A few weeks ago we dedicated Grace at church and boy was it a tear filled event (tears of joy)! It was special for a multitude of reasons, but some of the most significant ones include the sheer magnitude of what we were doing before God and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Baby dedication is really an outward statement of our commitment and desire to raise our children in a home that knows, loves, and honors the Lord above all. It is also a commitment by the congregation to come alongside of us (and all of the other dedicated children of course) and assist us in pointing our children towards Christ and being Christ like examples themselves. I have always known that our children are a gift from God, simply on loan to us until He returns to call His people home. I have also always known that God loves our children more than we ever could, so we can fully trust Him with our (His) precious treasures. The reality of those two truths have never been more deeply felt and understood by me until we met our little angel, Grace. There was a time when, I'm embarrassed to say, I wondered if God was punishing us with a child that by the world's standards was "broken." In fact, we received the phone call from the geneticist on a Friday, just as David and I were heading out of town for a "baby moon" at a bed and breakfast. I spent that weekend kicking, screaming, and feeling beyond fearful about what our future would hold. While on our "baby moon" we wandered into an antique shop after lunch one day and I stumbled upon this... God knew that it was the exact reminder that I needed every day (or ever minute of every day) as we waited until we finally got to meet Grace face to face. Here is what it said...
Now I know the real meaning of this, that Grace (God's unmerited favor) is a gift from God, which it TOTALLY is!!! However, to me this was a reminder that the baby in my tummy was not "damaged goods," but instead a GIFT from God. When you think of the word gift I'm guessing that you (like me) think of something that you want and are happy to receive. I had a hard time feeling like I wanted my baby to have a broken heart and an extra chromosome; however, I stood there in front of our church as we were dedicating Grace (crying of course) knowing with full confidence that Grace IS a GIFT from God... a perfect gift that my Heavenly Father hand picked just for me! As I looked out into the congregation to see so many of our family and friends with their hands raised in the air as a an outward commitment of an inward desire to love and support Grace and us as we raise her was enough to take my breath away. It meant the world to us that we had some special people there to witness this special day too, my sister in love, Becca and Brian (her husband), and Cean (David's dear friend) and his amazing Father. Another sweet treat was that some of our dearest friends were also dedicating their babies at the same time!
We almost had a Toy Story birthday cake for the 3rd year in a row, but Andrew picked a Despicable Me ice cream cake instead :-). Andrew said that this was the "BEST CAKE EVER!"
Here is one of Andrew's very favorite things in the world to do... wrestle his Daddy!
So those are a few of the super sweet times that we have had the past couple of weeks and the chaotic times are what goes on in my heart lately. My heart hurts when I think about what will be coming 3-6 months from now... Grace will be having her second heart surgery! It certainly wasn't easy to see our newborn go through heart surgery at 2 weeks old, but there is something SO much more heartbreaking about handing her over this time around. When she was first born, we didn't really know Grace yet and we hadn't experienced life outside of the hospital with her yet. Now that we know her and have enjoyed so many sweet moments, days, and weeks with her at home (by God's grace) it kills me to think about her going through heart surgery again. God hasn't left or forsaken us thus far, so we will continue to rest and trust in Him, but we would greatly appreciate your prayers for His peace and provision through this time as we wait to find out when she will need her next surgery, etc. Will you please also pray that when Grace has her echocardiogram on Dec. 11th that her heart will have grown and looks healthy (so much so, that the Dr's are blown away by what they see)? That is the outcome that we hope for, but our greatest desire is whatever will bring God the most glory. Thank you for continuing to lift us up in prayer, it is truly what gets us through each day. I wish there was a way that I could thank each of you personally, but until that is possible please know that as you read this, I'm thanking YOU for all of your love and support.
Here is a picture of the 2 youngest members of the "zipper club" (zippers acquired from heart surgery) in our family (Grace and her cousin Joe)..
Lastly, I loved being able to praise God along with you for the blessings in your life, so thank you for sharing those with me. If anyone ever feels led to sharing a prayer or praise with me, know that it is truly my honor to be able to love and support you too (so don't hesitate to e-mail me or facebook me :-).