Thursday, May 29, 2008
Next, I thought of Abraham and Sarah, the barren couple who God had promised he would make the father of many nations. In other words, give them lots of descendants, which means children! They waited and waited for their promise to be fulfilled, getting older and less fertile each month and year that passed. Abraham is known for his great faith but it took some training for that faith to grow to the level God desired it to be. Abraham failed many times; taking matters into his own hands, lying to protect his own tail feathers, following advice that was contrary to God's plan (albeit from his wife whom I'm sure was normally a great source of wisdom!). When I was sharing all this with Andrew he said, "Abraham should have stayed focused. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."
Seriously, how many months went by where they wondered, "Is this the month?" How many times was Sarah a few days late and starting to get excited, only to be disappointed again. That had to be difficult, yet still they had God's promise, regardless of how things looked to the outside world.
Why do I keep questioning God when he's confirmed to me that he does have a plan and will reveal it bit by bit? If you've followed my blog, you'll notice an amazing thing. Each time I have a day of confirmation, blessing, or complete trust, it is followed, almost immediately, by a day of testing, trial, and confusion. A time where all the earthly "signs" are stripped away and I'm left with the question, "Do you trust me?" My faith is so weak, but each time I say, "Yes, Lord," no matter if it's whispered, I am met with great strength and peace. Through these ups and downs it's become almost a habit to say "Yes" to God. Each time he's met me, each time I'm blessed. That is what I call training! I'm being transformed. This lump of clay, in the potter's hands, may someday be a useful bowl or vase or mug.
If you've never said "Yes" to Jesus, I want to encourage you to trust him with your life. He created you, he loves you, he died for you, paying the price for your sin. Say, "Yes" to Jesus. If you've accepted God's grace already I want to encourage you to let him lead you. When trials come allow him to mold you through the process. Open your eyes to where God is moving and join him.
"Jesus, thank you for dying for me. I am imperfect, unable to enter heaven because of my sin. Thank you for paying the debt for my sin with your own life, and giving me eternal life in heaven and relationship with you right now. Use me for your glory. Grow me into who you designed me to be. Help me to stay on the potter's wheel even when it's spinning fast, you're pressing hard, or I'm being stretched. I want to be a useful vessel."
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Next she asked me about my visit with my previous doctor to find out what tests she had already done. Nada!! I told her the story and that I felt God was severing those ties because He wants me to move on. She nodded.
So, the next part of intake was reviewing previous pregnancies and deliveries. We start right off with Faith of course. I told her again how we chose to carry her to full term and how God still uses her life to bless other people including our kids. She looked at me and said, "I'm a Christian, too, and we had a baby that was born a month early and lived for 3 months." She shared with me how his little life was used for God's glory as well. There is a special bond between people who've walked the same road. That time was a blessing.
Then it was time to hear the heart beat. There was so much tension as she searched around for that tiny heart. I kept hearing my heart beat, it's slower and louder, then all the general body noises it picks up. Then finally, faintly at first, we hear it, that fast little heart beat. Then she readjusts and there it is, so strong and steady. Music to my ears. Had the girls not been there I'd have let my guard down and cried. It was beautiful. This is my fifth time hearing that precious sound and it's never been less of a miracle. I tried to help the girls understand what they were hearing but I'm not sure they did.
The girls did really well considering how much waiting was involved. It was a little awkward when I had to pee in a cup. On one hand I didn't want the girls in there because I don't want them copying me or sharing the experience with their friends. On the other hand, what am I gonna do with them. So, in they came, and as they stood wide eyed, I explained, "Do not try this at home!" In fact it was extra special because I had to collect one "sample" then stop mid-stream and collect another in a different cup. Phew! Talk about stressful.
Then they got to watch me get my blood drawn, 9 viles full. Thankfully only one poke. I was surprised by brave little Mia's sickened face. When the doctor asked if she'd like to take blood when she grows up she definitively said, "NO!" Sierra didn't really know what was going on but they were both interested in my bandaid and owie after it was all said and done.
The whole visit took about 2 hours and was pushing into lunch time. Since the parking situation is so bad over there we had walked to the appointment and needed to walk home, so I decided we would stop by the snack bar for some sustenance on the way out. The girls each got Doritos and I had a scone. Then we made the trek back home through beautiful Bush Park. I kept thinking what a wonderful experience for the girls to hear their baby brother or sister's heartbeat. They must really feel special about that.
"So," I asked them, "What was your favorite part of my Dr.'s appointment?" "The Dorito's!" they shouted. The Dorito's! After all that, they liked the junk food the best. "Well, I liked watching you try to go potty in the cup" Mia followed up. Great, glad I could provide that experience for you. Then again at bed time, when I asked them what their highs and lows were for the day, sure enough, Mia mentioned the cup thing again. Well, at least she learned something about the health care system.
The whole experience was really a testimony to me of how well God can take care of me. I feel much more confident that I will find someone wonderful to deliver this baby in Washington.
Monday, May 26, 2008
The first subject that caught my attention was that of pain. He says that one thing that sets America apart from most other cultures is our pursuit of a pain free society. I let my mind wander a bit trying to decide if I thought that was true or not. I thought about the natural laboring that women do around the world, the miles of walking in no shoes, cooking over a hot fire, etc. When I was in Mongolia the balance that the missionaries wanted to have was that they help with physical needs and meet people in their practical pain but also that they don't lose their focus of meeting the underlying bigger need of Jesus. Our speaker suggested that God uses pain to direct us where to go and when we only seek to alleviate that pain we've eliminated a drive in our lives.
So I thought about my own pain. I've learned so much from the pain I've walked through. I didn't take anything away from the pain I ran away from. Short term I was more comfortable, but long term I was left weaker because going through my pain actually made me stronger. Let's take a sports analogy; had my coaches taken away the pain of the training that took place in practice and in the weight room I never would have had the strength to compete in the games or been able to experience success on the court. My trial and error in practice, and the repetition of doing things the right way prepared me to have the right reactions in the game.
The speaker, who works in recovery ministries, stressed the long term importance of not stepping in to ease people's pain but to walk beside them through it. I missed some of the next part but he said as they are coming through their pain our role should be to be committed to the truth, both the truth of God's word and telling the truth. There's no point in putting frosting on a pile of dog poo, it's still dog poo at the core. Let's not pretend that everything's the proverbial "Fine. How are you?" all the time, and let's not allow others to do that either. The vital part of truth is grace. We all know our own biggest failings and faults in painful detail but the rest of the story is that Jesus Christ already paid the high price for those sins. Our acknowledgment of our own "badness" can only be matched by our recognition of God's immense love for us. He paid the price, it's a balanced scale. If we spent as much time reflecting on the greatness of God's love and forgiveness each time we fail as we do beating ourselves up I think we have a much clearer view of who God is.
Finally I'll just give you some of my notes as food for thought:
- Embrace your own limitations, we're not God.
- Relationship and accountability are proportionate. Seek out relationships and pursue depth in them so that you can create accountability for each other.
- The opposite of anger is patience.
- To change you need new information or new ideas (the old way is not working), time, and you need others (we were designed for relationship).
- My emotions or thoughts are mine and yours are yours. Don't try to cross those God given boundaries to try to change people's thoughts or feelings.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I really feel like I've had the best doctor and now I'm forced to look for someone else, someone, presumably, that is less than the best. It was quite a hit to my already hormonal, emotional state. Even while I was working on cooling down my red puffy eyes before I left the doctors office, the thought hit me that this tie was being severed so I could let it go and commit myself to Newport and whatever doctor God has for me there. After talking to my dear, wise friend, who I'm glad will always be only a phone call away, I was reminded that I have been praying for doors to close according to God's will. That's true, only my thought was, if they were to close, they would be closing in Newport not in Salem. Not only did this door close in Salem but a few doors opened in Washington. The first one was insurance. Given our tight budget in buying the camp, I was concerned about adding the costs of having another baby and trying to get insurance while I'm already pregnant. With our income to expense ratio at the camp, I learned that we should quite easily qualify for Washington's First Steps program, a state insurance program that will cover all my prenatal and delivery expenses and covers the baby for the first year, too. I was also encouraged that there are several general practitioners in Newport that deliver babies and the hospital has decent delivery rooms with jacuzzi tubs, or I can choose go to Spokane for an OB/GYN. That gives me some things to think about anyway.
Well, through all this, the thing Andrew wanted me to take away is that it's time to start saying "Goodbye" and plan on leaving in just a few days (16 to be exact!). All things have been saying, "Yes we're going" and if something changes we'll cross that bridge then. I cried again. It's been hurry up and wait for so long, I can't believe it's just around the corner and I keep thinking that something is going to happen to take it all away. Another friend said it's like, by not looking forward to and planning on the move, I'm trying to protect myself from getting disappointed if it doesn't happen. Oh me of little faith.
Well, I guess there's plenty of work to do, both on my heart and on the house so I should wrap this up. By the way, God has provided an alternative doctor here in Salem who accepts self pay patients. I'll be able to see her twice before I leave, and yes, I'll get to listen for the heartbeat next week! Also, they only see patients up to 24 weeks so I can't put down any roots with them.
Please remember us in your prayers as there is a lot to do and a lot going on and I don't want to rush through the last moments here in Salem. Thank you.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
1st: Andrew, Christy and 6 week old Sierra (who slept in the stroller since neither her crib nor her pack-n-play would fit in the room) slept in what I eventually wanted to be the media room. Josiah and Mia were in the big bedroom upstairs, which was to be for the girls in the long run.
2nd: Andrew and Christy still in the "media room". Josiah in the smaller upstairs room. Mia and Sierra in the bigger room.
3rd: Andrew, Christy, Mia, and Sierra in the upstairs big room. Josiah in the smaller room.
4th: Andrew and Christy in the big room. Josiah, Mia and Sierra in the smaller room.
5th: Andrew and Christy in the smaller room. Josiah, Mia and Sierra in the larger room.
Tonight is our 6th arrangement: Josiah, Mia and Sierra are on the floor in the would be media room. Sierra is in the closet, don't worry it's a big one. Andrew and I still have mud sandings all over our room and the bed (I use that term lightly since it's now only a mattress on the floor) is still under wraps. I'm beat and it's only 9:00pm. I may make due with the couch tonight and I have no idea what Andrew might do.
P.S. Just to let you know how fried my brain is I have to tell you about this dumb little thing that just happened. When I went to spell check this blog it actually highlighted my name! So I looked up it's suggestions and, of course, it had Christ. I don't mind that because sometimes I do run my words together incorrectly and make new words with different meanings. Like if I meant to type "Christ your Savior" but accidentally typed "Christy our Savior", I'd like the spell check to ask me about that just to save the embarassment or any misunderstanding. But the spell check also offered Christa, Christi, Christye, and Christie. Now, I've been a Christy all my life and I've run across many different spellings and variations of my name, but Christye??? Even Christie and Christi aren't very common and most Christa's are with a "K". Christy with a "Ch" and a "y" or a "K" and an "i" or "ie" are the ones I see most often. Anyway, just had to share. I think I was with the kids too much today. I feel like I've got all these words built up in my system. You mix that with fatigue and I could go on and on!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
So, I'm praying for you! I hope I can hear what God is doing in your life, I'm sure I can learn from it, too.
Monday, May 12, 2008
The kids of course have some ideas of whether it is a boy or a girl. Josiah is routing for a boy so that things will be evened out. Mia is routing for another girl, just because. Sierra doesn't seem to have an opinion. With that in mind they are beginning to suggest some baby names for us to consider. I'm always excited to hear what the kids might say because you never know, they might hit on a really good one and what a great story that would be!
Right from the beginning Josiah has been suggesting Jake. For a couple of years now he has had an imaginary brother named Jake. He and Jake have grand adventures together, living in caves and hunting for dinner. He really thinks that is a great choice. I do like the sound of Jake but I'm big on the meaning of names and Jake is a derivative of Jacob which means grasping the heal. Remember Jacob was grasping at Esau's heal when they were delivered. Being an oldest child though, I always hated how Jacob stole the birthright from his older brother. I know this was all a part of God's plan, but it just never sat right with me. So, for now, I'm reminding Josiah that imaginary Jake is his age but the baby won't be able to go on an adventure for quite some time, even if it is named Jake.
Then tonight, when I was tucking Mia in and she was again telling me how much she's been wanting a baby, she told me she had a name for the baby. "What is it Mia?" I asked. She looked right into my eyes with the greatest sincerity and clearly said, "Cherry."
"Cherry?" I asked.
"Ya!" she said.
I tried to formulate a good response, one that encouraged her love of this new sibling and desire to connect with the baby by choosing a name. Unfortunately my brain is so flooded with hormones right now, it is just hard to think sometimes. I sat there another moment and, try as I might, I just couldn't keep it together... I burst out laughing. Finally, I was able to pull it back together enough to say, "That's a beautiful name, Mia, very happy, and I like the color red. Um... maybe we should wait until we know if it's a boy or girl first and then we can start thinking about what to name it. Or, maybe you can use that name for one of your babies."
Well, I just had to share those two stories! I think names are so awesome! I put a great deal of thought into the names we've chosen for the kids and there meanings and namesakes. It helps that we pick 3 names for each of the kids, not just two. It's such a wonderful discovery figuring out a child's name and it's always been awesome to see how perfectly named each one is. I can't wait to learn who this new one will be.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
This Mother's Day I first want to send a special note of love to the women who long to be a mother but who have not received that blessing, or who want more kids and for years that has not happened, or the women who are grieving the loss of their child this year. I do not take lightly the gift that my children are. I know too many of you who may feel disappointed that this year wasn't the year you get to celebrate Mother's Day as a mother. I remember the first Mother's Day after Faith had died, I was so sensitive. Are they going to have the mother's stand up? Do I count? What if they hand out the carnations? Should I take one? It could have been a more difficult day but there were several people that took the time to specifically remember me and honor me as Faith's mother. I'm guessing it was hard for them to decide if they should do anything or not. There was probably fear that they would bring up sadness or maybe make me cry. But quite the opposite was true, well not on the crying part but that couldn't be helped! The cards I received were such a blessing, simply because I was remembered.
Thank you mom for teaching me early on the importance of transparency, the depth of God's grace, the ability to change old patterns of behaviors, and the power to transform a mistake into an opportunity for growth just by asking for forgiveness. These tools have been invaluable to me in my parenting. Thank you for the millions of things you do to help me, support me, and encourage me. I'm glad we have a close relationship.
My Mom and Grandma at the Oregon coast in 2005.
Grandma, thank you for desiring to know us more and have a strong connection despite the miles we've always had between us. I still remember the summers visiting you guys, swimming in the pool, getting to give you your insulin shots, and being the star attraction when you showed us around to your phone company coworkers! The family meals together when the "Galeazzi girls" got together were the beginnings of my attraction to large families. Even more so when we visited Iron Mountain and hung out with all the extended relatives. I love it! Thank you for singing for the "old folks" and for caring for Auntie Ann and Uncle John. Your example of honoring and caring for our elders is much needed in our society.
My Mother-in-law Joan, last summer in Ione.
And, Joan this Easter, leading the kids in Resurrection Eggs.
Joan, thank you for including me in the family immediately. I've loved the family reunions and get togethers since before I was even family! Thank you for your example of sacrificial love and service. You're also a great example of being flexible, going with the flow, and making the most of the moment. From you I've learned to make a good plan but always be prepared to re-plan. Also, I must take a moment to acknowledge your ability to make the best sandwiches, salads, and cookies and to resourcefully use those leftovers!
Happy Mother's Day!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Here he is at 3 1/2 as a Rescue Hero, complete with yellow rubber boots which you can't quite see, saving a puppy!
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
In 1998 & 99, when I was pregnant with Faith, I initially felt that things were what they were. I was dealt the "extra-chromosome-incompatible-with-life" card. How I dealt with it was where my faith had the opportunity to grow. I really wrestled with praying for healing because it wasn't an illness to recover from, so my response was to just trust God's outcome and leave it in his hands. I was then approached by a woman who increased my vision of who God was and how awesome his capabilities were. God was knitting Faith together, he could remove that strand of extra chromosomes throughout her body. But I felt like it was like praying for someone who's already died. Yes, Jesus rose from the dead and while he was on earth he raised a few people from the dead. Does he still raise people from the dead? That was where I was challenged to go. That God is who He was. That thought was incomprehensible, but I walked in it anyway and was blessed for it. So when Faith died and I saw her imperfect body, I knew the answer to my "Will you fix her, Lord?" was, "No." What I sometimes wonder is, was that just part of God's plan, something greater that I'll understand later? Was it a result of a sin laden, imperfect world? Or, did I lack faith? Was there too much doubt in my pleadings to God? Did I hold him back at arms reach and say, "Ok, do what you can."
I know there were times I had great faith, and there were times I was consumed by doubt. I really related to Peter, walking on water and then nearly drowning, within minutes of each other.
I guess my confession is that I still don't fully trust God to move us to the camp and wrap up all the details in the sale of the business and bring a buyer for our house. It's crazy, but these things seem impossible and I'm afraid to hope for such an awesome ministry and a great lifestyle to raise our children in. Beyond that, I even tend to doubt that if we get there we'll even be able to make if financially! On a more personal note, I doubt I'll find a doctor as wonderful as Dr. Morgan, and how can I deliver a baby without my mom and Vicki cheering me on. How could we find a church as great as Salem Alliance?
I think doubts and fears are normal but as we mature and keep giving them to God we experience him meeting us over and over in the midst of them. The more we know him, the less power they have. This is where Satan comes in to slow down our faith growth. He adds weight to the doubts and fears and clouds our picture of who God is.
So, here is my perspective now. God said, "No" to our raising Faith at every step of the pregnancy. From the first ultrasound, to the in depth ultrasound at Emmanuel Lutheran Hospital, to the amniocentesis results, to the very low estimated birth weight, to the heart that had stopped beating, and finally to her lifeless body. Being before God asking for healing and searching the Bible for direction allowed me a new depth of understanding and a close walk with God during that time. Though the answer was "No" I benefited greatly.
Now with the camp, God has actually continued to say, "Yes" at each turn. From the accepted offer, to the loan for the camp, to the buyer found for the business, to the acceptance with American Missionary Fellowship, and even down to the encouragement and support from friends and family. I am still before God asking for his favor and searching the Bible for direction, but Satan constantly reminds me of the possibility that all this could go away, and our sale and deal are still not 100%. Honestly, each time I gain confidence, a new obstacle comes that really sets me back, but we've never faced a closed door. Satan tells me, "This is just like when you had Faith and look at that outcome!" I see how different this is than that. I don't believe this is purely another learning experience, though there has been tons of that! I also know I will see it all more clearly in a couple of months. I believe we are being prepared for action and I'm trusting God for the many details that I can't control.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
FAIR WARNING: The following is not for the super faint of heart, nor lovers of turkey's in general.
It is with regret that I must inform you all that a turkey has finally lost it's life at the hand of my brother. He informed us he had a "full proof" plan, I had to clarify that he meant to say "fool proof", just to be sure. Upon scrutinizing the plan I decided that it did fall into the former category but, since I was not invited along nor was I expected to fulfill any roles, I decided that he and my dad would have to figure out how to make the plan fully fool proof without my help. The plan was for my brother to camp out and keep quiet with the gun poised and ready to shoot while my dad went around the backside of the gaggle (is that what they call a group of turkey's... or is that geese? ...anyway!) and he was to chase them up toward my brother to meet their pending demise. Walking towards a loaded, aimed gun?? That doesn't sound like the safest, most fool proof plan I've ever heard. Strangely my dad didn't seem to have a problem with it. Well, his plan did finally come together at the end of the day and although my dad had quite a work out chasing down the foul at least he didn't get shot which was my biggest concern.
Thoughtful Uncle David brought the carcass by for the kids to examine. They were so excited I could hardly keep them from gouging the eye out of the socket and Josiah is convinced he wants to shoot a turkey now, too. They all begged for feathers as souvenirs and Uncle David said he would save some for them.