Monday, August 30, 2010

While I'm Waiting

While I'm Waiting by John Waller

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Happy 2 months in Heaven my sweet Ella girl.  Mommy and Daddy miss you so much and we think about you all the time.  You were and forever will be our precious Baby B.  Our second born.  My arms ache to hold you.  My belly wants to feel you.  But in my heart is where you will forever be.

For He is their life and the length of their days. Deuteronomy 30:20

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Baptism

So today we had another first.  The first baptism since the girls were each baptized.  And it just so happened to be our best friend's little girl who was baptized.  Such a happy day but sad in its own way too.  I sat there listening to Pastor Dave's words.  Words so similar to what I heard on June 24 and June 30.  But my girls were being prepared to go to Heaven and Taylor was being prepared to live her life here on Earth.  It brought tears to my eyes.  My heart is heavy with the loss...all the "never going to happens."

After church we headed to the Holwerda's house (Laura's parents) and ate lunch.  Thankfully it was a beautiful (although quite humid) afternoon.  We had a great time and as we were leaving we got to chat with Pastor Dave and Linda (his wife).  We had a great talk with them.  And of course I shed lots of tears but received lots of hugs.  We set up a time after Labor Day to get together with them for dinner.  Something to look forward to.  Pastor Dave and Linda were huge for us (big time prayer warriors) when we were in the midst of losing the girls.  So thankful for them. 

I told them how this past week I was feeling like everyone had forgotten about us.  Forgotten that we lost the girls.  It's still so real to us.  Others go on with their lives but Brian and I are stuck.  Stuck in the here and now.  Wanting to be anywhere else.  But then God reminds me that we are not forgotten.  A wonderful friend from church called to see how I was.  We had an awesome conversation and her prayer for me made me cry.  A couple that I baby-sat for when I was younger sent me the most special care package (a frame, a necklace, and a letter).  The "Card Lady" sent me another card.  Others sent cards saying that they still think about us often.  My mom told me about all the people who ask her how we're doing.  So I just want to thank my Heavenly Father for letting me know that people still care.  People are still praying.  We have not been forgotten.

Never feel nervous to ask me how I'm doing.  Never feel nervous to ask me about my girls.  I love talking about them.  They were my life.  They still are.  I think about them every day and the memories I have I will cherish forever.

The frame from the care package (the two roses are in remembrance of Alayna and Ella)


As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you...
John 15:9

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Testing

There he tested them. Exodus 15:25

I absolutely LOVE my Streams in the Desert Devotional.  It has renewed my faith and given me so much hope for the future.  Enjoy part of my reading from today...

God does not want us to be like greenhouse plants, which are sheltered from rough weather, but like storm-beaten oaks; not like sand dunes that are driven back and forth by every gust of wind but like granite mountains that withstand the fiercest storms.  Yet to accomplish this, He must take us into His testing room of suffering.  And many of us need no other argument than our own experiences to prove that suffering is indeed God's testing room of faith. J.H. M.

It is quite easy for us to talk and to theorize about faith, but God often puts us into His crucible of affliction to test the purity of our gold and to separate the dross from the metal.  How happy we are if the hurricanes that blow across life's raging sea have the effect of making Jesus more precious to us!  It is better to weather the storm with Christ than to sail smooth waters without Him.  J.R. Macduff
(Streams in the Desert)

Hope everyone had a great Saturday!  I sure did...boating (including lots of sun) + Beltline Bar = a pretty good day!

aren't we lovely...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

For Every Thought There Is A Verse

I have said it before but I will say it again...grief is tough work. 
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. Psalm 138:7

When I lost the girls my hopes were lost, my plans went unfinished, and my dreams went unfulfilled.
For I know the plan I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

But I wanted my girls to play with their cousins and I wanted them to play with their "would have been" best friend Taylor.
For He is their life and the length of their days. Deuteronomy 30:20

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 139:16

How do I pick up the shattered pieces?
That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything. Mark 11:24

My heart aches and my tears flow freely.  Does my Savior even care?
You've kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in Your ledger, each ache written in Your book. Psalm 56:8

This cannot be the end.  My God must have big plans for me (and my hubby).
Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within you is able is able to do far more than you would ever dare to ask or even dream of.  Infinitely beyond your highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. Ephesians 3:20-21

Dear reader, are you in some terrible trouble?  Have you experienced some distressing disappointment, sorrow, or inexpressible loss?  Are you in a difficult situation?  Cheer up!  You have been "locked up" in faith. Accept your troubles in the proper way and commit them to God.  Praise Him "that in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Rom. 8:28) and that He "acts on behalf of those who wait for him" (Isa. 64:4). God will send you blessings and help, and will reveal truths to you that otherwise would never have come your way. And many others will also receive great insights and blessings because you were "locked up" to learn the way of faith.

Great things are done when man and mountains meet,
These are not done by walking down the street.
(Streams in the Desert)

And I just wanted to share a few pictures from my family fun lake day on Tuesday at my Aunt Diane's (they're all of my nieces and one of my nephews)...

Kylynn and Cambrey swimming...

and they made it here all by themselves!

Addi Joy

Tired Coley Boy

Hungry Coley Boy

and 4 of the 5 grandbabes with grandma.



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Good Ole Fair

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13)

I survived my first full weekend of work.  I survived my first week of being full time.  I survived!  It was better than I thought it would be but lets just say I was still a little bit cranky.  And my hubby took the brunt of it...sorry babe.  So yesterday I kept myself busy.  Met my bestie for breakfast.  Then went to my sisters and read my latest book until she got home.  Then hung out with my sister most of the afternoon.  Then went to my parents for dinner with the hubby, my sis, and her kiddos.  Then went to the Hudsonville fair with my parents, sis, and her kiddos.  It was a good day!  The kiddos loved the tractor pull (which we watched from behind the fence.  What can you say...we're cheap)!  Cole loved him some elephant ear.  When I asked Cambrey if she wanted some she said no.  She literally thought she was going to eat an elephant's ear.  So when further explained she gobbled it up as well.  Cole loved the animals.  Cambrey hung on for dear life.  Cambrey's highlight was seeing the cow's poop.  She kept saying I want to see more (and she meant more poop not cows).  She even caught one peeing.  Funny girl. 

Cole watching the tractor pull with elephant ear in his hand!

Check it out Aunt Linny

Coley Boy

Grandma with Cambrey

Cambrey with Aunt Linny

Sissy with Papa and Coley with Grandma

 Cole with his mama (and more elephant ear)!

The latest book I have been reading is Karen Kingsbury's Take Four.  I was reading it the other day and came across this:  "Do you ever think about the babies you lost?"  Andi had thought often lately about her lost siblings-the babies her mom had lost through miscarriage.  "Of course..."  "They were all boys right?"  "They were."  Lisa smiled, but her eyes still showed her sorrow.  "I like knowing that one day you'll meet them.  Your little brothers..."  She gave her mom's hand a squeeze that told her without words how sorry she was for her heartache.  For the loss their family had spent a lifetime living with.

I am constantly reminded that Brian and I are not the only people going through the loss of a child.  (Children in our case).  And even though this isn't a true story, God is giving me reminders that Brian and I are going to be okay.  We will live with sorrow and joy.  We will live with heartache but we will smile through it.  We are different people.  We will never forget our precious daughters.  Our future children will never forget their big sisters.


"Then we are one in Him," they cried in gladness, "for no one but He could unite Joy and Sorrow."  Therefore they walked hand in hand into the world, to follow Him through storms and sunshine, through winter's severe cold and the warmth of summer's gladness, and to be "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." (Streams in the Desert)

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 your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:6-7)

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:19)

Happy 2 month birthday in Heaven my sweet Alayna Joy.  I am two months closer to holding you again!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Day Late

I saw this on someone else's blog and wanted to share it with all of you who don't follow her blog...

August 19th Day of Hope

In loving memory of Alayna Joy Helmholdt and Ella Adrianna Helmholdt

Throughout the last few weeks I have been touched by words of comfort from those I do not know, those I have not seen in a long time, and from those I see often.  I would like to thank everyone who has sent me these private messages through either facebook, email, or my carepage. Your words have touched me.  Your encouragement keeps me going. Thank You!  Oh and you have helped me shed some 'good' tears!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My TRUE Thoughts

Thank goodness it's almost Friday!  But that also means the weekend is just around the corner...and that means my first full weekend (of work) is about to overtake me.  Can I complain just once more about work?  I should not be working 12 hour shifts.  I should be working 4 hour shifts and getting ready to start my pre-maternity leave come September 9.  Lately I have been feeling really "down" and I think I have been feeling so down for that reason alone.  But I remind myself (as does the hubby) that this is only temporary...THIS IS ONLY TEMPORARY.

I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. (Acts 27:25)

What my new life consists of:
1. People see me and say "Hey did you have your babies already?"  Yep...thanks for asking.
2. Parents (of my patients) ask me "Do you have any children?"  Yep...two daughters in Heaven.
3. Do I like to shop?  Yep...I love it.  Do I like to see a daddy (at the mall) walking hand in hand with his twin (15 mons old or so) daughters?  Nope...worse feeling in the world.  Does that bring on some tears?  Yep...and lots of them.  (And yep right in the middle of the busy mall).
4. Do I cry myself to sleep some nights?  Yep...sure do.
5. Did I really just pick out a marker for my girls grave site today?  Yep...sure did.

Not how I imagined my first pregnancy.  Nor the summer of my first pregnancy.  Stinks the BIG one.  Enough said.

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. (2 Corinthians 6:10)

For the past two nights Brian and I have gone deer "watching."  Don't get too jealous now!

what we sit in

Me chilling in the tent

Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Change

Yesterday marked two months since the beginning of this new journey.  There are many dates that stand out as reminders to me every month and I am assuming they will for the rest of my life.  Every time the 15th rolls around I think about the day our world came collapsing down.  When the 24th or 30th roll around I think about the day each of our girls were born.  And on the 7th of every month I think about the day they were buried. 

I had a semi rough day yesterday.  I held the tears in (for the most part) but reminders of the girls were everywhere.  And now all I want to do is think about them.  Which just makes me sad and I don't want to be sad all day today too.  I was sad enough yesterday.  Please pray that I will continue to trust in my faithful Savior.  Trust that His plan (this trial) will ultimately shower me with an abundance of  blessings.  And pray that every day because I am too weak I cling to Him who upholds me with His right hand.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Heaven's message for you is clear: when everything else changes, God's presence never does.  You journey in the company of the Holy Spirit, who "will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you" (John 14:26 NLT)  So make friends with whatever's next.  Embrace it. Accept it.  Don't resist it.  Change is not only a part of life; change is a necessary part of God's strategy.  To use us to change the world, he alters our assignments... (Max Lucado)

These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing" (2 Cor. 4:17 CEV)

There is a reason God changed my assignment.  My initial assignment was to deliver two healthy baby girls in October but instead God reassigned me to deliver two beautiful baby girls in June.  For some reason God needed two more angels.  Why were my girls the chosen ones?  I have no answer besides; God must have thought they were pretty special!  I could be angry at God for this change in assignment.  Turn away from Him.  Question how could He take away the babies I had fought and PRAYED so hard for.  But I trust Him.  I know His promises.  He will not fail me.  And even in my sadness I know He is near!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fear Ends Where Faith Begins

Today's sermon was entitled Fear Ends Where Faith Begins.  The devotional that Brian and I are currently reading is entitled Fearless.  The devotional says, "What if faith, not fear, was our default reaction to threats."  Enough hints?  I think so but still fear is relentless.  It wants to follow me everywhere I go. 

As I sat in church today, I thought about how, when pregnant with the girls, I could not make it through a whole service without a snack.  I was constantly hungry.  I would race to (well walk very quickly) to the donuts after church because I was so famished.  Memories like that bring tears to my eyes.  Will I ever be that hungry again? 

Or how about earlier today when my mom called and said that my sister had gone to Metro's ER because she was having such intense pain on her left side (due to another kidney stone).  When I walked into Metro's ER it was like deja vu.  When I was 11 weeks pregnant my sister went with me to the same ER.  I had been having some spotting so my OB told me to go get an ultrasound to calm my fears.  I was so scared walking into that ER not knowing what I would hear.  But it was what I saw that calmed my fears...both my girls moving around on that ultrasound screen.  I was overjoyed!!!  My sister was just one room down from where I was back in April and she had the same doctor that I had on that awful turned joyous day.  Memories...they are everywhere.

Or how about this afternoon when I sat outside to read my Glamour magazine and one of the articles was entitled "The Baby I Lost...and the Life She Gave Me."  As I read the article, I thought about the days I lost my girls.  Oh what heart wrenching days they were.  But you know what?  I would go back to those days in a heartbeat.  Back to the moments they were each born.  The moments I became a mother to each of them.  The moments I held my precious babies in my arms.  I would go back and relive it again if only I could hold my babies once more.  But I cannot.  All I am left with are the memories.  The author said it best when she simply stated, "My pain will never fully go away." 

I remember the moment Ella was born.  What my first feelings were.  It was quite similar to what the author (from Glamour magazine) stated which is written below...

I asked Chad, "Did the baby make it?"  He whispered, "No."  Somehow I already knew.  "Do I have my uterus?"  "Yes."  Then I'm going to be OK.  Choking back tears, Chad said, "I need you to have babies with."  Then we're going to be OK.  Then that feeling passed and was replaced by crushing grief.

When we were told we had to induce our sweet Baby B (unnamed at the time) we were devastated.  We asked for a second opinion and were told the same thing.  We had to induce for my life. For my uterus. For our future children. Our sweet Baby B was already too sick to survive. We had to say goodbye almost before hello.  Utter sadness swept over me.  But I said to the doctor, "Will I be able to have more children?  I just want to be a mommy.  It's all I've ever wanted. They told me that yes someday I would be a mother again. After I delivered Ella I asked if my uterus was still 'okay.'  And the doctor said it's perfect.  We got everything out and there is no scaring.  Then my attention turned to Ella.  She was just as perfect as her big sister.  She blessed us with 1 hour and 15 minutes.  And then reality set in.  We were no longer expecting parents of two but parents of two angel babies.

Below are what three angel daddy's had to share (again from the Glamour article)...

"We lost our twins at 23 weeks, when my wife developed preeclampsia.  They died in the palms of my hands, and there was nothing I could do.  The feeling of helplessness was the most painful part.  I found myself feeling guilty at the torture my wife was going through, and selfish for just wanting it to all be over.  You never get back to normal; with some time and distance you just find a different place" (Jesse McBryan)

"My daughter Destiny suffered heart failure during delivery and was stillborn.  I felt I had to be the strong one for my wife.  Even though I wasn't the person carrying our baby, I was still connected.  Saying goodbye without seeing her cry or laugh; never being able to play with her; burying her; and having no friends to talk to who'd gone through the same thing--it was devastating." (Shamond Brooks)

"My son Ezra died of placental abruption at 34 weeks.  It felt as if all the wind had been knocked out of me.  I'm glad I was there for my wife, and we have been there for each other.  At the same time, it feels like men are expected to suck it up and get over it.  We found a community of 'baby lost' parents, as we're called, and shared our thoughts, and that has helped us heal.  There is support out there--such as glowinthewoods.com and missfoundation.org--if you need it." (David Love)

Someone who was passing through the deep water of affliction wrote a friend:
Isn't it glorious to know that no matter how unjust something may be, even when it seems to have come from Satan himself, by the time it reaches us it is God's will for us and will ultimately work to our good?

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28)  Think of what Christ said even as he was betrayed: "Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?"  We live fascinating lives if we are living in the center of God's will.  All the attacks that Satan hurls at us through the sins of others are not only powerless to harm us but are transformed into blessings along the way (Hannah Whitall Smith)

"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31:8) 

 I will not fear for the Lord is with me!

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1)

God is in control of my life!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Christmas in August

Since the girls were born I like to get out of the house at least a little bit every day.  If I am in the house too long I start thinking about the girls and this always leads to tears.  So lately Brian and I have made a habit of getting out every Saturday.  Today's destination led us to Gander Mountain and Hobby Lobby (as well as Target and Taco Bell).  Brian dropped me off at Hobby Lobby and then headed to Gander.  I love just roaming around the store.  I wasn't looking for anything in particular. 

But this is what I bought...


And this is what I made...



Alayna and Ella's 1st Christmas Ornaments!

Today we went to the Target in Jenison.  Big step for me because this is the Target I frequented when I was pregnant.  This was THE Target where I purchased some of my first maternity clothes and where I would wander the baby isles thinking about all the things I would be buying my little ones.

And so today it seemed fitting that I would see tons of pregnant people walking through my beloved Target with smiles on their faces and it makes me want to look like this again...


The LORD will work out His plans for my life--for Your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever.
Don't abandon me, for You made me.
Psalm 138:8

And out of me came two of the most beauitful babies EVER...

Alayna Joy
6.24.2010
Ella Adrianna
6.30.2010

"No mere man has ever seen, heard, or even imagined what wonderful things God has ready for those who love the Lord"
1 Corinthians 2:9

Friday, August 13, 2010

We Are Loved

I saw this poem on someone else's blog and loved it so I copied and pasted it so you could all enjoy it too!!!  Just think of the his and hims as they and theirs!

I'll Lend You A Child
by Edgar Guest

"I'll lend you for a little time a child of mine," He said.
For you to love while he lives
And mourn for when he's dead.

It may be six or seven years
Or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care of him for Me?

He'll bring his smiles to gladden you,
And should this stay be brief
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.

I've looked this world over
In search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd
Life's lanes, I have selected you

Now will you give him all your love,
Nor count the labor vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call to

Take him back again?"

I fancied that I heard them say,
"Dear Lord, Thy will be done,
For all the joy Thy child shall bring,
The risk of grief we'll run.

We'll shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known
Forever grateful stay.

But should the angels call for him
Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that comes
And try to understand."

I woke up this morning and found it hard to get out of bed.  My mind kept drifting to all the "what could have been's."  But my girls were never meant to be more than what they were...my angel babies.  O how I miss them and want to hold them again.  Someday promises my Heavenly Father.  Someday.
 
And then I remember..."God is the Great Giver. The Great Provider. The Fount of every blessing. Absolutely generous and utterly dependable...Trust Him!" (Max Lucado)
 
And then I am reminded..."When God made you a believer, He meant to test you.  And when He gave you promises and asked you to trust them, He made promises suitable for times of storms and high seas." (Streams in the Desert)
 
Where would our faith be if not for the trials that test it; or patience, without anything to endure or experience and without tribulations to develop it? 
 
Loved! then the way will not be drear;
For One we know is ever near,
Proving it to our hearts so clear
That we are loved.
 
Loved when our sky is clouded o'er,
And the days of sorrow press us sore;
Still we will trust Him evermore,
For we are loved.
 
Time, that affects all things below,
Can never change the love He'll show;
The heart of Christ with love will flow,
And we are loved.
  (Streams in the Desert)


Had my favorite kind of day...enjoyed the sunshine filled day poolside!  And when the hubby got out of work he joined in the fun.  My niece Cambrey loves it when he comes to swim.  Then we ordered some pizza with the Tibbes for dinner and called it a night.  Next on our agenda...watching a movie as soon as I stop blogging.

Oh and today I picked up my girls beautifully embroidered blankets that a wonderful lady named Brenda embroidered for me.  Here is a picture...


Now if Brian and I are someday blessed with another daughter...she will get to use her big sister's blankets!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Down...

All I got for today is...I completed my first 12 hour shift (well since May 17).  The day went by very quickly since I was crazy busy.  And even though it was a good day I was still a wee bit cranky driving home.  I was frustrated that I had to work 12 long hours.  I said to my mom, "I should NOT be working these hours until January and only two 12's at that...aghhh."  But everyone reminds me that this is only short term.  Tomorrow is only an 8 hour shift...thank heavens!  Because of the shortage at work (so many peeps out on maternity leave)...those of us left "behind" have to pick up an extra 8 hour shift during our next scheduling period.  This means that next week I get to work three 8's and one 12 (instead of the two 8's and one 12 I had planned on) for a grand total of 36 hours (the normal hours I work in a week) and then the following week is my normal three 12's work week.  Trying to think positive thoughts!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Good Day

Today was a BIG day for me.  It was finally August 10th afterall.  I have been anxiously waiting for this day for 5 long weeks.  Why was I so excited about this particular day you ask.  Well it was my 6 week post partum check up and consult appointment regarding future pregnancies (with my new high risk doctor).  To be honest I wasn't pumped about the post partum check up part but more about the other part.  Once we got the first part taken care of Dr. J (my high risk doc) came back in to talk to us about the more exciting part.  And as we left his office we were excited once again (and hopeful)!!!  So here it is.  Dr J is in agreement with Dr. D (my fertility doc) that it is more likely that my premature labor was caused by an infection rather than an incompetent cervix.  Nothing can be comfirmed (until a future pregnancy) but they both feel quite strongly about this for a couple of different reasons.  One reason is because I had to endure 24 hours of labor before my precious second daughter Ella was born.  I had about 14 hours of pitocin and 3 doses of a ripening agent before I finally delivered.  Both of my doctors agree that Ella should have come within an hour if the issue was an incompetent cervix.  Another reason is that both my girls placentas showed chronic (meaning old) infections.  This was new information to me since the other high risk group said that both placentas showed acute infections but that only baby A's showed a chronic infection.  Having chronic infections suggest that I might have had this infection for a long time.  And to add to it...baby A's placenta showed some necrosis.  Necrosis is the premature death of cells and living tissue.  In a nutshell this means one of two things.  It could mean that when I had some slight bleeding at 11 weeks some bacteria may have entered into my uterus or (and this is what Dr. J believes) that the infection lives within my uterus lining all the time.  Sounds bad but its really not once its detected.  The infection that was found in the girls placentas and amniotic fluid (same infection that might be in my uterus lining) is easily treated with antibiotics.  So with future pregnancy's I will be started on antibiotics early on and just in case of cervical incompetence I will get cervical measurements from weeks 14-26.  So I am as happy as I can be...believing that I may have a crazy infection that lives in my uterus lining.  An answer to prayer nevertheless.  Infections are easier to treat than cervical issues.  So I am thanking God for this "gift" tonight.  But I would appreciate the continued prayers as this journey to parenthood is far from done.  Once I do get pregnant again...regardless of everything above...I will still be a might bit anxious because you just never really know.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from…the Father.” James 1:17

Monday, August 9, 2010

God of all Comfort

"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is they faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him'" (Lamentations 3:21-24 RSV)

Once upon a time Max Lucado sat in a doctor's office waiting anxiously for his test results. As He sat there waiting, he looked around the room and noticed all of the doctor's accomplishments and diplomas. He became less nervous. But just like you and I when he started reading about his diagnosis his nerves returned. His peace was lost. Now imagine the office being God's. All you have to do is keep your focus on God and you will not be anxious. Remember to keep your gaze upon His numerous diplomas and accomplishments.

God has hung his diplomas in the universe. Rainbows, sunsets, horizons, and star sequined skies. He has recorded his accomplishments in Scripture. We're not talking six thousand hours of flight time. His resume includes Red Sea openings. Lions' mouths closings. Goliath topplings. Lazarus raisings. Storm stillings and strollings. (Max Lucado)

Another day is done. Yea! It's sad that I kind of (in a way) am just wishing my days away. But I believe that there are better days ahead. And I just want to get to those days. Now don't get me wrong; I am still trying my best to enjoy this beautiful life that God has given me but I am human. This morning I woke up cranky. Cranky because I had to go to work. Today should have been my last 8 hour shift. Now Wednesday is my first 12 hour shift. As of August 12 I was suppose to be working a mere there 4 hour shifts. Now as of August 22 I will be full time again (three 12 hour shifts). I know I am throwing myself a pity party but there is no way around it. Today I had to work with a coworker who was due 3 weeks behind me. Her belly reminds me constantly of where I should be and what I should look like. But my belly is flat...lifeless you could say. It saddens me. Of course I had to endure "some pregnancy conversations" and belly shows today. I just turn my head away and say (to myself) that someday it will once again be my turn. God has BIG plans for me (and my hubby)! Patience. Something my mother told me I never had...

I went to Brian's softball game tonight, we stopped by the cemetery, we got some ice cream, we went for a bike ride, and read our devotions. A relaxing summer night! Last week Brian and I decided that we wanted to read the Bible from front to back...a big task. So we added this to our daily devotions (along with Streams in the Desert and Fearless). Our Bible has a 3 year plan (we are going to try and do it in a year or less). It is quite refreshing reading stories about Adam, Noah, and Abraham. Stories that I have not read in a loooong time. Well tomorrow is another day (but a day that I have really been looking forward to)...stay tuned for (hopefully) a good post tomorrow!

Oh and the last thing that I have to share with you all tonight.  My sister emailed me earlier and what she wrote brought a smile to my face.  "Hey Linny, You feel better yet?" This is what I overheard Cambrey (my niece for those of you who don't know me well) saying into her pretend phone. She doesn't forget either.  How precious.   And mind you...she is only 2 years old (and 11 mons)! 


I have been through the valley of weeping,
The valley of sorrow and pain;
But the "God of all comfort" was with me,
At hand to uphold and sustain.

As the earth needs the clouds and sunshine,
Our souls need both sorrow and joy;
So He places us oft in the furnace,
The dross from the gold to destroy.

When he leads through some valley of trouble,
His omnipotent hand we trace;
For the trials and sorrows He sends us,
Are part of His lessons in grace.

Oft we run from the purging and pruning,
Forgetting the Gardener knows
That the deeper the cutting and trimming,
The richer the cluster that grows.

Well He knows that affliction is needed;
He has a wise purpose in view,
And in the dark valley He whispers,
"Soon you'll understand what I do."

As we travel through life's shadowed valley,
Fresh springs of His love ever rise;
And we learn that our sorrows and losses,
Are blessings just sent in disguise.

So we'll follow wherever He leads us,
Let the path be dreary or bright;
For we've proved that our God can give comfort;
Our God can give songs in the night.

(Streams in the Desert)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

We Will Never Be The Same

Read Luke 8:40-42 and 49-56...if you are unfamiliar with the story of Jairus and his daughter.

Some of you find the story of Jairus difficult to hear.  You prayed the same prayer he did, yet you found yourself in a cemetery facing every parent's darkest night: the death of your child.  No pain compares.  What hope does the story of Jairus offer to you?  Jesus resurrected Jairus's child.  Why didn't he save yours?  God understands your question.  He buried a child too.  He hates death more than you do.  That's why he killed it.  He "abolished death and brought life and immortality to light" (2 Tim. 1:10).  For those who trust God, death is nothing more than a transition to heaven.  Your child may not be in your arms, but your child is safely in his. (Max Lucado)

Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me." (John 11:41).

Who ever thinks of announcing a victory song as the army is just heading out to the battlefield?  And where do we ever hear a song of gratitude and thanksgiving for an answer that has not yet been received?  Yet in this Scripture passage, there is nothing strange, forced, or unreasonable to the Master's sequence of praise before the miracle.  Praise is actually the most vital preparation to the working of miracles.  Miracles are performed through spiritual power, and our spiritual power is always in proportion to our faith. (John Henry Jowett)

So here is my prayer:
Thank You Father for holding my precious Alayna and Ella safe in your arms until I can hold them safely in mine and Thank You Father for my future children.  I know in your time we will be blessed again but until that day I pray for patience and trust.  I eagerly look forward to meeting Alayna and Ella's little brothers and/or sisters!  Amen.

The only way to genuine patience can be acquired is by enduring the very trials that seem so unbearable today.  Turn from your running and submit.  Claim by faith to be a partaker in the patience of Jesus and face your trials in Him.  There is nothing in your life that distresses or concerns you that cannot become submissive to the highest purpose.  Remember, they are God's mountains.  He puts them there for a reason, and we know He will never fail to keep His promise. (Streams in the Desert). 

Here I am Lord.  Climbing the biggest mountain of my life hand and hand with you (but sometimes Lord...I might need to climb on your back...so thanks in advance)!

The purpose of our trials is not only to test our worthiness but also to increase it, just as the mighty oak is tested by the storms as well as strengthened by them. (Streams in the Desert)

Brian and I's lives were drastically changed on June 15, 2010.  On that day we could have chosen to turn our backs on everything that we believed in.  But we didn't.  We held strong believing in God's perfect plan.  And even though His plan was a far cry from ours, we still continue to trust in our Father.  Our hope is that someday our faith will be as sturdy as the mighty oak!

YOU NEVER LET GO by MATT REDMAN

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won't turn back
I know you are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

(Chorus:)
Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
A glorious light beyond all compare
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
We'll live to know You here on the earth

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

So these last few days have been crazy busy. From slowly increasing my work hours, to meeting friends at Rainbow Grill (donut sundae anyone???), to grilling out and boating with friends, to grilling out, getting ice cream, and playing cards with friends...all of this has not left me much time to blog. Hence, why this is one looooong entry! Yesterday was spent with family. In the afternoon we headed to my parent's house to spend the day boating (with almost the whole fam). My three nieces had a blast on the boat but Cole decided a nap on daddy sounded better. Easton got to hang out inside (probably thankful to be away from his sisters and cousins). Then in the evening we headed to one of my favorite restaurants (Crazy Horse) with Brian's parents, his Uncle Gene and Aunt Marian, and his cousin Sharon and her hubby Bruce. After dinner we played a little golf...card style! And then today was a bittersweet day as we said good-bye to one of our Pastors. He is heading to Iowa to lead a new church family and we wish him only the best. We had a little good-bye taco lunch for the Breen family after church with our Sunrise family. And now this afternoon we get to enjoy this beautiful day from God!

So I just had to share this story that I am about to tell. I laughed so hard that I almost started crying. And mind you...I have not had a good laugh in a long time. So one day last week I threw in a load of laundry and completely forgot to put it in the dryer. Brian had asked me that night if I had done a load of laundry and I said no. Well the next day I checked to make sure I was right. I was not...whoops. There was a pile of wet laundry in the dryer. I smelled it and it seemed to smell just fine so I started up the dryer. I did another load of laundry, dried that load, and threw that load along with the first into the laundry basket to fold and put away. Well I didn't get to it until yesterday. Some of it seemed to smell funny so I threw it back into the laundry. Fast forward to this morning. I asked Brian if his bath towel was new this morning. He said yes and I said well it really smells. I got him a new one amongst his grumblings about that awful smell. Fast forward a little more to Brian and I sitting in church. I kept smelling "that same stinky towel smell." I kept checking to see if it was me. Finally I nonchalantly smelled Brian...I had found the smell! I whispered in Brian's ear (okay I am laughing as I even type this) that the towel smell was back and it was him. He was none too pleased and said that he had been smelling it too. He said a couple things...don't remember what they were BUT they only made me laugh more. So the more I laugh, the more annoyed he gets....all of this during church. So before we went to the church dinner we ran home so he could change. And the one thing I do remember is him saying "would you want to smell like a donkey's ass?" Nope honey, I think I will pass!

Lastly, I have many prayer requests that I would like to share...
1. Our Pastor as he continues his 5 year battle with cancer.
2. Libby, a 26 year old mother and wife who was just diagnosed with lymphoma.
3. Elaine, my parent's neighbor who just started chemo treatments to battle breast cancer.
4. A friend's sister-in-law who is going through a very rough time with her husband.
5. A coworker who is going through a difficult time in his marriage.
6. My friend Kami and her hubby Rob who continue (just like Brian and I) to deal with the loss of their infant son and daughter.
7. My friend Heather who is almost 27 weeks pregnant with her second daughter. (She lost her first daughter to premature birth last October).
8. My new friend in Australia who is pregnant with twins and due around Christmas time. (She lost twins in January 2009).



Saturday, August 7, 2010

Precious Children

Precious Child
by Karen Taylor-Good

In my dreams, you are alive and well
Precious child, precious child
In my mind, I see you clear as a bell
Precious child, precious child
In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart, there is hope
'Cause you are with me still

In my heart, you live on
Always there never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

In my plans, I was the first to leave
Precious child, precious child
But in this world, I was left here to grieve
Precious child, my precious child

In my soul, there is a hole
That can never be filled
But in my heart there is hope
And you are with me still

In my heart you live on
Always there, never gone
Precious child, you left too soon,
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

God knows I want to hold you,
See you, touch you
And maybe there's a heaven
And someday I will again
Please know you are not forgotten until then

In my heart you live on
Always there never gone
Precious child, you left too soon
Tho' it may be true that we're apart
You will live forever... in my heart

A month ago from today I buried my two precious children.  I will never forget that day.  EVER.  So many thoughts (from that day) come rushing back...I couldn't believe that I was burying my twins.  It all seemed so surreal.  A bad bad dream.  I will never forget trying to decide what to wear to the funeral or Brian asking me what he should wear.  I told him that I didn't care.  He got mad.  The shirt he wanted to wear was dirty (with dust).  Me using the lint brush to make his "dirty shirt" clean.  Brian driving us to the one place NO father or mother EVER wants to go.  Brian and I should have died first.  That was the plan.  Why was it not God's???  Listening to our Pastors words of encouragement but seeing all my hopes and dreams slip away...such a mix of emotions.  Tears of utter sadness.  Words cannot even describe the pain...

But my girls will never know sadness... 
They will never know darkness... 
They will never know pain... 
They will never shed a tear... 
They will never be scared... 
They will only know happiness... 
They will only know laughter... 
They will only ever know LOVE!

When I am just sitting quietly my mind often wanders.   It normally wanders to thoughts of Alayna and Ella.  Lately I cannot help but shed happy tears over my thoughts.  I see my grandma Vugteveen cuddling Ella and my grandma Scholma snuggling Alayna.  My grandpa Vugteveen just waiting for his turn.  (And my grandpa Scholma says he cannot wait to go to heaven to see my girls).  They only know LOVE.  I am sure Brian's Grandpa and Grandma Helmholdt and Grandpa Holwerda are loving them to pieces too.  Everyone waiting to love a piece of Brian and I. 

My sweetest babies...I will love and miss you until the day I see you again!  Until then remember everything...What your first thoughts of heaven were.  What it felt like to be held by Jesus.  Did He tell you how much we loved you?  What it was like meeting Noah, Abraham, and Moses.  How it felt to run on the streets of gold.  If you like soccer.  Your first Christmas.  Your first birthday.  Whether you prefer chocolate or vanilla cake.  The sound of your first giggle.  Meeting all your papa's and grandma's.  Did they tell you all about mommy and daddy?  REMEMBER EVERYTHING.  I cannot wait to see you again and hold you for forever.  Your short life made me a different person.  Thank You Baby A and Baby B...my little bugs!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Moody Days

So yesterday was my last 4 hour shift and instead of slowly decreasing my hours...I get to slowly increase them.  It sucks.  No way around it.  Back on May 18 when I went down to 8 hour shifts, I was not suppose to work full time again for a very long time.  But here I go again and none to happy about it (just ask my hubby).  I love my job but I want to be a mommy more.  I've always wanted to be a mommy (just ask my hubby about that too).  When we found out we were having twins I was SO excited.  What a privilege to carry two precious lives at the same time into this world.  My hope was for one boy and one girl.  At our 16 week ultrasound the tech told us Baby B was definitely a girl and that if she had to guess Baby A was most likely a boy.  Again I was SO excited!  But we had to wait 4 more weeks to find out for sure.  My mom was still quite certain it was 2 girls.  When I was little I always dreamed about having twin daughters so at no point during my pregnancy did I think I would have two little girls.  On Tuesday June 15, I waited anxiously for Brian to get home from work so we could drive to our 3:30pm appointment together.  I was at my mom's house most of the afternoon and all we talked about was whether Baby A would be a girl or a boy.  We had plans to go shopping the following Tuesday to some outlets to get stocked up on baby clothes...would it be all pink clothes or some blue and some pink.  Little did I know my world was about to be shaken.  We got to the doctors and almost as soon as the tech had the monitor on me she said you want to know the sex of Baby A right?  YES.  And she said it's a girl!!!  My dream was really coming true!!!  The tech continued with the rest of the ultrasound but ended with...have you been having any pain or pressure?  And that was the beginning of the end.  The first person I called was my mom.  I didn't say mom were having 2 girls...that no longer mattered.  I said I am dilated to a 4 and we're headed to Spectrum Health to be admitted to Labor and Delivery.  My happy and carefree life was over...and 15 days later I was forced to start what would be the hardest chapter of my life.   

Borrowed Angels
by Kristin Chenoweth

They shine a little brighter, they feel a little more
They touch your life in ways no one has ever done before
They love a little stronger, they live to give their best
They make our lives so blest, so why do they go so soon?
The ones with souls so beautiful
I heard someone say--

There must be Borrowed Angels, here in this life
They come along, into this world, and make this world bright
But they can't stay forever
Cause they're heaven sent
And sometimes, heaven needs them back again

They reach a little deeper, they see what's in your soul
And even when they leave you know, you'll never let them go 
The world's a little richer, just cause they came along
Their love goes on and on, so why do they go so soon?
The ones with souls so beautiful. I heard someone say--

There must be Borrowed Angels, here in this life
They come along, into this world, and make this world bright
They can't stay forever, cause they're heaven sent
And sometimes, heaven needs them back again

How else can you explain why they're here and not here to stay?
I believe there must be, must be

Borrowed Angels, here in this life
They come along, into this world, and make this world bright
But they can't stay forever, cause there heaven sent
And sometimes heaven needs them back again.
And sometimes heaven needs them back again

This afternoon I have been really moody.  My hubby would say that I am now always moody.  I would have to agree with him.  He is a real sport though.  Always trying to cheer me up or teasing me so I will laugh.  Sometimes it works but my smile never lasts for long.  I often wonder if I will ever have a true smile again.  The thought scares me.  Brian tells me every day that we WILL be happy again and that I WILL smile again.  During our devotions tonight God (once again) spoke RIGHT to my heart.  We are reading the book FEARLESS by Max Lucado (thanks Kami!) and trying to understand how to live a life dictated by faith NOT fear.  As I was reading Brian asked me to repeat a couple of sentences:

See what happened?  Legitimate concern morphed into toxic panic.  I crossed a boundary line into the state of fret.  No longer anticipating or preparing, I took up membership in the fraternity of Woe-Be-Me.  Christ cautions us against this.  Look at how one translation renders his words:  "Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life" (Matt. 6:25 AMP).

I said to Brian is this me?  He said what do you think?  I answered with, "maybe"...

Now for the rest of my lesson from Max.  He said to focus on eight things: 
1. Pray, first.  Ask God for help.  "Casting the whole of your care (all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all) on Him..." (1 Peter 5:7 AMP).
2. Easy, now.  Slow down.  "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." (Ps. 37:7).
3. Act on it.  Become a worry slapper.  Treat frets like mosquitoes.  Do you procrastinate when a bloodsucking bug lights on your leg?  "I'll take care of it in a moment."  Of course you don't!  You give the critter the slap he deserves.  Be equally decisive with anxiety.  The moment a concern surfaces, deal with it.  Don't dwell on it.  Head off worries before they get the best of you.
4. Compile a worry list.  Record your anxious thoughts.  Then review them.  How many of them turned into a reality?
5. Evaluate your worry categories.  Your list will highlight themes of worry.
6. Focus on today.  God meets daily needs daily.  Not weekly or annually.  He will give you what you need when it is needed.  "Let us therefore boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and in his grace find timely help" (Heb 4:16 NEB).
7. Unleash a worry army.  Share your feelings with a few loved ones.  Ask them to pray with and for you.
8. Let God be enough. Jesus concludes his call to calmness with this challenge: "Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need" (Matt 6:32-33 NLT).

And the eight steps spell...P-E-A-C-E-F-U-L! 
(by Max Lucado) 

My prayer tonight (and every night) is that I can let go of all my worries and let God be enough.  For every good and perfect thing comes from God in His time.  My prayers (have not) and do not go unanswered and He does have the most perfect plan in store for Brian and I's lives.  Now I just need to wait patiently and let it happen... 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Praising Him in This Storm

Every single day I miss my girls.  They are on my mind all the time.  How will I feel in October when they were suppose to arrive?  How will I feel on November 4 (their due date)?  How will I feel on Christmas Eve when Alayna and Ella should have made grand babies 6 and 7 getting their picture around my parent's Christmas tree?  How will I feel on June 15, June 24, June 30, and on July 7, 2011?  How will I feel when I am pregnant again?  When I hear stories of all the new and healthy babies being born, my heart aches all that much more.  Why do they get to be happy, while I am so sad?  So many questions with no answers...

Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns
 
I was sure by now, God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

Chorus:
And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

Chorus

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and

Chorus

Last night we went out for dinner with some good friends.  And after my horrible day, it felt good to talk with them about the girls.  And then to just talk about other things happening in our worlds.  This morning we went to church and I was once again reminded that life could be worse.  During a prayer request time we learned about a young mother who was just diagnosed with 6 brain tumors and was given less than a year to live (she has 3 little children) and we learned about a young father who died this week at the age of 37 (he left behind 2 small children and his beloved wife).  I NEED to remind myself that I have Brian and he has me...we are healthy and whole (for the most part).  Praise God!  And now tonight we are doing our annual devotions and fishing time at his parent's house (they live on a lake).  It is a time I truly look forward to.  Being out in God's creation and reading his word (my hubby does the fishing and I do the reading)!  Tomorrow I get to go to work again...ugh.  So I ask for your prayers that each day continues to get easier.  And that when patients (or their parents) ask if I have any children, I know how to respond with no hesitation..."Yes I am the mother of two beautiful angel babies waiting for me in Heaven." 

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."  Revelation 21:4