If you read my blog, then you probably know about Kelly. (I've mentioned her, you know, once or twice. lol) In 2004, Kelly founded Sufficient Grace Ministries for Women, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization, with the purpose of reaching out to women and families to offer comfort, encouragement and hope. The Dreams of You division of this ministry was created specifically to provide comfort to women and families who have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. Kelly has lost 3 of her own precious children-Faith, Grace, and Thomas. Today, I want to highlight Kelly and her ministry.
Kelly and her husband, Tim, were married in March 1994 and had a son, Timothy. Two years after they were married they found out they were expecting twins. Kelly went into labor around 20-22 weeks, but thankfully labor was able to be stopped. Not long after, Kelly found out she was expecting identical twin girls. She also found out that her daughters had a condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). In this condition, one baby receives too much nourishment and the other not enough. Kelly had extra amniotic fluid drained several times to help with the condition. At 26 weeks, though, her daughters' hearts stopped beating and she delivered them silent into the world.
Just a year later, Kelly was pregnant again. An ultrasound midway through the pregnancy showed that the amniotic fluid was low. It was determined that her son, Thomas, had Potter's Syndrome, a fatal condition characterized by a lack of kidneys. Doctors gave her and Tim the choice to either terminate or continue the pregnancy. They chose to continue. Thomas was born and lived for 6 hours. Kelly held and rocked him as he left this world for Heaven.
You can read the full stories of Faith, Grace, and Thomas by clicking here.
Kelly has 2 unique keepsakes that are part of her ministry (she also offers others but at a more local level). The Dreams of You Memory Book and the Comfort Bear. I have both of these and I must say that they are both beautiful and comforting. Kelly created the Dreams of You Memory Book years after losing Faith, Grace, and Thomas. Kelly was searching for a memory book for a friend of hers who had lost her baby but couldn't find anything suitable. Kelly started out used her own two hands to cut and paste the design of the book. Later, she designed the pages to be printed from the computer.
As more orders came for books, it was obvious that a redesign was needed for the books. Kelly's son, Timothy, drew the replica of the Comfort Bear and the tiny footprint in the bear's heart is Faith's footprint. After hiring a company to print the books and making a few changes, the final result was complete. Hundreds of families have been blessed with this book, which truly honors the life of these cherished babies and allows parents to have a beautiful, lasting, tangible memory to hold the lifetime of dreams they hold in their hearts.
The Comfort Bear was born from the heart of a grieving grandmother. Kelly's mom, Kathy Rutter, decided to make something as a small offering of comfort to fill the empty, aching arms of other grieving moms as they were wheeled out of the hospital to enter a world without their babies. She poured her heart into making her Comfort Bears, filling each with love and prayers, until she grew too ill to continue. She worked on the bears until about a month before she lost her battle with cancer. Kathy's Comfort Bears are still made with a Grandmother's love and prayers, as the Helping Hands Ministry works to sew each one. Her legacy and the legacy of Faith, Grace, and Thomas continues.
I asked Kelly where she saw her ministry in 5 or 10 years and this is what she said:
"As far as where I would like to see our ministry in the next five to ten years....obviouslyGod is in control. And I will trust Him to guide us with His daily, sufficient grace. But, there are some desires on my heart for the ministry.This summer, we startedWalking With Youon our blog, and I hope to continue using our blog to reach out to grieving mothers and families. I would love to reach out to even more families and hospitals, offering a tangible memory through the Dreams of You Memory Books and Comfort Bears. God has been growing this ministry and I trust that He will continue to grow and provide for all of it's needs. We hope to spread the word to those who do not know that we are here to offer support. Also, I would like to finish a book encouraging families who are grieving by sharing our ownstory of beauty from ashes. Who knows? Maybe someday Sufficient Grace could even publish books and support materials for grieving families (in addition to the Dreams of You Memory Book, of course!) Tim and I have wanted to finish a song based on the Dreams of You poem that appears in the memory books we offer. Life has put those plans on hold...but we haven't given up on that possibility. I also hope to be able to devote more time to the ministry...speaking at hospitals and sharing at churches and women's groups, traveling around to share this ministry and our (really God's) story of hope and comfort, eventually working full time with Sufficient Grace. For now, I am grateful to serve the Lord in whatever way He has allowed me to do. It has been a great privilege to walk with those He has placed in my path. And, I am so blessed everyday to see His hand as He continues to weave the tapestry of my family's story and the stories of those we encounter."
I have had the awesome privilege of meeting Kelly in person. She is every bit as sweet as she is on her blog. I am very grateful that God has blessed me with her friendship. Kelly's ministry is one that is close to my heart and one that I will always support. On Carleigh's 5 month birthday, Kelly made it possible for me to donate 3 Dreams of You Memory Books and 3 Comfort Bears to the Mother Baby Care Unit at my hospital.
Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your story and starting a wonderful ministry that blesses so many.