Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Loss of a Child

I remember shaking nervously as I took the pregnancy test. In just a few minutes my life would forever be changed. The test was positive. I stared at the results as everything on my insides sort of fell to my feet. I fell to my face and cried my eyes out to the Lord. How could I ever be a mom?, I thought to myself. I began to just bawl my eyes out over the weight of responsibility and blessing. Then, I screamed for Rod as my hands shook while showing him the results. He was thrilled and the excited person that I am isn't going to wait to start calling people. He is a lot more hesitant and wondered if we should wait to tell others but our joy overrode our caution.
For the duration of the time I was sick as a dog yet so excited over this child, this precious girl Shelby Hope, that was being woven inside my sinful body.
I will never forget the shock to the system my body received all due to the blessed hormones! Stinking Adam and Eve! I had no idea what in the world was going on with my sensitivity to smell and a whole host of other things. Hardly showing I packed my suitcase, bible in tow, and headed to Baltimore for the bible study taping of the "Patriarchs" by none other than Beth Moore (haha for those of you who know me). Beth began to talk about Gods faithfulness to the covenant that He made with Abraham. Her love for women is so evident and she is so in step with the Holy Spirit. She sees a precious woman that is pregnant and pulls her up out of the crowd. Then, she calls for anyone else who is pregnant to come down to the stage. Well, you would have thought that I was on the "Price is Right" and that Bob Barker had just yelled for all of the pregnant ladies to come on down! I was a' runnin'!!! Mainly because that was my hero in the faith and human as she is it meant the world to me that she was going to pray over my sweet baby (James 5:16).
After she prays over us I was on cloud nine. That woman had meant so much to me...still does...She has mothered me in the faith literally in the last 12 years.
I am a person who journals my prayers. I had been praying for my future child(ren) for several years prior, however, I thought that the Lord was going to have some special plans for Shelby. Several months go by and we just continue to prepare our home and our hearts.
Rod of course needed a manual. So, he read "What to Expect When You are Expecting" and told me every detail of it. We were excited, yet it all seemed so surreal and miraculous.
I am a big believer in memorizing scripture. We can all say that we are not good at memorizing scripture yet we can so easily memorize things that we are more interested in. I know some people that can quote you the stats of every football player for Auburn from the last 20 years but the only scripture they know is John 11:35 "Jesus wept."
I had some verses that the Lord kept giving me every time I turned around. I didn't think much of it at the time other than to memorize them and think how sweet the Lord was to continually remind me of them in various ways.

Let me just say I had a MAJOR stronghold of fear as a child and as a young adult...MAJOR. There have been so many things I have feared along the way that have never happened. I would fear stuff almost so I would never be caught off guard. Sort of like expecting the worst. Not good. So here is the verse:

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Now fast forward to August 19th 2004. I was having horrible back pain and had called the doctor that day just to make sure. I was new to this whole thing and did not know what to expect. I was told that if I was still having pain/bleeding to come in the next day. The pain was worse and worse and worse until I had to get to the hospital. They check me out and send me home. I stayed up all that night (I still remember what I was wearing) in pain. I finally can't take it anymore and wake Rod up to take me to the hospital. I did not want to be a burden but I could not tolerate the pain. The nurse checks me and of course I think everything is fine. The doctor is sitting at the foot of my bed not long after breaking some of the worst news of my life. Shelby was coming, there was nothing humanly possible that could be done, and her lungs were not developed. She would not live. I literally put my hands over my ears and quoted scripture not wanting to hear anything else. I let the doctor finish talking to Rod and of course we prayed like crazy that God would perform a miracle. Our prayer wasn't answered in the way that we had hoped. Yet as hard as it was to swallow, the unfolding events brought God glory.
God is infinitely wise. He is not limited by time. He makes no mistakes. The plan for Shelby's life was the same plan that was before the foundations of the world. Shelby would be born on August 20th 2004 and she would live for only 30 short minutes. What is so ironic is that in all of the things that I have feared...losing Shelby was not one of them. I never feared that I was not going to parent her or that I was going to bury my own child. Yet it happened. She was not ours and this world was not her home. The Lord birthed her, He knit her together, and He called her home after 30 short minutes. The plan was the plan from the beginning of time. God is in our tomorrows, today's, and yesterdays.
It was by far the worst day of my life and I struggled for so many more. Yet I struggled before the Lord and I stayed in the Word. Those things were key to my healing. No one, not even your husband, can walk certain roads with you and heal your heart but the Lord.
As soon as the doctor left the room after that horrible news the Holy Spirit reminded me of a certain family in the Word. I had heard the story of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus in John 11 taught a thousand different ways. Yet the Lord allowed no time to pass before He spoke so tenderly to my heart. I heard Him just speaking to my heart (mind you I had not studied this passage in months)almost as if to say: "Jenny...I was not just crying over Lazarus. I was crying for you and the Mary's and Martha's of this world that have suffered the sting of death. You were not meant for the sting of death and this is to my Fathers Glory. Eternity is set in your heart you were never meant for this fallen world."

You have no idea what peace He spoke over me and what a direct word it was. None of that cancelled the pain or tears yet I was comforted. If I could tell anyone that is suffering loss anything I would tell them to stay in the word even when you don't understand.

One of the funniest things was told to me months later. The doctors asked Rod if they could give me something to calm me down and they did. I was delirious for a portion of time. All of my good friends were in the hospital room and I was in the bed. I asked someone to read me my bible and they took turns. My friend Amy said that she couldn't believe how I went around the room and prayed for each person and made them hold hands while we prayed. If that wasn't the Spirit of God I don't know what was because I had NO...I mean NO remembrance of it! It was quite humorous. She said I prayed specifically for each one of them. I get tickled over that to this day since I don't recall doing it.

The coming months were hard and painful yet God never left me. He never forsook me. He is the God of my life and the length of my days.

Morgan wanted to go by her grave the other day. She knows that she is with Jesus but still. She prayed, cried, and wrote her a note. She grieves the loss of her sister and wishes she could play with her. We were listening to praise music so I had it turned up while we were standing there and just let Morgan take her time. It broke my heart that Morgan can care so much about someone she has never even met. I was so moved in worship that I lifted my hands to praise the Lord. I then held Morgan with one arm (and the help of my hip) and praised Him with the other. The day we buried her, Amy sang "Glory Baby" by watermark and I lifted my hands to the Lord and bent my knees to my Creator. It never occurred to me that I would be holding the delight of my life in the same place years later and lifting my hands in worship over the life that now lives. Redemptive.

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Bonnie said...

You are brave, honest and so beyond your years. Thank you so much for sharing such deep private thoughts. As a grandma to 2 grandbabies with a life shortening disease, it was so moving and inspiring to me. thank you, thank you, love, love, love!

DeDeandMatt said...


Jina Bootcheck said...


Anonymous said...

You know I love you! That said...I cannot relate but God can.

I have another friend, Nikki, who lost her first born baby Hope. She went on to have two boys. Just this week on FB she posted a picture of the boys at Hope's marker much like your picture of Shelby's marker and Morgan. I thought of her picture -- "here is Nikki's Faith, Hope and Love" and seeing your picture I thought "here is Jenny's heaven and Jenny's earth."

huge hugs, JW

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for sharing this! Thankyou for loving Jesus and for being such and example and encouragement to others! God bless you always!

Georgia Jan said...

Sweet Jenny, What a precious young woman you are. I pray God will continue to use you for His glory. You have such a gift for writing and such a genuine heart for Him. This journal of your heart is so beautifully written. As painful as this memory is, you share so much of your faith in Jesus the One and Only. You are a blessing.

Much love,

Kelsie said...

Jenny! i am on vacation and not supposed to be crying...but i am ;)
i love you!

Kelsie said...

girl i am on out of town on vacation and i am not supposed to be crying! i love you Jenny!

jennyhope said...

Bonnie, You have always been such an encouragement to me. Seriously. I prayed for those sweet babies this morning. I know you know what it is like to know that your life and the life of your precious babies are in His hands. Keep pressing in!! XOXOXO

jennyhope said...

I love seeing that sweet SA grow up! She is so blessed to have you as her momma! You have always been so special to me!

jennyhope said...


I have thought about you being on the other side of the world and just pray that the Lord brings precious friends in your life! You are SO gorgeous and so are those precious girls!!! ;) You are a good momma!

jennyhope said...


That is so precious. Those names! Missed you and will miss you Thursday! Hope you had a wonderful bday! <3 you!!

jennyhope said...

Julie, I am telling you...I mean telling you...I don't know where I would be without Jesus!
I just thank God that He stooped down to us and revealed Himself through Jesus!
Girl I hope to see you soon!

jennyhope said...

I just love you! For real! I wish I lived right next to you. It is so cool to me that you were at the Patriarchs!
You are so loved! Thank you for always encouraging me in the Lord.

jennyhope said...

Kels, there are none more precious than you girl! We love you times 10,000!

Toknowhim said...

I had not heard this story before... Thanks for sharing what happened... I know you will comfort many with the comfort you have received...


Warren Baldwin said...

This was deeply moving. This was courageous of you to share what goes on in a mom and dads heart and life during a time like this.

I really liked your statement, "Stinking Adam and Eve!" They messed things up for all of us, didn't they! You reduced some complex theories of human pain and suffering very succinctly! I'll use this in the future and quote you!

Good post. You are a good writer.

michellemabell said...

Jenny, Oh how I true... "God is infinitely wise. He is not limited by time. He makes no mistakes. The plan for Shelby's life was the same plan that was before the foundations of the world."
You are such an encouragemnt in the Lord!
Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful time you and Morgan shared at your daughter's grave.

Blessings to you,