Sunday, April 26, 2015

12 Week Update

By the end of this week, I will enter my second trimester. Every single day I praise and thank God for the miracle He's creating. 12 weeks is the typical time when people make their pregnancy announcements. Obviously we haven't followed the general "standard" and neither time do I have any regrets. The outpouring of love and prayers surrounding our family and this baby are too many to overlook and I'm thankful for each one praying for us and Baby Wright.

So here's a little update, in case you were wondering:

12 weeks today, Sunday, April 26. Due (on or around) November 8.

We've had 3 early ultra sounds, one at 6.3 weeks, one at 9.2 weeks, and one at 10.3 weeks. Each one showed baby measuring right on time with a strong heartbeat between 150 and 165. 

Our next ultra sound will be sometime in June (around 20-22 weeks) and yes we WILL be finding out the gender. 

According to the pregnancy apps Baby Wright is now the size of a lime and will reach the size of a plum or apricot by the end of this week (Michael thinks it's hilarious that it always compares to a fruit). In case you need a more specific measurement, about 2.5-3". The most amazing thing is how the apps report a fully formed human-like baby with reflexes and perfectly formed fingers and toes. The astounding miracle of God and His creation is mind blowing. 

As for my size, I've gained 4 lbs and if you saw my earlier Facebook post you'll know the bump I'm sporting is mostly from eating my weight in chips & salsa at La Carreta. Make no mistake, it IS happening. I cannot wear my regular pants, at least without a little rubber band engineering (I also had to convince Michael I didn't just come up with this age-old trick on my own). 

I'm starting to experience less nausea, at least not all day long, but have had to learn the hard way that just because I feel like I have an appetite doesn't mean I can handle a full meal. The changes that happen to the body during pregnancy are also mind blowing. You may have also seen posted that so far I've had two pregnancy cravings: one isolated night when my dear husband went for ice cream at 9:30 at night and the other when I consumed Jersey Mikes four times in a week. 

Eli continues to ask for one of each gender. We have confirmed - 3 times - there's only one! This week he's most recently asked for a brother, although that is going to require a lot of compromise because Michael's boy name contributions are, well, too horrendous to even mention!! 

I promise this blog won't be taken over by all pregnancy updates and baby announcements but for now we appreciate you reading and mostly you praying as we continue to count every day as a blessing. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Our Miracle

Even as I lay here I am so nauseated that I can't stand up. Nor could I enjoy any part of the celebratory birthday dinner for my husband tonight. Yet I've never seen anything more beautiful. There's a little white mark that looks as if it might be protruding from its eye. That is my precious baby's little hand that was just waving back and forth as if knowing we were watching. Yes, there were tears. And quite truthfully there was an amazing sense of peace. 

I've struggled with anxiousness and worry and fear. Totally normal after a loss, I suppose, but convincing myself that this wasn't the same story and God is sovereignly in control has often eluded my overwhelming anxiety. The thing is it's all out of my hands and if you've ever read my blog before you know I openly admit my struggle with control. So what does that leave me with? Simply put, trust and faith. If I've learned anything these past weeks it's truly to cherish each moment. Each nauseous moment. Each exhausted moment. Each sign of life. I've witnessed first hand how quickly life can change and I've also seen how the only thing that can get us through any amount of tragedy and heartache is faith in an Almighty God. Gratitude all the time. In all things. No matter what.

And even as I post this photo I know full well the pain it may bring to someone's heart. I've felt that pain. The unfulfilled longing of empty arms, the heart wrenching conflict of trying to find joy for the miracle we're experiencing while experiencing the sting of praying for your own. Please know I don't want this image to hurt you in any way, but rather be a symbol of hope in a God who hears and answers prayer. 

You've watched my journey unfold through the posts of this forth telling blog. If you've missed any of it, let me suffice to say this: My God is good all the time, in all things. He is the Redeemer of despair and the Healer of brokenness. He is Creator and Master over each and every detail of our lives, even when it doesn't make sense. 

I am rejoicing. I am giving Him praise. He alone deserves the glory. He alone has proven His miraculous wonders, even when He moves in ways we cannot understand. He is the Giver of life, but it is up to us to choose how we will spend our breath. Let me live that I may praise You! 

Give Thanks!

Natalie shared this photo this morning. The meaning is so true. No matter what, God is good.

We claimed it. In faith we prayed. We asked God specifically for a miracle. For complete healing and restoration. What has unfolded has been the direct answer to prayer - watching God miraculously work and be Jay's ultimate Healer. We give thanks and praise to Him for His mighty works!!!

Jay's surgery went much quicker than expected - less than 2 hours when they were predicting 3-6 hours long. Jay has begun the long road to recovery. As his family continues to hold, this is a marathon, not a sprint. But already signs of life, of his personality and of the Jay they knew before that fateful Easter night are already being seen. Jay even told his surgeon "Thanks for fixing me." He's making great progress and his family is confident that God has been protecting him and holding him this entire time. 

Thank you for praying. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for asking and trusting God for a miracle. His family is feeling your prayers. His doctors and nurses are too. I couldn't overlook the opportunity to give thanks for the favor that God has truly granted for this precious family. 

On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:10b-11


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pray for Jay

I shared our joyful news just over a week ago. I talked about the moments that I am attempting to cherish. Little did I know that hours after our celebratory announcement life would be drastically changing for dear friends. All in a single moment, a 12 year old boy would suffer a massive seizure and stroke caused by a brain aneurysm. That same boy is now facing a second brain surgery tomorrow and life altering changes that his family still cannot know the full extent of. Their journey will be months, maybe years, stemming from one single moment that has changed everything.

Tonight I am calling all friends, every prayer warrior, anyone reading this to #prayforjay. The stroke caused massive damage to his brain, his personality and has altered who his family has known him to be. Tomorrow's surgery may be a complete restart for his brain, or it may be what snaps him out of this trauma. Regardless, we're asking God for a very specific miracle: complete restoration and healing for Jay.

On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:10b-11

This verse came to mean so much to me during the adoption of my son. I often remarked that he was the direct product of many people's prayers being heard and answered. Because of him, we rejoiced. We gave God all the glory. I turn to this verse again and I ask you to join in praying for a miracle. I implore you to set your hope on the God who delivers, who heals, who helps us in our time of need. I invite you to take part in the amazing story that is still unfolding so that you might experience His favor being poured out when we see Him answer. I call upon you to give thanks and worship Almighty God when He answers. We have set our hope on a Sovereign and Faithful God and the prayers of many being lifted up tonight and tomorrow are the songs of praise He longs to hear. 

Please join us in praying for Jay!


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Egg-citing News!

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
                           Psalm 139:13-16

Every single day I thank God for this miracle. Every single day I say a prayer and ask God to allow us to meet this little one face to face. Every single day I know full well that nothing is for certain but each and every day is a day I have been chosen to carry this child in my womb. Every day I know is a day that Creator God is fashioning the unformed body within me as it takes shape and changes daily. Every day is a day God had already planned before one of these days could ever come to pass. Every day that I cannot see or know or even feel the miracle taking place inside me is a day I am reassured this little one is not hidden from Almighty God Himself. Oh how I praise him for He is fearfully and wonderfully putting together this miracle in my womb. 

They measure pregnancy by weeks but I can tell you for me, I measure this pregnancy by moments. It's the moments of nausea and the moments it lifts. It's the moments I fall asleep out of sheer exhaustion and the moments I lay awake in the middle of the night restless. It's the moments I journal thoughts to my unborn child or the moments I utter prayers to my Father. The moments pass us by too quickly and are often not even remembered unless we pause within them and make a point to embody the moment to its fullest. For this moment, I will pause and give thanks. We cannot give enough thanks...and this Thanksgiving we will count our abundant and overflowing blessings as we welcome this little one into our home. Baby Wright already has a place in our hearts. 

Will you join us in praying for this baby? Thank you for sharing in our joy!

The Easter Bunny Must Die

It's Easter. Resurrection day. The day Christ conquered death, paid for our sins and made a way for us to have eternal salvation. I'm sorry to say but it is not the day the Easter bunny came or baskets and eggs were delivered. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy Cadbury and Reese peanut butter eggs more than most any other candy any time of year. I just hope the Easter goodies aren't mistakenly taking over the rightful place of the cross. 

With 8 presentations of the Living Cross between these two weekends, there's little time for extras. Still it is an amazing opportunity to engross myself in the reality of this season. I've enjoyed celebrating Easter and the traditions our family holds. We had a huge lunch last week on Palm Sunday and brunch out today. We dyed Easter eggs. It was a near disaster. The kids we're fighting over whose was whose and which stickers they wanted to use to decorate. We had an Easter egg hunt. Another near catastrophe. Something about he got more than me and she has the one I wanted. There were Easter baskets - some candy and trinkets, a Lego set and some m&m's, a few fun things but nothing over the top. But it was made clear no bunny delivered the basket besides mom and Mr. Mike (and one from Nana of course). There was even a trip to see the Easter bunny. Why? Purely for the traditional picture. They weren't even in their Easter best. Autumn refused to wear a dress and Eli had on his played-in outfit from school. Nevertheless we got the expected picture and they each got a coloring page so everyone seemed happy. 

I don't judge you or your children for their belief in the bunny delivering goodies. Just last month my son came home and asked if we had a leprechaun. Excuse me, a what?! No, we don't have a leprechaun, nor is he bringing a pot of gold or any other gifts. Seriously??? His childlike wonder in Santa and our fun little elf doesn't exactly extend to the Easter bunny. Even Autumn noticed the bunny was brown this year yet before had been white. 

I don't mean to offend but the Easter bunny needs to die. At least in all the glorification we've given it and the overflowing baskets of gifts that resemble Christmas morn. We've sensationalized the bunny and in our pagan attempt to align with the world's view of the holiday, we've promoted this fictional character over the cross. My friend's young son, an old soul we call him, asked his preschool teacher "Where do the eggs fit into the Easter story?" Good question. Oh yes, we have symbolic resurrection eggs now. But it does leave one to ponder - how do the eggs fit into the story? Or the bunny no less? We've created an expectation of what the holiday should be and somehow replaced our children's knowledge of the cross with what they hope the bunny has brought. It should be fun. It should be light hearted. It should be a celebration of family and life. Not one of candy and ham but one of Christ's love. Not one of bunnies and baskets but one of an empty tomb and the conquering of death. Not one of gifts and trinkets but of THE gift of eternal life, our sins paid for. The Easter bunny didn't die for us. Jesus did. Let's celebrate Him! 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Way He Chose

I had the distinct privilege of traveling to Israel for a New Testament study tour during my sophomore year of college. It was life changing to say the least. When I read of the storms Jesus calmed I can picture the Sea of Galilee where that took place. I floated in the Dead Sea. I went deep into the Church of the Nativity and saw the spot that commemorates Jesus' birth. The sights and experiences of that trip have brought the Scriptures to life but it's never more vivid in my mind than during this time of year.

It was a quiet and somber walk down the Via Dolorosa. It literally means "sorrowful way" and that was certainly the mood of our tour group. Now lined with symbols to mark the way Jesus took all the way to Calvary. The streets were narrow at points, crowds pressed in around vendors. We felt violated. Almost like they should have known the observance we were trying to pay. Much like the crowds who gathered to mock and spit and criticize. It was a road marked with suffering and our hearts were heavy as we took each step. I imagine the group was feeling like I was - trying to picture the weight of a cross upon a beaten bleeding back. No one discussed it. No one said anything.

"They came to a place called Golgotha (which means "the place of the skull"). Matthew 27:33

We walked all the way there. I could see it plain as day. A skull naturally carved into the side of the mountain. It was menacing and hateful. It looked like a place of death and was appropriately named. It was part of the journey. Part of the process. He couldn't conquer death without first succumbing to it. In Elijah's devotional we've been reading about the events leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection and it describes the moment of silence when Christ called out from the cross but God did not answer. The sorrowful way was filled with the culmination of Jesus taking on the sin of the world, bearing the weight of the cross and experiencing the one and only separation of Him and His Father. For me. For you. For all. For the salvation of our souls for all of eternity.

It all leads to the resurrection and the empty tomb but I can't help but pause and reflect on the journey that first lead there. Today is the day I gave my heart to Christ more than 30 years ago. I didn't fully understand the sacrifice when I was only 5 years old but I knew I wanted and needed His salvation. What's more is I now bear the awesome realization of knowing He knew of this day, March 31, 1984, when I would call upon Him to save me. He thought of me when He was on the cross. He chose death to give me life. The sobering reminder helps shape my thinking and causes me to see the Scriptures in a personal way. The way He chose for me. The way He meant for us all. He chose the way that would give us life. Now it's up to you to choose His salvation.