Thursday, March 15, 2012


Redemption.  It is a word we often hear, but frequently I think of it as abstract, a concept, a 'good idea.'  I have prayed for redemption.  I have thanked God for the redemption I received through His Son's death.  But to really, in the moment one day, say 'Wow, this is redemption!'  That has never happened for me.  Until now.

Let me paint you a picture.  March 1, 2011.  A Tuesday.  A week earlier we received the wonderful news that I was pregnant.  If you have ever anticipated a baby, you know how quickly the wheels of your mind start turning.  I was already thinking about names, planning a nursery, deciding who would watch my son while I went to the hospital to deliver.  What would we need, what would we re-use from Jameson's babyhood days?  Thoughts of this new baby, this precious addition to our family, filled my every waking (and many sleeping) thoughts! 

But two days earlier, on Sunday, I had started experiencing cramping.  And bleeding.  Things you never want to consider when you are expecting.  I researched online, and found that bleeding in pregnancy is very common.  I prayed with family and friends.  I beseeched God to protect this little life, this brand new person He was forming in His image.  I felt a measure of hope.  This happens a lot, people get scared, and it all turns out ok.  So, that Tuesday morning, a sweet friend brought her son over to play, so that I wouldn't be alone when the doctor's office called.  I thank God that she did.

I can picture exactly where I was sitting (on the loveseat in my living room) when the phone rang.  I can picture the boys, playing side by side on the floor.  I remember the nurse saying she didn't have good news.  I slid to the floor, literally unable to keep myself in the seat.  I zoned out what she was saying; I couldn't tell you the words.  I started to sob convulsively as tears streamed down my face.  I couldn't ask her my questions, or hear her advice.  My friend wrapped her arms around me and offered me all the support she could as all of my hopes and dreams spilled to the floor with my tears.  The boys looked up at me, confused, and I had no words to offer them.  It was as if time just stood still.

I could tell you a lot about the following days, the months that followed, but that is another story.  Recently, we again found out I was pregnant.  We called the doctor's office, I went to the lab for the required bloodwork, everything came back great.  My doctor scheduled me to come in for, in his words, a very early ultrasound.  He cautioned me it would probably be too soon to see anything, but after 2 miscarriages and a D&C we were going to be proactive about everything.

I felt a lot of peace about this pregnancy. I had asked God, repeatedly, not to let me get pregnant again until I could feel excitement about it.  As much as I wanted another baby, I didn't want past hurts and disappointments to cloud such a special time.  And I felt that prayer being answered in big and little ways already.  I prayed and prayed that we would see a heartbeat that day.  I gave my husband the crossed fingers sign as the ultrasound tech got ready to start.

No heartbeat. No problem, she reassured me.  It is very early.  But everything looks good, nothing that shouldn't be there, and we recommend that you come back one week from today so we can look again.  I wasn't worried.  Sure, it would have been nice, but I will felt good about everything.  So, we walked out, the receptionist put us on the calendar for a week out, and that was that.

One week later...
We came to the office yet again.  The tech got ready to do her thing and POOF!  There it was, the little peanut that is our baby.  We could see the yolk sac, we could see the baby, we could see the tiny flicker that was the heartbeat, assuring us that this baby is developing well and doing great!  We got pictures of our little peanut to take home and gaze upon.

And the date on those ultrasound photos is March 1, 2012.

Coincidence?  Some might say so.  I say: God.  We didn't choose the date to come in.  In fact, I didn't even realize the significance of that date until about a day or two before.  For one long year I had thought March 1 was the worst day of my life.  Doesn't God have a sweet way of redeeming?

Don't get me wrong.  This baby will not take the place of my sweet Delaney, whom I never got to meet.  Nor will this child replace Taylor, who went to heaven before coming to my arms.  This child is all his or her own, newly being created in God's image, knit together cell by cell by His loving hand.  I love all my babies, and I love God's timing, His promise, and His sweet redemption.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

God Goes On Vacation

Last week I went on vacation. My mom, my sister, my two-year-old, and I took airplane rides and ended up in Colorado, visiting some family, skiing, and enjoying a change of scenery. On the outside, it could easily have looked like God took a vacation. Let's look at it from that point of view for a moment. (Pardon me for ignoring the fact that I was on vacation, definitely a blessing.)

We had been looking forward to this trip for months, but as it was time to leave Jameson was just getting over croup and I was down with some sort of nasty flu bug. The kind that keeps you up all night, has your throat screaming every time you swallow, causes you to sound like you are hacking up a lung every five minutes. There are not enough tissues in the world, your nose is red, dry, and cracked, your head aches, your entire body aches. I could go on, but everyone has been there and gets the general idea. Then, throw in a two hour time difference, that has the two-year-old up at 5:30 every morning so that by the time the ski lifts open you are ready for a nap, then he is ready for bed at 6 pm so dinner is an apple in your room while he sleeps. Childcare so expensive that it cuts into your ski time because you just can't justify the cost. Tired, sick, run down, frustrated...easy to get mad at God, right? Why did this have to happen now? On such a gorgeous day, why am I sitting here while my child sleeps instead of hitting the slopes? Why can't I just get one decent night's sleep? When will the coughing stop?

One afternoon in the middle of our trip (the particularly gorgeous, sunny day, while everyone was skiing except me because I was in the room with the napping child) it hit me. I could continue to look for the negative and question God as to why, or I could embrace the positive. I was in the mountains! The sun was shining! I was enjoying a chance to lay on the couch because there wasn't a house to clean or laundry to fold. I had a beautiful child asleep in the next room, tired out by the wonderful opportunity to ski.

As I stopped the negative and embraced the positive, God showed up even more. My mom called, telling me she was tired and coming in, so I should get dressed to hit the slopes. Really? Just when I had been sad to be missing the best weather forecast of the trip, God provided. She rested, Jameson slept, and I skiied! By the way, the weather the next day (the day Jameson was scheduled to be in childcare so we could all ski) was The Best. Despite what the forecasters told us, God gave us beautiful sun and clear skies.

And what about the pesky illness, the one that confined me to easy slopes that didn't tax my waning lung capacity? For the majority of the trip it worked out well, causing me to ski the same 'easy' slopes that my pregnant sister needed to be on. By halfway through the last day (that gorgeous sunny day?), the pregnant sister went in to rest, I felt the best I had yet, so I hit some black diamonds. Black diamonds, from the top of the mountain, that I hadn't done in years, all by myself, not falling. Thanks God. What a sweet gift to end the trip.

But it didn't stop there. A two-year-old with no nap who was an absolute angel on the plane. God's handiwork? I think so.

It was easy to feel sorry for myself in the tough moments, to question God and wonder where He was in the midst of things not going my way. But once I let go of my way, once I looked for Him, recognized Him, thanked Him, I realized all the big and little ways He had been there all along.

He went on vacation with me, and that made all the difference.