Courage or Faith to Ask.”
On October 28, 2008, our daughter was born at 27 weeks gestation and joined Jesus in Heaven due to a fatal chromosome disorder called triploidy. If you want to know more of Savannah’s story, you can read it here: www.caringbridge.org/visit/savannahgraceburrell
The past two years have been filled with devastating grief, loss, heartache, tears, brokenness, and even healing. The past two months have been filled with hope, redemption, joy, and a renewed trust in our Father’s love for us and His desire to heal our hearts.
I have always wanted a large family, lots of children, both biologically and adopted. After Savannah (our second child) passed away, I began to doubt that this “large family” idea was God’s will for our family. I was so physically and emotionally ill after she died that I wondered if it would even be possible for me to carry a child again. About a year and a half after she passed away, my husband and I began to feel strongly that God was urging us to begin the adoption process. We prayed and sought God over this decision for months because we truly wanted it to be His will for our family and not just our will. Feeling a strong peace from God that there is a little girl in Russia meant to be part of our family, we contacted Children’s Hope International and began the process toward bringing our Russian Princess home. In October of 2010, we finally completed the necessary paperwork and sent it to Moscow. We are currently waiting to be assigned a region in Russia and then given a referral (the technical term for the baby they select for you). Currently, the wait time in Russia for little girls is an average of 15 months. We are so excited about meeting and bringing our baby girl home to our family as she has already found a very special place in our hearts and we love her deeply.
If I were to be completely honest with you, while my heart has been full of excited anticipation regarding the adoption over the past two months, my heart has also been yearning for more biological children of my own. In fact, I don’t think this motherly yearning ever left after Savannah died. I think I quit asking God to bless my womb again, I think I quit expecting God to bless my womb again, and I think I just kind of gave up on that dream in my heart. Part of the reason was due to the fact that my body and heart were so physically and emotionally damaged after her pregnancy and death that I wondered if I would ever heal enough to walk that path again. Part of the reason may have been due to my thinking that “I don’t deserve to have more children” or “I should be happy with our amazing son, Jaythan”. But, I think the biggest reason that I quit asking God for more biological children was because of fear-fear of hoping and loving and then losing again. Fear that something would go wrong and our next child might not make it. I cannot describe in words what it felt like to wake up every day for 6 months in 2008 knowing that the daughter I carried in my womb would never blow out her birthday candles, dance with her daddy at her wedding, or simply give me a hug. I simply could not bear that heartache again. So, I didn’t ask God for more children. Instead, I just cried when I learned my close friends were pregnant (excited for them yet aching for it to be me); I kept silent when people assumed we were adopting because “we couldn’t have more children” (which was never the reason); I just kept my hurts hidden-the ache of an empty womb for two years as a silent pain for my heart only to bear.
But, sadly, the bottom line is that my faith in God had been buried somewhere under the heartache, the loss, the hurt, the questions, and the pain. I had quit believing that God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can think or imagine. I had quit expecting God to surprise me. I had quit expecting to ever receive again anything that my heart really hoped for.
I recently read a blog entry at www.incourageme.com that blessed my heart deeply. The writer told a story about how her little girl associated cold weather with snow. One day, when it was very cold, the little girl was so excited because she just knew it would snow. Her mother sweetly told her that it wasn’t going to snow. Her daughter’s response was something along the lines of “you are not God, mom. God makes those decisions and not you.” In the daily trials of life her mother had somehow just stopped asking for little surprises, for the things her heart desired the most, for the “snows” of life. She had put God in a box-her own little unbelieving box. You can read the full article here: www.incourage.me/2010/12/snowing.html This simple yet full-of-truth article really struck home with me. As I was reading it, I couldn’t stop crying and turned my tears into confession to God for not giving Him my fullest expectation of “sending snow” in my life. As I write this entry now, I am sitting in my parent’s home in North Carolina two days away from Christmas where they are calling for significant snow…a Snow that I did NOT ask God for but that He chose to bless me with anyway. (I am from Southern Texas where it is 85-100 degrees everyday of the year so you can only imagine what a big deal a Christmas snow is to me).
But, perhaps the greatest snow that I find myself basking in the blessing of is that on November 10 (less than a month after we submitted our paperwork for the adoption to Russia), I woke up feeling strange only to discover later that morning with two pink lines that I am pregnant-covered in a blizzard of snow that God knew my heart desired yet I never had the courage to ask for. But, that isn’t the entire story of the miracle God has given us. We were not even technically trying to get pregnant. I have not been menstruating regularly since Savannah’s birth, and we were not using any fertility drugs like clomid (as we did in my first two pregnancies). My husband and I were, and are, in shock, in awe, and completely humbled at this unexpected, God-given and to God be ALL the GLORY miracle child.
To be completely honest with you, the first day I learned of the pregnancy, I was paralyzed with fear-an overcoming anxiety and lots of questioning. While being completely ecstatic` that we were having a baby, I was also scared beyond belief having gone through the loss of a child. However, God meets us in our weakness and that is truly when His power is made perfect. That day and throughout the week, He spoke to us through songs, confirmations on the Christian radio, scriptures in our inbox, and encouragement from friends that this baby is HIS GIFT to us and that He will bring BEAUTY from ASHES and JOY in the MORNING. On November 10th, this was my verse of the day that showed up on my computer: “Therefore I will teach them this time, I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the Lord.” Jeremiah 16:21
This Sunday in Church our Pastor made the comment, "You can trust God with the Desires of Your Heart BECAUSE HE CARES AND HE CAN!!!"
We have seen our baby several times in an ultrasound and he/she is healthy and has a strong heartbeat and due to arrive in our arms on July 19, 2011. We just had our 12 week sonogram today where they test and measure for genetic disorders (this is the appointment where we discovered Savannah's condition). I was very anxious going in today, but God overwhelmed us with HIS JOY. The baby measured perfectly, no signs of any problems, was active, had a great heartbeat, and for the first half of the appointment was in a knees bowed, head bowed, hands together, praying position. The picture is at the top of this entry. What a beautiful picture of God's Grace and my THANKFULNESS to Him that was for me!!
Even as I am now in my second trimester, it is a day to day lesson in trusting God for me. In my moments of anxiety and fear, I try to capture each thought and bring it captive to God’s love and promises and who HE is. So for now, I am going to enjoy every moment of this pregnancy with sweet anticipation of the arrival of God’s Miracle Gift in July. And, I am going to continue to hope and pray and long for the day when we bring our precious Russian baby home to join our family. So for this BLIZZARD of SNOW in our lives (the blessed hope and the faith to believe), I will praise Him; I will trust Him, and I will give Him all the GLORY!
Psalm 40:11 says, "...My only hope is in your unfailing love and faithulness"
FOR THESE REASONS LYRICS - LINCOLN BREWSTER
For Your endless love (For Your endless love)
For the life You gave (For the life You gave)
For the second chance (For the second chance)
For Your priceless grace (For Your priceless grace)
For Your healing hands (For Your healing hands)
For the gift of peace (For the gift of peace)
For the blessed hope (For the blessed hope)
For the faith to believe (For the faith to believe)
For these reasons I praise You
For these reasons I worship You
For these reasons I live to tell
of Your love to all the world