Portraits of Grace – Trina Burgdoff

     With Trina’s permission, I am posting this from her Facebook post: I don’t usually post our personal life like this but it’s been on my heart and I felt the need to share. If I can help one person, then I’ll know my struggles have a purpose! Bear with me….Here we go: I had a lot of medical issues after having Aria. I had endometriosis and after surgery the pain came right back. My doctor suggested “shutting me down” and putting me through early menopause. With that came a lot of side affects. Weight gain, change of texture of hair, mood swings, etc. After 4 months of being in early menopause, I started feeling weird so the doctor took me off the meds.

     The doctor said the next thing to help me with my endometriosis would be to try to get pregnant! My husband and I were ok with that but didn’t expect it to happen as fast as it did. We found out really early that I was pregnant. I had blood work to check my levels to make sure they were elevating, in which they were. I was very nauseous and very sick. April 25th I went in for my first ultrasound. My husband was out of town with military stuff, so I told him to keep his phone close by. The dreaded three words came out of the tech’s mouth “there’s no heartbeat.” I was in shock at first because I had no signs of this miscarriage. I’ve had a miscarriage before so I knew the signs to look for, but I had NONE of that.

     The technician then explained to me that I was supposed to be 9 weeks 2 days but the fetus was only measuring 6 weeks and 1 day. I then lost it. Our 2-year-old daughter was in the room with me. How am I suppose to tell her that her “sister” had no heartbeat? She was so excited for a “baby sister.” She hugged me and said “mommy don’t feel good.” I left it at that. I’ll explain to her later. Now I had to call my husband. How was I supposed to hold it together to tell him such bad news? We didn’t even have each other to physically lean on because he was out of town. That was a hard phone call to make, but we survived.

     I went in to talk to the doctor (who was so nice and showed so much empathy). Because I didn’t have any signs of a miscarriage, he wanted to give me another week to see if I would miscarry naturally. A week later, still no symptoms of a miscarriage, so I went back in for another ultrasound. Thankfully my husband was back and he could be there. We heard the three dreaded words again “there’s no heartbeat.“ The baby had not grown plus this tech showed us how there was no blood flow to the sac. At this point, the doctor gave us 3 options to miscarry. We chose an option, but the first attempt didn’t work so I had to do it again. It was emotionally and mentally so hard!

     Through this whole process, I’ve tried to not question God because God has a plan for us all. He knows the ending. But as a human, I’ve been trying to figure it all out, but that’s been putting more of a stress on myself. I’ve put the guilt on myself questioning, “What did I do?” “Was there something wrong with the baby?” “Is something wrong with me?” “Am I not capable or strong enough for two kids?” “Am I not doing what God wants me to do?” This is where the devil has attacked me and gotten in my head, gotten in our marriage by trying to get me to lean on him instead of the One that I’m supposed to.

     I didn’t share this story for sympathy. I don’t know who needs to read this but the devil attacks the ones he knows are growing closer to God. I’m not sure why we had to experience what we’ve been through but this is our story. Maybe someone else is going through the exact same thing and needs to know they are not alone. Whether it be a miscarriage, infertility, whatever it may be!!!! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

     To say this has been easy and that my faith has been so strong would be a lie. There have been a lot of weak moments for me the past couple of weeks. I do want to say  thank you for the ones who have reached out to us and who have prayed for us!

     I want to end this on a positive to show you where I am right now. Through all this, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions, of pain, of frustration, of sadness, and of anger. But at the end of the day, we have a beautiful daughter who God has blessed us with. He gave her to me when I didn’t want a child. He knew the puzzle piece that was missing in mine and my husband’s life. Although my heart breaks because I won’t be able to hold our daughter’s “sister” in November, I am forever grateful that God allowed our daughter in my arms the past two years. God continues to touch our lives! Our story isn’t over yet. Move over, devil, you didn’t win this one!!

Portraits of Grace – Tina Hice

      My name is Tina Hice. My husband is a Pastor in Salamanca, NY. I have 5 children and 3 grandchildren. My two passions besides my family are helping ladies overcome their brokenness while learning to use it for good and teaching families how to use God’s creation to better their health both physically and mentally. I love teaching on these topics and do so as often as I get the opportunity! I have a Facebook page called Broken But Not Finished. Psalm 147:3 “He health the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” My business is Oil is Well and my healthy website is www.myyl.com/oil.iswell  III John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

My name is not “Divorced”

      When I was asked to write this testimony, I was a little uneasy at the way I believe the Lord was asking me to write it. See we all have things in our lives that tend to define us if we let them. Things like abuse, divorce, death etc. These things although difficult to overcome, do not have to define who we are! Failure is an event, it is never a person! The only time failure becomes a person is if you quit after the last failure.

      We all have a story! We all have brokenness; my brokenness does not define me. It does not make anyone else’s brokenness more or less difficult to bear. It is simply my story of God’s grace!

      My story is tainted with abuse, divorce, a chronically ill child, 2 total loss house fires, infidelity of a spouse, miscarriages and more. Yes, I am a broken person with a broken past and probably some brokenness in the future, but I am so much more… I am a Child of the Living God! I am a product of His mercy and Grace!! Jeremiah 29:11 “ For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you and expected end.” He knows where you should end up and if you let Him, He will get you there in spite of our failures!

      To sum it up, I was in an abusive marriage for 10 years. I could write books on God’s love, protection and grace towards me and my children during those years. I did everything I knew to do, prayed and sought Godly counsel from my preacher. I did not and still do not believe in divorce, but in the end, it happened. I remember listening to Bible on cassette almost 24 hours a day to keep my mind right. God held me through those times and answered so many prayers! I did not deserve His love, but He reached down and gave me peace that truly passed all understanding!! What a wonderful, merciful God.

      I write all this to say, I am divorced but that doesn’t define me! I am a Child Of God, and that is what defines me. God has blessed me beyond measure. I truly believe if I had pursued a divorce or left the Lord and sought my own happiness, He would not have blessed me as much. Even though He has blessed me, sin comes with a price. Whether mine or yours, sin affects those around us. I have watched my kids have to go through such difficulties as a result. But I have also watched as God has showed them His power first hand. I want to say, if you are married, fight for your marriage!!!! If you have already suffered a divorce, or any brokenness, that does not mean God is done with you! Get up and serve Him! He loves you!

Portraits of Grace – Mary Chacon

My name is Mary Chacón. My husband is Evangelist Carlos Chacon. We have been serving the Lord For almost 18 years. God has allowed me to be the mother of two beautiful daughters, Carla and Celeste.

When we started our ministry we had only one thing, “Faith.” We did not have vehicles. We did not have a tent or equipment. We did not have a house nor children. We had only that simple faith, that two young people starting their life together believed that the grace of God could do something with their lives and we only prayed for our requests.

A few months passed and I found out that I was pregnant with two babies (twins). That joy of motherhood was in our lives, but in a few months I suddenly lost my pregnancy (Miscarriage). A sadness flooded my heart. We were traveling and were far from our family and in case it was not enough my husband arrived late to a missionary appointment in a church that evening that he had to keep. We were living off of love offerings only at that time. When he got home, I asked him how it went. Did you present the ministry? He said no because he was late. Oh, but did you explain why? Yes. I had another question, but did the church pray for me at least? He answered, “No.”

A feeling of sadness flooded my heart thinking, “Lord, we are alone!” The Lord with his sweet voice said to me, “Yes, daughter, I am trying to teach you a lesson. You and your husband are alone, both in my hand.”

Isaiah 41:9-10 Thou whom I have taken from the end of the earth. And called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee,thou art my servant;I have chosen thee and not cast thee away. Fear thou not;for I am with thee:be not dismayed; for I am thy God:I will strengthen thee: yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

[Bettina’s note: Mary has been a long time writer of Spanish devotionals on Facebook. You can find and follow her page at “Hadasa Devocionales by Mary Chacón.”]