Monday, September 22, 2008

Lessons Learned in the First Year of Footprints

Sorry for the delay on this post. It has been a little overwhelming trying to sum up everything learned in this 1st year of Footprints into one blog post. So here it goes.....

The first thing I want to tell you is that I ran from the Lord for about a year on starting this ministry. I thought, I can't do this-I have a new baby, a job, a husband and plans for my life. I'm not a leader, public speaker and organizer(definitely not). But here's what the Bible says, "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like a morning fog-it's here a little while then it's gone. What you ought to say is if the Lord wants us to we will do this or that. Remember it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." James 5:14-15, 17. So lesson #1 learned this year, instead of worrying on how I'm going to do something, I now know to trust in the Lord and what he says to. I want to encourage anyone reading this blog, if something has been laid on your heart to trust the Lord and do it. It is incredible when you let go and let God work through you.

Next lesson learned, is things are not always easy but that's not the important thing. The important thing is that we are having an eternal impact on these NICU families. The results far outweight the sacrifice of this ministry. So with this said, I completely agree with what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:10 "So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen."

Another lesson learned, is that the Lord has called me into ministry. On Mother's Day this year, I made a public decision in front of my church that I've been called into ministry(see picture below). Now, this definitely was not easy nor was it in my plans for my life. But again I let go and let God. I know this is where I need to serve. I am ready to give away all my plans and all my dreams for myself and my family to serve him. Paul wrote this in 1 Timothy 1:12, "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me the strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him." I am extremely grateful to the Lord for giving me the strength to do his work and calling me into ministry. There is absolutely no way I could have done this without Him. Please continue to pray for my family as we seek out His will.

Last lesson learned is to serve Him enthusiastically and when his people are in need be ready to help them. As it says, in Romans 12:11-13 "Never be lazy but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble and keep on praying. When God's people are in need be ready to help them." This ministry has definitely been a huge blessing to my life and family. Being able to help those in need is incredible! It's not me alone, it's every single person who has volunteered their time, talent and money to this ministry. And it's by His Grace that this ministry has become what it is today.

I want to encourage everyone to seek out the Lord's will for your life. It is an amazing joy and blessing to serve our Awesome God! You may think "I can't" but with the Lord "You Can". My hope is that this ministry will give someone the encouragment to begin another ministry. Just think how awesome this world would be if everyone took their difficult circumstances and storms in their life and turned them into a ministry. We would be reaching people all over the world!

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" Philippians 4:13

My Family Making Our Public Decision to Go Into Ministry

St. Vincent's Here We Come!!!

Last Sunday we had our 1st bag stuffing for St. Vincent's hospital! We also made bags for Baptist East and Baptist South along with our NICU nurses day goodies. We made a total of 100 bags! It was so exciting to know that we were sending these bags to another city! Nicole Collier and Alison Baggett who are heading up Footprints in Birmingham drove down to help us. It is truly amazing to see the growth that the Lord has done in this ministry! We are looking forward to expanding to even more cities! The Lord has great plans for the Footprints Ministry! Thank you to the following volunteers who came Sunday:

Alison Baggett
Courtney Branch
Jessi Carr
Betty Cody
Nicole Collier
Christy Cronier
Alicia Foxworth
Heather Grimes
Tina Hall
Joyce Hill
Jacki Hornsby
Kim Keefe
Peggy Kelly
Sherry Melton
Lindsey Norred
Karen Redden
Stephanie Roarke
Ashley Rogers
Tracy Welch
Leigh Willis
Kitti Wilson
Jennie Young

"Sing about the glory of his name! Tell the world how glorious he is." Psalm 66:2

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This past weekend Ron and Ashley Laye had a birthday party for their children Anniston, Owen and Griffin. In lieu of gifts they had their party guests make donations to the Footprints Ministry. They raised $420 for the Footprints Ministry! This was such a selfless act. I wasn't surprised when Ashley approached me about this because their family is such an amazing supporter of this ministry. Below is the Laye Family NICU journey written by Ashley. Thank you so much to Ron, Ashley, Anniston, Owen and Griffin for sharing your birthday with Footprints!

What has the NICU meant to me and my family? Well, where do I begin? We have had a long journey with the NICU starting with my son Coleman. He was born in December 03 and had a normal pregnancy and birth. 4 days after his birth (the day after Christmas) we found him not breathing and lifeless. I started CPR and revived him fairly quick. Although he was breathing again, he lost enough oxygen to his brain to cause severe brain damage. The NICU was our home for 7 long weeks. I was desperate for answers and felt like I had nowhere to turn. The nurses, doctors and staff cared for not only my son, but they were so supportive to my whole family. My son passed away 7 months later and most of the extraordinary nurses that cared for him were there at his passing into Heaven. I later had a beautiful healthy daughter named Anniston. And just when I thought my NICU experience was past me, God had other plans. 2 years after the birth of my daughter I gave birth to beautiful twin boys (Griffin and Owen). They were born a little too early and Griffin had to stay in the NICU for 1 week and Owen had to stay for 2 weeks. Again, I was devastated to leave them in this place, but I knew I had the best nurses and doctors caring for them. The twins just celebrated their first birthday and are doing great. I am forever in debt to the NICU and feel I was put on this earth to give back for the gifts they have given me. Although my son is not physically here with me, he guides me to be a person of service and to give all my glory to God. I know God made me from day one to care for Coleman and my other children. I know how hard it is for these parents to have babies in the NICU, so I know how much of a blessing Footprints Ministry is to these families.

"It is more blessed to give than to receive."
Acts 20:35

NICU Nurses Day Part 2

Below are some pictures from NICU nurses day. We delivered candy bars with footprint lapel pins attached to them. The nurses were so grateful for their goodies! A big thank you to Christy Cronier and her dad, Ed Cluck for making these cute lapel pins! We are so thankful for our NICU nurses! Hope each of you had a wonderful day!

Alison Baggett and Nicole Collier with St. Vincent's nurses

Baptist South Nurses

Robyn Bernier, Dana Gallahair(FP bag lady) and Kim Wilson

Baptist East Nurses

Monday, September 15, 2008

NICU Nurses Day!

Today is NICU Nurses Day! There are not enough words to express how much we appreciate every nurse that works in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units. These nurses become 2nd mothers to our babies. They feed, bathe, and comfort these babies when their mothers can't be there. They save these babies' lives! They are truly angels! Below is a letter that David Colgan wrote to the staff of the NICU at Baptist South. I thought this was amazing and powerful way to express what all of these nurses mean to every single baby they care for. Also below is a bible verse that is a perfect expression of our gratitude for these nurses.

"Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God." Philippians 1:3

Dear Nurses, Technicians, Occupational and Respiratory Therapists, Doctors and Staff,

Sometimes words fail us. How can someone put on paper a feeling best expressed with tears of joy? Or capture in words the welling of gratitude that comes from so deep and is so overwhelming? Words can also fail us by getting tired and meaningless from over-use. Someone can say, “I am forever in your debt’” or “you saved my life” when they get a nice present or were helped out of a jam. There are not many occasions when a person can say “you changed my life’” and really mean it. But this is one of those times. What you all have done for Caroline and for us is so tangible, direct and evident that I can write you a series of bullet points like I would a business memo. These are not sentiments, they are facts:

· Caroline would not be alive if it were not for you
· Our family would be grief stricken if it were not for you
· We would not be a complete family if it were not for you
· We have a bright future because of you

The work you do is more of a calling or a vocation than a job. Like a priest or a minister, you care for people you do not even know and give them the love you would your own family. You have a gentle power that changes the lives of babies and families. Certainly there are days that it is a drag to come to work; we all have those days. But I can imagine that when you look at that wall of photographs with the faces of children you have saved it all makes sense and is worth it. Please know that my family and so many others are complete because of you. All the graduations, all the scraped knees, the boyfriends, the laughs and cries and all the future generations start with you- they would not even be possible without you.

There is no satisfying way to thank you. No words are powerful enough; no gesture is rich enough. You are remarkable people doing the most important work that I know. We are privileged to have been a part of your world for seven weeks, to see what you do and how well you do it and all with such love. We will not miss our Caroline being sick but we will miss you all.
On behalf of Tyler and Caroline and Elizabeth, I am sincerely and forever yours,

David Colgan

Monday, September 8, 2008

What Kind of Foundation Do You Have?

With all these hurricanes I thought these verses were appropriate. What kind of foundation is your home built upon? How do you react when storms and floodwaters rise?

“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”Luke 6:46-49

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"Too Wonderful For Words!" Our Guest Speaker and Lagoon Golf Course

This is my last entry about the golf tournament but the most important. I wanted to thank John Sadie and his crew at Lagoon Park golf course. They did an absolutely incredible job helping us organize our 1st golf tournament. They also made things run so smoothly! Thank you so much to all of the staff and John Sadie at Lagoon Park!

I also want to think David Colgan for coming to speak at the tournament. He and his wife, Tyler traveled from Atlanta to come and speak. What an amazing message he had! The one thing, that really touched me was he said when you are in the NICU with your baby, everything is stripped away. Nothing else matters, but that special gift the Lord blessed you with. How true, this is! And what a special time the Footprints Ministry has to share the Love of Christ with these families. Thank you so much to David and Tyler Colgan for coming to share such a special message with us! We are so grateful for all of the prayers and support from the Colgan Family!
Thanks again to everyone who played and volunteered at our 1st Footprints in the Fairways golf tournament! We can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for us next year!
"Thank God for this gift, too wonderful for words!"
2 Corinthians 9:15

Sweet Caroline!