Saturday, June 30, 2007

happy saturday

Good morning! I am so thankful it's Saturday. The weekend does the soul good, and it feels nice to wake up lazily, not have much of an agenda, and know that we can just be together for the next 48 hours without a lot on our "plate." Truthfully, I've spent the last six days or so with that framework wrapped around my time, but somehow, on a Saturday, it's different.

I continue to marvel at how many of you want to pray for our family... even though I know prayer is something we usually have to discipline ourselves to do, especially for things that don't pertain directly to us. I've been overwhelmed at your e-mails and calls and text messages - even posts on this blog - letting us know we remain in your prayers. It's humbling... mostly because I realize that I fall neatly into that category of humanity that struggles to remember to pray, to call out to God on behalf of others. I suspect that category is rather large, but like all things in the Christian walk, when we are willing to let Jesus change us, we begin to see that what was natural in us actually can be reformed. I'm certainly seeing that daily as we walk out this strange road God's placed us on.

So, having said that, I woke up this morning with several prayers on my heart, things I wanted to put before you, as fellow believers and as friends who are willing to help us carry this burden.

1. My sister, whom some of you know, is getting married a week from today. The irony of our two incredibly contrasting situations has struck me often, but I know God's plans are totally faultless - in fact, totally purposed. She has walked through the last week with me, in the midst of finalizing wedding plans, with such grace and compassion. Please pray blessings over her impending marriage. And I ask you to pray for Conor and I as we prepare for the family and friends we are about to encounter and for the festivities we are about to participate in, that the Lord will indeed give us something beyond what our own nature can provide. I can't determine where my heart will land day-to-day, even moment-by-moment. I would ask your prayers that the Lord will give us special covering while we are celebrating with her, so that this week - the best in her life - will be blessed in ways we can't even imagine yet.

2. We are meeting with our OB Monday for a consultation about where to go from here. I know many of you are wondering what the next steps will be and the bottomline answer is: we don't know. Trisomy-18 is apparently one of those things totally defined by statistics, and yet we know our God is able to do so much more than we are expecting. We have an amazing doctor who, without even realizing it, I'm sure, embodies a certain gentleness of spirit that truly sets us at ease. We don't know exactly what he believes and we would never presume to guess, but we know that God places each of us in specific situations with specific people so that we might reflect Christ to them. In the next few months we will have many, many interactions with doctors, nurses, specialists, etc. and we ask you to pray for them even now, that their hearts would be somehow changed, in some small way, from caring for Copeland.

3. Pray the Lord would impart to Conor and I small, even silly, notions about our daughter, that we might feel as though we are getting to know her a little better. I woke this morning, early, to the squirming sensation she so often greets me with at those wee hours. It suddenly hit me - well, she's definitely more of a morning person than her sister. Wow. Just one of those things that even in-utero I can sort of "claim" as knowledge about my own flesh-and-blood. Somehow, it makes the burden lighter.

May this weekend be a blessed one for each of you.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Well, I confess I'm writing this without the benefit of contact lenses, so forgive me if there are some spelling mistakes. I'm sure I have some glasses somewhere, but it would take time to look, and the urge to write my thoughts down keeps me glued to my seat in lieu of any perhaps fruitful search.

Tonight I watched "Braveheart" with my sister. I've seen that movie a thousand times. I love it. But something struck me tonight that I'd never heard before. William Wallace, the hero, is being asked to "accept the [English] king's proposals" and lead his men (a rather savage bunch of Scottish peasants) back home, away from the war they've waged on Britain. The princess, whom the king sends to speak with Wallace, promises him lands, titles and nobility... if only he'll comply. "Peace is made by such things," she says. Without blinking (and looking rather saddened), he replies simply, "Slaves are made by such things!"

Indeed. I wonder how often the world offers us things - even good things - in exchange for our bondage. Tonight, it struck me: God wants my freedom. He designed me for it... and He sent His Son to secure it. It's mine. I just have to walk in it. There are so many distractions around me, even "good" distractions, that volley for my allegiance. And by "good," I mean things I don't doubt Jesus would understand my enjoyment of. But what He offers me in His outstretched hands is something so much greater, of so much more value, that I believe He's willing to allow me to suffer a little so that I might reach out and take it.

As David reminds us, we are born into our chains. But Jesus came to set the captive free. And now He sends you and I out to show others what it means to live in that freedom.

Copeland has a pink nursery. Her crib sits in front of the window and the room has a cheery, airy kind of feel. I confess my heart breaks when I consider that she will likely never sleep in her bed or crawl on the carpet or wear the clothes in her closet. It is these things that we are taught mark a life. And yet, something in my soul whispers, "Don't get distracted with what your eyes can see. It is for freedom that I came. And freedom she will have."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

just pray

Today feels heavier. I confess I deliberated whether writing on here was really something I should - even could - do this morning. But somehow it's cathartic for me in a way I can't really explain.

Conor and I were talking last night about how interesting our gifts are. He's outgoing, lively, fun to be around, approachable: the quintessential extrovert. I tend to find difficulty in human interaction at times. Not that I'm introverted - totally. But I struggle not to be. So know that this blog is really one of the best ways I know how to communicate right now. Sometimes it's easier for me to put my heart on paper (or a screen) than it is in conversation.

A lot of you have asked what you can do for us. It sounds trite, and I find myself laughing because two weeks ago I, too, would've found the request a little 'Bible-beater-ish'... but standing where we stand now, I sincerely mean it: we honestly need your continued prayer. I know life is busy, things get chaotic in the day-to-day, and so I also know that what I ask for is certainly hard for most to give. I guess all I know is this: my whole life, people have told me that there is "power" in prayer. It's a phrase you learn early on in Sunday school. I believed it then, but more with my head than my heart. Not only do I believe it now - I desperately need it.

In "My Utmost for His Highest" yesterday, Oswald Chambers talks about drawing on God's grace. Conor and I are learning how to do that. But it's easy to get ahead of yourself, to believe how good you felt yesterday will stretch into today - or that the heartache that encapsulated you last night will somehow stretch on into the days ahead, leaving you gripped with fear at how in the world you're going to walk it out. I guess what I would ultimately ask you all to do right now is to pray that we won't forget that unless we keep going back to God, keep tossing ourselves at His feet and crying out for the strength to get through the next 24 hours - even the next 24 minutes - our idea of "surviving" will be something of a joke.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

day one

It's Tuesday morning. Sellers woke us up with requests for Trix cereal, something she's not normally allowed at home, but as we are staying at my parents' house (incredibly due to the fact that our house is in shambles with new hardwoods going in) she got her wish. As I write, she sits in her daddy's lap reading a large Disney sticker book. All is well.

All is well. It's a strange phrase for a day like this, a day where it feels like everything that seemed okay a couple of weeks ago - even yesterday morning - has suddenly been tipped upside down. And yet, after a good nights' sleep, a good morning cry, and Trix with my precious three year-old, all does seem well. My heart is heavy, aching, but somehow, at rest. Conor and I agreed this morning that we just don't want to live in sorrow. We can't. And I believe the fact that for now, on this hazy Tuesday morning, that we are actually smiling, cuddling and kissing, even if in between tears, is evidence that the Lord received quite a bombardment of prayers from all of you.

I don't know how often I'll update this - for those of you who've seen our other family blog, you know I'm a little behind. But something has changed in the last few days for our family. I admit I'm one of those people who enjoys planning things... be it a dinner out or a vacation or even a project around the house. Call it the Type A side of me. Knowing that we are about to walk a road with our daughter, Copeland, that could literally span a breadth of days, not weeks, months or years, it's taught me a little about how to value what 24 hours really is. Sounds trite. Sounds like something I should've grasped years ago. But like I said, there's a lot of new territory for all of us to claim and it looks like learning to live in the present and actually enjoy it is beckoning me.

Having said that, if nothing else, this blog is for prayers. Prayers of rejoicing, prayers of praise, prayers of heartache and anguish. I know what we need each day will be different, and thank the Lord that somehow He gets that. So, for today, Tuesday, this is where my heart lands:

1. Praise the Lord that we are actually doing okay today. It was incredible that in the first 12 hours after we learned the news, we felt a rest in our souls that we hadn't been permitted in five days - or perhaps refused to accept. Your e-mails and phone calls and text messages continued through the late evening and I believe your constant prayers drove out despair.

2. Pray He will continue to keep our hearts and minds guarded in Him. I've told Him several times over that I don't want to be mad, I don't want to feel like somehow this is unfair. I know feelings and truth aren't the same, so please pray that even in the moments when I get emotional, I wouldn't give in to that emotion in the sense that I let it, even for a second, convince me that God doesn't care or isn't big enough.

3. Praise the Lord that Sellers is three. Not four. Not five. Three. She's smart and funny and has an awesome personality, but when we tried to tell her that Copeland is probably going to go to heaven, she looked at us as if that was the most natural thing in the world and then wanted to know if she could get in the bath. The Lord is gracious.

4. Praise for Copeland. She's kicking, squirming around, and I know that NOW, this is part of the life I will get to share with her. We are so programmed to circle a due date and mark that as the milestone at which our child begins, our time with them kicks off. But I have her today, now, and I long somehow to know her heart as much as I can. We have no idea how long she'll live. We know God is able to give her a long, healthy full life - that these diagnoses can be made null and void with one Whisper from Him. But even if He doesn't, we know her life is already full - she's made a quite a little stand for Christ in the last week. Pray we will embrace the victories we have now with her.

I know that some of you know nothing about this chromosomal abnormality. I certainly didn't. I still don't know much. I can tell you that it's not totally rare... there are a lot of families that face this path. Pray for them. I also wanted to give you a couple of links that have been shared with me.

One, a video, perhaps originally posted on YouTube, though I'm not for certain, is the story of Matt and Ginny and their little boy Elliot. He, too, was diagnosed prenatally with trisomy-18. It's powerful...

The other, a relatively unemotional look at what this syndrome (trisomy-18 is also called Edward's syndrome) actually is.