Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Heart Aches for You...

Oh, how I wish you were with me today. As I worried over myself with the aches and pains of pregnancy, I didn't think of you today as I should have. I didn't worry over you, and the thought of you didn't hurt me as it used to. I didn't speak your name, and now, it hurts because I didn't.

I want to say it now. I would shout it from the rooftop if I knew it would help. It doesn't. Each time I think of you, it makes me extremely proud. I am so thankful that you were mine; if only for a few short weeks, you truly were mine. I cannot be saddened when I think of you now. I am so happy for you, and there are times when I long to be with you.

It's not time yet. I have to be here. I have the great opportunity of being pregnant and being married to a man I know you would have loved. I am learning each day that God is completely in control, and having realized that, I was able to deal with you being gone.

I imagine you walking down the streets of Heaven today. You would be five months old today if the Lord would have allowed me to carry you, but it was a year ago today that we learned your heart had never beat inside my womb. I lost you one year ago today...

Oh, Ethan Caleb, how I miss you and how proud of you I am. I am sorry for each day that goes by and I don't say your sweet name. I am sorry you will never meet your brother, Elijah Thomas. I am so sorry that you aren't here with us, but I'll never forget how much better off you really are.

My heart hurts sometimes when I am asked if the child I am carrying now is our first, and my immediate reaction is, "Yes." You see, it aches because Elijah isn't our first. You are my first. You are the one I wanted to hold first. You are the one I longed for and the one my heart begged the Lord for, and yet the Lord took you straight into His arms. At first, that was hard for your mommy and daddy to understand, but now, it fills our hearts with complete joy. It makes Heaven so much sweeter knowing you are there waiting for us...

I wish you were here, Ethan. I wish I could hold you. I wish I knew your face. I wish it was easier than it is. But I would be lying if I didn't tell you the truth... The truth is that your Father, the one you are with right now, loves you more than I do. He considered you absolutely perfect and decided He wanted you with Him. Do you know how special you are? Do you know that you are thought of and missed so very much? When I say my heart aches, it isn't bad, sweet baby. It aches to be in Heaven with you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No Fear in Love

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.
1 John 4:18

The amount of love I hold for a child who is not yet born is sometimes frightening. I find myself in deep thought, imagining what he will look like and who he will favor. I get caught up in the fact that his ultrasound pictures give the impression that his nose looks like mine, and from becoming obessive over his daily patterns, I have no doubt that he will be as energetic and playful as his father is. I have realized though that this child isn't exactly mine, and I'm not guaranteed one day with him.

Yet, I can remember being a little girl and loving my father in a similar way. I looked forward to his walking through the door each evening, and I loved hearing other people tell me that I looked just like my daddy. I was so wrapped up in the things he said to me, and his approval meant more to me than anything anyone could say. Unfortunately, there were days when his words cut like a knife, and his punishment left my heart aching.

How is it that we will love so much when we have been made to believe that love sometimes fails us? I can recall times when love actually hurt. From middle school relationships to losing loved ones, there were moments in my life when I thought love was not love at all. It was an emotion that caused pain, and it had the possibility of tearing the deepest parts of me apart. With that pain in mind, I often steered clear of love. I hid myself and my heart from being loved. I knew what love had the capability of doing.

That's until I truly learned what love was. I cannot remember exactly when it happened, but a lifetime of major events have occurred to help me see where and WHO love comes from. It happened when I bowed at an altar as a ten-year-old girl and again, when I looked into the eyes of a young preacher that God had intended for me to marry. It happened when my father led me down the aisle and gave me away, and it showed up when I saw my child's beating heart on an ultrasound screen. They are things that happen often in day to day lives, but the magnitude of each act of love was the foreshadowing of a love much greater than I could ever give.

It came from a Father who accepted me as His own. It came from a God that wanted me to be loved. It came from a Father who gave her daddy the grace to let go. It came from a God that was beautifully knitting a child in the womb. That same Father had allowed His own Son to be sacrificed. He had watched as His Son cried out to Him on the cross. He had felt the pain of love in ways I could never comprehend. Yet that same Father understood when my heart was broken and was afraid to love. He allowed me to love without fear. He taught me that true love really was unconditional, and no amount of pain can keep me from loving others as He loved me.

Sometimes love gets the best of us. It often brings out the worst in us. It causes us to do things we would not ordinarily do. It can lead to pain and brokenness. But that is not what God intended. He wanted us to see what love truly was... From birth to His death, Jesus was (and is) love, and because of Him, we can learn to love as we should.

I look back on those days of admiring my daddy and look forward to loving a child of my own, and now I see that it is through Christ that I was and am able to do that at all. God used my father as a means of teaching me to love Him, and He is teaching me how to love a child that is His own. Love isn't supposed to be overwhelming or frightening; it should be a gift that God has given us, and we should learn to do so as He would.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I Saw You Today...

Sweet boy,

I have dreamed of you. I have both seen your face and heard your cries in my sleep. I have imagined how you might smell and what color your hair will be. I have never loved anyone as much as I love you.

Yet I feared the worse. After losing your brother just weeks after he was conceived, I worried that the same might happen to you. I have held my breath for weeks as you continued to grow. I have thought that maybe I wouldn't be able to hold you because God had decided to take your brother.

Oh, how I have prayed that you are okay. I have pictured your eyes and the color they might be. I have heard your strong heartbeat and cried tears of joy when I felt your first kick. I cannot help but laugh at each hiccup because I know you are doing well. Every time you are awake, I think of how it will be when you are finally here... in our arms.

Your daddy and I cannot wait to meet you. We plan to teach you about God and how amazing He is. We want to tell you how your Lord loves you and how He has given you the breath you will someday take. We want you to understand that though we are your parents, it is God who is your Father. He loves you more than we ever could, yet we are going to attempt to care for you the way He would intend.

Elijah, it was today that I learned that you are perfect. Yes, the doctor says you have fluid around your kidneys, and that it may cause problems. I will not fear; my Father is busy knitting you inside of me. He is molding you into a wonderful child of His own. He sees you as a jewel; He even thinks more of you than the flowers you will someday smell.

As we watched you squirm and wiggle your way through your little world, I saw how amazing you truly are. I saw your hands and toes. I saw your arms and legs. I saw your eyes open and then close. I saw you, and your little face looked just like mine. That is a miracle, baby boy; you are a miracle. No matter what comes our way, little one, in my eyes, you will always be a perfect baby that is fearfully and wonderfully made by my God.

Please know that your mommy and daddy love you so much. We are so blessed to even have the opportunity to anticipate your arrival. Be it April 13 or 24 (because the doctors are not sure with as big of a baby as you are already), we cannot wait to hold you in our arms. But, if by chance, we do not get to meet face to similar face, we will look forward to holding you when we get to Heaven with you. Like I said before, as much as we love you, there is someone who loves you so much more. It is because of Him that I saw YOU today.

With all of my love,

My precious, Elijah Thomas at 28 Weeks

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Completely and Utterly Honest

Can I be completely honest with you? Is it alright if I pour my heart out to you and let you know how I truly feel? Will you think less of me if I tell you how I am struggling? How would you view me if you really knew the person I am?

I have always found a way of being open. You can read my emotions like a book because I often wear my heart on my sleeves. It is easy to tell what I am thinking. It is usually written all over my face. Until recently, I have lived this way, with no fear in my mind that my open heart would ever be broken.

But it is. It is not like me to want to tell the honest truth. Though I am willing to pour my thoughts and ideas out into the air so that all will know them, I never like admitting that I am hurt or disappointed or completely and honestly overwhelmed.

You are probably thinking that it is because I am pregnant and my hormones are raging, but it isn't. It is the fact that I have allowed my faith to become so weak that the devil has been able to creep right into my home and steal my joy. He has found his way into my checkbook, into my head, and more so, into my life. He's in every bill I receive, every comment that someone makes, every open position I see posted online. The worst part is that I realize he's there, yet I cannot do anything to stop him.

You see, it wasn't long ago that God allowed my husband and me to miscarry, quit a teaching position, resign from a church, lose our grandparents and his father to death, and learn to lean completely on Him. It all began in July of 2007, just 3 months after we had gotten married. Some saw this as the Lord proving to us that we shouldn't have wed; we saw it as an opportunity for God to prove Himself. And He has. Truly, He has.

But there comes a point when the trials become overwhelming and they seem too difficult to carry. You wonder why God has chosen you for these battles, and it seems as if the hardships continue to come your way. I'm there. I have started wondering why God has chosen me. Why has He decided that my family must endure such trying times and desperate situations?

I have never been here before. I am even confused if whether or not the Lord hears me anymore. I have never felt so alone in all of my life. I'm not depressed, I'm not anxious, and I'm not begging for help. I'm simply at a place that I know many have experienced.

Whether or not I'm questioning God and where He is isn't the point... The point is that I know you are hurting too. Maybe you aren't willing to say it publicly or even admit it to yourself, but I realize now that people are longing to be loved by a Heavenly Father that they feel isn't showing up. I am so there. He says in His Word that we will have troubles, but to cheer up because He has overcome the world. I don't know about you, but I need Him to overcome my life and the hold that the devil has on it. I need to see Him when I open my inbox or read my Bible. I need to know that He's working on the other end. I need to know that He's hearing my prayers and to help me understand when I don't get the answers I want or think I need. I've never experienced the humility I am facing now. But as humbly as I can, I want you to know that I am hurting. Just like you. I know your pains may be different than mine, but to Christ, they are much the same. He's willing to come through for us... And honestly, I wish that moment was now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Going Public

I'll admit that my feelings get upset when people mention how big I am to have 12 weeks left of pregnancy. I'll even tell you that it drives me crazy to be hugged right now because I feel smothered. I will say that the strong, little kicks this boy has been putting out often hurt. But nothing, and I mean nothing, bothers me the way hearing, "Are there 8 in there?" does.

I am a HUGE lover of children. I think every baby is a gift from God, even the ones that are miscarried and those who are still "embryos." I don't like abortion AT ALL and will never support its legalization. I really feel as though we live in a world that thinks children are just a bi-product of life, and they are expected to live in conditions that would have been totally unacceptable for us to do ten years ago.

However, I honestly am ill at the way we've made "The Octuplets" such a news story. Yes, it's a miracle. Yes, it's amazing. Yes, only God could have allowed that to happen. Yet, I'm fully aware that God has never intended for a woman's body to carry eight children. Did it happen in the Bible? I think not. Does it happen naturally? Not exactly. There are women all over this world attempting what this mother did. That's not mine to judge or discuss; however, it does bother me that there are families pleading for just ONE... She has 14.

I am offended when people claim that I must have eight inside of me. Oh, you don't know how I wish I could mother eight children, but after miscarrying and seeing friends deal with infertility, I am completely thrilled with the one the Lord has given US. I say "US" because this mother of 8 is single. She has 6 other children. She lives with her mother. She needs governmental and volunteer aid to raise these children.

Though the media would say that this is some sort of spectacle we must all watch and see unfold, I have to disagree. They are giving children and adults alike the idea that it is "okay" to have 14 children without a husband and expect the world to help you raise them. That is NOT okay. When I have friends who would do anything to have just ONE CHILD of their own, who are fully capable of caring for and providing the needs of that child, who are more than willing to do anything just for a baby, I have a problem with the idea of a woman being medically enhanced to have more children when she already had six. She must have known she would get help. She must have realized that Oprah would want to pay her millions to simply appear on her show. She must have thought that 6 children weren't enough for her to care for, and with that in mind, these other 8 children will be a public phenomenon for the rest of their lives. It's a shame...

The Lord loves children. Read His Word, and you'll see the importance He places on them. I have no doubt that He loves those octuplets with more love than I can imagine. However, I don't believe that God loves this situation. He has morals He expects for this world, and when He looks down and sees all of this, can you imagine what He feels?

I believe I can.

I'm disgusted. I'm apalled. I'm angered. I'm saddened by the world I live in. And be it, eight or a single one, I believe that God has better plans for the children He sends us than the lives we're giving them. I know it's going public, it's all over the news, and I promised this blog wouldn't be a political one. Again, I say, it's not. It's strictly the point of view from a Christian who cares about where this country is headed, and I can't help but go public.