9.5 Weeks That Changed My Life

Ten years ago today (01.28.2009-01.28.2019), we stepped into the doctors office filled with immense sorrow and great hope for the future.

Exactly a week before that visit, my sweet husband’s mother entered into Heaven’s gate. She was only 67 years old.

I remember that day well. I was pregnant, 9 weeks and caring for our two little ones while my husband was at the hospital with his siblings. The call came, it was 8:35 pm “I was reading in Psalms about entering heaven and Mom entered” my husband spoke quietly.

We lost greatly that day and in the tomorrow’s that followed, but heaven gained richness filled in a woman called Marguerite Ann.

That was Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

A day and a half later, I noticed some spotting. As the next days continued our concerns grew. We made the phone call. Being 7 hours away, Mom’s viewing and funeral that Friday and Saturday, we stayed. In silence between ourselves and God, we did a lot of praying, watching, resting, and giving it to the Lord in the midst of loss, dealing with extended family, and grief.

As we sat in that office (01.28.2009) we still clung to life. By this time, the spotting was lessening. Hoping against odds we never expected to hear the next words…

“There is no baby.”

“Wait. What?
What did you just say?
How can that possibly be?”

That is impossible!

  • I had felt this little one for weeks.
  • I had questioned if I was further along then we thought because of all the movements I had felt.
  • This was impossible.
  • There IS a baby!

Again, those words pierced through my soul…

“There is no baby.”

  • “Maybe you already miscarriaged, or maybe you will in the next day or two.” The words were so cold. So removed. So lifeless.

We walked out of that office with a scheduled appointment in two days.

Numb.
Shocked.
Grieving.
Filled with questions.

What took place in the following days, the Lord kept us in the palm of His protective hand.

The next day included an ER trip which we were told, “I see a sack.” Hope was restored which created more questions.

Later that evening, I did not feel well. I thought maybe a shower would help. In that process, severe pain struck my body like a torpedo exploding into a battle ship. The hit was so powerful that it paralyzed me. The struggle to breathe was intensive and my body turned into a board.

We called for a sitter.

By the time we left the house for the ER, my body had calm down enough that I was able to walk out of the house. When I took that first step down off the porch my body released itself from it’s grip and I was covered in blood, and my breathing became much easier. Later we found out why this happened.

The trip to the ER we spent in prayer giving our little one to the Lord and our lives into His hands. Praying for a miracle. Praying for strength to accept His will. Praying what words could not express or speak, but Jesus Christ was our advocate and we knew it.

We saw a cold, lifeless, removed doctor turn into a compassionate, caring, patient man because of Jesus Christ. They took every concern or every care we had for our baby, for my life, and doubled, tripled checked on our behalf. For this we are incredibly thankful for.

  • Through a exploratory surgery (01.29.2009), it was discovered that I had an ectopic pregnancy. My right fallopian tube ruptured sending blood all throughout the inside of my body causing the severe paralyzing pain and inability to breathe. We take comfort that by this time, our little one was already safe in the arms of Jesus.
  • Our little one spent almost 10 earthly weeks with us. Some find it hard to believe, we don’t question God’s time.
  • We thank the Lord for every week we had with baby Woodruff #3. God has given me the blessings of feeling, not sight, with this little one. For weeks, our little one was alive, alert, and very active in my right fallopian tube; this gift was from the Lord, a treasure I cherish.

Today, and for the past ten years now, our little one walks on streets of gold because of Jesus Christ! The assurance of eternal life through Jesus Christ is a priceless, gracious, and merciful gift from our Lord. The hope we have in Him, that one glories day we shall see Christ, our child, Mom, and others –heaven is sweeter!

God is the author of life.

We were told that if we didn’t conceive within the next year are chances for future children would drop to 12%.

A year and eight months later, we were with child with baby #4. This didn’t come without fears or learning to trust God with this child. Her name means, “God has answered” because her two older sisters prayed every night for “a baby in Mama’s belly” for a year and eight months…and GOD ANSWERED!!

  • God hears.
  • God answers…in His time.
  • God hears the broken hearted.
  • God comforts & heals the grieving soul.
  • God never forsakes His own.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

The Cost of Freedom | America

I am struck by this photo. As I sit in my home, I am warm, safe, secure and living in freedom. I never want to forget two things:

  1. Who it comes from and
  2. Who sacrificed to keep it.

Yes, I am an American, but only an American because God placed me here by birth. My ancestry comes from other countries and through their journeys settled in America. I am proud to be an American, but it is God who made me an American; I had nothing to do in that process.

Our country has been through wars, loss, sorrow, great turmoils, joys and great victories but one thing that has stood these tests is its people. Specifically, I think of its soldiers: those who have fought, died and today are veterans in this land we call America.

  • They have given sacrifically (from their own life and family for fellow mankind…like me, like you!).
  • They have protected our own land as well as the lands of other nations.
  • They have in the past and continue to stand in the gap to keep our America free, safe, and independent for the next generations to come.

Oh, we can easily find fault in America. We could blame and even grow righteously angry over leadership, bills passed or not passed, choices our country as allowed or stopped; to stop there would only produce a complainer.

Did you know?

To complain is to choose to express an opinion or dislike about something and do nothing about it.

To sit idly by is to live in foolishness. We must do our part!

Above all, a nation whose God is its Lord —that nation is blessed (Psalm 33:12).

So, lest we forget:

  • God first –country second and may we see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13) for keeping God in His rightful place…first.
  • Freedom is never free –remember that next time you complain about your country. Unless we are willing to be proactive, take a proactive stands, our lips should be sealed.

Thank you, soldiers! You are in our thanks, thoughts and prayers! Thank you, Lord, for this great country –may we be found faithful! We have much to be thankful for!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

the Principles of the Path

In Lysa TerKeurst book ‘the Best Yes’, she quotes Andy Stanley from his book ‘The Principles of the Path’. It reads as follows:

“The direction you are currently traveling–relationally, financially, spiritually, and the list goes on and on–will determine where you end up in each of those respective arenas. This is true regardless of your goals, your dreams, your wishes, or your wants. The principle of the path trumps all those things.

Your current direction will determine your destination. And like every principle, you can leverage this one to your advantage or ignore it to your disadvantage. Just as these are paths that have led us to places we never intended to be, there are paths that lead us away from those places as well.”

Is there ever a place within our “path” that God is not present? I say NOT, but God doesn’t stop there. It may be a reality that many do not care for, but its truth holds: we are responsible do our part. God is not our genie-in-a-bottle nor is He to be treated so. God created mankind with an intellect, emotion, and will; therefore, let’s use it for His glory and honor. God holds us accountable.


I am reminded of a “path-choice” that my husband and I had to make many years ago. Oh, the agony of that choice was incredibly hard. That choice result had a life or death possibility for me and/or our baby, and let me tell you it was not an easy decision to make. I cannot begin to calculate how much time we spent in prayer over this decision –to “do” or “not to do.” We fasted over those weeks pleading with God to show us His will regardless of our fears.

Finally, the answer came. We made our decision. I would have the needed surgery. We placed our full trust in the Lord’s timing, His will, and His plan for our first born’s life and mine. She and I were just beginning our second trimester. I will not lie to you, my husband and I were scared, nervous, yet at peace all at the same time with our God-decision-path; this surgery couldn’t wait til she was born. Our lives were in danger, yet the ‘path’ we choose was to cling onto thus trusting in God’s promises.

The surgery happened. Today, that child will be entering her teen years in just fourteen days. God’s hand was all over that surgery that day and the days that followed. He kept our baby safe inside me while the doctors did their job to keep us both alive. Peace abounded.

As we looked back (then and today), we are truly grateful for the wisdom and knowledge of those doctors. Thankful we stopped our thinking, our rationalization of the matter, and even giving up our concerns to choose to bask each one in prayer, fasting, then putting the Lord first with our whole hearts in this situation –on this path. I am thankful that we obeyed God’s leading, trusted God’s foreknowledge because He knew the whole story and we did not. I am thankful.

  • I could share another ‘path’ with you that our family has faced, but that will have to wait til another day. This I will say, because some of you are thinking, “Ya, but my story or path has been much different than your happy ending.” This path was met with the same intense prayers brought before the Throne of Grace, the same fasting and pleads but the earthly outcome was much, much different. It was filled with incredible loss, the deepest depths of sorrow we have ever felt in our lives. The grief was so intense that I was unable to speak for weeks. So don’t be so quick to judge, but as you will see further down this post…God is still good, because I believe in HIM (Psalm 27:13).

Friends, I don’t know where you are today. Maybe you are seriously struggling. You just don’t know what to do. You may even be praying your heart out but hearing nothing.

If I may be honest with you –I am right there with you. Yes, me too! My heart is struggling right now over certain things that are happening in our lives. It’s hard. It’s really really hard. I get the struggle. It is real. So real that last night I cried myself to sleep. So believe me friend, I get it.

There’s also a few other things my soul ‘gets’ because of the healing power of Christ alone. He has been with us all the way. Over the past several years, we have met trials, heard silence, experienced joys and great sorrow, but it has only solidified the love of Christ, the power of God, and how much I need Him:

  • This I do know, that God is good –He is good all the time because He is unchangeable. God cannot nor will not violate His own character, therefore, He is trustworthy, reliable, and consistent –when I am not. This brings incredible comfort, stability, regardless of how I ‘feel’.
  • This I do know, that God loves me — and He loves you too. God has never once given up on us. We need only look to the Cross for that, yet there are million other ways He demonstrates His love towards us daily. Do you see them?
  • This I do know, that God is in control. I may not see it, I may never understand His timing, and may wrestle with it, but God is in control. Period.
  • This I do know, that God has my best interest in mind. Whatever He does, allows, gives, or takes He has one goal in mind, my best spirit-state. Notice I didn’t say, my best life-state, but my best spirit-state. His focus is my soul! His focus is your soul!
  • This I do know, that God is God. May sound trite, but it isn’t. We can say “God is God” but once one lives “God is God” there is a gigantic realizations that occurs. First and foremost, you realize who you are before the Almighty God…dust, clay, a sinner who has been miraclously saved by God’s grace through the blood of Jesus.
  • This I do know, that God has a earthly-life plan for me to fulfill, therefore, I only have one life to live. So do you! I want my life to count for Christ above all things.

My friends, take courage, take hope, take refuge, take assurance, take your salvation and cling to it…but share it! Yes, can life be difficult, it sure can, but when we seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, all these things will be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

  • God never breaks His promise, just remember He chooses the timing to give those promises and blessings to us. Keep the faith!

“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgements of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11).


From my heart to yours, may it encourage your walk with Christ,

Colleen M. Woodruff, a servant of the Lord, blessed to be used of God to author and pen In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

the Struggle is Real but so is GOD!

Very honesty, my mind floods with where to begin.  I have longed to blog for the past several weeks yet haven’t had the ability to put thought into words due to the inward struggle of my heart.  My soul is in distress, migraines are intense, the struggle is real but so is GOD!!  

If my flesh were speaking, it would “spill the beans” to proclaim the wrongs done towards us and make them right!  To herald the truth so the truth would be known.  To correct those individuals thus putting them in their rightful place and make them see the errors of their ways.

Yes, this is pure flesh!  To be honest, I have thought about it but spiritually it is what I cannot do (Romans 12:19).

For I know that wouldn’t be pleasing to my Lord nor would it be a testimony that I would long to represent for my Lord.  Nor would it be profitable or helpful for those involved – for their spiritual growth is at stake.  So, in the midst of my own distress, aching, and sorrow-filled heart I am choosing to stand in the shadow of my Almighty – to be redeemed one day, in His time, but for only one glory  —-> HIS!  

The past year has been no picnic in the park for my family and I, but I speak personally here.  In my weak spirit, it trembles in fear, yet speaks in the midst of deep distress and intensely yearns with more passion than I can express to understand and grasp the knowledge with humbleness to grow before my Lord through this trial.  

In God’s graciousness there have been blessings along this road for which I am truly and utterly thankful for.  Believe me, I have been keenly aware of these blessings for I have looked HARD – very hard for them.  They have been those  “diamonds in the ruff”  that have stood against the wiles of the devil, the wiles of man’s sinfulness, and even against my own sinful heart struggling from within. They have been God’s messages to me saying, “I love you” and “I know, I see” or “I understand, I am here” and “I know you don’t understand, but I am still in control…trust me” for these I rejoice over. 

Another cherished blessing has been my precious family. In my weakness, they are compassion and strength. In my time of need, they are understanding and prayerful, wise and loving. I rise up and call them blessed!   

We all have trials throughout our lifetime. We all have choices to make within those storms that are vital to our outcome. Edit

I don’t know about you, but I for one want to learn the lesson the first time! No matter how hard the trial may be we must choose Christ over self (better or bitter).  God’s plan doesn’t hinge on my feelings.  God’s purposes are immovable because they rest on solid ground — because HE IS solid ground. For without God we are nothing.  Without Him we cannot live.  Regardless of mountaintop or valley, we are to be daily feasting on the Word. 

I must say that choosing to believe the goodness of God in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13);  to devour God’s Word every second whether or not my soul or mind can consume it all or not during these difficult times…has been my lifesaver!

I NEED GOD!  

Everyday there is a choice we must make. There are actions and reactions that reveal our relationship with Christ and we cannot and should not let that go even when our hearts and minds are struggling to survive!

 

In His beauty and love for His own, God takes us through places that we don’t understand to prepare us for places He has prepared for us.

The Lord is so gracious to us.  For my God is good on the mountaintop as well as in the valley.  There is never not a place where He is not – where I am.