26 February 2010

Pregnancy Watched by God: Part 2


So we went to the local ER and they whisked me to the back. A nurse asked how many weeks I was, and looked dismayed when I said I thought I was 9 weeks. Usually, she said, when a miscarriage starts that early, there's nothing they can do.

I forget some details but I remember sitting alone with James in between people coming in and out. In the silent, silent foreign room we mainly stared. It was hard to be intimate when we were still repairing our broken marriage and people were coming in and out. I think we were waiting for an ultrasound tech to be available.

As we went to the sonogram room, a young man put the cold clear jelly on my stomach. When I laid down we could see a little grapefruit under my skin... I was anxious and scared to definitively know if we had really lost the baby. He put the wand down and moved it around. When I heard the swoosh-swoosh-swoosh-swoosh and saw the little moving heart I broke into the sobbing breathing laughing cry right away, and moved so much that the heartbeat sound was overwhelmed and covered by my own noises. Oh, what joy I knew. I had a carefree visit with my baby as the tech looked all over everything, making notes and taking pictures. He said he knew exactly what the problem was, but that since he was only a tech and not a doctor, he wasn't allowed to tell me. He did say the baby measured 12 weeks.

This made me very angry, because then I had to wait for the doctor to come in and explain what the tech found. James found some chocolate somewhere and we ate a few... a small treat to distract us from the wait. The steady fast heartbeat sound had faded from our ears and seemed far away.

The doctor said I had complete placenta previa. The bleeding was from a partial separation of the placenta from the uterine wall. If it loosened further, there was nothing anyone could do and we would loose the baby. If it healed and re adhered, it could do one of two things:

-seem to move upward as the uterus got larger
-stay low and necessitate a C-section delivery

So. He said stay on complete bedrest until you can see your OB/GYN (which I didn't have yet- remember I've always had flawless pregnancies). But... but I had 3 small kids! I had no husband living with me to help me! And my dad didn't even know I was pregnant! How was I going to spend the weekend on bedrest, no steps, no lifting?!

It was a long week. I went down the steps one by one, on my butt. I lifted nothing. I barely raised my hands... I changed diapers on the floor. I didn't push the cart, a bike, nothing. I spent lots of time trying to get in to see an OB/GYN so that I could be reassured by the swoosh-swooshing again. My insurance (or lack thereof) was making it take longer than I wanted.

However, the time was well-spent.

Have you ever fasted? I was fasting when I got pregnant. I learned a lot about it. The goal of fasting is to force our attention off of ourselves and onto God. I learned that each time I would feel hungry, I would say "God, I want you more than I want food. God, I want you more than a marriage." Well, each time I had to scoot down the steps, or roll over before sitting up, or kneel down to hug my daughter instead of lifting her, I was reminded to pray. "God, I want you more than a baby. God, you hold the stars in their places. God, nothing is impossible for you."

When I read up on placenta previa, I kept coming across phrasing that said things like 'the placenta doesn't move; it is attached to a point that is stretching upwards; it seems to move but really the uterus is.' The book "What to Expect when You're Expecting" put it like this: "Now, the placenta doesn't actually get up and move" and it gave me a silly picture in my mind's eye of a caricature of a twisty umbilical cord, untwisted at the ends to make two arms, which lifted up the placenta like a tutu from Swan Lake, and walked over to a new spot. Suddenly that image became my prayer- God can raise the dead! He holds the atoms together! He heals the sick! He sends angels to guard his missionaries! He can do anything!!

After being told by the doctor and the books that if the placenta separated from the uterine wall, that the baby would have no source of oxygen and would die, I began praying for a miracle. I prayed "God, you have the power to lift this placenta and move it, really move it, to a totally new place. God, you have the power. God, move this!" Oh man, I prayed.

I finally got in to see the OB/GYN and have another ultrasound. She had the pictures and file from the ER. She also did all sorts of measurements and pictures and looking, while I relished the swoosh-swooshing again. Finally, she said

"I don't know what that tech was talking about! You don't have anything at all like placenta previa- look, this dark spot is the placenta, and you can see that the wand is way up here at the top of the uterus! He must've been wrong!"

I would like to tell you that I praised God then and there and told her about my prayer, and how clearly it had been answered. But, no, I was so overjoyed and relieved and glad that I floated out of there. It was a day or two later ! that I was suddenly struck, literally suddenly dumfounded in shock and awe that God had done exactly what I had asked him to do: to pick up the placenta and move it! To really move it! And he did it.

I think about why God let me keep my baby Nathan- which is a Hebrew name that means "God has given" and I know.

I was at a point where a miracle, a one-time act, would most bolster my faith. Like a glass of cold water on a long and dusty, winding and rocky trail, my Nathan was a gift to me. I am forever grateful for the big miracles of God on the hard path of learning to glorify God through whatever comes.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


23 February 2010

Pregnancy Watched by God: Part 1

I wanted to tell you the story of how God watched over my last pregnancy. As my toddler furrows his brow to me and is learning how to potty-train, I think back to his time in the womb, and his delivery, and thank God for watching over him. It's a long one, faithful readers, so grab your coffee and settle in.

I was separated from my husband when we became pregnant. We decided to reconcile and began building our relationship up again after a year apart, on Thanksgiving Day 2006. In April of 2007 I knew I was pregnant. I put the kids to bed, (then they were 5, 3, and 1) and left them with my dad (I was at his house) and went to see a dear friend who had been supporting me during this season. I stopped at the store on the way to her house- it was after 9- and bought a test. I planned on taking it to her house, but then I couldn't wait. I peed on the test in the store's bathroom but I put it back in the bag. A few minutes later I was sitting at the light, waiting to turn left. I turned on the interior light and pulled it out of the bag- it was so clear. Two lines- pregnant!

"Holy Mary, mother of God." It just came out of me, I don't think I've ever said that before or since. The Catholic just popped out. I drove to my friend's house high on adrenaline. She was expecting me. She opened the door and I said hi to her husband, who was watching tv. She knew why I was there and we just stared at each other expectantly until she just grabbed two couch blankets and we slammed the front door behind us and went out on her front porch.

I remember lots of pauses. I love babies and love being pregnant, and my husband and I were committed to our marriage, but the timing- sigh. I definitely didn't want to tell my family. They are not believers and did/do not understand why I do things the way I do.

I didn't know how James would react to the news, especially since our life was just becoming more calm. It was a silent few days before I could get him alone- I didn't want to press it and say something like "I need to talk to you, now." Finally we went to a noodle restaurant. It was one of the first times he paid for my food and ate at the same time as me in a long while. I didn't beat around the bush, I just told him. He said "Perfect!" and put down his napkin or drink, I don't remember. But then he said "No, really, perfect." I was surprised and pleased.

Then in June, the seventh, I took the kids to the grocery store and lifted my 3-year-old into the cart. In the middle of the motion I thought "he's just too heavy for me to be doing this anymore!" but I managed to get him in there and we shopped and everything like normal. We went home and I put the baby down for her nap and I laid down too. As I rolled onto my side, I felt a twinging feeling or felt a snapping or something, but I thought, man, I need to lay down! and I dozed for a while. When I woke up I felt like I had to go to the bathroom but when I did, there was a big rush of bright red blood.

Now is the time to mention that I'm one of those pregnant women you may love to hate: no stretch marks, no morning sickness, no fat ankles, none of the unpleasant things- just the growing hair, the big round belly, the kicks and the eat eat eating! I have been blessed to never live in fear about spotting, viability, health, or gestational diabetes or anything. So this bleeding threw me for a loop. I called James and freaked out and he was going to come and get me. I waited a little bit and then thought, he doesn't understand- he's not coming- and I drove to the house James was living at.

I stood up to get out of the van and felt that awful rush again. I left the kids in the van and banged on the door and he finally answered- He had been asleep. I flew past him into the bathroom and saw that the bleeding had happened again. I fairly lost it. I made him take me in the van back to my dad's house.

So, because of the place I was in at that time in my life, I still had only told a few Christian friends- not my family or other friends. So I called my neighbor and sort of announced in a shaky voice, "Uh, I'm pregnant and I might be miscarrying and can you come and watch my kids for a few hours while I go to the hospital. Yeah, I'm about 12 weeks." She came over right away and James drove me to the hospital where our one-year-old had been born. As we sat at a red light, the wonderful awful song by Mercy Me, Bring the Rain, came on. You may know it, but try to imagine me, still shaking from a year of pruning and new growth during the breakdown of my marriage, and our separation, and then me sitting at that red light, not knowing what was going to happen with the precious baby I was carrying, and so in love with already:

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that
I've gone through…
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You?

Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray...

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory! And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You, Jesus, bring the rain.

I am yours regardless of the clouds that may
loom above because you are much greater than
my pain. You who made a way for me suffering
your destiny so tell me, whats a little rain?

So I pray…
Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings
You glory! And I know there'll
be days When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You Jesus, bring the rain…

Holy, holy, holy…
Holy, holy, holy…
is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty
I forever sing
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty
everybody singing
Holy holy holy…
is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty!
you are holy (holy, holy, holy)
you are holy (is the Lord God almighty)
Is the Lord our God, is the Lord our God...

I just had tears streaming down my face. I just was falling apart, silently, because although I was pregnant with another child with this man who sat beside me, my husband of nearly 10 years, I was unable to voice the thoughts that were running through my head.

I was stunned. Was losing this baby to be my next trial? Why was everything so hard? Why did I have to endure so much? I didn't want to have any more rain in my life. I didn't want to learn any more about how God was enough. I wanted a breather from hard lessons. I wanted to learn something in the classroom, from the book, not from the heart-wrenching, gut-tearing, sob-inducing street I had been wandering. When I heard the lines

"Bring me anything that brings You glory!
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to
praise You, Jesus, bring the rain."

I was just falling apart in rebellion. Did I give the baby to him then? No; I think it was when the long, long celebration of God's holiness came at the end of the song. My mind was a swirl of questions and complaints and then the words broke into my consciousness again-

Holy, holy, holy…
Holy, holy, holy…
is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty
I forever sing
Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty
everybody singing
Holy holy holy…
is the Lord God almighty
is the Lord God almighty!
you are holy (holy, holy, holy)
you are holy (is the Lord God almighty)
Is the Lord our God, is the Lord our God...

Oh, ladies, the Lord our God is holy- he is holy! He holy, just and pure even if we lose our baby. He is the Lord God Almighty even if our marriages dissolve. He is holy. He is holy. He is holy.

Our situation and how we perceive it does not change God's character. He is, He was- He will forever, BE. We can bring him glory no matter what our situation. We can rage and shake our fist and clutch the things we hold dear- even good things like babies and marriages. But He can get more glory when we trust him and know him to be good and holy- even when we are losing everything and falling apart.


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


22 February 2010

Great News

Hey there you faithful few! Guess what- James got a job! Woo-hoo!


It's at the grower he wanted all along! It is a place that supplies plants to landscapers.

Thanks for your prayers!

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


19 February 2010

New Phase


I have to tell you, James and I are doing really well right now. Although there are the stressors of lack of income, and his method of job searching, I know we are on the same side of the fence. It makes me glad. He threw the most excellent party for me for my birthday last week. I invited everyone; he was in charge of the food. Oh it was great! Here's the menu:


Mingling Food:
  • tortilla chips
  • guacamole
  • mango-jalapeno salsa
  • hummus
  • cream cheese-pesto ball
  • fancy flatbread-cracker thingys with sesame seeds
Main Dish:
  • Tom Kha (Thai soup- chicken, lemongrass, cilantro, mushrooms in coconut milk broth
  • Thai appetizers (frozen from store); black rice rolls, 2 kinds of seafood rolls
Dessert:
  • Chocolate cake with chocolate icing
  • Italian rainbow cookies
  • Pepperidge Farm cookies
  • shortbread
Snacky-talking Food:
  • m&m's
  • Thai-seasoned cashews
  • citrus blend jelly beans
Wow! So James is out tonight, and this is what I assembled to feed myself: Sliced pickle, slices of queso blanco, Thai cashews, hummus and wheat things, apple and peanut butter, vanilla yogurt, and pistachio-flavored muffin (full of food coloring and preservatives).

Guess what I had for lunch? Frittata with mushrooms and three kinds of cheese. Who do you think made it?!

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


18 February 2010

Please pray for me. I am feeling a little underwhelmed. I'm hoping that you will be distracted from my quietness by exploring the new navigation bar and the new layout... Thank you.


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


16 February 2010

New Look!

As my first year blogging comes to a close I decided to do some renovations.... what do you think?! I'm pleased, floored more like it. I LOVE the new layout. There is only one sidebar now, and all the helpful info can now be found in the navigation buttons at the top of the page! Take a look around- become a subscriber- enjoy the new look! And tell me what you think!


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


15 February 2010

Courageous!


Listen to Mary Kassain, author of a blog called Girls Gone Wise:

"When it comes down to it, I believe that living out biblical submission in this culture requires far more backbone and brains than acquiescing to popular reason. It’s one of the most radical, courageous, and intelligent things a Christian woman can do."


(link to entire post)


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


10 February 2010

Revisit with Me




Enjoy this post from last April with me....


"Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" Hebrews 12:1


Persevere: verb; to persist in a state or undertaking in spite of opposition or discouragement. Synonyms: to carry on, persist, hang on, follow through. Antonyms: quit, yield, falter, hesitate, give up.

"One of the most disastrous tendencies, that seems to be gaining strength year by year, is giving up too soon when life gets tough. What is happening to perseverance? Well, homes can't be homes at all if they are dissolved when problems come. If they are to endure, it means sticking to homemaking when it all seems bleak. Everybody feels unhappy at times... We all admire and enjoy those who have accepted life's boundaries, built within the framework, and become rich and wise, full of love." (From For the Family's Sake: The Value of Home in Everyone's Life by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.)

When James and I were separated, and the months stretched on and on, only two women of all the women who played a part in supporting me through that time-- only two counseled me to stick with it, be true to my vows, trust in the Lord, suffer for a time, be faithful... persevere. The women in my life had a lot of ways to love me- silence, an ear; angry on my behalf, vengeful; confused, questioning; weeping with me... one of my dear friends at long last said something like 'divorce him and never date again until your children are grown!' in such a voice of conviction and certainty that I was silent and shocked. Well, when you ask for advice, you get it!
Both of these dear women who counseled perseverance had known both James and I for at least a half dozen years. Knew us in the AF, before we moved to Texas. Maybe that had a part in it. But they each started their counsel with phrasing along the lines of 'This is so painful and awful, and isn't God's will for you or James or your marriage. But in the Bible I read, it says to stay. It says to love. It says to wait and trust.' The pain in their voices on my behalf, yet their faith in God and his Word-- it put sandbags against my faltering resolve. It bolstered my ability to wait and trust. It gave me strength to continue the race that had been marked out for me.

Is there someone in your life that needs bolstering? Is it an uphill race for someone you know? Please comfort them with a Godly comfort. What does this person seem overwhelmed by? Is there a way you can step in for a moment with relief?

"He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed." Prov. 11:25

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison an you came to visit me... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:35-36, 40

"For if you remain silent at this time, relief... will arise from another place... and who knows but that you have come... for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


08 February 2010

Own it!

copyrighted by MPC643

I feel at times like I am waiting for the hundred-year bloom of a rare plant in some far-off desert. Did it bloom while I was napping? Did I somehow miss it? Or is it going to bloom mere days after I die?

I look at my husband and I think similar thoughts... what is he waiting for? When is he going to grow up? Or... are my standards too high? Is this what I get? How will I know? So many of his generation are fighting adulthood, clinging to their youth in a heels-dug-in attempt to avoid responsibility. What may frustrate me the most is my husband's head knowledge of what needs to be done. What he should be doing. How he could be doing different. I get mad and impatient because he talks so well... he knows what to do. Then what is stopping him?!

To me, in the black and white world I live in, if you know what to do, you do it. There might be some mumbling or groaning but you get it done. To not do it is a choice. Straight out of the boundaries book, and today's sermon at church, is this idea:

-Passing the buck wrenches control over your life from your hands.

-Owning your sin gives you power to change your life.

If you say that your parents, your surroundings, your education, whatever, made you do it, made you sin, then you were forced. You can't change who raised you- it's done. You'll never be able to choose a different way if that were so. Adam and Eve had no parents, and were in the garden of Eden. They still chose the wrong way. We have to own our own sin. Our problems are mostly due to our choices. If we say, "hey, I made the wrong choice, and it got me into this mess, but hey- I can make new and better choices today and in the future, and avoid this mess next time" then WE are in control. I like to be in control, and there's very little I am really in control of, so I should be glad to.

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


05 February 2010

Bleh Bleh Bleh

Dear readers, I am pretty tired.


I was writing a lot for my son's Contenders of the Faith club. I started a blog describing starting up his club and about our activities so that others can have an easier path. It's a club for Christian boys and it's like a scouts program.

I'm also the Austin Homeschool Examiner. That is homeschool + local Austin area-focused writing, less theory, and more of a challenge to me.

Since I'm telling you everything I do with my time, my etsy shop, mama4x, isn't doing that hot this month and if you need a handmade greeting card, a crocheted baby blanket, or some antique photos, check out my store so I can pay my bill this month! That would be great. {:P

Yesterday the repo guy came and served us our past-due bill for our van. My husband is still unemployed and all the bills are waay adding up. *sigh*

But God is faithful and we're not going hungry... He has some sort of (secret for now) plan for us... repeat that again...


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


03 February 2010

No Smell of Smoke

I am meeting with friends each Tuesday to study Beth Moore's study called Daniel: Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy. Tonight was so excellent... here's a recap.


"Fiery trails can burn the fake out of us."

While we live in a world similar to Babylon, we should remain separate from it like Daniel did when he was in captivity. Tonight we talked about the fiery furnace. (Remember, the three Hebrews who would not bow down to the 90-ft golden image that the king of Babylon raised, so the king threw them in the furnace.) Beth said the people of God find themselves in one of three scenarios when faced with a fiery trial.

1. "We can be delivered from the fire and our faith is built." (the tumor disappears or is benign)

2. "We can be delivered through the fire and our faith is refined." (the chemo works and we are healed)

3. "We can be delivered by the fire into his arms and our faith is perfected." (we die)

The story of the fiery furnace ends with Daniel 3:27 the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.

Beth explains how this is paralleled in our lives today... by not coming out of a fiery trial smelling of it... by not bowing down to the god of anger, bitterness, unbelief borne of our trial. She says we must make our "circumstances become a servant of the Gospel." We must make our circumstances bow down to the Most High God. Her phrasing was along the lines of knowing someone for a while, but then when you heard about their trial, you look at them in awe/shock and say, 'I would never have known! You don't even smell like smoke!' (ie, you're not bitter, you're not angry...)

WOW. I realized that maybe my calm peace during this uncertain time of unemployment is probably evidence of refining I underwent! I don't smell like panic!

Beth made sure to point out that the four figures were walking in the fire. In Isaiah that I quoted earlier this week, Isaiah 43:1-11, we also "walk through the fire." She said we are not to lay down in the fire, but not to run in circles either!

How's this little ditty:

When in fear, when in doubt,
run in circles, scream and shout!

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


01 February 2010

HEY, TODAY'S MY BIRTHDAY!


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear


Something Beautiful

In your ocean, I'm ankle deep
I feel the waves crashin' on my feet
It's like I know where I need to be
But I can't figure out, yeah I can't figure out

Just how much air I will need to breathe
When your tide rushes over me
There's only one way to figure out
Will you let me drown, will you let me drown?

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, 'cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I'm in reach
'Cause I am down on my knees.
I'm waiting for something beautiful
Oh, something beautiful

And the water is rising quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can't be sure when it will subside
So I won't leave your side
, no I can't leave your side.


That's a band called Need to Breathe singing "Something Beautiful" - Man, the lyrics are great, they're what make the song, but the way he sings it, the lines roll into each other and it's just amazing. It's my next favorite song. The uncertainty, the line... "how much air will I need to breathe when your tide washes over me" is so me.


Can you just see your child, standing on top of something, and you have your arms raised to catch them, and they just want to hear again and again, 'are you really gonna catch me?' I'm so that way with God... "ok, just tell me how long I have to hold my breath, and sure, I'll go under, just as long as I know how long." Yeah, God doesn't work like that... he's more into trust and dependence- dependence on HIM.

We have to cling to him. I just watched Narnia again today and there was a scene where Peter had plunged his sword into an ice floe and he held onto it through a raging river. That's just what we have to do; hold onto our Savior as tight as we can while the water rages around us. Focus on him and we can get through.


Isaiah 43:1-3

But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

For I am the LORD, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.


I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and
I would love to hear from you through comments!
Teresa (Tracy) Dear