Friday, July 2, 2021
This past year, the Lord has been kind to our family.
As I sit here today, in the middle of a trial that has left me flat on my back, watching the world pass by only in glimpses through the back window, I can say it again:
The Lord has been kind; the lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.
But this year has not been easy for most people, I imagine.
In the past year, amidst Covid lockdown, we have experienced two miscarriages - bringing our total losses over the years to seven. While we truly love having a large family and have always loved the possibility of more children, during these past two losses we have grown weary of the biological path and had long talks about “taking control” of our family’s future.
In the end, neither of us were truly ready or sure, so we had left it alone and committed it to prayer.
It was the first time I felt scared about a pregnancy, because the losses have had a cumulative affect on me emotionally over the years. We tried to be cautiously optimistic during the first weeks, but as the months went on, tiny kicks from the baby made our guarded hope more tangible, and we decided to tell the children.
We began to celebrate this incredible gift - new life springing up after loss.
An emergency ultrasound revealed an ugly clot, wrapping around the amniotic sac like a snake and pressing into the baby’s space.
But we have been here before, as this was now our third pregnancy with this condition, so we knew what to do.
I began mothering from the couch and staying off my feet in what would become complete bed rest. My big girls became BIG helpers (I love you, Lilly!)
I started seeing a cardiologist for my heart - which has not been cooperative throughout this pregnancy - and going on and off different medications. And mostly, praying for endurance.
And every day, His mercies were new, and the gentle kicks and rolls of our baby became my morning alarm clock.
At the 20 week ultrasound, we expected better news, but the clot had grown.
Additionally, I had an infection called CMV in my bloodwork, which puts the baby at risk for birth defects. There was also blood in the amniotic fluid and the baby had been swallowing it, creating abnormality markers in some of the baby's organs.
My placenta was now abrupting, and the bleeding would recur.
A feeling of sickness rushed over me as I pictured this, because the baby’s safe place was becoming increasingly unsafe.
Risks began mounting - risks to me, risks to the baby, risks to my heart.
And none of this was in my control.
I attended these appointments alone due to Covid restrictions, and found myself listening in unbelief as all of the years I have spent serving as a crisis pregnancy counselor became a personal reality.
Tests could be done, to see if the baby was affected by the infection in my bloodwork. Tests could be rushed, because I was approaching “the deadline” (the state of North Carolina offers abortion freely until 22 weeks).
It became clear that there was nothing the doctors could offer me except for “therapeutic abortion” or increased monitoring, and at a certain point, I walked out of that office mid-appointment so I could pray in peace.
I know that Jesus is the only one with any power over this situation. He is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, and He holds all things together - by his will they exist. (Col. 1:17)
Every last molecule of my baby’s body is held together by God (Ps. 139:13), and nothing befalls any of us that does not pass through His hands first. (Lam. 3:37-39)
I have laid aside all the research and articles on high risk pregnancy, and I have nothing to do but trust. I wish I could say this was the first thing I did - but in the end - it was the gracious and gentle place I landed after the Holy Spirit used my own frantic, sinful worry to break me of self-dependence.
I do not know on what day or in what condition this baby will come, but I do know that my Savior lives and is worthy of all praise and honor, and I can trust in Him.
This lesson of trust is one I will be learning and relearning for the rest of my life, because I am stubborn.
The trials and sufferings of this life are what produces the weight of Glory that will make me more like Christ...
and will someday carry me home. (2 Cor. 4:17)
As we enter our 6th month of pregnancy, please pray with us.
Pray for our baby, that we might hold this living child, and see the glory of God’s healing hand on my body - and the baby's as well.
And if not, we will praise Him all the same.
He is always good, always worthy.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord our God.
"The good husbandman may pluck His roses and gather His lilies at midsummer, and, for ought I dare say, in the beginning of the first summer month, and he may transplant young trees out of the lower ground to the higher, where they may have more of the sun and a more free air, and any season of the year. The goods are His own. The Creator of time and winds did a merciful injury to nature in landing the passenger so early." -Samuel Rutherford, Letters
Friday, June 25, 2021
The first time I saw her, we were at our first adoption conference.
I was a brand new Christian with two children, and we were considering the idea that God was leading us into adoption. She was standing in the back, with a baby whose head was severely distended from hydrocephalus strapped to her chest in a baby carrier.
She rocked from foot to foot, patting the child’s back, listening with passion and intensity. I had seen her at church caring for many of her medically fragile foster children, and I knew that I wanted to meet this woman.
A few weeks later, Paul and I were publicly baptized at church and announced in our testimonies that we would be adopting two children, because we felt it was a picture of what God had done for us in salvation.
As we were leaving church that day, she caught my arm and shared her passion for adoption and foster care. It was an instant Sisterhood. For the next four years, Belinda would be one of our greatest supporters, and at times my “partner in crime”.
This woman would drop everything to go after the one.
That’s Belinda. She will drop everything she had planned for the one child who needs a Foster home and is being released from the hospital TODAY, or the one friend who needs help, or the one child that goes wayward.
She will chase you down. She will find you in that hospital and carry you home, despite having too much to do and not nearly enough support or resources.
She will find you in your crisis and be the one with the meal, she will sit on your bedroom floor while you are on bedrest, she will take your kids to give you a break when she is already stretched to the breaking.
And if you are a child who has no faith in God, she will pace outside your door and prayer walk with your name on her lips for years.
And she will not stop.
Adoptive mother of 5, foster mama to an endless stream of medically fragile children for decades, and the constant voice of exhortation reminding the Body that we cannot ignore the orphan crisis.
Cancer shipwrecked her body, but her heart and soul were anchored and thrown on the Rock that is Christ.
Even as she was physically crushed and broken, she continued to praise Him. She continued to preach the Gospel in her writing, reminding us that in the end we all need a Savior!
She used adoption as a platform for evangelism, calling people to repent and believe that Christ died for our sins on the cross, defeated our death in his resurrection, and that salvation is found in trusting in Him alone.
This sure and steady trust is why as Christians we say with the apostle Paul,
“I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” - Phil 1
There are pieces of her spiritual heritage spread out far and wide now that she has passed on to glory.
to alter the courses of people’s lives
for His sovereign plans
will be played out for generations,
a literal living legacy.
“O love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee.
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine oceans depths its flow
may richer fuller be.
O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee.
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
that in thy sunshine's blaze its day
Today marks the one year anniversary of Belinda being carried on to Glory.
She wrote for many years
about foster care, adoption,
and the Gospel on her blog:
"I'll be there,
ready to welcome you
and hug you tight!!"