Valleys

It’s in the valleys I grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
full of sorrow, trouble and woe.
It’s then I have to remember
that it’s in the valleys I grow

If I always stayed on the mountain top
and never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
and would be living in vain

I have so much to learn
and my growth is very slow,
sometimes I need the mountain tops
But it’s in the valleys I grow

I do not always understand,
why things happen as they do.
But I am very sure of one thing,
My Lord will see me through

My little valleys are nothing
when I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death,
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
when I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
that it’s in the valleys I grow.

continue to strengthen me, Lord.
and use my life each day
to share your love with others
and help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
for this one thing I know
the mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

By:Jane Eggleston

I’ve been thinking a lot about valleys.  After all, it is lent.  I am reminded of last years lent as we were going through our fertility treatments and I was asked to sing the Exultet at our Easter Vigil service (as we had no deacon).  I will refer to a post from last year, And the Journey rolls on…  I feel as though I am coming full circle.  Somehow God always makes his presence known in reminders such as these.  So, this Lent we walk through another valley…I grow, my son grows, my husband grows…we grow together.  But boy…do I see the light Easter right around the corner.  The light of Christ.  Thanks be to God.  Rejoice heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, for the victory of our Mighty King.  Darkness has been vanquished (from the Exultet). 

How loved am I?  So, so, so loved.  I can not express the overflowing love I feel for the little one I spend all of my days with..that God has an even greater love for me, for my family just overwhelms and brings me such great joy and security.  It seems Lent is my time to grow, to hang on to the holy, to feel the holy.  I feel it every time I hold my precious little miracle.  Thank you, God.

Jonathan78

P.S. I’m 3 pounds!!!

Looking for Faith

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.  ~Mathew 21:22

Faith:  Complete trust and confidence in someone or something.  Belief that is not based on proof.

You may wonder why I’m reflecting on faith.  I’ve had a difficult time being still enough in body, mind, and heart to write these last few weeks.  It’s been a whirlwind rollercoaster with ups and downs.

Good Friday, April 18, 2014, really was a good day for me.  I went to the doctor’s office in the morning to have my pregnancy test.  I took Freddie (my dog) out when I got home, and while coming in was told that I had a flower delivery.  Really?  I wondered who on earth would send me flowers.  I got the package and opened the note.  My friend Karin had sent them to me with a note that said:  “Just because I’m thinking of you.”  I promptly burst into tears.

It was at this point that I began to wonder if I was pregnant.  I’ve never cried over flowers.  Gotten excited and full of smiles, yes.  Cried non-stop, not so much.  The phone rang at 11:50am and caller ID said it was FCI.  I’d never received a call so early with any lab results, so my first thought was “Oh no!  They need to do a re-draw.  Something was wrong with the specimen.”  “Hello?”  The other voice replied, “Congratulations!”  “Who is this?”  “It’s Fran, you’re pregnant!”  Me, I was speechless, and of course I started crying again.  I got off of the phone and texted my husband the great news, who was waiting at work with bated breath.  This is my very first pregnancy.  Ever.

It was Good Friday, and I had work to do as well.  I was to chant the Passion at CHN, my church.  It’s a beautiful service that ends in darkness and candlelight as we venerate the cross.

Veneration of the Cross

I did chant the Passion that night, and here at the foot of the cross Thanked Jesus for giving me life.  As I cried, my priest put her arm around me and I whispered, “I’m pregnant.”….and so we both cried and held each other.  Blessed.

Saturday, April 19th, came and with it The Great Easter Vigil.  We had no deacon this year, and I was honored to be asked to sing the Exultet, an opening proclamation of sorts, at our service at CHN.  I would like to share the words, so you can conceive what this newly-found pregnant woman was singing…

Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, and let your trumpets shout Salvation for the victory of our King.  Rejoice and sing now, all the round earth, bright with a glorious splendor, for darkness has been vanquished by our eternal King.  Rejoice and be glad now, Mother church, and let your holy courts in radiant light resound with the praises of your people.  All you who stand near this marvelous and holy flame, pray with me to God the Almighty for the grace to sing the worthy praise of this great light; through Jesus Christ his Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit one God, forever and ever, Amen.

It is truly right and good, always and everywhere, with our whole heart and mind and voice to praise you, the invisible, almighty and eternal God, and your only begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord; for he is the true Paschal Lamb, who at the feast of the Passover paid for us the debt of Adam’s sin, and by his blood delivered your faithful people.  This is the night, when you brought our fathers, the children of Israel, out of bondage in Egypt, and lead them through the Red Sea on dry land.  This is the night, when all who believe in Christ are delivered from the gloom of sin, and are restored to grace and holiness of life.  This is the night, when Christ broke the bonds of death and hell, and rose victorious from the grave.  How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is your mercy and loving kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son.  How holy is this night, when wickedness is put to flight, and sin is washed away.  It restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn.  It casts out pride and hatred, and brings peace and concord.  How blessed is this night, when earth and heaven are joined and man is reconciled to God.  Holy Father, accept our evening sacrifice, the offering of this candle in your honor.  May it shine continually to drive away all darkness.  May Christ, the Morning Star who knows no setting, find it ever burning – he who gives light to all creation, and who lives and reigns forever and ever.  Amen.

All I can say about that is Thank You.

Fast forward to Wednesday, April 30th, our first ultrasound.  I was exactly 6 weeks to the day.

Twins!  One embryo had a definite yolk sac and the other did not.  I was to return for another ultrasound in 1 week.

The heartbreak began on our anniversary, Wednesday, May 7th.  I should tell you that my best friend’s mother-in-law who was on hospice had just passed away, and her funeral was scheduled for this day.  I pray she finds restful peace.

My husband had a deposition this morning and I had to be at FCI for my repeat ultrasound to check on progress.  Afterwards, we were to head to the Northern Suburbs to be with our close friends/family to honor Anita, and show our love and support as well.  So, we went our separate ways to start, but I thank God that my husband was made it in time for the ultrasound.  Baby A did have a heartbeat detected by ultrasound.  You could see the movement, however baby A was 1 week behind in measurements for gestational age.  Baby B was not making any progress and there was still no yolk sac.  I am exactly 7 weeks here.  The bright white spot is the heartbeat.

We were taken into a conference room and told to be “cautiously optimistic.”  We are both medical people, and in our world, that translates to; prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  Has anyone ever said this to you before?  We had naught a moment to be excited about our baby’s heartbeat, and we were okay with one, but now taking in the news that our pregnancy might not be sustainable.  The goal has never been to have multiples, but to just have a baby.

So here we are, it’s our wedding anniversary, we are filled with fear and sorrow for our pregnancy, and now we are on our way to a funeral.  No time to take it all in.  Just keep moving.  Just keep going.  This is the heart of my silence.  I just want to be strong.  I don’t want to tell you I’m falling apart inside.

I was told to come and see the doctor the following day.  When I got there, she decided to check and see how things were looking and to do another ultrasound.  I was alone this time.  My husband was at work.  Baby A still had a heartbeat seen on ultrasound, but it was a little slower, 94.  I was told we were walking on a tight-rope.  The ultrasound tech was already giving me advice about what to do should I lose the baby.  I finally said, I’m not giving up.  As long as this baby has a heartbeat, I’m not giving up.  They assured me that they weren’t either.  I cried for the entire rest of the day, while my dog, Freddie, licked my tears.

So here I am, looking for faith.  In 2 days I will be 8 weeks, and 1 day.  I am scheduled for another ultrasound and a visit with the doctor.  I need optimism.  I need prayers.  I’m anxious.  I need faith.  In my heart, I know that all will be well, that I can rise above whatever this journey brings. But also in my heart, I hope for a child to tell stories, to sing songs, and to laugh with.  I still feel that this is a divine pregnancy.  God is with me now, just as he was when we walked together through Lent.

and the Journey rolls on…

Well, my injections are well underway in preparation for the FET (frozen embryo transfer).

I wasn’t able to make the Ash Wednesday service at CHN (Church of the Holy Nativity), my home parish, so Rich and I decided to go to the 2pm Mass at Holy Name CathedralThe Frances Xavier Warde School along with their own Monsignor Dan Mayall, lead the mass.  I felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be.  The gathering hymn was Lord of all Hopefulness.  Singing, I felt like I was brining all of my own hopes and dreams to the altar.

As the Right Reverend Jeffrey D. Lee said in his Ash Wednesday devotion, “This is a day about the pilgrim way we all walk together toward the waters of new life awaiting for us at Easter.  I feel as though at every turn, God is reminding me that new life is awaiting us at Easter.

To make it even more interesting, I was asked just this week, to sing the Exultet (an Easter proclamation) at The Great Vigil of Easter at CHN.  Normally, this would be done by the deacon, but since we do not have one at this time, I’ve been asked and given this great honor.  I can’t think of a better time to meditate on these words and learn this piece.

I leave you with my devotions today, focusing on scripture meaningful to me in times of difficulty.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.  If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.  And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so you also share in our comfort.

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)

Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.