Sunday, November 22, 2009

Heartfelt Blogger Award



My good friend Stef nominated me for the Heartfelt Blogger Award.  I am so honored that she believes my updates are heartfelt and inspiring.  Honestly, I am just a mom like so many others, who has just experienced the joys of having a little blessing brought into their life.  Through my blog, I try to share my feelings and experiences in a way that glorifies God.  We have so many people out there praying for our precious son, and who look at our family and wonder how we could go through what we do.  But the truth is, this journey has simply opened our eyes.  There are so many more who have it worse than we do.

Why was my little one chosen to be born with a congential heart defect?  The truth is, I don't know.  Do I wish it wouldn't have happened?  Sometimes.  But I also don't question God, and I certainly don't think of it as a punishment anymore.  Did I used to?

Honestly, yes.  

Many of you who have followed us for a while know that it took us almost 2 years to conceive.  We went through months of infertility treatments and we finally conceived Andrew through IVF.  This whole time I was teaching in an inner city school, where I always felt I made a difference.  Many of the kids were from underprivileged homes, where school was the only safe experience of their day.  However, during this time of infertility, I became angry.  Angry that I wasn't able to conceive a baby, who I knew I could bless with a happy home and childhood.  Why were these mothers in my school able to conceive child after child, many times from different fathers, and have healthy children?   

It didn't seem fair.

After we found out Andrew had a heart defect when I was 20 week pregnant, I grew even more upset about this.  A mom of a child in my class was pregnant at the same time, and a little farther along than me.  I often saw her dragging her many children to and from school while belittling them, with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth (no offense here, I am just trying to illustrate the feelings this gave me...and I mean, who smokes when they are pregnant?  Seriously).  No father was in the picture.  Her son was born healthy, and when she brought him in to school I couldn't help but be envious.  How could I possibly be envious of this woman?  Her son was born healthy.  And I desperately wanted that for my son.

After Andrew was born, I quickly came to the realization why God had chosen to give Andrew to us, and that woman's son to her.  Andrew couldn't have survived in that family.  He needed us.  God gave us the honor of being his mommy and daddy.  I felt so ashamed.  Ashamed that I had questioned God's intentions.  The truth was, I was the teacher who could make a difference in an underprivileged child's life, but I was the mommy whose child made a difference in mine.

And it was a beautiful thing.

Never again have I questioned God or felt envious of others with healthy children.  My Andrew is my God given miracle.  And I am beyond blessed that He chose me to receive this ultimate "award."
 
The Chosen One

I had a dream the other night
It came to me so clear
I stood before the throne of God
Afraid to come near
God said to me “I hear your prayers”
There are answers you can’t find
I’ve asked you here to talk to me
And help to ease your mind
I said, “Well, yes God, I am upset
About my special one
This punishment is awfully harsh
What have we ever done?”
God looked at me and shook his head
and said you’ve got it wrong
I sent this special child to you
because you are so strong!
I searched and searched to find someone
With love so rare and true
A parent so unselfish
That could give this special care
I try and save my special gifts
Like those you’re speaking of
For special kinds of parents
I call the “Chosen Ones”
Of all the ones to choose from
Think this I have done
A parent who deserves the best
An honor you have won. 

-Author Unknown 
 
Part of the Heartfelt Blogger Award is for me to nominate another blog that inspires me.  After Andrew was born we joined a support group for heart families.  We have met some amazing people through this group.  One family in particular.

This is the Johnson family.

My heart and my thoughts have been with them lately as they have faced many challenges in their lives and through each and every one, they seek God and trust Him, which often times would be hard for me to do in their situation.

Their precious daughter, Ava, was born with a congenital heart defect as well.  Her story is so powerful and the description of a true miracle, as they almost lost her early on.  She had 3 open heart surgeries very early in her life.  Jessica expressed her thoughts and feelings with God-breathed words on Ava's caring bridge site as people around the world joined to pray for Ava.

Well, this is Ava today
 
Jessica was generous enough to offer to watch Andrew last year for me while I worked part time.  This was the biggest blessing to our family.  Andrew grew to love the Johnson family and Ava became his little best friend.
 
They had so much fun playing together, and we were forever grateful for this gift that Jessica gave us-caring and loving on our son and treating him like part of their family.
 
Aren't they adorable?
 
Last December Jessica gave birth to their second miracle- a little boy who was born healthy as can be.  This is your picture of a "perfect family."  Jessica and Josiah are wonderful parents with a love for God that is very evident in their actions and words.  They are happy, in love, and love their children more than anything.
 
This is Ava teaching Andrew what to do! Lol!

Late in the spring Jessica gave us some devastating news...her husband was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called sarcoma.   He has undergone several rounds of chemo and has traveled to find doctors who specialize in this area, because there just isn't much known about his particular type of cancer.

The latest news is that there just isn't much more they can do.  I am just heart broken for this little family.  Through everything, Jessica lays her heart out on her blog, and it just inspires me.  To be a better wife, mother and lover of God.

Please visit their blog and encourage them.  I know they could use your prayers this holiday season.

While our family so appreciates the support, love and prayers for Andrew, we ask that you also would open your eyes to the many other families we have met and have grown to love on our journey as a heart family.  There are so many children fighting.  Families fighting.  Let's all join together in praying for them, too.

"When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you."  Isaiah 43:2

3 comments:

Stefenie said...

What an amazingly heartfelt update Jen!

My heart definitely breaks for Jessica and her family. Praying for all of them!!

Andrew is a precious miracle like all babies are. None of us doubt God's reasoning for entrusting you to care for him. He was meant to be loved by you!

Stef, Ryan, Wyatt and Logan
http://www.whenlifehandsyouabrokenheart.blogspot.com

Olivia said...

Jen,

What a beautifully written update! I too have felt this same envy and almost disgust as I've seen mother's do some questionable things while pregnant and have a completely healthy baby. It used to make me just sick to my very core. I was angry these women were able to have healthy children and do these things. But, like you...I eventually had my eyes opened and saw that God had entrusted me with a miracle as precious as Olivia.

Erin Burton said...

I love the poem... brings a little tear to my eye. Ihope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving... so many many things to be Thankful for. Enjoy your family... Erin

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