Monday, May 04, 2009

Reading Group-Chapter 1

We're off to a good start so let's move on to Chapter 1 of I'll Hold You In Heaven. The chapter is titled "The Gift of Lives".

The chapter starts out with the author stating that the answers to our pain and grief lies in Scripture.

1) Please share a verse that helped you the most with your own pain and grief.

The book asked the question "was my unborn child, in the fullest sense of the meaning, actually a human being?" I think that we would all agree that our children were in every sense a human being.

2) What would you say to a person who thought your child(ren), no matter what age they passed, wasn't really a human being?

3) Do you believe the life of a child in the womb is eternal? (To clarify-Do you believe they are promised everlasting life just like us?)

Many people are passionate about the sanctity of life, which is a good thing, but the author notes that often people get too wrapped up in trying to protect life instead of sharing God's love.

4) Do you find this to be true? Have you known anybody that cares more for saving lives than sharing God's love? What do you think about this statement the author makes?

The next subject that is introduced to us is reincarnation. The Bible clearly states that we only have one life to live before being judged.
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. Hebrews 9:27

With this thought, parents can easily fall into the idea that their child will come back to them in the future through another child.

5) Have you ever believed your child(ren) would return to you in the future? If so, has your view changed at all?

Another common area of thinking for grieving parents is to believe that their babies existed in Heaven before conception. Many times our children are referred to as "angels". The book gave the statement "God somehow knew better and that He took back the life He had earlier given from Heaven." God doesn't make babies to take babies. Death has been a part of our human lives since sin entered our lives from the fall of Adam and Eve and there's nothing we can do about it. Because of sin we cannot lead perfect lives or have perfect babies. Also, God doesn't send angels into baby bodies. Angels are a separate being from us humans and have been so since the beginning of time.

6) What do you believe in regards to babies and angels? Do you believe your baby (babies) is an angel? Do you think your baby (babies) existed before the womb?

God told man to be fruitful and multiply.
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:28
God never said in the Bible that we are to have a certain number of children.

7) What are your thoughts on birth control? Have you used it before? What kind?

To God, children are very precious and are considered blessings.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Psalm 127:3-5
No doubt, I'm sure we all consider our own children, both here and in Heaven, as blessings.

8) Share how your child(ren) in Heaven has blessed your life.

11 comments:

MommyIvy said...

1. I didnt really have a verse but my mother inlaw showed me a video called, Heaven Close in Counters of the God Kind. It helped alot.

2. I would tell them that I believe my child was a human being.

3. I'm not sure what you are asking, but here is the answer to what I think you are asking
I believe that the baby is a spirit just like the rest of us. God breathed life into that child at the moment of conception.

4.Yes, I do find that to be true. I'm sure I do know people who care more about saving lives I just cant think of any at this moment.

5. I do not belive my child will return to me through another child.
I do believe that I will see them some day in Heaven though.

6. I believe my baby is in Heaven, but not an angel. I do not think my baby exsited before the womb.

7. I dont like using birth control, but I have to. I would love to have many children, but we have 2 and are not finacially stable enough to have any more yet. The only kind of b/c that I have used is pill and now I have an IUD.

8. My children in Heaven have brought me to other people who have lost and I have made great friendships and have been brought closer to God.

Holly said...

1) Please share a verse that helped you the most with your own pain and grief.

One that I have read over and over is Psalm 34:18. "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

I actually made a post with lots of different verses from the Bible:

http://carleighmckenna.blogspot.com/2009/02/bible-quotes-that-will-bring-comfort-in.html

There's a lot of good verses on there.

2) What would you say to a person who thought your child(ren), no matter what age they passed, wasn't really a human being?

First, I would prolly ask why they felt that way so I could better answer. A child from an early gestational age certainly looks VERY human. Everything is formed early on in the womb and just takes time to mature and grow. Our DNA alone can verify that any baby is a human being.

3) Do you believe the life of a child in the womb is eternal? (T0 clarify-Do you believe they are promised everlasting life just like us?)

I do believe a child in the womb is guaranteed eternal life just like we are. The difference is we must accept Jesus Christ as our savior to have that guarantee. A child who dies before accountability immediately goes to Heaven. I find that very comforting.

4) Do you find this to be true? Have you known anybody that cares more for saving lives than sharing God's love? What do you think about this statement the author makes?

I have certainly seen people who are so passionate about saving lives that their actions aren't very loving at all. We must first seek God and His will for us. We need to share God's love with others. I firmly believe that our actions as Christians speak louder than the words that come out of our mouths.

There is a quote at the beginning of the song "What If I Stumble?" on dc Talk's Jesus Freak album:

"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

How true is that!?

5) Have you ever believed your child(ren) would return to you in the future? If so, has your view changed at all?

I've never believed this because I don't think it is true. I believe it when the Bible tells us we only have one life to live, which reminds me of a song by 33 miles (I listen to a lot of music!).

"You only get just one time around, you only get one shot at this
One chance to find out the one thing that you don’t wanna miss
One day when it’s all said and done
I hope you see that it was enough
This one ride, one try, one life to love"

6) What do you believe in regards to babies and angels? Do you believe your baby (babies) is an angel? Do you think your baby (babies) existed before the womb?

I believe that babies can't be angels. Two separate beings that God created. I'm sure many people use the word "angels", like I do, as an endearing term for our babies. Angels are called "ministering spirits" (Hebrews 1:14). I know Carleigh ministered to me and many others so it seems appropriate to call her an angel because of that but I also know she isn't an actual angel. She has wonderful glorified body. I don't believe that Carleigh existed in Heaven before she was conceived. Why would God send someone out of Heaven to come live on the earth? That just doesn't make any sense.

7) What are your thoughts on birth control? Have you used it before? What kind?

I have mixed feelings on actual birth control using hormones. I have used birth control pills before but I also didn't know that much about them. I've read and researched and I've come to the conclusion for myself that putting all those hormones in my body just isn't natural and isn't good for my body. So I will never be on hormonal birth control ever again. It is possible for birth control to work as an abortifacient and for myself I don't like the idea of that at all. Natural Family Planning is gaining popularity and some day I may actually use this.

8) Share how your child(ren) in Heaven has blessed your life.

Both of my children have blessed me. They've given me greater understanding and empathy towards others. I've grown closer to God with each. I've met incredible people along the way and made lifelong friends. I've been shown what is truly important in life.

Misty said...

Holly,

I enjoyed reading your responses, but I have to admit, I have different opinions, as I think are attributed to the fact our religions are different. I believe, with out a doubt, my child, in spirit form, lived before Andrew and I conceived him. I believe he lives now, as himself, not as an angel, and that God indeed called him back home, for a greater purpose.

Thank you for such thought provoking questions, even if we don't feel the same....

xo Misty

stitchndeb said...

1. A verse that helped you the most with your own pain and grief: Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me
were written in your book before one of them came to be. (in other words, I felt this was saying God already knew how long my baby was going to "live" inside me). And I too liked Psalm 34:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

2. What would I say if someone thought my child wasn't really a human being: Without swearing???? I guess I would say, “Not really a human being, eh? Then why am I hurting so much?!?!” I would also say that I didn’t care what they thought, that I knew in my heart that it WAS a human being with a soul.

3. Is the child promised everlasting life: Definitely, definitely, even before I read this chapter I know this. Christ died for everyone, past, present and future. (Besides, even if you don't want to add grace in, how could a preborn baby sin?)

4. Do you know anyone who cares more for saving lives than sharing God's love: Yes, the pro-life people can be very adamant in telling a woman the “right” way to live or the “right” way THEY live (they wouldn’t have THEIR baby killed). But when those people have that attitude, the woman don’t feel God’s love at all.

5. Have I believed my child would return to me: No, I know we all only have one shot at this life, but I've read things on CafeMom where people do try to comfort themselves or others with the thought that their lost baby has (or will) come back as their new baby.

6. In regards to babies being angels, I agree with you. Angels are MADE totally separate creatures and nobody turns into an angel when they die. Do I think my baby existed before the womb: yes and no. Like psalm 139 states, God has the "idea" of every one of us way before we're even formed, so in a sense we existed as an idea but I don't think we were created and waiting in Heaven (or anywhere else) to be born.

7. Thoughts on birth control, what do I use: My opinion I think the pill only forces you to start your cycle every month whether you’ve actually conceived or not. My mom used the pill. I’ve only used external birth control (Encare, the sponge, condoms), stuff that helped prevent conception altogether. I also had my tubes tied after my last child was born. Unfortunately, almost three years ago I had an emergency hysterectomy.

8. How has my child in Heaven blessed my life: Sad to say, for the first 23 years after my abortion, my child in Heaven didn’t bless my life at all. It’s only been for the past 1½ years in counseling that I’ve even been allowed to grieve and talk about my baby! Thank God for my counselor, THANK YOU, GOD!! I guess the blessing could be that I am in counseling finally talking about my baby and also have been learning other things there and healing lots of different things that never would have healed if I hadn’t gone.

Holly said...

Misty~ I talked to the missionary today and we have scheduled a talk again for Thursday. I'm going to try and come up with some questions to ask him. The fact that our opinions differ mainly seem to come from that I don't read the book of Mormon. So, to try to understand your view better I am looking into it. I hope to learn some interesting things.

becky said...

1. Psalms 147- He will heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds.

2. All you can do is explain why you believe the way you do. Gettin into philosophicle arguments with closed minded people is frustrating for everyone.

3. I believe we are all promised life eternal. Life begins from the moment of conception. Otherwise we would just have a mindless blob growing in us that was incapable of anything until the birthing process and we all know that is not the truth,

4. I do not know anyone who acts this way.

5. No they will never return in another form.

6. I believe we all existed before we came to earth to take on a body. I believe so much in what Ephesians says. That we all listened in the great counsel and put our trust in Jesus Christ. We heard the truth and accepted it and we were then sealed with the holy spirit of promise. We even choose the circumstances that we come to on this earth.

Angels and ministering spirits are different than the loved ones who pass on before us.

8. No birth control use

9. Many of the children who have passed before me have blessed my life. Remind us all that we should Seize the day. We are only promised the day in which we are living at that moment. We must learn to cherish what is here and right now.

Celia said...

1) Please share a verse that helped you the most with your own pain and grief.

I have quite a few though Psalm 18:32 is prolly my fav right now.

2) What would you say to a person who thought your child(ren), no matter what age they passed, wasn't really a human being?

That is utterly ridiculous. All babies are human from the moment of conception. Thankfully I have not really encountered that line of thinking as of yet.

3) Do you believe the life of a child in the womb is eternal? (To clarify-Do you believe they are promised everlasting life just like us?)

Since they have not grown into awareness like ourselves, I believe that yes they are promised eternal life in heaven since they are as blameless as Jesus himself.

4) Do you find this to be true? Have you known anybody that cares more for saving lives than sharing God's love? What do you think about this statement the author makes?

I don't think I have ever encountered anyone who has beliefs like that before.

5) Have you ever believed your child(ren) would return to you in the future? If so, has your view changed at all?

While it might be something I wish for it is not something I believe. Once someone passes, they pass to heaven or hell. There is no in between and there is nothing in the bible that supports anything else nor does the bible support the idea of reincarnation. I support any who choose to believe in those things but, for myself, it is not something I hold to.

6) What do you believe in regards to babies and angels? Do you believe your baby (babies) is an angel? Do you think your baby (babies) existed before the womb?

That is tough. I don't believe that my baby will be an angel once he passes but I am not sure what to believe on whether or not he existed before in heaven. I doubt it though. NOthing I have ever read in the bible speaks to anyone existing before their time on earth in heaven.

7) What are your thoughts on birth control? Have you used it before? What kind?

I think to each their own. There are some who believe in it and use it and some who do not. We use it and prolly will again. I typically use the NuvaRing as the hormones in the pills and shots tend to give me raging headaches.

8) Share how your child(ren) in Heaven has blessed your life.

Still working on that one. I am finding the blessings hard to see in the midst of the pain so close to his birth. Maybe once he is born and passes the blessings will be a little easier to see and recognize. One thing for sure that I see is my faith. I thought I would lose my faith in God if ever I lost one of my children. Instead I find myself clinging to him and his promises.

Andi Soergel said...

Hi Holly! Sorry I'm just getting to this now-we've had a busy week and I needed to carve out time to really think about the questions! Oh, first, to answer your questions about Haven-as far as we know, his death was due to the anencephaly. One of the doctors wanted us to have an autopsy (this was before his actual death). We have a friend we talked with who is a pathologist and part of his job is performing autopsies. I asked him if he thought there was any good reason to do it and he said there wasn't-we already knew what the problem was, etc. So, we didn't do one-the thought of it was too hard anyway.
I did have some issues with poly, but it certainly wasn't as severe as some people. I was mostly just more uncomfortable physically than with my other pregnancies.
Okay, now to the questions...:)
1) I love Psalm 34! I lost my dad 3 years ago and whenever I would talk to him about things I was worried about he would say, "Are you reading Psalm 34 every day?" And I did, multiple times some days. I still do...it's a pretty special passage to me! It might sound strange, but I read through Job several times during my pregnancy with Haven. It gave me a much needed perspective. God is in control. He created everything, who am I to question Him? Also, just solidifying the idea that this world is not our home and this life is fleeting and it's not about us.
2) Honestly, I don't know what I would say! It's such a heart-wrenching thing that someone could think that way. I do like your response, Holly. I don't know that I would have as much grace, to try to understand their position. I pray that I would!
3) I do believe that the life of a child in the womb is eternal. I believe it begins at conception. I also believe they are given eternal life.
4) I have known people who were too fire and brimstone, I would say. As in anything, you need the balance. You have to recognize you are a sinner in order to know you need forgiveness and receive it, but you also have to understand that Jesus died for us because He loved us and He wants us to be with Him for eternity.
I don't believe my child can come back in any form.
5) I have to say that I understand people's good intentions in saying "Haven is an angel now". They want to comfort our hearts and I appreciate that. BUT, babies don't become angels...Holly, I like what you said about using "angel" as a term of endearment and I agree. I never thought before of the verse you mentioned in Hebrews about angels being ministering spirits. I like that!
6) I think I'm answering the questions in the wrong order or something....anyway, I guess I already answered the angel part, but I don't believe there is existence before the womb.
7) I used the pill before having my first two children. After having a miscarriage I did not use it because we knew we wanted another baby and the same is true of the time after Haven was born. Our 4th child was born about a year after Haven. With him, I had my tubes tied. Our decision to do this was due to the fact that I had had 4 c-sections and my doctor advised against any more. We were happy with our 3 here and 1 in Heaven, so it really was not a difficult decision. Our situation being what it is, it's not something I think about very much. I didn't feel anything was wrong with taking the pill-I had been on it before I was married due to some problems I had. I don't necessarily agree with people who thing birth control is wrong. I guess my feeling is that each couple has to pray and ask God to guide their decisions!
8) I could write forever about the ways Haven has blessed my life! I feel honored and priveleged to have been given the responsibility for this little life. He changed me. He taught me sooo many things about life, about God, about myself. I learned to take my eyes off of myself and put them on Jesus. I was very afraid of death and anything having to do with it before Haven. I am not as much that way now. I really think going through Haven's death and birth helped to prepare me for the loss of my dad. He had lung cancer and died at 53. Thank God he was a strong believer and he talked fondly of Heaven way before he ever got sick. Whenever anyone would ask him how many grandchildren he had, he would say "3 here and 1 waiting for me." He always counted Haven! Anyway, I think I would have totally lost my mind with the loss of my dad if I hadn't already gone through the loss of my baby. It's all about Jesus and bringing glory to Him-it's not about me! I would like to point out that I don't think myself to be some expert on grief, nor do I believe I have it all together. There are many days that I have to remind myself of these lessons I have learned over and over. But living a life that is all about Jesus and looking forward to eternity is what I'm working toward, even though I'm certainly still on the journey!
Thanks, Holly, for doing this! I am really enjoying these thought-provoking discussions!

Holly said...

I am glad we are having these discussions so I can learn viewpoints different from mine. It's all about learning and growing and I think I am definitely doing that! Thanks everyone!!

Holly said...

Andi~ I think facing the grief like you did prolly really did help with losing your dad. I know it would help me. I always like to think it is ok to grieve for them because we miss them but we also need to rejoice for them because they are in a far better place than we could ever imagine. A place with no more tears and suffering. A place with no more pains from this life. It's hard to imagine such a perfect place when we live in such a tainted one.

Nicole said...

Holly, I am not reading the book..I hope you don't mind if I answer a few questions along with everyone else.

1) Please share a verse that helped you the most with your own pain and grief.

Well I am not religious...so I don't have one..

2) What would you say to a person who thought your child(ren), no matter what age they passed, wasn't really a human being?

I would say they have no idea what they are talking about. I would also say it doesn't really matter, I know my children were real human beings.

3) Do you believe the life of a child in the womb is eternal? (To clarify-Do you believe they are promised everlasting life just like us?)

I think so..

4) Do you find this to be true? Have you known anybody that cares more for saving lives than sharing God's love? What do you think about this statement the author makes?

Yes, I think some people need to look at their own lives before they point fingers at others.

5) Have you ever believed your child(ren) would return to you in the future? If so, has your view changed at all?

I hope that I will in some way or another I will be able to see Logan again. How and where, doesn't matter. I just want to see him and know that is him.

6) What do you believe in regards to babies and angels? Do you believe your baby (babies) is an angel? Do you think your baby (babies) existed before the womb?

No I don't believe my children existed before the womb, and no I do not think my son is now an angel. At least not in Biblical sense of the word angel.

7) What are your thoughts on birth control? Have you used it before? What kind?

I have used birth control. Many types(the pill, the shot, condoms, tubes tied, natural family planing)I don't have a problem with women using birth control other than the fact that we never know what the consequence of adding so many hormones to your bodies is. I think there are many women who are not ready for nor do they want to have children therefore need to take precautions to prevent pregnancy from happening.

8) Share how your child(ren) in Heaven has blessed your life.

I am a different person since Logan. I feel I am more sympathetic to others. I am a better mother to the living children I have. I take little for granted.

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