Wednesday, July 26, 2017

He is Good

This morning I wrote the words, "I know that God is good." And then I began to list the things I thought "proved" His goodness.

  • He sustained Lucy in her most fragile days.
  • How He has provided for us financially over the past several months.

I cut my list short because then I remembered something that I fully believe the Holy Spirit brought to mind the other day as I was listening to the radio. I heard a story from a mom who told of how her daughter had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and was only given 3 to 5 years to live. And now here they were, 20-something years later, and her daughter was alive and well. God had done the impossible! The miraculous! The story was followed by a remark from the radio host in which he said, "God is good."

That is usually our response when we hear these "miracle stories." But then I got to thinking... What if these stories had a different ending? What if that little girl really only lived another 3 to 5 years? What if God had chosen to let Lucy's life slip away in those early days of her life? What if we were legitimately floundering financially right now? What if your mom dies from cancer? What if your husband loses his job? What if you receive that terrifying phone call? What if your story doesn't turn out the way you hoped and prayed it would? 

Why do we only respond with "God is good" when we get our happy ending?

Listen, I feel like the Holy Spirit punched me in the gut with that question as I was listening to the radio the other day. I'm not here to shame anyone for saying "God is good" in response to a story with a happy ending. Because yes, He is good, and He continually reveals His goodness to us even when we don't deserve it. But if these miracle stories are what we are waiting for to be reminded of His goodness, then our faith is standing on some shaky quaky ground.

Before I lost my mom to cancer 3 1/2 years ago, I thought I had the faith that we sing about:
"In oceans deep, my faith will stand."
"God whatever comes my way, I will trust you."
(I was going to list several lyric examples here, but my brain is failing me on this early morning... you get the point)

But then suddenly I was in the midst of those deep waters, and I definitely was not standing. I was not trusting. I was flailing and sinking and doubting.

And I was questioning His goodness.

All because I didn't get my "miracle story."

You see, God proved His goodness for me and for all mankind thousands of years ago when Jesus died on the cross for us. For me. For you. He didn't have to provide a way for salvation. He would have been completely just to let us perish. But out of His infinite love and mercy, He chose to save us. To save me. To save you. Out of His goodness.

That alone should be proof enough that HE IS GOOD.

The day my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, He was still good.
The day my mom died, He was still good.
The day we received that horrifying news of Lucy's heart defect, He was still good.

The point I'm getting at is this:

I want to be utterly convinced of God's goodness regardless of my current circumstances.
(I'll also be honest and say I'm not quite there yet.)

It's okay (and good) to see His goodness when things do turn out the way we hope and pray. I think God is so gracious in giving us those reminders. But may our hope not be anchored in the results of our current circumstances.

May our hope be anchored in Jesus Christ alone and the work He accomplished on the cross, for we have been given a hope for the future and a reminder for our current and past circumstances, sure and steady, that God is good.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Sweetest "No"

It's not even 6:00am on a Saturday morning. I'm sitting here at my laptop with a cup of coffee, and I have no idea what words about about to flow out of my brain to my fingertips to this blog post. One of my sister-in-laws, who just so happens to also be one of my best friends from college, sent me a text the other day, and she reminded me of the power of words. Written words.

I love writing. It's how I process life. It's also one of my favorite ways to reminisce about what the Lord has done when, years down the road, I can look back at the things I have written. It's a reminder of how far the Lord has carried me and my family.

I can't believe I haven't posted a single thing on here since the day after Lucy was born.

... well ... actually I can believe it. The past 9 months have been a crazy whirlwind.

We lived in a hospital for 4 solid months. That was really cool.

Not.

We packed up all of our belongings and relocated our lives to be closer to Arkansas Children's Hospital for Lucy's sake (all while Lucy was still in the hospital). Yeah, so, that was insane.

Lucy has had 2 open-heart surgeries in her short little life.

There were several weeks, days, and moments we had no idea if she was going to live. No idea if we would ever be able to bring her home. No idea if we would experience being a family of 4.

Lucy is our miracle child. She defied the odds.

I'll never forget the day when Lucy's heart had been beating 200 times a minute for 5 days straight. On the fifth day, one of the doctors told us she feared that at any moment, Lucy's heart may just stop.

Fear.

A tidal wave of fear. A hurricane of fear. A tornado. A flood. An avalanche. I drowned, and I suffocated in fear that day.

Lucy is the baby girl we have been dreaming of since the day I shared these words with my mom two weeks before she passed away:

"Mom, if David and I have a little girl someday, I think we are going to name her Lucy."

My mom's name was Janet, but Lucy was the sweetest nickname my dad called her. He never called her Janet - it was always Lucy. Okay, I can recall one time he called her Janet, and it was the strangest thing I ever heard come out of his mouth. Lucy. Her name, from him, was Lucy.

We have already suffered the loss of one Lucy. I couldn't bear the thought of losing another. My baby girl. This precious, fragile little life with the sweetest namesake. My dream-come-true. My second shot at a mother-daughter relationship - only now I am the mother in the relationship.

And now her heart might stop?

Those were some of the hardest, darkest days.

I questioned everything. I questioned if God was still good. I questioned if He still loved me. I felt like an ant under His magnifying glass.

Was Lucy going to become yet another shattered dream? A painful memory? The beginning of another season of grief and processing and moving on?

I'm not sure why, but for some reason God chose to answer those questions with a thundering and resounding "NO." The best and sweetest "no" I have ever heard in my life.

No. Lucy will not be a shattered dream. No. She will not be a painful memory. No. She will not commence another season of loss and grief. No.

Lucy is here. Lucy is alive. Lucy is breathing. Her heart is beating, and she is thriving.

She is the most beautiful little girl I have ever laid eyes on. Her smile takes over her entire face. She is the most lovable, most cuddly snuggly precious sweet thing I have ever held in my arms. She is strong. She is brave. She is a fighter. She is a picture of God's grace and provision.

We don't deserve this precious gift. In a season of doubt and fear and being tossed by the waves of circumstance and uncertainty, God chose to save her. He sustained her heart when it should have stopped. He caused every contraction, every drop of blood to flow through her veins. He gave her every single breath. When we were faithless, he was faithful.

And now, it is 6:29am, and my children are beginning to stir. My children. My children. Yes. Two of them. It still feels so foreign and strange coming out of my mouth. But yes, my children are beginning to wake up, and it's about time to enter Mommy Mode.

The most precious sight I have ever laid eyes on.


Time to go change some diapers and start breakfast! And here's to hoping this is the first of more blog posts and processing to come!

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."

Friday, October 7, 2016

Lucy's Debut!

(Side note: I'm posting from my phone, so I can't figure out how to get pictures on here. If you want to see pics of our sweet Lucy, you'll need to follow me on Instagram! Click here!)

I'm basically reposting the info I've already shared on social media. SO, here's the quick story!

Tuesday, October 5th and into Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, we had no idea what was in store for us! Lucy decided it was time to make her debut! She came out pink and screaming - which are two great things for her!!! She was born at 12:05am (on Wednesday, October 6th) weighing 6 pounds 11 ounces and measuring 19 3/4 inches long. She was given an apgar score of 8! *Apgar score - a measure of the physical condition of a newborn infant. It is obtained by adding points (2, 1 or 0) for heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, response to stimulation, and skin coloration; a score of ten represents the best possible condition.* And Lucy was given an eight! EIGHT! Amazing!

We had an OB appointment Wednesday at 1:00, and Lucy's heart rate was back up to 220 so we were admitted to the hospital to adjust the dosage on my heart medicine. I took the new dosage around 9:00pm, and when they checked her heart rate around 11:00pm, it was way low, in the 60's. Which at times, her heart rate has been that low, but it wasn't concerning. This time it was something about the rhythm that was alarming. After that, things FLEW. I was immediately sent to an operating room for an emergency c-section, and now our little lion is here!!!

I was able to spend a few moments with her after I woke up (they put me under since it was an emergency c-section). I got to hold her hand for about 5 minutes, and then off she went!

Lucy is at Children's Hospital now being monitored. No major steps will be taken until the team of cardiologists can meet on Monday and discuss what is next for her care. Her pulse and her blood pressure have been good all day.

I am doing well. So very thankful for good pain meds! I should be able to break out of UAMS today and go spend some time with Lucy. I have a lot of peace about everything at the moment, that our baby girl is going to be okay. She's strong, and she's a fighter. She has the heart of a lion!

Will continue to update as we learn more. Again, CLICK HERE to easily keep in the loop with our most recent updates and to see pics of this precious lion-hearted girl!

#prayforLucyLion

Monday, September 19, 2016

Going Home!



This dark, blurry view means MANY things:

1. We've been discharged from the hospital! (Obviously lots of good things had to happen for us to be discharged!)

2. My body responded well to the heart medicine (that needed to get into Lucy's system to slow her heart rate)

3. Lucy's little body responded well and her heart rate has been consistently in the 130's.

4. We are on our way home!

THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS! 💛

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Update - September 17th

We have been blown away by the amount of support we have received from thousands praying for Lucy and for our family. I want to say a huge thank you to Kelly Stamps for featuring me on her blog and helping to get the word out about our story. In case you missed her sweet post, you can check it out HERE.

Yesterday was our big appointment that we had been anticipating for what seemed like an eternity. Everything was going well at the beginning of the appointment. We had a regular ultrasound, and then another tech came in to do the fetal echo (which is basically an extremely detailed ultrasound of the heart). Everything was looking the same and "normal" (Lucy's normal), and then the tech went to meet with the cardiologist for a few minutes.

About 10 minutes passed, the cardiologist and the tech entered our room (which is normal). They started looking at Lucy's heart again, and suddenly her heart was at a super rapid 250 beats per minute (not normal)!

We discussed a few things about the echo. The biggest highlight was Lucy's prognosis. They determined this by several factors they had seen in the echo. They rated her on a scale from 1 to 10 (the lower the number, the better). They gave Lucy a 3! I take that as great news!

There wasn't a whole lot of time to linger on this point, though. Lucy's rapid heart rate called for a quick change in the rest of our plans for appointments yesterday.

I have since been admitted to the hospital and put on medication to try and help regulate Lucy's heart rate to a "normal," safe range. We will be staying here through the weekend so they can monitor my heart and Lucy's as well. When things reach a safe and stable range, we should be able to go home.

However, if they are not able to regulate things and see that Lucy is not responding well or handling things well, at that point they would need to deliver and get things going and taken care of outside the womb.

Since we have been at the hospital, they have done a couple EKG's on me, and I was able to start the medication at 10:00 last night. So far, my heart has handled the medicine well. If my body continues to handle it well, they will increase and adjust the dosage so that it can help Lucy the way it needs to.

Specific prayer requests:

  • Lucy's heart rate to regulate to a safe range and for her to stay in my belly for as long as possible. I really can't emphasize this enough. The longer Lucy can bake and grow big and strong inside me, the better she will do and be able to handle all that is ahead of her when she is born
  • No complications with the heart medicine (for myself or for Lucy)
  • Dr. Bornemeier (cardiologist from Arkansas Children's Hospital), for wisdom as she is in charge of decisions on medication and dosages.
  • Dr. Warlord and the team here at UAMS currently taking care of me and Lucy. 
  • Anything else you want to add!
Again, we can't thank all of you enough for your prayers. Thank you for sharing our story and calling on prayer warriors from all across our nation and across the globe. We are truly humbled by all of the love and support. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Friday's Appointment - Sept. 9th

I apologize that I did not update sooner!

First of all, I can't even put into words how thankful, blessed and overwhelmed we have been by everyone's love and support. Thousands have heard of Lucy's story and are praying. Thank you to everyone who has shared our story and to everyone who is praying. We are truly blessed.

We had an appointment Friday, and finally, a normal, non-eventful appointment. Nothing new to tell! No fluid building up anywhere. Dr. Cummings was happy with everything she saw.

Next week is a big week with the echo, and we will be meeting with our neonatologist, Dr. Kim to discuss what we can expect when Lucy is born. Meeting with Comfort Care is actually not a for sure thing. All depends on what they see in the echo. But with Lucy's case being severe Ebstein's, we are preparing for the worst and expecting to meet with them.

But for now, we are so beyond thankful to have had a "normal" routine visit!

We can't thank everyone enough for praying with us and on our behalf.

#prayforLucyLion

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Latest on Lucy

I figure it's time to give a more detailed update on what we know with Lucy.

To catch anyone up to date who may just be jumping into the story, I am 33 weeks pregnant with our little Lucy who has been diagnosed with a severe form of Ebstein's Anomaly. This will require multiple heart surgeries before the age of 2 or 3 years old (one surgery before she can ever leave the hospital when she is born.)

This diagnosis is terrifying.

Not only are the heart surgeries terrifying, but with each doctor's appointment, the reality that Lucy may not survive when she is born becomes more and more apparent to us.

Other than a complete healing miracle, these heart surgeries are the best we can hope for. We hope and pray and beg and plead for life. We want to bring our baby girl home.

We recently found out that because of Lucy's condition, she is at a higher risk of developing hydrops (a condition that occurs when large amounts of fluid build up in a baby’s tissues and organs causing extreme swelling). I honestly can't remember what they said will need to take place if Lucy develops hydrops. All I know is it wouldn't be good.

We need Lucy to stay in my belly for as long as possible. We need her to grow big and strong so that when she is born her little body will be able fight for life. One, to be able to better handle being separated from the placenta, and two, to cope with the heart surgeries to come.

Friday, September 16th, we will have another fetal echo. At this appointment they will have a better idea what to expect when Lucy is born. Also at this appointment, we will meet with Comfort Care to discuss the worst. That when Lucy is born, if she isn't going to make it, what we want our few first and final moments to look like with her.

All I can say is this is a parent's worst nightmare.

I dread every single appointment that is coming up (which from this point forward is every Friday), but especially September 16th.

Specific ways to pray:
  • Lucy to stay in my belly as long as possible.
  • No hydrops - no fluid build up
  • All-around health for myself and for Lucy
  • Life - we beg and plead for life - we want to bring Lucy home
  • Wisdom for all doctors involved
    • Dr. Cummings - my OB
    • The cardiologists (Dr. Bornemeier is one of them)
    • Dr. Kim - Lucy's neonatologist
    • Any other doctors and nurses who may be involved
    • The surgeons
  • Every Friday from this point forward (for our appointments)
    • Peace, strength, grace, etc.
  • Anything else the Spirit leads you to pray
  • A MIRACLE.
Thank you for joining us in prayer.

Please know that I am not strong. I am actually very weak and very weary from the past 4 years I have been walking as my mom was diagnosed with, walked through and taken from cancer. I do not know why God has chosen me and my family for this journey. I have to be totally honest and say it is not encouraging to me when I hear the words, "Jordan, you are brave and you are strong. You can do this."

No.

I am not brave. I am not strong. I don't want any part of this story I am currently walking.

I am begging God to please relent. To please show His compassion and His favor. To please allow me and my family to enter into a season of rest and freedom from these horrible trials.

We covet your prayers.