Heidi’s Story: always looking for hearts

When you love {with all your heart} it is always worth it.

In May 2019, my husband and I were parents of three blessings—daughter (11), son (8), and one heaven baby (our second pregnancy)—and we found ourselves at the end of a season filled with love. A season where nearly two years prior we said “yes” to choosing to open our hearts to love as a permanent resource for a little girl in foster care whom we had not yet met, with the understanding that nothing was guaranteed.

We met and fell in love with this little girl who will always hold a special place in our hearts. We are grateful for the many memories we made sharing time and adventures with her, spending time together in our home, and having her join us for a Thanksgiving holiday. She affectionately called me Auntie Heidi and my husband Uncle Pam (Sam). She loved our kids and our kids loved her.  Our constant prayer through this long process was that she would find her forever home filled with love.

We were overjoyed when the day came that we heard the words we had prayed for, that we would be that forever home for her. To our dismay, a short time later, we received the message that this plan was changing; she would not be joining our family. Despite the heartache, we would say “yes” if we had it to do all over again. She taught us so much about love and we are better people for knowing her. We choose to believe that we hold a special place in her heart as well, after sharing our love with her at a time she needed it most. We find peace in our hearts believing that she is in a home filled with love; even though it is not ours.

A new season

On the exact day that we prayed for God to allow peace to enter our hearts again in acceptance of this reality, I found out I was pregnant. The timing of how the season seemed to be changing back to Love felt so intentional in my heart.

My husband and I felt our baby was a true gift from God. He knew exactly what we needed before we even asked. Instantly there was love, dreams, and plans—and not just for what the next year would look like, but what the rest of our years would look like!

Having had one heaven baby, we were familiar with how love is instant, and nothing is guaranteed. We prayed for our baby and were reassured that since my third pregnancy was healthy, there was nothing to worry about. I reminded myself of course it would be ok; this baby was our gift.

We decided to wait until after our ultrasound so we could have a picture of the baby to give our kids as we shared the news with them. We planned to share with them that the little girl we had all fallen in love with would not be joining our family, and that we had a new gift for our family to love…a baby! We would then let them share the news with everyone, no secrets required!

Hearing familiar words

On June 4, 2019, days before our scheduled ultrasound appointment, I knew something wasn’t right. I prayed {with all my heart} as we found ourselves in the same ultrasound room we had been in with our first loss. We were heartbroken as we heard the familiar words that the plans we had were changing, and our baby was not a gift that we would be able to keep with us here on earth.

That day, we left the clinic with an empty space in our hearts. As the ‘whys’ took over that space—Why was this happening again? What did I do? Why would God take back our gift? Why can’t we just keep our baby?—I prayed for God to send me a heart. Just one. I knew there was Love here and as my Faith was wavering, I needed to see something with my eyes to help me trust what I know to be true; that though in this world there is heartache, the love that God has for us is always good, even in, or maybe especially in, the times when the ‘whys’ take up space in our hearts.

Finding purpose in the pain

For me, it was hard to find the words to share this story, my story of love, that I had been so excited to share but now had seemed to suddenly become unrecognizable. In the absence of words, I leaned into my passion for creating and sewing and created my {with all my heart} pillows to be my voice. When the words found me, I wrote this story to go along with them:

During a season when I was searching for understanding and purpose for my current experience, I became weary as I could not find any. Despite the heartache, I knew one of the messages trying to rise to the surface was one of love. As a way to confirm this intuition, I began to search for hearts. Hearts in the clouds, hearts on the ground, hearts anywhere around me. I just wanted to find one.

During my search, I was led to a box of old photos with a single, folded up sheet of paper, a photocopy from a daily devotional. It read: “Understanding will never bring you peace…” and referenced Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

In that moment, I knew this message, this old photocopied piece of paper, found me right when I needed it.

Reading those words took a weight off my shoulders and allowed peace to enter my heart. I found space to choose to begin leaning into trust.

Days later, I had still not found the sign I had been looking for, though I remained firm in my belief that the message for me was to love. I picked up my kids at Grandma’s house and found my daughter busy digging a hole. She was very persistent, on a mission to remove a big rock she could feel at the bottom.

Grandma let her leave the hole and we headed home. When we returned a couple days later, my daughter went right back to the hole and continued to dig. After a while I tried to reason with her, “The rock is the foundation for the sandbox. It needs to stay there and the reality is the rock is most likely too big to remove anyway. How about creating a treasure and burying it in the hole?”

She persisted.

A while later I heard a noise of excitement. “Whoa, I found a heart!” My daughter had hit the top of the rock with the shovel and as she removed the top piece she had broken off, she revealed a perfect heart-shaped rock.

The heart I had been looking for had found me and illustrated my message; love harder (like a rock) and love unconditionally (with the same persistence it took to remove this rock). And how perfect that my daughter, my teacher, was the messenger for this heart to find me.

Since then, I see hearts often and believe they find me.

There is no hurry to assign my experience a specific purpose and to move on from it. I will carry it with me into tomorrow, allowing love to be my firm foundation, and leaning into trust as I begin to weave my experience into my life’s tapestry. Weaving in ways that may be unknown to me today.

…he will make straight your paths.

Always looking for hearts

Today I am still weaving my experience into my own life’s tapestry and I am still always looking for hearts. Each time a heart finds me I feel my heaven babies close. Since I began looking for hearts others have started sharing with me the hearts that find them. This always brings me so much JOY knowing that others are thinking of me and celebrating my heaven babies with me!

After my recent loss, I am so grateful for the support and community I have found with others that have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. It has helped me find ways to grieve and to celebrate both of my heaven babies. My husband and I are parents of four blessings and each one of them is very much a part of the plan God has for us—two of them just happen to live with Him in heaven.

Healing for others

It also brings me JOY to be able to share my story of love, and celebrate my heaven babies through creating my {with all my heart} pillows and other items.

When you purchase a {with all my heart} item, I imagine you keeping it for yourself to enjoy or sharing with another, as a symbol of love. In partnership with local non-profits, a portion of all {with all my heart} item sales goes towards a special {with all my heart} cutie that will be gifted to parents that have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. This gift is a special keepsake for parents to hold close while adding love and celebration of their heaven baby to their world.

When you love {with all your heart} it is always worth it.

~ Heidi

Heidi lives on a lake in Minnesota with her husband and two children. She also has two precious heaven babies, Faith and Love. A few of her favorite things are being a mom, being creative, being near the water, and going for walks and running on their gravel road with her dog, and always looking for hearts.

Her blog is her voice for sharing and creating messages of love. One of her favorite ways to share love and comfort with other grieving families is with her With All My Heart items. Creating these items is also healing to her own heart as she celebrates her heaven babies as she creates each item.

Follow Heidi on:

Instagram:@withall_myheart
Facebook: Facebook.com/withall_myheart
Website: WithAllMyHeartHeidi.com

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