Perfect Love Casts Out All Fear

"What's wrong?" my friend asked. I reminded her that I had my 20 week ultrasound later that day and told her I was scared.It was written all over my face, but that was nothing new, fear was something that I'd known all my life. She told me I was crazy and that I had nothing to worry about. She pointed out that she was much older than me when she had twins and there was nothing wrong with them.

But deep down I knew...

I KNEW.

I knew when the doctor's office made me initial the paper declining the Down Syndrome marker test. I knew when I read the pamphlet explaining my risk now that I was 35 and pregnant. And I knew before I ever saw the 2 pink lines.

God knows me so well. He knew that I needed to be told little by little about His plan. He knows how fearful I can become. He knows how small my faith can be.

A few hours later, while I lay on the doctor's office table in the dark room holding Eric's hand, the fear I already knew in my heart was confirmed. But then something amazing happened... The thing I was trying so hard to control got too big for me to grasp, so I let go.

I let go of all of my fear...

Fear of what my future was going to be like. Fear of what my son's future would be like. Fear of the unknown.

And then God did the most incredible thing. Once my fear was gone, there was room for Him to do a work in me. He replaced my fear with peace.

A peace that passes all understanding. I had never experienced this kind of peace before. It was completely supernatural.  I felt like I was in a dream, it was so surreal and I hope that I can eventually get to a point where I trust in Him so completely that I experience that kind of peace everyday.

He also replaced my fear with faith and hope. The Bible says that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. That is pretty much the opposite of fear of the unknown. Every parent hopes for their children. For my girls I've hoped that they will go to college and do whatever they dream they can do.

At first I thought that my hopes and dreams for Eli would need to be different from my hopes for my girls, but then I realized that life is so much more than how much money you make or how high your IQ is.

When I really thought about it, my true hope for all my children is that they would have love.

And thats what God replaced my fear with and gave me above all: love.

Love for people with special needs. A deeper love for my girls who have shown incredible faith. Love for the most perfect little baby that I was allowed to kiss before he was rushed to the nicu on march 15th.

God's perfect love casts out all fear.

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For me the unknown is still there. Eli's heart surgery will happen soon, and that is something I cannot control, but I can't be afraid. I have to trust.

I have no other choice because the One who created Eli's heart, still holds his heart. God loves Eli more than I ever could. He is in control, and I find so much freedom in that truth.

Our Baby Boy

We found out back in July that we were expecting baby number 4. We found out in September that it’s a boy, our first boy! We were overjoyed. Then two weeks ago I had the 20 week ultrasound. As soon as I looked at the screen my heart sank, I knew something wasn’t right. I also knew that the tech couldn’t tell me what was wrong. We went home and I spent way too much time on google images comparing my pictures to pictures online. I was a wreck. I cried all night long and maybe got an hour sleep. When I woke up, a friend on facebook had posted Jesus Calling for the day. Here is the entry: I am Christ in you, the hope of Glory. The One who walks beside you, holding you by your hand, is the same One who lives within you. This is a deep, unfathomable mystery. You and I are intertwined in an intimacy involving every fiber of your being. The Light of My Presence shines within you, as well as upon you. I am in you and you are in Me; therefore, nothing in heaven or on earth can separate you from Me!

As you sit quietly in My Presence, your awareness of My Life within you is heightened. This produces the Joy of the Lord, which is your strength. I, the God of hope, fill you with all Joy and Peace as you trust in Me, so that you may bubble over with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations.” Isaiah 42:6

“And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

As soon as I was done reading, the phone rang and it was my OB, Dr. Linzey. He said that they discovered three things on the ultrasound: He has a hole in his heart, he has fluid on his brain and his intestines didn’t form properly. Dr. Linzey then told me that these three things together are signs that he probably has Downs Syndrome as well. He then told me that I needed to go in that day for a better, high quality ultrasound.

I knew that I had to tell the girls what was going on, they had already asked so many times why I was crying. I went downstairs and Gretta was looking at the ultrasound pictures from the night before and said “what are these two dark spots on his stomach?” I started crying, then she started crying and then Rox started crying. I told them that I’m sorry and that I am trying to be strong and then I told them what Dr. Linzey said about his heart, brain and intestines.  Rox just kept crying and crying and Gretta said ”I’m not worried, God is in control. God made his body and He knows what He is doing.”

An hour later I was in another ultrasound room with the same tech we had the night before. As soon as she saw us she said she was so sorry that she couldn’t say anything last night. I told her that I totally understood and that I knew something was wrong and I didn’t ask her anything because I knew she wouldn’t be able to answer me anyway.  We were with her for what seemed like an eternity while she measured tons of things, then a doctor came in and measured some more and spent forever looking at his heart. When she was done she told us that his heart is severely deformed. He is missing the crux of his heart and he will need surgery immediately after he is born. She also said that the three things (heart, brain and intestines) point not only to Down’s Syndrome (also known as Trisomy 21), but possibly Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13. If he has Trisomy 18 or 13, they wouldn’t do any heart surgery because he wouldn’t live past a year anyway. Then she said something about a pediatric cardiologist and something about intestine surgery, but by this point it kind of sounded like the adults talking on Charlie Brown but a thousand miles away. Then she asked if we were ok…..Um we were completely in shock. We walked out of the office in a daze.

We went home and all I can say is that within 24 hours I felt a peace that passes all understanding. I’ve heard that Bible verse a million times but I’ve never truly experienced it.  It’s nothing that I did to conjure up feelings of trust or faith or peace. All I know is, is that God did a work in me. I know that He is in control, He made my baby and He doesn’t make mistakes. He has allowed this to happen for a reason and I will trust Him. I know that He can heal him, and if He chooses not to, I can honestly say that it is well with my soul. Not my usual response to crappy things in my life. This is supernatural. When I am weak, He is strong.

God has already done so may amazing things through this situation. He has showed us that we have so many amazing people in our life – so many people have stopped by to hug us, texted or emailed prayers and encouragement, brought us dinner, flowers, baby clothes and other gifts, offered to drive the girls to school and practice, offered to watch the girls while I go to doctor appointments, offered to take their vacation time from work when the baby is born to help us. Eric’s mom even offered to hop on the next plane from Florida just to come be with us. I am so overwhelmed with the outpouring of love. I never knew my heart could be broken into a million pieces and at the same time feel so full!

Another amazing thing that God has done: Here is just one of the many facebook messages I got from someone I don’t know: “I know I don’t know you, the story of your baby came up on my news feed from a mutual friend commenting, I just wanted to say thank you. My day hasn’t been great and I was mad and frustrated. Upon reading your story I realized this woman is having it worse than I but yet she’s seemingly at peace thanks to the love of God and the people around her. Your strength made me get down on my knees and pray for the first time in over 4 years. Again, thank you for being a strong woman of faith and I’m sorry about this hard time and I pray that God shows you his plan in all this.” My boy isn’t even born yet and God is already using him in mighty ways! So thankful!!!!

It’s amazing how something like this can make you so unbelievably grateful for the blessings (big and small) in your life. We are trusting in God. We know that He has been and continues to knit our precious baby together inside me. We know He can heal his body and our hearts. Please pray for us to have strength, hope and continued peace. And most of all for healing for our baby boy.