Thursday, September 12, 2013

Worship in Mourning

"Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground and worshiped, And said, Naked I came out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed by the name of the LORD." Job 1:20

As the summer wanes and fall meets the horizon, the familiar breezes in the air take me back to that place. Those special memories of carrying my boys. The intense pains of loss, the fear of the unknown and yet the amazing grace of my Abba Father and the joys of His deliverance. Only when a Christian has known such intense grief can they truly understand the intertwining of mourning and worship. That it is possible to be at the bottom, in the most intense pain you have ever felt and to continue to worship the One true and living God. It is only by the power of His Spirit that we can cry, and moan and bow before His throne.

I remember so vividly the pains of yesterday. There are times I secretly scream inside with certain images and memories of my little baby boy, Julian. The suffocating thoughts of misery and hopelessness slowly creep in. This is when I need to worship more than ever. This is where the breakthrough lies. And Father God is never far away. He is closest to my breaking heart, healing it, infusing me with hope through the Holy Spirit. And I can breathe again.

I do not anticipate that this pain will ever go away; as the mortal awaits for the immortal, I will continue to bow my head in worship. I know, now, that nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Not height, nor depth, nor hell, no death...I encourage you, wherever you are today, you do not have to deny the pain you are in to continue to worship. The Lord knows where you are at and He doesn't look for someone who cleans themselves up, wipes their tears and prepares to worship, no. He looks for the contrite of heart. The humble. Then He will lift you up. Then He gives you the garment of praise for your mourning.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hello, again.

It's been a little over a year since my last post. I've actually debated continuing on with this blog as it seemed that every time my heart was running over with words to type, the time would just escape me. A message I received from a FB friend telling me how much my blog helped her during the time she lost one of her twin boys was just the spark I needed to ignite the fire.
It is truly amazing what the Lord can do with such tragic circumstances. There was a time in my life that I could see no way out, no future, no hope....My feelings overwhelmed me and I was being suffocated by despair, when the spirit of the living God revived me again with His words of life.
I am looking back at the last two years with so much amazement. Now, a new baby girl, only 4-months-old, sleeps quietly in a crib. My surviving twin, Gianluca, is much more a "big boy" and much less "baby", but I am happy to watch him grow. Two years ago I did not know if I would lose him, also, or if he had been permanently brain damaged. I remember the times of watching his crib in the hospital, not wanting to close my eyes for a minute in case something went wrong. Fear gripping me as images of his brother's limp body in my hands played over and over for me.
I am understanding heaven more, understanding grace more, understanding the deep, deep love of Christ. None of this would have come about had I not lost my little Julian. And even while I type that I know it is partially a lie because, he is not lost. He is alive and in glory with my Lord.
More to come, I cannot wait to keep writing and sharing the goodness of the Lord. How he has brought beauty from my ashes and allowed my boys to be vessels of His glory.

"Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." 1 Cor 1:4

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Letter to Julian

Happy Valentine's Day! This has been one of the best that I've had in years. I woke up early to make heart-shaped pancakes for my family, watched as the kids gave their Valentine's gifts to Chris and spent the rest of the day cooking and crafting with the kids.
I am so grateful for the unfailing love of God in my life. No matter what I have done or where I have gone, His love has never left me. For the moments I gave up or walked away...even the times I actively defied God, His patience and grace have guided me through every single moment. There is not a time I can look back at my life and not see His amazing works. How he held me together when I thought I'd fall apart is more testament to how I can truly trust Him.
Still, this week has been a tough one for me. I'm not sure if it is the start of the support group or other circumstances in my life that have brought back some fresh feelings of grief, but they are definitely here. It can really make you feel isolated because everyone has expected me to move on by now; even me.
But in light of my loss, it has made me so very grateful for every moment I have on this earth. Every day that I get to wake up and make breakfast for the kids, coffee for my husband, changing diapers, schooling and cleaning, all the crazy things my kids to do make me laugh and the moments they just absolutely amaze me- I'm so grateful. There was a time I was away from them and didn't know if I would be back to ever enjoy this again. There is a child that I cannot do these things for or with...I am grateful.
I've been waiting for the right moment to share a letter I wrote to my son, Julian four days before I delivered him and his brother Gianluca. The March of Dimes representative, who now is one of my closest friends, had dropped off her weekly crafting project for me: two pieces of paper with a sort of frame to post my next sonogram picture on. I'll never forget her coming into my room and offering me two papers instead of one. It meant so much to me that she acknowledged that I still carried two. Still loved two. Still dreamed of two...
I held onto those papers for weeks, wanting to decorate them just the right way. I had wanted to put Bible verses on them and needed time to find just the right ones. To this day, I still haven't finished Gianluca's- but I will! LOL
What I do have is Julian's. There is no sono picture on it because the techs refused to give me a picture of him at my weekly sono after he passed away. I was able to find meaningful Scripture and even used the baby-themed stickers I was given and on the back of it wrote an emotional letter that reads,

To My Dearly Loved Son, Julian:

Your life was used to change mine from the moment you were conceived. How precious you will always be to me and Daddy. If I had been able to watch you grow and train you up in the Lord, I would have taught you to love the Lord, to always trust and obey Him and to never give up.
Now, as your mother, I am walking out those principles and every fiber of my faith is being tested; but I will not give up.
I promise never to let your life be used by Satan as a means to snuff out the light of Jesus or to be a subject of bitterness.
Just like your brothers and sisters, as brief a moment in time as it has been, your life will be a subject of joy and great testimony for our God.
And now, my sweet baby, I lay you to rest in the hands of our Savior, knowing that you are in the presence of His love and His glory, never to feel pain or hurt.
Until the day when Daddy and I meet you again, my heart will always be filled with the unconditional love God gave me for you and a tender aching to see you again.

With all my heart,


Like the saying for 9/11 "We will never forget", I say the same. I will never be grateful. To love while I have the chance and to use whatever time God has given me to the best of my ability. And even greater than the love that a mother has for her children or a husband for his bride, is the love that Jesus has for each and every one of us. The trial in your life does not mean God doesn't love you. If we only could comprehend a portion of how deep His love is for us, we would have hope and peace that would be immeasurable. One day we will see Him face to face. One day, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." Revelation 21:4.

Our joys will be greater,
Our love will be deeper,
Our lives will be fuller,
Because of you...

***For mothers out there who have lost a child during pregnancy via miscarriage, abortion or stillbirth, we now have a support group Facebook page: where you can find hope and healing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beauty For Ashes Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group

"...and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes..." Isaiah 61:3

I'm so, so happy to be able to share the news that back in November the Lord enabled me to start a faith-based support group for women who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion or infant death during the first year called Beauty For Ashes Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group. My wonderful church has opened its doors and allowed us to use the cozy lounge/coffeehouse for our meetings. I had waited to share the news to see what kind of a response I would get and boy, was there a pretty significant one!
Baby loss, unfortunately, is a sort of taboo in our culture. Too many times moms who are forced to bury a baby are also left to grieve alone, or sometimes not allowed to grieve at all. I've personally felt this first-hand after enduring two miscarriages and giving birth to my own son who Heaven held before I did... Beauty For Ashes Infant and Pregnancy Loss Support Group is a place where women can come and share their pains, lay down their burdens and find encouragement, hope and peace on their journey. We meet every third Saturday of the month at 10:30 AM for coffee and bagels in the coffeehouse of Holding Out Hope Church, 660 Middle Country Rd. Middle Island, New York. For directions or more information, please feel free to contact me at
We also have a Facebook page ( and to offer additional support and to be a touch point for women who live out of state, but are looking to connect with a faith-based organization such as this. The Notes section of the page lists myriad resources for our moms and their family members, as well. Thank you to everyone who has supported this mission. Thank you to Lindsey Soto-Villanueva, the March of Dimes representative at Stony Brook University Hospital for your amazing dedication, compassion and loyal service to the Lord, Pastors Richard and Diane Anderson for opening up the church to our group and to Susan Johnson, the behind the scenes lady who has been my mentor, my friend and a true sister in the Lord who really "does it all"!
I ask all who read this that you please consider sharing this on your own Facebook page or email to your contacts as you never know what woman in your life may be carrying her own painful secret of loss, suffering in silence, who could use some healing and hope.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. It is not as the world gives that I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid.” John 14:27

Friday, February 3, 2012

Back in the Saddle...Merry Christmas, Happy New Year?

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
Yes, I know, it's been a while. I've had so much to write about and so much desire to write it but, so little time. I know you all can relate. So please accept my (very) belated: Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
I hope you all were able to enjoy your holidays and changing of the calendar. For me, the ending of 2011 was something I didn't want to see happen. I remember feeling the same thing in 2010. Everyone told me that the holidays are the worst for missing loved ones passed, but I never think those cliches really apply to me. I was wrong. The boys' birthday, I could handle. Christmas, I could handle. New Years- almost too hard to handle.
I'll back up a bit and share something very few people know, but in August 2011 I became pregnant. By September the doctor was telling me that based upon my HCG numbers, she believed I was having twins again. Wow! Twins! Again! Thank you, Lord!!!
By October we knew things weren't looking right and that the pregnancy was probably going to end...and it did.
Then November was the twins' first birthday and Christmas, New Year's....I'm sure you get the picture.
Sometimes life feels like it's moving at a speed that you just can't keep up with. I'm wanting to wait and sit in the moment just to process and, well, the world keeps on spinning. Twenty-four hours a day.
It is through these times that I realize how weak and frail I really am. If people only knew the struggles I have, just like everyone else, they might not think so highly of me. I'm so happy that I know I can be open and honest before a God who loves me though, at my worst and at my best.
So for this new coming year I felt again the pangs of grief start to swell up. My other twin, Gianluca, has been growing into such a beautiful little toddler who isn't as dependent on his mommy as the infant he was, and I think that has freed me up to do some grieving that I just wasn't capable of during 2011. For the entire month of January I had found myself crying and overwhelmed at moments again just like the year before... This time, though, I welcomed these moments instead of trying to subdue them. I am not frenzied over a sick preemie any longer and could allow myself to take the time to weep. The release was welcome and probably much needed.
I had felt a little bit conflicted over this. I know so many people have held their breath waiting for me to collapse, or get the prescription for medication, or watch me curse God; but a loss of faith isn't what is happening here. I'm just weak. I don't have superhuman strength, or an extra ability that others don't have. All I have is a faith in a God who is my strength and ability and sometimes you have to reach the very pits of weakness to realize how truly strong He is. Enough to deliver you from all of your pains, regrets and fears. So, for now, I rest in knowing that,

There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to gather stones and a time to scatter them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to give away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. 
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

I'll let the Lord guide me through my seasons, as I hold onto His unchanging hand and faithful love. So that if I mourn or if I dance, it is all for His glory. Peace and love to you my friends.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Hope In the Sky (Happy Birthday Julian and Gianluca!)

So I am exactly one month and one day late with this post, but I'm just so happy I am getting this in before 2012. November 4th marked the anniversary of my twin boys' birthday. At 10:56 and 10:57 AM exactly one year earlier, I was in an operating room anxiously awaiting their arrival. I'll never forget the doctors pushing on my "numb" belly so hard I thought their hands would go right through the table. Then it came. "Baby A, 10:56." It was too quiet and seemed like an eternity until I heard the tiny, angry yelping from my precious new child. A wash of relief. "Baby B, 10:57." A large part of me gave in to the fantasy that maybe I would hear the cry. Maybe it was just delayed...but the silence has continued still 13 months later.
It's amazing how the Lord has turned so many of these things around in my life. How you can mourn, but have joy. Be weak, but have strength. Be in the midst of a storm, yet surrounded by ubiquitous peace. Only one God is able to turn your battle ground into your holy ground (by the way, also the title of a great sermon from Pastor Richard Anderson). This is what I felt on November 4th of this year.
The weeks before their birthday I was really stumped about how to go about celebrating the miracle of Gianluca's life while remembering the beautiful life of his twin brother, Julian. So, we decided to have a pancake-themed party and invited our family and those dear friends who had helped us so much in our times of need with the pregnancy and Gianluca. I got up early in the morning to cook and clean and with the help of my good friend and her daughter, we made 60 pancakes from scratch, a batch of gluten free, a batch of dairy free, plus sausage and bacon. Wow a lot of work, but it was so much fun! The pancakes were a hit and there was a thankfulness in the air that could be felt by all. We listened to the kids screaming and laughing, listened to good music and ate until our bellies were full. It was so amazing to watch Gianluca with all of his siblings, cousins and friends. He has been through a lot in his little life and all to the glory of God. Such a great time.
For Julian's part of the day, we had purchased a sky lantern (, let everyone write messages and Scriptures on it and then went outside to release it. Chris unfolded the paper and moved it back and forth to give it some shape. Then he took a lighter and lit the flammable little card inside. I really didn't realize the impact this would have on me to see this fragile little paper balloon floating in the air, traveling further and further away. At first, we didn't think it was going to go up at all, but as the air heated, it started to gently lift higher and higher. Next, we thought it was going to get stuck in the trees. I closed my eyes for a second not wanting to see my only tribute to my baby be a dud, but it gracefully rocked back and forth in the wind, out of the clutches of the branches. It flew higher and further away and we walked, almost mesmerized down the driveway just to be able to keep our eyes on it. Smaller and smaller it became as the distance between us and the balloon grew. It was soaring now.
I started to think about life and what little control we have over it. Sometimes you think something is going to be a disaster, and end up in the trees, but the grace of God blows it into safety, giving it lift, giving it life and we just have to trust that wind and the fire inside with whatever direction it blows us in so that we, too, can fly.

"...and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." Isaiah 61:3

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Julian's Online Memorial

I've never shared this publicly before, but in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I'd like to share some of my dearest and sweetest memories of the little boy that God used to change me forever. I am so grateful for his sweet life and I know that because of the love of God, we will one day we will be reunited. Thank you to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who truly is the Author and Finisher of my book. Without Him, I never would have made it out alive. Jesus has filled all of my days with more joy and hope than I could have imagined. Thank you for remembering my precious son, but as you watch, please remember the Son of God who gave His own life as ransom for many so that in the darkest times, we have a hope that does not disappoint. If you give Him your heart, He will make it new. This life is a journey, not a destination. I hope you are all blessed and comforted on this day of remembrance.

Our joys will be greater,
Our lives will be fuller,
Our love will be deeper,
Because of you, Julian

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