Friday, August 17, 2012

Answered Prayers and Honoring Joshua

I have been praying for a while now, that God make Himself physically present in my life. I have begged Him to make himself evident, leaving absolutely NO doubt that He is here with me.

It's a prayer I began praying not too long ago during a time in my life when I felt like He was the farthest away from me. I was in a very dark place, wondering how a good and merciful God could allow such suffering and heartache. I knew I NEEDED Him more than ever, but it was so hard just trusting Him because I was hurting so deeply.

So, I began praying.

That is around the time that He began opening doors- finding our builder "on accident" on Craigslist, a work at home job that allowed me to earn some extra income for our family, and a new church. All things that I know He brought to us.

Just yesterday, God answered some more prayers in a very tangible way.

I won't lie and say that yesterday was easy. I won't lie and say that I was excited to get out of bed and "celebrate" Joshua's birthday. I would have slept the day away if I could. My grief was raw, it was intense and it was overwhelming.

But, God had plans to give me reason to celebrate, even when I didn't feel like it.

Right after I dropped Caleb off at school, I got a phone call. It was our doctor. We have been waiting on the results of a Cystic Fibrosis test on Luke (I didn't want to share it publicly, because I didn't want to make a big deal out of nothing if it turned out to be nothing). With his lack of weight gain, and constant constipation as well as frequent respiratory problems, there was slight concern that CF could be the culprit. The doctor was working hard to find out if he had been screened for it when he was born, but finding out that answer was a little more difficult than they anticipated.

After waiting a week for the results, the nurse on the phone gladly told me that he was, in fact, screened as a newborn and he fell within the normal range. I have been carrying around that burden for a week. My anxiety has been at an all time high, almost making me completely unfuctionable (yes, I just made that word up!) and depending on my medication to help calm me down. It was such an incredible relief and a wonderfully tangible answer to prayer!

After that phone conversation, we received another call. It was the construction manager of our new home. He informed us that we are WEEKS away from being finished on the house. Not months like we had planned, but WEEKS!!!! What a blessing and what a great day to hear this news!!! Praise God!

2 HUGE answers to prayer, both on the same day, which happens to be one of the saddest days of the year for me. If that isn't God moving, I don't know what is!

Finally, in memory of Joshua, I was finally able to do this.

It's still red and fuzzy because it's just a few hours old.
Once it's healed up, I will post better pictures!

Joshua's exact handprints. Same size and everything!

I've been thinking about it for almost 2 years now, but just recently realized that I was ready. What better way to remember my son on his birthday than by getting his handprints on my body to stay there for the rest of my life? 

There was so much healing in the pain. It was like a release. I never have to worry about his handprints being lost or ruined. They will always be here. I will always see him when I look in the mirror. His name is written on me forever. There is no forgetting. 

Yesterday could have been a lot worse than it was. I've been so blessed by your support, your love, and your kind words. Your emails, texts, Facebook posts, and messages helped to keep me going. Thank you all so much for loving my sweet Joshie as well as our family. 


Anonymous said...

Thank God.

kaela said...

Love your tattoo! Praying for you and remembering Joshua. Thank you for sharing.

Amy said...

I love that tattoo!!!! So beautiful!

Robin said...

I love hearing how God worked through the details of such a hard day for you and your family. Bless the King and raise His name on High!

I love the tattoo. Beautiful and honoring. Sending prayers for continued healing. xoxoxo

Auntie M said...

All wonderful ways that God let you know His hand is upon you and He is near no matter how far away He may feel...

I love your beautiful tattoo!! It is precious & honoring. (I think, too, redness & rawness is an outward expression of your inward rawness. Tattoos can take just a few weeks or up to a year to really heal well...just like grief, there is no set timeline to their healing!) I love that you will always have Joshua's print on you! Thank you for sharing this special tribute to Joshua with us! It is simply lovely!!

Thanking God that all is well with little Lukey-love! Can't imagine the stress you've been under with that hanging over your head!

And the idea that your house will be ready in September!!! Why that means that you'll be there for all of fall--not just Thanksgiving!!! So exciting!!!

Thank you for letting us honor Joshua & your family's love for him with you.


Stefenie said...

Beuatiful Jill. {{{HUG}}}

Em said...

oh wow, the tattoo is beautiful!
I've been working and thinking about a tattoo for my Eva. Nothing seems 'right' yet and so I wait. I wait. Waiting on the moment when it will feel right. Not sure when that will. Thank you so much for sharing yours.

Also, so glad Lukey is ok. So glad. What a relief that is for you, I know.

Jessica said...

I love your tattoo. its super pretty!!! So glad Luke is okay and that your house is almost finished!!

Sarah Strong said...

constant constipation and respiratory issues? i'd look into a gluten intolerance..... it's EXTREMELY common and i took my daughter off wheat completely and she poops every day and no more hard poops!(it's not easy- especially with little ones in the house) but it honestly sounds to me like it could be some sort of food allergy, because those often have simultaneous effects on your digestive and respiratory systems.... if not gluten, you may also want to try eliminating dairy, or soy.... ask your doctor about it!

Sarah Strong said...

p.s. within a week of taking my daughter off gluten (and myself, because i'm BFing) she was pooping normal, which can be such a huge blessing for a mama/baby struggling!! i couldn't believe that such a huge turnaround happened so quickly. Also, my husband and others in his side of the family all have a gluten intolerance. My husband used to get horrible digestive pains every morning, but it took us a while to nail down that it was gluten (it didn't hurt him when he ate it) good luck mama and so glad that baby's alright!

Sarah Strong said...

p.p.s. (haha) i should also mention that the respiratory stuff usually comes from their bodies producing more mucous to help a food that is hard for a baby to digest to pass through the intestines more quickly. If you have noticed that he is particularly mucousy, and ESPECIALLY if you've ever noticed that there is mucous in his poop (that was the case in some instances with my daughter) that is a really good indicator that it is in fact a gluten intolerance.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Sarah regarding Luke. Have him tested for Celiac disease. I have been gluten free for 9 years (after being sick and misdiagnosed for 20 years). Have him tested for Celiac disease, the Celiac Gene, as well as gluten allergy/intolerance. Celiac disease and gluten allergy/intolerance are equally dangerous but internally damage the body in different ways, however the symptoms are the same. Also, gluten is not just wheat, you need to avoid barley and rye as well. Barley malt is very commonly hidden under "natural flavoring" on labels.

All 4 of my sisters and all 3 of my sons also have the disease, it is highly hereditary. There are also false negatives. My cousin has been tested a few times and is always negative, however she has all the pain and issues we have, she has followed the gluten free diet for 7 years now and has no issues.

Have him tested, but try the diet regardless of the result of the test. after 9 years of being gluten free I have now also developed an allergy to dairy and can no longer have dairy products. What we put into our bodies effect us greatly. I think my grandparents had it right with proteins, fruits and veggies only, nothing processed.

Good luck and nice to see all the good fortune coming your way!

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