Eleven Years: Lesson #6 – My Husband is Amazing!

Eleven Years: Lesson #6 – My Husband is Amazing!

Lesson #6:  My Husband is AMAZING!!!DSCN1548

When I was a twenty-year younger version of myself, I made a list of qualities I would like in a potential husband.

Yes, I included eye color (blue/green…I had always wanted blue/green eyes…I even tried the contacts, but there is no covering up these brown peepers).

I wished for a man who could play the guitar and lead worship.

There were other characteristics I put on my list and then I asked the Lord to provide a man who would talk to my dad first and not just want to date for the heck of dating…but would want to date because he felt we were meant to be together.

I basically gave God a list of what I wanted in a husband and wished Him luck in delivering such a specimen.

And then accepted the fact that I would be single for all my days and decided to become a youth minister.

When Dustin went to talk to my dad (unbeknownst to me) a few years later, I was flabbergasted.  And while I could tell you stories of how I avoided him for a long time and told him I didn’t have a peace about telling him to jump in a lake and I wouldn’t promise marriage, but if that did work out, we would have Santa Claus for our children…I won’t bore you with those details.

That isn’t the point of this blog post.

A girl in a Bible study I was leading at the time reminded me of my list of qualities after Dustin came to my dad and then to me.  I was overwhelmed with the possibility that this guy might be the one for me.

Might be…key words.  It took me a while to warm up to Dustin.
*Sigh*

So long story short, I married a greenish/blueish eyed, worship leader, who not only plays the guitar, but plays every instrument (and all without reading music…it is so amazing/frustrating) and has dark hair…though it is graying (I LOVE IT!).

Just to be clear, I love gray hair on him.  Not me.

Above, Dustin’s physical qualities, I knew when we married that he had a solid foundation.  Like his life was built upon a rock.  The rock of Christ and a family who is a rock.  He really amazed me with his knowledge and his heart for the Lord.

Fast forward a few years and a few lessons in trusting my husband later, our son died.  And all of a sudden, I was incapable of doing anything.

And in my weakness, this man that I had married, showed up and cared for me and our daughter and made decisions that I never wanted him to have to make.

While he is typically a quiet person, he knows what to say and when to say it.  And I thank the Lord today that he married me almost fifteen years ago.  The Lord knew that we would compliment each other.  That we would be able to be strength for the other when we each felt weak.

I praise the Lord that Dustin is who he is.  That he is an amazing leader in our home and a thoughtful protector.

The Lord brought us together and the Lord continues to help us to grow closer to each other and to Himself.  And we both praise Him for it all.

“Praise the Lord, O my soul!  I will praise the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praises to my  God while I have my being.”  Psalm 146:1

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11 Years: Lesson #4

11 Years: Lesson #4

After our 20-week ultrasound that confirms Daniel’s gender, Dustin had to have a serious talk with me.  He sat me down and told me this:

“You have to teach Daniel to call his boy parts by the right name.”

I just looked in horror as he explained that it was important that he knew all of his male parts’ correct names.  

And since he would be at work during the business days, I needed to reinforce this.   No calling anything a “weenie.”

No, sir.   We at the Dustin Petrey household were going to use the “P” word.  

And clearly I still have issues with using that word.  

I don’t apologize.    

Anyway, after Daniel died, I remember crying out to the Lord, ” I would have taught him that it was a penis!”   

I just wanted my baby!   

In subsequent years, when folks would have baby boys, I would be happy for them from afar.   I didn’t want to hold these boys until they were older and did not resemble a baby…because it hurt too much to hold a baby and a boy.   

Now I am okay with baby boys, though I might tear up a smidge.  And honestly, God has brought a few little fellows into my life who I love with all my heart.   Here are two of them:

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I never held these guys when they were in the hospital, but they come visit me quite often nowadays and bring with them the most wonderful of times.  And I am so grateful that they are my nephews and that they remind me often that they too wish that Daniel was here on earth so they could play with him.   

Lesson #4:  Boys (and their anatomy) are okay.   

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  Psalm 127:3

11 Years: Lesson #1

11 Years: Lesson #1

Today marks the eleventh anniversary of the day when sweet Daniel was lifted from my womb into a world full of medical providers who would monitor him closely for the 36 hours he lived on earth.

Eleven years ago, January 26th was on a Friday.  And today, being a Friday seems hard to walk through my normal activities without remembering exactly where I was and who was with me on that day.   ELEVEN YEARS AGO!

Here is a picture of me about this same time (3pm on that Friday):

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The first time I saw and touched Daniel.

While time has/does heal all wounds, there are some scars that you never can forget the story to.  I am not the same person that I was eleven years and one day ago.  And praise God that I have grown closer to Him and understand more fully His love and grace today than my 27 year-old self ever did.

Yes, I just told you my age.

And even though I have been an absent blogger for, oh say, the last three months, I want to share eleven things that I have learned in the last eleven years thanks to the heartache of my son’s home being in heaven and thanks to a Heavenly Father who never gave up on me or my emotions or my broken heart.

So for those of you who are subscribed to this blog, you will get a notification for the next ten days because here is number one:

Lesson #1: Life is a gift.

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B & D

B & D

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We have this little friend who I will call “B.”  He comes and hangs out with us two days a week or so.  He has since he was eight months old.  Now he will tell you he is a BIG boy at his four years of age.

And this little guy is awesome!  His favorite thing to do as of late is to help me with everything.

A few days ago “everything” include dusting with sock puppets and wrapping birthday presents and making sure the gift had lots of tissue “hair.”  (Isn’t that what everyone calls the extra tissue paper we feel obligated to put atop each gift bag?  If it has a name and you know it, let me know in the comments below.)

So in our cleaning with sock puppets (mine ate more dust than his), he came across a round box.  And being the fabulous little gent that he is, he asked if he could open the box before he removed the lid.

I gave him permission and watched him open Daniel’s box. It was given to us at the hospital when Daniel died.  In it I have put things that remind me of him over the years.

Blue knitted caps that were given to us.

Blue and white stones used in a flower arrangement at his funeral.

An ultrasound picture.

B was thoroughly confused when I told him that the ultrasound was a picture of my baby Daniel in my belly.

Lets be completely honest:  ultrasound pictures are not the clearest.  I remember thinking one of my children looked like a primitive dinosaur at one ultrasound…

Anyway, I could tell that B was a little confused and he always desires to understand everything in the world around him.

So I offered to show him Daniel’s baby book.  B absorbed every picture into his brain as I explained that Daniels’s body could not survive here on earth and he had to go to heaven to be healed.  And I reminded him that we would see Daniel in heaven one day!

But B kept looking at the ultrasound pictures asking if this was an eye and that a foot.

Then he looked at me with all the honesty of a little fellow trying to figure out this great big world around him and said, “When I was a baby, I was in….” and he looked like he could not find the words to articulate what he wanted to say.  He looked at me a few minutes longer and I realized he could not remember her name.  I said his birth mother’s name out loud.

He said, “Yes, I grew in her tummy.”

And I realized that there are two little boys in my life who live apart from their birth moms.

Daniel lives in heaven with Jesus.  And B lives with his aunt who is all he has ever known as a mother.

And in both cases it is good.  God’s plans don’t always make sense to us here on earth but we can trust that He is always at work and we are never alone on our journey.

I praise the Lord for providing shelter and protection to my little buddies B & D!

The Lord is the strength of his people;
    he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
    Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:8-9

 

I Done Went There

I Done Went There

I have thought and thought how to tell you this…and this title kept coming to mind.

I know it is grammatically incorrect.

I know the title is painful to read…but it just makes me laugh and smile and see the brighter side of things…now that I am on this side of things.  Let me explain where I went recently.

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(Ha!  It wasn’t anywhere like this.)

Almost two weeks ago my middle daughter began complaining of neck pain.  I felt of her neck after more complaints than normal and felt that her lymph nodes were swollen behind one ear.  Dustin wasn’t available that night, so I googled swollen lymph nodes and was relieved to understand that this was a good sign…a sign of the body fighting off some sickness.

So I put on my game face and started giving more fluids than normal and other natural remedies for sicknesses.

Her neck pain got worse so I took her to see my ex-roommate, now Physician’s Assistant, friend. (God bless her especially after all the text message exchanges we had last week!)   She administered a strep test (which was negative) and said the lymph nodes were doing their job and we just needed to give it time.

Oh, time…I love you so much.

By Thursday night, these nodes were still super swollen (and painful) and a low grade fever began.  I am typically not “that parent” who runs to the pediatricians office, but this was day four of my daughter being in constant pain and now she had a fever, I honestly thought maybe we had a negative on the strep test and we could get an antibiotic and all would be well in the world.

Hallelujah and Amen.

And Dustin even offered to take her to the Pediatrician’s office…so bless his heart, he went and sat among all the sick people and all their germs and their germs’ germs.

And he held our little gal’s hand while she had another strep test and a blood test for mono.  He gives the girls strength in situations that involve needles.  I just tend to be extremely quiet and sweaty which does not yield any assistance from Mommy when needles are around.  I just can’t.

I am sweating now just thinking of the needles.

Anyway, all tests were negative and again we were told there are SO MANY viruses that look like mono and act like it…give it a few more days.

So long story short…we ended up having 72+ hours of me administering ibuprofen or tylenol every three hours around the clock to keep her temperature between 101 and 102 (with medicine).  She could not eat ANYTHING for almost that entire time because of her swollen throat (you almost could not see her hangy down thing in the back of her throat…the uvula?).

And one steroid shot on Wednesday afternoon, made the world a better place.  By Thursday morning, we had no fever and our appetite began to come back.
And today when she requested Bojangles for lunch, I did not think twice about its fat or grease content.  If she wanted to eat it, I would oblige.

But here’s where I went.  Until we had this steroid shot, I would look at her suffering, unable to turn her neck, crying from the pain in her throat, trying to sleep but burning with fever and think, “Oh God, please don’t take another child from me!  I cannot lose another child.  I just can’t.”

That’s where I went.

I remembered those feelings of handing my deceased child to the doctors.  Of never seeing a chest rise and fall again.   Of coming home empty-handed and staring out the window in stunned thoughtlessness.

And I let fear take me over.

And I was scared.  Scared for her life and scared for mine without her.

I realize that I was tired and I had never experienced such sickness for myself or any of our children before this.  And I know that some people pull out the “OVERREACTING” card on me.

But to me, it is real.  Loss is a real thing.  And I can relive it very easily even ten years later.

It happens when I hear of someone else losing a baby or a child.  I am so overwhelmed with sadness and brokenhearted that I can hardly function.

And evidently it happens when I am faced with extreme sickness in my own family.  Sigh.

Just for the record, I have learned that when I recognize myself “going there”with my thoughts, I try to take them captive.  Using Philippians 4:8, I can ask myself, “What is true?”  (In this case, my daughter was sick, doctors were not concerned and she would more than likely make a full recovery – even google told me so!)  “What is right?”  And so forth and so on.  ( This is wonderful advice I got from Elizabeth George’s book, Loving God with All Your Mind.)  

Then I try to find verses to cling to in the current situation.

I hope by sharing this, you too, will realize when your mind starts taking you “there.”  Be careful of “What if” thinking and to focus on what is true…and trust the One who is carrying you each step of the way.  And praise Him even in life’s storms.

” Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

“Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
    Be their shepherd and carry them forever.” Psalm 28:9

 

October 15th

October 15th

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in the United States.  It is a day for parents to remember the child/children who they hoped would be here on earth, but whose home is heaven.

This month is also recognized as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness” month.  As such, I have gotten a new opportunity to share at the local library.  In doing some research for my class and for this month, I have found the following memes.  While I cannot say that I agree with everything the groups who have posted these stand for, I found these memes to touch a special place in my heart.

 

Then I came across this poem that touched my heart:

“Some would say I didn’t even know you, but I carried you, felt you grow, longed for the day we’d meet, dreamed of your future.  Not only did I know you, I fell in love with you.” (From Mommies with Angel Babies)

So on this October 15th, I want to encourage you, that if you have had a loss, you are not alone.  And I know that it hurts and that the pain never goes away.  But I hope you find comfort in the assurance that your baby is in heaven.  And I pray that you know that you will one day see him/her/them again.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:10

 

Devotion: Alligators in My Bed

Devotion: Alligators in My Bed

I had all the normal childhood fears.  I was afraid of the dark.  I was afraid of the monsters in my closet and under my bed.  And, of course, I was afraid of the alligators sleeping in my bed.  

You read that correctly.  I feared the presence of alligators between my fitted and flat sheets.  This was an easy fear to overcome.  I simply had my mom pull the top sheet and covers to the very end of my bed each night so that I could confirm no alligators.  

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My alligator fear was so real that when I wanted to get into my parent’s bed in the middle of the night, I asked them to get out of bed, turn on the lights, and pull their covers all the way back so that I could confirm they had no alligators in their bed as well.

Here is where I will confess to you a few things about my childhood that I have realized since becoming a mother myself:


1.  I was a high maintenance child.  (There.  I said it so you would not have to.)

2.    We never lived within five hours of an alligator habitat.  There was zero chance of alligators in our yard much less my upstairs bedroom!  

3.  I was a very high maintenance child.  

I had always thought I was the easy child, but I have learned that I was definitely more difficult than my sister.  This was because once I became convinced of something, I could not drop it.  Just like the idea of an alligator in my bed…no one could reason with me otherwise.

The alligators became a fearful presence in my life , because I was convinced they were a real possibility.  

A few months after Daniel died, I read a scripture about being convinced.  I had read this passage before.  It has always reassured me of God’s presence no matter what.  

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  
Romans 8:35, 38-39

It was true, and  I had known this before Daniel died. But after his death, this verse seemed to ring truer than before.  

Neither Daniel’s death nor my life here on earth could separate me from the love of God.  Nothing – not my grief, not my fears for the future, not anything that had happened or could happen, could separate me from the love of God.  

I want to encourage you not to let anything separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  Seek Him and you will find Him.  Know that His loving arms are just waiting to hold you, hug you, and carry you forever.  

“Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?  
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!  If I made my bed in Sheol, you are there!  
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, your right hand shall hold me.”
Psalm 139:7-10

“The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.  
Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.”  
Psalm 28:8-9

Blog Readers:  Remember, I would love your honest feedback about these devotions.  You can leave a public comment or send me a message privately.  Thanks in advance!