Saturday, August 1, 2015

Where we are.

"Seek the presence of God and hang on to Him.  Go where He goes and let Him fight for you.  Invariably when we're most exhausted, we'll find we're expending more energy fighting the enemy than we are seeking God's presence.  More than you seek to win, seek Christ! More than you seek victory, seek the Victor! As you do, you are binding yourself to His presence and trusting God to carry you into victory." ~~Beth Moore

I look at this picture and I almost don't recognize my own children.
Crazy right?
 Man, how they have all changed so much over the last year and a few months.
They are all so crazy amazing! We are so blessed.
It's been quite a long while since I have written in this space. My intentions are always to write, but the timing doesn't always fit with my intentions.  

This past year has been a full one.
 We've had lots of laughs and a few tears.  Some good times and some bad.  There were struggles and there have been victories. All in all, it's been a good one.
I'm happy to be able to have a little time to myself today, so
 I thought I'd help myself catch up on where we are.
So, if you're interested, this is
  where we are...


Amber is now 22 years old. Wow!
She is in Romania. 
 She has been there with CTI (Cross Training International) for almost 5 months now. 
 She is truly living out God's voice over her life. 
He spoke to her a few years ago, after her first trip to Romania, that He would send her back to live there for a time. 
 It is a powerful thing to watch God's words, His very breath over her, being lived out.
I am amazed at her faithfulness to her Father. I am amazed at her bravery to answer His call on her life.
I am in awe of the woman she has become.
And her smile...just radiant. She is stunning.
I am a proud, proud momma.
She is living there with the Romanian Master's Commission team and other CTI team members. She is loving it! She is ministering each day to the lost and the hurting. Truly being the hands and feet of Jesus.  She is also teaching a Sunday school class each week to a group of young Romanian children.  She is teaching them English. Her heart for children is such a beautiful thing that has unfolded over the past few years. She has become an amazing leader to the XMC team there.
I miss her. Terribly. Like, sobbing ugly cry terribly.
Communication is not always easy. She is on a 9 hour time difference and the few hours of the day that we are awake at the same time, doesn't always guarantee that we will get to chat.  Her schedule keeps her busy and mine, well, it has been crazy at times.
  I miss her sweet voice.  I miss the opportunity to just pick up the phone anytime I want and hear it. It's a luxury that I will no longer take for granted. Time is short. Oceans are far and wide.
And this momma misses her girl.
She returns home during the middle of September.
Oh, what a happy day that will be!


Kaitlyn is now 18 years old.
She is in absolute beauty.
She graduated high school this past May.
She wowed the entire auditorium with her graduation speech.
She wowed me with her extreme courage to do it.
She was my first homeschool graduate. She has made the scary choice to homeschool, four years ago, worth every second. She was a phenomenal student.
As I type, Kaitlyn is boarding a plane to return home from Seattle.
She has been working for most of the summer, saving up for her college tuition.  She has been working with the Event Force team for Microsoft Corporation during the past month, which has kept her out of state in Florida and Washington.
This girl is something else. She is smart and brave and funny and simply loves life.
She has a genuine love for people and for serving the Lord. She wants to travel and disciple others. That just makes my heart so full.  It's refreshing to watch her grow into the world changer I knew she would always be.
 I get to be her momma. That's pretty awesome.
She is beginning to take the tiny steps to walk out on that branch and take the awaited leap out of the nest.  Her wings have been practicing their flight over the past few months.
She is ready and excited to move into her dorm/apartment and  start college in the Fall where she will attend XMC.
She will do great.  I see her nurturing all her roommates and cooking meals for them. She is a giver. Always has been.  I also see their apartment full of joy. Wherever she is, you'd better be sure there will be much laughter.
Me? Well, ya know... I'd say it gets easier the more children you let go of, but I'd be lying.
It is a beautiful, yet hard process. Sort of like labor.
The tearing away of their bodies from yours. But, this time, they take your heart with them. I'm working on getting used to the process. It's a good tearing away, but not an easy one.
 Maybe, when Isaac leaves home in 16 years or so, I'll be a pro at it. (Or maybe not.)
I look forward to hugging her neck later tonight when she gets home.
Her face and her laughter have been missed around the house.
They will be missed even more, come September.

Mason is now 12 years old.
Or, as he says it, "practically 13".
 Out of all the kids, he has definitely changed the most.
He will be starting 8th grade in just a few short weeks.
In their group picture above, his face was all babyish and soft and still a little squishy.
Well, he has facial hair,  he's 5'7" and 197 pounds!
He grew into a young man overnight, I think.
His voice is changing, his face is maturing and he's passed his dad up in shoe size!
What the hoohah is happening here?
I was not prepared for this.
  I've watched my girls become young women, and now, I'm watching my sweet baby boy become a man. What a beautiful, yet heart wrenching sight.
He's just a baby!
(Well, he's my baby.)
He just returned yesterday from Tween Camp. He talked and talked and talked for the first 4 hours and then he just passed out, practically mid sentence, on the way home.  Camp tired. That's the best tired.
He told us last night over supper, that he was filled with the Holy Spirit during one of their evening chapel services. He said it was the weirdest and best feeling he's ever experienced.
I did good, y'all... holding back the tears, as he shared his life changing news in his newly deepening pubescent voice.
(I was freaking out on the inside with tears and joy and all that jazz!)
He's growing, so fast.
My heart is trying to stay caught up with all of it.  I'm doing my best to flow with all of the changes going on with everyone.
Mason is a sweet, sweet young man. He's a good helper and a hard worker.
He's looking forward to his sister moving out in September, so that he can finally have the
"big room".
He's also looking forward to the day that he can grow a beard, like his dad.
I'm not ready for that.
Not. at. all.

Isaac is almost 2 years old.
He is a busy toddler who insists that he should live outside...all of the time!
(Even though his momma is allergic to the planet. Thank you, Lord, for anthihistamines!)
He is talking really well and beginning to show his own little personality.
His giggle is possibly the best sound I have ever heard.
 It is extremely contagious. It's simply the best.
He loves shoes, our rooster "Popcorn", playing with his best friend, Ren, praying and saying "Amen" at every meal, and watching Curious George.  He gives the best hugs and recently learned to say, "I wuvv oo."
I. just. melt. like. buttah.
He has come so very far since a year ago, when he had heart surgery.
We've had a few of our 1 year checkups since surgery, and for the most part, he is in great health. He no longer has the symptoms he had before surgery and it has been a blessing watching him enjoy life without being sick.
His sensory issues are up and down.  We have some really good days for the most part, but when we have bad days, they are really rough...with a capital RROOOUUUGH!
God is teaching me much about myself and how to be a mother, during this season with Isaac.
Much, much.
You'd think since my oldest is 22, I'd have this mothering thing in the bag by now. Ummm, not exactly. God is showing me that my kids aren't the only ones that are growing, or that need to grow.
(But, that's for another blog post.)
We are, however, in the middle of new medical tests. He's had some mild, yet persistent symptoms, over the past 6 months or more. An abnormal test result revealed that he could have something serious going on.  We are awaiting results right now.  We have several doctors appointments for this coming week.  We are praying and praying to receive some answers soon, and of course, for a perfect healing in his little body.
Until then, I am taking in each moment and trying not to forget to breathe.
I am reminding myself that God has our best intentions in mind. He always has.
My husband said it best,
"God's in control. He always has been. I don't want to work against what He wants to do in us, so I've just learned to go with it. His control is better than mine has ever been."
So true. Such a wise man.
As for me and this handsome stud, we are approaching our 24th wedding anniversary.
(Geez, we are old!)
We are doing our best to hold onto this fast train that our kids have us on.
They are all such a delight and we've enjoyed every part of this ride with them. We are ready to have them all under the same roof again. That will be a very good day, indeed.
We look forward to the season ahead of us. We do our best to embrace everything as it comes and not take one moment for granted.
At times, we feel so undeserving of the life we get to live.
Who knew a girl from the projects and a Cajun boy from the bayou would end up so crazy and wonderfully blessed!
God has been so very good to us.

"At the end of the day, I have a life that's good."
These days, we are doing our best to stay connected with one another. Life, these past couple of years, has caused us to get into a continuous motion of survival. Situations, beyond our control, have blindsided us and knocked us out of wack a bit. Life will do that sometimes. It doesn't ask permission before it does. Stuff just comes.
In the midst of being tossed about, we have forgotten, at times, why we jumped on this crazy train in the first place.
All because we were deeply and passionately in love.
We just wanted to breathe each other in, all of the time.
We wanted to love and laugh with each other, forever.
"Through sickness and in health. Through good times and bad. Until death do we part."
We are working our way back to that place with one another and enjoying doing so.

I am thankful for God's strength that has kept us afloat. He is quick to grab us when we begin to sink. His hand definitely does uphold us.
Frankie is an extraordinary man and a great partner. He leads our family well.
He makes me laugh until I snort. I love him so very much. He's my boo.
 This journey would not be worth living without him.
So, folks, that is exactly ...where we are.
God continues to show me, that through it all, and wherever we are... He is there.
 He is there in the good, the bad, the easy, the struggle, the laughter, the tears, the failures, the victories and in the midst of all the changes.
It's the sweetest thing, seeing His love ebb and flow through every area of our lives.
Nothing goes unseen by Him and nothing is a surprise to Him.
He is always there, watching over us.
Where we are...He simply is.
Psalms 33:18
"But the Lord watches over all who honor Him and trust His kindness."

Friday, June 5, 2015

I remind myself.

God promised to redeem all things. 
 He never said they'd make sense.
That's why He gives peace that surpasses our understanding. 
While there's a lot I will never understand, I can be anchored by peace even in the tumultuous seas of ambiguity.  God shines brightest in contradictions.  There is wholeness in brokenness.  Sufficiency in weakness.  Strength in surrender.  Honor in humility.  He is right there with me in those painful, dark, confusing contradictions.  Ever calling me to trust and to let go of my need to understand. 
 ~~Alece Ronzino
There are no words to describe how I felt when I first held Isaac in my arms.  I walked into the small post-partum room and there he lay all bundled up and cozy in his bassinet.  As soon as I saw him, I had to fight the urge to run over and snatch him up as quickly as I could. But, I waited. Everyone greeted and chatted about him and my heart stood beating loudly in my chest.  Then, I heard the words I had been waiting to hear for 5 months, "Well go ahead, pick him up, Momma.  Pick up your baby boy."
I did...and my heart oozed out slowly in a moment that seemed to move in slow motion.
I have been chasing my heart ever since, trying to get it out of this boy's hands.
I can still remember each time I held one of my babies. That first meeting, that first smell, that first feel of baby perfect squishiness.  Man, that is the best. Truly heavenly.
But, there is something different about holding a baby given to you by God. Yes, all of my children were given to me, but this, this is not the same.Words can't do it justice. 
There is something about God handing you someone else's baby.
There is something about a young mother handing you her hopes and dreams wrapped in a tiny blanket.
There's a trust there. A genuine soul to soul trust.  A life or death trust.
We've learned so much about trusting over the course of the past 2 years or more.
We had to trust that our ears heard God correctly when He spoke into our lives about adoption.
We had to trust that our hearts were lining up with God's as He told us we were going to adopt Isaac even before talking with his mother.
We had to trust each other that we could take on such a big task and raise this little guy.
We had to trust when family and close friends scrutinized us, doubted, and laughed at the thought of us adopting a baby at our age, much less a black baby.
We had to trust God as we brought him home with us.
We had to trust God as we watched his health dwindle.
We had to trust God as we received negative report after negative report.
We had to trust doctors who we prayed were sent to us by God.
We had to trust that God would save Isaac and keep him in His loving arms throughout such a hard journey.
We had to trust when finances were hard because of all the work that my husband missed with all of the hospital stays and ER visits.
We had to trust that God would be our strength, emotionally and physically.
We had to trust God as our sweet boy was handed to cardiac surgeons to perform a life saving operation on his 9 1/2 month old body.
We had to trust, and trust, and trust.
trust- firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something, assurance, certainty
Let me just say, that just because we are Christians, does not mean that trusting comes easy. 
Trusting means you have to let go of control. You have to let go of your own understanding.
Oooof! That's a doozy.  That takes some doing.
 Knowing comes easy.  Knowing that God is who He says He is comes easy. 
Knowing that His Word binds up all the lies that we hear comes easy. 
Knowing that His truth binds up all the doubt that our minds experience comes easy.
Knowing is the easy part.
Trust...well, that takes work.
There were times that we were broken in the midst of it all. Really, really broken.
Times where I knew God was near, but didn't always feel Him there.
Therefore, I had to trust, knowing that His Word says He never forsakes us, even though I felt forsaken.
I had to work at it, day in and day out.
All of the things mentioned above, are now things of the past. Those things have been conquered. He redeemed every one. Each and every one. God did what He said He would do. God proved to be who He says He is. His Word stood firm in our lives, over and over again.
He proved Himself reliable and faithful and full of strength time after time.
He is trustworthy.
As we find ourselves in another hard season, I have to remind myself of things.
Things that I know to be true.
I remind myself where God has brought us from.  I remind myself that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt who my God is. I remind myself that even though I have Him, it is He who truly has me. He has me in His arms. He holds me up. I remind myself that He is my everything.
I remind myself...
He is a good God. He is an amazing Father.  He is a provider.  He is a healer.
He is exactly who He says He is.
Isaiah 48:12-13
Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and the last.  My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they all stand up together.
We have experienced two of the best years of our lives, since Isaac has come into our hearts.  But, it has also been the hardest two years. It has been tough, y'all.  And as of a few days ago, I hadn't given myself permission to say that with confidence. It's been hard.  And as I mentioned above, it has been hard to trust at times.  I now know that it's okay to admit that.  It's okay to say that things were tough. Because, admitting that it is hard, reminds me how much I need Him.  It reminds me that I can't bare go a day without Him. Maybe, I was afraid to admit that things have been hard because I thought that it meant I failed, that we failed.
(To throw in a little disclaimer: Our faith has not waivered because of it.  Our faith has been tested. There's a difference, folks.)
No mountain, no valley, no gain or loss we know could keep us from Your love.
No sickness, no secret, no chain is strong enough to keep us from Your love.
 How high? How wide?
No matter where I am, healing is in Your hands
~~Christy Nockels
I thought we were done with the hard stuff. 
 Isaac had his cardiac surgery.  He was healed.
 No more ER visits.  No more hospital stays. No more worrying that he would stop breathing or choke to death. We were all sleeping again.  We were hopeful. 
We received the diagnosis of SPD and PTS a few weeks after surgery.  My first reaction was, "We can do this. We have God."  They suggested that we get counseling, that we join a support group for families with special needs kids. They said, "It's a lonely diagnosis. Not everyone can handle it. You're going to need a lot of supportive and accepting people around you."  My reaction, "We can do this.  We have God."
The thing is, just because we have God, doesn't mean everything is easy.
Having God does mean that we are never, ever alone when it is hard.
It means that when the world around us is chaotic, there's a peace that rushes into our lives that doesn't make sense to a person without God.
It means that we have His strength when the going gets tough.
It means that there is a warrior size faith that rises up within us in the midst of a life battle.
It means that God is never finished. It means He will complete the work in us.
Because, in the midst of a battle, in the midst of the hard stuff that we are facing, trusting God doesn't give me peace, knowing God gives me peace.
And knowing Him, knowing how good He is and how faithful He has shown Himself to be, makes me trust Him. 
With knowing comes trust.
I can trust Him.  I can trust Him.
And when I begin to fear when I get overwhelmed with the hard stuff again, and start struggling with trust again...I remind myself that I know who God is, and I start trusting again.
I know who He is.
I know Him.
We are currently looking for a support group for families with special needs kids. 
We are starting counseling in a week or two. 
We are hopeful.
We have God with us. He has us close to Him.

He is for us, not against us.

We hold onto His promises.

We enjoy this sweet boy of ours. We hold him close to us and we giggle as we watch him grow and flourish before our eyes.
And on the hard days, which do come,
I hear His voice ever calling me to trust and to let go of my need to understand. 
On the hard days, I remind myself who He is, and especially, who He has been to me.

I remind myself that His plans for us are good.
I remind myself that He is so very worthy of my trust.
I remind myself that I am His.
I remind myself.
2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I will tarry.


Matthew 26:40
 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men tarry with me for one hour?”
I've recently realized that I have that kid.
You know the one.
The one that all of the public places.
When you first see Isaac, you see his sweet flawless face. This boy is beautiful. Downright gorgeous! All bragging aside...he really is. I know it. Others know it. I even think he knows it.
He is beautiful.
But, underneath that little let me kiss that gorgeous face of his, is a boy that struggles daily.
Isaac was first diagnosed with SPD-Sensory Processing Disorder, when he was 11 months old.  We had just healed up from cardiac surgery when we were hit with this diagnosis.  My first reaction was, "Okay, we can do this. We have handled much worse."  And we have.  My second reaction was sadness for our little guy. "What more does he have to deal with?" I asked God.
No mother wants to see their child struggling.
 It just breaks my momma heart in a thousand pieces. It disappoints me, for him.
Sensory Processing Disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses.
Sensory processing disorder may affect one sense, like hearing, touch, or taste. Or it may affect multiple senses. And people can be over- or under-responsive to the things they have difficulties with.
Many children with sensory processing disorder start out as fussy babies who become anxious as they grow older. These kids often don't handle change well. They may frequently throw tantrums or have meltdowns.
The exact cause of SPD has not yet been identified. There are several speculations, and there are some genetic components that could be related.  There are also environmental causes, such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and or circumstances that can bring the symptoms to light early on.
Isaac began banging his head on the floor when he was just 11 months old. He would get easily frustrated and angry. I thought, "What does a baby have to be so angry about?"  He would also slap himself in the face and ears. To the point of making himself cry, and then that would cause him to cry louder and hit himself even harder.  It was a vicious cycle that was hard for me to watch. 
The therapist explained it to us as a traffic jam that happens in his brain when he is trying to sort through the sensory messages sent to his brain. This causes much frustration and actual physical pain.
Isaac is considered a "seeker".  He is hyposensitive and seeks out physical touch. This is his tactile sensory.  It also effects his eating and how he relates to food and different textures.  Isaac discovers everything around him by touching it, feeling it, or squeezing it in his little hands.  He chews a lot. On just about anything.  He loves to be touched and held and caressed and hugged. He actually can't get enough of it. There are no too tight hugs for Isaac. He craves them.
Isaac also has vestibular sensory issues.   This is the movement sense which runs through the central nervous system.  It is the sense of movement centered in the inner ear. It also triggers the fight or flight instinct.  This has probably been the hardest sense for him to deal with.  Because of all of the medical issues Isaac has dealt with, he doesn't trust very easily. He is unsure if a person is going to snatch him from me at any moment and run some sort of test or stick a needle in his arm. When a person is in a situation where they feel threatened, their senses awaken their fight or flight instinct.  Isaac is continually in this place. 
Isaac also has visual sensory disorder.  This is the reduced ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes.  It effects how visual information is interpreted or processed.  For this reason, Isaac is very aware of his surroundings. He takes in every detail of a room when we walk into it.  If he doesn't see something that looks right or safe to him, he experiences anxiety and he will begin to scream. Very loud. 
Isaac's last sensory area is proprio seption sensory.  This is the ability to sense stimuli within the body or parts of the body, sensations from joints, muscles or connective tissues that lead to body awareness.  This sensory keeps Isaac very active.  His body is constantly on the lookout for things to stimulate this sensory.  For this reason, he moves furniture.  Yes, you read that right.  The back and forth motion of  pushing, pulling and tugging actually relaxes this sensory for him. He is constantly moving chairs and pushing our coffee table or pulling something around.  When we go somewhere, anywhere, he thinks that he needs to move the furniture around.  The funny thing is, he can actually push the furniture. He is crazy strong. 
All of these sensory issues mentioned above, make for a very frustrated guy on most days.  As I mentioned, he screams. He screams when he is frustrated, scared, tired, happy, excited and just about anything else.  He screams.  He just screams.  All of the time.
We were blessed that Isaac had been in speech therapy for his oral dysphagia from just 6 months old, and other therapists had their eye on him.  The therapists in the office knew Isaac well and had a big part in his developmental process his first year of life.  Because of this, they were able to pick up on his SPD quickly.  Some parents do not get a diagnosis until their child is way into the toddler years or even of school age.  I am so thankful that he was diagnosed early.
Along with the SPD, Isaac has traumatic stress syndrome.
Our sweet boy had such a hard first year of life.  He experienced more than I have in my 42 years on this earth, in those first 12 months.  Yes, he is a fighter.  He is strong-willed and he made it through like a champ.  But like every other champion fighter, it's hard to walk away from a long match without a few wounds, a few bruises, a few scars.
The other day my daughter had a doctor's appointment.  All was fine, until we walked to the back where the nurses were.  Isaac, sitting on my hip, clinched the back of my shirt and started to breathe in and out heavily.  I calmly said, "It's okay. You're fine. You're safe with momma."  We weren't even there for him, we were there for his sister.  She sat in the chair to be screened in. The nurse began putting the blood pressure cuff on her arm and he lost it. He began screaming, "No sissy! My sissy! Nooo!"  He was scared for her. Scared that they were going to hurt her.  He screamed, and screamed, and screamed. It sent him spiraling into an anxiety attack that lasted through her entire visit at the doctor. When we are at the doctor for him, it's even worse. His scream is even louder.
I've heard tons of babies cry in my lifetime. My own, my nieces, my nephews, my friends' babies, babies at the hospital, etc. But, I have never ever heard a scream like Isaac's.  His scream reaches octaves that I never knew existed. It is the most intense thing I have ever heard.
This boy screams.

To top it all off with a great big cherry on top...he has separation anxiety. Severely. We are his safe place. We are his people. The people that have been there from day one. We are the calm within his storm and sometimes we are the storm. But, we are his. He knows we will stay with him. I have held this boy screaming through over 40 rounds of blood work and over 20 IV sticks. I have held him down during procedure after procedure after procedure. I have held him close to me as his blood filled vomit drip down my back and against the wall. I have held his tiny limp breathless body in my arms.  I have been there through every ER visit and each hospital stay. I am the face he sees and the face he trusts. We were the faces he woke up to after heart surgery. He can depend on us being there. So when we are not, his world feels as though it's crashing down around him. And for me, although I need a break (Cuz, this momma is extremely tired), I want to be there. I want to stay.

Regardless of my circumstances, I'm going to go after our God, because He's good, and faithful and does what He promises.
~~Craig King

I pray a lot these days. I've always been a prayer, but lately, I pray continually. I think I pray in my sleep.
I pray...for God to heal Isaac. 
To heal every area in his mind, body and soul. 
 I pray that God show me how to take care of this sweet boy of ours. He knows every part of Isaac. He knit him together in his mother's tummy and He knows him inside and out. He stitched together his tiny heart and character and personality and He knows what makes Isaac tick.  
I pray that He give me patience and strength in areas where I need it. 
 I pray that God help me distinguish between what is Isaac's sensory issues and what is Isaac just being a normal 20 month old.
I pray that He show me if a tantrum/screaming meltdown needs my discipline or needs me to take him in my arms and hug him as tight as my arms will allow. 
I pray for forgiveness. Forgiveness for all the times I snarled at or placed judgment on mommas whose little ones screamed in public places or threw tantrums in the middle of the mall.
I pray for those around us to have patience and grace when it comes to Isaac, because I am now the momma who gets those judgmental looks and snarls.
I pray that people understand when we choose not to leave him, because we can't see how others could handle the screaming and the tantrums. Or how Isaac would handle us not being there to walk him through it. I pray that my heart be guarded from the strong opinions of others.

I pray for strength to leave him.
(Yes, crazy, right? I am sure I make God's head spin with my roller coaster requests.)
I pray that we find someone to trust enough to go through the rough with Isaac if it were to occur. Someone to understand him and to tarry with him, besides us.

I pray for a date night for my husband and I. An alone date. Without a toddler in tow.
(It's been over a year, y'all. An entire year!)

I pray for wisdom during this season, knowing full well... that this is just that...a season.
I pray that not a day go by without Isaac knowing how much we dearly love him and how much we are thankful for him. I pray that God drown him in His love and protection.

I pray that I never take for granted that I get to be this boy's momma. I get to be his momma. Me. Little ole' me. Out of all the mommas in the world...God chose me. He trusted me to take care of, and love, and nurture another woman's baby. He chose me. I get to be his. I get his sweet morning kisses and his absolute award winning hugs. Me. I get to be his momma. May I never lose the importance and vastness of that gift. On most days, my Isaac is a beautiful storm, but he is my beautiful storm. Mine. For that, I am thankful.
I pray and I pray and I pray.
And as He always does, in someway or another, God answers me each time with the same words...
"Will you tarry?"
tarry- to remain or stay, to abide, to wait, to linger in expectation.
I firmly believe that when God spoke to us 2 years ago about adopting Isaac, when he was still growing in his mother's womb, that God not only needed us to say yes to being his parents, but He needed us to say yes to tarrying with Him...and Isaac. He needed us to say yes to abiding in Him. No matter what our future with Isaac would hold, God needed us to remain in Him, to stay. He needed us to wait with Isaac, no matter how long it took or what that looked like.  He needed us to stay with Isaac. And in doing all of this, to linger in expectation of what God was going to do in and through his life.
We have tarried through some really rough stuff with Isaac.
When I look back on it, it doesn't look so bad anymore.  Because, we have crossed over. We are on the other side of that season. We tarried.  I remember praying and praying for physical healing to come for Isaac, and it did. It came. He is healed.
Now it's time to tarry through this season.
To pray for healing in this season.
To linger in expectation for things to this season.
Good things.

God promises those good things.
God promises to be with Isaac.
 He promises to abide, to tarry, to stay with Isaac.
 He has a plan for Isaac.
A great and wonderful and world changing plan for Isaac.
 Isaac has done well. He has come very far. He has met physical and mental strides that have astounded physicians.  He has strength that I admire. He has filled my heart with so much joy, and continues to do so. He gives me the best giggles.  He has changed my life in ways that I can not count.  A life without him, just doesn't make sense anymore.
 He is funny and loving and smart and perfectly him.
He is a beautiful, beautiful boy.

That kid, is my kid.
I am his momma...and I will tarry.
For however long it takes.
I will tarry.
Habakkuk 2:3
For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Monday, September 15, 2014

We are the same.

Matthew 11:28
Come to me, ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

I watch her from across the room.
Her curly blonde locks poking out of her dark knit hat.
His little body is still, quiet, sleeping.
She stands close to the cold, white steel bars that close in around her baby.
She gently touches his tiny hand, rubbing it back and forth, being careful not to touch the tubes and wires going in and out of his body.
Her lips do not move, but I see her deep breaths go in and out every few minutes, as she does her best to hold back the tears.
Her smooth flawless skin reveals her youth. She is young, very young.

It's the day of our little guy's cardiac surgery.
His body is motionless, quiet, still, sleeping, paralyzed under medication.
I stand next to the cold, white steel bars that close around my baby.
I gently touch his chubby little hand, rubbing it back and forth, being careful not to touch the tubes and wires going in and out of his body.
My lips do not move. They lay frozen and I am almost shell shocked at what I see.
I take deep breaths every few minutes, doing my best not to break down into tears.
My heavy eyes that hold new age lines reveal my age. I am older, much older.

We are different, yet we are the same.

Two mothers.
Two babies.
Two stories.
The same kind of pain.

The room is full of them...
mothers, babies, stories and pain.

It is the following day and I sit next to him. I rub his little arm and I whisper close to his little ear, telling him that I am near, oh so near. I whisper how my life has been enriched by his love. I tell him how I need him to fight through this, to be strong and to get better.  I tell him that I don't know what I would ever do without him. And even though he was unexpected, he was purposefully placed within my arms, and that I don't recognize my life without him in it. I pray with everything in me, for his healing and for his life and to be all that he needs me to be right now.

I let the tears fall as I hear the swishing noise of the ventilator as it breathes for him.

I think of her often, his birth mom.
As I sit next to his hospital bed, she floods my mind.

I wonder, what those few quiet moments were like for her.
As she held him close to her in that hospital bed.
I see her as she rubs his little arm and whispers close to his little ear, telling him that for a small moment, she is near. She whispers how her life will forever be changed by his. She tells him that she needs him to fight through this, to be strong and to be the best that he can be. She tells him that she doesn't know what she will do without him. And even though he was unexpected, he was purposefully placed within her tummy, but she can't give him what he needs right now. With everything in her, she prays over his life.

She lets the tears fall as she holds him close, memorizing his tiny face before she tells him goodbye.

Our pain is different, yet we are the same.
We are mothers.
He is our baby.
It is the same story.

I see this girl several times during the week that we stay in the CICU waiting for our boy to get stronger. Her curly blonde locks sticking out of her dark knit hat. She is alone each time.

There is shift change and I go across the hall to get some change out of my purse to get some much needed coffee.

There she sits. Alone.

I go to walk passed her and then I pause. I turn back and introduce myself and sit next to her.
I open the conversation by asking how her little one is doing. Her voice responds gently and meekly.
She explains that her baby is only 3 weeks old and has been here, within that steel crib since the day after he was born. He was awaiting his second heart surgery and would go on to have a third in a few months. My heart cracks for her as she speaks. She goes on to tell me that she is there alone that she is only 18 years old, and how she drove herself and followed the ambulance, that held her very sick baby,  just one day after giving birth to her son. Just one day after.

We talk and giggle like close friends for a short while, because in those few moments, we are the same. We are no different.

We continue to share our babies' heart stories and in those few moments, He enters in.

I ask her if I can pray with her. She responds with just a nodded yes. In her eyes I see the sigh of relief that someone has come, someone has come close enough to her to feel her heart and the pain and worry within.

I grab her hand and we close our eyes.

We pray for just a few moments and as I finish speaking and look up, I see the tears flowing down her face.

She thanks me for praying with her and for speaking to her. She confesses to me that I am the first person she has spoken to in 3 weeks, besides nurses, surgeons and specialists. 

She goes on to tell me that she couldn't talk to anyone because of the fear of what they would tell her. Their stories of their babies may be too much for her to hear, when her sweet tiny boy lay in the bed next to theirs. My heart cracks a little more with every word she speaks.

I hear Him whisper,
  "Tell her she is not alone in her pain. Tell her I am here. Tell her I see her. Tell her I see everything. Tell her she belongs to Me. Tell her your story of loneliness. Tell her what I am for you, I am also for her."

I respond to God in hesitation, "Oh, Lord, how is my story like hers? How will it help her?"

With a lump in my throat and a fast beating heart, I tell her what God whispers to her. I tell her His words of love and my story of loneliness growing up in a house with a half litter of children. And yet, still, I always felt alone. I tell her how He swept me up out of that loneliness and held me close to Him. I tell her that He has always been my Rescuer and how He has saved me time and time again.  I tell her that loneliness does not exist when God is near. I tell her redemption is near. I tell her He is near.

Her tears flow like a waterfall and she thanks me for stopping and talking to her. She tells me that she doesn't feel so alone anymore.  She tells me that she feels Him close now. She tells me, with the taste of tears on her lips and a smile in her eyes, "I know He is here with me and me and my baby are going to make it, because I know we aren't alone."

I walk out of the room to get my purse and that change for that much needed coffee, and I am overwhelmed by what God has just done. And I think to myself, "We're not so different after all."

We are His daughters.
Our stories are different.
His love for us is the same.

How many times do we separate ourselves from others because, frankly, they just don't know what we are going through? They can't possibly feel what we feel. We tell ourselves that our differences are just too much and our similarities simply not enough.

Maybe, just maybe, it's actually our differences that make us the same.

Doesn't He tell us that even though we are all uniquely designed, that we are all the same?
That His love for each of us is no different.
That there is nothing that we can do to make Him love us anymore or any less.
Doesn't His Spirit usher us all in and make us run to the same exact the cross, to Jesus?

Romans 2:11
For there is no partiality with God.

We are all different and we all have different paths to take, different struggles to walk through, different triumphs to be held, different places and faces to see, but we are all here for the same thing...
His glory.

His and His alone.

Ephesians 2:10
For we are ALL His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 

(emphasis mine)

When we are tired and weary, it is the same God who comforts you and who comforts me.
When we are broken and experiencing life's painful blow, it is the same God who mends us and makes us whole.
When we are chained and bound by sin's clawing grip, it is the same God who defeats the enemy and sets us free.
When we are lost and alone, it is the same God who rescues and saves us.

He is God and we are ALL His. We are the same.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that ALL who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
(emphasis mine)

The world is full of them, people, their stories and their pain.
Someone within your reach needs you today.
Someone needs to know that you have come with your story of redemption.
They need to know that what He has done for you, He can do for them.
They need to know that even though their run may look different, and their strides not the same as yours, that we all run the same race.
They need to know that even though the waves crashed against you, and at times pulled you under leaving you breathless, you did not drown.
They need to know that you survived and that they can too.
They need to know that He is not just your hope and their hope, but He is the Hope.
They need to know that they can run to Him, just as you did, and be saved. Be rescued.
They need to know that they are seen by Him and loved by Him.
They need to know that they are not alone.
They need to know that we are all the same.
That each of our stories are but His story.
That we are ALL His.

Lord, let us not be held back by our differences. Let us help each other by embracing one another with the same love that You give to us. The love that shows no boundaries. The love that does not recognize differences, but sees us all the same. The love that sees us all as Yours.

Yours and yours alone.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Proverbs 17:22 "A joyful heart is good medicine"


Hope your visit was a pleasant one. Be blessed and come back soon!