Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Filled with Joy

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."
                                               ~Psalm 126:3

It has been a couple of months since I have posted, but what joyful news we have to share.  God created new life within my womb 12 weeks ago now.  I was obviously cautious with completely blaring the news to the public.  There are quite a few of you that already know and we have had 3 healthy sneak peeks at our little one now.  As Kate said to me today, "Mommy, it's hard keeping a secret."

Many of you grieved with us in the valley of death with our last baby, but in sharing our news we want to give you the opportunity to celebrate & praise the Lord with us in the new life He has created.  I am certainly glad to be out of that trial, but will forever be changed by the changes that God has done in my heart & know that His love & compassion was behind it all.

God has not only given us the blessing of new life, but I get to walk through pregnancy with my little sister.  We are due two weeks apart.  We have both had pretty bad all day nausea so we've spent a lot of time entertaining our other kids and being miserable together.  It helps to share the misery with someone!  This time around, my nausea has been worse with dry heaving & some throwing up here & there.  Please don't take that as a complaint, but I'm definitely looking forward to the blissful 2nd trimester.  I usually start to perk up around 16 weeks so only about another month.

As soon as I found out I was pregnant, the OB put me on progesterone & aspirin.  I'm not sure if that actually helped me, but it was done as a precaution due to my history of miscarriage.  My favorite OB has been so gracious as to allow me two extra ultrasounds (6 & 8 weeks) to make sure baby is alive.  That definitely has made my mental & emotional state of health much more peaceful.  Every bloodwork test & ultrasound we have had so far has returned nothing but positive results!

And I absolutely cannot leave this important part out...my servant-hearted husband.  Because I have been sicker than I usually am, he has taken on some of the household chores (mowing the lawn, which I actually enjoy doing) in addition to his normal chores.  He has graciously overlooked the pile of dirty dishes & piles of laundry.  He has cooked most of our meals.  He actually recently changed jobs within Verizon and that has allowed him to be home almost every afternoon.  Little did we know how much we would need him around.  I have told him this several times, but I am incredibly thankful for how he works hard in the hot sun all day long and then has come home to take extra care of our home & family.  I know that he is definitely looking forward to me feeling better soon.

Once again, for those of you that have prayed us through the last 11 months...THANK YOU!!!  Our prayer is that our joy may now be yours, too!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

My Inheritance

I've been thinking for about the last month, how or even if I would mention why April 3rd has made such an impact on my life.  To most of you & before nine months ago, April 3rd is just another day.  However, April 3rd is a date that has been tucked away in my brain the moment that I was given my due date.  I can tell you the exact due dates of all of my kids.  In fact, I have to think twice about Reagan's birthday because I always confuse it with her due date.

Needless to say, I need no reminding on this one.  Even if I wanted to forget, the two mail advertisements for birth announcements that came today, would be a blazing reminder that I should have happy news to share this week and not...NOTHING.

It crosses my mind a hundred times a day and probably has even more as I have gotten closer to my due date.  The first time I miscarried before Hannah and Kate, I got pregnant within a couple of months afterwards.  I had a very high risk multiples pregnancy to distract me on my first baby's due date and they were actually only born about 6 weeks later, although they were supposed to be 3 months apart.  It was extremely hard to listen to the baby chime at Brandon Hospital last night.

I really thought & hoped that I would have been pregnant by now.  It's been six months since we lost our baby and while we're never the couple that gets pregnant easily (and, no, I don't need tips on increasing fertility...we know what we're doing), I was supposed to be more fertile after miscarrying.  So you know what I've had to do?  Surrender.

Oh, it's incredibly hard, especially when almost everyone around you gets pregnant just by looking at their spouse (all said in love...I wish that was us).  God has placed some scripture on my heart though that I repeat out loud to myself quite often and it's one of my favorite verses for any situation:

"I say to myself, 'The Lord is my portion; therefore, I will wait for him.'"  ~Lamentations 3:24

If there's anything I've learned about pregnancy & babies, it's that He is in complete control and there is nothing above & beyond the birds & the bees that I can do to make it happen.  He creates when He wants to and He creates how many He wants to. (John 1:3)

Yes, my heart is definitely still hurting & grieving.  I can say with certainty though that God has been preparing me for this day over the last several weeks.  His Word has brought me tremendous comfort as I have to contend with Him over the whys.

My intention of this post is not to complain, but simply to remember the baby that I should be holding in my arms right now and to share with you one treasure that I feel the Lord has given to me in the last couple of weeks.

"Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."      ~Romans 8:17

The thing that came to mind when I read this was that by definition an heir has an inheritance.  So I am called to not only suffer with Christ, but also receive my inheritance with Him.  My suffering has produced an inheritance that I will not receive until I get to Heaven.  But that inheritance is a precious child(ren).  I'm going to have two children waiting for me when I get to Heaven.  That makes it worthwhile.  That gives my suffering a purpose.    

Tomorrow, I'll share a song that has also really encouraged me and I hope will be a blessing to some of you all as well.  Thank you to all of my family & friends who have shown me grace, continued to pray for us, and for just taking the time to listen.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Dispelling a Common Saying

"God will never give you more than you can handle."

OR how about this one...

"God only chooses special people to handle ___________ (fill in your trial) because He knows they are strong enough to endure it."

Those sound like great sayings that come out of the wisdom of Solomon's book of Proverbs, right?  Well, when you find them, let me know.  I'm no theologian, but that must be in Proverbs 32.

I fully understand that sometimes people say things like that because they are very well-intentioned and they want to provide some words of comfort, but they just don't know what to say.  I'm know that I have even both thought and said those things multiple times in the course of my lifetime.  As I have come to experience more trials and suffering in my life, I have also come to find that many of those well-intentioned sayings are simply hogwash (and that's actually the nice word for what I'd like to call them).

It was only in the last couple of months that an older, wiser sister-in-Christ pointed out the falsehood of the above particular sayings out to me.  The truth of it is that the only thing God says He won't give us beyond what we can bear is temptation (1 Cor. 10:13).  You want to know why I think God gives us more than we can handle?  It's simple.  So we rely on His strength and not our own.  Jesus even cried out in Matthew 26:39 for God to take away the cross because He knew it would be too much to handle.  But God didn't take it away.  It was THE necessary part of His story of redemption.  

"For my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  ~2 Cor. 12:9

If I was strong enough to handle it on my own, the fullness of Christ's strength would never be shown.

I'll just tell you from my own experience.  Losing a baby after a year of trying to get pregnant, having premature multiples, raising multiples, losing another baby, and experiencing normal marital issues are amongst the biggest things that God has allowed in my life that I absolutely can't handle.  The above sayings say that I should feel "special" for being chosen for these things.  Like I have some superhuman strength that many others around me simply do not have.  Guess what?  I'm tired of being on these "special lists."  People often ask me how I can handle having twins.  My answer, "I do what has to be done because they are my children and I love them."  It's a choice to accept the responsibility that God has given me.  I could just as easily choose to not accept it as many people do.

If we follow the above logic, that means that God made a mistake when He allowed certain people to become parents who then go on to drive their van into an ocean because what God had given them must have been too much to handle.  We don't have to look far to find people miserably fail to handle their trials or just normal circumstances of life.  I can promise you that I am not any more special or better equipped to handle certain situations in life than the next person.

The above sayings take away the personal responsibility we have to make the choice to obey God or not.  We don't get to blame God when things get too hard and we make a decision to bail.  I make several small choices a day to obey God.  Obedience starts in the small choices so that we are able to stay obedient in the big choices.

What does God expect of us though when we find ourselves in a trial that He's allowed in our lives that really is more than we can bear?  I think we can find the answer in Scripture:

"God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in time of trouble."  ~Psalm 46:1

"I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."  ~Lamentations 3:24

"Be still, and know that I am God; and I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."  ~Psalm 46:10

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  ~Matthew 11:28

He wants us to come to Him.  He wants us to make daily choices to trust Him and find our sufficiency and strength in Him.  The next time you find yourself needing to provide words of comfort and encouragement to someone who is hurting around you, think carefully about the words you offer.  We can't always say what God is and isn't going to do...what God will and won't allow...or why God allows certain things in our lives.  God has a purpose and it is far beyond our understanding (Isaiah 55:8)

**As previously noted, I am no theologian.  Please feel free to correct me with scriptural truth if I am in error.  :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Didn't Sign Up for This

I Didn't Sign up for This:

1) I didn't sign up for all of the "what-ifs" coming true.  What if I lose the baby?  What if my baby isn't completely healthy?  What if my baby doesn't go full-term?  What if...?

2) I didn't sign up to never hear my baby's heartbeat.  I NEVER got to hear my baby's heartbeat...not once.  I NEVER got to see a picture of my baby.  I couldn't bring myself to look at the ultrasound screen during the one & only ultrasound we ever got because I knew by the tech's reaction that my baby was not alive.  I really did want a picture.  I just wanted to see proof that there was a baby growing inside of me.  That I hadn't somehow concocted this crazy story and am now feeling an incredible pain just for the heck of it.  But when the time came to ask the doctor for a picture, I couldn't bring myself to do it.  The only proof I have is a pregnancy test and my sweet doctor telling me that he saw my baby.  

3) I didn't sign up to lose my baby (twice).  Unless you have been through it, there is no imagining the depth of pain you feel after losing a baby.  I wanted to hold my baby here, not wait until I get to heaven.  

4) I didn't sign up for the shame that I feel because I am still (months later) grieving a baby that I never got to hold.  I feel like I should have more trust & hope because I know that my God is sovereign & for me, but again, the depth of hurt that I feel is lingering longer than I hoped it would.  It has revealed the sin of jealousy in my life.  I fight a lot of things on a daily basis because I feel like I should have it more together.  I put on a great mask sometimes and there are days when I feel like such a fraud for even wearing a smile on my face.

5) I didn't sign up to be the "elephant in the room."  I'm the one that people avoid talking baby or pregnancy stuff around.  

6) I didn't sign up to have my babies early and watch them through an incubator wall for the first several weeks of their life.

In reality, I did sign up for the possibility of all of the above, but just not the reality of it.

I Signed up for This:
1) A healthy, full-term baby that I could cuddle to my chest and nurse and take home from the hospital
2) The aches & pains of a growing belly
3) The stretch marks
4) The weight gain
5) The exhaustion & the nausea

For those women who got what they signed up for...be grateful.  I am not in any way rebuking anyone, but just a simple reminder of how BLESSED you are.  It's really hard on women who are experiencing infertility, have lost a baby, or who have had a preemie to hear others complain about their pregnancies.  Many of us wish we had your problems.  I have had ONE pregnancy out of 4 go normally.  One pregnancy that I can say, "Yeah, this one actually went right."  I am so grateful beyond words that God gave me the gift of my normal pregnancy and a beautiful VBAC delivery with Reagan.  I wouldn't have changed a thing about my pregnancy with her.  I feel the full weight of that gift when I think about my own losses and others' losses as well. 

I have been somewhat "hiding" my hurt lately.  Although, my sweet mom and husband have been so gracious to love me through the past couple of weeks & bear the brunt of my tears.       

You can obviously tell that I am still very much working through my grief.  I want to leave you with another list of things I signed up for.  One that will hopefully help you to know that I didn't write this to target anyone specifically.  I wrote it to vent, let other women who have experienced miscarriage know they aren't alone, and to remind myself of His promises.  Isn't that exactly what David does in the Psalms? 

I Also Signed up for This: 

1) I signed up to trust Him no matter what He allowed in my life.
     "When I am afraid, I will trust in you."  ~Psalm 56:3
2) I signed up to share in His sufferings just as I share in His glory.
     "Now if we are children then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we            share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."  ~Romans 8:17 
3) I signed up to wait on Him.
     "I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."  ~Lamentations 3:24
4) I signed up for new mercies.
     "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are        new every morning; great is your faithfulness."  ~Lamentations 3:22-23
5) I signed up for compassion & unfailing love.
    "Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love." 
          ~Lamentations 3:32
6) I signed up to show comfort to others with the same comfort I have been shown.
    "...who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the                  comfort we ourselves have received from Christ."    ~2 Corinthians 1:4
7) I signed up to be restored.
   "And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."  ~ 1 Peter 5:10

The list really could go on & on, but I have a daughter who is sitting at my feet begging me to take a bath.  I couldn't bear the burden of what I didn't sign up for without a Savior to walk with me through every step, to catch every tear, and to shower upon me an unfailing love that I in no way deserve.  He will continue to be my song and my portion until my heart is healed.