Monday, December 16, 2013

Our Gifts

The last few weeks have been full of nausea, fatigue, and basically counting hours until my naptime, but I am thankful for it!  Today we got to see our little monkey again.  Every time I hear the heart beat, my heart soars and I breathe a huge sigh of relief.  The Lord is teaching me how to counter my fears with Scripture and faith. And boy, can fear take over if you allow it to. I'm glad for my Daddy, who points me in the right direction and reminds me how to control them.

 I feel blessed to be able to carry a child at this time of year.  I think about what must have gone through Mary's head so many years ago to know that she was carrying our Lord. I have often pondered to what extent she fully understood at that time what she had been chosen for.  How overwhelming.  I get overwhelmed at just trying to accomplish  teaching, Christmas shopping and decorating, and keeping a somewhat clean house.  (The latter of which is apparently not happening until Christmas break!)

I am overwhelmed in a different way at times to realize God's gift to us of this child.  He has protected in a mighty way over the last 12 1/2 weeks!  Thankful doesn't begin to describe our hearts.  It was amazing to see tiny fingers and the profile of the baby's face today on the screen. What a truly amazing miracle life is.

And though our little gift is nothing short of wonderful, I cannot help but be reminded of the greater Gift given to us in the Lord Jesus.  Honestly, daily life would be so hard without Him I would be a distraught, depressed person. He is our Hope!

Thanks again to those of you who hold us up in your prayers!  You might specifically pray that any leftover scar tissue from before would not hinder the baby or its growth. And yes, I said "its," because we do NOT know whether it is a girl or boy yet. :)  Not until the end of January or beginning of February anyway!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Beyond expectations

This card has hung on my dresser mirror for years.  A very special lady, who has prayed for us daily, sent this card of encouragement to me.  We have been so very thankful for the many who are praying for us and Baby.  This child continues to be a miracle, and our God continues to amaze us with His mighty hand.

We have been praying daily ourselves for some specific things relating to the baby's growth and development, as well as for my body to adjust and remaining damage from the previous surgeries to be divinely healed.

We learned a lesson today.  We were hoping today for God to do good things.  But our God does great, wonderful, beyond-our-imagination things!  The report we got on the baby was "Perfect."  Things right now (the baby, as well as my ability to carry) are in every way normal, and that makes my head spin.  For so long, nothing about our situation has been "normal." And to get a report that things look perfect, kind of blows my mind.  Our baby may be excitingly "normal," but we truly know he/she is a miracle!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

You are I AM....

This is Brandon. MarySusan said I could write the post tonight. I figured I'd better take the opportunity while I could, considering how often she's been changing her mind about things here lately.....:)

"You Are I AM" by MercyMe. That's the song that was playing on the radio as I got in my car and drove to today's ultrasound. I've heard the song many times, but today I really listened to the lyrics and what it was talking about...

I've been the one to shake with fear
And wonder if You're even here
I've been the one to doubt Your love
I've told myself You're not enough
That sounded familiar. I've definitely been there. These last few years have taken their toll. I was the one that trumpeted the fact that God did work a miracle with the first pregnancy in saving MarySusan and keeping her body intact so that we would be able to have kids in the future. I KNEW God was going to let us have our own kids. It was so obvious to me. So we were a little scared, but we knew it was going to be ok...
I've been the one to try and say
I'll overcome by my own strength
I've been the one to fall apart
And start to question who You are
But the years went by.....and the disappointment seemed to become an endless cycle. We would see the doctor, our hopes would be sky-high for two weeks, we'd take a test and have our dreams shattered (again), then we'd just have to wait a few weeks to go see the doctor again....and start over. I started questioning who WAS God?? Was He really concerned with what we were going through?? Had He forgotten what he was supposed to do?? Sure I looked ok on the outside.....but I had these doubts all the time...

I've been the one held down in chains
Beneath the weight of all my shame
I've been the one to believe
That where I am You cannot reach
By this point, I'm thinking it has to be something I'm doing wrong. I'm not having enough faith...I'm not praying the right way....I'm not asking for the right things....I'm just too far gone. I knew my heart, and while I was the one each and every month that told MarySusan it was going to be ok and we'd get it next month. I didn't believe it myself. I was discouraged and believed that I was just misunderstanding God three years ago when I "KNEW" He was going to give us children. I was too far gone and He wasn't going to bless us now. It was too late....
You're the one who conquers giants
You're the one who calls out kings
You shut the mouths of lions
You tell the dead to breathe
You're the one who walks through fire
You take the orphan's hand
You are the one Messiah
You are I AM
Today I listened to this song and I knew: God IS. That's it. That's what the name "I AM" means. God just IS. Period. End of story. No matter what happens, what we're going through, or what may be coming down the road. God IS. I know it's easier for me to write this now that we're expecting, but that doesn't change God. He still IS. And if we lost this baby tomorrow, as hard as that would be, and as many times as I might fail, God. IS. and that's just awesome.
So today we are praising God for a GREAT report from the doctor, and we got the first "real" picture of our can just make him out below. Yeah, I said "him." I'm calling it. ;)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thankful :)

This morning God used this sunrise to calm my heart and remind me that He is bigger and more powerful than anything in my life.  He knew about this day and how it would go before it even came to be. (Psalm 139)  It was amazing the peace that filled our hearts today as we waited for our ultrasound appointment.  I love how God's Word will do that.  3:45 p.m. seemed like it would never come!

I look at this often, and I looked at it again today.  It was given to me by a very special friend who never gave up on praying for our child, even when I felt like it.  She prayed for this child for 3 years with us.  Inside the case is a mustard seed, reminding me to have faith as Jesus said in Matthew 17:20. God is certainly teaching and leading us into learning to exercise our faith in Him daily.  I keep verses from Psalms with me (printed out on a few sheets of paper) to read when I feel those feelings of fear about the future come up.  My dad taught me to do this years ago at another time in which I had to cling to the Lord. I do not know how I would cease to panic without this. 
We prayed together before we went in, but it was a hopeful, expectant prayer. The doctor found that everything was not just good, but great even beyond what we could expect!  We saw the flicker of the heartbeat, even though it is still early.  We are so grateful for God's goodness to us today.  And we are so thankful for friends and family who are active in this journey with us through continued prayer! We go back in a week for another look at Baby. :)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Another chapter...

"He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him."  Psalm 145:19

   Three years and one month.  That's how long I prayed this verse.  Sometimes it was in desperation, and sometimes it was with a heart that claimed confidence in what God said.  Lately, it has been more like the latter. It took a long time for me to be content that the God who had "given and taken away" would keep His Word, even if it wasn't in the way that I wanted or expected.  But I know I can trust Him for good things. Period.

    It started about 2009.  Actually, for me, it started when I was a little girl.  All I pretended and dreamed of was being a mother.  No career ideas.  Even though I love teaching and know God called me to it, it wasn't the first thing I wanted to do.  It took us a while to get pregnant.  God knew the reason.  He had to work on us and our marrige first.  But August 4, 2010 I found out I was expecting our first child.  We were so excited.  We kept it a secret, except for close friends and family, and were planning to announce it right after my first ultrasound. We heard the heartbeat and went in to see the doctor, only to have our hopes crumble around us.  We had a really rare type of pregnancy, and the baby would not survive. 

   The next week was full of tears.  A major surgery was scheduled for September 3rd.  The doctors weren't even sure how to proceed. God worked on that day, leading my doctor to try a method that saved me from a route which would have devastated our hopes of having children.  We were confident that this was only from Him.

   It was at this time that God led me to the verse above.  Another year passed and I went through some painful testing, showing that there had been significant damage.  For the next couple of years we saw specialists and I had two additional surgeries, more testing, procedures, etc.  Plus a lot of money. The doctors were honest that though it wasn't totally impossible, we did not have an easy road ahead of us. 

   We had come to a point of asking God how He wanted us to move forward. Brandon declared to God one morning on the way to work that we simply needed a miracle from Him.  It was shortly after this that I discovered God had performed that miracle. Three years and one month to the day. I love looking back at verses we have prayed and seeing now that God has answered.

   We are sharing this so our friends and family that have faced heartache will join us in trusting that God's grace IS enough to carry us through.  He can restore hope when it has been lost. There is no substitute for His comfort and love. We hope that if you are reading this and experiencing a similar trial, or one completely different, that this will be an encouragement to keep trusting that God is faithful even when you don't feel it.

   We also ask your prayers every day for the safety of the baby (and me).  We still face possible complications in this "risky" pregnancy, and every day is a gift. We are not without fears, but we take those fears to the ONE who can conquer them. This is God's child!

"That they may know that this is Your hand--that YOU, LORD, have done it!"  Psalm 109:27