Showing posts with label Hope. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hope. Show all posts

Sunday, July 4, 2010


Hope sits still and serene at the edge of a melodious river, dangling one bare foot into the warm, blue water. Her lovely blonde ringlets reflect the light of the afternoon sun and form a shimmering halo around her young head. Though she can’t help but raise her eyes every so often to the far-off hills, He has told her to wait patiently and so she will. “I’ve got a surprise for you,” He’d promised. If she has learned anything from past experience, she’s learned that time is relative no matter where one is. Even in this youthful body, she knows that the time it takes to endure is well worth the rewards that fortitude brings.

Since patience seems to be coming much more easily than normal this day, she begins to take inventory of her new appearance. Strangely, she can not see her reflection in the water in front of her. From the moment she arrived here in this glorious place, she’s wondered about herself. There isn’t much she can learn about what’s inside; about her dreams, wishes and longings. She’s treasured all of these, along with many thoughts and questions, since the day she was conceived. It’s her outside that is so new and clean and unfamiliar.

With a little shake of her head, she can see that her hair is golden and beautiful. She reaches for a curl and lets the silky strand slide around her fingers and over the back of her hand. As she moves to examine the hand more closely, she spies a simple white butterfly hovering near her knee. She watches with innocent interest for just a moment before it flutters over to a nearby snapdragon and gracefully lands beside it in the grass.

Lifting the small, delicate hand up to eye-level seems so simple now and she marvels at the lightness of it; both in skin tone and in weight. Turning this hand right-side up, she examines the lines upon her tiny palm. Amazing, she thinks, and so real.

Her eyes follow the motion as she slowly places the hand back in her lap. Fixing her gaze on the arm for just a moment, she changes her mind about resting it and, using her newly-nimbled fingers, explores the length of the opposite arm. Leisurely, she runs her fingers up and back down. Tickles, she says to herself, as even now the new word tickles her tongue.

A slippery smoothness is caressing the bottom of her one wet foot. Her brown eyes settle on a long and shiny creature gliding through the water. Father loves fish, she thinks to herself. But just as quick as it caught her attention, the creature is gone and her mind becomes occupied elsewhere.

“She’s here,” the butterfly whispers up to the snapdragon. The flower shivers with a sudden air of excitement and replies, “So soon? I didn’t realize we’d get to see her so perfectly formed so early!” The butterfly sighs. “Yes, she’s a beauty, isn’t she? She’s just the image of perfection!” She flurries up to give the snapdragon a butterfly kiss and then takes off back into the sky in search of a honeysuckle treat.

The snapdragon proudly pulls herself up to her full height--six inches at last measurement. As she stretches her lush leaves against the warm sun’s rays, a tiny yawn escapes from her delicate, pink lips. Lifting her head to peer over the sleeping marigolds, she stands upon the tips of her toes (which are firmly rooted in the ground, of course) and sees, just over the nearest hillside, exactly what she is looking for.

“Come children, come quickly”, the Man says as he ascends the last mound of lush, emerald hilltop. He takes care not to hurry the young family, most of them less than five years old. The Man turns to face this great group of children, His very presence commanding their complete attention. He smiles warmly and lovingly, sits down on a nearby rock and takes a young Asian boy on his lap. “Children”, he says, “I want you to remember back to the first time you realized you were in Hope’s place. Be patient, be kind. Be gentle and show her love. Come. Let’s go down to the river.”

The friendly party makes their way across the honey-scented meadow. “Look”, cries the Man, “there by the water!” He stops the children and they all stand still, amazed at the way the sunlight bounces off her flaxen hair. “She looks like my Angel”, says a little Irish red-headed girl, “only my Angel is a lot bigger than that!”

“Come”, says the Man, “Let’s take some time to offer our welcome wishes to this newest reflection of me. There’s a new child in Heaven today.”

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Life We Don't Yet Know

I was flipping through an old journal tonight and came across an entry dated March 14, 2000 with this quote from Jeff Lucas: "The life we give Jesus is the life we don't yet know."

At the time of that entry, I had been following Christ for about a year and a half---about the same amount of time that I'd been married. Our first child was only 3 months old. My husband and I were both 20 years old.

I don't remember, of course, what went through my mind at the time that I wrote that down---but I'm sure I had no idea really what it even meant.

I was still another three and a half years away from the day when I would cry out to God and ask him to forgive me for my on and off loyalty to him, my husband and my family---the day that really turned my life around for the better. I was still another seven years away from the most horrible day of my life yet---when I screamed into a bath towel at the top of my lungs for half an hour as I delivered my miscarried child at 8 weeks along. I was still ten years away from the day that I would plead with God, with complete peace and belief in his goodness, for the life of the child I was delivering in an emergency procedure---the child who turns one month old tomorrow and is sleeping peacefully and healthily at the other end of the house now.

So many times we are afraid to give God our lives because they are filled with so many things that we don't want to give up. When God was asking me to give my life to him back in the fall of 1998, I was reluctant for several reasons. I knew that by completely laying down my will, I'd no longer be "allowed" certain pleasures: the seemingly innocent flirtations and attentions of men who weren't my husband. The ability to "settle" any dispute with a string of profanities---a slap across the face---maybe even a shove to the ground for whomever I was arguing with.
I'd have to be responsible to an earthly authority, my husband, and a heavenly authority, God. I'd have to give up my music, my movies, my mind games and my manipulations. I'd have to be honest. I'd have to be vulnerable.

On one hand, I wish that I could have taken my 19-year-old self on a time travel tour of what life would be like just a decade later...although I have a feeling that the former "me" would not be able to recognize the "present" me---so it would be a wasted trip! What peace and comfort and calm that would have brought to the younger "me".

On the other hand, if I'd had known then what I know now, I wonder how much of it I would have screwed up trying to make sure it happened? And...I wouldn't now have the joy and wouldn't feel such overwhelming thankfulness in looking back to see what a beautiful thing God has made of my life.

God is so faithful. He can be trusted---he loves us! I thought I knew what life I was giving God when I gave him my life 11 and a half years ago. I thought I was giving him the life of a lying, disobedient, unfaithful, hate-filled, and very hurt girl who had grown up way too fast and thought she knew it all.

In reality, God destroyed all that in the transfer. What I was really giving him was a clean, white canvas on which to paint the masterpiece that is, and will be, my life. I was giving him at least 11 years, 10 months, and 20 days of the beautiful marriage of two best friends. I was giving him Lynzie, Michael and Elisha. I was giving him the opportunity to step in and consecrate my life and roles as mother and wife. I was giving him Cainan and Selah. I was giving him the open door to change my heart and draw me close through the loss of Baby Hope. I was giving him Avalon and the chance to show us all his miraculous healing power in Liam.

God, what else have I given you? What are you going to do with the next hours, days or even years of my life? I'm still giving you my life---and I'm still trusting you to make it so much better than I could ever have dreamed to ask you for. Thank you for proving yourself faithful over and over.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gratituesday: Our Miracle Baby

It's Gratituesday over at Heavenly Homemakers and boy, have I got something to be thankful about today!

Everyone loves to hear a story of the miraculous and it's especially meaningful when it involves a child. Many friends, family and readers have been curious about the circumstances surrounding the birth of our newest son, Liam Bradley. I've alluded to him being a "little miracle" but haven't yet taken the time to tell his story---I think Gratituesday is a great opportunity to share it! (This story is intense but has a happy ending--still, please feel free to skip it if you feel it might be difficult for you to read).

Liam is our seventh child and was our first home birth. With all my other children, I was medically induced at a hospital with Pitocin---which brought on very painful and strong contractions. I was used to a panicky labor and an excruciatingly painful birth. From the time I went into labor with Liam at 12:30 am to the time he was ready to be born at shortly before 5:00 am, my contractions were mild and the experience was calm---I even got rests of up to 3 or 4 minutes between contractions!! Unbelievable!

It was because of this calm labor that I didn't realize I was ready to deliver him at shortly before 5:00...so I got up to use the restroom. At that time, his cord became prolapsed and my midwife called 911. The next eight minutes or so were frantic! My midwife began instructing me on positions to get into and when to push as she desperately tried to maneuver him into the correct position to be born, while also trying to keep the cord from being pinched. The entire time, I was calling out to God, "please Lord, save my baby!" There were five EMTs in my house within just a couple minutes and they were all trying to decide the best course of action. The EMTs wanted to transport me to the hospital for an emergency c-section but my midwife, knowing that Liam wouldn't make it that long, insisted that I stay put and try to deliver him. (The fact that he was my seventh...and that I'd just had a baby last year worked in my favor here!)

Finally, she got him in the right position and seconds later, he was born! He had a steady heartbeat but was not breathing or moving. I couldn't bring myself to look at him as they performed all of the actions to get him to breathe so I just lightly touched his head and continued to pray. Soon, I heard the sweetest little sigh so I opened my eyes and all I could see was this little pink nose. As the EMTs took him out to the ambulance, my husband whispered to me, "you're going to need to be brave because I'm going with him."

I can't really explain exactly how I felt but I don't think it was the normal reaction! I just felt really peaceful. I told my midwife that I thought we'd done everything possible to save him and that it was in God's hands. I really did feel peaceful and knew that whether Liam survived or not, God had brought him into the world for some reason.

About a half hour later, my midwife took me up to the hospital to see him. He was being given oxygen and was hooked up to several monitors. Everyone reassured me that he was going to make it---which actually made me feel a little wary. Were they all saying this just to keep me calm or was it true? My midwife soon assured me that he really was going to make it.

Long story short, Liam was in an oxygen tent for 12 hours (the doctor said initially that it would be 2 or 3 days). He was taken totally off of oxygen after the 12 hour mark but required it during eating for the next couple of days. He developed jaundice on the second day and was put in a bili light bed for 5 days. On the sixth day he left the bili light bed but was still on monitors for 24 hours. On the seventh day, he got to come to my room (the hospital graciously gave me a room so I could stay there with him)! The morning of the eighth day, we finally came home!

Liam is a healthy and strong little guy who will turn two weeks old on Wednesday (May 26). According to the hospital staff, a prolapsed cord is a very rare thing. In fact, one nurse who'd been there for 20 years said he was only the third baby she'd ever seen who had survived a prolapsed cord and the first to be delivered without a c-section.

I have to say that I really believe my midwife saved his life. She kept a level head and knew exactly what to do to allow both of us a safe and speedy delivery. Several people have asked me if this experience has turned me off from the home birth/midwife experience---thinking that I might have felt safer in a conventional hospital with a conventional doctor. My answer is absolutely not! Even the hospital staff said that Liam would have not made it to the hospital had we been transported and probably would not have made it through an emergency c-section if I would have been laboring at the hospital in the first place. In this instance, it was because of our choice to do the home birth that Liam and I both came out of the experience alive and well!

Today I am grateful for God's protective hand on our little boy and for my midwife, Michelle, and her assistant, Melissa, two well-deserving heroes!

Visit Heavenly Homemakers for more Gratituesday!
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