Monday, June 30, 2008

New Life- It's a...

Boy oh boy... we're having a GIRL!!

We spent a little over an hour this morning at our doctor's appointment. As we walked in I felt overwhelmed with peace, and yet I was still crying as I approached the front desk. As I found my way to the chair next to Dusty I was able to dry my wet eyes and focus on the promises of the Lord, knowing He has a perfect plan for us, whatever that might mean.

They called us back almost immediately and as they spent time looking at each little part of her, Dr. Rowe and the sonographer, Reina, continued to comment on how healthy and strong she looked. They checked the hands, which were open with five straight fingers, unlike sweet Maddox's overlapping fingers. They checked her beautiful heart that they say is perfectly formed and working well. They looked over her head and spine and it was at that point, in asking if they could tell if there were any indications of spina bifida, when the "No, definitely no spina bifida" brought me to tears again. Reina rubbed my leg, grabbed some tissues and simply told me she understood. I was filled with joy in those moments, praising the Lord for His perfect plan in ALL THINGS.

When they finally said girl, about halfway through, Dusty and I just looked at each other and laughed. We've been spending weeks coming up with boy names, sure that this third little one of ours was going to fill our house with more balls, trucks and trains. We are so surprised and yet, so absolutely thrilled!! Reina looked at Dusty and said "Daddy you better get that Visa warmed up..." He laughed with that "oh my goodness she's right" laugh. It was precious and I am so excited to see how my amazing husband will completely melt over a little girl. Just thinking about it makes me smile... and no doubt our Deacon will be such a good and protective big brother. God is so incredibly good and we are so incredibly thankful!

I have continued to think about this pregnancy and all that this means to our family. I have thought about the tears, the shock, the heartache and the pain, which has quickly given way to smiles, laughter, joy and hopefulness. That healing... the joy is what continues to be our testimony to the faithfulness of our Lord and Savior. This little one wouldn't be possible without our big God and without her big brother Maddox and his story... his legacy. Now she will be creating her own as she has already carved out a new piece of my heart... one that can only belong to her.

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."- Psalm 126:2
**Thank you SO MUCH for all of the prayers for our family... is is abundantly clear that His hand is covering us as we rest in Him!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

His Peace & Presence

I'm back from an amazing trip which I'll soon share all about...

Tonight I want to ask you to please be in prayer for us. We have our "big" doctor's appointment tomorrow morning to see our new little one. This is the appointment where less than a year ago we found out shocking news about our little Maddox. Please pray for us... for God's hand to be upon us as we return to that office... for His overwhelming peace and presence... for His purpose and His will... and for this baby to be strong and healthy. We are so grateful for the continued prayers as you lift us up in this time. THANK YOU!

"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

Monday, June 23, 2008

Our Story- 5 months

It is hard to sit here and think that only 5 months ago I finally saw the precious face of my second son... my sweet, tiny Maddox. The child that brought overwhelming change to my life. The child that has brought me to my knees in front of my Lord. The child that made me love my family with a fierceness that is indescribeable. The child that made me embrace those who have walked this road. The child that simply asked for a voice and a chance at life.

I was talking the other night to a friend and telling her how through this whole journey, this long road I can see behind us, and the one still in front of us, I wouldn't change a thing. I don't have any regrets about a single thing that played out in our story. I wouldn't take back one bad doctor's appointment, one person telling us things we didn't need to hear, one night of pure agony and grief... because it's ours. This is our story and those frightening and shaky times are what constantly turned our faces back to the Lord. Sometimes it felt like I was sinking, maybe like I was drowning, but it was always the Lord who called out to me with his firm hand and said "take hold of me!" We didn't have a choice in this because He didn't allow it. He proved His faithfulness, His love, His sureness, His promises, and His peace time and time again as He guided our path. And it led to a beautiful, joyful, unbelievably peaceful day on January 23rd, 2008.

It's strange to think that I can say all of this when just 9 months ago we were rocked to our core and shaken beyond what we could have ever thought would allow us to stand again. The doctor's appointment on September 26th that seemed to change the course of my life, I now see for what it truly was... a way for God to reveal His power, mercy and love to so many. It hurt, yes. It was scary, yes. It is our family that bears the scar of losing a child. But it is also our family that has gained so much. We've seen with our eyes and felt with every ounce in us the prayer that has continued to be lifted on our behalf. We have felt the Lord move in ways we can't possibly describe and we actually got to hold a piece of Heaven in our arms. It has been hard, but it has also been beautiful...

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy o'er your head
Know that tomorrow brings wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When what you've done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound I've been set free
I've been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

Happy 5 months Maddox! I know you are so happy and being taken such amazing care of... You make us so proud to be your parents! We continue to hear, even now, how your story has changed lives and how you have caused so many to fall on their knees in prayer. That is you baby and we are so thankful that the Lord is allowing us to be used in this beautiful story. Get extra kisses tonight from all those that love you. Deacon says hi and he talks about you often. He has decided that yellow is your favorite color, just like his. I couldn't argue... I just figured a brotherly intuition. We love you sweet boy and we thank God each night for you!

With love and remembrance always,
Mama, Daddy & Deacon

"Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security."- Jeremiah 33:6

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful husband! I love you so much and am so thankful for all the ways that the Lord continues to bless me through you... I can't imagine walking this road with anyone else. You are an AMAZING father and husband and the way you love us is incredible!

Love you Daddy! Deacon, Maddox & New Baby

Happy Father's Day Dad (Papa Don)! Love you so much and we are so thankful for you!!

Happy Father's Day Grandpa Chuck... We know you are adoring Maddox as you both spend time at Jesus' feet.

Happy Father's Day Grandpa (Grandpa Norm)! Love you greatly!

"I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him..." 1 Chronicles 17:13

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Prayers for the Bailey Family

Sweet friends, I wanted to update quickly as I am still out of town for a few days...

Baby Avery Bailey was born late Monday evening after an induction. He was born to meet his smiling parents and little brother Austin and was able to share his sweet little voice when they heard him cry. He lived about 45 minutes and then went to spend eternity with our Precious Lord.

Please be praying for them as they approach Sunday afternoon and his service. This is such a difficult time and they need to be totally covered in prayer in the days and weeks ahead.

Thank you again for your prayers... Lesa was absolutely amazing to talk to and through both of our tears spoke of answered prayers and feeling His peace. That is through the prayer of so many! THANK YOU!

" 'Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security."- Jeremiah 33:6

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Prayers for My Children

Praying for you, Deacon~

Dear Precious Lord, I thank you so much for my firstborn. You have created this beautiful boy with a heart that melts others... and one that already loves you. You have created him with a tenderness and love that brings me great joy. As he grows and learns, he continues to amaze us with his sweet spirit, his quick independence, his tender words and his total dependence on us right now. It is my prayer that soon it will be totally on you! Deacon's fun-loving nature, his ability to love life to the fullest and find enjoyment in little things fill my heart with joy. The way he loves his friends and is so concerned about others at 2 years-old makes me, as his mother, praise you even more!

Thank you Lord for the beautiful way you have put his life, his heart together. And thank you for your understanding, my Great God... for your knowledge of our lives before time began. Thank you for knitting him together inside me, designing him to be so much. Through our precious Deacon you have given me a glimpse of the depth and width of your great love for us. My overwhelming joy in Deacon is a small comparison to your enormous joy in us, your children. In the same way, Deacon's disappointments, fears, outbursts, lack of understanding and tears directly reflect ours when we come to you, standing tall in your face or humbly on our knees, seeking answers, advice, comfort and a promise for the future.

Lord, in some way I know you created Deacon for a time such as this. His life means so much and I know full well you have marvelous things in store for him... And yet, I trust with confidence that a part of who he is is intertwined in this most recent storm in our lives.Thank you for knowing my heart and for knowing what we would need to bring us to dry land.

Undoubtedly, Holy Lord, you have been our refuge and strength and have truly carried us through deep, raging waters that have flooded our earth... In a strange way though, Deacon has been like my ark, my place to "crawl in to." As I have sat huddled with him, tears streaming down my face, somehow he has been the physical manifestation of the ark, while I fully trusted you were guiding our journey and protecting our hearts and lives as the world fell down around us.

My God, my love and my protector, I trust, as you spoke in Genesis 8, that day and night will never cease until your Son returns. That as surely as night falls in our lives, the day, the dawn is poised to come again. You allow us to fully trust you through the days and nights. Help us teach Deacon what it means to fully rely on you through it all; to teach him of your unending love, so that he may experience it firsthand, and to bring him up to be a child that lives only for you.

Thank you for your goodness, your mercy, your grace, your peace, your restoration, your promises, your justice, your joy... and mostly thank you for your Son. It is through Him and his sacrifice that we trust in eternity, and that we are able to fully enjoy our Deacon here with us.

Thank you Lord for my son, my joy... my Deacon.

"Guide me in your truth and teach me, O Lord, for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long."- Psalm 25:5~ Claimed for Deacon Charles Stanfield
Praying for you, Maddox~

Holy Lord, my God, I praise you for my precious second son. I thank you Lord for the amazing way that you have moved in our lives. My precious Maddox, Lord God, the one that arrived to your arms just 4 short months ago, has change my life. Lord, you know my heart and the longing that was present for this beautiful second child, even before his conception. Only you know the reason he was put together so wonderfully different and never intended to live out hims days on this Earth.

Precious Father, my heart aches for my tiny child... and yet, it rejoices knowing he is with you. Jesus, thank you for loving my child and holding him so tightly... It is because of your sacrifice that I have full confidence that I will one day hold him again... and the next time I do, it will be for eternity.

Merciful One, I look back over the last year and sometimes I can't believe this is my life. I would have never wanted, never wished, never imagined that I would have already given over one of my children to live in your presence... But I can't help but smile and be thankful. Isn't that where we all want to be? Don't we long for Heaven, for our eternal place in your kingdom? I've thought and prayed so many times this last year that you would fill my life with renewed joy and peace, that you would reassure me of your promises. Lord, you have answered my prayers and I continue to stand amazed at your true, steady, loving faithfulness.

Lord, our prayers for Maddox, as he lived here with us and thrived in my womb, were ones of faith, hope and love. We trusted you would answer each prayer as you continued to reveal yourself through scripture, sweet words spoken, the hands and feet of your people, and the prayers of thousands across the world. As we put all our hope in you, you spoke softly but clearly to my heart. We then knew, not with with a complete understanding, but with a sure confidence, what you were saying. When we left the hospital in much the same way we entered, I heard you speaking, "My precious children, Maddox is already with me. You trusted me with your lives and with his, and now you can rest easy knowing he is in My eternal loving care."

There is pain and hurt and longing Lord, to hold my little Maddox again, but you knew that his life, his witness, this testimony was so much more important than our sorrow. You had a plan for us, for him, just as it is written in Jeremiah 29:11. That plan, that kingdom building plan, is still in motion as you use us to tell of Maddox's sweet story and your total faithfulness. For those four hours we saw him and loved him face to face, we knew we were holding a piece of Heaven here on Earth.

Father, I think I must feel a little bit like Hannah in the Bible. Oh our sweet Maddox, how we prayed for you, just as Hannah prayed for her Samuel. Lord, you were faithful and brought him to us, not as we expected, but in many ways so much better than we ever imagined. I'm sure that as Hannah returned to that temple a few short years after she promised to give her son over to you, she did so with love, excited for his life of service dedicated to your kingdom. But I'm also sure she did so with tears steaming down her cheeks and a sadness for her life without Samuel in her presence. It's so similar to how I feel... my great love for my Maddox, but my even greater love for those who still need to know Christ. Maddox is resting in your tender arms, but what does eternity hold for those without you? On that Your word is very clear ...

"There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God. ...The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up." 1 Samuel 2:2,6

Thank you Heavenly Lord, for the the time we had to fully enjoy Maddox. I thank you for the intimate knowledge I have of him and for the beautiful time we shared together. I long to know him more, but I am thankful of your promise to spend that time eternally in Heaven.

Sweet God, hold him tight. Tell him how much we love him, how proud of him we are for his strength and purpose, and that we miss him so greatly! Remind him that he will never be forgotten, that we will never be the same, and that his legacy will live on to bring others to a saving knowledge of you. Thank you for my son, my heart... my Maddox.

We love you our sweet Maddox and can't wait to hold you again one day!

"And now, thus says the LORD, your God, and he who formed you: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine."- Isaiah 43:1- Claimed for Maddox Donald Stanfield
Praying for you, Little Expectant One~

Oh my Lord God, how you have heard my prayers... I praise you for the miracle of life growing inside my body. Heavenly Father, you heard my cries to you, even before we met Maddox face to face; my cries of love, of anticipated loss, of restoration, and of longing for another child that was intended to stay on Earth. You allowed me to see light and hope glimmering in the dark tunnel we walked and you have again answered my prayers through this little person that you knit together in me.

Jesus, you know my heart and my full trust in you and the plans you have for our family. You also know my head and the way things can slowly creep in and set up residence- the concerns, the questions, and the fear of the unknown. Holy God, please keep these thoughts at bay. Help me to focus solely on you and the promises you have made to those who trust in your name. As I do each day Father, I simply pray that this child growing inside is one that is meant to stay with us. I pray for straight bones, clean blood, a healthy heart, a strong mind and a body that is created to sustain life on Earth.

Lord, as you sustained the Israelites through their 40 years in the desert, I too ask that you sustain us now. These darker times that we have walked are our own wilderness, and yet, just as you never left your chosen people, we know that you haven't left us either. This precious baby is in many ways like Joshua and Caleb seeing the Promised Land from afar. The safe arrival of this baby is still off in the distance and yet... I see it... my promised land.

Dear God, I know there are no guarantees in this life... but I also know that you hear my prayers and know and love me intimately... So I ask you to bring us there. As the Israelites arrived safely to the Promised Land after wandering in the unknown, I ask you to help us arrive safely to December, after this period of wandering through our own unknown. "He has watched over your journey through this vast desert. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything."- Deuteronomy 2:7

Sweet, Precious Lord, guide me with your gentle hand. I ask that you protect this baby and keep us safely in your arms. Lord, help us and others know of your great love, of your great provision, for each and every life. Jesus, you know our hearts... You know that we will never forget that we already have two precious boys that bring us great joy... one just rests in your arms instead of in ours. Help others to know that Maddox is and will always be part of our family... and just as Deacon talks about his little brother who is with you in Heaven, this expectant one will too know of big brother Maddox... he who paved the way to allow this new miracle in our lives.

Father, I pray for your wisdom and strength as we look forward to the safe arrival of our third child. I ask that your hand be on this baby, that in time our hands may too be on him; to hold, to love and to teach of you and your great faithfulness.

Oh Good and Holy God, thank you for your love for each of us, and especially for this new life that holds so much love in us already.

"I have prayed for this child and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him."- 1 Samuel 1:27

Friday, June 6, 2008

Praying for the Bailey Family

Dear friends and prayer warriors-

I ask you today to please be praying for a precious girl named Lesa and her family. She is expecting her second little boy, Avery, any day now. Avery was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 several months ago and Lesa and I have been keeping in close contact through phone calls and emails. She is such a wonderful mother to their older son Austin and she and her husband have continued to seek the Lord and His will for little Avery's life throughout this journey.

I know this time as they wait is anxious and filled with questions. I would ask you to pray for the Lord's peace upon their hearts and minds, for His joy and love as they meet Avery, and for as much time as our Holy God has ordained for them.

Lesa will be induced on Monday, June 9th if she doesn't go into labor on her own over these next few days. I know they are praying for this to happen on it's own as it seems that on this road there are already so many decisions to make... Please pray friends!

If you are praying for them, please leave a quick comment to tell her so... I know firsthand how much it means!

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer"- Romans 12:12

Sunday, June 1, 2008

So Much More

Yesterday was a wonderfully eventful day! For the first time, after months of emails, blog comments, and phone calls, Kim Summons (Mary Grace's mom) and I met. She came from the Dallas area, I came in from Houston and we both met in Austin for the day.

I can't explain how amazing it was to see the face of this precious mother I have connected with so deeply. Her face, her smile, her spirit... it was just as I imagined and yet, so much more.

We had an eventful day as we spent a couple hours talking over lunch and "catching-up" on family and how everything has been going. Then, as we were on our way to check out some of the town, we were rear-ended. We both looked at each other and honestly couldn't believe this was happening to us. Amongst the frustration of waiting for over 2 1/2 hours at a local Whataburger for police to appear, we enjoyed lots of laughter. We decided we must be in that somewhat unlucky, small percentage of people that these things happen to.

After the police spent about 4 minutes with us, we decided we were in great need of some relaxation. We ended up at a nice mall and spent some time getting pedicures as we continued to talk about plans for the future, our sweet babies Maddox and Mary Grace, and the way God has continued to work in our lives.

Several hours later we were off to dinner to spend some more quality time. It is amazing how two little babies that lived such brief lives can connect people like Kim and I for life. As we both imagined, there is so much more we have in common than simply our tiny children in Heaven.

As I got in my car on my way home late last night and looked at the beautiful angel Kim gave me, I couldn't help but thank the Lord for the way He continues to work in my life. He has blessed me with so many wonderful people that have completely surrounded us these past 8 months... But to stand face to face, arms embracing with glistening eyes, with a mommy that truly knows this uncharted water is something just beautiful and something only God could work out.

I am so extremely grateful for this day, for this mommy... for the many mommies that I know that have walked this journey of great love and great loss. I love you each so much and am so blessed for knowing you through our little children.

"If you then know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"- Luke 11:13
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