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Loving with a Broken Heart

empty table

Loving with a Broken Heart

Living with the echoes of a miscarriage

This post will go live on Valentine’s Day, but it could be written on any random day over the last few months.

I sat this morning, looking at my children, and my heart ached for the baby who’ll never sit in a Bumbo, a child who’ll never have chocolate smeared on her face, a little girl who will never have the chance to forget her Disney Princess lunch bag at school.  Our family of five has a sixth member who we’ll never meet and, on mornings like this, the feelings of loss that have slowly faded to the background of life come rushing forward in a moment that makes me catch my breath.  I miss the baby I never met.

It feels funny to write that last sentence.

(you can read more about how we’ve processed our story here: http://westcoastcm.com/?s=miscarriage)

Before our miscarriage, I could have never understood the way that losing a child hangs with you like a cloud on days like today.  I never understood why parents would buy into the myth that our lost children spend the rest of our days hovering over us as guardian angels.  Now I understand – there are days when it feels like there is literally something hanging over you.  It’s hard to explain.  If my understanding of Scripture and the historical Judeo-Christian understanding of angels didn’t get in the way of this belief, I’d consider buying in.  I blame Hallmark, Precious Moments and It’s a Wonderful Life for making this belief a popular option for mourning families.

For those of us in ministry, we need to go out of our way to make room for families who will find themselves mourning the loss of a child at random times.  If you’ve been impacted by the loss of a child, this isn’t news to you.  However, if you’ve never suffered through a miscarriage, still birth or loss of a young child, I’d encourage you to consider keeping tabs on The STILL Project.

I’d encourage you to watch the trailer below, and to say a prayer today for families who have an empty spot at their table today that could be filled by a child they’ve had to say goodbye to.

So, today, help me leverage our loss for the greater good.  God’s heart is for those who mourn (Matthew 5:4).  Share this post, or the video above.

Point people toward this post: http://meredithannemiller.com/2012/01/09/the-world-has-stopped/

Or read and share this post: http://www.lauraziesel.com/2011/12/miscarriage-fertility-and-my-broken.html

Or share your story.  Our communities need to speak openly about this topic.

Today, I’ll keep loving my wife and my kids, even as my heart breaks.  I’ll pick up my son from school.  Help coach a T-Ball team.  We’ll cuddle on the sofa later and watch Charlie Brown movies together.  The echoes of our miscarriage still bounce off the walls of my heart sometimes.

Thanks for listening in with me.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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And the winner is…

Why Do We Call it Christmas?

Follow Up Post…

Last week, I posted a quick write up on one of the tricky bits in the DVD curriculum, Why Do We Call it Christmas – from the makers of What’s in the Bible.  At the end of that post, I mentioned that I was going to give away a copy of the DVD and announce the winner of a drawing today.

I used a simple randomizer (www.random.org) to input the names of those who entered the drawing and the winner is…

Angie Walthall from Southaven, Mississippi!

You can follow her on Twitter here twitter.com/motherof2angie and Angie blogs at Common Ground & a Steamin’ Cup of Coffee.

I want to say a quick thanks to everyone that emailed me with your stories about how your family has handled the “Santa” talk… look for a post in the coming weeks that gives a shout out to some of my favorite responses!

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Big News for the Prince Family

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Kids in Alabama Need Your Help

Speaking of talking with your kids about death, I was just informed of an amazing organization that is coming alongside families who are recovering from the devastating tornadoes that hit the South last week.

Mitzi Eaker has put together a really neat project that is a very practical way for your family to lend a hand in bringing hope and love to kids who need to know that God and the Church are still looking out for them.  Think “Operation Christmas Child” – but in May.  Here’s some quick info I was provided by some friends who are close to the project.

“We are asking that families and children’s ministries across the country get involved by creating “Boxes of Hope” for children which will be distributed in disaster relief centers, emergency shelters, and area hospitals to storm victims. These boxes will contain a personal note to the children with scripture for encouragement, fun activities such as a coloring book, small toys or games, and a few toiletry items. “Boxes of Hope” are aimed at providing a distraction and encouragement to children who have lost everything in this heartbreaking disaster. As parents, we know that seeing our children receive such a gift in this circumstance would help put our minds at ease as well.”


Read more,  including how your family can be involved by visiting kids4al.com.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Legacy | First Thoughts

Coming out of the Christmas season, our church took a look at leadership during a sermon series titled, “We Three Kings.”

The “three kings” we studied weren’t the kings we normally hear about around the holidays – instead, we looked at the leadership styles of the first three kings of Israel… Saul, David and Solomon.

As much as it was a study on leadership, it also gave us a chance to talk about the legacy we leave behind.  Saul is known as a king who put his own desires and timing in front of God’s.  That is his legacy.  David was a hero in victory and had some epic failures… all the while, he was a man after God’s own heart.  That is his legacy.  Solomon valued wisdom more than anything else, stock piling riches, wives and  power… and inevitably setting up the kingdom to be divided and conquered.  That is his legacy.

We all have a legacy we’re leaving behind.  In fact, we’re already the continuation of the lives of those who came before us.  The question I want to leave you with is this – who’s legacy are you proud to be a part of?

I’ll share my answer later this week.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Thoughts, Uncategorized

 

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Pray for my friend, Sandy

** UPDATED **

Sandy is home!

Details here:

http://sandyboulware.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-17-days-of-christmas.html

 

A personal request:

My friend, Sandy Boulware, is battling cancer.  This has been a hard week for her and today is looking to be extremely tough for the family. Her husband, Jon, posted this on his blog this morning…

Triage Unit

Sandy is very sick. (Please do not call the house, her cell, or text her.) (I know everyone means well, but it is adding to the stress and scarring the kids.) I will update everyone as best I can. We spent the entire day at the City of Hope Triage Unit (think ER) and she received another 3 hour hydration infusion, along with pain medication (for cramps) and anti nausea medication. They also ran a bunch of tests. She was released about 5:30 PM and we were home for no more than an hour before the COH called back and wanted me to bring her back in. A urine test completed just prior to us leaving indicated citical levels of glucose and ketones which could result in a diabetic coma or worse. She also had a fevor spike up on her. She is back in the unit and most likely spending the night there. She is scheduled for hydration infusions over the next 3 days here at the house. She is extremely dehydrated and can’t hold anything down. The chemo toxins need to be flushed out of her system. When people tell you that, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – don’t believe it.

I had been on staff at my current church for just a few weeks when one of my volunteers (and mother of 2 girls in our programs… now in 5th and 9th grades) was diagnosed with cancer.  It’s been a roller coaster of a journey over the last few years.  In that time, Sandy has become one of my favorite people and the Boulware family has been gracious enough to adopt me into their circle of friends.

Having lost my friend Steven** to cancer earlier this year, I selfishly don’t want another family I love to have to walk that same path.  Sandy’s story has been a journey of faith and a tale of a family who refuses to lose hope in following a God who heals.  You can read more of her story and journey here:

http://sandyboulware.blogspot.com/

I know that posts on this page typically deal with kids’ ministry, but today I’m simply asking for prayers.

If you would take a few moments to pass on this request to your network, I would appreciate it.

We need a miracle today – and we have a God who is in the miracle business.

Here’s a picture of Sandy and her amazing family:

(Pictured from left to right: Jon, Michelle, Sandy, Rachel)

Thanks, friends.

-Ap

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** Steven was one of our kidmin volunteers and a close friend of mine.  I wrote about his battle with cancer here: https://westcoastcm.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/my-friend-steven/

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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Kids’ Worship: The Church of Karaoke

http://doroteos2.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/bored.jpg

(These are not our kids… but their expressions are pretty similar to the faces ours were making during the Karaoke Worship era)

Karaoke Worship

It feels like it was just yesterday that I walked into our church’s Elementary ministries program for the first time… and I still remember how odd the music time felt.  The church had shifted to a video curriculum and the kids simply stood there during the music time and watched music videos to songs that they had never heard of.  After a couple weeks of observing the program, I had the opportunity to join a group of our kids and parents on a trip to a nearby Christian winter camp.

I wasn’t shocked at what I watched: our church kids had no idea how to engage in live worship.  In fact, what shocked me was that they took naps, laughed at other kids, and basically boycotted the entire idea of singing along with the rest of the group.

I want to take a moment to say that I don’t think video curriculum led to this behavior.  I also want to say, for the sake of my friendship with Staci Travisano (@stacitrav), that I don’t think that Karaoke is all that bad.  What I think led to this behavior was the thought that something was better than nothing.

Our church made a move toward video curriculum during a time of transition.  The neat thing about video curriculum is that it can give you a ton of options for your programming.  The not-so-neat thing is that you can sometimes feel like you have to use everything you pay for… so, you just push play and let the dvd player do the ministry.

The result of a push-play ministry, for us, was a misunderstanding of worship.

We didn’t have someone on our volunteer team that had a heart for leading worship, and so we outsourced our music to a dvd player.  Our kids learned that worship was watching music videos and singing along if they felt like it.  It was like watching bad karaoke… like when you’re at a karaoke bar and you hear your name called, even though you didn’t put your name on this list.  You pretend to try to sing along because you feel like you have to… but everyone knows that you’d rather be anywhere else.  On Sundays, our kids would rather be anywhere else while music was playing.  And it broke my heart.

So… once I felt like I’d earned enough capital with our volunteer team and the key parents in our church, I killed off singing in our Elementary ministries on Sunday morning.  Tomorrow’s post will dive into that mess head first.

During this series, I’ll be covering our journey and will be open to opening up discussions as they arise.  Remember, you can always add your voice to the conversation by posting comments below, sending me a message on facebook (www.facebook.com/anthonyprince) or contacting me via twitter (twitter.com/anthony_prince).

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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things I should hate more than I do: #7 Movie Endings

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Who hates movie endings, right?

This is an absurd idea… or, is it absurd that we all don’t hate movie endings more than we do?

Think about it.  You invest hours of your life into following a story, only to have it end happily, tragically, or ambiguously.  Every movie, good or bad, has an ending.  If nothing else, a time comes when you have to leave the theater and drive away.

I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions and saying goodbye… and I’ve decided that movies set us up to expect something from reality that we seldom ever get.
I’ll resolve that thought in a moment.

A few months ago, a dear friend of mine passed away.  If you’ve lived, then, chances are, you’ve lost someone at one point or another.  It’s hard for me to get past a week without thinking of things that were unresolved in our relationship… and, I find myself wishing that things would have played out differently.  I have no regrets about our friendship – I’m just shocked (for lack of a better term) at the stark finality of death.  I want to share more stories with my friend.  I want him to grow old and get to know his grandchildren.  I want him to have another tomorrow – a chance to hear birds, love his family and take a Sunday off from volunteering as a Sunday School teacher to play a round of golf.

It’s been nearly 5 months since a colleague and close friend of my family resigned from her position on our church staff to become a chaplain at a private school in the heart of Los Angeles.  I know that transitions happen, but, after years of investing in a relationship and a ministry partnership, it’s hard to lose the results of the effort and relational capital that’s we’ve both invested in each other.  Sure, we’ll still be friends… but, she’s moved on to the next exciting chapter of her life and has left us all behind.

So, I was listening to an author by the name of Don Miller talk about what makes a good movie a good movie… or what makes a good story a good story.  Basically, he was able to put into words and name for me what I hate about movie endings – a good story has closure.  Even if the movie ends and you know that the story goes on, you know that there has been some sort of conflict that’s been resolved and you can rest, knowing that resolution has happened and the movie world is a better place because of it.

Now… I’ll tie it all together, because that’s what the expectation is, right?

There will always be something else you could have done/said/fought for… but, at the end of the day, the day ends with things undone.

At the end of every movie, when the screen fades to black, we need to remember that the story goes on.  Our stories go on.  Long after our life here fades out, our story will continue.  Movies set us up to expect closure – but I’m beginning to doubt that it ever actually happens or exists in reality.

Anyone else feel this way, or am I just getting bummed out by the week of rain we’ve had in Southern California?

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2010 in Los Angeles, Uncategorized

 

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Orange Week: Orange Failing

https://westcoastcm.files.wordpress.com/2010/10/oompaloompa.jpg?w=300

(making something look Orange doesn’t automatically make it awesome… in fact, it makes some things a little terrifying)

Last spring, I wrote a series of articles about the importance of sharing ideas – even the ones that fail.  Our team’s biggest failure this year came as a result of trying to make something look “Orange” without actually going the distance when it came to actually partnering the church and local families.

You can read about that Epic Fail here:
https://westcoastcm.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/ideas-the-one-that-failed/

You see, you can’t just expect that adding a parenting component, a kid’s activity, or hip language to an event makes the event Orange.  In fact, by doing that and not delivering, we risked throwing away momentum that we had built up in the arena of parent/church collaboration.

So, again, as I pointed out in THIS recent post, you should never just paint something Orange because it’s trendy.  If you’re going to make Orange shifts in your ministry – do it well and do it on purpose.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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What Matters Now In Children’s Ministry: Free eBook!

Today, we introduce “What Matters Now in Children’s Ministry!”
The best thing about this eBook is that it is completely FREE!

Feel free to download the eBook here and distribute it to everyone you know. Use it as a conversation starter in your children’s ministries, your church staff and children’s ministry networks you are a part of.

I’m even more excited because this book isn’t just a resource for children’s ministry leaders!

In fact, you should read this book if you’re a…

  • Parent
    Leaders from across the nation who minister specifically to children have identified trends in this book that impact the way your kids are ministered to and cared for.  This matters to you.  Plus, this makes a great gift for your child’s Sunday school teacher or Children’s Pastor… and it fits every family’s budget: it’s free!
  • Educator
    Teachers and fellow educators have just as much to glean from this resource as those who work in the church.  Just because we’re serving kids in the arena of church and faith development doesn’t put us in some sort of holy vacuum.  Would you use the same words to describe what matters now in educating children?  You won’t know unless you download the eBook!
  • Youth Minister
    Hey, youth pastors!  Did you know that the kids who are currently in your church’s preschool will one day be in your youth group?  Crazy, right?  You should have a sense of what matters now in Children’s Ministry because it matters to you.  And… I know you don’t hang out with Children’s Ministry leaders.  So, download this FREE eBook instead.  Thank me later.
  • Senior Pastor
    I know you have a sermon to write.  You have phone calls to make.  You have a church to care for.  I get it.  What’s great is that we had your crazy schedule in mind when we wrote this book.  Each entry is about 200 words long and this is an easy resource to digest one bite at a time.  It’s my humble opinion that not enough Senior Pastors truly care about what’s going on in their children’s ministry programs… prove me wrong – check out this resource.
  • Friend of Mine
    Seriously, how often does one of your friends get published?  So… click this link, download the eBook, and tell your friends to do the same.  Seriously… it’s free.  You can’t beat that price.

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I don’t want to give too much about the book away other than you need to download and read it. For those of you who will be tempted to use up your ink cartridges by printing out the eBook, there will be a print version available come June 14th.

I want to wrap up with a huge thanks to Imago for donating their time to design and set up both the eBook and the print versions! Please check them out and see if they can help your ministry.

One last thing… we’d love to hear your favorite quotes and thoughts. You can interact with others about the book on Facebook, Twitter (use #wmnkidmin as the hashtag), Kidology, CMConnect, and on the various blogs that are showing up.

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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