Wednesday, April 22, 2009

hope in the cross

My dear cousin gave me this quote yesterday, I hope it is an encouragement to you as it is to me:

"Jesus' death reveals to us that we do not have to live pretending that death is not something that comes to all of us. As he hangs stretched out between heaven and earth, he asks us to look our mortality straight in the face and trust that death does not have the last word. We can then look at the dying in our world and give them hope; we can hold their dying bodies in our arms and trust that mightier arms than ours will receive them and give them the peace and joy they always desire. -Henri Nouwen

I believe so strongly in heaven and Christ's finished work on the cross that I think I would qualify for admission to the psych ward's in the hospital where my husband works. (Belief in God or hearing him speak being a diagnostic criteria for many types of psychosis; though as I have said before, I don't actually hear God speak). This has not always been the case, over the past three months--which lasted for three years--I have tried other routes for expressing my grief. I have looked inward and focused on my loss, my anger, my sorrow, and my pain. The fruit of this reflection is always the same: anger, bitterness, impatience, and a despair that keeps me from doing the good set before me. When instead of on my own grief, I focus on the cross of Christ and his defeat of death, the fruit of the Spirit wells up supernaturally--and through no good of my own--to splash its cool refreshing mist all about me. When I rely completely on Christ's finished work and allow him to quiet me with his love and rejoice over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17b), I am able to love in return. "We love because He first loved us," (1 John 1:19). It may be crazy to live in the light of resurrection glory and to take a sabbatical to rest in His unfailing love, but I happen to know that even in the Psych wards they have no laws against love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). As a result, "let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds," (Hebrews 10:24), crazy or not. Even if we are destined only to become worm food, I would like to go as the "kind, gentle, loving" variety, but I digress, as if such a thing were possible without Jesus.

When Matty looks down and sees me here--still not sure how that whole time thing works--I do not think he will appreciate my self-absorption. I think he would like to see us honor his memory by continuing to do good to the other 130 million orphaned children around the world (Don't worry sweet family and friends, we will not be bringing anyone else home in the very near future--we will leave that to you!). We have good to do today, and so it is now my great joy to turn this computer off and leave the virtual world behind so that I can be busy about loving those two little munchkins still sleeping up stairs, my crazy husband (no new adventures today, honey), and you, my dear friends, who have all waited so patiently for me to walk my little boy home. (Matty, my son, how I miss you! Who would have thought that a selfish sinner such as myself could by the grace of God love you as my own, flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone). Blessings and goodbye until we meet again on the other side of sorrow, in that beautiful place where the least of these like Matt will be the greatest.

"r"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

matty's memorial

We will remember Matt this Saturday, April 25th, at Desert Springs Church. For details, please email "r," Amy, or Alyssa.

Thank you all for your prayers for Matt and our family. We could not have made it through this trial with as much joy as we have without your faithful support on your knees. I don't know that we would have made it at all. Thank you, Jesus, for giving us your church!

Last night was hard on all of us. There are so many holes Matt used to fill; we have spent so much time thinking about and caring for him that we feel a little lost with out him. While there is much for us to do now, it is difficult to shift gears and press on. To assist with this process of moving forward, we will shortly disable this blog site. There is both godly grief that focuses on the hope we have in the cross of Christ--a hope that looks forward--and ungodly grief that focuses on our worldly loss--a sorrow that focuses on the past (1 Thes 4:13).

Paul, in Philippians 3:12b-14, 18, 19b-4:1, speaks to these truths when he says,

I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. For, as I have often told you before before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the Cross of Christ....Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!


We will not forget Matt, but we must think of him and ourselves in the light of heaven. To do otherwise is to sin and risk being sucked into a grief without hope.

Please pray with us that when we think of Matt, we will follow Paul's command to think on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think on these things," (Philippians 4:8).


With gratitude for your partnership in the faith,
"r"

Monday, April 20, 2009

joy in sorrow

If you follow this blog, you are probably wondering how we are holding up. Although we miss our little boy, we are ridiculously thankful that he is now home. Can you picture him rough housing with our Abba, Father? Matt can see! He may even be able to see us here writing about him--depending on how that whole time/space thing works. He squeals with delight while snuggling with the lambs and wrestling lions. His muscles work, and he can not only smile, he laughs! Thank you, Jesus, for taking our boy home.

Joy, peace, hope, love. These words don't even begin to describe the overwhelming spirit of gratitude given to us today. All day, I have asked for an analogy to help me describe to myself--much less to others--how we can feel joyous in the midst of such loss. This is our best attempt at an answer:

For months we have grieved Matt's passing. We walked with him down an arduous and often ugly path. We watched as he struggled for each breath. We watched and did not look away as his body began to deteriorate until it was only a shadow of the beauty that had been. And now, after all that horrific struggle, our boy is home. He isn't a little home either. He is all the way home with Jesus. I can wish for nothing better for our other children than that they too will one day enter into paradise to romp, play, and create eternally with our Savior, and our God.

Aren't we even a little sad? Don't we miss Matt's sweet cheeks and the way he cuddled so closely in our arms. Yes. We miss him, but our missing compared with the glory he now knows are incomparable. And here is where the analogy comes in. Imagine with me that you are at a State Championship soccer game watching your son play. It's late in the evening and bitterly cold. You have a headache because you didn't have time to grab dinner on your way out to the field and you are hungry. Work was pretty bad, and it cost $15.00 to get on to the field to see you own son play! So, cold, hungry, hurting, and a little poorer, you stand shivering on the sidelines watching your child play for the title. Just when you think you couldn't possibly feel any more miserable, you wipe the drizzle from your eyes (it's raining now too) to see you son slide through the mud both legs extended to send the ball flying right into the upper right corner of the goal. He scores and seconds later the buzzer sounds. Your son's team has won the championship! Of course, you still have a headache and you are still hungry, but you don't notice anymore because something so much bigger than dinner has occurred right before your eyes. Your son has fought a valiant fight, and now he is victorious. He overcame great odds, cold weather, and tough competition to win the title. You are so elated with his success that you no longer remember you are hungry or tired or cold.

We feel like this with Matt. Even though we miss him terribly and mourn the separation we now endure, we are so thrilled with his eternal victory that we cannot quell the joy overflowing from our hearts. The sorrow we feel is overshadowed by our joy at his success. Matt is not only no longer suffering, he now lives.

"Go, Matty, Go!" (what mom doesn't want to get to cheer for her son at least once?) "You did it, buddy. No more tears. No more sorrow. No more dreadful pain! Play tough, little boy. We are so, so thankful you made it home. Please pray for us that we might know the mercy of our God and the unmerited salvation you now enjoy."

We would not bring Matt back if we could. C.S. Lewis once said that Lazarus should be considered the first martyr rather than Stephen because he had to die twice. Death stinks. Having completed that wretched journey, we who say we believe ought to act like we do and celebrate through our tears the success of those we love. In our grief, real as it is, we must not forget the hope of heaven.

We are praying that no matter how tough your situation is today, you will know the hope we have in Christ, a hope that will not disappoint. This old hippie song from my childhood has been running through my head off and on for the past three months, "Heaven is a wonderful place filled with glory and grace. I want to see my Savior's face because heaven is a wonderful place." Paul wrote that if heaven is not real, then we are to be pitied most among all men. If, on the other hand, heaven is real, we have won a great victory. Live in light of that hope knowing that all of these trials have their purpose to perfect us into the image of Christ. The best is still to come.

"r&s"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

a little secret something special

you who have followed matt's story, you who have prayed for the "b" family and for matt during his short life, all of you who have been a part and watched God unfold His plan right before our eyes.. you are really special to matt's mommy and daddy. we would like to do something special for them, involving you. if you would like to be a part of it, please email amy and lyss at prayformattblog@gmail.com. i will email you the info on how to be a part. i won't put details here since it's a "secret". oh, and it doesn't cost anything. just a couple minutes of your time.

finally home.

matty matt went home this morning. home to Jesus.

we will post something soon about donating to the adoption fund in lieu of flowers, etc.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

"e"'s book

as we sat around this afternoon, "walking matt home", "e" wrote her first book. she drew each of these pages carefully, making sure to draw the family in the exact outfits that they were in for their family photo last week. she then dictated to "r" word for word what she wanted the book to say. next, she took some tape, and bound it. she made it for matt to take with him, after Jesus takes him home.


in case you can't see the words well:
"matty matt, i hope you have a fun time in heaven."
"this is our family. i hope that you remember me and "j"."
"matty matt. i hope you remember how i used to hold you and feed you."
"i will be praying for you while you are in heaven."
"at christmas, i will remember you."

she is such an old soul. she talked and talked to matt this afternoon, just telling him to have fun in heaven, that she loves him, that his cheeks are so cute, etc. her innocence and her honesty continue to remind us that matt is going to a better place. matt will live with Jesus very very soon. and that's GOOD! it's GOOD! yes, we'll miss him. so very much. but he will be with our Savior, our Creator, our God. forever. and if we know Jesus, then we get to see him again. and "e" gets that. and it's such a good reminder to me. amazing what i can learn from a five year old.

Friday, April 17, 2009

praying goodbye

Last night we all knelt around Matt and held his small, weakened hands. We prayed thanks to God for allowing us to keep Matt for this short while. I thanked Him for the sister He has grown in “E” and the brother He has grown in “J,” and for the laborious hours of love and sleeplessness “R” has poured into loving Matt as only a mother does for her son. We shed tears as we prayed goodbye.

“Dada,” ‘E’ then says with tears on her face, “let’s read ‘J’ the story of Jesus dying on the cross so he can know how to get to heaven. “

And that is the story of Matt. Even in his weakest moment, with barely a breath left in his gaunt little body, God’s love and goodness cry out. Matt has changed our hearts and widely touched people around us, many of whom I have never even met. Now more than ever, God uses Matt to point our hearts to the gospel in the most desperate of ways.

Watching the process of flesh turning back to the dirt from which God formed it is painful and horrific. We can hardly bear to undress Matt for a bath. It is obvious our little boy is going home soon and we can feel the weight of an earthly lifetime of missing him looming. Our hope, however, is this: the suffering of this world is not worthy to be compared to the glory which will one day be revealed (Rom 8:18).

So have hope, my friends. If your heart breaks with ours at the coming loss of little Matt, let it be to God’s glory. Let our hearts break that we are “on the wrong side of the door,” as C.S. Lewis put it. Let us long to be there, with Christ, someday.

Last night in our circle around Matt, we imagined what he might look like in heaven. Can you imagine what it will be like for him to run and smile and laugh and do all of the magnificent things that he will do there? We will all wait patiently for Matt to leave his earthly body, glad to hold him another minute. In the future, however, we will wait very impatiently for our faith to become sight.

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him(1 Thes 4:13).

"S"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

emotion and eyelashes.


no words. just pics.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

the final mile

We don't know quite where we are with Matt, but it looks as though we are in the last stretch. The last two weeks have been very difficult for all of us. Please continue to pray God would be glorified in the midst of our suffering and the separation to come.

"r"

have you ever

seen such a perfect little face.... matt turned 3 months old a couple days ago. i'll let "r" update on how he's doing, but please continue to pray for him and for the family. just wanted to post a pic of the munchkin.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

please help protect health care provider's right of conscience

dear all:

The Obama Administration is in the process of eliminating the protections in place to affirm health care provider's right of conscience. Before the Administration can remove these protections through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Department must take public comment. You can comment up until April 9th by accessing the following website:

http://www.freedom2care.org/

Simply click on the appropriate button, "Patient" or" Health Care Provider," at the top of the web page under the heading, "Send My Message to the Government."

Regardless of our varying positions on abortion, I think we can all agree that we want our health care providers to be free to utilize their moral and ethical faculties when providing our care.

Please take action immediately. You can learn more about the issue and view the legislation to be rescinded at the above cite. The Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) has also prepared several videos on the issue available at: http://www.cmda.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Right_of_Conscience&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID=21504

This may not seem to have a lot to do with Matt, however, we believe this has everything to do with maintaining the freedom to object to participating in the elimination of babies just like Matt. By taking Matt into our home, we hope to in some small part follow the biblical mandate to overcome the evil of unwanted and orphaned children through the good of adoption. (Romans 12:21). The following is a statement by Mother Theresa that I believe sums up the connection b/w loving Matt and protecting the free NOT to participate in what we believe is unethical behavior:

Each one of us is here today because we have been loved by God who created us and our parents who accepted and cared enough to give us life. Life is the most beautiful gift of God. That is why it is so painful to see what is happening today in so many places around the world: life is being deliberately destroyed by war, by violence, by abortion. And we have been created by God for greater things - to love and be loved.

I have said often, and I am sure of it, that the greatest destroyer of peace in the world today is abortion. If a mother can kill her own child, what is there to stop you and me from killing each other? The only one who has the right to take life is the One who has created it. Nobody else has that right: not the mother, not the father, not the doctor, no agency, no conference, no government.

I am sure that deep down in your heart, you know that the unborn child is a human being loved by God, like you and me. How can anyone knowing that, deliberately destroy that life? It frightens me to think of all the people who kill their conscience so that they can perform an abortion. When we die, we will come face to face with God, the Author of life. Who will give an account to God for the millions and millions of babies who were not allowed to have the chance to live, to experience loving and being loved?

God has created a world big enough for all the lives He wishes to be born. It is only our hearts that are not big enough to want them and accept them. If all the money that is being spent on finding ways to kill people was used instead to feed them and house them and educate them - how beautiful that would be. We are too often afraid of the sacrifices we might have to make. But where there is love, there is always sacrifice. And when we love until it hurts, there is joy and peace.

--STATEMENT BY MOTHER TERESA SENT TO THE CAIRO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT ON SEPT. 9, 1994

Loving Matt hurts like crazy, but I am confident this pain is a sacrifice God will use to bring joy and peace to all of us. Please help us to continue this work by allowing health care providers such as my husband to practice within the constraints of "do no harm."

"r"

Saturday, March 21, 2009

planned parenthood

One verse keeps running through my head as I think about announcing our current pregnancy, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21 (NLT).

While only half of American pregnancies are intentional, virtually all adoptions are the product of a long planning processes. We managed to unintentionally buck the trend and have done it all backwards: we planned the pregnancy and were surprised by the opportunity to adopt Matt into our family. Matt’s adoption could hardly be planned as no one but his mother even knew he existed until the day of his birth, and he did not become “unadoptable” via agency placement until his terminal diagnosis was made, 24 hours after his birth. While we had long talked of adopting at some point, we certainly had not foreseen imminent adoption in our future on the morning of January 13th.

In fact, up until we learned that Matt had been born, we had been pursuing our goal of a biological third child. Of course, all such plans were necessarily abandoned when we learned of Matt. The stakes for our children, for our hearts, for Matt, and for God's glory were so high, we had a hard time doing anything but praying and seeking counsel. In fact, we have never been more blindsided or desperate for wisdom than we found ourselves to be when Matt was born and his horrific illness became apparent. All of the sudden, wisdom truly became more precious than gold. On the one hand, we knew if we didn't take Matt home with us, he would be institutionalized and likely neglected. On the other hand, we had been clearly warned by a number of experienced counselors that if we brought Matt home, our children would suffer neglect of a different but perhaps more mindful sort. Torn between our already existent children, any thoughts of introducing further complications to our tortured tale were happily discarded.

In the end, our counselors agreed with us that bringing Matt into our home within a strict system of accountability was in line with the scriptural "purposes" God has laid on our hearts. At the time, we informed our social worker and others that there was a possibility that we had become pregnant prior to Matt's birth, and they all agreed that bringing Matt home was purposed despite the complexities that pregnancy would present.

Two weeks after we brought Matt home, we found out that I was pregnant. Not long after that, Matt was admitted to the hospital for a possible "miracle cure," which turned out to be something less than miraculous. In fact driving to the hospital the morning of Matt's hospitalization, I was wondering how we would fit four children into the backseat of our tiny Corolla. On the way home from the hospital--with Matt's terminal diagnosis apparently solidified and strong evidence that I was losing the pregnancy--the backseat looked far too big. Two children apparently lost in a matter of hours.

Today, both Matt and the pregnancy are progressing nicely. We haven't actually lost either of them yet. I honestly have no idea what that means except that they both have heart beats and are both growing as expected. We have no idea how all of this will end or even what tomorrow will look like. Questions such as, "Do we need a bigger car? If I buy a stroller, should I get one to accommodate twins? Will we need two infant car seats? Will we have two special needs children and for how long? Was it really a TORCH infection?" roll around in my head with no ready answers. We just don't know what tomorrow will bring. We do know, however, that God is sovereign over all things including Matt and the baby fluttering around inside.

God is sovereign over life and death, which is why "planned parenthood," just like planned anything else ultimately implies an element of human control which does not jive well with the truth of God's sovereignty as portrayed in scripture. It is error to take life when it has been given, and it is equal error to demand life when it is taken. God gives and He takes away, blessed be His name because He knows better than we do what we really need. He knows and directs what is best for us, which can sometimes be very difficult for us planners to accept.

In short, we are somewhere between 12 and 13 weeks gestation, having conceived this little one just two days before Matt's introduction to the world. Nothing has ever been more physically demanding than the last three months have been on our bodies. Why God would allow events to transpire as they have I cannot tell you. I can assure you that despite the ridiculousness of our situation, God has clearly brought us to this place through a number of wise counselors and constant and desperate pleas for wisdom, which according to James 1:5 he has promised to answer affirmatively. This situation was not planned, but it has been directed from the outset:

This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." Isaiah 48:17 (NLT).

Praise God that He knows where we are going. I am confident that wherever we go, we will be humbled by God's sovereignty over all things, including parenthood, and encouraged by our ongoing need for the gospel of grace as we raise our now three and soon--if God wills it--four children.

"r"

Friday, March 20, 2009

the gang


this is from a few weeks ago. we were lucky to get to have "r"'s sister and her kiddos in town. so we took the crew to a park to wreak havoc for a few hours. this was about three minutes before we were "all done." and to note, these are only a few of the precious little children who love little matty matt.

little blessings



i was so blessed this week. we were out in the driveway for our typical 4 o'clock, let the kids roam until the dads get home, hang out experience. and little matt was up to something. that boy was just talkin' and talkin'! ok, not TALKING. but cooing and gooing and it sure seemed like he was interacting with "r" in ways we hadn't seen in a long time. or ever! these moments are few, but they are so precious. we know they won't last forever, so in a frenzy, i grabbed the camera, to help make them last even a BIT longer.... (oh you have to click on the images to see them in full. not sure why.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

legal guardianship

We now have legal guardianship of Matt. Thanks to the generosity, skill, and kindness of our lawyer and friend, "R," Matt's guardianship hearing was more of a "date" than a chore. "S" had to be there, which meant he was forced to steal a few minutes away from work, which was a wonderful treat for both of us.

Matt's physical condition continues to deteriorate as expected. He appears to be blind, though his eyes will still respond to bright flashes of light, and his hearing seems to be diminished as well. As we approach his two-month birthday, it becomes increasingly apparent that he has not met a single milestone. While we had been told this would be the case, it is nonetheless disappointing to see little earthly reward for our investment.

I would like to tell you that Matt never suffers, but that would be a lie. His suffering is minimal now due to a complex regiment of medications, positioning, and massage. Nevertheless, he does suffer at times. If he did not experience periodic discomfort, we would likely be overdoing the medications. So, we continue to work round the clock with our dedicated team of physicians, nurses, and therapists to figure out how to respond to Matt's ever changing needs. We do this despite the fact that we know we will never really understand, much less cure, Matt's illness.

Even if we will never really understand all the ins and outs of this disease, we are learning to understand Matt. He is basically blind, and he makes only negative or neutral expressions with his voice and face. Despite these limitations, we have learned to adjust his care by paying close attention to the peaceful expressions he is capable of making. I now know just how to hold him, lay him down, snuggle him, and feed his so that he is most comfortable and at least risk of choking. In some ways, carrying for him is simple. If you think of how you would like to be held and cared for when you have a terrible headache, then you will have a good idea of Matt's basic likes and dislikes. He doesn't enjoy sudden movements, loud noises, or being bounced or jiggled. He doesn't enjoy rocking--unless it is ridiculously slow. He doesn't even enjoy being walked down the stairs, as his Moro or startle reflex causes him to jerk spastically with every step. He does, however, like the sounds of his family, and I have convinced myself that he knows when I am holding him because he relaxes so dramatically.

In any event, Matt's head continues to grow and his prognosis continues to worsen. As it does, we are forced to turn our eyes all the more towards heaven. We have no choice. Either we focus on the hope that is to come or we drown in the despair of the moment. God is good, but He is not a genie. His ways are not our ways, and His plans ultimately push us beyond hope in the created world to the Creator Himself. I never knew how tied to this world I was until I began to care for Matt. I know now in a new way that even my seemingly selfless acts are absurdly selfish.

Matt doesn't respond positively to all the love and care we shower on him, and despite the fact that I knew in my head he wouldn't, I still want him to smile back at me. Instead of smiling, he either stares at me blankly or screams in response to my best efforts to communicate with him. The discouragement I feel at his failure to thrive only evidences the selfishness of my endeavors. Before Matt, I was tempted to believe I loved my children with at least an inkling of selflessness. I now know that I expect at least some return for my investment. At the very least, I would like a two-month smile and a 3-month squeal of delight in response for the long nights and endless feedings. I am humbled further to think of the earthly reward I am tempted to expect from my older children. Each day with Matt, it looks more and more like all of our reward is being deposited in heaven (or not, because God loves a cheerful giver, and sometimes, I am just not). Frankly, I am not all that happy about the choice of accounts. While I may have previously thought I wanted to deposit all of my treasure in heaven, I now know I am more or a 50/50 or even 25/75 kind of girl. I would like some treasure in heaven and most of it here.

It may be this very realization of further indwelling sin that God seeks to remedy in part through our love of Matt. I once thought we were called to care for orphans and widows in their distress because by caring for them, we would see buckets of fruit in our own lives. I now believe, we are called to selfless acts because in our attempts at selflessness, our selfishness is exposed. I am utterly incapable of selfless love apart from Christ at work in me. So, exposed and helpless in the wake of selfishness, I, like all of us, have no choice but to rest completely in Christ for salvation. By faith alone, we are saved. Through our attempts at "good" works, we become all the more aware of our need for salvation. Praise God that His grace and love cover us completely and instill in us the hope of heaven!

It is sin to seek self above the good that God has willed for our lives. Sin separates us from the love that Christ has for us. It is this very separation--the separation that death embodies--that Christ died to overcome. Death stinks. We all hate it, but God more than hated death. He did something about it. Jesus came to overcome death once and for all at the cross. Our hope isn't in life now. Our hope, like it or not, is in heaven. Our hope is not in miracle cures, our hope is in a sound doctrine of suffering that begins and ends in the cross.

So, I am thankful for Matt because he has further exposed the blackness in my heart and my need for the the forgiveness found in Jesus. I am sick because I seek physical healing, signs and wonders, rather than the One to whom the signs point. Jesus is our hope. Spiritual healing is our calling and our destiny in Christ. Someday I will watch Matt run and play and laugh. Until we finally make it home, we rest in His finished work and long for its realization in heaven.

"r"

Thursday, February 19, 2009

matty matt- 5 and a half weeks

look at this angel baby. he was so alert and happy today for me to snap a couple pics! look at him holding his head up. he's such a strong little trooper. i am in love with the black and white one, he was just snuggin on lyss' fingers while she held him. matt was 5 weeks this week! just look at those big brown eyes. he is still just so cuddly and precious.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

blog button

i wanted to thank "the cutest blog on the block" for making matt his own blog button! and thank you to the sweet reader who funded it. :) feel free to take it and add it to your blogs!

Monday, February 16, 2009

purpose from another blog

This is a post from a friend's blog. I was encouraged by the content, and I hope you will be too. "r"

new creation. (Thursday, February 12, 2009)

I pray the same prayer for my unborn son...the same that I have for all my children...and for this one especially a lot lately. My biggest desire for my children. The one thing I won't let go of. The one battle I will gladly fight for on my knees until I see the answer. And after you've prayed it for so long, it still surprises you, delights you, and overwhelms you when it happens. And the angels sing.

We were praying for baby Matt this evening, and I explained to my girls how he was born, what we should pray for him, and of his beautiful story. And then went on to explain that even if he does die, that he will go to heaven to be with Jesus. And how beautiful that was especially for his family...knowing they will still get to see him someday in heaven. We talked of seeing grandparents in heaven someday, meeting the brother or sister that we miscarried last year, our hope in Christ. And then my little A asked if her big sister had said the special prayer before. She knows all about how to come to know the Lord, and has asked many questions over the past couple of years. But we have left it up to her to tell us if/when she is ready. It would have been easy for me to push this issue with her...to prompt her more than I should. To ensure that my own heart could rest easy of her salvation. But I haven't.

And then she said it. "I want to now." I almost didn't realize what she was talking about. For months and months we talk about these things as they come up, and she has never said anything about wanting to say that special prayer. But tonight, she wanted me to go to the other room and pray with her.

So if you did hear the angels singing a little louder than usual tonight, it's because my second baby asked Jesus into her heart. All those prayers. All the times I even worried it may not happen. And He knew. He knew the day, the moment, the after dark hour when snuggled atop her bunk bed, clad in mismatched pajamas, that my little one would make her decision. And He answered my prayer. That He would explain to her heart what I could not fully. That He would call her by name. That He would reach her and bring her to Himself. He is so faithful. It's so amazing how many times I fail to trust Him. How foolish I can be. Especially when over and over again He continues to show me His faithfulness, His completeness, and His perfect love.

It's funny, the other day, I was thinking about baby Matt. And I knew completely in my heart that his being on this earth has a purpose. Even if it is only for a short time. And then my human heart wondered on it's own...how though? How could his little young life be used for God's glory? Only God knows for sure, but tonight his story prompted the conversation that led to my little one's salvation. May all glory belong to Him, my God and Father. Blessings everyone. :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

a plea for prayer

Matt's head continues to grow at an alarming rate, which means sleepless nights, frequent feedings, vomiting, and discomfort for Matt. It is hard thing to watch one's son die. Between the Tylenol, constant rocking, diapering, and tears, God still blesses our days with peace and joy. (Matt's actual pain is minimal due to massage, gentle vertical rocking, and occasional medication; so, please don't imagine him suffering. He spends his time being rocked, kissed, and cuddled in peace. He is, despite his condition, one of the most pleasant babies I have ever had the privilege to care for. The vomiting we have also learned to control through frequent small feedings and positioning).

Unfortunately, however, by the time I feed Matt 1-2 ounces every 1-2 hours, rock, change, massage, and bath him, there is little time left to care for the needs of our other two small children. As God allows, my priority is to provide for "e&j"s material and spiritual needs as well as those of my wonderful and terribly, exhausted husband. There is little time for anything else: I still have Christmas nail polish on my nails! It is hard for me to remember to pay the bills, much less return phone calls or emails. (I think what I am trying to say is that we are all doing amazingly well, but to insure Matt isn't in pain and everyone else is being loved, we don't have much time left to love on others we care so much about).

I was able to rock Matt for awhile tonight while I watched "e&j" take their bath. It was lovely to rock and sing to him knowing that someday soon he will be taking in the real celebration in heaven. If I get the chance, I will rock him to that beautiful music again. Everything else can wait, "I am rocking my baby, and babies don't keep!"

Please continue to pray that God will help me to keep my priorities in line with His priorities for me as outlined by Titus 2:5. It would seem that not a day goes by now that I haven't disappointed someone or even lots of someones. Encourage us to keep godly priorities--especially time in His word--because more than any other kind of help, we crave grace. Please cover us in love and overlook our frailties, and by so doing, you will have given us God's best gift to us all. grace and peace to you.

"r"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

peace of mind

Final lab results indicate that Matt is CMV-free. But for any of you who are pregnant or are thinking about becoming pregnant, good hygiene is always a must. While 50-80% of us have already had the virus and therefore cannot be infected again, women who have not yet been infected are at risk of transmitting the virus to their fetus if infected for the first time during pregnancy. This virus is not transmitted through casual contact; Isolation of infected persons is therefore not warranted. We are not physicians providing diagnostic or other professional services. If you have any further questions regarding this virus please refer to the following website or contact your family physician. We hope this brings peace of mind to all those concerned.
www.cdc.gov/cmv/ - 38k

"r & m"

…one centimeter at a time.

A month ago, if you had asked me if I would take home to our family a terminally ill newborn dropped off at the hospital, I would have given you an extensive list of reasons why that would be a terrible idea. I might have mentioned that this just isn’t our calling: OB/GYN residency is not the season for a task like that; our children are too young; we don’t have the money; we don’t have the time. I might have ducked under the guise of needing to be a detached physician. Perhaps I would have waxed prideful: we need to raise leaders in our community; we need to spend our time influencing others to do the right thing, not spend our time on a brainless baby who doesn’t sleep. Trust me, I really could have given you some excuses.

Why, then, is Matt now our son?

Jesus.

When God inspired Paul the apostle Paul to write, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come,” he meant it! Attending Matt’s birth three weeks ago, watching him in the nursery with his fontanel bulging, reading his MRI for the first time, God has, with wondrous mystery, sheared some of the fetters of fear and selfishness in my heart bit by bit.

This week, I have been finding new hold-outs which I am, as usual, quite reluctant to give up. Matt’s head continues to quickly grow. One centimeter at a time, he is morphing from the beautiful baby we brought home towards the end-product of his disease process. After a new CT scan last week, there is growing concern Matt’s birth mother might have developed a cytomegalovirus infection which may be at least partly responsible for some of the problems in his brain. In fact, it just so happens that this same virus could give any pregnant mother not previously exposed to the virus a disseminated infection capable of causing severe fetal problems. This means, to my horror, that future additions to our family, our friends who are pregnant, and perhaps even our friends who desire to become pregnant would be at risk.

That is, if he has the virus and if these moms-to-be were not previously infected. In other words, if, by God’s sovereignty, this trial has been designed for us.

Today I consider this: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress (James 2:20).” Furthermore, “faith without works is dead." Pure and perfect religion is the care of orphans and widows. In my sinful heart, however, there is no innate capability of the pure and perfect. In my sinful heart I am afraid for my family and my friends. The physician in me thinks Matt’s doctors are taking pot shots at his diagnosis and he probably does not have CMV because doctors are just usually wrong. The Christian in me says, “look to Christ, you fool, and lean not on your own understanding!” But the man in me, my dreadful, sinful heart, says “run away and save yourselves while you can.”



Ultimately we must all choose the inner man to whom we will listen. So for now we look to Christ. We look to Him to strengthen us and comfort us. This week we will wait upon the Lord as he moves us despite ourselves, slowly, centimeter by centimeter, through the process of purification and perfection he has so carefully designed for us.

“S”

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

still here

we're still here! this week has been busy and we haven't posted much. i intend on putting a little video of matt up soon so you all can see how cute he is in real life. :) please pray for his continued comfort. his head is growing at a fast rate, and it can be painful to him. pray for "r" to know when he is pain versus when he is just tired, or maybe hungry, so that she can help him manage it.

as always, "r" and "s" appreciate your prayers more than you could ever know.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

zoo buddies

more as promised, from our zoo day! grayson, waving at the polar bear...
all the kids ROARING at the lions, including "r" and i. we're not ashamed.
matty matt with the king of the jungle in the background...
matty matt with a big ole sea lion swimmin' by. but he was really only interested in his bottle at that point...
matt's buddies....






Friday, February 6, 2009

God is still good

"When its dark and its cold and I can't feel my soul, You (God) are so good."

These are some of the lyrics from the song, "You Are Good," by Nichole Nordeman. This album has kept me company on each trip to and from the hospital over the last three weeks. Each time I am tempted towards self-pity or despair, the words of the worship songs on the album, "Sing to Me" direct me back to the source of all comfort, the God of all comfort. I am writing tonight to encourage you that our God is still good.

As I cried out to God on my way home from the hospital with sweet MattyMatt yesterday afternoon, I couldn't help but ask, "why?" "Why the hope, the disappointment, another day away from "e&j," another day imposing on others. Why does "s" have to be on nights? Why must I walk alone through those long, scary halls to make medical decisions the consequences of which I am not capable of fully understanding? Why, God, did we have to go to the hospital again only to go home with the same disappointing diagnosis—hydranencephaly—and the same distasteful prognosis—alien brain followed by death. Why?"

Gently, the lyrics and Natalie's beautiful voice, encouraged me,

"You are so good…when the world has gone gray the rain is here to stay … you are still good."

God is good, and in His grace and for His glory, He opened my eyes to see that Matt had divine appointments schedule on Tuesday. I thought Matt went to the hospital to be healed, but he and God both seemed to know Matt was there to heal. Your prayers for healing were answered with a resounding, "Yes!" However, while I looked for physical healing, God used Matt to heal hearts with spiritual ailments. In some mysterious way, God employs Matt to brake down walls of bitterness and open hearts to the unconditional love of Jesus. Matt, our "mostly brainless-wonder", speaks in ways I can never hope to speak. Gently, the Spirit suggested that rather than complaining that I didn't get the sudden physical healing I desired, that I should thank Him that He allowed me to drive Matt to his appointments. Matt and Jesus are on a mission to save souls by introducing them to the unconditional love represented in the cross. They both seem to have their priorities in line, while I struggle because my selfish desires for self-gratification—
supernatural physical healing—are left unsatisfied. Rather than asking why things didn't go my way, I should have been asking why God allowed me to follow Him and Mathew around on their holy mission.

So, please do not be discouraged. "Do not grow weary in doing good. For if we do not grow weary, at proper time, we will reap a reward if we do not give up." Your prayers were not in vain for while Matt was not physically healed during this visit, God used Matt to articulate his unconditional love to a long list of people—nurses, doctors, techs, and their friends and families. I prayed for two things at the beginning of this year: 1) that we would know God's goodness and 2) that He would give us a tangible picture of heaven in our hearts. Heaven and goodness seem like lovely, safe things to pray for, don't they? He has been faithful to show us His goodness and to literally pull our hearts heavenward, however, His ways are certainly not our ways! Only God could use such tragic circumstances to compel us to place our treasure and thereby our hearts in heaven. Not only are His ways not our ways, His methods are strange as well (He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise).

"When somebody's hand holds me up, helps me stand you are so good. With every breath that I take in, I will thank you again…you are so good."

The antidote to worry is thanksgiving, and we have much to be thankful for despite the fact that Matt's prognosis remains poor. In the midst of our weakness, God continues to bless each of our days with tangible demonstrations of His care for us. Even Matt's nurse, encouraged me to rely on God as my rock today! We played with 8 children at our house for lunch, made it to ballet—just a little late, had dinner brought to us, and I was able to clean while "e&j" laughed and played with their aunt and uncle. Amy took the kids during Matt's blood draw, and overall, we had a peaceful day—which is certainly beyond my comprehension. Please continue to encourage us daily lest we forget that God is indeed good, and we will encourage you with the same.

May God bless you with His grace and peace and with a heart of courage to press on.

love, "r"

matty matt- 3 and a half weeks

we took matty matt to the zoo today and really had a great time. me, my two kids, a friend and her twins AND newborn, and "r" with "e, j" and matt. it was mayhem, but super fun mayhem! everyone was well behaved, it was great. i will post more from the zoo later, but i wanted to post some of matt, because people, i am not kidding. this kid gets cuter every day. i think he really liked the zoo....







Thursday, February 5, 2009

rollercoaster

i wanted to thank you all for going on this roller coaster with us. nothing is for sure, or determined, or whatever medical term you'd like to insert. but things don't look good. matt is back home, i snugged him for a moment earlier (he's super snuggly). i personally don't understand anything but that God is sovereign. and He is sovereign over this. He even must be sovereign over the fact that someone mentioned hope and then it all seemed to fall apart. why would that happen? how could it happen that we are in a place of contentment, sad, but understanding that there is no hope for matt's little life to be extended, to jumping for joy that there is a CHANCE that he could be healed, and then back to square one. back the original diagnosis. hydroencephaly, life span, less than 12 months. and this is where God provides His peace, and He has. but i am not even his mommy and my emotions feel like conditioning week in high school sports. spent. all done. in pain. please keep praying for "r and s" and their emotions. their faith has not wavered in any of this, and it is such a testimony to me and all who know them. thank you to all of you who check in on him and pray for him. we will continue to do what we were doing, following his life, documenting and posting all the new experiences he has as he is loved endlessly.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

LATEST UPDATE:

i just talkd to "r" and she is at the hospital about to take matt home.

the results from his cat scan were inconclusive.

so hard to hear. because we really wanted answers. but the doctors, for whom "r & s" are really thankful for, are still looking over the films and contacting some other experts to look as well for anything that they might have missed.

what the doctor's deem "possible" as a cortex on the film seems to have calcifications covering the area, which most likely is a result of an infection while in utero and what might have caused his condition, but would make it impossible to treat. this finding would put him back with his first diagnosis of having hydraencephaly (sp?) and no procedure could be done to reverse it. so it doesn't seem he is a candidate for the procedure any longer but they have been asked to wait again, while other doctors are called in for second opionions. so they wait.

so as matt's family waits with the words "inconclusive" lingering around until more doctors can look at his results, they are obviously disappointed and sad. but "r" reassured me that as as hard as this rollercoaster is and how grim the news is to take if this "miracle procedure" can't be used with matt, their faith does not waiver. they are finding good things in this day as they were overwhelmed at the physicians they were blessed with today and how each one kept them encouraged and informed all while being very compassionate and caring for matt and his best well-being. they felt covered in prayer all day and are very thankful for a body of believers who would go alongside them on this rollercoaster of a day...

they will take him home within the hour i think and the kids are excited to see him and missed him today. so "r" is just glad to be able to get him out of the hospital and have him home tonight. she is mentally going back to "normal", whatever that is, ha...and glad to be getting matt home where he can be loved on and be comfortable...

they will wait to hear more from doctors over the next day or so, but for now are praying and praying God's will..and loving on sweet matt.

"r" wants to thank EVERYONE for their prayers today..

update on matt's tests...

UPDATE******matt is done with his tests. he was alert and taking a full bottle and ready for a nap when i talked to "r"..they can take him home very soon..he is doing ok. just waiting now...lots of waiting.


the latest on matt is this...

matt will be sedated at 1pm today for a cat scan. the doctors won't know until tomorrow or the next day what the final decision will be. they are looking for a thin layer of cortex in his brain. if they cannot find this thin layer of cortex there, they will not be able to do the procedure.

please continue to be in prayer for matt, for comfort and ease of pain and for protection during the tests.

pray for "r" and "s" for peace of mind and comfort as they give matt over to the doctor's care and wisdom and for patience as they wait it out over the next few hours and days for the results...pray for a peace and calm that surpasses ALL and any understanding...

pray for the doctor's wisdom, discernment and care over matt. pray that if it's God's will for matt to be healed that the thin layer of cortex will be seen without a doubt...clearly shown to the doctor's eye so that a proper decision can be made for matt's without any hesitation.

will be updating with more news as we hear it!

bless you, sweet little matty matt! be a strong brave boy today. God's loving hands are on you, sweet boy! hundreds are praying for you and bathing you and your family in prayer and love....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

PLEASE PRAY STAT!!!!

**UPDATE**
it's not much of one, but matt was admitted to the hospital this evening and will have a CT scan tomorrow afternoon sometime around 1pm. they will then decide where to go from there. please continue to pray for wisdom and thank you all so much for the comments. as a matter of fact, if you are reading and praying please leave a comment so "r" and "s" can see just how many people love them and their boy. they will cherish your words forever. also, i have to share... i was driving home tonight from the store, and just praying and begging God for a miracle for baby matt if it's His will. i was listening to klove at the time and the DJ came on and decided to share a story of a listener mom in oklahoma or somewhere who just gave birth to premature triplets and needed prayers for a miracle. the DJ wanted to share some of the many phone calls he had received about it. it was "i wasn't expected to live when i was born, and i'm 24 now", or "i had sextuplets and one was tiny and very sick but today she is healthy and 3 years old", etc. i thought it was so crazy that this came on right when i was praying the words "miracle baby"! i think it was God telling me that He can do ANYTHING. that doesn't necessarily mean that he will choose to heal matt and i know that, but wouldn't it be awesome.
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Eph. 3:20


(original post)
i fear that some of you will read this and think "no way, that's a lifetime movie" or something like that. but this could be a miracle. "r" got a call from matt's hospice neurologist today. he wants matt to be admitted immediately to the hospital for a procedure. this dr. thinks that there is a chance that matt has a normal brain, compressed by this fluid; if the fluid was drained from matt's brain, that his brain would "open up" and that he could lead a normal life. walk. talk. all of these things. it's almost too much to write, my fingers shake as i type this. as soon as the hospital calls and says there is an open bed, "r" will take matt down there. please pray for wisdom. please pray that they will know whether or not to do the procedure here or somewhere else. please pray for protection over matt during the procedure. please pray for "r" and "s" as it will be so hard to take matt and leave him at the hospital. please pray over ALL that God's will will be done in this and that we will all have peace about whatever it is. and that we will remember that God is sovereign over this. all of it. no. matter. what. happens. PLEASE PRAY WITH US. i will update soon. but it could be the middle of the night before they call back. thank you all so much. i know this sounds crazy, but God is bigger than this. and no matter what He does, we will praise Him. this was totally unexpected.

a thank you from "r" and "s"

Father God, Thank you for showing us your goodness through your body, the Church. You have provided for Matt in a cohesive, consistent manner that speaks of your omnipotence and sovereignty. You arranged transportation for Matt's mother to the hospital, a home for him to reside in, wisdom for the foolish, formula, medical care, medications, legal and professional services, baby clothes, a sling, swings, comfort, companionship, diapers, car seat, stroller, and burp cloths, and you did all of this without any effort on our part. All of this and much more you have done through the members of your body in multiplicity so that no one of us can take credit for your goodness. Thank you that you are God and there is none like you. You are the Restorer Redeemer who patiently seeks to transform darkness into light. Matt was born as the result of a tragic assault on a bright, sweet girl only 15 yrs. old, and he has a "lack of brain" condition, which is incompatible with life. Despite these evils, you have provided for this "unwanted" child with seamless compassion. You know that Matt's ailments are too much for us to carry alone, and as a result you have given us your body to act as your tangible hands and feet. Thank you for Matt, our "gift of the Lord." He is yours, and we thank you for this opportunity to know your love through the love of your people. “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17

Jesus said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another,” (John 13:35). Over the past two weeks, we have watched as the body of Christ united together to love Matt in a functional and practical manner consistent with 1 John 3:18, which encourages us to love “with actions and in truth.” God graciously utilized the “different gifts” present in His body to provide for all of Matt’s needs. We hope the following thank you notes will testify to God’s glory and His supernatural compassion on “the least of these” as we have seen his goodness worked out in accordance with Romans 12: 1-16 (some of the gifts given are italicized below, however, the list in Romans is not intended to be exclusive so there are not italics in every thank you note).

"unnamed sister" Thank you for serving as Christ's hands and feet in the "hour of need." When you found Matt's young birthmother, "t," wandering on the street, you brought her into the hospital just in time for her to deliver Matt. Thank you for staying with "t" through the birth process and for showing yourself to be a kind neighbor, such that she was willing to share with you the secret she had kept from the rest of the world for the previous 9 months. Thank you for being available to serve despite the inconvenience it caused your own family and children. In short, thank you for cheerfully showering mercy on “t,” Matt, and our family.

"r&s" Thank you for teaching about the body from Romans 12 in the week leading up to Matt's birth. Your faithful exhortation from the Word prepared us well for the challenges and blessings of the week. Thank you for sharing your gifts of teaching and encouragement with us.

"g&g" Thank you for sharing your adoption journey with us. Your prayers and encouragement brought us into contact with just the right adoption agency at just the right time. Without you, Matt would not be in our home today. Your words of support and your wise counsel "spur us on to love and good deeds."

"s&a" Thank you for coming to our house in the middle of the night to pray for Matt on the night of his birth. Your concern for Matt and our family persists in tangible form to this moment. As a result of your heart for "the least of these," your family was "home study ready" which allowed you to take Matt home from the hospital. Thank you for loving Matt as your own—waking up with him all night long, snuggling, holding, feeding, and helping us to make difficult medical decisions. Thank you for putting your life on hold for more than a week to care for "e&j," bring us dinner, lunch, and dinner again. You spent a night in the hospital and cried with us over Matt's terrible diagnosis. Then, you went home and stayed up all night to pray over us, when we were too exhausted to pray for ourselves. Thank you for wearing out your knees, your hands, and your feet on behalf of Matt. While your treasure waits in heaven, we here on earth are in awe of the love you have shown to us. Your faith, earnest counsel and love shout God's love to us no less clearly than if He himself had spoken. Thank you, also for letting me borrow your awesome "new" sling. Thank you, "d, k, n" for opening your hearts and arms to Matt with abandon and for giving him such a nice green blanket. You have generously contributed to our needs.

"h&a" Thank you for all the baby stuff: diapers, oils, etc. Thank you also for coming over to visit Matt and encourage us after we brought him home from the hospital. Thank you also for giving “s” that wonderful sling; it makes taking Matt along with us on walks a warm, cuddly possibility. Most importantly, thank you for your faithfulness in prayer!

"h&b" Thank you for loving Jesus and giving your hearts in service to His will. We have known you for only two weeks, and yet you have sacrificed precious family time, sleep, income, and anguished with us through this process. Only by God's grace and your obedience, could complete strangers become the dearest of brothers and sisters in a matter of 14 days. Thank you for not only believing that "pure and perfect religion is to take care of widows and orphans in their distress" but also living practically to that end. Your wise counsel and kindred spirits are truly a gift from God. We also continue to pray and thank God for your ongoing ministry to Matt's birthmother. Thank you, "i, a, l", for giving "e&j" the opportunity to laugh and play in the midst a very challenging time. Thank you for your service.

"c" Thank you for closing down your agency for nearly a week and working tirelessly and at great expense to yourself (and no expense to us) to find a home for Matt. We are grateful for your heart for the "least of these" and for your continued concern for Matt's birthmother. Thank you for sacrificing so much for someone so little.

"z&k" Thank you for leading us through the adoption/guardianship process by diligently working to establish a “culture of adoption” within our fellowship. We were encouraged by your willingness to literally standup in support of this little one. Thank you for encouraging “h” not to take our heavenly treasure from us in her attempt to protect us from the suffering inherent in assuming care of a terminally ill child. Your words ring in my ears each time I am tempted to prideful rejection of assistance on Matt’s behalf. We are learning to let others help Matt because whatever others do for Matt, they do for Jesus.

"r" Thank you for providing all of Matt's and our legal work for free. We pray that your reward will be great in heaven, as we have nothing of consequence to offer in return for this unmerited gift. Thank you for your bright light in a field, which often seems so dark. May God bless you and your family with the riches of His Spirit for your generosity and service.

"t&m" Thank you for calling to check on us and following up with us on Sunday. Thank you also for arranging for Matt's last minute dedication and as-needed additional meals. We appreciate you practical service and leadership.

“e&j" Thank you for giving fearless counsel on a very dark night. Thank you for urging us to "fight for Matt" when our knees were shaking and we were ready to turn tail and run. Thank for you encouraging us to be cognizant of our limitations and the hubris inherent in assuming we were or are equal to this situation. You are our iron that sharpens us on a daily basis. Without your constant love and the shelter of your prayers, are lives would be—as God knows all too well—lacking in the fruit of the Spirit for which you so valiantly advocate on our behalf. Thank you for covering Matt in prayers and the cutest clothes any little man could ever hope to wear. Tomorrow, Matt will wear the sweater that you sent for his dedication. I know the clothes are more for me than for Matt and I am ever so thankful that God has equipped you to give me strength in my weakness. Thank you for falling in love with Matt knowing that when he goes home your hearts will break along with ours. "Every perfect gift come from above from the Father of Lights with whom there is not shadow of turning;" you are our gifts from above. When all the drama subsides, thank you for continuing to talk and pray us through the mundane troubles of the day (and sleepless nights).

"b&m" Thank you for taking "e&j" on a moment's notice and caring for them late into the night. Your compassion and humility provided a safe place to land when the tragedy of Matt's diagnosis was too much to bare; we found comfort in your prayers and listening ears when our delight over a potential adoption turned to horror over Matt's unimaginable diagnosis. Thank you for covering Matt in visits, proffered babysitting, "church clothes," and hats. Dinner at your home was a lovely treat as well. Thank you for your practiced hospitality.

"cp&dj" Thank you for your lifelong ministry to those widowed by age and most recently to orphans abroad. By your example, you have showed us how to love those who may at first glance appear unlovely or unwanted. Thank you for your firm belief that Matt is a priceless treasure, whom you have welcomed with open arms into our family. That Matt bears both of our names in great part due to your wisdom with regard to his identity. Thank you for the visits, baby clothes, childcare, popcorn balls, dinner, fellowship, movies, and calls. You have given generously and taught us by example.

"r" Thank you for your compassionate wisdom with regard to how to best care for Matt. We called you late one night discouraged, and you encouraged us with the integrity of your faith and the knowledge of your profession. Given your tender heart for babies and years of practice, your advice carries significant weight. Your message the following morning was so encouraging, I stood in the kitchen and wept at God's kindness conveyed by your concern for this precious little one. Later that same day, your prayers for clarity with regards to Matt's diagnosis were answered. Thank you for your ongoing concern for Matt.

“p&l” Thank you for your diligent leadership, prayers, and fellowship over many years and now for Matt. Just seeing your faces each Sunday is a reminder of God’s faithfulness.

"n&j" Thank you for speaking my love language of preference, Starbucks, when I needed it most. Thanks for making time to stop by and visit or call. You have spoken just the right words at just the right time. Thank you for being available and merciful to us.

Amy & Kenny, Alyssa & Ian Thank you for literally walking through life with us. Thank for staring anxiously at the phone waiting for it to ring to tell us whether Matt would be coming home with us or not. Thank you for the texts, messages, and restlessness when the answer was not forthcoming for hours that turned into days. Thank you for being Christ's hands and feet on the pavement of our neighborhood and our lives by 1) taking care of "E&J" so well they don't know they are being "babysat", 2) spending hours at Target to purchase all of the essential baby items we didn't own and paying for them, 3) bringing gifts for "e&j," "s", and I so we wouldn't feel left out, 4) dinner, 5) burp clothes and bibs galore (can you believe I actually used them all in one day!), 6) adorable new outfits from three different stores—our baby shower in a bag, 7) walking and walking and walking so that the "baby blues" and the "oh, by the way your baby is dying blues" haven't had a chance to set in, 8) for winning the "war of words" in your lives and encouraging us to do the same, 9) for being vulnerable in your faith so that God's grace and repentance shine in your weakness, 10) for waiting an hour or so every time we walk because I cannot figure out how to get all four of us out of the house, 11) for making Matt the apple of your eye and your photographic genius, 12) for taking care of Matt so I can love on the other two and go to appointments, 13) for your kind concern for Matt's birthmother, 14) for making a blog for Matt so that other's can keep up with his progress, 15) for more clothes and a prescription from Target, 16) for patience when I don't answer the phone, 17) for the car seat, stroller, papasan, and most of all, for your partnership in the faith and the hospitality of your hearts. Thank you for loving Sydney and showing us that although crying may last for a night, joy will come in the morning as we allow the God of all comfort to comfort our souls. Thank you for celebrating Sydney's life in such a beautiful way that I am a tiny bit less afraid of how we will handle Matt's absence. You will walk with us down that path in a practical way leaving no detail uncared for, no song unsung, and no need unmet. Finally, when we or you fail to attain the good we so desire, you will lovingly direct us back to the cross of grace from which all blessing flow. Thank you for your faith, hope, and love, but most of all for your love.

"c&c" Thank you for being the speediest little seamstress (and seamstresses' husband) in the Southwest! I still cannot believe that Matt had a personalized blanket to come home to when he left the hospital. Thanks for the swing as well!

"g&a" Thank you for your prayers, the fanciest swing I have ever seen, and your persistent offers to help us. We truly feel that you have adopted Matt into your hearts as we have into ours. Your partnership in the faith is truly a gift, and we often thank God as we remember your kindness and the transparency of your faith.

"m&g" Thank you for calling the meal ministry for us! The impromptu cookies, frank fellowship, beautiful lullabies sung to our sweet boy, and the hospitality of your home encourage us daily. Thank you for "adopting" Matt into the heart of our fellowship.

"m&d" Thank you for your faithful prayers and kindred spirits. We welcome your thoughts and cherish your prayers on Matt's behalf. Your words and jokes give light to our path. Please let us know when we can come and give Matt his first glimpse of snow!

“m&l” Thank you for having a cup of tea with me while we talked through this wild ride. Thank you also for the snuggly blanket for me!

"b&d" Thank you for calling, leaving messages, bringing us lunch, watching "e&j", visiting, and alerting your prayer team to Matt's predicament. Your devotion to Matt and our family is evident in all your attention to us. "c" Thank you for the soft blue blanket you gave to Matt. He really seems to enjoy its warmth, especially at night or when we leave the house to brave the cold winter winds.

"gt" Thank you for coming to visit Matt, bring us lunch, and snuggle Matt in your experienced arms. He seemed to really enjoy resting in your arms. Thank you for loving on him.

"j" Thank you for the gifts all the way from texas for "e", "j" and Matt.

“j&k” Thank you for your faithful prayers and encouragement. We are so glad God brought you into our lives. Thank you, “t,” “j,” & “d” for showing “e&j” the sunny side of life.

"a&j" Thanks for the calls and prayers from the boarder lands. We love and miss you!

"f&a" Thank you for your wonderful card and the lovely surprise waiting inside. Earlier this week, my sister asked if I had gotten a letter my ne
phew had sent to "e," which reminded me that I hadn't checked the mail in two weeks! I don't know how the mailman fit the mountain of mail in our little mailbox, but I am thankful she didn't send it all back. In any event, the pile was daunting, but when I saw the card with your name on it, I knew I had a great reward waiting for me when I had finished. Thank you for your kindness shining like a little treasure in that big, old pile of bills and junk mail.

“a&k” Thank you for praying us through this process and offering a listening ear of continued support. We thank God for you each time we think of your joyful service to the body.

"st. louis sisters" Thank you for praying for us and offering your husbands expertise as well!!

“my prayer warriors” and "faithful blog readers" Thank you for faithfully continuing to pray for us. I am so thankful for your partnership in the faith both in the past and now.

Thank you for the amazing meals, "d&t," "n&family," "r&m," "p&t," “j&k,” and many others whose escape me b/c there are so many of you!

love,
"r" and "s"

Monday, February 2, 2009

matt's dedication






















"r" and "s" and their family dedicated little matty matt to Jesus on sunday. i was flooded with emotion, all kinds. from happiness to sadness to confusion about it all. i didn't realize it would be hard to watch all these other parents with their babies, praying for wisdom in raising them, while "r" and "s" are literally giving him to Jesus and praying for wisdom to take care of him during his short life. they pass out books and pamphlets to help with parenting, when none of that will be necessary for him. it was hard, but beautiful. we got to take a picture of "abuelo", whom matty matt is named after. i love the one of him kissing him. doesn't it look like matt is kissing him back?







































































"
I'll lend you for a little time a child of mine," He said.

For you to love the while he lives
And mourn for when he's dead.
It may be six or seven years
Or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call him back,
Take care or him for Me?
He'll bring his smiles to gladden you,
And should this stay be brief
You'll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.
I cannot promise he will stay,
Since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there
I want this child to learn.
I've looked this world over
In search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd
Life's lanes, I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love,
Nor count the labor vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call to
Take him back again?"
I fancied that I heard then say,
"Dear Lord, Thy will be done,
For all the joy Thy child shall bring,The risk of grief we'll run.

We'll shelter him with tenderness,
We'll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we've known
Forever grateful stay.
But should the angels call for him
Much sooner than we've planned,
We'll brave the bitter grief that come
And try to understand."

edgar guest

thanks ellen, for sending me that poem. i think it fits pretty well, for all of us with kids really. this baby, as bad has his prognosis is, will never not know love. he will learn love while he is here, if nothing else.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

just a phone pic


doesn't it look like he's praying? so sweet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

matt meets his birth mom- 2 weeks old

tonight, matty matt met his birth mom for the first and only time. (sidenote, this beautiful girl in the picture below is "r", not his birthmom, i will wait to post those until i know its ok to do so). she is 15, so young, really sweet, very pretty, matt looks just like her. i feel a bit speechless after observing the whole thing. matt was so comfortable in her arms, we think he recognized her voice. he looked so handsome to meet her and he was such a good baby. i love how he puts his little hands by his face, but this is also a symptom of his joints freezing, so its hard for him to straighten his little arms.

"r"got a final word on the MRI from a pediatric neurologist and his diagnosis is worse than they even thought. "markedly abnormal brain" i believe are the words they used. he is starting to show more and more signs of his illness, such as little seizures, and not eating very well. "r" and "s" have to feed him an ounce every hour because if they feed him more, he spits it up. he is still as sweet as he can be, even his cries are precious. and all the kids are still head over heels for him. lift up "r" and "s" this week, as they are tired, as any new parents would be. isn't "r" beautiful? she is savoring this little guy and tonight she had the chance to tell his birth mom how much love and care baby matt is getting. oh and please pray for his birthmom, "t". she needs Jesus. and we are praying that through this all, she will come to Him and understand how much He loves her. she is precious and needs our Lord just like we all do.

babysitting baby matt!




liam and i (alyssa) were blessed yesterday to watch matt for a few hours! liam had a ball singing to him and feeding him. he played his kazoo to him and sang him the "whole world in His hands" song..and even told him about his baby sister, sydney, who was already in heaven waiting for him to play...it was a sweet time for liam. and a precious time for me to watch him help take care of his baby matt friend....