Real people. Real stories. Real movement.
On October 21st, I was 39-weeks pregnant and got the news no soon-to-be mother would ever want to hear. Those five words would change my life forever. “We can’t find a heartbeat.” Instead of being an exhausted mother from being up all night with my newborn, I suddenly became a mother planning my daughter’s funeral. I thought I would be leaving the hospital with my baby, but instead I left with a shattered heart and empty arms.
I was always under the impression that expecting a baby included being pregnant nine months, delivering a healthy baby, and living happily ever after. Yes, I was aware that issues could occur but, for some reason, I felt invincible. “It will never happen to me”… until it did happen to me.
I’m not sure how I would have made it through this difficult time without the support of those around me. Day by day, family and friends were there to help mend my broken heart. It was the intentional actions of these people who offered love and support by providing meals, phone calls, cards, and visits; for that I will be forever grateful.
Like my sister-in-law, I felt so blessed to be showered with love, kindness, and support throughout my journey. I was given a calling to faithfully and boldly reach out to women and families who have experienced similar heartache. We all need support in situations like this to restore our hope and strength. The support system that was around me fueled my desire for the “Faithfully Bold Movement.” Together, let's encourage those in need. An intentional act of kindness can make a huge difference.
We all have different struggles in life... mine was cancer. I was too young to be diagnosed with cancer... at least so I thought. However, cancer doesn’t look at an age chart to determine who participates in the battle. I clearly remember sitting in the surgeon’s office when he said, “We need to get you on the operating table as soon as possible.” I felt like I had been sucker-punched in the face with my own mortality. Within three days, I was undergoing my first of six major surgeries.
The day before my first surgery, my mother-in-law showed up on my doorstep with two big bags of button-up shirts. Within that three-day window, she looked for as many button-up, pocketed shirts as she could find to help hide the pain of having a double mastectomy. I didn’t grasp what a blessing this simple act of kindness was until after my first surgery when I realized I couldn’t lift my arms to put on my own shirt. That simple act provided me comfort and a sense of hope in my most vulnerable time.
Her actions resonated with me deeply. I felt so blessed to be showered in love, kindness, and support throughout my journey. It was the little surprise blessings that fueled my hope and strength... we all need this type of support system. My mother-in-law’s simple act of kindness fueled the birth of the “Faithfully Bold Movement.” Let's band together and find the joy in serving others.
The rise of teenage suicide and attempted suicide in our nation weighs heavy on my heart. Parents are shattered and desperately struggling to find answers. After a great deal of prayer and consideration, I have decided to stand up and tell my story. I want to provide encouragement and hope to teenagers who are battling suicidal thoughts and ideation.
My battle with depression and anxiety began at age 14. After months of depression led to my consumption of an entire bottle of over-the-counter cold and allergy medication, my parents immediately took me in for professional help. I was hospitalized for the first time in a children’s psychiatric ward for two weeks. During my hospitalization, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and prescribed my first antidepressant medication.
At age 19, I was again hospitalized… but this time, I was placed in an adult psychiatric ward. I suffered from depression, anxiety, and had begun experiencing severe panic attacks. The panic attacks were torturous, frequently causing both mental and physical symptoms. I felt trapped in my circumstances and began to experience suicidal thoughts and ideas. Because I couldn’t deal with the hurt and pain any longer, I explored and entertained suicide as an option. The sense of hopelessness and worthlessness simply overwhelmed me!
With a heavy heart, I was hospitalized a third time in my early 30s in the Dual Diagnosis Unit for depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. Alcohol had become my “go to” coping mechanism and way to self-medicate in an attempt to dull the pain. However, the alcohol only made the depression and anxiety worse. I struggled desperately for several years with my condition and the stigma surrounding mental illness, searching hopelessly for solutions after my third hospital stay. At the end of 2016, I knew I needed a significant change in my life… that I couldn’t go on living this way. As a result, I was finally willing to try something different to manage and cope with my mental illness. Through much prayer, professional and personal counseling, medication management, exercise, and a healthy diet, I have been able to move forward despite the pain of my past. With a strong support system and professional help, I am able to manage my depression and anxiety.
I am truly blessed to have such a great support system. The Faithfully Bold Movement allows me to serve others who are hurting. I want to encourage those who are suffering from suicidal thoughts and feelings of being trapped in their circumstances that you are not alone! There is HOPE! Let’s help end the stigma surrounding mental illness… help, hope, and healing are possible. I will BOLDLYgo before the Throne of Grace lifting up the broken in prayer. Please Join the Movement and help us make a difference in the lives of those who are hurting.
Our sweet baby, Emma Lea, lived only 32 and a half weeks, 230 days to be exact, and all of those days in the womb. She went from my womb straight into the loving arms of our Heavenly Father. This is our story.
We were so excited to find out that we were having our second baby! It was a rough pregnancy though; and there were many days I was on the floor too sick to even move. I remember being scared and helpless. There was nothing we could do, but in the stillness I heard, “Do you trust me?” However, it wasn’t until a couple weeks later that we got news that would rock our world.
Results from a genetic test revealed that our sweet baby girl had a condition called TRISOMY 18. “Incompatible with life,” the doctors told us; but we serve THE GIVER OF LIFE. Knowing there was a chance we would lose our girl was so difficult to process. There were many days I prayed for a miracle.
On Sunday, June 26th, we did our daily doppler to hear our sweet Emma Lea’s strong heartbeat, but instead we experienced silence. Our adorable baby was no longer with us, but perfectly healed in our loving Father’s arms. I know our pain and story have a purpose. I know there are people just like us who hurt daily and long to hold their babies. Through hope, Emma Lea’s life, prayers, support, love, and God’s grace, we will have a stronger testimony of God’s faithfulness to us. There is healing in watching God use our story to serve others. Join the Faithfully Bold Movement and share your story.