We’ve come a long way since we started Tender Mercies last June. In the last nine months God has guided our hands in helping others during the loss of their child(ren). We’ve been a source for memory boxes and other cherishable items donated to the parents and families, we’ve hosted our first of many memorial events, and we’ve been able to meet with and talk through some of the most heartbreaking stories ever told by grieving parents. We have made life long friends through this foundation and we have started to open Southern Illinois up to a new community of support. With your support and God’s will, together we have been brought to a place where we will be able to help families for a long, long time to come. There is no doubt though that God has so much more in store for Tender Mercies and Southern Illinois. Things we probably can’t even imagine right now.
One of our long term goals since we started TMFSI was to provide a safe and comforting resting place for children sleeping in Christ. It is one of the hardest things a parent will ever do to lay their child to rest, but we know just how important those moments are. It is more likely that parents will be faced with the decision on where they might bury their child only moments before or after their passing than it is that they have a plan in place for such occasions. Some have family plots that are available to them and some have not even had the discussion for themselves, let alone their children. There are visitors to our area that do not plan to stay. There are those that simply cannot afford to purchase a forever place their child.
This is why we are excited to build Tender Gardens, a resting place for children and babies in our area. We envision a beautiful garden with the most peaceful landscaping. Imagine a weeping willow blowing ever so softly in the wind and the flowers of spring and summer bringing a little peace to the soul as you take one step after another into a world you hoped you would never see. A fountain that you can hear gently in the background flowing peacefully like a creek winds through the rocks and then throughout there are statues reminding us that our babies are safe and home in Jesus’ arms. Tender Gardens will be a peaceful place. A place where you could sit and hear natures lullaby keep you while your sweet baby sleeps. God has placed the vision of this tranquil place in our hearts to offer to anyone that may need it.
This year we have found that those we’ve been able to touch through Tender Mercies, as well as those that have been affected in the past or through others stories, have found it in their hearts to help us in our mission to grow Tender Mercies and all God calls us to do. We have decided that any donation that has been made as a memorial in the name of a loved one will be dedicated to funding Tender Gardens. We would like to honor donations and will promise to incorporate them into the gardens in some way.
At this time we are in the very beginning stages and we are currently searching for the perfect property. If you have, or know someone might have, two to three acres available we would be interested in talking with you. Once we have the site chosen we will then begin designing the garden and begin our fundraising efforts to accomplish all that such a garden requires.
In the meantime, we will continue doing what God has called on us to do and be there for those that need us. Thank you to anyone who has ever shared one of our posts, talked with others about Tender Mercies, attended an event, sponsored and event, donated your time and talents to making the memory items that are so special for the families, and especially those that keep us in your prayers. You have made all the difference and have allowed us to be there for others we may have never had an opportunity to otherwise. May God bless you all.
-Autumn, Kasey & Lauren