Saturday, December 17, 2011

Source of Strength

The story I’m about to share here is not particularly riveting or exciting, but it is the story of a faithful and loving God who graciously and mercifully kept me near to his heart, in spite of myself.

As an infant up for adoption, God chose for me parents who loved Him and were committed to raising my sister and I to know and love Him as well. We attended church regularly and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at three yrs of age.

As a young child, I had a great desire to share God's love with everyone. I had dreams of one day becoming a missionary and serving God overseas. I had no idea then just how blessed I was to have parents who love the Lord or to have grown up in a church with sound Biblical doctrine. I took so much for granted.

As I grew, I began to flounder, becoming more uncertain about life. Wondering what life would have been like for me had I not been adopted. I eventually rebelled against God and the life my parents wanted for me. My actions and behaviors were far from anything godly. I believe now that my mother's prayers were very likely what caused God to preserve and protect my life the way He did. There is no other explanation for why I have not had to suffer terrible lifelong consequences for the activities I was involved in during this time. Regardless of how far I wandered from God's will, the knowledge of who He was and what He had done for me in sending His Son to die in my place because of the sins I had committed, never left me and were always a present, nagging thought in the back of my mind.

I knew something needed to give; I couldn’t stand the conflict between what I knew God wanted for me and how I was living. I was too scared to let go and venture into a new life with Him on my own though. I tried convincing my friends to believe in God. I thought maybe, if they came on the journey with me, it would be easier.  Sadly nothing about my life at that time could have caused anyone to want to know the God I claimed to know. My heart grieves now at the damage I did to His name.   I finally decided to attend a small Bible school in Montana. I’m not sure what I thought I was getting into but I knew it was where I needed to be.

Oh the poor staff and students there...I made everyone around me quite miserable when I first arrived! The conflict within me only grew as I tried hard to hold onto the life I’d been living while my soul longed to return to a relationship with a Holy God. One day, a conversation with one of the students helped me to see that my belief of God’s existence was not the same as believing IN God and trusting Him as Lord and Savior. I finally realized the only way to end my inner turmoil was to let go of the sin I’d been clinging to and cling instead to God. No one could do this for me or with me; it was a choice that only I could make. The faith of my parents could not sustain me or make the relationship real for me; it had to be my very own.

The years since then have brought me closer and closer to God.  I love Him with all my heart, although I continue to be a work in progress. He has never let go of me and His providential hand in my life is nothing less than miraculous. He truly is my only Source of Strength. My greatest prayer for all who read this blog is that God would be glorified. I want to share with you my failures and God's successes so that you can see His grace at work.  I want more than anything for every single person who reads this to have their own relationship with Him, to know Him as Lord and Savior.  If you are reading this and you do not know him, please don’t let another minute go by without surrendering yourself to him. He loves you beyond measure.

God is a Holy God! His character cannot allow for ANY sin to be in His presence. In order for us to be in a relationship with Him now or in eternity, restitution must be paid for our sin.  He wants a relationship with us so badly that he paid this price Himself.  He gave His only Son, who has eternally existed as God with the Father to pay the price of our sin for us. 

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ
 Jesus our Lord.

2Co 5:21  For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.  

Now that I am a mother, I appreciate even more the depth of this love. I would gladly give my own life for my children and I think with God's help I may even be able to give my own life for a stranger, especially if I knew that stranger would enter eternity without having accepted God’s salvation. However I could never give my child’s life for someone else. God did though! 

Rom 5:7-8  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Please accept Gods gift, it is completely free and the greatest gift you will ever receive!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fear and Faithfulness

I wish I could say that after Amelia's miraculous arrival I stayed in that wonderful place of perfect peace and trust, but sadly that's not the case. The day after her birth, recognizing there may be some health concerns associated with Down Syndrome, I got online to see what I could learn (I don't recommend anyone do this the day after giving birth). As I sat looking at the screen, my baby in my arms, tears streamed down my face and my heart filled with fear. Fear of possibly losing my child, fear of entering a world of conventional medicine in which I have no trust, dealing with health issues I have no prior knowledge of or control over was more than I could fathom. How on earth did God think I could handle this? 

It grieves me that my faith is so small and that I so quickly forget God's miraculous care and faithfulness.  I'm filled to overflowing with gratitude that His love is unconditional.  He knows my weaknesses and He loves me in spite of them. He is always ready to lavish me with Grace. God is teaching  me to live in a place of dependence and it is one of the hardest but most liberating lessons I've had to learn. I pray that someday it will come naturally to me but for now it's a constant falling down and letting Him pick me back up.

We are blessed far beyond words can say that Amelia is amazingly healthy. With the exception of a possible low-frequency hearing loss she is in perfect health. The health care professionals we've seen have been kind, wise, gracious and understanding. Thank you Lord Jesus!!!!

Heb 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 

Nursing Amelia

I have never been one of those women who love nursing, I've always done it only because it's what's best for my babies. However, sweet Amelia Rose has given me a whole new perspective! When she was born it never occurred to me that nursing might ever be a problem. She latched on right away, without too much difficulty, and I felt sure that things were going well. She was such a sleepy little newborn, I did struggle to keep her awake to eat and her suck was gentle (due to the low muscle tone often associated with Down Syndrome). Certainly not the same hoover-like suction that my other babies have had. In spite of this, my milk came in and all seemed to be going well. She lost a bit of weight as all babies do, but gained it back right way.

At two weeks she began to lose weight again. I began pumping and feeding her at least a few of her meals through a bottle hoping that would make it easier for her to get more into her tiny belly before falling back asleep. I thought we were doing OK but when I weighed her again the following week she had lost even more weight. I was scared! All my other babies have been big babies with huge appetites who nursed passionately around the clock.

Not willing to give her a commercial baby formula, I ordered the supplies I needed to make a homemade formula made from wholesome whole food ingredients. I'm so grateful that I knew about this formula before she was born so I could quickly get what I needed for her! I had hoped to only supplement a feeding or two a day with this, but as Amelia has grown, my milk supply has not. I was up to giving her four or five bottles a day and I felt my milk supply decreasing. I decided the best course of action would be to order a Lact-Aid nursing system. Besides wanting her to have more breast milk, I wanted her nursing more in order to work the muscles in her mouth that are so crucial for speech development. My midwife suggested that this may also help my milk supply due to the additional suckling being better stimulation for my milk glands than the pump.  It's going well so far and my milk supply has increased some. I'm hoping that eventually with the help of the Lact-Aid, herbs and homeopathics I may have enough milk to nurse her exclusively. In the mean time I feel very good about the nutrition she is getting from the formula and I'm continuing to do all I can to make my milk as nutrient dense as possible. To do this I am eating a nutrient rich diet of bone broths, organ meats and fermented foods (veggies as well as dairy). I'm taking fermented cod liver oil, probiotics (that are part of the GAPS protocol), a supplement called Krill IQliver pills , and a zinc supplement. I also rub additional fermented cod liver oil on her skin daily so her body can absorb all the Vitamin A and D she needs.

I am infinitely grateful that  in spite of the struggles we've had nursing, Amelia is thriving!! At the time of this writing, by God's grace, Amelia is getting stronger and less "floppy" by the day and is a happy, healthy, radiant, alert, interactive, almost four month old baby.

It's ironic to me that all the supplements I'm taking for Amelia are the very supplements that I myself should be taking for my adrenal health. God knew I would never spend so much money on supplements just for me.  Additionally, the GAPS diet is the ideal diet to address all the health concerns commonly associated  with Down Syndrome. God  is literally using Amelia and I both to keep each other healthy.... Isn't He AMAZING!!

Phi 4:19  And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.