Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Do you want to be well?

When we dedicated Samuel at our church on June 21, the message for that day was about being healed.

It was based on John 5 when Jesus asks the invalid, "Do you want to get well?" Our good friend and pastor, Mike, said that he believes that many of us would rather cope with symptoms of our illness/brokenness/addictions rather than do the work it takes to get well.

Did you get that?
Most of us would rather cope with our problems than do the hard work of getting well and being free.

We have so many excuses for why we don't want to get well: It's hard. It's painful. I don't have the money. I don't know how to get better. I don't want to do the work. I don't have anyone to help me.

In Mike's message he references both Ryan and I and the choices we had to make on our journey through infertility and our miscarriages - we could cope with our situation or we could learn from it and choose to be healed from our pain and losses.

This was, by no means, an easy choice for either of us.

If you're interested in listening to the message, you can click here to go to itunes and listen to it for free. Love Like Jesus: Healing, Mill City Church, Michael Binder

This week I will share about the journey I went on last summer to be healed. Not physically - emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I was at risk of drowning in a sea of pain, bitterness and resentment and I had a choice to make about whether or not I wanted to cope or be well.

Today I ask you: Do you want to be well or do you want to cope? Do you want to accept God's invitation for healing?

--

Posted by Stacy, http://www.samuelmay.com/

Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy tears

This morning I contacted an infertility support group whom I get daily e-mail devotionals from to ask about their team of writers. I am so impressed by the quality of their devotionals and was curious about who writes them. I thanked them for their insight and wisdom and let them know that I am continually touched by their words even though I am no longer walking the road of infertility.

I signed my e-mail
"Mother of adopted son and baby girl on the way,"

And as soon as I typed the words, I burst into tears.

Literally, burst into a sobbing mess of tears.

Now I could attribute those tears to a number of things:
1. I'm sick with a cold (again!), therefore not feeling well and emotions are high
2. I'm pregnant so my hormones are crazy
3. I'm tired and when I'm tired I cry easily

But I don't attribute my tears to any of those three things. Because, to be honest, this happens frequently. When I write to someone explaining the story of Samuel or recall the moment Samantha told us we could adopt her son or when I think about my current state of parenthood (and our many blessings) it often leads me to tears.

It's like this big jumble of feelings well up and I can't help but cry. It always amazes me too. I'm eating my breakfast, writing an e-mail and the next things I know: can't swallow, big lump in throat, tears.

I wonder for how long this surprising burst of emotions will occur? I hope forever. I don't want this awe and amazement to ever end. Even if it makes me cry.

Posted by Stacy
www.samuelmay.com

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Is this your first child?"

Yesterday I called to register for birthing classes at our hospital. We are doing a Saturday express class....we don't really have the time - or the desire - to commit to 6 weeknight classes (and it's hard to find someone to watch Samuel that many times!).

In the process of registering the gal on the phone asked me, "Is this your first child?"

My response: "My first biological child."

Clearly for the purposes she was asking me, I needed to be clear about my answer.

Her question got me thinking about how I should answer that when other people ask me. Strangers who have seen me pregnant when I have not been with Samuel have asked if this is my first.

Should my response be that "This is my first pregnancy, but not my first child?"

Should I just answer "Yes...or no?"

Should I tell them we adopted last fall and launch into the story?

Or, Ryan's suggestion: "I'm not sure what you're referring to. I'm not pregnant, just haven't lost my baby weight."

It doesn't matter to me one bit whether or not I carried Samuel for nine months.
He is and will always be our first child (and according to Ryan, our favorite!).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Father's Day Photos

Here are a few photos from Father's Day and Samuel's dedication. It was a fantastic service and one of our closest friends Mike did a great job on the dedication. Ryan got to share the story with everyone of how Samuel came into our family. We couldn't have asked for more.

We had Samuel celebration cupcakes after the service and then our family came back to our house for lunch. Samuel received some wonderful gifts and the day was a sweet sweet one for all of us.









































Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Families of Hope

Last night Ryan and I attended a group called Families of Hope that my friend Jeri Anne started.

This group is for couples struggling with infertility, or who have adopted or done foster care (or are interested in doing so).

It seems a bit odd to be attending this group with a bulging belly, but I just love it. I love sitting in a room with other couples who get it. Who understand. Who have been there - or are currently there.

We go around the room and share our stories and our struggles and they almost all start with "We struggled with infertility for X number of years." Some are still struggling even though they have adopted. Some are in the process of adoption. Some are currently doing Foster Care. Some are waiting for God to bring a baby into their home in His timing.

I love to hear the stories, talk with other parents who understand, cheer them on when they get a call from a birth mom or pray for them as they consider a new fertility treatment.

This is a group that I never thought I would be a part of, but I'm so thankful I am. I feel a deep connection with these couples and I learn from them each time we're together.

I don't know that we'll be back until after our baby girl is born (bulging bellies at the infertility support group are not exactly common) but I am thankful that this group exists and that people are willing to get together to share their experiences.

Our friends Keith and Meredith visited last night and shared their story. Theirs is one of infertility, adoption, IVF baby and now foster care in hopes of adopting a boy who has been with them for 16 months. I am in awe of how they have been open to whatever God has called them to. They have said no to nothing and God's hand has clearly been on each child he has brought into their family.

Even though I would have never anticipated being on this journey, I'm so grateful to be a family of hope!

Friday, June 19, 2009

How do you say goodbye?

I just had to do something I've never had to do before.

Ever.

Not once in my life.

I had to call someone and tell them goodbye.

Like forever goodbye. Like you're-going-to-heaven-soon-and-I'll-never-talk-to-you-again goodbye.

My grandma is in hospice care and her body is rapidly shutting down. She's 87 years old. Has 13 children, 50 some grandchildren and plenty of great grandchildren.

I've been avoiding calling her all day because I didn't know what to say. What do you say in your last conversation with someone? How do you find the words? How do you hold it together and not turn into a bumbling mess of tears while you're on the phone?

But I knew I would regret it if I let this opportunity slide.

She's my last grandparent.

Through the tears there is joy because I know when she closes her eyes for the final time, she'll open them in a place that is beyond my comprehension.

I could not fathom the difficulty of the death of a loved one if I didn't think they were going to heaven.

Waiting for her with open arms will be her parents, her husband, her oldest child, and a number of siblings that have passed on before her. I know in heaven those people and relationships are different than they are here on earth....but I can't imagine the anticipation of getting to see those loved ones again.

I still don't have an answer to my question.

Even though I did it.

I made the call.

I talked to her, but I still don't know how to say goodbye.

Samuel's dedication

Sunday we are celebrating Father's Day by dedicating Samuel. We are excited to do this and look forward to our family and friends being there to witness it with us.

We are busy painting, working on some house projects, grocery shopping and getting food ready for Sunday.

Should be a fun and memorable day - more for us than our little guy. I know Ryan is very excited for his first Father's Day with Samuel!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Prayer Works

Yesterday I met a woman named Rhonda. She is a friend of a friend. It was fun to meet her, but it became a very meaningful meeting the moment she told me that she had prayed for me.

She went on to share that my friend had asked for prayer from her MOPS group last fall after Ryan and I miscarried. Rhonda remembers praying for us.

Then she learned about Samuel.

Then she learned about my pregnancy.

And yesterday she got to personally meet Samuel, meet me and see my expanding belly.

She said it was great to meet us since she had prayed for us. But I tell you, the pleasure was ALL mine.

When Ryan and I were in New Jersey we got to meet two of Ryan's aunts friends. They are in a Bible study with his aunt and had spent years praying for our family.

At the wedding they got to meet Samuel, meet Ryan and I, and see my expanding belly.

Again, I know they found it impactful to see us and see the answers to their prayers.

But friends, I cannot tell you what it does to my heart to meet these prayer warriors who did not know me and yet they prayed for me.

I love to meet them all because it provides me the opportunity to say thank you. I love to meet them because it is humbling to know we were covered in prayer. I love to meet them because each time it is a reminder that prayer works. Even when we aren't the ones praying, prayer works. Even when we don't know those we are praying for, prayer works.

Not always the way we think or want it to work. But it works.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A little boy

"A little boy is the only thing God can use to make a man."

Just thinking how thankful I am for my little boy today and praying that he is:

A man of character
A man of integrity
A man who seeks truth
A man of respect
A man after God's own heart
A man who loves his mama :)
A man of his word
A man of humility
A man of confidence
A man of purpose
A man of influence
A man of courage
A man of optimism

Oh Lord help me be the kind of mama Samuel needs so Ryan and I can raise him to be the man you created him to be. He is just a little boy, but we believe he is marked for greatness and we pray you use him mightily all the days of his life. As we lead and guide Samuel in word and example, cover our mistakes and shortcomings with your abundant grace. Lord mold his mind with your truth, nurture his body with your love and feed his spirit with your word. May we never take lightly the great responsibility and incredible privilege of raising our little boy to become a man.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Faith is...

I recently read a number of quotes on faith. Some were similar to these quotes:

Faith is when you close your eyes and open your heart.

Walking by faith means putting one foot in front of the other – with both eyes on God.

And others, were like this one:

Faith is not believing that God can, It is knowing that God will.


I completely disagree with this quote. To me faith is believing that God is able. God is all powerful. God can....if He so chooses.

Faith is not knowing that God will because sometimes God doesn't.

He doesn't heal that child.

He doesn't restore that marriage.

He doesn't allow you to conceive.

He doesn't get you the job you wanted.

He doesn't bring you the love of your life.

He doesn't provide the money to pay the bills.

He doesn't bring your waiting to an end.

He just doesn't.

But He could.

If He chooses to.

The best definition of faith is found in Hebrews: Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

We don't see faith. But faith gives us Hope that there is a God who is able. In fact, He is more than able.

And I think believing that we serve a living God who is able is what faith is all about.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rub-a-dub-dub

6:50 p.m. finished bath
7:30 p.m. uploaded pics
8:45 p.m. complete page and send to printer

Can't wait to hang it in our bathroom
!

Monday, June 8, 2009

2/3 down, 1/3 to go

Today marks the first day of my third trimester. I haven't written much about my pregnancy....not because it isn't miraculous and amazing, but because it's often hard to believe I'm pregnant with a healthy baby and I have so many things on my heart to write about. And I'm just not into writing daily updates on how my body is changing :)

But this pregnancy and this baby are becoming more and more of a reality every day as I grow larger and as she moves more frequently. I have had a very healthy and easy pregnancy thus far, and for that I am very grateful. Samuel keeps me on the go these days, so if I was having a difficult pregnancy, things around the May household would be quite different.

Here's a 'belly picture' because I know there are some of you wanting to see what I look like prego. This was taken after we went to a wedding on May 29.























It's wonderful and strange to be pregnant - all at the same time. I try to soak it in because it will be over before I know it (91 days until my due date my pregnancy e-mail told me today!).

I'm scared about having two little ones 11 months apart.

I'm excited to meet our little girl.

I'm in awe of how God continues to shape and grow our family.

I'm thankful for a husband who helps me out at home and plays with Samuel much better than I do.

I take comfort in the fact that God is knitting this little one together and it's completely out of my control (except for the amount of ice cream I consume...I must take responsibility for that).

I'm full of emotions and feelings and every day they are different. But here I am. 33 years old. 27 weeks pregnant. Mother to an 8-month old. Married to my best friend. Thankful for each day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Samuel on the move!

Emily and Joe adoption update

In case you were wondering, sweet baby Samuel is now officially Emily and Joe's son. The consent for adoption papers were signed a few weeks ago and then finalized last Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Praise the Lord!

Thank you for your prayers for them on this journey. The wait was long, but so worth it. We are celebrating with our friends and so excited that they too will have a Samuel.

As Emily included in her last e-mail to me: "...Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Thank you Jesus that morning has come for our friends.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Blessed by a shoe


For the last three to four days I have walked around this shoe in my hallway. It landed there this past weekend and I haven't moved it. I wouldn't move it. Not until I took a picture of it.

It's a white canvas shoe from Old Navy. It's tiny. So tiny. And it's absolutely precious.

I'm not sure why I've insisted on leaving it exactly where it landed in the hallway, but I have.

I see it laying there and I find myself in awe that there are little shoes in my home. Even 8 months later, I'm still in awe.

I see it laying there and it represents so much that it nearly brings me to tears....or to my knees in gratitude.

I see it laying there and my heart sores because I know the little boy it belongs to: my nephew Aaron and I love him desperately.

I see it laying there and I smile because this shoe looks so adorable on Samuel's little foot.

I see it laying there and I know that all too soon it won't fit. All too soon there will be a bigger shoe for a bigger foot for a bigger boy.

But not today. Today I see a tiny white Old Navy canvas shoe in my hallway. And I leave it right where it sits as a daily reminder of how blessed I am.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I Will Rise

I can't quit listening to the song "I Will Rise" by Chris Tomlin. It's on his latest album, Hello Love. Here's what Chris has to say about it:

"I Will Rise is special in that Louie Giglio challenged me to write a song that people can sing in the midst of grief, standing at one of the hardest places in their life. A song of worship people can sing at funerals of those who believe, " Tomlin continues, "We wanted a song that gives hope in the midst of the grave, of death. Through Jesus, the grave is overwhelmed and death doesn't have any more power. It hurts, but in the end, there's victory for those who are in Christ."

I'm thinking about my friend A who lost her dear grandma this past month. A's young daughter told me Saturday that her great-grandma is now in heaven and she doesn't even need a walker anymore. Precious! And I'm thinking about my friends who recently lost little ones in their womb. One day we will ALL rise together....one day we will see our loved ones again....and there will be no more sorrow, no more pain. We are so fortunate to be able to claim the truth that even in the midst of our hurting, there is victory and the grave is overcome. Amen!