Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One Week

One week.   7 days.  168 Hours.   10,080 minutes. 

That is how long it’s been since I found out that the precious baby inside of me had stopped growing.  There was no heartbeat.  There was nothing but silence.  The tears fell from my eyes as my heart was breaking.  I stared at the ultrasound monitor and quickly tried to memorize every detail of the outline on the screen.  As the ultrasound technician left to room to go get my doctor, I whispered to that sweet baby how desperately I had wanted him, or her; how much I loved him; how much daddy love him; how excited his sisters were to hold him; how precious he was.  And then I told my baby goodbye. 

Our journey started on September 13th.  It was the day after Madeline’s 2nd birthday party.  There had been a few things that just seemed “off,” so I decided to take a pregnancy test.  I knew it would be negative because Brant and I had decided months before that we were happy with two children, so we were preventing “things” from happening.  We thought we were good with two, and if God had different plans then He would have to work a miracle.  So you can imagine my shock when I took that pregnancy test and saw that God had decided to do just that – work a miracle. 

I was in complete disbelief and went straight to Brant.  His smile was priceless.  I remember saying to him “But this wasn’t the plan.”  And his response:  “You’re right, this wasn’t our plan.  But I am so happy.”  

From that moment on excitement filled our home.  The thought of a new baby in my arms was euphoric.  We waited some time before telling the girls, but as the days and weeks passed I began to experience the morning sickness, and nausea, and fatigue, and food aversions – all the “fun” first trimester brings.  So we explained to them that there was a baby in mommy's belly and they were going to have a little brother or sister.

Our first sonogram was on October 7th.  I was 8 weeks and 5 day into my pregnancy.  I was prepared to see a growing baby and strong heartbeat.  But what we saw was a very small baby.  Mother’s instinct kicked in and I knew God had a different plan than what we had hoped for.  But I tried to remain positive.  We heard a beautiful strong heartbeat of 134 beats/min.  As the ultrasound was coming to a close, I asked the technician if I could hear that heartbeat one more time.  Something in me knew those final beats would be the last that I heard and I savored every moment of them.  Based on the size of the baby’s growth, my due date was moved back 16 days, but I assured my doctor I knew my dates – and the “new” due date was wrong.  He told me to focus on the positive – there was a heartbeat.  

The new few days I cried often simply because I knew something was going to happen.  I told Brant my fears, and he tried to calm them in every way he knew how.  I begged God for a different outcome, but promised that I would praise His name no matter what.  

Finally on October 21st, at 10 weeks, I knew in my innermost being that my baby no longer had a heartbeat.  I can’t explain how or why I knew – I just did.  I called my doctor’s office and told them that I needed them to see me.  And they did.  I told the ultrasound technician exactly what I thought the ultrasound would show.  She had such compassion and tenderness as she confirmed my fears.  That was one week ago today. 

It has been a hard week.  Explaining to the girls was hard, but we promised them that we will see our baby again in heaven – Jesus is just going to hold our baby until we get there.  Emmalee has often prayed and asked Jesus to “take good care of our baby.”  It brings tears to my eyes every time.  But through it all I will still praise His name.  He is the God who breathes life into the lifeless, and HE gives hope to the hopeless. He gives and He takes away.  He is my strength, and my comforter, and my strong tower.  He has held us in the palm of His victorious hand and showered us with peace.
Days like today are hard.  I keep thinking about the “what ifs.”  But Heaven is the only home my sweet baby will ever know, and in that I WILL REJOICE!  What better arms to hold my child than the arms of Christ the King? 

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Real Jesus

If you follow me on Insta or Twitter, or Facebook, or any other social media, then you know that Emmalee has been in swim lessons this week.  She has never feared being in the water, but she does fear going UNDER the water.  A few summers ago she would jump off diving boards and seemed to be fearless, but things have changed since she is a little older now (because 4 is the new 14, ya know).  So I thought it was important to put her in lessons so that she can learn to survive in the water by herself without her floaties if she ever needed to.  

A few weeks ago we were swimming at our neighbor’s house and we were trying to get Emmalee to jump off the diving board (arm floaties on, of course).  She absolutely refused.  She would get up there, and start to bounce, then run off.  She was so terrified of actually jumping in.  She finally agreed that she would jump if I was right below her, arms outstretch to instantly catch her so she wouldn’t go under.  So I swam to the diving board, treaded water with arms outstretched for what seemed like an eternity, and she still couldn’t overcome the fear.  

So I sat down with her so we could talk about it.  She said she was just scared.  I asked her if she trusted me…she said no (insert punch to the gut).  So I asked her if she trusted Jesus…she said yes (insert smiling mom because maybe I’m doing something right).  So I asked her if she trusted Jesus, then would she believe that Jesus would give me the strength to catch her and not let her go under?  Again, she said no.  She wanted “the real Jesus” to catch her.    

I sat speechless for a moment, not quite knowing how to answer.  I began to think of the things that I would do if “the real Jesus” was there to catch me, too.  Would I get out of the boat and walk on water if I saw the hand of “the real Jesus” beckoning me?  Would I talk to Him more if I saw Him listening intently to my heart?  Would I make decisions based solely on the words that He spoke to me rather than listening to everyone else?  I know for certain that I would introduce Him to everyone one I met so that they could see Him too.  But that is, of course, if I saw “the real Jesus.”

But the truth is that I don’t have to “see” Him because I know that He lives inside of me! So why is it that I, sometimes, have such a hard time believing Him, and trusting Him, and living for Him? It’s fear.  But I know that TRUTH overcomes all my fears.   

And here, my friends, is the TRUTH:
My faith is in Christ Jesus. And in that faith, I have an assurance of things not seen (Hebrews 11.)  The assurance that “the real Jesus” IS right beside me no matter where I go; the assurance that “the real Jesus” has His hand outstretched beckoning me to get out of the boat; the assurance that “the real Jesus” WILL catch me if I fall.  

But oh, what would I do if I saw “the real Jesus” face to face, in ALL of HIS glory? What would you do? What is the fear that is holding you back from getting out of the boat?  What is the fear that keeps you from jumping off that diving board? My prayer is that we all proclaim the TRUTH and live as if we are standing right beside "the real Jesus." 

And just in case you were wondering, that sweet little girl DID jump off that diving board! And those swimming lessons?  They're going great! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Life Lately

Its really sad when you realize its been 6 MONTHS since your last blog post.  Clearly I'm been busy and preoccupied with other things, sorry.  But if you want a glimpse into out life lately, here goes.

In February we put our house on the market the day of one of the biggest ice storms this are has seen in years and had 5 offers in less than 24 hours!  It was crazy.  We luckily found a house that fit our needs perfectly - in the same neighborhood, but just a little bigger and more room for our girls to grown. 

Goodbye Yarmouth Lane

It was incredibly bittersweet to say "goodbye" to this little house.  We came home from our honeymoon to this house; we brought our children home from the hospital to this house; we learned to truly love each other in the house; we learned what marriage looks like in this house; we built the foundations of our family in this house.

But it was time for a new chapter.  On March 31st, we said...

Hello Spyglass Drive
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We absolutely LOVE our new home! Its about 700 sq ft larger, but that 700 makes an incredible difference.  My new kitchen isn't a big as my other one, but it its nice and open.  It is definitely a gather spot, and I love it.  There is nothing better than cooking dinner for your family while your husband and children sit at the breakfast bar coloring and telling you all about their day.  One huge perk is that our property backs up to the golf course.  Our yard is smaller, but it feels enormous because its green as far as you can see!  I snapped this one Sunday morning while I was drinking my coffee on the back patio.  Its so much fun watching all of the golfers. 

We've also been incredibly blessed with great neighbors.  We have already become close friends with several of them, and are so excited that there are children around our girls' ages.  Emmalee is usually off to play with her new friends as soon as we pull into the driveway.  

And Maddie has a sweet new friend, Olivia.  She screams for "Livi" as soon as we get home.  I have a feeling that these two might be inseparable as they grown up, and I'm ok with that. 

A few weeks ago our sweet new friends asked if we should have a crawfish boil.  It was awesome! 70 lbs of crawfish, 20 lbs of shrimp, 8 lbs of corn and potatoes and all the company and fellowship you could hope for!  
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So this has been our life lately.  Settling in and getting accustomed to our place.  The words "blessed" doesn't quite seem to really express how we feel.  Its more than blessed; we're lucky.  We're in awe of the graces the Lord has showered us with.

 He is good!