My name is Emily Leuck, and I was born and raised here in Franklin, TN. After living overseas as a missionary for a few years and meeting my husband there, we returned to the Nashville area and I taught Kindergarten for 4 years. I am now a stay-at-home mom with our precious 2.5 year old,Harper! I love opportunities to serve and even more so love when the service is furthering the work and name of Jesus!
How you became involved with Faithfully Restored: My husband first heard of Faithfully Restored while in Bible Study with both of the Jamie’s husbands and told me about it initially. Then, as I’ve been walking a very hard season of two consecutive miscarriages, I was blown away by the impact a care package from FR had on me. I had lots of friends loving me well, but this package was extra special since it came from people I barely knew but who felt like they “saw me”. It made me want to get more involved with FR and jump on board with their mission!
Favorite volunteer project so far: I loved dropping off beautiful floral arrangements and care packages to local women with my daughter! It was neat to imagine the joy of each woman opening her door to find such a thoughtful gift! FR makes women feel so cared for and loved even past the initial “hurt”—it was a joy to be a small part of that!
What does Faithfully Restored means to you: FR is a simple picture of women loving women as the hands and feet of Jesus! It’s not complicated, it’s just intentional care. I love that FR made me feel so cared for in a dark and wearying season, and I want to be a part of helping care for women both near and far in whatever their story brings!
Ella was born at 38 weeks and appeared perfectly healthy! I had a normal pregnancy and delivery with no issues. She did have to get an ultra sound at 2 weeks old where there was concern about a small dimple on her lower back and they were not sure if her spinal chord had fused or not. Thankfully it was fine. When Ella was about 7 months old she started getting ear infections, and by her first birthday she had already had about 8. So shortly after her first birthday she received her first set of tubes. After tubes she was still getting ear infections, along with 2-3 ruptured eardrums and by her 3rd birthday she needed another set of tubes. I also just want to put a disclaimer that I try to be as natural as possible, we were also using oils, chiropractic care and anything else I could try.
At the time we were living in Los Angeles and did not have the greatest insurance because my husband was self-employed. At one of Ella’s ear infection check ups, which I forgot to add that because of so many doctor appointments, Ella was a challenge to take to any doctor appointment. She screamed from the time we walked in the door until we were back in the car. Seriously top of her lungs! Anyway back to the appointment…the doctor had mentioned he thought she may have Turner Syndrome and was sending her to a genetic specialist. So I did what any mom would do and went home to Google! We then saw the specialist and he looked her over for about 15 minutes examining her arms and legs, asking Jason and I both questions about our family history, and many other questions. At the end of the appointment he said “I don’t think she has Turner Syndrome, mom and dad are not very tall and I don’t think she has enough physical characteristics.” So he did not request the blood test. I said ok great, nice to meet you and off we went. Today when I think back to this appointment I always think why did I not request the blood test?! Well to be honest Beckett was maybe 6 weeks old so I was only half way thinking normal with the lack of sleep and I think we put a lot of trust in our doctors.
So fast forward a year later, we moved back to Nashville to be close to family. We finally had good insurance and a month after we moved I took Ella to her 4-year check up. At that check up is when the doctor heard the murmur, which led to discovering her coarctation and need for open heart surgery. Although it was one of the scariest days of my life, I’m so thankful for her team of doctors and support we had at Vanderbilt Children’s for her surgery. I had remembered reading in my Google search from a year ago about how heart conditions were common with girls with TS, so I asked my pediatrician to do the blood test. He said he would but he did not think that she had it. I also asked my cardiologist and he had the same response, “I don’t think she has it.”
I share all of that to say that you know that “mom gut” we all have? Well I’m thankful for once I listened to mine and continued to ask for the test. A few weeks after Ella’s heart surgery our pediatrician called and I’ll never forget, he said, “I’m honestly surprised, but her test came back positive.” This then led to a list of routine doctors where we learned so much more.
Turner Syndrome affects 1 in 2500 girls. And like most girls with TS we began to see a lot of doctors. We had already handled multiple ear infections with ENT as well as audiology, coarctation of the aorta repair along with a bicuspid valve with our cardiologist, we learned Ella has a horse-shoe shaped kidney that continues to be monitored for hydronephrosis by her nephrologist, ophthalmologist where we learned her left eye was delayed in development and she began to wear glasses, but thank fully has now corrected itself. We also see endocrinology where we learned about non-functioning ovaries and how she will need estrogen and progesterone for puberty. Currently she also takes daily growth hormone injections to help her grow after falling off the growth chart. Her endocrinologist also monitors her thyroid because girls with TS have a higher risk of hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases like hashimotos, celiac disease, and Type 1 diabetes. So she spends a lot of time getting poked and blood drawn. We also see an orthopedic to help monitor her knees and growth development. Last summer Ella had plates inserted to help with dislocation, and will have another surgery later this year to remove the plates. I often joke about how we need a frequent buyer card at Vanderbilt. I’m very thankful that we do have some of the best doctors looking after her, but it does get exhausting.
Although she has been through a lot, I’m always encouraged and amazed with her determination. I’m also thankful that I can say I’ve truly seen God’s hand in every step of the way. So even when days seem hard, keep trusting, he’s always there!
After a traumatic first pregnancy and birth of her first son, Misty was told by 3 different doctors there was no need to worry about future pregnancies. It wasn't until she was 5 weeks pregnant with her second son, Steele, that she started experiencing complications. The bleeding lasted the majority of her pregnancy until sweet Steele was born
"We did an amniocentesis to ensure he was sick and he was so-very sick. We had a choice to end our pregnancy or keep going with the high possibility I would die. I couldn’t make that choice and they gave us several hours to decide on a plan. During those hours God intervened in a big way my water broke and long story short at that point Steele was delivered stillborn but still so loved. We never had to choose and God knew we couldn’t. Why he saved me and not him I will never know but I know God showed us grace that day. Grace on so many different levels. Our sweet angel Steele Scott Robinson was born at 20 weeks and 2 days on June 23rd at 9:50 am. Our sweet Steele should be coming home to his mother, father, and awesome big brother in 14 weeks but he’s with the angels instead."
Please join us in praying for Misty and her family as she recovers emotionally and psychically. Because of your support, we are able to serve Misty and remind her she is loved. Misty's hope is to be able to one day give back in Steele's name for God's glory. If you'd like to reach out and encourage or support Misty, she can be contacted here.
I always remember driving by a gas station in town and seeing moms and dads exchange their kids. It must have been “the meeting place” for separated parents. I remember thinking “I don’t ever want my kids to have to go through that”, well little did I know that a few years later I’d be doing the same thing. Have you ever heard the saying “When we make plans, God laughs?” Well, he must have been cracking up with me.
I was 3 months pregnant before we got married and not too late after that I was pregnant with another baby. I was miserable. I thought because I was pregnant, I had to get married. We were married for 4 years before I realized the manipulation, cheating and the abuse wasn’t normal in marriage. When I decided to leave, I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd daughter. The fear of being a single mom with no money and having another baby set in. I struggled with the thought of abortion and I truly believed that I couldn’t make it if I kept that baby. God reminded me otherwise and showed me His faithfulness.
When my youngest daughter was 3 months old, I met my current husband while I was having dinner at a restaurant with a girlfriend. I always told myself “no man in his right mind will date a women with 3 kids! Let alone one of them being a newborn!” (Again God laughed) Fast forward 5 years and today I am so thankful to say that I am happily married to that man from the restaurant now for 4 years and we had had another baby together. We just got full custody of my older 3 girls and soon my husband will be adopting them as his own.
Remember, God will always use a situation for His glory. I’ve learned to never doubt how great our God is. You do not have to carry the shame of your past anymore. You are cleaned from that and ALL THINGS are made new.
I am a 17-time felon. A life of drugs and crime caused me to be homeless and lose custody of my children. My story is not pretty, but it is real and I hope it provides a glimpse at what is possible when you forgive your past and focus on your future.
My father passed away when I was just six years old leaving my mother to care for six children including myself. She worked two jobs to support us which meant that we spent most of our days at the local community center. We lived in a decent home but being unable to keep it up it began to deteriorate with holes in the floors, a roof that was falling in, and no heat or air conditioning. I can remember my mom placing hot water bottles on all of her children’s feet at night to keep them warm. Although we struggled, our clothes were always clean, our bellies fed, and we were loved without question.
My oldest brother became the father figure of the family. He had a positive impact on me and helped support my mom in her efforts to raise us. He was shot and killed while on duty at work. This traumatized me and became a significant source of depression. I was fifteen when this occurred and stopped going to school as a result. I didn’t want to engage with anyone. Ultimately, I do not feel that I would have fallen into substance abuse had it not been for this event.
After some time, I went back to school and joined the basketball team. I had found my calling, and received all city and all state MVP my senior year which resulted in several scholarship offers. I didn’t have a parent that knew about achieving a college education and felt overwhelmed at the opportunities that were being presented to me. I chose to attend a community college to stay close to home and help my mother. In my second year of college, I became pregnant with my first child. Three years later I entered into a life of addiction.
I used drugs for the first time in my twenties, but by thirty-two I was in jail multiple times and lost custody of my children. My longest stint in jail was 3 years. My mother was of course disapproving of the life I was leading, but still through everything my mother never stopped encouraging me to do better.
When I started using I stopped going to church. I was ashamed of the life I was leading but too immersed in it to quit. While in prison I was fortunate to have some role models that didn’t give up on me. A volunteer named Ms. Dezi kept encouraging me to go to church service. My counselor Ali Marlow, saw that I was scared to change, and told me I didn’t have anybody to answer to but God. This encouragement stuck with me and impacted the changes that I would make in my life.
I was released from prison for the last time on April 27, 1997 with only the clothes on my back. I was driven to a halfway house where the women were selfless and kind. They offered their bus passes when I didn’t have transportation to get to work. Someone dropped off a bag of freshly laundered used clothing in my size. These blessings continued. God was shining a light on me through his people. I started to develop a personal relationship with Him and knew that He loved me just where I was.
After some time in recovery, I started to rebuild my life. I started a cleaning business and was able to eventually buy a home. I received custody of my children again. Life was looking up, but I saw such a great need for support for women trying to re-enter society after a life of substance abuse. I didn’t want to sit idly by so I decided to pour into others as they had poured into me. I offered a room in my home to one woman coming out of prison. I made sure that she was working a recovery program, had food to eat, transportation, and helped her to rebuild her confidence in her ability to overcome the hardships she had been through. I was once told that “when a student is ready, the teacher will appear.” I wanted to be there to help women like me who were ready.
That small program I began in 2003 led me to develop Mending Hearts, a nonprofit organization in Nashville that has now served over 5000 women. We are a long-term treatment facility that offers hope and healing to women in a supportive community environment - regardless of their ability to pay. It was important to me that we address the whole woman and her needs beyond her substance abuse disorder.
The stigma of addiction is trying on the soul. It’s especially difficult for women who are typically seen as caretakers. To address this issue Mending Hearts started National Women Touched by Addiction Day that will take place every July 23rd. This is a movement to provide education, open conversations, and build resilience to understand this disease and its impact on not just the woman that has faced addiction first hand, but also those that have felt its effects through others.
We all go through the challenging times and can look back at what a mess we’ve made. God has taken my mess and turned it into a message. I don’t just have faith in myself now I have faith in others. I will continue to right my wrongs and lift up my community and the women in it. Through His grace I have been forgiven and that extension of love will always be at the forefront of my personal mission.
My ex-husband and I were young when we married and even younger when we had our three
children. We were high school sweethearts that grew up together and from the outside looking in; we had the classic teenage love story.
But things are not always what they seem, and behind that love story, there was a relationship
filled with pain and riddled with abuse and infidelities. However, I was committed to "fixing" our relationship mainly because I was convinced that raising my children in a two-parent household was best for them.
So, we spent years in and out of marriage counseling and had even weathered a separation.
During which my ex-husband completed a batterers intervention program, and we attended
family counseling. And there were times when I thought that the worst was behind us and that my ex-husband had genuinely changed.
But the same issues continued to resurface and became extremely loud during the pandemic.
I finally realized that having a two-parent household isn't enough. I wanted my children to have a
physically and emotionally safe home and see parents who are happy and healthy modeling
I knew the only way to do this was to file for a divorce. Now here I am, seven months later, divorced and raising my children alone. If you had told me that my children would go seven months without seeing their Dad and that I would be parenting 100 percent of the time alone, I wouldn't believe you, but this is my reality.
The first few months were a mess, and when my kids were sleeping, I cried, I screamed, I
yelled, I worried, and I prayed. I worried about how I would provide for my children, and I worried how the divorce would affect them. I worried if my sons would miss out on moments with their Dad that would help mold them into the men they are designed to be. And if my daughter would choose a partner that modeled similar bad behavior to her Dad.
More than anything, I worried if I was enough to sustain my children physically, emotionally,
financially, and spiritually. Then one night, during one of my meltdowns, I heard clearly from God that I didn't need to worry and that everything was already working out for our good.
That night I had my first good night's sleep in months. Over the next few months, I realized that my life was not destroyed, it was just disrupted, and God uses our disruptions as a catalyst to change our situations and restore us. The transition into single motherhood has been tough for sure, but there has also been peace and joy during the storm.
I have seen God show up for my kids and me in big ways. And Slowly but surely, we are working towards healing and restoration. In my most challenging moments, I remember that I am not walking alone and that there are so many more beautiful days ahead.
Meet Emily Long from Helen James Foundation
At 38 weeks pregnant, my husband, Joel and I heard the words every expecting parent fears, there is no heartbeat. The shock and terror of that moment is truly indescribable. I have never felt so scared in my life. There we were looking at our baby girl, Helen James , on an ultrasound machine. We could see her, but the heartbeat and life that had been so vivid for 38 weeks was gone. In the blink of an eye, Joel and I had lost our daughter.
Helen was a very active baby and moved constantly. On June 4 when she didn’t move after dinner, I knew something was seriously wrong.. We called my OB group who advised us to come to the hospital. I delivered Helen via C-section during the early morning hours on June 5 at Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville. From the surgery to the aftermath, the nurses and doctors were simply amazing. I will never forget them telling us that we had a beautiful baby girl. The cause of Helen’s death was never determined. There were no visible signs of issues with the umbilical cord or placenta during the C-section. We chose to have an autopsy, but that also did not provide any answers. I’m not sure that a concrete cause would have provided us the closure we needed, but we knew we had to try to find out what happened.
Following the C-section, there was mention that Helen could be in our hospital room with us. Joel and I could not comprehend what the nurses were saying. The shock, lack of sleep and pain medication numbed my senses to the full magnitude of what was happening around us. But then a nurse brought Helen to our room around 6 a.m. and said that she could stay with us as long as we wanted her there.
The hours went by, and we did not want to let her go, so the staff set up something they referred to as a cooling blanket, which was set up in a crib and was so discreet you would never have never known it was there. This Cuddle Cot became a lifeline to our daughter. Over the course of three days, our family and friends traveled from all over the country and as far as Panama where my sister lives to come and meet Helen James. Our hospital room was filled with emotions – tears and sadness and heartbreak, but there were also moments of laughter and love. While the experience was beyond painful, it was also one filled with hope.
The Cuddle Cot gave our family and friends a way to both rejoice and mourn over our daughter in the same moment, to hold and kiss her and to love her. We are so thankful that Saint Thomas Hospital had a Cuddle Cot, and that we were given this additional time with Helen James. We believe it was a crucial part of our acceptance, grieving and healing, and we cannot imagine our situation without it.
We were sad to find out that very few grieving parents will have access to Cuddle Cots. The device is practically unavailable in most hospitals, despite 24,000 babies being stillborn in the U.S. every year, which is 10 times as many deaths as those that result from SIDS. In our case, the Cuddle Cot was donated by a family who had been in a similar situation in the past. A huge part of our healing process has been having a mission — somewhere to funnel our grief and confusion and love and energy. Joel and I decided to honor our daughter by creating the Helen James Foundation. Its mission is simple: To support grieving families who are experiencing a pregnancy or infant loss. We have focused on Cuddle Cot donations across the state of Tennessee and in Chicago. Additionally, we donated funds to the Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital to help with the construction of a new Family Bereavement Room. This room provides families who have lost a child a place inside the labor and delivery unit to spend time with their baby. They will be able to give their child a bath, dress them and create hand and foot imprints keepsakes in a private space. We plan to continue raising funds for Cuddle Cots and also to support families through donations for grief counseling and support groups.
We recently added infertility to the foundation’s mission in January of 2021. Our hearts have been heavy as we have walked beside our friends who have experienced this. Our hope is that we can help raise awareness and support and be advocates for those experiencing the difficult journey of infertility.
Joel and I will always cherish our first-born child and forever remember the ways that Helen has taught us to love and hold tightly to one another. We hope our story brings much needed attention to this rare, but life-changing Cuddle Cot device that gives grieving parents like us the gift of time. We also hope that we can be a source of support for parents experiencing pregnancy and infant loss or for those who are hoping to become parents.
We love you always and forever, Helen James, and we are so thankful to be your parents.
I was sitting in my absolute favorite place… toes in the sand with nothing but the expanse of the emerald waters of the gulf coast before me. To my right, my husband was drifting in and out of sleep. All around me the sound of my four kids and their friends enjoying the first day of our summer beach vacation.
My cell phone vibrated and my gynecology office number popped up. Ah, the obligatory phone call to inform me that everything looks good, but because of my dense breast tissue I’ll be receiving a letter to notify me.
I answered and Brandi explained, “something...something...anomaly...can you come in first thing Monday for an ultrasound?”
“Monday...ummm no. We are at the beach for the next week. You know I have dense breast tissue so I’m sure it's just ummm dense breast tissue.”
Brandi asked me to hold for one minute while she spoke to the doctor. She got back on the phone and explained, “the doctor would really like you to come back in as soon as you are able. Does the following Monday at 8 a.m. work? There is a small mass in your left breast that wasn’t there on your last mammogram. When I saw it, I pulled your previous mammogram to compare to make certain it was just dense breast tissue, but it is a change that is of concern.”
All I wanted to do was hang up the phone so I responded, “Next Monday is fine. Thank you.”
Anomaly. Mass. Did she say anomaly or mass? I should have asked that….should I call back? No. It's just dense breast tissue. I just had a mammogram a year prior. I’m fine. It's fine. Breathe. Don’t panic over nothing. I looked over at my husband. The steadiest person I know--until it comes to me. No. Don’t wake him. Breathe. I closed my eyes, but in that moment I felt the Spirit: open your eyes Carol. And, when I did, I saw the light sparkling on the water. I marveled at it’s deep jewel tones as it spread to the horizon, but up close the same water was invisible because it is absolutely crystal clear. I dug my toes into the sand and felt the warmth of the sun. I heard my kids laughing..maybe bickering...and I praised God for his goodness. I thanked him for surrounding me with the evidence of His majesty and my blessings. I thanked him for taking me out of my panic and reminding me that even if the worse lay ahead...I can count it all joy. In that moment, I surrendered my circumstance to Him. At that moment, I knew for the next week this was a private conversation between Jesus and me. Time enough for everyone else’s concern and worry. At that moment, I wanted to focus on God’s abundance: a week surrounded by his beauty, my family, and His peace.
The week that followed was a blur of biopsies, mammograms, a breast mri, radiologists, oncologists, breast specialists, and surgeons. The initial plan: lumpectomy to type and stage.
My breast cancer was caught early (Praise Jesus), but the lumpectomy was more complicated than thought: the mass was not only larger than anticipated, but they found multiple other areas of concern (11 to be exact!) As well, lab work revealed I carried the BRCA1 mutation. The breast specialist went over my options, but was quite clear that a total bilateral mastectomy was unavoidable. Chris and I prayed. We made the decision to get everything removed immediately, wait for the pathology report, and then take the results one step at a time.
As I write this, I am 1 ½ years cancer free. Reconstruction is almost complete (still waiting for some tattooed nipples….) and I am getting better at not bashing into things with a chest I cannot feel.
My story, however, is not about breast cancer, BRCA, mastectomies, or recovery. So many courageous women have fought much tougher battles and shared their hearts to encourage others walking that path (myself included). My story is not about what I lost to cancer. I realized early on my story is about the abundance I have in Christ.
Throughout my journey I wrote to God (I am a writer who frequently types her prayers and conversations with God). Today, I felt moved to share three of the entries:
The last month or so I’ve struggled to trust. My constant internal loop: I will trust. I will trust no matter the results. In the morning when I wake up and in the evening when I go to sleep: I will trust. I will trust. Trust is to relinquish control...it's not easy. Especially for a control freak like me. Honestly, my trust in this sounds more like: Jesus take the wheel! But I’m just gonna backseat drive in case I don’t like where we are going. Lord, give me a heart that turns “what if” to EVEN IF….
In my brokenness, I hear the Spirit whisper: BREATHE. BE STILL. SURRENDER. When I do, each time I do (because let’s face it I’m a multiple times a day arms crossed, foot tapping, obstinate girl), I feel my defiant spirit softening. I feel my unrest settling. I feel my fear receding. I feel His strength propping me up. I feel His peace filling every inch of me. He reminds me: my hope is secure.
In the stillness...I remember:
His Will...my protection
His Word...my armor
His Grace...my abundance
His Spirit...my helper
His sacrifice...my salvation
In my weakness, His power is made perfect. I remember the words of a dear friend...Jesus is not just a life vest; He controls the waves. I know with Christ, I have more than I will ever deserve. So, I will trust.
As I face this uncontrollable circumstance filled with uncertainty, I can choose to drown in my fear and self-pity or I can rise by delighting in your sufficient grace. So God, I thank you. I am simply overwhelmed by your goodness and desire to be near. You have protected me, strengthened me, and provided precisely what I’ve needed to take the next step in this journey, one I truly don’t want to take. You have given my spirit peace in the waiting. Evidence that you hold me in the palm of your hand. This morning I wrote Psalm 139 on my hand. To remind me of your faithfulness, goodness, and steadfast love when I feel uncertain and unsteady. I know just as you have carried me to this moment, you will continue to carry my broken, battered body. I know EVEN IF the worse news comes, you’ve got me and all those I love.
Please God bless all those that have covered me in prayer and showered me with such love that despair withered. Please stay near to Chris and our children while they wait. Please bless Lisa and thank you for having her, one of my prayer warriors, in the OR with me managing my anesthesia so my husband and children can have a bit more peace.
Thank you for your steadfast love...I will trust.
3 surgeries in 5 months. After a journey, I never anticipated traveling and one I am blessed to come out on the other side with more time with Jesus, more time to share the goodness of God, and more time to love and be loved, my thought: what precious treasure is found in the midst of trial. So many lasting gifts from God to be thankful for, but two that stand out. The first treasure was time in stillness. As a mom to four--a Martha through and through--this trial forced me into stillness. Forced stillness of waiting endlessly in doctors’ offices and weeks (that turned into weeks and weeks) of being confined to bed rest (some obnoxious healing complications). In that forced stillness, I sat at His feet, immersed myself in His Word like I’ve never done before. The more I sank into His Word, the more it filled me to overflowing. The more I realized the beauty of the simple truth: God’s Word is living. His Word breathes light and life into the darkest and deepest pits. His Word edifies as it comforts. It convicts and it transforms. I don’t know what God has planned for me, but I know these past months were a gift to teach me to surrender more fully and cling more desperately, a gift to remind me when God is the greatest desire of my heart it is well with my soul. A gift that every “what if” can be used for good and for His glory. The second treasure: this past year taught me with Jesus I have all the abundance I will ever need and far more than I deserve. That time not sharing Jesus is time wasted. I want, with all that is within me, to bless the Lord with my life. I want to burn with passion for Christ. I want every moment I am given in this fallen world...wrapped in my brokenness...to be used for His glory: because of who He is, all that he gives, and all that He did through Jesus.
My breast cancer journey ignited my faith in ways I never imagined possible. But, then again:
Through Christ all things are… He truly trades ashes for beauty.
“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
We are a family of 5, although the outside world only sees four. I am a new mom(again) even though my arms are empty.
On the morning of August 17th, 2020 I was almost 33 weeks pregnant with our daughter, Saylor, when I noticed she wasn’t moving like she normally did. I decide to go in to see my OBGYN just to check things out, even though I had been there a few days prior, and everything looked great. Because of covid restrictions, I went alone, and all alone on an ultrasound table, I got the worst news a mother could get. There is no heartbeat.
How could this be? Her nursery was already decorated with bright pink flamingos and monogrammed art. I already had a stash of matching outfits and bows for her and her sister. My 3 and 4 year old were anxiously awaiting their baby sister’s arrival with plans to help out with feeding her and playing peek-a-boo.
How could this be? Her nursery was already decorated with bright pink flamingos and monogrammed art. I already had a stash of matching outfits and bows for her and her sister. My 3 and 4 year old were anxiously awaiting their baby sister’s arrival with plans to help out with feeding her and playing peek-a-boo.
And just like that, our daughter would never be coming home.
What followed could only be described as the “worst case scenario”. After giving birth to Saylor, which was a heartbreaking, life-changing experience, my body started shutting down. I went into DIC, which is where your blood stops clotting, and my kidneys shut down. Statistically, most women don’t survive this kind of trauma.
After 6 units of blood and plasma, 10 days in the hospital, half of that time in the ICU, a dialysis port surgery, and countless tears, I was able to leave the hospital to continue my recovery at home. They wheeled me out with a small box of memories on my lap, instead of a swaddled baby.
Our lives are forever changed, but not all of it is bad. I have never felt more surrounded or loved in my lifetime than I did right after Saylor died. So many people, some we had never met, were lifting us up in prayer. The lyrics “it may feel like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you” felt so real. Our community, our church, the women of faithfully restored, were the hands and feet of Jesus that were surrounding us in our greatest time of need. Countless meals, toys for my kids, beautiful memorial gifts were dropped off at our door daily to remind me that we were loved. That my baby was loved. To this day, I’m not sure how we survived the first couple weeks, and all I can think is by the grace of God.
As Christians, sometimes we have this false sense of protection that nothing bad can happen to us because the Lord is with us, and that’s just not true. Bad things happen to goos people all the time. I am not alone in that regard. But God most certainly DID promise to walk through the fire with us, and I have felt his presence, every step of the way.
I’m not sure what the future holds for our family as we grieve and grow and move forward while always carrying Saylor in our hearts and saying her name out loud, but I do know who goes with us, who goes before us. Who’s love is unfailing and who is near the broken-hearted. Jesus.
Meet Tianna from Tennessee. A domestic violence survivor and advocate of Mothers against Murder. Just four short years ago, Tianna witnessed her son being murdered. She held her son Anthony as he went home to Jesus. Knowing she wanted to make a difference and turn her pain into purpose she started seeking assistance to go back to school to help others in similar situations.
During this time, Tianna met a new friend that changed the trajectory of her life and set her on a new path. That friend, a Faithfully Restored supporter, referred us to Tianna and the rest is history!
Currently, we have paid for her first year of schooling at a local college where she is going back to get a degree in counseling. And, with your help we would love to continue to help Tianna and so many other women like her. Join us!