Monthly Archives: May 2017

Baby Update No. 3: It’s the Final Countdown!

36 weeks of my pregnancy went off without a hitch. I’ve told many people that this has by far been my easiest pregnancy. If you know my story, you know that’s miraculous! Because of past difficulties in pregnancy, I was urged not to have any more children, and we had planned to follow that advice. But God had other plans. So for 36 weeks I’ve been amazed at his kindness and generosity towards me, in giving me a third child that I desperately wanted, and in giving it to me with such ease.

On Friday everything changed. I discovered some concerning red blotchy patches on my legs. There was no explanation for the blotches, such as skin irritation or injury. And because of my history, I have a heightened awareness for things like blood clots. My anxiety was only intensified by the realization that I had stopped my aspirin regimen about 10 days prior to the appearance of the blotches. There had been just enough time for the blood thinning aspirin to leave my system before these blotches appeared.

I called my doctor and was sent for an ultrasound of my leg at the hospital to check for clots. The scan was clear — praise God! But I was still terrified! I hadn’t been seen by a doctor at the hospital, nor had my doctor seen me. I was relying only on the word of a kind ultrasound tech that I was going to be just fine.

The timing of this instances did not escape me. I was headed to a women’s conference at my church Friday night and Saturday. And I could keenly perceive that the enemy wanted to steal my weekend intended for refreshment. As I battled my anxieties on Friday, the verse that came to my mind was John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Ironically, this ended up being one of the keynote speaker’s main points — abundant life. I knew that the enemy of my soul was trying to rob me through these fears. But man was I terrified!

As I sat under the magnificent teaching of Priscilla Shirer, I listened to her teach about a God who is more than ABLE to do way beyond what we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21). And the whole time I’m thinking about my blood clotting in my legs. And I’m thinking, “sure, God is able, but I’ve lived long enough to know that doesn’t always mean he’s going to. What do you have to say about that Priscilla?” And wouldn’t you know, she answered my unspoken question. She said she received a question which was essentially what I was asking in my head, “I struggle with serving a God who CAN, but WON’T.” I know there are times when God simply chooses not to do what it is that we want him to do. And I should have known because there was fear rising up in that question that it was sent to my mind by the enemy of my soul. Maybe I did even know that. But I listened for Priscilla’s answer. “It’s really about trust,” she said. “Do you trust God, or don’t you?” Well, I guess that does get to the heart of it. Did I trust that even if God said no and any of my worst fears came true, did I trust that he was good, and that he was enough? It has taken me more time than I’d like to admit to answer these questions. I battled with these questions all weekend. But as his Spirit ministered to my soul, I found again, as I have before, that he is completely trustworthy. Whatever his answers may be to the end of this pregnancy, I trust in his goodness.

That is a little easier to say after seeing my doctor this morning! But I promise the choice to trust came before my doctor’s appointment. It came with each breath, with each time I closed my eyes to sleep, with each moment I looked at my sweet children and loved them, with each time I glimpsed and loved my husband. My life is so blessed and so precious. It feels like a lot to trust God with!

But back to the doctor’s appointment — My blood pressure remains the lowest it’s ever been during any pregnancy of mine (and really low even for a non-pregnant person). My weight gain continues to remain very low. And my blotches, whatever they are, appear to be surface level. While they “look strange,” according to the doctor, they didn’t “feel concerning.” I’m very thankful for a good report! I will continue to be cautious and to watch my leg, but there is no reason for worry right now.

Through this ordeal this whole weekend, God has continually spoken to me the words of Philippians 1:6: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” We definitely consider this pregnancy something that God began in me as it was not of our own planning. Before I even was surprised with this pregnancy, God spoke to me through another Old Testament Bible story about my dream of having more children, which I thought at the time was not to be. After hearing from him in that story, the surprise was less of a surprise to me, but that’s another story for after the baby is born…. when he completes this good work that he began!

Thanks to all who have prayed with me and for me and encouraged me through this pregnancy, and especially the last few days. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful friends standing with me!

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Sophie’s Story: Apraxia Awareness Day on Mother’s Day

This morning we gathered our clan and headed out to church early. It was our week to volunteer, which means arriving early for the volunteer meeting. When Andrew and I serve on the same week, we bring out kids into the meeting with us, since neither of us can watch them outside of the meeting. As you would imagine, they create distractions, they whisper too loudly, basically unaware of “sitting quietly while the pastor speaks.” But we do our best to contain them through this brief meeting.

At the end of the volunteer meeting, we always circle up for prayer. We bring our children with us into the circle because they are an extension of our service, and to keep tabs on them. Sophie especially has a hard time being still and quiet for prayer. As we circled up, I shushed her, but our pastor’s wife, aware of Sophie’s journey, commented, “It’s just so good to hear her chattering.” And so I shared with her that today is Apraxia Awareness day, on top of being Mother’s Day, so it is an especially meaningful day for our family.

Two years ago, when Sophie was three, she was still completely unable to speak or even imitate sounds. Just after her third birthday, we took her to a private speech facility for evaluation, and she was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), a speech disability where the brain fails to coordinate the muscles of the mouth properly for speech. We were told at the time of her diagnosis, and as early as her second birthday actually, that she would require years of speech therapy if she ever were to speak. IF. That was such a devastating thing to hear spoken over our child. At that time we had no idea what Sophie’s journey to speech would look like. But we held on to God’s promises and his truth that nothing is too difficult for him, that he does all things well, and that he is indeed a good Father, no matter what Sophie’s future might hold.

Now five years old, Sophie is our little chatterbox. It is an inexpressible blessing to hear her chatter. She is a living testament to God’s goodness. Just as she showed each of those volunteers today how much she loves to chatter, she showed them how good God has been in her life. Apraxia is a difficult diagnosis, but it is not bigger than God.

So today I am especially thankful for the reminder of God’s goodness to our family, to me as a mother, and to Sophie, throughout her whole journey. Last year on Mother’s Day, Sophie painstakingly told me, “happy mother’s day” for the first time, and I cried tears of joy. A year later, I am greeted each day with her incessant chattering. It is a gift to be her mother (and Micah’s too).

Today, I am standing in faith with other mamas who have yet to hear precious words from their children who suffer from CAS. May they feel peace as they wait and may they never give up as they battle apraxia with their little ones.

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Sophie’s Favorite Word

My dear sweet Sophie has finally mastered the W sound, after a year of working on it in therapy. A YEAR! It seems like such a simple thing to do, to form the lips into a round shape and then open them — “Wwwaaaa” — but it has been anything but simple. It’s really been rather painstaking!

Painstaking too has been her newfound love of the W sound in the form of the word “why.” I’ve always heard about this “why” stage that kids get into. “Mommy, why is your shirt green?” “Why do we have to go to school today?” “Why is granny not coming over today?” Everything. All. The. Time. WHY?

Here’s a conversation we had just the other day that mirrors what my life is like right now (literally, all day, every day).

Sophie: “Mommy, what are we having for dinner?”

Me: “Spaghetti.”

Sophie: “Why are we having spaghetti?”

Me: “I don’t know, because I wanted it and daddy asked for spaghetti this week.”

Sophie: “But why did he ask for spaghetti?”

Me: “I don’t know, because he wanted to eat it.”

Sophie: “But why did he want to eat it?”

Me: “I don’t know because he just did.”

Sophie: “But why did he?”

And so it goes. With every. single. conversation. None of my answers can ever satisfy her whys.

So it’s gotten me thinking about all the times I’ve asked God why…. I wonder if I annoyed him. I wonder if, to him, my questions seemed pointless, unanswerable. I wonder if he got tired of hearing “why?” I wonder if I was the small child who was never satisfied with the answers he tried to offer me, though he owes me no answers. Never satisfied …

It’s actually not a question that I frequently ask of him anymore. I asked it A LOT in the early days with Sophie. A LOT. But as I’ve walked through her journey in particular, I find that I trust him more than to ask why most times. But lately my family’s journey has tempted me to whisper the word why?

I’m watching my father and mother who have faithfully served God for their whole adult lives (they are 80 and 70, respectively), go through a devastating season of mental illness for my father. And I hate every minute of it. It feels unfair in so many ways. And it feels so pointless. That’s when the quiet why? rises up. What good can possibly come of this? It just feels like suffering and stress and sadness. What good can come from something so horrible?

I don’t have an answer. But I do have faith.

I do know that every single time God takes someone into the wilderness in the Bible he has a purpose. Hagar. Jacob. Moses. The Israelites. David. Elijah. Jesus himself.

And I know that God shows up in the wilderness.

And when he brings us out of the wilderness, which he never fails to do, we are never the same again. So I’m holding on, hiding myself in the cleft of the rock, listening for the quiet whisper of God’s voice, here in the wilderness.

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