Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Greatest Of These...

As a parent, I struggle with wanting my child to be first. The first to walk, the first to talk, the first to read. It is an element of pride that I am sure I will battle constantly in the years to come. Apparently, this desire for first place has even carried into my womb. I am struggling today because I have realized that "Hope" is not first.

I Corinthians 13:13 - And now these three remain, faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I have been studying the word Hope for a few weeks now - reading and contemplating each verse in the bible that includes the word hope. When I arrived at the I Corinthians verse earlier in the week, my pride swelled like a mother at a toddler beauty pageant. Imagine the cute little girls, all walking out onto the stage. The pageant host announces, "And now these three remain, Faith, Hope, and Love." My heart beems - my daughter is among the top three. And then he continues "But the greatest of these is love."

It may sound ridiculous, but for a moment when studying that evening, I was a bit jealous. Why does Love get first place - doesn't Paul, the author of the letter to the Corinthians, realize how absolutely amazing Hope is?

Hope is an amazing thing. Romans 5 explains that hope is the final result of struggle, endurance, and proven character. Hope is powerful, it encourages and sustains us. But after the struggle and refining, after the proving of our characters and the growth of hope in our hearts, what then? Then the command is to Love. Only one who has everlasting hope, hope that does not disappoint, hope that does not leave us ashamed, can truly love in the manner as love is described in the rest of I Corinthians 13.

I am thankful for Hope. I need Hope - hope that this world is not all we have, hope that the One who came is coming again, hope that the trials of this life will result in great joy and treasure in heaven. Hope fills my heart and sustains me like food. But Love is what we give to the world. Hope gives me the strength to Love. Love that is patient, kind, not proud, seeks the good of others, and always trusts - that true Love can only pour forth from a heart full of Hope.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why Hope? Part 2

Several years ago, I purchased two ceramic crosses for my daughters' room. Kaiden's said Joy, and Jordan's said Peace. I loved to sit in their room at night, rubbing backs and looking at the words, remembering how God had given those words to us.

Also that year, a friend bought me another ceramic from the same store, a heart that said Hope. From the moment I received the gift, it seemed like a piece to a puzzle. It wasn't a cross like the others, and as a far as we were concerned, we were done having children. So I set the heart ceramic on my dresser, not even sure where to hang it in my home.

While pregnant with Lia, I returned to the boutique, looking for a cross that said Grace. But they no longer carried the ceramics, and no one knew the name of the company. Disappointed, I returned home and looked at the heart ceramic, still resting on my dresser. I wondered if I had misunderstood, perhaps Lia's word was Hope and not Grace.

Last winter, following Lia's passing, I spent some time redecorating the room where her and Jordan were to have slept. I hung Lia's quilt and mementos alongside Kaiden and Jordan's. I also finally hung the Hope heart. The thought of hope for the future, whether or not that included more children, brought great peace to my grieving heart.

In November, I stood in the room once again, contemplating how to organize a guest bed and crib into the small space. I glanced at the wall and suddenly saw the two year puzzle completed. Months ago, long before our new little one came into being, I had hung the Hope heart on the wall right beside 3 framed pieces - one for each of my daughters Kaiden, Jordan and Lia. There was "Hope", right beside her sisters. Even before we knew of her, clearly God did and made a special place for her among her sisters.


In grand Tyler Tradition, we proudly announce the T4 Quiz! Kudos to my Aunt Rise who has won all the previous quizzes!

A Prize Package of some of the foods I crave most will be awarded to the person with the most correct answers and to the person with the most creative answers.

Please leave a comment with your answers - or email me your answers at

Entries must be received by March 1st (or before she arrives!)

Good Luck!

1. When (day/time) will T4 be born? (Because of Mark's pending deployment, we cannot go beyond March 16th)

2. How quickly will T4 arrive? (Kaiden was 5 hours, Jordan was 2.5 hours, Lia was 1.5 hours...)

3. Will T4 be a boy or girl? (Duh, but ultrasounds can be wrong!)

4. Will T4 have a full head of hair - if so, what color?

5. Will T4 have blue eyes...... not all babies have blue eyes you know!

6. How much will T4 weigh; and how long will she be?

7. How many Diet Cokes will Mark consume during labor?

8. What will T4's name be?

9. What will Kaiden's response be when meeting T4?

10. What will Jordan's response be?

11. Will Anissa really go natural again with no pain meds?

12. What wacky weather phenomenon will occur in correlation to T4's birth? (Kaiden - hurricane Ivan, Jordan - 90 degree Easter Sunday, Lia- Texas snowstorm)

13. What is the first meal Anissa will have after delivery?

Thanks for having fun along with us! You just gotta find a way to smile when you can no longer tie your own shoes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Biblical Wisdom for Pregnancy!

I have found a verse that encapsulates my method for surviving the final weeks of pregnancy!

Keep your feet from being unshod And your throat from thirst; Jeremiah 2:25

In other words - wear good shoes all the time and always carry your water bottle!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Everyone asks me, so when are you due? March 22nd? Well that is the official due date. But when you are a high risk pregnancy, due dates do not have quite the same meaning. Because of my previous stillbirth, most doctors would agree that the baby should be delivered as soon as she is within the window of full term (37 weeks). While there are risks associated with an early induction, many feel it is worthwhile to prevent a potential repeat of a stillbirth.

March 3rd is the first suggested date for induction. This is three weeks early. Three weeks my little girl could have inside of me continuing to grow big and strong, or three weeks for something to potentially go wrong again. Given the circumstances of Lia's stillbirth, I am told there is no increased risk for a repeat stillbirth, yet I am encouraged to take on the risks of an early induction for the well being of my baby. To many this is an easy decision, for me it is has been a daily battle.

I feel obligated to give this little girl the freedom to live and arrive in her time and in her way. It doesn't feel right to me to force her into the world a few weeks early because of a fear of something that most likely will not occur. I am being monitored twice a week, and should a problem arise, I would not hesitate to have her delivered immediately. But for now she is healthy and strong. Oh how I wish she could have the same time in my womb that her big sisters had to continue to grow.

In this pregnancy I am living with greater caution, I am reducing the risk factors, we are monitoring her growth and vitality regularly. But these are burdens we take upon ourselves to ensure this little ones well being. It feels unfair to pass this burden on to a little infant having her come into the world before her time.

I am looking forward to holding her, but not on my due date, not on a date when I feel I have had enough waiting, when I have had enough of constantly subconsciously monitoring her every movement. I want to hold her on her due date - the day she is ready to enter this world.

Throughout this little girl's life, I will constantly be challenged to make decisions based on wisdom and not on fear. But on what day does that begin? On what day do I begin to choose to hold this little one with an open hand of faith rather than a tight fist of fear?

Perhaps that day is on March 3rd. Perhaps that is the day, when with an open hand of faith, I place the well being of my little baby in the hands of doctors who feel she is strong enough to be outside the womb. But perhaps the faith needed on March 3rd is the faith to say not yet. I want to make this decision based on wisdom, not on fear.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why I Shouldn't Be Baking

My apologies to every person I have not called this week, every appointment I have forgotten, and everything left undone. I am clearly in the final weeks of pregnancy, and my baking fiasco today proves it.

I am hardly a homemade kind of mom! But having a daughter with allergies has forced me to become highly efficient with homemade dairy-free egg-free chocolate cupcakes. And with Valentine parties all week, we needed a batch of cupcakes.

The recipe is simple - dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another, combine, mix and bake. The flour was already in the mixing bowl and I measured out the cocoa to add to the flour in the bowl. Measuring cup in hand I dumped the cocoa into the flour - the flour canister that is.

One pound of flour now topped with a third cup of cocoa. And a giggly Jordan beside me very entertained that Mommy made a mistake. Scooping again, and doubling checking the destination, I dumped the cocoa into the mixing bowl. Jordan gave me a big smile, proud that Mommy put it in the right place this time.

So should you see me attempting to put diesel gas in my minivan, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, or attempting to talk on my daughter's Lightening McQueen play cell phone, just look the other way and be thankful I only have a few weeks left!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Why Hope? Part 1

I shared in a previous post how I have special words for each of my children. With each child, the process of discovering their word has been unique. For my second daughter, Jordan, whose word is Peace, it all began with a song. For days on end in the final months of my pregnancy, I would wake up in the morning with only the first line of an old hymn in my mind: When peace like a river attendeth my way...

This is the first line of "It Is Well With My Soul." Now, being slightly cynical, I began to wonder if I was about to attend a funeral since that hymn is often sung at funerals and seems to be sung in church just before something awful happens. But while my head spun worries, my heart was at peace each morning when I would wake singing the first line.

From that song and several other confirmations, we came to understand T2's word as Peace, and even chose the name Jordan because it reminded me of the song - when Peace like a River attendeth my way.

For T4, her word also has it's roots in the beginning of a hymn. After Lia died last November, I found myself often searching for hope. There were many doors of potential hope - the hope of holding Lia again someday in heaven, the hope of being a perfect mom to my other daughters and somehow compensate for Lia's absence, the hope of having another child and placing all my dreams for Lia upon her tiny shoulders. Each time such thoughts came into my mind, this one line of song instantly came to mind as well as if to combat my thoughts: My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness.

We sang that hymn in church this morning. As I sang each line of the song, specifically the first two verses, I saw unfold before me the great confirmation of T4's word:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

It is so great a temptation for my hope to be placed in holding my new little one. I am sure she will have the sweetest frame but no child can bear the weight of their parents sorrow. No little one should be called upon to replace the hope lost in death. And in the dark night when my anxiety can get the better of me, once again my hope cannot be in holding this little one. For as much as I desire her to be healthy and well, that has not been guaranteed to us. The only thing that is mine to hold to is the grace of God - a grace that has proven time and again to sustain me and provide refuge in the storm.

My daughter's word is Hope - but not because she is my hope. Her word is Hope to remind us all of the Hope we have in our Lord - a very present help in time of need (Psalm 46).

At the end of the service today, after thinking about the word Hope and how God often helps me to understand His plans and His purposes through song, He gave me a little surprise. We closed the service singing It Is Well With My Soul.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Everything for My Good?

Having finally "conquered" the anxiety of "Hope's" motionless nights, I thought I was on the easy path of this pregnancy and finally on the road to a good night of sleep.

But now a new aliment plagues me - Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Thankfully, mine is just pregnancy induced and should end after delivery, but for now, nights are filled with a burning sensation in my legs and waking about every 30 minutes to change sleep positions or walk around. I have learned a few tricks this week for coping and relaxing, but the condition has not subsided completely.

After the first severe night of RLS, I had a hard talk with God (you know, one of those Job style conversations where you come out realizing you are not as big and entitled as you thought you were). The summary of the conversation was this verse: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Do I really believe that EVERYTHING works for good - even burning legs that keep me up till 4am? I started to think deeper about how this could possibly be for my good. The simple answer was this - during the deep of the night, without the distraction of kids, husband, radio, or internet, my ears work a lot better! In the deep of the night, the things hiding under the surface of my heart are revealed and I am able to actually deal with them. Some nights I have dealt with hidden fears, some nights I have dealt with hidden wrong attitudes and sin.

So I have a new name now for the burning legs of RLS - Refiners's Fire. The burning and discomfort of the night is revealing the true issues of my heart, and refining it. Isn't it sweet that God can make the most of frustrating sleepless nights. I am thankful that nothing is outside of His hand!

Oh, and I would still like to be free of the RLS, but for now, we'll keep working on the burning issues of my heart before worrying about my burning legs.