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April 28, 2022 6:00 am
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There were days in that year after where it was okay and I will and could easily and now for five years later, we see God in those moments, but in that moment you don't see God you know and so it takes years and still days where it's very hard but it takes years to see that okay got maybe there were little things in her death are now like all the families were able to help and in the moment and for those going through it. It is okay to not be okay. That's Julie Rishel. She and her husband Chris join us today on Focus on the Family your hostess focus president Dr. Jim Daly and on John Fuller, John having a baby is a time of great excitement and joy, but sometimes things don't go as well as we hope and what should be an exciting time turns into a devastating experience that tears of joy turned to tears of grief, but in the midst of all your God is there. He's in that valley with us and he shows up, reminding us of the beautiful miracle of life, no matter how brief it may be reminded of one of my favorite verses in the Scripture Psalm 3418 it says the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit. If you suffer the loss of a pregnancy or an infant or maybe you know someone who has we want to help you find hope and healing in community and in Christ and our guest today have just that story they do and as I introduce them to just remind you that Focus on the Family is here to help if we can be of any service to you with caring Christian counselors and resources would be happy to connect you with whatever might serve you, so give us a call in numbers 800 a family or the link is in the episode notes and as I mentioned Chris and Julie Rishel are with us. They have a ministry called faith 45 to help families through pregnancy and infant loss in the from Holland, Michigan have two young children, Elliott and Sophie Chris and Julie, that's good to have you here thinking how long remarry before you learned you were going to be parents. So it was about four years for you. So four years in and you realize your pregnant. Obviously the test right and about 20 weeks ago and for the ultrasound. What what did you discover will have our normal just 20 ultrasound. It was very exciting in all of that first time feels obviously and then we didn't really know why Peterson was a little better.
My OB was a little bit worried and so she's like to send you to a specialist which says first-time parents are like what we had to go to bed and we found out that she was quite sick on she wasn't moving as much as she should of been like a normal baby and just a lot of abnormalities in 20 weeks you get this diagnosis.
You still have a long way to go. What were those conversations like were you saying to God you went through a lot of range of emotions, every emotion that you could come up with a definition for is essentially what I personally went through from anger to know hope and faith and restoration and literally just yelling at him out loud.
I'm never going into the back. We live right next to playground a big hill and I went to the top of that my just was screaming screaming at him and announced, I wake up neighbors, but I just did not also do so.
It took me a while to get to a point of okay yes I it says she is sick. Science says that she probably won't survive very long, but by God is greater than science. So now we just start praying and pray that we know something is going to happen, Julie. I'm trying to you know we we each have our vantage point in that moment in their Chris is in the night, yelling from the top of the hill and it. I'm sure you're seeing him struggle. How is that translating into your own struggle seeing your husband. It was crazy like it's just some emotions that you never expect says first-time parents and you never expect that and we definitely learned throughout the next 20 weeks in early years. After that I like.
We grieve very differently and as men and women as husband and wife.
We just we grieve very differently so was hard for me but I think I'm more focused on me and what I needed.
In that moment and I don't know how to discredit, but we just cannot grief separately and then kind grieve together so I feel like you really more to care me and I took care of you, I think, really, with the doctors after the 20 week checkup were telling you was basically your baby most likely would not survive outside the womb. Yet, they were shocked she had made it 20 weeks so diagnosis trisomy 13 letter ask you for the person you know that may wobble on this. They have a faith in Christ. I don't want to judge that at all. But here they have a medical diagnosis and you know there been told the baby is not going to survive may not survive. Even in utero in the womb. How do you talk to friends. It might be experiencing that that are considering terminating that baby because of the weeks of carrying a child, I don't know what that would be like Julie to carry. It was tough. It is definitely a very hard 20 weeks to keep that faith and yet I think you know once you get to that point of depending on where you are deciding to abortion or not. If you do go the route of abortion, you're essentially taking God out of everything exactly saying okay you couldn't do anything. So know me who you created is going to take matters into my own hands and that that's not the answer for me because why would I want to book out of the bench on him as starter. I so appreciate that a new you're young couple and I I'm just so encourage that you have that conclusion as you move through the pregnancy you come to the birth moment.
I mean, I can't imagine Julie and Chris what emotions had to be going through.
Knowing this is oddly the experiences happy, but the outcome is not going to be happy. How did you process that what was that moment like it was I was at work and my water broke and it was like okay here we go, and it was early, but it was she had made it to 37 weeks, which they never thought was possible. So what happened yet, but 37 weeks. That was just so many different emotions of excitement and just terrifying.
Just everything in between cell yeah I was currently I was in a meeting with a bunch of other youth pastors because I was a youth pastor at the time and I was like super wet and you know again that all it always comes back to faith that whole time I was just I did not think in my heart of hearts that she wasn't going to live there was never a moment where I was right threw in the towel. Up until they gave the time of death.
I was fully anticipating her being fine.
So she's born describe that you know physically what was that experience how long did she live and what were you feeling in that moment when you see your baby in it was cannot hurry up and wait moment. A lot of first-time parents. It was 26 hours of labor so as a whole time not knowing whether she is the life you know that was there was just a district literally could rest at any moment while we were in the hospital so and we later found out that she actually was born without a heartbeat but what was seconds milliseconds later.
She gasped for breath and she was alive for 45 minute 45 had 45 minutes with her and that hospital room and could see that motion made made little cooling sounds ask you open your eyes, which was indescribable. And then that comes back to know God did what we had prayed for originally, it shifted at some point from God have her live and live a long life at some point while she was still the limit switch to more but your will be done.
Sort of scenario for me was I just let us meet her now that she's born that we can spend some time with them and that I so appreciate your mom is hard having I thought that would be there.
These are tough things to go through and yet you and I think the perspective that you have is so right on. This is all in God's hands. You can control it. But you have to have faith in it.
I'm sure he was pleased with that faithfulness that you had the desire to please him. Julie just got I'm sorry, back to. I can imagine your little child in heaven with the Lord you ever think of those thoughts every day, every day we lost another little one in 2019 and it's like the only thing that got me through with knowing that those two little girls are together and having fully healed, fully healthy cell when it when I again I so appreciate what I'm hearing from you is your it seems like your faith in God is not wavered.
A lot of people would struggle with this. There were moments there still are never going to go away. Hasn't it seems like it hasn't taken your faith in God away and was almost like you had to be a decision of like I am so angry that you could go either way of completely going away from your faith, or for us being the only thing that got us real estate right. We were standing on a razors edge point we were to fall one where the other boy and for the that's where one to take this in terms of those couples fall in the other direction where their anger and their bitterness is so understandably deep, you know, when you lose a child like this, I mean all the why questions that you have white couldn't have gone a different way. Why should have gone a Different Way, Lord were faithful to you. We believe in you. We live our lives for you. How come you would do this I mean those are big questions no matter what your moment is loss of a child loss of a marriage.
You know, fill in the blank and this is a really important teaching moment about staying faithful to God even in their crisis even if you have the valleys and have to have that shouting match with them. Sure and I think I want to hear if you can speak to those other people that fall in the other direction on that and I said yeah it you talk about the people on the razors edge falling one where the other beautiful thing about our God is.
If you fall the wrong way. He's there to catch you and then help carry you back up. It's not to be to catch you and throw you over to the other side right away or let you fall. He's going to be there to catch you hold onto and the journey with you back until it's not a your you never gonna get to a point where you're like okay I think I'm good now. Like everything's gonna be fine from here on out. I'm essentially over.
Whatever the losses whether that's a marriage or you know a spouse or child. It's good to be a lifetime journey right in is always good to be there with you to help you back to where we need to be. I think it's hard to because we say this for five years later, but there were days in that year after where it was okay and I wasn't okay and could easily gone the other way and now for five years later, we see God in those moments, but in that moment you don't think I'd write you know.
And so it takes years and still days where it's very hard but it takes years to see that. Okay God maybe there were little things in her death that are now okay like look at all the families were able to help, but in the moment and for those families going through it and it is okay to not be okay if you're in a journey of darkness you're not sure where God is in all of this. If you're feeling very alone give us a call to reach out to us. Let us know how Focus on the Family can help. We have caring Christian counselors and we can set up a time of consultation for you, are numbers 800 K in the word family or stop by the episode notes the link is right there in the show notes so you spent that 45 minutes with her that bonding. I can imagine having your bonding about her that moment that she passes away. What did the two of you do right at that moment hug each other. I think new come in until about an hour after she was born and then told us she is gone we can anew at the 45 minute mark that every around 40 minutes. It was like okay you know she's gone now, so I think it was just you and me and her laying on the hospital bed in silence entered into a weird feeling of peace. Actually kind of in that moment it wasn't. There was no anger wherever it was just like this is our family know right. However, different to look is our family now and hard to be angry when there's just a girl yeah there was a book that really helped you in the grieving process.
What was that book and how to help you. It's called I will carry you by Angie Smith and it was just incredible. In a similar story last found out that their baby was very sick at 20 weeks, it was just such a similar story and she's just an amazing writer and how it's just you feel like you're right there with her and song that was written for their daughter called I will carry you by St. left amazing song I sang at Faith's funeral and just an incredible book. I think that like subtitle of the book is the sacred dance of joy and grief and it's like just that in and of itself of like it's okay to be joyful. She was born she right lived. It was a miracle God gave us our miracle in time with her and be able to meet her man was there a lot of grief to sell in. Then I want to move to the next time you're pregnant. I know people just what what I mean you have to face the spheres against what happened in that situation. It was day today struggle a day every day choice every morning.
I remember waking up and saying we have to. She was jointly have to choose to trust God every day and I think the hardest thing I can speak for both of us was that 20 week ultrasound so I can make is that's where we found out she was sick and we went back to that same specialist and it was like literally holding our breath the whole time and what happened and he was perfectly healthy and even hearing it still every day until he was born in. You know, even after that it's just you just have to trust God that we will be okay if whatever happens itself. So talk about faith 45 that was and how did that decision happen and then while the long tires after that doesn't sound very long. Actually yeah yeah but you I mean, obviously the motivation was there, but what does faith 45 do you engage in one thing did you yes so we reach out and help families dealing with miscarriage stillbirth and loss so any one of those three horrible horrible things we provide support and encouragement for those families, kids, mothers, dads, and the main way that we do that is sending faith boxes either order one yourself or a friend can order one for you. It's full of different things as far as resources, books that I will carry you book is in their some journals, some candles, different things in there to help them with our grief will let you know people can connect to faith. 45.
In that way, let me finish the story though we only have a few minutes and I want to make sure people here what's happened.
So you had Elliott and that went well and then you're pregnant again same emotions or was it different options. I would say it really worried but hopeful.
And what happened with that pregnancy 10 weeks. No heartbeat was our last or have been with well and then again you did, that's great. I'm so encouraged that it didn't derail your desire to be parents of me. That's another outcome of this work, I think, particularly young couples give up because especially with faith in Christ are saying okay what maybe were not meant to have children once by a dog tired of that kids are a blessing from the Lord and I'm so grateful that you kept trying. So one thing I was on about with your third child. How did the process go. Was it different process from faith even though you lost a child as well.
It was different because it was earlier, but it was a lot of the same emotions and in yeah it was. We went to the normal doctors appointment pregnant. We left there were more with faith. There was a whole lot of other stuff that we had to be done. Funeral arrangements and you know caring for 37 weeks. That's huge and there's like baby stuff in the house with Esther.
It was just just like anything. She was there. Then she wasn't someways with Esther. What you had to go through his faith that made the more understandable emotionally. I think that would help me knowing that with faith. Yes, Jesus was there receiving her shoulder around there something different about being able to shoulder by Rick sister that I thought was that was very cool yet. Seriously, I'm just like, I don't know how will Germany go to heaven and whatnot but I got imagine face a little older because that's how it isn't just walking around like a look at this here is really cool. It's just that, but that's how I like this because it doesn't so I think that that used it a little bit process was a little different now because we didn't have a funeral you know because we didn't get that closure almost no is very sudden just like I am not pregnant anymore and it's early that so we had told a lot of people. It was just as different that the grief was still the same. Yeah, that's good to hear the number four before trial is also story this rate, she is healthy. The whole pregnancy was that dream pregnancy really was God blessed us with that and she just made her very sudden entrance into the world emergency C-section self oriented and of his earlier note 2 days early, but she just wanted to be here, but once she was born she had a blood transition right away and was completely healthy.
So okay that she's doing well. She's doing great so you really are on earth, you know, as we close here speak to the mom and dad who maybe just received in the last few days the similar diagnosis and their baby most likely won't live outside the womb or however that is unfolding for them there, feeling frightened and angry like you on the top of that hill Chris when you shouting out to God, they're not sure what to do.
Obviously one thing they can do is come to your website. Faith 45 and again will link to that. What would you say to encourage them in this moment. It almost sounds like a drop of water onto a hot frying pan, what would that drop of water from you. Be I would say this isn't surprising God felt like she didn't know this was going to happen. Let your emotions be what they're going to be the honest, be honest with yourself. Be honest with your spouse what you need from them. If you need to take couple minutes just to sit in a room by yourself do it.
That's okay. Don't listen to anybody else. There is this ton of people who were to voice their opinion just to listen to him just pray pray to have that experience alone will came up to you to tell you what they thought theologically about your baby having just another angel they have enough ANB that's not how it happens, we don't become angels, so is like don't don't tell me things like that.
That's why we do faith boxes so we can show support and encouragement because a lot of times you don't know what to say. Especially if you have gone through it. So that's why this was a big push for us to do that. I think part of that faith boxes to his intake answer question what my two things would be.
It's okay to not be okay like it is every emotion or feeling is okay.can handle it and then for those supporting people getting those is that it's okay to not say anything like so much of it is just sit there with them, I don't feel like you have to say the right thing is it's probably not be the right thing and it's the most supportive thing is just be there for them and if you don't know what to say.
That's where our faith boxes came in. I like your something tangible that you can do for a family and out of atoms in a quick plug. Our mentorship program to we decided to start a mentoring program. It's all done electronically of someone that just can send a text who has all of our mentors have gone through loss so they get it and it's just sending a mama text of like encouragement, a Bible verse. I'm here for you. Someone just to listen who gets it because so many people in your life might not get it or they may think they get it or try to get it and they just don't sounds like with the body of Christ should be right no matter what the problem so great to hear. I'm so encouraged your young couple.
I love it I love your vibrancy in Christ and your faithfulness in him gives me hope for the future. You see a lot of things on the landscaping. I mean I just really encouraged by you.
So thanks thank you so much. What a powerful conversation with Chris in Julie Rishel today on Focus on the Family the story of their little daughter. Faith is so touching, that is. And while it's difficult. I love how God redeemed that story and has given them a beautiful way to minister to other moms and dads walking through the grief and devastation of miscarriage and infant loss if you've experienced that loss.
I hope you'll get in touch with us.
We have numerous resources to help you including the book Julie and Chris mentioned it's called I will carry you by Angie Smith. You know the crucial moment in Chris and Julie story was that 20 week ultrasound. That's when they learned little faith was not healthy and when they receive the reassurance that their subsequent children. Elliott and Sophie were doing well you ultrasound is such an amazing technology that makes such a difference in someone's heart when it comes to abortion.
So often when the mom gets a glimpse of her baby for the first time on that screen. Dads too, for that matter. It is a special moment to sit his and over 54% of women who have counseling and that ultrasound choose life and that's one reason we celebrate and honor life with our annual sea life events. In fact, in May will start a 12 week digital journey that will culminate with a live simulcast event on June 14 at the Focus on the Family campus. And that's also why we established our option ultrasound program through that program mothers considering abortion to meet the baby growing inside of them in here that precious heartbeat. Your financial support equips pregnancy medical centers with equipment and training to provide free ultrasounds to mothers considering abortion since the beginning of the option PROGRAM IN 2004, THE NUMBER OF BABIES SAVED IS ESTIMATED TO BE MORE THAN 480,000 BUT SO MANY MORE LIVES ARE ON THE LINE EVERY $60 YOU GIVE WILL HELP SAVE A BABY FROM ABORTION THROUGH OUR OPTION ULTRASOUND PROGRAM AND WHEN YOU DONATE A GIFT OF ANY AMOUNT WILL SEND YOU A COPY OF THAT BOOK BY ANGIE SMITH. I WILL CARRY YOU AS OUR WAY OF SAYING THANK YOU FOR SEIZING THIS PRO-LIFE MOMENT AND SAVING BABIES LEARN MORE ABOUT SEA LIFE 2022. COMING UP IN JUNE ARE A LIVE SIMULCAST IN DONATE TO OPTION ULTRASOUND PICTURE COPY OF THAT BOOK BY ANGIE SMITH. ALL THE DETAILS ON THE WEBSITE LINK IS IN THE SHOW NOTES AND THEN YOU CAN CALL US AS WELL.
800 K COMING UP TOMORROW. JERRY FULLER GIVES SOME TIPS ON CONNECTING WITH YOUR GRANDCHILDREN. CONNECT WITH THEM SOMETHING TO DO SO MUCH THAT YOU LIKE TO BE GOING TO BE TAKING THEM TO THEIR VERY FAVORITE RESTAURANT. I MEAN YOU CAN REACH THEIR HEARTS TO THEIR STOMACH.
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