Friday, January 29, 2010

FOUND!

Chevelle is safe and sound at home now. She gave me quite the scare, but fortunately someone found her and turned her in to the local Humane Society last night and I was able to pick her up this morning.

Thank you very much all who prayed. Our prayers were answered as she was not injured and returned to us quickly.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Dog is Missing!

I am asking for your prayers tonight as my puppy Chevelle is missing.

Apparently she got out of our backyard by somehow getting our side gate open and made a run for it. I have looked everywhere for her, but have not found her.

It is dark and cold out now and I am worried. Please ask God to keep her safe and return her to us as soon as possible. My fear, of course, is that she has been hit by a car as we live near two very busy main roads. Pray that this is not the case.

My family and I will be quite sad if something bad has happened to her. She is special to us.

Thank you for caring.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rescue Me

The first time I was rescued was March 13th, 1980 (yes, I just gave my age away. I turn the big 3-0 this year). I was born under complete emergency circumstances. I was two weeks early, breech, and literally stuck. The doctor told my mother that if she didn't consent to an emergency c-section, if I lived, I would be brain-damaged at best. She agreed immediately and I was born healthy with a head of dark hair at 6lbs exactly.

That may have been the first rescue but it wasn't the last. I'd require many more after that.

When I was just a baby, probably not even two, my dad took me outside on a snowy afternoon (we lived in Colorado when I was little) to ride the sled down the drive way. My dad would let me go a little ways and then stop me so I wouldn't careen down the hill. However, after a few successful runs, he lost his grip and I went flying down the driveway, across the road and down the steep slope on the other side. My dad said he thought for sure I slammed into a log or rock and was not sure what he would find as he went running after me. Once down the hill he found me, still holding on to the sled, wedged into a snow covered embankment face first. He pulled me out expecting a terrified and possibly injured little girl. He wiped the snow from my face and pulled my hat, which hand fallen down over my eyes, up so I could see again. But I wasn't hurt at all or even scared. I looked up at my dad smiling as said, "Do 'gain Dad." He laughed, thanked God I was ok, and climbed up the hill with me in his arms. God guided my sled that day and my dad knew it. God rescued me.

Later that summer, still a little girl, my dad took me for a walk. Our house was off the main road a bit and our particular street was not paved. I liked to walk on it with my dad and find rocks and things. Sometimes he would put me on his shoulders and we would go to the dairy queen for one of those ice cream cones dipped in the chocolate that hardens. I loved those! On this particular day we were just strolling along exploring and enjoying being outside. I had walked my little two year old self thirty yards or so ahead of my dad. He had is eye on me but I was quite content to wander independently along. Just then, he saw it. A very large dog, 100 feet away, crouched silently on the other side of the embankment, eyes locked on me moving toward me, stalking me. It was clear that dog wanted me for lunch and my dad said a shot of adrenaline ran through his body. There was no way he could run fast enough to get to me before the dog did, but he also knew he had to do something. Just then the dog sprung from its crouch and started running directly for me at full speed. My dad looked around for something to throw, desperate to deter the dog's intentions. He grabbed a rock and said a prayer. He had one shot. If he missed there wouldn't be enough time to throw another rock before the dog got to me. With all his might he let that rock fly. It hit the dog right behind its front leg square in the ribs fifteen feet from where I stood, frozen. The dog immediately ran off yelping and my dad scooped me up and took me home. There is no question that God placed that rock on that road for my dad to pick up that day and guided its path. Instead of being mauled, and maybe even killed, I was rescued.

And my rescues were not only physical. I have been rescued in many ways.

I went to the river bottom one summer to smoke a cigarette. A friend and I stole some smokes from her dad. But just as we tried to light up a bee stung me on my inner thigh. I gave up my rebellion and went home to get some ice. I was convinced it was God punishing me. But now I think it was God rescuing me...from stupidity.

In seventh grade some girls in school decided they didn't like me and wanted to beat me up. I took the threats and torment for a week without telling my parents, but when one of the girls slammed my head into my locker when school got out, the big goose egg on my forehead sort of gave it away. I went home and filled my parents in on my week of hell and tried to figure out what to do about it. My mom wanted to call the police. My dad said no, that would only make it worse, and suggested I call their bluff and agree to fight the girl who hit me when my back was turned. I thought my dad was crazy. But he was very serious. He new that I couldn't shy away from this, I had to face it head on. So, despite my complete fear and unwillingness, I went to school Monday and told my foe that I would meet her at the bike racks on early day to settle things once and for all. She agreed and it was on. As you can imagine, early day loomed over my head as I pondered just how this "fight" would go. I was not exactly tough stuff. My dad promised that he would be there waiting in his truck, parked where he would see me, but wouldn't be seen by us. Sure enough early day came and I faced my enemy. We met, scuffled, and well, that was the end of it. She didn't kill me as I imagined. I was not beat to a pulp. I was a little dirty and so was she, but over all she quickly lost interest in killing me and we went on our way. I walked back to my dad's truck dusty with messed up hair and burst into tears as soon as I got inside. But I quickly gained my composure and realized that I wasn't scared anymore. I was dirty and a little shaken up, but free from torment. God did not rescue me from all the evils of junior high nor prevent my fight at the bike racks that day, but he did (largely through my dad) rescue me...from fear.

I also had a friend while growing up who was molested for years by a family member. I spent I don't even know how much time at her house. Yet in all those years, all those sleep-overs, not once did anyone try to abuse me. Not even a little. It was not until I was older that I became aware of God's protection on my life at that time. God rescued me from life-altering harm.

Years later I asked my mom why she thought that I was protected from danger we were not aware of. She said she thinks it is because she raised me to give injustice a voice. I could not be manipulated by an abuser. I would have told for sure. And I think she is exactly right. God set up every part of my life, from the parents he gave me and what they taught me, to the placement of a rock on a road or an embankment of snow, all with my rescue in mind.

Upon conception His hand of grace was on me. Before I even comprehended life, it was given to me over and over again.

When Aubrey and Ellie were in the hospital I was so certain of our rescue. I prayed like I had never prayed before, asking for a miracle, asking to be spared, asking to be saved. God certainly rescued us all, just not as I had hoped. And it has been hard for me to come to terms with a rescue that didn't feel much like a rescue at all.

My Jesus has rescued me from death at birth, rescued me from sin into a relationship with him as a young child, rescued me from danger, fear, and stupidity. But he did not rescue me from loss. He rescued my girls, but I feel left behind from that rescue.

How can I trust I will be rescued this time. I know this new baby will be rescued either way, but will I? Will it feel like a rescue or will I have to believe by faith that it is?

I don't know about you, but I am ready to not just be rescued, but feel rescued.

You see, we all have to be rescued. It starts at birth but it certainly does not end there. Our rescue is never over on earth. I guess you could say we are in need of constant rescuing.

Sometimes even re-rescuing. Ok, all the time re-rescuing.

But for those of us without our babies, we have a different perspective. Or at least we should. We know the rescuing is over for our little ones who now reside in heaven. They have been rescued! The process is over for them. They are perfect, they are whole, they know no pain, physical or emotional. They will never lose anything as they have gained EVERYTHING.

Their rescue is complete.

It is ours that is still awaiting fruition.

Ultimately our complete rescue awaits, but in the meantime my humanness needs an extra dose of encouragement. My faith, unfortunately, needs a pep talk from time to time. It is hard to feel rescued while still wondering in the wilderness of grief and loss. Knowing I will be delivered does not erase the feeling of being lost. Sometimes I just need to feel rescued.

Aubrey and Ellie were rescued in a way that I can only know. It will never feel like a rescue to me. But after 18 months of coming to terms with their rescue, and learning that I can truly trust my Heavenly Father and his ways, I still can't help but hope for something very different with this new baby. I want to feel rescued this time...

It is very possible that rescue feels like a tiny, squishy, red-head wrapped in a blanket breathing little breaths onto my cheek.

But if I don't get the rescue I hope for, I will still trust. God is faithful and if he chooses not to deliver me from loss again in the way I am praying for He will most certainly still rescue me just as He always has since the day I was born.

...you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you;I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isa 46:3-4 NIV

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Posts on Perseverance Blog

Read Part I, II, III and Execution Plan of
Five Ways to a Healthier You this New Year
Join me in starting the New Year out right!

99 THINGS

This is just for fun, suggested by other bloggers.

Here are the rules: Bold the things you’ve done and post on your blog!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightening storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I killed my own chicken once)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Got a tattoo
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sorting It All Out

I am sitting here alone (my husband has been gone since Wednesday flying his helicopter cross-country for maintenance) watching The Biggest Loser (love it) shifting my attention back and fourth between the show and the songs I am singing in my head.

...Some say we need a miracle.
Some say there’s no hope at all.
But I know Your love is strong,
it goes on and on and on and on.
Rise up when it gets us down.
It’ll be the voice in a blaring crowd
Because we know Your love will lead us home
It goes on and on and on and on…

Good song. It is called On and On by Chasen. Been stuck in my head for days.

Also, a single line from one of my favorite songs won't leave me. When I say it won't leave me I mean it has taken up permanent residence I think. It has been there for months now. But I love it so much I don't mind.

'Cause I can see the light Before I see the sunrise (Alive Again by Matt Maher).

Amazing song. Worth a listen if you have not heard it before. That single line sums up my faith. That is why I named this blog Waiting for Morning. I have never been without the Light, even in my darkest times.

I have had a heavy heart lately. I am struggling to figure out what the best course of medical action is for this pregnancy. I am not comfortable with some of the things my doctors are recommending. My goal is, of course, the health and safety of my baby, but honestly figuring out how to accomplish that is easier said than done. My research does not always match up to what the doctor's tell me. It is hard to get answers I trust.

I don't want to make decisions solely out of fear, but I also don't want to be ignorant of real risks.

But I feel compelled to protect my baby. And not only from preterm labor, but from interventions that may be harmful and pose real risks. I am the only one who can stand in the gap for my child, and I take that extremely seriously.

But I still worry. I know that ultimately, no matter what I decided, I am not in control. Nothing is a guarantee. My trust cannot be in my doctors nor in the choices I make, it has to be in Christ alone, as only He can protect my unborn baby.

His stats are convincing. 100% of the time He is Good and 100% of the time His ways are perfect.

I wish the medical studies I have been reading had stats like that.

But since they don't, at least it makes it a clear choice of what my ultimate decision should be.

Trust Him.

His love is strong. And it goes on and on.

In such an imperfect world full of imperfect circumstances and situations it is nice to know we can put our complete faith into a perfect God. His ways are not our ways thankfully. And that is the only reason I can sleep at night.
In the darkness of my confusion, I see the Light before I even see the sun rise.
I call with all my heart; answer me, O LORD, and I will obey your decrees. I call out to you; save me and I will keep your statutes. I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in your word. My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. Ps 119:145-148

Interesting Article on Progesterone Injections

As you know I have been doing some research on the safety and effectiveness of progesterone injections as a preventative measure for preterm labor. As part of my search I sent an email to a woman named Henci Goer, the author of The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth and Obstetric Myths Versus Research Realities asking for any information she may have on them.

She sent me a link to this article Does Progesterone Treatment Prevent Preterm Birth? A Case of “Skim Milk Masquerades as Cream”. It is a very informative and interesting article and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that anyone considering progesterone injections read it.

I hope this helps anyone facing the risks of preterm labor make the most informed decision possible for them and their baby.

New Question: Does anyone have information about the risks of uterine rupture after a classical c-section? My doctors are insisting that I have an amino at 36 weeks to check the development of my babies lungs, administer steroids if necessary, and schedule a c-section as soon as the baby is ready so that I do not go into labor. I want to know if this is necessary or if letting myself go into labor and then having a c-section is safe option. I want my baby to stay in until it is ready, but I also don't want to put both of us in danger. I cannot VBAC since my c-section was classical I am told, this I have to accept I think, but I am not sure about all these other interventions. Any information would be helpful.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Something is Missing

I am scared this baby will be a girl.

I know that sounds horrible. But I am.

I am afraid that if I have a little girl I will spend the rest of my life living out EVERYTHING I am missing out on without Aubrey and Ellie.

Sometimes I think it would be easier not to know.

I already have a boy so another one would be familiar. I would have my boys with me and my girls in heaven and it would simply be the way it is. I think I could settle on that.

But a little girl scares me to death.

Would she look like my girls? Would I call her by her sisters' names on accident? Would I compare her to Aubrey and Ellie even though I would try not to? Would she remind me every day of the two girls that are missing from my life? I honestly feel a lot of anxiety at the thought of a baby girl.

I had a dream the other night that this baby was a girl. In my dream the doctors put my newly born baby on my chest so I could see it, and looking up at me with bright blue eyes was a beautiful little girl. She had blond hair and long lashes and rosy cheeks. She was lovely. And I felt peace.

So why don't I feel peace right now?

Being pregnant again has been infinitely harder than I ever imagined. I was not prepared for the emotions that have been stirred up. I waited almost a year an a half since my daughters' deaths to get pregnant again to make sure I was ready, really really ready. But I guess there is no such thing.

Don't get me wrong. I want this baby. I want this baby very much. But I want my girls too, more than ever (if that is even possible).

My girls are missing from this and it hurts.

These are the moments I find myself on my face before God, asking him to help me. These things are so much bigger than me and I am easily overwhelmed by the grief that is still very present in my life.

I mean, seriously, what mother is scared of having a baby girl?

One who has lost two baby girls already.

I don't think my anxiety is unfounded, just unnecessary. Having another daughter will not make losing Aubrey and Ellie any harder...nor will having a son make it some how easier. Either way they remain gone, and I think that is what really gets to me.

I miss my girls.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Need Information

Hello blog family.

I need some help of the informational kind.

If you keep up on my posts you probably read that my doctors want to put me on progesterone injections to help prevent preterm labor. I was open to the idea but wanted to talk with the high-risk OB first before I said yes as I know practically nothing about them.

Of course, when I got home I jumped on-line to do some research. I absolutely believe in being informed and have to admit that I don't completely trust medical professionals. I am not anti-medicine by any means, but I am definitely skeptical of an underlying medical agenda that may or may not have more to do with money than what is truly in the best interest of the patient. I am not the type to follow my doctor blindly. I want ALL my decisions to be informed decisions as I am the one that has to live with them, not my doctor.

To make a long story short I would like MORE information on progesterone injections. If any of my readers have information they could pass along (ie. studies/articles/books I could read, a doctor I should call etc.) I would really appreciate it.

My main concern is that the form of progesterone used is synthetic, and that makes me nervous. Also, I cannot find any statistics or studies of how effective it is or discussing side effects/risks.

I do not feel like a very informed patient right now and I don't like that feeling. I talked to my OB on the phone today and she had nothing but vague, unsatisfactory answers for me. Hopefully the high-risk OB will have more information for me, but even still, I want more than to take my doctor's word for it.

I have a lot riding on every medical decision I make during this pregnancy. The health and safety of my baby is my top priority. And I take that very seriously. I would appreciate any help you all could throw my way.

Thanks friends.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Doctor's Appointment Update

So...

I have returned home from my doctor's appointment.

And I have nothing but good news to report.

First I want to say thank you to all of you who were praying for me and standing with me today. I felt surrounded by peace and full of hope and there was no doubt in my mind that Jesus himself was in the room with me today.

I had some time to myself in the exam room waiting for the doctor. Sitting in the hospital gown I spent the silence staring at the ceiling pouring my thoughts out to God. Mostly I just told Him how much I trust Him and how deeply I want Him to be in control of every aspect of my life.

Losing Aubrey and Ellie ripped out from under me the carpet of illusion I had established my life on, some false idea that I was actually in control, when in fact I was in control of nothing. It rocked me to the core to say the least to watch helplessly as my babies slipped from me, but as God rebuilds my insecure soul, He replaced the faith I used to have in myself (the faith that failed me miserably) with a transformed and deeper faith in Him. I sat on that cold table at peace, believing that God was in control, and that is plan is better than mine could ever be.

I also had an opportunity to share my heart with God one last time about how much I wanted twins. And I really poured out my heart. As I was talking though I heard a whisper interrupt me.

It is a new baby and a new hope.

I instantly remembered the dream I had last night. In my dream an angel brought me a magic magnifying glass to see inside my belly with. When I looked inside I saw one tiny baby with a beaming smile looking back at me. All I could do was smile back in awe. I gave the magnifying glass back to the angel and before he vanished he winked at me. I was overcome with pure satisfaction.

At that moment in the exam room I let go of my expectations and had to admit to myself that I was not fully accepting my new gift. I wanted so badly to have my previous gifts back again that I was not being fully open to the new blessing God has given me, a new blessing with a new hope.

Finally the doctor came in to do the ultrasound. When the ultrasound image became clear there it was, one beautiful fluttering bean shaped baby. And I was thrilled. We looked all around for another one just in case, but it was not to be found. My little bean was by itself enjoying a little extra wiggle room.

I did not feel sadness or disappointment. I felt joy and amazement. It always blows my mind to see that little heart beating away. Life is such a beautiful thing.

It felt wonderful saying hello to my new little one, but it also meant saying goodbye again to my girls. There is no replacing them and seeing just one baby on the screen drove it home that Aubrey and Ellie are not in there and they never will be again. And even though I know that, I think I needed today to reset my expectations.

New baby, new hope.

My girls will always live in my heart and will not be forgotten ever. A new pregnancy will not erase them. But I see that I constantly need these little nudges to keep pushing me forward. I needed to see my little one on the monitor today and say hello to the new baby in my life. I needed to see what hope looks like after loss...

It is shaped a lot like a kidney bean.

I also have more courage now to embark on the high maintenance pregnancy ahead of me now. I will be giving myself progesterone shots weekly to help prevent preterm labor and will have to have an amniocentesis at week 36 to evaluate the development of my babies lungs. As soon as the baby has developed enough to be born I will have a c-section. My doctor does not even want me to go into labor. Many precautions are being taken this time around.

But I know that only God can protect my baby. And I trust Him to guide my doctors, quiet my heart, and protect the good work He has started. Little baby bean is in the best hands possible.

Thank you again for your thoughts and prayers. I was carried today by them. I am so thankful for all of you.

Monday, January 11, 2010

First Doctor's Appointment Tomorrow

Tomorrow is my first ultrasound. I'm headed to Balboa Navel Hospital in the morning to meet my doctor and enroll in the high-risk prenatal group.

Balboa Navel Hospital is where my girls were born and where my Ellie died. Aubrey was transferred from there to Rady Children's Hospital and passed away there.

I have been back to Balboa a few times since my girls died and each time has been hard. I believe that my girls got the best care possible in that hospital so I don't have any resentment or fear toward the place or the doctors there, but being there always brings back tons of difficult memories.

My worst nightmare became reality there.

The morning my girls were born I stood at the reception desk 24 weeks pregnant and said, desperately hoping I was wrong,"I think I'm in labor." After failed and frantic attempts to stop my labor I was in emergency surgery and my girls came into the world, perfect and tiny...and way too soon.

I forced myself to get out of bed so that I could see my girls before the day ended. I was so afraid they would die in the night before I had a chance to see them. From my wheelchair I met my girls for the first time. I felt so helpless seeing them connected to all those tubes and monitors behind the incubator glass. And they were SO TINY. I was truly amazed and terrified at how unimaginably small they were. To this day I am still taken aback when I see pictures of them.

I remember the NICU had a very distinct odor. That sterile sent reminds me of all my hours there holding the tiny fingers of my very sick girls. I remember all the meetings with specialist and experts hypothesizing about just how sick my girls would be if they somehow survived.

From the moment Aubrey and Ellie were born until their deaths, we only got good news once...the doctors were able to resuscitate them at birth. When I woke up from surgery my girls were alive. It was an answer to prayer. I begged God to let them be alive when I woke up and they were. Sometimes I feel like that was the only prayer God heard because from that moment on, however, things unraveled. But I know that is not true. God heard every single one of my prayers.

There is a tiny room in that hospital where I held my little Ellie while she took her last breaths and left us for heaven. And a very long hallway from that room back to the NICU where my husband walked her back to her bed after she passed with me crying on his arm.

It was the last place our girls were together alive.

I don't think I will ever be able to visit Balboa and not feel sad. My whole life changed in that place. I cannot be there without being reminded of the scariest and saddest days of my life.

Tomorrow will start a new chapter there. I will walk through the doors with a new pregnancy and a new hope that this time things can and will go much better.

Truthfully I am beside myself waiting for my first ultrasound. I am dying to know how many babies are in my belly. I have had a secret hope since my girls passed away that God would bless me with twins again, ones I could keep this time. And tomorrow I will find out if my prayers have been answered. Not that I will disappointed if there is only one, I will be thankful for what God has decided. I was telling my belly in the shower yesterday not to worry, that however many babies are in there are wholly loved and fully wanted.

But I have to be honest and admit I will feel a twinge of sadness if there is not two in there as my heart has not let go of the joy I anticipated experiencing the uniqueness of twins. I still long for that very deeply and have prayed earnestly for my heart's desire. Tomorrow I will know if my prayers were answered in this pregnancy, and although I am a little nervous, I can barely stand the suspense.

Tomorrow I will post any ultrasound pictures I get and fill you in on any important information. In the meantime I would appreciate it if you would keep my baby and I in your prayers as I face the emotional challenges of returning to Balboa. It is an understatement to say that this pregnancy has been an emotional roller coaster and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

I would also appreciate it if you would hope for me when I am too afraid to hope for myself.

I am so afraid to be hurt again that at times I find myself rationalizing hope away. Don't pray for twins Rachel, a healthy baby is the only important thing. Don't ask to feel well during your pregnancy, your only request should be to go full term. Don't get specific with your prayers, don't expose the deepest desires of your heart, just pray for God's will and be ready to accept it whatever it is, even if it hurts. Don't get your hopes up, be realistic, or you are likely to be disappointed again. All these are the words fear and doubt whisper into my ear. And I'll admit, they are pretty convincing sometimes. I get so afraid to hope, I mean really hope, for anything anymore, that sometimes I hope for nothing just to avoid disappointment.

But deep down inside I know that is no way to live. And Christ came to give hope, not take it away. It is ok to hope with all my heart. It is. Hope takes faith and faith pleases God. And it isn't about hope and faith as a means to get what I want like throwing coins into a wishing well, but hope and faith as a way of obeying and pleasing God. Hope IN as opposed to hope FOR. Hope builds our relationship with Christ. Hope is intimate. Hope is the result of, not the requirement for, trust.

But when I struggle can I ask that you would stand in the gap for me and be hopeful for me? I could use the encouragement these days as I face the challenges ahead.

Leave a comment if you will stand with me. I would be delighted to hear from you and value any advice you can offer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Getting Closer to God

Do you remember that episode of Little House on the Prairie when Laura runs away to climb to the top of a mountain after the death of her little brother?

I do! It was one of my favorite episodes EVER.

If you have not seen it, let me give you a summary:

Jealous of the attention Charles showers on his newborn son, Laura longs for the place she believes she's lost in her pa's affections and angrily refuses to pray for her little brother to get well when the baby becomes seriously ill. When her newborn brother dies, Laura believes that her jealousy was responsible for his death and that her parents would rather have a son than a daughter. She decides to climb the highest hill she can find, hoping to get as close to God as possible, to ask Him to take her instead and return the baby boy to the family. While Charles and Mr. Edwards desperately search for her, Laura meets Jonathan, a mystical mountain man who seems to have been sent purposely to guide her through this life-changing experience where she learns about the power of unconditional love.

When I watched this as a young girl I had different eyes. I knew nothing of grief and loss. And I never imagined that someday I would experience the same kind of anguish that drove Laura up the mountain. Like her, after the deaths of my own babies, I desperately wanted to ask God to change things as I could not bare them as they were.

I have been climbing my mountain for a year and a half now and have yet to reach the top. It is a long way up.

But something amazing has happened to me along the way.

I am closer to God now, not because I have increased my proximity to Him, but because He has pursued me up the mountain the entire time.

Just like Laura's Pa went to find her, my Jesus set out after me when I went running away in desperation to relieve the sorrow in my soul.

And He found me.

It is an amazing gift to be found. And being lost in grief is even worse I think that being lost in some wilderness. I have been rescued. My Father came for me.

The strange thing is I am not always happy about being rescued. For a long time I really wanted to climb alone. I just didn't have it in me to buddy up with the One I felt took my girls from me. I didn't want anymore help from Him. There was so much I misunderstood about my Father's love for me.

I remember purposely keeping God at an arms length. I could feel Him near me willing to comfort me. But I didn't want to be comforted. I was hurt, but He was patient. He never gave up on me.

I think when I finally get to the top of this mountain I won't want to petition God for a different outcome anymore. At least not the one I originally set out to request. Instead of wanting my babies to come back to me, I will want to go to them.

And I might just sit at the top for a while, closer to God than I have ever been, and smile toward heaven...not because I can finally reach Him, but because He reached me. Our Heavenly Father doesn't just wait on top for us, He comes and gets us at the bottom and walks with us up the mountain.

It is in the climb that we truly get to know Him anyway.

I know God differently than I did a year and a half ago. More intimately without question. Some experiences can only be had on the sheer cliff face of the hardest climb of your life...when you are most vulnerable is when God reveals himself most powerfully. I am not sure why that is. For me I think I had to rediscover my need for a savior. And not just one to save me from my sins, but to save me from my pain.

Some things are just too much to bare alone.

In the end I realize that I am not climbing my mountain to change things, but more so to be changed...by the process and the God that guides me through it. Laura did not get her baby brother back at the top of her mountain. But she did learn of her Pa's unconditional love for her as he sough at all costs to find her and bring her home.

When I reach the top of my mountain I will not get my babies back either. My circumstances will not change. I will come down the mountain with empty arms, but not an empty heart. I will undoubtedly be profoundly changed by my Jesus who also sought at all costs to find me and, will one day, bring me home.

And my girls will be there waiting for me.

Happy New Year!
 
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