Sunday, August 29, 2010

Simple Reflections

So much going on in my mind... but so little actual activity.  My mind is racing with thoughts of the last few years as I sit here this morning, my family at church and me at home on the couch.  So much to do... so many thoughts... the clock is ticking... and yet here I sit.  Reading some scripture has helped and also brought me to tears.  It's crazy how much bed rest can take out of you even though you aren't really doing anything.

The last three weeks haven't been what I expected entering the final weeks of this pregnancy, but I know and trust that the Lord has a plan.  I'm 34 weeks now so we are in a much better situation then when it all began with Faith Clare two years ago, but to be honest I felt a little blindsided.  Thankfully we have been blessed with someone amazing to help me out here at the house and our friends and family have really stepped up to cover us with love, company and meals.

As we anticipate this fourth child in five years, I am astounded at all that we have walked through in a short time.  My body is physically exhausted and sometimes I wonder about my mental clarity (*barely* might be appropriate), but overall we have been abundantly blessed.  I stare at three 11x14 photos of my children on the wall in the living room and close my eyes to imagine the image of my forth to soon join his siblings.  I feel his constant movement and am even a little sad to give him the title of my most active child, which Maddox previously held.  I weep at the thought of not having Maddox here with us, with Deacon and Faith Clare, to celebrate the homecoming of this new little babe and yet I know that each of our days are ordained before even one of them came to be.  I know that God has brought us to this place because He loves us, not in spite of it.  He has poured out His mercy and grace, His peace and joy and love and to be honest, most of the time I feel stronger and more confident in His plan because of it.  For sure there are those moments when I still feel weak and overwhelmed, but praise Him that He can carry me through the weakness, sadness, confusion and lack of control... and then bring me to the other side, ready to bring glory to His name for the abundant blessings and joy in my life. 

I will be sure to keep things updated as we progress into these final weeks before our baby boy arrives.  We can't wait for his arrival and we know that God is doing a BIG work in our lives right now as we trust Him for the health and safety of this sweet boy!  Also, as a total side note, we are considering several different passages of scripture for his "life verse", so if you have a favorite verse that speaks to you and you think we might want to put in the mix, please let us know! Just in case, Deacon's is Psalm 25:5, Maddox's is Isaiah 43:1, and Faith Clare's is Philippians 4:13.

Blessings and JOY for this day!

"Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning."- Psalm 30:5

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Divine Reunion

What a divine weekend! A beautifully simple time spent with some very amazing mothers who, like me, have precious babies in Heaven, and also new babes in arms.  The Lord has orchestrated our story with true precision and has allowed each of us to become friends through the most difficult thing we could ever imagine and yet, rejoice in the healing that He has brought to each family through the blessing of new life.  To see this picture, to stare into the faces of these women who have become tremendous friends, truly makes me only look in one direction- upward.  God has been in every detail, allowing us to petition for one another, praise Him in the good and beseech Him in the unknown.  This weekend and the beauty of having all of our little ones together was precious.

To be honest I really thought it would be much more chaotic than what it was.  The little ones meshed splendidly, Faith Clare really taking to the "older girls", Adrienne and Torrey.  The babies were fabulous and aside from sleeping in an unfamiliar place, all seemed very much at home in Kim's beautiful house.  We enjoyed lots of pool time together, eating, playing and chatting.  I was shocked at how well the kids entertained themselves (with the help of Kim's big girls), which truly allowed for us mamas to get some hang time.  It was an amazing, awesome weekend that we know only happened because God's hand has been in each detail since the very beginning.

Photos from our first gathering in Atlanta- June 2008
To fully grasp the gravity of this weekend and what it means to each of us eight girls, I would LOVE for you to read what we all sat together and read one evening.  (It was funny because we didn't read it until after we had taken all the group pictures!)  It is from a post from Angie Luce, back in April of 2008.  She talks about the "Children of Promise" and God's provision.  Remind you, this isn't everyone's story and God doesn't answer all situations in the same way... but He chose to answer our unique situations, firming our story together, through the blessing of a new child.

I recently started running again, and I was quickly reminded that it is a form of exercise I like in theory more than reality. It's a love/hate relationship because I truly do like it when I'm good at it, but right now, being a year out of practice, I stink. I'm trying to push through, and I've set a goal to work my way back up to a 5K hopefully by next month. 
I think one of the reasons I'm struggling right now is the boredom factor. I run outside with no iPod or music entertainment of any sort, making it incredibly easy to focus on the shortness of breath and pain in my side rather than anything positive. But the other day something broke through the tedium. It wasn't a vision, but it was something I envisioned as clearly as if I was seeing a photograph in front of me. It was like all of the sudden I had this image of babies and children outside on a blanket, bunched together for a photo shoot. They didn't look at all alike, but every one of them was smiling. As the picture floated in my head, I felt God telling me, "These are the children of promise.
I remember years ago on the first anniversary of September 11th seeing a magazine with a front cover spread of the babies who had been born after that date. I remember thinking they were a dual symbol of grief and hope. They were reminders of so much that was lost, yet they were also beautiful pictures of life after the tragedy. "I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Psalm 27:13 
This is the closest thing I can think of to compare what I saw. The picture had so many kids, and one of them was mine-the baby we haven't yet adopted, but who we know God has already chosen for us. The others were the children of my friends who walked this road with me. The kids didn't know it, but what they all shared in common was the fact that they all had a brother or sister in heaven who they would never know. They had no idea how special they were; they had no idea that they were the children of God's promise.  
I doubt that photograph will ever be taken physically, but I feel the truth of the image is certain. I don't know when or how, but I believe that God will provide for each of us, in His perfect way, and in His flawless timing. That does not mean the road will be all sunshine from this moment on. God hasn't promised that. But He has promised in Psalm 30:5 that "Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning." I've already experienced this shout of joy in many ways, but I don't think it is complete. God has put on my heart the desire for another child, and I believe He wants to fulfill this in my life. I'm looking forward to seeing His promise play out, one beautiful child at a time. 

Hope, Faith Clare, Adrienne, Abigail, Jeremiah, Dante, AnnaGrace, Torrey- Children of Promise

" The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call."- Acts 2:39

Monday, August 2, 2010

Photo Update

As you have probably noticed, busy is an understatement! We have had a great summer and I can't believe that it is quickly coming to an end and school will begin very soon.  In June we traveled a ton, making five trips in four weeks.  We enjoyed time with friends and family and spent much time at the lake, the pool, the beach and several splash pads.  All SO MUCH FUN!  July held lots of excitement as well.  We wrapped up the many vacations and enjoyed a full week of VBS and superheroes.  Non-stop has been the speed we have been operating on and now that we have been home for a solid week, it's been awesome to have a bit of downtime.  I am going on a very special trip at the end of this week and I can't wait to update you upon my return.  Until then... enjoy some of my favorite summer photos!

Fun with cousins
My sisters and the kiddos
Fun in the sun
Conductor Faith Clare & Aleyse
Mimi, Papa, Faith Clare, Deacon, Aleyse & Haylee
Father's Day weekend
Sweet boy
Someones response to me when I told her to come back to the pool!
Pregnant sisters
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."- Ephesians 3:16-19
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