The Reality of Postpartum weight loss.

The internet can be a very deceiving tool.

Lives look glamourous, Bodies flawless and money endless.

It’s a weapon in the wrong hands and by that, i mean in the eyes of influential young adults who think this virtual world is reality. Its a button of self destruction for those who lack confidence in their lives and are looking for an outward source to set their standards too.

Eating disorders triggered by edited images and people feeling envious about lives that in the real world do not exist.

I felt the same after giving birth to my second child. My body wasn’t bouncing back the way it first was and i felt disgusting.

I felt pressured to snap back. You see daily celebritys giving birth and weeks later being back to pre-baby figure.

Truth is, my body had just been through one of the most amazing transformations possible and i was so very blessed to experience this once, let alone twice.

I documented via pictures my progress of getting back into “shape” whatever shape is.

I did one month of exercise and then gave up due to being side tracked arranging a charity event.

I havent exercised now purposely in about 1 month and quite frankly, i really no longer care! I have accepted the fact my body may never be the same as it was when i was 18!

I’m a 30 year old woman and i needed to start respecting myself more instead of looking in the mirror angry at the fact i was a little more jellish than i once was with abit more cellulite, stretch marks and creases.

The internet needs to be flooded with reality instead of the false instagram image that is being portrayed to susceptible young adults.

My Baby girl was 9lb3oz. I gained 3 stone this pregnancy, my body has stretched to full capacity and now like a deflated balloon, shrunk back to the memory it once was.

I am now 7 months postpartum and about half a stone heavier than what i was post pregnancy.

So here is the reality of my body shrinking back – it’s not as quick nor as easy as you think….but its not the end of the world, i have a family from it and at the end of the day, my body will change with age! making myself unhappy focusing on the external with only make my internal self suffer more. Life is short, eat, live, pray ✌

This was 1 week after giving birth.

2 weeks PP

3 weeks PP

4weeks PP

2 Months PP x2

3 Months PP

I then caught a sickness bug so i lost about half a stone….

This is 4 months PP and the picture that made me want to work out. I felt disgusted at myself and looked like a literal pancake! But really i should of given my body more credit for what it had been through!

5 months PP after 1 month of working out and dieting. I felt really good! but i HATE dieting so much and when i got side tracked doing the chairty event, i happily pushed it to one side…and haven’t continued since.

6 months PP The day of the charity event! Lost the definition but who cares when you are raising money towards a little girls life? lifes all about perspective!

I then suffered with a week long anxiety attack due to my emtophobia spike! I didn’t end up eating in 1 week and lost half a stone.

7months PP. This is today. I wanted to take a photo in what i find the most unflattering, wouldn’t see on instagram-pic ever! But its reality! And 100% unedited.

This is reality. This is how your body changes after pregnancy.

Stop comparing yourselves to unreal expectations.

Every single Body is different.

Stop thinking instagram is the real deal. Its as real as the person on the other end wants you to see and think it is.

Enjoy life, enjoy your body- its the only one you’ll ever get.

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5 Reasons Why I Am Blessed With Anxiety.

Life is all about perspective.

Sometimes i am crippled with anxiety, house bound and anti-social. Other times i am loud, outgoing and confident. It really depends on what’s going on in my life to how i react to a situation.

Anxiety plays a leading roll to my reactions, I may not responde to an everyday situation the same way a ‘Normal’ person would, or someone who doesn’t suffer the constant battle between fight or flight mode, Anxiety and Normal mode.

Anxiety is the thorn in my side, the thing i pray about most to be taken away, but it has brought alot of positive aspects into my life and has made me push past barriers I’d never attempt if it wasn’t for the pull of Anxiety and wanting to conquer it.

So here are 5 Reasons Why I Am Blessed With Anxiety.

1) It makes me super caring and able to emphasise on a personal level – Anxiety can make you sensitive, sometimes too much. Every thought and emotion you go through or play out in your head becomes a mental reality. But it also makes you look at life from an outsiders or a different perspective. When someone is suffering with a personal issue, i can put myself in their shoes and deeply emphasise with them. I think its because with anxiety you think the worst at all times. At times I’ve found myself literally gasping out loud at my own thoughts and worries as if i were literally living that moment, sometimes even tearing up playing out a scenario in my head that worries me, scenarios that may never happen, but feel so real at that moment. So when a friend or family member is suffering, maybe even someone i don’t really know, I like to comfort and support them because the anxiety helps me emphasise as I can put myself in their shoes and think, what if that were me? and i wouldn’t change my caring side, not at all.

2) Its forces me to be outgoing- Like the rebellious teenager inside me, whenever i don’t want to be in a social situation and my mind is filled with fearful scenarios, i think- NOT TODAY!! and i allow my rebellious side to come out. At times I literally force myself to do or go places my anxiety would like me to avoid! If my anxiety didn’t play a roll, laziness might and id probably not of done half the things i have done out of sheer rebellion to fight my anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes anxiety wins! but it does get smaller as i get stronger and thats encouraging.

3) It makes mundane, average situations to a non-sufferer, triumphant achievements to a daily sufferer – It may sound silly, but things like going the shop can be a difficult task for someone who suffers with anxiety, especially if they suffer from social anxiety. So going to a shop, which can be the most mundane thing to a none sufferer can be the biggest achievement for a daily sufferer. Sometimes social situations are the hardest, a fear of rejection or saying the wrong thing when put under pressure, so even the smallest of things can feel like the biggest of achievements, of which they are! and should be celebrated.

4) It helps me appericate the outdoors and nature alot more. Sometimes when my anxiety is getting too much and i feel overwhelmed, just going to an open wide space, away from the hussle and bussle of life, being in the outdoors and surrounded by nature and the world’s natural beauty brings a tranquillity to my over exuberant mind. A calmness washes over me and i can appericate all the natural world has to offer. Its a medicine in itself and something i may not appericate as much if it wasn’t for my anxiety.

5) Its apart of my quirky character and i am blessed to have it – That may sound like an outlandish thing to say, why would anyone claim to be blessed with something that can limit their mental well being and daily life and alot of people suffer terribly with it! well i say it because if it wasn’t for my struggles, i wouldn’t of done half the things i have done now, i wouldn’t have the little quirks of being over sensitive and at times too loving (if that is possible), i wouldn’t be able to empathise half as much with peoples mental and personal struggles as i do due to my own suffering with mental and personal anxiety, i wouldn’t enjoy the outdoors as much as i do, i wouldn’t put myself in situations that make me uncomfortable, which means i wouldn’t of met half the people i call friends now or achieved most the things I have because i have forced myself out my comfort zone and been rebellious towards my fears. Its a thorn in my side, but without it im not sure I’d be the place i am today surrounded by the people i am. I wouldn’t be the person i am today!

Its like people say, how can you know loss if you haven’t experienced love first.

Sometimes in life we have to roll with the bad to appericate the good.

Although anxiety can deliberate me and if i allow it – suffocate me, without it, im not sure id appericate all the stuff i do now!

and at times of peace, i feel lucky to know what its like to feel unsettled, thats when you truly appericate what peace feels like most, when you’ve crossed the raging sea’s of life – and survived.

For more blogs follow: https://www.facebook.com/10pointpixelmama/

You’re not a Bad Mum.

Can you imagine going through 9 months of anticipating the arrival of your baby, the months of shopping for clothes and imagining what they are going to look like,decorating the room with personal touches, daily going through different names in your head, imagining how content you’re going to feel when the new addition arrives, like a real family, the family you have always wanted….and then labour begins – hours of pain, agony, tears maybe even complications…and finally that moment arrives where the midwife hands you the baby, your baby, the moment you have maybe even dreamed of since you were a little girl….and you hold your new baby and you wait….and you wait some more…waiting for that rush of love…. that explosion of joy and emotional connection, the fairy tale ending….but you feel nothing. Infact, you feel more than nothing, you feel the emptiness of nothing. That massive deep dark void and you think- What is wrong with me?

And everyone is rushing around telling you how beautiful your baby is and how well you have done and you are listening-but its not going in. Its like the words are hitting the sides and bouncing off. Its like suddenly you become this hollow shell and the world is moving so quickly around you and all you can do is sit in the deep, dark, emptiness of your hollow shell and go completely into yourself.

And the baby is crying and you are looking at this stranger relying on you so it survives and feels love but you feel hopeless.

And then people start to question your behaviour, question why you seem so detached and they ask do you not love your baby?? and you’re scared to answer, so you lie! you lie incase you are told you are a bad mother, incase someone deems you as unfit and sections you and decides to take the baby away…but then you question would it be so bad if the baby was taken away? maybe then someone could love it the way it deserves to be loved….and the loudest thought in your head is screaming WHY DON’T I LOVE MY BABY! over and over and over.

And then everything else is consumed by the grief you feel inside you. The grief of losing yourself, of losing your sanity of losing your love for your baby and you get mad and lash out…the house becomes a mess and your love life is down the pan, you stop taking pride in your appearance and getting up in the morning is becoming harder.

You find yourself crying alot and fearing the next time you have to interact with your baby. Aniexty takes a hold and you struggle to eat, feeling sick everytime you do. Your stomach is constantley upset and you start to feel physically poorly every day.

And friends want to come round and see you! texting upbeat messages asking how you are doing? hows the baby? bet you are so happy! and you reply:

“We are Fine! Yes, He/she is perfect, so inlove”

and your mind is shouting;

LIE

LIE

LIE

and you are crying inside screaming

WHY

WHY

WHY

And it gets to breaking point when you are around family or people who know you well and they suddenly stop and ask, What’s wrong, is everything Ok, you don’t seem yourself anymore?

And you can’t hold it in any longer! You start shaking and your lip starts to quiver, and it suddenly comes pouring out and you are consumed with shame and guilt,feeling dirty and more than anything like a terrible mother.

And opening up feels like this weight is being released, and all the shame is tumbling away and every bit of hurt for that moment is…Okay.

And then you are told,

Its okay. You are normal. You’re not a bad mother.

You are NOT a bad mother!!

So you seek help & the doctor puts a label on it and suddenly there is a name to this thing and it makes sense….and you are told how to cope,how to deal with the little things…and day by day it gets better, slowly bits of you start to come back and you catch yourself laughing and think- Wow, that wasn’t even forced! and then suddenley you stop analysing every feeling, every reaction,every emotion and then one day you are just you again…but this time a mother…who loves their child very deeply and its not forced. Its real. Real love. You weren’t crazy, just unwell and thats okay. Again everything is Okay.

PND can feel like this.

It consumes you with Guilt and shame, it turns you into a hollow shell. I felt like this way for about, truthfully, 3 years.

It was a process to feel normal again.

I can honestly say how much I LOVE my son now, we have a very close relationship and i still feel guilty at times for not feeling that rush of love for him straight away.

But you are not a bad mum for feeling this way.

The transition of being a girl to then a Mum is massive and not to be taken lightly. Sometimes the hormones and brain chemicals can cause all sorts of confusion and can cause this adverse feeling/reaction/disconnect towards your baby. Putting those two factors together can be a cocktail that creates PND ( Post Natal Depression) and the shame of not being open about how you’re feeling can be disastrous.

Always seek help for low mood after a baby, always! you don’t need to suffer as long as i did! Its okay not to be okay! Never feel ashamed for not feeling that rush of love, it doesn’t make you a bad mum!

But more than anything it is important to note that whatever you maybe going through, how ever you maybe feeling, YOU WILL GET BETTER!!

You don’t have to suffer alone.

Don’t hold it in.

Seek help.

ITS OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY.

YOU ARE NOT A BAD MUM.

Labour: Zombie Moose & Ring of fire.

When I was pregnant with both my children i went over by 2 weeks – Every twinge, strange movement or bit of wind and i’d be on Google going over the signs of labour trying to determine if i was in the early stages of labour or if that curry i decided to have was a grave mistake.

I had a textbook pregnancy with both my children! Infact, i was so in sync with my baby centre pregnancy app updates, i would almost know what the information would give me for that week.

I remember being told “No two labours are the same!” and that statement certainly is true.

With Oliver my waters went in the middle of the night, Running out my bed declaring I’d wet myself and I couldn’t stop, to then realise it was my waters…. the look on Andys face was a picture! like a rabbit caught in headlights, he shot out of bed like Oliver was about to roll out of me right that second onto the floor, little did he know he would have quite a long wait ahead of him.

Going to hospital was fine, the contractions hadn’t started and by the time they did i was in a hospital bed with gas and air firmly attached to my mouth. As the pain got stronger, i had an epidural before the contractions got too much to take, the epidural made me have a funny turn and as andy held the sick bowl under my mouth i realised all dignity i had left was swiftly leaving the building- I had a high pain threshold, but this was something else!

By 9.30pm the midwife said I was 10cms and i updated my Facebook status declaring it to the world, kinda gross imagery really for unsuspected scrollers, but i didn’t care.

30 minutes later and an 8lb10 Oliver was in my arms. All in all it took about 18 hours, but it was a really laid back, relaxing labour once pain killers had taken effect.

I remember being told to walk to the shower to clean myself up, the epidural was still wearing off so walking to the shower resembled something out of the walking dead as i dragged my clubbed feet towards it. Andy had to wash me as i was too weak and as we both glanced at each other i joked that life was about to get alot weirder than this, it didn’t, that still remains a very weird moment for me 😂

I remember even though the labour was totally relaxed suffering some sort of PTSD episode. I couldn’t sleep for days after and could physically hear myself using the gas and air machine, i felt like i had a tiny Darth Vader constantly breathing down my ear – it was disturbing to say the least. I kept replaying the labour over and over in my mind and feeling really overwhelmed.

I then suffered from a womb infection due to ruptured placenta being left in me. I felt quite traumatised by the whole experience and couldn’t fathom as to why until i later realised i had PND.

Fast forward 5 years and I was preparing myself to have a similar experience. But it was totally different in every aspect!!

Id spent the day walking around shops, going to the park with ollie, eating ice creams and then ready to demolish a chippy dinner when home. Id been timing tightenings all day, 5 minutes apart but i was booked in for an induction the next day and thought this was just wishful thinking.

I sat down to watch the start of X-Factor and couldn’t get comfortable, the tightenings had started to get closer together and i totally regretted all the junk food i had consumed being absoultey confident i wasn’t going into labour today – I was wrong.

Ringing the hospital i cried as the pain was almost unbearable, being told to come in i whispered to Andy we needed to go and whimpered towards the car.

Once we arrived at the hospital i was rolling about in pain, lying on the bed waiting to be examined, Mum and Andy tried to comfort me – but i was too far gone and felt like i was about to die.

As the midwife walked in she greeted me and then i died further as we established she was one of my make up clients and had to do an internal examination to see how dilated i was.

Theres always that awkward exchange of conversation as a familar face has their fingers inside you isn’t there – oh wait, that’s just me then. But we had established i was 5cms and ready to be admitted to the labour room. Walking along the corridor I’d stop to have a contraction and then carry on again.

When we got to the labour room, i saw my old trusty pal the gas and air machine and went to high town. The midwife had to take the gas and air out my mouth at one point because I’d been permanently high for about 5 minutes without a break. It was great.

Mum and Andy kept going for tea runs and trying to include me in their conversation, but i was so high id lost all hearing and just nodded along.

Begging for an epidural as the baby was back to back and every contraction felt like my back was breaking, but it wasn’t to be as Isabella had other ideas.

All of a sudden my body took over and without me even knowing what i was doing, my body made an involuntary push and i felt this elastic band pop inside and then my waters exploded! Literally- Exploded everywhere! Andy claimed it even made a popping sound and that was it, i was 10cms, and she was on her way.

I like to describe the noises i made during this next stage as a zombie moose during mating season. The noises where not of this world! So guttural and grotesque, i thought i was about to bring up a lung. I was also parted with my trusty friend and only pain overcomer id been granted, my beloved gas and air.

The best way i can describe this next pain is, if you open your mouth as wide as you can and then with your fingers stretch the side of your mouth until it burns….and then imagine that feeling 1000xs worse and in a delicate area and hey presto – welcome to the ring of fire!!!!!!!!

Being told to push through the pain i decided the midwife was right and i just had to grit my teeth and bare it.

And 4 pushes later, Isabella was out, all 9lb 3oz of her! Ouch.

This time was different, although the mini Darth Vader down my ear returned, the trauma didn’t. Ironically this labour being the more traumatic out the two.

I loved both my labour experiences and i am glad i got to experience a different type for each one, all my midwives where lovely and the aftercare was fabulous too.

But people who say you forget the pain once your children are in your arms are bare faced liars and would defiantly be the kind of people to take the minus offer on ‘The Chase’

I wouldn’t say you’d forget the pain, but i would say that your little bundles of love are worth the pain.

Every single ounce.

#MumBlog Cradle Cap Coffee.

My newsfeed overflows now-a-days with pregnancy or birth annoucments, I guess you hit a time in life where it’s just the normal next step, its either that or get a dog.

Refreshing my newsfeed I’d watch as new parents proudly post photos of their squishy new addition – it warms my heart, I’ve been there also, twice infact! I know the pride and joy you feel! How amazing it all is, the rush love….and then I wait….

Wait for what, Sophie?

I wait for the first person in the new parenthood lifestyle to post “Wish i was back here!” recapping a holiday throwback snap of their wild holiday a few years back or a status update of “Need a night out soon!”.

I’d watch as photos became fewer and fewer of little squishy Mcsquishins & facebook posts become either less frequent as your wrapped up in your new baby routined lifestyle or the complete opposite with status update after status update of “Urgh, so tired” or “The baby won’t stop being sick, what do i do?”- i was the latter.

Then i know the moment of reality has hit – that “Oh crap” moment. The, even though you adore your new addition, love beyond words, couldn’t imagine life without them… becoming a new parent and having to sacrifice your former habits and lifestyle can suck.

There where days at the beginning where id mourn my old lifestyle. Staying in became the new going out. Saturday nights became as mundane as a Monday morning, Sleep became a rare luxury and seeing your partner’s face everyday was a true test of patiences, but jail time didn’t appeal to me although id probably get more sleep.

Having children was a real test of character.

How can something so small divide and conquer every aspect of your life.

I remember one day crying in the bath from being so over tired. I was a mother of 2 and yet I’d reverted back to my 6 year old former self who needed her comfort blanket, a warm glass of milk and a nap.

If you flick through Instagram, you will see these perfect family insta profiles, it’s practically art! Every picture is like a scene from decor heaven! Not a thing out of place, the children are all attractive, the parents are like supermodels, even the pets look like they could model for vogue. Captions like “Just been to mexico for a family vay-cay, we ate avocados and saved whales”

And then theres little old me – My house looks like a bombs hit it, me and the children look feral and the last family holiday we went on was a caravan holiday to Wales where we slept in single beds and if i turned over id hit the caravan wall, which was literally like hitting the side of a drum cylinder, resulting in an hourly alarm clock, or clang. Livin.The.Dream.

Forcing myself to leave the house sometimes I’d go to a cafe and order the strongest coffee while picking my daughters cradle cap, id take a cheeky snap of us both and caption “Blessed” when literally two minutes before a piece of her scalp skin floated precisely into my coffee. Bet the Save the whale family didn’t have these problems.

But obviously i know that’s not true. You pick and choose the best bits to share on social media- it just my best bits are tainted with abit of cradle cap in my coffee.

Social Media is a device where you pick and choose the best bits you want to share, you can make a poignant life change seem like a walk in the park if that is how you want it to be perceived.

It’s funny how everyone knows becoming a new parent is tough and challenging, yet you feel ashamed to post about it and admit it incase you seem ungrateful for your baby or even worse, a bad parent.

I wish there was more realism in this world, maybe there would be less mental health issues if people could open up more about their struggles instead of magnifying are every triumph.

I think its perfectly normal and dare i say it, totally healthy to mourn your old lifestyle- id be concerned if you could still obtain it to it’s maximum capacity! or maybe concerned should be replaced with jealous and the question, How? either way, it’s a lifestyle change and a hard one at that!

It doesn’t mean you love your child any less.

Maybe your partner, but never your baby!

So for now, i’ll be having a cradle cap coffee for one in my messy house, followed by a cry and a nap and you sure ain’t going to see a picture of it hashtagged blessed because that’s just not how it goes down on social media….or maybe I’m about to start a revolution….

Featuring: Me & coffee, snapchat filter to hide the ming, oh and pink eye caught off my daughter. #Blessed

Jesus Wept.

Although the story of God on earth is an incredible one, i have always found a struggle in trying to relate in any sort of way to Jesus.

I related to most of the biblical characters on some sort of level, their struggles and pains, their imperfections and flaws, but Jesus, he was different- which of course was precisely the point…

I guess its an impossible task in reality, how can any human relate to God? Sure, we are his image bearers, but we could never truly understand on an emotional or intellectual level, God thoughts, for they are not our own.

Sinless on Earth, leading a perfect example and eternal legacy. Fully God yet fully Man, sure he got angry and flipped those tables, but it was a righteous anger, not one of malice or Jealously. Not a human response but a Godly display.

We hear about God getting angry alot in the Bible, You could say the Old testament displays Gods wrath.

But the shortest most poignant verse i have ever come across is:

John 11:35

Jesus Wept.

After losing his friend Lazarus, even though Jesus has every intention of raising him from the dead, Jesus Wept.

Maybe he wept for the grief of others, as Mary and Martha wailed and grieved, maybe Jesus was overwhelmed with human emotion for their loss.

But i like to think at that moment Jesus was experiencing a fully human emotion, weeping for the one thing Sin had claimed, Death.

It’s in that instance we can a relate to our God, for a grief brought on by death is an almost insufferable feeling, an impairable pain, a feeling of loss, despair and deep emotional turmoil, to think at that moment our God grieved the same way we do, its almost hard to imagine.

Death is the one thing sin claimed, but the one thing Jesus has overcome. This small but powerful verse “Jesus Wept” made Jesus completely human at that moment, a completely relatable human being, God grieved with us.

And it was at that moment, I related.

Thank you God.

Hope amoungst the wreckage.

Meet Horatio Gates Spafford.

Haratio was a prominent American lawyer and Presbyterian Church elder.

He is also someone i like to refer to as a “Modern day Job”

For those of you not familiar with the story Job, Job was a man of God. He had everything- land, live stock, a good family and was truly blessed by God. The Devil then asked God if he could torment Job, he wanted to prove that Job would disown God if he didn’t have all the blessings God had bestowed apon him.

God agreed.

Job lost his family, his live stock, his hope- But not once did he curse God, not even during the terrible advice his friends gave him, claiming Job had brought these calamities on himself due to his sinful nature, although we know that wasn’t the case, the Bible describes Job as “Blameless and upright, He feared God (Feared meaning respected) and shunned evil. Instead, Job stood by God during the trials, not once turning his back although hurting immensely.

In the end, God restored everything Job had to full capacity, blessing him more than ever before – and then some.

Got questions wraps it up like this:

https://www.gotquestions.org
Perhaps the greatest lesson we learn from the book of Job is that God does not have to answer to anyone for what He does or does not do. Job’s experience teaches us that we may never know the specific reason for suffering, but we must trust in our sovereign, holy, righteous God. His ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30). Since God’s ways are perfect, we can trust that whatever He does—and whatever He allows—is also perfect. We can’t expect to understand God’s mind perfectly, as He reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9)

Or how Matt Chandler puts it in his new book ” Take Heart- Christian courage in the age of unbelief”

Saint Augustine, the fourth-century bishop of Hippo, said that to be human is to have your face pushed up against a stained-glass window. You see some color, but you see a lot of glass fragments. It is only given to God and those who are with him to be back far enough to see the whole window. To put it differently, to tell God the Father that he should do things differently is to step into a three-hour-long movie for two seconds, and then step back out and lecture the director on the storyline. That’s what it’s like. You just don’t know, and he—the fountain of life—does.

As my husband says “You christians love a metaphor!” As you can tell, he doesn’t share the shame faith i do….But its an easier way to say we won’t always understand God’s great big plan- we see a tiny fragment, a blip of life in a 7,000 year old (Young Earth creationist) or 6 billion year old (Old earth) plan.

This now brings me to the story of Horatio Gates Spafford, Christian and well established Lawyer.

Married to Anne Larsen, the Spaffords where well known in Chicago – a prominent lawyer and a senior partner in a large and thriving law firm, they had it all.

The Spaffords invested in some real estate in the spring of 1871. But it wasn’t to be and in the October of that same year “The Great Fire of Chicago” reduced the city to ashes – including most of the Spaffords sizeable investment.

Fast forward some time later another tragedy was to hit the family, Scarlett Fever claimed the life of his 4 year old son. Could you imagine the absoulte devastation?

Horatio decided to take his family on a Holiday, sometimes getting away from it all can be refreshing for the soul. He decided to go to England where his good friend D.L.Moody would be preaching.

Because of buisness, he was delayed, but he sent his wife and his 4 daughters ahead of him, 11 year old Annie, 9 year old Maggie, 5 year old Bessie and 2 year old Tanetta.

On the 22 of November 1873, while crossing the Atlantic on the steamship “Ville du Havre” their ship was struck by an iron sailing vessel and 226 people lost their lives, including Horatio’s 4 daughters, his wife survived.

Once arriving in England she sent a telegram to her husband beginning “Survived alone” What harrowing words they must of been to read.

Stafford then sailed to England, having to go over the location all 4 of his children lost their lives.

The staffords went on to have another daughter, Bertha, who claims after all his loss, during that awful journey to England after losing almost everything, he wrote the well known hymn “It is well with my soul”

The original manuscript only has 4 verses and more have been added on over time, but the original verses go:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
(Refrain:) It is well (it is well),
with my soul (with my soul),
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
(Refrain)
My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
(Refrain)
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pain shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
(Refrain)
And Lord haste the day, when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

One more tradgey was still to come, They lost another child to Scarlett fever, their son Horatio Goertner died at just aged 3.

Out of the 8 children they had altogether, only 2 lived to old age. Their daughters Bertha and Grace.

So out of all this tragedy what hope they did have left?

After their at sea ordeal, Horatio and Anna became religious outsiders. They left their Presbyterian congregation and held faith based prayer meetings at their house. Their messianic sect was dubbed “The overcomers” by American press.

In August 1881, the Staffords set out for Jerusalem. A party of 13 adults and 3 children they set up an American colony. Reaching out to people of all religions, they gained the trust of Muslims, Jewish and Christian communities and engaged in philanthropic work (welfare of others) amongst the community of Jerusalem.

They went on to adopt 2 boys, both named Jacob.

What legacy did they leave by doing this?

During WW1 the American colony played a critical role in supporting Muslim,Jewish and Christian communities of Jerusalem through the great sufferings and deprivations of Eastern front by running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable ventures.

From this devastating story of loss came a story of Hope.

Although the Spaffords lost numerous children, their jobs and money, they continued walking continuously with God. Through their afflictions came life, think of the numerous lives saved during WW1 with the American colony they had opened, which came hospitals, orphanages and charities.

And a song to which is personally one of the moving hymns i have ever sang – to sing “It is well with my soul” with all the tradgey the family had suffered?!

A modern day Job truly.

The Staffords where used in a truly profound way, a way that they might have never lived to see, a way that during their live time felt like a life time of strife and destruction, but God had a bigger plan and even though they lost numerous children (although not lost, but with God now) they saved an amount unknown but could be thousands of lives in the american colony they went on to open.

Some times Gods plan is bigger than our life span and we suffer hurts we may never understand in this life time- but take courage in the fact there is a plan.

Amongst the wreckage, there is hope.

https://youtu.be/0nJ6wQpLmuo