Weekend Wrap-up

These are just some quick thoughts as I wrap up the last week or two that have been on my mind.

  • I heard a lady on the radio yesterday giving her testimony. She had been living a really rough life, and she wanted to know if God was real. She shared how God revealed Himself in this moment of crisis in an unmistakable way. At the end of the call, she threw in this statement that has stuck with me: “I wasn’t looking for God to change my life; I only wanted to know if He was real. But once I knew that He was real, my life was changed.” I loved that thought. When we experience the reality of who God is and what Christ has done for us, we will be changed!


  • I went to a cross country match to watch a family friend run. What I loved was seeing him at the end, even though he was surely tired, sprint to the finish, even overtaking another runner at the very last moment. This running with the end in sight, with a focus on the finish, was a picture to me of how to run the life of faith which is compared in Scripture at times to a race:

    Hebrews 12:1-2: “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

  • This week we celebrated the day that my daughter came home from the hospital 14 years ago ago after a three month stay. She was born three months prematurely (27 weeks along, 2 pounds) and came home on her original due date. It’s hard to pass milestone moments like these without pausing again to remember and give thanks to God for her life and His protection over her and for the many miraculous ways we saw His hand at work during those challenging days. These are indeed stones of remembrance.


  • Then finally we wrapped up the football season for my son this week. It was a great season, and I am glad to see his hard work and discipline in the sport, his great coaches who use the sport as a means to bring gospel truths into their lives, and the friendships he has developed.


Sharing a Poem

My daughter loves to write poetry. I thought I would share one (below) that I found today.

We celebrated at dinner because it was 10 years ago today that she was discharged from the hospital after a 3 month stay. Thank you, Lord, for sparing her life and teaching her heart about You!

bringing baby home

meeting brother finally!
History repeated itself for Granddaddy whose own daughter was a micropreemie, too.
The Ways
Through the woods,
the rust train track,
Through the brush
in the looming black!
What do you see,
your companion and you?
All is total darkness
The nighttime on through.
The howls of the animals,
No moon or stars tonight.
No visible guidence over all the paths,
No visible sign of any light.
Is there a ditch just up ahead?
A boulder headed down?
No! We must keep going.
Sh! don’t make a sound.
Why are the woods so deadly dangerous?
Why is the sky so painfully black?
Where are we now, where are we?
(And I’m aching for a snack! 🙂 )
How would we know if we feel
A shiver or quake of eyes
Belonging to some woodsy-animal
Who may catch us by surprise?
Keep on going, though the obstacles.
Go the fierce deep miles on!
Don’t lay down to take a rest.
Don’t even begin to yawn.
You’re going to find it some time,
Because you believe that it’s true!
You were brave enough to start the journey,
Even over how the people mocked you!
If you just keep pressing forward,
And bravely don’t turn back,
You’ll be safe the whole way through,
Even though it’s a scary black.
You are in Virtuous hands, you know!
And they will hold you straight!
You will be able to go forward
If you believe…before it’s too late.
But you must believe before the morning,
Because when the time is near and the breeze
Is rough, you would have lost your only chance
To find the place with ease.
If you reached the place and did not trust,
You would be scarred and smashed.
And if you did not trust, you see,
The destination would now be trashed.
But if you did believe, you would
Reach the place all well and good, too.
And the place in which you’d find
Would be prepared for you.
Which way are you to choose?
Hurry! There’s not much time more!
And if you choose the worse way,
Your body will be sore.
If you choose the right way and trust Jesus,
You will see there is a light
That leads you down to Heaven’s gates
Where God is shining bright.
God may bring you through hard things
To lead you more to Himself and prayer.
But even through all these hard times,
He’ll bless you if you trust Him — layer after layer.
PSALM 105:1
Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

A Quick Praise

I just wanted to say a quick praise today!

9 years ago today, we brought our second born home from the hospital after a 3 month stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She was discharged from the hospital on her original due date, though she had been born in late July. We came home with an apena monitor so we’d know if her heart stopped, some medications, and lots of instructions on how to follow up with eye exams, weight checks, physical therapy, doctor visits, etc.

I say we brought her “home,” but in reality, we brought her to my mom’s house. She had been born in Memphis, though we lived in Virginia at the time. I had been visiting my mom that summer when the pregnancy deteriorated to the point of hospitalization in early July. And there in Memphis, we stayed for the next 5 1/2 months.

How wonderful for God to provide this place for her birth, where I had grown up and had a loving church family and friends to surround us, my family to care for my oldest while I was in the hospital the month of July, an OB/GYN as my mom’s next door neighbor who God used to save our lives, outstanding doctors, familiarity with where I was. We had been living in Virginia for my husband’s doctoral program at the university there, but we did not have this kind of network, and I actually am not convinced my daughter or I would be alive if the pregnancy had proceeded there where my doctor dismissed everything in this extremely rare, life threatening situation. He did not even want to do an ultrasound, and he wouldn’t have referred me to a high risk doctor. We weren’t even at the UVa hospital, but a lower level one called Martha Jefferson which could not have met our needs. And my doctor was ever reluctant to pass his patients off to anyone associated with UVa.

I see God’s provision in being at my mom’s house with this doctor who came by every day, understood the situation, and got me the care we needed.

I praise the Lord today for His kindness and mercy, for His love for us. I praise Him that He uses hard times, times of suffering, to draw us to Himself in ways we’d never do otherwise. I praise Him that He uses these things for His glory. I praise Him that He allowed my child to live, and I pray she will bless His name always and follow Him all the days of her life, loving Him with all her heart, soul, mind and strength.

Happy Birthday!

Psalm 145:6 “Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.”

On July 29, 2000, just before 5:00 p.m., we welcomed the arrival of our precious daughter at 27 weeks, 1 day. Her due date was October 27, 2000. Though I had been in the hospital 23 days and was ready to be at the end of such intense physical pain, I knew that the end of my pain would mean the beginning of hers.

Because I was under general anesthesia for the c-section, it took several hours for me to wake up and regain clear vision. When I did at around 3:00 a.m., I told my husband, “I can see; show me the pictures!” He turned on the light in my hospital room and handed me the two polaroids that the nurses had taken. There she was, so small, looking just like her older brother did at birth (he was 9 lbs.), but smaller (she was 2 lbs.), and with a severe grimace on her face, with tubes everywhere. I cried out, “We have to pray right now!” It’s all I knew to do, helpless as we were.

As we prayed, the neonatologist came in: “I saw your light on…. I was hoping I would find you awake to talk to you… she’s touch and go…. we don’t know what will happen….” She had had a reaction to something called surfactant, a substance given to help premature babies’ underdeveloped lungs. They had sucked it back out, and she was on full vent, maximum oxygen, struggling for her little life. That wasn’t the only problem, but one of many.

The following day, I was wheeled to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to see her for the first time. She was on a small rectangular flat bed, covered over tightly with what looked like a piece of saran wrap. I just looked at her and talked to her and prayed for her.

I spent the next 3 months going back and forth to the hospital, taking care of my son at home and taking care of her in the hospital. Little by little, day by day, enduring many ups and downs, we got to her original due date and discharge on October 27, 2000.

I saw God’s hand in so many details. We have so many amazing stories of this time. The verse at the top is significant to me because it’s one the Lord gave me as I was awaiting her eye surgery. She had “retinopathy of prematurity” which had advanced to stage 3, level 2. ROP has 5 stages with stage 4 being retinal detachment and stage 5 being blindness. They were prepared to do the surgery at her stage 3 to stop the rapid progression. I was told that the surgery was effective in 80% of the cases, but I also knew that the surgery could bring long term negative side effects regarding her vision. We prayed intensely for the 3 days leading up to the surgery.

The day of the surgery arrived, and they sent me across the hall to the waiting room so they could check her eyes before they began. As I continued praying, I opened the Bible in the waiting room and saw this verse from Psalm 145:6 “Men shall speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.” I knew in my heart at that moment that she would not need the surgery, that it would be an awesome act on her behalf, and that I should profess to the eye surgeons God’s greatness.

The nurse came to get me very soberly, saying, “They want to see you now.” As I walked into the NICU, the two doctors were standing there, and they turned around to see me with their faces beaming. “We wouldn’t have expected this!” one of them said. “Her eyes have improved! They’re not totally better, but we aren’t going to do the surgery. We’ll come back and check them in a few days.” Though her eyes were followed regularly for the next several months, she never needed surgery and today is only borderline for glasses (slightly nearsighted). I told the doctors, “The Lord did this” and did testify to His greatness.

This is just one example of many where I saw God intimately concerned about the details of our lives. In fact, I would tell people when I would tell them about her in the days and years that followed that “we saw God in every detail”!

About 4 or 5 years after she was born, I found a journal I had kept when I was pregnant. At that time in my life, I did not regularly journal, but every so often, would attempt it, and it would last for a few entries, then be set aside! So I was surprised these years later to find an old journal with a few entries of when I had been pregnant. I read and found that I had been in a bit of a spiritual pit, not seeking the Lord as I should, feeling very depressed. I journaled as I was flying to Memphis about the pregnancy and not knowing what was going on, but it didn’t seem right. I then wrote something to the effect of “I would hate for something horrible to have to happen to my baby to make me see that God is involved in all life’s details.”

Stunned. I was simply stunned by this. How could I have written this and gone on to have this premature baby who did indeed teach me that God cared for us in every detail of our lives! This was the reality I had learned that I had verbalized to everyone since her birth. And here I was reading this journal entry that that’s what I had been needing to be convinced of. And I was. And God is good. And His ways are right. And I love Him. And I give Him praise. And I thank Him for being in all life’s details.

Today, she is a healthy (though still small), 8 year old little girl. She loves stuffed animals, arts & crafts, writing, reading her Bible, but most importantly, she loves God. I am sharing above a picture from family camp last week. They did facepainting at the carnival at camp, and she asked if she could have this painting on her face.

She writes poetry constantly. Below is just one of her poems. They are always very theological and praiseworthy. When I wonder where she gets these thoughts, I am reminded of all those prayers when she was in the incubator that God would be close to her when no one else could be there or hold her. I trusted that He held her, and I see indications that He has made Himself known to her in very real and powerful ways. I praise Him for all He has done and all He will do in this precious one’s life.

Jesus, I love You

“Jesus, I’ll tell people about You,
Then they’ll actually know You’re true.
So that’s why Your love keeps pouring out over me;
Because I love You and I know You’re holy.
So breathe into me breath so I can tell people about You
And then they’ll know You, too!
So Jesus, You’ll be in my heart forever
And stop loving You is what I’ll do NEVER!
Because You are my King,
and You love everyone and everything!
And I’ll meet you in the holy place;
and then I can actually see Your face!”

Praise You, Lord! We weren’t promised 8 seconds, 8 minutes, or 8 days, and yet, here we are at 8 years! You have been gracious to us, patient with us, revealed Yourself to us, and lovingly helped us. To You alone be the glory!

Praise to a Powerful God

Exodus 15:2 “The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.”

I am team teaching the 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday school classes at church this summer, and it was my week to give the lesson. We have been studying Exodus and how God delivered His people, the Israelites, from slavery in Egypt. Last week, we learned about the 10 plagues. Today, it was on the Israelites’ crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. We talked about what a powerful God we have, and how our response should be to praise Him as the people did in Exodus 15!

Just as God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt, so He rescues from the slavery of sin anyone who believes on the name of His Son, Jesus, who died for our sins and rose again! We can live a life of hope and praise Him for giving us salvation!

As I think about ways I’ve seen God work powerfully in my life, I remember 8 years ago this very day. While living in Virginia, but visiting family in Memphis, I was 5 months pregnant, or 23 weeks, 6 days to be exact. My pregnancy had not been easy from the start, but we were not aware of the seriousness of the situation. Things worsened in Memphis, and I was admitted to the hospital, with the doctors telling us they would do their best to save my life and the life of my baby.

For the next 23 days, the doctors did all they could to sustain the pregnancy. My daughter was born later that month, 3 months before her due date. She spent the next 3 months in the hospital in Memphis. Our short vacation turned into an almost 6 month stay!

As I remember those days, I remember God’s mighty power. We truly saw His hand at work in every detail. There were little miracles along the way and things that the doctors could not explain. The condition I had during my pregnancy was incompatible with life. The perinatologist made it very clear: “Your baby is a miracle. People don’t believe in miracles today, but she is a miracle.”

So I praise Him today, not just for taking us safely through that time, but for the lessons He taught me through the suffering. God’s design and ways are perfect, and He used that pain to lift my eyes to Him, to help me begin to long to know Him. These were just the seeds being planted that would grow into full bloom over the coming years. And as they did, He gave me great joy that I didn’t know was possible.