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Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas
Aggie style

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Hi!

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Hi!

Cutie Pie

 

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10:30 pm and….

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She’s still talking to her stuffed animals in her bed. We put her down at 9:45 pm. This is not unusual. Thankfully, most days she’ll stay in bed until at least 8:30 am.

We are singing a lot of “Ruboff” (her word for Rudolph) the red nose reindeer and “Santa Claus is coming to town.” She isn’t allowing us to sing much of anything else. We call her the song Nazi.

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Video: Ella meets Santa

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My thoughts concerning Seth

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I’ve been thinking about this for some time and have become even more sure of one thing: God is faithful. In worldly terms, knowing that your unborn son has a significant probability (1/8 chance) of having a genetic disorder is no doubt unsettling. But when viewed in the larger perspective of God’s mercy towards me, I actually see it as a blessing. What an opportunity to newly understand how unworthy I am of anything good in the first place. Why did he choose to save me or Emily? What did we do to deserve eternal bliss with our Creator? How could I begin to comprehend the larger plan he has for our family regardless of the outcome of this particular trial? I don’t know what’s best for our family. My Creator does, thankfully.

My flesh longs for a perfectly “normal” boy. However, my flesh leads me astray all the time. My dependence is on the Holy Spirit who lives in me. The Spirit reminds me:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (New International Version)

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

I was telling Emily today that, for me, it’s almost easier to trust in God when you know He is testing to see if you will indeed trust Him. It’s in my face everyday. There’s no doubt what His will for my life is right now: Trust Him. So many times before I’ve struggled trusting Him when everything was going well for me. It’s so tempting to think that you don’t need trust Him much in those times. This has once again reminded me to trust Him for my every breath, much less to trust Him to work His will out to perfection in this particular trial. I hope those who read this will do the same. Trust God in everything you do today, and then again tomorrow. He knitted you in your mother’s womb, he new the number of your days before you were born, and he promises those of us who have trusted him for their salvation that NOTHING can separate us from His love. In short, He is worthy of your trust and your hope and your passionate devotion.

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Video: Ella’s Birthday Party

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The first video takes you up to the birthday cake. The second video is the birthday cake and presents being opened. The end of video two has a slideshow of selected pictures.

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Santa didn’t bring cheer

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Santa didn't bring cheer

Joel

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Sugar high

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Sugar high

Band buddies

Last night at band practice:

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Finding Peace Again

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I think Joel’s dad said it best to me when he said that we’ve received Christmas a little early this year- our family is blessed to have the powerful Emmanuel- God with us- at our side. He hasn’t left us or forsaken us- or even Seth for that matter.

Last night, Joel and I were able to weep together- maybe even mourn for what opportunities our little boy may not have, the trials our family might endure. But the Lord promises us in Psalm 30:5, “Weeping may last for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Funny how I can actually take comfort in the fact that Down Syndrome is a completely random event– it can happen to anyone at anytime. That just speaks to the Lord’s will for our life. He ordained this. Even if it is nothing, He wants Joel and I- and even you- to endure this time to be drawn to Him or to come to a saving faith in Him for the first time in your life.

So, I woke up with great peace this morning. I am at peace knowing that whoever Seth is, He is chosen by
the Lord to be my son. And I rejoice in this gift! Ella and I went to buy him a soft blue blanket today- just like her pink one. I hope he loves it as much as his big sister loves hers.

The Lord is speaking to me in so many ways today- His presence is so thick in this house. Throughout Ella’s pregnancy, this first time mom was anxious like any other- and I leaned on the words of that song that we sing so often, “Blessed Be Your Name.” Joel and I discussed it yesterday on the way to our appt. We cried, knowing that whether we would have “the sun shining down on us or facing a road marked with suffering,” we would boldly proclaim, “Blessed be the name of the Lord!” Roger called last night to discuss Sunday morning’s song set with me and said, “You know- I am feeling led to sing Blessed Be Your Name this Sunday.” (Oh Lord, you are so interested in helping us through this!) More tears……well, this morning, as I finished my time with the Lord and turned on some music to get the day started, what started playing? That song. I fell to the floor and wept again, knowing that this is my word from the Lord- He is faithful- He is all powerful- He is deserving of our praise- He is good to us no matter the circumstance. I will probably be crying more than singing on Sunday morning- but let it encourage you that the Lord has given us this word and for that I rejoice and have great joy!

For those of you who may not know, I am directing a contemporary choir at our church this year- we have a large group of faithful, loving people. Tonight at choir rehearsal before we started, I felt led to share with the group the burden that Joel and I have been carrying this week. They surrounded us in prayer- lifting up one voice after another as they prayed detailed prayers for our family and our son. The peace that washed over us was immense- for the first time this week, I felt normal again. What a blessing it is to us that we don’t have to bear this burden alone! The testimonies and encouragement that followed overwhelmed me as people committed to praying for us in the coming months and told us of similar situations where the Lord had worked miracles for others. I even had people tell me that they have been praying for us over the weekend and through these past two days, just because the felt the Lord laid us on their hearts- only to find out tonight why. Praise God!

Keep praying for us- we’ve got our highs and lows……But my heart is steadfast in the Lord’s faithfulness to me, Joel, my sweet Ella and my precious Seth.

JOYFUL in the Lord, Em

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It’s a BOY!

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Family and Friends,

Well, it’s been a long day and rather anxious for both of us as we’ve waited for doctors and results, etc.
Results were rather inconclusive for ruling out Down Syndrome- actually, the ultrasound showed another possibility for it- and though the doctors considered it another mild risk, our risks have significantly increased today.

Our odds of this baby having DS is 1 and 8 right now. Quite honestly, Joel and I are expecting it and praying for strength. We know the Lord can work wonders and at birth, give us a perfectly “normal” child if He wills it. The great news is this baby shows no major physical abnormalities that correlate with Downs (i.e. legs, arms, brain, heart and facial features look good). Many DS babies have heart defects at birth and so far, this baby shows a perfectly healthy heart.

The doctors suggest that we remain hopeful- and we will. Joel and I will not continue with further testing (amniocentisis), as that test risks miscarriage and infection for me and the baby.

We know of several people who’ve been told their baby is to be born with DS and at birth, is not. God is bigger than test results and He is faithful to give us what He wills for our lives. We see these next five months of not knowing for sure as a trial- a testing of our faith.

The Lord promises us in James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Did I mention the Lord has given us a son? It’s appropriate that the Lord gave us the name Seth Joel a few weeks ago- it means “chosen by God; the appointed one.” We’re praising God for our little Seth- we’ll take him no matter how he comes.

Please pray with us in the coming months that the Lord would give us peace, that we would be anxious for nothing, that we would take every thought captive and that our sweet Seth would bring glory to the Lord!

We love you,

Em and Joel

 

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