Please welcome Miranda Loucks, www.EverythingUnscripted.net’s very first guest blogger. She is a spirited young woman with a heart for Jesus, family and everything life has to offer. I am both honored and thrilled that she accepted my request submit this…it is an endearing personal story that will pull at the heartstrings. Someone I know and love once told me: “there is a story to be told within every life we encounter.” Miranda is one such soul.
Grief is something so many of us have in common, but how often do we openly share our experience in walking with our grief…and our faith? If you’ve watched Disney’s Encanto on repeat like me, think of it like: “we don’t talk about grief no, no, no.” Often times, especially for Christians, we feel that because our deceased loved ones knew Christ and are in Heaven that we need not grieve. Many of us are taught to suppress, not express.
I felt called to share my family’s story in hopes that one day we could use our experience as our testimony.
I prayed on our bathroom floor many nights for God to “use this, use me, send me to someone who will need encouragement and support going through this, use this for your good and for your glory…” I broke the silence. I shared our story. I continued to pray to God that “even if I can only help one woman know she’s not alone, please send her to me or me to her.” I prayed those prayers as my own heart broke time and time again. I remember thinking “He can still use this. He’s going to redeem even this.”
My husband Joe and I endured four miscarriages, each one more devastating than the last.
I was so hurt.
I was so broken.
And I felt so abandoned.
Our last miscarriage was incredibly painful and I was hospitalized as a result. I woke up the next morning, heartbroken, thinking “this is the last time.” I was bound and determined that I wasn’t going to take “just go home and try again” or “this happens with so many pregnancies” anymore. I asked the doctor if we’d finally met that “magical number” she had told us we’d need to hit before we were sent to a specialist.
Shortly after, we met with our fertility specialist who confirmed what I felt was indeed not “normal.” To have four consecutive losses was less than 9% worldwide in my age category. I was quickly given the option to do IVF. Even being, we had a less than 20% chance with our history of me being able to carry a pregnancy to full term. “Faith as big as a mustard seed” I kept feeling being whispered in my soul. All I needed was a chance…one chance…if God was able.
And able He was!
Even with numerous complications with my egg retrieval requiring two surgeries and a temporary drain placed in my abdomen to drain the fluid accumulation in my pelvis and lungs. Even with a bleed early on in my pregnancy that put me on bed rest. Even with preterm delivery and postpartum hemorrhage and emergency surgery... He was there. He was able. And He redeemed the hardest storm of my life. Joe and I were gifted our miracle son. Colton.
Throughout our journey women from states away gifted us items for Colton…women I barely knew who prayed for and supported us! Through the sharing of our story, God sent me innumerable women wanting to share their story, their loss, their babies and their legacies and their infertility/IVF/IUI/surrogacy stories. They wanted to share all of this WITH ME! It’s opened me up to a network of women who felt ashamed to tell their stories; women who said by me sharing our journey that it had helped them to not feel alone. Do you remember those prayers I prayed in my brokenness on the bathroom floor? Every single prayer I had prayed was answered. Maybe it wasn’t the timing I had hoped for, nor the way I ever envisioned becoming a family and what it would take to get there. Regardless, GOD WAS ABLE.
Maybe it’s not loss or infertility that you’re spiritually wrestling with, but each of us has our own storm. I challenge you to share your story and pray for God to use it because it will be worth it. My storm said infertility, but my God said I’m meant to be a mother. My GOD, my Creator, the One who has gone before me, the One who has a plan for my life today, tomorrow and the future. Life, even as a Christian, isn’t perfect. It isn’t easy. However, the good news is you don’t have to carry the weight of that alone because that’s where God steps in. His reassurance is clear in Matthew 11: 28-30: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon You and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Also, in 1 Corinthians 13, He states: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Hold true to Him. And may you find comfort in knowing that while you’re riding out a storm in your life there is hope. He loves you and will take care of you now and for all eternity.
Two people who are dear to me--Andy and Sunbo--recommended that I join Flickr as one way to get current pix of my family circle and showcase my photography. I appreciate the recommendation...they were right! Even if COVID didn't exist, the miles between family (and friends) does, so this is a nice way to keep in touch.
To establish my account.
What to do...
What to do...
Scrolling through a never-ending feed of amazing high quality pictures seemed like the perfect thing to spark my creativity. Something that would help me organize my own account features.
Everything was fine until it wasn't.
I got slammed with an overwhelmingly negative sense of self. Sort of like swimming in the ocean on a bright sunshiny day only to be sucked into an unexpected RIP current. Fortunately, I've been trained in how to survive a RIP current. When I realized I was being pulled under, I swam parallel to safer waters and then populated my Flickr account with pix as if scattering seashells along the beach. :-)
So what was my mistake? Comparing my skills and abilities to others. We're individuals. Yes, we have similarities, but we have differences, too. There is no one like us. God created us this way.
One of you.
One of me.
One of Simon in the tree.
(cheesy, but it rhymes so don't hate)
We're our own worst critics. We've done that at least once. And we'll probably do it again. Why? Because we're human. Celebrate individuality and differences and appreciate those similarities. It's good for your peace of mind. And also, you never know how just being you can have an effect on others.
Or maybe you do. :-)
PS: You can easily link to my Flickr account by visiting the footer of any EverythingUnscripted page.
Making cards and gifts for loved ones is a great idea, especially if you find yourself strapped for cash. There's such fulfillment in watching people light up with happiness.
This year, the majority of gifts I gave were handmade. Custom cards. The "Love and Light" gift: a mason jar that could be filled with sand, water and or shells, complete with the forementioned materials (except for water), votives and matches. The "You Matter" gift: a design in a delicate frame with a purposely imperfect white tissue paper background. Here's a picture of that design (you might recognize the famous poem):
PS: There's a new page under "My Art" titled "Gift Card Designs". Check it out when you get a chance!
Christmas is just 9 days away! When I was a kid, I loved how Christmastime transformed everyone and everything. The season of love, joy and perpetual hope tends to have that effect...or it should. Christmas can be the absolute best or worst time of year for people, and this year I sense it's not the best judging by the environment around me.
What can we do to warm hearts this season? Here are a few thoughts:
I hope that wherever you are, whomever you're with and whatever you're doing, that you're enjoying this beautiful season. If you find someone in need of cheer, don't be afraid to reach out. Sure, there's always the possibility that efforts will backfire, but there's always the possibility that you'll bring much needed sunshine to someone's day!
Sending you love and happy hugs!
This morning my family lost our dear Great Aunt Phyllis. She was our matriarch...the oldest member of our family and the last of a few family lines. She was in her 90's, so full of life and brought sunshine and happiness to everyone. Her unconditional love and unending kindness will be missed. Her sense of humor will also be missed. She had a strong mind and quite the quick wit blended with a bit of what my Great Uncle Jack would call "ornery". Though she was a petite woman under 5' tall, she had a grand presence. She always brightened whatever room she entered.
She was quite the extrovert, yet shy and humble. She loved working for Jackson County and did so for several years after retirement. She had an amazing memory and truly knew everything about Jackson County, Ohio. This past year, the Jackson County mayor dedicated a day to her and she also won a lifetime achievement award. We are all so proud of her! Though she and my Great Uncle never had children, she loved each and every person she came in contact with, adopted them as family and took them under her wing. After my dad's mother died, Great Aunt Phyllis stepped in and became the closest thing to a mom to he and his sisters had...that makes this loss especially tough.
She was ready to be Home and at peace...she was for a while, particularly after Great Uncle Jack passed (they were inseparable in life). As God's child, He brought her home in His time, though. And it is a comfort knowing that she can finally rest. She wouldn't want any of us to be sad, rather she'd want us to celebrate her beautiful life. I believe she is at peace now in Heaven reunited with Great Uncle Jack, generations of family and long time friends.
We ask for your prayers as we grieve and also, for those traveling to Ohio for her funeral, please say a special prayer, as well.
We're reaching out to family and friends as best we can...there are a lot of arrangements to be made and so many people to call. That's one reason why I've posted here and on social media. Though it's a weird way to let everyone know (and for that I apologize), it's needed on this sad, busy day. Great Aunt Phyllis was (is) very loved.
Much love and appreciation for the prayers! ❤️❤️❤️