Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sophie's little hand.
Sophie crossing her legs

We had an ultrasound on Monday. It went OK. Pretty much the same as what we were told at 15 weeks. Nothing has changed as far as abnormalities. She has grown and is measuring correctly. I thought I was ready to see her on the screen, but it seems like every time we go in for a doctor's appt., I take two steps back. It was hard to look at her little body and know my time is limited with her. We don't really know how much time the Lord is going to give us, but we know that if we even have a week, we will be blessed. We plan to spend every moment with her and loving her. We have prayed and we will not take drastic measures to prolong her life (life support etc.). We trust our God to take her when He is ready. I want with all my heart to keep her with me, but it would be truly selfish of me to keep her from her creator's arms. She will safe and perfect with Him, and I know that heaven will be a sweeter place because I have a daughter who will be waiting for me. Until then, I will cherish the moments I have with her. She is quite a kicker and has kept me up at night kicking so hard! I have a few pictures to post. She was laying face down so we couldn't see her that well. The lady who did our sonogram was precious and let us look at her for about an hour. Dr. Daniel was also right there with me. How I thank God for him each day. I can't imagine this process without the love and support from a doctor who loves the Lord. He is just incredible. He is not only my doctor, but a friend and prayer warrior for our family. He is so patient with me and lets me ask him as many questions as I can think of. I ask him at every visit, "You mean you have never seen this before, I am your only one?" He always tells me, "Yep, precious, you are my one and only." Carlton also asked Dr. Daniel to be part of Sophie's services. He was very emotional and graciously accepted. Please continue to pray for us. Please pray for me this week. Its always hard to go back to the doctor. Specifically, pray that I would not worry about her suffering and that the Lord would be merciful and take her peacefully.

Enjoy her beautiful pictures,


Saturday, October 27, 2007

After His Own Heart

Noah (with his train hat) and Hannah Grace
Fall Festival 2007

Dear Friends,
Thank you for your continuing prayers. You have been faithful to remain in constant prayer for us. There are many days when I am so tired and your prayers have been carrying me through. This week has been good. One of my close friends took me to a spa and it was incredible. I was completely pampered for 3 hours! We had a great time laughing together. Its amazing how a little pampering will lift your spirits! The kids and I spent some time Friday night making cookies (from scratch!) for our church's fall festival. Noah and Hannah Grace had a great time pretending to be little chefs. Can you believe I didn't even care that my kitchen was a complete disaster?? Or that my mixer blew the breaker! We tried to make pumpkin cookies, but they turned out looking like blobs and tasting like dough balls. We have never laughed so much! Hannah Grace said the cookies tasted like "healthy cookies." Not really what you are going for when cooking for kids! We are looking forward to going to the fall festival tonight. Noah can't wait to ride the "Thomas" train. I will be sure to take some pictures. Please keep us in your prayers on Monday. We have an another ultrasound. I am looking forward to seeing Sophie's sweet little face. But, I am dreading hearing any more bad news. Sometimes, I think, "how much worse could it get? What can they tell me that I don't already know?" It's also hard to hear it again and again. It seems like when I get myself on solid ground, we have a test result come back or its time for another ultrasound. But, I know whatever the news, it is ALL part of God's great plan for us and for Sophie. I will be sure to get lots of pictures of Sophie and post them on Monday night.

I will leave you with a short devotion from a book a good friend gave me. Its from "Beside Still Waters", by C.H. Spurgeon.

After His Own Heart
-When your faith endures many conflicts and your spirit sinks low, do not condemn yourself. It was David in haste who said, "I am cut off from before your eyes" (Ps. 31:22). Yet there is David now in the blessed heavenly choir, for even here on earth he was a man after God's own Heart. (Sam. 13:14)
There is a reason for your season of heaviness. Great soldiers are not made without war. Skillful sailors are not trained on the shore. It appears that if you are to become a great believer, you will be greatly tested. If you are to be a great helper to others, you must pass through their trials. If you are to be instructed in the things of the kingdom, you must learn from experience. The uncut diamond has little brilliance, the unthreshed corn feeds no one, and the untried believer is of little use or beauty. There are great benefits to come from your trials and depression.
Many people have a comparatively smooth path through life, but their position is not the equal of the tested believer. The one who is much plowed and often harrowed will thank God if the result is a larger harvest to the praise and glory of God by Jesus Christ. If your face is now covered with sorrow, the time will come when you will bless God for that sorrow. The day will come when you will see great gain from your losses, your crosses, your troubles, and your afflictions:
From all your affliction His glory shall spring,
And the deeper your sorrows, the louder you'll sing.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Lessons from Sophie

Dear Friends,

Another week has come and gone and the Lord has gotten me through each day. Its hard to believe it will be 5 weeks on Friday since finding out about our little Sophie. Part of me rejoices in the fact that the time has picked up past a crawl, but the other part (I know this is strange), marvels in this time that I am having with the Lord. God is so good and His mercies are new every morning. For the first time in my Christian walk, I have had to be totally dependent on God each and every moment of the day. Its when I let my guard down, and try to handle it on my own, I fall. Sophie's life has forced me to become dependent on my Heavenly Father. And I pray, that this will become a life habit of mine. I thank God for allowing me to cling to Him. Its my personality to be independent and try to control the situation on my own. But, it feels so good to cast my burdens on my God and trust Him with my every need. What a relief! Why haven't I been doing this all along? I never knew the God of all creation could be so intimately connected with every fiber of my being. God has also taught me this week about how I can use my suffering to comfort other people. As Carlton and I were walking late one night, I told him about how I felt so helpless around others who were suffering in the past. I think I have only been to two funerals in the past 10 years, because I have literally been afraid to be around those who were suffering. How can you comfort someone if you haven't "been there". You can't. All you can do is say "I'm sorry", take them some food, etc. I am not saying you have to go through the same trial, but you have had to suffer to a point where your whole body has to cry out to God each morning, so that you survive the day. There is something about the comfort of others who have also suffered. I want to be around them, I want to talk to them, I want to listen to their words of wisdom. I know God is preparing me for circumstances down the road when someone will need a shoulder to lean on, someone to talk to. I am thankful that I can now be that person. I am not afraid of suffering, death, etc. I now know that God really WILL get you through it. I never truly believed this before. When I heard of tragedies, I would turn my cheek and think that would never happen to me because God knows fragile Aimee couldn't survive. Well, by God's grace alone, I wake up every morning and my life goes on. Yes, Sophie has taught me so much about life and how short and precious it is. I catch myself often staring at my children and looking at their perfectly formed features, but now I give God the glory! I don't think, "Oh, what a cute little nose and what pretty blue eyes like your Daddy", I now think. "The God of the universe formed you with His hands and made you beautiful. I will enjoy you today more than yesterday. I will teach you about your Creator. I will stop doing the laundry and cleaning the house... I will sit with you and sing to you, and read you that story for the 15th time. And I will rejoice in every minute of it." Thank you my sweet little Sophie, for teaching me the value of life and drawing me closer to our mighty God, the maker of heaven and earth.

I will write again soon,

"All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. " 2 Cor. 1: 3-4

Monday, October 15, 2007

For God's Glory

We recieved news on Monday from UAB that the amnio confirmed what we had been told from the start. Sophie has a fatal chromosomal abnormality. I have actually dealt with the news better than I thought. Carlton has had a harder time this week. Looking at the amnio papers with all the little photocopies of her chromosones puts everything into reality. This is not a bad nightmare, its real. I have come to terms with it, and now I am beginning to enjoy every little minute I have her with me. I know this time is precious and I am determined to enjoy all the time I have with her. Only God knows when it is time for Sophie to be back in His arms, so we are trusting in His perfect timing. Carlton and I will begin in the next few weeks to start working on a birth plan. We want to make sure all the nurses are aware of just how we want things. Dr. Daniel has been more than a doctor. He has become a very close friend and prayer warrior for our family. I have never known a doctor like him. His love for the Lord is evident each time we meet and pray with him. He has been a rock for us. He is going to be right there with us through the entire pregnancy and birth. He is going to make sure all of our requests are followed closely, as we will only have a short amount of time and we want all of Sophie's time spent with us and our immediate family.

Last night, I picked up the book that we are reading in our Tuesday morning Mom's Bible Study. I haven't been able to go for the past 3 weeks, so I took a wild guess that they were reading chapter 6 this week. I flipped open the book and the title of the chapter 6 was "God Never Makes a Mistake." So, I propped myself up in my bed because it was obvious I needed to read this chapter...tonight! At the beginning of each chapter is a "chapter verse". It read,"Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right." 1 Peter 4:19. What comfort came while I was reading this...to know that my suffering is the will of God. As Christians, we are not promised a life free of suffering. But, we can have the assurance that God has allowed our suffering and it is for a specific reason. This is not a "fluke" or some random cosmic event, God ordained this before the foundation of the world. This is not a surprise to Him. He is using this to shape and mold us. He is using Sophie to bring others to Him. It's all about God and His glory. And I am happy with that. God is God and I trust in His soveriegn plan over my life. I will close this week with the words to a song we sang in church Sunday. The words never struck me like they did this past Sunday.

"Its all about you... Jesus.

And all this is for you, for your glory and your name.

It's not about me.

As if you should do things my way.

You alone are God, and I surrender... to your ways."

Continue to pray for us. Your prayers are helping us get through each day. Thank you again for all your precious cards and comments on our blog. We are keeping all our blog posts and comments/cards/letters/e-mails in a binder so we will have them many years from now. I will try to post again soon.

Love, Aimee and family

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Dear Friends,
We are so blessed to be surrounded by so much love and prayers during this time. I am encouraged daily by your sweet comments, cards and messages. We do check our e-mail daily and our blog. This has been the best way to communicate for us. We have also heard all of your phone messages and we thank you for those. We apologize for not returning all the calls. We have to return to some state of "normalcy", so we have been letting our answering machine collect messages as we spend time as a family.
Carlton has been very busy painting the new room upstairs where his office will be for the next several months. He put up some bookshelves and a friend gave him a desk. It looks really nice and its very quiet up there. Noah has been getting ready for a big boy bed. We ordered it while we were visiting family in Columbus and it should be here in a couple weeks. Hannah Grace has been busy with her school work. She is usually all finished by 10:30. She is starting to get interested in American Girl chapter books. I am hoping that this is good reading, I have yet to sit down and read one! We make several trips to the library during the week. She is also enjoying her piano lessons from Ms. Debbie and her dance classes. I have returned to tutoring, and it has been wonderful. It forces my brain to think and I need that! It also gives me routine and that is helpful.
I still have good days and not so good days. Some days, I feel like I am in some kind of time-warp, hours seem like days... With every kick from Sophie's little foot, I am reminded of our situation. I am learning to cherish the moments I have with her, but it can be hard. I know that the more I bond with her, the harder the loss will be. I am reminded of what Christ did for us. God knew His son would die. He knew it. He suffered for us, for me. What a small price for me to pay, especially when He is using my baby to bring others to HIM! And He has been so gracious to see me through this, from the beginning, He has not forsaken me.... He has done everything but call me on the telephone to say "Aimee, I am right here with you, You are not alone!." He knows I am so hard-headed. He knows my faith is small. He knows he has to go out of His way to make me believe. Well, He has.
I also thank God for loving me enough to allow me to go through this trial. I am learning so much at such a young age. He cares enough about me to change me now! I thank Him that I am not learning these great lessons 30 years down the road. Somehow, I might look back on a wasted life. I can't imagine. I know He has great plans. I trust Him and know His plans are much better than Aimee' s plans. Knowing God is soveriegn over all things is what gets me out of the bed. Knowing God is soveriegn over all things is what gets me through the day. Knowing God is soveriegn over all things is what allows me to sleep at night.
I wanted to share with you a short section of the book that I have been reading. Just this past weekend, I had time to sit and read the last chapter. God had been saving it just for me. Its from Noel Piper's, "Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God." Helen Roseveare was a missionary who gave her whole life to serving Christ in the Congo. She suffered much persecution, but had an amazing ministry. Her ministry is still running strong today.
"In 1989, 120 young people sat cross-legged in the Piper living room and dining room, covering nearly every square inch of the floor space. They had accepted our open invitation to anyone who thought missions might be in his or her future.
As Helen Roseveare stood by our fireplace and looked into thier faces, she reached backward toward the mantel and eased a long-stemmed rosebud from a tall vase. As she spoke, she broke off the thorns, the leaves, the petals, the green outer layer of the stem-every element that makes a rose a rose. All that was left was a a lithe, straight shaft. The peices that lay on the floor were not bad things. But, she explained, they had to be removed if she were going to make an arrow. God does this to us, she says. He removes everything, even innocent, good things-that hinders us from being the arrows that he will shoot for his purposes at his intended target."

I will write again soon.
Love, Aimee and Family

LILY UPDATE: Our homestudy is going to immigration in the next 4 weeks. We have a home walk-through on Oct. 17th, that is the last section of the homestudy. Medicals are complete!!!!!!! We passed with flying colors! Karla is expecting to mail our Dossier on our original set date, Dec 9th. We are pretty confident that Lily will be here by Christmas 2008, and possible sooner, depending on the referral lists. Continue to pray that everything will go smoothly.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Weeds in the Garden

First of all, thank you so much for your prayers, letters, food, ect. Your love for our family has been overwhelming. I thank God everyday for our family, friends and our precious Grace Fellowship family. We have been truly blessed beyond measure with the people at Grace. You love us like family and we know you are suffering with us. God is continuing to show us what marvelous plans he has for our Sophie. I have recieved numerous calls about how God has changed your life. It is amazing. Some of you have made serious "life-changing" decisions. I see that Sophie's life is not wasted. God is changing hearts and souls as I type this.

Please continue to pray for me. I have good days and bad days. The good days are when my mind is focused on Christ. My bad days are mostly thoughts of self-pity, anger, and why me? When my friend, Jaime, went through this about a year ago, I thought to myself, "How did she survive?" "How did she go on with life?" Now, I see, that no matter the circumstance in life, God will supply you with grace upon grace. I recall seeing Susan Fleming at her son Micah's funeral. I walked up to her and looked her right in the face and said "How did you do this? I could never do this. " I will never forget her response. She said," Aimee, you would get through it. God will give you grace like you have never experienced." Oh, how her words are true. You don't understand God's grace until you suffer. You really don't. You don't grow leaps and bounds in your walk with Christ unless you suffer. Suffering makes you depend on God alone. There is nothing inside of me to muster up. I am totally, completely dependent on my creator. I have wanted this dependence on God for a long time. I never imagined this is how I would truly come to know my savior. Oh, how I wish this could have been different, but in some strange way, I am thankful that God has brought me to this point. I don't think I would know him this way without suffering at this level.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away,
our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is
preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we
look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the
Things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2COR 4:16-18

We had Noah's birthday party on Saturday. That was my goal for the weekend. My little boy and his truck party. He had a great time. I will include some pictures for you to see. After the party, we put up a fall scene in the yard and I planted some pansies for the fall. God was so good to me. While I was weeding out the flower bed, I thought about what God was doing in my life. Just like those weeds, He is pulling out things in my life that need to be gone! As I pulled the weeds, I thought "Here comes pride, selfishness, greed, self-pity, anger, bitterness, no love for the lost..." I knew I had to get to the root of those weeds. It was hard, but I dug and dug until I got to the root. I did not want them to come back! At one point, I had to get Carlton to help me. Some weeds had roots that were so deep!!! Then the dirt was clean and beautiful. There were no more weeds. As I planted the pansies, I thought about how God is planting things in my life that will bear beauty and life. Many of those pansies, I don't know about. I know God has many beautiful things in store for my life. I have to trust in Him and His plans, not my own.

I will write again soon.