This video is of a place in Tennessee called the National Memorial for the Unborn. I have placed a name plate there in remembrance of my son, whom was aborted when I was 15, as well as having a brick placed in the prayer garden there for my babies who were lost to miscarriage.
I am sharing this for all women who, like me, have never had the opportunity to hold their own baby in their arms.
Having empty arms can be a result of infertility (like me), still born babies, babies that have been lost due to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), and many other reasons.
First, I will share a little of my own experience:
As a result of an abortion at age 15 I have suffered 5 miscarriages, with 3 of them being tubal pregnancies requiring emergency surgery, and also very near death experiences for me. Therefore, I am now unable to have any children of my own. Although the loss of my children happened several years ago, there is still much pain there that the Lord continues to heal.
Empty Arms Syndrome is basically a void, a hole or an emptiness that gnaws at your heart after the loss of a child. The empty arms of a woman desires a child almost more than life itself.
There are several ways that Jesus has used to help me with experiencing "empty arms syndrome", though even to this day going to baby showers, walking through the baby department in the stores and going to church on Mother's Day is very difficult to do.
1. When I completed going through an abortion recovery group* and Bible study, I felt led to give back by helping others receive healing also. As a group leader in the recovery group, the Lord brings a deeper healing for myself each time I go through with others. At the end of the 12 week recovery group is a memorial service, where we honor the babies that have been lost to abortion. I decided during one of our memorial services to also honor the babies that I had lost to miscarriage as a result of the abortion. It was so very healing for me to be able to give my babies their names and hold a handmade doll in my arms and lay them at the foot of the cross. At the memorial service we allow the women to choose a handmade doll to represent each baby lost to abortion. Having something in your arms to lay down at the cross is such healing to our hearts, it is hard to put into words. This experience brings much honor and closure to the loss of those babies that most people don't even acknowledge ever existed. Just because they were never brought into this world doesn't mean that they didn't exist. When a baby is living inside a mother's womb, it has as much life as a baby living outside a mother's womb.
2. One of my friends who had just had a baby was letting me hold it when she said "getting your baby fix, huh Nona?". This was quite a revelation for me because I didn't realize that was what I was doing, but it was. It it hard to describe the awesome feeling of being able to hold an infant in your arms when you have never had the opportunity to have your own. It is very comforting and peaceful. So, obviously holding and caring for, or even babysitting other people's babies is a good way to fill in the empty arms. It does help a lot, although I do remember one of the first times I held a baby years after my abortion, I started crying. It was just automatic, I didn't expect it at all. I had several opportunities to babysit a loved one's babies, and it was such a blessing.
3. Another way the Lord has used babies for further healing of my own heart is He led me one year to volunteer in the nursery at church during a revival we were having. I think I may have done that for a year. This work was so very rewarding for me in so many ways. I actually experienced a miscarriage during the time that I was serving in the nursery. You would be amazed how much strength the Lord can give you to go through something like that. I even was required to work in a baby department at one of my jobs, which was very strangely comforting for me at the time.
4. I have also always been a big fan of stuffed animals. One of the books that I have read on "empty arms" says that it is good to have a teddy bear or some other stuffed animal in your home to hold onto when your arms are aching for holding a baby. It sounds silly, but it really works.
5. One of the more recent ways that the Lord is helping overcome my childlessness is He has blessed me and my roommate with a dog to raise together. I have always been a cat person in the past, so this is the first time I have ever raised a dog. Huge difference, since cats pretty much take care of themselves. Raising a dog, to me, is just like raising a child in so many ways. It is a very huge responsibility. Dogs love you unconditionally, just like children do. Now I understand why people call their dogs their babies, because they are. Some people even put clothes on them. I understand now, it's just amazing, how God has brought so much healing to my heart through this loving creature He created. I always wanted a son, now I have a canine one.
6. Here are some great books that I have read on "empty arms":
"I'll Hold You In Heaven" by Jack Hayford "Empty Arms" by Pam Vredevelt
7. This is a link where you can read a precious chapter in the Bible that the Lord wrote specifically for women who are childless: Message for Hurting Women
8. I also had the opportunity to have a nameplate placed on the wall of names at the National Memorial for the Unborn (http://www.memorialfortheunborn.org) in memory of my child who was aborted, as well as having a brick placed in the prayer garden there for my babies who were lost to miscarriage.
THESE DATES ARE WHEN MY BABIES WENT TO HEAVEN TO BE RAISED BY OUR LORD JESUS:
1. October 1983: Darren Nicholas Knight (lost by coerced abortion)
The name Nicholas I chose from the Bible, Acts 6:5, who was from Antioch, where the believers were first called Christians. This Nicholas was one of the first 7 deacons chosen to take care of material needs of the first church, like food and care for widows. Nicholas, my first conceived baby, is now my Knight in shining armour in Heaven! I was age 15, still in high school.
All pregnancies after this one occurred during 18 years of abusive marriage, which God set me free of in 2005, praise Jesus, I’m free!
2. July 1992: Christian Michael (lost by tubal pregnancy, emergency surgery)
Names chosen from 2 of my precious nephews who had already gone to be with the Lord. Christian was my sister Becky’s only son (her only child born), Becky is now with the Lord as well, the first of my siblings to go to Heaven.
Michael was my sister Kim’s oldest son, who is now with the Lord. I was age 23.
3. Autumn (Fall) 1998: Angela Marie (lost by miscarriage)
The name Angela was chosen from my oldest sibling. I was age 29.
4. July 11, 2002: Cody Lee (lost by tubal pregnancy, emergency surgery)
I was age 32.
5. May 10, 2004: Hannah Leigh (lost by miscarriage)
The name Hannah I chose from the Bible, I Samuel 1. I was age 34.
6. September 7, 2004: Samuel David, my little prophet ( lost by ruptured tubal pregnancy, emergency surgery requiring blood transfusion to save my life)
Names I chose from the Bible, 2 of my favorite prophets. I was age 35.
In all, I have been blessed with 6 precious babies (4 boys and 2 girls) in Heaven awaiting me, their Mother, yes I am still a mother, even though the Lord had mercy on me and chose to take 5 of them to raise Himself, to spare them from being abused by their earthly father.
Jesus is now my Husband, raising all 6 of my babies until I join Him and them in Heaven.
I give all honor and glory to my Lord Jesus Christ for blessing me with 6 babies. I am totally forgiven and set free from the sin of abortion, which resulted in the death of my first child and also resulted in the miscarriages of my other 5 babies. I choose also, by the same power of forgiveness through Jesus and the work He did on the Cross of Calvary, to forgive myself for the sin of abortion.
There is much healing that takes place in the hearts of mothers who go through the process of honoring our babies with names, who were lost to abortion, miscarriage and stillborn!