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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Joyful in Hope, a guest post by Jac

Hey friends, Jessi here. 
Enjoy this sweet guest post from Jacqueline, one of our sponsors, and go give her some love over at her sweet blog. Hope ya'll are having a sweet Sunday! 
..............

Be joyful in hope
Patient in affliction
Faithful in prayer
                  Romans 12:12 NIV

This is the one verse that describes what my husband and I have been living and standing on for the last 12 months.
A year ago my husband and I started our journey to becoming parents and we couldn’t have been more excited. We were overjoyed with the possibilities for the future and how our lives would change;as adverse to change as we are we were looking forward to this one.
And then we started down the road of bedrest.
As someone who was raised to choose my attitude on a daily basis, I thank my dad every day for teaching me to choose hope and joy every morning when I woke up to spend my day in bed. To hope for my son’s life and the impact he would have on the world. And to be joyful in the fact that we made it another day and he has growing safely. I chose to be joyful in hope and not let the negative in, at least not too much. I’m not claiming to be perfect; I had moments when it all became overwhelming. I remember the first Friday morning of bedrest when Brian brought me up the ultrasound pictures and I broke down. It was hard to look at the pictures and not know what the future held and if babE Gray was going to be okay. We were only 22 weeks along. We needed at least another 2 weeks before the doctors would really be able to do anything, and another 18 weeks until we were full term. After a few minutes of pity partying I straightened my attitude and decided that I needed to be joyful in hope. I had hope, and even in the moments when I didn’t, God was my hope. He lifted my eyes and warmed my soul and told me it would be okay; I just had to focus on Him.

Patience has never been my strong point. I am not a patient person; at least I was not before bedrest.  Bedrest is one of the biggest tests of patience a person can be put through. I thought 3 minutes for a pregnancy test was too long, or even the 9 months of pregnancy, but the thought of enduring 18 weeks on bedrest seemed impossible. A lot of people wonder what bedrest is, or think it must be like a vacation getting to spend every day in bed. Well after 4 days in bed you get over the sparkle of no work, and relaxing and catching up on blogging or emails or even just reading. After that it becomes work. I was lucky in the fact that I could get out of bed to go to the washroom, or shower, or even come downstairs to have dinner with my husband, at least for the first 8 weeks; after that I was in bed on my back except for washroom breaks. I spent a lot of time just watching the clock. I look at it every minute waiting for Brian to come home from work, wondering if he was going to be late or not. Bedrest was my affliction. It was a case of suffering for me, I suffered the physical side effects of bedrest; my body ached all the time, I lost my flexibility, and I lost a lot of strength. But more than the physical suffering was the emotional and mental suffering. It was hard to know that the only way I could guarantee another day of growing Grayson was to stay in bed, and there was no guarantee. As if a pregnant woman isn’t emotional enough, I went from a normal pregnancy to a high risk pregnancy, to a round of preterm labour at 29 weeks. But unlike some ailments, I knew there was an end date. I had a due date, once we got there the bedrest would be over, and I would be praying to get back all the time I could spend in bed sleeping. I just had to be patient and focus on the end date. I also had to be patient when , at 29 weeks, I went into preterm labour and Grayson threatened to meet us 11 weeks before his due date. I had to be patient and let my body realign itself, and be patient and know that God was in control. The patience paid off, and we made it another 3 weeks before Grayson decided to arrive.

Prayer has been a part of my life from before I can remember. My dad would always say bedtime prayers with us as children. I’m the youngest of 3, all of our names starting with J, so at bed time it was always “Thank you Lord for Jennifer, no, Jacob, no, thank you Lord for Jacqueline.”  I tease my dad to this day about that. He’s the one that decided against naming me Jessica, and knew that I was a Jacqueline. I know that my parents prayed over my life before I was born, and that’s part of the reason why we wanted to know if babE was going to be a boy or a girl, and to have a name picked out. We had so many people in our lives that we knew would be praying over Gray’s life before he was born, and we wanted to be able to pray specifics; to pray for him as a future husband and father, to pray for his future wife and her family. We never ceased praying for him. When the diagnosis came down, and the prescription was bedrest, we prayed harder. When we were headed for the hospital in preterm labour the first and second time, we prayed even harder. And when my son was born 8 week premature we spent hours at his bedside praying. Neither my husband nor I are doctors, but we do know the great physician, and we knew that as long as we focused on Him, that our son would be okay. During the hardest times, we prayed, and we tried not to focus on the situation we were in, but the situation we wanted; we wanted to be home with our son healthy, whole and thriving. The hardest night of our lives so far was the night Grayson was put on a ventilator. We held each other, and after we got our heads wrapped around what was happening to our son, we prayed. I spent the night by his bedside and sang him worship songs, and praying over him. I claimed healing for him. I had to be faithful in my prayer, and not just faithful to pray and continue to pray but to speak my faith through my prayers.

The last 12 months have been a true test of who I am, and where I stand. I am created for a purpose by the one who is above all others, and I stand strong in my faith and knowledge of Christ. As much as the last 12 months have been a test, they have been such a great lesson and reminder. I have been reminded to be joyful in the hope of tomorrow, to be patient through the suffering because joy comes in the morning, and to speak my faith through my prayers and pray often.

Grayson will be 6 months old next week. We left the NICU 33 days after he was born and he has been thriving ever since. He broke 12lbs on the scale this week, and we couldn’t be more excited to pack away the newborn clothes for good and break out the 3 month clothes.

Thank you Jessi for letting me share a bit of my story. You are a true blessing to me.

Blessings All!
Jac

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