Something to Give

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Told by: Kelly Gerken, SBD

This was originally written at Sufficient Grace Ministries.

Yesterday, I stood again in the place where heaven and earth meet.

It has been fourteen years since I felt Him brush past me, filling the room with soothing peace that knows no reason, and love that floods with warmth and hope, as I sang to my baby boy when he went straight from my arms to the arms of Jesus.

“Guess what I got to do,” I said breathlessly, that day 14 years ago, when I called Dinah and Ginny, after holding my Thomas.

There is nothing so sacred this side of heaven. Nothing so precious. As the gift of life.

And nothing more miraculous and astounding than when heaven and earth meet for a moment. Anything is possible. Everything you hope for is real.

Grief and joy dance with abandon.

Because life…no matter how brief…is meant to be celebrated. Soaked in. Honored. Treasured.

Holly and I had the incredible privilege of walking with a family, waiting to say hello and goodbye to their sweet baby girl. We spent most of the night and the better part of the following day, standing on sacred ground with them. It was the first time we were able to offer in person support in those crucial moments…together.

As I scurried to pack my bag to take to the family, I ran through the SGM office, choosing crocheted gowns by Marlene, and satin wraps with pink lining and daisies made by Peggy, a Comfort Bear that several hands sewed and stuffed. Others glued hearts, others cut fabric. So many involved in the making of each bear. So many loving hearts and willing hands, working hours every month, so that babies that the world may never know will have something beautiful. And the families who miss them, will find some small comfort. I put pink bracelets made by Marlene into the bag. And, the Dreams of You Memory book.

I wondered on the drive there what it will be like on the other side. I’ve been the mom. But, what will it be like to walk beside a family. Will they mind our presence? Will we be helpful? Will they feel as if we’re invading this sacred place?

We have had the training. Read the books. But, what will the moment be like?

It was like breathing.

I remembered our SBD Birth and Bereavement Doula training, and how important it is to focus on meeting the baby. Soaking in this time with her. Filling her brief life with memories. I remembered my own questions years ago, as I tried to answer theirs. And, I have never been so grateful that I was chosen to be the mother of Faith, Grace, and Thomas. Because they lived, I have something…however small…to give. Reassurance. Hope. From a mother who has walked there.

When we meet Jesus, the crowns we get for the way we serve him on this Earth…the rewards. They aren’t for us. They are so that when we see Him, and we are so desperate to have something to give…to show our love…our worship…our gratefulness….that we will have an offering. Something to cast at His feet, because He gave us so much.

And, when we look into the eyes of a mother about to say goodbye to her baby, there is nothing so desperate as the longing to have something to give.

When we met their sweet baby girl the next day, I felt such unspeakable awe of the gift that I could be allowed to behold the beauty of this precious little one. She was already wearing the wrap with the daisies that we brought for her. And, the bracelet was dangling from her mama’s arm. As I slipped the bracelet on the arm of their daughter, I felt a stirring deep in my heart. The sacredness…the privilege…the nearness of heaven whispering. It was like putting the bracelet on my own little girls. Peace filling, surrounding. Oh, I remember this place well. This is the place where He is so near that you can reach out and touch the hem of His garment. I looked down in disbelief that it was my hands He would allow to do this most meaningful task.

I didn’t get to put beautiful bracelets on the arms of my girls or an outfit on my Thomas. But, in that moment, it was if they were there too. And He whispered to my heart, “It will be this way for each baby you meet.” I didn’t do this for them. But, I can offer the opportunity for as many moms as I am allowed the privilege to meet. Because they lived.

I held her in my arms. So grateful for the beauty and gift of this little girl’s life and the family that loves her dearly.

And, as we left, I felt the urge to call my Dinah and say, “Guess what I got to do.”

I’ve struggled a little, at times, with this new identity. Being the person people think of when a baby dies. But, yesterday, I embraced the gift.

We get to go to the place where heaven and earth meet. We get to witness miracles. We get to be there to honor lives that few will see. We get to stand on holy ground. We get to offer beauty and hope in the midst of a pain.

And, because of the amazing hands and willing hearts of the women who gather to use their gifts to make beautiful items for tiny babies and their families…

We have something to give.

And…I am overcome. With the amazing grace of it all.

 

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Comments

  1. Wow. Simply amazing. So much love.

  2. A glimpse into what we will be training for starting next week. I feel so blessed to be able to do this.

  3. Liz Carleton Fast says:

    Kim, you said excatly what I was thinking as I read this beautiful tale. I feel so honoured to have shared even a small part of that. And am so looking forward to the beginning of our training.

  4. Karen Current says:

    This is beautiful. I wish there had been someone like this there when I lost my precious little girl. This training and service sounds to me like a wonderful program! I am sure many women and families will be very blessed by it. I do know that being there when someone else goes through it can be healing, no matter how long it has been since losing your own. My cousin and his wife called me to the hospital when they were in labor and knew the baby was gone. They wanted me there because they knew I had been through it. I tell you I hurried to that hospital as fast as I could planning to stand guard and protect them from the things I had been put through. There was no need. Times had changed and this hospital was wonderful. They allowed the family all the time they needed to say goodbye. I was asked to dress the baby, Patrick, and that scared me. But, when I picked him up, diapered him, and dressed him, it was a truly wonderful blessing for all of us. I had not been allowed to hold Rebekah, my daughter, and helping my cousin also helped me in some ways. I am sure that some of the changes in care have come from people like you advocating for families. I thank you for being there and helping to ease some of the pain for these families.

  5. I was with Kelly on this session. It was amazing and def like breathing. So grateful.

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