Never Again

Joe and I were listening to a sermon recently by a pastor named, Samuel Rodriguez. The sermon was entitled, “Never Again” and really spoke to us both on so many levels. He talked about the story of Noah in Genesis 5:32-10:1. One point he really touched on was the promise God made to Noah in the end, where he says,
“Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”
The phrase “never again” resonated with me so strongly. For days, I would hear it over and over in my head, wondering what God was trying to say to me through it. In the scripture, Noah and his family had just come out of a storm. Though it was rough at many points, and even leading up to it they had to deal with issues, they made it out unscarred and then God gives them this great promise, “never again.” I could not help but to see the parallels in my own life and see what God was saying to me through this story and phrase.

We have talked so much about having more children and to be honest, I go in and out of fear when it comes to it. Clearly, this journey has not been easy for us so far. I am always tempted to worry about something horrible happening to us again. Lately, when those thoughts arise I hear the voice of God so clearly saying “Never Again!”.

I learned a few things from the scripture and that sermon about Noah that we can all apply to our lives and the storms we endure:
Noah was obedient… Despite the naysayers, despite the doubt he must have felt at some point, and despite any limitations and obstacles, Noah was obedient and as a result his family and future generations were blessed.
Noah was prepared for the storm… He worked hard for many years building the ark, despite the obstacles. He prepared his family for the storm. Likewise, we must be spiritually and physically prepared to endure whatever comes our way. The week leading up to Nia’s delivery Joe and I were both studying Job. Throughout the entire process, those scriptures kept coming up in my mind. Because of that preparation, my heart was different, my prayers were different, and I never doubted God’s plan in that moment.
Noah praised and worshipped God when the storm was over… Many times we like to shout that “we made it!” when we get out of a storm and forget who the glory is supposed to go to. The full verse quoted above actually reads, “Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” (Genesis 8:20-21). Noah’s praise was pleasing to God and led him to make that wonderful promise.
The ark landed on a mountain… As a result of the storm and the height of the waters, the ark was raised high above the earth. Sometimes your storm will leave you on higher ground in life spiritually, physically, and mentally.

I am looking with excitement towards the future, not just in terms of growing our family and having more children but in everything. When that fear does creep back up I will just pray those very words that have been floating around in my head and heart for the past few days… Never Again! And I will watch as God fulfills His promises!

He is here!: Baby Nehemiah Joseph

Initially, I was a bit hesitant to share the news of Nehemiah’s birth. I was afraid, nervous, and excited all at the same time. I realized, however, that Nehemiah’s birth is apart of our testimony and it would be remiss of me not to give God the glory and honor!

Nehemiah Joseph was born almost two weeks ago on February 25! Check back tomorrow for his birth story!

Preparing My Heart

Our son’s arrival is less than a month away. Naturally, we are so excited and of course there are some moments where we are afraid. I realized that I am still mourning and healing in many ways from the loss of Nia. At the same time, I have a little man coming very soon and I need to prepare. I have written previously about the nesting that most soon to be moms experience in third trimester. The nesting that involves preparing the house, decorating the baby’s room, deep cleaning the home, etc. And while that is certainly going on over here (poor Joe as my parents would say), I saw that I needed to prepare for my son in another, very important way. I needed to prepare my heart.

I read so many stories and articles on moms who lost a child to stillbirth and how they felt when their next child was born. I have to be honest that some of it scared me. I suppose that is why my doctors tell me to stop googling stuff! Some of the articles and forums were full of mothers sharing how they felt detached from the new baby, how they experienced severe postpartum depression, or how they kept seeing the child that they lost instead of the child currently in their arms. I read those articles and my immediate response was “O, surely that will not be me!” I just assumed that I would feel different than these women. As I continued to think about it, I realized that I need to prepare my heart to receive this blessing and I had to do more than just say that I would not feel how they felt. But I had no idea where to start. Of course, I started googling for articles on preparing for a new baby after a stillbirth, but I was not finding what I felt I needed. The articles that were popping up were all about the childbirth experience and going back to the hospital. So, like I should have done from the beginning, I turned to the word of God.

I needed to first rejoice in the beautiful miracle happening inside of me. To stop fearing what could happen and what did happen and truly rejoice in what God was doing now. I saw that in Psalms 127:3,
Children are a blessing from the Lord; the fruit of the womb a reward.

I needed to gain strength and courage from God in preparing to become a mother again. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Corinthians 2:9,

My grace is enough; it is all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

I also needed to allow myself to get excited about the pregnancy and my son. I used to feel like I had to in some ways suppress it because I did not want to get too attached. I was living in fear and not enjoying a moment of the pregnancy. I had to let all of that go, trust God and get excited! I had to allow myself to feel joy when I saw his little face and body during the ultrasounds, to feel excitement when he does those belly shaking moves, to sing songs and talk to my son with joy and hope, and to share my feelings with those around me.

And, I needed to pray for my son. I quickly noticed that initially all of my prayers were geared around one thing, fear. I would pray that the pregnancy would go well and that I would not have to endure what I endured previously. I would pray that my son would live. I got so caught up in praying for my fears that I forgot that this is the child that God promised me. While, I still pray for those things, particularly in moments where I feel weak and afraid I tend to focus most of my prayers now on his life. I thank God for his life, I pray that he will grow to be a strong man of God, I pray for his future, I pray for his wife and children. I also pray that God would continue to equip Joe and I to be the parents for him and all of our future children that God has called us to be.

Amazingly enough, focusing on not just preparing our home, but also on preparing my heart for my son has given me so much peace. I know that we are bringing him home and I want to work to make sure that my heart is ready to receive such a wonderful blessing!

I’m So Happy For You!

                         “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15

That scripture hit me like a ton of bricks one day. It definitely felt like the world kept moving even though I was down  and out last Spring/Summer. People kept having healthy babies, getting engaged and married, buying houses, etc. They were living life and from what I could tell they were happy while I was at home feeling miserable and unable to walk on my own. It used to bother me so deeply when someone would text me or call me and tell me that this person just had their baby and how adorable they were. Or that someone else had just purchased a home and it was beautiful. I would hear of how this person or that person was expecting and the entire family was so excited. All I could think of was how I once felt like that. I envied their innocence. You see when nothing bad has ever happened to you in a particular area it is so easy to be almost child like in your excitement. It is also very difficult to get that feeling back once you have experienced the other side.

So what is a girl like me to do? I was so hurt and heartbroken but I felt horrible that I was not able to truly be happy for other people. Then I realized that I did not want their house or baby. I wanted my baby and she was gone. I realized that just like I have my burdens and heartaches, so do others. Finally, I realized that if I continued like I was that I would be an ugly person on the inside. So I prayed about it. I prayed that God would grant me peace, that I would be able to be happy for my friends and loved ones without considering myself, that I would learn to be selfless in my thoughts and actions towards others, and that I would learn to be a better friend. I wanted to be able to rejoice with them. I then started praying for my friends. I prayed that they would all bring healthy babies home, that they would never experience the pain that I felt as I buried my first child, and that those children would be blessed.

I always wondered why I was surrounded by so many people who were having babies at the same time! I mean it is like non-stop! But it is such a blessing and has enabled me to grow so much in so many ways. I am thankful to God for granting me peace and for blessing my friends with healthy babies. I am looking forward to next month when you all will also be able to rejoice with me as we bring our baby boy home!

Pregnancy Update

Well, I do not do many of these at all. But I decided to do something different this week. This coming weekend we will be in month number eight and officially in the homestretch. I can say that I am truly excited and believing that we are bring this baby home. I still have moments of extreme fear or flashbacks to what happened the last time. But we are trying so hard to remain faithful and continue believing God for His best.

From day one, my mother has called this baby the Promised Child. He is my dream come true and truly an answer to my prayers. God does not make promises He does not plan to keep so I try to also keep that in mind when I am having a difficult moment. Other than those moments, things are going great! We are entering the phase where we have so many appointments due to our last experience. So I get to see my baby weekly, sometimes multiple times a week, which I love! We also get updates on his weight which is kind of exciting. I had no idea last time how big Nia was and was shocked that my little body could produce an eight pounder! This time they are monitoring his weight closely so I am not sure that he will grow to that size in the womb. At 28 weeks he was almost three pounds so I am excited to see how much he weighs next week.

This baby is also super active. I have never seen or felt some of the acrobatics he does daily, but I love every second of it. Even the movements when he rocks my belly so hard it hurts. I still consider those movements sweet reminders that my God is faithful.

So as we continue our journey through this pregnancy I just ask for your support and prayers.

photo-18

It’s About the Journey

I am sure we have all heard this said many times, “It’s about the journey, not just the destination”. I know I have and at some point it just started to blend in with all of the other quotes that you hear out there. Now, that quote is real to me. I see so much better now that everything that has happened in the last year has been a part of this new journey we are on. And while I do not always understand things when they are happening I am learning to be thankful for God’s faithfulness through it all.

This week we took, what I feel was a major step in moving forward. We finally packed away all of the baby girl clothes and accessories as we prepare to bring our son home. I thought for some reason this would be a simple task because I have been so excited to shop for boy clothes and shoes. I was definitely wrong and did not expect to experience the emotions that I did. A few weeks ago, we took down some of the wall hangings that were specific to Nia but packing the clothes was a completely different experience for me.

We were in Wal-mart purchasing the bins to put the clothes in and before I knew it, I was crying right there in the middle of Wal-mart. We came home and I went in the room with Joe and we went to work and the tears just started to flow once again until I found myself sobbing. Joe asked if I wanted to stop and take some time, but I did not want to delay it anymore. I am completely committed to preparing both my home and my heart for my son and I know that this is just a part of the process or the journey. I think the thoughts just flooded my mind as I placed outfits into the bin. I thought about how excited I was to hang everything up and organize them by size. Or how I used to picture her in certain outfits and try to think of clothing that I had to match them. I used to create hairbows to match her outfits because I decided that my baby girl would always have a hair accessory. As I packed those clothes away I also had to flush those feelings out.

I feel better now that it is done and there is no longer anything hanging over my head. We are truly, wholeheartedly moving forward and preparing to bring our son home. And I know that this was just another part of our journey and another piece of our healing.