Monthly Archives: October 2012

Are we seriously celebrating week 24?!

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How far along? 24 weeks, 4 days
Total weight gain/loss: + 15 lbs
Maternity clothes? Sometimes, I sleep in my jeans.
Sleep: Hello, restless leg syndrome. I was wondering when I’d see you again. :( So far I haven’t lost too much sleep over you, yet, though. I do know the 3-4 AM nights are coming, though.

Best moment this week: Watching Chloe ride her bike for the first time. She’ll be a pro in no time, I’m sure.

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Movement: Yes! And Chris felt it. And sisters feel it.
Food cravings: Still cold water.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Crazy driving.
Have you started to show yet: Yep – in fact, someone from my church asked me if I was due “on the 30th.” I was like, “umm……” Hey, at least people can see him, right? :)

Gender Predictions: *happy dance* – It’s still a boy. :) But if we aren’t sure, we can always ask your sister, the “baby doctor” wannabe.

Labor Signs: No.
Belly Button in or out? IN
Wedding rings on or off? Back on the right hand again. This cooler weather is really helping my swelling a lot.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Tired this week. I came off of two big catering events – one wedding cake (for 300) and then a week long event for 150 people, who ate at 5 different times. This week was “Recoup” week, I think. And I rested a lot. And I had lots of help around the house. :)

Weekly Wisdom: Cashing in on a Merry Maids gift certificate (from my husband’s awesome company!) is a great way to start a week. Unless you feel like you have to clean up before they get here. :)

Milestones: Baby is around 11 ounces now. Still pretty far behind (most 24 weekers are around 20-24 ounces.)

Weekly Prayer Request: We’re taking a little vacation (provided my preeclampsia doesn’t pick up between now and the middle of the week) with just our family. We’re thinking a super long weekend away up in the mountains will do us all some good. Pray for us to get lots of rest and have lots of fun – especially with our girls. We know we’ll need some memories of happiness to light our dark days ahead.

Hey, there, Little Kyle.

We had a quiet week this week. A week of just being together, resting, and doing….life. Chloe finished Day 50 of school this week. That felt good. If she keeps doing well, we’ll be able to take a nice long break when you get here! I get to talk to you all the time. But I thought I’d record a few things from your sisters this week. They love you so very much, too, they just don’t have the outlet of a journal to keep up with it all. So I try to take notes as I can…here’s a few from this week:

I made the decision to give the girls a playroom this week. This meant it was time to take down the babyroom. This meant it was time to take down the crib. The one that’s been up in our house for a little over 6 years now. (except for a brief 1 day ride down from West Virginia when we moved 5 years ago.) It was a tough morning doing that. But I was holding my own. Besides, if you do come home at all, which would be a miracle of miracles, do you really think I’d let you out of my sight long enough to sleep in a different room from me? I did ok, until Chloe came in and saw what I was doing and asked, “Mommy? You can’t take down the baby’s bed! Where is baby Kyle going to sleep?”

Gulp.

I thought she understood. And she kinda does, as much as her 6 year old mind can. But when I gently reminded her that you’d be doing all your sleeping in Heaven, she said, “Mommy, I don’t want him to go to Heaven. I just miss Baby Kyle so much. He needs to sleep at our house.” We both ended up crying for a good while after that. She did some work on a project after that for awhile. I think the quiet helped her do some thinking. We all just love you so much.

I thought I’d share some photos with you today. Some photos of your first puppet show. It was nice that the girls had something else to do with you than just tickle my tummy and “press” my belly button. Although, I kinda naively believe you love hearing their crazy fall-back-on-the-floor giggles afterwards. :) You were given your first gift this week though – finger puppets. And your sisters knew just what to do with them.

From Kami, you got the story, “Baby dances on the Potty.” It goes something like this (Actually, it goes exactly like this. Every time she tells it.)…

“Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a baby who lived in a little house in a big town.

And he had to go potty. But when his mommy came in to check on him, he was DANCING on the potty! And she said, “Go to lay on your bed right now! You can’t dance on the potty!”

So he went to his bed and laid down.

And he never went to the potty. Again. The End.” :)

(This story being an theatrical puppet adaptation of a true story that happened when your older sister was three. Except, I still let her go potty, occasionally.)

From Chloe, you got a slightly more complex and slightly less coherent story about princesses and whales who were stranded in a big city and ended up riding on ponies to get away to Dollywood. Or something like that. You might have been able to piece that one together better than I could.

But then all the animals and puppets and princesses went to sleep with you, so you wouldn’t be scared.

On that note, though, I’ll go. I have a blanket covering my tummy right now from Chloe – “to keep you warm” on this chilly night. And I think I’ll go get some things ready for your first big vacation with all of us.

I’ll see you soon! But for now, know that I love you, and I always will.

XOXO,

Mom

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He cares.

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Behold, God is mighty.

He does not withdraw his eyes from the righteous,

Behold, God is great, and we know him not;

the number of his years is unsearchable.

He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind.

He fills his hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark.

And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow,

won’t he more surely care for you?

You have so little faith.

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; He does great things beyond our understanding.
He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began,

and caused the dawn to know its place,

that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth?”

The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen.

At His direction the clouds swirl around over the face of the whole earth to do whatever He commands them.

“Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?
  Do you count the months till they bear?
    Do you know the time they give birth?”

[I do.]

And this God, He formed out of the ground’s dust,

man.

For You formed my inward parts;

You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written,

every one of them, the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

I awake, and I am still with You.

So dear friend,  If this God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won’t He

more surely

care for you?”

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within us – and our Kyle, will continue his work until it is finally finished at the day of Christ Jesus.

Job  36, 37, 38, 39. Genesis 1. Psalm 139. Matthew 6. Philippians 1.

Celebrating Week 23 (with an announcement)!

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It’s a….

BOY!

Yes! It really is! I love it when I’m right. I mean, I know I had a 50/50 chance. But who’s counting at this point?

Our little sweet baby has had a name for about a month now…but because of some “nonvisible” tbings on the ultrasounds, we weren’t sure enough to make the official announcement. Even now, we could still be wrong. But Kyle can easily become Kylie. Or Callie. Or Kylynn if it needs to. And I’ve slipped up and said his name too many times this week to keep it quiet any longer.

This week’s ultrasound was a complete 180 degrees from the week before. Not in little Kyle’s condition (Sigh. I just love calling him by his name out loud now!). But in what we got to look at. My super sweet ultrasound technician, whom I’ll call “J” for now, spent a couple of hours on our last Level II anatomy scan and the following report – which wasn’t a short easy one by any means. This lovely lady decided to give me a wonderful gift. Basically it was a “let’s look at everything that’s right today”. And we did. I saw his eyeballs roll around inside his head underneath his still-fused eyelids. He did it every time he put his right hand in his mouth. I can’t wait to kiss that tiny little hand. It must be yummy. My eyes only roll back in my head like that when I’m eating chocolate.

I saw his left leg move all over the place. It’s one thing to feel your baby. It’s another to feel it while you’re watching it move. I’m astounded every week that God chose me to be (potentially) the only person to hold this baby alive. I don’t take a single feeling for granted. Sometimes I can tell you at the end of the day exactly how many times I’ve felt him. And how long its been since that I haven’t. I saw his right leg move at the hip – he has a hard time with his right knee. So, most of those kicks are come from the other one. But, when he stretches out – wow – he’s a cutie.

I saw his heart. Only half of what you and I have. And on the right side of his chest instead of the left. But there was inflow and outflow still. And it was beating still. So, we got another day. Another whole week of days. And I sure did love every one of them.

Dear Baby Kyle, my sweet Little One,

Bonus Week 10? You have held on for so long. And I’m such a proud Mama. This week has been another tough one for me. I think, knowing that legally in my state, I can still choose to end this trial at any time – up until Thursday of this week, when I’m 24 weeks – has plagued my mind with so many doubts. Why should I keep myself under this pain – the pain of knowing what lies ahead? From the looks of things you are not suffering. But what if you are? What kind of a mother would continue such suffering when the alternative is Heaven? But then, can I put myself in the place of God and make decisions on your life? I can’t. Some can, and I will never judge such a woman who chooses to send her baby to Heaven sooner than mine gets there on his own. But I just can’t. Honestly, the reason? I’m selfish. I want you here with me as long as I can have you. The only thing I’ve been able to cling to this week is James 1 – remaining under the trial produces patience, among other things. When God is ready for us to have a reprieve from this trial and move on to the next one, I pray I’ll have some of that patience. I’m gonna need some to keep going in the dark days ahead without you.

I played with lots of baby boys this week. I couldn’t help but think about how you’re going to play with your own two little siblings in Heaven so very soon. And how the tears in Heaven that will have to get wiped away from my eyes will be the ones of joy when I see you in your perfect body for the first time – with them.

There’s only one way to look at the latest reports. The words only had to be written once for me to understand. Three times was definitely sufficient.

But what can I say? You’re still here now. And for now, I’m holding you, feeling you, loving you, and hoping for you – hoping just for those few moments of eyes to gaze into. I know it won’t be long – if I even get it at all. But there’s a 10% chance of that – your being born alive. And that’s twice as big as 5% – the 5% that you’d be born healthy and alive. And I’ll take it.

Your sister turned 6 this week. Wowzers – she’s getting big and beautiful.

And your other sister? Well, she’s just a perfect textbook three year old. I’ll leave it at that. :)

I must go for now. But know this, Baby Kyle, I’ll see you tomorrow, and

I love you, and I always will.

XOXO,

Mom

(Pregnancy Journal update coming next week.)

Celebrating Week 22!

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How far along? 22 weeks, 4days
Total weight gain/loss: + 11 lbs
Maternity clothes? Jeans, jeans, jeans – and a dress this week.
Sleep: I had my first bout with Restless Leg Syndrome. With the girls, once it began, I had it every night until 2 or 3 AM. I’m really hoping that sort of consistency hasn’t started kicking in yet.

Best moment this week: Seeing this:

Movement: Yes! The little left leg makes up for all the movement the right leg can’t do.

Food cravings: watermelon. When I’m already panicking about not being able to find fresh ones for much longer….you know it’s gonna be a long winter.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Eating big meals.
Have you started to show yet: Yep.

Gender Predictions: One more check this week. One more opinion (this will be our 4th attempt)….then we’ll make an announcement. For now, we’ll just let this Little One stay as private as he/she likes to. :)

Labor Signs: No.
Belly Button in or out? IN
Wedding rings on or off? Still on – but there was some mild swelling this week. I’m having my blood pressure checked every week now.

Happy or Moody most of the time: Not-so-pretty-moodiness. It was another tough Dr. Visit week. And I had a huge catering event to get ready for (150 people for 5 different eating times over 4 different days!). But Chloe and Kami helped. I got 2 parties in one week. :)

Weekly Wisdom: When you’re down, let me know. I’ll have Chloe throw you a party. It helps. It really does.

Milestones: 8 ounces. That’s half a pound. And half of where it should be. But, it’s still 8 beautiful ounces.

Weekly Prayer Request: My doctor (that awesome one!) is leaving for Haiti this week for a mission trip. I want to go with him! I asked him to bring back a little baby for me.

Hey there, Little One!

Happy Bonus week 9 to you. I can’t believe you’ve made it this far. After what we saw this week – neither can anyone else. But yet, you have. You seem to be a fighter – just like your big sister.  Hang in there. Not much longer, and you’ll get to see those of us who love you so much – and the One who loves you even more than us.

We’ve had to start thinking about so many things this week.  A special service where we’ll memorialize your tiny life. It seems so far away, yet all too close. I held one of your sister’s dolls this week. It was so tiny. But I couldn’t help but think that you’d do so well to be that size in several weeks. I held that doll for a long time. I can’t wait to hold you. Yet, I don’t want that day to come…yet.

You’ve been moving a lot this week. My doctor was talking about doing an amnio this week – but I couldn’t let him. There’s no way you’d behave long enough for a test like that. You can’t move much, but you sure like to wiggle what you can.

Your big sister loves to make me smile. But as much as I love you, many times when I think about you, I cry. She always thinks you’re crying too. So she tickles you. Or, my tummy, rather. It always makes me smile again. This week, she made me lots of parties. One was just for breakfast. (All I had to do was make blueberry muffins.) The other one was for a meteor shower. But the clouds were a bit too thick, so she changed it to a “plane party”. We sat outside on her big blanket and watched for planes. We saw one. :)

I have to start being really careful with my blood pressure. Because this DNA that’s so messed up in every cell of your tiny body has also built my placenta, and there’s a really good chance that my preeclampsia will come back with a super vengeance at any time. Once this happens, the only cure is delivery. So, my doctor checks it every week. And he’s a bit nervous about leaving for Haiti…so he’s giving me copies of all my medical records to have with me at all times for whatever emergency situation could arise at any time. He thinks it probably won’t happen for another 5 weeks or so…but he wants me to be safe. I’m praying that’s not an issue at all. I want every moment I can have with you. Maybe that’s selfish. But I don’t know how long I’ll have to wait to see you in Heaven. I’m just not ready to give you up quite yet. Or in the next 5 weeks. So, I’ll keep eating good foods and taking my vitamins – and anytime my placenta starts acting up…give it a good ol’ kick, k?

For now, though, until we see you again, in just a couple of short days,

I love you so very much. I always will.

xoxo,

Mom

Even when you feel like life has thrown haybales on your head….

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….you can still be thankful it wasn’t pumpkins.

“In every circumstance, give thanks. For this is God’s will for you.”

                                                                                                  — I Thessalonians 5:18  

Celebrating Week 21!

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How far along? 21 weeks, 4days
Total weight gain/loss: + 9 lbs
Maternity clothes? Jeans, jeans, jeans.
Sleep: It’s been wonderful. And I’m so thankful.


Best moment this week: Honestly, there were so many! But, if I can only pick one, I think it would be reading this comment on one of my posts:

“Kim and Family

Your post brought to tears, but they are tears of hope and joy for our God who you reminded me is always there in us, your story and heart felt pain brought me back to him after months of just living in the world, today I choose to Iive in Gods grace and love because of you. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family as you do go through this difficult journey. All my love . Lori L.”

Movement: Yes! And I love it.
Food cravings: Still cold water. Lots of it.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Eating late at night.
Have you started to show yet: Yep.

Gender Predictions: We know. But we aren’t telling yet. Because the poor ultrasound tech who has been trying and trying every week still isn’t 100% sure.  But I am. And now I get to hold it over all of your heads for a week at least. (insert evil laugh…) :)

Labor Signs: No.
Belly Button in or out? IN
Wedding rings on or off? Still on and still too big for my left hand. No preeclampsia yet!
Happy or Moody most of the time: This week? Joyfully thankful. If I hadn’t had these last 8 “bonus” weeks, there’s so much I would have missed. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Weekly Wisdom: Seeing God work in others’ lives gives a lot of meaning to your own.

Milestones: Baby is as big as a bell pepper. I hope an orange one. Those are my personal favorite. :)

Weekly Prayer Request: Big doctor’s visit this week to get some in depth anatomy stuff of baby. This is really important for us as we go forward with the gigantic and numerous decisions we have to make in the next 3-4 weeks. And we have to set up a consult with one of the NICU doctors at our hospital. We’re hoping to have the consult with the one we’ve heard is the best. This meeting won’t take place until the first week of November, but the meeting will get set up, hopefully this week.

Hey there, Little One.

I think this week has been a good one for you. Especially if you like apples and fresh air. I’ve held on to every day. Every moment early in the morning after your dad leaves for work, and I lay in bed waiting for your sisters to wake up…those are our moments. I know, because of the position of your ears, that most likely you can’t hear my words at all. But just in case, I speak them anyway. And I feel you moving. And I wish I could bottle up those moments and feelings for forever. But I can’t. So, I try to make each one weigh as much as it can in my mind. Because seconds are just seconds. But they are still seconds. And all these seconds have added up to an entire two extra months.

Two months past where you were supposed to not be with us anymore. Two months of kicks and flips I wasn’t supposed to feel. Two months of ultrasounds (that’s eight of them we’ve had now!) where I have gotten to know so many little things about you. Two months of knowing that your right hand is your favorite to suck on. But your left hand is most comfortable under your chin. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when you get here.

We’ve truly been given a gift. A gift of an entire lifetime with you. And no matter how long or short it is, we will most likely see that entire lifetime before our very eyes in the next several months. But, I have a feeling that you will have a bigger impact on this world without being able to speak (or hear) a word, than any of us will have in a long lifetime of speaking. You’ve already given all of us gifts that could not have been given any other way. Gifts of love for others, compassion for those who are hurting, and a stronger faith than we could have imagined.

While you can’t get your little body to grow much at all, you’ve done an incredible job of growing our hearts. And for that, we thank you, Little One.

And, until we see you again later this week,

We love you, and we always will.

XOXO,

Mom

What if we can’t handle it?

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So, if I were to write a book…this post would be the first three chapters. Not because of the content – but because it’s long enough to cover such. But if you have the time, and are willing to look at a few Greek words, and a commentary quote or two, you might get a special light to help guide you through your next dark place.

Chris and I have heard the following phrase a lot the last several weeks, usually accompanied by a well-meaning hug, or a pat on the back:

“God won’t give you more than you can handle. Remember that.”

In fact, we’ve heard it so much, it’s almost seemed to be the new my-friend-is-going-through-a-trial-and-I-should-say-something-Biblical catch phrase…you know, kinda like how “Don’t worry – just hang in there because God’s working everything out for good!” used to be.

Until we all went to those ladies’ retreats and counseling sessions where we were told not to use that phrase with someone who was hurting. Because, honestly, most people weren’t even thinking of what that real good was anyway. (If you’re curious – it’s in Romans 8:29 - the rest of the sentence immediately following this promise.)

Don’t get me wrong, we both appreciate every kind encouraging word spoken to us right now – honestly, it means more to us than most of these people will ever know. Before we were forced on this journey, neither one of us, honestly, would have ever said anything to someone in our situation. We would have had no idea what to say, Biblically or not. So to those who are silently praying and following our journey – please, feel no guilt or pressure to say something. We totally understand that hesitancy or uncomfortableness. We know its from a sincere desire to encourage us (and not break down in tears every time you look at us!) – and we appreciate that show of love right along with the others. In fact, I had a friend at church come up to me, covering his face with a sheet of paper – he was afraid if he looked at us while he told us of his prayers and concern that he’d begin crying – and we surely had enough tears surrounding our days for him to add more to our burden. Honestly, that short conversation with him meant so much to us. And he’s not alone. Honestly, when I hear of others in similar situations even now, I still don’t really know what to say to them.

This phrase though, from those who are willing to step out and attempt words of encouragement, – “Well, you know God won’t give you more than you can handle.” – has just been spoken to us on so many occasions, we had to start really thinking about it. My first inaccurate thought was, “Oh, well then, He was mistaken about us. Because we can’t handle this.” Then another carnal thought – during a particularly good day was, “Oh, well then, I must be something special to have Him dump this on us.” I saw this photo floating around facebook last week too…

Cute cat, but that’s about it. If this were true, that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, then why would we ever need him?

After awhile, I was forced to search the Scriptures. In English and Greek. And a few other languages I’m still unsure of – they just looked cool to me at the time. :)

I mean, really, what does that phrase mean? What does it mean to “handle” something?

That we don’t go into manic depression? Become hermits refusing to speak to anyone ever again? Perhaps, it means we won’t try to end our lives, and thus end the trial we are under?

At any rate, it seemed to give the impression – if I may write my own “amplified” version of this quote:

“Hang in there – you can do this. Because God won’t allow you to go through something you can’t be happy, joyful, rosy, thankful and/or submissive about. You got this. If you couldn’t do it, He wouldn’t have given it to you!”

Hmmmmm….really?

First off, the verse most people are semi-quoting is from I Corinthians 10 – and it’s talking about temptations (although the Greek word used is, admittedly, the same as the one used for trials in James 1.) If you’d like to read a great exegesis article written on the differences between these two words, trials and temptations, and why this verse isn’t talking about the former – my husband put it into simple words on his blog here.

I could spend lots of time on the real meaning of this verse in reference to temptations…but seeing as we believe this situation has been given to us by God, and therefore cannot be a temptation, but rather a trial designed to purify us and make us more like Christ, I’ll save that for another time.

The key is that this verse does not apply to us. At least, not in this particular situation.

Of course, we could easily face temptations to sin during this trial – and we have. But the reality that we’re carrying a child who will be with us for an extremely short amount of time, if any at all, is, in our minds, a trial.

And James 1 talks about this:

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial,

for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life,

which God has promised to those who love him.”

OK – so remaining “steadfast” – or “underneath” the testing is required for God’s promise of reward. We see this several times in Scripture – another time being in Romans 5.

“…but we rejoice in our sufferings,

knowing that suffering produces endurance,

and endurance produces character,

and character produces hope.”

And if I can rephrase that using some literal Greek translations:

“We rejoice in our sufferings,

knowing that suffering produces endurance,

and endurance produces value - a deepened character,

and value produces hope.”

A certain commentary I read put it this way:

Believers can enjoy the peace with God that has been achieved and the glorious future in God’s presence that awaits them. But how should they react to the experiences of life that are often adverse and difficult? They are to rejoice in their sufferings. James wrote along the same line: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2).

This is more than mere Stoic endurance of troubles, even though endurance or steadfastness is the first result in a chain-reaction outgrowth from distress. This is spiritual glorying in afflictions because of having come to know (from oida, “to know by intuition or perception”) that the end product of this chain reaction (that begins with distress) is hope.

Suffering brings about perseverance (the ability to remain under difficulties without giving in). Only a believer who has faced distress can develop steadfastness. That in turn develops character (dokimēn [“proof”] has here the idea of “proven character”), which in turn results in hope. As believers suffer, they develop steadfastness; that quality deepens their character; and a deepened, tested character results in hope (i.e., confidence) that God will see them through.

So perhaps the idea of “Hang in there – you can do this!” as a cheerleader from the sidelines is just a matter of encouragement from onlookers? Because that’s what we’re supposed to do?

Say, “I got this!” And muster up the energy, or hope, or courage to take on what comes next.

And sometimes I have been able to do that. I can reach deep within myself and find something that will drive me on. I have that innate desire to succeed, to survive.

But that was when I ran a half marathon. Or hiked to the top of my first (and only!) mountain peak in Wyoming back in 2002.

Not during this.

Friends, I’ll be honest. There were are times when I’ve said out loud to whomever would listen -

“I can’t do this anymore.”

And to be honest, I can’t. I can’t handle it. At all. I could “do” Chloe in the NICU for several days – after the first 3 anyway. I could “do” her copperhead bite a few years ago. I could “do” college in 3 years while working 40 hours a week. I could “do” – and I did – a lot of things. And a lot of them I did in my own strength. Sadly.

But this, this is different. And I can’t do it. I can’t handle it. And I don’t want to. God did give me more than I could handle.

But perhaps, dear friend, He does that willingly? For a specific purpose?

Because He clearly tells us that staying under those trials will produce blessing.

But what if we can’t stay under it and survive. Or at least we feel that way? There must be an answer. There has to be an answer. I’m in a trial, but I can’t handle it. But yet I have to.

So how?

“Through Him we have obtained access by faith

into this grace in which we stand

and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

And not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings…

because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.

We have hope. that God’s glory will be the end game. No matter how long we’re in a trial, or how hard it becomes. God will get the glory. Whether here or in Heaven, He will get it. And He promises that He exists and He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

And that’s what I ultimately want. So, I can rejoice. And I can stay under it. Because I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength. The same God who gave me grace. The grace that is sufficient for my needs. As it was for Paul’s.

In fact, Paul asked God three times to take away his thorn in the flesh. I put that at begging level. And I’ve been there. This week. Yesterday.

But God hasn’t healed our baby. And he didn’t take away Paul’s thorn either. He just said to him,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power

is made perfect in weakness.”

And for one of the first times in my life, I can say, honestly, that it is.

His grace is enough for me. His strength has allowed me to “handle” all the things I’ve been given, despite the constant fear of the death of our child surrounding us like this South Carolina humidity. And I have been able to rejoice – not in the circumstance I’m in, but in the glory that God is getting. And I’ve felt God’s love in my heart – especially in the midst of my dark nights of doubts when He gently leads me back to where I can find His amazing peace that surpasses all comprehension. Because I also have hope. Hope that no matter what happens, if I stay under this trial, God will produce in me something that He wouldn’t have without it.

So maybe, before you give someone that quick catch all phrase, meant to be encouraging to a friend in a deep trial…perhaps a slight rewording might be in order – and might do even more good: