Great is Thy Faithfulness

I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the LORD; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together … Psalm 34:1-3

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The green grass is in abundance, the wild flowers are in full bloom (some obviously think we should enjoy them all at once), the goats are about to kid, the cats are nursing their kittens, the lawn mower took its first trip around the grass for this year, and… Charlie is doing amazing.  Thank you to all of you prayer warriors!  Our last prayer requests have been answered.  We were able to get Charlie moved to an oral med for his mild hypertension and…drum roll….the fistula is closed!!!!! (Sort of)  OK, let me explain.  It has healed so much that is was nearly non existent, just the size of a pinhole.  I asked the surgeon if we could glue it shut, and he did.  So, it has not completely healed shut, but it is no longer leaking and continues to heal!!!image

Charlie is so happy and alert.  Today Isaac and I had a sweet time of talking to him.  Isaac spent 30 minutes telling Charlie about everything we saw on our family outing to the zoo yesterday.  Charlie LOVED listening to Isaac and held his hand the whole time.   Later Isaac held him and played cow with him.  I think Charlie could have stayed there all day.

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Isaac got most of me in this photo of some sweet snuggle time, oh my love for this boy runs deep deep deep.  He is a marvelous work of God.  It is such a delight to snuggle with this precious bundle and recall all that the Lord has done in 9 months.

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We learned of a few more churches that pray for Charlie regularly through my aunt and uncle who recently came to visit.  Pagosa Springs, CO, TX, NC – wow, it is overwhelming to imagine the amount of prayers that have gone up for this little fellow.

From here we just need to move over to a home ventilator and prove that he can tolerate that for a week or two.  After that they will move us to the ninth floor which is the exit floor.  Babies are usually on the ninth floor for a few weeks before going home.  There they make sure we are fully trained and fully capable of caring for our little guy proficiently- can’t wait!!!  We are ready!!!

Prayer Requests:

1) Successful move to home vent

2) Continued healing of fistula

3) Improved function of digestive system

4) Continued protection from infection

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Happy Mother’s Day

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Isaiah 40:11. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

I bless the Lord, O my soul…thank you for the gift of children, hence the gift of motherhood.  It is an immense calling and privilege that has truly changed me.  The memories of my first born daughter’s birth is burnt into my memory with joys and emotions indescribable.  Every birth to follow has it’s own unique flavor of joy and precious memories.  With the birth of my first baby, Savannah, I thought pregnancy and delivery were so amazing.  After that came the newborn stage of nursing and snuggling and admiring God’s creation.  Then the developing baby and toddler…I kept thinking this can’t get any better!  I wasn’t sure which stage was my favorite.  The terrible two’s didn’t really exist I found…and three?!  Just as sweet if not more so!  Well, I have reached the 17 year old stage at this point and I have come to realize that every stage of raising a child is an exquisite delight.  I love motherhood.

You may have read the previous paragraph and thought to yourself “that all sounds nice and rosey and is easy for you to say with your first nine children, but what about now, since having Charlie!?”Recently I was asked if I had any resentment towards Charlie for the difficulties that have come into our life since his birth.  The question surprised me a bit.  My immediate and heartfelt response was, “absolutely NOT, no none!”  As I pondered the question, I began to ask God to search me and know me to make CERTAIN there weren’t any thoughts of resentment towards Charlie deep within me.  There is no resentment, but God, in His awesome kindness took me to a deeper place of understanding his mercy towards me and my family that has come through Charlie.  A confirmation that not only do I NOT resent this little boy, but I am SO incredibly grateful for him!

Yes, this journey has been like no other for our family. Hard?  Yes!  But how do we view the “hard” things about motherhood?!  A lot of our attitude towards motherhood has to do with our understanding of suffering and pain.  Do we embrace the pain and difficulties of childbearing, motherhood, and life?  Or do we turn away, hide our face, or even run the other direction?  Have you ever met the laboring woman who declares that she is “done” (even though the baby hasn’t arrived yet!), she stands up in the middle of labor and informs the team that she is leaving, she can’t do this, won’t do this, and will be leaving this party.  It’s funny isn’t it?  Well, how often do we act the same way in our own lives, in our mothering, in our suffering?  Dear mothers, we miss out on SO much when we quit, when we refuse the difficulties.  When we view our suffering as a curse instead of a blessing.

1 Peter 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Charlie is a gift, a blessing, and a reward- no doubt!  He is a little more physically complicated and brings new things to our home, perhaps a new lifestyle.  Will I pack my bags and run?  NO!  I wouldn’t miss the opportunities that we have had over the last 8 1/2 months to stretch, grow, and witness God’s faithfulness so intimately.  Nor would I want to miss out on what lies ahead.  I want to encourage you with the encouragement that the Holy Spirit gave to me the day before we took Charlie to the hospital…”Arms wide open little daughter, run into me as I take you through the difficulties, trust me as you do the hard thing, arms wide open!  I know you feel like locking the doors and closing the windows to the difficulties, but because of my immense love for you I want to provide you an opportunity for bigger and better things in your life.  Open your arms…wide- and watch me as I work in ways you never knew possible.  I love adore you, I sing over you…now buckle your seatbelt of faith (or pick up the shield) and let’s GO!!”

Don’t settle for the ho hum life that avoids hard things at all cost, lay it down, run for the prize- present yourself as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God!  THIS is worship!

Another golden nugget from Spurgeon:

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Psalm 30:5

Christian! If thou art in a night of trial, think of the morrow; cheer up thy heart with the thought of the coming of thy Lord. Be patient, for “Lo! He comes with clouds descending.”

Be patient! The Husbandman waits until he reaps his harvest. Be patient; for you know who has said, “Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.” If you are never so wretched now, remember “A few more rolling suns, at most, Will land thee on fair Canaan’s coast.”

Thy head may be crowned with thorny troubles now, but it shall wear a starry crown ere long; thy hand may be filled with cares–it shall sweep the strings of the harp of heaven soon. Thy garments may be soiled with dust now; they shall be white by-and-by. Wait a little longer. Ah! how despicable our troubles and trials will seem when we look back upon them! Looking at them here in the prospect, they seem immense; but when we get to heaven we shall then “With transporting joys recount, The labours of our feet.”

Our trials will then seem light and momentary afflictions. Let us go on boldly; if the night be never so dark, the morning cometh, which is more than they can say who are shut up in the darkness of hell. Do you know what it is thus to live on the future–to live on expectation–to antedate heaven? Happy believer, to have so sure, so comforting a hope. It may be all dark now, but it will soon be light; it may be all trial now, but it will soon be all happiness. What matters it though “weeping may endure for a night,” when “joy cometh in the morning?”

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Charlie’s Progress

Charlie has been having good days and nights.  He is on a scheduled wean to be off of the final two pain meds by the beginning of June if all stays on course.  He is handling the weaning great.  I think he is ready to have his baby energy and abilities back.  He has been doing lots of good strong kicking, bringing hands and feet to midline, hands to mouth, playing with and grabbing toys, and even trying to roll over…with tubes, wires and all!  He is a strong little boy.  With every wean we see more and more of what he is capable of, praise God!  We have 2 specific prayer requests for our prayer army out there:

1). CRITICAL:  That his fistula output would stop or at least decrease significantly and that his bowels would begin digesting again.  If the fistula output would stop, it would likely heal and warrant no need for further surgeries.

2) That his pulmonary hypertension would heal and not require meds (that could keep us here at least until we could give it to him orally).  Today’s echocardiogram revealed improvement/healing from last week.  This is a huge encouragement and praise!

 

Visitors from afar…

Charlie had visitors this week.  I noticed that my sister who lives in Utah had signed up to take care of Charlie for a day and later that day I received her flight itinerary! Ashley flew in and then the day she flew out, dad flew in with a small overlap to allow for a daddy daughter lunch.  It was a fun time for all the children to see them, especially Charlie!  Thanks to your families for sparing you for a few days!

Speechless Tears

Charlie snuggled into my chest and deep into my arms as if he was “home.”  He settled in and fell into a deep peaceful sleep.  I pondered the desire to have him home with us again, where he could be held and snuggled all day long.  I watched the clock as I knew I had to put Charlie back in his bed and leave before rush hour traffic…who does that?  Puts their baby in a crib and leaves before rush hour traffic?  His delight and comfort of being in my arms made the task that faced me near impossible.  I watched the clock tick way to quickly.  Eventually, with tremendous self-discipline I stood up and put Charlie in his cool bed where he immediately fussed at having to leave his warm cocoon with mama.  I wanted to fuss too, but I didn’t-  I patted him and consoled him until he dozed off to sleep again.  Luke and I made a quiet exit so as not to awaken him and cause either of us further heart break.  Upon our arrival home, my heart was filled again as I greeted each one of my other children.  Isaac jumped off his bike and ran to my car beaming.  He lept into the passenger seat and wrapped his chubby little arms around me and laid his head on my arm with giddy giggles.  Enid appeared on the deck above me smiling, waving, and blowing kisses.  My older girl’s peered over the railing with big smiles.  My boy’s came from all direction where they had been laboring on one project or another…my heart was filling.  As we gathered at the dinner table I had this strong feeling that we were missing people, there was a BIG hole.  I counted 1 thru 9, again- 1 thru 9…hmmm…all here.  Why does it feel like we are missing….ugh, Charlie!  We are missing Charlie!  Of course we feel a hole!  Oh Charlie, we long to have you home!  God help us to be patient in getting him home, give us peace, give us strength, give us hope.  Help us to trust you and your perfect timing…you have this perfectly planned, perfectly timed.

After dinner we opened a package that had arrived from California in a large flat box.  Hmmmm…what could it be?  These precious  California ladies have already done so much to encourage us, what could this be?  With lot’s of ideas, guesses, and anticipation in the room we unwrapped the gift.  There it was.  Tears.  Speechless.  Tears.  Speechless.  It was our precious Charlie, in a beautiful pencil sketch:

imageWe all just sat and praised God for our dear friends’ skill and the fearful and wonderful creation of our little muffin, Charlie.  Thank you Hilary for the love you displayed in each stroke of your pencil and thank you for sharing your gifts with us.  We love you! The drawing adorns our wall and will be a constant reminder of God’s provision and marvelous works through this valley of the shadow of death.

1 Peter 4:13
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

God, may your glory be revealed and may we be glad with exceeding joy as we partake of your sufferings!!!

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A Note from Daniel (big bro)

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I love Charlie so much.  I got to read him three books today and did flash cards with him.  Charlie is the bravest boy I have met, he has gone through a lot more then I have in my whole life.  He is so cute, he would role over when ever he wanted me to rub his back then he would smile.  Charles has the cutest cheeks and arms.  He and I made eye contact for a while, and he gave me cross eyed look.  I know he is a blessing to our whole family!

Psalm 19:1-3. The Heavens and the earth declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handywork.2 Day to day pours out speech,and night to night revels knowledge.3 There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not herd.

Charlie is a gift from the Lord.  Mom is at the hospital quite a bit, but she has been  coming  home a lot more often so when she is gone Savannah is in charge.  I can not wait until Charlie comes home.  Ever since Charlie went to the hospital we have been talking of how we are going to have a homecoming party and are “going to have crab legs and a huge banner and have games and so on.”  I cannot wait for Charlie and mom to be full time homers. (:

Isaaiah 43:1-3

Fear not: for I have redeemed thee. I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.When thou passest through the waters. I will be with thee;and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire , thou shalt not be burned; nether shall the flame kindle upon thee, for I am the Lord thy God.

imageNote from mom:  It has been such a joy now that the children under the age of 13 are allowed in to see Charlie since the flu restrictions have been lifted.  It was a joy to have Daniel with me at the hospital this week.  He snuggled, read to, talked with, played ball, and simply poured out love all over Charlie.