Friday, December 11, 2015

"Consider it Pure Joy"

James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

I feel like I have not been standing the test with my life this year. So much has happened.  I feel like I'm living in a whirlwind of problems, disappointments, and let downs.  It all started with the passing of my precious son, Josiah.  I miss that boy so very much. After we lost him, I just wanted to get our lives back on track.  To get organized, finish the house, start homeschooling, and enjoy our family together.  A whole "wish list" of family activities and adventures. Then two weeks later, I had a positive pregnancy test!! First time ever, bawling my eyes out, crying out to God; why now!!! My pregnancies are usually painful, long-suffering, and require lots of patience; not to mention that it takes 9 months to get through!  I cried for many weeks. Maybe months. It wasn't that I didn't want another baby, it is multi-layered.  1. I wanted to get "my life" back in order-pregnancy was like a big bolder being put right in my path with no way around it! 2. I didn't want everyone to think this new baby is a replacement of Josiah.  3. If I had to be pregnant it needed to be a girl, please Lord, I begged.  As we all know, we do not serve a God that grants laundry lists of requests.  We serve a God that loves us, will never leave us, nor forsake us... Duet 31:8 "The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” I wanted it all my way.  "I can't handle life this way, please make it that way, Lord," I cried. You see, God gives us more than we can handle. I know that firsthand.  But He goes before us and ever leaves us that way!! The cliche statement, God doesn't give more than we can handle is completely and utterly incorrect.  God has taught me to fully lean on him or I will crumble to pieces.  I know that truth, but forget it often.  If God didn't give us more than we can handle, we would not lean on him to get us through.  I cannot do anything right, I've been trying to live my way for way too long.  I have escalating anger, impatience, I've been un-compassionate towards others, and I've been spiraling down the path of depression.  I need my Lord more than ever and can't handle this life on my own. Our family has gone through more  in 3 years than most families do in their entirety. No human is meant to face these hardships alone. God promised us he will be with us. His strength gets us through. Philippians 4:13 " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." You see, God gives us more than we can handle so that we depend on HIM. God receives more Glorfy from leaning on him and allowing him to work in us rather than granting my laundry list of requests. I don't need to feel like I'm alone, I'm not. God is here and will carry me through, if I let him. If I was just handed a gift basket full of my "desires and must haves" I would not grow in Christ and glorify him. Instead of fully trusting Christ these past 10 months, I've  been relying on my own strength, fighting God's will, and seeking my own desires.  It's easy to convince oneself that my list of desires is not wrong, but really needed for my life; but that lie from Satan just isn't true. We need trials to mold us and make us like Christ. Part of me hates typing that truth. James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." Having an organized house, family, and schedule is not a Sin nor is it not achievable; it's the attitude of the heart that is the sin problem. I cannot request a list of desires and expect them to all to be granted as if Christ is a magic genie in a bottle.  Christ will give our family the strength to pull through and some day I will not be living in survival mode. To get there; I may need to give up some of my wishes for my life and my children's lives. Raising the children my way won't get them to heaven only Christ does that. John 14:6 " Jesus answered and said " I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the father except through me."

My ideal life plays out this way...I'm married to a wonderful husband who does no wrong; selflessly lays his life down for me and the kids.  He works just enough hours to adequately provide for the family.  He takes time with all members of the family individually.  We go on dates weekly to enrich our marriage. He seeks Christ daily, reading together God's word and praying continuously. My children are little adults that obey our every command and they do everything selflessly. I didn't lose Josiah in February, he was completely healed from his disorder and stayed here with us. Isaiah isn't struggling emotionally and behaviorally since he never lost his brother in the first place. And an added plus, he is allergy free. Jasmine is perfect in every way. Micah doesn't have childhood apraxia of speech, low muscle tone, and secondary sensory processing disorder. And my newest, Elijah, is healthy, growing exponentially, nursing strong, and worries no one.  His home birth was picture perfect, just like him. What a perfect little life that gains us nothing but False happiness. What's wrong with this picture? It's a perfect scenario, perfect life.  Gaining no perseverance, learning no patience under trial, and God receives no glory. There's no room for God in my perfect ideal life. John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I've been struggling these last ten months. I had to do the unthinkable.  How many mothers have had to hold their baby and watch him die before her eyes? It was agonizing. Being so helpless and not being able to fix him tore me apart.  Losing him has changed me. I hope for the better. My heart hurts in more ways that I thought was possible. I fought so hard to get him home and call him my son.  22 months later, he was gone, just. Like. That.  In a moments time, he was taken.  In an earthly human sense, that's what happened.  But it was much much more than that. God used Josiah's little life to reach hearts across the globe for His glory. Josiah belongs to God, he is HIS child.  I was just given a few years to care for him, protect him, and allow God to work through him. He is my son, but has always belonged to God.  God did heal Josiah and Josiah now lives in paradise.  "Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds." One day we will meet again but until then I must allow God to finish His work in me, here on earth.  A part of me died with Josiah, but I must live on for Christ! "Consider it pure Joy when you face trials of many kinds." The Lord never said we would get one trial than live a perfect life.  I should be full of Joy! Why do I believe such lies. It's true, Isaiah is emotionally scared from the lose of his brother and I know Christ will see him through. He is starting counseling on Tuesday.  Please be in prayer for him.  His behavior has been increasingly worse since Elijah 's birth.  Since I brought it up, let's talk about Elijah's birth. My first hospital birth.  My midwife retired and we could not afford the newer midwife in town to have a home birth. Reluctantly, I decided to have a hospital birth. I worked with Dr. bell at Aspirus hospital. Throughout the whole pregnancy, Dr. Bell kept reassuring me that my "birth plan" wasn't crazy or wierd. I wanted to keep my baby in my room at all times, and give no drugs or vaccines to baby until 2 months of age. This is our 5th child and this is how we have done things with our newborns (aside from JoJos birth-he was adopted). No big deal he said. In August I was positive for GBS. A bacteria found in the gut of most people at different times in their life. Mostly harmless to adults but can cause serious life threatening issues to a newborn if found in birth canal. In August I was treated for it. At 35 weeks I was negative twice for GBS. Out of precaution, I was still going to be treated for it through IV in labor. They need 4-8 hours for it to be effective. My labor lasted about 3 hrs. I was at the hospital 1 hr before he was born. Therefore, we denied the IV knowing there wasn't enough time. Dr. Bell was a great OB and I have nothing bad to say about him. For the first time in his career he delivered a baby on a squatting stool.  My doula and a close friend along with my wonderful husband were also present- it was wonderful. Mr. Elijah River Was born on November 9, weighing 8 lbs 1.7 oz and 21 inches long. The family practitioner that Evaluated him said he was "healthy as a horse." We were going to stay 48 hours to watch Elijah for symptoms of GBS, just to be sure, because of the positive test in August.  (Two negatives, 3 weeks before he was born). Elijah's first evening, 12ish hours old- he started gagging and spitting up clear stuff.  I was told this is normal newborn stuff.  This happened with Micah so I was ok with that answer. He had an episode of strange breathing that my 3-11 nurse evaluated, had a second nurse evaluate and we determined he was fine, normal newborn stuff. 11 night nurse came on shift. Elijah's ID band fell off, I requested a new one. They said he didn't  need it, the security band has one on him. He spit up milk a few times, which concerned me. They said he was fine. The night nurse wanted to weigh him before his next feeding. I called her in around 2 am. He gagged and spit up clear stuff. Sounded like more was deeper so I allowed her to deep suction him. As she was doing deep suction, he retracted. He fully recovered once I was holding him. No worries. Nurse said it was normal newborn stuff. I was back in my room, holding him, and was going to feed him.  The hospital staff decided he was going to be transferred to NiCU, given IV antibiotics and dextrose, against my will with no symptoms.  They took him from me and said get out of the way.  My biggest fear had just come true.  I couldn't get in touch with Patrick and they took my baby away. They started treatment for GBS. I told them I was negative.  "If there is a problem with him I'm concerned about him spitting up milk not GBS. You could be treating the wrong thing"  Elijah was asymptotic and was given an IV, two kinds of antibiotics, and dextrose without my approval and without Identification on him! When they transferred him, they removed the security band before leaving birth unit.  We stayed in NICU for two days.  Elijah seemed fine and healthy. Test came back negative for GBS. The same Doctor that stated "he's healthy as a horse" called me on the phone and stated " you should have had your baby at a different hospital, it was a can of worms!" I couldn't believe my ears! "Consider it pure Joy to face trials of many kinds."
At Elijah's  two week check up he wasn't back to birth weight; 7 lbs 12 oz. (3.7 oz to low). Dr started getting concerned. Super daddy and I were concerned about the spitting up and chocking on it. When lying on his back, Elijah would spit up and chock on it. We all decided to focus on nursing more and see if he recovers on his own from the chocking behaviors. So we did that.  He gained enough over the weekend and wasn't chocking anymore so we thought we were going up hill from here. At 3 weeks old he reached birth weight. At 4 weeks, he lost 6 grams. This was yesterday. I was devastated. He isn't growing. "Consider it pure Joy when you face trials of many kinds." We started supplementing with more breastmilk. He has gained 56 grams overnight! Praise the Lord!  Please be in prayer for him.  He still seems to be "off". He has a recessed chin that may be contributing to his low weight gain. He tires easily while feeding. Please pray that I trust the Lord with the outcome of Elijah's concerns.  In spite of his low weight gain and concerns; he is an adorable, loving, and a cuddable little bundle of Joy. I need to lean on Christ for his strength to pull us through this hurdle.
Micah was diagnosed with Childhood apraxia of speech, low muscle tone, and secondary sensory processing disorder recently. Another blow to be perfect world. Another trial for my good and God's glory. "Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds." Micah will not be able to speak without intensive speech therapy. Insurance is denying his therapy. We started sign language with him and a communication device on his iPad. He falls a lot. He has always fallen a lot, therefore, hits his head a lot. This is caused by the low muscle tone and motor planning issues (secondary diagnosis to the apraxia). He is getting foot braces to stabilize his ankles and a helmet to protect his head. In spite of this diagnosis, he is a charming, loveable, and compassionate little guy. We love him to pieces. His diagnosis shows us God's goodness. We are learning to adapt and appreciate the small stuff once again. Josiah taught us a great deal about what's truly important in this world.  Micah's apraxia shows us a glimpse of what we once had.
Jasmine is an almost 6 year old little girl that loves being a big sister ( 4 times over now) she's still praying for a baby sister.  Oh boy, please Lord, can we have some time gap between them. She is in kindergarten at home. She was doing specatulnar before Elijah's birth. Nearly finishing her entire year in 12 weeks on her own accord. Now I can barely get her to anything. I need patience with her and perseverance to continue with homeschooling. "Consider it pure Joy when you face trials of many kinds." In spite of all the trauma in her life,  she is still full of Joy and wonder!

SuperDaddy is an amazing husband, certainly isn't perfect but truly wonderful.  I'm not fit most days to be his wife. He has been doing a lot of the chores and household duties around here to keep us floating. He also needs a break and a good nights rest. I need to give him grace when he stumbles. "Consider it pure Joy when you face trials of many kinds." I pray I can show him how much I appreciate him in a way that makes him feel loved and appreciated. Lord, thank you for my husband who loves me and you.
All these burdens combined with a series of other problems, this mama was feeling burnt out. I needed some good Jesus Time to regroup and give these burdens to Christ. Lord, please help me give these burdens and concerns to you. I trust you will see us through and protect and nurture my family. Thank you for giving me a husband that wants to serve in any way possible to help me and our family. Thank you for giving him multiple interests to keep things fun and interesting. I pray for peace in our home, patience for us and the kids, and I pray we can have a new routine established soon. Please help me stay focused on you rather than on what I think an Ideal life is or should be.