Audrey, devotional, Family, pregnancy

The Binding

I have spent the last several hours debating whether or not to go to the hospital.  I have been having contractions for a few weeks but I always had them early with my other pregnancies as well, and so I decided that they were nothing.  All of a sudden, they don’t feel like nothing.  My stomach looks completely different than it has in the past few weeks and my instincts are telling me that something is going on.  I called my doctor and set up an appointment for 10 a.m., so unless something drastic happens, I’m just going to hang out tonight.  I will be 28 weeks tomorrow, and all of a sudden I am realizing that it’s not enough.  I’m not ready to let her go.

Ironically, while typing this post, my daughter Ellie lost her first tooth.  She came running up the stairs to show me the big gap and all I could see in the space was time passing me by.  I started crying hysterically and she kept telling me that it didn’t hurt and that she wasn’t bleeding anymore.  I just kept hugging her and telling her how proud I was of her, all the while thinking that 5 years of baby teeth isn’t long enough either. 
I decided to get creative with breakfast yesterday.  I cut up a bunch of fruit and mixed vanilla yogurt and Hershey’s syrup (not Jessica Seinfeld approved) and let the kids use fondue sticks to dip the pieces.  If you ever want to have a deep conversation with your kids, or you feel like you are disconnected, I have found that a good meal does wonders.  I do feel compelled to mention that most mornings, we are doing well to have cereal, and that a few hours after this moment took place, the “amazing, creative, fondue-dipping wonder-mom” that you are imagining was less than three clicks away from selling her youngest daughter on EBay.  I think you deserve the truth at this point in our relationship.
Before Abby and Kate had made it down the stairs, I was reminding Ellie of the Bible story we read a few nights before.  We have this amazing kids Bible called “The Jesus Storybook Bible,” and I suggest you go buy it right now.  Seriously.  This will wait until you get back.  I think it is one of the most creative, beautiful portrayals of God’s word that has ever been written.  When I became a Christian, I felt totally overwhelmed by the Bible, and bought a few children’s Bibles to help familiarize myself with the stories.  I used to get so irritated when people would spout off references like they were ordering a Happy Meal and figured I would never be able to join the club.  The more I read, the more I fell in love.  I still have a hard time remembering exact references, but I am working on it.  I think the best policy if you can’t remember that stuff is just to make it up on the spot and sound convinced.  I have also found that by saying, “Was it Paul that said…?” can pretty much get you through the New Testament.  
Kidding aside, I do have a passion for instilling a love of the Bible in my children.  We have been discussing the story of Abraham and Isaac, and they are fascinated by the fact that Abraham would walk a mountainside in expectation of killing his son, so led by God’s voice that one of the only details we learn is that he paused to praise God in the midst of his trial. As a sidebar, this is one of those stories that makes me giggle halfway through.  For some reason, I can’t stop picturing Isaac continually and more frantically asking his dad where the sacrifice is. In my head, he sounds like one of the Simpsons.  “Hey dad, where’s the sacrifice? Dad? Shouldn’t we have brought up a ram or something? Dad?”  I guess that shouldn’t be funny, but it kind of is.  

In our little Bible, Abraham raises his knife while Isaac lays motionless, tied up in rope that his father’s hands have wrapped around him. Suddenly, God shouts, “Stop!” and the boy is spared. The girls always hold their breath as we build up to that part, even though they know he will be okay.  Usually, we have to remind them that he isn’t going to die, because the suspense is too much to bear.  
I sliced an apple and asked Ellie to tell me the story as she stirred.  She did a remarkably good job, but after she repeated God’s words, she got quiet and looked at me like she had something else to say. 
“Mommy?”
“What, honey?”
“You know that part where God yells stop?”
I nodded, half paying attention.
  
“I don’t think He is going to say that to you.” 
My hands stopped moving and I looked at her eyes.  Sad, knowing, feeling, see-into-your-soul eyes.
“I don’t know that He is, Ellie.”  
For what seemed like forever, we just continued our motions in silence.  I don’t know that I can adequately describe what that moment was to me.  It was just one of those times in life when you know that God is speaking.  
I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  About the fact that it was his son.  His hands.  His rope.  
And yet it was never his at all.
When people talk to me about what I am going through, they often use the word “trial.”  I think it is the right word.  It was the same for Abraham; the rules have not changed in thousands of years.  We listen, we praise, we walk in the direction of God’s voice, and we obey.  It is that simple. 
Sometimes that means we get to unbind and celebrate.
Sometimes it means we don’t. 
I looked up the original Hebrew word for trial in one of my big fancy books (OK, one of Todd’s fancy books) and I hope that as you read these words, you will know the way He quieted me in that moment.  This is a direct quote.
TRIAL (Old Testament) noun:  from the Hebrew word sara” which comes from the root srh, which means, “to bind, tie up, restrict.”  Thus, the noun comes to denote a narrow place in life where one is bound or restricted…

I have carried this image with me for days, and am saturating myself in the truth that I discovered about what it means to be walking where I am.  Immediately I thought of sweet Audrey, unable to grow, restricted, as bound and helpless as Isaac.  It feels heavy, even though I know I am not responsible for the decision.  
As we walk this “narrow place,” I am reminded of the power of being still and submitting to the God I trust more than I ever thought I could. During these days, I walk closely, moment-by-moment with the God of the Universe.  The God that chose Abraham and chose me.
I can’t think of anyone I would feel safer with right now, because of course, the difficult, terrible, beautiful truth is that He Himself is not unfamiliar with the binding.  
Jesus, sweet lover of my soul.  I bear my wounds tenderly, with worship ever on my lips because You did the same for me…
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed. ” Isaiah 53:5-6 

It is after midnight now on Wednesday…I will keep you all updated on my appointment tomorrow, and and always, find myself humbled to even be able to count you as prayer warriors on my behalf.  
Much love,
Angie
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22 Comments

  • Reply THE BOONE'S March 6, 2008 at 10:56 am

    As I am aware, daily, that there is nothing I can say to “fix” anything for you. GOD CAN… and so I pray not only that He will fix but that He will help you (all) to be able to “stand”

    God Be with you and yours…May God be with you in a tangible way.
    I have no doubt that He will,
    whatever the outcome, and I know this because you have already handed everything to Him.

    As always I’m sending prayers to move mountains, big squeezy hugs (yeah, like, the big real ones) and all my heart,
    Robin and family
    every single day, all day long and night too.

  • Reply votemom March 6, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    praying this morning.

  • Reply Peas on Earth March 6, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Praying for you today for safety, wisdom, peace, and hope.
    In His strength,
    Sharon

  • Reply KarenH March 6, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    Praying here too….

  • Reply ~Wendi March 6, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Your blog is very inspirattional and has been encouraging to me. Five years ago I gave birth to twin boys at 25 weeks gestation. Our oldest only lives ten days. I remeber my husband sobbing as he asked God to please,send us a “ram in the bushes”. We learned tht “sometimes He calms the storm and other times He calms His child”. God bless your family! you are being prayed for by many.

  • Reply Mark and Rebekah March 6, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    This is the first time I’ve left a message, but I’ve been praying along with you for weeks now. Your blog address came through on a prayer request at our church (Calvary Baptist in Canton, MI).

    I am praying for you this morning.

  • Reply Anonymous March 6, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    Beautiful Angie…since the day I first met you, that’s the way I have always referred to you…but your beauty is far beyond the surface. Please know that my entire family prays for you and your family (all of you) each and every day. I believe so strongly in the power of prayer and feel blessed to have the opportunity to pray for you…and will be praying for you this morning as you visit your doctor.
    Sherry

  • Reply LC March 6, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    I am a first time poster, but have been a reader for quite some time. You have been in my thoughts and prayers Daily, and as I was driving to church last night, a song by Bethany dillon came on called Hallelujah, You were immediately placed on my heart and so I stopped my car and prayed…and the chorus says this… Hallelujah, hallelujah
    Whatever’s in front of me
    Help me to sing hallelujah
    Hallelujah, hallelujah
    Whatever’s in front of me
    I’ll choose to sing hallelujah…I pray that God gives you the continued strength, and that he will continue to give you the Grace to say Hallelujah.

    Praying for you,

    ~In HIS Grip,
    Lori Cain

  • Reply karen44 March 6, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Angie — My heart is heavy for you and this burden you’ve been given. But I’m also encouraged, because of what God has done through the life of this little baby who may never have a tooth to lose.

    Through your faithful, honest walk, Angie — look at how many people you have touched and changed! People are praying fervently for you and your family. God is being glorified because we KNOW that He has a purpose in this.

    You are loved, you are prayed for.
    -karen l.

  • Reply Darlene R. March 6, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I am praying for you and all of the ladies in my Bible study group are too.
    Although I didn’t carry the baby that we lost as long as you have, I know the pain. I am just praying that you will feel His loving arms around you right now.

    It sounds like Ellie is a very intelligent, sweet little girl.

    Just know that I am still asking for a miracle in Audrey.

    Would it be alright to mention your story on my blog and link to it? I don’t have many readers, but they are prayer warriors and I know that they would pray for you.
    Just let me know if it’s okay.
    Love,
    Darlene

  • Reply Anne March 6, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Angie-

    This is my first time leaving a message on your blog, but I have been reading (and crying) along with you. What an amazing gift for eloquent words and praise you have, I am so blessed to be able to pray for you and your precious little one.

    God is truly working through you and Audrey. Thank you for your willingness to share this painful journey. God be with you and your family!

    Anne

  • Reply Mary March 6, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    how beautifully you praise Him in the storm.

    Family Life Network is praying with and for you.

    Mary

  • Reply Megan March 6, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Ang,

    I am anxiously awaiting the update from the appointment today! I was telling my husband about what Elli said and just how precious your entire family is and he just sat and said WOW! It is something that we haven’t had to encounter yet and hopeful we don’t have to go through it personally but I know that even though this is a “trial” for you it ends up being one for all of us that read along. I find myself checking numerous times a day just to see if there is an update. I know this is all going to work out for your will and I am so thankful for you and your loved ones. Please tell Todd hello for me. I have him to thank for many things. He will be happy to know that all his efforts paid off, I graduated, I found a very loving man and I have a family. All his talks and actions were never in vain.
    Love Always,
    Megan Hildebrand (edney)

  • Reply Nykki Griffin March 6, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Angie,

    This is my first time to post, but I have been reading from the beginning. (Jess Dixon linked your blog in a blog post) I am humbled and brought to tears each time I read your blog. I find myself checking it several times a day in hopes of an update. You are such and inspiration to me. I find myself getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of wedding planning and considering future family planning, but I can only hope and pray that I will be as humble and serving as you have been. I hope you realize the people you are touching and silently encouraging with your story. I pray for you daily and I would like your permission to link your story on my blog. I have some friends that will pray for you daily, and I know that you would be an amazing inspiration to them. I pray for you in your appointment today. Just know that God has an amazing plan for Audrey. If my life has half the impact that Audrey’s life has already had on this world, I will be a grateful woman. God Bless you in your trial.
    Nykki

  • Reply Adrienne and Jim March 6, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    Angie,

    I just want you to know I am here for you if you need ANYthing. I will continue to pray for you and baby Audrey as you have your appointment today and as you process what you hear and see. My heart aches for you as I wish I had better words to say to make it all better. You are honoring Audrey’s life in such a beautiful way, sharing her with us and sharing your faith with those who read your words. What a testimony. You are touching so many lives as you share your experience of your time with Audrey. I have over 5000 readers of my blog each month, and I would like to ask them to pray for you. I hope this is okay.

    Sending you a big cozy hug and so much love and prayers your way,
    Adrienne

  • Reply Alice March 6, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    Please know that I am praying for you today, as I do each day. Also, we LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible here at our house too…

  • Reply LInda March 6, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    I didn’t read this until long after your morning appointment – but know that you & your family have been & will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. I am like you – I know the stories, but can’t quote the scriptures – but can offer you this simple truth. He loves you – He will never leave you – and even now He is holding you in the palm of His hand. Once I read a quote that said Instead of telling God how big your storm is – tell your storm how big your God is. If ever I have seen anyone that has been a witness to that statement – it has been you. I cannot begin to tell you what a blessing you have brought to our lives. Peace, Grace & Love – Linda

  • Reply Anonymous March 7, 2008 at 1:52 am

    Angie ..I have not posted you in a while now ..but we ( my family and I) have not stop praying for you and your family …
    May God continue to bless you and yours and give you guys His peace and His strength ..
    Your sister in Christ : Damarys

  • Reply adam's mommy March 7, 2008 at 4:42 am

    Angie,

    Your heart is so beautiful. I’m praying for you and your family tonight.

  • Reply Alicia March 7, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I love you. These are the only words that come to mind when I read your posts… and they come with tears.

    I am praying for you in the deepest part of me, beyond words.

  • Reply Emma-Kate Castricum March 11, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Angie,

    I stummbled into your blog reading another. Your trial is so hard.

    I have 2 very amazing children and I believe that from the minute they were conceived they both felt the undying love I have for them. (from the minute they were conceived because I think I was sick with both from about a day after conception until about 20 weeks)- I’m digressing.

    Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, I know there is no scientific law to show us that our babies can feel our love for them when we are carrying them but I feel with all my heart they can.That they know already that in the blink of an eye we would give our lives for them.
    Audrey feels this love, she knows the gift she has been given to be carried and loved by you. She may only be with you physically for a short time but she’s so lucky to become a member of such a beautiful family.
    From one Mum on one side of the world to another, your in my thoughts,

    Em

  • Reply ChristiS July 11, 2008 at 2:34 am

    Angie, though I am reading this months after you dealt with this specific moment of the trial, I want you to know that the Biblical truths that you are able to beautifully make real are touching me, humbling me, and leading me even closer to our God. Bless you for sharing this journey with us. Though He never wanted for you to feel this pain, He has given you such a gift of words that we can all see Him more clearly. Thank you, and I pray His great blessings upon you and your entire family!

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