Sunday, January 29, 2012

Little Zeah :)

It has been delightfully fun to decorate Zeah's nursery!  Here is a pic of her room so far... I LOVE each and every single piece in here-- I have to say it is probably my favorite room in our house.

Monday, October 18, 2010

This beautiful mess indeed......

I am just realizing how long it has been since I last posted anything on this blog. It's kinda sad actually. We have had a busy 6 months-- traveling to Africa, summer fun, and getting settled into school routines again this fall.

I am determined to enjoy life's every moment-- it passes us by so quickly that sometimes I forget to take a deep breath and savor where we're at. 

This past weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to share part of my "story" with the women from our church at our fall retreat. The entire experience was rewarding, stretching, and really challenged me to grow in new areas of my life. I really wanted to share this "story" with you-- so here I am. I am praying that all who read it will be touched in some way-- and challenged to grow and reach out to the One who saves us. Life is messy...  let's take off the crazy "perfect" masks and be real for a moment. Please feel free to comment-- I would love to pray for anyone who has any prayer needs-- or to just listen to your heart. :)

My story

I always felt like my “story” was just average. Nothing exciting- just an uneventful story about me learning about who God is. I grew up in a Christian home- accepted Christ at a young age and can remember always wanting to be close to God. When I was in 8th grade, I remember laying in my bed long after everyone else was asleep and praying God would reveal himself to me- that He would make Himself real to me.... all I desired was deep relationship with Him. When I prayed that night, I remember feeling warm and safe and at peace-- He was with me. There began my pursuit of Christ and relationship with Him.

I continued to run hard after Him-- through many situations in my life He rescued me, continuing to call me forward in my pursuit of Him... From watching my mom go through breast cancer at the age of 45, to having babies, to learning how to balance all of my roles in life-- He was constant and faithful to meet me where I was.

Let's fast forward to the summer of 2002. Things were going well, life was good. I was married almost 3 years to an amazing man who loved the Lord, had a beautiful 11 month old daughter, and was happily just 9 weeks pregnant. It was a beautiful summer and I remember thinking life couldn't get any sweeter. June 21 Jeremiah and I made our way from the wedding rehearsal of one of our friends to his parent's home to pick up our daughter Isabel. We very excitedly shared with his parents we were expecting another baby- but not to tell anyone-- we would announce it to everyone at another time.

June 22 dawned a beautiful Saturday. Jeremiah and I played music for our friend's wedding and left right after the ceremony to change and head to his cousin's graduation party. The 3 of us loaded up into the car and headed out. Driving along- listening to some of our favorite music, I looked around me and was so happy. We were all together- loving life- and God- and everything was perfect. We chose to take a back country road- since we were running a little behind.... We pulled up to a stop sign just outside of Glencoe. Both of us looked and saw no cars coming from either direction. Jeremiah just barely pulled out into the intersection when we both saw the pick-up truck. It was coming from our left. Jeremiah raised his arms to protect himself from what was coming-- looked into my eyes-- said my name and smash.... my whole world changed. The front end of the truck had plowed right into him.

Some people black out in the moment an accident happens- most people remember very little about the actual details, but I remember everything. I was conscious and aware the entire time.

Jeremiah lost consciousness immediately and little Isabel was in the back seat sobbing. I reached my hand back to hold her foot and simply prayed, “God, please help us!” The tires screamed across the road as the truck pushed us sideways down into the opposite ditch. I remember thinking “How can this be happening? Why is this happening?” and so desperately wanting to wake up. Our car came to a stop near a line of trees- the truck still fully connected to the car. Every window but one was shattered and so was every bit of my heart. I looked over at the man I loved as his head rested on the bumper of the truck and grabbed his hand. He was unresponsive at first. I kept telling him to open his eyes and to look at me. He finally opened his eyes halfway and whispered “It hurts”. He was bleeding and crushed-- and not breathing well. I told him to keep breathing in and out... that his children need a dad... that I needed him... that he did not have permission to give up. He kept whispering “I can't. I can't do it.” I held tightly to his hand until the EMTs pulled me away from him. As they put me on the stretcher and into the ambulance, I kept saying “Please, I'm 9 weeks pregnant.... I'm pregnant... what about my baby?” The EMTs finally heard me and radioed ahead to the hospital that I would need extra care. I could hear Isabel still crying in the front of the ambulance. I felt completely helpless. My thoughts turned to Miah and how he was when I left him. “How is my husband? Is he ok? How is he? Please.... please tell me.... “ I must have asked a hundred times-- I could tell by the way they avoided my eyes and my pressing questions and how they kept saying, “Shhhh... just breathe and relax... we're going to take care of you and your daughter.” that something wasn't right.

I was wheeled into the local hospital and went through a series of x-rays, tests, IV s, and finally was wheeled away to ultrasound. Everyone I asked about Miah avoided me. I was beginning to feel desperate. It had been almost an hour. The ultrasound tech was an older woman who was so sweet and kind. She explained we were looking for the heartbeat-- we should be able to see it at 9 weeks. I stared hard at the screen, trying not to cry-- desperately praying the baby was ok. After a moment or two, she smiled and pointed at the little one's heartbeat. Strong and steady. I was overwhelmed with emotion-- beautiful intricate life-- miraculously protected and safe.

The nurse came to get me and explained she would be pushing my gurney next to Miah's to say goodbye. His injuries were severe and he was being airlifted to a Level 1 trauma center (HCMC). They parked our gurneys right next to each other so we were facing one another. I held his hand and he asked if I was ok... and if the baby was ok. We said our goodbyes and I love yous. I was choking back sobs- what if I never saw him again? What if this was it? Did I say everything I wanted to say? In a flash they whisked him away to the waiting chopper and I was taken up to my room. Little Isabel had made it through with nothing but a small rug burn on her left shoulder from the seatbelt on her car seat. I had several cuts on my left leg with a lot of glass lodged inside. My left hip was also damaged. The joint had lost cartilage in the impact and was also fractured. I couldn't walk, was worried about the baby lasting through the night, and all I saw every time I closed my eyes was the accident-- over and over. I was so broken. So desperate for an explanation... for a reason. Miah's lung collapsed shortly after he arrived at HCMC because one of his broken ribs had punctured his lung. He was in the ICU-- in such rough shape. The phone updates I got on his status were not encouraging. He had a broken collar bone, broken ribs, punctured lung, his pelvis was broken in 4 places-- he was just barely hanging on. All I wanted was to be with him.

The entire night was restless. All I could do was cry out to God. I couldn't even lift my head to see Him... I could just barely get to Him and lay it out before Him. I was so emotional and so disconnected at the same time, I knew if I started crying I wouldn’t be able to stop and there was too much at stake to let myself go. I had to be strong. I laid in bed pretending to sleep so my parents wouldn’t worry as they sat by my bed all night long. I was thinking of all of the things I had to do to get out of the hospital to be with Miah.

I still had no answers from God by morning, but I was determined to leave. The doctor came in and told me they wanted to keep me another day to monitor baby and make sure I didn't have any other complications. I told him I was leaving. I said I was fine and that I needed to go. I hadn’t even walked on my own yet. The doctor made me walk up and down the hall on crutches to make sure I could handle getting around on my own. Against their advice, I checked myself out of the hospital and nervously went to wait for my dad to bring the car around.

My dad is the world’s safest driver-- he drives 55 mph and not 1 mile over... he is extremely cautious- the poster child for safe driving. I shouldn’t have been worried- my brain was running through the list of reasons not to be afraid but I was terrified of getting in a car again. I sat in the back of the car, my heart was racing and I could hardly breathe. I had to shut my eyes for almost the entire ride and clung to the door handle. Every time a car drove past us I saw the accident happening again.

We got to the hospital, got a wheelchair and my dad pushed me up to the ICU. We came into the room and there laid Miah. There were tubes coming out of him, he was hooked up to IVs... there were machines everywhere. My heart was so heavy but I put on my strongest face and I settled myself in the single chair by his bed. I sat by his side, held his hand, and whispered to him. I tried hard to keep myself composed as family and some of our closest friends filtered in and out all day. Miah seemed to be getting stronger, but I refused to
leave his side. I wondered what would have happened if he had died and what that would do to me and where I would be. How would I raise two kids by myself? Where would I live? How would I move on with life? I began to see that somewhere along the line, I had started to put my hope and trust in Miah instead of in God.

It was a hard truth to realize that somehow what I found most important and held most dear had shifted from the most important One to Miah. It didn’t happen overnight. It was gradual, but suddenly I was faced with the reality of what I had allowed to happen. We can’t put our hope in man, or in things for that matter, the only One we can put our hope in is God. He is the only one who won’t leave us, the only one that won’t disappoint us, the only constant. After an entire day sitting by Miah’s side, my parents forced me to go to my cousin’s house to get a few good hours of rest. I obediently lied in bed for two hours, I didn’t sleep at all. My heart was grieving at where I found myself—and the picture of where my faith actually was, compared to where I thought it was. I spent the time there seeking forgiveness, begging for restoration and finding comfort in the arms of the One who saved me. My heart was still full of questions and still desperately needing a reason, but there was rest in taking that to Him.

I headed back to the hospital where I continued to sit and wait and pray. Two days later Miah was moved to a normal room and three days later we were sent home. It was a miracle Miah was well enough to be released just 5 days after our accident. We couldn’t go to our own home because neither us was able to take care of Isabel on our own, much less ourselves or each other. Miah’s parents set up a room for us in their living room and were waiting for us to come home. On the way back to Hutchinson from the hospital, Miah wanted to stop at the salvage yard and see the car. When we got there everyone piled out to take a look at the damage except me. Everything was still too fresh and painful; I couldn’t bring myself to look at the car.

When we came home, Isabel and Miah’s sister had made a big sign that said “Welcome home, Mama, Papa, and baby.” When I saw it, something in me broke. I could not be strong a moment longer. I collapsed on the bed and sobbed. I cried for everything I’d nearly lost and everything God had saved me from. I cried for the journey ahead of us and for what God was already starting in my heart. I am still overcome and amazed when I think about God's constant persistence and pursuit of me-- that He never gives up on me, even when I pull away.

The road to recovery was a long one. We both were in physical therapy and Miah was out of work for a good 2 months. Six weeks later we were finally able to go to our home and be together as our own family. I remember being so thankful that God saved us but I was still struggling to see where He was when all of it happened.

Shortly after going home, I met with one of my good friends to talk. I shared my heart and journey with her and my doubts about where God was in the middle of the crash. She lovingly and patiently reminded me that even though God did not ordain for it to happen, He was with me. She reminded me that God promises to never leave or forsake us... just as it says in Deuteronomy 31 vs 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.” She prayed that I would have a clear picture of where Jesus was during the accident. I knew re-living it would be painful, but I desperately needed to see and to know that I wasn’t alone and that I wasn’t left out to dry--that God was with me, even in the middle of my pain. As I closed my eyes and cried and re-lived the accident, I began to see. God was showing me. When the truck hit Miah, I clearly saw Jesus’ body shielding Miah's and covering his face. I looked in the back of the car and saw Jesus hovering over Isabel, protecting every inch of her body. And then I saw myself. I was sitting in His lap and He had His hands over my womb and the baby inside me was safe. I could see Him with us in every moment, in every memory. In the ambulance riding next me, sitting with Isabel when she was so terrified and couldn’t be with me, and riding in the chopper with Miah--keeping him breathing when I couldn’t tell him to. And that is how Jesus rescued us.

He rescued me from believing in someone who’s life is just as short as mine. He rescued me from putting my faith in things that I couldn’t control and he rescued me form holding my heart in my own hands. What a picture of love that God showed me, just like the cross where Jesus took on our pain and our sin and our suffering, where He went through all of it for us. In that same way He was there in the midst of my pain, in my suffering, in my grief, in my heartache--He was holding me.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.” It’s really amazing how God takes the things that happen to us and works them into something beautiful; even though the vision of twisted metal and the sounds of that day will probably never leave me--I see and hear them without the same devastation I did on that day. Instead, they are part of a bigger picture and greater thing that God is doing. An amazing testimony and a story He has written as a part of my life.

God promises to never leave us or forsake us and He takes His word seriously—never means never, even in our worst crisis, biggest pain, greatest heartache He promises to be with us. One of the greatest testimonies that came out of the accident was when I had my 20 week ultrasound. We were doctoring in Waconia at the time and went together to the ultrasound. We were so excited to see the baby again. When we came into the room the ultrasound tech looked vaguely familiar to me. After we started the procedure she looked at me and said, “I can’t help but feel like I know you from somewhere.” Once we finally put 2 and 2 together—we realized she was the same woman who did the ultrasound in Glencoe right after the accident.

The amazing thing was that she had just transferred to Waconia a week before and I was her first ultrasound since being there. She just stared and stared at Miah, “I can’t believe that you’re alive, walking around, and right in front of me.” He smiled and said, “We had a lot of people praying for us.”

She began to share her part of the story. She shared with us the details of that day from her perspective. When the EMTs radioed the hospital to say that Isabel and I were coming in, they said that Miah was dead. They couldn’t find a pulse and he was gone. They said not to rush anything for him, to just get a toe tag ready and they would take him right down to the morgue. Her eyes grew glassy as she told about when she met me doing the ultrasound. She knew that Miah was already gone. She said she felt so sad for me and that no one there wanted to be the one to tell me that he didn’t make it --that he was gone. Then she said the most amazing thing happened. After they’d spent a little better than 20 minutes cutting Miah out of the car they removed the steering well off his chest and he took a deep breath. They radioed ahead and said, “We can’t believe it this guy is alive, tell them to send a chopper, he needs to be taken to HCMC, his injuries are extensive but he’s alive!” She said everyone was amazed that he survived. Just the week before there was another accident exactly the same as ours on the same road- same spot-- but the driver died. God saved Miah's life and healed his body. We were able to share our faith with the woman and about how God rescued us. She agreed it was nothing short of a miracle and was excited to share our story with others.

18 weeks later, we were blessed by the birth of a healthy, beautiful baby girl.... another sweet reminder to us of all God had done.

It took me two years to look at the pictures of the car and was reminded again of how God saved us and His great love for us. I keep them handy now as a reminder to check my heart... to check what I am putting my hope in and to remind me that my help comes from the Lord. He is the one who saves me.

One of my favorite Psalms is Psalms 62:5-8 which says "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge." Oftentimes, it’s much easier to put our hope and trust in what we see. In what’s right before us. It’s definitely not easier to put all of our hope and all of our faith and all of our trust in God. Just as it says in 2 Corinthians 4 vs 18 "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.". God is eternal-- what we see is only temporary. We need to fix our eyes and our hearts on Christ. The prayer of my heart today is to have God be everything I want, everything I hope in, and everything I need every day. It’s amazing to see how God has changed my perspective and my heart since the accident.... especially in relation to my husband.

At the time of the accident, I thought if Miah died there is no way I would survive—I NEEDED him in my life. And now, 8 years later, do I want Miah in my life? Most definitely. Do I want to have him with me for years to come? Of course I do! But do I need him to survive? No..... Would I be okay if something happened to him? Yes-- because my hope is found in Christ. That’s not to say it will ever be easy or without pain, but I know that God will be with me and that HE is everything that I need.

I love David's heart in Psalm 63. David's heart is fully focused on God-- it is apparent where he is putting his trust... and Who his source is. I just want to encourage you to really examine your heart as you listen to the song I posted here. What are you putting your hope in? Where do you place your trust? Is it in your husband, yourself, your friends, your job, your status? Maybe you have never really given your life to God. What do others see in you? Do they see you turning to God when things go wrong or giving glory to God when things are good? I know I have also been guilty of putting trust and hope in myself and what I know I can do on my own. At the end of the day, I want to be able to say that I pursued God with everything that I am. Our lives are just a moment. It’s just a breath and then it’s done. How are we spending our time, how are we pursing God? Are we allowing Him to be our EVERYTHING? I want to know when I leave this life that my heart was completely His. It’s never too late to make God the focus of your heart and the source of your life. 

It's not an easy thing to throw yourself “all in” with God... but we can rest in the knowledge that God won't let us fall. Sometimes it's even terrifying to let go of what we have been clinging to. Following God with your whole heart doesn't mean things will be perfect or without pain-- but it does mean you are never alone. And we can fully trust in that promise. We are not alone. Are you willing to take a risk with God-- even in ONE area of your life??

Kari Jobe -- Pure - Immerse Worship

Monday, April 12, 2010

Family fun.....

is always a treat! We took the kids to Como Zoo and Conservatory. They loved every moment. As did we. It brings me such joy to watch them discover and be in awe of everything- and how their little hearts in turn are sooo in awe of our God, the creator of all this beauty. I long to capture that excitement and pure joy in every part of my own walk with God. He definitely deserves the glory.

Baby Jocelyn......

My sister had her SWEET baby girl in March! She is soooo adorable- and a cuddly one for sure. We ALL love to love on her!

The boys love....

the park! We have a swingset in the back yard-- but it is OH so fun for us to walk the trail to 'Barney' park. We enjoyed a few hours there the other day. These boys are best friends and I love sooo much how they cherish each other. Reminds me of growing up and how much I loved my little sister-- AND how many fun memories we have together. I pray God protects that in them-- and that they continue to grow and love each other more!
Oh yes!! These are BARE feet ;)

March has been.....

sooo beautiful this year. It was so great to be able to send the kids outside without 20 minutes of bundling and only 10 minutes of outside time before someone had to go potty or was too cold.... etc. :) The kids have enjoyed running, playing, swinging, jumping, chasing, and digging. We have enjoyed many days outdoors- in the sunshine- excited to see the grass turning green. Spring always reminds me that God makes ALL things new. What a promise! He makes all things NEW! Doesn't matter where we are... or what we've done... we can hold on to that promise.