An emotional day...

For a few weeks now I've been looking forward to, and dreading, today all at the same time. Today marks the 10th anniversay of the church we attend. 10 years! As our pastor said today, many churches are celebrating their 50th, 75th, 100th anniversary, but here we are celebrating 10 years! It's definitely exciting!

Jeremy and I were connected to our church, Christ's Church, when we were in college. The campus ministry we were involved in (Campus Christian Fellowship) was supported by Christ's Church, so we were invited to attend many times. However, since school was so close to home (and I worked at home on weekends at a Christian bookstore) we went home every weekend and went to our home churches.

When we got married, we moved to the mountains for a year. Just a chance to try things out on our own. While we were living in the mountains, we came home one weekend to visit, and we went to Christ's Church while we were home. I left the service that morning feeling such a pull. I could feel God telling me that we belonged there. While living in the mountains, we never found a church we completely meshed with. There was always something that was taught that we didn't quite agree with. Too political, too much doctrine.....always something. As the year started coming to a close, we were waiting for things to fall into place so that our path would be made clear. I got into grad. school at ECU (where we both got out undergrad. degrees), so back to Greenville it was with us. And we were so excited because we knew we had a church family waiting for us. In 2006, we began attending Christ's Church regularly, and shortly after, we became members. At first, it was difficult to find a group to fit in with. We had people there that we knew from college, but we wanted to branch out. With such a large congregation, though, that was tough at first. It took a good 2 years for us to get to know people outside of our circle. Now, 4 years later, we know without a doubt that we are worshipping with the church family we are meant to be with. Christ's Church is just that - Christ's Church. We are one big family, following Christ, living by His word, and acknowledging that we are real people, all sinners, with faults and struggles, but we all just want to live for HIM.

Our church family has been our biggest support through the loss of Ayden. I can honestly say that each and every person was touched by what happened, and they continue to be touched. It's incredibly humbling to know that you are a part of a group of people who make it clear how much you are loved, thought of, prayed for, and cared for.

Back to today. Since today was our 10th anniversary, of course a special service was planned. Today, January 10, 2010, at 10:10 am, we began service. It was so awesome to see the sactuary packed out and to know that overflow was having to be used. Our pastor spoke on the history of our church and how all of this came to be. It was so neat to hear all about how it first started. Then came the tough part (for me - and I'm sure many others who were involved). A few weeks ago, Jeremy came to me and told me that they wanted to do cardboard testimonies. Look it up on YouTube or GodTube. They're awesome. He showed me what they wanted to do, and I knew immediately why they had asked us. They wanted us to share our testimony from the loss of Ayden. I shut down for a few weeks after that because I didn't want to think about it. It seemed like the loss was too fresh for me to even think about the good that could have come of it. I also knew that it required thought and reflection, and I just didn't want to do that. I forced myself to think about it over this past week since I knew it was coming this Sunday. I couldn't think about what we would write about what actually happened. I let Jeremy handle that piece of cardboard. However, I could think about where I was in the months after what happened and where I have come since then. Those words came quickly - broken, abandoned, hopeless, angry, lost, isolated, beaten, crushed, etc. Then came the hard part. Had I really progressed? Had my feelings evolved into more hopeful ones? I couldn't honestly say that I had taken a 180. I am still broken. I am still hurting. I am less angry, but I still have moments. So, how was I supposed to word this? I knew that no one expected me to "be over it all" or to have gone through a transformation of any kind. It's too soon, and I honestly don't know if the 180 will ever happen. Maybe it'll always be a progressive thing. I was finally able to pin down what my board would say. On the front side, I put, "Broken/Abandoned/Hopeless" - for the flip side...the changed(changing - still a process) I put, "Hope and Trust being restored." That's all I could muster, but I think it's a lot. Jeremy's was the more bold one. His front side said, "Death of our 4 month old son, Ayden" and his flip side said, "Promised we will hold Ayden again."

We did a run-through this morning. That was what I was dreading most. I knew I would NOT be able to stay composed. As public as this whole thing has been, it's still hard to expose yourself in any setting, especially in front of a family of believers. However, I knew that if anyone would understand - they would. So, I cried through our part of it.....lip quivering, tears streaming, and I remember looking at the faces of those in the front few rows. Stoic.....saddened....sympathetic....expressions. They all knew how hard this was for us, and they all seemed to understand how hard it continues to be. Ironically, as we walked off stage, everywere I looked I saw a parent holding an infant. Normally, that would have brought sting after sting to my heart. This morning, I saw me holding Ayden....holding him again....holding him for eternity. That's our promise. It's an awesome promise, and I can't wait until it's my reality again. I will hold our future children, and I hope I hold them for a long time, but it just won't be the same. Even when they are full again, my arms will never feel completely full.

Our church will be posting a video of the Cardboard Testimonies from this morning. Once they're up, I'll be sure to post it. I didn't get to see any of it, so I'm excited to see it. I felt how powerful it was while being up there. I can't wait to actually see the power behind it all. We have an awesome body of believers at our many with amazing testimonies. We know we are where we belong.



  1. Awesome that you are both letting God use you through such tragedy. I'm sure you'll never know the people that were impacted by your boldness. My word for the year is TRUST! No matter how our world falls, we can TRUST Him! When we can't trace His hand, we can trust His heart. I can't wait to see the video.

  2. Thank you for sharing. . .I took pictures of each of the people and their testimony. . . the restored side. . I haven't had time to edit yet, but will send to you when I am done. Hugs and thanks for sharing. what an impact you made on the congregation!

  3. I was there, it was beyond powerful. I am glad to read that you are feeling restored, or on your way at least. When I was watching you I wondered what you were thinking. Thank you for allowing us to "look in" your grief, your pain, your life. I know you don't blog for anyone but yourself, but your words stay with me and I try to be thoughtful and more aware of how my life could change at any moment and not to take even the small things for granted.

  4. Thank you for sharing. I know how hard it was for you. I am happy that I was there and that I was able to meet you afterwards. Believe my words when I say that you are in my thoughts and prayers on a daily, sometimes more often than that, basis.

  5. Having a church family you can depend on is one of the single most important things in life...period. They help us through the good and the bad. The sad and the happy. So glad you guys have that in your lives.

  6. "Heavenly Father, I despise loss. And I hate how it makes me feel. Unsure of myself. Vulnerable. Alone. When life spirals out of control like this, and I am unable to do anything about any of it, I want to run. but I have come so far! In my heart, I know the only way out of this wasteland is through it. With You beside me, I know I can do this. Help me see that loss hasn't obliterated my life and that the best may be waiting in all the moments yet to be."

    God brought you to this point in your life for the same reasons that he brought us, your friends and family, to you. We are ALL here for you anytime you need us.

    Love you guys,

  7. I know how hard that was for the two of you, I'm so proud of you. Wish I could have been there in person to see it, but thanks for sharing.

    What wonderful parents Ayden has!

    I love you - Kelley