Sunday, January 2, 2011

Joy in God's Faithfulness

Today was a good day.  There were a few things that happened so bear with me, this is a long one... I usually try to do one topic at a time, but I'm letting go of my perfectionist expectation for this one or it will take me forever to do.

First Topic: 
I woke up at 4:30 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep, so I got up and worked on my book... I know I'm supposed to be writing this book.  I am definitely being led by the Spirit.  I pray that God will use it for his glory.   Please remember me in your prayers.

I was flipping through the stations on the radio, which I NEVER do, and it seemed every song was cutting into my heart...

"all through the night" - Cindy Lauper... immediate thought of my night with Rachel - changed it
"can you call it home when your loved ones are gone?" - some rap crap - sadness obvious - changed it

Then as I pulled in the parking lot at church, a song came on and I sat for a second to listen. It's written about a relationship, but the first verse had me stuck in my seat:
I woke up early this morning around 4am
With the moon shining bright as headlights on the interstate
I pulled the covers over my head and tried to catch some sleep
But thoughts of us kept keeping me awake
Ever since you found yourself in someone else's arms
I've been tryin' my best to get along
But that's OK
There's nothing left to say
I pictured Rachel is Jesus' arms.  I thought about my time with her.  I thought about my sleepless night, wrapped up in her empty blanket with only memories to hang on to - and how there really are no words to describe what that does to my heart... and, well, that verse kinda sums that up.  With how numb I was feeling at this point, I didn't expect the day to go great, but I did what I always do...picked myself up and kept on going.

Next Topic:
Denise & I did Rachel's Playground announcement, which was exciting and very well received.  I went to 1st service with her and the Matt & the kids met me there for 2nd service.

Let me give you some background info...  Denise & I were not friends before Rachel.  She sent me a letter after my "how does your garden grow" post, offering to help me weed my garden.  She came over and I thought it was obvious that she was pregnant, but know better than to ever ask that question without the mom saying so first.  So, I waited and as soon as she spilled the beans, I jumped for which point she told me she was due 3 weeks before me, but was a surrogate mother.  It left me with my jaw wide open... having a baby that you can't keep on purpose?  That's a strong woman.  And so our friendship began and she has done so much to help me in the last 5 months.  She never did weed my garden, but she did my laundry, made me a dozen meals, got all the details of Rachel's playground organized up until this point. And just recently, her and her husband helped us turn Desirae's bedroom into every 8 year old girl's dream room, castle bed and all! (pics coming soon!)  All while carrying a baby of her own.

[Side Note: Our friends Brian & Emily (and their friend Kevin) helped us to pull up the carpets to help the kids' allergies and put down new floors in the bedrooms upstairs in the middle of all this!  Couldn't leave them out...thank you!!  We are SO blessed.  It's unreal.]

But, just like Rachel wasn't really mine and I wasn't meant to keep her, Denise left the hospital with empty arms so that someone else could have a baby they desired.  Since I had Rachel 3 weeks early, we had our babies in the same week.  All of this to say that God has provided me a friend who, although the circumstances are different, has just given birth and doesn't have a baby to hold.  She doesn't miss hers like I miss Rachel, but it is a unique bond that we have.  Something most people couldn't identify with. We can have conversations about stuff that I couldn't have with women who have a baby with them. 

OK - so now I've got you up to speed, let me get to the point...  This morning as we sat next to each other worshipping our Lord, the thought crossed my mind that just 5 weeks ago, we were both pregnant. (and huge!)  Now here we sit and the babies we carried aren't with us.  At one point we were both crying and we sat there hand in hand through a song.  My heart thanked God for the friendship he has blessed me with because of Rachel.  Have I mentioned how unbelievably thankful I am for that child??  She was one of the best things that has ever happened to me... the other 4 are upstairs reading together. :o)  She has brought me so many blessings.  I would never go back to the days before her.  I wish she knew.

Next Topic:
I have really struggled with two may want to sit down.  1) what if we're all crazy and heaven doesn't really exist and Rachel really is just dead in the ground?   2) what if this (anencepahly) happens to me again? 

Now I know that neither one of those sounds very Christian like or faithful...but nobody said I wasn't human.  I'm being honest, and although these are things I struggle with, I'm not looking for biblical answers...I do truly believe these things.  If you asked me before Rachel what I thought about these things, I could have given a sure, strong answers... Yes, heaven is real, Yes babies go there, and don't fear, God will get you through it even if it does happen againI mean, look how He's carried you this time, you'll be fine.

Easy to say... before you've lost a baby to anencephaly.  Not so easy to say now.  I know I'm supposed to trust His plan entirely - and you all know I do, but what if it's his plan to make me do this twice?  How would I not be mad at him?  How would my heart survive?  I think I could possibly die from a broken heart.  I would still do it again over not having another baby.  I would rather have another baby like Rachel any day than no baby at all.  Either way, my arms would be empty, but with no baby at all I would forfeit all the blessings, joy and love that a baby brings - even if only for 43 minutes.  But do I want to do that way.

I continually ask the Lord to prove to me that Rachel is with him, and the awesome thing about my great God is that he does.  Not because he has to, but because he cares about my heart.  It doesn't make me feel better coming from another human, but from God... well, that's good news.

So, this morning, I was praying again for him to show me that she is with him (as if He hasn't already done that!) and no joke about 5 seconds later the song ended and Steph, who was leading worship, started talking about Zephaniah 3:17 - except she quoted it wrong... (sorry Steph!)  She said "The verse says that God dances over us" and immediately I pictured Rachel dancing with her Father in heaven.  I sat down with my bible to read the verse, which is when I realized that it says "singing" - and I know she knows that too cause in 2nd service she said "singing" - but during 1st service, right after I prayed, she "said the wrong word" hmmm...what a coincidence.  Thank you God.

The subtitle for that section is "Joy in God's Faithfulness" and it reads:
Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel!
Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
The LORD has taken away your judgments, He has cast out your enemy.
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You shall see[a] disaster no more.
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “ Do not fear; Zion, let not your hands be weak.
The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
I am always careful to not take God's Word out of context... but this morning, I know He was using this (and Steph's "typo") to calm my fears... She IS in heaven.  He IS with me and he IS mighty to save.  He will continue to quiet me with his love.  I will NOT see this "disaster" again.

Joy in God's faithfulness...  He is faithful, even to my heart that is prone to wander.  Even through my disbelief and doubt... through my questions and in my fear.  He is faithful.  That is where I find my joy.

So, to sum it up... I hate the radio, am thankful for Denise and LOVE God.  Told you this post would be all over the place.  I think I'm entitled to a few crazy posts right now.  I'll try not to make a habit out of it :o)

PS - Matt just brought me over a coffee and the mug he gave me has the verse that we put on the cards we handed out at Rachel's service...
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. - Hebrews 11:1
Hmm... what a coincidence.  Thank you God.


  1. Hi Stacy,

    My name is Jamie Ashford and I have followed your blog since the beginning of December. I commented previously to one of your post about my little sister in heaven. I stated at that time, I'm sure she was thrilled to meet Rachel and have a new friend to dance with. My sister lived for 6 weeks of which my mother and father were never able to bring her home either. They traveled a journey through the NICU for 6 weeks only to have to hand her over to our Lord and Savior.

    Yesterday, in Sunday School, we studied 1 Kings 12: 3- 24. We talked about the Anatomy of Grave Decisions and the four principles to consider when making decisions. The four we discussed from 1 Kings were: 1)Take your time, 2)Seek advice, 3)Weigh Effects, and 4)Listen to God. I interruped mid way through our lesson to mention you and your family to our class. I talked of how you had not specifically mentioned each of these steps in your blog along your journey, but how you represented each of them along the way in your words and actions. You had many decisions to make, but never hesitated. You followed our Lord and Savior as your guide and trusted in him to carry you as you have mentioned often along the way. I asked each person in our class to visit your blog in hopes they would find a renewed since of love and Faith in God as I have and continue to do as I read each of your posts.

    I won't pretend to feel your heart, as I have never traveled this journey. I did give birth to a son in late July who was nearly 7 weeks early and spent 2 weeks in the hospital. I too had to leave the hospital with empty arms and have never felt sadness as I did they day they sent me home without my precious son.

    I do know, God gives us trials to stengthen our Faith and to be reminded of his Love and Grace. I know your heart hurts, and often times it may be hard to put one foot in front of the other and take that next breath. But as you continue to face each new day you are blessed with, I pray that you continue to face it with such Grace as you have so demonstrated and that your Rachel continues to share God's love each day. I believe you are doing the "leg work", but your precious Rachel is your guide. Without her, reaching the lost, showing God's Love, and sharing His faithfulness would not have been so as it is today for you or your family.

    Please know your precious Rachel continues to change lives even in small ways. Each time my son has a hard day (cries, irritable, restless, etc.) I think of Rachel and look to the heavens. I find a renewed since of patience as I wish I could so place her into your arms for a few more cries or restless nights. So even in those moments, Rachel is alive and speaking to strangers everywhere, including myself. She continues to be my inspiration to be a more patient mother, loving mother, and to continue to trust that OUR God will "carry" me as he has you, just in a different way with different trials.

    Love to you and your family,

    Jamie Ashford

  2. I love your post Stacy! :) I love that it is real and all over the place. My brain thinks that way often and so I can relate and understand it! :) My husband often can't follow my train of thought though it makes sense to me. God is so good! I am glad He is still giving you His answers and peace when you need them most! All our love and prayers,
    Carrie :)


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes