Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My message about Luke's testimony...and God's grace given at ABIDE.

I recently had the complete honor of getting to share a message with my mommy group at Open Bible Fellowship! It use to be called MOPS (when we followed their curriculum) however currently our group is not doing their exact curriculum and this year it is titled "ABIDE". It is THEE MOST INCREDIBLE place for mommies! It is a place where you go twice a month for 2 hours. They serve you yummy breakfast and HOT coffee and have the most amazing huge hearted women who lovingly watch your babies and toddlers for you while you get to take a break and enjoy encouragement and solidarity from other mommas! AND deepen your walk with the Lord! IT. IS. AMAZING.
I have been so so blessed by these women so the fact that I was able to stand up and share a message and hopefully bless some of them was just so awesome and so humbling for me.

I had been praying for a while about what God wanted me to share. Of course my obvious thought was LUKE! Man what we went through with Luke many many people won't ever get to experience anything even close to that. However...I felt that God was wanting me to share about HIM. And not just about ME...and our testimony. So even though I did use Luke's story throughout my message I shared what He laid on my heart during that trial....but even more so what I learned after going though it. I did not mention it or use it as an illustration to boast of what we went through....but to boast about HOW GOOD GOD'S GRACE IS.
Of course getting to express it and talk about it many more things were said and stressed than what is in these notes....and some of what is in these notes accidentally got skipped over or edited out while talking due to time sake....but for the most part...here is what I shared.

Embracing our situations and circumstances is not a one-time event. Life throws us curves each day, sometimes before breakfast! How in the world do we embrace what we are given?

Well you may have heard this scripture...
2 Cor. 12:9
My grace is enough; it's all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. 

His grace is enough? It sounds like a religious cliche. But it is truth and power for us if we’ll accept it.  God’s grace is enough for every difficult situation we will ever go through, even if it doesn’t seem possible.

Our most impossible moment was when our son Luke was born. We had this beautiful, extremely smart, wonderful 1 year old and expected no less when our second son entered the world. 
Luke was born on Valentine's Day of 2012. He looked nothing like his big brother did. He had extremely light blond hair where as Lane had almost black hair. He had thee most precious soft chubby cheeks and his eyes were very close together where Lane's were big and far apart. He was born with this ridge down the front of his forehead and along with the natural cone head babies had and it gave him quite a different little brother look.  While we were in the hospital we had asked the doctor and the nurses if it was just a dominate cone head and they all said it was and it would go away. Without ever saying one word to anyone...looking back I just knew deep in my heart something wasn't right. I felt this overwhelming happiness for our new baby boy but I also had this eerie feeling inside me. Ya know almost like when you're watching a scary movie and you know the bad guy is right around the corner?! 
The day we were getting discharged this one nurse came in with tear filled eyes and said "I'm so sorry to tell you this but your son's head is not right." 

 She went on to explain to us that she had saw this one other time in her 30 plus years of being a nurse and she was sure she knew what was wrong. She approached our doctor earlier that day and asked him to take an X-ray and told him how she felt and he assured it he was fine and it was a cone head. She went on to tell us that she didn't want us looking up anything online and scaring ourselves but that she would print off some information and bring it over to our house later explaining what she believed was wrong with our son.

We left the hospital instead of giddy...absolutely shaken. 

She came over later that evening when she got off work and gave us the paperwork. She told us to call her if we needed anything and she asked us to promise her that if when we went back to our doctor at the one week check up and he said everything was fine and the ridge was still indeed there that we would get a second opinion. 
And of course at his 1 week check up...we weren't even the room for a few minutes before the doctor came in and took one look at him and told us he was sending us to Iowa City. 

We all have a choice. We can buck and fight against our situations, or we can choose to embrace what God has given us. Here’s the key: we don’t receive His grace until we humble ourselves and admit that we can’t do it on our own, no matter what our “it” is.
Your “it” may be home educating your children. It may be dealing with a difficult child or even choosing to love your husband when he’s not so loveable. It may be your financial situation, your job, your boss,  or dealing with your parents. Whatever “it” is, when we quit seeing our circumstances as obstacles to defeat or overcome, and choose to embrace them, that is when we receive His grace. It means choosing to let go, and letting Him be in control. And that is sometimes a hard choice to make.


As the days went on we found out our insurance wasn't accepted in Iowa city so our Doctor said they would look around at some places to refer us. My hubby wasn't going to wait for that and instantly said we live so close to Chicago "I FEEL LIKE WE SHOULD" look there. So he did. He found out once he looked that Chicago had one of the best DCAM clinics in the nation and some of the best surgeons for craniosynotosis in our nation as well.
There was many moments where we felt the leading of the Holy Spirit but that was the first one of many as far as guiding us down the right path goes.

See sometimes we don't even realize that the Holy Spirit is speaking to us but in the moments when we say "I feel like" that is Him. Especially if you are Christian and if you have been baptized in the Holy Spirit! He is always there leading and guiding us in every step of the way but I have to be honest it's much easier for me to discern His voice and His leading when I'm not all foggy or clogged up with my flesh for fears and with stress and worry. Luckily in our situation my husband seem to have a clear connection when my signal wasn't working quite right and I would have a clear connection when his signal wasn't working quite right. I had multiple moments where crying sobbing and doing simple things daily life things or too much for me to handle. My husband had them too. I seem to have more than he did but I will never forget the one time we were eating dinner I was in a good mood enjoying the day the best that I could and as I sat down to eat Matt seemed fine...well after a few bites he set his fork completely down and I said to him are you OK and he said no I'm not and he just went in the other room and started sobbing. These feelings were NOT feelings we could control. Ever felt that way? Facing a hard trial for yourself is hard enough but when it comes to your child it's not situational it comes with every breath you take. There was no way I was going to be able to go through with what lied ahead. The words I can't I can't I cannot I can't I can't I can't came out my mouth and raced through my mind hundreds if not thousands of times before that day approached. When I would let myself actually consider what was going to need to be done I would just say I can't I can't I can't I can't. 

Interestingly, when we only endure our circumstances, they may eventually overtake us, drown us, and defeat us. Embracing the difficulties can do a mighty work in our hearts. So if you find yourself fighting, striving, and bucking against the hard things in your life, let go! Trust me I wish I would have learned that down an easier path road.

I this sounds so hard I know. I did not want to embrace something was wrong. I wanted to wake up from the nightmare in front of me.  I was SO struggling under the burden that had been given me. Things were way harder than I ever dreamed possible. I wanted to embrace the baby God had given me but I will admit, I wanted things to be easier than this. Here’s what I did know. I couldn't do this on my own. I needed his supernatural strength and power to just get through the day. 
To say I was overwhelmed would be a complete understatement. I found myself wanting to run away from myself and from my own thoughts. I hated being alone. That's when everything surrounding me and closed in on me when I wasn't busy and distracted with a one-year-old and a new baby I would feel completely overwhelmed and like I was drowning. I even remember one day I was in the shower and like many of us my ever running monologue was not shutting off in my head nor was it quiet....it was more like my fears were screaming at me in there.(God whispers because He is close...satan screams because he is far away...remember that.)

 I literally felt like I needed to run or like I was being chased by myself I quickly shut the water off and got out of the shower I put my towel on my head and got my robe on and went out and got back to life being as busy as I could to escape what was going on. Later when I took the towel off my head I realized I had not even rinse the soap out of my hair that's how overwhelmed myself was by my thoughts. Another time I remember going on a run and I felt like I just needed to be alone and I just needed to get some energy out. I went from smiling and feeling good and having a great day to fighting with God and feeling angry with Him and begging Him and pleading with Him and praising Him and bartering with Him and doing anything I could to try to hear His voice. I started out with a nice slow jog not certain where I was going to go and ended up running minutes later as fast as I could to my sisters. When I got in her house she said hey what are you doing and I said oh you know I was just going for a run and she said that's good and then I just started sobbing and I admitted in that moment....

that I was just so incredibly sad.

She had no words for me she just cried right along with me and I just stood in the kitchen and let all of my emotions come out in my tears. 

Are your emotions getting the best of you today, and your family receiving the worst?
Emotions. All the feels. Ugh. Some days it’s really hard being a woman.
Yet, these very emotions were given us by God. It’s part of His Divine nature imparted to us when He formed us in His likeness. For most of us women, nurturing, comforting, and tenderness are just a part of who we are. But those wonderful, deep emotions can quickly turn to controlling, nagging, and freaking out.
Last time I checked, freaking out did not make the list as a fruit of God’s Spirit.
Our emotions are not something to shy away from, but are qualities to be developed by the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit. Too many times we are swallowed by the displacement of our greatest qualities, and the winner is satan. We let our emotions take the lead, rather than allowing the Spirit of God to be in control. The fall-out leaves devastation and destruction for our family, and even our own hearts.
The strength and power of God are there for our asking. He is more than enough to help us overcome our own weaknesses, and His grace is enough to cover the darkness of our hearts.
When you know your emotions are heightened, humble yourself before your family telling them you realize you may not be in the best frame of mind. Ask for their forgiveness before you lose the battle. Armed with their understanding, and your own, you can face the hardest of days knowing that He is in control, even of your feelings.
Father, sometimes it’s really hard being a woman. We admit our emotions tend to lead us some days, and the path is littered with hurt feelings and wounded hearts--even our own. We now place our  emotions at your feet. We know we'll  need to do it again tomorrow and the day after, but We  want to give you that control. Please keep us alert to the times when our emotions are teetering toward our human nature rather than your Spirit. WE choose YOU and your ways.Amen...
Ok now where was I?? Oh yes...
We had lots of appointments it started at six weeks when we went to an all day clinic meeting with the geneticist, a plastic surgeon, and a neurosurgeon. After getting the diagnosis that his metopic suture was prematurely closed (your head has five sutures and they are all open when you're born so your head can overlap and passed through the birth canal correctly Luke had one completely close that should not have been closed until around the age of 13 months.) we learned it needed to be opened completely and he needed plastic surgery. That day in the doctors office they explain to a step-by-step and I won't gross you out with all the gory details but it was an incision from ear to ear on across his head or they were going to pull down his skin and use a drimal saw to separate the suture and cut it apart then they were going to take all the bones that were in his four head and by his eyesockets and take them OUT of his head... the neurosurgeon said it was kind of a Humpty Dumpty scenario that he would take apart Luke's suture and all of the bones and be the shepherd of his brain  while he did that and once that was completed the plastic surgeon would come in like Humpty Dumpty and put them all back together again.

We sobbed our eyes out and they talked to us about it as though they were talking to us about putting a set of brakes on your car...they were just very matter-of-fact   and the plan was set in the place. A ton of testing was done and CAT scans and blood tests were what was ahead of us. They weren't going to be able to do his surgery until he was 3 1/2 months old. Between six weeks and 3 1/2 months Luke had multiple blood draws. Multiple trips to Chicago multiple CAT scans and I donated two bags of blood for him (they ended up using three) for the blood transfusion he would need after his surgery....heads apparently bleed the most. He lost enough blood to fill a 1/2 gallon milk jug. (How does a 3 1/2 month old even have that much blood?!) 
I remember as the day approached I went on a walk with a friend of mine and I said to Ashley "I can't do this Ash" and she said very calmly "You have too....you don't have any other choice". 
                  and ....she was right.
That's when I started singing the song "your grace is enough for me" day in and day out in my head. 
His grace is enough. What does that mean and how in the world do we go about receiving it? We know we first received His grace when we repented of our sins and allowed Him into our hearts. But why is life so difficult even though we are trying to do the right things? Maybe we aren’t receiving that grace each day.
It’s really hard to give something you don’t have, and grace is no exception. Moms, we are the worst at holding ourselves to such rigid expectations. But what if it’s not about what we do, but who we are? We are so tired from doing, that we don’t even know how to just “be.” Be His.
We need some grace. And His grace is ours for the accepting! I think we’ve all been taught to believe that we cannot give out unless we are first filled, and that’s a problem for overwhelmed wives and moms and it was a problem for me ESPECIALLY in those days. Our tanks are empty, and we feel like we are dishing out emotional leftovers. While I understand the concept of being healthy so we can care for others, I think we often forget about the abundant, overflowing power of the Holy Spirit that is ours. He never runs out, so why do we?
We need to make a mind and heart shift. Let’s no longer consider ourselves as vessels for filling so we can then flow onto others. No. What if we saw ourselves as an open-ended conduits of our Father’s grace, love, kindness, and power!? He constantly gives and gives. As we stay connected to His power and grace, we will remain steadfast in our ability to give and give again. Over and over. Our bodies will be tired, but our spirits can stay renewed.
Tired mamas. Are you connected? Are you receiving His grace in your life? He is there, waiting for you to turn to Him and accept his lavish life-giving power in your life right now.

Father, We admit that WE have mistakenly thought we had to be filled to the brim with your presence in our life before we could spill your love and life onto others, especially our husbands and children. We want to stay connected to you, to abide in your love and grace, knowing that there is nothing we have to do, but be open to your Presence in our hearts. We pray that your Holy Spirit power, love, and grace will flow through us to all that we see and speak to today, tomorrow, and all our days. We choose You to be the ever constant stream of water flowing through us. In Jesus name...Amen

--Ezekiel 36:26, NLT

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

TO finish up the story...It was a hot warm Sunday when Matt and I and of course Lane and Luke packed our van with coolers of breastmilk, clothes, toys, snacks, toiletries and all the necessities to stay in the hospital in Chicago for at least 10days - 2weeks. Our parents loaded up their stuff too and we caravanned all the way into the city. I didn't sleep at all the night before. He got one bottle of breastmilk at midnight (had to be a bottle of a certain amount of ounces....I sure wish I would have been able to nurse him that night because little did I know he never latched on again due to the pain in the stitches on the side of his head and how elevated his head needed to be for the next weeks) and then he had some pedialite in the wee morning hours to. We "woke" up and left our hotel room at 5am...we had to be in pre op by 6. It was raining...which was totally fitting for my terrible fears, tears, and heaviness that I was experiencing. As my husband went to get the car and I stood in the lobby I stood there and cried and on the inside I PRAISED GOD SAYING YOU ARE ENOUGH....YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE THIS WAY. I was still hopeful in that moment (even with that deep eerie realization feeling inside me) that I was going to see the goodness of a miracle.
Sure enough after 2 hours in pre op the brought us out to a hallway with a red line...the anesthesiologist told us to tell him goodbye and suddenly these huge steel doors opened behind her. In that room was approximately 20 people...teams upon teams of people prepared to open up this baby and correct what was incorrect in his body. They were all scrubbed up and dressed in blue...and all we could see uncovered of them was their eyes. For some reason...the view of it all was so terrifying. (even though now I look back and think of them all as angels...pure angels. But in the moment I just wanted to scream DON'T TOUCH MY BABY...but thank you JESUS that they did.)
We kissed his sleeping face and as we handed him over he woke up and let out the sweetest little sqwak as she walked away.

We fell face down at that line and sobbed as those doors shut.

Matt and I were completely undone.

I literally thought....

“I think I’m going crazy!” Come on, you know you’ve said it, or at least thought it more than once since you took on the title of Mom. I know I did. Still do, on any given day.
The mind of a wife and mother has about a million things going on, all at the same time. “Get your shoes on, we need to leave in ten minutes. What do you mean you can’t find your shoes? (Why can’t I find a system to teach my kids to put everything in place?) Where did I put my phone? Wait. Do I have all I need on my grocery list? What time was that appointment? Why is there no gas in my car?” I could go on all day.
Our minds are very complex, and let’s admit it, we are pretty good at multitasking and getting a lot accomplished just through our thinking.
But our minds are also the place we get tripped up. We have a very real enemy out to destroy us and our influence. When we have so many jumbled thoughts, we start hearing the lies more than believing the truth of who we are and Who He is. Of course in our hardest circumstances this is even more so. 
The Bible is very clear on this: If we belong to Christ, we have His mind!

(1 Corinthians 2:16) Not human wisdom, but the power of God.
That thought pretty much blows my mind. We have the mind of the Almighty? The Creator of heaven and earth?
We can choose our thoughts! We can reject the lies of the enemy and agree with the Truth of our loving Father. We can set our mind on things above--where Christ is.
Jesus, we pray that our minds will be set on You, not on our human understanding. From here, things seem a little bleak and overwhelming. Will you help us set our mind on the things above and not on what we see and feel...right now...but also in the hardest moments that we may ever endure. It's in Jesus name we pray...AMEN.

And here is where we skip through the meat of the story (or sandwich) and come to the other end.....there is A LOT MORE in between handing him over to that doctor to where he is now. (As you all know he just turned 5...he is incredible, healthy with NO lasting effects from it all, and is full of silliness and joy that blesses us daily.) I wish I could share all the powerful moments in between the surgery...and now...
However that would take me at least a few more hours if not days to fill you in on. There was SO many AMAZING "God is so good moments" 
From his sweet little eyes being swollen shut and swollen looking like little purplish grapes in his eye sockets, to our window getting smashed in and our Gps stolen (yes this was a good God moment) all the way too the helmet he had to wear for months and months after the surgery and the WEEKLY four hour round trip appointments we took him to so he could get it adjusted (yes another God is so good thing!) and so so SO SO much more! God worked every. Single. Detail out for our good. (if you ever want to know how He was good in those situations and hundreds of others during that specific trial...I would love to share that goodness so don't hesitate to ask me!!) 
AND If you think God was done there....He wasn't and isn't. 

2 years later we had our third son who we hoped to have a way better new baby in the hospital experience with....BUT he swallowed his own amniotic fluid and they wisked him away and gave him Multiple X-rays, IV antibiotics at just hours old and more. But God worked every single detail out for our good. And due to our past hardships....it hurt just as bad BUT we had a little more strength to us so we  bent....BUT we didn't break quite as easily as before. 

And then two years later we had our 4th son and as you know he was 5 weeks early and we went through those hardships and again I could spend Hours upon hours testifying how God worked every single detail out for our good. 

AND Currently we are walking through a time where our third son is speech delayed and has some sensory issues and is needing a lot of extra help in those areas. And it is extremely hard for him and us. We are doing all we can but it surely isn't going to break us. 

And I'm not telling you those things to boast about our hardships....I am telling you these things to remind you of the scripture in the beginning
2 COR 12:9 
 He has been working it out for good for us and when we are weak...He is strong. He has led us by grace and by the Holy Spirit through it all. We know we can't do one single second alone. He was and He is currently doing a work in our hearts. Always growing me and transforming me. 

If God is not the source of your joy, you will never truly know what happiness is. Only if you belong to Him will you experience unconditional joy in your life, because without Him there can be no happiness. 

With Jesus as the main source of your happiness, it is possible to approach each day with joy and to solve each crisis with joy. You will be able to live with joy even though others might not see anything in your life over which to rejoice. The joy that God gives stands completely alone from all other things: it is joy in spite of... 



In spite of...

your negative circumstances.

You will be able to bubble over with joy, because your joy is not dependent on your physical circumstances but is anchored in a Person with whom you have a living relationship.

I use to say "but God...this and but God that"...whining as any momma would have during those hard times.

"But God" used that situation with Luke to teach me all about not striving to figure it all out, or bucking against hard things in life, and let it go! 

“God means what he says. What he says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it—no matter what.”
Hebrews 4:12-13

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Welcome to our family Levi Ray Decker

Well it has been a long 5 days. I have been meaning to update everyone, put on social media the good news, and just shout from the roof top that our FOURTH son is here!! However...I have been a little pre occupied with much more things than I ever imagined.

On Wednesday Nov. 23, 2016 I woke up and felt great. I was 35 weeks and 5 days pregnant and so excited to spend the whole day with all three of my little guys since it was the first day of Thanksgiving break! We had a great morning lounging around the house and then headed out for some last minute grocery shopping to do so I could get my remaining ingredients for my Thanksgiving dishes. Once we got home the boys all took great naps and after nap time and daddy got home we headed to get our van looked at because currently the break petal was stiff and not working exactly right. The boys had a great time playing around in our friends shop and after getting it assessed we headed home for some supper and then baths and we all snuggled up to watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. I was laying on the couch with Matt and my belly was moving all around even so much I pulled my shirt up to watch it for a few and  I got the bean bag chairs and a bunch of comfy stuff all sprawled out in the toy room for the boys and we just layed there as a family. It was wonderful! When I stood up to go to the bathroom after the show was over at 8pm before I put the boys to bed I felt like a little water may have leaked but dismissed it and went about with bedtime routine. Well every time I stood up, moved, held Lyric swaying and singing by his crib etc....a little more would come out. By the time they were all in bed and asleep I decided to call the on call nurse to see what she thought. She defintley thought I should head to the hospital to see if it was indeed my water having a slow leak or not. At that moment I felt a tad terrified. Of course I didn't have my hospital bag ready, the car seat in the car, or any of my normal preperations done for my big three that I would have had done because I still had over a month to go. So I called my sister and asked her to come over and stay there with the boys so Matt and I could head over. He took a quick shower as I started to pack a few necessities in a bag and get a few things situatiated for the boys and at about 9:15 my water completely finished breaking down my legs while I was standing in my bathroom. My sister got there and of course I was in tears...and as calm as my sweet hubby is he even said "it's not time yet". We both had a stand still moment....then we got in the car and came to the hospital. They admitted me right away since my water had indeed broken and the next morning at 10:30 am Levi Ray Decker was born. He weighed 5lbs 9oz and was 19 inches long. He was so absolutely beautiful. He instantly reminded us both a lot of Lyric but he seemed so so tiny. We were in shock over how little his bottom was and how teeny tiny his toe nails are. You literally can barely even see the pinky toe nail.
Right away he came out crying and pink which was awesome because I had asked since the baby was early if they would take him away right away and they said usually with premies they do...but if he is crying and pink then he should get to stay. I got to put him right on my chest and hold him skin to skin for a while and even got to nurse him for about 5-10  minutes but then they said with him being premature they needed him and  took him for stats and to check his breathing.

At that point they noticed he needed some oxygen. After getting his blood work back they also noticed his glucose was very low so they started him on and IV of sugar water to even that out. They also did chest xrays to be sure there wasn't an infection in his lungs and to see the size of his heart etc. His lungs looked "premature" she said but they looked normal as far as what preemie lungs look like. I did get a shot of steroids right when I got here to hopefully help him breathe after delivery.

Levi ended up needing a significant amount of oxygen as he was not breathing strong on his own very well at all. He also got an antibiotic to add into his IV twice a day to protect him from infection that was unable to be seen in his chest Xrays.
Thursday and Friday were pretty rough with his oxygen numbers. The pediatrician called Iowa City Friday night about transferring him. However since all of his blood work and tests were coming back good they decided that He could stay here another night. He wasn't necessarily improving but he wasn't worsening either. She came in Saturday morning with the intention to transfer him...however she did notice a slight improvement in his oxygen levels and she thought he seemed a little bit calmer. Since he has been born he has breathed each breath very quickly and short. They are testing his levels often to make sure that he is not getting tired out and that his heart is holding strong and can stand all the extra work he is doing to breath. She often brings up that she doesn't want him to "tire out" and that is very hard for Matt and I to hear.
 She decided Saturday again not to transfer him....last night when she came in again....she was on the fence about transferring him. I truly felt she was going to transfer us to Iowa City today. I kept praying all night to not let my flesh and my own desires get in the way (because clearly what mom and dad want to leave their children at home and go to Iowa City) but I prayed instead that God would have Levi be exactly where he needed to be to get the very best care he needs. They also let me hold him finally last night (he was so fragile and hyper sensitive to touch and sound that Iowa City said to leave him lay and mess with him as little as possible for a few days...so even though I got to hold him right when he came out for a little bit we haven't held him otherwise. Matt got to hold his little head in his hand and feed him some colostrum I pumped from a bottle yesterday but that is all he has been able to touch him and let me tell you that has not been easy on him) and I know those extra cuddles and skin to skin contact did him some good. This morning She came in a little later and through out the morning so many nurses said they noticed an improvement too. His short little breaths are still there but not quite as often so that is amazing. That is what we have been specifically praying for...calm smooth breaths. She got here today close to 11:00am and the whole morning was so hard waiting and not knowing if we were going to be transferred. All I could think was I want to see Matt and the boys but we just had to sit tight and wait to see what the Doctor said. Well I personally know that while she was running around and delaying her arrival to the hospital...God was working on Levi's behalf while all our friends and family had been praying through the night and during church this morning....because when she got here she seemed pleasantly surprised and somewhat pleased with Levi. (She doesn't offer up praise, false hope, or really any good news very freely so to see this side of her was so nice). They lowered his oxygen levels today and his IV fluids and have been monitoring him all day and testing his blood before and after feedings. His oxygen went well most of the day but this afternoon they tried to lower it even more and he didn't hold his numbers very well...so they just raised his dosage a little bit ago. Slowly but surely that oxygen level number needs to get to a 21....we started at 50 on Thursday...and we are currently at 28 on Sunday night. She tried for 25 today but it wasn't enough to keep him steady.

Soooo please please please pray currently for that strength in his lungs...and .that he will develop stronger with each and every minute.

PLEASE pray for our sweet three boys at home too as they adjust coming back and forth to the hospital every day...having much  more time away from Mommy than they have ever had, and for peace in their hearts. I am discharged from the hospital....which means I can't shower here or anything so I go home and shower every day and spend time at home with the boys and even got to put them to bed Friday and Saturday night and then I sneak out as soon as they are in bed and sleep here by myself. Today I stayed longer in the morning and went home for lunch time and to lay them down for naps and then came back and Matt brought the boys over after naps. They LOVE looking at him thorugh the window of the nursery and they can not wait to get their little hands on him! They ask about him non stop and Lane and Luke have colored multiple pictures for baby bro that are hanging on his little nicu bed. They are so sweet! Lyric being 2 doesn't know much of what's going on....but he sure is so happy when he see's his momma. I worry about those three soooooooo much more than I'd like to admit. My wonderful hubby has been loving them extra, hugging them tighter, and distracting them the best he can and I am so grateful.(Please keep him in your prayers...even though he has not complained one single time and has only raved how good the boys are, how much people have helped by dropping stuff off, and how thankful he is....I still know that every prayer for him to stay strong and steady is needed. And of course for his job to be understanding of his time off as we so need him around for the boys because they need the steadiness with them right now when mommy isn't in her normal positon.)  He keeps reminding me they are all fine...but it is so hard for me to see that when nothing seems fine right now.
So please pray for me too...Being way from Levi is awful....I race home to see my family and cry the whole way just aching that my sweet baby is at the hospital alone and not in my tummy or with me...and then being with my hubby and big 3 I sob all the way back to the hospital because I don't want to leave my house, and them....or envision them waking up without me again. This will be my 5th night in the hospital and tomorrow will be my sweet boys 5th morning waking up with out mommy being right there to hug and kiss them good morning. It is devastating for me to even type. Oh how I want that back so bad in this moment. BUT I know this is temporary...and I KNOW God is sustaining us all. He is holding us up and giving us the strength we need to go through this and most importantly HE IS Levi's healer and HE IS working this all together for GOOD for our family. He is a SOVERINGN GOD and I am doing my best to have the unshakeable faith that I need for each and every hard moment. With every breath I am praising Him for the life of our new son, and no matter what hard times come I will continue to praise Him and thank Him and trust Him.

I too am praying....for all our awesome family and friends who are so badly hurting for us, for the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that I know who are dying to see his face and finally meet their newest family member.

Again....so very sorry to anyone I haven't responded too. I am so very grateful for single one of you who has reached out to me and my family! I am so thankful for all the family that has helped us, for our friends who have poured out their offerings and extended their love, and for ALL the prayers from everyone we know and love (and don't even know) that have brought us to where we are right now.

And as of right now....Levi's blood work is still looking good, his chest xrays last night showed that his heart is doing well, and his glucose test is holding strong now that he is drinking colostrum and pumped breastmilk from a premie bottle (I can't wait to try to nurse him...however premie babies are very slow eaters and since his breathing is so hyper active and he is on oxygen.... the little bit in the bottle is all he can go for as of now). What is not the best is his breathing pace, and his oxygen levels BUT they have improved and we would love for you all to pray that they continue to improve so he can eventually get off of the oxygen and we can begin transitioning him to regular care. As of yesterday he would have been a 36 week justation baby (and as you know he should have came out at 40 weeks or shortly before). So he may still have a way to go...but our God is greater and our God is stronger....and we know that He is making Levi greater and stronger every day too!

Thank you all so much for your love, support, and prayers. It is all SO needed and appricaited more than words could ever say!
We love you!!
Matt, Laurel, Lane, Luke, Lyric, and Levi

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Believing for something out of peace not fear!

There’s a battle going on inside of you and me. A battle for our peace of mind.

Sure the enemy would love to rob us of our eternal future, but if that’s not possible stealing our peace today is good enough.

If he isn’t disrupting our lives with real problems, he’ll attack our minds with “what ifs.”

All to make us doubt God’s goodness and power.

How can you and I fight well-planned efforts to destroy our daily peace?

By knowing and trusting God completely.

It’s impossible to know that about someone we’ve just met or someone with whom we have very little connection.

But time and relationship teach us a lot about a person.

And it’s through time and relationship you and I learn we can trust God.

He has integrity. He is who He says He is. And He keeps His promises. And that makes Him trustworthy.

How do I know?

I was a slow learner. I actually endured a great trial in my life (as a mother) that trusting Him was all I had. 

I’m so thankful God didn’t give up on me. He wanted a relationship with me even more than I wanted one with Him. So He allowed life to shake me up a little and brought me to a place where I was desperate for unshakeable faith.

Faith built on time and experience.

There are lots of articles out there that will give you all kinds of tips for journaling, coloring, and personalizing your Bible and they’re all great if you’ll actually do them. But when I make it too big and complicated it’s easy for me to lose momentum.

And notes and artwork are great if they really make you focus on the Lord and grow closer to Him. I’m concerned I will focus more on a pretty Bible with impressive notes and end up making it all about me.

I need a Bible Study plan I will do. Because the more I spend time with God in His Word the more I trust His promises like:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

My God will use His wonderful riches in Christ Jesus to give you everything you need. Philippians 4:19

But the Lord said, “My grace is all you need. Only when you are weak can everything be done completely by my power.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ERV)

You, Lord, give true peace to those who depend on You because they trust You. So, trust the Lord always, because He is our Rock forever. Isaiah 26:3–4

I’m a note taker girl and have written prayers for years. But I’ve noticed something important as I put down my journal and got down on my knees I noticed…

Knee prayer pours out more and opens me up to the Spirit. I love to sit and write my prayers, but they can sometimes feel more academic and scripted. I catch myself think about what someone would think if they read my words. I want my prayer journal to be pretty and make me look good. (Can you relate? Tell me I’m not the only one.)


Knee prayer gets raw and I need that! It’s just the Lord and me. Real, honest, and unscripted. Less of me and more of Him.

That’s it! Easy right?!

Maybe not easy. Life gets crazy busy and we’re so easily distracted. But it’s doable and it’s OH SO WORTH IT!

When I’d see people with unshakeable faith I thought there must be some special formula. 

But what we need is to....

Just show up and ask God to work unshakeable faith in you.

Faith that is complete trust grounded on the solid rock of God’s promises fulfilled through Jesus and affirmed through prayer.

Unshakeable faith that knows peace. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

New house pics!

Our house is 5 bedrooms. Matt and I's bed room, Lyric's and the new baby all have bedrooms on the main floor!!
And it is 3 bathrooms! 1 full bath on main level(not pictured! Whoops! Will do that soon!) 
1/2 on main level, and 3/4 bathroom In basement...it has a little over 2000 square feet and 1.3 acres!! So much more room than we had before! We are so very grateful!! 
The front of our house (it is a split level!)
We hope to side it and put a garage up on the side of the house on the hill in 10 years (so we don't have to always use stair when coming and going)! We will then turn the garage into a family room in the basement! 

This is When you come Into the house from the garage...

There is a 3/4 bathroom right away to your left! The shower is huge and Lane and Luke use this bathroom since their bedrooms are downstairs and they love having their "own bathroom"! 

Next in that same hallway is our laundry room!

This is Lane's room! Still need to get some decorations on his walls 😀

And then the last room down the hall is Luke's room! Our boys have awesome closets but the downstairs bedrooms didn't have closet doors! We will be putting some up on them soon! 

***we also have 3 more doors in the basement-1 storage room& 2 storage closets! 

These are our stairs that are about 5 stairs up and then a landing where our front door is and then about 5 more stairs up to the main level and living spaces. 

This is our kitchen/dining area!

Hallway to the side door that leads out to a deck where our grill is...there is a pantry on the left and a 1/2 bath on the right!

1/2 bath off the kitchen 

This is the toy room right when you come up the stairs and turn left...the dining area is straight in front of you up the stairs. 

Our bedroom

Lyric's bedroom (we will repaint and decorate when we give him a big boy room soon!!)

This will be the babies room...currently storage of baby stuff! Lol! And no we did not paint it light blue for a purpose...it came that way 😊

This is our fireplace room....our favorite room! The last picture with has a door leading out to our patio and big back yard!! 

This is standing on our back hill right where we will eventually build another garage! 

Swing set and shed

Upper fire pit and garden 

Our big beautiful back hill with lots of trees and the shed with the screened in porch and another bonfire pile!! 

Our patio! 

We are so blessed and so very thankful to have more than we could ever deserve!! To Him be the glory! 

Friday, August 12, 2016

The day Lane got saved....

I wish I could put real feelings on paper so that anyone reading this could feel how I felt today. 
I have prayed for this day since I was pregnant with our son. I have prayed that through all the wrongs and rights in parenting that the number one thing we would do right is lead our boys in the direction to want to accept Christ as their saviour and Lord....

and today Lane did! 

It wasn't after some magnificent sermon or worship night....it wasn't in the midst of a hard struggle or a celebrating time. It was in our van...simple, honest, amazing, and a moment I'll never forget. 

For the last couple nights he has been spiking a low grade fever before bed and this morning I noticed some red spots in his throat so I Called the doctor and headed to Clinton to get him a check up. 

On our way at about 830am we were listening to the boys bible school songs on cd (like always!) and we weren't even singing or jammin out we were calmly  just driving along and Lane says out of no where 

"mommy when you go to heaven are you alive?"

So of course I explain to him about how you die on earth but yes you are alive in heaven in good detail. And he says are you going to go to heaven?, and I said yes a long long time from now ....then he wanted to know about daddy...and I said the same thing. 

Then he said how do you get "into" heaven....

RIGHT THERE-my heart felt promted for what was coming. 

It wasn't how do you get to heaven from earth etc....he wanted to know how you get IN!!!

So of course I tell him all the details about accepting Jesus into your heart, believing He died on the cross for your sins, and that he rose and is alive today and that you accept Him to be the Lord of your life and you pray it In Your heart and say it with your mouth...then when you die you will leave your earthly body and go up to heaven where Jesus will be waiting for you, and all your family that has died before you will be there too!

And he said "I have Jesus in my heart so will I go to heaven when I die?"....and so I said absolutely and then I asked him if he would like to be saved and know that no matter what Jesus will always accept him into heaven and 
he said yes.....
so we prayed....
right there in the van as I was driving down the road. 
I watched his tightly closed squinted eyes pray with me in his car seat from the rear view mirror  and then speak out of his sweet mouth and become saved! 
It was beyond what I ever thought it could be! 
When all was said and done he went back to looking out the window and I smiled huge all the way to Clinton! 
I was sure to give him a big hug and tell him I was so happy for him when we got to the doctor office!! 

Turns out he has a virus (hand, foot, and mouth) that will heal on its own (and his little bros have it too!)
And I've never been more thankful for a sickness and the opportunity to be in the van and have that moment with him today! 

The best part is before bed just Lane and daddy were sitting at the counter and i said "so Lane you want to tell daddy about what we talked about in the car on the way to the doctor today."

And he said "I accepted Jesus in to my heart". 

I just love how he said those words all on his own! 

Of course his daddy was so happy for him and told him so! 

Our hearts are SO very full and so very thankful!! 

Our biggest desire for Lane has come true! 
Praise be to God!! 
August 12, 2016! 
6 years old