"A friend is one who strengthens you with prayers, blesses you with love, and encourages you with hope."Over the last four months, Michael and I have been so encouraged by our Greenville friends! We have only lived here for two years but it feels like much longer. We have no immediate family in the area, and our church family, and my friends from several moms groups have really reached out and made us feel at home.
I came across the verse below one day and it dawned on me that we really are in the perfect place for us for this time in our life. By being separated from family, we have learned to lean on our church family and local friends much more.
Since sharing our journey, I personally have been showered with such an outpouring of unexpected support and love. Below is a handmade flower bouquet, "prayergrams" (something our church does where someone prays over your request and sends you an uplifting note on the request), cards (many handmade by a crafting group that doesn't even know me personally!), and some flower bouquets. And there are numerous emails and facebook posts I've received also sending prayers and encouragement our way.
Proverbs 27:10 (The Message)
10 Don't leave your friends or your parents' friends
and run home to your family when things get rough;
Better a nearby friend than a distant family.
As if that wasn't enough, several friends have asked on several occasions about throwing me a baby shower. I have, on those occasions, declined (knowing that Rebekah's future is questionable and not wanting to accumulate a bunch of girlie things that I might never get to use.) Well, they loved me enough to keep asking, and I finally relented to a 'Shower of Love'. This was different from a traditional baby shower. Gifts were focused more on things the family could use, or things that would help us make a memory box for Rebekah (if it comes to that). We received lots of gift cards. Words of encouragement were also written down for both Rebekah and me (which I will have to share in another post when I am not so emotional), and a scrapbook is being put together of the event. The wonderful women who arranged that party though did get some pink stuff for me, and was I ever excited!
So for the last few months, we have been totally showered with love!
Here was the cake that was made for the shower of love. The cross, baby & bear are all made out of fondant, but were removed from the cake to save as a keepsake.
This is the cards, notes, and a memory box for them. These notes were so encouraging!
-has touched the heart and souls of many.
-is strong, persistent, and loved!
-is precious, delicious, sweet... a bright star.
-has a family hand-picked by the creator for her.
-is an amazing blessing.
-has God's hand upon her.
-is prayed for.
-dwells peacefully in the shadow of the almighty.
-is a beautiful and amazing blessing.
This is a hand-drawn picture from a dear artist friend depicting the character traits and likes of each of our children - Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Josiah, and Rebekah.
The artist also had this to say about our baby girl:
Ray of sunshine
Awesome angel of God
Here's are some of things I was showered with...
New PJs, robe and slippers
A beautiful birth certificate holder, pink cross plaque, pink hair bows & pacifier clip, lovey...
Some beautiful preemie clothes, the cutest tiny shoes and princess socks, girlie receiving blankets and burp clothes (the two on the top left are funny - I Could Use a Spa Day, and Beware of Mood Swings).
Probably the most unique gift was this Celestial Registry of a star named after my Rebekah Budd! There is even a map with coordinates so if we ever have access to a telescope we can find it.
I really wanted some items for creating momentos and for Rebekah's memory box and pictures at the hospital. I now have several hand and foot plaster kits.
There were several very lovely pieces of jewelry which will look precious on her hands in a photo. And my neighbor (who makes jewelry) made a beautiful Rebekah bracelet which I have worn daily.
My mom has made cross stitch quilts for each of our 4 boys. She started on one for Rebekah earlier and, in December, when we found out she definitely had trisomy 18, she had already completed the design. It couldn't have been more fitting for our baby:
Our biggest surprise was presented this past Wednesday at our church's choir/orchestra practice. Over 90 families gave money to an incredibly generous Rebekah Budd Fund meant to help us out with medical costs, or if it comes to it, funeral costs. We were truly left speechless, humbled, loved... did I mention speechless?
This is not a journey I have wished for, wanted, or would wish upon anyone else. It's also something that I honestly didn't mean to become such a big thing. I was led to share my experiences and, before I knew it, it was being shared with even more people. It has been somewhat disconcerting for everyone to know what is going on in our lives, but it is also a relief because I don't have hide the truth of what is going on or what I'm feeling. And having hundreds of prayer warriors... well who would NOT want that?!
I can say with complete honesty that we were brought to Greenville, SC for such a time as this. This kind of support and love is just an incredible gift to us and I am so greatful for God's glorious grace on us. And sometime, I will have to share our testimony of how God spoke to us when we were church hunting. It is amazing to see how the pieces fit in place and His hand was obviously upon us, guiding and teaching, leading us to develop the support network we would need in the future. But that is a story for another day...