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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Joy in the midst of Pain




     The journey of grief is impossibly difficult to explain. It doesn't follow any pattern from one day to the next. The journey of grief that I am facing right now is very difficult. I have the constant pull between life and death. I have the constant reminder of the life growing inside of me. I smile each and every time I feel my precious little one moving and dancing around. It is the most amazing feeling that just makes me stop in awe and wonder. But yet I know what the future holds. It is hard to grieve for something that is still so fully alive.
     This past week my sadness has given way to anxiety attacks. At the most random times I find myself losing control as I think about what the future holds. I am the kind of person who likes to have a plan. I like to have everything organized, prepared, and ready. This journey has thrown me completely out of my comfort zone. It does not matter what I do right now, because there is nothing that I can do to prepare myself for what is to come. Sometimes I try to envision the future, and to be honest I am just afraid. I believe with everything in me that God is in complete control. I believe that he controls the future. But sometimes in my human understanding, when everything I see for the future is so unknown, I just become extremely anxious. Everything around me swirls out of control, and even something as easy as breathing becomes a challenge. I know that this is a test of my faith. God wants me to trust in him for everything.
     Never have I been asked to trust in God when everything in my life is out of my hands. This is not to say by any means that I have not gone through difficult situations. There have been many moments in my life where I remember having to place my full trust in God. But this journey has led me to a place where everything else has been stripped away. Not even the wonders of modern medicine can help our baby. It has been hard for me to wrap my mind around that fact. We live in a world where they can cure so many things. We live in a city that is known for its amazing medical services. Yet here we sit completely helpless. When everything else is completely gone, the only thing that remains in a God who has always been faithful.
     I have to be honest when I say that there are days when I am just completely sad. There have been times where I have to pull my car over into a parking lot just to cry. Those moments I am just so overcome with sorrow that I can literally feel my heart breaking. But there are other times when the tears are very bittersweet. On my car rides I usually spend the whole time talking or singing to my baby. My mom gave me a cd of favorite children's songs. The first song on the cd is Jesus Loves Me. Baby and I sing this song multiple times each day. Sometimes I can just smile and sing my heart out, thinking of the love that Jesus has for me and for baby. Other times I can sing the song through my tears, thinking of how my baby will be in the arms of Jesus soon.  My baby is truly going to know the love of Jesus in a way that I can not even imagine. I have found that sorrow and sadness can come in different forms. Sometimes it is a very deep and heartbreaking pain, that cuts so deep that it is physically present. Other times I feel it in a very bittersweet way.
     During the week that Josh and I heard the diagnosis for our baby I never thought I would feel joy again. But slowly I have realized that pain and joy can work together. Although the pain and the grief that I feel is incredibly real, so is the joy. I find the most joy in the beautiful life of my baby. I am so grateful for each and every day that I have with my baby. I am so proud to be the mom to this baby. Going through all of this had taught me so much about enjoying the littlest things. The tiny movements that I feel inside. Hearing the heartbeat at each doctor appointment. Reading books to my baby each day. Teaching my baby how to wash dishes, bake cookies, buy groceries, and fill up a tank of gas. Singing Jesus Loves Me and all of my favorite songs to my baby. Watching my belly grow bigger each week. These are all the little things that I may have taken for granted, but now I now that they are memories that I am going to cherish forever. I will cling to those memories when I have nothing left. My baby has taught me so much already, and I haven't even met him or her yet. I am so grateful that God has allowed me to find such deep and pure joy in the midst of the pain.
     I knew from the moment we heard the words "incompatible with life" that everything would be different. I never knew exactly how different life would be. I do know that I am never ever going to be the same person that I was before. But until that final moment when God decides it is time to take my baby home, I will fight for my baby. I will enjoy each and every beautiful moment that God chooses to give to us. I will allow my heart to be filled with the pure joy that only He can give, despite the deepest and darkest pain. I will cling to the beauty of life, and all that it can teach me about love.
    
    
    

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Closed Door

 
 
And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, for those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
 
 
     This morning I woke up and headed downstairs. The dreaded moment that happens each and every morning happened once again as I glanced around at the sunlight filling the room. The looming door. It was right there, it never moves.
     Josh and I had begun making plans for our baby's nursery a couple months after we found out that we were pregnant. We had the perfect room just waiting for the arrival of a happy little baby. At the time it was filled with anything and everything we did not have a place for. Everyone needs a spare room filled with junk right! But slowly the room began to take form in our minds as we talked about paint colors, a theme, the color of the wood we would use for the furniture, and flooring options. I couldn't wait to get started on making the most perfect nursery for our baby. It was finally time to get rid of our spare room, and change it into a joyful place filled with smiles, love, and a hopefully a sleeping baby.
     I cannot explain exactly why we never started getting the baby nursery ready. At the beginning of my pregnancy I was so sick, there was absolutely no motivation to do any cleaning. But once I started feeling better, we kept putting it off. As I said before, I cannot even explain why. We just never had a free day to get it started I guess. Now that our journey has changed courses, I cannot begin to express how grateful I am that God did not allow us to start the work.
     That door now remains closed. I cannot even bring myself to touch the door handle. We no longer refer to it as the "baby room" anymore. But yet I still see it there, each and every day. It does not move. It does not go away. It is there as a constant and forever reminder of lost dreams.
     I do not understand why we are not able to complete our baby nursery. I do not understand why that door cannot be opened in happiness rather than looked at fearfully in sorrow. But I do know that it will be there, forever. That room will forever and always hold those hopes and dreams that Josh and I still hold deep in our hearts. That room will forever hold memories of what we will loose.
     As I sit here writing this with tears falling down my face, I realize that God is the one who decided to close that door for us. It hurts more than I can ever say in words. But yet I know that His plans are greater than our plans. We do not have the privilege of seeing the bigger plan that God holds in His hands. It is all just a part of having faith. I have always heard the saying that when God closes one door he will open a window, or another door. This has been consistently true in my life. There have been so many doors that have been closed in my life, only to find out later that there was a good reason for it. It is very hard to face a closed door, but when we make it past the pain and disappointment, it leaves everything open for the beauty of God's plan to unfold.
     At this moment I do not know what the future holds for us. Right now all I can see is that closed door. The darkness that fills that closed room is a clear reminder to me of where we are at right now in this journey called life. God has chosen to bring us into this place right now. I believe with all of my heart that God has a plan for us. I believe that he will lead us past this closed door. It will not remain closed forever. God never leaves us in the darkness. He is a God of light. He wants us to enjoy the beauty of his light. I trust that one day he will lead us beside an opened window to stop and experience the joy that can once again fill our hearts. I trust that one day He will lead us to an opened door where hopes and dreams can be felt once again.
 
 
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."
                                                                                                                                   Matthew 7:7
 
 


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Love Holds Us Together



 


 
 
 
Family
 
In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.
-- Eva Burrows

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories.
-- George Eliot

  Today I was just down in the dumps. I have realized throughout this entire journey that there are good days and there are bad days. Sometimes I wake up and feel very positive and ready to face the challenges of the day. Other days I am barely able to pull myself out of bed. I wish that I had the option to simply stay in bed. I wish I could pull the blankets over my head on the days that I just feel sad and depressed. But honestly that is not an option for me. I know that I cannot just hide my life away in bed. I know that I must face the world head on, no matter what I am feeling or thinking. Life does not stop when tragedy hits us. Life continues to move on, day after day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Life does not stop.
     I cannot honestly say that every day ends up being good. There are just some days where I wake up feeling sad and afraid and worried, and I go back to bed that night feeling sad and afraid and worried. Those days are very difficult, and usually it takes everything in me to smile and hide my true feelings. But I expect those days and those moments. It is all a part of the journey. I sometimes get angry and ask God why I need to go through this. I sometimes get angry when I think that this should have been the greatest and most amazing moments of my life, filled with eager hope and anticipation of the beautiful future ahead. I sometimes get angry when I realize that I hate living day by day just wondering at what moment the tears will begin to fall. I sometimes get angry when I have to smile and pretend that I am doing okay, when really inside I am absolutely not okay. But once again, I realize that these moments, and these days, are all just a part of the journey. I cannot expect to be happy and joyful all the time. Actually those happy and joyful moments are only made better when they come in the midst of the really dark and shadowy days. God knows exactly when I need that joyful moment to get me through the day. He gives those happy and joyful moments to me often. I do not know what I would do without those moments.
     The best part about the happy moments in the midst of sorrow is that you just never know when or where those moments will come from. Sometimes all it takes to put a genuine smile on my face is getting a hug from someone, receiving a thoughtful and heartfelt card in the mail, getting a text or phone call from a friend, or the touch of someone's hand on my belly. Just the simple reminders that there are people who love us and are thinking of us, it means more to me than I can ever express using words. God brings special moments and special people into our lives to bless us and support us through the darkest of times.
     When thinking about special people I cannot even begin to express how blessed I feel to be a part of two wonderful and beautiful families. Josh and I would never be able to go through a journey like this without our families standing by our side. When we first found out that we were pregnant the very first people we absolutely had to tell was our families. In fact, it was nearly impossible to wait more than a couple of days before we just had to blurt out the exciting news! There was a lot of joy and excitement surrounding the announcements that we were able to make in the following months. We were all able to start dreaming and planning for the fun that was to come with the arrival of our little baby.
     It was so difficult to have to share the news that we later learned with our families. It was so hard to tell them that the news was not good. It was so hard to tell them that the beautiful future we had all begun to anticipate may not turn out the way that we had all hoped. But going through terrible day I can say that we felt such love and support. Immediately our families wrapped their arms around us and held us up throughout that entire week. They were there for us, helped us pass the news on to others, prayed for us continually, cried with us, and just sat with us. In the blur of that horrible week I have the strongest memories of the beautiful outpouring of love and support that we received. How wonderful it is to be surrounded by the ones that you love.
     It breaks my heart to think that our baby may never be able to meet all of the wonderful people that already love him or her. Our baby has the most amazing grandparents in the whole world! This baby is so blessed to have two grandmas and two grandpas who love our baby as much as we do. I love talking all about them to our baby each day. Even if our baby is never able to meet them in this life, I can guarantee our baby knows almost everything there is to know about them already!
     Something else I never get tired of sharing with my baby (and yes I do talk aloud to my baby ALL the time!) is all about the craziness and fun that comes along with all of his or her aunts and uncles. Josh and I are both so extremely blessed to have brothers and sisters to love and annoy forever. I know I have already shared a lifetime of memories with my brothers and sisters! I had dreams of my baby meeting all of his or her aunts and uncles for the first time. I pray that we will still have that opportunity. But no matter what happens in those days to come, I know that our baby is so very blessed to have the most wonderful aunts and uncles in the whole world!
     Going through a difficult journey like this really makes you stop and think about the importance of family. Josh and I are extremely blessed to have godly parents who have taught us so many valuable life lessons. They are there for us to offer advice, be a listening ear, give a hug, share a prayer, or just a quick phone call to see how we are holding up. Our parents have taught us the importance of having a strong marriage and also of having a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. It is through their example that Josh and I are able to continue on this journey not only growing closer to each other, but also to our Heavenly Father.  
     I am so thankful for the beauty of family. It is truly a blessing from above. Family has always been very important to me, but it has become even more important now. It is difficult to think about the reality that our baby may never have a chance to meet his or her grandparents and aunts and uncles. Right from the very beginning I could just feel how much this baby has been loved by our families. It is hard to think that we may not have a chance to share that love with our baby in a tangible way. But I do know that this baby will know each and every day how much he or she is loved. I never go a day without telling this baby how many wonderful people already love him or her, and who are praying for our family. It fills my heart with pure joy when I realize just how much Josh and I are loved by everyone around us, and how many people love our tiny baby as well.
    
     
     
 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

In Christ Alone



     Yesterday Josh and I were cleaning the house. Whenever we clean the house we turn up the music! Cleaning is always so much more fun when you can dance and sing! While I was cleaning the bathroom I heard the words to one of my most favorite songs start to play.

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.
    
     The words to this song are so true. Life throws so many difficult situations at us, everyday. There are some days when everything is good. There are some days when we feel so much joy and happiness. Yet there are some days when nothing goes our way. There are some days when life just gets rough. There are some days we just don't want to do anything. But we have so much hope. Our hope does not and cannot come from ourselves or our situations. Because the honest truth is that there is nothing here on this earth that will give us true hope. We can only find true hope through Jesus Christ.
     If I could change our situation I would. If I could give my baby a beautiful life I would. If I could have a perfectly normal pregnancy I would. But I am at peace with where God has placed us right now. I am at peace with God's plan for our baby. I am at peace with the future that God has for Josh and I. This peace only comes from the hope that I have in my Lord.  I have the hope that God is holding my family in his hands. I have the hope that God is in control of the plans for our future. I have the hope that God will continue to be my comforter, my All in All, my strength, my Cornerstone, my solid Ground. What hope we can claim as children of God!
  
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
 
Never has this verse in the song held more meaning to me than now.  Right now death has become a very real reality for me. It taunts me everyday as I feel my tiny baby moving inside. But there is no greater comfort than knowing that our Heavenly Father is commanding the destiny of my little baby. From the very beginning of my baby's life God has been holding him or her in the palm of his hands. There is no fear in death. God has given this baby to us as a very special and very precious gift. But ultimately this baby belongs to the Lord. He will decide when it is time to call our baby home.
     It is hard to think that our baby may never have a first cry. Our baby may never even have a first breath. Although we pray earnestly each and every day that we will be able to enjoy even a few moments together with our baby alive. But what overwhelming and indescribable peace fills my heart when I think that if I cannot have my baby here on earth, my baby will be with Jesus forever. There is no better place than for him or her to be safe in the arms of Jesus. That reassurance fills me with a beautiful sense of hope and peace.
     But still I pray for a miracle. I know that we serve a mighty and a powerful God. I know that he has and that he can do great miracles. I believe with all of my heart that if it is in God's will to bring my baby to wholeness, then he will do just that. Yet the reality of our situation holds fast in my mind. There are no survivors of the Limb Body Wall Complex. Josh and I have seen on the ultrasound machines that our baby does not look like other babies. There are many severe complications that present very difficult challenges to our baby's life. It is so very hard to allow myself to hope for a miracle, when I know for sure that the odds are against us. But this baby has survived for 21 whole weeks! That is a miracle to me! God truly has a bigger plan for the life of this little one! I do not know what God's plan holds for the future, but I do believe that he has it all in his hands.
    
    



Friday, March 14, 2014

God's Great Plan

    
 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
                                                                                                            Isaiah 52:7

     How can you not fall in love with something so incredibly beautiful! As she was looking around the lower half of baby's body it was the very first thing that I noticed. It is the most amazing thing in the world to realize that God is forming little tiny body parts inside the mother's womb. How crazy that it starts off as just a whole bunch of cells, and when it comes out it is formed into a beautiful little person. Looking at the pictures that we have from our ultrasound just makes me realize what a powerful and mighty God we serve. His hands are strong enough to protect us from harm, and gentle enough to create the smallest baby.
     Every day I question why we are not able to be like everyone else. Why did God have to choose us to go through this painful journey. I do not understand why he would choose for our baby to have such a short life. It is so hard for me to accept. I honestly wonder sometimes what I did to deserve this heartbreaking path. I hate that my baby is fighting for it's life each and every day, and yet once it is born will never be able to experience the joys on earth. I hate that we should be shopping for a crib and baby clothes, but instead we are planning for our baby's burial. I hate that I have so much love in my heart that I want to be able to share with this baby forever, and I will not have that chance. I hate that so many people who love this baby will never be able to share in its life. It really isn't fair. I don't understand it.
     Sometimes my heart just cries out for answers. If we have to go through all of this, why can we not understand why? It seems like this whole situation would just be so much easier if we could understand God's plan. If we knew the purpose for all of it. But honestly that is the beauty of life and being human. We are not God.
     When I read that verse from Isaiah this morning I immediately thought of the beautiful ultrasound picture from our doctor's appointment on Wednesday. That incredibly amazing little foot with those five tiny toes. I could just stare at it for hours! My baby will never be able to feel the cool grass on those toes, or experience the waves rushing over those toes. But I do know one thing for sure. I am going to make sure that this little baby is able to bring good news to other people. I want my baby's life to proclaim peace and salvation to all who will hear. God chose to give this baby life. He chose to bring us into the situation for a reason. Although I will never fully understand why, I do know that this little life is a gift. It has been a great gift to us. I pray that it is a gift to others as well. 
   
    
    

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Peace


    

     Today was a very difficult day. Knowing that we had our doctor's appointment this afternoon made me very excited, but also extremely anxious. The last time we had an appointment we were told life changing news. It was news that no parents ever want to hear. Going into our appointment today brought back all of those memories once again. Memories of a day that should have been wonderful and filled with joy. But instead brought us pain and heartbreak.
     Today was a very difficult day. There was so much uncertainty in my mind, so many questions, and so many doubts. I was afraid of what the doctor might say, or what we might see on the ultrasound. I have prayed so hard that God's will might be done. I have prayed so hard that if it was in his plan, our baby might be made whole. I did not know what we were going to see or hear in that examination room. It is so easy to trust in God when things are going well. It is so easy to trust in God when we can see a bright future ahead. But how difficult it is to trust in God when everything is totally and completely out of our control.
     Today was a very difficult day. Walking into the doctor's office brought out so many of my fears. I knew that before I entered the office this afternoon that everything seemed to be okay. My baby was safe inside of me, and I would not let anything happen to it. But I did not know if we would hear a heartbeat for sure, and I did not know exactly what we would see when we took a look into the baby's world. The only thing I knew was that I wanted my baby to be safe with me forever. Entering into the unknown was terrifying.
     Today was an incredible gift. Once the doctor entered our exam room she first sat down and just asked us how we were doing. Her kindness helped me to relax. But honestly it was the moment that we were able to hear that absolutely beautiful heartbeat, which was beating at a strong and normal rate, that I was able to feel a complete and wonderful sense of calm. I immediately felt the peace that I had been praying for all day. All I needed was to know that my baby's heart was still beating strong. It was the most incredible and amazing sound I have ever had the privilege of hearing.
     Today was an incredible gift. The ultrasound was not able to detect if our baby was a boy or a girl. When we looked at the lower part of our baby's body it simply looked like a big dark blob. There was no way of discerning any of the lower body parts. Regardless, Josh and I just watched the screen with the biggest smiles on our faces. We were looking at the beautiful and perfect picture of our precious baby. It was such a wonderful gift for both of us.
     Today was an incredible gift. The feeling of peace that surrounded us in that ultrasound room could have only come from a God who loves us and is holding us in the palm of his hand. Josh and I watched in wonder as we looked at two tiny feet, two moving arms, and a perfectly formed face. Our baby has eyes, a nose, a chin, ears, and possibly even hair (that we obviously couldn't see on the ultrasound!). That moment we fell completely in love with our little baby all over again.
     Today was an incredible gift. Although we did not get the answers that we were hoping for, I realized that this is not about us. This baby has been gifted to us, and he or she ultimately belongs to the Lord. As difficult as it was to see that our baby was not made whole, and that nothing had changed since our last visit, we do know that God is holding our baby in his strong and mighty hands. It is so hard to know that we only have a very short time left with our baby on earth, but we can look forward to an eternity in heaven together. It is through that promise that we can have true peace, despite the pain and sorrow that we are now holding in our hearts.


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
                                                                                                                    John 14:27

    
    

Sunday, March 9, 2014

For Better or Worse


 
     People have said that I am strong. But to be honest, there are so many moments where I feel extremely weak. If it wasn't for the man who has been holding my hand through this whole journey, I do not know where I would be. He has helped me to find the strength inside to get through each and every day. God knew exactly what he was doing when he brought Josh and I together.
     Josh and I had known each other since we were young. We went to the same church, were in the same Sunday School class, and even hung out with some of the same friends. However, it wasn't until our senior year of high school that I even remember really talking to him. We spent a lot of time hanging out with a group of friends from church during that summer, especially during a mission trip to Louisiana. It was crazy when we discovered that we would both be attending Kuyper College that fall. During that freshman year of college Josh became my official stalker. He would be waiting for me after class, or waiting by my car in the parking lot. I was so annoyed with him! I knew he liked me, but I certainly did not like him. I was trying to focus on school, and he made it incredibly difficult. This went on for our entire freshman year.
     Once school was over for the summer Josh knew exactly what he was doing. He found out about a concert that I wanted to go to. Well I just couldn't say no to that, and so I agreed to go with him. We went to the concert and honestly spent the entire time just talking. The rest of our story was a crazy journey.
     Josh proposed to me on August 4, 2008, it was a beautiful evening at the beach. It was the perfect night, and I knew for sure that regardless of what happened in the future, I had truly been blessed with a beautiful gift. God knew exactly what I needed when it came to a husband. Someone who could put up with my stubbornness, my crazy emotions, and who is able to be almost as clean and organized as I am. It was so exciting to think of the future that God had in store for our new life together.
     When Josh and I said our vows to each other on our wedding day, I never could have dreamed how much they would mean now. Those promises we made to each other mean more to us today than we ever could have imagined. As much as I would love for everything to be different, I know that God knows exactly where we are at. God has equipped us with the strength that we need to help each other in our weakness.
     Josh has been there for me at every moment of the day. He wakes up with me at 3:00 in the morning just to hold me while I cry. He answers his phone at 7:58 when I just can't get out of my car to start the day. He tells me how beautiful I look, even though most days I just feel huge. He has gone to each and every doctor appointment with me. He allows me to just talk, even when it doesn't make sense. He has dinner ready when I get home from work late. He knows exactly when I need a hug. He knows how to make me laugh. He knows how to encourage me to just keep going. He knows how to say "no" when he knows its for the best. I could not walk through this journey alone.
     I am so blessed to have such a wonderful husband. Our little baby is so blessed to have such a wonderful dad. I pray with all of my heart that our baby will be able to know just how much he or she is loved by us. I wish things were different. I wish that we would have forever to love this little baby as he or she deserves. I know that we both have so much love to give. But regardless of what happens in the weeks to come, we know without any doubt that this little baby is going to be loved forever. This baby holds a very special place in our hearts. We are so proud to the parents of our sweet and precious baby.
   

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Promise of a Lifetime


Promise of a Lifetime
 
 
I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I'm feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away

Then I remember the pledge you made to me

 I know you're always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I'm clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change

I still remember the pledge you made to me

 I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside

And I am comforted
To know you're always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I'm clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

I know you're always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I'm clinging to the promise of a lifetime
Looking back at me
I know that you can see my heart
is holding to the promise of a lifetime
 
                                                -Kutless
 
     This was the first song that Josh and I heard on the radio after leaving the doctor's office that Tuesday morning. Let me just say that we had managed to hold it together until those lyrics filled our car. Then the tears began to fall.
     The words we heard were so true for exactly what we were feeing inside. In that moment we were in complete shock. We did not know what to say to each other, and honestly I could not even look at him without breaking down. That morning everything had been fine, we woke up and said good morning to our baby, who at that time had held so many of our hopes and dreams. It only took a couple of hours for those hopes and dreams to be erased. How is it possible for your life to change in a matter of moments? But it can and it does. But I believe with all of my heart that God knew exactly what we needed to hear at that moment.
     When we walked into the ultrasound room that morning I know that God did not just leave us at the door. He did not walk away and say "good bye and good luck". God was right there in that room with us. Although my stomach was tied up in knots, and I felt completely helpless, he held me. God held us.
     As we began to drive away from the doctor's office, I had absolutely no words. I would have loved to have driven away with smiles on our faces, and laughter and joy in our words. To be able to walk away with pictures of a strong and healthy little baby was exactly what I had prayed for since the very beginning. But at that moment we knew nothing was going to be the way we had dreamed. Yet for the strangest reason, I felt the deepest feeling of peace surrounding me. I felt like I was being held in the tightest of hugs. Although my mind was racing and my emotions were right on the edge, I felt God's presence in a way I have never felt it before.
    When that song began to play I realized that no matter what we were going through at the moment, and no matter what the future held, God promises that he will always be there. God promises that he will hear our quietest of prayers. God promises that he will never walk away from us, even in the darkest of moments. Throughout that entire day I never once felt that God had walked away from us. Although I felt angry, he never walked away. Although I felt a sadness so incredibly deep within, he never walked away. Although I felt extremely confused, he never walked away. Although I felt completely numb, he never walked away. There truly was a peace that passes all understanding that guarded my heart and my mind that day.
     I cannot say what the future will hold for us, and honestly I am scared to death. But I am clinging on the promises that God gives to each of his children. I truly believe that he will never lead us into a journey of pain and sorrow without picking us up and holding us in his strong and loving arms. Throughout these moments I know that there is no place I would rather stay than in his safe embrace, holding onto the promise of a lifetime.
 
 
" And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
                                                Philippians 4:7
    
    
    
    

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tears



     Where do tears come from? We can cry tears of joy, tears of laughter, tears of pain, and tears of sorrow. They are all a part of life. I can honestly say that I have always been one to cry, just ask my mom! But for the first time in my life, I am crying the tears that only a mother can have for her child. Tears that come from somewhere so deep, I cannot even begin to understand where that place is. My heart aches in way that I cannot explain. Even from day one when I realized that there was a tiny human life growing inside, I began to form a most beautiful connection. I felt the deepest need to protect this little baby from anything and everything that would cause it harm. This desire to protect my baby only grew stronger as the weeks progressed. I knew without a doubt in my mind that I would do everything that I could, for the rest of my life, to take care of my baby. When we received the news from the doctor I was completely speechless. How was I going to protect my child? It wasn't fair, I had done everything I could to be sure my baby would be strong, be healthy, be okay. But now what? There was nothing, absolutely nothing I could to do to help my own baby.
     I want to be able to make everything okay. I want to be able to fix my baby. I want to be able to give it life. But I know that it is out of my control. Therefore, I cry tears of sorrow. I do not like feeling helpless and knowing that no matter what I do or say, it is not going to change the path we are walking. It is so difficult as a mother to not be able to do anything to help my baby.
     But when those moments come, and I feel completely out of control, I am overwhelmed by a peace that I absolutely cannot explain. It comes at the moments when I need it the most. As I sat today in my driveway crying in my car and feeling my heart begin to break again, I suddenly felt calm. All my feelings were not gone, and my tears were not dry, but I felt peace. Going through these moments really makes me realize that even in our darkest moments, God is there. He doesn't put us in the midst of pain and then just leave us to fend for ourselves. He is really there, and he cares so deeply. I truly believe that God holds our tears, and that he even cries with us. He feels our pain. I know for sure that he knew exactly what I needed tonight. We honestly have such an amazing God who loves us so much more than we will ever be able to comprehend.
     As difficult as it is to know that this whole situation is completely out of my hands, I know that we serve a God who is in control. As difficult as it is to know that I will only be able to hold my precious baby for a very short time, I know that Jesus will hold my baby forever in his strong and loving arms. As difficult as it is to wonder why and not get any answers, I know that God has a purpose for me, for Josh, and for our baby. As difficult as it is to know that we will never have special milestones here on earth with our baby, we know that we will see our baby again in heaven someday. But still I cry tears.

" I'll praise you in this storm, and I will lift my hands, for you are who you are, no matter where I am, and every tear I've cried, you hold in your hand, You never left my side, and though my heart is torn, I will praise you in this storm.                                                        - Casting Crowns


"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.                                                          John 16:33


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

    
     Josh and I are very proud to introduce you to our precious little baby! On Tuesday he or she will officially be 20 weeks old. At our ultrasound we were able to see the arms and the head moving around, and starting last week I was able to feel those beautiful little movements on the inside! There is no better feeling in the whole world than feeling the little movements of a baby. Each time I feel our baby move I thank the Lord for giving me each of these precious moments to remember forever.
     A couple weeks ago we learned that our baby has Limb Body Wall Complex. It is extremely rare, and typically a baby with this condition would not live past 9 weeks. This condition is so rare that there is very little information to be found about it. There is however a small support group that I was able to find online that has been such a blessing. On this support group I have met a few moms who have either been through this journey already, and 3 others who are going through it right now. 
      Because of this condition our tiny baby has a very curved spine, and its lower body was not formed correctly. We were however, able to see one fully formed leg and foot. Typically a baby in this condition will be missing limbs or have severely clubbed feet. Due to the deformities on its lower body, the chest cavity is not able to develop fully. Therefore, the baby's lungs are not able to grow and develop. It can continue to live inside the womb, but the lungs will not be able to function on their own. This is ultimately what will lead to death once the baby enters the world. I have read that some babies are born stillborn, while others are able to breathe for a short period of time. It really just depends on how much the lungs are able to develop. The doctor was not able to tell whether our baby is a boy or a girl. But we are hoping to be able to find out at our next appointment. We will keep everyone posted on what we find out! 
     Despite all of the deformities that our baby has, we strongly believe that he or she has been fearfully and wonderfully made. God has formed this baby perfectly according to his plan. We hold on to the promise in Psalms 139:14 "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." As difficult as it is to know that we only have a very short amount of time to spend with this little one, it has honestly made me so grateful for each and every moment. The depth of love that I feel for this baby is absolutely impossible to put into words. Even though I do not understand God's plan, I feel so blessed to be able to be this baby's mom. 

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.    Isaiah 43:2-3

"I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him." 1 Samuel 1:27

    
    

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Life is a journey. It is filled with moments that make us leap for joy, and moments that fill us with tears of sorrow. No matter what happens in this life, we know that there is a God who has written the story for our lives. He is there with us through the happiest moments, and the darkest moments.
     Josh and I have gone through many of those moment. Both the good and the bad. We started dating during the summer of 2007. Exactly one year later he made me the happiest girl in the world by asking me to marry him! We got married almost 4 years ago on June 4, 2010. Since then God has blessed us greatly with a beautiful house, full time jobs, and a love for each other that grows stronger each day.
     On November 8 we were overjoyed to discover that our family was going to grow! We entered into the beautiful journey of pregnancy. It was a fun and exciting time for us as we began to dream of what the future would hold for our new family. However, those moments of joy can quickly be replaced by moments of hurt and confusion. On February 11 we were told that our tiny baby has multiple severe birth defects that will make it incompatible with life. These words changed our life forever.
     I created this blog in the hopes to share our journey with others. We have so many wonderful people who are praying for us as we walk down this path. Hopefully by sharing our story we will be able to keep people updated on the life of our precious baby, and also share a testimony of how God is able to work even through the darkest moments of life.
 
Amalia