Posts Tagged ‘Stephen’

Taking Refuge in the Gospel

Willcox Baby, Week 16

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” Psalm 13: 5-6

“I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will also rest secure…You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill my with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:9, 10, 11

Stephen and I have been reading the Psalms lately. It has been awhile since I poured over them, and I had forgotten what a balm to the soul they are! If anyone knew suffering and trials, it was David! I love how honestly he relays his struggles, “How long will you forget me, oh God?”, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, “O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger…be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint.”  He grapples with serious, painful situations, but in the end, he always comes back to preaching truth to himself. Even while David may feel abandoned by God, he knows that God has always been faithful in the past. The Psalms always end with truth and rejoicing in God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.

Two major things have weighed heavily on our hearts these past few months.  The intensity, difficulty, and increasing demands of Stephen’s job, and this pregnancy, which seems to be ever hanging in the balance.  While we are grateful for his job, because it brought us to the Quad Cities and First Baptist Church, it is taking its toll on our family. The ever-lengthening hours and physical requirements take everything Stephen has to give, and he has practically nothing left when he gets home.  While we have been crying out to the Lord to provide another job the whole time we have been here, in the last few months, our cries have reached a new intensity as we both have reached our breaking point. Some days it is tempting to wonder if God has indeed forgotten us.

And then there is this little life within me.  It seems every couple of weeks, we are shakily calling the doctor again (it always happens to be after hours, too!) asking what we should do in light of the current situation.  When I get into the ER or the office, the answer is always the same.  They simply do not know what is wrong, if anything is wrong, what to do about it, and if or how this pregnancy will continue.  On our last visit, the doctor’s main concerns were 1)possibility still may miscarry 2)risk of preterm labor.  While it is wonderful to hear a heartbeat every visit, and amazing to see that tiny little body on the ultrasound screen wriggling around inside me, I am always left with the reality that that doesn’t promise anything for the future.

I have good days and bad days. I have days where I feel confident, hopeful, and peaceful, that everything is going to be fine, and I will deliver a healthy, full-term baby.  And I have days where I cannot climb out from under this weight of heaviness over my heart, gnawing at me that I will not get to raise this baby either.

That is why I am grateful for the Psalms! In God’s wisdom, he inspired men like King David and others to detail their heart’s wrestling over similar struggles, and in the end, to point them to God’s faithfulness, his goodness, his sovereignty.  In that is my hope found, and in nothing else.  God has placed us in such a way that we really have nothing to place our hope in, other than him. The doctors are baffled. They have no answers, only more questions. They have no promises that everything will be fine. They can quote statistics and say “You’ve carried the baby this far, hopefully that means something good!”  But that is a false foundation on which to build my hope. If I placed my hope in all of that, I would crumble and fall if that all fell through.

But if I hope in the Gospel, Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf, in God’s love for me, in his faithfulness and control over all things, I can rest securely that his will will be done, and he will be with us through it all, whether painful or joyful.  And I can trust that he is working all things together not only for my good, but for his glory.

“I have set the Lord always before me…I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8


Where Is My Hope?

“The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:14

Pregnancy #2 has been very different from pregnancy #1 thus far.  One of the most prominent differences is my trembling heart.  With Jeshuah, as soon as I was pregnant, I knew I was going to hold him in my arms and floated through pregnancy with complete confidence that he would be born healthy.  Those first weeks of pregnancy were filled with anticipation and excitement (and major morning sickness!).  I never once thought we may not hear a heartbeat at our 10 week appointment.  I didn’t wonder what we might find out at the ultrasound–other than the gender! I wasn’t concerned about his birth or complications we may face after his birth.  I had an overwhelming sense of peace throughout the whole thing.

This time has been very different.   Maybe it is because of so much loss in my family so recently.  I am very aware of the negative possibilities this time–they seem very real to me.  Maybe it is because, now that I know what motherhood is like, I am preemptively worrying over the things I am now aware could be a concern.  Maybe it is because I have felt so great this pregnancy and was instantly so sick with Jeshuah.  And so many people say it’s a good “sign” to be sick these first weeks. Each day, I wake wondering if I might lose the baby today. So when I started experiencing some bleeding last week, my heart sunk and I thought, “This is it; I might be losing the baby.”

The doctor ordered some bloodwork to check my beta count yesterday and then again tomorrow.  She said if this is a “healthy pregnancy,” those numbers should double.  So the next couple of days we are waiting for a phone call—and that phone call will really give us a very good idea of whether I will carry this baby to term or not. I wasn’t expecting to have that knowledge for a few more weeks, and it is rather unsettling to know that we could soon have an idea of whether I may miscarry this baby or not.

It’s true. I do not have the same calm, peaceful, confident feeling that I will hold this baby in my arms.  I am battling a barrage of “what ifs” every day.  I feel an awareness of the reality that things could not progress the way we would hope, and yet that anxiety is accompanied by a quiet, supernatural calm at the same time. It is rather difficult to explain, I guess, but I think it is just an awareness that, no matter what happens, God is good.  I know grief could lie ahead of us in this, but life is full of grief, and I know we will experience the consequence of a fallen, sinful world for our whole lives here, however that may manifest itself.

But that doesn’t change God’s character.  No matter what circumstances he brings into our lives, he is good. He does all things well.  He does all for his glory, and that is my heart’s desire.  In the words of that wonderful ancient hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”  Those beta results do not equal my hope or my despair.  I dare not look to Thursday’s phone call and hope in a positive answer.  If the answer is not good, does that change who God is and who I am in him? No! And if I put my hope in the ideal that this will be a “healthy pregnancy,” where does that leave me if something still goes wrong? If our baby is born and we encounter problems, where does that leave our hope? If Jeshuah doesn’t turn out to be “normal” and “healthy,” as we are encouraged to believe, do our lives fall apart? I pray not, because I pray that our hope is not in the outcome of these circumstances but in Christ alone.

Last night, as we were getting ready to pray before bed, Stephen said “God has created our little one, and he created her specifically for his glory.” As he said that, an amazement washed over me as I envisioned God shaping and molding, knitting together our little “lentil” (as she is currently sized!) and placing her inside of me to grow.  But even as he did these things, he has a purpose for her life—even if it ends this week, next month, or next year. God created her for his purposes for his glory.  What a beautiful, comforting, awe-inspiring truth!

Now that I can hope in! That I can rejoice in, no matter the circumstance. That God is good and his will will be done to accomplish his glory.  This is the prayer of my heart. May God’s grace bring it about.

Recent Pictures

While I have been taking videos and pictures like a madwoman, I rarely get around to posting them on this blog. It takes so much longer than facebook!! So here are some for my nonfacebook friends:-)

Visiting Poppa's cows with daddy!

Great Grandma!

Playing with Daddy in the mall"Houston, we have a problem: Jeshuah is in the cockpit!!"

Taking off walking with a walker!!

What else can you do with a straw?

I love books!! (especially eating them)

One Year Ago Today…

It is December 22, 2010. On this day, one year ago, our lives changed forever!

One year ago today:

-We awoke with a sense of relief and expectancy. Stephen had finished driving into Chicago for work and I could now officially have the baby any time I wanted, although the due date was still a full 11 days off. The Dr had told us not to hold our breath on making it to the due date.

-Since we had a strong feeling we wouldn’t be sitting around on Christmas morning, we celebrated our Christmas that Tuesday morning, with coffee, cinnamon rolls, and lots of wonderful presents!

-Due to impending bad weather, my Mama, whom we hoped to have with us during delivery, called and said it was now or never for her to drive the 4 hours over. While fighting guilt for not being in labor and stealing Mom from Dad for Christmas, I plotted all sorts of delightful things we could do together to while away the time while we waited for Baby to make his appearance.

-Mama arrived at 6pm and at 6:30, as we sat on the couch, Daddy called to ask if I was in labor. As Mom meekly replied that no, I was not exactly in labor and Dad may have to spend Christmas alone for no good reason, my water broke! We plunged into action.

-I ate supper and sat around, determined to wait until the last possible minute to go to the hospital. Mom timed contractions, and Stephen flew (and I mean FLEW) around the house trying to finish packing the hospital bag and collect all that we would need.

-By 8pm we were driving the thirty minutes to the hospital and I was texting everyone the news. My contractions were rapidly increasing in frequency, though still quite mild, and Mom and Stephen were growing more and more apprehensive. I was in the “excited, energized” stage of labor!

-When we arrived they hooked me up for some tests and then released me to walk around to my heart’s content. I laid out a bunch of games for us to play while we waited, but it soon became apparent that there would be no waiting!

This video cracks me up because I look extremely drowsy, and I’m not sure why. Maybe just laying down in that warm bed made me sleepy. But that didn’t last long!

-I was able to stay up on a birthing ball or walking around until the baby became distressed in the transition stage and things began progressing so quickly it threw everyone into a panic. As I inhaled oxygen (I should say “tried to” as Stephen was smashing the mask against my nose and mouth in his haste so that it was mostly counter-productive.) We soon righted that, and within 15 minutes, the baby’s heart rate was back up.

-Everything was in full swing. Stephen was counting and breathing with me, Mom was quoting Scripture, making up hilarious tunes about labor, and coaching me in what to think about (and what NOT to think about, like bears in the Boundary Waters!)

-Within minutes, I met the Dr. for the first time as he waltzed into the room, pulled on his gloves, caught the baby and threw him on my chest. I announced his name (complete with my hard won “h” at the end:-) and they began scrubbing him up so I could snuggle him.

It was 11:02pm. Jeshuah Paul Willcox had entered the world of the breathing. Our lives were changed forever. And we are so thankful!!

Here are some sweet videos:

Every day I am more amazed at God’s gift of children. There have been many, many difficult lessons thus far, and I know there will be many, many more. But the joy of motherhood so far outweighs the trials that I am overwhelmed with God’s goodness. Jeshuah is such a sweet delight!! I continue to pray that we will have wisdom in this weighty and lofty task of parenthood. I am convinced raising and training a little human is the most difficult task on earth. Such a responsibility! We can only do it with God’s help! Thank you all of you who have joined with us in this journey and offered advise, comfort, counsel, and shared in the joy of our son. There is nothing like seeing someone else love on your children!

And today, we are going to love on this little Bundle of Joy all day long!

Celebrating Five Years!

‘Twas a day much like today, a fresh coat of crisp, white snow, and a shining sun. What a beautiful day for a wedding!

“On this day in history”…

Five years ago today, I walked down the aisle towards my best friend, Stephen Willcox to become his wife! It has been an amazing, wonderful, exciting, sanctifying journey thus far, and I can’t wait to see what more years hold for us as we grow together in Christ!

In honor of the day, here are a few of my favorite wedding photos. Pardon the random order–it was having issues!:

My handsome groom!Brothers and Mama!

Every single time I look at the pictures of our reception I am amazed at how beautiful it looked! Thanks for all the hard work, family and friends!

With an hour to go before the ceremony, the church was pitched into darkness. Some squirrels had made a nest in some nearby power lines and thus had extinguished our power. Dad was on top of things, trying to figure out how to hook up a generator!


Silly brothers!


Walking to the reception saying, "I can't believe we're finally married!!!"

Unto Us a Child is Born

Last night at 11:02, Jeshuah Paul Willcox entered the world! He is a healthy 8 lbs. and is 20 inches long and seems to be enjoying his time out of the womb:-)

It was all really quite amazing, how it happened. On Monday I felt lousy all day and had minor contractions. I felt super weird and had an inkling that Stephen and I should celebrate our “Christmas” Tuesday morning instead of waiting for the 25th. He agreed, and we excitedly looked forward to spending the day opening presents, eating cinnamon rolls, and making brunch together.

My contractions continued into the night and Tuesday, and I called Mom to give her a status report. She said she and Dad had been looking at the weather and thought if she was going to be able to come for Baby’s birth (which we were hoping would happen!), she probably should just leave and hang out until the Little Guy made his appearance–however long that might be!

Even though I was feeling progressively crummier, I still had the “this baby will never actually be born” delusion going on and felt really bad to steal Mom from Dad and The Kid for such a long period of time to just wait around. But Stephen thought it’d be a good idea, too, so I squelched my false guilt and just tried to think of it as a nice visit with Mom.

She arrived at 6pm. Thirty minutes later, we were visiting on the couch and Pops called to check up on her. Just as she said, “Nope, she’s not in active labor,” my water broke!! Within an hour, we were heading to the hospital, and a total of 4 1/2 hours later, Jeshuah entered the world of the breathing!

The Lord’s goodness was so evident during the whole process, I am continually overwhelmed by it. Stephen and I had a sweet Christmas Tuesday morning. Mom made it for the delivery. She never would have gotten here in time if she had waited for the “I’m in labor” phone call we all had planned on. I could never have survived labor without Mom and Stephen with me! They were like soild rocks the entire time, breathing with me, reminding me of truth and sweet memories, feeding me ice chips:-) And a major praise is that my back handled the entire thing wonderfully. I went without any medication and cannot believe how strong my back was! I continue to praise God for His goodness regarding that for my whole pregnancy!!

Now everyone is sleeping peacefully–except me:-) I haven’t been able to sleep tonight–probably adrenaline and hormones! But I have gone without sleep for much of my life, and the Lord has always proven faithful to be my strength. I do not doubt He will see me through this phase as well!

I will post more regarding his name, pictures, and his adorableness in subsequent posts.

Thank you all for your prayers–I FELT THEM!!! There was a time of intense panic when things progressed incredibly quickly (and oh, so painfully!) and the baby’s heart rate dropped drastically in response. But all of a sudden, during the last and most intense part of labor, a calm came over me, and I was completely relaxed and peaceful. I can only attribute the drastic change to the many of you faithful friends whom I know were praying into the night for us. Thank you!! We cannot wait for all of you to meet this Little Bundle of Joy!