Today’s guest is Sarah Rieke.
Sarah knows loss and grief. She has lost two babies shortly after giving birth due to a rare genetic anomaly. Her story is one of loss but also of great hope in Christ. Without Him she would truly have no hope. With Him, she can see the beauty in her pain and look forward to the day when she will be reunited with her babies again.
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SHELLEY. Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast! I’m your host, Shelley Hitz and today’s guest is Sarah Rieke. Hey! Sarah.
SARAH. Hi! Shelley how are you?
SHELLEY. I am doing great. I’m so thankful that you’re willing to come and share part of your story. I have to admit like you you know you sent it to me and I was tearing up just reading it so I know it’s going to bless a lot of people but just as an introduction for those of you listening.
Sarah knows loss and grief she’s walked through it. She has faced the reality of losing two babies shortly after giving birth due to a rare genetic anomaly. Her story is one of loss but its also one of great hope in Christ. Without Him she would truly have no hope. But with Him, she can see the beauty in her pain and look forward to the day when she will be reunited with her babies again.
So today Sarah’s going to share her story and just to start off Sarah can you share with us a little bit more about what the broken crayons look like in your life.
SARAH. Sure! So July of 2012 my husband and I went in to for a routine ultrasound to find out the gender of our baby with our second child and we found out it was a girl but that she had several fetal anomalies and wouldn’t live long if at all after birth and so I spend the remainder of my pregnancy you know with that information so that was the halfway point so I had four more months here I her knowing that information.
So that was you know difficult to say the lease. And I think another aspect to the broken crayon was that I was just that I had to figure out you know how this why God was allowing this in my life because my husband and I both were followers of Him and we lived our lives to please Him and it was sort of like you know where did this come from and so I have to kind of reconcile that – why are bad things happening to good people idea so yeah.
SHELLEY. Yeah, and so when you found out that your baby had this rare genetic anomaly were you – did anyone like encourage you to have an abortion or to end the pregnancy?
SARAH. They did present us with that option that day we know speaking with the doctor after my appointment but it was never something we consider.
SARAH. But I do have to say in that moment I remember thinking this is scary and this is why people choose it.
SARAH. You know I – you know we knew that that wasn’t our choice but I do remember having that thought like you know this scares, this could be scary for anyone and especially someone who’s walking without Christ.
SHELLEY. Right. Now when your baby was born how long did your baby live?
SARAH. She lived for 4 hours, just a little under 4 hours.
SHELLEY. I just I mean I can’t even imagine what that would be like and what it would feel like and then not only that but then you had a second baby with the similar condition right? How many years were in between that?
SARAH. We had a healthy pregnancy my daughter Jocelyn was born after Evey passed away so she was born 2014 and then 2015 we had a son Charlie and he passed away to the same genetic anomaly that the doctor still don’t have a name for it they haven’t been able to it.
SARAH. Even though we did you know second time around we did go a little bit further with genetic testing and still they haven’t given us anything conclusive except to just assume that we have a 25 percent chance each pregnancy of the same.
SARAH. So yeah it’s kind of heavy but.
SHELLEY. Wow – so Evey and Charlie.
SHELLEY. Wow. Now in this whole process like what do you think was your lowest point? Like you know was it one of the pregnancies, was it when they passed their funerals like what would you say had been the lowest point?
SARAH. I feel like I’ve had several (LOL).
SHELLEY. Right, definitely.
SARAH. One that stands out the most as like an actual turning point that was like a decision process was when I was pregnant with Evey I just remember one you know just a few days after we received the diagnosis just having like almost throwing a tantrum in my head like you can’t make me do this, like I’m just not going to do it and of course you know that’s just isn’t possible.
But I was starting with this little tantrum and then He just kind of put it in my heart like you know she’s going to pass away whether you have a good attitude or not the outcome is going to be the same and so its up to you to choose to glorify me through this or you know I don’t even know what the alternative was. So that was a definite turning point of like my husband said this is where the rubber meets the road if we really believe what we say we believe about our faith and about Christ and about God sovereignty and so you know that that was a really big turning point I just realized the outcome is going to be the same I might as well just do it as well as I possibly can and bring glory to God and you know lift people up and bring people along with me in the process.
SHELLEY. And it sounds like it was the time of surrender, would you say that’s true?
SARAH. That was a great word.
SHELLEY. And I almost want to cry right now because I think about all the parents that even you know how their children with them but they’re in a place where they need to surrender their child to the Lord and whether its in a situation as like you know tragic as yours or whatever situations of parent is walking through like that is a huge huge step and you know I know it had to been really really hard.
SARAH. Yeah it was not easy but it was necessary and definitely a turning point.
SHELLEY. Yeah. What do you think has help you the most and or you know what was the process you know after loosing two children I mean most parents have no idea what it’s like to even loose one but to loose two children like how – how did you cope, how did you deal with this?
SARAH. Hmm (LOL) – well I feel like I just couldn’t loose hope and the fact that I knew where they were, where they were headed and you know because of my faith in Christ where I will be going to be headed and so just keeping on an eternal perspective and I mean its like the most delayed gratification you could possibly imagine its really hard when your heart is hurting so much.
SARAH. Just to know that this isn’t it it’s not it and I truly believed that – so just you know looking forward and you know very very forward into you know when we all are in heaven with the Lord face to face just, I just never you know keeping that hope was crucial I’d say – crucial.
SHELLEY. Oh yeah, just knowing that you’ll see them again reunited again. I my family on my mom side we’ve lost two of my cousins in their teenage years and my aunt my one aunt said you know you get through it but you never get over it loosing a child. And so anyone who’s maybe just lost a child or really grieved someone close to them what piece of advice or encouragement you might have for them?
SARAH. Yeah I would say I’d probably just reiterate what I just said you know not loose that eternal perspective.
SARAH. And some days that’s all you have you know, some days you know you can count your blessings all you want and you can you know turn everything back to praise and those have got me through you know really dark times that I’m not putting them down at all those are really great strategies for getting through something difficult that sometimes you’re just really tired of finding something to be thankful for your really tired trying to turn it all back to praise and the only thing you have is like Lord thank you that this is not the end. Thank you that you’ve died for me and that you died for my babies and that we’re going to be together again sometimes that’s all you have so I will just say keep that eternal perspective as much as you can and yeah that will carry you through.
SHELLEY. I appreciate that you know just glimpse and the reality because I think that’s what I want our listeners to know is we all have those moments we have all days we don’t feel like we have anything to say that were grateful for to you know turn to praise but to know that its not the end. You know Lord thank you that this is not the end, thank you that there is more, thank you that you know I will be reunited with them and you know whether its miscarriage or losing a child or losing a loved one you know we can have that hope you know in Christ when we know that that you know we are in Christ and that you know they are in Christ especially I mean you know baby you know just knowing that you know from the beginning. What scripture would you say has really encouraged you throughout this experience in this journey?
SARAH. Yeah, there have been several but I was trying to pair it down to one.
SHELLEY. Yeah (LOL)
SARAH. But I think one really big one is Psalm 119:68 its just really simple “You are good and You only do good.” And you know I feel like anybody can look at my situation and call it bad.
SARAH. You know I mean myself included that I can call what happen to me good because I know its working good in God’s kingdom. And it is working good in me and people that have watched it happen you know its work good in them and I believe that one day when I’m in heaven I’m going to you know the Lord’s going to show me all the details and say you know this is the good that came out of the really hard thing that you had to go through and you know here on earth I don’t think we have the perspective that the Lord has to call something good or bad and – but one day we will and so that’s give me a lot of hope.
SHELLEY. Yes, amen. Well if somebody is really resonated with your story or wants to follow-up with you more where can they find you online?
SARAH. Yeah, so I have a website sarahrieke.com I have a blog and a podcast as well and so yeah there’s more of my story on both of these places.
SHELLEY. Yeah, could you spell your name so of course?
SARAH. Yes, sure.
SHELLEY. Yeah (LOL)
SARAH. Sarah with an H so S A R A H – R I E K E.com.
SHELLEY. Yes, so definitely check her out check out her podcast and the title of your podcast is?
SARAH. Its heart lessons – The Heart Lessons Podcast.
SHELLEY. The heart lessons and that was kind of birth out of some of your pain, right?
SARAH. Definitely yes, at the end of dean of last year when I was sort of processing Charlie’s death you know my sick baby – I was just really seeking the Lord of you know why did this happen to me twice and what am I supposed to do you know with this story and that so yeah so He would let me do podcast thing in which Its been fun, its been an adventure its been really really good.
SHELLEY. Yeah, I mean that’s definitely one way that God has turn this mess, this strategy, this pain into a masterpiece He’s using it to help other people, He’s using it for His glory and just using what you’ve walked through and you know I always say that you know God can turn our messes into masterpieces.
SARAH. Yeah, I would say I am a masterpiece in progress (LOL)
SHELLEY. Yes (LOL)
SHELLEY. Are we all, right?
SARAH. Yeah. He’s shown, he’s brought a lot of beauty from ashes but definitely I’m still – He’s still working in me so (LOL).
SHELLEY. Well I love that that realness because that’s just the way we all are. You know we all are continuing to walk through each day with Him one thing at a time. It’s layers I said its like layers of an onion you know and He keeps bringing healing in deeper ways.
But thank you so much for being just willing to share your story, being willing to be a light in the darkness and I just really appreciate you and I pray that those of you that are listening have been inspired, have been encouraged and if any of you have a story to share or know someone that has a story to share we’d love to feature you on the podcast, you can find out more at shelleyhitz.com/story. So thank you for listening and we will see you next time bye!
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