Monday, August 10, 2015

He Answers Prayers

The Summer always flies by. It is, by far, my favorite time of year. Not because I like the season (not my favorite season at all), but because summer is the time I get to do the things I love the most.  I get to be home with my kids, loving on them, playing games with them, doing summer things.  I get to be a wife who isn't distracted by work, who can support her husband in ministry more.  I get to sew and craft and clean and organize.  I love summer!!  But this summer, well this summer was extra special!  We got to meet our little Isaac.  After a long and crazy pregnancy, he has arrived.

Isaac Glen arrived on May 20th.  He weighed 8 pounds and was 20 inches long.  He is a happy baby and we have enjoyed getting to spend our summer with him getting to know who he is.

So here is Isaac. 
 He such a wonderful little addition to our family.  He is happy and cuddly and loves his mommy! 
 So many prayers were answered the day we gave birth to him.  I had feared that I would struggle to feel the extreme joy of giving birth to Isaac and instead be overwhelmed with sadness that his twin wasn't here with him. 
 The moment I looked up and saw the doctor holding him for me to see, I was overcome with such joy and a peace that I know came from God.  I shed a couple tears but really they were tears of joy, me and Isaac made it, we had a crazy weird road together but he was here and in my arms.  My arms were full.
 I felt joy that I got to have one of my babies to hold when so many women don't get to hold even one of theirs. The miracle of birth is truly that, a miracle!
 He had every little piece...ten fingers...ten toes...he was Fearfully and Wonderfully made.
 The feeling that someone was missing from our family will never go away for me, I will always miss Jonah.  But the gift of Isaac has given our family peace.  The kids still pray for him and ask about him but the tears are gone.  They have joy for Jonah and were he is, knowing one day they will see him.
 God answered another prayer for me that day.  I had prayed, since the day Jonah passed, that when it came time to give birth that I would be able to see Jonah.  My doctor told me the likelihood was small.  But God heard my cry, God gave me some closure that day.  Jonah wasn't just some piece of tissue, or a set of black wave lines on a sonogram photo, he was a person, he was small, but there was no denying he was a baby. 
 The day of Isaac's birth will always be remembered (for me anyway) as an emotional one, but a good one, one were God showed me that he does answer prayer, that He does love me, that He loves my husband and children and that in the midst of our pain, HE can give us unspeakable joy and a peace that surpasses all understanding. 
Welcome to our family Isaac, welcome to the world.  I can't wait to see the journey your life will take and the plans God has for you! You are loved more than you know!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My Hearts Prayer

Words and feelings get trapped inside of my head.  I want them out, but I know God has me sitting still in this place, in His presence, processing these feelings with me.  He wants to heal my hurt, heal my heart, and although I want God to do that, I find myself struggling to let Him.  Why do I hold onto it?  I don't like it but I find myself stuffing all these feelings about my hurt away.  If I can stuff it and pretend it away, and busy my hands and mind with other things, then I don't have to feel...but eventually the busy goes away and gets taken care of and then I am left in the quiet again.  It is then I realize all those feelings are still there, just below the surface.

Healing hurts, it means I have to admit that everything that happened is real, that one of my sons died before I had the chance to see him or touch him.  That my Isaac will be born a singleton, never having met his twin brother on this side of the womb.  That Chris and I will not get to watch Jonah grow into a man of God.  That Kinlee won't have a 3rd brother to mess with (we all know she is really in charge!).  That Ethan won't be able to share his love of God and golf with Jonah. 

It hurts to be vulnerable and allow the God of the universe to tear away the bandages that have held my heart together, and let Him touch and heal the wounds that lay there.  I need to be open and vulnerable to others when they ask how I am and how I feel about giving birth so soon, instead of hiding my true feelings.  If I truly trust that my God is the God of the universe and He is in control, I need to walk in faith that He knows the why of Jonah not being here and I need to rest in that and have faith that I will be ok, that we all will be okay. 

Lord heal my heart, give me courage and strength to be vulnerable; be with us all as we prepare to welcome our precious Isaac into this world!  Prepare my heart to feel both the intense joy of having Isaac and also the grief of Jonah's absence.  Give us your peace Lord.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

My Spunky Pumpkin

My Beautiful Kinlee,

I can't believe you are four.  It seems like just yesterday when you joined our little family.  From the beginning you had a mind of your own and marched to the beat of your own drummer.  The doctors were determined that day to induced me because of complications, but you had your own plan.  Once up to the delivery floor you decided you were ready to come and they weren't going to make you come.  I ended up not having to be induce, you made your own way and I should have known then that you would have that same strong personality that I so admire in your brother. 

You have brought so much joy to me and daddy's life and your older brother adores you, even though you like to pick on him in your quiet subtle ways.  You and Ethan are so close and I love to watch you both play together and listen to your "serious" conversations.  From asking if dad is a Christian to telling Ethan that you had to get me a toy for mother's day since I don't have any.  :)  I love listening to your reasoning and how your little brain processes. 

You are such a jokester and are always "pretending."  You have an amazing zest for life that inspires me.  You remind me to laugh and find the joy in moments that are hard.  You experience emotions so intensely and really do love that about you.  You remind me to slow down, because you are by far the slowest eater I have ever met...unless it is a sweet or perhaps a donut (which you can down in no time flat). You come by the sweet tooth honestly and genetically.  Sorry about that one.  :)

I love your passion and care for others.  How everyday you pray and thank Jesus for your brothers and for Jonah and ask Jesus to watch over him in Heaven.  The pain you feel when others are hurt or have to go to the hospital.  That care will growing into something beautiful in your future. 

I can't wait to see what year 4 holds for you.  It's a big year in your are going from being a little sister to a big sister, and your last year in preschool.  I can't wait to see you step into these new roles and blossom!

You have amazing strength my precious girl, I pray you never lose your strength or the joy or the silliness of childhood!  I can't not wait to see what you will do with your life.  God has truly blessed me by letting me be your mommy!  Happy birthday my girl!  I love you to the moon and back!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My thoughts on Ryan White and the CA SB 277

Today is Ryan White Day.  Not many people will know that name, but I do.  Most people who recognize the name will associate his name with HIV/AIDS.  He was the little boy in the 80's who contracted HIV.  He became the face of HIV/AIDS activism and he was just a boy.  He died when he was 18, but not before being expelled from school because of his disease and fighting to get back into school and eventually having to move school districts were he could go.  Him and his family endured much personal attack by the ignorance of people at that time.  People were scared and didn't understand what HIV/AIDS was.  

What isn't as commonly known is that Ryan had hemophilia.  He contracted HIV, from the tainted blood supply in the 80's.  The blood supply back then was tainted with both hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.  The majority of the hemophilia population contracted one of these nasty and deadly diseases while taking medication that was supposed to stop their bleeding due to their hemophilia and hopefully prolong their life.  Instead, for so many, it was their end.  Ryan and his mother fought hard to educate people.  He died at the age of 18, his mom is still involved in activism. 

As I sit here today and I watch the battle go back and forth about between pro vaccinators and the anti-vaccinators, I am saddened.  So much hate is being spewed on either side and really the bottom line is that each parent should be able to make that decision for their family without government input.  I know I have friends who are strong on both sides of that line, and I know some will disagree with me, but after seeing and having intimate knowledge of how HIV/AIDS was passed through the blood supply and how it was common knowledge by the CDC, and the WHO and medications were continued to be given that contained tainted blood to innocent people, I can not stand by and support government enforced vaccinations.  We need education, we need transparency from our pharmaceutical companies, from our government, we need to have the freedom to choose what medications we put in our body, if any, we need to have an understand and respect for one another and not attack each other for the decisions we make for our family.  My advice to new parents is to do what is best for their family, their whole family.  Every one wants to give their opinion and sometimes you need to pray and make the decision you feel is best considering all the factors that influence your family. 

On Ryan White Day, I look at my own son with hemophilia and I cannot imagine the pain Ryan's mother must have felt when he was diagnosed with HIV and then passed away years later.  She did what she thought was best, what the doctors told her was best, what the pharmaceutical companies said was best, all while the knowledge that the blood supply was tainted was being kept from the public.  I don't mean to scare anyone or be one of those paranoid people but I do want to say that as a parent I know my children better than the government.  I owe it to my children to educate myself about their medications and make a well informed decision that meets their needs. It really doesn't matter what side of the vaccine debate I stand on, the real issue we don't need big government making these decisions for us. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wise Beyond His 7 Years


I can't believe you are seven today.  It seems like just yesterday we were watching the superbowl and had you arrive just as the Giants won the game.  You were so little, early, full of silly faces and an inquisitive spirit.  We have been through a lot of the seven years of your life and you have taken everything in stride.  I think back to the parents you were born to and I don't even know who they are anymore.  That's a good thing, they were workaholics who only cared about their careers.  ;)  They grew up a lot, you taught them a lot and we are forever grateful for the lessons you have taught us. 

You have taught me more about who Jesus is, His sacrificial love and focus on others instead of Himself.  You have taught me to rely on Him and not on myself or my own strength.  You have also asked me some of the toughest theological questions that even my college theology professors never brought up.  You amazing everyday!! 

You have so much strength, naming you Ethan (literally means strong) was the most fitting thing we could have done.  You have proven time and time again that you are strong and you can handle the things thrown at you in life. 

You have the most sensitive heart of anyone I have ever known.  You are so quick to give a hug or encouragement when others are down, seem to be able to sense when others are upset or down, even when the adults around you can't see it.  I love how much you love your siblings, and how mush you talk about your brother Jonah and wonder what he looks like.  I love you have faith that one day you will have a perfected body and will get to meet your brother. 

I wonder what God has planned for you in the future.  I pray everyday for you that you remain strong and true to who He made you to be.  You are going to do amazing things kid!  Keep asking questions, keep encouraging others, keep that energetic spirit and never let anyone crush who you are!

     Your Mommy

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A father's heart

Dear Jonah,

Today is a hard day, it’s been the toughest day I’ve ever experienced, it’s a day I wish I never had to face. Today I had to say goodbye to you, my son, for now. Although you only had a short time here in your mother’s womb, there’s still so much I know about you and so much to celebrate about your life.
Even though I never got to see you, I know you are beautiful, because you are created by God, and I can’t wait for the day when I will see your face.
Even though I never heard your voice, I will know it when I do, and we will have long conversations together.
Even Though I never held you, I know there will be a day that we will enjoy a long embrace.
Even though you aren’t with us now, you will forever be part of our family.
Jonah, I want you to know that you are greatly loved. Your mother and I love you so much, I can’t even express it. Your brother and sister love you too, they have been praying for you every night. Your brother’s favorite Bible story has always been Jonah, and we knew that was your name even before you were here. There are so many other family and friends who love you also that they’re too numerous to list. I also want you to know that your twin brother is doing well, and we promise to take good care of him until we are all united again.
My heart aches that I can’t be with you right now, and I’m angry that death took you sooner than I expected. But I’m comforted by our Lord, and I have the Hope of Glory because of our savior Jesus Christ, who conquered death! Death is no longer the end for us, and it overwhelms me with joy to know that you are experiencing His victory and glory right now—which we will one day enjoy together.

Jonah, I love you so much and I can’t wait to be with you again.
- Love Dad.

“When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.”
- Jonah 2:7

Sunday, January 4, 2015

When Heartache Brings Blessings-part 2

About a year ago I was asked to teach a workshop at our Women's retreat.  My message included the story of Abraham and Isaac when Abraham is asked by God to place his child, Isaac, on the alter for a sacrifice to God.  If you aren't familiar with the story, as Abraham is dutifully following God's will and placing Isaac on the alter, a ram is presented in the bushes as a replacement for Isaac, saving Isaac's life.  If you haven't read the story I urge you too, you can find it in Genesis 22:1-19.  In the middle of giving my workshop I was deeply convicted and overwhelmed by this story.  As a parent I am to put my children on the alter, not literally, it means I am to give my children fully over to God's will.  My children do not belong to me, they don't belong to Chris, they belong to the Lord and He has been gracious enough to allow Chris and I to raise them here on this earth and our job is to surrender them to His will.

When I found out I was pregnant this time I felt that I should tell people from the beginning, and not wait the standard, socially appropriate 12 weeks (as I had in previous pregnancies).  I believe in life at conception, so I choose to celebrate life from the beginning and if that life is never lived outside the womb on this earth, it is still a life that can have an impact on this world and has a purpose.

The morning after the sonogram we met with our new doctor.  She was more optimistic than the night before and honestly I had a peace that can only come from God.  Chris and I went home the night before and we talked, we prayed, we asked others to pray, we told our kids they have twin brothers, we rejoiced.  Sure it was emotional, but  we celebrated Jonah's life, we celebrated the TWINS, because no matter what the outcome is we have twins.  We rejoiced in the lives God chose to bless us with.

Our doctor had talked with 1 of 3 specialist in the U.S. who had experience with Jonah's types of "issues" the night before and sent all the sonogram specs to him.  The best guess is that it was a blocked bladder, all other measurements were fine so it was reasonable to the medical team to hope that it would clear on it's own.  If it didn't there was hope that we could have in utero surgery that would clear it up or it could be something more serious all together.  There was lots of things that we were presented that we could have put our hope in, instead we choose to put our hope in God.  He is the giver and the taker of life.  The Bible tells us that our days are numbered, we could put all our hope and do everything in our human power to make Jonah ok, but it would be in vain if it wasn't in God's will.  The only logical thing for us to do was to put our hope in God and surrender our children to Him, to place them on the alter if you will and that is what we did.  It is God who writes their stories not me, not Chris, not the world, but God.

On December 3rd, we had a second developmental ultrasound and an appointment to meet with genetics.  We never made it to the genetics appointment.  During the ultrasound Isaac was looking wonderfully active, so active the tech couldn't get some measurements.  When we looked at Jonah there was no life in him, there was no blood flow to any part of his body and his heart had stopped.  Jonah was the only one who I had felt move (up to that point), I had felt him just two days before, but because it was still so early me feeling movement was sparse.  Jonah had 15 weeks in utero on this earth, he had a story, he had an impact even if it was just on us and those close to us.  God had a purpose for Jonah's short life and while I don't know what it is, I rest in the fact that I am not supposed to know.  Sure I could ask why, but God's answer to why wouldn't satisfy my mommy heart so instead I ask what next?  What is the next step in this pregnancy?  Only time and God will tell.

I am still pregnant, the twins were fraternal so Isaac is still alive and kicking and expected to be here sometime in May.  I have held onto the verse  "They who sow in tears shall reap in joy and singing" (Psalm 126:5 AMP).  The amazing blessing for me is that I am still pregnant, I will get to hold my baby boy, sure I would love to have held both of them but that wasn't in God's will and although it hurts, I am ok with that, because I know He knows best.  We told our children that Jonah was sick, and that God must have known that the doctors here couldn't take care of him and so he took Jonah to heaven where Jonah now has a perfect body.  (My son loves that, he talks about it and thinks that everyone is the "perfect age" in heaven.  In his opinion the perfect is the same age as his auntie 25.)   

Although I do not yet know what all the blessing will be from this situation I know they will come.  I know when Isaac is born I will have moments of sadness that Jonah isn't there; that when Isaac reaches certain developmental milestones I will be reminded of Jonah and miss him, but it will also bring me joy to be able to hold Isaac and watch him grown and to raise the 3 children, we have here, up in the ways of the Lord.  I pray that in sharing the journey it can bring healing for others as well.  I may never even see all the blessings, they maybe for other people who hear his story, I don't know, again only God knows and I can rest and find perfect peace in that.