Sunday, November 28, 2010

Israel's Christmas Song

Tonight Israel and Josh (and Elijah too) were jammin' after our family devotion time on Advent. This girl is ROCKIN'! Check out her video of FREE-STYLE (yes , she is making this all up as she goes).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

We are Thankful.

(Photo Credit ESL Cast)

"What are you thankful for?" This is often a question we ask each other every Thanksgiving. Usually I answer the same : My family, my friends, my home, etc. But this year is a bit different. In light of our recent loss, my perspective has changed. I would like to share with you some things we are thankful for here at Irby Road:

When I first realized we were loosing our baby, I was angry. "Why did You tease me, God? Letting me see the heart strongly beating like this only to take him five days later?"
A sweet whisper from the Holy Spirit: "Some women never get to see their sweet angels alive"

So. I'm thankful that we got to see our Little One living. I truly am. To see that sweet heart beating away, even if it would only beat five more days is a gift.

When I realized I was actually nine weeks along, I was angry because after looking at the picture in my pregnancy book I realized he looked more like a baby than an alien. That upset me. Then God spoke to me again, "You got to hold him two more weeks than you thought." Oh thank you, God. I am thankful.

I am reading The Redemption Series by Karen Kingsbury and Gary Smalley right now. There is a quote in the chapter I read last week...she is quoting the First John and then she goes on to explain it: "'Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.' God always wins. And He is always greater." Isn't that amazing?! Satan can never win. Not even in death. God is always the champion.

We are thankful that we as a family feel closer. We appreciate each other more and Josh and I see how each of our children is a miracle. Even Little One.

I'm thankful that because of this experience, I feel connected with so many women who I would have never shared a connection. This week at ballet, I sat with three moms who had gone through the same thing. Our conversation was deep. I am thankful.

A dear friend Hilarie Jones shared this verse with us: "The Lord gives you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places..." (Is. 45:3) We are thankful for the treasures we are learning and the hidden riches we are receiving in these hidden places we would otherwise never go. Especially this next one...

Israel committed to following Jesus. So read more about this see the post "God uses Little One, part 1." What an amazing thing to be thankful for!

I'm thankful for what God is doing in and through me.

We are thankful for our church family here. Their demonstration of love on Sunday was incredible.
We are thankful for all you who showed and continue to show love to our family. Your prayers and notes of encouragement have helped carry us.


What are you thankful for?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Church Becomes our Family

This morning was difficult. A week ago, we were looking forward to letting our church know that we were expecting a new baby. We heard the heart, we were in the clear. But this morning, our sweet pastor Slavko asked Josh to share about our difficult week.

Our church was full of tears, and I was grateful my friend Debbie from Bible study was next to me. I could cry on her shoulder and she could cry on mine (she was one of the few who knew). It's good to know we are not the only ones mourning. Little One had a profound impact on other people too.

Josh shared in such a beautiful way the journey where God is leading us. He shared about Israel's decision for Christ and the whole church prayed for us. I felt the enemy shaken...he just can't win. God has the victory. Jesus is the hero. And the church became our family today.

Our team also had a sweet time on Friday morning in prayer and worship. We sang out past our tears a song Josh and his brother Seth wrote just a few years ago "We believe You are good...we believe You are good..." I'm so thankful God placed such wonderful people around us. He is good. He cannot be anything contrary. We stand on that promise. We have no other choice.

Friday, November 19, 2010

God uses Little One, pt. 1

Last night Israel, Elijah and Josh went to a birthday party. On the way Israel began talking about Little One. They had a conversation about Heaven and about how everyone who trusts in God gets to be with Him forever. Josh asked Israel if she knew how to trust in God.

"We go to church, so we trust in God."
"Not everyone who goes to church trusts in God."
"We read the Bible, so we trust in God."
"Reading the Bible does not mean we trust in God."

The conversation shifted quickly to the brightly dancing lights on the mosque outside the car window as Yesterday was Bajram, a Muslim holiday here.

"But what are the beautiful lights for, Daddy?"
"What is Bajram?"
"Bajram is where they sacrifice a lamb to remember that Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son, but God gave him a lamb to sacrifice instead. But we don't sacrifice a lambs anymore because Jesus said He is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world."

Then they talked about the holidays we celebrate to honor Christ: Christmas for His birth, Easter for His resurrection and one day we will celebrate Him coming back...and everyone who trusts in Him will be with Him forever.

That brought the conversation back to trusting God.

"First it's about recognizing that we do bad things. Remember when you were mean to Mommy today?"
"Yes, Satan whispers to us and says 'Yeah, be mean to Mommy!'"
"Yeah and too many times we listen and do what he says. But that's why Jesus died on the cross so He could forgive us for all the wrong things we do. Trusting in God is saying 'I'm tired of being the boss of my life. God, will You be the boss of my life?'"
(Insert confused question) "Tired of being the boss of my life?" (Israel enjoys her role as first born girl and being bossy)
"Yeah, when we're the boss we always mess things up, but God never messes things up when He's the boss. And that's what is really means to trust in God."
"So does Jesus whisper in our ears (insert whisper voice) 'Trust in Me. Trust in Me.'"
"Yes, He does. And what He wants us to do is to pray to Him and ask Him to forgive us and be the boss of our life."
"Can we pray that right now?"
Josh wanted to stall so that we could all be together when she prayed. He also wanted to make sure she understood everything so he asked her to say everything back to him again. She did.

When they got home it had been over 2 hours later. Josh had Israel explain it all to me. She got it. She understood the Gospel. Then she asked if she could pray that right then. Never did Josh ask if she wanted to pray. It was her initiative. And it was the most precious prayer.

Today Israel was a different child. When she was frustrated and disobeying, it was obvious she was working things out with the Lord. During her disobedience I asked her, "Israel, who is the boss of your life?" She replied, "I want God to be the boss of my life, Mommy. I'm sorry. Please forgive me." It's the transformation God offers us through the cross. And He is changing our four and a half year old girl. And He is changing us. We are grateful.

And Little One rejoices too. Yes, sweetheart. Your life has dignity. Your life has purpose. And your big sister will join you in Heaven because God used you. We love you.

We are thankful and rejoicing that God would bring this about during such a difficult part of our journey; that God would use our Little One to help our Big One give her life to Jesus.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A difficult Path

We had a very eventful weekend. I wanted to write all about our fun adventured in Doboj, a city a few hours away where we spent time with a Bosnian family to be immersed in language., but unfortunately that post will either not be written or will need to be postponed. Because on the car ride home from Doboj, I began to bleed and not feel well. You see up until Sunday night, I was carrying our 3rd child. we were only 7 weeks along, but after hearing a very healthy heartbeat and seeing a beautifully developing child on the ultrasound just Wednesday, we had started to tell more people than just our close friends and family. The most difficult people we had to tell about the miscarriage were Israel and Elijah. They had been so excited. But they are taking it well.

This has been a traumatic experience as I'm sure it is for anyone who has to deal with this. This baby was a real human being. We were looking forward to holding him. To smelling his sweet smell. To kissing his baby cheeks. To dressing him up and decorating his nursery. We will kiss and play and sing in Heaven...but until then, we wait.

I'm still processing all that happened. All we are learning, individually and as a family. But I know God has made us stronger through this loss, and my children seem more precious to me than ever.

If you think of it, please pray for us as a family. We are praising God for Shannon, who has been wonderfully taking care of the children when I need to lay down and grieve a bit. She also cleaned our house yesterday. My dear friend Mirela came with me to the doctor yesterday to translate. Sweet friends from my Bible study and Ashley on our team have brought or offered to bring meals. We feel surrounded by God's family all over the world.

We are rejoicing in a new day, that the hardest day is now over. Our baby is no longer in pain. Thank you for your prayers.