Wednesday, May 09, 2012

'...but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express...'

It's 2:54. AM. 

Yes, I should be using this opportunity to sleep since it's quiet. Everyone is sleeping. But I like using this opportunity to think. To have a quiet moment. To myself. 

These days are long. And the nights are long too. Many get-ups and lay-downs happen through-out the night. Feeding, changing, holding a baby. But I don't mind. This little Sweetheart is so wonderful.

From the lips of babes: Little 2 year-old Angel Baby aka 'Ang' (rhymes with 'range') came up to me while I was holding little Bliss, and said, with love on her face and a childlike genuineness, 'I like babies.' 

I do too. 

Our family has been in a secret place of suffering. Comforted only by the Lord and his Word. In her first days and weeks, we have fought for her life. Literally. I don't even want to think about how low her weight got in those first weeks. She got soo tiny. Losing everything I ever fed her, onto the floor. I knew it was bad when Brian looked at me and said, 'Why do we even feed her?' NOTHING stayed down. I also don't want to think about what she subsisted on. How much actually stayed down? One ounce every few feedings? Maybe. But honestly how could I know? But I knew that it was desperate. And that something was wrong. So after seeing her pediatrician and him sending us for the upper GI tests and x-rays. He discovered that she was born with a hiatal hernia. We were sent to MUSC to a pediatric gastroenterologist. 
We have made that 2 hour drive to Charleston before. It was 7 years ago. I was pregnant with another little girl. Grace. So that was HARD. Thinking of what could be. Remembering what was. But thankfully, this was a VERY different situation. 
The cute, young doctor was totally chill. She was laid back about it all, telling us with authority and confidence that medicine should help. She prescribed Zantac and Prevacid. She was VERY concerned with the baby's weight. Which was 7 lbs. 10 oz that day. A full pound LESS than birth weight, after 3 weeks. She threw up all over the floor while we were there. But, PRAISE GOD, we left hopeful. Glad that there was something we could do. Medicine around the clock sounded great. 
The word of God says to be 'Like newborn babies. Crave pure spiritual milk', that is his Word! This passage has become even more alive to me now that I am hanging out with a newborn 29 hours a day. She craves milk. She is alive because of milk. It is her sustenance. This is how we should be with God's word. She eats every 3 hours. She would eat more often than that if she weren't such an incredible sleeper. 

But with the spitting up, most of what goes in comes back out. So she is not gaining weight. It's a dangerous, scary issue. It's milk that causes her to live. To stay alive. 

Without milk, she cannot live. She cannot flourish. It's the same with us. Your bible is there. It's meant to be consumed. It sits on your bedside table or your bookshelf. Or your car. But just like she needs to consume milk and not spit it up, you and I have to read it. And meditate on it. Constantly. Like a newborn eats constantly. It's all they do. 

The specialist that we saw put her on Milk Fortifier. It a powder that I add to expressed breastmilk. It fortifies the milk. It basically adds extra calories to the milk. What does it mean? To fortify? To fortify means to strengthen or INVIGORATE. Increase the value of! To protect it against attack. Ha ha. I love this. 

When we memorize the word of God we fortify ourselves. We strengthen, invigorate, increase the value of the word of God in our lives because it is IN US. I tell my girls when we are memorizing scripture that once you memorize these verses, it is in you forever. No one can take this from you. It's forever yours. And it protects us against attack. Not IF the attacks will come, but WHEN the attacks come, you will be prepared, because the word of God dwells IN YOU.

It's been just a few days since that trip to Charleston and now she is one month old. TODAY. She is our first to love a pacifier. She loves being swaddled. Tightly. She still sleeps more than any other baby that we've had...maybe gives sleepy baby Carlisle a run for her money. If ever she is fussy, she just wants to be wrapped up tightly and laid down in the bassinet. She's a delight. And very cute. And PRAISE GOD is back to her exact birth weight on her ONE MONTH BIRTHDAY. 8 lbs 11 ounces. The medicine is working. She still spits up. We are still fighting to keep the medicine down, 

A good college friend named her newest little daughter, Evelyn. I am happy and contented to know there is another in the world. Although, she won't be anything like mine. She can't. This one is ONE OF A KIND.

Baby Bliss Fan club President ~ Evelyn Edwards

I spoke last Saturday for the women of the church. I knew immediately what God wanted me to speak on. The power of memorizing God's word. Here's just a snapshot of some of what I talked about below...
When Jesus saved me, it was a RADICAL moment. The old was GONE and the new had COME! I didn't look the same. I hated the old Jennie. I wanted to be nothing like her anymore. I memorized my first scripture that year. 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.' Philippians 4:6

I call that time pre-Jesus Jennie and post-Jesus Jennie. My interests all immediately changed. Except ONE. My big, beautiful boyfriend had recently given his life to the Lord too. I was more in love with him than ever. He began immediately to lead me in a Christlike way. He sought after the Lord with PASSION. He consumed his bible. Literally read for hours a day. It wasn't 4 months later and we were engaged, a super short engagement, and were married on a steamy hot day in June beginning our lifelong honeymoon. 

We enjoyed 5 years of just he and I. No babies. Traveling the world. 

Then we entered our darkest days. I became pregnant with our first little girl. Naturally, we were beyond thrilled. At week 16, we discovered that she had a genetic abnormality. We knew she would eventually die. I continued to carry her for months. At 6 months, she died and I delivered her. Together Brian and I walked through the valley of the shadow of death. It was horrific. I thought of my citizenship in heaven. I wanted to go there too. With my little baby Grace…go to heaven and hang out with Jesus and sing Holy holy holy. I was done with this world.

God's and his forever enduring word carried us. One of our verses at the time was, 'But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in  weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.' 2 Corinthians 12:9

God set me afire. I became more and more in love with the Word. Intoxicated. Memorizing and dwelling. Falling in love with God, letter by letter, Word by word, line by line.

'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.' And it happened. I became intentional. I began meeting with the Lord to memorize his Word. I got the cute name of 'Scripture Nazi' in biblestudies that Brian and I were leading…and lived up to it. Trying to encourage any and everyone to memorize with me. Because 'All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.' 2 Timothy 3:16

I began to teach it to my girls. As soon as they learn to talk. They are saying 'dada' and 'mama' and I teach them to say JESUS. I whisper it. Because it gets their attention. And they listen. And they smile. I make it the biggest and best thing I ever say to them and then I teach them John 3:16. First.

But the most fascinating thing I've learned as a scripture loving Mama is that they listen and memorize always. Carlisle was three years old when she recited the Armor of God for a friend. Word for word. It's 5 verses long. She had heard me practicing in the car. The friend said, Jennie, I can't believe Carlisle has the armor of God memorized. It's so long. I said, 'she does?'. I practice out loud and I have to say it 3000 times. I joke that I have birthed a little of my brain out with each baby. So 5 births later, I am in trouble. :) 

Evelyn did it too. Picking up verses as Carlisle and I memorized together.

Most recently, my just-turned 2-year-old recited the fruit of the spirit. She says, 'The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness. patience, goodness, patience, goodness. I was 41 weeks pregnant when I discovered she knew that one. Patience, goodness, patience, goodness. I would smile and say out loud 'Got it Lord. Got it.'

The girls all got a sunflower from the women's event at the church. And once we got home, one-by-one had a dance with Daddy... and the sunflower. Even me. :) 

If you have love, you don't need to have anything else. If you don't have it, it doesn't matter much what else you have. 
 ~ James M. Barrie

Also making time to hula. 

Taped to the mirror in the bathroom, above Brian's sink. It's been there for years.

As my girls get older, I continue to find new ways to celebrate them. Celebrating girl-ville. Or girl-ness. Not even sure what to call it. Girl-hood, maybe. 

I laid on the bed with them last night at bedtime. Jammies were on. Teeth were brushed. 

I asked them questions. About what they thought about things.

Evelyn had just gotten an American Girl kitty (from Sam's. Can't believe they had them.) and it comes with a book. Full of get-to-know you questions, probably to do with a friend... 

Well, we laid on the bed like college girls. Me getting to know them. Carlisle was sure of herself and her answers. Fishing and tree house building are her favorite out door activities. Evelyn was much more pensive, thinking carefully of her answer before she said anything. Being chased by her Daddy was her favorite outdoor activity. Reading is Carlisle's favorite subject. Handwriting was Evelyn's. 

It went on for over an hour.  Can't wait for next time to do it again. And take notes. 

I learned so much.

They are so interesting.


Piper said...

Just beautiful.

gillian said...

You are an INCREDIBLE momma!!! Thank you for
sharing your heart, the analogy of a mothers milk and Gods word is amazing! Your family is such a blessing to so many, xoxo!