Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My Boys

I wanted to post a few pictures of my boys tonight as I sit here and remember why I am so blessed in this life... and why I look forward to life eternally with Christ.












"Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:5- Deacon's verse


Monday, February 25, 2008

On the Other Side...

If I were on the other side of this blog and hadn't walked this journey, I would still be acting like I had it all together.

... I would still be worrying about my house being clean instead of sitting on the floor and playing with my child.
... I would still be easily sidetracked with the latest news or Hollywood gossip instead of investing in mine and others' eternity.
... I would still be thinking about how mundane my days can become instead of how lucky I am to be home and watch my child grow.
... I would still be concerned about how close my children are in age instead of how much they could love each other.
... I would still be frustrated when my child is sick or needy instead of how thankful I am to have a healthy child that can challenge me.
... I would still be talking a hundred miles an hour instead of listening to truly understand.
... I would still be saying I am going to pray for you and getting too busy and forget.
... I would still be worrying about my agenda for life instead of listening to God's.

If I were on the other side of this blog, I would think "she sure has been through a lot" and "I feel so sorry for them" and quietly be so thankful that it wasn't happening to me.

But then...

I wouldn't have been blessed to see the face of my second son.
I wouldn't have known such tremendous love and such devastating loss.
I wouldn't have been able to see how the Lord can work through such uncertain times.
I wouldn't have been brought to my knees and my face in prayer.
I wouldn't have had this heart for families that have lost a child.
I wouldn't have known what it meant to truly long for Heaven.
I wouldn't have understood peace that passes all understanding.
I wouldn't have met such amazing people that have strengthened and sustained me.
I wouldn't have been overwhelmingly surrounded by friends and family.
I wouldn't have known the meaning of being united in everything with my husband.
I wouldn't have had such a beautiful way to share about Heaven with Deacon.
I wouldn't have witnessed how God can dramatically answer prayer.
I wouldn't have been on the receiving end of such love and service to our family.
I wouldn't have realized how short, yet precious life can be.
I wouldn't have understood what Christ means by trusting Him in all circumstances.
I wouldn't have felt the Lord carry us as we persevere under trial.
I wouldn't have been able to share our testimony of His faithfulness with so many people.
... I simply wouldn't have understood how God's plan could be fulfilled through a baby that just lived an instant...

I wouldn't have known my Maddox.

If I were on the other side of this blog, I would still be a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend that sought to understand suffering and trials... Now I can be that person, because I do.


(The inspiration for this post is from my sweet friend Jessica Pruitt- THANK YOU!)

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test, he will received the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."- James 1:12

Prayer for Chrissy and baby Eva

Please pray for Chrissy, Vinnie, baby Eva and their two other children (Dominic and Mya) as Chrissy is now in the hospital after steady contractions sent her to L&D. She is 35 weeks along today and is the last of these sweet girls I have gotten to know carrying T18 babies to deliver. I have felt very burdened for her as she has consistently watched each of our stories play out differently in the beginning, yet seen all of us send our children home with Jesus.

Please pray that her contractions will stop and that she will be able to return home until their scheduled date of March 17th. Please pray for the safety of her and baby Eva... and if she does have to deliver today, that Eva will be born alive. Please pray for peace, strength, comfort and trust in the Lord, whatever may come.

You can check for any updates on their blog about this journey with baby Eva. Thank you for praying!


"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."- James 1:17

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Prayer for the Bolte Family

Friends, I thank you so much for remaining faithful and continuing to pray for families, as you are also praying for us. I pray, as a friend recently said as well, that our hearts don't ever become indifferent to so many stories of difficulty around us...

Prayers tonight are for Kristy and Howard Bolte and their unborn son they have affectionately nicknamed "Happy"... They are walking a very difficult road that many of us can't fathom. They lost a son Isaac a few years ago and seem to be walking an identical journey now with their fourth son. They have two boys, Luke and Ben, that are at home tonight that are in need prayer as well as they await the arrival of their little brother. Please pray for peace, comfort and understanding as they are hurting tonight... their due date wasn't until early April, but repeated ultrasounds have shown this little guy to be struggling. They will be delivering either tonight or tomorrow morning. Please check out their blog (listed under Praying for More Families) for further updates and be in prayer for them tonight and tomorrow!

Blessings as each of you are so faithful in your prayers. Thank you!

"I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me."- Psalm 16:7-8

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Prayer with Legs

These last few weeks Dr. Young has continued to preach from the Book of James. The sermons have been incredible for me. He has spoken so many things that the Lord has used to touch my heart and remind me how blessed and thankful we are, even in our current circumstances, as we push on and seek joy without our precious second son.

Last week Dr. Young spoke on James 2 and faith and good works. It has always been something that has left me a little uncomfortable because I KNOW that we are saved through the blood of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection... but I also know that works play into this equation and I could never fit it just right. Kind of like a puzzle and I couldn't get that little piece in correctly... I kept looking at it, studying it... but it never seem to fit and without the piece, the puzzle was incomplete. Well, thankfully he cleared that all up for me two Sundays ago.

He spoke about how we are justified by our faith in Jesus Christ and how our salvation (spending eternity with Him in Heaven) is sealed in that moment. But, if we truly want to live the life Christ is asking of us, our lives must bear fruit. We must live according to His Word, allowing our lives to reflect the love He has for us, through works. Works are the outward demonstration, or fruit, of our intimate walk with him, living according to His will and His Word... without those works, our faith is essentially dead. "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26

Dr. Young then began to give an example of this and spoke about how often we tell people we are praying for them... that is AWESOME! Everyone loves to hear that they are being prayed for and lifted up to the Lord... However, sometimes the Lord calls us to more than just prayer. He calls us to take action based on the knowledge that He has given to us about a certain need or certain situation. Sometimes, in those situations, when we tell people that we are praying, but know instead that there is more that could be done, we aren't being obedient. Faith is obedience and as Dr. Young put it, sometimes "prayer without legs must be an abomination to God." He has given us the wisdom and insight to see a need, and yet many times we chose to ignore it.

Well, I am here to tell each of you, personally, individually... that you have been obedient to the call that the Lord has placed on you. You have faithfully prayed for our family...but your prayers have also had legs. You have brought meals. You attended the benefit for our family in memory of Maddox. You have helped us financially with medical and funeral costs. You have donated in Maddox's memory to NILMDTS, The Trisomy 18 Foundation, the March of Dimes. You have sent gifts. You have sent cards of loving, encouraging words. You have commented on this blog. You have called. You have emailed. YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY SURROUNDED US~ and all we can do is thank you.

There seems to be no possible way to individually thank each one of you, and even if it were possible (as I told some of my friends), words wouldn't be nearly adequate. We are so grateful for your support, for your love, for your friendship, the financial help, the meals, and most importantly for your prayers! A speaker recently stated, God is not good because of my present or lasting circumstances, He is good because He is faithful. Let me tell you... He has been so faithful to us and we are blessed.

Interestingly, that same speaker also said this: God is more interested in changing my heart than changing my circumstances. As much as I prayed that Maddox would be healed this side of Heaven, my Heavenly Father knew that instead of changing Maddox's condition, He could simply change my heart. It was a win-win. Maddox would spend eternity with Him, and I would be renewed... and for some reason, He knew that Dusty and I would be found faithful to walk this road He has laid out. He gave me a new heart for those hurting and grieving over the death of a child. He gave me a new heart for precious children with special needs. He gave me a new heart for everyday miracles... He gave me a new heart to be totally dependent on Him! I pray that He will continue to find me, to find each of us, faithful in our walk forward with Him.


"The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?"- Proverbs 20:24

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Another Update on Mallorie

Please continue to pray for sweet Mallorie and her family. They continue to be in the hospital and are taking each day as it's own.

Mallorie was removed from the ventilator just over 24 hours ago and is breathing pretty well without it. Her airway continues to need suctioning and the secretions today tested postitive for bacteria, so she is on another antibiotic. Please pray for reduced swelling in her airways and complete healing so she will have an easier time breathing. Please pray that her infections will clear and that she won't need to be put back on the ventilator, as each time she is put back on she has an increased risk for further complications. Please pray that the IV nutrition she is receiving will continue to give her strength and help her healing.

Connie and John continue to be SO THANKFUL for each prayer lifted to the Lord on their family's behalf. I can speak to the Lord's incredibly presence through all of the prayers that you spoke for us, so I know how amazing it is to feel that peace in the midst of great uncertainty and fear. THANK YOU for continuing to pray for them in this time of need.

I would ask tonight that you also speak a blanket prayer for all the children in hospitals throughout the country that need the Lord's presence... for their families, for their peace, for their healing. Connie continues to speak of other little ones that are going through such difficult experiences at the hospital and how they greatly need prayer. I can't imagine how terrifying it is for families walking through these valleys right now... I am sure that it is overwhelming to be surrounded by such worry, for your own child and for others, each and every day.

Psalm 73:26- “My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Isaiah 40:29- “He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might, He increases power.”

Friday, February 15, 2008

Vulnerable

Today is a day that I should be celebrating... it's my 28th birthday... I should be sleeping... I woke up at 4:30 this morning to stand in line to register Deacon for preschool... I should be doing many other things, but instead I sit here in front of the computer feeling the urge, the need, to write something.

So... here we are 3 1/2 weeks out from that day that will forever change us. That beautiful, sacred, faithful day where for 4 hours we had our two sons present with us. Dusty and I definitely know the difference of the before and after, and oddly enough, Deacon does too. He asks about Maddox, tells us that he's in Heaven with Jesus, wants to watch the video, asks to see Maddox's blanket and play with his teddy bear... and then the other day he asked me how do we get him back. Yep! He asked, in this heartbreakingly sad voice, how we can get Maddox back. Then he said "want him back NOW"... Through tears that he couldn't see (I was driving), I told him that I wanted him back too, but we couldn't get him back here with us... we had to go to Heaven to be with him. Then he said tearfully, "want to see him now..." Heartwrenching. Confusing. Surprising. Amazing. To imagine that he wouldn't understand any of this... I was so wrong.

But praise the Lord! Because then, in some way, he must also know that I DO want to talk about Maddox. I want him to know about his precious little brother. I want him to know that I do want to share about my second child, about our time, our love, our feelings, and the Lord's faithfulness. I DO want him, and other people, to know that we are really okay... that we are blessed, thankful, overwhelmed with peace, and filled with hope. I want him, need him, to know that although I may act a little different, that I may have a few tears, that the same mommy that loves him so greatly is there, just deeply changed.

Currently, I'm still feeling that home is my "safe zone." I am definitely getting out more and I want to be "myself", but I haven't quite figured out who that is yet. At home I still know who I am, but when I leave... I seem to question everything. What are people thinking? Do strangers wonder why I look sad? Are people feeling sorry for me? Do friends not know what to say? Do random acquaintances even know about all that has happened in the last few months? Do people wonder what I'm thinking? Are they afraid I'm going to break down? Am I making others uncomfortable? Do they want to talk about it? Do they want me to talk about it? Do they think I don't want to be around them? Do they think I'm secretly angry or bitter? Do they know that I wouldn't ever ask for this, but I wouldn't ever give it back? ... The questions circle in my head, and suddenly, I feel so vulnerable.

I know it's early... It's only been 3 short weeks... It's going to take time...

So as it does take that time, short or long, and our hearts heal, we will continue to praise the Lord for His faithfulness. We will praise Him for the miracle that He gave us for such a short time. We will praise Him for the beautiful, amazing people He has put in our path. We will praise Him for the testimony He has given us. We will praise Him for the peace that continues to fill our hearts... that peace that passes all understanding. We will praise Him for the joy as we walk through the pain. We praise Him and simply pray that through all of this, we will only bring Him glory.

Jesus Bring the Rain chorus- MercyMe

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me ANYTHING THAT BRINGS YOU GLORY
For I know there'll be days when this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise you
Jesus bring the rain.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."- John 16:33

Update on Mallorie

Thank you so much for all of the prayers for sweet Mallorie and her family!

I have received several emails and questions about how she is doing so I wanted to be sure to post an update.

Mallorie and her family are still in great need of your prayers right now. Things have been up and down over the last several days. Mallorie was put on a ventilator to help her breathe... she was then taken off only to be put right back on again. They are somewhat concerned about the possibility of her having the flu or another virus and will be testing for those infections soon. They were hoping to remove her slowly from the ventilator today, but Connie just let me know that the medical team decided against that because she hasn't been able to feed for several days (only IV liquid). They are hoping for her to regain some strength and get her more nutrition before trying to wean her off again.

PLEASE continue to pray for this family as the days are inevitably long, draining and full of emotion. I would also ask that you pray for protection for their hearts and to give them peace about each decision that is being made for this little child. The Lord has been very faithful and they are so thankful for the excellent care that Mallorie and the other little ones have received. The medical staff has absolutely poured out their love, comfort, and expertise on this, and so many other families. Today they are especially grateful for the wonderful nurse, Kate, that is caring for her.

Thank you for continuing to pray for Mallorie, Connie, John, and the rest of their family! I pray that each of you are blessed as you bless so many others with your prayer.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Little Mallorie

Dear friends, prayer warriors, followers of our journey... I would ask you to pause today and say one, or many, prayers for a sweet friend and her precious family!

This friend that I came in contact with several months ago, following our diagnosis of Maddox, is in need of your prayers today and in the days ahead. Her beautiful daughter Mallorie just turned one this past Wednesday and is currently fighting for her life in a Texas hospital. My friend Connie has provided amazing support, encouragement, advice and prayer for me and many of the girls that have walked this road with their babies over the last several months. You see, Connie has been so amazing because little Mallorie was born with spina bifida, a cleft palate/lip, and trisomy... she is one of the babies who has continued to "beat the odds" and she has marveled the physicians and staff that have cared for her.

Their family went into the hospital on Thursday morning for a schedule palate surgery (one of the many continued surgeries that she will need) and thankfully it was successful. However, due to the sensitive nature of her condition, things remain complicated. For Mallorie we are praying specifically for no infections to arise, for easy breathing and the removal of her ventilator, for her comfort and ability to relax, her rapid healing, and for the doctors and staff caring for her. I would also ask that you also pray for Connie, her husband John, and for Mallorie's siblings. We are asking for peace, strength, energy, wisdom, and clarity.

This little one has touched my life in an amazing way... she gave me hope and strength when I was pregnant with Maddox, and she continues to give me hope and an ability to praise God as He reveals His will for each precious life given. Please pray for this family today and in the days ahead.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests know to God.” -Philippians 4:6

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Answered Prayer

As I sit here this morning, on what should have been the day that we were finally able to meet Maddox, I'm filled with emotion. In the back of my mind somewhere, it's hard to suppress some of the questions that have popped up... would he have made it a little while longer if he had 2 more weeks of growth? Would his heart have been stronger to make it an hour past delivery and not just a few seconds? And then on the other hand I wonder... would I have had to deliver a child that I knew was no longer alive? Would I have arrived at the hospital last night to a motionless sensation in my tummy? It's strange. I haven't spent a lot of time wondering about these things, but on this morning, on the 5th, the day that was marked out on our calendar and said "Time to Meet Maddox"... I allow them to enter my mind.

It's okay though. I know that I can consider those questions... with tears or without. They can enter my mind for a time because I know that it doesn't make any difference. It doesn't change the way that everything progressed and it certainly doesn't change the fact that I know, without an ounce of doubt, that the Lord's timing and mighty hand was over the entire time. The way I was at playgroup when this happened. The way I had someone to take Deacon home and someone to take me to Dr. Rowe's office. The way my friends jumped into action to help me gather things from home, call our friends, organize a prayer service, and be with me until Dusty arrived. The way we were incredibly blessed with three tremendous Christian nurses that cared for our every need and helped us plan for our time with Maddox. The way that Dusty arrived in record time. The way that my family was able to converge and drive 14 hours to be present in these life-changing moments. The way my mother-in-law was able to catch a flight and be with us within 7 hours after the phone call. The way I could feel my sweet boy moving until I got my epidural. And then... well, and then our precious time with Maddox. Oh, how the Lord's hand was over us.

Each of our 10 prayers that we posted and spent that December night in prayer over... each of them was answered... the doctors, the decisions, the peace. The other evening when I pulled them up and turned on Natalie Grant's "In Better Hands" (sung by Lizi Bailey of Matthew and Lizi at Maddox's service), I honestly couldn't believe my eyes. I sat there with tears streaming down my face in complete amazement. Each and every prayer request was answered in God's timing and grace.

I have such a peace because I know that although February 5th was the day we picked, the Lord picked a different day. He picked different ways to answer our prayers than I might have, but HE picked. We had absolutely no control over one thing that happened in those 48 hours. That is definitely one of the things the Lord has been teaching me and that is how we prayed... nothing left in our hands. No questions about did we do the right thing. No questions about imposing our will over the Lords. No questions... And there aren't any.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 4:7

So as I wonder about today and what this day might have held, it really doesn't matter. I can think about it and wonder, but it doesn't change how our story goes. It doesn't change the unfathomable peace that strangely fills my heart. The peace that, through EACH OF YOU AND YOUR PRAYERS, has flooded our home. We are amazed... and we are so thankful. Thankful because each prayer lifted up for us has been heard and has blanketed us in this time of uncertainty... in this time that we would think should be filled with fear and grief and pain and sorrow.

But please don't stop praying! Don't stop because although we don't reside with those emotions right now, we still feel great sadness. Sadness over what could have been. Sadness over the loss of our sweet baby boy. Sadness over the mark this has left on our family.... Thankfully though, and by the grace of God, we still feel praise. Praise for being able to hold Maddox in our arms. Praise for the way we will never be the same. Praise for His mercy. Praise for His grace. Praise for answered prayers.

“Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”- Mark 11:24

Friday, February 1, 2008

Maddox's Celebration Video

Below is the video that was shown at Maddox's celebration service. We are so happy to share it with you as it captures, in 2 short minutes, the love and emotion we felt as we spent those hours with him in our arms. We hope you enjoy it... it is something that I will always treasure. It provides me with something that I can hold on to until I can once again hold tightly on to him.

video

Thank you to Gayle, Brian and the Second Baptist Youth Ministry team for putting this together for us. You are so wonderful!

“Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”- Mark 11:24
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