Meet Krystal Anderson

September 01, 2017

With a rainbow shaped heart design in her logo, the blogger and card creator behind "With Love, Genesis and Joy" is Krystal Anderson. 

There was something about Krystal I wanted to know more about. I wanted to discover more about her ministry and how she got involved with making cards for grief mamas. With the questions I asked Krystal, I went more in-depth with her story and her experiences. Beautifully said, Krystal opened her heart and shared it with me. 

Thank you Krystal for sharing your story and your family with me. You have such a beautiful heart, family and a wonderful ministry that is helping so many mamas through their darkest days.

Through it all, Krystal has continued to grow her faith. And she shares that with us, too. "And if not, He is still good." Daniel 3:18

Keep reading to learn more about Krystal, her favorite scripture and her baby girl - Naomi Joy!

M: Tell me about yourself.
K: Hi! I'm Krystal. I was born in North Hollywood, California and lived in different parts of Southern Cali until I was eleven. My parents then decided to move us clear across the country to North Carolina to start a slower-paced lifestyle.

I was homeschooled for most of my school years, which allowed me to do school at my own pace. I graduated HS at sixteen and after taking about a year off, decided to pursue nursing school. After two failed attempts at the nurse assistant program (a prerequisite for nursing in NC), I decided it wasn't for me. I continued to work as an assistant manager at a Subway restaurant, which I both loved and hated!

I am a very shy, introverted person in real life, although my internet persona probably depicts quite the opposite! I love sitting on the porch, crafting, doing crossword puzzles, and thrifting. With a ten month old daughter running (yes, running - she started walking a couple weeks ago!) around the house, those activities are a little harder to enjoy, but I make time whenever I can.

I have a younger brother who serves in the Army, and a much younger adopted sister.

M:Can you tell me your story - about your two babies and your hubby?
K: I met my hubby in 2009 at Wal-Mart (of all places!). He worked there at the time, so every night when I got off work I'd go buy random items just so he could ring me up and make small talk. Since I worked at a Subway inside of the Wal-Mart, we'd get to see each other at work too! It got to the point where his managers wouldn't let him be on my side of the store anymore, so he had to start working the registers on the opposite side of the store! Oops.

After four months of dating, we married in August 2009. I was 18 and he was 20. I just know we got talked about so much, I'm sure everyone thought I was pregnant (but in this day and age, is that really the worst thing I could have been?), and I know no one really had any hope that we would last.

He joined the Marine Corps in November 2011 and left for boot camp the following summer. A few months after graduation, he got orders to Camp Lejeune, NC and we moved across the state together. He deployed shortly after, went on multiple short trips to various states, and I realized that we were apart more than we were together.

During a deployment on a MEU (marine expeditionary unit) overseas, we decided when he came home that summer we would try for a baby. We had been married for six years at this point and decided it was time. I must have gotten pregnant THAT NIGHT because I got a positive pregnancy about two weeks later! We were so excited, but also terribly nervous to be responsible for a tiny baby.

Our nights were filled with listening to music on the back porch, talking about baby names and what our future child might be like. We wanted him/her to grow up to love the Lord, worship with all their heart and soul, and genuinely treat each and every person with pure love. We took a week long vacation to Asheville, NC that summer and had a wonderful time.

But, when we came home everything changed. I had a follow-up ultrasound a couple weeks later, and it was then that it was discovered my precious baby had no heartbeat and had stopped growing a couple weeks prior. I cannot even describe what I felt in those moments, and I won't even try. It's a feeling only loss moms understand. Your entire world changes in a matter of seconds, and it completely crushes you.

I muddled through grief and shared my story occasionally over the next several months. I got pregnant in February 2016 with our rainbow, Naomi Joy. We decided on "Joy" for her middle name, because like the Bible says, " comes in the morning." She is a beautiful, loving, happy girl and I can't imagine life without her now.

M: Can you tell me about your ministry.
K: With Love, Genesis & Joy is a ministry dedicated to encouraging loss moms and honoring their babies on important days (usually due and birth dates) by sending a handmade card through snail mail. When I have other resources on hand, like devotionals/books, bookmarks, or small rainbow baby gifts, I include those in the envelopes too. Moms fill out a form online to request their card, and I add it to my calendar.

M: How did your ministry come to be?K: In the immediate weeks and months after my loss, I realized there were very little resources available to loss moms. A few of my friends had come forward and shared that they too, had suffered the loss of a baby, and wanted me to know I wasn't alone. About a year after losing Ivory, I started feeling a tugging on my heart to send cards to grieving moms. Everyone loves a handwritten sentiment received through snail mail, and moms who have lost a baby especially like to know they are not forgotten and neither is their baby. I received ten card requests the day of launch, and continue to average about 2-3 requests per day; you do the math! It's so bittersweet knowing how many women need a resource like this. 

M: You started in the spring of 2017, what are some goals you have for the future?
K: I would love to attend a conference or two as a sponsor. I have that opportunity this fall, which I am currently fundraising for! We'll see what the Lord does. Also, there is an annual 5k Race to Remember for babies gone too soon here in Little Rock. I would love to be able to set up a tent alongside other loss resources and provide some info an encouraging words. 

Overall, I just want to help as many mothers as I can. I know the pain firsthand, and it is so deeply touching to hear my baby's name from someone else and to know our little ones still matter. Due dates and loss dates are SO incredibly hard, but I believe by sending out these tiny sentiments I can make their day just a touch brighter.

M: So, how and why did you decide to do cards as a part of your ministry?
K: Everyone loves receiving handwritten letters via snail mail, right? I know I do, especially in this internet/texting-obsessed generation! I have a friend who still sends me postcards written in cursive and it makes me melt! I just think it's a much more personal token than sending an e-mail or text, especially to someone who is hurting.

M: What is the creative process in creating a card?
K: I usually design cards based off of what I receive in the card request. For example, if someone lost their son at 21 weeks, I wouldn't want to send her a card with pink ruffles and a quote about daughters. If this information isn't provided in the request, and sometimes it isn't, I still design one just for the person who requested it, but keep it pretty neutral. 

I pray over every card because I believe it takes it to an even deeper level - I don't just want to send someone a card, I want it to help them, comfort them, and give them hope. Sometimes the Lord shows me a specific verse or quote just for that person, so I'll write it in the card too. I have gotten a lot of e-mails about how certain verses rang true, or that my note was just what this person needed, which to me shows the prayers are working!

M: So I saw your fundraiser shirt, I absolutely loved it so much! Do you think you will open that up again?
K: Oh thank you! I actually reopened the campaign on August 25th and it will remain open until September 5. You can click here to buy.

M: What is something you want other grief mamas to know?
K: Most of all, I want them to know that they are not alone. Even if you don't personally know someone who has suffered loss, there is a whole world of us out here, all searching for community and for someone to understand our pain. I also want them to know that you WILL see joy again, and you WILL learn to live again. It just might take a while, and that is so totally okay.

M: Do you have a favorite scripture?
K: So many favorites, but Job 1:21 has become my mantra over the past couple of years. "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, but blessed be the name of the Lord." This verse can go along with so many of life's obstacles, not just baby loss. It has given me hope time and time again.

M: What would you like others to know about you and the work you are doing?
K: First of all, that I don't charge for cards! Seriously, I get a lot of people asking me how much they cost. Just wanted to clear that up :)

Also, I want people to know that this comes from my heart - my work isn't perfect but I put everything I have into it. I'm simply doing what God has called me to do and it brings me so much joy!

M: How did you deal with fear and anxieties after dealing with pregnancy after loss?
K: I worked in an ob/gyn office during my pregnancy, and that was both a blessing and a curse. Many times, it helped to reassure my fears, but many times it also showed that things can go wrong at any given second with no explanation.

I was incredibly nervous to be pregnant again after loss, and I didn't let myself get attached to Naomi while she was still inside my tummy. I was not one of those glowing, radiant women who loved being pregnant and who felt such a deep connection with her unborn child. Every day I prayed the God would protect my baby, that was all I could do. I knew that mentally I couldn't survive another loss, so that's one reason I had to distance myself during pregnancy and just let it be.

M: With your rainbow baby, how did it finally feel to hold your baby in your arms?
K: I remember the second she came out, she was placed on my chest and I said, "Her name is Naomi Joy." We had been going back and forth with middle names, and ultimately we decided to just name her when she was born. I just knew she would bring the JOY I was craving and seeking after loss.

That being said, I still was hesitant about getting attached. You'd think that since my baby was finally here, all would be well, right? She started nursing right away, calmed right down in my arms, and was so beautifully content, but why wasn't I over-the-moon and absolutely thrilled? Holding her immediately after delivery was incredible, and I couldn't believe that I had actually given birth!

But it was bittersweet. I haven't shared these feelings with anyone before, so some who read this might be surprised. I was upset that I couldn't hold Ivory and nurse her, I was upset that I had to go through the pain of loss to see my beautiful rainbow, I was upset that I "should" have two babies here on earth. As the days went on, it was clear I was struggling with postpartum depression. I got the help I needed and started feeling much better.

The bond with my daughter is so incredibly strong now, and I am so thankful to God for giving her to me and trusting me with her care. I can't imagine life without her. She is definitely my Joy. Moral of my long story: it's okay to need help. Pregnancy/parenting after loss is so hard. People who haven't been through loss don't understand that.

The day Naomi Joy was born.

M: How have your strengthened your faith throughout this journey?
K: I had to learn to rely on God in ways that I never have before. I had to trust His plan and know that nothing happens to me that He doesn't already know about. I had to trust Him to carry me when I felt like I couldn't carry on, and when I had days where I didn't want to wake up. He is so, so good. That is hard to understand in the fresh pain of loss, but now, nearly two years later, I am beginning to see it.

Connect with Krystal Anderson
Instagram: @genesisandjoy

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