Powered by Blogger.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Storms....The Perfect Storm

Storms....The Perfect Storm

I never understood joy, unspeakable joy, until my baby had open heart surgery and I saw his eyes open for the first time after surgery.
I never understood trust, unwavering trust in God, until I handed my baby over to his anesthesiologist.
I never understood faith, unshakeable faith, until I waited hours to know if my baby would be alive the next time I saw him.
I never understood strength, immeasurable strength only God could provide, until I saw my husband in these situations.

God knew we needed some things to happen over the last decade, to prepare our hearts for the lessons He would teach us.  He laid the foundation and began to build the home of His "Grace" in our hearts. He laid that foundation in the middle of our storms.  In the very moments we would ask "why us?", "Why now?" and "what are you doing, God?", He was laying a foundation for much greater storms.  The Perfect Storm, I suppose you could say.

It took those nights of crying each month,  year after year, over negative pregnancy tests. That laid a brick of patience.
It took hearing the words "we're sorry" at ultrasounds one year apart.  Losing not one but two babies one year apart. That laid a brick of "He's in control".
It took 13 weeks of bedrest. That laid a brick of trust.
It took hearing the words "I'm sorry but if you don't take these steps to protect your baby from germs He WILL die. A simple stomach bug or cold WILL kill him" That laid a brick of hope.

There are so many times in life that we can only see the storm clouds....can only hear the pounding thunder.....can only feel the strong wind almost blowing us down...and can only think about the destruction the storm is causing or has the potential to cause. 

I'm reminded tonight, no matter the storm in life, no matter the effects, God's plan is bigger.  He has the ability to calm the storm.  He has the ability to hold us up when we feel like we just can't hold it together one more second.  When we feel like if one more strong wind comes with this storm, "I'm going to come unraveled", He puts his arms around us and gives us rest to withstand. 

That foundation and those "storms" created an unshakeable faith, an ability to understand the true meaning of joy, an unwavering trust in my God, and an immeasurable strength in my marriage.

Trust that no matter what God takes you through, He's laying a foundation.  He's preparing your heart.  He may have a Perfect Storm He's preparing you for.  My advice is tie a knot in the rope and hang on. Trust Him!  He can provide calm in a storm that feels like it's going to break you.  He can provide peace that passes all understanding.  He can provide an inner peace that screams "It is well with my soul" no matter what remains when the winds die down and the sun begins to shine.

Disclaimer: I didn't see those storms as bricks of foundation being laid at the time. I didn't always have the best attitude.  Some days I had 2-year old meltdowns on the floor in a puddle of tears.  Some days I just repeated "He will give me strength" over and over just to take another step in my day.  Some days I would fall on my knees in my work bathroom in tears praying for a miracle during what I knew was a loss.  Some days I rocked my baby and took every last second and tucked it deep in my heart just in case. I wrote this post to remind myself during any future storms, the outcome is beautiful.  TRUST. LOVE. HOLD ON.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Waiting Room......

The Waiting Room......

This morning as I thought about our journey to Lukas' mended heart, I thought about the waiting room at Batson Children's Hospital's PCICU.  That waiting room will always take my breath away.  Why?  Because that waiting room holds so many memories. There's the memory of waiting for the phone call that they started Lukas' surgery....the memory of waiting for the call that surgery was going well.....the memory of surgery is complete.....the memory of talking to the ever-so-tall Dr who gave us the amazing news that surgery was a success and our son now had a healthy mended heart....then the memory of recovering and the days it brought...some good, some not.

That waiting room also brought memories of others and their journey.  There were numerous moms waiting for their newborns to recover from RSV.  A mom and dad overcome with grief for a child who had been in an ATV accident.  A mom like myself waiting to see her son who also had open heart surgery the same day.  Everyone was there for different reasons, but we all shared the same struggle. That struggle was not knowing what the next minute would hold.

I didn't know WHAT the next minute would hold, but I knew WHO held the next minute.  I knew without a shadow of a doubt that whatever the next moment held, God was in control and He would never leave us or forsake us. 

Reflecting on that room this morning, got me to thinking about life in general.  Just like that waiting room's emotions, our life contains the same emotions.  Sadness. Fear. Shock. Helplessness. Peace.  Thankfulness. Joy.

In life we have moments that bring us to our knees.  We are fearful, sad, and just feel helpless in some situations.  Then there are some moments that also bring us to our knees, because we feel thankful, joyful and have a peace that passes all understanding. 

I've had those moments.  Had one this morning in fact.  Thinking about some things in life in general, I had some fear and felt a little helpless in the situation.  Then as quickly as that moment came, one of the desires of my heart came walking over.  Lukas walked over to me and smiled and climbed up in my lap and looked so seriously in my eyes almost like he was looking at my soul and heart. Then it happened, he smiled the biggest smile ever and said "Mama!".  I felt like he was reminding me that whatever I was thinking about was silly.  See he's my reminder sometimes, that when life feels overwhelming, it's okay.  It is overwhelming for us, but God can handle it!  And as quickly as I felt that fear and helpless feeling it was replaced with joy, thankfulness and peace. 

Some of those waiting rooms in life are hard. But when you are sitting in one of life's waiting rooms that contain fear, sadness, shock etc please remember JOY, PEACE and so much more are just a moment away.  There is ONE who can replace those with unspeakable JOY and PEACE.

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Mark 4:39  He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm

Sunday, January 6, 2013


 “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ernest Hemingway

I've heard this quote many times over my lifetime.  I never really understood it, until now.  Now as in January 6, 2013.  I look back on the last few years of my life, and especially the last 8 months, and I get it.  NO, like I really GET it.  I read it and I'm blown away with how much I get it.  We've been on a journey that has taught us so much!
I however believe we are not finished on our journey.  I know God started this amazing journey for an amazing outcome and He's gonna do big things!

Journey:  A process or course likened to traveling a passage
Passage:  The act or process of moving through, under, over or past something on the way from one place to another.

In our journey we've gone through, under, over and past a lot of things to make it to the next step. We are sooo thankful for each and every one.  Each and every step no matter how hard or long it took. Each step taught us another lesson, another part of our life God needed to refine.

We moved thru the motions.  There have been times when we didn't know what the next step would be or when.  We just had to move thru the motions as God showed us the way. We had to trust Him in His all knowing wisdom and know He was leading us with a purpose. And with each of those steps He gave us strength.  Strength neither of us thought we had or could even receive from Him.
Phil 4:13 "I can do all this through him who gives me strength"

We were under the cloud of emotions that each step brought.  Some of those emotions were joyous and amazing.  Some were heartbreaking and eye-opening.  Emotions caused by things we thought we could never experience and still live to tell about.  We did though and through each one we reminded ourselves and the ones around us that God was doing something big!  We knew His light was shining through those moments of joy and heartache.  Because we know His plan provides good and bad, but always brings good outcomes. His glory should be found in those good and bad moments.
Mark 4:21 "He said to them, "Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don't you put it on its stand"

We always knew if we could just make it over the next hurdle, we'd be one step closer to what He was doing in our lives.  Sometimes the next hurdle came out of nowhere and sometimes it was expected. Overcoming each hurdle took His hand and His angels guiding us.  
Luke 4:10"For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully"

Getting past the hurt sometimes was the hurdle for the moment.  And some of those steps hurt so bad our hearts ached physically, not just emotionally.  We had nights when we hurt and just wanted the current hurdle to be over.  But God's timing is best and looking back we see that.  We know during those moments of hurt He was shaping us and modeling us into the people and parents we would need to be in this journey.  Shaping us and teaching us how to get past those moments of hurt. 
Job 29:2"How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me"

One of the HUGE lessons we learned was compassion.  We were taught by family and friends the true definition of compassion.  So many expressed compassion in a variety of ways during our journey this far.  We know God used those people to be His hands and feet.  We know they were obedient to His commands. Words can't express the love we feel for each and every one.
Luke 10:33 "But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion"
 Psalm 145:9 "The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made"

Our journey in the last few years has involved infertility, two precious babies lost, almost losing Luke, complete strict bedrest and Luke's heart condition and isolation.
If God could set you down and tell you "I'm gonna take you on an amazing journey but I must warn you there will be joy but also heartache" and then give you a choice of the journey or not experiencing the journey at all to avoid the hurt, what would you choose?  I know my honest answer 4 years ago would be "I'm avoiding the hurt. I couldn't handle it."  Now, I would experience the journey in a heartbeat.  I know without a shadow of a doubt God's ways are ALWAYS best and I know His ways always lead to the good for those who love Him. So now when we sing, "where you go I'll go, where you move, I'll move. I will follow you."  I'll be singing it from the depth of my heart and soul with honest and true emotion.  I want to go where He sends us, where He moves us.  I want to follow Him.

Luke 9:57 "as they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go."

So promise me this one thing.  Promise me the next time God places a hurdle in your way, don't walk away and take the path that's easier because you don't want the hurt.  There may be joy on the other side.  Unspeakable joy.  Our family can tell of that unspeakable joy over and over. 
Jenna joyous.... holding Luke for the first time at home at one week old.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


This Thanksgiving we had so much to be thankful to God for in our lives.  The most precious would be Lukas. 
Brian and I are thankful that God thought we were worthy enough to be the 
parents of this precious son we now have. 
Jenna is thankful that God gave her the little brother she's always wanted to be a second little mother to. 
Our family is thankful for the grandson, great-grandson, nephew, great-nephew and cousin they received when Luke came into this world. 
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Thanksgiving 2012 was the first one for us to spend as a family of four.  It was also a different one for us.  We spent it just us four.  Since Lukas is in isolation we couldn't spend the holiday surrounded by mothers, sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles like we normally would.  The Cardiologist gave us strict instructions "NO VISITORS. NO KISSES FROM GRANDMA.ACTUALLY NO VISITS FROM GRANDMA. NO TRIPS." this Thanksgiving.  He stressed the importance of keeping Luke germ free just as we have been. Basically don't let Thanksgiving be a weak moment to allow your guard down. 

It hurt deep in our hearts to not be making those normal steps to get ready to travel to the numerous places we traveled to in Thanksgivings past.  Jenna and I prepared our table with turkey decorations we colored and "real" plates which was huge because everyone knows a good southern MS Thanksgiving is served on paper plates. You know the good ones with dividers. :) We made a "Give Thanks" banner to remind us of the reason for the day.  We prepared a menu to include all our Thanksgiving favorites. Our main goal was to be thankful for God and the many things in our lives He has provided, has done and is doing.
1 Chronicles 29:13 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
  We made our plates and each sat down at the table.  Even Luke pulled a high chair up to join :) And that's when we bowed our heads, and just as Jesus prayed and gave thanks, so did we.
Mark 8:6-7 He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people, and they did so. They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them.
Luke 24:30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, 
broke it and began to give it to them. 
 I wanted this Thanksgiving to be remembered for something fun or a new tradition not just for the Thanksgiving we were in isolation away from our family.  So I printed slips of paper that said "I am thankful for......".  We all sat down the night before and each got a color and wrote on those precious slips of paper.  One was for each member of our family.  So I had one for Jenna, one for Luke, one for Brian. You get the idea.  One for something we are thankful for in our life this year.  One for something God did in our life this year we were thankful for.  Another was a random slip for a silly or anything goes thankful thought. 
We each drew 2 of Luke's and filled them out as if he did it himself.  After our thoughts of Thankfulness were on paper we enclosed it in the glass pumpkin on our decorated table for the next day.  As we gathered around that small table and ate our Thanksgiving lunch we each drew a slip that wasn't ours and read it outloud.  I have to say that was one of the most precious moments I think we've ever spent around that table.  Yes our hearts still hurt because we missed so many of our loved ones.  But guess what, we never would have gotten that precious moment to give thanks for each other and for the things God has done for us this year.  We would have been rushing to get out the door to go from place to place stuffing ourselves and going through the motions like always.  I can promise you one thing, every Thanksgiving from this point forth will be different in our lives. 

1 Chronicles 16:34 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
 This Thanksgiving we know the true meaning of "give thanks in all circumstances".  I can't tell you how many times over the last 3 years I've said "God has a plan and His plan is perfect.  He never takes us through anything without good reason."  If I've said that to you, please know it's genuine, its real raw emotions.  I KNOW that without a shadow of a doubt.  If you don't understand this verse below and need some examples BOY OH BOY can I talk your ear off with numerous ways God has shown us this verse in our lives.  We've been given more  "why is this happening to us?", "what could God possibly be showing us through this when all we feel is hurt?", and "good? seriously, how can good come from this?" moments in our lives over the last few years than we ever thought we could handle.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
But guess what??? We were right!  We, as in "WE" alone,  couldn't handle those moments.  The only way we could handle those moments would be in the ever presence of our Lord and Savior.  Leaning on Him and trusting Him through every huge step, every baby step, every side step, and every stumble and trip.   And you know what?  There were alot of times we took no steps!  That's because we couldn't go on.  Couldn't get one step in front of the other.  That's when we didn't, HE did.  He carried us through those moments.  And sometimes in those moments He used our family, friends and church family to carry us or at least hold our hands.  There were moments when our church family sat with Brian as he processed the words the Dr gave just hours before letting us know our baby wasn't with us anymore and I needed surgery.  There were moments when family sat with me as tears filled my eyes as I lay in the bed on bed rest asking "Can I do this another day?" and they reminded me I could and would.  There were moments when we were given amazing medical team staff members, who we now call friends, that walked with us through the struggles of not knowing if precious Luke would survive the pregnancy.  There were moments when just a notecard from a friend or a text or a call came at just the right time to get us through the day when our emotions were getting the best of us.  And most importantly there were the moments when so many dropped to their knees (and still do!) to pray for us and for our family.  God used every one one of those people to carry us.  To carry us to the next step.  Or to hold our hand while we tried like toddling babies to take the next step because we weren't sure if we could by ourselves.  I'm so thankful God placed those people in our lives to be His hands and feet. We thank him for each and every one in our prayers everyday!
1 Thessalonians 1:2 We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers.

We know that Luke will use ALL of his heart to tell of God's wonderful deeds.  We know Jenna is going to use all the lessons she's learned because of Luke's heart to tell of God's wonderful deeds.  And we will always tell of the wonderful deeds he's done for us because of Luke's heart and many others things most would think wouldn't have "good reason".   Because hindsight is 20/20.  We can look back and see the intricate detail God used in those moments to connect another piece of our puzzle and teach us something.  

Luke's heart condition isn't all bad.  There's good we see everyday from that precious heart.  His heart was created just the way the Master wanted it to be.  It's labeled a congenital heart defect.  Defect, well I'm not sure we can call anything God creates a defect. He made Luke's heart with a septum that stops and doesn't go to the top of the heart.  They call it a "hole".  He made both of Luke's outlets in the same location.  They say one outlet is "misplaced" or "in the wrong spot".  Those words hurt at first but now Brian and I realize God knit them together just the way He wanted.  He created Luke's precious heart to be unique.  I like to think Luke's heart has more to hold and more to share so he needed a light shown on it so that God's light could shine.  I know Luke and Jenna are not gonna let His light be hidden.  He and Jenna are gonna use this to let it shine!  And for that I'm thankful. And everyday I pray Brian and I allow that light to shine through us because we have so much to be thankful for and so much to share about God's amazing deeds.  The "good" and the "bad". We have our moments, we have our emotional breakdowns, we have our hissyfits, we have our hurts.  But at the end of the day, we have a God that never leaves us, never forsakes us.  He knows some of those moments hurt and that's okay because He uses those moments to 
remind us "Be thankful and never give up."
Psalm 9:1 I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

Friday, November 16, 2012



Let's start this blog with the definition of courage:

cour·age noun \ˈkər-ij, ˈkə-rij\ Definition of COURAGE: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

Now let's look at what the bible has to say about courage:

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) 6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
1 Chronicles 28:20 (NIV) 20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.
Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

What does it take to have courage? Well according to the Webster's definition we must withstand difficulty....withstand fear.....withstand danger.

 Now how am I gonna do that? Not by myself, the bible tells me:
"for the LORD your God goes with you"
"Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you"
"so do not fear, for I am with you"
"I will strengthen you and help you"

 Let's rewind a little bit in time.  Let's go back to December 2005.  I sat in a cold room waiting for a doctor to consult me on something that had me excited and joyous!!  Brian and I were praying and felt God leading us to have another precious baby.  Jenna turned 3 that year and the thought of another baby in the house excited us both.  We were more excited than anything when we both felt God leading us to that decision.  The doctor was very optimistic even with my previous issues.  Her optimism came from us not having issues when we got pregnant with Jenna.   Little did we know I'd be sitting on that table again in April 2006 getting an order for an ultrasound to see if a problem could be detected.  That day I would walk out the door with a prescription for fertility meds due to the results of my ultrasound.  We both were in a whirlwind of emotions.....what if this doesn't work?  what if it does and works too well and we end up with triplets or quads?  Months went by with emotions I never expected from that horrible medicine.  After just 3 months we realized that wasn't the action for us.  
December 2006 I sat back in her office an emotional wreck for that followup visit because I lost my father just one week before. We had numerous doctor's visits and went thru the usual steps for infertile couples over the next few years.  There were some breaks just because our emotions couldn't handle anymore and there were months of wanting that line to appear so bad our hearts almost exploded when it didn't over and over.  September 2009 brought new hope with a surgery that was not conventional but was promised to provide results within a year. Exactly one year later we got that line!!  Joyous and overcome with gratitude to our Lord and Savior we couldn't wait for the first appt.  Only that appointment would come sooner than we thought.  I had that feeling that something wasn't right.  Mother's intuition? Just female emotions?  No it was God, nudging me to take charge of my health.  After some issues that were being blown off we prayed about how to handle our fears that something wasn't right.  That lead us to some amazing doctors who immediately went into actionUnfortunately it was to late and that precious baby was already walking the streets of gold.  Amazing peace and comfort engulfed us and we knew God had a plan at that moment.  We knew God was using this to show us something.  Only we didn't realize how amazing and how BIG the lesson would become.  We moved on, and exactly one year later, again saw that line.  This time we were a little more cautious until that first appointment.  The first appointment we saw our precious baby and that precious heart beating.  We were over the moon with excitement and anticipation to share with our family and friends.  And that's just what we did! Then that feeling came again....yes that one....the one that tells you something is amiss.  We lost another precious Angel.  But in came that peace and comfort again. In came the support of so many people we didn't have the first time. .Their hearts were broken with ours.  Only they didn't have the peace and comfort we had that passed all understanding. I can hear their words clear even now: "I don't know how you are being so strong.  I wouldn't be able to."  I couldn't give them an explanation other than God has a plan and His plan is perfect.  He is in control.  
We underwent some tests to try and find out what could be done if anything to prevent a third. We got answers and began treatment to prevent a third.  Little did we know within days of those answers God placed Luke in our lives. :)  He's amazing like that you know?!?! 
There are so many God details I'm leaving out and want to share.  I'll do that from time to time here.  Giving you a glimpse into our world and how God has touched it all along the way.  He gently guided us down this path and gave us the COURAGE to continue.  
I don't know if I'm the only one that thinks of COURAGE when I see a lion.  That's because of the Wizard of Oz:
 "You have plenty of courage, I am sure," answered Oz. "All you need is confidence in yourself. There is no living thing that is not afraid when it faces danger. The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty." 
I believe that confidence in yourself comes from God.  Knowing we are made in His likeness and we can do anything thru Him who gives us strength.  We use courage to face the dangers of this life because we know God wouldn't send us somewhere without purpose.  I can't say I was never afraid....that I didn't have difficulty in the journey.....or that I was never in the danger zone.  One thing I can say is when I was afraid, did have difficulty and was in danger, HE gave me courage.  He gave me the peace and comfort only HE could provide.  
Here's a picture of our precious Luke in his Lion costume. Seeing him in that costume made me realize, COURAGE is what it's taken us to get this far in our journey and it's what it's going to take to get us through the next part. 
This is what COURAGE means to me:
Being focused on the one who had ultimate COURAGE when He hung on the cross, will push out all fear and allows us to persevere and withstand the dangers and difficulties of this life. 

 COURAGE....so glad my courage comes from one greater than any fear, danger or difficulty I'll ever face!