Saturday, August 23, 2008

Two Months Ago Tomorrow










There is not a feeling in the world that matches the feeling of carrying a baby inside of you that cannot live outside of you. For three months and 12 days I learned how to deal with these emotions. I learned how to smile when people said "Congratulations, what are you having?" I learned how to live a somewhat normal life when I knew death was most likely close in the future. I learned how to rely more on Christ for His strength, how to ask and rely on my friends and family for help, and how to find joy in the middle of the storm. In the day of Trouble I sought the Lord:
Psalm 77
I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.
When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint. You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak. I thought about the former days, the years of long ago; I remembered my songs in the night. My heart meditated and my spirit asked: "Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?"
Then I thought, "To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds." Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder;your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters,though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.


The wondering, the hopes and fears, the unknown, the need to make every day count, the prayers and pleads, the nights I cried myself to sleep, and the nights when I couldn't even shed a tear.
And two months ago right now, We laid in bed and talked to our baby girl. We told her that tonight would be the last night with her inside of me. That tomorrow she would not have the security of my womb. That she would enter this world, that she would have to fight....but we also assured her that she did not have to fight. She could go be with Jesus.

And that is exactly what happened...

The morning of her birth was so peaceful. I woke up early and took a shower. I got ready for the day. "Today is the day I get to meet my little girl!" I thought to myself. I was joyfully and dreadfully excited. Luke and I drove to Memorial Hospital silently. Probably both speaking to Jesus. Still praying for a miracle.
Our family was in a conference room just down the hall. They too were praying for a miracle. Hundreds of people were lifting us up to the throne of Grace. And we surely experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding in such a sad, yet sacred situation.

I must interject something right here...

I prayed and prayed for a miracle. I begged God to heal her body. I had faith that He could. I had faith that He would according to His purpose (heaven or earth), and I had faith that He wanted me to rest knowing that my girl was going to go home to be with Him. I never heard Him tell me that she was healed. As much as I tried to hear that...I couldn't. I only heard "Wait on Me" (see post http://groverteam22.blogspot.com/2008/06/wait-on-me.html)

I truly believe that is why June 24th was such a peaceful day. I was not waiting on my miracle. I was waiting on My Jesus to get me through. He truly HELD Luke and I that day. He truly HELD Olivianna that day. He holds her today!


June 24, 2008 1:00:43 p.m- 1:11:06 p.m.

LIFE

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
BLESSED be the name of the Lord..." Job 1:21


Olivianna's heart was flown overnight to southern California for a heart/heart valve transplant. I pray and trust that the Lord has "given" to another mom who pleaded with Him for her baby to have a healthy heart. I pray that one day, Luke and I will know which body Olivianna's heart lived in. I pray for that child, for health...for strength, and for that family to know Christ and His faithfulness all the more.


Two months ago tomorrow.....

Monday, August 18, 2008

It is all a matter of faith in a God who is Faithful!!!



Sorrow.

I am deeply hurting for my close friend Corinne. She went to her 16 week prenatal checkup yesterday morning and the doctor could not find the heartbeat. Instantly... The loss. The extreme pain and sorrow. The dreams that no longer can be held. Life forever changed.
Instantly.

I would have never chosen this trial or any trial for that matter. The absolute devastation of losing your child is at times unsufferable. Nevertheless, by God’s grace, I have been able to press into Christ and seek what purposes He had in bringing Olivianna into our life. I believe that He doesn’t allow anything to happen without a specific purpose. God knows what He is doing. He thought up her existence. He detailed the perfect number of minutes that she would live to accomplish His purpose for her life. He gave us the exact amount of anguish that we could handle to keep us pressing into Him- not giving us too much that we would become angry or weary. He flooded us with His protection, His peace, His mercy.

He has provided emotional energy, emotional stability, and emotional healing.
My God is good all of the time, and not only is He good- but all things that He allows into my life are for my good.
But it still hurts.
It still sucks.

God, why babies?
They are so innocent. So pure. So precious. Why do you take them?
Why? Why baby Cline? Why allow this to happen to another family whose first desire is to love and serve you?

You know how we feel. Your baby was not much of a baby. He was 33. But He was innocent. He was pure. He was precious. But He had to die to fulfill your plan for His life. Help us to trust in you...for you know the plans you have for us (declares the Lord).
I read this following paragraph today as I sat thinking about God's plan for my life.
What’s going on in our lives at this time could be God’s way of doing surgery on our souls – we just can’t see what the pain is sparing us from or preparing us to do or how it will be used for the future. It’s all a matter of faith in a God who is faithful. A God who doesn’t allow pain for the sake of pain – but has a plan even for the pain that seems unnecessary. We just can’t see the work that He is inevitably doing beneath the surface. He’s allowing circumstances that if we could see the outcome of His plan – we would say, “Cut deeper.” May we not miss what He intends!


It's all a matter of faith in a God who is faithful.

Praise Jesus!

Please pray for my sweet friend Corinne and her family. Pray for peace. Pray for healing. Pray for Christ to be magnified in their lives.
We love you Corinne and Chad!

Here are a couple of pictures from our relaxing camping trip to Clarks Fork. We spent 4 days enjoying God's creation. Enjoying family. Enjoying life.

Hanging out in the ice cold river....



Collecting rocks and sticks



Our family



Posing for mommy


What happens when you leave a child in a tent unattended!!! (my makeup)





God's beautiful creation: The earth declares His glory



Trying to get atleast one layer of dirt off...




Looking back...Last years camping bath!

My baby girl is getting BIG!


And a picture of my Olivianna Grace...simply because I miss her.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Christ's Faithfulness

"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it." The One who calls me to a life of righteousness is the One who by my consent lives that life of righteousness through me. The One who calls me to minister to the needs of humanity is the One who by my consent ministers to the needs of humanity through me. The One who calls me to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature, is the One who by my consent , goes into all the worlds and preaches the gospel to every creature through me.

This is the divine genius that saves a man from futility of self-effort. If it were not for this divine provision, the call to Christ would be a source of utter frustration, presenting the sorry spectacle of a sincere idealist, constantly thwarted by his own inadequacy. (Exert from The Saving Life of Christ by Major W. Ian Thomas)


I read this last night before bed. The Lord knows my fears and my insecurities.
This morning I lead my first MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) steering team meeting and was quite nervous about it. Will I be organized enough...will they think I am "too young,"...will I be a confident speaker and leader...what if I say something wrong or forget an important issue....and on and on....and on.

While reading this, the holy spirit reminded me that I must simply trust in Christ alone. I must trust that He wants to live through me, and that if I allow Him to, every step I make will be taken with the very energy and power of God Almighty. I can be dependent completely on Him, and not worry about my many weaknesses, imperfections and the overwhelming "self-distrust" that often paralyzes my actions.
But how do I personally do this? How do I release my need to control and my independent spirit?

Practically....I must submit through prayer all of the craziness that goes on in my head to Him.
I must study His word and His life. I must imitate it.
I must listen...and fight the desire to do all of the talking.
I must obey...even when it feels completely unnatural, un-fun, or unfair!
I must love. Love God, Love others (especially those that might not be easy to love)
I must be thankful.
I must die to my flesh.

"If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." Mark 8:34-35


This is truth directly from the lips of Jesus. Not a suggestion. He is telling me.."Amber, your cross will look different then others, look straight ahead. Do not look to the side, do not compare, have faith in Me that I will be walking with you. I will even carry you at times. I will ask you to do things for My glory, things that you might not want to do...or things you think you can't do, but I will give you what you need to do them. I will supply the power, the confidence, and the ability....but you must have faith and follow me. Desire my ways for your life. They are good, they are loving and they will save your soul."

Although my flesh tells me otherwise, I truly desire to die to self and live for Christ.


On a different note....
We leave for Hawaii in less then two weeks. Praise the Lord!

We are so excited to go and are in need of a week alone! I thought I would dress Adi up to get me even more pumped...she wasn't so sure why I was putting grass on her! (Auntie Heather and Uncle Mark bought this for her when they went to Hawaii in June)



If anyone has any suggestions for some "fun" things to do on Maui, let me know. "Maui is for lovers...RIGHT????"


Until the next time I have the need to put my thoughts into writing...
Christ be lifted High!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

ROCK OF AGES
watermelon eating contests with dad!!!

Lexi and Adi in the garden

My new bike helmet and seat!!!



After a VERY successful morning "garage sale-ing" with some friends, we had some fun with our finds. The treasures I found include...Adi's fall wardrobe for 25 cents each piece, a train set for $1, some fun fabric, useful craft supplies, and the find of the day (drum role please!!!!)...this bike seat in excellent condition. I absolutely love the thrill of the hunt!


These last 5 months have been like a dream; yet each day it seems as if I am emerging out of it. Some days I wake up groggy to life, other days refreshed and ready for the new beginning promised to me. I remember thinking to myself back in March, "How am I ever going to make it through this? How am I ever going to be normal again?" It dawned on me today that with Christ carrying me, I made it through.

The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.



I praise the Lord that He knows the "green pastures" and "quiet waters" that will restore my soul. I will reach these places only by following him obediently and submitting my will to His.


Tonight at church we sang a song that was extremely meaningful to me. It is called Rock of Ages. The lyrics speak the words that my heart whispers to God daily.
My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness,
great is your faithfulness, great is your love, oh God.
Rock of ages, you will stand. My foundation, till the end.
Never failing, God unchanging,
Rock of ages, You will stand.

When darkness seems to hide your face,
I rest on your unchanging grace,
Great is your faithfulness, Great is your love, oh God.
In every high and stormy gale,
my anchor holds within the veil.
Great is your faithfulness, great is your love, oh God.
Rock of ages, you will stand. My foundation, till the end.
Never failing, God unchanging,
Rock of ages, You will stand.

I praise the Lord that He is the ROCK in which I stand, the ROCK OF AGES.

Here is a sweet little video of Adi for those of you (great grandparents) that haven't seen her in a while!
video

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A hole in my heart

I miss my sweet daughter today.
Olivianna would be 6 weeks 1 day old if she were here with us.
I continue to repeat over and over in my head..."Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere." I know that she is beautiful.... and glorious....and perfect.... and experiencing more love than she could ever receive on this fallen planet. But I miss her. Until the day that we are together again....I miss her.
Thank you family and friends for your prayers, cards, hugs, dinners and even the mentioning of her name. It is music to my ears!
We are blessed.



Luke's Aunt Caroline made this stepping stone for our family to place in the garden. It is such a special reminder to me of her life. She almost did not give it to us because it cracked the morning of Olivianna's funeral. I love the crack because it reminds me that we live in a fallen and broken world, but the stone was rolled away...He has risen and has overcome the world. Praise Jesus!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Fun in the sun!!!













A quick splash of happiness today was playing with Adi outside in the sandbox. Everything seemed so cute becuase I was away from her over the weekend. This was the first time she has actually wanted me to take pictures of her. She continued to say "cheese...momma, more!"
SO VERY SWEET! Thank you Jesus for yet another beautiful day with my beautiful girl!
Thank you Brian and Dora for watching her tonight so we could go out to dinner. It has been six weeks since we have been out to dinner and it was much needed! We even made a Target run and enjoyed not having to constantly repeat "Adi, don't touch that. Adi, stay in the cart"...as well as sing the itsy bitsy spider over and over again while people are watching thinking we are crazy!




Sunday, August 3, 2008

Identity

Now this is what the Lord says-
He who created you, O Jacob,
He who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine."
Isaiah 43:1


As my body lifted up out of the seat and my arms flew high into the cool salty air, I felt a childish excitement well up within me that I haven't experienced in years. In a matter of seconds, I remembered the days where there was no hurt, no responsibility, no baggage, no cares in the world. It was extremely refreshing.

While traveling home from a MOPS RV trip this morning, a friend posed a couple of thought provoking questions. How has mothering changed my identity? How am I different than or the same as before I became a mother? Who and what do I find my identity in?

As I pondered these questions, I became extremely emotional. I looked back over my life as if I were watching scenes on a tv screen, and realized that I am not the girl who I used to be, and I am not the girl who I thought I "wanted" to be.

My identity for so long was in who liked me. Which guys payed attention to me and what girls said about me consumed my mind and created in me a value that I placed on myself. I was a people pleaser, a family pleaser, a "me" pleaser. I needed other's to tell me "WHO" I was.

As I have matured, I realize that the only person I need to tell me WHO I am, is Christ Jesus. It is Him who I must find my identity in. I am understanding that I will play many roles, and have many identities, but only one will bring me true and lasting peace.

When I married Luke, I became "Luke's wife." I became "Mrs. Grover."
When I started to teach, I became "Teacher Amber."
When I became a mother I became "Mommy." I became "Needed." When I became a Christ follower, I became a daughter of the King

I thank the Lord that I am God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. (Eph 2:10) I pray that I will always find my identity in Him.

On another note...We had a wonderful time in beautiful Santa Cruz mountains. The weather was gorgeous and the company delightful! It was so nice to get a way...and I was refreshed and ready to come home and be a better wife and mom. Thank you ladies for a wonderful weekend. Love you girls so much!

Luke had fun at home with Adi. They kept themselves busy and didn't get into any trouble!!! We were all happy to be together again this evening.
A sweet pic that Luke took of Adi writing on the chalk board....



Good Night!!!