Autumn Tolliver Safley didn’t realize that when she put on her t-shirt to make a quick trip to Hobby Lobby that it would change other peoples’ lives. And that’s no exaggeration.
She carefully selected the top for its meaning to her personally, but she had no idea that anyone else would really ‘get’ it.
She told Independent Journal Review that at first her husband wanted her to reconsider wearing the shirt:
“My husband was concerned that no one would understand what the shirt meant and might derive other interpretations from it. We both have prayed for opportunities to share our story and uplift other hurting couples so it had nothing to do with him wanting me to keep quiet about our losses.”
She, on the other hand, never thought twice about covering her belly with a rainbow:
The shirt reads, “You’re looking at a rainbow.” And that’s because after two miscarriages, Autumn was carrying their third child. A ‘rainbow baby‘ was now in her womb.
Autumn told KARK-TV that she’d had the shirt for awhile:
“We lost two babies back-to-back actually — both around the holidays. I think I actually bought that shirt after my first miscarriage and lost that baby and never even was showing yet, so I didn’t wear that shirt. [This was] the first time I wore that top.”
Autumn was conducting the very perfunctory task of going to Hobby Lobby to shop, but in doing so she made a bold statement about her prospects for a healthy delivery and her faith in God’s promises.
That’s when things got really interesting.
Because that’s when Courtney Mixon saw her.
Courtney told Independent Journal Review that the second she saw Autumn’s shirt she knew that they shared a bond:
“When I first saw her shirt, I was a little bit excited. I thought to myself ‘I have to tell her that i love that shirt!!!’ I’ve heard of the rainbow babies, but I never saw a shirt like hers.”
Because she and her husband were going through the same thing:
“About a month ago I was literally screaming ‘WHY CAN’T I GET PREGNANT!!!!!????!!!! WHEN WILL IT BE MY TIME???’ So as I started getting ready for a close friend’s baby shower, I went to Hobby Lobby and I was just going to leave because I didn’t see anything I would want to get for her.”
“I went through one last time to look at decor and I found this awesome sign for her. It read ‘Hello Little Sailor’ and I’m standing in line, I see her…. And it was like a moment God whispering ‘See… Stop trying to rush your story.'”
She told Independent Journal Review she was so moved by this meeting that she asked to take Autumn’s photo. Courtney had left her phone in her car so she asked to use Autumn’s phone to take a photo and text it to herself.
She later wrote about their encounter on her Facebook page, where it has gone viral and thousands and thousands of people have heard their stories:
“Alright standing in line at NLR Hobby Lobby I see this a rainbow heart printed on her belly. I automatically knew what it meant. She had suffered a miscarriage and now she was carrying a beautiful rainbow baby.
As she passed me I had to speak up. I said I love your shirt! She replied that her husband was hesitant for her to wear it (because people wouldn’t know what it meant) I then told her it’s so taboo to talk about miscarriages and I was proud of her for wearing it.
I told her my story and she told me hers.
We hugged and said we would keep each other in our prayers! Me for her baby’s continuing good health and her for me to conceive. I asked to take a pic and realized I left my phone in the car. She handed me her phone and sent that picture to me. She’s such a beautiful woman and mommy!!! A complete stranger….Thank you Autumn for making me and my husband’s day! Please share this so maybe she can see how much she touched our hearts…❤️????????????????”
The ‘chance’ encounter gave her hope. And it confirmed something for Autumn, as she told KARK-TV:
“I feel that it’s God showing me that he’s got this and everything’s going to be ok.
It’s God’s way of showing His glory, honestly. It’s like ‘hey’ this is something beautiful and something that people need to hear. The story of hope and perseverance.”
Courtney told Independent Journal Review that she is overwhelmed with the response to her Facebook post:
“I’m getting so many messages just telling me thank you or you are awesome for raising awareness. I never thought in a million years it would get this far! I’ve done 3 interviews with people. And I’m still in shock and awe.”
The taboo subject of miscarriage is an open topic on her Facebook page now:
People have been blessed and encouraged by the women’s stories:
Courtney has openly thanked her newfound friend Autumn for letting her tell the story:
Courtney told Independent Journal Review that she still hopes to get pregnant, while Autumn told us that her little son is kicking up a storm. He’s due December 1st.
Both women have pledged to continue praying for one another.