A Baby in the House

For the next four days we are keeping two little boys while their parents are out of town. The oldest is two and a half, just a few months younger than Asher, and the youngest is one and a half, just a few months older than Lucy would be. So we have a one year old, two year old, three year old and five year old- all boys, too! We kept them a couple weeks ago as well and it is surprisingly refreshing for me when they are over here. It feels so right to have a baby in the house, to feel him in my arms. Of course they are a lot of work, all four of them, but it is the most rewarding work ever. I love being on my feet all day, meeting their needs. I love to see the boys’ bedrooms covered in toys.

 

photo-68

I’m even enjoying the tedious things like changing diapers and cooking for them and washing their clothes. It is so sweet to look at our table at meal times and see every chair filled up, just how I imagined my table would be one day. (These boys are also extra fun because they like to eat the weird stuff our family eats, like kale chips, raw vegetables and zucchini spaghetti.)

Having these boys over has reminded me of how Lucy has changed me as a mother. I used to stress out about small things, like being loud in a doctor’s office, big messes, crying fits that seem to last for hours. I have learned that experiencing those things is a blessing. Things that used to be inconveniences to me are now privileges. Sometimes I will catch myself feeling frustrated when we are late and the boys are taking FOREVER to get in their carseats, and then I think, “I will never get to put Lucy in her carseat or look in my rearview mirror and see her chubby face, or get her bulky, awkward to carry carseat out of the car.” Some people never get to experience parenthood and would love to have a baby to wake them up in the middle of the night and to steal all of their time. I know how blessed I am to have two to parent here on earth, and I know that I will be a better parent to my next baby because of my losses. We can’t wait for the day that we get to have our baby in our house every day, making messes, waking us up in the middle of the night, going through ten diapers a day, pulling all the books off the bookshelf and destroying the Christmas tree. But for now, I will enjoy these four little guys and appreciate all of their giant messes and meltdowns and especially the little footy pajamas that I get to put on them every night.

photo-69

 

Advertisements

My Problem with God

I haven’t written much lately on the blog because sometimes I feel like I write the same stuff over and over again, probably because God is patiently teaching me the same things over and over again. It’s taking a long time for me to learn it, apparently. Be patient in suffering, trust God, believe that He loves me. So at the risk of sounding redundant, I am writing this post about my problem with God and what He is teaching me (again.)

Ok, this is my problem- God tells me to ask Him for things that I want and need. I ask God for seemingly good things and He tells me no. He is good and perfect and He loves me more than I love my own kids, but He lets me suffer. I have a problem with that, and I have been working through it ever since He let Lucy die. I also can’t stand to watch other people suffer, and there sure is a whole lot of suffering in the world. The past few weeks I have been reading two really good books that are helping me change my perspective and see the truth. The books are “When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayer” by Jerry Sittser and “Shattered Dreams- God’s Unexpected Pathway to Joy” by Larry Crabb.

photo-67

I have always loved looking back in my journal and reading my prayers to God and seeing how lovingly He has answered them. But it is hard to look back and read my prayers and see how He has not answered them. Here is an excerpt from my journal from June 22, 2013, four months after Lucy died and just a week or two before her due date:

Oh Lord, thank you for who you are and for the wonderful blessings you give me. Thank you for keeping me afloat lately, even as Lucy’s due date approaches. You say to make my requests known to you. Oh Lord, I cry out to you with the deepest longing in my heart. Please bless my next pregnancy. Please let my baby live. Please protect my heart from another wound like this one. Oh Lord, please give me a positive pregnancy test this month on Lucy’s due date. What a beautiful gift that would be. I ask you these things knowing that you know what’s best for me. Prepare me for whatever comes. Let my relationship with you grow stronger and stronger. I love you. I trust you.

I read this last night and I cried because it’s sad to see how He answered that prayer. He did give me a positive pregnancy test on Lucy’s due date, and then He took the baby soon after. Sometimes when I start to pray I find myself suddenly doubting and I think, “Why should I ask you? You’re going to do what you want anyway.” Sometimes I FEEL like God is just a big bully. I’m sure there are things that you have asked God for, GOOD things, and He has told you, “NO,” as well. It doesn’t make it easy to trust Him when the suffering continues for a long time, or it is so devastatingly painful. Resentment and anger can start to build up towards God. Usually, when this happens, I don’t want to pray and I don’t want to tell God how I really feel so I decide to avoid Him. I want to remain “respectful” so I remain distant instead. Sometimes I am angry at Him, I doubt Him, I am afraid of Him, I don’t understand Him, I blame Him, and I almost never tell Him because I don’t want to “hurt His feelings” or “be disrespectful.” But I am learning that this just leads to a less intimate relationship with Him, a fake relationship, a cold relationship. That is not what God wants. He knows what I am thinking anyway! He wants me to tell Him how I feel and to share my laments with Him, even if they are against Him. That is what makes Him so amazing. I love this quote by Jerry Sittser:

We don’t need to be in a “good place” to pray. Where we are is the right place, no matter how bad the place might be. Any prayer, as it turns out, is better than no prayer at all…God allows us to pour out our hearts to Him and get rid of the poison, regardless of how much there is, so that it can be diluted in the ocean of His love.

God is teaching me that a true relationship requires honesty. I have found the most relief from my pain and the most peace in my soul when I have let it all out and REALLY told God how I feel. When I hurl my painful questions at Him and tell Him who I think He is and ask Him how He can sit by and watch the tragedy unfold and do nothing…then I feel Him gently bend down and slowly lift the burden from me. It doesn’t happen when I force myself to say the “right” things to Him, like a robot. After the burning questions and insults are gone, there is space for His truth to seep in and calm me.

Do you feel like God let you down? Do you question His goodness, His faithfulness, His justness? Tell Him honestly how you feel, why you’re mad at Him and what you’re afraid of. I love the picture of His endless ocean of love diluting our poison so that it can’t harm us (or other people) anymore. When you tell God what is really in your heart and you see how He still loves you, unconditionally, it creates true intimacy. And it’s even more amazing when you feed yourself with His truth after that and you realize that He delights in you and He is faithful, regardless of how you feel. No matter how much I doubt, He is still who He is. I AM who I AM. He doesn’t change with our emotions. He is good, perfect and just, even when we can’t comprehend it. And we can always trust that when He doesn’t answer our prayers it’s because He has something better in mind.

Right before Jesus was arrested and crucified He and His disciples went to the Mount of Olives to pray. Jesus was distraught and probably very scared. He prayed and asked God:

Luke 22:42-44  “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

What if God had answered Jesus’ prayer the way Jesus wanted? The world would have perished. God had something better, even though it was extremely painful and terrifying for Jesus. I love how God sent an angel from heaven to strengthen Jesus in His despair (I’ve never noticed that part of the story before.) And even though Jesus knew this was the best plan and there was an angel there to strengthen Him, He was in agony still. Just because God leaves you in pain it doesn’t mean He has forgotten about you or doesn’t love you. So many times since Lucy died I have been in agony, sometimes crumpled on the floor crying for my baby and I shout at God, “Where are you? How can you leave me in all this pain?” But He has been right there strengthening me to get through it, even though He leaves me in agony. And His plan will be better than my pain free plan that I try to coerce Him into accepting.

So I am learning to tell God how I really feel and go to Him for comfort. He IS listening.

Psalm 55: 16,17  But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and He hears my voice.

Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.

I am learning that even though it doesn’t seem like it, He loves me, He is acting on my behalf, and He has a beautiful plan for my life. No amount of pain can separate me from His love.

Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Lamentations 3:22-24  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in Him.”

 

 

Our Adoption Family Profile

Our family profile is now up on the Bethany Christian Services website. Here is the link:

http://waitingfamilies.bethany.org/home/alabama/josh-and-bethany

We would love for you to share this link with anyone you want and especially if you know of a couple who is considering making an adoption plan for their child. You could be the link that connects us to our precious baby!

If you would like more information about our family you can contact our agency at (251) 621-5440 or email them at bcspensacola@bethany.org  Thank you again to all of you who have supported us and prayed for us so far. You guys encourage us more than you know. My heart races when I think about our baby out there somewhere possibly right now, growing into the little person who is going to rock our world. I CAN’T WAIT.

Adoption Update

So, I just wanted to give you all a quick update on our adoption. It has been almost five months since we started the process and we are now home study approved! We also recently finished our family profile book and received a copy in the mail for us to keep. We love it so much. This is the book that our agency will show to the birth parents when they come in to possibly make an adoption plan. The birth parents will look through several different families’ profile books and choose the couple that they feel a connection with. Here are a few pictures of our profile book:

photo-63

photo-64

 

photo-65

photo-66

Our agency will put up our online family profile soon, and I’ll share that here on my blog when they do. Now, there’s not much more for us to do but wait to be picked and pray for patience. Thank you to all of you for your support and prayers so far. We will keep you updated!

Who I’m thinking about on Mother’s Day

Most of my life I have thought about my own wonderful mom and my two amazing grandmothers on Mother’s Day. As I got older I dreamed of the day I could celebrate it as a mother myself, and after I got married I always thought about how much I appreciated my beautiful mother-in-law on Mother’s Day. Then last year, my world was turned upside down and motherhood was forever tainted with the deepest pain and loss of my life. Last year on Mother’s Day I ached for my baby girl and for all the women who were mothers living on earth without their babies (and I still ache just as much now.) I also thought about all the women who wanted so badly to be mothers and were never given that gift. I’m still thinking about all of those women this Mother’s Day, of course, including my mother, mother-in-law and grandmothers, but there is one woman who has captured my heart especially this year:

OUR BABY’S BIRTH MOTHER

Even though I haven’t met her yet, my heart beats for this woman today and I have been praying for her so much lately. I wonder if she is even pregnant yet with the baby that will change her world and will complete ours? This woman is my hero. She embodies the very essence of motherhood — a willingness to sacrifice in order to give her baby the best life. Isn’t that what motherhood is about? Giving yourself and everything you have, being willing to lay down your life for this little human.

Can you imagine carrying your child inside you, feeling her sweet kicks, knowing that your baby will call someone else “Mommy” one day? This woman is strong, brave, courageous, determined to give her baby LIFE. She has to live with ridiculous stereotypes and seething questions asking her why she “gave up her baby.” She did not give up her baby. She did NOT give up on her baby. She believes in her baby and she believes God has a plan for her baby. She sees ahead and makes the hardest decision of her life with the wisdom of a mother who loves her baby unconditionally.

This birth mom has so many hard decisions ahead of her. Will you pray for her today? Here are the things I would love for you all to pray for our birth mom:

  • That she feels God’s love for her and her baby, and feels His protection over them both.
  • For a safe pregnancy and birth, and courage to face the fears that come with childbirth.
  • That she knows without any question that we are the right family to raise her child, and that she feels secure in her decision.
  • For her heart to be protected through all of this, and for God to heal her and fill her with hope and peace.

And we have been praying this verse over her specifically. Would you do the same?

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.