Praying for you today.

Michelle

Cathy said...

What a beautiful group Godly women all together! Cathy & Annabel

Anonymous said...

I was just thinking about the timing. God knew you all needed each other, and chose the exact timing of pregnancies and lives of all of your babies. Not a year prior, and not a year later. Just in time to grow in relationships with each other.

I share in the joy of just seeing you all together.

love, connie

Chelle' said...

Clearly I have been away from your (and all) blogs for a while because I didn't know...

1. you were pregnant
2. you were far enough along to have an ultrasound verifying gender
3. you were planning a trip with many of the mom's that have shared in your journey with Maddox. (And similar journies with their precious babies.)

I'm so glad to read the tangible expressions of the Lord presence throughout the weekend.

Hugs to you Kenzie-

-C

Susie said...

Congratulations on #3, and wow, what a precious weekend. I'm jealous... wish I lived in the US right now. :) Thank you for putting up a picture of the back of the shirt, I was dying to see it ever since it was mentioned by one of the ladies. Many blessings.
Susie, Joshua's Mummy
mnssams.blogspot.com

So Blessed said...

My heart is overflowing...
thank you for sharing this,
Kenzie. I prayed that God would bless this gathering and each of you in a special way. Thank you, Lord.

Mountainmom said...

Most of you girls may be too young to remember the song "How Beautiful" by Twila Paris. (You can find it on Rhapsody if you have an account--I just looked.) It was sung at our wedding in 1995....funny that I haven't thought of it in ages until reading this post.

How Beautiful - Twila Paris (Cry For The Desert)
How beautiful the hands that served
The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful the feet that walked
The long dusty roads and the hill to the cross
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

How beautiful the heart that bled
That took all my sin and bore it instead
How beautiful the tender eyes
That choose to forgive and never despise
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

And as He lay down His life
We offer this sacrifice
That we will live just as He died
Willing to pay the price
Willing to pay the price

How beautiful the radiant bride
Who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes
How beautiful when humble hearts give
The fruit of pure lives so that others may live
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

How beautiful the feet that bring
The sound of good news and the love of the King
How beautiful the hands that serve
The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth
How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ

Words and Music by Twila Paris
(c) 1990 Star Song

I am so amazed at the Lord's goodness in allowing so many details to be worked out all over the country for you all to be together. For those of us who have read your blogs over the months (and also feel we "know" you---I started reading b/c Emily C. and I have friends in common), it is pure joy to see the pictures of your smiling faces! You truly do represent the body of Christ as you have ministered to and upheld each other through what has probably been life's worst trial for each of you. I know that our Saviour must have been smiling down on you this weekend, whispering "well done" in your ear. May God continue to bless and restore.
Lori C.
Salem, VA

Corie said...

Wow! What a weekend you all had. I can only imagine just how amazing it was to see one another face to face after so much time as "blogger" friends. Thank you for sharing your weekend.

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

sweet girlfriend,
I miss you already!! I loved our weekend together - there are no words to describe it.
You are precious to me I hope you know - with such a cute perfect belly!
Love you,
Kim

Laurie said...

Kenzie,

Wow!!! What a beautiful time of sharing all of you girls experienced.
My prayers were answered as I read of your backstage experience with Beth. Such a powerful and tender time of surrender, all of my "girls" at the same moment. God is so GOOD!!! And just think, your baby girl was there taking it all in too!!:) It just takes my breath away to read a glimpse of what you experienced in those days. This truly is an unbreakable bond. May the "Heavenly High" of this time together resonate in all of your hearts until the day you all hold your precious babies again. I love you Kenzie.

Laurie in Ca.
PS. Have a GREAT 4th!!

Jai said...

Kenzie: (Love your name)

I popped over here from a comment on Angie Smith's blog and have been comforted by the way you journaled your sweet Maddox.

I wish I was blogging when my Denham went to live with Jesus 5 years ago and had support of women like this.

I love the way you all are celebrating and making this journey with the Lord and with each other.

Is there a March for Babies in any other areas of Texas that you know of? I know some friends who could really benefit from something like this.

Thank you.

Kirsten said...

Kenzie,

Thank you for sharing so many pictures and details about the weekend. It is such a blessing for all of us who have followed your journey to see God work in such a mighty way to bless and comfort each of you. It touches fills my heart to overflowing. What a miracle - the perfect weekend!!

The shirts are so great - thank you for posting.

You are in my prayers! Hugs and love!!

Blessings,
Kirsten

Devin said...

Wow, Kenzie. What a truly marvelous thing that you all got to share time together. I am jealously :-) happy for you...the support of others who have also walked your road is soooo important. Obviously, I know you know that first hand, as do I. I am so grateful for those who helped me through....your name of course being at the top of that list!

I am so thankful to God that He brought each of you together and that you all got to spend such a precious time together. Still praying for you each day.

Love ya girl,
Devin

sumi said...

That's weird, Kenzie, I thought I had commented. Anyhow, I am so blessed that you had such a good time. Isn't God good?

Hoy and Ali said...

I have just found your beautiful family through a friend of a friend and I have come back to your blog 3 times since. You and your family radiate so much faith, joy, and hope that only comes from the Lord, and have been a true inspiration to me this weekend. I look forward to following along as your new miracle grows and develops!

Susan said...

Hey Kenzie,

First off CONGRATS on your new baby GIRL!!! Oh my, if she is as beautiful as you, she will steal everyone's heart!!

I'm thrilled, over-joyed and rejoicing with you guys!

Now, about the trip. I was elated to read what a great time you guys had and then you got to met and pray with BETH!! OH MY...

Last year I went with a group of St.Jude moms' the the Nashville Deeper Still. My feet still haven't hit the ground.

In our whole group there were only 2 of us who were mom's of cancer survivors. The rest of the women all lost a child that year to cancer.

It was life changing for all of us. We share a sister hood like you and your friends. It's amazing how God uses such difficult things to draw us to others along the path.

Sorry for rambling, just wanted to stop in and say hi!!

Love you♥

Jessica said...

Wow..What an amazing post, and experience you had with your girls. I have lost two boys and can say that it does get easier, although it never seems to go away. How amazing that you could meet, pray with, and praise the Lord with women of faith in the mist of the greatest grief. That is an inspiration to others! Beth Moore is coming to our church in Aug, and I am so excited.

jen crane said...

my darling friend,

what an awesome post - so glad to hear about your trip to meet your mommy friends and to pray with beth. awe-inspiring... my heart is filled with joy for you, girl. my eyes are filling with tears because you are so worthy of every joy & happiness & blessing... i love you!! please lets have lunch when we get back in the fall. (i am still short one plastic storage dish.) :)

hug dusty & deacon from us... and warm bellypats to sweet baby girl!

love you,
jen

Shawn said...

Oh my goodness! I stumbled upon your blog as I was browsing through one of my good friends "favorite blogs to read"...

I just attended Beth's conference in Minneapolis - and she told the story about you girls!! We were all so touched. It was an amazing experience...

God bless you!! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...