Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Dance

My daughter has one of the most peaceful gentle spirits of any baby I've ever known... unless I put her down... in which case she screams like she is being tortured.

She likes to be held. She feels safe in my arms... her favorite place to lay her head is near my heart and she nuzzles herself in... clutches my clothing to get just a little closer... and she smiles... She doesn't like to be alone. She doesn't do well alone. She feels peace in the holding. And although I've gotten every piece of parenting advice known to man in the last month...

"Let her cry. Crib train her. Soothe her. Don't soothe her. Let her sleep with you. Don't let her sleep with you. She needs to learn to calm herself. Calm her. Do this... Oh make sure you don't do that..."

With all due respect to Ezzo and Sears and Spock and the Author of "The Happiest Baby on the Block" I've decided I'm throwing out the parenting books. :)

We're just going to dance it out.

And so night falls and we dance while the sun goes down and the world gets quiet... I dance my daughter to sleep while we sing songs to the Maker of heaven and earth and I tell her about the Jesus who saved her mommy in every way a person can be saved. And I tell her about the God who carried her... kept her heart beating... the One who has counted every hair on her head and has numbered her days and has written her story.

I dance my daughter to sleep while the tears of gratitude fall and the love in my heart overflows and spills out into words of thanks... I have so little to offer Him... The One who has kept my daughter... kept me... turned our fear into peace... And there is nothing better than this...

To dance her to sleep while I tell her of the love that saves a life... and sing her songs about the One who heard the cries of my heart and gave me her. And there is no love like a mother loves her child and I'm sure of this as I kiss her face and hold her hands and smell her hair and love her more than I ever knew I could.

And she has made me braver than I ever knew I could be... and because of her I've learned that every day is precious and life is fragile and I'd be wise to never let the things of this world cloud my heart to what is really meaningful... And this is all that is sacred and true and real in life and I don't ever want to forget all I've learned.

And I feel Him move my heart towards the things of heaven... and all the things that felt impossible feel possible. And I realize that vulnerability is a beautiful thing and sometimes all people really need to see Jesus is to hear your honest heart. Sometimes people don't need a sermon... they just need your hand. They don't need theology... they need to hear how you walked through the valley and He held you the whole time. And because of my daughter I want to forgive the person who will never ask my forgiveness and I want to write the letter to the friend I hurt... and I want to listen well... and love far beyond the point when it hurts... and I want to preach the gospel without any words and I want to cross the distance from east to west to make amends and offer mercy. And I want to live out the story of the women who washed His feet with her tears and loved so much only because she knew of how much she had been forgiven. And I want an undivided heart that loves Him with everything...

Because I don't want to get to heaven and hear Him say... "I really wish you would have..."

I only want to hear "well done". And life is fleeting and he's given us a story and I want to shout ours from the rooftops to anyone who will listen.

He still moves the mountains. And I dance a miracle to sleep each and every night and all I have and all I am is because He is. And any good in my heart comes from Him and the ashes He's made into beauty. And I think of the day I drove that road and told Him I'd love Him even if I didn't get to keep her... and I think of the day I married her daddy and the day we found out we'd made her and the road that led us here...

And all I have is gratitude... for all of it. Every single step. Every song in the night. Every tear we cried and every time our hearts ached because it's made me take nothing for granted. And it's given me hope because even when I was faithless He was faithful... even when I left He stood.

And today her daddy held me in the kitchen and I held her and I realized we can't possibly stop here because we have so much love to offer and when we got married we knew we wanted to be a mommy and a daddy to babies who didn't have parents... and we knew we wanted to give peace to children who'd only known turmoil and we wanted to show them they are well loved by a God who knows the stories they cannot tell.

And so we're starting the paperwork to be foster parents because life is short and ours is crazy and it's full but when you are part of God's family there is always another seat at the table and always enough to go around.... and we've been blessed beyond measure with a beautiful marriage and a big house and the knowledge that we are nothing without Him but if we let Him he'll allow us to be His hands and feet here.

And for us that means rocking babies and watching Sesame Street and sweeping cheerios off the floor. And we're ready to step into the dream God has laid in our hearts to show a child what it is to be loved by a family and in that to show them the love of Jesus.

And we're young and we've got a lot to figure out about raising babies but I know how to dance them to sleep and sing them songs about their Maker and tell them about the God who redeems all things. And in the end isn't that all that really counts... that each and every night I lay them in the arms of Jesus?

So that's the next step in the journey... and I'm terrified.

But everything meaningful should be scary because it forces you to trust.

And perfect love casts out all fear and at the end of the day you find yourself standing in a place you never knew you could.

And I realize my daughter is living up to meaning of her name... "wise"

She knows it's better to be held than to do it on your own... She knows peace is lying in arms that are safe. She knows that if she just lays her head on my heart she'll be safe and I'll keep her there as long as I can.

And I pray she never stops. I pray she never tries to walk out life alone and that she lays herself in the arms of Jesus each and every night. That her heart never stops reaching for His heart and that when she finds it she will keep herself there for the rest of her life. That she will never forget that peace lies only in His arms and that we never walk alone. I pray she grasps His hand... yields her heart to His... and dances with Him all the days of her life.

And as for me... I'll dance with as many babies as God allows.

Thank you for walking with us... for being part of our story... May you rest in the arms of God tonight knowing that's where peace is.

Much Love,


Monday, June 21, 2010

mountains and miracles

We walked in the front doors a mix of joy and exhaustion... relief and apprehension. As we went in to registration I glanced over at the emergency room desk. I put my hand over her and breathed...

21 weeks had passed since the night we stood in that emergency room and feared the worst.

21 more weeks I had carried her... loved her... prayed for her... dreamed dreams for her. In those weeks we had named her, prepared a place for her, prepared our hearts for her, fought for her.

And here we were... in just a couple of hours she'd be here. In the surgical prep room we made small talk, we waited, but we were quiet. No one really said it out loud... but we were all scared. We'd walked this road for a long time teeth gritted and fists clenched... and you could tell. We wore it all over our faces. The many sleepless nights... the fear... the hope... the laying her in His hands over and over again.

After they'd laid me on the table and began... I remember asking for more oxygen. The nurse told me my levels were fine... but it felt so hard to breathe. I just wanted to hear her cry. A few minutes in Dr. Goerish said she saw a foot and seconds later I heard her scream. I have never heard anything more beautiful... never.

She's breathing... oh thank you Jesus she's breathing...

"Is she okay?"

"She's just fine."

For a few seconds Micaiah brought her over and I touched her little face... her fingers... felt her warmth... watched her little chest go up and down in sweet steady rhythm. When they took her upstairs my entire body relaxed. The next two hours a a blur. I had a hard time coming off of the meds but I remember Micaiah and my mom coming back and forth and I would keep asking and they would keep telling me.

"She's fine."

Later that day... when I held her for the first time... and my whole world stopped. Nothing prepares you to hold that kind of weight in your arms. I stared at her in disbelief. No tubes. No oxygen. No interventions whatsoever. She was perfect... beautiful and absolutely perfect and not one thing was wrong with her.

It wasn't until a couple of nights later that it truly hit me.

I was alone with her... lying in the quiet of the hospital room just taking her in when I finally said it out loud.

"She's okay..."

She's okay... oh Jesus... she's okay... she's really okay.

Then the tears came... hard and long... tears that wouldn't stop. I think I said it to myself about a thousand times that night... and the tears just kept coming.

They didn't stop that night... or the next day... or the day we came home. In fact... for the first several days we were home I would burst into tears at any given moment if I simply looked at her.

I'd wake up in the middle of the night just to make sure she was breathing. I'd worry over every little sound... every small thing she did. I probably would have taken her to the emergency room 55 times that first week if my husband hadn't gently talked some sense into me.

But that's the thing... when you've feared the worst... for so long... it's hard to just let go and accept that everything is okay... Which sounds awful I know... I know.

I'm supposed to trust Him. I do trust Him. But I've seen the other side of it... the scary side of it. The side where things are not okay. I watched my parents loose a baby and it's awful... awful. So it's hard to just let go.

But one night... while rocking her to sleep... I realized something. No matter how many times a night I wake up to make sure she is breathing. No matter how careful I am with her, how much I protect her, how deeply I love her... there is so much I cannot control. And so I cried one more time... told Him how deeply I loved my daughter and laid her once again in the arms that have carried her this far.

Because the thing is... at the end of the day... there is very little I can do for her besides love her well and point her to Him.... besides live with intention and make the most of every moment I have with her. The best most beautiful gift I will ever give her is a mommy whose heart is at peace with the fact that He really does have the whole world in his hands... even the litty bitty baby...

Even now... in the middle of the night when she cries... I smile.

She's okay.

She is a living breathing miracle. And I know in my heart that the rest of her story will be just as beautiful as what He's already written for her.

He still does miracles... Mountains still move. My hope is knowing her story will help you believe that. As for me... I'm holding the sweet beautiful proof.

Much Love,

Friday, June 11, 2010

We're still here...

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the large gap between updates... can you guess why?

We've been falling head over heals in love with our sweet girl and it's hard to get motivated to write a post when all I want to do is cuddle my baby :)

I'm sure eventually I'll share my heart on the day she was born and moments following. But for now, for today... and possibly for quite awhile... I am just going to enjoy every minute of her.

She is continuting to do incredibly well and has surprised everyone with her strength and her weight gain (She is already up to 4IBS 15oz.). She has such a sweet spirit which makes it easy to be crazy about her.

Now... back to cuddling my daughter.

Much love,

Friday, June 4, 2010

She's Here and She's Healthy!

I am SO sorry to have kept you all waiting! I'll keep this short as I need to get a nap in before Jayda's next feeding...
Our sweet girl came into the world at 9:20am on Tuesday June 1st weighing in at 4 Ibs. 13.5 ounces and 19 inches long! She is perfect and totally healthy! She was with me within hours of my surgery and is doing really well!

We are still in the hospital because she is having a hard time with feedings and they just want to keep a close eye on her ane make sure she is doing well with weight and has an eating schedule before they send her home.
Beyond that... we are madly in love with her and savoring every second...

I'll post more soon :)

Much Love,