Tuesday, February 21, 2012

33 Week Email Update On Our Journey With Timothy

I am now 33 weeks pregnant. Wow! Timothy will most likely be here in less than 7 weeks! His official due date is April 12
th. I decided it was probably about time to send out an update on our little guy, but if you have been following my blog closely you will have already heard some of this. Well, the doctors said he might not make it to term, and he has defied the odds so far. I am reminded of his precious life each day as he moves around constantly. My belly is getting bigger and his kicks are getting stronger and stronger. If I slump over too much while sitting these days, I get nailed in the ribs. He must be an athlete like his dad!  We had a sonogram a couple of weeks ago and at that time he was only two weeks behind for his height and weight. However, the size of his head was measuring several weeks behind (which is normal for a Trisomy 13 baby). Everything else is pretty much the same as it was when we first received Timothy’s diagnosis.  Nothing has gotten better, but nothing has gotten worse.  We got to see a 3D picture of his face where he managed to give us a Gig ‘em Aggies with a huge thumbs up in front of his face. He looks adorable! He has a few small things that make him look a little different than most healthy babies, but he really looks like almost nothing is wrong with him from the outside. It is his organs that have been affected the most, which again is typical for trisomy 13 babies. 
 There is still no way for the doctors to predict exactly how long Timothy might get to be here with us before the Lord takes him home. Their biggest concern is that his heart only has two chambers. A normal heart has four chambers. So, we are not sure if his heart will be able to pump his blood correctly once he no longer has the support that my body is providing for him right now. This means that, once Timothy leaves my womb and comes into this world, his life is eminent danger. The doctor’s best guess is that we might only have seconds, minutes, hours, possibly a few days with him at the most. That is so hard! He has so much life right now! So much strength! It is so hard for me to imagine that after carrying him for 9 months and feeling him move every day, we might not get to spend much time with him while he is alive. That the same day I finally get to hold him in my arms and kiss him, may be the same day that I have to say goodbye!

And yet we know that science isn't always right. We know that God has every moment of Timothy’s life already planned out. That plan might be that even though Timothy’s heart only has two chambers it will beat and pump blood to his body way longer than any doctor would ever expect. But that plan might also be that Timothy will be born into this world and then go immediately into the presence of his Heavenly Father.   There is no way to know for sure what will happen, so we just have to pray and trust the Lord with that one. But we are so truly thankful to have been given 33 weeks with him already. 33 weeks of precious life!  And no matter what may come in the next 7 weeks, we cannot wait to hold our son in our arms!
This journey with Timothy has not been an easy one. Our lives will be forever changed. Some days there is peace and joy in the midst of our deep sorrow and other days there are mostly tears. But the Lord has not left us to walk through this journey alone, and we have felt his arms wrapped around us every day. God does not bring meaningless suffering into our lives, and if he has brought this trial into our lives we can know that he has plans to use it for good. Timothy’s life is not a mistake. Every day that he is here with us has been ordained by his Heavenly Father. Timothy’s life is bringing God glory and forever changing the lives of the people around him.  
We continue to trust God with Timothy’s life. We continue to believe that His ways are higher than our ways. We continue to hold on to the hope that this world is not our home, and that one day we too will be ushered into the presence of our Heavenly Father.  And God promises that He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. He promises to make everything new! We still feel so much pain and hurt  right now, but we are able to hold on to the hope that God is in control and that Timothy’s life is in the hands of his Creator, his Heavenly Father that loves him more than we ever could.

We want to thank all of you that have been praying for us and walking alongside of us throughout this journey! We are so truly blessed to have had such wonderful friends and family members loving on us and being strong for us when we are weak.  We know that the days ahead will be filled with great joy and great sorrow. We ask for your continued prayers and support. Pray that the Lord will continue to give us the strength and the peace that we need to face each day that is ahead. We love you all!

Julie & Warren

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Flesh and My Heart Are Weak

"My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." -Psalm 73:26

I had felt surprisingly strong over the last couple of weeks but on Sunday all of that came to a screeching halt. My heart was overwhelmed with fear, with sadness, and with brokenness.

For the past 3 months, since November 18th, when we received Timothy's diagnosis it has been a daily battle to continue to trust the Lord and continue to walk in faith not allowing myself to be overwhelmed by sorrow, grief, and fear.  For the past 3 months. I have woken up every morning just waiting anxiously to feel Timothy kicking to make sure he is still alive. For the past 3 months, I have walked by every baby aisle and been hit by the weight of the fact that I don't need to stop there anymore. I don't need to look at the car seats, the strollers, and the adorable baby clothes, and in fact I can't bare to stop and look at them.  For the past three months, I have heard so many comments from strangers about being pregnant, "Oh your pregnant!, When are you due?, Is this your first?, You must be so excited! Boys are so much fun!"  With some I have nodded and smiled and continued on my way while my heart was breaking inside, and with others who have asked more detailed questions I have felt the Lord calling me to share Timothy's story. I have even dreaded the "turn and greet your neighbor" time at church these days because what do I say in 30 seconds if they start asking me questions? But if I don't say anything I feel like a liar. For the past three months, every time I have seen a blonde haired toddler boy that looks like Warren I can barely breath. We are supposed to have one of those in a few months. The world desperately needs more amazing godly men like Warren. Why is God going to take Timothy home so soon? If he lived and grew up to be just like his dad, wouldn't that be what this world needs!  For the past 3 months, I haven't gone a day without thinking about my sweet little son. I haven't gone a day without feeling him moving constantly. Over the past 3 months, I have fallen in love. I have fallen in love with precious Timothy. I love him more than I could ever have imagined would be possible!

But that is what hit me on Sunday. This baby that will have been with me for the last 9 months will, in less than 9 weeks, finally be in my arms. I will finally get to hold him, snuggle with him, and kiss him. But the same day that I finally get to hold him in my arms, may be the same day that the Lord calls him home. It may be the same day that I have to say goodbye. As that day gets closer and closer, I am overwhelmed, my heart is breaking, and I feel as though I can't do this! Sunday was a day of feeling like I can't go another day with the weight of this on my shoulders. How can I ever prepare myself for what is ahead? How can I ever prepare myself to say hello for the first time and then say goodbye? My heart is breaking! My flesh and my heart are so weak. How can I walk past another baby aisle? How can I continue to answer all of the comments from strangers? How can I keep doing this?

I can't. It's that plain and simple. I can't carry this on my own. I have to let go again. I am trying to be strong on my own. I am trying to carry the weight of daily life and of Timothy on my own.  I have to get back on my knees and crawl to the feet of Jesus and lay it all at his feet again.  I have to run to the only one who is strong enough to get me through this. But today I feel like I can't move..let alone run.

I share all of this to be honest, to be honest about the fact that though I am strong and unwavering in my faith most days, some days I am oh so week. I say all of this to ask for your prayers, especially as my due date gets closer. Please pray for strength. Pray for peace. Pray for an unwavering faith. Pray for Warren and I as we figure out how to walk through all of this together and try to figure out how to best love each other in the midst of all that we are going through. Pray for Timothy. Pray that if it is the Lord's will He would bless us with some time with Timothy (whether that is minutes, hours, or days) before He takes him home. Pray that we will keep daily running to Jesus.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of the prayers that you have already prayed for us! We have felt them and seen over and over again how God has not forsaken us! We love you all!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This World is Not Our Home...In Memory of Hartley Joy Morris

This last week my world was shattered again as our dear friends, Katie and Caleb, lost their sweet little girl. Katie was almost 24 weeks pregnant when her daughter, Hartley Joy, went home to be with the Lord. My heart is broken and hurts for them so deeply! I feel all over again the depths of my sadness on the day they told us Timothy would probably not make it. The day that my hopes for a baby were shattered. I feel the hurt all over again and my heart breaks for them. At first there was shock and unbelief in hearing about Hartley Joy, then there was anger, and then there were tears. Tears that did not want to stop. Tears for Katie, Caleb, and their precious son Zach that have lost the hope of a daughter and a sister here on this Earth. Why??? Why is this happening again???

I search my heart  and I cry out to the Lord again. He speaks truth to me through His Word...
  • For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. -Hebrews 13:14
  • For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 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. -2 Corinthians 4:17-18
  • He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. -Revelation 21:4
  • “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the  LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:8-9

This world is broken. In the beginning when sin entered the world, death entered the world. Death and disease and sickness. So often I want to ask God why all of the bad things in the world are happening. Why the cancer? Why the car wreck? Why the murders? Why the death of Hartley Joy? Why Trisomy 13? The answer is sin. Sin entered the world and now the world is utterly broken. We have to hold onto the hope that this world is not our home. Our time here on Earth is only a fleeting moment compared to the eternity that we will spend with our Lord and Savior and with our loved ones that have gone home before us. We will spend eternity with Timothy and with Hartley...this time here on Earth without them is only a moment. I must keep telling myself that and hold onto that hope. That doesn't make the pain of loosing them hurt any less, but it gives us hope. A hope for the future home that God has promised to those who love him, to those who believe in His name. This world will never be perfect. There will always be disease, there will always be sickness, there will always be death...but praise the Lord that this world is not our home! 

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” -Revelation 21:1-4

Dear Hartley Joy,
 We mourn the fact that you will not be here with us on Earth. We mourn the loss of a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a cousin, and a dear friend. You are dearly loved and you will be dearly missed. But we rejoice in the fact that you are with your Heavenly Father, your Creator, who loves you more than we ever could. Our lives will be forever changed by your short but precious life, Hartley Joy. We look forward to the day that we will be with you again! We look forward to our new home with you where there will be no more death, no more mourning, no more crying or pain. We love you!