Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Prayer Request

Dear friends-

I know that many of you have been following MckMama's pregnancy journey with her 4th little one, baby Stellan. They have a scheduled c-section this morning at 9:30 and there are thousands praying for this sweet family as they prepare to meet their baby boy. God has truly worked in their family and we continue to look to Him for the biggest miracle of all- a completely healthy baby Stellan with no heart issues. Would you join us in praying for them today? They continue to trust the Lord in all things and God has once again proven ever-faithful!

Thank you for your continous prayers and support!

"O Sovereign LORD, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant."- 2 Samuel 7:28

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Deacon!


Happy 3rd birthday to my precious boy Deacon!

Baby boy, you have brought so much love, joy, laughter, and excitement to our lives over these past 3 years... You have taught us about patience outside of ourselves, constructive and creative discipline, and the importance of consistent follow-through. You have showed me how to slow down and enjoy each moment... You have taught me that life is always beautiful through the eyes of a small child and you have exemplified the biblical principals of trust, honesty, innocence and unconditional love. You have showed me that forgiveness is necessary and amazingly simple. You have taught me more about the art of negotiation and fighting for what you want than any school class or work experience ever could. You have demonstrated a wonderful ability to be able to laugh at yourself and impart that laughter to others.

You are a fun-loving, feisty, competitive, compassionate, gentle, sincere, honest, friendly, outgoing, laughter-filled, playful, crazy-dancing, train-truck-plane-loving boy. You love to say the blessing at dinner, to pray for your friends and family at night (especially baby Faith), to learn, dance and sing at church and to tell God that we are so thankful. You talk often about your baby brother Maddox, "in Heaven with Jesus," which absolutely blesses my heart and you are getting very excited to "be a good big brother" to baby Faith Clare.

You are our precious first-born and we are so thankful for all that you bring to our lives... you are an absolute treasure! Thank you Lord for the blessing of our big boy... for our Deacon!

"Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him."- Psalm 127:3

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Laughter

This past week has been pretty good... lots of ups and a few downs. I am getting more and more excited to see our baby girl and the "nesting" instincts are definitely kicking in. I am excited to be off bedrest in a couple of weeks so that I can hopefully get a few things done before she arrives.

This week has also provided us many laughs... all thanks to Deacon. Dusty had a great time with Deacon at his Fall Field Days at preschool on Friday. Apparently there were lots of fun things to do for the kids; they had sack races (which I didn't know 2-year olds could actually do), pumpkin rolls, a hayrack ride and several games. It sounds like Deacon did a great job and was super interactive, wanting to do everything. Now... if you know Dusty or I, you also know that we are somewhat competitive!! Dusty said it was hilarious because he saw some of the "genetic traits" come out in Deacon after some of the games... particularly the pumpkin roll. After he finished, and supposedly won, he whispered to Dusty... "I was blazing fast!"

Another smile? His "fighter pilot" costume arrived a few days ago, thanks to Ita, and yet... for some reason he really didn't want to put it on. He was ridiculously excited when the box came, but as soon as the costume itself emerged he informed us, "No... I said I want to be a fighter pilot when I get BIGGER... NOT NOW." We looked at each other and laughed, and still he reiterated "I said when I'm all grown-up." Maybe he is reconsidering and will wear it just for "practice" because at dinner yesterday he asked me to be his co-pilot. I'm sure the enticement of candy will do the trick!

Some antics from today?? On the way home from church this afternoon he told Dusty that his sweet tea (yes, daddy lets him get sweet tea- a treat only when they are together!) with his kids meal was really yummy. Dusty said "it was really good, huh?" He relied... "yes, it made Jesus really happy." Dusty thought he knew where this was going because Deacon always says now that Jesus is in his tummy (as opposed to his heart, which he used to say), just like Faith Clare is in mine. Dusty asked him, "You mean it made you really happy!?" Deacon said, "Nope, it made Jesus really happy... he was sick and coughing but now he is haaappppyyy!"

And the most funny to me? This morning, after his bath and my shower, I was drying his hair while he sat on my lap on a stool in the bathroom. I had some black terry cloth pants on, my shirt not even remotely covering my tummy, and he was rubbing my knee. I turned off the dryer to see his sweet face looking at me... He said, "Mama, you look like a BIG COW!" I immediately fall apart laughing, as I had just been looking at my stomach in the mirror and thinking how big I looked. Through the laughter and a few tears running down my face, I asked him why he said that? He just kept rubbing my pants and said... "you just look like a big cow with black pants." OH MY GOODNESS! He really does get just how I'm feeling these days!


"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."- Job 8:21

Interesting Stuff

I wanted to share something that Kristi, a sweet blog reader, sent me. I had never heard of this movie or the project until last night, but it looks good and sounds like it has some great points on Roe vs. Wade. I wasn't successful in viewing the 5 segmented pieces of the movie, but they are doing a full-stream of Come What May in it's entirety tomorrow through Wednesday (October 27th-29th). Check it out if you have some interest... The goal of the movie is to emphasize the importance of how this presidential election will impact Supreme Court appointments and how their rulings will impact this country. Take a look...

http://www.adventfilmgroup.com/Home.html

Click on "Breaking New: Watch Free Movie" on the top to take you to the viewing page.

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There is some exciting news from Eliot Mooney's (99 Balloons) family that I would love to pass on... I know many of you have seen their beautiful "documentary" video of Eliot's 99 days on Earth and have been touched by them and their personal walk with their precious baby diagnosed with Trisomy 18. First, congratulations are in order as they just welcomed a new baby girl into their family just under two weeks ago- Hazel Emerson. Second, they have been given a wonderful platform to share the story of their journey with Eliot. As of right now, a taped episode on Oprah entitled "Miracle Children" will be airing this Tuesday, the 28th, and will share Matt & Ginny's story about Eliot.

I have to admit, I have "boycotted" Oprah for a while due to various issues, but I will be making an exception this week to watch the Mooney's story about Eliot. If you are interested, please try to tune in Tuesday.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Life is a Life, No Matter How Small

“A life is a life, no matter how small.” Suddenly today, as I was thinking about it being the 23rd and about us getting ready to experience the joy of a new life in our home, this little saying from Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears A Who came to mind. Yes indeed, a life IS a life no matter how small.

As I have mentioned before, this little life growing inside of me right now is small, but not near as small as she was 7 weeks ago when I was admitted to the hospital in pre-term labor. She is small now… but she certainly has life and can sustain life, and she reminds me of that constantly throughout the day with all her kicks, pokes and somersaults. I continue to pray daily, sometimes hourly, for this precious daughter of mine, just as I have done with both of my boys. I pray for her health, her safety, and for her to enter this world whole and full of life.

I returned to the doctor again yesterday, a day earlier than my scheduled appointment, due to some “issues”. I was again put on the monitors for a non-stress test in the office and was checked out to ensure that Faith Clare was doing well. Thankfully she is doing great. But honestly, I was frustrated… and when my doctor said that my uterus was “irritable” that word seemed to fit my mood perfectly. I was annoyed that I was having more issues- again. I was annoyed that I wasn’t feeling great. I was just annoyed at the day and it was only 10:30- good start huh?

Sometimes I guess we can all let our minds wander and mine went yesterday to a place it hasn’t been in some time. I started thinking… what is the deal? I am not one of those mothers. Why all these “issues”? I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I listen to my doctor when she says bedrest, I take my prenatals, my procardia, my folic acid, my fish oil pills, my calcium, I cut out almost all caffeine (chick-fil-A sweet tea and some chocolate here and there can do my MIND some good!)… and yet, here I am constantly thinking about the health and safety of my baby. Whatever!?

Thankfully, after hearing that I’ll be off bedrest officially at 36 weeks and will be getting off the procardia in a week and a half, I left the office in a better mood. However, some of those questions… some of those thoughts stayed with me. How come some people do everything right and still loose babies? And then some people appear to do everything wrong and still end up having healthy babies, despite the addictive lifestyles they lead while carrying a child inside? Why is it that some of my friends can’t get pregnant at all when they only long to be able to carry a child of their own?

These questions, as many of you know, could go on and on and on. And yet, the only thing that I could come up with yesterday, the only answer that gives me comfort and peace and reassurance, is that NO ONE does everything right. We are all products of the fall and all have sinned… we have ALL fallen short of the glory of God. All of us but Jesus that is. And it was Jesus that said to come to Him like little children. Like our own little children… I suppose like my little Deacon, who says long before the 20-week “medical cutoff” for the definition of a “miscarriage”- “Look mama, she has a baby in her tummy?” Yep. Like him… with trust and innocence like that sweet child that Jesus has entrusted me with.

Okay… so back to this saying. This silly little saying in a movie, “a life is a life no matter how small,” has been quoted often and apparently done so to the dislike of Dr. Seuss himself who said it didn’t reflect his personal stance on any particular ideals and didn’t want it used by pro-life proponents. That's fine, maybe to him it doesn’t mean anything, but to me it speaks volumes. That statement alone encompasses almost every moment of this past year of my life, and will always reflect my views from now on. That statement, although not taken from the Bible, is biblical and is the sole reason we had enough faith to continue our pregnancy with Maddox when all of the cards were stacked against us.

So what does this have to do with today, with this 23rd day of October? Today is a day of truth and forgiveness as I long to honor the life of my son on his 9-month birthday. Today’s struggle for truth is to stand firmly for what I believe because I trust in a God that is faithful to us and to His Word- His Word that speaks so clearly.

What?? you are wondering… More clearly please? Okay… here it is.

For me, for my family, it comes down to this… I currently feel a very heavy burden for this upcoming presidential election. I have gone back and forth, struggling as to what I can post for fear of upsetting anyone… about clearly stating my position. But after yesterday… after the frustration and all the questions running through my mind, there was no doubt left that I needed to be clear. So the truth? Truth is that a life IS a life, no matter how small. I know that. As my friend Angie stated in her blog, it is a clear and absolute truth. And do I feel that one ticket supports that position and one does not? Absolutely. Now, as Angie mentioned, I also am not a “one issue” girl; however, THIS issue to me is the issue that directs our nation. As you probably have figured out, I support life. I support each child’s right to life and for God’s right to determine how long that life will be here on earth… not our right to decide, but His. I have been shaped by personal experience and without a doubt it has changed who I am.

So what is the “forgiveness” part then you wonder? The forgiveness I mentioned when I said today is a day of truth and forgiveness? The forgiveness for me is for so many years of not knowing exactly where I stood on all of this… not until I myself was faced with the reality of it. The forgiveness for me in the fact that although I was a Christian, somehow my little mind missed the HUGE portions in the Bible that clearly stated how the Lord values life, at all ages and gestations, and it is HIS sole right to take that life away. Maybe it was just convenient to not have an opinion or somehow be able to "see both sides."

What about this? Maybe some of us have defended a woman’s “right to choose” or have sat rather unresponsive when another asked us our opinion of this critical life-or-death issue. Maybe we didn’t know. Maybe we didn’t have an answer. Maybe we just didn’t want to be criticized or judged. Or, maybe some have been faced with that terrible decision, and for whatever reason and whatever the circumstances, made a choice that once decided, could never be taken back. Many of us have repented and have asked for forgiveness for what has been laid on our hearts regarding this issue… many still might need to do so. But regardless of where you are in the process, I want to assure you that once you have given it over to the Lord, it is done. We are forgiven. As Angie Smith just posted, it’s called restoration... being "ransomed." I rest in the truth of that restoration… and in the fact that the Lord gave us, our family, the opportunity to outwardly demonstrate that we trusted Him above all else… As a result, we saw the precious face of our tiny Maddox and it was all worth it. His life was a life… it was small, it was short, but above all, it deserved to be protected.

As those of you who know me know, I am not much of a “political” girl. However, on this day, as I think of my precious boy’s life and also about the direction of this country, I have felt compelled to share my clear stance on one significant issue that absolutely pierces my heart. To be clear… I am pro-life and I am pro-choice… God’s choice for our lives and what that entails. I am pro-prayer. I am pro-creationism… and pro-science… science that can clearly prove micro-evolution but has yet to be able to prove macro-evolution. I am pro-freedom. I am pro-military. I am also pro-McCain and pro-Palin. But, as I stated, I am also pro-prayer… meaning that I will continue praying for God’s will in our country, for His will in this election, and ultimately for whoever gets voted into the highest office in this land. I will pray for them to be responsible. I will pray for their discernment and wisdom and leadership. This country needs so much prayer as we face what appears to me to be an uncertain moral future. Will you please join me in praying for this country? Will you please join me in praying for all of the little lives across this country… born or unborn… no matter how small?

Happy 9 months Maddox! I know you are so happy in your Father's hands!


"If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."- 2 Chronicles 7:14

Thursday, October 16, 2008

One Year... and 32 Weeks Later

I had my 32-week appointment this morning, as well as a full biophysical profile ultrasound to see how li'l miss Faith Clare is growing. God continues to answer our prayers for safety, health and protection as she looked strong, active and full of life. Her measurements were great, right on track for where she should be, and weighing in at 4lbs 5oz. That seems big to me at this point, but as the ultrasound tech reminded me, when on bedrest the baby gets most of the caloric weight because I am "inactive." I suppose that was a nice way to say it... yep, she said it but really didn't need to... the scale is showing it too. Maybe I should take part in MckMama's Not Me... Monday's so I can say "I definitely did not eat three big brownies in a row yesterday because they tasted so good!"

As Deacon and Daddy waited outside the room after the ultrasound, I heard a nurse ask Deacon, "Are you going to have a baby brother or baby sister?" I paused and waited to hear what he would say. His words were sweet reminders to me today, exactly one year after this blog began... one year after getting up the courage to share our difficult journey... He replied "I'm having 2 baby sisters." Dusty said "No D, mommy is just having one baby." He said "Yep, just one baby sister. Her name is baby Faith. We have a different baby too... a baby in Heaven. His name is baby Maddox." It did my heart so good to hear him remember... to know that even as the weeks pass and we get closer and closer to meeting our little girl, our little boy is still on his heart. I pray it will always be that way.

So here we are, one year after this blog began on the winding road to meet Maddox... and 32 weeks into anticipating the arrival of our Faith Clare. We are so blessed and so thankful. We continue to covet your prayers for these remaining few weeks... November was my goal and it is quickly approaching on the calendar. Let's see how long this little girl will hold on...

"...I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior." Habakkuk 3:18

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today...

Today marks exactly 38 weeks since our precious baby Maddox briefly entered this world and then was taken home to be with our Lord. Today is also the National Day of Remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss, encompassing all babies who have died due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or any other infant death. Today... it feels like an important day.

For that reason I would ask that today you join me and thousands of others in prayer for all of the families that have suffered the loss of a baby. For many of you, that might mean praying for healing and restoration for your own family. For many of you, that might mean praying for not just one baby, maybe not even two, but four or 8 babies with Jesus. For many of you, that might mean praying for your mother, your sister, your daughter or your friend, because praise the Lord you have not walked this road.

I would venture to say that no matter who you are, where you are from, or what circumstances you are currently in, in some way you have been touched by the loss of a child. Today is not a day of mourning, but a day of remembrance. Today reminds us to stop and thank the Lord for the incredible blessing of children- by birth or adoption- and to remind us who is ultimately in control of our lives. Our God is a sovereign God who knows the exact number of days we will be alive, who has specific plans for us, who even knows the exact number of hairs on our head. We worship an amazing Lord who's love for us in much farther reaching than any pain that we can experience here on this earth.

So today, please join me in praying for the millions of families affected by the loss of a child. I have no doubt that my mind will be on Maddox today, in the arms of Jesus, and all the other babies laying right next to my sweet son. What a joyful reunion we will one day enjoy!

If you have lost a baby, due to any circumstance, and would like people praying for you, please link to Angie Smith's blog, and leave a comment on her post giving the details of your loss. You can do this anonymously and leave as much or as little detail as possible.

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."- Psalm 34:18

"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."- Ecclesiastes 3:11

Friday, October 10, 2008

Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer


JESUS DRAW ME EVER NEARER

Jesus, draw me ever nearer
As I labor through the storm;
You have called me to this passage,
And I'll follow, though I'm worn.

May this journey bring a blessing.
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus guide me through the tempest
Keep my spirit staid and sure;
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love You even more.

May this journey bring a blessing.
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

Let the treasures of the trial
Form within me as I go -
And at the end of this long passage
Let me leave them at Your throne.

By Keith and Kristyn Getty~ Ireland.

 My mother-in-law shared these beautiful lyrics with me and I felt compelled to share them.  God is so faithful and these words remind me that He will use each experience to mold us more in the image of Him as we fully trust in His plan for our lives.

"You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the LORD your God brought you out..."- Deuteronomy 7:19

Monday, October 6, 2008

Anticipation

My days all seem to be running together.  I actually have to look down on my little calendar icon on my computer to see what the date is as I currently live from one doctor's appointment to the next.  Well... there I go again... it's the anticipation.  I guess I'd like to say that in many ways this is so hard, this bedrest thing... but then considering all that we have been through this past year, it certainly isn't the worst... not by a long shot.  

For good or bad I feel like I have gotten in a routine of doing nothing. I guess for now we'll say that is good.  I certainly don't envision myself and my enormous Type A personality having a problem getting back to the cooking, cleaning, kiddos, errands, husband, cleaning, playing, dinner, cleaning, cleaning, did I mention cleaning (since my house definitely needs a good cleaning)... but right now that freedom to not do all the things that I really won't want to be doing later doesn't seem to be  bothering me as much as I thought.  It sounds okay huh? Maybe... unless you know me.  Maybe I'm just in a funk.

Lately I haven't felt extremely social.  For some reason I don't feel like I'm part of the living world.  I kind of feel like I'm in seclusion at this point, just as I was right after Maddox was born.  I feel like I'm trying to fill my days with a bunch of nothing and well, to my credit, I guess I'm succeeding.  Yeah, I'm trying to be productive with projects, but this nothingness is sort of nice... and sort of terrible.  What I really look forward to are my daily showers, when Deacon gets home from preschool and when Dusty gets home from work.  But then again, strangely, I look forward to the times when I'm alone.  I would love to say that that is when I do most of my praying, bible study, focusing... but nope, that is just when my mind is nowhere.  Is that weird?  I kind of think it is.

No worries... I'm not depressed.  I'm not totally overwhelmed.  I just don't feel like I'm much of anything.  I told a friend a few weeks ago that I just want to focus on being present in each day but sometimes I feel so detached.  Maybe that's what I'm trying to do as I read with Deacon, play with trains on the couch, do an occasional coloring project or pray with him.  I think what I suddenly just realized is that I'm just tired of living for tomorrow... so maybe the Lord has given me this time to just be.  Not to let my mind atrophy as it sometimes feels like I'm doing, but to just BE.

I haven't done a lot of be-ing lately.  Not in quite some time.

As I have reflected on the last 2 years, I realized how much I have actually lived for tomorrow without simply being present for today.  It's so sad really... always feeling like I'm looking to the next thing.  I guess it maybe started when I was ready for another baby.  I was ready for a second child much sooner than Dusty, really by Deacon's first birthday.  So of course that's where all of this began. Anticipating the "next big adventure"... By time we were both ready to begin trying again, I felt all the excitement of a new baby.  I didn't realize that would begin my "training" in the waiting game.  We tried for 6 months before we found out we were pregnant and it felt like a bunch of "hurry up and wait" as I longed to see those two pink lines month after month as my friends kept announcing second and third pregnancies.  Finally in July we discovered we too were pregnant.  FINALLY I felt I could move on.

Next it was the anticipation of finding out the sex of the baby... then in my mind, when he would be born.  Of course God knew there would be more steps involved this time around.  When we got Maddox's definitive diagnosis on Friday, September 28th, the world was suddenly a different color.  At that point it marked the anticipation of what was to come with his little life. The months of anticipating his arrival came to head on January 23rd of this year and oh how quickly that day came and went.  I felt thrust into the grieving-mode (little did I realize I had been doing that already for 4 months) and then the anticipation of getting past the pain and hurt... or at least it not cutting so deep.  As you know, we then quickly found out we were expecting again... on to the next thing to look forward to.  Now I feel like I'm in the "hurry up and wait" time again, for about the 20th time in the last 2 years.  It makes me so frustrated at myself.  I don't really understand why I'm not just living in the here-and-now... I want to be here... I want to be surrounded by the love and comfort and care that has carried me... I want to love my children, my husband, my family, my friends, my God... I guess maybe I just want to be out of THIS place.  It just feels so contradictory as I am so thankful, yet SO ready to LIVE again.  I mean, really live!  

My friend Rachel, someone who has been through so much too, mentioned to me in the hospital that one day I would look back on all of this and think, "wow, those were really a tough couple of years!"  I totally agreed with her as I said that we were doing great... that God knew what we could handle and we were just "doing it" and were stronger for it... Now I look back, realizing that even in the midst of it, well, it feels hard sometimes.  Some days it's all just difficult.  

I guess what I'm saying is that no matter what we are going through... whether it is the loss of your own child, the loss of your freedom to do what you want, the destructive nature of a bad relationship with your husband, your kids, your mom, the daily challenge of managing little kids  with your husband often gone, or unhealed hurts from the past that leave you feeling angry, overwhelmed or helpless... we can ALL still live in the present.  We need to focus daily on the blessings that the Lord has given us.  We, beginning with me, need to remember that regardless of the difficulties of today, we can still praise the Lord for His goodness, His grace, His forgiveness and His love in this very moment.  Tomorrow is one day closer to an answer, a solution, a decision, or an answered prayer... and quite possibly one day closer to that "something" we are each anticipating.  So, since tomorrow will be here soon... I'm going to keep trying to focus a little more on today.

"The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; fathers tell their children about your faithfulness."- Isaiah 38:19
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