Monday, January 25, 2010

Rubbing Salt into the Wound...

Let me preface this post by saying that it is not my intention to EVER judge. But, as a woman who has deeply struggled with the pains of infertility and miscarriage, today was a day that God opened my eyes to some deeply rooted sin where I judge others. Until today, I was not even aware of how harshly I judge some women.

Today was one of the most emotionally difficult days God has ever challenged me with. Although I work at a pediatric hospital some of the time, I also spend some time here and there with adults at a different hospital. And so the story goes...

I received my assignment for the day. As soon as I received report on the patient, I immediately tried to find someone to trade with me. Unfortunately, everyone was so involved already doing other procedures that I was stuck. I now realize it was God's intention for me to have this particular patient.

She had just had an abortion a few weeks ago...simply because she didn't want a baby. And now she found herself at the hospital because she was basically bleeding to death...and God had placed her in MY care to now take care of her. I immediately put a straight face on before entering her room. I was determined to not give any warm fuzzies to this women whom I predetermined was not worthy of any compassion. If I am being honest, I even had a moment where I was filled with so much pride that I actually thought she deserved to be in the position she was in.

As I walked into the room, I barely looked at her as I proceeded to check her IV. Every question I asked her, she responded with such politeness and respect. I refused to reciprocate her kindness. When I went to reach over her to retrieve the blood pressure cuff, I caught a glimpse of her face...her eyes filled with which had escaped and fell down her cheek. She was scared.

I had to escape. I went to the bathroom and leaned against the wall trying to get a grip on my emotions. I wanted to hate her. I wanted so badly to ask her how she could murder her baby. Satan wanted me to hate her too. He was rubbing salt into my wound. I felt so angry...angry that I had started my period again that morning...another reminder that another month has passed with no miracle. And I was angry as I tried to understand why God would give someone else life who doesn't even want it. But, God was asking me to simply love her.

How? How could I love someone like her...someone who does not care that God blessed her with a life, so she destroyed it. Why should I love her when she didn't love a life inside of her...a life I am so desperate to have inside of me?

And God was very clear to me during my plea. He gave me a choice. I could chose to love and show compassion to someone who was a sinner just like me. Or, I could chose to be judgemental. It was a battle in my heart for those two short minutes. God pretty much placed it on my heart that if I proclaim His love, then it was my job to SHOW that love to others...even people who don't want it.

I returned to her room. My badge had flipped over to reveal a Christmas picture of Ella. She commented on how precious she was. I could tell she was studying me to see if I was just another person who was going to judge her. And then I realized something...

This woman will have to live the rest of her life seeing badges flipped over showing people's children...a reminder of the life she gave up every time she sees a child. She did not need to be judged by me. She needed to know that God still loved her.

And God won.

I was able to find a love that only God could provide. Don't get me wrong, I still stand strong on my beliefs against abortion. But, I'm realizing that woman who chose this are so LOST. They need God so badly. They need love without judgement from me.

I still don't understand how God works. But, I believe He has a purpose in everyones journey. I can't be envious of someone else when I don't know what their whole journey is about. While satan may continue to try and rub salt into my wound, God has healed my wound so that it cannot burn.

Dear Ella,
I am always amazed at how God uses you on a daily basis for His glory. It was just a simple picture. But you will never know how God used that in someone else's life...and how this has given me a brokenness that I needed."Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him. But the thunder of His power, who can understand?"{Job 26:14}
I love you a thousand times,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

At the end of the day...

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how good the dinner was that I made...

or, if I got all the laundry done...

or, if cleaned up all the toys...

or, if I actually found time to mop all the floors...

or, if I got to buy a new pair of shoes...

or, even if I made a difference in the life of a sick kid on the few days I work outside the home.

No. There is a much sweeter song that I long to hear at the end of the day ...

"I uz ew, Mommy." (translation: I love you, Mommy.) At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is love. Although they are just words, saying "I love you mommy" with an unprompted hug, kiss, and smile is enough to make my heart skip many beats...and my cup to runneth over.

At the end of the day, if all I have accomplished is making you smile and feel loved...then, I think God would say "Well done, Sarah."

Because God doesn't really care if my laundry is done or my floors are cleaned.

Dear Ella,
Thank you for a day of love. Thank you for a day that was just about loving and nothing else...loving life, loving each other, and loving and thanking God for giving us each other. Just when I think my heart could not be filled with any more love, you find a way to make my heart grow. The words "I love you" are a mothers dream to hear from her child's mouth for the first time. But, I never imagined the feeling it evoked inside of me when you said those words to me the other night when I came to tell you goodnight as your daddy read you a story before bedtime.
And I love you too. A thousand times, I love you my gift from above.

Friday, January 15, 2010


I am going to divert from some of my more serious writing to bring to you some "funnies". Ella is all about her "bawbies" (said with a long drawl; translation: barbies) these days. Most of her "babies" and "bawbies" are my old toys. It's great that she is having fun with them now, too.

But, here is what I can't figure out? Why do they always have to be naked? No sooner do I put a beautiful, glittery gown on "bawbie", than I find her naked and missing an arm while hanging out of a taxi cab.
And this is how I found her cabbage patch dolls a few mornings ago. She had undressed them and thrown them out of the crib.

Please tell me I'm not the only one with a child who likes her dolls to be naked. It's sort of weirding me out!!!

Dear Ella,
You have so many beautiful doll clothes. I long to help you dress them up. Why, oh why, do you insist on the birthday suit?
P.S.-I love you, even if you are quirky!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Be Still...

It was stuck...her finger, that is. I'm still not sure how she managed to shove her finger into the small train. She flung her hand around, screamed, and continued to attempt to pull it off herself. When she finally realized she couldn't do it on her own, she came to me. If she had just stayed still for a second, I could have removed the little yellow train very quickly. Instead, Ella continued to pull away, making it difficult to get the toy off. I did finally get it off her finger, but only after she finally sat still. She didn't realize that the more she continued to pull, the more she was bringing unnecessary pain upon herself.

Leave it to my little 20 month old to teach me yet another life lesson. I think God must laugh when I have these "aha!" moments. I'm sure He is exhausted from my constant need to be in control. You would think I'd get it by now. But like Ella, I constantly try to do things on my own until I run to Him out of desperation with a train stuck on my finger. When will I learn to be still and remember that He has it completely in control? When I am I going to learn that doing things my way will usually lead to suffering?

Someone recently told me "Sarah, if you could see God's plan from beginning to end for you, you wouldn't change it." I've been reflecting on her comment. Initially, it made me think "well, maybe God should just show me His plan...or at the very least give me a glimpse. Then I could be still and let Him do his work."

Again, God laughs at me. You see, if God showed us a glimpse into our future, there would be no need for faith and trust.

Very soon, we will be embarking on yet another step of faith. The details are not important, but the need to be on our knees praying is. The hardest part isn't the process itself, it is the saying "your will, God, and not my own. God, I'm doing my part, but it's completely up to you. I only want this if YOU want it for us." I preach it, but do I believe it? Do I really mean it when I say "your will be done, Lord?"

"I do Lord!!! But help me with my unbelief!!" {Mark 9:24}

And the Lord says: Sarah, "Be still and know that I am God." {Psalm 46:10}

Dear Ella,
Sometimes I really wonder if I teach you anything at all. It has been amazing to see how God has used you for His glory in my life. He is using you to teach me about faith, hope, and love. You are proof of Jeremiah 29:11. You are my hope sent from God.
I love you a thousand times,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just one of those days...

{Me prenant with Ella-March 2008)

It was just one of those days.

Actually, it started out fine. It's almost always a great day when I can be at home with my little ray of sunshine. I only work two days a week...but for me, that's 104 days a year that I am away from my Ella. That's 104 days that someone else gets to have all her hugs, to cuddle with her before nap time, and to play Barbies with her. That's 104 days a year that I feel sad...but more about that on a different post. I digress...

So, it was a good day. Ella was napping and I decided to catch up on all my facebook lurking. By that, I mean that I spent my two precious free hours looking at every ones Christmas pictures on facebook. And then I saw it...

That picture. The picture of one of my closest friends in the world with her perfect little pregnant belly announcing she is having a girl. We had the same due date... had being the key word in that sentence. And it dawned on me that I should be finding out what gender we are having too. But I'm not. My womb is empty. It's like something out of a novel, but this is my real life: Two best friends get pregnant with the same due has a miscarriage. And not just A miscarriage...a miscarriage after IVF, infertility, and much, much prayer for another baby.

And she looked GORGEOUS. She had that perfect pregnancy glow and had a radiant smile... That smile that you have when you are pregnant because you are so completely overjoyed by God's blessing. I miss my friend. Our friendship has not been the same since my miscarriage. I know it will be again one day (I pray for God to help me with this), but it is still so awkward.

And I fell apart. Partly because I hate myself for being so envious of my sister in Christ, but mostly because I wonder if I will ever have a baby belly again. I wonder if I will ever feel those WONDERFUL little kicks inside again. I wonder if I will ever feel as beautiful as I did when I was pregnant with Ella. I wonder if I will ever see that first image of a perfect little fetus as they move the ultrasound probe around on my belly again. I wonder if I will ever feel that adrenaline rush again as I push out a baby and look into God's eyes as I am admiring this new creation.

I laid in bed that night feeling sorry for myself once again. I had been doing so great the past few weeks. Spiritually, I had come to a place where I was completely trusting God. I had surrendered the pain of being infertile to God. I had found a new trust in Him as I prayed and studied His word this past month. I had had a wonderful holiday and felt rejuvenated with hope for the future! Why was I all of a sudden falling apart and grieving again just because of a picture? Why do I still feel like I can't look my best friend in the face? I need her. I miss her. I hope she can forgive me for shunning her from my life.

This all has been equally as horrible for my friend as it has for me. She has told me it's like "she is eating a full plate of spaghetti and watching me starve." And she continues to love me, even though I have NOT been a good friend to her lately. I pray, that with time and God's healing power, that our friendship will be renewed.

So, I get into bed that night with all these feelings. I turn on the computer to read some of my blog friends funny stories and somehow stumbled onto this blog. I was intrigued by the title of her blog..."New every morning." Underneath the title was this verse:

Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning...(Lamentations 3:22-23)

Somehow, after reading just this one verse, I was able to breath. God meant for me to stumble onto this. And as I continued to read her post "The Road Shared", I felt God speaking to me. She shared a couple links to other blogs of brothers and sisters in Christ who were experiencing their own pain. Only, their pain was way greater than mine. I started with this blog. And then I read this one . I stayed up until almost 2am completely in awe while reading these stories of faith. Before finally turning out the light, I went to Ella's room and lay my hands upon her back. I cried. I cried out of complete brokenness. I have never felt so BLESSED.
These brothers and sisters have endured a pain so great, it makes my problems just seem like a paper cut.

I know I write about my gratitude for God blessing us with Ella after a long road of infertility all the time. But this night...this night I have never been so grateful for the health of my family. I held Andrew's hand as I fell asleep...thankful that I had him to curl up with at night. Thankful that I am not a single parent. Thankful for my, although SMALL, family. Realizing, that so long as we always have each other, I will be ok if Ella is the only child I ever have.

The next morning, I awoke with a new peace. It was as if God had given me a new love this morning. And I realized that the day before was "just one of those days." Today, I could start over with a new attitude.

Every morning, we awake with a chance to have a different sort of day. I think this is why I think it is so important to take a few minutes each morning before your child wakes up and pray. Because of God's grace we are given a chance to be new every morning.

I think I'll call my friend.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Just Like Jesus...

There is a book that was published several years ago by the famous Christian author Max Lucado called "Just Like Jesus". I never read the book in its entirety, but I gave it as a present to someone who I admire...someone who emulates Christ in all that he does. He is my father (my earthly father that is). For the record, I do know that I am extremely blessed to have him in my life. There are so many people out there who were not blessed with good Godly parents, or decent parents at all for that matter. I realize more than ever the profound effect that FATHERS have on their daughters and the role they play in their lives.
This man loves Jesus and has studied God's word diligently throughout his entire life. He always strives to know Jesus more and be obedient. He will give any free moment he has to help others in need...whether it be with his time, or talents (he is a wonderful wood worker), and even financially. Although he is technically "retired", he is by no means sitting still. He is busier than ever before. He helps babysit Ella all the time...even when he is sick and not feeling up to it!

I mention him in this post because he will be traveling to Africa to do missions work in February. This will be his third trip there in the last two years. He goes with a couple other men, traveling from village to village in one of the poorest places in Africa called Mali. It is one of the poorest nations in the entire world. The majority of the population is Muslim. Most of them speak French, which my dad also speaks (not fluently, but enough to get by). The men on this mission trip sleep on concrete floors in the 100 degree heat. If you think you have ever been "roughing it" while camping outdoors, I'm sure it is was nothing in comparison to the conditions these men live in while they are there.

Don't get me wrong, they NEVER complain. They are so blessed and overwhelmed by how God is working in Mali through them. The people of Mali LOVE when they visit and are very excited to hear more about Jesus. I am asking that you lift up in prayer, not only my father and any other men on this trip, but also the people of Mali. Pray that God will open up their hearts to the truth of Jesus and his love. I feel so inspired by my father's continued obedience in allowing Christ to use him as a vehicle over there. Please pray for them!

Speaking of people who are "just like Jesus", the man below is pretty swell as well!

Doesn't he look so handsome in this picture? He is not perfect, but he is always striving to live a more Godly life. This is apparent from the moment you meet him. He radiates love, kindness, and sincerity. He is quiet and soft spoken, but when he speaks, you listen. His faith is so simple...something I am envious of. He is not like me who is constantly questioning. He is my spiritual rock when I am feeling far away from God. The most beautiful thing about his Christian walk is that he never judges me when I am not acting very Christian like. He knows he married an imperfect person!!!!
Ella is so blessed to have these men in her life. I pray EVERY day that God is preparing a wonderful, Godly man for her to marry (that is, of course, if she chooses to marry).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Crayons and Christmas Conclusions

With all the new battery operated toys out there, I still think the best thing ever invented was crayons. Crayons have prevented meltdowns when out shopping (I always carry a small coloring book from the dollar store and 3 crayons with me), enabled us to eat dinner out at restaurants (short dinners, of course), and most recently allowed to me take a quick shower in peace. The shower part is thanks to those clever crayons that were made for drawing in the bathtub. I started handing these to Ella when I get in the shower and let her draw on the outside of the tub. This morning, while I was showering, she did this:

Isn't that hilarious? Luckily, it comes off easily with water. This happened prior to her burning her little hand on my flat iron. This is the second time this has happened. I really try to be careful with stuff like that, but they reach before you can react (even though you are watching them). Shortly after this, she had her 7th or 8th meltdown for the morning (I think her ears are bothering her again) which resulted in me putting her in time-out. Within 10 seconds of me putting her in time-out (her crib with the door shut), I hear a HUGE thud (we have hardwood floors in her room)! Yes, you guessed it. Ella got out of her crib for the first time ever. She's always been capable, but she was having such a fit when I put her in there that I'm guessing she just had an adrenaline rush and climbed out. When I went back in there she was sobbing and saying "I sawy, I sawy, I sawy" (translation: I'm sorry) over and over again. And then she hugged me unlike any hug she's ever given me. Maybe this time out thing will actually work with her...for now. She was SO obedient after this happened. (Oh, and for the record, she was ok after falling out of the crib. I'm sure it hurt, but she didn't appear to be hurt.)

On a different note, I STILL haven't taken our Christmas tree down. I know, I know. It's "bad luck" if you don't take it down by New Year's. Well, since I don't believe in luck, I guess it's ok if I drag out the holidays a little longer. Ironically, I received a FedEx package today with Ella's new tree. I ordered it after Christmas and got a great deal! After seeing some cute trees in little girls rooms on other blogs, I decided I'd buy her her very own for next year. I'm going to buy pink and green ornaments for it and have my sister make me a pink tree skirt. I'm also going to hang ornaments that other people buy for her on it. Won't this be cute in her room?

It looks better in person, but you get the point. Speaking of ornaments, here are my favorites (I thought I'd take a few pictures before we take it down tonight!)...:

My very FIRST homemade ornament from my own child!! Can I tell you how choked up I got when she gave this to me?

This is the Pink Pig Ornament I bought when we rode on it in December.

Ella loved these birds on our tree. She would constantly go up to them and say "tweet. tweet."

She was really great about not touching the tree. In the picture below is the pig we bought for her for Christmas after we rode the Pink Pig (It's an Atlanta Christmas thing). People keep asking me about "this pig thing" because I wrote about it in our Christmas letter. Basically, it's a train ride in the shape of a pig. It's something they have been doing at the Macy's in Atlanta since the 1950's (only at Christmas time). When it first came out, it rode around the mall Christmas tree and then dropped the kids off at the Macy's toy department. Now, it just goes around in a circle. You'd have to be from here to appreciate it!

Here's a few pics from the Pink Pig Ride. I didn't have my good camera with us, so they aren't the best quality. Plus, there was pink carpet and pink walls which made everything look like a bottle of Pepto Bismol.

First ones in line...

Ella trying to decide where to sit

We rode twice so that Andrew and I both got a chance to ride with her. She LOVED it!

Andrew and Ella

So, now you all have a visual of the pink pig ride. I've said it before, but it was such a special day for me to take her there (see previous post from December about this). I can't wait until she is a little older and we can have "tea" at the American Girl Store (another one of my "if I ever have a child" dreams). Ridiculous? Maybe to some people.

For me, I'm just living my dream.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Life is what happens when you are making plans

I'd love to make an entire post of all the things I hope to accomplish and/or change in this new year, but I think I can sum it all up in one: This year, I refuse to keep waiting on all the things I wish to happen while my life passes me by. If I continue down this path of "wishing for more or better things", I will miss out on lots of this...
And lots of gorgeous little smiles and waves....

And walks through the neighborhood and park in Ella's favorite new toy (a red Radio Flyer Wagon). Before I know it, my little lady will grow into a woman and I don't want to spend her precious life focusing on what I don't have. Because really, if you looked at the picture below, wouldn't you think God has given me every woman's dream?
That's because He has. He has given me ABUNDANTLY more than I deserve...more than I ever dreamed. And although my heart will continue to yearn for more children, I STILL have one more child than a lot of women have. Many woman are still praying and yearning for a picture like that one above. They are waiting to play in the leaves in the freezing cold with a beautiful child in their winter coat, to see a child that looks like them smile, and to take a Christmas photo. They are still waiting to pull their child in a wagon and sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" to them.
No, I will not miss out on this life God has given me while I wait on those other things I still desire. I will not be complacent, but I WILL be content!

A few posts ago, I talked about how one of my dreams came true when I finally got to take Ella to ride the Pink Pig at Macy's (an Atlanta Christmas tradition). This year, Andrew and I are making a list of all the dreams we had for our family in the past. We are making a list of all those places we said we would take our children to, when and if God ever gave us a child. Each month, we are going to do something on that list with Ella. This year, we are going to make memories with her. This year, we are going to LIVE.

And we will thank our Lord every time we get to make a precious memory with the beautiful child He has already given us.