Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful, again!

Tomorrow is the big day! My mom and sis have been planning this baby shower since mid-August. I am excited as I haven't received any new "baby gear" since Th's birth over 7 years ago. May not seem like a long time ago but considering my stuff has gone through 4 children, it's definitely worn and seen better days. :)

I am not as excited about finding out what I'm having as I thought I would be. It's not that I'm not excited, but part of me feels like I am having a girl and Twin A was a boy. I will never know for sure until I reach Heaven, but it's a feeling I've had since I found out about the twins. I suppose a part of me is thinking that by finding out the gender of the other, I am confirming my suspicions. Does that make sense?

Regardless, I am happy and thankful that I am now able to feel the baby move, helping to lessen my fears with each kick. I have been feeling movement for a few weeks, but as I get further along, the movements are more frequent and stronger. A good sign that all is well. :)

My pastor asked me to share a testimony of my trial last Sunday evening at church. I basically shared what was written in my last post, although since it was spur of the moment, I don't know how in-depth I shared. I know I at least got the gist of my message shared, but I still get emotional when I talk about the twins so I also teared up a few times.

The Lord is already using my pain to bring comfort to others. This past Monday, a friend of mine who is pregnant went to the doctor for her monthly check. She, like me, was alone at the appointment because everything had been going well. The baby had a heartbeat and she had had a few ultrasounds so she knew so far the pregnancy was progressing well. That is, until she went to the doctor that day. My heart aches for her and I get teary-eyed thinking about it because our circumstances are so similar. The doctor could not detect a heartbeat and the u/s did not show any movement. She went in to the visit excited and thrilled to see her baby again, and left heartbroken and confused and grieving- again. Like me, she has experienced the pain of miscarriage before and like me, agrees it does not get any easier.

I can see the Lord's hand in this situation, particularly in regards to my children. You see, my friend has a son who is a year younger than Th. She told me that her son is not handling the news very well and is very distraught. As sad and painful as this miscarriage has been for me, I am soooooo thankful for going through it in the way that I did. Th can now minister to his friend because of his experience. When I told him what happened, he immediately prayed for my friend and her son, and what a blessing it will be for them to talk about their feelings and connect on that level. I was also thinking how glad I am that my boys have experienced this in terms of the future. They will be able to draw upon their memories of the trial as an adult and, if needed, be a comfort to their future wives. They will hopefully remember this experience and the sadness and joy that accompanied it and use it to honor the Lord by comforting others. I promise you, the loneliness of experiencing painful trials like the death of a child sometimes hurt worse than the experience itself. Knowing others who have gone through it make it so much more bearable. When I called my friend to offer my condolences her first words were, "I was thinking of you the entire time. I know what you went through and I am glad you know what I am going through. It's so hard and it hurts so bad." Yes, it does hurt so bad but I reminded her that God is good and will use this for His glory. Through our tears we reflected upon the joy that we both have children sitting in the arms of our Comfort, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

*Once again, I am thankful for the trial of losing Twin A.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thankful

I have gone through a gamut of emotions as a result of the death of Twin A. However, I can honestly say that I have learned more about the Lord in the past 2 months than I have over the course of the past several years. It has been a difficult journey for our family as we were all excited about the arrival of the babies, but the good news is that God is faithful and will never leave us nor forsake us, especially when times are tough and life seems to be at its worst. The Lord has shown me that He is good and what He does is good, and it was good for me to experience this trial. It was created just for me and the Lord will see me through it. I have difficulty trusting others and the one major thing I have learned is that God is trustworthy. There was a point where I did not think so, but when I read my Bible and realized that the only other option was to not trust God, than I really had no choice. If I do not trust God, than I either trust in myself or in someone else. I have been let down by myself and others in the past, and I know I will again in the future; trusting solely in myself or another is hopeless. But, to trust in God, the One who never fails, that is where my hope lies. God was faithful in the past, He is faithful now, and He will be faithful in the future. God is not the one who changes, I do. Once I grasped that simple fact I was able to stop the negative thinking and focus on the truths of God’s Word (and there are so many truths that I have learned!). I have daily been reading and meditating on Psalm 34, particularly verses 4, 8, 10, 15, 17-19, 22. Now that my heart is tender to the Lord, the Bible speaks to me more now than it has in a long, long time. It seems the Lord is bringing verse after verse that talks of His goodness and faithfulness; just what I needed and when I needed it!

I am now at the point where I can say I am thankful to have gone through this experience as difficult as it was. Sure, I would have loved to have had twins, but I grew closer in my walk with the Lord as a result of Twin A’s death. This closeness may not have been possible had I not experienced the death of a baby while in the second trimester of pregnancy. Our family is also closer as a result. We rallied around together in prayer because we were our only sources of comfort other than the Lord. Granted, I know others who have shared in this type of loss but the circumstances were different. This made it more difficult, particularly in explaining things to my boys. But again, God’s grace was sufficient and He gave TJ and I the words to say and the tears to cry to show our faith and our God-given emotions. We are not robots and we choose to obey God; we honor the Lord when we do and our children are able to learn from our example. Another blessing that has come from this experience is that we will home school beginning next school year. The Lord used my tender (and aching!) heart to show me where I needed to change to be a better mother to my children. Again the Lord has met our needs by surrounding us with families in our church who home school, making the transition much easier and providing us with the support we need. We are so thankful for our church family!

The holidays are always difficult as I reflect upon the “what might have beens” in my life, particularly concerning my angel children, and this holiday season is no different. But, I also remember that God’s perfect will is much better than anything I could ever want or desire, and so I am thankful for the family He has blessed me with: a loving, God-fearing husband and 4 ½ wonderful children who are growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord- what more could I ask for?

Monday, November 16, 2009

VA Outreach

The outreach at the VA clinic was AMAZING! The Lord truly blessed that endeavor and I can't wait to do it again next year. This past Wednesday night at church I shared about the Lord's hand with that as it was clearly evident in so many ways. Here are just a few:

  • provided over 400 baked items donated from church members (my goal was 200)
  • provided a tent for us to use in case of rain (which it did!)
  • provided volunteers who worked in shifts alongside me from 7:30am to noon
  • prepared the hearts of the Clinic workers in a mighty way (the Clinic Administrator was out of town and forgot to inform the staff we were coming. They came out to inquire why we had set up a tent, table, and baked goods. Once I told them what we were doing, they were ecstatic and took pictures of us serving the veterans at various times throughout the morning!)
  • One clinic worker has been attending the church since I first phoned to set up the event. She was looking for a new church home and shared with the pastor that she is unsure of her salvation. She is now meeting weekly one-on-one with the pastor's wife to do a bible study that explains what salvation is, how one becomes saved, and what happens after one is saved. Please pray for this situation as her eternal life is at stake. . .
  • The Lord has shown me that He is ultimately in control and working in other's lives even when we do not know. The situation above is a perfect example. I called the clinic expecting to primarily serve and bless the veterans, hoping to reach them for Christ. God had other plans that included the clinic staff.

The veterans were so thankful and honored to be remembered in this way. Several tried to pay us for their items while another teared up at the generosity of total strangers. When this particular gentleman started to cry, I did also. It just meant a lot to me that he was so touched by this simple act of kindness. My kids also had fun helping to set up and hand out a few cookies before heading to school. Both boys have requested to be able to stay the entire time next year, and since I plan to home school, that won't be a problem. It definitely does them good to serve others rather than "be served" as they are so accustomed.

There are so many other ways the Lord worked in this situation but not enough time to write it all out. I am just so thankful for having the opportunity and although it was a lot of work and a big undertaking, I am so glad I did it and can't wait to do it again!

*I am thankful the Lord is working in my life and in the lives of those around me.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Baking & Packaging

I've been busy baking and packaging cookies, brownies, and other baked goods to pass out at the local Veteran's Clinic on Tuesday in honor of Veteran's Day (federal offices are closed on Wednesday, Veteran's Day). I solicited the help of my church so it has become an outreach opportunity for the veterans in our community. I thought of the idea last year but it was only a few days before Veteran's Day, not enough time to organize something. I am thankful the Lord brought it to my mind again this year with enough time to get through the "red tape" that often accompanies doing anything involving God and government. So far we've hit only minor roadblocks that have been easily overcome; God is in control. I have received an outpouring of support from my church and can't even begin to tell you how many baked goods I have in my kitchen. My goal was for 20 dozen items and I have surpassed that number exceedingly. One church member is the store manager for a local Walgreen's and he donated about 100 cookies that were leftover from a promotional event held at the store. The cookies are all wrapped and sealed in cellophane and are the large, soft, yummy cookies (I had to taste one to be sure they were okay to hand out). =)

As I was leaving church this morning, another church member stopped me in the aisle. She introduced me to another woman who was with her. I did not recognize the name but she knew who I was: she was the receptionist at the VA clinic and I have spoken to her countless times. As I wrote above, there was some "red tape" I had to work through and as a result of our many phone conversations, she visited our church last Sunday. I left church today very humbled as one never knows who the Lord is going to bring across our paths to impact for His glory and good. I know many people have had an impact on me, but I never thought I would impact another. I pray that as a result of all of the hard work and effort put forth by so many, the Lord would bless the outreach on Tuesday. If nothing else, that the veterans and their families in our community would know how much we appreciate their sacrifice. I am so glad that I can be a part of this, that my children can come and help serve those who have served their country.

*I am thankful I live in the United States of America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Birthday Girl


Wow! Where have the past 3 years of my life gone? It is difficult to remember my life without having T.G. in it! I remember when I found out I was having a girl after having the boys; I was ecstatic! I immediately sewed a pink diaper bag and began to shop and stock up on dresses and other girl clothes. T.G. has been a blessing since the moment she was conceived and I am so thankful to have her!

Compared to her two older brothers, she is quiet, sweet, and VERY girlie! Every day she tells me how she wants to wear her hair (in a ponytail, 2 ponytails (pigtails), pretzels (braids)) and what color hair bow to go with her clothes (usually pink). Since getting her ears pierced about 2 weeks ago, she is constantly looking at her earrings in the mirror. She also loves shoes, and takes a good 5 minutes each day deciding upon which shoes to wear. She is so opposite me that it makes me smile- she is truly a unique individual with her own ideas and thoughts. I just love it!

T.G. has also recently started using the "big girl potty" (which is why she got her ears pierced- her reward) and has done so well. She loves the idea of wearing "Princess Panties" on a daily basis and gets upset if I put a Pull-Up on her at nap time. Everything about her is dainty and small and I love it.

At 3, T.G. loves to read books, put together puzzles, and play dress-up. She has several tutus and princess dresses, complete with matching heals, that she enjoys wearing. She also likes to play with dolls and now that Teagan is interested in playing, she solicits Teagan as her own real-life baby. Teagan will sit in T.G.'s doll stroller and let T.G. push her around the playroom (all the while T.G. has on her high heals and carries a white fur-lined purse). It's rather cute! T.G. also likes Dora the Explorer and anything pink. She is starting to become interested in another book character, Fancy Nancy.

T.G. is weighing in at a whopping 25 pounds and is about 32 inches tall. Petite in every way, she tries her best to keep up with her brothers, whom she loves and adores. They love her, too, as evidenced by their nickname for her: "Baby." They don't say it in a mean or condescending way, but in a loving and protective way. It is so sweet to hear and even sweeter when she answers.

Happy Birthday, Baby!