On this page, those people who wish to share their spiritual thoughts within a Christian page are offered to do so. While SHARE Atlanta is nondenominational, for years we have many members who have asked for such a place to enter their thoughts. So we offer this page.
Anyone who is uncomfortable with this page can choose not to visit it. Others who may be wondering about how the Christian faith might offer support could also find comfort and support here.
I start off with one of the verses from the Old Testament that many of my Jewish friends also find comfort in. I can say without doubt in my own heart, that without God's love and guidance and strength, I would not be who I am today. Take care, Marcia McGinnis
Psalm 139-Of David-
Parent’s Prayer of Remembrance from Bittersweet...hellogoodbye by Sister Jane Marie Lamb
"My story starts as many others do..." by Tamara (2/04 posted 9/11/04)
Music: Footprints in the Sand
"Being a Christian, like rollerblading, is not for the weak hearted" fall 2006
Jacob ~ A Significant Life by Grandfather, Thomas Sheppard, April 07
For supportive Christian poems and Bible verses..click on hearts.
Our Father, God, each of us comes with our own special relationship to you. We thank you for the remembrances of the miracle of life each of us has. They are an inner treasure of comfort with which we have been blessed.
Sometimes we are saddened as we remember the little life that was a part of us. Our remembrances of joy turned into pain. The hurt is deep, our hearts are broken, and we ask, “Why?” At times, we find it hard, God, to trust you as our Father, because our humanness needs someone to blame. For these times, we are sorry and know you understand.
Yet as we continue to remember, because no passage of time will let us forget our babies, we come to realize the blessings which extend beyond our memories. Like our babies when they were within each mother’s womb and surrounded by all they needed, we are surrounded by all that we need: your infinite love.
Ever-living God, help us to open our hearts wider so that we may accept the blessing of comfort you abundantly provide. In so doing, the peace within, which we’ll discover, will reach beyond to all the lives we touch. Amen
Taken from Bittersweet...hellogoodbye by Sister Jane Marie Lamb, OSF, Editor; pg. 4-36
My story starts as many others do. I was raised in an alcoholic single parent home. My mother drank heavily and always seemed to find the worst guys to marry. I was emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. I was not raised in a family where we went to church every week. I knew about Jesus but HE didn’t “fit” into my life. A little over 3 years ago, I hit a low point and started seeking. During that time, I was saved but like a lot of people it was something I did, not the something that I wanted to change my life over so I sat on the fence.
Over the next 3 years, the Lord pulled, pushed and tugged at me trying to get my attention….I was too busy, too wrapped up in my life to give Him the attention he wanted. About this time, my husband and I started trying to have a baby. We ran into problems and after 18 months of heartbreak, the doctors said I would have to go through surgery. During the last month before my surgery, in desperation, I cried out to God, “Either give me a baby or take my desire to be a mother away from me- I can’t go through this anymore!” That is exactly what he did. On our 2 year anniversary, I was able to tell David we would be expecting a baby around Christmas.
I still did not fully turn to God. I sought more but I did not devote myself to him. I figured I knew how to run my life best and that’s what I did. I had a perfect pregnancy up to 33 weeks and then I came to know God, His Mercy, His Grace and above all, His Love.
On October 27, 2003 our first child James Ryan White stopped moving. I went to the hospital and the tests they ran said he was fine. Nice strong heartbeat, nothing to worry about. After about 2 hours, he still wasn’t moving and so they decided to do an ultrasound. The ultrasound indicated that the blood flow was not normal so the decision was made to do an emergency c-section. At that moment, I said the one thing that would change my life forever…”Lord, please give me strength.” The last thing I remember before going under anesthesia was my grandmother (who had passed away 8 years earlier) appearing to me and saying, “I am here to help you through this, don’t worry.” Even listening to all the doctors, I never imagined that David and I were about to start the worst nightmare of our lives.
When I woke up in the recovery room, my first concern was for Ryan. The doctors told me that there had been a microscopic rupture in the placenta and that Ryan had bled-out. He was born with a blood count of 9…45 is normal. The doctors said if I had waited any longer to come in, he wouldn’t have made it this far. They were still running tests so we still did not know what Ryan’s condition was except that it was critical. After giving the nurses a hard time, they finally relented and took me up to the NICU unit to see my son. From the moment I saw him, I had peace. Something in my heart told me that no matter what, I would be ok. Even though he was hooked up to was seemed like 100 different machines, even though they were giving him tons of medications, I knew everything was ok. Deep in my heart, there was a Faith so strong, nothing could shake it.
When the tests started coming back, they weren’t good. Ryan’s brain and organs had been deprived of oxygenated blood for a long time. The doctors weren’t optimistic.
A transformation took place within me that left my family speechless. The “drama queen” was calm. There was no hysteria. My reaction as a mother was so unusual that even the doctors questioned whether or not I fully understood the prognosis. The only way that I can explain it is that there was a feeling of great peace over me. It was like someone had reached in to my heart and poured comfort into it. Like someone had reached into my head and said, “Don’t worry. Rejoice in what you have been given.” That is exactly what we did. Every medical milestone that Ryan accomplished, we rejoiced. We made a rule that while you were at Ryan’s bedside, there was only happiness and love…sorrow was not allowed.
Two days after we were blessed with Ryan, we received the news that no parent ever wants to hear. Ryan had extensive brain damage. The doctors wanted to run a few more tests but they were pretty sure.
This was the first conversation that we had where the topic of removing him from life support was discussed. Ryan’s neurologist explained that we needed to make a decision soon- there would reach a point where Ryan’s lungs would be developed enough that he would no longer need life support to survive. His doctor indicated that an MRI would be the best test they could do in order to give us the most realistic look at the brain damage he had.
Unfortunately, Ryan was on a special ventilator that would not allow us to hold him or allow for a MRI to be done. The doctors said it would most likely be weeks if not months before this could happen. I remember walking to the room for this meeting and praying for God to let me hear what He wanted me to hear, not what I wanted me to hear. I walked out of that room with peace in my heart.
That night, miracles started happening. Within 12 hours of that meeting, Ryan was off the special ventilator. Just 12 hours earlier, the doctors said that it would take weeks to reach that point. I was finally able to hold my son which they said I may never be able to do and the doctor set up an MRI for Friday. We spent the next two days preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
The MRI confirmed what the doctor already suspected. Ryan had total brain damage. If we chose to keep him on life support, he could “live”. He would be wheelchair bound, he would require a feeding tube, he would never be able to communicate, and he would suffer from seizures. Knowing that, we made the hardest decision that any parent can be faced with. We made the decision to remove him from life support and put him in God’s hands.
I knew that at anytime, God could cure Ryan completely. I also knew that if He didn’t, Ryan would be alright and so would I. On November 1st, after 6 wonderful days, we gave Ryan back to the Lord to go home where he would never have to suffer.
The day was perfect and we took Ryan outside to “feel the sun on his face”. I was holding Ryan when Jesus wrapped him in His loving arms. Ryan smiled, I felt a soft breeze and then my heart was filled peace. I know exactly when Ryan’s spirit left and knowing that made it easier to hold him until his body let go. I knew he wasn’t there anymore, he wasn’t suffering, and he was finally at peace.
Miraculously , one of the nurses managed to snap a picture of Ryan when he was smiling….the look on his face is of pure joy and I like to think that he was looking up into the face of God.
In total despair, I walked into Cobb Vineyard the very next day clutching Ryan’s Bible. I walked into a church filled with strangers and was embraced with more love than I could ever imagine. The Lord used members of this congregation to help me heal. He has brought a few to me that have become my closest friends…people that I know will support me through this walk. In perfect strangers, I finally found a home….the family I never had as a child.
Whenever I would question, why me, why Ryan, I always seemed to come in contact with a piece of scripture that answered my question. Whenever I asked what did I do that caused the placenta to rupture, the Lord always led me to Psalms 139 where it talks about all of ours days being written in his book even before we are created…this gave my heart peace.
While I am not pregnant yet, the Lord is preparing me for that. He gave me the strength the take down Ryan’s nursery. He helped me realize that the hopes and dreams that I had for Ryan are not lost or wasted…Ryan is greater in Heaven than he could ever have been on earth. He has given me strength to step out and help minister in the church nursery. He has turned my grief into a ministry. Whenever I cry out and say, “I feel so alone”, inevitably, I meet someone that has been faced with the same tragedy.
The Lord picked me up the day Ryan was born and carried me through the worst possible situation a parent can go through. He gives me strength, peace and comfort anytime I ask. Recently, he has started setting me down to stand on my own two feet, but I know he right there when I need him… all I have to do is ask. The Lord has put it in my heart that only the “most special” get a ticket straight to Heaven.
The Lord creates all life and I believe that Ryan was created for a great purpose. In his short life, he touched more people than some people do living 70 years. There have been people that have found the Lord, found their Faith or have started seeking the Lord….all from the blessing that I was given named Ryan. It is hard to imagine that my own infant son was who led me to the Lord.
I never mourned for Ryan, I mourned for myself. I mourned for everything that I would never have with Ryan. I know that Ryan is safe, happy and will only experience joy. Ryan will never have to suffer the injustices of the world that the rest of us go through…what more could a parent want for their child than eternal peace and happiness. As a parent, there isn’t anyone better that I can think of to give my child to take care of than Jesus.
I often envision Jesus sitting in a rocking chair rocking the babies that have come to Him, just as their parents would. I will never understand in this lifetime why I have to go through this trial. I can say though that I am thankful. I have become a much more compassionate, loving person. My outlook on life has changed and I am learning to live my life for the Lord. One day I will be reunited with my miracle and until then, I will take one day at a time and turn to the Lord for the strength, peace and comfort I need.Tammy White
Marcia's thoughts: Tamara has supported SHARE Atlanta in many ways in the last few months...and this story and her love shows through all she does. We thank her for sharing her story and hope that others may gain support through her story and and her strength.
To make a long story short, I was trying to teach him (my husband) how to Rollerblade on Sunday and he climbed a hill I told him not to. Worried as to how he would get back down the hill, I followed him. On my way back down the hill, I took a very nasty fall and he was far behind me looking on in horror. What he wrote in his e-mail following the event brought me to tears. Just thought I'd share it with you because it was simply so beautiful and a wonderful metaphor. He wrote:
Believe it or not, thinking of yesterday's events almost brings me to tears.
It symbolized what I've been dealing with since may. I have to watch you get up and try and maintain emotional balance as you attempt to "skate" through life's obstacles. Despite your best efforts you sometimes lose control and have painful falls that injure you mentally, physically and emotionally. All the while all I can do is watch from afar. Truth is, just like yesterday, I can't really help you because I'm still trying to learn to "skate" myself.
Watching you fall hurts me more than you'll ever know. I know that with time we will both be able to skate with grace, maneuvering around debris and other obstacles in the road while handling curves at any speed. In the meantime we can not stop skating for fear of injury, instead we must be bold and continue to explore new paths while depending on our faith as protective gear.
"Being a Christian, like rollerblading, is not for the weak hearted"
He was born, stillborn, on Mar. 13th, 2007, just a few short hours after his Mom had felt him last move in her womb. As I held his little, full term, perfectly formed, lifeless body, I felt helpless. I had felt the same emotion a few minutes before when I watched my son-in-law and daughter hold him in their arms with the sort of grief that only loving parents can feel and only heaven can heal.
I had held that same grieving mother some 20 odd years ago in my arms when she was not much more than a toddler and promised her that, "Daddy will always love you and always take care of you." And I realized that some promises have limitations---here was something Daddy couldn't fix...Daddy couldn't heal. In my own pain, I tried to see the meaning in all this.
We found out a short time later, when we received the autopsy prelims, that his heart was underdeveloped, and, had he lived through his initial problems, his heart would not have sustained him. This was some measure of comfort in our corporate grief. He wasn't ready for this world, and he took a 'quantum leap', as it were, to the blessing of the heavenly realm where he is now sheltered in the arms of a loving God. In the unlikely event of survival, he faced a lifetime of surgical repairs, of major open heart procedures, and the dubious prospect of one or more heart transplants.
He now, however, dwells in a new body, in a perfect world, sheltered there by a loving Savior, and awaiting the fond attention of those members of his family who await their own 'promotion to glory'. This is the mercy of God.
I am grateful to my Grandson, Jacob, for reminding his Granddaddy of some truths of eternal value that need be constantly remembered. I will recall that we are not promised another day, and that we draw each fleeting breath at the pleasure and permission of Almighty God.
I will recall that my life is not my own, and that my servant hood belongs to every relative, to every church member, every fellow employee, to every friend, and to every child around me. Jacob has reminded me without words that I need to hold my granddaughters tighter, sit and listen to my daughter more often, help my son-in-law with every mundane task, check on my son more often, reach out to my extended family, offer myself more willingly for friends and coworkers, and be a better deacon---a better church member, and a better teacher. I thank my little grandson for that---he will always have significance with me.
His name was Jacob---named after the Jewish patriarch who, also, was later known as 'Israel', meaning a 'prince who has authority with God'. He is our little prince, the tiny one who has received his own coronation a little time before the rest of us(Rev 1:6). He was and is significant to us though he never lived outside his Mother's body.
He is, moreover, eternally significant to the God who made him and in whose bosom he now dwells. He will never, in this life, fish with his Father, or play ball with his Granddaddy. He'll never feel his Mother's loving arms, or laughingly hear his Grandmother read a funny story---he'll never get to irritate the little sisters, Julie(6 yrs.) and Saila(2 yrs.) who now declare over and over that I want to see 'my baby' in heaven. Yet in still, he is, and always will be, "Jacob" also known as Israel...our little prince...one who has significance to us and significance to God. We look forward with joyful anticipation to that blessed homecoming when we meet little 'Jake' and those who have gone before.
McQuiston(CHS admin.) gave me Psa. 34:18 which reads thusly, "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." I note that the Hebrew for 'nigh' speaks of a God who is 'at hand' to those whose heart is broken(literally 'to burst'). I further note that to 'save' in the original language speaks of 'preservation' and 'rescue'. We feel our pain deeply now and know that the God who is 'at hand' experiences it also. The scriptures say literally that He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities(Heb 4:15), and that He desires to gather us under His wings as a mother hen gathers her chicks(Mat 23:37). We leave our healing...our 'rescue' to the Most High God.
I declare, in all, in the midst of our shared pain that:
We, Mom, Dad, Sisters, Grandmom, and Granddad, fervently anticipate that day.
We are grateful for the prayers, the kind words, the presence, and the demonstrated affection of those who love us. We covet your continued prayers as we look past our present circumstance to better times to come.
Thomas J. Sheppard
Deacon / Greater Beulah Missionary Baptist Church
Vocational Teacher / Central High School
(with Amy Sheppard, & Joey, Beth, Julie, and Saila Chain)
7/6"Jacob ~ A Significant Life" by Grandfather, Thomas 3.22.07 - Grandparent Support Page
Marcia's thoughts: Thank you for the full story. Beautifully and lovingly written by granddad. Our group is nondenominational and I am careful about staying within the guidelines, but I personally am a Christian and feel much as you do. We have a page for Christian Spiritual Support, I will put the full text of your letter on that page. Our faith can carry us during the grieving process. Many question and receive stronger answers during this time. Many give their anger to God so He takes care of those we love. I have felt that our three babies in heaven and our two sons here on this good earth have helped to mold me into the person I am today. Reaching out to grieving parents has been one of the most significant aspects of how I have made our three babies' presence in our family...meaningful. It has brought me close and dear friends, an insight in to the beauty of humankind, and a realization that we are survivors, but it does take work and love and support.
Never easy, grief is never easy, but there for a reason. Jesus wept. So will we. When we give ourselves permission to grieve we open ourselves up to so many sides of our being. There is joy in the morning/mourning. David had that right. Psalm 139 is one that I refer to a great deal. It has helped many a grieving parent. Grief is a slow process, but one with a purpose. We each move through it differently, and I have seen so many grieving families find new meaning in their lives as they heal. That is what we at SA hope for our families' members.
I thank you for sharing what you wrote to your co-workers, friends and family. It means much to me. Tender and very real...
Return to E-Mail Exchage Menu
copyright(c)SHARE Atlanta '97-'08
Graphics on this Site are Copyright