Monday, December 27, 2010

My heart is heavy today for all of the moms I've met along this journey of loss who experienced their first Christmas without their babies last weekend. Many nights when I wake up to feed Kaylee, I pray for the incredible women whose stories and testimonies have greatly impacted my life. And today I hurt with them.

I remember just wanting to curl up on the couch in a blanket a year ago during the holidays. Celebration felt so forced and empty. In some way, I thought that feeling would disappear this year now that our arms are no longer empty, but I was wrong. This past week has been really difficult for Shaun and I. We have felt the hole left in our hearts and our family by Zachary more than we have in a while, and we grieved the fact that he wasn't with us once again this Christmas. It becomes more and more apparent as time goes on that the void left in our lives by Zachary's absence will never be filled.

But, we did enjoy celebrating with Kaylee. She is so sweet. As we read the account of Christ's birth in Luke 2, I found myself thinking a lot about verse 19: "But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart." I've read that verse so many times, but it has never clicked like it did this past week. So many times in the past five weeks, I have paused while snuggling my girl on my shoulder or giving her a bath or watching Shaun hold her, and I usually close my eyes in an attempt to store away a memory of that moment in time. I just want to treasure each day with Kaylee. And, I think that's probably what Mary did with Jesus, too...I think that's exactly what Luke 2:19 is referring to. Because, although she was chosen by God to carry and give birth to the Savior of the world, Mary was also a mommy who had an indescribable love for her baby and wanted to remember him at each stage of life.

What a gift to be a mom to two kids, both of whom continue to change my life every day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Here are a few pictures from Kaylee's birthday:

Kaylee Hope DeYager

Family pic (at 4am!)

Proud daddy

I just can't get enough of her!

I've sat down to write here several times over the past two weeks, but between the needs of a newborn and flat-out not knowing how to sort through my emotions, I haven't even tried to put it into words.

But I'll try now.

Labor and delivery went as well as I could have ever imagined.

I was having non-stress tests to monitor Kaylee's heart rate twice a week. On Friday, November 26th, I went in to the hospital as scheduled for my NST. At my appointment, I was already dilated to 5cm, but there weren't enough nurses on the floor to admit me to induce then, so my midwife told us to go get some dinner and come back to the hospital to have a baby at 7pm. So, Shaun and I cruised through Costco and Home Depot to get some Black Friday deals, stopped at home to eat some dinner, and then headed back to the hospital. (It was so weird to be asked while we were shopping, 'So, when are you due?' and to answer, 'At 7pm tonight, actually.') :-)

By the time we got back to the birth center, I was already having contractions two minutes apart. Shaun and I walked through the halls for much of the next two hours. At around 10pm, my midwife broke my water, and after three more hours of hard labor and two pushes, I was holding my beautiful baby girl!

God answered so many prayers that night.

I had some apprehension about being induced because I wanted to go natural, so to already be in labor when we got back to the hospital was such an answer to prayer. And, although it was an amazing experience to go drug-free, I think it will be the last time I try it! :-)

I was also really afraid of the emotional intensity of walking back into the birth center where we delivered Zachary. It was not nearly as difficult as I had imagined. As Shaun and I walked through the halls, we passed room 2337, where we held our baby boy, several times. I was able to thank God for His faithfulness as I looked at that room number. He has changed us over and over again because of the 48 hours we spent in that room. And to remember did not fill me with fear as I had anticipated.

And, let me just sum up some of the most joyful moments of my life (and greatest answers to my prayers):

-to have a screaming, wiggling baby placed on my chest

-to drive out of the hospital parking lot with a baby in the carseat

-to lay my baby girl down to sleep at night in a crib that sat empty for 18 months

-to have that maternal desire finally fulfilled

-to watch Shaun change diapers and thoroughly enjoy his little girl

-to look down right now and see my beautiful girl asleep on my chest

Our time at home has not been without its difficult moments. It's so hard to realize all that we missed out on with Zachary. And, I have to daily recognize that Kaylee belongs to the Lord, and to constantly place her life back into His hands in total surrender. But we are loving having the opportunity to care for her and love on her. She's just as sweet as can be!

Thank you so much for your prayers over the past several months, and especially the past two weeks. We are so, so thankful.

Below is a link to some beautiful newborn photos that our friend, Cassie took for us this past weekend.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kaylee Hope arrived on 11/27/10 at 12:56am weighing 8 lb, 8 oz and 20 inches long. We couldn't be more in love!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

"Fear is lost in all You are" - Hillsong, To The Ends of The Earth

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I knew that this stage of pregnancy - the waiting - would be difficult, but I had no idea just how mentally and emotionally exhausted it would leave me. Throughout the day I am plagued by the "what if's," and yet I am so encouraged by the number of people who are praying for us constantly. I'm so ready to hear this baby girl cry and hold her in my arms.

"We wait in hope for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.
In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in You."
-Psalm 33:20-22

Saturday, November 13, 2010

"The Lord will accomplish what concerns me." - Psalm 138:8a

Friday, November 5, 2010

In less than a month our girl will be here.

To say that my heart is at peace on a day by day, moment by moment basis would be a lie. Don't get me wrong...I'm trying. But, the truth is, I'm anxious, and it's a battle every hour to choose to trust the Lord with this little girl's life.

I haven't been in the birthing center of our hospital since we walked out empty-handed almost 18 months ago, and just the thought of going back makes me heart race a little bit faster. While this baby girl is extremely active, I have moments of panic where I can practically convince myself that I haven't felt her move for a while and that something is wrong. I guess when you've lived through worst case pregnancy scenario, these feelings are hard to shake.

But mixed with the anxiety is pure excitement. I can't believe I will get to hold my daughter in just a few weeks!

God keeps reminding me that He is the same, no matter what...that He is big and He can handle my fear...and that He is good - always.

Psalm 102:25-27:

"In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This weekend we were absolutely blessed with multiple baby showers for our daughter. It was such sweet time with people who truly love our children. It was easy to celebrate the arrival of our girl with the recognition that I've already been a mommy for a year and a half. We have awesome friends.

And, yet, even after spending hours in that baby room this weekend organizing gifts, sorting pink clothes into appropriate sizes and putting up decorations, there is still a huge disconnect in my mind between the preparation for this baby and the possibility that we might actually get to bring her home and put her to bed in that room and dress her in those adorable outfits. I don't know if it's just because I still can't seem to let my mind go there, or if I simply have no concept of what it will be like to leave the hospital with a baby. Such a strange feeling...

But Shaun and I are just praising God for His faithfulness. Enjoying today and learning not to worry so much about tomorrow. No matter where we're headed, God's already been there. I think back to what I was feeling at this time last year, and I'm so thankful for His healing in my heart. I've learned so much about Who He is and how limited I am. He is our Hope and our Sustainer, both now and always.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

God is teaching me about grace right now in such a sweet and personal way. Maybe it’s just because I’m a hormonal, pregnant lady, but I find that my eyes just well up with tears when I think about the unexpected kindness that God has shown me. This past week He used the story of Elijah in 1 Kings to get my attention and soften my heart.

In 1 Kings 18 is one of the most spectacular accounts of God displaying His power in all of Scripture. I remember learning this story in Sunday School on a felt board with a cut-out character of Elijah. At that time this was kind of a smack-down, "my-dad-could-beat-your-dad-up" story…but it was what occurred after the show-down on Mount Carmel that I had missed until just this past week.

King Ahab and his wife Jezebel were the rulers over Israel at the time that God called Elijah as a prophet. They were evil. They adamantly opposed God, they made a sport of killing the prophets of the Lord, and they worshiped false gods, Baal in particular.

So, God stages the show-down on Mount Carmel. In order to end a draught that has plagued the land of Israel, He instructs Elijah to ask King Ahab to meet him on top of the mountain with hundreds of the prophets of Baal. Both parties (the Baal-worshipers and Elijah because he's the only prophet of the Lord that Ahab and Jezebel haven't killed yet) bring animals to sacrifice to their gods. Elijah basically says, 'The god who sends fire from heaven to consume the animal sacrifice is the one, true God.' So all day long the Baal-worshipers dance around the altar and call out to Baal and cut themselves and tear their clothes off and do all sorts of other disgusting things, but as 1 Kings 18:29 says, "...there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention."

Then it's Elijah's turn. (Can't you just hear the background music? I loved this part in Sunday School.) Before Elijah calls out to the Lord to send fire, he drenches the altar and the wood with gallons and gallons of water. Then Elijah prays this prayer: "Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." And immediately fire falls from heaven and incinerates the entire, soaking wet sacrifice. The Baal-worshipers immediately fall to their knees in recognition that Elijah's God is the true and living God. Elijah then seizes and slaughters the prophets of Baal. And the draught ends with a heavy rain.

Now, the best part...this part wasn't on the felt board in Sunday School. :-)

So, Ahab goes back to the palace and tells Jezebel everything that happened on Mount Carmel. Jezebel becomes infuriated, and she threatens Elijah's life.

And, guess what Elijah does? He's just seen one of the most spectacular displays of God's power...God showed up when Elijah called His name in faith. And then, because of the threat of a ticked-off, middle-aged woman, Elijah acts like a complete wimp. He freaks out and runs for his life into the desert. He even asks God to end his life.

If you ask me, Elijah deserves a big spanking from the Lord...or at least a really stern talking-to. He so quickly forgot how big God awesome He the Lord listens to the cries of His people and responds.

But, instead of some harsh punishment, do you know what God does? He sends an angel to Elijah out in the middle of his faith in the almighty God is faltering and he's despairing his own life...and the angel brings him a picnic lunch. No rebuke. No ridicule of Elijah's cowardly behavior. Just some food. Just some grace for a weary servant.

And I started thinking about all the times that I've deserved that spanking from the Lord. All the times when He's provided a miracle and the next day I'm wondering whether or not He really knows what He's doing when it comes to my life. All the times I have doubted how big He is. All the times I have acted or spoken without any wisdom or consideration whatsoever. And, so many times when I've deserved discipline, He's given me gifts of pure grace instead. I have received SO MANY picnic lunches from the Lord! Because God doesn't want lip service. He's not just interested in fear-driven, rule-following obedience. He desires relationship. Why? Why would He want a relationship with a young woman whose faith falters? A young woman who spends an awful lot of time in the desert?

Because He is a God of incredible, unexpected grace.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

This past weekend I enjoyed my very first baby shower. When I was pregnant with Zachary, I planned to wait to have showers until after he was here because we didn't know if he was a boy or a girl until delivery day. So when friends initially asked if I wanted baby showers to be thrown to celebrate this little girl, I was really hesitant. But, I felt the Lord gently nudging me that this was part of preparing in hope for our baby girl's arrival. So, I said yes. And I'm so, so glad I did.

Yesterday morning I rode up with my friend, Lexie to Snoqualmie Falls where we met four other dear friends from college. We enjoyed an incredible four-course brunch overlooking the waterfall on a gorgeous fall day. And they spoiled me rotten with gifts! :-) Thanks, ladies, for your generous and thoughtful love. I can't tell you how much it means to know that you already love this little baby, too!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I'm finding more and more just how limited my understanding of God's love is.

Over the past two years I have been bewildered by the challenges that God has allowed to enter our much so that I could rarely have equated those challenges with love. But time has a way of revealing the loving hand of God on our lives. At some point we can finally grasp an understanding of His perfect orchestration of our lives to make even the most harrowing moments sound beautiful.

This past weekend we were studying John 13 at church where Jesus chooses to spend the last day of His life on earth washing the feet of the disciples...the stinky, grimy feet of His closest friends...the job of the lowliest servant. The disciples were confused by it...they didn't understand why Jesus would choose to show His love in this way. Jesus knew this (of course He did, He's God), and in verse 7 He says, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."

I've just been chewing on that verse over the past couple of weeks...

"You don't get it now, but someday...someday you will see my love even through the times of confusion and frustration and utter heartache."

I used to sing a song in Sunday school that went like this: "In His time, in His time...He makes all things beautiful in His time."

For all the times I have hated and even cursed the mystery of God in the past couple of years, I'm so glad that His love is without limits and beyond my understanding.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." - Romans 8:28

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We're entering the final stretch of pregnancy, and I'm tired...mentally more than physically.

I've answered "yes" to the question, "Is this your first?" so many times in the past few months, that I've almost convinced myself of it.

So, today I found myself at the cemetery once again. Partly because tracing the letters of my son's name etched in that gray stone with my fingers makes me feel a bit more anchored in reality, and partly because I've been really missing that little boy lately.

It's difficult for me to think back on this stage of pregnancy with Zachary...I had no idea that 9 months of a perfectly healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy could end like that. And, while I know that what happened to Zachary was really a freak accident, I also now know what horrors are possible. I trust God completely with our little girl's life, but I'm not naive enough to think that just because we've gone through tragedy once that we are exempt for the rest of our lives. So, I spend much of my mental energy these days re-affirming my trust in a God of incredible grace, reminding myself of what is real, and trying to be mindful of what a gift our daughter is. (She's so active that she makes it hard to forget. She's kicking like a wild child even now as I type.) :-)

Many people have asked me if I will have any special testing or monitoring towards the end of this pregnancy. Because I've had a full-term stillbirth and an ectopic pregnancy, I've kind of created a high-risk category of my own. However, I'm young and healthy, so the only monitoring that has been suggested is 2-3 non-stress tests (NST's) each week starting at 35 weeks. NST's are not really preventive, just reassuring to my healthcare providers that our baby girl and I are being monitored closely. It was also decided even before getting pregnant this time that I would never have to go past 39 weeks gestation with future pregnancies, so if this little girlie hasn't decided to arrive by 39 weeks, I will be induced.

Well, this has been a jumbled post, but I want to end with a verse that I learned when I was in elementary school, one that I've recalled to memory over and over again in the past few weeks.

"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." -Isaiah 26:3

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Earlier this week I read the story of God leading the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt and parting the Red Sea in Exodus 14, and I was reminded of a couple of really important things for where I am right now in life.

But, first, the story:

God tells Moses what is about to happen at the beginning of the chapter. He gives Moses specific instructions of where to lead the Israelites to set up camp. And then He says this in verse 4: “And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them [the Israelites]. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." So, He indicates that He’s going to protect the Israelites after He hardens the heart of their greatest enemy, but it’s kind of vague. I’d probably have a few questions before heading out to set up camp if I were Moses.

But Moses obeys without question, and Pharaoh and his best men, horses and chariots begin their pursuit of the Israelites. Verse 10 says, “As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?...’ Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Then, the Lord miraculously parts the Red Sea and the Israelites walk across on dry land with walls of water to their right and to their left. As soon as the Israelites are safely across, God closes the water in on the Egyptians and not one of them survives.

Exodus 15 is a song of celebration for what God has done for the Israelites, and verse 13 captured my attention this week. It says, “In your unfailing love You will lead the people You have redeemed. In Your strength You will guide them to Your holy dwelling.”

Here are a few of the things I was reminded of and have been processing all week:

- God accomplishes great things in my life for His glory. It’s not about me.

- There are so many times on our journey of redemption when God is leading us from one side of Egypt through the Red Sea to a place of freedom. God’s desire for me is freedom.

- When God gives instruction, I’m called to obey without questioning His direction every step of the way.

- I am redeemed, and God is on my side. His purposes for me are good. That reality needs to significantly affect how I live my life day to day.

Shaun and I continue to walk by faith in obedience as we await the arrival of our little girl and trust the Lord for His provision for our family. I can't believe she will be here in just 11 weeks. In the meantime, I thank God for the miracle to carrying her today and for being our Sustainer.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

This weekend we took everything of Zachary's out of the baby room...his certificate of life, molds of his hands and feet, locks of his dark hair, the blue, knit blanket we held him in, baby boy clothes, pictures of the day he was born, and hundreds and hundreds of cards. I placed them in Rubbermaid bins (carefully-selected, practically indestructible ones) and they found their new home on the top shelf of our bedroom closet.

As we packed up our son's belongings, my heart ached and I could barely swallow. At one point, Shaun and I made eye contact, and I had to look away to avoid becoming hysterical. I just kept thinking, "This really happened? This is my life? Without my son?"

I know they're just things. They are not my baby boy. He's been gone for 15 long months now. They are not even my memories. Those are kept in a sacred place deep inside the heart of a mama and in the recesses of my mind. But they are physical reminders of a life that was...a life that changed my own forever...a life that I can no longer share in.

And so we live in this place of irresolvable tension. It feels like beginning a new chapter with the previous one left unfinished. As we prepare for this little girl to join our family, we celebrate. I praise God for the chance to carry her every, single day. Each time I get to watch my belly dance as she wiggles around. Every time I wake up at 3am to stumble to the bathroom. Every night as her daddy talks to her and kisses my belly. But we welcome our baby girl into our home and our hearts with this ever-present reminder that our family is missing someone...someone I'm missing desperately.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So, I just had to write this down so that I can remember and chuckle about it years down the road. :-)

My biggest pet peeve of the month?

When someone who knows our story learns that I'm pregnant and says excitedly, "Oh, congratulations!" And then, just as quickly, their expression changes to a furrowed brow and they add, "I sure hope this one works out...(likes it's a teenage dating relationship)...(awkward pause as they stare at my belly)...oh, I'm sure this one will work out..." (as if they're reassuring themselves)...(another awkward pause and then I change the subject).

The first time it happened, I though it was a really strange thing to say...and then these awkward interactions started occurring frequently!

I know it's sincere, but if a family goes through the tragedy of losing their teenage son, you don't say, "Oh, I hope your other children don't die, too"!

People are funny. :-) It makes me think about all of the dumb things I've said to someone after they've gone through something tragic....hmmm....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

There have been numerous times in the past couple of weeks when the loss of my son has been so "punch-you-in-the-gut" that it has felt like I said goodbye and kissed Zachary's face one last time just yesterday. There hasn't been any real reason or rhyme to it. No triggers I can identify or patterns in my emotions. I've just missed him. And the sorrow has swept over me in waves.

I listened to a sermon this evening by Bill Hybels, who pastors at Willow Creek Church in Illinois, titled "Grieving with Hope." It was based on 1Thessalonians 4:13: "For we grieve not as those who have no hope."

It was an excellent reminder that, not only did God guarantee that we would walk through horrific circumstances in our lives, but that grief takes time, and in order to be made whole again, we have to give it time. So often I wish I could just "get over it" and stop feeling sad, but that's not how this works.

I would strongly encourage you to listen to this message if you've recently experienced a loss or know someone who has and want to be a great support to them. You can go to, click on "Watch Messages" on the right-hand side, and find "Grieving with Hope" in the sermons from May 2010. (Sorry, it won't let me link it on here...)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Life is going really well!

This sweet baby girl is active and growing strong and healthy, and my anxiety level is relatively low. I can't believe that she will be here in less than 4 months.

We got away on vacation to the lake last week and had an awesome time with family and friends.

Work's going well. We're still praying for full-time employment for Shaun before this little girl arrives, but God continues to provide for our needs. He is faithful.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We had a wonderful morning on Monday! Lots of anxiety leading up to the ultrasound, but just before walking back to that little ultrasound room, a place of such harrowing memories, I was reminded very poignantly that the God Who walked into that little room with us would be the same God when we walked out, no matter what. Our circumstances in no way change Who God is. I read Psalm 71 on Monday morning:

But as for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise You more and more.

My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of Your salvation all days long,
though I know not its measure.

I will come and proclaim Your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim Your righteousness, Yours alone.

Since my youth, O God, You have taught me,
and to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds.

Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
'til I declare Your power to the next generation,
Your might to all who are to come.

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
You Who have done great things.
Who, O God, is like You?

Though You have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
You will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
You will again bring me up.

You will increase my honor
and comfort me once again.

And, there was absolutely no concerns about this baby whatsoever. The umbilical cord is the right length at this stage with excellent bloodflow. She's a perfectly healthy little girl! She sucked her thumb for almost the entire 45 minutes and had her legs crossed at the ankles like a little lady. :-) As we prepare for this sweet girl's arrival, we prepare in HOPE.

God is so good. Today Shaun and I are celebrating our 4th anniversary. I told a friend this morning that if someone had told me a year ago, in the midst of such heartache, how full our lives would be today, I wouldn't have believed them for a second. Not perfect, but incredibly full. We are blessed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tomorrow morning we have our 20-week ultrasound. As much as most days seem to drag on with wondering (and some definite worry), I really can't believe that it's been 20 weeks! As excited as I am to see this wiggling, little baby on the screen, I'm also really nervous.

Ultrasounds have been some of the most horrific experiences of my life.

And Satan wants me to be anxious and assume the worst as we walk into that little room tomorrow. I know, without a doubt, that God will walk into that room with us, though. And, no matter what, He will walk out of that room with us, too. He is the same today as He will be tomorrow at this time.

Please pray for a genuine peace to cover over us in the morning. Thanks!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Of this I am convinced:

My God is bigger than any trial He asks me to walk through.

My doubt does not restrain how great God is.

His power is made perfect in my weakness.

His provision is without limits. He is enough.

God is glorified in my offering of pain.

He has the last word on death.

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

Jeremiah 32:27
"I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?"

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A few moments that have brought me to tears lately:

- Pulling out old maternity clothes that I wore when I was pregnant with Zachary.

- Anxiously waiting to feel this baby move, but dreading it all the same because I know it will preoccupy my thoughts for the next 20+ weeks.

- Making plans to paint and re-decorate a nursery that was never used and deciding which of Zachary's things to put away.

A few moments that have brought incredible joy to my heart:

- Taking a 4 mile walk with Shaun last night just so I could get gyoza, dark chocolate and a movie to watch together.

- Time with good friends who ask how I'm doing and really want to know.

- Sweet time with my family over the past couple of weeks.

I find that, as I'm forced to go one layer deeper to grieve, God does more healing work in my heart. It's difficult to live in this place between loss and new life, but I'm thankful. My instinct is to rush through this time, but I'm learning so much as I discover all over again how to trust the Lord. Yes, there are moments of sorrow, but I know that God is making me whole and stretching my faith.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

"Do not judge the bereaved mother.
She comes in many forms.
She is breathing, but she is dying.
She may look young, but inside she has become ancient.

She smiles, but her heart sobs.

She walks, she talks, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she IS,
but she IS NOT, all at once.

She is here, but part of her is elsewhere for eternity."

-Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We're going through the book of John right now in our sermon series at church. This past Sunday we looked at chapter five in which Jesus miraculously heals a man who has been paralyzed for 38 years. But before Jesus heals this man, He asks him this question: "Do you want to get well?"

If Jesus were to ask us any of us this question, it would sound rhetorical. But I think Jesus is looking for something more than the obvious.

He doesn't ask, "Do you want me to change your circumstances?" or "Do you want a quick fix?." He asks the invalid if he wants to get well because Jesus wants to change this man from the inside out. He wants to heal more than his physical suffering. He wants to make him whole - emotionally, spiritually and physically.

I felt the gentle Spirit of God asking the same question of me as I sat in church next to Shaun.

"Do you want a quick solution, or do you want Me to change you where you are right now?"

Secretly, I wish God would just speed this whole process of pregnancy up. I've started to be very purposeful about controlling my anxiety and intentionally bonding with this child, but really I just want to arrive home from the hospital with my baby. I just want to close my eyes and have this agonizing wait be over. And I'm so concerned about tomorrow that I often miss the blessing of carrying this sweet gift today. I'm missing what God has for me right now.

"Do you want to get well?"

Do I truly want God to use every blessing, every heartache, every twist and turn along the way to change me...heal me...make me whole?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Give me eyes to see more of Who You are
May what I behold still my anxious heart
Take what I have known and break it all apart
You, my God, are greater still

No sky contains
No doubt restrains
All You are
The greatness of our God
I spend my life to know
And I'm far from close
To all You are
The greatness of our God

Give me grace to see beyond this moment here
To believe that there is nothing left to fear
That You alone are high above it all
You, my God are greater still

-Greatness of Our God, Natalie Grant

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I wish this pregnancy could be as carefree as the last...but it's not. I haven't taken any belly pictures. I haven't started a journal of letters to this child. I panic every time my midwife pulls out the doppler to find a heartbeat at my appointments. Shaun and I haven't discussed baby names or nursery decor...actually, I haven't even walked into the baby room in weeks.

40 weeks feels like it might as well be 40 years right now.

This past weekend we were at a family wedding. As people happily meandered around and music played through the speakers, my eyes caught the form of a little boy 'dancing' on the dance floor. He was adorable... curly blonde hair, dressed in his wedding garb, and totally unsteady on his feet as he waddled around and rolled on the floor. I couldn't help but wonder if that's what my little boy would look like at 13 months...what it would be like to be the mom standing over my toddler to catch him if he fell while busting a move.

A little while later, I was standing next to that little boy's mom waiting for the restroom (no surprise), and she noticed my little baby bump. After sharing that she was pregnant, too, and exchanging all of the standard questions...when are you due, how many weeks along, etc., she asked me if this was my first. Without hesitation, I smiled and said, "yes." It just didn't seem worth the emotional expenditure at that moment to launch into our story, and it hurt.

Because this isn't my first baby. I've been through all of pregnancy and delivery. I've done this before. And I grieve the fact that this child will never know his or her older brother. That this child will be forced to answer questions like, "how many kids are in your family?'..."are you the oldest?", etc. I just realize more and more every day that we can't simply leave our loss behind us...that it's part of our story, part of our family forever.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

For the past two months I have been wading through the balance of bold faith and steadfast trust in God's sovereignty. I'm slowly discovering how the two go hand in hand.

I am 15 weeks pregnant. I have hesitated to tell friends and family, and I hesitate to write that even now. To be congratulated feels really strange...I think I'm still very much in denial. Don't get me wrong...I'm so, so thankful. This is something we have prayed for and waited on the Lord for for what seemed like a long time. But, pregnancy is also a huge risk to me now, and to be excited means that I am hopeful, and to be hopeful means that I could end up devastated again.

So, I'm working through how to ask God for a healthy pregnancy and a screaming baby in a few months, but with the knowledge that God's plans are not my own and that, no matter what tomorrow holds, He will walk with us. There are moments that I am overcome with fear and guilt, but for the most part, I have a genuine peace.

Thank you for praying with us in the days and weeks ahead.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Psalm 29:10-11

"The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to His people;
The Lord blesses His people with peace."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I had an honestly wonderful day yesterday. It felt a little surreal, and at times like I was in the twilight zone. But, as with many "milestone days," the anticipation was much harder than the actual day itself.

On Sunday afternoon we went to the cemetery with our families and close friends and spent some time remembering and praying together and then had a great dinner at my parents' house.

And then yesterday came and I had no idea what to felt like a normal Monday for the most part, so here's what I did: spent some time with a dear friend in the morning and got my hair cut and colored....ran some errands...did some laundry...sat outside in the sun...and went out to a fabulous dinner with Shaun.

I cried once - when I went to open my front door to let some sunshine in and couldn't because our front porch was literally covered in flowers. Oh, and again when I read through the numerous cards that filled our mailbox. Well, and one more time when I watched a video of my 2-year-old nephew sending blue balloons to his baby cousin. Okay. So, I cried a bit. But that disgusting ache didn't hang over me like a dark cloud all day. Sure, I missed my boy. But I miss him every day. And I know that we had an army of people praying for us and missing him with us. I went to bed last night just feeling incredibly blessed and loved...and relieved, I guess. I have made it through the hardest year of my life so far...and I'm okay. I had the lyrics of a song that I sang Sunday at church going through my mind all day:

"When my world is shaking
Heaven stands
And when my heart is breaking
I never leave Your hands."
-JJ Heller, Your Hands

Thank you for continuing to love us and pray for us. Thank you for reminding me regularly that you think about our boy, and that because of him, your life is different. It means more than you will ever know.

Praise God that through every season of life He is the same and He is good! We never leave His hands.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

One year ago I was waiting for you...eager, exhausted.

My ribs on the right side were bruised from your not-so-little feet. If I wanted to roll over in bed, I had to wake your dad up to help me. I waddled everywhere I went. And I couldn't wait until you were already late, after all.

The carseat was strapped in to the back seat of the car. Our bags were packed in the trunk. Your room was as ready as it could be since we didn't yet know whether you were a boy or a girl. The list of people to call/text/invite to the hospital was compiled. All we had to do was wait.

If I had known that the wait to know you would be the length of my lifetime on this earth, I probably wouldn't have been so antsy. If I had known you would be born into the hands of the almighty God, I probably wouldn't have worried about getting a manicure that weekend. And if I had know that we would celebrate your first birthday at a cemetery rather than taking home video of you eating your cake, I don't know if I would have survived that weekend.

I miss you so much, baby boy. I know you're having a great time, but my heart aches for you. It feels like we said goodbye just yesterday.

Zachary, as we celebrate your birthday without you, please know that I love you so much. Please know that you have opened my heart in a way I didn't know possible. Please know that your room is still full of your pictures and your diapers. I just can't seem to get myself to put it all away. Not a moment goes by that I don't think about you. I will never forget you...I can't. I bear the scars on my tummy from carrying you and a gaping hole in my heart.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I have been going through such a confusing range of emotions over the past week.

But, I've been so humbled by the outpouring of love from friends. From the innumerable people who have stopped to let me know that they're thinking of me this month to gifts of books and flowers and cards. My heart is so thankful to know that our hurt, and more importantly, my son, is not forgotten. Thank you, once again, for loving us with so much thought and consideration.

While my heart aches today, I feel so blessed.