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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

—-

** 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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