Friday, July 25, 2014

When God says "No"

As Christians, we're taught to cushion our prayers and petitions with "as long as it is Your will, God…" 

But what about when God answers our prayers with an emphatic "No"? Not "maybe" or "not right now." But black and white "No."

For the past few years, our family has felt incomplete to me. I have felt a growing longing to have another child. I have prayed that God would either grow our family or settle my heart, still my desire for another child. 

This week, we found out that the baby we lost last month had Down Syndrome. 

And, just like that, God has swiftly answered my prayer to grow our family with an emphatic NO.

Sure, we could try again. But, with 5 early miscarriages, 2 babies lost with Down Syndrome and Bodie's heart defect, it would just feel like bowling in a field of land mines. The risk of major medical issues would just be so high. And our life is so complicated, between our housing situation and Bodie's medical issues, to intentionally try to bring another child into the world with such a large probability of special needs. 

We would have loved any child that God chose to bring to us, and embraced his or her disability. But, to knowingly try to get pregnant with such high odds is a whole different scenario.

And yes, adoption is always a possibility. But, I think anyone who has watched our life unfold in the past year would agree that our life is hardly stable enough for anyone to want to place a child into it.

And so, just like that, the door is closed. 

No, actually, it's flipping locked and they don't even make the key anymore. 

And so I find myself desperately trying to open a locked door, saying "WAIT A MINUTE! What the heck just happened here? WHY is that door closed all of the sudden? I swear it seemed open a second ago…I'm not ready for it to be closed - I need to talk this through first!!!"

We have prayed that God would guide our family decisions. 

And He has.

But not the way I ever expected.

Certainly not the way I anticipated when I prayed for Him to guide and grow our family "according to Your will, God, not mine." 

Did I really mean that? Would I have really meant that had I known what HIS will really was?

So what now? What, then, do we do when God answers and we don't want the answer? 

Do we kick and cry and scream? Do we plead and try to negotiate? 
Always my first instinct. 
I don't think I ever reached anger in this, or anything we have faced in the past few years. I don't know why, except that it never makes much sense to me to be mad at God. But I have definitely wrestled with sadness, with wanting to understand. Struggled with not understanding why He continues to allow the pain in, wrestled with wanting to take my life from Him, and manage it as I see fit. I have this thought that, if only He would allow me to help Him manage my life, and, heck, the entire world, things would run a lot better. 

And yet, I know it is futile. He is the creator of the universe. What could I possibly know about running my life that could even pale in comparison to how He would run it? And, I know He loves us. More than I could ever even begin to fathom.

He knows the pain I have in losing so many children from my womb. He knows my confusion, my sadness. He feels everything. And He loves me through it all. What immense comfort there is in that. 

So in answer to what we do when God answers and we don't want the answer? 

We pray. And then we pray some more. And then, when we think we're done, we hit our knees and pray some more. We pray for understanding, for enough understanding to find peace. We pray for patience to wait on His timing and goodness. We pray for forgiveness, to get past the hurt, the wrongs and the disappointments. And we pray for softened hearts.

We seek out wise counsel. We talk to pastors, to counselors, to Godly Christian friends. We ask them to pray with us, and for us, and over us. 

We seek out His comforts…in friends He has sent to walk alongside us, in "coincidences" that make our journey to recovery a little easier, in family members who love on us. We choose to see His hand not just in the bad, but in the good. 

We open our Bibles. Even if they're dusty and haven't been cracked in awhile. Maybe even moreso in that case. We seek out His promises. We ask Him to remind us when He has provided in the past, to provide gentle reminders that He is always there and always will be.

And we pray for HIS will…even if it's not ours. 
Especially when it's not ours. 


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Big Wishes for Little Guys

Bodie's Make a Wish wish grantors came over tonight, to tell him all about his wish. What an incredible evening. I don't remember the last time we all smiled so much.

What a blessing.

Bodie's wish was to meet Lightning McQueen and Mater. 

So, we're going to Disneyland to meet them!

Bodie with the sign our wonderful wish grantor, Lewie, made for him. 
 Bodie and Lewie with the amazing sign. 
(you can't really see it here, but on the bottom left, it shows Mater saying "Where's Bodie?" and on the bottom right, it shows Doc Hudson saying "He's on his way!"

 They gave him the coolest Cars suitcase. I'm pretty sure it's coming to bed with him tonight. 
Not to be left out, they also brought an adorable Belle dress and other goodies for Sierra!
 Bodie with Lori and Lewie, his wish grantors. 
 Both of the kids with Lori and Lewie. I mean, could you die from the excitement on Bodie's sweet little face? 
 We're super excited to wear our MAW shirts to the parks!
If you really want to experience Bodie learning about his wish, check out this video!

 I'll leave you with this, the "money shot." Right before they left, Bodie lept into Lori's arms, giving her the tightest hug.
Thank you to Make a Wish for making our boy feel so special!

We probably won't post specifics on our trip until after it happens, but just know this - it's big, it's coming, and it's coming SOON! We're so excited!!! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Healing Journeys

We got back on Tuesday from a crazy, wonderful, hectic, relaxing and just plain awesome summer vacation. The vacation was wonderful and healing, on so many levels.

It was healing for me, physically and emotionally. I had my d&c on Tuesday, June 24th, and we left for our vacation on Wednesday. That vacation seriously could not have come at a better time. I needed to get out, to get away, to go somewhere that didn't have constant reminders that just days before, we had been pregnant and excitedly expecting a baby. There was no question that we'd go on vacation as planned. 

And it was healing for our entire family. This was our 4th time doing our family vacation to Tahoe. The first year, we brought 02 for Bodie just in case. He didn't need it, but we watched him like a hawk. The second year, he did great. Last year was the most frightening family vacation we've gone on yet, with Bodie just way too close to his Fontan and in constant arrhythmias. It was just an all around rough vacation.

But this year was SO different. For the first time, we weren't constantly checking his sats, worrying about how purple he was, listening to him get so winded just from walking up the stairs. He was pink, he had tons of energy and he was so robust. It was a whole different ballgame this year.

It was the vacation we've been waiting 4 1/2 years for.
The vacation we never dared to dream of.
Tahoe 2014.

We did a lot of our usual stuff, things that have become part of our traditions..
Swimming and beaching
Getting tatted up
Loving all over Grandma Jan and Popo Alan!

Eating ice cream at our favorite, Susie Scoops!
Taking a trek up to Virginia City.
(where did this beautiful girl come from???)
Taking our annual picture at the Mt Rose sign,

And this year, we tried some new things!

Mini golf for my birthday.
(For the record, Sierra LOVED it - and was pretty good at it for her first time. Bodie, on the other hand? I lost count of the number of times he threw his club...or his ball...or just threw himself on the ground sobbing because he couldn't get the ball anywhere near the hole. It was super fun. Or not. Ah well, there's always next year.)

We met a group of paramedics who offered to let us go inside their van and told us all about what they did. Bodie (who wants to be a paramedic when he grows up!) was moderately impressed. Dusk and I were totally impressed. The paramedics were pretty impressed, too, with our Bodie man, and his cardiologist for allowing him to come up to elevation.
 We stumbled across the sign, which made Bodie's day!

 And arts and crafts at the clubhouse - pottery painting
 and mosaics.
 We tried our hand at racquetball

Finally, we finished our vacation with a couple of days in San Francisco! SO fun! 
What is that saying - the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco? Yep, that was pretty much our experience. But even so, we had a wonderful time!
Our vacation was exhausting. But totally wonderful and fun! Such a blessing for us! Praise God for our health that we can make memories as a family like this!