Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Great Are You Lord

      It has been a little over two years that we lost our precious Breckin, and I am writing this today to share part of my story. We had brought her to the hospital three days earlier because she was lethargic and weak. Little did we know that her heart was failing. She was put on a ventricular assist device that was supposed to buy us some time until she could get a new heart. The device worked well, and her heart and lungs were functioning again. However, her brain had been so long without adequate oxygen that she wasn’t waking up.            

     The evening before she passed away, we were told that she might not wake up at all. We went to the hospital chapel and pleaded for God to heal her and wake her up, and then we called Pastor Chuck and he prayed with us too. We brought some of Breckin’s favorite books to the hospital, and that night I had a strong urge to read them to her. Part of me felt like hearing my voice read to her her favorite stories would spark some activity in her brain and she would wake up. The other part of me knew that this may be the last time I would ever get to read to her. 

     Somehow, we slept a little that night and the next morning, she had a CT done of her brain. They wanted to get some more information about why she wasn’t waking up. During that time, we were out of her hospital room, and I prayed that God would show us and the doctors a clear answer. I wasn’t ready to let her go, but I prayed that if it was her time to go, then we would know beyond a shadow of a doubt. Shortly after the CT was done, her cardiac surgeon came into the family waiting room. He told us that when he saw the image of that CT, he could clearly see a large area of infarction (basically, death) in the brain. He said the neurologist may say she had a stroke and we could wait and see, but if it were his child, he would disconnect support and let her pass. He said the damaged area was too large and unrepairable. This was not the answer we wanted to hear, but God did answer my prayer that day. 

     Some family members and friends were already there, but shortly afterward, more came. Her hospital room was full of loved ones who surrounded us and her. I lied in the bed beside her and held her hand while Pastor Chuck prayed and read Psalm 23 over us. Eventually everyone cleared out, and it was just the four of us (Ollie was asleep in the waiting room with a friend). The doctors unhooked the machine that was keeping her heart and lungs going, and we laid in the stillness beside her until she breathed her last breath. With Psalm 23 in my mind, I softly sang to her some of the song with the same title: “Surely goodness, surely mercy, right beside me all my days. And I will dwell in your house forever, and bless your holy name.”

     It was the worst day of my life, but it was also a day of God’s peace and His presence. God was there with us in so many ways-in the results of the CT, He was Jehovah-Shalom (The Lord is peace), in the family and friends surrounding us, He was Jehovah-shammah (The Lord is there) and in the blessing of getting to hold my sweet girl’s hand and sing to her as she left this earth to meet Jesus, He was El-Shaddai (The All-Sufficient One). I am thankful everyday that our family was able to be there and say goodbye to her before she passed away. Not every family gets that chance. 


     The funeral was four days later, and again was a horrible day to go through. However, God was there! We didn’t know this at the time, but before the funeral started, our whole Bible fellowship class, and many others gathered in a room at the church, and prayed for us. These people were standing in for us and praying the words that we were unable to pray that day. One of the songs we chose for her funeral was “Great Are You Lord.” When our worship pastor began to lead us in that song, everyone was seated. I just sat there numbly and could not sing the words. He got to the part that says, “All the earth will shout your praise. Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing: Great are you Lord!” The Holy Spirit was telling me I needed to stand up and honor our great God! My inner dialogue was arguing saying, No! He just took my daughter away. How can He be great?” But, I could not deny the fact that despite my circumstances, and my suffering, God is faithful and He is great. So I stood to my feet in that church because I could no longer sit as we sang about our great God. 


     I write this post not to paint a sad picture of Breckin’s last days, but to remember how God was there though it all. Even on my worst days, my most heart-wrenching, heart-breaking moments, when I thought my world would fall apart, God’s presence was with me. As I have studied the names of God over the past several years, I can look back at how He has been there for me and how He continues to be there. He never stops loving His children. Great are you, Lord!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Story of Our Home

     At the beginning of 2019, I was pregnant with our third child, and knew that I would not be working for a few months starting in March of that year. Since I work part-time, I don't receive paid time off, so I knew we would be without my income for a while. I really had no idea how we would make ends meet, but I knew that God had a plan! I had faith that He would show up and I even told people that I couldn't wait to see what He would do. I knew He would provide, but I had no idea how.
     Around this time, Josh showed me a listing of a house that was for sale in Collierville. I almost didn't even look at it because I thought he was crazy! We were about to have a baby and be without almost half our monthly income, and he was wanting me to look at a house! But I was curious and thought what can it hurt to look at the pictures. Of course, the house was beautiful, and the kind of house in which I dreamed of raising my children. So, I quickly forgot about it and focused on preparing for baby number three!
     On Easter Sunday, a few weeks after Ollie was born, we were again looking at house listings. This time, however, we were looking at houses for Josh's grandmother to possibly buy. She had been wanting to downsize a little, and move to Collierville. She brought up the fact that she would love for us to be able to get a larger house to have plenty of room for our growing family. In our current home, Harper and Breckin were sharing a room, and because Breckin was an early riser, it would be great for her to have her own room. However, we were content where we were. It was working for now, and we were not in a hurry to get a different house. Like I said earlier, we were down an income at the time, and we had a newborn at home. Not a great time to be looking at buying a new house.
     In our shopping for houses for Nanny, we came across the same house that we looked at months ago. We couldn't believe it was still for sale in this market. Just for kicks we thought let's drive by and see if it actually is still for sale. Surely, it just hasn't been updated online. As we stopped in front of the house, I stepped out to get a flyer, and a lady working in the yard said, "Hey, do you want to look at it? We've already moved out." Again, I thought this is a waste of time, but sure why not. So we walked in and looked around, and of course I still loved it. After that, it was like a whirlwind of events happening. We spoke with our mortgage guy and found out we could likely get that house with the same amount of mortgage we are paying now. We spoke with our realtor, and found out that comps in our neighborhood were outstanding.
     So, we thought let's go for it-we would put our house up for sale, and just see what happens. We listed it, and within hours, we had an offer for asking price. A woman wanted the house and didn't even want to look at it. She loved it, and had no contingencies. So, we put an offer on the house we wanted, and they accepted less than asking price. Somehow, we managed to get our dream home, sell ours, and have money to put in the bank. I knew that God would provide and be faithful, but I had no idea that we would be moving our family of five into a house I had only dreamed of having. Not only that, but we had extra money to buy furniture that we needed, and put some aside to take a family vacation that we again had only dreamed of taking. God didn't just provide what we needed-He went above and beyond to bless us more than we ever would have imagined.
     It was a little stressful moving in with three children, one of whom was a newborn, but thankfully we had a lot of help from our parents. We quickly got settled in, and I was just in love. I would literally stop and look around at my family in this home and think, "There's nothing better than this." I would rock my baby on our big front porch and feel the coolness of the shade from our big trees, and feel so grateful. Breckin had a large flat driveway to ride her tricycle around on, and Harper had a rope swing in the backyard that she absolutely loved. Each girl had her own bedroom, and Breckin was so proud of her big bed with flowers on the comforter. Breckin quickly learned how to go up and down the stairs by herself (with my close supervision of course), and was already learning her way around downstairs.
     Then a short three months later, our world fell apart. After Breckin passed away, and we had to come home without her, I started questioning God. Why would He bless us so greatly just a few months before just to then tear our world down around us? Why would He allow us to move into this home made for a family of five knowing a few months later, we would be a family of four again? The beautiful, perfect, idyllic dream home just became a reminder to me of what I had lost. I had pictured raising all three of my girls in this home, and now I would only be raising two. Then I had to remind myself as I have had to many times in the past several years, that God's timing and God's ways are not mine. I have shared this verse on my blog before, but Isaiah 55:9 says, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."
     I know that God is sovereign, and that I will never understand His ways. But I trust that He knows what is best. I have seen it in my past and have to trust that He is in this too. I am beyond thankful for our home, and I still feel so blessed to be here. There is definitely a void here, but I know that it would be that way anywhere we lived.
     Right before Christmas, we received a beautiful gift from our besties in Murfreesboro. They are college friends of mine, and they love us dearly. Their family has meant so much to our family, especially over the last few months. I honestly would not have gotten through the months after Breckin's funeral without them. They sent us a canvas of our home, and above the house, is pictured a small rainbow. Josh and I bawled when we opened it, because they know how much we love our home, but also how much we miss our Breckin. This picture just represents to me God's blessing on our life, and another reminder that God keeps His promises. We have lost much, but we also have much to be thankful for. It also helps me to remember that in times of wilderness in our life, God has led us out by a different way than I thought. And, I have hope that He will lead us through this as well.

Love, B

Friday, January 17, 2020


     Since Breckin's death, rainbows have become a special part of my life. On the day that she entered her heavenly home, a rainbow appeared in the sky. I never actually saw it in person, well because I was in a complete daze and wasn't paying attention to anything around me, but I heard about it and saw a picture of it. A few days later, I received a gift from a sweet friend of a rainbow-colored wind chime. It was beautiful, and I received comfort when I would hear the light tinkling of the chimes in my backyard. It made me think of my sweet Breckin singing praises to her King in her beautiful voice. 
   When Breckin was on this earth, she was blind. She was not able to perceive color or light, but as soon as she passed from this earth, her eyes were opened, and she can now she all the colors of the rainbow, and like my daughter Harper says: "She can see colors now that we can't even see." In the Bible, in the book of Genesis, God brings a flood to destroy the earth, and everything in it. Before this happened, he told a righteous man named Noah to build an ark to save himself, his family, and two of every kind of animal. Noah was obedient, and when the floods came, everyone and everything on the earth was destroyed except for those saved in the ark. When the waters receded, and they were able to leave the ark, God put his rainbow in the sky as a reminder of his promise that He would no longer destroy the earth by water again. This rainbow represented God's promise to His people, and when I see a rainbow, I am reminded that God always keeps His promises.
     Every year in December, I do what's called a Jesse tree with my kids. It is a small tree with a different ornament for each day in December. These ornaments coincide with a devotional for that day from a story in the Bible that lead up to Jesus' birth on December 25th. On December 3rd, we celebrated Breckin's earthly birthday, and this was the first year that we celebrated without her. It was a tough day, but I made myself still do our devotional that day with Harper and Ollie. The story from that day was the story of the flood from Genesis, and the ornament was an ark with a large rainbow overhead. I knew this wasn't a coincidence. This was another way of God letting us know that He sees us and loves us. Every year now on Breckin's birthday, we will read about the rainbow and see the rainbow on the ornament as we remember God keeps His promises.
     Ever since Breckin passed, I have wanted something to wear or keep with me that would bring me comfort and make me smile when I think about her. I couldn't think of anything appropriate, and then a friend suggested that I get a tattoo. I thought this was the perfect idea. It's something that I would always have with me until I am reunited with her in heaven. So, Josh and I both decided to get one, and made the appointment, which just happened to be on the day after Breckin's birthday last year. On the way to get them done, we saw a cloud in the sky that showed all the colors of the rainbow. I have never seen anything like it. There was an actual rainbow inside the cloud. It only lasted for a minute or two and then disappeared, but Josh and I both saw it, and were brought great comfort from this, knowing it was a kiss from the King.
     So that day, I got a tattoo on my right wrist of a rainbow with Breckin's name over it in Braille. Braille was such a big part of her life here on earth, and it was something that made her so special and unique. Every time I see my tattoo, I am not only reminded of my beautiful Breckin, but also of my beautiful Savior. A God who has never forsaken me, who has chosen me for a purpose, and who always keeps His promises.

Love, B
 It's hard to see, and the picture doesn't do it justice, but here is the "rainbow cloud"
My tattoo

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Our Big News!

     So a lot has happened since I last posted on here. While writing my last blog post, little did I know that I was actually pregnant! I found out about a week later, and I was truly in shock! I had just decided to put that part of my life on hold. I was training for my first marathon, and Josh and I had booked a cruise for the following June. I still of course had that strong desire to have another child, but I just decided it wasn't meant to be right now. Little did I know, that God again had different plans for me for the next nine months!
     I was actually almost angry when I found out I was pregnant. I guess I already had it in my head that I was going to miscarry again, and I just could not go through that again! I felt that I couldn't get excited about it, because I was counting on being disappointed.  We finally went for our first appointment at 6 weeks, and I was a nervous wreck! Right away though, the ultrasound tech found the heartbeat! I burst into tears right there, because I was just convinced we were going to have a repeat of our last two ultrasounds. However, she did tell us the heart rate was a little low, and they were going to see me back in a couple weeks.
     I did a little research, and based on what I found, it looked like there was a 50% chance that I could still miscarry. Great, I thought. I was just going to hold off on the inevitable. Two more looong weeks went by, and here we were again in the ultrasound room. Lo and behold, our baby had a strong heart rate in the 150s, well within the normal range! It was still early though, and I didn't let myself get too excited. My OB was very cautious with me, and said to really take it easy and take care of myself.
     By this time, I was in the throes of terrible morning sickness. Actually, it was more like all day sickness. It was a constant feeling of severe nausea, no energy, terrible weakness, and of course, I was getting sick almost daily. It almost put me into a sort of depression. Before the pregnancy, I was very active, running, working out at the gym. I was training for a marathon! And now, not only did I not need to be that active, but I didn't feel like doing anything but lying in the bed. I was feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't do what I wanted to do.
     It was during this time that I realized I was being completely ungrateful. This is what I had been praying for for years. This is what we had been trying unsuccessfully to do for the past two years. So what if I couldn't run a marathon this year, or go on a cruise next year. God was showing me that it's not about me. I can make all the plans that I want, but He is going to ultimately give me what is best for me at that time. I was being selfish, and not full of overwhelming gratitude like I should have been.
     I began to change my attitude. I rejoiced every time I got sick. I praised the Lord for this little being growing inside of me, altering all my plans. I just began immersing myself in thanksgiving to the Lord. I knew that I was not guaranteed anything, but I had faith that the Lord would bring this child into my arms.
     Finally, our 20-week anatomy scan was here. We were seeing the high-risk OB that I had seen so many times with Breckin. They were going to do a detailed scan of every little body part of this baby. There was a higher chance that this baby could be born with a heart defect, or some other anomaly due to us already having one child with several birth defects. Like I said before, I had faith that this baby was going to be in my arms one day, but I still thought there would likely be something wrong. I was reminded of the verse in Daniel Chapter 3. I've blogged about this verse before, but this is where King Nebuchadnezzar is threatening to throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace for not bowing down to the golden image he has set up. They proclaim that the Lord will save them from the furnace, but verse 18 states," But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." They knew that even if the Lord did not save them, they would still worship Him only.
     I had a "But if not" moment before this appointment. I knew there was a possibility that this baby would have some type of problem. I also knew that the Lord could allow this baby to be perfectly healthy. But if not, I was still ready to worship and praise Him anyways. This was a long appointment, and the ultrasound tech was very thorough. She would silently scan a certain body part, and make all kinds of measurements, and notations. Then after holding my breath, she would say, ok that part looks good, and I could finally breathe again. She went through every body part, and did a fetal ECHO on the heart, and told us that everything looks normal! Wow! Praise the Lord! I was really not expecting this, so as soon as Josh and I got into the car, I burst into tears! I said, can we just stop for a minute and soak this in, and thank the Lord! We stopped and prayed right then for this baby and thanked the Lord for all He has done!
     We found out later that weekend, that we are having another girl! I was so excited about this, and so were the girls. Josh was very happy, but I knew he felt a tiny shred of disappointment that he wasn't going to have a son. That whole weekend was just surreal for me, and still sometimes is. When I think about what all we have been through to get here, and how God has just worked everything out according to His plans, it brings me to tears. He is so good, and truly brings everything about in His time! Our family cannot wait to meet this sweet baby girl soon, and I cannot wait to teach her about our Lord who is so good, and who loves her more than she could ever imagine!
     So, if you're reading this, and you're waiting on something, or things just aren't going as planned, know that the Lord is working. He loves you, and He is good. And also know that it's not about you. The Lord wants honor and glory brought to Him above all. If you are truly following the Lord, and fearing Him, then your desires will line up with His will. And he wants to give you those desires of your heart.
 Those sweet little hands
Soon to be a family of five!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


       Just two posts ago, I wrote about our second miscarriage. And now, here I am again, writing about a third. It happened three months ago, and only six months after the second miscarriage. Again, we got pregnant on our own, and I surprised Josh by putting the phrase, "You're going to be a Daddy (again)" on a piece of paper, and leaving it in the kitchen where I knew he would see it first thing in the morning. I convinced myself that I was already feeling early signs of pregnancy: fatigue, cravings, nausea, and thought this is it! We learned the baby would be due in December, and since we've had a November and a December baby already, we weren't super thrilled about the birthday. However, we thought well, that's just our luck!
       A few days before my scheduled first ultrasound, I felt those early pregnancy symptoms halt. I had a terribly uneasy feeling and just knew we had lost the baby. My fears were confirmed when they saw nothing in the uterus. My hcg levels had been going up, but that day, they were not as high as they should have been for a 6-week fetus. After more tests, another ultrasound, and many hours waiting in the doctor's office, they confirmed that this was indeed another miscarriage.
       Three. Three miscarriages. I never imagined in a million years I would have one, let alone three. I was so angry and just done! Done with fertility doctors, done with spending money and still having no baby, and done with trying to get pregnant. I didn't understand the purpose behind it. I felt like I was putting my faith in God to answer our prayers, and instead of giving, He was just taking away. I honestly felt a little like God had forgotten about me.
       Two days after we had the last test that confirmed the miscarriage, I was at church in our Bible fellowship class. Our teacher had us turn in the book of Isaiah. There was a verse he read in Chapter 49. It states,"...Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." (Isaiah 49:15b-16) The Lord has me engraved on the palms of His hands! He has not forgotten about me. In Hebrew, the word used here for wall means, "wall of protection." The Hebrew word for engraved used here means, "delineate." If you're like me, I had to look up the exact definition of delineate, and I found it to mean: "to indicate the exact position of (border or boundary)."
     The Lord has put his wall of protection around me. He has indicated on His palm the exact place where I need to be! Another verse that comes to mind when I read this is Psalm 16:6. It states, "The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places." I love this so much! Again, it's saying that the Lord has placed me where I am in life, and it is pleasant! It is good! As difficult as it is to comprehend and accept sometimes, I am exactly where God wants me to be.
      I have finally come to the place where I am okay with not being pregnant right now. Josh and I still have the desire to add another child to our family, and we still believe that God will fulfill this desire. However, we realize that it may not be in the way that we had planned. Nothing in our lives since being married has gone according to our plan, but we can always see that it has been God's plan. I don't know why we or any couple has had to go through losses like this. Sometimes, it's to prepare us for something in our future, sometimes, it's to help us grow, sometimes it's to teach us something. But it's always to bring glory and honor to our Lord Jesus Christ. We continue to be in prayer for God's leading, direction, and wisdom on how He wants to grow our earthly family ❤


Friday, January 19, 2018

Snow Day Blues

     This past week has been a little bit of a whirlwind in our family. With the snow last Friday came sickness to the Helms household. In the early morning hours, Harper woke up throwing up in my bed! She slept with me because Josh was gone duck hunting, and she was complaining of a stomach ache all evening. Little did I know, that it was a stomach virus! So after cleaning her up, washing bedding, and getting her back to bed, I tried to get a little more sleep. A few hours later, Breckin woke up burning up! I checked her temp and it was 100.4 under her arm, meaning it would likely be one degree higher if taken orally. I called in to work saying even if I could make it through the snow and ice, I couldn't come in since I had to take care of two sick kids.
     With Breckin's heart defect, I am always extra cautious when she gets sick or runs fever. A little virus could impact her greatly and make her very sick. So, as soon as I could, I started calling around to find a clinic or doctor's office open since her pediatrician's office was closed due to the snow. I took her to an open walk-in clinic and she tested positive for the flu! So here I am with two sick kiddos and a husband out of town.
     Harper, bless her heart, still wanted to go outside and play. So, while Breckin slept, we went outside and attempted to play in the snow. We basically just walked around making footprints in the snow, and trying to find icicles. After about 10 minutes we came back inside because we were freezing, and Harper wanted to lay down. I was done with snow after that and ready for it to be gone! However that was not the story. After a long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend of staying in trying to stay warm and entertain the kids, it snowed again! By this time, the stomach virus had moved past Harper to Josh, and while he was recovering, I got it. So I spent all of Tuesday in the bed sick as a dog.
     By Wednesday, even though I was still feeling puny, I wanted to get out of the house! The snow had not been fun, we had watched every movie, played every game, and read every book in the house. But, since we were all likely still contagious from either flu or the stomach virus, we couldn't go anywhere! I love spending time with my girls and my husband, but when I can't get out of the house, I go crazy!! I was feeling down, and being very negative about everything!
     I write all this not to complain about how terrible our week was, or to say "woe is me," even though that was the attitude I was having. I write this to show God's glory and goodness! Through all this bad stuff, sickness, cold, negative attitude, and downright depressing mood of mine, God's glory shone through! I've been reading a chapter every evening to my girls out of their new bible they got for Christmas:
The past few nights of reading have all emphasized the glory of God. I have been teaching my girls what this means and how we can in our regular lives show God's glory. Last night, I realized that God wants his glory shown even through this.
     Yes Breckin did get the flu, but she had a mild case! She only ran fever for one day, and she didn't end up in the hospital. We had to stay in the house all week, but God provided us with a working furnace, a working fireplace, hot water, and warm blankets. I had just gone to the grocery store before the snow came, so we had plenty of food to eat. The kids were out of school all week so they didn't have to miss any school due to being sick. Even though we were stuck inside, we were all together! I got to spend six days with these precious girls and my wonderful husband. The more I thought about the week, the more I became aware of all the things I had to be thankful for. I had been so focused on myself and my circumstances that I wasn't seeing the goodness and glory of God!
     So if you, like me, didn't have a magical, wonderful time of making memories in the snow, and are going stir-crazy from being in the house, just know it's ok. Try to find all the things there are to be thankful for in your life, because there's always something to be thankful for! God is so good!

A few pics showing it wasn't all bad! :)


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

School Time!

     I just recently went back to some old blog posts I wrote when I was pregnant with Breckin. I love having a record of what God has done in my past, and seeing how far we have come! Those days before she was born and even after she was born, there were so many unknowns. Looking back, I can see how God has been so faithful! Today is Breckin's fourth day of preschool. I can't believe that we have made it here.
     Months before she started school, I was already a nervous wreck. I would cry every time I talked about her starting school. I was so worried that she wouldn't be ready, that she would fall behind, that she wouldn't have any friends. I shared my concerns and fears with others, and I knew several people were praying for her. I myself prayed as well for her future at school. We had our IEP meeting (which is the big meeting with all the teachers, therapists, and principal at Breckin's school, where they went over all her developmental tests and set learning goals for her) and it went extremely well. I could tell that every person in that room was concerned for Breckin's education, her well-being, and her growth and development. I left that meeting in tears, not because I was upset, but because I had such a peace about her going to this school. God had answered my prayers beyond what I could have imagined!
     A few weeks before she started, her vision therapist, Ms. Lou, met me at school a couple times before class started so Breckin could have some orientation to the room. On those days she was able to get to know her teacher better, Ms. Jaffe, and meet some of her classmates. A couple days before school started, the wonderful ladies with the TN Deafblind Project gave a training to all her teachers and therapists specifically on Breckin's needs. A slideshow was prepared full of pictures and videos of Breckin! It has been so amazing to see how God has orchestrated all these people to be in Breckin's life and to see it all fall into place.
     She has had a great first few days of school and everyone has gone above and beyond to make her feel welcome. Her vision therapist filled the room with tactile symbols and labels so Breckin would know all the parts of the classroom. She brought her textured paper to use in art class, and the school ordered a walker for her to use at school. Her teachers have sent me pictures and videos and updates, so I don't have to worry at all! I am so thankful that we are at this school and so thankful for her amazing teachers and therapists. I also just want to thank everyone who has been praying for this transition with me!
     You would think I would know now not to worry and be afraid of what the future holds for Breckin. Looking over these past three years, God has had a hand in every step. He constantly tells me to trust Him, and He's right! Even if things don't go the way I plan or want them to, they are still the way God intends them, and His ways are perfect!

     Just a few pics from her first couple days of school
 So excited for her first day!
 Here's her walker which has a little seat so she can take a rest :)
 Got kisses from big sis at school
 Dancing during music class!
     The beloved beanbag!