Here I Raise My Ebenezer

Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’m come…

ebenezer main

After more than six months with no blog post, I think it’s time for a little update from i have no greater joy.  Although this is quite a long post, I have not included all of the details of my absence or of my story here, but I do want thank all of you who have held my hand.  I want to make known His deeds and sing praises to the Lord who has done gloriously.  He is  with me.

 And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.  Sing praises to the LORD, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.  Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.   Isaiah  12:4-6

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As you, my sweet readers know, our family was so excited to be expecting our fifth baby due in December of 2014!  I posted an update or two on the blog along the way in my pregnancy.  If you missed those, you can find them here.

baby post

For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him. 1 Samuel 1:27

updates blog

We sent out Christmas cards, announcing to our friends and family that Baby #5 would be arriving any day!

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things!   Psalms 98:1

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I went into labor at 39 weeks,  just 2 days before my scheduled c-section.   Daddy and I grabbed the diaper bag, the hospital bag, and the car seat.  We kissed the big brothers and sisters goodbye and told them we were finally going to get hold their new baby brother!

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Psalms 128:3

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It still hurts so badly to think of that day even now.  Recalling the details is so very painful. I will not include them all here, but when we arrived at the hospital, our sweet baby boy had no heartbeat.  The precious sound I had heard at my last appointment only a few days before was replaced with silence.  An ultrasound confirmed that he was still, lifeless, gone. My baby, that had been kicking and hiccuping and living and growing inside me for nine months, was gone- in the blink of an eye.  The doctor patted my leg, whispered “I’m sorry,” and there I lay.

O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!  Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah  Psalm 39:4-5

Our baby was delivered by c section having complications with his cord.  The thing that gave him life is that which caused his death.  The only cries in the operating room that day were our own.  I can still picture Charles in the OR holding our son, who was wrapped in soft newborn blankets.  He was looking down on him in his arms, weeping oh so loudly.  Tears streaked our faces.  “He’s beautiful.  He’s so beautiful,” Charles said.  He brought him close to me, and we cried and kissed him and cried more as the doctors completed my surgery.

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.  Job 1:21

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.   Isaiah 55:8-9

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We were moved to a recovery room where family joined us.  As we held our beautiful, lifeless son that day, our George, our Baby Georgie as his brothers and sisters called him, we continued to weep and cry and pray.  We held him and loved him and felt so very broken and crushed.

O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  Psalms 63:1

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer;  from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I   Psalms 61:1-2

Our sweet little George was with his Faithful Savior Jesus Christ.

From my mother’s womb you have been my God.  Psalm 22:10

Even through that confusion, shock, deep pain, and grief, Charles and I felt peace.  We knew that God, the Author and Creator of every thing and every moment, was holding us and our son.  We knew and know that He has the whole world in His hands and numbers every hair on our heads.  We know He loves us and will work this and all things for our salvation and His glory.

This God- His way is perfect.  Psalms 18:30

Charles left the hospital to tell the other children that their baby brother would never be coming home with us.  The children still recall how very excited they were to see Daddy coming home that day.  They had been anxiously awaiting the news of their little brother’s birth.  They were met with tears and sorrow instead of joy.

My face is red with weeping, and on my eyelids is deep darkness.  Job 16:16

I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.  2 Samuel 12:23

Family and very dear friends surrounded us that night and cried with us and loved us and prayed over us.  It was not the hospital visit I had imagined and anticipated so many times the previous nine months.  Oh, how I missed my baby.  I wanted to feel him wrap his tiny hand around my finger.  I wanted to stroke his hair.  I wanted to smell him and kiss him and cuddle him and be his mommy.  I’ve never been in a hospital room that felt so big or lonely.  Charles and I woke each other many times that night with our weeping.

I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.  Psalm 6:6

Surely he has borne out griefs and carried our sorrows. Isaiah 53:?

But we do not grieve as those without hope.  What comfort we had knowing this was not the end, this was not the final chapter in the story.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”  1 Corinthians 15:54-55

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. Acts 2:24

For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.  1 Corinthians 15:21-22

Those days that followed were opportunity for us to live out our faith.

Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him.  Job 13:15

grave

Georgie’s funeral was just a few days before Christmas.  A dear friend and pastor presided over the service, and we read Psalm 116 together.   I love the LORD, because He has heard my pleas for mercy… Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; our God is merciful… What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?  I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord…  Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.  My sweet friends and their children surrounded us and prayed with us.  As the crowd walked away, Charles and I held our other children tightly, gathered around our Georgie, and  the six of us sang Psalm 34 together…

 In EVERY time, I’ll always bless the Lord.  His praise will EVER be within my mouth.  We will praise Him in every time.  The Lord is near to every broken heart, and those who crushed in spirit are he saves.  Psalm 34

And He has.  He has been near to us.  He has comforted us.  He has sustained us.  And He has used you in our lives…

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, … For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  2 Corinthians 1:3-5

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I was greeted at the mailbox everyday with cards of sympathy.   Gifts were given to Christian charities and churches in memory of George.  Friends sent us flowers and brought us meals.  I opened packages from people all over the country who were thinking of us.  Thank you, thank you dear friends.  I knew you were weeping with us and praying for us, and that was a great comfort to me.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15

Thank you to the special mothers who wrote letters to me and called me, those mothers who have been in this place.  Your stories and comfort have been a true encouragement.  My phone still lights up daily with texts from friends who want me to know that they are thinking of me.  My blog friends whom I’ve never even met, surrounded me with prayer and love.  Friends from right here in Arkansas as well as Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia, Missouri, California, South Dakota, Idaho, and friends as far as Hawaii have prayed for us and encouraged us.  Women have woken in the night to pray for me.  The Lord has so graciously and mercifully used each of you to carry and comfort me.  I love you all.

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… because George is not in your arms, but always in your heart.

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the burning bush and the fire that does not consume

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and throughout the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; and the flame shall not consume you.  Isaiah 43:2

I have indeed been comforted and carried.  My Good Shepherd has led me and sustained me through this valley…

Hither by Thy help I’m come…

Some days, all I wanted to do was stay in bed and cry, but He helped me get up.  Pain from my surgery seemed so great and milk came in with no baby to nurse, but He gave me strength to keep going.   My heart was so heavy and my smile was gone, but He gave “distractions” to help me.

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On especially hard days, I saw little messages of hope.

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My empty nursery would bring me to tears, but He would send a laughing child running my way.  Pregnant friends all around me had perfectly healthy babies and others announced new pregnancies.  All I wanted to do was run and cry.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away!  Psalm 55:6

 Inside I wanted to run and cry, but He helped me rejoice with those mommies.  I dreaded seeing those babies, but those were the moments I felt His love most.  When days seemed dark, He faithfully showed me His goodness and light.

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When I feared everyone might forget what happened or forget our boy, I saw my sweet daughter playing with her own Georgie and his blue stroller.

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He gave me a church family to bear my burdens with me, and He gave me a special friend to be my Aaron and hold up my hands when I grow weary.

It’s been almost five months now.

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During this process, Charles and I were blessed to meet some new friends.  The Lord saw fit for our path to cross with a family who has not only encouraged us but also cried with us.  They taught me about an Ebenezer

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the LORD has helped us.”  1 Samuel 7:12

Ebenezer (Eben-haezer) ( אֶבֶן  הָעֶזֶר )  comes from the Hebrew ‘eben  ( אֶבֶן )  meaning stone and  ha-`ezer   ( הָעֶזֶר ) meaning the help.  Stone of THE help.   The Ebenezer was a stone,  a monument, a memorial  commemorating the help of the Lord.

They read Psalm 40 to me…

I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. 
Psalm 40:1-3

The Lord is slowly but surely drawing me up from the pit and putting a new song in my mouth.  I pray that this blog post will be my own little Ebenezer, my own stone of the help, my own memorial, my own way of making His goodness and mercy and faithfulness known.

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 I’ve always said that holding my babies gave me a whole new perspective of Christianity.  The love I have felt for each of those precious little ones has helped me to understand so much more deeply just what it was that the Father gave me when He gave His Son.  It would be one thing for the Father to come to earth and take on flesh and die for us.  It is an entirely different, much more difficult thing to give a Son.   I think new parents can understand this in a way they have never been able to before because we love our children so deeply, much more than we love ourselves.  Giving our children would be the greater sacrifice.  I know my Father loves me and also knows my  grief as He has helped me through the loss of my own.

As we celebrated Easter and the Resurrection of dear Lord Jesus Christ, I was reminded of His own loud cries on the cross…

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

He forsook His own perfect, dear Son that hour so that He would never leave me nor forsake me.

For He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5, Joshua 1:5

He has been with me every moment.

Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’m come!

I have said that I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth.  I now have a child walking WITH the Truth.  That is great joy.

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

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You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.  

O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Psalm 30

Holy Sonnets: Death, be not proud

BY JOHN DONNE

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
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38 thoughts on “Here I Raise My Ebenezer

    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      I began my Lord’s Day listening to this. Thank you, thank you. Thank you for encouraging and knowing how to lift me up. 🙂 Such encouraging truths… Every joy or trial falleth from above… stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest, finding as He promised perfect peace and rest. Amen!

      Reply
      1. sage_brush

        You are so welcome! Thank you for your tremendous testimony in the face of such trial. Someday, we will all meet and be with the Lord forever. What bliss! Your precious George would not want to come back here now – I know you know that. And, with the way things are going in the world – I think you will see him again sooner rather than later. xoxoxo

        Reply
  1. 4chocolattes

    I am so sorry for your loss!! I had no idea you were going through all of this. Your faith is a witness to all!!

    Reply
  2. godmadeknown

    I’m sure this was written through many tears but thank you so much for finally sharing with us. Your blog has been such a huge blessing to so many and I know the Lord will use this post even more powerfully than you can imagine.

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      He has used YOU even more powerfully than you can imagine. Love you dearly, sister. One day we’ll have that coffee and sweet in person! Until then, cheers!

      We are learning about the Sierra Nevadas and Mt. Whitney this week. Praying for you and your new home! I forgot to tell you that when I told my kiddos you were moving to the mainland, they were super excited! Then they learned just how far away you still are. 😦

      Reply
  3. Pingback: For the Lord’s Day – Like a River Glorious | The Vine Vigil

  4. Donna Hogue

    what a wonderful tribute to a precious life. Every life is so important to God. I know Georgie met my little Jamie, but most importantly, they are with our great Savior!

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Thank you, Mrs. Donna! You have become so special to our family and we love you so! Thank you for all you’ve done for Leven and Catherine this school year and for the way you bore our burden with us as we walked through the valley! I will always remember your love and kindness.

      Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Sister, I love you! I think you are my biggest fan. You are so real and such an encouragement to me every week. Thanks for lovin’ on me and for the extra special gifts for Georgie. Thanks for the “V.S.”… (wink, wink)!! Love you!

      Reply
  5. Jill Denton

    I pray that another layer of healing and comfort comes from sharing your story. The Lord’s name has been lifted up! I continue to pray for you and your dear family.

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Thank you, Jill. I have prayed many times for you, and I am thankful for your prayers for me. Your sweet letter was such an encouragement. Thank you for loving us and helping us through this fire. We know God is good and these trials we go through are for our best and His glory, right? I have thought about you (and now my own trials) as that tapestry… we see the underside… they yucky, ugly knots and threads that don’t seem to make any sense, but He sees the other side, the beautiful picture of His perfect plan. Thank you for your sweet heart and encouragement. Love you, sister!

      Reply
      1. Jill Denton

        You are so right! And I love that over time God reveals glimpses of that beautiful picture to us. He is good! And everything He does is good! Much love to you all!

        Reply
  6. Jennifer monsarrat

    I got connected to ur blog thru candace hair. Our 4th baby, Anna Katherine, died at 23 weeks due to blood clots in her umbilical cord. Otherwise all had been fine. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read ur story and can deeply relate. I will b praying for u and ur family. June 5th will b a year since her stillbirth. A hard time of year now filled with heavy memories. We felt Gods presence deeply for the initial season of her death and I ask Him to remind me since that His ways r better than ours!
    In Christ
    Jennifer

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Oh dear friend, I am so heartbroken for you. This is such a deep pain and ache. I am so glad Candice connected us. I keep telling myself some important truths over and over… here is a quote that I’ve clung to…
      “The infinite, personal, living God has done what our minds cannot grasp. If we could understand all that God understands, we would no longer be finite and human. To demand this is rebellion against remaining in our own place as His creatures, akin to Lucifer’s demanding equality with God. We are enticed by the same kind of temptation to be equal with God, in being able to say, “Oh, yes, I understand … ” But we are to bow to the truth which God has given us, with the amount of explanation He has given us. We need to be willing to let God be God and stay in our own place as human beings.”
      Isn’t that great? Who would want to worship a God that she could fully understand and figure out?
      He will work all things for our good.
      Do you live near Candice? We could meet sometime.
      Praying for you.
      (I have a 9 year old Catherine Annis. 😉 )

      Reply
  7. Kaci

    Such a special tribute to little Georgie…I will continue praying for you and your sweet family! I am so glad that we met.

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Oh, me too! Love connecting with a new friend, sister, mama, and farmer’s wife! Thank you for your sincere concern for me and kindness. I hope we can keep in touch next year! We’re so close! Dinner at “the cafe” together?

      Reply
  8. Tammy Springhart

    I don’t know of anyone with a sweeter spirit than yours Shannon. You are such a beautiful soul and I know it had to be hard for you to share what you’ve gone through the past few months. I know heaven gained much with your Georgie. I pray beautiful things come to your family!

    Love, Prayers, and Hugs,
    Tammy

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Tammy, I thank you so much! You are a perfect picture of joyful service. You do so much for our group and so much for others even when it is difficult. Thank you for the ways you’ve helped my family, and thank you for these kind words. You are truly an example to me. I hope you have a refreshing and restful summer. Much love, Ssw

      Reply
  9. prairiepaisley.jodi

    My sweet friend, it has been such a blessing to me and my family to walk with you through this difficult time. Our texts, love, encouragement and “spirit lifter” packages have been an honor and a blessing to us…the Lord has truly given me a sister I don’t have in you and we’ve never even met. Your love for the Lord and your deep deep faith that could move mountains…even the Rockies😉 has been amazing and inspiring. George is a blessing to us all and he will forever be wrapped up in our hearts….God is Good!

    Reply
  10. covenantheirs

    Shannon, my heart and tears go out to you. I can’t even begin to imagine the loss of a child. I had missed your blog entries, and just finished reading the reason for your absence. Please know that you and your family will be in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your deepest loss, and your deepest faith journey with Jesus through this blog. I know it will minister to so many others who carry the pain of extreme loss; it has ministered to me. To God be the glory.

    Reply
  11. Less to More

    I had signed up to follow your blog about a year ago. Honestly, busy days just take over, especially with homeschooling, that I barely had time to check for new posts on my Reader. So the last one I read from your blog was the one when you announced that you were expecting #5. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and just couldn’t go back to sleep for some reason. I reached for my phone and just started scrolling through my WordPress Reader, and I believe the Lord directed me to this post … that perhaps, God woke me up, not only to pray for you and your family, but to be encouraged myself by your testimony of His strength and faithfulness during such a difficult trial. May His grace and power continue to be poured on you and your family!

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Thank you so very much for your prayers. I am so thankful for strangers like you who really do pray for me! How encouraging and what a beautiful picture of Christ’s body, the church, everywhere! I appreciate you and your thoughtfulness.

      Reply
  12. restoredbyhope

    I am so sorry for your loss. I cried with you just reading your post. What a testimony you are of God’s love and faithfulness, and how we can be faithful to Him in return. I pray God comforts you each time you think of your precious son in heaven.

    Reply
    1. i have no greater joy Post author

      Thank you for this sweet encouragement. I love your specific prayers for me, and those prayers are being answered. I am so thankful for friends like you that weep with me. It is a comfort. I am feeling better each day.

      Reply
  13. Happily Occupied Homebodies

    As I read this, my heart literally hurt…ached for your loss. I’ve been away from my blog for a while too, so when I started catching up and saw this, I couldn’t believe it. Your faith shines so strongly, even through your pain….posting all those words of scripture…to read them as I read your story….it was such a powerful thing. Praying God’s comfort for you and your family.

    Reply
  14. Alma Mater

    I am so very sorry for your great loss. I came looking for your blog tonight, and had no idea that you have been going through this. I know it has been some time now, but I am praying for a special blessing for you tonight, for strength and healing for you and your family. I pray that His peace overwhelms you tonight, and sustains you in the days to come. Be blessed, dear mama.

    Reply

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