Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Moments Like This

It is moments like this that I realize that God's faith in me is far greater than my faith in Him!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Do I Know of Holy

Last night as I listened to the story of a new mommy that has just found out she is expecting twins, my heart immediately drifted back to September 8, 2011.  The day my husband and I held hands as we saw those two tiny heart beats for the first time.  The happiness, the surprise and the tears of joy.  I love my precious Annalise and Emmalyn as much today as I did that day.  And the pain is as bad today as it was on Wednesday November 23, Friday, November 25, and Saturday November 26th.  The only difference is that God has given me the strength to grieve and cope more effectively than in the beginning.  I am so thankful for the short ultrasound video I have to hold on to.

Last night I could have easily just melted into pieces.  There were tears and my heart aches but it is bittersweet.  How happy I am for this new mommy while at the same time so sad that I will never get to be with my girls this side of Heaven.  I am very in tuned to the fact though that my blessings and sorrows have nothing to do with the blessings and sorrows of others.  God did not let me lose my girls only to bless someone else in my face.  He doesn't work that way.  We all deserve each blessing that God gives us and not because of our works but because of God's mercy and grace. 

Music plays a big role in my life and I look for God's comforts there often.  I am sure you have noticed that as my songs here often change.  But as I drove home this morning I listened What Do I Know of Holy by Addison Road.  As I listened to the words, I thought about how my story has unfolded.  And the truth in the words.  What do we really know of Holy?  Can we even begin to imagine it?  The touch of Our Saviors hands on our face, wounds that heal?  What do we really know?  One line in the lyrics says, "I think I made you too small."  One thing that I know of Holy, is that I refuse to make my God too small.  He is going to bring a great joy to my life and not only replace my anguish with joy, but turn it into joy.  What a way to honor my girls! 

Dear Annalise and Emmalyn,

How my heart aches as I should be preparing for your arrival this week.  Somehow we ended up on a different path.  A path of Holy.  And although my heart breaks I am comforted by your presence with a Savior that touches your face, and looks into your eyes, and still has enough left to hold me in my pain.  The moment I saw the two of you, was a moment that God truly gave me a glimpse of who He might be.  Forever in my heart and around my neck.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Heart Warming Message

Laying here just full of tears after receiving this text message:

"Thinking of you and your angels today."

Warmth just flooded my heart as I read it. Sometimes you just need to know someone remembers..... and God delivers. This is the very week I would be making last minute arrangement for delivery of my precious girls this weekend. To have only made it this far.
I imagine I would be laying on the couch tummy Full, I mean FULL of twins trying to relax as much as I could while my boys are screaming at the tv about March madness and Grayson sitting beside me taking in some last minute baby movements. Oh the sweetness that thought brings. But equal sweetness comes from the reality that it was four months today since we said goodbye and someone remembered. I could just hug her neck. I hope she know what she did for my heart tonight.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Mystery of God, The Beauty of God

Hy heart is heavy for my friend that I have been praying for as she is now walking in my footsteps.  Thankfully with God holding her hand.  We have talked several times and I have had to opportunity to just hold her in my arms.  Praise God for the short time she was able to spend with her baby girl.  She said to me that she knows her daughter and mine are great playmates.  Sweetness to the soul.  Please pray with me for this family in the days to come.

I am still completely amazed every time God delivers.  I guess it's the mystery of God that is often times beautiful.  After posting last time, I went back to bed and picked up my Bible to continue on my journey.  There it was something I did not even know existed.

"Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 
The angel said to hose who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." 
Then he said to Joshua, "See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you."  Zechariah 3:3-4

Almost the same thing that I said at the end of my last post and exactly what I meant.  I hope I will always continue to be amazed at the wonder of God.  Below are some pictures from our trip last weekend to Botanical Gardens, just a beautiful reminder of all God gives us to enjoy.  This time I specifically chose not to overlook it.

Even the flowers smile back at us

Friday, March 23, 2012

We Can't Afford This Life Without It

It is almost 1am and I am wide awake as usual pondering over God's lessons in my life.  I often use this quiet time to either read my Bible, listen to JoyFM or spend some most intimate prayer time with God.  I am still well on my way to having completely read my Bible (the whole thing) and am really looking forward to going back to some scriptures for more depth.  Oh how God's words have been a comfort to me in these past months.  Some very real moments when you think that had to be written just for me.  The truth is it was and it wasn't.  God knew in advance I would need it, but He also knew someone else would too.  Maybe that someone is you. 

"Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets
who spoke in the name of the Lord.  As you know, we consider blessed those who
have persevered.  You have heard of Job's perseverence and have seen what the Lord
 finally brought about.  The Lord is full of compassion and mercy." 
 James 5:10-11

These two verses have been much thought about in my mind this week.  As I thought about my own situation and as I thought of that sweet mama I mentioned last week.  Oh how I hope she can feel my prayers for her.  It really is a great feeling when you feel prayers.  Hopefully you too have experienced it.  If not, pray for it.  Pray for it like Elijah prayed for rain.  Pray like something is at stake my friend, because it is.  You see as I am completeing my study on the book of James, one thing that Beth pointed out is that the thing that the enemy wants the most is our faith!  Not our family, or marriage, or relationships with others, (he wants all those too) but the the thing he would love to get his hands on most is our faith.  Friends I have given it to him in the past, but not anymore.  I WILL NOT let him get near it ever again.  And part of that, as Beth said, is actively acknowledging God's faithfulness. 

"Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge Him. 
As surely as the sun rises, He will appear;
He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."  Hosea 6:3

God is faithful!  I can not even begin to tell you how faithful He has been to me over the past four months.  I am greatly saddened at the faithfulness that I have missed during the times that I thought I could do this thing we call life without Him.  I know I missed some great stuff.  And I know I can't do it alone!  He will be faithful to you too.  In everything!  His word tells us:

"For the word of the Lord is right and true;
He is faithful in all he does."  Psalm 33:4

In all things big and small, life altering things and the day to day things.  He has not forgotten us.  Remain faithful to Him.  He is the only one that can heal your brokeness.  Don't expect to get it from anywhere or anyone else.  The burden is too heavy.  Don't carry it any longer.  Take it to the foot of the cross, in all it's brokeness and leave it there.  He will pick it up like the dirty laundry at the foot of your bed and make it clean!  How glad I am that my God is so full of compassion and mercy.  We can't afford this life without it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Was I Dreaming Jacob's Dream

I have been thinking over the past few days about something someone said to me after reading my blog.  Her comment was that she was amazed at how I remembered the details of our story so clearly.  My reply to her was that she would too.  It really is a gift in a way, to be able to remember everything so vividly throughout this time.  For instance never being able to forget the exact day that we named our girls.  Oh what a blessed day that was.  Never being able to forget that day in the doctors office and the subsequent visit.  Never being able to forget our brief time we spent holding Annalise and Emmalyn.  To be able to picture them so perfect laying there in my arms.  A real treasured memory to me.  There are so many things that I remember so clearly and am thankful for.  Especially since there have been days when I questioned whether or not I would be able to remember anything.  I once told my friend that I was worried that over time I would forget.  Forget who was born first, Annalise or Emmalyn.  Who weighed what, which one was which, what times they were born.  Things that all parents of twins I am sure wonder.  But for me I just couldn't think about forgetting.  She told me that she hoped that one day, the pain would be less and that maybe like our other children that we confuse (you know how you call one the other or how some say that after years you forget which one weighed 6lbs 3oz and which one weighed 7lbs 1oz, or sometimes even call your children the the dogs name)one day I would be laughing as I tried to remember these same details about the girls.  I hope for me this is not the case.  I truly don't want to forget. 

I also have been thinking about the things that God has so blessed my heart with over the past week.  Especially in the world of work and babies.  We (my patient, myself, and I am sure many of my coworkers) have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of her twins for the past several weeks.  As the time drew closer I was really anxious and even worried how I would feel as her due date was just four days prior to mine.  It really is hard to believe that right now I could be, maybe even should be holding my girls as I would be 34 weeks and three days.  At the very least just a few more weeks.  However I was still very excited for her and her family and had a chance to really get to know her as I cared for her and those precious boys in her tummy over the last weeks.  Well finally they arrived.  Last week!  How precious they are!  So small and fragile, yet so strong.  Oh how that mother blessed me when she said go down and hold my babies.  I was hesitant at first, but mustered up just enough strength.  Actually I think God mustered it up.  So down I went and held one of those precious boys and fed him his 2oclock feeding.  That very action blessed me in some unexplainable way.  The chance to hold and love someone else's baby that we had been so eagerly awaiting.  And then I thought about my neighbor and her big boy that will be a year old in May.  How God just blesses my heart each time I see him and he gets so excited to see me.  Even reaching for me now.  I think he just knows he gets treats at Auntie Coker's house, but whatever the reason, it's ok with me.  I am so thankful that my heart has not become hardened to those that have or are what I so greatly miss.

Finally this morning I am thankful for a dream.  I am not one to dream often except for my bought of nightmares recently, and like I said before I certainly was not one to remember what I had dream.  But last night was different.  So real and so perfect in every detail.  Just like Jacob's dream from the Bible only a different subject matter.  Never have I ever had such a detailed dream.  I even woke up during the middle of it to go to the bathroom and when I layed back down and fell asleep it continued like it had never been interrupted.    I am not sure what it all means but never the less, I am sure it had its purpose. 

"When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the Lord is in this place,
and I was not aware of it."  He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! 
This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of Heaven."
 Genesis 28:16-17 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Hurt Beyond Our Own

Why is it that we often times we hurt so bad for others?  Don't mistake the hurt I am talking about for the hurt we get when the sufferings of others make us uncomfortable.  We are talking about two totally different things here!  I have been thinking about this for several days now as I have truly been hurting for a family that I just met.  Is it not enough that we often times hurt so bad due to our own suffering, that we should have to hurt for others too?  I would like to suggest that it is not. Absolutely not enough! Before I go any further I want to thank God that He has given me enough grace and kindness to hurt deeply for others and through the study of James has helped me the realize it.. I know that this may all sound strange, especially if you are going through your own suffering right now, but I hope by the time we get to the end, you will understand.

As I look back over my career as a labor room nurse and NICU nurse prior to that, I can remember many happy times.  By the same token, I can remember many devastating ones.  Just the other day my friend Dawn was reminding me how devastated I was all those years ago when I saw a baby die for the very first time.  I can remember my heart just feeling like it was ripped into pieces.  That poor family, how would they, how could they go on.  I just didn't understand.  And although I had been a christian for many years by that point, my walk with God was fairly immature.  I had no doubt where that precious baby would spend eternity, but I didn't understand how God would ever get this family through this terrible situation.  And many times since then, I have been witness to this same type of situation more than I could ever have imagined this kind of thing existed.  Why these precious babies?  The ones that cross the gates of heaven before they ever take a breath, the ones that their only time here on earth are the few minutes they are comforted in there parents arms as Our Father prepares to take them home, and the ones that we are allowed to love for how many ever precious days or months God gives us with them. 

I don't know why bad things happen to good people.  For that matter I don't know why bad things happen to people at all.  I do not believe for one minute that God causes them to happen, but I do believe that He allows it.  That being said, I fully believe in a God of miracles and I believe that God absolutely has the power to stop bad things from happening.  I don't know why He allowed my girls to be taken from us, or why all those other babies, or why that mother that I met this week that may very well end up losing hers. (By the way I am very proud to tell you all that she too believes in our God of miracles and is lifting prayers one after another).  I do know that He could have stopped it.  He could have spared my heart the suffering.  But I have also come to realize through my suffering what is best stated by Laura Story.

"There is a depth of intimacy with God that can only be known through suffering. 
There is a realiance on Him that can only be experienced when everything else around
my soul seems to give way."

I also believe that it is during times of pain and suffering, whether our own or someone elses, that our prayers are the most heartfelt and earnest.  It really is shameful.  Shameful that hurt is often what it takes for us to remember to pray for those we have promised our prayers.  Shameful that hurt is the major reminder of God's most precious law.

"Love your neighbor as yourself."  Leviticus 19:18

I wish now that as I read through the Bible I had counted the times that this is mentioned as the sum of the entire law.  It is all over the Bible; Old and New Testaments.  I believe that it is in part because of this law that we hurt so bad for others.  As a reminder of love.  Love that God instructed us to display to others, to all!  To remember them and pray for them at all times.  Like I said, hurt often leads to our deepest, most heartfelt prayers.

I am ashamed to say that there have been times that the prayers I promised never went up.  Not because I don't believe or because I didn't have the intention to pray for them, but partly because prayer had just slipped as a priority.  Over the past several months it has become the number one priority.  To pray for myself and others.  Many others!
It has been my great priviledge to hold dear to my heart the value of prayer and the instruction given on it in God's Word.  And then to watch Him deliver.  He really does care about every detail in our lives.  Even the little ones.  Our hurt and the hurt we feel for others.  He feels it my friends; just as deeply as we do.

  "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds
of prayers and request. With this in mind, be alert and always
keep on praying for all of the saints."
 Ephesians 6:18

  "Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances,
for that is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

  "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other
so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is
powerful and effective." 
James 5:16

I still have many unanswered questions.  Some of which may never be answered this side of Heaven, but one thing is for sure:

"I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back."
 Philippians 3:12-14 (The MSG)

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Walk on the Water

Have you ever taken a real walk on the water?  Thinking back over the past 34 years, I can honestly say that only a very few times in my life have I ever even attempted.  And let me tell you that I have been through some stuff!!  More terrible things in my life than any one person should have to endure, (none of which would glorify God for me to share with you here).  But last night was different.  It was scary and difficult, emotional and  teary (almost sobbing at points), challenging and gut churning, yet in some respects comforting and healing.  And I didn't even have to do it alone.

Last night was the first night that I have attended a delivery since November 23.  Something that I have been dreading in the worst kind of way since I returned to work.  You can not even begin to imagine how just the thought of it made me have heart palpitations and break out in a cold sweat.  But something or should I say "Someone", urged me to step out of the boat onto the water.  Man was I terrified.  For me, for the patient, for the doctor, for anyone who might have to witness what I was so uncertain of: what might happen in that room.  I was able to spend some time with this young woman about to be a mother for the very first time just talking about what to expect and how it would all work before the delivery.  I am not sure if God provided that more for me or for her, or maybe for us both.  I felt myself fall back to those three days as a mother where I had been exactly where she was.  Each time with different feelings, emotions, excitement and fear.  I am almost shaking as I type it is so emotional for me.  And then the time came, when she would welcome her beautiful baby girl into this world.  As I walked to the door, with the same very doctor that delivered my girls, I braced myself and said a quick prayer.  A prayer that God would give me the strength to finish what I had started.  So we began.  Nice and quiet just like I used too.  Calm is best for me and the patient.  But as we got closer, as I counted for her, my words began to get caught up in my throat and the more I counted, the more choked up I got.  I am sure the doctor was thinking, okay is she going to make it through this.  Fortunately, he had as much confidence in me as God did.  As we came even closer to delivery and that mom reached down and touched her babies head, the tears began to flow.  First small and I was able to blink them back, but as we pushed for that last time and that baby made it's way into this world, the tears began to run like a faucet.  Yet in that very moment, there was something a tad bit healing taking place.  I can't explain it and could not even begin to put words to it but my heart felt it.  It was just as if I had stepped out of the boat like Peter and walked on the water.

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  Matthew 14:29

After it was all over, the patient having been keenly aware of my emotional state, asked several questions and I was honest about the situation.  And God blessed me with her kind words.  "I am so thankful that you were here with me.  You made me so comfortable and I would not have wanted it to be anyone else."  Words like that from patients that you have only just met are so tender to the heart.  Especially when you are searching your heart for the answers to why it is that you do what you do.

The next several hours were difficult as well as I struggled to stay afloat of all the emotions that I was feeling.  I was even a little standoffish, but not on purpose.  But as I apologized for that, I was reminded by a very dear friend that "the love of Christ can heal everything." 

After arriving home this morning, my friend Dawn stopped by to bring me a book that apparently is not even supposed to be out yet but she had run across it a a book store in Springfield.  As I read through the first portion God spoke directly to my heart.

 "Your Heavenly Father has given you talents and opportunities that are uniquely yours.  And the very best day to seize those opportunities- and to share them with the world- is this day.  Not tomorrow. Not next week.  Not next year. Today."  Laura Story

That is exactly what he helped me to do as He walked beside me and held my hand. 

Thank you to all of you that were there and supportive in my journey last night.  God too uses you all to serve a very specific purpose in the lives of other.  And last night it just happened to be mine.

"Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate.  For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life."  James 1:12 MSG

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hello again!  I want to say that I am sorry that it has been a while since I posted, especially to those of you that have called or emailed me saying are you okay, it's been a while.  I have had quite a busy few weeks and have been dealing with several particular problems of the heart during this season of Lent.  I have not been on Facebook either as that is what I gave up for Lent as it truly was getting in my way spending time with God on certain days.  You know so often we want to call a friend, or make a post, or confide in our spouse with our problems.  But during the last several weeks, my focus have been to take it straight to the top.  FIRST!!  Here I want to say especially with those things that are the real heart strings.  However, the truth is, it should be that way with all things.  Then we have to take the time to listen for God to answer.  Something that takes hard work and not very many people are willing to do.  I am learning much. 

For those of you that are aware of my New Year's resolution to read the entire Bible by the girls birthday, (or due date as it looks like might be the case), I am proud to report that I am well underway.  Almost three fourths of the way there.  (And I still have until either November 26th or April 27th, whichever fits God's plan.)  I will say that there are books that I have read and merely become familiar with, and then there are those that I have dug into looking for something more, something deeper, something of God.  As always He has delivered.  By the time I am finished I will at least be familiar with the entire Bible, making finding those sweet spots a bit easier.  Oh how precious those sweet spots are to my heart.

I had the chance to visit yesterday with a dear friend of mine that I can not even begin to thank enough for all that she has been and done for me.  She simply let me cry on her shoulder over a tender moment without any questions.  Now that's a friend.  Somethings are just private matters and although we can share certain aspects, not all of it can be disclosed.  Thank you Dawn for just being there!  Daily.

As I sit here and write, I think of something that I encountered yesterday.  Again the specifics are not important, God knows what they are, but the implications could be life changing.  Yesterday as I had my quiet time and began to pray, I knew there was a specific situation that I needed to pray about that involved someone that is very dear to me.  As I prayed I just couldn't get it together.  I was finding it very difficult to pray for this person.  So I prayed God help me understand why.  And you know that funny feeling you get when you feel convicted.  Well, there it was loud and clear.  It is really hard to pray for someone when you feel like they have hurt you, or your feelings, or they just don't understand.  Really hard.  But no one knows that better that Christ.  Because He did it.  Out loud!  As He hung on the cross, His words were loud and clear:

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  Luke 23:24
God helped me to see two things through situation.  Although praying for those that have hurt us is hard, it is our responsibility and a privilege.  And second, sometimes we need to pray it out loud!  Real loud!  So after several attempts at it, I got it right.  Just me and God and the raw bitter truth of my heart.  Just like He wants it.