Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ok, so Atlanta....


Ok...So I have had a tough time trying to figure out how in the world I am going to relay my weekend to "all y'all"....I learned that term this weekend from all y'all southern bells. I got on the plane and went to Charlotte, NC to catch another plane to Atlanta at 11:40. As I sat in Charlotte's terminal, the time of my departure kept being postponed due to mechanical difficulties on the plane...argggg!....now I was the last of the 8 women to be coming in and they were waiting for me at the airport so I didn't want to hold up our evening. We finally got off the ground at 2:00 (in the mean time I ended up sitting next to Reverend Phillip and we talked the entire time about the great things God has done through my life and others using Jacob....coincedence?...I think not!) and I got into Atlanta. Now the Atlanta airport is no small airport....I have to get on the tram thing and here I am all nerved up and I have no idea who I am even looking for to pick me up! So, I come up the stairs and calling my name there is Emily (mother of Miller Grace http://emily0305.blogspot.com/)... the person who made it even possible for me to go on the trip) and Yvette (mother of Tristan http://tristanasher.blogspot.com/) who planned the trip in detail (21 minutes!...I love you Yvette!). They took me to the table where they were all eating lunch. There sat the other 5 mothers:
Angie (mother of Poppy Joy http://poppyjoy.blogspot.com/)

Kristy (mother of Isaac & Asher http://babybolte.blogspot.com/)

Chrissy (mother of Eva Janette http://evajanette.blogspot.com/)

Kenzie (mother of Maddox http://thestanfieldjourney.blogspot.com/)

Kim (mother of Mary Grace http://marygracesummons.blogspot.com/)
What did I say?...nothing profound....no condolences took place.....it wasn't needed....there is complete comfort in just knowing that you are understood because they are there going through it too.....no words can comfort like that, we just sat together and ate and talked about our travels.....like we knew each other from the past and were getting together to reunite. And the weekend continued just like that....comfortable and no awkward feelings. It was like we've known each other for years. When I got to the car to head for the conference, Emily had t-shirts made for our group that had all 9 baby's names and their total amount of time spent here on earth in the order of their passing (the picture is of us from the back walking to the conference)....we wore them and they did not go unnoticed....some people just asked us about them and others knew just who we were because they had read about us on the Deeper Still Blog. We found seats on the floor. 19,000 women in one building gathering together, praising God, opening His Word together and digging deeper into our spirits to be refreshed....how can I accurately relay that to you??? Standing in a row with 7 other women who's babies had died this past year yet we are all standing and raising our hands to God praising Him and telling Him about His goodness, His amazingness, thanking Him for His provision and blessing His name....how can I relay that to you so you feel that overwhelming emotion of praising a God who gives and takes away???? Sitting in that same row listening to Priscilla Shrier preach the Word of God from Exodus 19 about how God invited the Israelites into the wilderness and how He takes us through our wildernesses to see and hear Him and He took them/takes us there by divine invitation so that we can be brought face to face with God and although they/we don't want to be there in that wilderness we are there to see and hear God in a way we have never before and couldn't without that wilderness....how can I relay that presence of the Holy Spirit leading her message right to our hearts as we wonder the wilderness of losing our babies??? She said how God chose the wilderness for His people because it serves His purpose...no one wants the wilderness but we must press on to know Him! She paralleled a mother Eagle rustling her nest and stirring things up to get her baby bird out of there to spread it's wings and sour into the air and if her baby begins to fall, she is right beside it ready to help. God allows things to get rustled up, and although uncomfortable it serves the purpose to get us out of our nest and into the beauty of His purpose and as we soar through the air, He is there right beside the entire time and ready to catch us if we fall. Her teaching sums up my life since October 3rd when we found out about Jacob's heart condition in the womb. It has been uncomfortable and unfamiliar but I have NEVER ONCE doubted my Father's Hand comforting and guiding me through this time and only now, after months of wilderness I can spread my wings and soar and experience life more fully with Him by my side when things get hard and I miss my baby boy. His presence is so evident. I have experienced Him more fully because of this wilderness. THANK YOU LORD JESUS! Thank you for my baby Jacob who was such a powerful tool and has brought me closer to you. I lack the right words to express myself and how great it is to have these words Priscilla shared with us to parallel this wilderness I am in right now and evaluate all that is really happening. Beautiful.

After the conference we headed to the hotel for some pizza and girl-talk. Now, you all know I have been dying to have girl talk.....well there was no lack of that! I got 45 minutes of sleep for the entire night!!!!....and that was more than some! We just chatted and then as other retired, it was just me, Emily and Kim up. I am not sure how we even got onto certain subjects of things but we just talked and talked all night. It was strange....here I am, in a hotel room, with no reservation about what I am saying or who I am sleeping next to...complete comfort. So, then I said some things....things I have NEVER said......things that I have typed to you all about Jacob's passing but these words have never actually rolled off my tongue, out of my mouth to be audibly heard by those in the room. I sobbed. I sobbed in the arms of two of the most beautiful women I have ever met who, although they knew very little about me, they know more of my life now than anyone else could because they were there. They held their babies dead limp bodies. They kissed them for the last time. They arranged a funeral for them. They are praising God for the joy that comes through the storms. They are forever changed because of their beautiful babies they long to hold and will gaze upon them again only in the presence of Jesus. They not only wrapped their arms around me and held me, they comforted me like NO ONE could. How healing.
After our 45 minute night sleep, we headed to the conference. Saturday, June 28th. Miller Grace's (Emily's baby girl) one year anniversary of meeting Jesus face to face. Also, 4 weeks since Jacob's passing. Now, Emily and I found it very crazy how similar we are....we are very compatible and have similar ways of expressing ourselves and similar ways of reading others (it's hard to explain). So here we were, one year/four weeks after our baby's passing, holding each others hands, raising them up in pure whole hearted worship, then staring each other face to face and commissioning each other to live a life "deeper still." How beautifully orchestrated. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11. I thank God for His plans. I thank Him for His plans of blessing us with our babies as not to harm us but to give us hope and a future. I thank Him for so clearly spelling it out for me and giving me the Bible to strengthen and see how God's Words are so relevant today as it was and will always be.

Kay Arthur and Beth Moore spoke (both were sooooo great...even though I was sooooo tired!) and then after the conference, one of the conference coordinators came and escorted us 8 women out of the 19,000 back stage and had us wait in a room. Beth Moore came back and just loved on us. She looked us each in the eyes and hugged us, asked us how she can pray for us, called us giants of faith, and had us kneel down and she prayed over us, touching each of us and lifting up our requests and interceding on our behalf. She cared for us. So sweet. And here is Emily, on her baby girls death anniversary, hugging, posing with and getting prayed over by one of her heroes of the faith.......what a beautiful testimony of God's goodness and granting our desires.

We headed to dinner and then back to the hotel to go swimming and work on some crafts. We each bought a dish and smashed it and then collected a piece from each other and we are to make something out of it. I am not sure what it all stood for but, man, did I love smashing things! Emily didn't want to do hers so I did it and then any time someone needed a piece smashed again, I was right there to smash it. Some ladies are gluing the pieces to a picture frame and some just made clumps of broken pieces....I took each piece and glued them together and when I looked at it, I saw each piece that represented these broken families but glued together we produced a masterpiece that blesses others with our brokenness. Then we made "mats" that represented the crippled man who was brought by his friends to Jesus through a crowd and he was lowered through the roof (Luke 5:17-20). Our craft mat represented the mat and we are to bring each other the Jesus when one is crippled and cannot carry their own mat to Him. We put our baby's name in the middle and then everyone signed their baby's name(s) and their name around it. We then just girl talked the entire night again. Everyone pooped out in our room except Kim and I. Kim's baby girl, Mary Grace, and Jacob share the same birthday and we just talked about how amazingly different our stories are but yet we are all just knitted together with different similarities.
So we finally got to bed for about 2 hours and then the morning of good-byes began. Emily and I slept through breakfast not realizing Angie was leaving right from there (SORRY ANGIE!...we love you!) and then we started dwindling.....our group of 8 was down to 7, then 6, then 5, then 4....we headed to the airport together and then just Emily and I were left. Then I said good bye to her. That was so hard. The woman who was used of God to get me there to experience the weekend of a lifetime....who I cannot just go out to lunch with whenever, who I love deeper than can be explained, who I bonded with from the instant we were in contact, who has allowed my baby boy into her heart to enable her to love again, who is a beautiful vessel....I hugged her and held her tight and cried in her arms. I walked through the airport overwhelmed by what had happened that weekend. Every single one of these women touched my soul. Every one, although we came in contact in different ways, left such a huge imprint on my heart. Every one who's womb carried their babies and their arms are left empty and aching......they are just beautiful women who love Jesus and regardless of circumstances, finds joy in the one true living God. How can you walk away from a weekend like that without tears. How can I not be on the plane randomly having my eyes well up with tears of amazement and thanks. How can I possibly accurately relay it to you. These words do no justice to this weekend. There are no words to accurately relay it....I have left so much out. But it's not for you....it is our gift from God. I pray you never have to experience God in the ways we have....but I do pray that when you are in the wilderness, you will find true joy in it and sit there to hear and see our God like you never have before.

21 comments:

Sonja said...

Karen,
Wow! you have expressed what God would have you say to each one of us. You are also a vessel, remember that. The wilderness each of us walk through is different yet the same. We do not have to fear for our Lord is with us. That is not to say there will not be tears or heart ache. It just means, we will be able to lift our eyes and hearts towards heaven and PRAISE our Heavenly Father. I needed this today for you see, I have to take my son who is 17 to the airport and send him on a journey. A journey I've known was coming yet never wanted the time to come to say "goodbye". This may be my last time seeing my son I don't know. Only God knows. Thank you for being a vessel and bringing His message to me this early 6 am morning. God Bless you.
PS. You may not think you gave a full account of your weekend, but God filled in the blanks. Thank you Jesus!

Destini said...

As I sat here reading, I cried the whole time...not tears of sadness, but tears of joy and adoration for our Lord. My prayer has been for you to experience some sort of restoration of your soul. Our Lord promises it over and over in his word. I am so thankful that you got to go on this retreat and experience the Lord the way that you did...how awesome is our God!

heavensmommy said...

Wow Karen a real post, not that the others weren't "real" but this one was a story, did the boys all help you? LOL....This weekend sounded amazing and thank you for the links to all the other sites it makes these womens lives more clear to me. I was trying to figure out who the other women were, at first I thought they were all buffalo women that have all lost their babies, now I know. I'm glad you got to have your girl talk finally, two nights worth and now you get to catch up on your sleep. Praying for you and your family. How are the boys doing at the YMCA, swimming, golf, ect....? I didn't just fall in love with Jacob, I fell in love with the whole family.

bonster207 said...

Karen, I am home from work this morning and sat down to check in on you. What a wonderful way to start the day, reading your reflections on the weekend. You never cease to amaze me, you are a remarkable young woman. It was me who was to lead by example for you, and as it turns out it is you who have taught me so much. Thank you for sharing your faith so eloquently with all of us. Thank you for sharing your family with us. Thank you for being you. We continue to "Keep the Faith" for all the Fahmers and know that with our Fathers loving help your wilderness will turn to a beautiful harvest as it has begun already. Thank you God for putting all the Fahmers in our lives.!!
Love,
Bonnie

The VW's said...

AWESOME!!! Thanks for sharing! May God Bless You and all of these precious ladies!

petebon5 said...

i have chills. God is so good even in midst of the storm they call life! all of you women, of whom (i have come through kenzie's site)are so awesome! your testimonys' have given me more faith, trust in my walk with JESUS CHRIST. your precious baby girls and boys have changed my life forever! you see i am just a newborn myself. i was saved on March 30, 2008. i am still learning walk threw the bible i am still learning what this wonderful person they call GOD can do. i am still asking the holly spirit to mend me and Jesus for all the blessings he has bestowed upon my precious family. sorry for just rambling but it is b/c of your testimonys that i read everyday, that has changed my life! bless you.bonny in TX

sumi said...

I have tears in my eyes because of the goodness of our God! I am soooo blessed that you had such a wonderful weekend.

I read a verse recently that talked about how the Israelites found grace in the wilderness. I am finding grace in my own wilderness too, perhaps in a way I never could have, had I not been placed on the wilderness road.

And grace isn't just a concept, it is a person! Jesus is the embodiment of grace and mercy and he is wih me in my wilderness.

I am so glad that you were able to spend quality time with these awesome ladies who are walking the same road as you. I know talking with someone who knew what I was going through was like taking a long cool drink of water in a hot desert land.

Ok, I am writing a book here! My heart is just so full for your sake. :o)

Pauline said...

A little bit of awesome along this journey!

cojlisa16 said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I read every word and sobbed. I "met" Emily about five years ago on our Sept. 03 baby board and have adored her from day one. From her, I have followed the stories of all of you and your babies for many months. Like so many others, my life has changed. Your testimonies, together and separate, are amazing. How wonderful that you were able to meet in person and share such an experience. Thank you again for sharing the story with those of us you have never met but who care so much. I am sure that words cannot really capture the whole experience, but your account was phenomenal.

Anonymous said...

I am cryingreading your words. I give thanks to God for this trip....
Randi Booth
Still praying.....

Laurie said...

Karen,

What a beautiful description in part of three days of heaven on earth with these wonderful girls. My heart is blessed for all of you as God reached into broken hearts and mended them together in a lifelong bond. Once again, you all will never be the same, just better for this time together. I am so thankful we serve a God who keeps His promise to give us a HOPE and a FUTURE. I love you girls.

Laurie in Ca.

Michelle Jamie said...

What a blessing!

Anonymous said...

Wow. I lost my baby daughter this year, too (in January) - I wish there was something like this where I live. There are a lot more of us grieving mothers unfortunately.

Inkling said...

What a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ, and a glimpse of the intimate fellowship Christ-followers get to have in Heaven. Incredible and precious to see. I just don't have the words to describe how the story of the eight of you getting to meet and love on each other impacted me.

Anonymous said...

Karen,

Thank you for sharing. My eyes welled up as well. It sounds like an amazing time for all of you and what a blessing. I'm so glad you were able to attend this function and to bond with these other wonderful ladies. I have read all their stories and they faith and the strength you ALL have is amazing. I still look forward to your updates on your family. We all have different types of trials ro obstacles in our lives and it's amazing to see how we deal with them in different ways. You are a wonderful woman.

God Bless,
Jenn in CA

Anonymous said...

I am so thankful you had such a wonderful and blessed trip.

I have to tell you that Jacob's story is such a wonderful testimony. YOU NEED TO WRITE THIS INTO A BOOK. as a mom who lost a child at the age of 2 days, as a mom of a child with a life threating illness, as a mom of a micropreemie born at 22 weeks...and as a woman of God...THIS WAS THE SORT OF THING THAT I NEEDED WHEN I WAS IN MY TRYING HOURS AND MY FAITH BEING TESTED.

I think if you were to publish this wonderful story....moms of the future..moms of now and moms of the "past" can all relate and maybe just maybe...this will be a wonderful tool of God to help heal the pain that is, the pain that was...and the pain yet to be.

Cathy said...

What gorgeous beautiful girls you all are! I am so glad you had each other. Cathy & Annabel

Kenzie said...

Karen-

Girl, you did an amazing job of "recapping" everything from this weekend... well, of course not EVERYTHING but glimpses of everything :) You are so wonderful and I am so thankful that God used Emily to reach to you and bring you along on this amazing weekend! It wouldn't have been complete without you!

Love you so much!
Kenzie

Anonymous said...

Wow! I am moved to tears with happiness for all of you! What a fantastic weekend, one I'm sure you couldn't have pictured 4 weeks ago. What a testimony of the Lord at work. Thank you for sharing this precious time with all of us, truly you show us hope even when things just suck :-) I am so happy that all of you have so many IRL friends to help shoulder the burden when times are tough, and joys to share when times have been especially blessed. I think a book is a fabulous idea, maybe you could each share in the authorship. There are so many grieving who don't have the hope and faith that y'all have, please continue to share your stories (and your beautiful children) to the glory of God.
with love and prayers - Cheryl

So Blessed said...

I am just thanking God for blessing you girls by bringing all of you together to love and help each other on this painful journey through grief that you are all on. I prayed that your time in Atlanta would be blessed, and indeed it was, as I have read on each of your blogs. All of you have amazing testimonies and you are shining examples of our God's goodness and mercy as you follow Him. I will continue to pray for all of you and your families.

Susan L. Prince said...

wow.

I don't really know what to say having read that. It seems God has given you a powerful testimony.

Thank you for having the courage to share it.

Reading through tears made me remember a video I saw a while back that is profound and may be something you have already seen.

At YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th6Njr-qkq0&eurl

It has a powerful message that will bring the tears again I am sure. It may be inappropriate to pass it along to you and/or your readers who have suffered such loss, but again, it brings a message of hope.

God is good.