Thursday, January 22, 2015

#expressionoflove

Seven years ago on this very date I was sitting in the hospital awaiting Maddox's arrival. I was surrounded by some of the most important people in my life, then and still today, and quite honestly, that feels like a lifetime ago.




I look at pictures from that day and recall the actual feelings of being in that moment. You know those times in life, like your wedding, when you lead someone to Christ, when your children are born, when you truly KNOW that you are PRESENT and taking it completely in? When you get to witness a life-changing moment... That was January 22nd {and his birth on the 23rd}. It was like sacred ground as everyone convened- my husband, parents, sisters, grandparents, mother-in-love, best friends, pastors- from all over the country to stand witness to one sacred event. Whether he was born still, or we took him home for many years, it was a moment in time that I KNEW I would be etched in my mind until my last breath. It was physical. It was emotional. It was the culmination of waiting and praying and trusting that somehow the Lord knew best. "But even if he does not" (Daniel 3:18) was my anthem, fully giving everything over to His Sovereignty. I looked around the room that night and was anxious, but felt totally at peace. I still felt him move with vigor and I knew it was only a matter of time before I laid eyes on the precious gift that I prayed for months before his conception.

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." 

Seven years later so much has changed. Our home is full (to overflowing!) with children and toys and squabbling and laughter and lots and lots of noise! My heart is full (to overflowing!) with joy for all that the Lord has entrusted to us. Four precious, funny, amazing kids sleep snuggled in their beds at night (3 of them in the same room!) and we still thank Him nightly for the blessing of Maddox. For the heartache that drew me into an intimacy with the Prince of Peace unlike any other time before or since. For the joy of being surrounded by His hands and feet, His people that loved on us and cared for our needs in that heartbreaking time. For the deep longing it left in our hearts to be reunited with him in Heaven and meet Jesus face to face. For the strong conviction of sharing the truth of the gospel and the need for THE Savior of the World. For the sensitivity to the Holy Spirit that we have experienced as a result of knowing His presence physically. For the calling on my life to step out of my comfort zone and obey His commands, wherever that leads.

Maddox comes up often in conversation in our home. We talked in depth last night and Deacon cried as we talked about seeing him again and what it would be like if he were here. Faith Clare laughs and says he would be her "best brother" because they are so close in age. Scout asks questions like when is he coming back from Heaven and why can't we go there to see him. Asher, well, he just smiles like usual but he'll soon know. It's an open topic in our house and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I have actually been challenged on a few occasions recently when someone asks how many kids I have. I have always included Maddox in the count... and then in the last few months I have started saying 4. The two times it has happened Deacon has corrected me, said 5, and then moved along like it was no biggie. I've been stuck feeling like I'm 1/2 crazy and 1/2 a liar for "omitting" a child. It's funny but it has reminded me that this precious person that entered and left our life so quickly has left a massive impact on all of us and we don't ever want to gloss over what the Lord has entrusted to our hearts.

We are planning a fun little celebration tomorrow by way of cookie cake, a Stanfield family must. The kids each have ideas on what Maddox would've loved and we've been in discussion about ways to remember him this weekend. We will also be doing an #expressionoflove challenge, encouraging our family, friends and networks to pay it forward with people they know and those they don't. There are so many ideas but just a few: write a note to your spouse/parent/child/friend telling them how much you love them and WHY, post on a friend's FB timeline and tell them how much you appreciate them for being present for you in a difficult time, add "over and above" to a server's tip, buy someone's lunch behind you, tell a child how amazing you think they are and that you know they will do extraordinary things in their life, donate money to a charity you love, let your student tell a teacher the difference they've made in their life, post a picture and memory of serving others... The list could go on and on. And if it's on social media, post it with the #expressionoflove and #inmemoryofmaddox. It will be fun to see people participate and the whole idea is to catch up on "those things" you've been meaning to say to those around you.

Thank you for continuing on this journey with us! Thank you for loving our family and for catching my annual post. If you'd like to stay in touch since blogging hasn't made it in my timecap for each day, find me on FB and shoot me a message about you being a blog friend. I'd love to keep current with you! So much love and grateful for you walking this ongoing journey with us!

 "From the fullness of His grace, we have all received one blessing after another." John 1:16
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