Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Blessings - Blessed to be her Mother

I've been thinking a lot about Joseph this week.
Wondering what it must have been like to discover your virgin fiance is preggers with God's baby.
Yup, I'm pretty sure that would rock anyone's world. ;)

 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Matthew 1:20-30

There are moments in our lives that change everything. Whether we are aware of it as it is happening or whether it's not until we reflect back on smaller detours that we see the domino effect it has had on our lives. No doubt the news of Jesus impending birth was a huge blow to the life Joseph had in mind for himself and his bride to be. But what a blessing it turned out to be!

I am still hesitant to apply to old adage, "everything happens for a reason" to our loss of Amelia Grace. But as time passes and we stand a bit further from the day of our sweet baby's birth/death we have begun to see more clearly how God's plans for her life on earth to be so painfully brief, were indeed a part of his good and perfect plan. 

Thinking about Joseph's "situation" so many years ago brings me hope. It reminds me that God’s ways aren’t my ways. And that sometimes, in our greatest sorrows, we find our greatest joys and blessings.

Joseph got to be Jesus' earthly daddy.
He got to see God, hold God,
hug him, kiss him!
seriously, WOW!

It kinda' reminds me just how blessed I am
to be the mother of a special little baby. :)

Merry Christmas!
and may God's Peace and Love surround you now and always.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where's Christmas at?

Warm temperatures and heavy rains have washed away any trace of the heavy blanket of snow that covered the ground just days ago. Noah and Sam's sitter has been sick, so the boys have been cooped up in the house for a few days with Grandma. So when we headed out the door this morning for Glenwood, Noah was disappointed to discover that all the snow had melted.

"The snows gone Mom!," he exclaimed, "Where's Christmas at?!?"

I giggled a bit as I reassured him that Christmas will come whether there is snow on the ground or not.

"It's Jesus birthday Mom, and God's and Santa's," he said part statement, part question.

"No, not Santa's birthday, just Jesus," I explained.

"He died for us Mom. He loves us very much."

I smiled, "Yes, he does love us very much doesn't he Noah."

"It's Christmas Eve yet Mom?"

"Not yet."

"OK, Mom."

As we continued our commute, I couldn't help but think of Noah's words, where's Christmas at Mom? I recalled a holiday breakdown I had had just yesterday, ashamed.

Several weeks ago I had ordered Noah's "Santa" gift (a train set) online from ToysRUs. One of the items had arrived safely last week but I noticed there was a tunnel that was missing. I figured they were shipping the toys in separate orders, but decided to call in a few days if the tunnel had not arrived.
It never came.
Yesterday, I called the customer service number on the packing slip, only to be told that they no longer had the tunnel gift with purchase and had I read the fine print, I would have noted the words, while supplies last.

The conversation turned ugly, fast.
I requested to speak with a manager, she told me they were all busy.
I announced, I'll wait.
She explained she couldn't keep me on the line...I'd have to try back.
Not good enough.
There has got to be someone who can talk to me. I'll wait, I repeated.
She sighed, and repeated herself, I can't keep you on the line Ma'am.
I'll wait, I said again.
she hung up on me?!?
Furious, I exclaimed, you've got to be kidding me!!! This is going to ruin my kids Christmas!!!
A day later, I am embarrassed, ruin his Christmas? Really? Does he really need the train tunnel...

Where's Christmas at?
is it in a beautiful snow covered lawn?
in a perfectly laid out train under the tree on Christmas morning?

from the mouths of babes, a reminder I clearly needed more than I knew....
He died for us, Mom.
He loves us very much.

Grinch: They're finding out now that no Christmas is coming. They're just waking up, I know just what they'll do. Their mouths will hang open a minute or two, Then the Whos down in Whoville will all cry, "Boo Hoo!" That's a noise, (the Grinch said,) that I simply must hear!
Narrator: So he paused, And the Grinch put a hand to his ear. And he did hear a sound rising over the snow. It started in low. Then it started to grow... But the sound wasn't sad! Why, this sound sounded glad!
[Whos singing]
Narrator: Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small, Was singing! Without any presents at all! He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same! And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling:
Grinch: How could it be so? It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags!
Narrator: And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blessings - Letting Go

Since Amelia's diagnosis
we have been blessed with several "lessons in life."
These lessons have transformed before our eyes from cliche
to the foundation of our lives and of our family.

Let Go and Let God is one of these lessons.
There was nothing I could do to save my daughter. simple as that.
Learning to Let Go and Let God in the loss of Amelia, surfaced a serious need for self examination of my desire to control the various aspects my life; my home, my job, my money.
I asked myself...
if I can trust my Lord completely with the HUGE things
why haven't I been trusting Him with everything else?

Recently I was prompted to reflect on a verse that moved me.
It reminded me so much of the sweet blessings revealed to me throughout our journey with Amelia.

 And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us; 
Yes, establish the work of our hands.
 Psalm 90:17 (NKJV)

And let  Surrender to Him.  I often find myself too busy trying to control things and  forget to let go and let God. Even more so, I can easily buy into the ideology that somehow my plan, my idea of how the way things should be, is better than God's.
beauty Did you see her? She was beautiful. One of my worries while carrying Amelia was (shamefully) fear about her appearance as a result of her condition. In the end her physical beauty would not have changed the way I saw her; the way I loved her. It comforts me to think that that is just how God see me, with the love of a parent. Just plain wonderful isn't it!!!
the LORD our God our Creator, Amelia's creator...
be upon us  rest upon us. I felt Him with me every step of the way but never more so than in that hospital room as she rested upon me. I cannot explain that peace.
and establish only God can do it all. Letting go and letting God demands that you recognize just exactly who is running the show.
the work of our hands raising children, making a home, working at a job, following His calling...carrying Amelia
Yes, establish the work of our hands the blessings we are given, our talents, our time, our fortunes...they are all given to us to use in service to Him and to others.

Bottom line, when we Let Go and Let God work in our lives,
AMAZING things happen.
Beautiful things happen.

But now, O LORD,
are our Father;
are the clay, and You our potter;
      And all we
are the work of Your hand. 
Isaiah 64:8

 Be still, and know that I
am God;
         I will be exalted among the nations,
         I will be exalted in the earth!
Psalm 46:10

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Blessings - Time to Prepare

March 15, 2010.

It's a day I will never forget.
The day of our 20 week ultrasound.
The day we learned of Amelia's anencephaly.

The day itself was not a blessing, but that day and in the days that followed, Tim and I were blessed immeasurably in countless ways. For the remainder for our pregnancy we were given new perspective in the midst of our sorrow. As we prepared for Amelia's birth and death I often found myself thankful that we had been given time to grieve and to prepare. Knowing she wouldn't live, we prepared our hearts for moments rather than years. Our focus shifted from painting a nursery, buying a crib, registering for focusing solely on the gift that we had been given in our sweet Amelia Grace.

The season of Advent is upon us. As I sat in church during our Advent carols and reading service this past week, it occurred to me that, for the last three out of four years, during a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of our Lord, I have had the joy of being an expecting mother myself.

The season of Advent invites us to prepare for the coming of our Lord as a little baby in a manger. It wasn't to long ago that we were preparing to meet our little Amelia. Last year we were preparing our hearts for the journey of pregnancy after a loss with baby Sam. I had thought perhaps this year would be different, feel different, since I am not expecting, but it hasn't.

I am still thankful for this time I have been given to prepare.

And so for the third year in a row,
I find myself waiting in expectation.
Preparing for that glorious and joyful moment
when I see the face of a little baby
whose life and death will change mine, forever.

The Birth of Jesus Foretold
 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you![d]” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[e] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.[f]
 38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
 Mary Visits Elizabeth
 39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”