Friday, February 25, 2011

Just a Little Longer . . .

For the past two years, I have been praying about my grandfather. We're close--very close--and both of my mom's parents have played a huge role in my life. Although I have been praying for his health and well-being throughout the course of the past two years, there have been several events about which I have pleaded with the Lord in an especially fervent manner.

When, in May of 2009, it appeared that Poppop would not be able to attend my wedding due to failing health, I prayed that God would extend his life so that I could see him seeing me married. God did, and it meant the world to me. My favorite picture from my wedding is a sepia of the two of us: his beautifully radiant face as he gives me a painful, love-filled hug. It was obvious to me that he was in pain that day, but he came and celebrated with me anyway.

Despite doctors telling us last April that he had "a few days to perhaps a week or two to live," he is still alive today. This just proves that God directs the ways and paths of men. Anyway, that gloomy news last year set of another stream of prayers--that God would let me tell my grandfather that I was pregnant. After an agonizing six months of trying to conceive while dealing with unpleasant health issues of my own, Patrick and I were finally able to drive up to New Jersey with our happy news. The tears of joy in my grandfather's eyes were like precious jewels that I will cherish forever.

Now, once again, the outlook is bleak. Platelet levels are way down, the new treatment isn't working, and the impending surgery (coming next week) does not look very promising. I had been taking for granted the fact that he was doing so well for so long, and now I am faced with the very real possibility that Poppop may never hold little Natalie. Once more I find myself pleading with God for just a few more months.

Whether or not it is in God's will to bring about another life-prolonging miracle, I am praying for continued peace about the situation. Wednesday saw me spending a wonderful day with my grandparents. When Mommom was trying to remember little Natalie's name, Poppop proudly shouted it into us from the den. The happiness and pride in his voice was something that I treasure. Even if my daughter never gets to meet my grandfather, never gets to be lovingly held by one of the most amazing men I know, I will be able to tell her how much he loved her even before she was born.

It's hard--facing a future without one of the people you love most is difficult. Our visit this week reminded me of some of the awesome times that I got to spend with my grandparents. One advantage to being home schooled was that my grandparents were able to come on many, if not most, of our field trips. We went to the bison farm, to Washington, D.C., to battleships, to medieval feasts, to Philadelphia, to bird farms, and so many other wonderful places. These are the memories that I will lock away in my heart. These are the special times for which I am so thankful to God.

God, I pray that You would once again let him live. But if You don't, thank you for giving me the most wonderful grandfather and for letting us have such wonderful times together.

Monday, February 21, 2011


As I procrastinate going to bed--something to which I am actually looking very much forward since the room is clean and the bed is made with fresh sheets--I feel little Natalie moving away. Her little kicks are getting stronger by the day and, while they may occur at times when I would rather be asleep, they are always a welcome sign of my healthy little girl.

This post will be shorter than most despite the fact that the topic is one on which I could elaborate, rant, and wax eloquent on for hours. The thought running through my head at this moment is this:

Why is it that a baby is not considered a child if the mother wants to terminate its life but it IS when that same mother miscarries a desired baby?

Have you ever thought about that? Millions of women destroy little human lives all the time. When those same women then try to get pregnant later on in life, they are devastated if they miscarry--even at 5-6 weeks pregnant (just after discovering the little life within). It just seems so convenient to me.

So many women "support the right to choose," and THOSE little babies are considered little more than tissue. Why is it that only "wanted" babies are actually thought of as living beings by many in America today?

As an aside, I see women discussing the "quality of life" and how abortions are necessary in order to prevent those babies from growing into neglected, abused children. While this is totally disgusting to me and against everything that I believe, I feel that at least THESE women realize that actual babies are being "aborted." In a way, I fear them more because of how heartless and callous they are when discussing human life. Back on topic now . . .

Who are we to pick and to choose who will live and who will die? How is it that women can decide when to kill their babies when it isn't "convenient" to have them?

Perhaps my pregnancy hormones are causing me to be even MORE emotional about this topic right now, but I don't think so. However, just having this darling, so-longed for child within me makes me cry for all the murdered babies in America.

The INSTANT I discovered that I was pregnant, I fell in love with my baby. Even if I hadn't, I would have still known that it was a life. Whenever ANY woman finds out that she is expecting, she knows just that--that she is EXPECTING a baby, a life. Women KNOW, they just choose to ignore. Even after seeing a beating little HEART on a sonogram some women turn a blind eye to life.

God forgive our nation, for we are swimming in the blood of the innocent. Lord, change the hearts of those contemplating this evil deed and open their eyes to the miracle of life within them.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Home at Last

After much pain, many tears, and a little searching, we have found our new church home: Timonium Presbyterian Church. While we have been attending mostly regularly since last May (visits to beloved churches like New Covenant Presbyterian and New Life Community occupied the other Sundays), Patrick and I are finally becoming members. This Sunday, we will commit ourselves to the fellowship, service, and support of Timonium PCA and will align ourselves with the dear believers found therein.

I cannot help but release a sigh of joy and contentment at the thought of finally "belonging" somewhere officially again. Words cannot describe how comforting it is to know that we will be joined with our brethren.

While it is a joyous occasion for us both, it is not without just a hint of pain. Leaving behind dear friends at New Covenant PCA was difficult. Unfortunately, driving that far to church was not conducive to allowing us to serve in the church. We will continue to drop in now and then to see everyone. You all helped me through a very difficult time in my life--and I am forever grateful to God for bringing me into your midst.

The other major change for me, personally, is not going to church with my family. For 22 years, I attended church with my family almost every Sunday. The Wilcox clan took up just about a whole row wherever we went, and I am a bit sad not to be with them now. I'll miss a certain little girl snoring loudly on my shoulder, hearing my father sing joyously off key, trying not to laugh at Jesse trying to explain that "I wasn't sleeping--I was praying!," and the many other things that made our Sunday mornings so interesting together. We aren't perfect, but we are a close family. True we still worship together from time to time, but I miss being together every Sunday. It was always my dream to sit with my children in the same pew as my parents and siblings every week, and it is with some regret that I resign myself to experiencing this only occasionally. I am still praying about my bitterness toward those who caused this separation, but I am also very thankful that God brought us out of that and has led us all into a very blessed time now.

Patrick and I will now take a stand with our own family with a new church family. Our time at Timonium has been so very blessed already, and it is wonderful to be able to serve and to fellowship with such warm, godly people. From the moment we walked into the door, we KNEW. This . . . was home. After the first Sunday, we agreed--we were fairly certain that God had brought us to this place and that He intended for us to stay. It is with peace, joy, and praise that we go to church every Sunday, and that is the way it is supposed to be.

Friday, February 11, 2011

"Sympathy" Pains?

Right now, Patrick is experiencing what he calls "sympathy pains." In other words, he is frequently waking up in the middle of the night with heartburn, something that never happened before I was pregnant. He seems to think that it is his body being sympathetic to mine as I experience annoying new pregnancy symptoms. I, however, am inclined to think of them more as "annoying pains."

As if it was not bad enough waking up every two hours to go to the bathroom and get a drink of water on my own, it is even worse having someone tossing, turning, and constantly in and out of bed. I feel bad for him, don't get me wrong but . . . waking up with the headache that always follows a night of sleep deprivation for me is getting really old. My body is tired, my mind is tired, and my head hurts. This is the second time this week that he has been in and out of bed for hours on end.

I know, most people would say, "Wait until you have a newborn--sleep will be even more unlikely then!" Before going there, though, just give me some sympathy--the kind that feels good, not that which keeps me up at night. My sister Krista slept in my room (with me) from the time she was a month or two old until she was two years old--I KNOW what it's like to sleep with an infant. The thing is, one expects it from a baby. Granted, I learned to put my pillow over my head and go back to sleep until mom came to feed her, but still . . . it woke me up. ;-)

I suppose that this is God's way of teaching me patience. I woke up in a very grouchy state this morning. In fact, the only bright spot seemed to be that there was just enough milk to cover my Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Unfortunately, the fact that I have never been one who functions well on little sleep is irrelevant. Right now, I need to learn to be cheerful in ALL situations and in EVERY condition. That is not something that comes easily to me when my head is pounding, my back is sore (try NOT sleeping on your back when that is the only position in which you have ever been able to sleep), and my mind is groggy.

My first inclination is to be a total grump. I earned it, right? No. Instead of looking for all of the bad things that happened to me, I should be looking for the hidden blessings and thanking God.

#1. Patrick was up all night too . . . and he had to go to work today. I get to stay home and recover.

#2. There WAS enough milk for my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

#3. I did manage to get a little sleep after Patrick left for work.

#4. Patrick brought me roses last night.

#5. There was enough milk for my breakfast cereal--I dreamed about eating it last night and then woke up disappointed because I thought that the milk was gone.

While I am still inclined to self-pity, things look a little brighter after I remember some of the things with which the Lord has blessed me. It always works. The problem is that I don't remember to do it often enough. Lord, help me to be patient, cheerful, and to never forget Your blessings.

Harder times, blissful though I pray they will be, are coming for me. If I can't learn to be cheerful and thankful on a little sleep now, then I am in for a very difficult time.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

"A Perfectly Healthy Baby"

Despite various nightmares the night before of running late, missing my appointment, and begging various siblings to go with me to see the baby, Tuesday morning saw Patrick and I on our way to the Perinatal Center to have my 19 week ultrasound! True, we were . . . a little late.

My efforts to push for timeliness failed to foresee half an inch of ice coating every exposed part of our car. Unfortunately, my pleas of "Come ON, Honey! I would drive with the car like this!" after small holes had been scraped into the ice on each window got me only eye rolls from my husband. Yes our vehicle was much safer by the time he finally finished, but we were five minutes late. Thankfully, it seemed that everyone was running a little behind, and our slight tardiness was not a problem.

Before leaving our house, I had poured myself some lemonade in the hopes that the sugar would energize my little mango so that we could determine the sex. I really didn't drink very much, but the baby moved and squirmed throughout the entire procedure. I was beginning to get slightly concerned that we would not be able to discover the sex: we were in there for a LONG time before the technician finally managed to find and snap a quick shot of the underside of our baby's already cute little bottom.

"I know what THAT is!" Patrick exclaimed. "It's a GIRL!"

He amazed the technician with his ability to correctly ascertain the sex without her even having to point anything out. Apparently this was some feat. Sure enough, it WAS a girl!!!

Throughout the rest of the ultrasound, I watched the screen in kind of a daze. I had secretly hoped for a little girl--cute little dresses, ruffle-butt leggings, and floral headbands filled my mind. Don't get me wrong: a boy would have been AWESOME! But, as one used to living in a house full of women, a tiny little part of me wanted a girl that we could all dress up and love on.

All of this was super exciting, and it left me filled with praise for God. After all that I went through early in my pregnancy with bleeding and bed rest, He has given me what the doctor called "a perfectly healthy little girl" so far. All of our prayers were answered in a tremendously happy way, and we are both so thankful to the One who has given it all to us.