Feeling pretty good most days! Happy to see growth, as that helps me feel better about baby's health. Please continue to pray for me and baby, we need it!!
In case you didn't check out the websites I cited below, I wanted to let you know how this little research project ended for me. (See my last blog if you have no idea what I'm talking about.)
First of all, let me say that it was comforting to see that there were many "opinions" on this subject when I googled "what happens when we die christian." Other people are wondering the same thing!! But, I was most comforted by the educated guesses that I found by other pastors.
Basically, the conclusion they came to, and the answer I'm going with is - YES, we will be with Jesus immediately following death. Now, some argue that there is a difference between Heaven and "paradise," but that part I don't mind so much. In fact, it makes a lot of sense. So, I wanted to share the two main points for this assessment:
1. In Luke 23:43, when Jesus is dying on the cross and he is speaking to the theif on the cross right next to him, Jesus says "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Well, that seems pretty clear doesn't it?? Again, that's not to say that Jesus and the theif are in Heaven with God, because that may not happen until after the second coming, but I'm still VERY satisfied with this knowledge.
2. In Philippians 1:21-26, Paul is writing to the church about his desire to die and be with Christ. It makes no sense that Paul would want to die UNLESS he knew that he would be with Jesus. This passage actually made me weep when we discussed it in our biblestudy because I felt like I could relate to Paul so much, wanting to be with Gabriel and away from this earth.
Anyway, there was lots of great information in those three cited websites, but these two main points are what helped me the most so I really felt led to share them with you.
Thanks so much for continuing to visit this site and read my thoughts. I hope that it is encouraging to you!
Hello friends! So, for awhile now I have been asking lots of questions, and trying to do lots of research, on the timeline of things that occur after we die. Of course I am trying to use my bible as my resource, but would also love to hear everyone's opinions, what you were taught, etc.
When we discussed the topic in our bible study, probably about a year ago, we came to a conclusion, but not one that I've been 100% satisfied with. So, here's what I know to be true: The bible is very clear about the resurrection that will occur when Jesus returns. 1 Corinthians 15:23 states that there is an order in all of this, and that "all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back." Verses 35 to 57 explain that we will receive our new bodies when the last trumpet sounds and "those who have died will be raised to live forever." Even the Old Testament speaks about this certain future, Isaiah 26:19 says that those who die will live, "their bodies will rise again, those who sleep in the earth will rise up and sing for joy."
Now, 2 Corinthians states in 5:1-5 that when we die and leave this earthly body we will have a house in heaven and an eternal body made by God. But, the "and" in between "when we die" and "leave this early body" could be two different moments...
So, it's clear that our BODIES will remain in the earth until Jesus comes again, and at that point our earthly bodies will be resurrected and transformed into our eternal bodies. That, I understand. So what's happening to those who have already passed, as we all wait for Jesus to return? One explanation I've heard, without scripture to back it up, was that our SOULS go to Heaven (or Hell) immediatly after death and it's only our BODIES that are not transformed until later. That made sense to me... until I read 2 Corinthians 5:3 that says "we will not be spirits without bodies," unless that's just referring to after Jesus comes?? I'm so confused....
So, what's my deal? Well, I want to know why pastors and loved ones encourage and comfort those who mourn by talking about those who have passed being up in Heaven. Heck, I've even done it. But, I want to know if they're really up there. Right now. Or if we will all be face to face with Jesus in the future. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 states:
13 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. 15 We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. 17 Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. 18 So encourage each other with these words.
The conclusion that Kyle, and our bible study came up with is that our minds cannot comprehend the timing of all of this. I, in my weakness and my desire to know, can only think about things in reference to the timeline of my own life. So, I know that at this point my grandfather died, and then Gabriel died, and then Nanny died. So, my desire is to know what they're doing/where they are until the end of this timeline, my own death OR Jesus' second coming. BUT, if the answer is that those who have already passed will not meet Jesus until he comes back, right before those still living on this earth meet him, that could feel like, and be, only a second in God's time. So, that doesn't mean that they are hanging out in the ground just waiting and waiting. This much I know.
So, now it's your turn. Do you think about this? What are your thoughts and beliefs? And, most importantly, what scripture would you use to back this up??
ADDITION: Here are a few websites I found REALLY helpful after writing this blog...
It's so funny that realizing it's the 21st of any month can still make me sad. It's like I'm not expecting it, I check the date before writing an email or whatever and BAM, "It's the 21st?!" I couldn't tell you right now how many months Gabriel would be today. And I believe that's a good thing. I am pleased with myself that I am at least "moving on" by not obsessing over every milestone he would hit every month.
Now, I can just as easily sign into BabyCenter and figure it out. I could even go to my August 2009 group and read what other moms are dealing with at this point in their child's life. But, I don't do that.
What I did do recently was kinda fun, though. Our bible study was discussing the verse in Matthew 5, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." I talked about the way those who mourn are comforted in this life, by having the hope and belief that we will be with our lossed loved ones again. Without overly thinking, I began talking about how I wouldn't know what Gabe would look like when I did actually get up there to see him, but that my grandmother described him as wise, so maybe he'd be a 21 inch tall little baby giving everyone Heaven tours. It made me smile, and it made Kyle beam. It was such a sweet thought.
So, today I thought I'd revisit that thought and go a bit further...
The Bible says that we will all have Heavenly bodies. What does that mean? That your Heavenly body is from your sexiest year? Like, Nanny. Will she look like a 20-something nurse, with curls in her hair, pink cheeks, and a bright smile? And me - my Heavenly body would obviously be me the year I got married: tan, the thinnest I've ever been, happy. But who's to say what our best year looked like? And then there's Gabe. He lived two hours. And he did look very different in that short amount of time, so my guess would be if he's up in Heaven looking like his best moment on earth, it would be close to when he first came out: plump, chubby cheeks, with full lips and his sweet angel face.
Is he spending his eternity being rocked by all the mommas who lost babies? Is he spending everyday as a two-hour-old infant? I can't even wrap my mind around it...
I can't imagine he would continue to "grow" up there and that he'd be how ever old he would have been had he stayed here with me. But what if he was older? What if his Heavenly body is that of a 20 year old young man? I have this strange "fantasy" that JC would allow me to watch some sort of slideshow of Gabe's life, so that I wouldn't feel like I missed out on anything. And me and Nan and all the other beautiful Heavenly people would just sit there on the most comfortable couch imaginable as we watched Gabe say his first word, take his first step, eat cake for the first time, etc. And it wouldn't contain earthly memories like his first day of school, or the first time someone made him cry, or the day his heart was broken. It would show him learning about Heaven, growing closer to Jesus, helping everyone around him, praising God through every minute. I imagine us all bawling our eyes out because the video would obviously be accompanied by really sad music. Maybe that's what it'll be like...
I was spending quality time with my sister last week, enjoying her brand new giant television with its one million channels. As she was searching through the sea of programs, the word "Hillsong" caught my eye. She kindly allowed me to watch a few moments of this televised concert and we listened to the amazing australian accent of the pastor on stage. He was telling a story of a man who came up to him after one of his sermons who said that, although the pastor did a fine job preaching, he thought that christianity was nothing more than a crutch. The pastor thought to himself, "I hope you break both of your legs!" and then reassured his audience that it was just a THOUGHT! Hahahaha!
He went on to say that he asked this young man, "If you couldn't get around on your own, would you appreciate the use of a wheelchair?" "Yes," said the man. "And if you could only use one leg, would you want the ability to use crutches?" "Yes," said the man. So the pastor summed up his point by saying, "You see, I am a broken person. We are all broken people. And I am thankful that I have Jesus to lean on. So if you want to say that we're all using a crutch, well, that's fine with me. I'm happy to have it."
I thought it was amazing!! Had to share! :)
Most of you know that I'm fasting from FB, due to not being able to fast from food (mmm, typing that made me hungry for fast food). Anyway, Joel has been so incredibly cute lately that I've been keeping track of what WOULD have been my FB status updates. So, here ya go! ENJOY!
1/4/2011 – Joel said “I love you” for the first time unprompted today! It was after I scolded him…
1/5/2011 – My first thought immediately after I realize I left my cell phone at home is always, “Well, I’ll just call/text so-and-so and let them know I don’t have my phone.” Tell me I’m not the only one!
1/6/11 – This morning Joel said he wanted to see Grandma and Pap. I said, “You love Pap, don’t you?” He said, “Yes! I love Pap!” I said, “Who else do you love?” “I love presents!!” Ha ha!
1/6/11 – Confession of the day: When the Word FM is on commercial break, I usually switch the station to hip hop. Joel, always, immediately screams, “Momma!! DAAANCE!!”
1/14/11 – Kyle and I praise Joel ofen, and he's beginning to show us it has sunk in! The other day after putting on his hat he looked at me and said, “Look how big I am!” and this morning after asking if I could comb his hair he said, “I look so handsome!”
Maybe more to come...
Just got back from an appt with one of the midwives. It could not have gone any better. She was lovely and kind, answered every question. Today was the first appt listening to the heartbeat with the doppler. Kyle even took off work today just to come to hear it with me. Joel kept saying, "Going to see the baby!" on our way to the office and Kyle would correct him and he'd start repeating "Going to hear the baby!" So dear. It's totally different being pregnant with my firstborn having an understanding (somewhat) of what's going on. It's amazing.
So, the heartbeat came in loud and clear, strong at 161. And, in case you didn't know, according to wives tale, that means GIRL. My boys' heartbeats were always in the 140's. Even though we do not care what we're having (we are finding out this time), knowing that Potter's babies are usually boys and that this one could be a girl gives me some relief.
We celebrated our strong heartbeat with a trip to Quiznos. We both got the turkey, swiss, and ranch sub and I made both of our meals combos so that I could get both cheetos and a cookie. Hey, I lost a pound since my last appt, so I HAD to. ;)
We have another appt Feb. 10th and we will schedule my anatomy scan for, hopefully, two weeks later when I'm about 19 weeks along. That anatomy scan will feel like it is forever away. Every little appt, every little milestone has been a tiny mountain to climb, but that anatomy scan is the giant. I told Kyle, what's crazy is that we will know as soon as they start that ultrasound if the baby has Potter's or not. Gabriel had almost zero amniotic fluid surrounding him, so on the ultrasound that shows as almost no black surrounding baby. It will only take a glance at the screen to know.
So, please continue to pray for us as we're making our way to this point. Thanks, guys!
A friend and I have been quoting this scripture back and forth to one another for awhile now. To me it explains how (and why) a person who has been through something awful is able to encourage others in a similar position. It helps me understand why scripture says it is a "privilege" to have suffered.
"Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer." 2 Corinthians 1:6, New Living Translation
When we experience God's faithfulness during a difficult time, we are better equipped to share with others how God will carry them through as well. For me, this explanation sheds new light on the "whys" of life's hardest questions. In the middle of your grief, it can feel like there are only a few things to make the pain worth it - pointing others to Christ, and helping someone in a similar situation...
It's an old, old, old, antiquey hymn. My research says it was written over 300 years ago. "Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace...."
The wording is so old school that I find it hard to undestand, no judging. But there is one line, in the final verse that make me bawl. "Bind my wandering heart to thee, prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God I love, here's my heart Lord, take and seal it..."
Just goes to show you that we as humans can have the best of intentions, but this world is fallen, and we as people are broken, so we are "prone to leave the God (we) love."
Hello friends. Well, I have another appt this week and it's all I can think about. It will be the first appt they will listen to the heartbeat with the doppler. It's hard in the beginning, in case you've never been prego, because you can't feel baby move yet, and your symptoms are decreasing everyday because you're moving into the (most comfortable) second trimester.
I find myself having to trust God through every second of this pregnancy. It is so easy to rely on myself to get me through these scared feelings, and that only leaves me feeling worse and googling "recurrence of Potter's Syndrome." Blah.
It's less than three percent, by the way. It's very rare to have two Potter's babies IF your child with Potter's Syndrome was a fluke. But, let's say Mom or Dad only have one kidney, but have no idea, than it is a genetic issue. So, because we have Joel, we were told Gabe's diagnosis was a fluke. But, let me tell you... It's very easy for my mind to wander and think about Joel being our fluke, our one healthy baby. It can be very hard.
Just yesterday our Pastor was talking about how unsuccessful it is to rely on self. How that leaves you feeling burnt out, exhausted, dried up. What a difference it is to rely on God as our source of life. How much easier decisions become, how much lighter our load feels, how much smaller those mountains appear. So, how are we supposed to do that?? I'll just pass on my sermon notes to you:
Pray. God will encourage and fuel us. Our prayers should be authentic, simple, sincere, and consistent.
Worship. Tell God why you love Him and how good He is. Worship is anything that makes God smile.
Confess sin. When you repent of your sins, you turn away from them and turn towards Him.
Read His word. Here is where you will find life and strength.
I hope this blesses you today. I pray that you will see that even though I've JUST been given the formula to NOT feel exhausted, that it is still a struggle and a decision I have got to make all day long - to give my life over to Him. To allow Him to carry me through this rough terrain.
Well, if you haven't heard - we are expecting bundle-o-joy number three! We absoultely could not be more thrilled. I just thought it was appropriate to quickly tell you guys our "trying" journey. We had Gabriel in August 2009, and I knew I wanted to wait until I was physically and emotionally (somewhat) okay before we tried for another. Many moms with angels get pregnant right away, and for whatever reason I thought I'd go ahead and take the reigns and control when I thought it would be best...
So about six months later, in February we began trying. It took us until July to get pregnant again. And it only took a week after that to find out we were losing the baby.
We tried and tried and tried. And finally, in October, I had the great revelation that perhaps GOD was in charge of all this timing. Perhaps HE knew what was best for me. Perhaps he was even making a point to make me wait for a baby because I had decided I needed to wait right after having Gabriel. So, in October, it occured to me that maybe the perfect timing would be having another August baby. So that the month of August would be full of joy, instead of mourning. And I realized that meant that we wouldn't get prego this month, that it wouldn't be until next month. And for the first time since February, I was fine with that!!
Well, God doesn't want me to wait until August, he allowed us to conceive that very month. So, Joel was born in June, Gabriel in August, and this one in July. Sounds perfect to me!!! :)
I've been reading Crazy Love, by Francis Chan, with a Mom's Bible Study that meets twice a month. This author is so real, so raw. I don't think his concern for offending Christians is anywhere near his concern for preaching the truth. How refreshing!
In chapter five he's talking about how "lukewarm christians" tend to give God their leftovers. It's a painful read, to say the least.
He says, according to God, we are all here to love. That's it. And that if we are loving God and others, we won't be falling away, we won't be on our way to sin. Sounds so lovely, doesn't it?
He asks his readers to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (the most popular scripture used in wedding ceremonies - ha!) and to replace YOUR name with this word "love." It's amazingly moving. Take a listen:
"Meghan is patient. Meghan is kind. Meghan does not envy or boast. Meghan is not arrogant or rude. Meghan does not insist on her own way. Meghan is not irritable or resentful. Meghan does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but Meghan rejoices with the truth. Meghan bears all things. Meghan believes all things. Meghan hopes all things. Meghan endures all things..."
Then he writes, "by the end, don't you feel like a liar? If I am meant to represent what love is, then I often fail to love people well." Well put. Thought this was a great start for all of us to recognize where we are lacking in what we are called to do. Hope it blesses you today...
Hello faithful readers! This blog has been so good to me. As a dear friend just pointed out to me, as helpful as it is for me emotionally, I only blog when I'm feeling extreme emotions - either feeling blessed or completely overwhelmed.
It's been on my heart for awhile now to share more through this webiste. I always second guessed what I would blog about, fearing that it always had to deal with Gabe, loss, grief, etc. But because all of those issues for me are so entangled with my own issues of faith and my relationship with God, I always left so much unsaid. SOOO, this year, 2011, I will be blogging about my faith - how I'm growing spiritually through my quiet times with God and my personal experiences.
I pray that this will bless you as well. Happy New Year, loved ones!