Thursday, September 18, 2014

When You Feel Like Saying "When"- Life's Unplanned "When's"

Many people plan there “When’s”. 

"When I grow up",

"When I get married", 
"When I have a baby". 

They plan for the when's that should happen. No one plans for the “when’s” that bring hurt and sorrow.

The year 2014 brought a lot upon me and many times I found myself asking my Father above You say you don’t give me more than I can handle, but when is enough? When will the bad things stop happening? When will the bad news stop coming?” Another question I asked was “Why me God, what did I do to deserve this?”

After well over a year of trying to conceive in February of 2014, my husband and I found out we were expecting. We were beyond excited! Prior to this I had begun to believe I would never be a mommy. The joy that day brought to us, it took away all of the sadness. By the end of the week I had seen an OB/GYN. We did the usual blood work and ultrasounds (which were the highlights of the visits).

At twelve weeks we had our ultrasound -that day is the day the “When’s and Why’s” began- they told us our baby possibly had Down syndrome. We were told we need to go see a high risk doctor. After we left the appointment I remember telling my husband even if our baby has Down syndrome I don’t care.  

We finally got a call that we were going to see the high risk doctor on May 15th. The night before I was so nervous! I was a wreck. Sleeping was impossible. We got up on that morning and headed to the appointment. It is a day I will never forget... We got there and had to fill out a ton of paperwork. It seemed like hours went by before our name was called. We got into the room and prepared for the ultrasound. An hour later we met with the doctor. She began with words that sent my world spinning

“Your baby is incompatible with life,"

"Your baby will not make it past 24 weeks in your womb.” I lost it. After I was able to function again she went on. She said our baby had Trisomy 13. She went on to say that with Trisomy 13 there are many abnormal possibilities. 

She said that our baby had Alobar Holoprocephaly (the brain does not form properly), Proboscis (which is where the nose does not form properly), a hole in the right chamber of his heart, and Spinal Bifida. My heart was shattered into a million pieces.

"I recommend for you to terminate your pregnancy," she continued saying I had a few weeks to decide before that was no longer an option. 

My husband dropped me off at home and he went to work. I walked in the house and went to bed and just prayed. I prayed till I fell asleep. I woke up and began doing tons of research. I found support groups on Facebook, which was a life saver. I found many Trisomy babies striving and decided then (well really before then) I would not terminate my pregnancy. This is God’s plan and I was not going to intervene I would let his plan be.

On May 18th I got married. It was a great day! I loved feeling my baby kick as we said our vows. That night we got in a head on collision as we were leaving for our honeymoon. All we both could say is "I'm pregnant" "She's pregnant". All I could think is I just want the chance to hold my baby for whatever time God says, until it’s time for him to come home. For days we were in no shape to do anything.

For the first time in a long time that I felt useless. They found the baby’s heartbeat, but they wouldn't do an ultrasound so that Monday I called my OB/GYN office and told them what happened and they put me in to get an ultrasound. Everything looked fine and the car wreck did not affect our pregnancy.

I had another OB/GYN appointment and he asked my decision,  I said "No!" He then told me he would see me at delivery there was nothing he would do. When I left I was so mad. I talked to one of my best friends and she recommended another OB/GYN. I told them everything that was going on and they approved me to transfer to her office and got me in the next day. She was amazing. She caught me up on the blood work and everything my previous OB/GYNe He  had not done. She told me she was glad I made the decision I did and had really high respect for me because I was fighting for my baby.

On September 1st I started going into labor. They stopped it that time and ended up having to stop it two more time before I had him. Somewhere between those times I made a trip to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in Nashville Tennessee in the middle of the night. The hospital said they couldn't do any more than our local hospital so I came home.

When I was 32 weeks I got a call to be at the hospital on the 19th to have my labor induced, because I was also loosing blood flow within the umbilical cord. Well our precious baby had other plans. The night of the 17th I was admitted into to labor and delivery- I was going to have our baby. After a long night at 10:45 am on September 18th 2014 our precious little boy, Carter was welcomed to this world. He weighed 2 pounds, 4 ounces and was 15.8 inches long. He beat so many odds, although eighty minutes later he went to the arms of Jesus. It was the best eighty minutes of our life and within that time he taught us more than anyone had. We held, loved, and kissed him. We gave him so much love, it was all he knew here on Earth.

God chooses special children to those he wants to grow, with God all things are possible. The journey is hard. It's scary but he is with you through it and he will never leave you or forsake you. Through this journey I became so much closer to God, my faith was tested, but it made me lean on God more. During this time I questioned God on numerous occasions. But now almost a year later I slowly understand. God gave us Carter so his short time on earth he would only know love, so our family and the doctors around here could witness a miracle, so we could spread awareness, and to fight for other Trisomy children.

God has a plan for everyone. On November 6th 2015 is the due date of Carter’s baby brother, Timothy. His baby brother will know about him. So I will leave saying the "When" is normal. But the "When’s" that are unexpected are rough. To get through them put all your faith in God and trust him. It may not end the way you want but God knows what is best for everyone.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV)

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV)

Brittany lives with her husband and sweet dog Chloe in Kentucky, She is a mom to Carter who just turned one today in heaven and little Timothy that is due soon. She has a degree in Social Work and Rehab and is a strong advocate for children.  She has devoted countless hours to helping the families of children with Trisomy 13 and has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of Trisomy.

Find her on Facebook here to learn more about her journey.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cottage Charm Part 7

This old thing? I only wear it when I don't care how I look. - Its A Wonderful Life

Look around you and listen, children and adults alike stumble and falter when complemented on anything from a new haircut to that dinner you know they took all afternoon preparing. Why is that? Why is it so hard to just say what we aught to?

When someone tells is that our outfit is pretty we don't need to tell them it is a hand-me-down from our cousin Claire, or that we found it at a yard sale for 50 cents. (Only tell them where you got it if they ask. But there is no need to go into great detail as to where. You could simply say "It was a gift" or "it caught my eye at a yard sale".) They don't want us to explain all the reasons its not pretty or that we think it makes our hips look big. We need to just say "Thank you"

When I go to church everyone says I look like one of the latest Disney princesses because of my long braided hair. I found myself uncomfortable, but we need to fight that and just graciously say "Thank you". Maybe God is using others to bless us. Others on the outside see us in ways that we never do, often we are our biggest critic.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Walking With Mom

It has been a long road, so many memories. You were my Matron of honor at my wedding, you helped me scrimp to make the evening special and beautiful. You were mom and dad for me after daddy died and we were best friends when I grew up.

When you would go visit other family I would try not to call so they could have you all to themselves but I would find myself standing in an all too empty kitchen wishing I could just talk to you. Just share my day or cry on your shoulder.

Time has marched on and still we walk side by side year by year. The doctors can't say why- but these strokes don't stop. They continue to plague you and frighten us all as the slowly steal one memory at a time. With them has come change... my friend has gone away and left only the small frail shell of a women I loved. Someday's you remember me, other you don't. Someday's you know you are at home others you are some where else. Somewhere I can not follow no matter how much I wish I could. Someday's I repeat things two-thousand times and on the two millionth and one time I have to remind myself that to you it is only the first time.

In the quiet times I wonder- how the brain is so amazing. How it picks and chooses...

"Do the chickens have a place to go out of the rain?"

"Do I have shoes?" 

"What do I put on my feet?"...

I am tired. Like the mother of a toddler that has to answer a string of "Why" questions that never end until night falls and she tucks her little questioner safely in bed and whispers exhausted prayers over them. Stealing away in the dark quiet moments to pray for the strength to finish the journey. To end the days with love, and honor...

as we walk this last leg of the journey together. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Grandma's Apple Pie

5 Apples
2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (Optional) 
2 Crusts
2-3 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon 
1 Egg
1 1/2 Teaspoon Tapioca Flour or Corn Starch
 (makes 1)
1 1/4 Cups Organic Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt 
1/3 Cups Organic Butter
3-4 Tablespoons Cold Water 

In a medium size bowl place your flour and salt. Stir and add half of your butter and cut in. Add water and stir. Slice the other half of the butter into thin slices and knead into dough. Place in the fridge so butter can harden. 
Roll crust out until it fits the bottom of your pan. Cut off extra. Stretch across pan and use a fork to prick the dough across the bottom. Slice apples and fill the pan. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over top and add the lemon juice.
  Roll the second crust out and cut into long strips. Weave the pieces back and forth across the top (over one strip under another) so it looks like a basket. If you have extra strips you can use them to make a bow or letter for the top of your pie.
Beat egg and brush on top. Bake 350 for 25 minutes. Serve warm or cold, we love to have ours with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmmm! So good!

Here are some other options for crust.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Cottage Charm Part 6

~Play Time~

Manners please.  She would tell us that as a gentle reminder that we were not acting our best and it was just enough to nudge our conscience and do what we knew that we needed to do.  Manners are very important in play as they are at a museum, in church our favorite restaurant or grandma's house. We must then instruct our little ones on how to behave so that they never feel lost in a circumstance and don't know how to act. It is not a stuffy and antiquated notion, but something we do because we love our children and want them to feel comfortable  in many situations.

For instance, we should not be selfish but share what we bring to playtime with others if we bring snacks bring enough to share with our friends. 

Do not insist on going first. We need to wait and take turns. We should never cut in line. Do not hit, push, scratch or throw things at others. This may seem obvious but I see it happen time and time again when I volunteer at church with the children.  

If you see a girl alone with no friends, include her in your play time. It will bless both of you because you will have a new friend and she will be blessed by the love that you show her. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

When You Feel Like Saying "When" - When God Says "When"

I was raised in the church. My parents had my two brothers, my sister and I at church every time the doors were open. I sang in the choir. I attended Vacation Bible School each summer. Church camp was another regular summer routine. I memorized the books of the Bible at a young age. Scripture memorization played a big part in my life, too. Psalm 100, the 23rd Psalm, John 3:16- all the usual. As far back as I can remember, 

I always wanted to do God's will. I just didn't know what it was! I loved Jesus. I didn't want to ever die and go to hell. But, something just wasn't right. I knew it. I sensed it. I didn't have a clue as to what it was. I would pray and pray and pray, yet I somehow knew my prayers weren't getting past the ceiling. When I was sixteen, I went with my youth group to Gatlinburg on a retreat. During prayer time one night with my small group, I heard a girl say that if you asked Jesus to come into your heart, He would take all your troubles away. Troubles? I had plenty! An alcoholic mother, an abusive father. So I asked Jesus to come into my heart - and I really meant it. 

Back at school the next week, everyone saw a difference in me. I was glowing! The glow soon faded, however, when my troubles didn't magically disappear. All I could figure was that God hated me. He did it for others, but not for me. "When, God?" I cried out. I kept crying out for five long years. Then, when I was twenty-one, while studying the Bible, God said "Now!" He opened up the eyes of my understanding. It was as if scales fell from my eyes, the blinders had been removed! Jesus didn't only want to be my Savior, but my Lord as well. I had to totally surrender my heart and life to him. I couldn't hold anything back. I had to remove myself from the throne and let Him take His rightful place on the throne of my heart. It seems so simple, but, until God revealed Himself to me, I just couldn't get it. I am so thankful that He did! 

Now I know He hears me when I pray, He loves me with an everlasting love, and He accepts me unconditionally. I also learned that His Word is His will. He puts His Holy Spirit in us to lead us and guide us and teach us. So, no matter what troubles come along, when I surrender them to Him, and trust that He knows best and loves me most, He fulfills the promise in His Word in Romans 8:28 - For we know that God works all things together for good, for those that love Him, for the called according to His purpose. Life is tough, sure enough, but God is good.

Janet Robinson and her husband, Dennis, live in Mt. Juliet TN. They are parents of eight children and grandparents of eight grandchildren. They attend First Baptist Church Mt. Juliet, where Janet leads the Tuesday morning ladies' Bible study.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

When You Feel Like Saying "When" - "When Your Bankrupt Before God"

My First thoughts when asked to contribute to the post was no. I am a horrible writer and known as the "run on sentence queen" hahaha! And other excuses were going through my mind. I’m too busy. I’m not worthy to even be writing about myself and my relationship with the Lord. What would I write about?  Considering there has been quite a few “When” moments in my lifetime thus far. My thoughts were all over the place, and the Lord kept bringing to my mind “When you’re bankrupt before God”. 
Being bankrupt before God is not pretty by any means. I have had a few of those moments. The one that stands out the most for me was several years ago in the late 90’s, because it was such a pivotal point of my life. It took me on journey of healing, transformation, restoration, forgiveness, unconditional love, mercy and grace. It transformed my life as I surrendered everything; he opened my eyes to the truth, and refreshed my spirit.  It also brought me to a new place of growth in my walk with the Lord and a “HELLO” remember I’m in control and you are not moments, and there is nothing you can do apart from me. 

John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
The Lord knows I have control issues; it’s such a thorn in my side. It's a character flaw I wish I didn't have. It affects my relationships with my husband, my children, and at times my friends. It is a constant struggle and constant surrender to the Lord - for him to be in control and not me. Control can be a relationship destroyer. I feel the need to control things when situations arise whether it be with my husband, children or anyone for that matter. I also can throw God in there to, I try to tell him what to do, and it’s quite hilarious.

 I tend to let people know what I think, how it should be done, and the right thing to do. I can be pretty dominating in this area, which has lead me to being very legalistic in my way of thinking. Which is a train wreck waiting to happen.  Thank God He is not finished with me yet and is so patient with me.  However I have learned control has some good points, if you can find the balance. hahaha! 

Usually controlling people are more apt to fight for things and not give up.  They see things through and usually never question "Why God?". I tend to just go with the flow these days. I'm like "Okay God what do you want me to do, if anything?". I am not as legalistic as I used to be but it creeps in. I am not proud to be a controlling woman. I even make jokes about it, but the reality is it can be destructive.

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. John 14:18

My bankrupt before God moment was totally a journey that I will never forget and hope that I don’t, because it is a reminder of Gods power, his gift of transformation he has to offer me, and comfort (John 14:18 “ I will not leave you comfortless”). You may be hurting says the Lord, but I will be with you along the way. If you TRUST me, I will provide you comfort. I have learned what peace is that surpasses all understanding Philippians 4:7, and have learned to truly trust the Lord and have faith that he does what his word says he does.

Philippians 4: And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

It was just a normal day in our home I was cooking dinner waiting for my husband to come home from work.  Our children were playing while waiting for their daddy to come home. Not even expecting the bomb that was about to happen and leave me and our children in a very dark and devastated place. My husband announced when he got home that he was leaving me and he did not love me anymore. I was in complete shock, and beside myself, so many things running through my mind. What was I going to do? I was a stay at home mom with young children and home schooling my oldest son at the time, I had never worked and we just moved here to the Hi-Desert a few months ago to buy a house. We were still searching for a home church, and I only had one friend in this town.  

Of course, I needed answers how do you just leave after 9 years of marriage, what are you thinking etc. I really was not getting any answers to satisfy me, nothing made any sense at the time. I then became angry and began to point out his sin.  I was telling him that this is not Gods will... Which just pushed my husband more away. At this point in the journey God was not even the first thing on my mind, yes He was there, but once again there I was trying to fix it and get answers not even going to Him. I had called my friends of course knowing they would pray and counseled with our pastor from our previous church from where we used to live, but the reality was I was angry and I allowed it to take control of  me. A few months went by and things were still the same no closer to reconciliation with my husband. I just kept thinking WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO FIX IT.

Proverbs 3:5(NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Then my friend from my previous church invited me to come to their women’s retreat. It was a divine appointment between me and God, I am sure of it. He not only worked it out for me to go. But wouldn't you know the topic was “Woman of God: Controller or Servant?”. I didn't know it until the first session began. This was the beginning of an eye opener to who I really was and I left there feeling a veil had been lifted from my eyes. I cried the whole time throughout the speaker's teaching. I felt my heart break into little pieces as God began to show me who I really was, and it wasn't what He had intended for me to be. 

It had affected my marriage and my children and most of all my relationship with God. I had a very dissatisfied husband and a very unwilling child as a result. I am only to be in control of my body, my tongue, and to have self-control. 

Phil 2:3 who by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control will transform our lowly bodies, so they will be like his glorious body.

 I was nowhere near this and hadn't been for years, if ever.  I then realized I accepted Jesus as my Lord, but he really was not Lord of my life I was. In a way I was like Miriam I became un-hearable. I knew God but didn't really trust him, and I felt like the last 10 years of my life at that point were a waste. I was just going through the motions and doing everything that I was supposed to. I would go to church as a family, have prayer and quiet time with the Lord and my husband, and have daily devotions with my children. I was doing all the right things, all the motions, but not truly honoring the main thing. One can lose sight of the main thing when you are a controller.
I realized my extreme need to control stemmed from the fear of losing something, so I had to keep a tight rein on my so called "perfect life". I found that a lot of the reason for that, goes way back to my childhood of having to live with a mother who was a drug addict who was physically and verbally abusive.  I always said I would not be that kind of parent. This took me down a path of being a controller. A mom and wife that wanted everything perfect and right, which leads to being legalistic it’s such a downward cycle. 

Before the retreat it was all about restoring my marriage little did I know the key to restoring my marriage was changing me. God had me in the perfect place at the perfect time and used that speaker as a vessel to speak to me. I was bankrupt before him I had no more of my own resources; God
 had reached out to me and opened my eyes. The journey of this trial was a long 2 years.  Mo st of it daily spent at the feet of Jesus. Because he really is after all the one in control not me. I had no other options left, but to surrender and find myself again and embrace His transformation in my life as painful as it was. I left the retreat with a different attitude and was willing to change - even if God did not restore my marriage.
As the weeks went on I found a church for the kids and I, that I absolutely loved and still attend 19 years later. I would love to say I was this happy go lucky gal after the retreat, but no, I still had anger that creep in, when I would find out my husband was doing things that were hurtful to me and was on the verge of filing for divorce. It took time it was several months before I got a grip, I was still sitting at the feet of Jesus, but I struggled.

If it was not for God putting certain woman in my life who God had restored her marriage and brought healing to their family along with other bits of nuggets along the way I probably would not have made it through.  I believed in marriage with my whole heart and the covenant that was created between, my husband and God. Even though God does allow divorce, for certain reasons that was not the path I wanted or desired. Even if my husband was way out to lunch and had chosen to completely walk away from us and God. I believed in his power to change people and knew my battle was not just within myself to not be that controller. That now I was battling for my marriage and that the fight was beyond my reach, it was a battle that God had to fight for me.

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
 God showed me that I needed to intercede on behalf of my husband that I wasn't just fighting for my marriage, but I was fighting for my husband soul.  God provided me with faithful praying friends who prayed for my husband daily and prayed over my family continually and as I started surrendering to the Lord everything. I began to see God's hand move in a mighty way.

All along he was just waiting for me to move out of the way so he could move in.  It sounds so simple doesn't it?  It wasn't.  It was a whole process that took me months of God moving in my life filling me with his love, so I could love my husband unconditionally through this crazy time. Teaching me to love my husband even though he didn't love me back was heart wrenching. God was molding me and teaching me to be the wife that he had really intended, which was a lover of my husband, a supporter, an encourager, a wife who uplifted her husband not tore him down, and to be the mother my children needed.
 God was showing me I literally  had to win my husband over with a gentle and quite spirit... 

1 Peter 3:4-6 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfailing beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit , which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear.

 I totally had to allow God to transform me to be that woman. I realized that God allowed the wrecking ball of my marriage, so he could rebuild it the way it was intended. God, husband, wife, and children. Not wife, husband, children and then God. That leaves your family open to the enemy to try and destroy your family. I began to find the balance of being a submissive wife, without being a doormat, and to be a servant and not a controller.
There is so much more I could share, but this is a blog not a book. LOL! I am happy to say God completely restored my marriage, the love that had been lost He restored 10 fold, and He restored my husband to Himself. We just celebrated our 28th wedding Anniversary and are looking forward to many more years. I would like to say that after that our family was whole and we were just so happy, but not so. We had children that suffered and were affected tremendously, there were trust issues that needed healing and change of hearts of my husband and children that I was not the person I used to be. I was confident that God would complete the Good work he had started, even if it took years. There are always consequences to your sin, it never just affects you. It affects those around you as well. God allows everything for a reason and it is for His good even if we don’t see it at the time. 

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
Whatever situation you go through Jesus does not want to just drag you up that hill, He wants you to get to know Him. So do not fear, hold on to Him with all your strength. Don’t just follow Him, but be filled by Him to experience His love, grace, and mercy He so graciously bestows upon us. 

God wants our empty hands and trusting heart, not our plans, or our control, but His plans and His control, which brings us peace along the way. Jesus meets us where we are and there is nothing that can separate us from his love. He has shown me what true forgiveness is. What unconditional love is, and what it means to trust him and see his hand move in ways that left me in awe.

 I watched Him restore my prodigal husband to a Godly man full of faith and trust in our Lord. I am not perfect, by all means I fail daily and constantly. I'm taking two steps back and one step forward, but it keeps me in a place of hunger for God, a desire to be a daughter of the King, because He loved me enough to seek me and find me. To reveal himself to me and show me who I really was and that  who I had become wasn't his best for me. Lastly I am learning to be compassionate towards people instead of judgmental, because they may not be the way I think they should be (this is a work in progress). God is a God of love, and I want to love people, the way God loves me, after all it really is what wins people over, his love not condemnation.
In His Sweet Love,

Maria lives in Victorville California, She has been married to her husband Robert for 28 years. She has 3 children David 28, Jonathon 23 and Alyssa 21 . She loves to run and has run 6 half marathons she also ran in the LA marathon this past year.