Tag Archives: love

what a real hero looks like

Colette Fabry, Co-Author of awriteheart.comEarly in the morning on August 12th, after nine months and a long, hard day of labor a woman gave birth to a baby boy. He weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long. She had asked God to give her a child, and he was the answer to her prayer. She was still mourning the death of her first precious child, Stella, when she conceived Luca Charles. And while many people slept, at exactly 12:39 a.m., she welcomed him.

The ultrasound showed a problem with Luca early on. She remembers the day clearly. But it took many more days to absorb the meaning of all the words. Anencephaly. Won’t live. Option to terminate. Words she and her husband didn’t want to hear. Choices that were not choices.

Terminating the pregnancy would mean terminating life. A baby’s life. Lucas’s life. Her Lucas’s life. The baby boy she had prayed for and already loved. For her there was never a choice to end his life.

bbc_imageKara Gagliano is a hero. Because in a world where so many would have chosen differently, she chose life. So many people chant that it’s the mothers body and she can choose what to do with “the fetus”. It was never a choice for Kara to end her son’s life. To solve a problem. To prevent her suffering. Our world seems to have lost sight of what a true hero is. A hero is brave, courageous and one who does all they can to save someone elses life.

Most heroes don’t want to be called a hero. I’ve heard them say things like “I just did what anyone else would do”.  Most heroes are modest and don’t even recognize that they are extraordinary. Kara is a hero.

She knew that the safest place in all the world for Luca Charles, her son, was in her womb where his heart beat with hers. Where he was loved. She believed that she didn’t have the right or desire to take his precious life. Only the obligation and the desire to protect him and allow her body to nurture his.

And all mothers who have ever carried a child to term cheer for her. All who have felt the baby-kicks and hiccups inside of their wombs cheer for her. All moms will tell you that it is life they are feeling inside of their wombs. Real life. They will tell you that it is a privilege and responsibility to sustain their baby’s life, inside and outside their womb. All women who pray to God to fill their barren wombs cheer for her. And those who have miscarried. All who value life. We cheer for Kara today.

Many people may believe she had a hard choice to make. But to her it was not hard and it was never a choice at all to choose life.

So for nine months inside of her and for 18 minutes in her arms…she carried him. She sang to him. She prayed over him. She loved him. For 18 minutes she kissed his precious face. And at exactly 12:57 a.m. her baby entered into heaven. Passed from this life to the next as she said goodbye for now.

IMG_7102Kara was one of my cheerleaders when I was a Varsity Cheer Coach. I still see her in my mind. Her high-school face smiling as she yelled and jumped…and cheered. Back when problems in her life were not yet so big. But today, Kara and I switch roles. I proudly cheer for her. And I cry with her as we say goodbye to her son. For now.

Baby Luca, whose name means “light”. Mom Kara, whose name means “beloved”. They lived out the meaning of their names, on Luca’s birthday.

His birth was precious. Kara and Dave and Luca were surrounded by family who wore green shirts with the Bible verse “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart”. Baby Luca came into this world as a little light in a dark world, surrounded by family who deeply love him.

They serve a God who is the giver of life.  They bless and honor Him with theirs…even when their prayers aren’t answered their way. They understand that His ways are not always our ways. And like their Luca, they are a light for Jesus.

Thank you Kara.  For showing this world what a hero truly is. For showing us that life is precious and sacred and a beautiful gift from God.

Happy Birthday Luca!

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]This little light of mine, Colette[/custom_headline]

Kara graciously gave permission for us to post her story. Her response when asked about it was this, “Colette that is beautiful. Yes I would love it if you would share that on your blog.” Thank you, Kara, for the hero that you are.

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We love to see our readers’ support of Kara – and by signing up for our email newsletter you can do just that. When AWriteHeart receives 500 new subscriptions we’ll donate $500 to the anencephaly charity of Kara’s choice. To subscribe, scroll down to the “Subscribe to awriteheart.com” form and enter your information!

Our goal is to encourage as many people as we can toward a better relationship with Jesus, and you can help us by sharing our posts with others! A huge THANK YOU to all of our readers for your love and encouragement!

~Colette & Melissa
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the heart of friendship

Melissa @ awriteheart.com[blockquote cite=”C.S.Lewis” type=”center”]Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
“What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”[/blockquote]

We NEED friends.

The Bible talks a LOT about relationships, and about the needs that we have that only a true friend can provide. God made us for relationship, and right from creation we read about people needing people. Adam and Eve, Moses and Aaron, David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, Christ and His disciples, Christ and God the Father…The Bible is full to the top with people who needed other people. Even God desired fellowship with man – a thought I can’t even wrap my mind around – but it just goes to show that we weren’t made to go it alone. I’m naturally introverted, so I gravitate to solitude. Instinctually I want to be alone, and I want to prove my worth by taking on challenges by myself. But God made me to need others, and despite my tendency to make an island of myself it’s important for me not to think that I should do life all on my own. We need each other for so many reasons…For accountability, for companionship, for joy, for sharing heartbreak, for corporate worship, for encouragement, to learn humility, to learn about what insights others have into the heart of God. God gave us friendship for our benefit!

Friendships change because other people change.

[pullquote cite=”C.S. Lewis” type=”right”]“What draws people to be friends is that they see the same truth. They share it.” [/pullquote]Friendships begin under all kinds of circumstances and conditions, and it’s unlikely (if not impossible) for those conditions to always remain the same. A friend who had a particular need at one time will more than likely grow out of that need; a friend who was strong at one time may stumble into a period of weakness; a friend who was always available may become busy and preoccupied with other things – and so on. We know in our HEADS that people change and that their circumstances change, but it’s difficult to swallow when a friendship we value changes. A dear friend of mine always says that there are “seasons” of friendship – even endings of friendships – because all of our lives are in a constant state of flux. Change may not be what WE always want, but so often it’s what a friend needs.

Friendships change because WE change.

Are you different than you were when you were seventeen years old? Of course you are. We all have seasons of life which will dictate our needs, and we tend to seek out friends that can fulfill those needs. It sounds pretty selfish, but we all seek community with those who understand us best. My daughter was in sixth grade this past year, and as far as friends are concerned she did a lot of growing up. She had a group of friends at school, and she ended up deciding that they weren’t people that she wanted or needed to be around – so she kindly started sitting with another group of people and integrated herself into a new group. That’s no small feat for someone her age! It showed me something important – that it CAN be done. Our needs can and will change, and we can kindly engage in new friendships that better fit us – all without animosity and drama.

Some friendships exist not because WE need them, but because someone else does…So we need to consider what God has for us in those relationships. There are friendships that are REALLY messy and inconvenient, but God can show us so much about ourselves and about Him through those friendships. Let’s be careful not to count out the people that are hard work to be friends with…Those might be the people who need us most.

BFFs are few and far between.

To find a friend who understands not only what you’re going through but who you really are is rare and precious. I’ve only had a handful of people over the course of my life who I’d say were “best” friends. They are the ones who I let see me at my worst, the ones who lovingly tell me when I’m wrong, the ones who encourage me to be the woman God wants me to be, and the ones who stand by me during my own seasons of weakness – times when I give nothing back. They are friends who can see how I feel without my having to say anything, and who know what I need before I realize it myself. If you have a true BFF, cherish them and be a great BFF in return!

It takes one to know one.

Good friendships come from two peoples’ involvement, not just one. Granted, there are times when one person or the other will bear more of a load, but overall a friendship needs to be a two way street. It’s easy for us to analyze the quality of friendship based on someone else’s performance, but we can’t forget to evaluate whether we are being good friends ourselves.

Friends will let us down because they’re people.

No matter how good our friends are, they WILL let us down – because they’re human. I’m not saying that we should overlook it when friends consistently treat us poorly, but we should expect some imperfection – and at times let it roll off. The trade off is that we, too, will let our friends down, as well-intentioned as we might be, and those friends will hopefully do the same for us.

Jesus is our ultimate example.

[pullquote cite=”C.S.Lewis” type=”right”]”Though our feelings come and go, God’s love for us does not.”[/pullquote]One thing that I cherish most about Christ is that He is predictable – always good, always loving, always just, always righteous. No matter how I change, He is the same. He’s reliable, eternal, invested, perfect…PERFECT. His expectations of His friends always remain the same, too – simply obey (John 15:14). That’s a tall order, but I can rest assured that His expectations will never vary.

During His ministry He called Himself a friend to those closest to Him, and He laid down His life for them. Even before He was crucified for the sins of man He laid His life down for those around Him – He was patient, kind, forgiving, generous, self-sacrificing, sympathetic, honest, gentle, loving, and endlessly seeking the souls of others.  He calls us to do the same – to lay our lives down for our friends. THIS is true friendship. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

[blockquote cite=”C.S.Lewis” type=”center”]“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”[/blockquote]

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]Leaning on Jesus, Melissa[/custom_headline]

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Feature image attribution: flickr photo by Dani_vr http://flickr.com/photos/dani_vazquez/8261614253 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

how could anyone do this?

How could anyone do this, especially a parent?  My brain tried to wrap around the facts:  An adorable, 4 week old baby boy with creamy, ivory,  bruised skin….and a broken arm.  I instantly felt angry seeing the damage to his body and I cringed thinking about the invisible wounds to his soul. What kind of person intentionally breaks the arm of a newborn? With a heavy heart I looked at this child and wondered why God allows awful things to happen?  Pain, abuse, sorrow, death.  And baby boys with broken bodies and souls.[blockquote type=”left”]My mind silently screamed, “It was never supposed to be this way”.[/blockquote]Infants are meant to be cuddled and cared for and protected by parents who love them.  Tears were created to express happiness and hearts were meant to only feel joy.   Then in the Garden of Eden so much changed.  It was laid out clearly: choose God and life or choose sin and death.   There had to be a choice because true love doesn’t deny choice.   The people before us chose sin.  The people at present choose sin.  And the people in the future will choose sin. Because of those choices, awful things happened, and are happening, and will happen.  There are consequences.  Temporary and eternal consequenses; the death of so many things. I saw the consequences that day.  An infant boy with a broken arm.

But wait…. I also saw something absolutely beautiful.  I saw living grace: I watched a young foster mom as she tenderly and protectively cradled that tiny baby boy close to her heart.  No one would ever have guessed that this child wasn’t her own.   It brought tears to my eyes as I observed genuine love being poured onto such a precious child.  He was swaddled tightly, his belly was filled with warm milk, and finally  after 4 weeks of torture and insecurity, he was sleeping safe and sound.  I watched ashes turn beautiful; Psalm 61 being played out before my eyes.   I saw a living, breathing picture of salvation.  Of Jesus.  Of Gods promise in Psalms “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up”.

[pullquote type=”right”]The Promise-keeper always keeps his promises. He promises that there will be a day when all wrong will be made right. [/pullquote]The Promise-keeper always keeps his promises. He promises that there will be a day when all wrong will be made right.  Until then we get the unbelievable privilege of imaging our Savior and living out the Gospel.  Yes, we may be immersed in a world of sin.  But we are also immersed in grace.   We would never be able to understand sin or grace fully without being directly in the midst of it and really seeing it up close and feeling the effects deeply.

Oh how I thank God for beautiful foster moms who live, breathe and walk such a vibrant and vivid picture of such amazing grace!

Sleep well, baby boy.  Now I can sleep too.

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.

Psalm 147:3 He healeth the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.

Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, tp proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison  to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort those that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD , that he might be glorified.

[custom_headline type=”right” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h4″ accent=”true”]If we are the body, Colette[/custom_headline]

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brother's keeper

i am my brother’s keeper

Colette @ awriteheart.com  Genesis 4:9 …”Am I my brother’s keeper?”

I believe that these 5 words are among the saddest in all the Bible. If Cain had been Abel’s keeper, if he had looked after his brother and taken care of him, the story would have ended much differently.

Several months ago I had to undergo several tests, one being an MRI of my brain. The technician inserted dye into an IV and my body was slid into a tunnel-like machine. I wasn’t too concerned about this because I had a plan to combat being anxious and claustrophobic. I would sing every worship song and hymn I could think of. Not out loud, of course, but in my head. The sound of the MRI machine was awfully loud and when it began to screech I searched my mind for the first song. Nothing. Tried again. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Beginning to get concerned I asked the Lord to help me to think. I must know a thousand songs…..surely I just need to relax. I tried. Nothing at all. No song…no words…no melody. Nothing. A tear streamed down my cheek. Music and worship have always been so much a part of my life and so often what God uses to minister truth and comfort to my heart. I endured the entire MRI in silence. Without a song. It was awful.

I had the hardest time with that. I know the truth….that God can’t betray me. But I felt betrayed. I rode home in silence. I spent the rest of the day in discouraging silence.

The phone rang. On the other end was a dear sister in Christ, Cyndi. She said “Colette, we have something for you”. “We” meaning a group of wonderful friends who were huddled around the phone with her. They began to sing. Really sing….sing-their-hearts-out sing. These are the words they sang to me:

We will remember, we will remember
We will remember the works of Your hands
We will stop and give you praise
For great is Thy faithfulness

You’re our creator, our life sustainer
Deliverer, our comfort, our joy
Throughout the ages You’ve been our shelter
Our peace in the midst of the storm
With signs and wonders You’ve shown Your power
With precious blood You showed us Your grace

You’ve been our helper, our liberator
The giver of life with no end
When we walk through life’s darkest valleys
We will look back at all You have done
And we will shout, our God is good
And He is the faithful One

Hallelujah, hallelujah
To the one from whom all blessings flow
Hallelujah, hallelujah
To the one whose glory has been shown
I still remember the day You saved me
The day I heard You call out my name
You said You loved me and would never leave me
And I’ve never been the same
(by Tommy Walker)

As they sang all I could do was cry. At the end of the song all I could do was utter a quiet thank you. My precious sisters….who decided on that day to be my keeper. They had no idea what had transpired during the MRI. They didn’t know how badly I needed to hear a song. Even today as I read the words to that song I am teary eyed. Those words are amazing; they are all the hymns and worship songs I know bundled into one beautiful, little song.

I asked the Lord today to allow me to always be my brother’s keeper. And I thanked Him for those sisters and brothers who have chosen to be mine!

~Great is Thy faithfulness, Colette~