Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Houston March for Babies

Thank you SO MUCH to all the donors, walkers and prayer warriors... from our family to yours!

Today was a day filled with so much purpose and the Lord was ever-present, as always! The weather forecast looked miserable last night as I stared at to see that there was an 80% chance of rain/thunderstorms starting at 6am. I prayed last night against the bad weather, as did many others... and against all "predictions" (statistics/odds... we know all about those!) when I woke up this morning and peered out of the blinds, there was no sign of rain. On the drive in the sun rose and shined brightly! What a beautiful way to begin this day honoring 4 special little people!

The Fox Family, The Stanfield Family, The Galbincea Family

The walk, the official Houston March for Babies, went of wonderfully! We were the largest family team present (about 35 people) and we were all excited to get going. The walk began at 9am and we didn't get farther than 50 feet inside the starting gate when we all saw the banners. Oh my goodness... they took my breath away! It was very emotional to say the least... Our 3 families with our 4 precious children's names and information were on huge banners for all to see. Through the tears and swarms of people all I could think of was "this, THIS is who/what/why I'm walking!" It was amazing and undoubtedly the best part of the day.

The 5 mile walk was great... definitely the most enjoyable 5 miles I have ever trekked. We arrived at the finish line in great time, enjoyed lunch with friends and family and then began to make our way back to our cars. As I was driving away from the University of Houston campus, with my precious 2 year old already asleep in the back... all that remained constant in my mind was how thankful I was!

I am so thankful for the life of my Maddox. I am thankful for this journey we continue to walk. I am thankful for God's promises and for the time I was able to spend with Maddox. Today was one of reminiscing about all of the wonderful places I got to take him, all the things I got to tell him, and the way I prayed for him, long before his arrival.

I am thankful for my precious friends Rachel and Brooke and their families that walked with the same purpose today. I am so grateful to be walking in memory Andrew and Noah, and in special honor of Hannah. I am thankful for the Lord's promise to their families as well... for His strength and peace and sustenance. It is such an blessing to have friends that can truly share the joy and the pain.

I am thankful for all of the sweet, dear friends and family that walked with us today. I am thankful for their love, for their words of remembrance, for their hugs, and their availability to be there when needed. I am thankful for their strong desire to be part of something that means so much to our family... to so many families...

Most of our walkers- missing a few...

I am thankful for each and every person that donated towards our $5,000 goal. With matching funds, we just exceeded $7,000... How incredible! I am thankful for each one standing shoulder to shoulder with us to remember our babies and to help families that will come along behind us on these rocky roads. Each donation, from $5 to $500, has made a tremendous impact and for that we will always be grateful!

And I am thankful... oh so thankful... for each of you prayer warriors. Those of you on your knees, in your cars, in the kitchen, on your porch... those of you praying for each of our families have made all of this possible. You have made this less-trodden path bearable. You have made these stormy weeks and months sun-filled with your continuous prayer for God's hand of strength and protection and healing. You have allowed our family to see the Lord work in a way that have would otherwise not been possible... He is working through each of you. I am SO THANKFUL!

As I pulled Deacon out of the bath tonight, I looked into his blue eyes as he just smiled. I sat him on the counter and gave him a big hug. I told him how very much I loved him, that he was so wonderful and such a big boy today, and that I was so thankful that God had given him to me. He smiled this huge, beautiful smile and said "I walked for baby Maddox today." I said, "Yes, you did and you were such a good boy. Maddox loves you!"... He paused for a moment and said, "That was nice." I couldn't agree more... boy, that was nice?!

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."- Acts 20:24

Click HERE to see more pictures of today!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Mom, remember we are all making a difference... For those children here with us, our building is still in progress. For those already with the Lord, our task is complete.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?" Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please." I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the e yes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just got back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a hair clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this." It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Carol , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to your strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don 't want my daughter to tell the friend she's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want her to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to her friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

"She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."- Genesis 16:13

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Repost- "Lord, give me the wisdom to not waste all of this!"

Today is a little surprising... I guess you could say it caught me off guard. Even when I woke up this morning, my first thoughts weren't on the fact that indeed today is a Wednesday, that it is the 23rd of the month, and the end to our Bible Study class that began the day that Maddox was born. Those emotions, the memories, didn't resurface until I stepped through the door of the church. Then, like a huge wave, all of a sudden everything was rushing back and I could barely walk. I thought I was going to be physically sick. I felt totally overwhelmed.

In an attempt to be "normal" I made my way upstairs to find my precious friend, one of the few who could really KNOW what I was feeling. She cried with me, and then suggested I take a little time for myself with God. That was just what I needed.

I made my way back downstairs and outside in the courtyard to have some alone time with God. As I sat there, thinking about the last 13 weeks, I was drawn back to the book of Job. As I read it again, I kept thinking about his overwhelming grief. To not just lose all his possessions, but his 10 children! I am mourning my one infant son that never took a single breath... and he lost 10. Talk about heartbreak and loss.

As I reflected on his words and actions after immediately hearing the news of his family, I felt such a sense of awe. Job stood up, tore his robe, shaved his head, and then fell to the ground in worship. Did you get that? FELL TO THE GROUND IN WORSHIP! When I'm in the midst of these feelings, do I fall to the ground in worship? Then those words of brutal truth... "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised." (Job 1:21)

As I continued, I quickly came upon another piece of this story that I had never given much consideration. As Job was covered in flesh wounds from his feet to his head, his wife, surely seeing her husband in such grief and misery, told him to "Curse God and die." His response... "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" ... Oh my goodness. There it is again. That reminder that I needed... This is an all or nothing game!! This is the point where you are either in OR you are out! Can we humbly accept both the good and the bad that the Lord allows for us, or are we somehow going to push God so far that He doesn't even seem to be part of the equation? In my mind, that isn't even a question in need of a response.

So here I am, exactly 3 months from when Maddox entered this world and quickly slipped from it, and I am still praying, and now living, the words I wrote. The Monday those words were written I didn't know I would be within 36 hours of meeting my son face to face. Those words, this prayer, "Lord, give me the wisdom to not waste all of this..." is still on my lips today and will be into the foreseeable future. I don't know what God has in store for us, but I trust Him, and I trust in His faithfulness. He hasn't let us down...

Written January 21st, 2008:

Tonight in the quietness of my house, my mind is skipping ahead. My thoughts are drawn to this very time in two weeks when Dusty and I will be checked in to the hospital and awaiting morning to meet our Maddox. I keep wondering how I will be feeling... what my thoughts will be. How anxious will I be? How excited, scared, overwhelmed, at peace will I be? I know this sounds ridiculous, insane probably... but regardless of all the questions, I know that we will be okay. The Lord, the Creator of this very child I think so much about, assures me over and over of that very thing... I will be okay.

Dr. Young just started a series a few weeks ago on the book of James. Honestly, it is one book that I really haven't previously spent a great deal of time in, but one that is full of "uncommon sense" (as Dr. Young says). As he spoke two Sundays ago, with a title called "Suffering Produces Character", all I could think of was this is meant for me. This is meant for right here, right now. And he began...

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4

And then he said something that is written at the top of my Bible, and will hopefully remain etched on my heart forever... "Lord, give me the wisdom not to waste all of this!"

For some reason, we have been called to be Maddox's parents. We have been blessed with this child that doesn't conform to worldly standards of perfection or health. We have been given trials of a sort that I could have never imagined before that diagnosis day. And it would be so easy to ask why. Why us? Why now? Why this child? Yet, through the dark days we've walked, and the darker days to come... that is now my prayer. "Lord, give me the wisdom not to waste all of this!"

I don't want to waste a minute of the joy that Maddox has brought to our lives. Not a minute of the time he will grace this earth. Not a minute of time being completely overwhelmed by intense grief and sadness that I can't process. Not a minute of not "seeing the forest for the trees." Not a minute to be able to stand witness to the incredible blessing of His people surrounding us, loving us, praying for us, and ministering to us. I know it sounds crazy... like I'm setting myself up for failure... like it just won't be possible... but I don't want to waste this opportunity to love, to witness to others, to be a living testimony to God's faithfulness, compassion, grace and healing. He chose us for this, and if I'm going to walk through a valley of this magnitude, then you best believe I will not waste this. I will not walk out unchanged, lacking more than when I entered in. I have a long way to go to spiritual maturity, and yet, the perseverance to get up and continue on this road each day will bring me closer to that goal.

Am I saying that I won't be sad and grieving? NO. Am I saying that I won't shed immeasurable tears? NO. But I do know that the Lord is standing so close that I can feel Him and, like the Footprints poem says, I might not be doing the walking, but He is carrying me. He has held each tear I've cried in His Fatherly hands... and I'm sure the tears up to this point won't surpass the amount that are to come. But He knows my heart. He knows that I love this child, more than myself, and that I have already given his life over to the Giver of Life himself. Not because I don't desperately want him here with me, but because that's also what we did with Deacon when we dedicated him to the Lord. We gave him up. ...It's like what Abraham did with Issac, what he was willing to do in faith... and ultimately what God the Father did with his only Son, Jesus Christ. I can honestly say, without fear or reservation, that I know each life here on earth is not our own... and Maddox is no exception. Our Father has great plans for this child's life, whether that means him not taking one single breath here in this world, or that means 20 fabulous years of blessed time with him ahead. Either way, Heaven is still at the end of the road and that is the best promise yet.

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

Friday, April 18, 2008

Tiny Offering

Today has been a rather quiet day of reflection. In the unusually cold, rainy Nebraska weather, I somehow feel that what is taking place outside the window has played a part in setting the tone for my more reflective mood.

Earlier this morning, when I was driving with Deacon, the song "God with Us" by MercyMe came on. Aside from the two songs played at Maddox's service (In Better Hands- Natalie Grant, Inside Out- Hillsong), this is definitely the one that always makes me think of my second little one.

Near the end of the song, the lyrics say "Just a tiny offering, compared to Calvary. But never-the-less, we lay this at your feet..." I drove around the neighborhood just to hear the song all the way through and let the tears fall from my eyes. Maddox, both literally and figuratively, was a tiny offering. What we had to give up just 12 short weeks ago was nothing compared to what Jesus gave up for us on that cross on Calvary... and yet, although Maddox always belonged to the Lord, it doesn't make it any less difficult. He is our offering, whether we chose it or not, and thankfully, we weren't allowed to make the choice for his condition... We did however choose life and to trust our mighty God through all of it.

The picture in my mind is beautiful and yet, sometimes so difficult. Maddox, laying at the feet of Jesus. Our offering... one that Our Father willingly accepted. It's hard, and still it brings me great peace. Just because Maddox is in Heaven, the rest of us are not absolved from making our lives "an offering" as we live out His will here. This song can speak to our lives, to giving everything over to Him, to fully trusting His peace, His power, His love, and His providence. "All that is within me cries, for you alone be glorified, Immanuel, God with us. My heart sings a brand new song. The debt is paid. These chains are gone... Immanuel, God with us."

These lyrics bring me tears, but also joy. Joy that God has been so good. That He has promised so much and delivered so much more. We are joyful for the gift of peace and the way He has restored us... the way He continues to heal us.

And then sometimes... well, sometimes I wonder if we are "too good"... Are we acting like this didn't happen?

Reality tells me that it isn't true. I know we aren't doing "too good" and if I pretend to be somehow worse off than I really am, that I am denying God's gift of peace and all that we have prayed to receive. I have trusted in His promise of hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11), and He has so willingly given that to us. And still, on days like today, I am reminded of all that we have lived through. All of the heartbreak, the pain, the dashed hopes, the fear... The residue of those feelings are still there, but now I am able to see more clearly. I am able to see what has seemingly quickly taken their places: healing, joy, anticipation, and peace.

I know this isn't over. Far from it... I still love and miss my Maddox. I still want to talk about him, even cry over him if needed... those things will undoubtedly remain FOREVER. However, let me repeat just how thankful we are for this road less traveled. For the peace, for the prayers, for the support, and for God's restoration... We are simply on a journey and pray that our lives, our "offerings", will be acceptable to the Lord.

"O LORD, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come." Genesis 24:42

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Focused Prayer

"Your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven." Matthew 6:8-10

"Jesus said that your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him. In one breath, Jesus, our brother, tells us that the Father already knows what we need, and then he tells us to pray and shows us how to pray. So praying to our heavenly Father must be about more than asking God to meet our needs. Because if he already knows what we need, why ask? Surely he does not want us to go through the motions if prayer is not meaningful. ...

Why pray? Because placing yourself in God's family and under his authority, welcoming his work and his way, and giving yourself to serve him completely- these are not just meaningless phrases or preambles to our list of requests. When we pray in the way Jesus prescribes, they are at the top of our list! Getting God's priorities into proper perspective changes our own

Prayer is so powerful. It has an ability to change things. It can reach into the depths of someone’s soul and you never have to speak one word aloud. Praise the Lord that He gave us prayer!

I have realized just recently that although I have been praying, and praying a lot, I wasn't praying with great focus. I have felt very overwhelmed with the number of people on my prayer list that instead of praying very specifically for each one, I was asking more general things for many families. I truly believe that the Lord has heard each prayer I have lifted up on behalf of others, but I have been convicted of not taking my time, and not asking for specifics. I was so concerned that each person was prayed for that those prayers that could have been so powerful and intent, were suddenly just mediocre. I am extremely thankful for the reminder last week at my Wednesday Bible study.

As Nancy Guthrie speaks to above in her One Year Book of Hope (Week 3- Father Heart of God), I think many of us have been guilty of thinking, "well, if the Lord already knows what I need before I ask... then why ask?" She articulates it well by emphasizing that our Father God wants to know the specifics... He wants us to ask! But to not just ask according to our ways; according to the way Jesus has instructed. To tell Him how thankful we are- even in the hard stuff, how blessed our lives are- even though our family isn't complete, and that everything we ask in Jesus' name is being actively sought according to HIS will... not our own. We are to tell Him that we trust His will, His way, and His works above ours and that we are speaking in accordance with the way His Son has modeled.

In the joy, sorrow, anticipation, anger, tears, fear, excitement, love and pain, we are to pray to Him... and do so specifically. We are to do so with focus, with thankfulness, with a humble spirit, in submission, in earnesty, in truthfulness, in the will of God, in the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus, and ultimately... in FAITH. "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1.

Would you join me in prayer today and in the days ahead for my family? My Grandma passed away last night after she suddenly stopped breathing. She has been in and out of the hospital the past several weeks, but she wasn't expected to decline this rapidly. She is survived by eight children and spouses, numerous grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren. Would you pray specifically for my Dad? For his brothers and sisters? For arrangements, for peace, for safe travel?

Thank you for praying for us. I am so thankful that she was able to see my Grandpa again after 23 years... and has now met our precious Maddox as well.

Grandma Joan & baby Deacon

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." - Mark 11:24

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Urgent Prayer- Tricia Lawrenson

Dear friends and sweet prayer warriors...

We just arrived home from a wonderful night of worship at church when I quickly came to check my email. I received an email from a sweet friend that informed me that Tricia Lawrenson (Confessions of a CF Husband) is having her double lung transplant tonight!! This is such wonderful news as they have been now waiting for about 2 months (really her whole life) to be in this exact moment.

PLEASE be praying for the doctors and staff that are performing the surgery right now, for her body to respond well, for a successful outcome, for her family as they wait, for baby Gwyneth, for the lung donor's family in their loss, and ultimately for Tricia's healing and full recovery... all of this in God's will. This is such an amazing story so please check their site for up-to-the-minute news. Her husband Nate said the surgery would last 7-9 hours. PLEASE BE PRAYING!!

This wonderful family has offered us so much during our greatest time of need (when we were in the hospital preparing for Maddox). Nate actually made a post about our family and asked for prayer on our behalf... we are now asking for prayer on theirs!! This site, about his precious wife, their beautiful preemie (24 weeks gestation) Gwyneth, and all the goings-on in their "family life" from the hall of the Duke Hospital, has been completely glorifying to the Lord as they have spoken of His faithfulness in each and every circumstance they have encountered. To date they have had over 2 million hits on their blog... incredibly far reaching! Please speak their names in prayer tonight and lift them up to our Father.

Thank you so much for being so faithful!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

These Feet Were Made for Walking... Are Yours?

We are now within one month of the

March for Babies

at the University of Houston

Sunday, April 27th

Starts at 9am

We are getting excited and getting ready to do something to honor the lives of our precious babies. So the question is... we are walking... ARE YOU?

If you are, please go online to register on the Team Manna page and indicate that you will be walking (click on Register to March.) I have been to the site and know it can be a little confusing because it asks you to set your own monetary goal. Rest assured that the goal you indicate will be counted under the Team Manna total goal. IF you still have questions, please email me to let us know (

Also, we need a fairly accurate count because we will be ordering Team Manna T-shirts. If you would like to buy one (certainly not required to walk, just fun), please let me know in an email that you would like one and what size. They will be under $10. We will have them at the walk when you arrive.

As a sidenote, I have also been asked if the T-shirts can be purchased, even if you aren't walking. Of course! If you would just like to buy a T-shirt, please email me to let me know.

Thank you EVERYONE for the continued love and support for this walk! We are so appreciative!

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."- Acts 20:24

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

And God Said

My friend Kristy had this posted. I thought it was great... for those with a loss of any kind. This really seems to hit home today.

And God Said

I said, "God, I hurt." And God said, "I know."
I said, "God, I cry a lot." And God said, "That is why I gave you tears."
I said, "God, I am so depressed." And God said, "That is why I gave you Sunshine."
I said, "God, life is so hard." And God said, "That is why I gave you loved ones."
I said, "God, my son died." And God said, "So did mine."
I said, "God, it is such a loss." And God said, "I saw my son nailed to a cross."
I said, "God, but your son lives." And God said, "So does yours."
I said, "God, where are they now?" And God said, "Mine is on My right and Yours is in the Light."
I said, "God, it hurts." And God said, "I know."

~Authors K. C. and Myke Kuzmic~

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy."- Psalm 126:5
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