Sunday, December 28, 2008

ANNA'S PRECIOUS LOVE

ANNA AND SAMUEL
Have you ever seen such precious little sweetie pies? When I look at pictures of my precious children, I am in awe of God's goodness to Greg and me. Just 2 months after Greg and I started dating he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease, a cancer of the Lymphatic system. So when we were first married there was a time that Greg and I weren't sure if we would be able to have children. We have been blessed 5 times over. We continually thank God for each of those blessings. And honestly as our kids get older, and we see how quickly time goes by, we love and treasure them more and more. And we love and treasure each pregnancy more and more. I think with each pregnancy we have been more excited just knowing the blessing that each child is, how uniquely God creates each one. Oh how we miss our 5th little blessing Samuel.

SONS ARE A HERITAGE FROM THE LORD,

CHILDREN A REWARD FROM HIM.

LIKE ARROWS IN THE HANDS OF A WARRIOR

ARE SONS BORN IN ONE'S YOUTH.

BLESSED IS THE MAN

WHOSE QUIVER IS FULL OF THEM.

PSALM 127:3-4

I will never forget how precious Anna was with Samuel, she couldn't get enough of him. I wondered if the kids would be afraid to hold him or be with him knowing that he had already passed away. Of course there were many tears, but they all were totally at ease with holding him and wanted to be with him. Anna just kept kissing him on his sweet little rosebud lips. I think I might have said this before but her little mommy heart was evident. I finally had to tell her it was the last time that she could hold him because I wanted to hold him. She has such a tender heart and many times just comes up to rub my back and cry with me. She always says, "Its OK mommy, we all miss baby Samuel."

The last week has been a hard one, a week of not too many ups and downs like the last 2 months have been. It has certainly been just more down. I am not sure what the reason is... could it be the holidays? I think it is a combination of everything.

When I was taking a bath the other day I was thinking of a song that Andrew Peterson sings called Hosanna. (He is by far my favorite christian singer) His new CD is called Resurrection Letters and speaks over and over again of God's restoring power. How appropriate for me right now. It just speaks to my soul and the hurt within me. Anyways, in the song Hosanna there is a line that talks about God beating death at deaths own game. WOW, God has done that, he is victorious over death. My son is dead and not with me in a physical way, but yet his soul is alive with Christ. Satan wants to bring us all misery. Death is a result of the fall and sin in the world. The fall being caused by Satan tempting Eve in the garden. Thus death is really a result of the devils wicked schemes. God has beaten death and the devil at his own game. It actually gave me a hopeful moment in the tub. I am claiming that God is going to work that same victorious healing in my life and heart.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS


I LOVE THIS PRECIOUS PICTURE OF MY 5 CHILDREN

Today we met with Kaycee, our Now I lay Me Down to Sleep photographer, and her husband. She delivered the rest of our pictures to us of the day we spent with Samuel. We went home, all climbed up on the couch, and snuggled under our "Samuel" blanket that our Sem. family made for us and watched the DVD slide show she made for us. Needless to say, Greg had to get a box of Kleenex while we watched a 2nd time. I just kept saying I want another chance to be his mommy. I want another chance to hold him. I want another chance to feel him kick, I just want another chance. I know I was his mommy for the 9 months I carried him, but right now it just feels like that could never be enough. I am thankful that he is safe with our Lord in heaven today, but the grief is still so fresh and real. Her pictures were just beautiful. I know I am biased but God just made him so precious, all his perfect parts. I thought I would share a couple of the pictures and I will share more in the future.
I am praying that you have a blessed Christmas. I am continually thinking of my son in Heaven with his Savior, Redeemer, and Restorer. I am praying we feel his redeeming restoration this next year in a very real way. I was talking with a dear friend last night who said that she is praying for intense healing and renewed promises for 2009. Amen to that!
Today I wanted to share with you a verse from God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. My dear seminary Mother's Bible Study leader, Myra, sent it to me today.
God rest you, all good Christians, upon this blessed morn.
The Lord of all good Christians was of a woman born;
Now all your sorrows He doth heal, your sins He takes away;
For Jesus Christ, our Savior, was born on Christmas Day.

Monday, December 22, 2008

NO WORDS

THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US IN OUR DISTRESS.
FOR WE DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD PRAY FOR,
NOR HOW WE SHOULD PRAY.
BUT THE HOLY SPIRIT PRAYS FOR US WITH GROANINGS THAT CANNOT BE EXPRESSED IN WORDS.
AND THE FATHER WHO KNOWS ALL HEARTS KNOWS WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING, FOR THE SPIRIT PLEADS FOR US BELIEVERS
IN HARMONY WITH GOD'S OWN WILL.
ROMANS 8:26-27
It has been a very difficult last couple of days. I should warn you now that this isn't a pick me up kind of post tonight. If you are hoping for that you might as well just skip this one. Saturday I actually felt like I had a good day, then Sunday may have been my worst day yet. I have always considered myself to have a very strong faith, but Greg has been a rock, my rock. I may have said this before but I keep telling him that this is the worse of the for better or worse that he agreed to the day we were married. I am sure there are moments he just wants his wife back. I am sure there are times that the kids just want their mother back. I truly have never felt more love from my husband than I do now. I know he truly will do anything for me to make sure that we are really dealing with the loss of Samuel... no matter what that takes. He has been so supportive, he has sat with me for hours when the grief takes over.
I love the verse above that talks about the Holy Spirit interceding for us when we can not pray. He prays for us with groanings that can not be expressed in words. Wow, that is how I have felt the last couple of days. There have been very few words that I could say to God. It was the same way when I was in labor with Samuel. I couldn't utter anything myself. I continually asked Greg to pray and I had a great nurse named Marilyn who prayed for me throughout that morning. I know God sent her to me knowing exactly what I would need from her. Being from the north, things are definitely different here in the Bible belt. When Marilyn first introduced herself to me just hours before I delivered Samuel, I completely lost it. I was uncontrollably sobbing, and unfortunately Greg had just left the room. This poor woman who just wanted to introduce herself was met by me completely out of control. She immediately put her hands on me and was praying out loud for the Holy Spirit to comfort me. She continued to pray until I was calming down. The Lord was so gracious to bring her to me.
I have felt some of the same despair and loss of hope over the last two days. There have just been too many constant reminders in my face of what I have lost. Yesterday Greg was wise to tell me not to stay for the church service after I taught Sunday School. He knew that the references to Mary being the mother of Christ, giving birth to him, nursing him, caring for him, and then giving up her son to die would be too much for me. I had already been crying all morning. Not that I am at all comparing myself to Mary the mother of Christ. But the references to all that a new mother does and experiences with her baby would definitely have been too much.
It is a hard time of year. I have always heard that the holidays are hard for those that have lost loved ones... I never imagined how hard it could be. Anyone who knows me knows I am a very optimistic, positive person. I could never in my wildest dreams imagined myself to be feeling the way I have felt. I know that the Lord has made me a much more sensitive person through this experience.
I myself in the past have wondered what to say to people when they are grieving. I now realize that it isn't only about what you can say. It is also about just being there. I remember recently reading in Job where Job's friends finally come to him. They cover themselves with ashes and just sit with him for 7 days not saying a word because they know that his grief and despair are so deep. I am so very thankful for family and dear friends who came to us to just be with us. I will say that I love when people ask about Samuel or about how we are dealing or coping with our loss. It shows me they care. I love talking about him. I know they feel bad when I cry, but it doesn't hurt anymore to actually release the tears that are inside. I think crying helps me to heal. It hurts so much more when people ignore the obvious. It actually adds to my pain. It makes me sad to think that if it is hard for people to bring Samuel up now, why would anyone bring him up 6 months from now, when I am still grieving and still want to talk about it. I know it makes people uncomfortable but if there is one thing I would tell people, it would be to talk to the grieving person about the loved one who died. It shows that you also valued the life of that person. That has meant so much to me.
Please continue to pray for our family as we try to find our way and continue to rely on the Lord for guidance, peace and comfort as we persevere through each day.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS

...IS MY 2 FRONT TEETH

LITTLE BUDDIES ANNA AND JOJO

We are so thankful to God for these 2 little goofballs who keep us busy and entertained.



Saturday, December 20, 2008

OUR SWEET BOY


BE CAREFUL, WATCH OUT FOR ATTACKS FROM THE DEVIL, YOUR GREAT ENEMY. HE PROWLS AROUND LIKE A ROARING LION, LOOKING FOR SOME VICTIM TO DEVOUR. TAKE A FIRM STAND AGAINST HIM, AND BE STRONG IN YOUR FAITH. 1 PETER 5:8
We have special friends at the seminary who lost their 9 year old son almost 1 year ago. Shortly after Samuel's death this dear woman emailed me, I will never forget many of the things that she shared with me. What a wise, real, honest, compassionate woman. One thing especially struck me at that time. She told me that someone had mentioned to her that there may be days that she literally had to say out loud, "Get behind me Satan!" When I first read it I just could see how someone might have to say that, but I just couldn't imagine that being me. At that time just days after Samuel's death I really wasn't questioning God. I did wonder why it happened but I think I was pretty accepting of it happening. I knew in my heart that as a Christian I am not guaranteed a life free from trial or pain. Now looking back I think I was still in shock over what had happened and the reality of our loss hadn't fully settled in.
As the days have passed the emotions change constantly and the questions have certainly come more often. I have been meaning to post about our Thanksgiving for quite some time. We had such a nice visit with family. We had not expected to see anyone for the holiday because we were anticipating just being at home enjoying our new little one. After Samuel was gone I knew there was no way I could stay here when the holiday was going to be so different than I had expected.
My parents live on a big plot of land with my 2 brother's families. My little brother and his family were also able to come down. The night before Thanksgiving we had a family Thanksgiving service at my brother Mark's house. So there were about 22 of us there with all of the kids. We sang some songs and then everyone got to share what they were thankful for this year. It was so sweet to hear of all of the blessings in everyone's lives, so precious to hear the kids giving thanks to God for various things. I was thankful for so much but just couldn't bring myself to share anything.
Then the tears came for me. Then the tears came for my little Anna who was sitting on my lap. Then the family came and surrounded our family, laid hands on all of us and prayed for us. Oh to feel the love from the body of Christ as they approached the throne of God on our behalf was such a blessing. (That has been one very difficult thing for me especially is grieving in a new place far from family.) It was an incredible time of healing for me.
My little brother later said that he had specifically asked the Lord for His words to be spoken. When he prayed he specifically was praying that the devil would not get a foothold in this situation and that he would have no power over our family. He was demanding that the devil be far from our family. I have to admit it, it needed to be said and I needed to hear it. Right away my friends words came rushing back to me... I needed to say, "Get behind me satan." At that time I just hadn't been feeling comfort from the Lord. I was feeling especially low and sometimes tormented in my grief. All I could really muster up to Him was "Help me Lord" Wow, I have never felt under attack as I have since losing Samuel. A constant struggle for me in the really rotten moments is wondering if this is just the way real grief is, this bad, or is the devil playing with me. I feel weak and powerless. I am weak and powerless. And we know that the word of God says that the devil is prowling around looking for someone to devour. He is just waiting especially for one of God's children to lose faith and be a ready target. Well, it isn't going to be me or my family I can say that much. I love that God's word also tells me that when I am weak, He is strong. When we are weak that is when God's power can rest on us. Oh I am thankful for that.
So I am taking my friends words to heart. She was so wise and right on knowing that there would come a time in my grief when I would need to tell the devil to be far from me and my family. When I am feeling especially sad I ask God... If this is a time that I should be sad then that is what I will be, but if the feelings of grief are not of him at that moment that He would take them away. I am trusting that He will be faithful to answer me. It brings me comfort to know that our God is so much more powerful than any force of evil the devil can bring our way.

Monday, December 15, 2008

OUR FIRST EBENEZER

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen.
He named it Ebenezer, saying,
"Thus far the Lord has helped us."
1 Samuel 7:12
For over a year I have had this idea brewing. Well, my idea is finally coming to fruition. Last Thanksgiving Anna was part of a worship dance at my brothers church. She and 7 of her girl cousins were a part of it. It was to the song "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing." There is a verse in the song that goes as follows...

Here I raise my Ebenezer

Here by Thy great Help I've Come.

And I hope by some good pleasure

Safely to arrive at home.

So my idea has been to raise our own family Ebenezers. Just like Samuel did at Mizpah and Shem. He raised the Ebenezer, or rock, and said, "Thus far the Lord has helped us. " I wanted us to have a tangible, visible reminder of how the Lord has helped us. Little did I know how desperate we would be for His continual, moment to moment help this year. My thought was for us to incorporate it into our family devotion time at dinner or breakfast. I wanted to pick out different times in our life as a family that God has shown himself in outstanding ways.

So that brings me to last July. I had never mentioned the idea to Greg until then. We were up at my parent's cabin where there is an abundance of rocks down by the lake. I asked my dad if we could take some home with us. You can picture the look on Greg's face when I told him I wanted to collect a bunch of rocks and take them from Wisconsin to Missouri and then to Oklahoma. We were in the midst of packing up our whole life and moving... now we were adding a pile of rocks to the rest of our belongings. He was game, in the back of the minivan the rocks went.

The kids knew they were for something, they just didn't know what specifically. So this morning I finally brought in one from our front flowerbed and we talked about what we wanted to paint on it. On each rock we will paint a word to represent God for who He is to us in different seasons of our family's life. So today we painted COMFORTER on our first family Ebenezer. The verse that we are memorizing to go along with this Ebenezer (I love that word) is...

Jeremiah 31:13b

I will turn their mourning into joy, I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.

This rock is to represent this time in our lives, a time of grief over losing our sweet baby Samuel. We are in desperate need of God's comfort. We trust His promises that He will turn our mourning into joy and give us gladness once again. When I realized that the verse in the Bible that is referenced in the song "Come thou Fount of Every Blessing" comes from the book of Samuel and refers to Samuel raising the Ebenezer my heart is touched. I will always remember we started raising our family Ebenezers right after losing our Samuel.

So the plan is to continue on with our rocks during our family devotions. This morning the kids were throwing out all sorts of seasons we have gone through... our time at the seminary when God was our provider, when Greg had his cancer and God was our healer, the birth of our 5 children when God was our life giver. We plan on putting them back out in the flower bed so anyone who comes into this home will know who we put our trust in and who He is to us. The kids were already discussing who gets to keep which rocks when they get older and move from home. Yikes! I told them they can then start making their own family's Ebenezers. I will try to take a picture of different Ebenezers that we paint.

During this time I think it will be a great for me to continually be reminded of all God has done for us. It is so easy for me to settle back into how I am feeling which hasn't always been real great these last 6 weeks. I have felt sad missing my son. I have felt uncomfortable as the tears can come at any time... (ask Greg they even come uncontrollably in the middle of Hobby Lobby). I have felt my empty arms ache to hold my baby again. I have felt physical reminders that I should be caring for a child that is no longer with me. I have felt despair when the reality of my loss sets in. I have felt lonely in the middle of the night when sleep is hard to come by. I have felt despair and hopelessness. And I have also felt thankful for my wonderful, ever supportive husband who continues to love me regardless of the peaks and valleys I go through each day. I have felt blessed to spend each day with my four living children.

God is still God, He is still seated on the His throne and the throne of my life. I will continue to put my faith in Him no matter how I feel. We will continue to raise our Ebenezers and thank our God for HIS HELP THUS FAR.



Thursday, December 11, 2008

BROKEN BONES AND MENDING HEARTS

We have now experienced our first broken bone in the Hintz house. Louis broke his wrist playing soccer on the driveway. Dad says in the future we should try to do those things in the grass.
Louis is such a tender hearted kid. He has really been such a huge help to me this past month. There have been mornings he has fed the little ones when I have found it hard to just get out of bed. He wrote me a note today saying that he is praying for me. I am blessed by God to have a son who has the kind of heart he does and is old enough to understand somewhat what his mother is going through. All in all the kids are doing well with the loss of Samuel. We have had more tears as of late, more questions about why Samuel had to die and I am not sure why. I think maybe the shock of his death has worn off and the reality has set in for all of us. Tonight JOJO prayed that God would give us another baby and that it wouldn't die. He has been praying for that same thing all week. So sweet to pray for another brother or sister. At the same time it just breaks my heart that my 3 year old is praying that another sibling wouldn't die. That is one thing that just tore at my heart initially was the loss this would be for my children. Today at the orthopedic Doctor, Louis told me that when the nurse asked him how many siblings he had, he answered 3 brothers and 1 sister. He said he was too choked up to tell her that one of his brothers had died. What a sweet, sensitive spirit my Louis has.

I know I mentioned about the organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep that has photographers who offer their services to families who have lost babies. One of their great volunteers Kaycee Deen is the one who came to the hospital the day Samuel was born and photographed our family. She and Loy, the gentleman that helped her were amazing, so respectful of our family and what we were going through at the moment. They were sensitive, kind and compassionate. They captured the only moments we had with Samuel as a family of 7. They captured all of his beautiful, precious parts. Their gift to us is priceless.

She just emailed me telling me the rest of the photos were done and she was just putting the slide show together. The further away I get from our short time with Samuel the more I realize how important those photos will be for me and my family. That day we were able to spend about 4 1/2 hours holding and just taking in every detail of Samuel and who he was. It was one of the best days and worst days of my life. The best in the sense of it being spent with him, the worst in the sense of having to say goodbye to him so soon. I inspected every inch of his sweet little body. Oh how I miss having him in my arms and looking back I wish we would have held him longer. The nurses were great and gave us all of the time we needed. I just knew as time was passing the longer I held him the harder it would be to say goodbye... it was just getting to that point. I knew if I had him any longer I wasn't going to be able to give him up. So I know now if I had held him for another 15 minutes or 5 hours it never would have been enough. I wanted a lifetime with him, how can you possibly squeeze that into 4 hours... but we sure tried.

I wanted to pass along info from our photographer to any of you who might be in the greater Tulsa area. She is a part of a group that is donating their photography services to a families that can't afford to pay for them. It is a called Giving is awesome. She will give a free photo session and $2000 worth of products to a worthy recipient, no strings attached. You can find our more information on her blog http://www.kayceedeen.blogspot.com/ She is looking for people to nominate others who might deserve and love to have such a precious gift.

Kaycee also mentioned to me in her email that she had always thought of grief as a steady climb, like a 45 degree angle going up from despair to eventual happiness. But that she now realizes it is the opposite, full of peaks and valleys. I couldn't agree more. Like I mentioned earlier that the reality of our life as it is now has set in. That child that we planned for, longed, for is gone. I am happy for Samuel in the sense that he is in eternity with our Savior. But I grieve for our loss here on earth. How I long to go back to who I was 7 weeks ago. I feel like I am a totally different person. I know that God will use the loss of Samuel to grow me, refine me, and change me. I know God is sovereign and nothing takes him by surprise... so He will use it. When I am in the valley, I don't like the life I am living now, it is despair. Greg keeps reminding me of the peaks... the better moments, the high places. This summer I was reading Hinds Feet on High Places, I only got 1/2 way through. I think its about time I pick up that book and finish it. Then maybe I will have a clearer picture of how God can and will raise me up to the high places.

OK enough rambling for one night. The Hintz crew thanks you for all of your prayers. We would love for you to continue to pray for us if you think of it. It brings us comfort and we know God answers prayers.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

BROTHERLY LOVE

Caleb and his baby brother

Louis and Samuel

I can't begin to tell you how excited these boys were to meet and spend time with their brother. We all just thought we would have a whole lot more time with him than we did. Tonight at bed Caleb was praying and he thanked God for all of the time that he got to spend with Samuel.
I have to admit that being at church has been difficult for me since Samuel died. There are many pregnant women and lots of little babies. But that isn't all of it. It has been hard to sing the words to many songs without losing it. So much of what we sing just doesn't coincide with how I am feeling. Greg keeps informing me that I can't rely on my feelings. God is who His word says He is. I can take Him at His word. That is something I just keep having to remind myself of. Sometimes it does bring me comfort to just listen to others sing the words when I can't sing them myself.
Kleenex has become a staple in my purse these days:) The tears flow so easily and often. The kids and I were in the front row. Eventually Greg came down and sat with me, he could see I was having a rough day. It was so nice to have someone sit with me and hold my hand... besides the kids. To think that the Lord collects all my tears. He must have quite a large container. The kids told me the other day that God must collect at least 2 gallons of tears from me a day.
In church today one of the scriptures was talking about how with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day. Many people try to comfort me by telling me that we will be reunited with Samuel in Heaven one day. That is true and at times it does bring me comfort... but honestly in my own human mind sometimes Heaven just seems so far away. This verse brought me comfort today... maybe the many years that it may be until I get to see Samuel again can be like a day instead of seeming so far off. Then again we never thought Samuel would be taken so early... we never know when it will be our turn to join him:) I have to admit I have never longed for Heaven like I have in the last month. I wish it wasn't my son being there that would make me long in such a way for my eternal home.
We will get our first real taste of what life will be like as a Pastor's family at Christmas. It will just be us here, I think we may try to see if there are any people who don't have family here to come be with us on Christmas Day. I realized Greg will have church at 5:00, 7:00 and 11:00 on Christmas Eve. I guess the 11:00 service lasts almost 2 hours. So I am trying to figure out what I can do to make Christmas Eve special with just the kids and I while Greg is gone. Anyone have any neat ideas for me? We will really miss being with extended family but I am actually excited to start new traditions that will work for our family and Greg's job. I certainly know that I am not the only one who will not have their husband with them on Christmas Eve, there are many people who have lost spouses or whose spouses are over seas fighting for our freedom.
I have felt a little unsure and sad about how Christmas will be just not having our baby here with us. I was so looking forward to celebrating and having a newborn in the house for Christmas. At times I have thought, I don't feel much like celebrating at all. While at the sem, I had the blessed opportunity to learn from a very wise lady named Myra. I will never forget her telling us ladies that she had been talking with someone who was sad about celebrating Christmas because this woman had lost a loved one recently. She was very compassionate, but also said that the Christmas is about celebrating Jesus and that Jesus would be there with her and Jesus is enough. It is ok to miss Samuel and the fun we would have had with him. But I am trying to make that my focus that Jesus is enough. He is enough to sustain me and give me a hope for the future. His birthday is certainly worth celebrating even when we are grieving the loss of our child.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,"declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
I am learning so much about what people go through when they grieve. It is such an up and down journey. I can be feeling fairly decent and then the weirdest things can just bring it all back, fresh, raw, deep, sorrow. It is amazing how so much makes me think of Samuel or relates to him in some way. That may not make sense to someone who hasn't been in the situation of losing a loved one so close to them. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to feel some of the things I have felt. There have been many moments of feeling just hopeless. This verse is one that I cling to then. Even though I may be feeling hopeless, God tells me he has plans for me... plans to prosper and not harm me, to give me a hope and a future. So I will trust HIM.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME SMILE

NOW THIS WARMS MY HEART AND MAKES ME SMILE

CHILLY ROSY CHEEKED RASCAL





I have always wanted a large family. I am one of 5 kids, and I clearly remember on a family vacation when I was in 5th grade telling my parents I wanted 8 kids. We were driving in the car and immediately all of siblings were acting all crazy, demanding my attention, climbing all around me, they kept this up for a few minutes and then asked me, "Now how many kids do you want?" I replied, "Still 8." Then they started up with their antics and the whole scenario replayed itself until I think they gave up realizing I wasn't going to change my mind.
Since I have been married I have never really said that I want any particular number of kids. I just knew I would take whatever the Lord blessed me with, and be so very grateful. I have had numerous situations shopping lately where people have asked me how many children I have. Normally this would be such an easy question to answer. I know that I have 5 kids, they see only 4. I wonder do I actually go there and explain my situation to the checker at Walmart. I am sure I will be faced with this question over and over again. I value Samuel's life, he is just as much one of my children as are the 4 I just put to bed. So I have started to reply to people that actually I have 4 kids here with me and 1 safe in Heaven. It is kind of wild, not what they are expecting to hear, but it is the truth.
So the top picture of Anna and Jo just makes me smile. When we moved from the sem. we took Jo out of the crib thinking that the new baby would need it. We bought Anna bunk beds that she was to share with Jo. Well we could of stuck with just one bed, Anna and Jo love to be close and snuggle in the same bed. So this was how I found them the other night, sound asleep and holding hands. How precious is that?
A lot of people have said since Samuel's passing that I should be thankful for the 4 kids that I have here with me and that I am blessed. They have said it in a very compassionate way, not like it may sound. I know that I am sooooo blessed to have Louis, Caleb, Anna, and Jo with me here. I am so grateful to God for each of them. But just because I have my other kids doesn't make me miss Samuel any less, or doesn't really make the grief lessen any.
As each day passes I realize all the more that this isn't something that I will get OVER. It will be something I will get THROUGH, and only by the grace of God. My grandma Henrietta (isn't that the cutest name?) lost a son when he was around 3 years old. My mom said that she never really talked about him. I guess people didn't talk about those kinds of things back then. My uncle asked her in her last years if she ever thought about him. She said that there wasn't a day that went by that she didn't think of him.
Wow, that just struck me... I think that is how it will be for me. And you know what? I am fine with that. I want to think of my sweet 5th child and always remember the precious 9 months I had him with me. I want to look at his pictures and be in awe of the blessing Samuel was and how perfectly God knit him together. I want to remember him wiggling around inside of me. I want to cherish the times where I had the many little hands of my other children on my tummy feeling their little brother kick. What great memories, memories I will cherish for a lifetime.

Monday, December 1, 2008

BROKENHEARTED


Today I am brokenhearted. I miss my son. Yesterday I actually felt good for a couple of hours as we spent some time together as a family. Then the grief just seems to blind side me. I called Greg a few minutes ago, he took Louis to an early morning Dentist appointment.


He told me he was on the way to the Funeral Home to pick up Samuel's remains and Death Certificate. I just keep asking myself... How can my husband be going to pick up the remains of our son? It's going to be a tough day.
When we were in the hospital and knew Samuel was already with the Lord we were faced with so many decisions that had to be made fairly quickly. I wanted Samuel's Memorial service to be a celebration of the 9 months we had with him and a celebration of the life he has now in Heaven. Since Greg is only a vicar right now and that is a one year deal with the possibility to convert to a full time call next year we don't know for sure how long we will be in Oklahoma. I couldn't stand the thought of possibly leaving here in 8 months and having to leave Samuel here where ever we buried him. That is part of the reason we decided to have his body cremated. We want to be able to have him with us if this isn't where we will be long term. Only God knows that answer to that one at this point in time.
I remember last year when we were home in Feb. we announced we were expecting another baby. The funny thing was so much of our future was uncertain. The way we announced Samuel's upcoming arrival was Greg was drawing a map of the US and was showing locations of where he had already had interviews with churches. This won't make any sense, but he was drawing the map to look like a woman's body. On the map or body, Oklahoma was the belly button. He was saying we may be here we may be there, but one thing we know for certain is that we will be having this in our future and he drew a little baby under the belly button. You have to understand... he was telling aunts, uncles and lots of cousins. Greg is always out for a good laugh and he got one that day. Everyone thought the map stunk but were so excited for the new addition to the family. At that time we seemed certain of the future that God for us in respect to another member, we just never realized that Samuel wasn't meant to stay with us here on earth. Now the future seems so uncertain in so many respects. One thing is certain though, we will continue to trust our Heavenly Father.


The pain is so deep. The pain is raw and intense. I don't want to waste this pain. If I am feeling this way, the Lord has to have a purpose in it. I have to admit through the tears I don't see it at all right now... but I am praying and trusting that with time some of that purpose will be revealed.


I know that these remains are only the remains of Samuel's physical earthly body, and that he is really very much alive with Christ. For that I am so thankful, but I selfishly, humanly grieve the life that was lost here with us, his earthly family. Today I am brokenhearted... I miss my son.



THE LORD IS CLOSE TO THE BROKENHEARTED AND SAVES THOSE WHO ARE CRUSHED IN SPIRIT. PSALM 34:18

Sunday, November 30, 2008

WRAPPED IN LOVE

THE KIDS SNUGGLING UNDER OUR FAMILY BLANKET

WRAPPED IN THE SNUGGLY BLANKETS AND THE LOVE OF FRIENDS

Wow, it is November 30th. How can a month have already passed since we held Samuel and so quickly had to say goodbye to him. Oh, how we miss him.

I said I would post pictures of the wonderful blankets our seminary friends gave to us, and here they are. We have loved snuggling as a family under the big blanket and the kids have been using their blankets every night in bed. It is such a comfort to know that our family and friends have been praying for us. When I am under that blanket it makes me smile knowing that it was made with 4 of our friends families tying and praying for the 6 of us. That is what is carrying us (and of course God's grace) through these tough days.
Speaking of carrying us, I was just talking with a friend last night who was here for Samuel's memorial service. It is just such a blessing for me to be able to talk about Samuel to people. I know many are uncomfortable around me and probably don't want to bring him up in conversation for fear that it will upset me. But I love talking about him, he is my son. Talking about him may or may not make me cry, most likely it will... but what people don't realize is that I already feel like I am crying on the inside... pretty much the majority of the time. He is constantly on my mind. Someone recently told me the more I dwell on it the harder it may be for me.(this was not the same friend:) I just had to respond that I don't feel like I am dwelling on it, it is just right there at the forefront of my mind. I think when you plan for 9 months, carry that sweet baby for 9 months and love every bit of it, you can't help but have it be so fresh on the mind. Caring for Samuel was going to be my new 24/7 job, and I couldn't wait to do it. It is still all so new and is going to take time for me to adjust to our new life without the child we were expecting to share life with now.
OK, back to my conversation with my friend last night. She was telling me what the service was like from her perspective. She was talking about how she was amazed that our family could walk in the church singing "I know that my Redeemer Lives." I told her at the time I really felt like I could sing and praise God amidst the pain I was feeling. But now looking back I don't know how we did it, how we even made it through those first few days after Samuel was gone. She just cupped her hands in front of her and and said that she knew that God was carrying us. It is so true, there is no other explanation for it. This is such a special friend to me and I was just thankful for her encouragement and listening ear and that she was willing to sit and cry with me. I know it isn't easy these days for people to be around me, but I am so thankful for those who are willing to share our memories of Samuel and walk along side me and our family as we persevere through each day.
I will try to post tomorrow about our Thanksgiving with family.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


We are back safe from our trip to Wisconsin. Greg was awesome and drove through the night and let me sleep the whole way. We were blessed with some special times with family over the last week and I will update with that and some pictures over the next couple of days.


Since we have moved so many times lately I have sent out Thanksgiving letters instead of Christmas letters for the past few years. That way people have our new address each year. Actually I think I will keep doing it in the future... it is really nice to have that task completed well before Christmas. I thought I would just post our letter in case some of you didn't receive it this time. I hope you all had a blessed Thanksgiving.


I also couldn't resist posting another picture of our sweet Samuel since the ones from our letter didn't copy onto the blog:)





Dear Family and Friends,
As many of you have probably heard our dear son Samuel Mark Hintz went to live with his Creator before He had a chance to be born here on earth. The day after his due date he just stopped moving. He was born the next morning October 30th and the Dr. said that his death was due to a cord accident. Our whole family was able to spend lots of time holding and snuggling Samuel, and taking pictures with him. This is time we will treasure and remember forever. In a day and age when life in so undervalued and sometimes not even acknowledged, we were in awe of this perfect creation God had knit together in my womb and blessed us with . He was absolutely beautiful. We loved inspecting all of his perfect parts. This baby had been prayed for before he had been conceived. Our whole family was so looking forward to sharing life with Samuel and his 9 months with us were completely enjoyed by all of us. We are so thankful to God this Thanksgiving that He blessed us with Samuel. His life with us was much shorter than we were anticipating but even now we celebrate all that he did with us as a part of our family. His life was fun for all of us, feeling him kick, hiccup and wiggle around. We are so thankful also for all of the love, support and encouragement that people have given us over the last few weeks. It has been much harder than we could have imagined, but we are clinging to the hope we have in Jesus. He is a faithful and loving God and we will continue to trust in Him. We are so thankful for your continued prayers in the months ahead as we know it is going to be difficult.

We still wanted to send out our Thanksgiving letter this year because even amidst the challenges and grieving that we face we are still thankful to God for so much. We are thankful for the great 2 years God blessed us with at the seminary. We are also so thankful for our vicarage congregation here in Oklahoma who has rallied around us and shown us such love over the last few weeks. God has taught us so much already through this and we are treasuring all of you even more than before. We thank God for you this Thanksgiving. We pray that this Christmas you will have a renewed appreciation for the gift that Jesus is to us. Having lost a son, we look at God willingly giving up his son for us in a different light. He died so that WE could live eternally. Wow, now with a son in Heaven with his Creator we long for that day when we can join him.
With love in Christ,
Greg, Sara, Louis, Caleb, Anna and Elijah Hintz

Thursday, November 20, 2008

ROSEBUD LIPS AND LOVE ALL AROUND

JOJO LOVING ON SAMUEL

ANNA... SO IN LOVE WITH HER BABY BROTHER



We were just amazed by Samuel's rosebud lips... they were so rosy red and beautiful. We couldn't help kissing them. The kids took all sorts of pictures while we spent time with Samuel. Any one who knows me knows I love pictures and am rarely in one because I am the one taking them. But the kids were busy that day, and they caught some very precious moments with our 4th son.
Another thing I noticed was how God created little girls with that "mommy heart". It was so evident in the time that Anna spent with Samuel. She was constantly wanting to hold him and love on him. I finally had to say, "Anna this is the last time." because I wanted to hold my son. All of the kids wanted to be with Samuel and hold him, there was just something a little different about how Anna went about it. She is probably, well already is just like me... A BABY LOVER.
We just had 2 very quick precious days with our friends the Boggs from the seminary. They would've have been Samuel's godparents along with our niece Hannah. Becky and I are so much a like, I know she completely gets me. Being in a new city and grieving has been difficult, I am not going to lie. Having her here was just a blessing and gift to me. She walked with me, listened to me, hugged me and cried with me. She isn't afraid to let me grieve and be right there with me... what a gift.
Their family along with 3 others from Sem. gave us the most precious gifts. Each family took one of our 4 living kids and tied a fleece blanket for them. Each family prayed over that specific child as they made the blanket for them. I will post pictures of them after thanksgiving. Then all four families made one huge blanket for Greg and I. It was divided into fourths. Each fourth was one of the same patterns of fleece from the other 4 kids. Then smack dab in the middle was a different piece overlapping the other 4 with a new pattern to represent Samuel. My description is not doing it justice at all. All 4 families got together and as they tied the big blanket they prayed for our family and Greg and I. When I saw the pattern for Samuel I jsut wept. What a gift and treasure, the blanket and those dear friends. I can't wait to thank them... but for now Thank you Boggs, Barketts, Hayters and Stinettes. I can't tell you how much we all love them and what they mean to us now and will mean to us in the future. Thank you for acknowledging Samuel's precious life. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for wrapping us all in your prayers and God's love shown in the flesh.
We thank you all for your prayers and love. We would ask that you continue to pray for us. Each day I realize what a journey this is going to be. I want to go back to who I was a month ago. That will never happen. I am forever changed, a totally different person. I know through God's work in the long haul that won't be a bad thing. Right now though it is rough. Just when I think it has to get better, I feel a deeper pain than before. I want to be on the other side of the pain... There is no way to get there, but to go through it. And I know the other side will never be what we had before. And that is OK, how can we go back to before our sweet son Samuel. He is our son and he will forever be a part of our family and who we are. God gave him to us and this Thanksgiving we are grateful for the precious 9 months we had with him.
We are off to Wisconsin for a week to be with family. Being here for Thanksgiving would have just been too hard. I may try to post while we are up there. Otherwise I pray you all are blessed with a wonderful Thanksgiving. Even amidst the sadness we have much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 17, 2008

SWEET BABY FEET


Even Samuel's precious little feet were perfect. Wow, I look at that picture and just see the handiwork of God our creator. He doesn't make any mistakes... that is what I keep telling myself. God is sovereign and nothing takes Him by surprise. He knew the number of Samuel's days before they came to pass.
When we were in hospital already knowing Samuel was gone, the doctor did an ultrasound. While he was looking at Samuel his body had moved from a head down position to a transverse position, meaning he was laying side to side in my uterus. The doctor had hoped to induce me and start labor, but that wasn't possible if the baby wasn't head down. He spoke with another Dr. and they decided the best thing was to send me home until the baby was head down and then at that time they could induce me. (Since I have had 4 previous uncomplicated births this would be safer than doing a c-section) He said that it was safe to wait up to 3 weeks. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, were they serious? I just knew that there was no way I could go home with my 4 kids and function knowing that the child I loved and was carrying was no longer alive.
I asked the Dr. if he could try to move the baby into a head down position. He said he would try. He turned on the ultrasound machine to locate the placenta and that was when we saw the first of many little miracles of Samuel's birth. He was head down again and they could induce me right away. I labored all that night. Greg was so strong, I was an obvious wreck. The next morning when the Dr. said I could push, I felt so weak and full of fear, I just didn't think I was ready to meet my son knowing I was going to have to say goodbye to him so much sooner than I anticipated. I asked Greg to pray for me and he did as all of the Dr.s and nurses prepared for the delivery. I only pushed 3 times and out came all 9 lbs. 2oz. of Samuel.
I had cried all night. Then the strangest thing happened. Once he was out everyone else cried. For Greg this was when it became real to him that his son was gone, the Dr., the nurses, my midwife were all crying... but not me. The minute they put him on my chest all I could do was admire him. Samuel was so perfect and completely beautiful. I was utterly in awe of this wonderful creation that God had knit together inside of me. What a miracle Samuel was. Wow, I just loved looking over every inch of him. Getting to hold, snuggle and love on him was such a blessing. How I wish I could do that right now.
And that brings me to his feet. I knew this son of ours was conceived in love and was so precious to Greg and I. He is part Greg, part me, and all God. As we were looking him over, I just laughed, he had Greg's little toes. I will spare you all of the details, but they are uniquely curved to the outside and Samuel's were just like his papa's. He was precious and beautifully created even down to his little toes.
Wow, these days are difficult, so much harder than I ever imagined. I never knew such kind of pain was even possible. There are moments that I feel a hope for the future and then there are times that all I can utter is just a plea for help from our Lord. We covet your prayers as we continue day by day... sometimes moment by moment on this journey. We know that the prayers of many are what have helped sustain us over these last 3 weeks.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

NOT AT ALL WHAT WE PLANNED BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL

Dear Friends and Family,

We honestly can't believe how much our lives have changed in the last 2 weeks. We know that we are forever changed by what we have gone through.

Our sweet son Samuel Mark Hintz was taken to be the Lord before he had a chance to be born here on earth. We are devastated by this loss and just miss him so much. But we do see God's fingerprints all over our experiences over the last 10 days.

I was due on the 28th and the day passed like any other. In fact I remember sitting on the couch just laughing at how much wiggling the baby was doing that night. The next morning I woke up, got the kids breakfast and vacuumed the house. It was then that I thought I wasn't sure if I had felt him move that morning. After seeing the Dr. where we all thought we heard the heartbeat (which was mine... beating really fast) and going to the hospital we realized that he was already gone. We told the kids and then they went to stay with dear friends from the seminary while they induced labor. Samuel was born the next morning the 30th at 9:41. He was absolutely beautiful and perfect. The doctor thinks that it was a cord accident, the cord was around his neck and must have just gotten too tight. Our friends brought the kids back up and we were all so blessed to be able to hold him and kiss him and just inspect all of his perfect parts. He was so precious and such a cutie. There is a national organization that offers their photography services when an infant dies. They are called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and they came in to take pictures of us with Samuel. I am so grateful. I know that these are pictures that we will treasure forever.

God was so good to send just the right people to be with us during the labor and delivery. My midwife was such an encouragement reminding us that God would give us the grace to handle each little step one at a time. I still cling to this as we go through each day. There was a nurse that God sent to pray over me when I was completely overcome with grief. He was faithful and continues to be as the Body of Christ lifts us up in prayer. I know that is the only reason we have made it through this time. There are many other details that maybe I will share with time. I wanted you all to see our precious boy Samuel. Below the pictures is what we shared on the back of the church bulletin for his memorial service that we had last Monday. We really wanted everyone to see that we treasured and valued the life that God gave to Samuel. We loved every minute of the 9 months that we had with him.















This is what we had printed on the bulletin for Samuel's memorial service:



We thank you all for coming to celebrate the life of our sweet son Samuel. When we found out we were expecting him, our family rejoiced. We had already been praying for this baby. We are so thankful and feel so blessed that God chose us to be his family and that we had the time that we had with him. Some may think that he never had a chance to live… we know these were the days God had ordained and planned for him. We celebrate all Samuel did with us, his time with us at the seminary, going on family walks, packing and unpacking many boxes, moving here to Oklahoma, trips to Wisconsin and Texas and so much more. Our whole family loved feeling him kick, move and hiccup. We all loved talking and singing to him and the kids and Greg kissing him goodnight. We treasured and enjoyed the 9 months God gave us with Samuel. Though it was so much shorter than we ever would have thought or desired, we just praise God for the special, wonderful life of our son Samuel.


Samuel was prayed for, loved, and much anticipated by
Parents: Greg and Sara Hintz
Brothers and sister: Louis, Caleb, Anna and Elijah Hintz
Grandparents: Gary and Beverly Hintz & Wally and Ann Neumann
Aunts and Uncles: Mark and Jane Neumann, John and Katy Neumann, Josh and Lyndsey Neumann, Theron and Beth Dodson, and Lisa and Dale Quickel
Cousins: Leah, Hannah, Lindsay, Callie, Sophia, Ella, Grace, Will, Sara Beth, Isabella, Titus, Tobias, Ezra, Meaghan and Madison.
And many other dear friends

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls-
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my Salvation.
The Lord God is my strength.
Habakkuk 3:17-19











Sunday, October 26, 2008

TOOTHLESS WONDER AND WAITING:)



So not too much has been new as of late. We have been busy with soccer and church mostly. Today Anna lost another tooth, her fourth since moving to Oklahoma. We were laughing saying she looks like one of our pumpkins one tooth in, the next out, the next in and so on. It is pretty funny. Greg and the boys continue to be hard at work on the tree fort in back, it is coming along slowly but surely! Who know what it will end up looking or being like, but they are having lots of fun together so that is the important part.


Mostly we are just waiting for this precious little one to join us. The due date is actually this Tuesday... but we shall see. I am usually late so we are all just trying to be patient. We all can't wait to know if it will be a little brother or sister joining us. The big boys have been so sweet, they tell me before bed to wake them up if the baby is coming so they can pray for me and help me if I need it at all. Caleb is a real baby lover and Louis is just a tender hearted kid for the most part. It is fun to see them so excited and such a part of this pregnancy just being older and more aware. We are just waiting on God's perfect timing now for when he/she will arrive:) I put a recent picture up... but I am sparing you all from the belly shots:)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PUPPY FUN!

Anna and Baby Girl

Jo and Toe Jam


Caleb and Crazy

This was definitely against my better judgement...YUCK!

Louis and Bear

One of the neighbors dogs had 5 puppies, and no we did not name them. The kids have been having a ball with them. They are trying to convince us to get one. I keep telling them lets get a baby first, then we will talk about a pet of some kind. There are lots of roaming dogs around this neighborhood. I am not a dog person...at all... so to me we kind of have the best of both worlds. Doofus, is a great dog, he loves to play with the kids, is very sweet and yet we don't have to do anything to take care of him:) (Besides clean up the occasional treat he leaves in our yard:(

Sunday, October 12, 2008

THE GIRLFRIENDS WERE IN TOWN


I was so blessed this weekend to have 4 of my girlfriends from the seminary come down for a visit. AHHHH... time with the ladies. We had so much fun, hanging out and talking, watching a chick flick, laughing, shopping in little downtown Coweta, and just being together. I have missed these ladies so much and it was so refreshing to be with friends. All of the kids were so excited to have them here, they would have just hung out with the ladies all weekend, had I not shooed them away. They were also very disappointed that none of them brought their kids with them. They miss all of their seminary friends too. Maybe next time they can. I am so thankful that they took the time to drive down to see us, it was such a blessing and treat for me.
Basically we have about 2 weeks till the due date. We are all so excited to meet this little precious gift from God. Now we just wait on HIS perfect timing for when this baby will arrive. Waiting is always the hardest:)

Monday, October 6, 2008

SOCCER BOYS

CALEB PLAYING DEFENSE

LOUIS ON A THROW IN... IN THE BLUE


JOJO ENJOYING THE GAME:)

There is not too much new going on here. We have been busy with the new fall schedule with the boys playing soccer and church activities. The boys actually had their first tie... the rest have been losses. Caleb had the tying goal on a penalty kick. They are having a lot of fun, so that is the main goal.

The church had a baby shower for us yesterday. That was a real blessing. We got LOTS of diapers and wipes. YEAH!!! We also got a jogging stroller (I can't wait to be able to exercise again:) , some really cute little clothes, and some beautiful hand made blankets. We feel so blessed and are always amazed at how God continues to provide for us.

We have company coming in this weekend. Four of my dear seminary girlfriends are making the trip down. We can't wait to just hang out and visit. I have missed them all and it is going to be such a special time to be together. Besides that... we are basically just waiting for baby. AHHH! Sometimes I feel really ready and other times I feel I could use the time to get ready. The baby will arrive in God's perfect time. We just can't wait to meet this little guy/girl. We are praying for God's hand of protection to be on him/her until that time comes. Oh, I did let the kids finger paint on my belly... they had a blast... definitely not pictures for everyone to see...it is beyond BIG at this point:) I am enjoying every little kick and movement and feel so blessed by God to be awaiting this little gift from HIM.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

FUN TIMES!

LOUIS AND DOOFUS THE NEIGHBORHOOD ROAMING DOG!

LOOK AT THOSE SWEET BLUE EYES!


OUR LITTLE TOOTHLESS WONDER:)


TWO LITTLE BUDDIES

Thankfully Caleb is feeling better and looking so much better for that matter. Greg's parents came in last night and will stay for a couple of days. They are from Houston and are still without power from Hurricane Ike. We enjoyed a fun morning of soccer with them and now the big boys are out looking at plans for a swing set. The little ones really could use something to play on in the back yard. We will see what they come up with.

I think Greg and I are actually going to take advantage of the free babysitting and go out on a date tonight... who know when we will get the chance again with the little one coming soon. It will be a treat and the kids will love having Grandpa and Grandma to themselves.