Titus 2:11-13

"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Making My Requests Known

I love how God uses my blogging to teach me even as I write.  As I was just now looking for a verse on prayer to begin tonight's post, tears came to my eyes as I read these very applicable verses:

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  (Philippians 4:6-7)

I was sitting down at the computer tonight to share about how as the weeks continue to pass by I am beginning to feel anxious at times about the way my twin pregnancy and delivery will all play out.  Despite the fact that I have complete faith and trust in God and the fact that I believe with all my heart that His purpose will prevail, I still fight these anxious thoughts as I wonder how in the world all the factors necessary for me to have a twin VBAC could ever line up just so.

I was also sitting down at the computer tonight to share all the specific prayers I have lifted up to God over the past several months regarding this situation.  I was thinking it would be neat to chronicle my prayers, not only so that others can pray in agreement with me, but also so that one day I can look back and see exactly how it was that God answered those prayers.

And then, just now--at the end of a day that was tainted with anxiety--God showed me Philippians 4:6-7:  "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

As I read these verses again I sit here amazed at how God speaks through His Word.  He knew the anxious thoughts that filled my day, and He cares enough to remind me that I am to lift those things up in prayer.  Praise You, God.  Thank You for the promise that as I make my requests known to You, You will grant me peace that passes understanding.

Let me say, God definitely knows my requests.  I think I have been making them known to Him daily.  (Sometimes I feel like the widow in Luke 18.) :-)  But I will continue to lift them up to Him with thanksgiving (and I hope that if you feel led you will join me in agreement), and all the more when the anxious thoughts start rolling in.

Dear God,
  • I praise You that You are forming these two babies in my womb and that You already know everything about them.  I pray that Your hand will be upon them as they continue to grow and develop and that every cell, organ, limb, and appendage will develop fully and perfectly.
  • I thank You that You have seen fit to bless me doubly with twins.  Please give me wisdom as I care for my body, that I may be strong and well-nourished for the sake of the lives within me.
  • I praise You for Your wondrous design for pregnancy and for the ability of the female body to be with child(ren!).  I ask, God, that You would enable me to carry these babies to full term and that they would be born of sufficient weight and in perfect health.
  • I praise You for Your wondrous design for childbirth.  I beg You, Lord, to enable me to deliver both of these babies vaginally and with no complications.  May my uterus, though scarred, be as strong as if not.  And may both babies become perfectly positioned for a safe and successful vaginal delivery.
  • I praise You, God, that You are not bound by a date on the calendar.  I pray that even though we will probably have to schedule a cesarean, You will allow my labor to spontaneously begin in Your time and in such a way as to avoid the "planned" surgery.
  • I thank You, God, for the peace You have given me in sticking with my current OB group.  I pray that in spite of the odds You would cause the right doctor to be on call on the birth day of my babies and that You would fill that doctor with divine wisdom concerning our care.
  • I thank You, God, that You have blessed Travis and me with a beautiful family.  Lord, for the sake of all my children, please allow that these babies be dismissed from the hospital within a couple days of delivery.  May there be no need for a stay of any length in the NICU which would undoubtedly tear me either from my home and my family or from my new babies.
Oh, Lord, these are some lofty requests, and how my hearts aches for them each to be fulfilled.  God, I know that You can do all things.  I know that You hear my prayers, and I know that You are faithful to answer them.  I believe with all my heart, God, that You are able to do these things.  As Jesus prayed, so I pray: "Abba!  Father!  All things are possible for You... yet not what I will, but what You will" (Mark 14:36).

In Jesus' Name I pray with a heart full of thanksgiving.  Amen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The "A" Team

Over the past several months, as Amariah has gotten old enough to effectively tag along with Abel, the two of them have become the best of friends.  Sure, they still pick on each other as siblings do (and usually it is little Amariah playing the role of antagonist), but lately more of their time is spent working together than otherwise. Thus, Travis and I have started referring to them as The "A" Team.

The teamwork all started (at least noticeably so) one day shortly after Christmas when I decided to dress them in like sweatshirts which had been a gift from their great-grandparents.  Something about the uniformity of their clothing that day seemed to really bring them together and all day, without pause for foul or penalty or timeout, they were playing on the same team.

Since that day, the teamwork has continued both on and off the court--though sometimes enacted in opposition to the coach's call (like last night when together they took off mindlessly running around a bedding display in Bed Bath & Beyond)--and has brought much joy to my heart.  Some recent snapshots from their playbook include (and I wish I had pictures for all of them...)

Play #1:  Abel loves to help his Sissy go up and down the stairs... and she loves to let him.
Play #2:  I often find Abel distributing snacks to himself and Amariah since she isn't quite capable of getting her own.
Play #3:  Amariah loves books... and Abel loves to read them to her.
Play #4:  When Abel and Amariah wake up in the mornings, they always wait for each other and come into Mommy and Daddy's room together (often with Abel helping to carry whatever doll or blanket it is that Amariah has "chosen" for the day).
Play #5:  When the paper comes on Wednesday mornings, Abel usually gets the privilege of running out to get it.  This morning he and Amariah dutifully fulfilled the task together, hand-in-hand.

And it was also this morning that I witnessed the game-winning play....

Abel was sitting on the couch when Amariah suddenly walked up to him and laid her head down between his legs.  As he put his hands on her head, I asked, "What is Sissy doing?"  Abel replied, "Sissy wants to get on my lap."  Right on cue, Amariah then crawled up onto the little space of couch in front of Abel's body and proceeded to lay her head on her big brother's shoulder.  As Abel lovingly wrapped his arms around her body and gently patted her on the back, I sat almost astounded at the genuine display of love between 2- and 1-year old brother and sister.

My little "A" Team.  They don't just work together.  They love each other.  And what a blessing that is to a coach's mother's heart.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting Practical

Last week I reluctantly admitted the need for another "nesting" project:  get practical!   After realizing that it would be much easier (and more appropriate) to eliminate some stuff instead of try to make room for it, I determined to go through Abel and Amariah's clothing and toys and minimize!

I started this project a couple days ago as I went through all the kids' clothes, packing away the "keep" things they've recently outgrown and removing the "give away" things they have never worn and never will.  Let me say, this process of eliminating can be difficult for me.  I am so frugal that I err on the side of clinging too tightly to my possessions--including the things I don't even like that much--thinking that I am saving us money and being practical by "making do" with what we have.  This can be a good quality to some extent, I think; but at the point where I'm holding on to things that we truly don't need, it becomes impractical.  Anyway, that being said, I was quite proud of myself when I observed the final results:  two dressers full of clothing consolidated into one and one laundry basket overflowing with clothing to give away!  The final step in the clothing portion of this project is for Travis to install another clothes rack in Abel and Amariah's closet.  Then I will officially have all of their clothing in one dresser and one closet!

The toy portion of my project didn't go as well (if "well" is judged by the number of things eliminated). :-)  With a still growing family, I found the idea of actually getting rid of some toys to be very difficult.  So, probably delaying the inevitable (i.e. the need to reduce the toy collection), I ended up re-distributing and re-organizing toys instead of eliminating some.  I did decide on a few larger toy items that I could part with fairly easily if I need to, but I guess I've decided to revisit this part of the project as it becomes necessary.

With a now toy-free nursery and empty dresser, I couldn't resist the urge to take the next step in preparing for our babies.  Before all was said and done, I ended up carrying the changing table and storage tub full of infant girl clothing up two flights of steps by myself (something a pregnant lady maybe shouldn't have done--later that night I realized I had re-aggravated an old sports injury (a torn groin muscle) when I suddenly pulled up lame and hardly able to walk!  But, no worries!  All was better after a good night's rest.)  Needless to say, the dresser and changing table are now stocked with the contents of that storage tub, and I can occasionally be found peering into the room and thinking about just what (or should I say who) it is that I'm preparing for. :-)

Friday, February 6, 2009

02/06/09 OB Appointment and Ultrasound

Finally, it's the day we've been waiting for!  The past four weeks seemed to last forever as we awaited this morning's big ultrasound; and now it has come and gone, and we are praising God all the more.

I've never really been nervous about an ultrasound before, but having recently heard stories of friends and others who have received not-so-good news at their ultrasounds, I was a little more aware of all the things that could potentially be unfavorable.  And having two babies, it seems to make sense that the chance of unfavorable news is doubled.

However, as we acknowledged to God in prayer this morning before leaving for our appointment, God has heard our prayers.  The health and development of both babies looked great!  Both are weighing in at 12 oz., and all other measurements are right on track with our June 19th due date.  Furthermore, there was nothing in either baby that created a cause for concern.  Thank You, God, for hearing our prayers!

During the 90-minute ultrasound we got to hear the babies' heartbeats--both at 155 bpm--and to see a lot of movements such as stretching, rolling, waving, and kicking.  What was really cool was to be able to see the movements corresponding to what I was feeling.  We also learned that the babies' positions haven't changed since last month:  they are still in a "T" position, with Baby A being head down in the center and Baby B lying transverse at Baby A's feet.

And, of course, we also had the ultrasound technician take a look at the babies' genders!  So after holding out on everyone for the last four weeks in hopes of having the results confirmed, I can now excitedly say that God has given us TWO GIRLS!!!

We saw the doctor after the ultrasound, and he confirmed that the babies looked great.  At 21 weeks pregnant my uterus is now measuring 25 cm, and my blood pressure and weight gain are good.  I did find out that once I hit about 28 weeks I will no longer be allowed to exercise.  I was somewhat disappointed to hear that since I want to be in the best physical condition to potentially face labor, but I'm sure this is an area in which I will heed the doctor's advice. :-)

I also questioned the doctor about bed rest (since that term is almost synonymous with "twins") and was happy to hear that it is only ordered in cases where the babies' growth or pre-term labor is a problem.  He said that not even 50% of women having twins are put on bed rest.

The last bit of good news was the doctor's acknowledgment of how well I do with my pregnancies.  Because of this, my appointments will continue at four-week intervals for two more months, after which time I will start going every two weeks.  And for the purpose of monitoring the babies' growth, I will be having regular ultrasounds, as well.

So, check back again four weeks from today for news from our 25-week OB appointment and ultrasound!

Again I say, praise God for the favorable results we received today!  We know that these babies inside my womb are His handiwork, and what a neat thing it is to see that work being completed and perfected before our eyes.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Project: Get Practical!

I think I'm ready to simplify... or minimize... or maybe it's both!

Ever since we rearranged the kids' bedrooms, making one a bedroom for Abel and Amariah to share and the other a toy room (until the babies arrive), I have been a little worried about exactly how and where all Abel and Amariah's clothes and toys are going to fit when their things have to be truly consolidated into one room.  They both have a closet and a dresser full of clothes (some of which are things yet to be grown into), and the toy room is at practical capacity.  How am I going to fit two closets full of clothing into one closet; two dressers full of clothing into one dresser; and a room full of toys into a room where two toddler beds, a dresser, and some more toys are already consuming space?!

Well, the answer came during an encouraging and enlightening conversation with my mom yesterday: "You don't need so much stuff."  Seems pretty obvious now, but it didn't 24 hours ago!  It's not like I've spent a lot of money on clothing and toys.  Most of what the kids have has either been given to us (What a blessing!) or bought at garage sales at really good prices.  And being the practical spender that I am, I have purchased only what I felt was truly usable and beneficial.  But now I'm thinking, Why does Abel need five pairs of "good" jeans? Twenty t-shirts? A drawer full of pajamas? Five little red tractors? etc.  I think you get the point.

I can easily make the argument that toddlers go through an outfit a day, that each tractor is treasured, that it's nice to have a variety of "good" outfits to choose from, etc.  But, on the other hand, I do laundry twice a week; having five of basically the same toy seems a little excessive and unnecessary; and occasions calling for a "good" outfit don't happen every day in my household.  So...

I guess it's time for my next big "nesting" project:  get practical!  My family is growing, my space is not.  I'm kind of excited about simplifying and minimizing.  A few storage tubs, some time and determination, and away I go!

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