Sunday, April 20, 2008

Encouraging others: In the storms of life


This is the third Sunday our pastor preached in his series entitled "Shipwrecked: What do you do when life's toughest storms threaten to destroy you?" And, as I have mentioned the last few weeks, all of these messages apply to where we are in our lives. Today he continued in Acts 27 with verses 27-44. The Apostle Paul was caught up in this particular storm for 2 weeks. His boat kept being pulled around and around and around, he could not get out of the cycle of the storm. Paul did not create the storm he was caught up in nor did he fear the storm because he was a man of faith NOT fear. Our pastor was saying that everyone has storms in life - you're either in one now, you're heading out of one or you're headed into one! So, he asked "What happens to your faith when you're in a storm and your life is on the rocks?". That certainly is a powerful question to ask because you truly find out what your faith is when you're in a storm don't you? So many people try to run away from their problems therefore we are creating a generation of children who run away instead of facing them with faith believing that God holds everything in His hand. Our pastor was also saying that the storms of life can also cause us fear which in turn causes us to become focused on the negative instead of the positive, what we need to do when we're in a storm of our own is encourage others. We should encourage others with a positive word and lead by our example. Wow, can you imagine how great it would be if we encouraged others while we were in the midst of a storm? Paul decided that he was going to encourage others even in the midst of his own storm and by doing so the people on the boat were encouraged!

We have been encouraged by so many people, locally and Internet, since August. This journey started out full of emotions and scared about the uncertainty that lied ahead. But oh, that didn't last long. As I've said before, what was simply a blog to inform our family and friends of our journey quickly became the greatest (daily) source of encouragement. Little did we know all of the love, the support and the encouragement we would receive during the most difficult months of our lives. And, as I received encouragement from other moms facing the same storm I became stronger and was able to return the same encouragement to them and then I just kept reaching out to more and more girls to encourage them. These same moms, who walked this journey together, are still encouraging each other day-after-day as we face the very difficult days of grieving. Trayc and I desire to be like Paul and encourage others while we are in this storm of life. I am trying to do this by emailing all of my Internet friends who are grieving, Trayc and I are creating "The Tristan Asher Foundation" which will be an online support center to reach out to other families who have received a Trisomy 18 diagnosis and give them hope and encouragement and we have told our pastor and other staff members that we would like to help encourage and support other families, that come into our church, who receive a Trisomy 18 diagnosis or any other kind of genetic disorder. Our pastor already gave our name to one girl in our church and I was able to talk to her about our baby and hopefully was an encouragement to her.

I was thinking about the first Trisomy 18 family I found on the Internet, The Mooneys (I did a post on Sept 4th). They created a very touching video called "99 Balloons" (which can be seen by clicking on their link under our family picture). As most of you know, it is the story of Eliot Mooney. Until I found Eliot's video I just thought of our little boy as dying and never thought about the possibility of him living, as doctors give you NO hope of them even being born alive per statistics. And yet, here was this precious little boy, Eliot, who amazed everyone and lived 99 DAYS. To us that seemed like a long time. We watched as his parents celebrated every day of his life to the fullest and with great excitement. I was so encouraged and wanted to be like that! It gave me hope that our precious little boy could live that long too - Tristan didn't make it to 99 but he certainly made it to 56 DAYS. I know Eliot's story has touch thousands of lives around the world and brought hope and encouragement to many girls who were given a Trisomy 18 diagnosis. Can you imagine had Eliot's parents not lived his life to the fullest? If they had not videoed his life every day for 99 DAYS? If they had not shared his story, via the Internet, with the world? I am so glad they ministered/encouraged others, through their blog/video, in the midst of their storm.

Who can you encourage this week? Is there a mommy who is pregnant with a baby that has a genetic disorder that needs a word of encouragement left on her blog? Is there a mommy who is fortunately still counting the days their precious little baby is alive that needs a word of encouragement left on her blog? Is there a mommy who is approaching "the date" their baby was born or passed away that could use a word of encouragement left on their blog? Is there an email you could send to a friend that is going through a storm in their life? Is there a meal you could take to a family in need? Is there someone that could use a hug today? Or is there someone you could pray for today followed up by a card letting them know you were thinking of them? Try to think of something you could do to help encourage someone this week because one day you, too, will be in the midst of a storm and the encouragement will be returned tenfold.

We greatly appreciate every person who took the time to encourage us these past few months. Our encouragement was felt through comments on our blog, cards, emails, phone calls, meals and just the simple hug.

We ask that you continue to pray for our family this week as we approach the 3 month mark of Tristan passing away. We would specifically ask that you pray for us next Sunday as it is not only a Sunday, which is extremely hard, but it is also the 27th therefore it is a reminder that our little boy is no longer here. Although we are doing good, we still miss our little boy so much.


Acts 27:33-36 says: "And as day was about to dawn, Paul imploded(urged) them all to take food saying, Today is the fourteenth day you have waited and continued without food, and eaten nothing. Therefore I urge you to take nourishment, for this is for your survival, since not a hair will fall from the head of any of you. And when he had said these things, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of them all; and when he had broken it he began to eat. Then they were all encouraged, and also took food themselves."

8 comments:

Laurie said...

Yvette,

I just want you to know that while in the midst of your own storm before Tristan was born and during his 56 incredible days here, you ministered to me so much each time I came to read your updates. You encouraged me to encourage others without fear of saying something wrong but to just share love and encouragement. I am sure many others will tell you the same thing. I will always be thankful for you sharing your journey with me. Tristan and my new granddaughter Hannah, share the same birthdate. I cannot look at her without thinking of Tristan and I pray for you so much as you miss him. I look forward to being one to support your foundation. It will be a blessing to many as the word gets out. A beautiful tribute and honor to a wonderful little boy!! I love you guys.

Laurie in Ca.

Chrissy said...

Thinking of you...as this Sunday is coming to a close... the 27th of this month. Lots of love and prayers!

The Hull Munchkins said...

Yvette,

Thank you for encouraging others through your life and this blog. I check it often, and pray for your family as I know it must be so difficult missing your little boy.

Sometimes it is hard to reach out to others when your own heart is aching, but what a great reminder to do it anyway! The Lord uses our trials to touch others for Him... we can't always see the bigger picture.

Thank you for sharing your lives. Lord bless you this week.
-Patty

Jared, Kristin, Deanna, and Avery Edwards said...

That is good encouragement. I hope you are doing well. Praying for you.

Kenzie said...

Love you Yvette... you have been such an encouragement to me and in return to my family through all of this. You are precious and y'all are going to do amazing things with Tristan's foundation.

Love you and praying,
Kenzie

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Yvette,
I was thinking of you and Tristan today (like every day) but I wanted you to know.
You truely are an encourager and I do not know what I would have done without you and our other friends. Tristan gave me so much hope - how strong he was, and even though Mary Grace was only with us for 7 hours...the hope I had during the last of my pregnancy was amazing. I will always remember Tristan's time here on earth and appreciate you sharing him with us. He is precious.
I hope you have had a good week.
Love you,
Kim

Cathy said...

Not only praying for you on Sundays but each and everyday. Those were a precious 56 days that we all got to live with Tristan and your beautiful family. He touches all of our lives still today.
Cathy & Annabel

Jen(ni)/Fern said...

This is a great post. Testosterhome (http://www.testosterhome.net/) also has a post up about ministering to others and as it happens I read it right before this one of yours, and they went so well together.

So I want to encourage you, for what it's worth, that I have dreams about you and Tristan even though I've never met you, and he is such a cute baby - I can't get over it every time I click over here and see your banner. That's just to say a stranger in Ohio is still thinking of you all and praying for you.