Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eggs and a Side of Encouragement!

For breakfast this morning, I had eggs, bacon, oatmeal, and a little surprise of encouragement! Our hospital (Hendrick) places a Daily Bible Verse card on each person's morning tray. I have been wanting to have a verse for Emma, and I think the verse I received today is a perfect match!

Be strong and courageous.
Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged,
For the Lord your God will be with you
wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

How appropriate that a little girl whose name means "God with us" has a verse reminding us that God will be with us wherever we go.

The wherever was the challenging part for me yesterday. Emma had a stressful last few minutes of delivery. The cord was around her neck, her heart rate dropped, and she took a lot of fluid into her lungs - so instead of bonding with us in the quiet peace of our room, she spent the first hours of life hooked to monitors and oxygen tubes.

I know God is with us, but my heart began to wonder if He is with us when I am in one place and my new baby being cared for in another? I knew there would come a day when God would ask me to let go of this little one and trust Him, I just didn't know it would occur in the first hours of her life!

But God was faithful - He provided Emma strength for her lungs to heal, and us courage while she was apart from us. God truly is with us, no matter how little we are, and no matter where we go.
(Big sisters Kaiden and Jordan meet Emma for the first time. She was still in the Intermediate Care Nursery hooked to monitors and an oxygen tube)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Meet Little Miss Emma!

Emma Noelle~

The Stats: Born Tuesday March 11 at 10:33 am. 8lbs, 11oz, 19+inches long.

The Name:
One of my favorite Christmas hymns is O Come Emmanuel. Years ago, before babies were a part of our life, I was reading the words of the hymn one Sunday morning. As I looked at the title, I saw a girl’s name within it – Emma Noelle. I thought it would be a great name for a Christmas baby!

Emmanuel means “God with us." Throughout the trials of these past years, a hurricane, moving, deployments, and the loss of a baby, one constant has given us hope ~ the truth that God is with us. His presence through each storm has given us hope and light in the midst of darkness.

Emma Noelle was to be the name for a Christmas baby, celebrating the coming of Emmanuel: the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we understand that “God with us”, Emmanuel, is so much more than a silent night, a baby in a manger, and a sky of angels. “God with us” is our constant peace and joy in time of trial and the hope of all to come.

This season of life has confirmed our hope in the Lord Emmanuel ~ the One who came, the One who is with us, and the One who will come again.
It is with great joy that we welcome our daughter, Emma Noelle ~ a great blessing to our lives and a reminder that God is with us.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Last Baby?

In the middle of a very rough pregnancy day last week, Mark asked me if I was glad that this was my last pregnancy. (Not that it has been officially decided, after all, we thought we were "done" 3 years ago!)

My answer surprised him. If this is my final pregnancy, I am sad. I feel in a way that I am taking myself out of the battle, away from the war zone. That I am turning in my papers and refusing to re-enlist.

None of my pregnancies have been easy, but that has actually been a great blessing. Without the hardships and trials of childbirth, would I be the person I am today? Would I know the Lord the way I do? Would I have forged a faith that is convinced it can withstand anything? Would I have the value system I have today?

I would never ask to walk through the fires of fear, pain, and grief - but I would never exchange what I have gained for an easier road. Somehow, being done with pregnancy, never going through this again feels like the easier road. Should we be done, I have to trust that God will still provide plenty of trials on the new road for me to walk through alongside Him. But for right now the potential turn in the path saddens me.

I fear the easy road, the wide and smooth path. I fear the person I would become in such a life - lazy, complacent, selfish. I want the battle for there is when I am forced to be my best and to call upon the Lord daily for the strength I do not have. I would rather struggle through every day here and rest well in heaven someday than to have the easy path and find I have earned nothing but dust.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Induction Update

We are not inducing on March 3rd.

Over the weekend, I thought for sure we would be ready. But the little one moved back up into my ribs and though she seems big and strong, the induction might be riskier if she is not fully dropped. We have scheduled for an induction on March 13th (the next available date thanks to spring break). I would like to last until the 13th, and those who know me well know just how stubborn I can be! (Not even a hurricane can send me into labor!)

Even though there are a lot of aches, I like these last weeks - making the most of quiet evenings with my family and getting to sleep in and nap knowing that no one in the house really needs me. Life will change soon enough, no reason to rush into the next season. I think I will just sit back, sip some ice tea and enjoy the beautiful sunsets while I still can.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Final Words of Hope

Today I really didn't want to be in church. Pews are just not the most comfortable thing when your belly no longer fits between your knees and your ribs. But I am glad that I went, for today's message was like a perfect bookend on this season of life.

The Sunday after Lia was stillborn, back in December of 2007, our pastor began teaching from Matthew. In our church, a book like Matthew can take years to complete - and in the past 14 months we have traveled through only the first 7 chapters. Verse by verse we have moved along, through the Christmas story, the early life of Jesus, John the Baptist, the Temptation, the Beatitudes, the Lord's Prayer, and the Sermon on the Mount. Today's message was from Jesus' final words in the Sermon on the Mount:

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

I look at my house and the storms it has been through in the past years. With our first child, we endured three moves and a hurricane, with our second an unexpected deployment just weeks after her arrival, with our third a storm unlike any I thought I would ever survive. And yet our home stands, our children our strong, our marriage resilient, and our hope secure.

Matthew begins with the birth of a baby, a little baby that saved the world. Our church began the study in Matthew as I said goodbye to a baby who changed my life. And today, we ended our study of Christ's sermon with His words of hope which endures all storms.

Today was probably the last Sunday before our little daughter is born. And Christ's final words to the people gathered are also in a sense final words of hope to me as this season of pregnancy comes to an end. His final words, encouraging me to continue building my faith and my home on the solid rock, are the same words He has given me throughout this past year as one hymn has continued to come to my mind:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus love and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name
On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.