Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Yes God Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle: The Battle Does Not Belong to Us

In my life I have seen many good God fearing people suffer. My nana lived in pain every second of her life for years. She developed an open wound on her leg that would not heal. Her pain was so bad that at night her neighbors said they could hear her crying out to God and asking why. I am sure she felt like God had forsaken her. As her granddaughter all I could do was sit back and listen to her question why God would allow such pain. But even in all her pain her faith in God was never more steadfast as it was at this time.

One of the most over used phrases people say to someone when they are going through a trial is “God will never give you more than you can handle.” What exactly does that mean? Handle mentally, physically, emotionally? In fact the scripture used to make this quote is not for trial or spiritual battles, but fleshly temptations.
 1 Cor 10: 13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

If you look to the Old Testament for those who were put through trials you will find many of them were more than they could handle in all three ways. The first person we think of is Job.
Job 2:3    "Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."
This shows us that God allowed trials to come upon Job. He was “blameless and upright” he had done nothing wrong to deserve punishment. As God’s children we often go through things. We may have done nothing wrong to deserve it, but it happens. When Job asked God why, God never gave him an answer. Instead he asked Job questions in return. Not just one or two questions, but about fifty of them, all affirming his sovereignty. I can imagine Jobs frustration with God. The Bible does not go into detail about Jobs thoughts or feeling in his time of loss. In my mind I see Job at his ten children’s funeral, seven sons and three daughters, and grieving greatly. In my mind I put this picture in modern times. I know it is not how things were done in that day, but could you imagine a father finding all of his children under the rubble of a house that had been wrecked by a tornado or even a hurricane? You see images of Midwestern states when storms blow through and the devastation. After picking them out from his home that collapsed on them he had to pick out 10 caskets (yes I know it was done differently then, bear with me), ten burial plots and watch ten of them put into the ground. There is no pain greater than losing a child, let alone ten all at once. The word says he had already lost his livestock and servants. Today that would be like losing your job, your 401k and any savings you had for the future. Job’s wife told him to curse God and his friends pointed to his every flaw and turned their back on him.

So was this more than Job could handle? I think the answer is yes! Any time that we question God it is more than we can handle. God did not create us to handle or even understand all the trials of this life. 
 Ephesians 6:12 NIV “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
The battle in the book of Job was beacause nothing Job did, he did not understand it, and he could not see it. There are battles we struggle with in our life that we fail to understand, but it is ok not to understand. If God wanted Job to know what was going on in the spiritual realm, he would have told him.

How do we get through the battle we cannot see? When the Children of Israel were in the desert and scared of death they were told NOT TO BE AFRAID, THE LORD WILL FIGHT FOR YOU, YOU ONLY NEED TO BE STILL. Many times when we go through trials the first thing we do is allow fear to swallow us, we freak out and try to do everything we can think of to fix the situation.

To prepare for a war we are told to put on the full armor so we can stand against the enemy’s schemes.
Eph 6:14-18 “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” 
 Stay firm in your faith, be ready for what may come, read the word, pray, seek God’s face. When others speak against God and his power, speak truth. Have faith that God is fighting this for you. I have found in my own situations to speak the impossible. Don’t limit God to a box on what he can or will do.

Many trials are more than we can handle in our flesh. Our hearts hurt, our minds are overloaded and we question. I am not perfect, I don’t claim to have every answer, but I do know God is in control. Even if my human side cannot take what is before me, let this be my prayer:
Psalms 73:21-28 “When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”

 In fact the Bible does not promise a problem free life. At every corner in the word are hardships. 1 Peter 1:7 tells us these trials have come so that your faith, which is worth more than gold, will be put to the test. The Bible actually likens them to fire by which we are refined. It is through the hard times and struggles that we may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor and then Jesus is revealed.

In the times of great suffering my nana went through God’s glory was great. Often her neighbors would ask her about her situation. When she directed every conversation back to God and his goodness people began to want to know more. They would come and sit in her living room and ask her questions about God. She would pray with them and teach them about salvation. There were many she prayed with and even a few she baptized in their own bathtubs. Through her suffering Jesus was revealed. How is he being revealed in your trial?

Monday, August 11, 2014

My Big Family: I'm Too Busy For A Hobby


     Having a large family I have heard it all. There are things I hate and things I love, today I'm going to lay it all out for you the best and worst.
     So many times when I tell someone that I have seven, yes seven children the questions and comments begin. The most asked one is "Are you done now?" These are questions that most of the time are no ones business, and they expect an honest answer. I would love to yell at the top of my lungs "Why do you think it's any of your business?" Instead I usually reply that I don't know what God has planned for my family. If I tell them about Janavieve's miracle most of the time I get advice how I need to be done having kids instead of people acknowledging what God has done. I wish people would get the point.
     I think one of the funniest things is when people refer to our family to being like the Duggers. Yes having seven kids is JUST LIKE having 19....really?
     I think the most annoying comments are
1. You need a hobby or
2. You need a TV in your room.
I usually just smile and nod, but for all of you reading this I will answer both of these with my honest replies.
1. If you think I am not busy, then you don't know me. Where would I ever fit a hobby in? I take care of seven children, which is enough to keep anyone busy. I also homeschool, nurse a new baby, pump every 3 to 6 hours to donate milk to babies who need it, take college classes, lead our children's ministry. My life is too busy to pick up a hobby.
2. I have a TV in my room. My hubby and I don't even sleep in the same room. Some people think just because we have seven kids all we do is have sex. I wish people would use their brain before stupid things would fly out of their mouth.
     Another annoying question I hear too often is "Do you know how that happens?" In the back of my mind I'm thinking "No I stupid, please ed u cate me" or "yes I do and enjoy it very much." Seriously do people expect me to answer such stupid questions?
    You always run into those who need filters from their brain to their mouths. I can never get over those that ask me if I am going to get "fixed" now. Last time I checked I worked fine. What exactly about me is broken?
     I could go on for pages with the crazy things people say. I must say the good outweighs the bad when it comes to having a big family. I love watching my oldest turning into a wonderful young man. The wisdom that comes from him at times sounds like it should be coming from a gray haired old man.
     Saturday's in our house are different than they were when I grew up. I use to spend the day watching cartoons and eating cereal. Now most Saturday's are filled with laughter and squeals of children playing, and sometimes fighting. I know they are forming a bond that will last a lifetime.
     I love watching my husband fall asleep with a little one in his arms. I know our time is so limited to having them want and need to be held. Better than watching a bond form between my husband and our little ones is forming that bond with them myself. I use to be so busy with housework and making sure everything was perfect I was forgetting to take time out to hold and snuggle my little ones. Judah woke up this morning and looked at me with a big smile and his little dimples as big as they could be. I was sitting on the reclining chair cuddling the baby who had just waken up herself. I asked him if he wanted to sit with mommy. The look on his face reminded me of Christmas morning. I got a bonus this morning, I got double cuddles.
     Spending time with my 12 year old daughter seems like it is always changing as she is getting older. I am reminded constantly that she is becoming a young woman, and before I know it she will be grown and gone. Our time has gone from talking about her lil pets and Barbie's to nail polish and shoes all within the last year. I love watching her learn to care for he baby sister. She is learning key things she will need to know when she becomes a mother someday. I love that I get to show her how. 
     On the bright side of the snarky comments are the ones that make you feel you are doing something right. I love sharing Janavieve's testimony and touching someone's heart. One of the best comments I have ever gotten about my family is when we have gone out. Many times I have had people dining next to us, or waiters telling us how well behaved our children are. Two years ago I had four of the kids at Panara and a gentleman came up to us and said he had never seen such well behaved children and paid for their meal. I have also had people tell us when we are out how beautiful our family is and how you never see big families anymore. It seems like big families are a thing of the past, and if you have more than three you are in the minority. With being an only child till I was 17 a full house is a welcome change for me.
     Teaching our children how to do things for the first time is priceless. I love that we get to repeat many of them time after time with each of the kids. Remember how it felt when your child learned how to ride a bike the first time? Or the first time your child read a book on their own? I get to experience that seven times. There are other things that some kids will do that others will not. Josiah use to play soccer. I remember his excitement when he would kick a goal. None of my other kids have interest in soccer so I may never have that with any of the other kids. Every child is different and every accomplishment feels like a special holiday.
     A quiet house is something that I never want, except at bed time. I expect with all the children we have that as we grow old, young laughs will continue to fill our home. I plan on having a lifetime of firsts with my family till the day I die. I plan to never be lonely or bored. The happiness that fills my life with children will never end.

Friday, July 25, 2014

50 Shades of Unreal Expectations

     The new craze is 50 Shades of Grey, the movie, the book series, blogs, chats, and so much online to peek your interest on them. I have only looked into it enough just to know it is not for me, nor should it be for any Spirit filled woman.
     Before you start throwing stones at me let me tell you why I feel the way I do. Something that I really don't like to talk about is some of the things I was into before I turned my life over to Christ. It was not an over night change, rather a continuing change in my life, my actions and my thoughts. I have found to share God's grace I need to open up about who I was before. Even though I was young I knew the difference of right from wrong, but some things were in the grey area and no one would speak about them. Of course I knew that sex (the act) was a sin before marriage. But why was being turned on by sexual images wrong? I wasn't doing anything, there was no act, there was no touching, so it couldn't be wrong.
     At the age of 12 I found a pornographic magazine. It only took looking at it ONCE and I wanted to go back for more. How is it that one image could make you feel like that. It wasn't long before it was like a drug to me. I had to find some kind of image once a week, then three times a week, then everyday. It took up room in my head around the clock. It wasn't long before my friends were giving me books that would give the same effect.
     Before I even hit middle school my language was fitting in with the material I was reading. I found video's and they were eating my time up. Now you ask where were my parents and why didn't they know. Trust me kids find time to fill their time that their parent's don't know about. This is a danger today with the Internet and so many images pounding our kids. We need to be very open and speak openly and often with our children about them.
     The feeling you get while reading books with erotica gives you the SAME feeling as a pornographic magazine or movie. It is very addictive. Before I was far into my teenage years I was addicted. YES addicted it was a high, and I couldn't get enough.
      So many Christian woman today if you ask them if pornography is wrong they would say of course it is wrong. But if you ask them if a racy novel is wrong, they see nothing wrong with it because there are no images in a book. The fact is God gave us something better than a movie screen in our minds. When you read a book as a child you can imagine all kinds of things that are on the pages. The same goes for an adult reading a book that is very explicit about sex . You can put yourself in those pages and feel what they are feeling, smell what they are smelling, see things through their eyes. This type of book is the SAME thing as the picture magazines. As a Christian woman we would be ashamed if our own husbands owned it.
     So why is any pornography wrong for a Christian? My first point would be for any person Christian or not it is addictive and takes up space in your head  you could be giving to something productive. Addictive behavior is never good for you or the people around you. I am no psychologist so I will not get into all the in's and outs of addiction. Next the Word tells us to have a pure mind. Matthew 5:27-28 if you look at someone in lust you have already committed adultery in your heart. The only person you should be looking at with any sexual desire is your husband. In books as well we are putting an image of someone else who is not our husband. Col 3:5 tells us as Christian's our body should be dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. Notice it says idolatry which is the actual image we are putting in our minds.
     The one thing I have so much trouble with the 50 Shades of Grey is the way women are degraded. In a time when women have fought so hard to be where we are today, why would we want to be portrayed in a way a man has no respect for women? What do we find tantalizing about a man abusing a woman, just using her for his own desires and leaves her feeling horrible, for lack of better words. I could go on from everything I've read about this book about how horrible she feels about herself, but I don't want to take up that much real estate on my blog with all the abuse she had to endure (that includes mental abuse). In a day when woman thrive to be empowered, I don't understand how this book can give that to us.
      At the age of 15 I turned my life over to Christ. I wish I could tell you that the next day everything was peachy and I kicked the habit of porn. The reality of any addiction even after you give your life to Christ, your flesh still fights against your spirit. I tried very hard to turn from what I knew was wrong, and felt was wrong in my spirit. I felt dirty and empty after looking at images or reading something that I knew I would be ashamed to share with any other person. I never told ANYONE because I was ashamed.
       When my husband and I got married I had certain expectation about what sex was. This caused so many issues in our marriage till we figured out that it is NOTHING like what the world was telling us it is. We were married quite a while till I had the nerve to tell my own husband that I still struggled with pornography. It wasn't till I was 24 years old till I put it down for the last time. After years of wrestling with something I knew in my heart was wrong, I finally gave it totally over to God. This drastically changed my life. I had to change my whole way of thinking in my marriage and my relationship with Christ.
     I won't get into all the marital problems we had, but I will tell you we were very close to divorce. Was it because of my unreal expectations in our intimate time? Partially yes. I dug into the word and learned what God expected me to be as a wife, and not what the world told me would feel good. I am very private about my intimate time with my husband, but I will tell you if you submit yourself totally to your husband as the Word tells us to, it is very liberating! I with hold nothing, I do not use intimacy over my husbands head. It is not a tool to be used to your advantage, rather it is the bonding agent that holds you together as one.
     It was at this time God began to heal my physical body as well. The word tells us what we are to think on. Things that are lovely, things that are of good report, things that are pure. When your thinking changes to align with HIS will it allows Him to do a mighty work in your life. My encouragement and advice is if your mind is not thinking on Philippians 4:8 you need to change things that are taking up space in your mind. Please remember that a house divided against itself can not stand. If you would not be proud to share what you're reading with Jesus himself, maybe you shouldn't be reading it yourself.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Janavieve's miracle part 2

     The last conscious moment I have is being in the operating room and having the dr.'s tell me this is it the baby had to come out now. I had never had a baby so early, I was only 34 weeks. They told me they were going to put me under general anesthesia and I should take deep breaths. I breathed as deep as I could thinking if I took real deep breaths I would go out quicker and they could get her out faster. They put something in my IV and I went out with a scream, it burned so badly.
     I looked at the clock and it said 12:30, I felt my belly and knew my baby was no longer in me. In a very groggy state of mind I looked to my right and saw a nurse typing on a computer. I pulled myself together as much as I could and asked him how my baby was. Without even looking up from his computer he told me he didn't know anything. Being a mom of six I'm experienced and have bs radar. I looked to my left and saw the anesthesiologist walk in the room. All I wanted to know is how my baby was. You know that look people give you when you are at a funeral of someone you love, the head tilt and the look in their eyes that say they feel bad for your pain? Well that was the look I got from this doctor. I asked him how she was, it's all I wanted was to know how my daughter was. He took my hand and this was his reply "Mrs. Gibson you need to prepare yourself. Last time I saw your daughter she was limp, there was nothing there."  I looked at him and shook my head, at this point I was speechless. He had no more information other than that. In my state of grogginess before I went over I must have said something because he told me he could tell I was a woman with strong faith, I barely remember telling everyone in the room that God was in control. Then he asked if he could pray with me. God knows what you need and when you need it.
     I found out later that while I was in surgery they shuffled Doug from room to room for four hours and never told him a thing about me or the baby. We were reunited in what would be my room for the next two days. My room filled with doctor's nurses and people who would be flying on lifeflight with Janavieve. They began to tell us how my placenta ruptured and by the time they got into the baby it was hanging on by a hair. When they opened me up and took her out the baby was not breathing and was totally limp. On top of this they had no clue how much and how long she went without while she was still in me. 4lb's 10 oz's Janavive had made her entry into this world. They began to tell us what they thought would be wrong with her IF she lived.
     After telling us all the what IF's they proceeded to inform us that they didn't expect her really to live the lifeflight to Danville. Then the hardest question I ever had to answer. If our daughter were to code on the way what would we want them to do. Doug and I had talked about this many times in the past. I looked at the nurse practitioner and told her it would be unfair to her and selfish of Doug and I to keep her if God wanted her. I looked at her with tears flowing down my face and told her that she should let her go home if she codes. I begged them to allow me to be transported with her, but my request was quickly denied.
     They wheeled her isolate into my  room and told me we needed to be quick, but I could take a peek at her. I told every doctor in that room that if God allowed her to live that they were going to witness a miracle. I couldn't emphasize enough how great our God is. My vision was still very impaired and all I could see was a little head of hair. I asked them if it would be ok for Doug and I to pray over her before they took her. I put my finger in her little hand and this is what I said "Lord we thank you for Janavieve's life. If there is some reason that you need to take her we are ok and at peace with it, BUT if you will allow us to keep her we will care for her and love her. Please send you angels with her in her ride. We pray you are with her and you're will is done with her little life. In Jesus name. Amen." I told her I loved her as the rushed her out of the room. She wasn't even past the threshold of the door and I looked at Doug and told him to go.
     Word traveled quickly through our family and friends that we had the baby. That afternoon two of my very best friends came to visit and pray with me. One of them had lost a baby herself full term because of a rupture. When she came in the door I started crying. The first words out of my mouth was "how did you do it?" We shared, cried and prayed together. I was never so happy to have friends as I was at that moment. They traveled a long way to come see me and stayed as long as they could before having to leave. At the end of the night all the nurses who had been there all day came into my room gave me hugs and told me they would be praying.
   The next two days were the longest days EVER!! They were trying to get my blood pressure down and get my platelets up. I think I blew every vein in both my arms in those two days. I got very few updates on the baby, all I wanted was to be united with her. Every time Doug would call me with an update it began "well she's alive." I didn't know what was really going on, but I had a strange peace way down in my soul. I knew MY God had this. Through the night I kept waking up and the first words on my lips was "Thank you Jesus." Thanks to some amazing nurses they got me discharged so I could be with my baby by her third day of life.
     I learned quickly that even by her third day of life she was surprising her doctors. I had talked to one of them on the phone the day before and told her we were expecting a total miracle for our baby girl. I think they thought my reality was clouded, when the fact is I knew what could have been, but I knew what my God can do, and that is my reality. At one point even our pastor from Rev Tab had gone to pray over her and met some of the doctors. He told them they didn't know our family and God had done miracles in our life before, and He'll do it again.
     Within 24 hours she was out breathing the ventilator, which means praise God, I never had to see her on it. Test after test was getting better and better, but they were still warning that her future could be hard. We had been told she could have CP, or retardation along with a list of neurological disorders. I held fast, and still hold fast to the fact God's in control and I'm not going to worry about it.
     The next 3 weeks she spent in the NICU which seemed like forever, but in reality was a very short stay. I hardly ever left her bedside unless it was to sleep, eat or go to the bathroom. The whole time she was in my feet were still so swollen I could barely walk, my incision hurt like mad, and my vision still was to the point I couldn't see clearly across a room. What I was going through was nothing compared to what she was going through. Her little face is what got me through everyday. That and the company of my 12 year old daughter who literally kept me together. She would carry my bags and help me put my shoes on, she is such a blessing.
    The day came that finally they let us go home. The nurse practitioner that rode with her in lifeflight came to me the night before we went home. She told me she was a miracle and those prayers must have worked. She had seen how bad our baby was and thought there was no hope, and never thought that we would be taking such a healthy baby home, and so soon. Tests they had done and only one came back questionable. That one is the one I still let in God's hands, and it's a biggie. She is home, but still surprising doctors at appointments. I know HE allowed her to live, HE has sustained her life, and HE won't fail her! Only God is the giver of life and only HE will write her future.

Janavieve's miracle part 1

     Life is a beautiful thing and so often we forget what a miracle having a baby is. We found out first hand how fragile life is and how quickly it could be taken from us. I have always believed that only God is the giver and taker of life. After our experience with our baby girl I  believe it now more than ever. The events of March 13th have changed the way I see the birth of a baby and my faith for the rest of my life.
     Last July we were thrilled to find out we were expecting another baby. Because of the loss of our precious baby the previous September we decided not to tell anyone. The end on August we told our children and asked them to not tell anyone. They were all thrilled with the idea of a new sibling, except Joel he could care less one way or the other. Anyone that knows Joel knows that is just his personality. We waited till almost Thanksgiving to tell friends and family that we would be welcoming a baby the week of Easter.
     The doctors considered my high risk because of my age and the size babies I typically have (between 8 to over 10 lbs). This pregnancy went so smoothly for me. Other than the usual complains of being uncomfortable, pain in my sciatic, and major headache's, this pregnancy was going well. My iron was good, I wasn't puking my guts out, and for the first pregnancy I could actually eat.
    At week 23 we had our first ultrasound. I'll never forget the look on Doug's face when the tech told us we were going to have a girl. Neither one of us could believe it, but were thrilled that we were going to have our second daughter. After having five boys, we thought Jada would be the only girl we would have.
      Some questions were raised about the baby's size at the ultrasound. The doctors wanted some blood work done to see if I had contracted a virus that would cause me to have a smaller baby. Many appointments were made in the following months to check the baby's size and growth. Everything looked fine. The blood work came back negative for the virus. Over the next few months we watched her week by week grow. We had gone to maternal fetal medicine twice a week until week 33 when they were happy with her growth and told me I didn't need to come for a check up in three weeks. During this whole time I was never worried about the baby. I knew God had her in his hands.
    That weekend I had worked maybe a little harder than I should have. By the end of the weekend my ankles were as big as my thighs. Monday I went to the doctor with concerns about all the water I was retaining and pain in my lower abdomen. The doctor had me go to labor and delivery and hooked me up to the non stress machine and took some labs. Two hours later a nurse came in and said labs were good and I wasn't in labor. She asked me if I was ready to leave. I told her if the doctor wasn't going to do anything else there was no sense in sticking around. About a half hour later he came in and told me I could go.
     Even after I got home I still felt like something wasn't right. Taking doctors advice I planted my butt on the couch and didn't move, even to make dinner. The kids made dinner and waited on my every need when Doug was at work. I was still in so much pain I caved and took a half a pain pill cause I just couldn't take it anymore. The kids were hungry for a real meal come Wednesday night, so I ordered out. For the first time in a while I was really hungry. I ordered a personal Stromboli and pizza for the kids. The baby was moving fine and everything seemed ok when I went to bed that night.
    Four am I woke up for no apparent reason. Usually I would wake up about four or five to go to the bathroom, but I didn't have to go. This was one thing that was concerning me for three days previous to this. I was drinking like a fish, but it seemed everything I was drinking was being retained. I was so swollen at this point I had no dip in the middle of my back, I couldn't bend my knees and I had no ankles. When I woke up I noticed my vision was messed up. I opened my computer thinking if I waste time online I'll get tired and fall back asleep. When I opened my laptop I couldn't see the screen. My computer looked like the words were like looking into a funhouse mirror.
     I spent a few minutes waiting for my eyes to focus when I noticed I hadn't felt the baby move. This was very unusual since her active time was when I slept, 4 a.m. was about the time she felt like she was doing aerobics. I got up and started walking the floor and rubbing my belly where her head was sitting (in my upper right side). When this didn't work I went downstairs and got a cold drink and took it upstairs. I was determined to get this little lady to move. I was patient and tried for an hour to get her to give at least a little kick....nothing.
     Doug had just drifted off to sleep about 2 hours before I had come running (or as much as running a 7 1/2 month pregnant woman can) down the steps freaking out. I kept yelling over and over again "Doug wake up, something's wrong." Now that I look back at it I can laugh, but this morning I was in no laughing mood when his reply to me was "I'll go check your bed." often I would come and get Doug through the night to remove little bed hogs from my bed. The only thing Doug heard in his sleep was that I was annoyed, so he immediately thought someone had kicked me out of bed. Instead of answering him I proceeded to grab my coat and paw through  his drawer for the van keys. Doug looked at me like I was crazy and asked what I was doing. I had the phone in my hand calling my midwife. At this point he was starting to understand something was wrong.
    My midwife told me to rush to the nearest emergency room. As I was hanging up Doug was putting his pants on and grabbing his coat. I was so swollen I couldn't get in the van. Doug lifted me in and got in the drivers side. We sat in the van as Doug was going to let the van warm up. I must have had panic in my eyes cause after I told him I was afraid the baby was no longer alive in me, he drove like a mad man to the hospital.
     Once I got to the hospital it didn't take long till I was hooked up to a bunch of machines. The next 2 hours was full of poking, prodding and puking on my part. I had one nurse tell me I ruined her for Stromboli for life. Poor Doug sat in the corner sleeping. Once they got the baby's heartbeat he figured the baby was fine. I kept telling the doctors and nurses he just got home from work and to just let him sleep.
     Janavieve's heart rate was fine at first. I still wasn't feeling her move. The first time they lost her heart rate I started getting worried. They worked for a while and found it (in the same spot it was before). Dr.'s came in and explained to me they may have to do a C-section, or I may just need to stay for observation for a while, but I shouldn't be worried at this time. It wasn't long before her heart rate dropped to 80. They put the oxygen mask on me and told me to breathe deep. It seems like only seconds passed and her heart rate was gone. With poor Doug still sleeping in the corner they rushed me down the hall for an emergency C-section.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Motion of Mercy

   The last few months have been crazy, but at the same time blessed. As most know that have read my previous blogs Doug was laid off in January. As a result of that (because insurance was going to laps) I had major surgery to fix an issue that was preventing me to eat for the last seven years. My surgery was scheduled for the same day as Jada's birthday. I felt so bad, but I had no choice. Between Doug not working, and me being laid up in bed our lives have been less than normal. Doug took on the role of full time cook, clean, educator, nurse maid ect...
    When you have a house full of little mouths your first concern is always making sure belly's are full. Second you worry about keeping a roof over their heads, heat in the house and all the other expenses of having a family that fall under that. Through this time God has been faithful to his word.  Phil 4:19 "And my God will meet all your needs according to is glorious riches in Christ Jesus". I can't tell you how may times we didn't know where money for bills would come from, but somehow it was there. Our freezer and cupboards have been full, sometimes overflowing. Even the small things you think are small, God has taken care of. My boys were given hair cuts at an affordable price, two ladies from the church came and cleaned my kitchen, and straightened my living room. When I was in the hospital Doug would not leave my side, not even to eat. Someone we didn't even know brought Doug a hot meal and snacks to get him though the rest of the day. God has shown us time and time again He has not forgotten us.
    So what is the motion of mercy? It's keeping the cycle going that has been started. The mercy that has been given to show to someone else. So how do you do that when you don't have much money to give? So many people think that a blessing needs to come though money, while sometimes that's true, money is not the only way to give. I've been blessed with talents God has given my hands. Recently I started painting on canvas, and finding I'm...not great, but not bad either. I've given some of these as gifts. While this is not the way I'm use to giving, and maybe it's not as big of a blessing as what I have received, I pray it still blesses someone. There are so many other ways you can give. Check in on an elderly neighbor, offer to babysit for a busy mom, take a turn in your churches nursery, take someone sick a meal....the list goes on. This keeps mercy in motion.
     This brings us to the last 24 hours. I promised Jada a special day since my surgery was on her birthday. When I found out that Francescia Battistelli was coming to our area I knew this would make up for her birthday. Jada listens mostly to three artists, Franny being her first choice every time. I learned they were selling VIP tickets and went online and bought them right away. Francescia has been such a blessing by being a Godly role model for my daughter, I had to do something special for her. We took a gift bag for her with us to the concert last night. Without all the minor details of what was in the gift bag, the one thing we gave her was one of my paintings. Jada was so shy she couldn't give it to her, then asked her if we could get a picture with her. Jada's dream of meeting someone she looks up to came to pass. We took our seats and were enjoying the concert. During intermission a man came up to us and handed us a bag with all kind of Franny goodies were in it. Blessed again, there were shirts, and wrist bands all kind of goodies that I couldn't afford to buy Jada, They all had been given to her. What I thought was a little thing (giving a painting and other little goodies) came back as a HUGE blessing I wasn't expecting. Little is much when God is in it. When we got home we found that Francescia had liked the painting so much she tweeted about it.
    Next time you're thinking about doing something for someone, but maybe you think it's small and unimportant, let me encourage you to do it. You may find that keeping mercy in motion may not only end up blessing them, but it might bless you too.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

March For Life

     Since the loss of our baby in September I've become much more passionate about things in this life. One thing is life it's self and protecting the gift that it is. I've always been pro life, but not with the passion that I've had recently. Fact is life is a gift only God should be able to give or take, and taking a life is murder!
     When Doug was layed off I said jokingly to him "We should got to the March For Life". I knew full well this was not number one affordable for us, and number two it would be a strain on our only working vehicle. My wonderful husband knew my heart and told me if I could find a ride I could go. I didn't think that would be possible either, at this point I was sure all the people I knew that were taking buses would be full. Tuesday night I made calls and face book posts looking for a ride. At this point it was still an impossible desire and was sure I would be watching the news reports from the comfort of my own home for another year.
     I believe when it is the right time for something in your life to happen it will. Thursday night I got a phone call from my friends husband telling me they had room, and if I wanted to bring Josiah they had room for him as well. I was excited for the opportunity and told him both of us would be there to catch the bus at 6:30. My stomach had been very acidic all day Wednesday and I really didn't feel well. I was sure it was just another passing episode from my hernia and by morning it would be gone.
    I had no clue what I was expecting to get out of this experience, but I could tell by the feeling in my spirit early in the morning it was going to be a powerful day. When I woke Thursday morning my stomach was still reeling. I had only gotten about three hours of sleep, partly because I was excited to go and the other part was the amount of acid in my stomach. Josiah and I got dressed in as many layers as we could get on, but because I'm at the end of my laundry for the week neither of us could find socks. At Christmas time all the other kids got gloves but because of the size of Josiah's hands, the gloves we got him were way too small. Needless to say not only to say we didn't have gloves either. At any rate we warmed the van up and started our journey at 5:45 with the first leg of our journey to Stillwater Christian Church to catch their bus.
   We climbed on the bus and got seats next to our good friends the Bakers. Someone gave us a blanket and a pair of gloves just right to fit Josiah's big hands. Once everyone was all settled in we began in prayer. God spoke into my spirit and told me this would be the day I would become a voice for one that was never allowed to have one. I know my kids think I'm a  big bawl bag, but when I feel something bigger than me, I can't help to be moved to tears. This was just the beginning of a multitude of feelings that would flood my day.
     We stopped at Burger King for breakfast. My stomach still twisting and turning I was happy to be stopping for a bite to eat, maybe putting something in it would calm it. I guess I must have been pretty eager to get off the bus cause missed all three steps and ended up at the bottom of them on my rear end. Josiah just looked down at me like to say "really mom" while I sat there laughing at myself, I looked at him and said "well are you going to give me a hand". After brushing myself off and trying to walk in BK with some dignity, we ordered our breakfast. The only thing that looked non greasy was oatmeal and fruit. I'm no food critic, but it was misleading and tasted horrible. This made me feel worse than before we stopped. At our next stop I bought some gram crackers hoping that would help. It settled it for the time being, but I still wasn't feeling the best.
     We arrived in Washington at noon. It was quite a bit warmer than when we left PA, but still cold. The woman that organized the trip insisted that I take a blanket and wrap around myself because I didn't have gloves. We had a considerable walk from our parking area to the metro rail.Once off the metro rail we had another good sized walk from there to the rally. By the time we got there the rally was finishing up and the march was ready to begin. I was a bit bummed because I was very much looking forward to the speakers that were lined up to speak. A young man sang "God Bless America", and again I was brought to tears. For some reason every time I hear those words sang it brings tears to my eyes. We gathered in our small circle of 23 and all prayed before we began to march.
    I think we were the last ones to get in the line, in the street we started in. Just like a traffic jam even though the front of the line moves, it doesn't mean the back will for quite some time. We were quite a distance from where the march's official start line was. About an hour after waiting we began to move. However in that hour there was plenty of excitement around us to keep us entertained. Many groups around us began chanting around us things like  "We love babies yes we do. We love babies how about you." and another group would reply back. So many young people excited to stop the killing of the innocent, gave me hope for future generations. This current generation reminds me of the scriptures in Isiah 59. No one cares what's true and honest. Lawsuits are created in lies just like Roe V Wade. The lawyers that pursued that case did it for their own agenda. If you read "Jane Roe's" book you will understand exactly how this case came about, and how now she is a pro life advocate. They do this to shed innocent blood. Maybe with youth like this we may have a chance to redeem our nation.
     Once we began moving the pace was slow. Just as we started the wind started whipping and snow began falling. Thanks to our neon yellow-green hats we were able to spot each other quickly, and when would get separated, would stop and regroup. We were shoulder to shoulder with people we didn't know, but everyone was well mannered, and many smiles and pleasantries were passed back and forth. Many times I have little or no patients for big crowds, but this one seems much different than any other I had been in.; no one was rude, or pushy.
    After our second or third turn I began to hurt. My joints didn't want to move and I felt frozen, not because of the cold, but the pain that began to shoot all over my body. It was about this time we passed a group that had a running video of an abortion being performed. I looked up just to see the arm being ripped off a nine week fetus. I pulled the blanket over my head and began to sob. Just as we turned the corner again was another large poster of pictures of aborted babies, up to 24 weeks. They were thrown away like garbage. The pain through my body began to intensify, my friend Lisa kept encouraging me I could do it. Every time I felt like sitting on the ground I would pray for strength. Every time someone would ask me how I was I tried to smile and tell them "I'm getting there".
   After seeing those images I told the Lord I just couldn't take one more step. I felt strong in my spirit the reason I was doing this march. We have been given certain rights in this nation including "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" these babies were never given any of their rights, the one they had (life) was taken from them. These babies never had a chance to make a walk like this, they never got the chance to feel the joys or the pains of life. If I could stand in the gap and give just one of them a voice, I needed to finish this.
   The next corner we turned were women standing in a line in the middle of the street. They all had signs telling how abortion had hurt them. I wanted to wrap them all in my arms and make their hurt go away. I looked as many as I could right in the face. By the time I came to the end of their line, I had to pull my blanket over my head again because all I could do was sob. As I reached the Senate building a man was standing on the corner. He must have seen the pain on my face. He patted my back and said "you can do it, you're almost there". This gave me the final boost I needed to get to the end. As I reached the Supreme Court building I remembered, last time I was in D.C. I had to get around in a wheel chair, again I began to cry. God has been so good to me, the feeling He gave me at the end of this march, I could never put into words.
   Even though the pain was great I managed not only to walk all the way back to the metro, but also back to the bus. Thanks LARGELY to Josiah and Lisa. Literally Lisa gave me a good push back up the hill to get to the bus. I took two pain pills and crashed on Josiah's shoulders on the way back. My stomach was still hurting so badly, I wasn't thrilled about the thought of stopping at a buffet for dinner. I knew I needed to try to get something into myself though. Because of the weather we ended up stopping at Arby's instead. I managed to get down a small sandwich, and some green tea.
   Back on the road, next stop home....not so much. Next stop was special, just for me. About an hour after we had dinner I knew I was going to be sick. We won't go into detail, but the acid had gone through me on both ends. About an hour and a half later we were back to where we picked up the bus in the morning. Josiah and I jumped in the van. Because of the snow the roads were pretty bad. It took us about an hour to get home. I jumped in the tub and reflected on my day.
    Even though I ended up with a bruised rear end, a sore body, and fluids of a vial nature pouring from my body, I don't regret my trip. I was given a life to live, I'm thankful to my mother for respecting my life by giving birth to me. I'm thankful God has given me the ability to walk, and in His continuing to heal my body. Finally I'm trusting in Him to take care of my acid issues in my body, weather that be by Divine intervention, or though the wisdom He gives to a doctor. My fight will continue to abolish abortion. My passion for life greater now than ever before.