Thursday, June 7, 2012

Standing Guard...

"The mind is a dangerous tool if not guarded diligently.  If left on its own, even the greatest of celebrations can turn to fear, discouragement and a loss of hope."
                                                                                         --Holly McRae

When I read the above quote today, I wished deep inside, I had read it five weeks ago.  For the last five weeks, I have waded between hope and encouragement as I receive reports that our baby is growing and healthy, and deep discouragement over the fact that ultrasounds show the hemorrhage is still present (we've had three so far since the diagnosis, with another in two weeks).

I can truly celebrate that we have reached 17 weeks, and I am feeling stronger baby movements every day.  But, if I don't guard my mind, my celebrations turn to despair as I allow my mind to focus on the presence of the hemorrhage and fear begins to rob me of the joy that comes with carrying this little one.

Could God choose to not allow this little one to join our family here on earth?  Absolutely.  We never know how long we have with any of our loved ones.  Of course my prayer is that the hemorrhage will go away, the pregnancy continues to full-term, and we are allowed to raise this sweet baby.

In my previous pregnancies, my milestone markers were each trimester.  I would give God thanks when I crossed that imaginary dividing line that got me one step closer to delivery and holding our precious babies.  This time, I thank God at the end of each day for one more day to carry this baby.  One more day to feel sweet little kicks.  One more day of no bleeding.  More so than ever, I have so much respect and reverence for God's role as the Creator of the universe and the Sustainer of life.

Psalm 139:13-16 Is such a favorite verse when it comes to fully capturing God's role as the Creator of life:

For you created my inmost being; 
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you 
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

It is comforting knowing that our baby is well-known by our Heavenly Father.  To Him, our baby is not simply a fetus.  He sees our precious one, and oversees each little detail as it is formed.  Our baby is not hidden from Him and He has already ordained our baby's days.

I know He is going before our baby and weaving together his/her story.  That is something to rejoice over!  I am really striving to not let any fear or discouragement rob me of celebrating what God is accomplishing.  I am choosing to rejoice and celebrate each milestone day-by-day, and minute-by-minute.

What about you?  Is God teaching you about an area in your life that you need to view from a perspective of joy rather than fear or discouragement?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

His and Hers Adventures...

Part of the India handsome fella is on the far right...

Last Wednesday the kiddos and I drove Brent to the Des Moines airport where we said good-bye as he boarded a plane for a trip...a trip to INDIA...for 16 days.  He is part of a 12 member team who are spending their days hiking the Himalayan mountains and praying along the way.  They are stopping in various mountain villages to serve the people and live among them for a bit before moving up the mountain to the next village.  This trip will be a challenge both physically and spiritually.  

In the minds of many people, praying through villages doesn't seem like much of a mission trip. True, they are not building houses or community centers.  They are not delivering humanitarian aid.  The concern of the team and the many teams who have done this trek before them is the spiritual darkness in these villages, where currently it is not safe to share the gospel.  They are building relationships with the Indian people and praying without ceasing that the doors will be swung wide open in India so the truth will penetrate the darkness and despair.  Sure, the team could build houses (and don't get me wrong, I certainly see a place for a ministry such as this), but they are far more concerned for the lost souls in India.  They long to see the people of India under the shelter of the wings of the Almighty.

families saying good-bye to the team...

This is an adventure for both of us as Brent's never been out of the country, and we've never been apart for more than a few days at a time.  For me it's an adventure in parenting skills, patience, and a challenge to keep the home front running smoothly.  The kiddos are doing really well in Brent's absence.  Eva still believes her dad is gallivanting around on an airplane, and Ethan said his dad moved to India.  Thankfully neither circumstance is true.  They miss him the most at night during our bedtime routine, as Bible story time has always been his gig, but they don't seem to mind my stories of Elisha too much even if I'm, "doing it wrong," most of the time.  I've had to break-up a couple of fights, but overall they are doing great and we're having a lot of fun together.

As for me, I'm a relatively self-sufficient person who likes to keep my daily routine, so I'm not afraid to do things on my own for a while.  The other night, we had one of our lamps quit working (truth be told the kids knocked it over during a heated brawl and I couldn't get it to work again).  My first thought was to just buy another lamp, but then my cheap side kicked in and I figured there must be a way to repair the inner workings.  Home Depot came to the rescue, and after a few minutes in the lighting department, I came out with the parts I needed and fixed the lamp.  Brent is totally our household jack-of-all-trades, but he may be out of a job as far as electrical work goes.  Just kidding.  I have a 'honey-do' list a mile long waiting for him when he gets back *evil laugh*.
Even though I know this time apart has been good for both of us in various ways, I am SO READY for him to come home (we still have eight days left).  I just miss our daily interactions, our little inside jokes, and our evening dates on the couch hanging out after the kiddos are in bed.  And, quite frankly, he's handsome as all get out, so I miss his face!  *Sigh*  I love him.

I know he is going to come back a completely changed person, so my prayer is that God will "catch me up" spiritually so that we can be united in the new passions and desires God stirs in Brent's heart.
Overall this is simply an exciting time and I can't wait to hear the stories, see what God is doing and how He is moving in India and the hearts of the team.

Please pray for Brent and the 11 other members of the team.  Pray for their health and safety during the trek and for God's light to shine in a darkened world!

**P.S.  A few friends have asked how my pregnancy is going so far.  The update is that the hemorrhage is still present, but that the baby continues to grow and remains healthy.  I am nearly 17 weeks now, and am feeling a bit stronger movements, so that is very encouraging.  I will try to write an update very soon.  Thank you for praying for us and baby Jackson!!!  It means more than you know!