Thursday, December 8, 2011

{guest post: a & h wood}

when i found out i was pregnant with twins early last year, i was amazed at the horrible and sadly nieve comments of those around me. i often heard, "better you than me!" or "wow, your life will never be the same!" or "you're going to be HUUUUGE!".... i was horrified! just a month before i found out i was carrying my beautiful baby boys, i was told by my Dr. that i may have a very difficult time getting pregnant. 

this was some of the most devastating news i have ever gotten. i was the little girl who always had a baby in my arms, and if no real live one was to be found, my baby doll Joanna had to do. when asked what i wanted to be when i grew up i'd respond, {after several times of saying "a daddy", i learned that only boys became daddies. :} "a mommy. with 99 kids." {for you see, i'd decided maybe 100 was a bit much. but surely i could handle 99. because of course i'd grow up and marry superman! and guess what, i did! :} the only dream i have ever had for my life was to be surrounded by my husband and our millions of kids.

so you can imagine that this possible reality was tough to swallow. i will never forget the feeling of overwhelming, ecstatic, glorious, amazing JOY when i found out that my husband and i were expecting.

now multiply that by infinity, and you get the idea of my sheer intoxicated joy when i looked up at that ultrasound monitor after the midwife gasped in disbelief, and then my eyes fixated on the TWO vibrant red crazy flashes of light that were my sons' 8 week old heartbeats!!!! 

i've said so many times that i wish i could've bottled up those emotions and could pull them out and relive them again and again. : }

meet my friend Hannah. God's biggest source of inspiration and challenge to me during my pregnancy. we talked occasionally during the trials God was allowing in her life, with the miscarriage of her first born son, John, and then following, another precious Baby. i cannot tell you how many times her challenging words would ring through my mind amidst the discomfort of carrying twins, "Laurel, instead of thinking about what is happening to your body, and how it will never look the same, focus on the miraculously AMAZING giftS God has chosen to bless you with! with every uncomfortable hiccup, crazy kick, leaping jump...praise God for the lives He is choosing to bless your life with...!" she challenged me by reminding me that we never know when the Lord may call our babies {or ourselves!} home, and that every day should be a choice to rejoice in the 2 lives God was creating in my womb.

on those days when i was sick of the monotony and seemingly unending frustrations of bedrest, exhausted beyond belief just by getting out of bed to get a cup of water, and then having to use the loo 8 thousand times following said cup of water, God would encourage my weary self with Hannah and Andrew's incredible testimony of faith and perseverance through the tragedy of losing their first 2 children.  

grab a box of tissue, and allow yourself to be deeply challenged. read through the end. God has recently brought a DARLING and miraculous little Bundle of Joy into my sweet friend's arms...

"Baby John"

February 14th, 2010 
To those who care, 
Thank you. We were expecting to announce the birth of our first child 
"John" Andrew Wood II sometime around February 23rd (his due date, the 
day before my birthday). As is a common theme in my life, God had a 
different plan. After not feeling John move for several hours on 
Saturday (the 13th), we rushed to the hospital. No heartbeat was 
found and it became quite clear that he had died that afternoon. A 
C-Section was done and the doctor could not find out what had caused 
his death. His cord was fine, the placenta was fine, and most of the 
pregnancy had been completely trouble free. Hannah and I were 
obviously crushed, and I was a wreck when the nurse brought baby John 
in for us to see and hold. The thing I had looked forward to the most 
was to see his face and now it was the thing that horrified me most. 
He looked so much like me. I couldn't help but think, "why him and 
not me?" As Hannah and I are grieving, praying, and reading Scripture 
together here in the hospital we think about several things. "For 
from Him, through Him, and to Him are ALL THINGS, to Him be the glory 
forever, Amen" (Ro 11:36). You may hate to hear this, but God caused 
this event for His glory. He does all things perfectly. He is the 
sovereign potter, who has every right over the clay to do with it what 
He wants. As we saw this precious little child who seemingly had 
nothing wrong with him but a sin nature, we realized that God created 
him, formed him, and took him for His own good pleasure (Ep 1:11). 
Did we have any rights to this child? Absolutely not. How dare we 
blame God with any injustice. Everything we have is a gift. What do 
we have that He did not give us? Another realization we have to 
remind ourselves regularly is that IF you are a genuine Christian, you 
cannot lose. EVERYTHING that happens in your life, including your own 
sin, God works together for your good (Ro 8:28). We have been so 
encouraged by the examples of those in Scripture and friends of ours 
who have suffered incomparably more than we have. Their testimonies 
reveal a firm foundation built on Christ the solid rock. IF you know 
God, He will make you stand when trials come. If you don't know Him 
or don't believe He exists, beware, His flaming wrath is fierce and 
you will be consumed. Repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ (Mk 1:15). If your objection to God is something along the 
lines of: "How could a loving God do bad things to people?" You 
probably don't know His love and probably don't know people very well 
either. If you spend time reading the Bible from Genesis to 
Revelation you'll find the God who is love within Himself - Father, 
Son, and Spirit, the God who loves to save sinners like you and me, 
but also the God who takes life and destroys those who reject Him 
(read Gn, Ex, Lev, Nu, Dt, Josh, Judg... etc.). The question is, will 
you bow before Him now willingly, calling Him Master and yourself 
servant, or will your knee caps be crushed and your mouth be forced to 
confess on the day of judgment, "Jesus Christ is Lord!"? Those of you 
who are Christians, thank you so much for your prayers and 
encouragement. We love you! We grieve, but not as those who don't 
have hope. Those who don't know Him and are not known by Him, we have 
much more concern for your soul than you could possibly have for us in 
this loss. Stop suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. Start 
renouncing your sin, taking up your cross and following Jesus. 
Through this experience, seeing our son's face, God has given us a 
greater understanding of how precious children are and He has given us 
a greater desire to have many children of our own. We are seeing more 
clearly that life is a vapor and we must cherish every moment. We are 
not guaranteed the next one, here on earth with those we love. For 
our brothers and sisters, here are some specific areas in which you 
can pray for us: Our testimony here at the hospital - joy in the midst 
of suffering, proclaiming Christ through our pain. That we wouldn't 
listen to the lies of the enemy and feel false guilt over John's 
death. That we would rely on God's strength through the little things 
- the nursery set up at home, car seat in our car, etc. Pray for 
Hannah's physical healing from the C-Section. The journey ahead will 
difficult. Please pray for our families as well. 
Andrew and Hannah
"Our Dear Baby John" poem
Our Dear Baby John, 

He took delight in forming, 
In wonderfully weaving you, 
His hands touching each part, 
Knitting you in my womb. 
With joy we watched you grow, 
Praising our gracious Lord. 
We knew what a gift you were, 
And our hearts praised Him even more. 
His eyes were upon every detail, 
Each tiny finger, each toe. 
He gave you the eyes of your daddy, 
Your momma’s mouth and nose. 
It pleased Him to make your heart 
Beat strong and caused you to move. 
At times you seemed to leap with joy 
And we prayed you were praising Him too. 
Our earnest prayer had been 
More than health or ease of days, 
For your soul to be secure 
Through a saving, miraculous faith. 
The Lord, as He delighted to form you, 
Also was pleased to take 
You son, His own creation 
For He’d already planned your days. 
His Word says He wrote them down 
In His book before any were. 
So your life had been completed 
Just hours before your birth. 
Our tears, though kept in His bottle, 
Are too numerous to count for man 
As we grieve – oh how we miss you! 
Lifting to God our empty hands. 
But we’re seeing how God has answered 
The many prayers we raised 
When we asked Him to take and use you 
For the glory of His great name. 
For He’s chosen to take your life, 
Though short like the grass of the field, 
And use it to touch His people 
Bringing about His eternal yield. 
So though weeping, He’ll lift our face up 
To rejoice and praise His name. 
We will trust in His sovereign will 
For He gives and takes away. 
This was written as John's birthday came around in 2011:
A Valentine from my Heavenly Father
Valentine’s Day – this day has always been one of the few holidays that held special meaning to me, a day that was so near to my heart. Growing up in a home of 4 girls and one little boy, my dad always tried to make this day set apart to show his daughters how much we mean to him. My mom would make an extraordinary dinner and we girls would dress up in preparation for an evening with our man, the man who loved us and cared for us. When the announcement was made that “dinner was served,” one by one from oldest to youngest, we daughters would step into the living room to be escorted by our daddy to a beautifully dressed table. We were seated and served with sweet care through a lovingly prepared and always delicious meal. Daddy would give each of us a card, often handmade, telling us of how he loved us and desired that we serve our heavenly Father. He would encourage us in the growth he’d seen in our lives over the past year and lovingly reassure us to wait for the man that the Lord had prepared for us to one day marry. These celebrations were such a gift from my parents.
As time passed, I understood more and more what a blessing it is to have a father who loves and protected me. I also began to focus on the sweetness of the love of the Lord for me, His daughter. I would often send out letters to my friends encouraging them to delight in the love of the Lord and to not become distracted by our culture’s view of love. One Valentine’s Day I sent out this letter:

Dear sweet friends, my dear sisters,
How great is our Savior’s love for us! Today I have been simply overflowing with gratefulness to our Lord for His goodness and love for me, and how He demonstrates it through my family and friends.
Jer. 33:3
'The Lord appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’ '
The Lord’s love for us is EVERLASTING!! I hope this truth thrills your heart as it does mine.
Dear ones, in His presence is fullness of Joy (Ps. 16:11). He has put gladness in my heart, and His lovingkindness is ever before my eyes (Ps. 4:7, 26:3).
Rejoice today in the great, unfathomable love of your Savior and fall ever more deeply in love with Him.
Today as I was reflecting on our Lord’s love, the following poem formed in my mind. I hope this encourages you into a greater love for your Lord.
I love you!

'My Savior’s Love for Me'
A love beyond description,
Unchanging, ever true,
Which covers my transgressions,
My heart to renew.
Given in abundance
Unworthy though I be,
Poured on the undeserving,
My Savior’s love for me.
Extravagantly pure,
The hopeless it has sought,
Causing me to understand
What far exceeds the thought.
And yet, this matchless love
Which sets the captive free,
Is high, mere words excelling,
My Savior’s love for me.
My only sustenance,
The rejoicing of my soul,
Exquisite, true delight
Through it I am made whole.
Surpassing lovingkindness,
In this I am complete,
Each longing satisfying,
My Savior’s love for me.

As last Valentine’s Day came, I was preparing to celebrate the love of the Lord and the love He gives me through others. Little did I know that my Father had planned His own celebration – the birthday of my first son, John Andrew. And little did I know that this birthday was purposed by Him to draw my heart ever more toward His love and cause me to realize that my Father can give nothing but good gifts to His children, even when they are wrapped in something we don’t expect.
Baby John had died… We delivered a beautiful little boy on February 14, 2010, and unless one knew that his life was no longer in his tender little body, one would think him to be sleeping, he was so beautiful. I held the body of my child, the child we loved more than we thought possible… tears rolled down the face of my husband and mine as I held each precious hand and foot, counting fingers and toes, looking at his sweet face and soft, dark hair.  He was our son – our precious little boy so long prayed for and desired. And he was gone. As quickly as a vapor, his 37 week life on earth was over. And our hearts broke. We cried out to God for mercy to bear this grief and He answered with sweet hope and peace.
As Valentine’s Day of 2011 fast approaches, I am seeing once again the lovingkindness of the Lord. My Father did give me a precious gift last year in order to reassure me of His love and desire for me to always follow Him. “So,” you may ask. “Are you saying that God’s taking of John was a gift of love to you?” Yes. Yes I am. The Lord had very tenderly purposed this gift for me, and I don’t doubt that Jesus felt sorrow for us as it was prepared. Sometimes the most loving thing that can be done will bring about an enormous amount of grief before the joy comes. But the Lord was not cruel when He gave us this package. He did not give us anything that His strength would not sustain or His graces suffice. He did not give us more than we could bear through Him. Baby John was a means through which the Lord grew me in powerful ways. God chose to use my son to teach me more of His glorious might and power in all things, to teach me to surrender to His sovereignty, and to know what it is to rejoice through intense sorrow. My Father’s love for me has never been more real than it has been in this last year.  I know His plans for me are good and that, as a loving Father, He will do what it takes to refine me more into the image of His Son. He does all things for His glory and for the good of all His children.
So, even through sorrow, I will agree with the Psalmist when he writes, “As for God, His way is perfect…”

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:19-23


"Baby Wood"

September 1, 2010
Dear Family and Friends,
The Lord has again chosen to bring about more of our refining into the likeness of Christ through affliction. We found out to our joy a few weeks ago that the Lord had blessed us with another child. But due to the fact that Hannah's HCG levels were not what they should have been, there was concern that the baby was not doing well. Over the course of a week and a half, Hannah's HCG levels went no higher than 83 - a live baby should have given Hannah levels as high as 830. It became clear through an ultrasound that there was not visible development of the baby and no heartbeat was ever detected. Our doctor who loves the Lord and is very cautious concerning the lives of children became highly alarmed that Hannah had an ectopic pregnancy and that the baby had died soon after conception. His concern was that the baby had implanted in the fallopian tube and that the growing tumor-like, empty placenta would burst the tube and cause Hannah to hemorrhage. Another Christian OB/GYN from Texas affirmed all of these conclusions. Just last night our doctor had to do an emergency surgery on a woman who had an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured her fallopian tube. We were advised for Hannah to take a medication that would protect her since the baby had already died. Agreement to this came through much prayer, counsel, and tears. On top of this, the Lord had impressed on Hannah's heart during a Bible study on Friday that we would not get to keep this baby. The verses that were being discussed were these:
"Satisfy us early with Your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as You have afflicted us, and for as many days as we have seen evil." Psalm 90:14-15
"A voice said, 'Cry!' And I said, 'What shall I cry?' All flesh is as grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers and the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord will stand forever." Isaiah 40:6-7
We are so thankful that the Lord's Words will forever stand. He has given us peace and joy in the midst of our sorrow.
Other Scriptures that we are meditating on are these:
"Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I do it, for how should My name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another." Is. 48:10-11
"Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O Israel; Is My way not just? Is it not you ways that are not just?" Ezekiel 18:25
"Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and the One who formed you, 'Ask of me the things to come; will you command Me concerning my children and the work of My hands?' " Is. 45:11
"For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or brought to mind. But be glad and rejoice in what I create... No more shall be heard in Jerusalem the sound of weeping or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant  who lives but a few days..." Is. 65:17-18
We know that the Lord will turn ashes into beauty and sorrow into joy. We trust Him completely, knowing that all things are for our good (Romans 8:28) and His glory (Romans 11:36). We can't lose! We are so thankful for this opportunity to know the Lord in a deeper way and experience the sufficiency of His grace and His perfect strength.
Thank you for your prayers and love.
Love, Hannah and Andrew
Isaiah 40:6-18 poem
All flesh is as grass 
As a flower that passes away
Its beauty adorns 
The field where it's formed for a day
Gentle rains come
And the warm sun causes growth
But after short days
Its beauty will fade as wind blows
It's the breath of the Lord
On the strong and the weak
Breathing over His work
For their time is complete
His ways are all just
There is no fault with Him
Even when His decrees 
Blow out as the wind on the field
Who has measured the seas
Walked in the great deep but the Lord?
What nation can stand 
Against His command or His sword?
Who will counsel Him
Teaching Him to understand what is just?
We must trust He's ordained
Even the flower that fades for we are dust.
It's the breath of the Lord
On the strong and the weak
Breathing over His work
For their time is complete
His ways are all just
There is no fault with Him
Even when His decrees 
Blow out as the wind on the field

"Baby Titus"

How full of rejoicing we are in the gift of this new son. He was born on August 24. Our God is oh so good - and the trials have caused us to delight to the fullest in Titus Daniel. His name means "Honorable" and "God is my judge." We pray that as he grows and learns of Christ, that his life will be one that honors the Lord and thus honors his parents and that he always remembers that he is accountable to God.
1 Samuel 1 -
"I am the woman who stood here beside you, praying to the LORD.

27 "For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me my petition which I asked of Him.
28 "So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD."


Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!!


thank you, W family for sharing these pictures and your story! rejoicing with you!

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