Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lifting my eyes..

Psalm 121:1-2 "I lift my eyes to the hills-
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth."

I'm sorry it's been so long since I have posted. I have had much to share, but every time I have sat down to write everything out... I have either deleted everything or just hesitated to share. Rocks are falling off of this mountain in front of us, but it often feels like they are also simultaneously piling up on the top again. One of the main two reasons I have hesistated sharing is because I just don't want another parent to read about Ansley's progress and it make them feel upset about their own child's lack thereof. That breaks my heart..seriously. I know how that pain feels...and I am meeting more and more people who live with that pain... but my hope is that, if anything, Ansley's story would give great courage in our mighty and strong God and His power to shatter impossible. Because that is what He is doing, through the power and mercy of Jesus Christ...SHATTERING impossible! The effects of microcephaly are disappearing in the shadow of the cross.

The other reason I have hesistated sharing is because of the condition of my heart. I have been heartbroken.. I have been peaceful and full of hope and yet I have also been so paralyzed with fear I can barely breathe... but mostly, I have just been grieving. This is such a season of deep pain and suffering. A season, that I know unless the Lord delivers healing, could continue until we come face to face with Jesus. I feel like I live in a constant state, every moment of everyday, trying to keep a see saw perfectly balanced. One side is believing with every fiber of my being that my God is greater than this diagnosis, that HE says what my daughter's brain will be capable of, and that His power is limitless. On this side, my whole heart and soul stands on the truth of scripture because there is no other life- no other hope. Christ is it. He is who the Bible says He is, and I believe that through Him all things are possible. I believe, that through the power and mercy of Jesus Christ, my Ansley girl will be healed and set free... on this earth.

The other side of that see saw... oh darn that other side!! The other side is knowing I MUST be at peace if the Lord does not grant healing to my angel until she comes face to face with Him. In order to be at peace with that, I must go there. I must acknowledge the realities of this disorder. I cannot pretend they do not exist, or there is no need for desperation and pleas before the throne for something ONLY the power of God can accomplish. If I pretend and refuse to acknowledge that she might not be healed, then where is the risk? I believe God desires His people to take risks for His glory. I am willing to risk everything for Him. My God conquered the grave. He can conquer microcephaly. Of this- I AM SURE. This tension of balancing these two completely opposite sides brings us to Christ. We are so unbelievably incapable of understanding the great mysteries of Christ and He gives us these tensions to draw us into Him and search for understanding. Im sure you have these kind of "tensions" in your life in some way or another. They are meant to make you seek the throne!

We are in such a deep and desperate valley. And here is the thing.. valleys are not meant to be enjoyed. We are not suppossed to walk this journey having it "all together" and being "okay". It is supposed to break us. It is suppossed to knock us off of our feet. If we spend the entire time trying to climb out, we miss the purpose in which the Lord has taken us there in the first place. We MUST embrace the valley, because it is there that we find the sweetest communion with Jesus you could possibly imagine. I am sure that anyone who has gone through tragic, life altering sufferings will agree that there is no greater time you feel the presence of the Almighty King than when you are walking with him in the depths of despair. This valley is dark, cold and at times completely isolating. BUT.. our God is walking in front of us. He is leading us, guiding us and He will NEVER let our feet slip. (Ps 121) (Isaiah 58:11 "The Lord will guide you continually..") He will never let us fall into the depths because His hand never lets go. THAT is how you find victory in Christ. Psalm 139:18 tell us that the Lord's thoughts for us outnumber the grains of sand. He cares for every tear and pain. Knowing that while everything around you may be the most devastating heartache you could ever have fathomed falling upon your life, Jesus has gone before you.. He will be with you wherever you are going.. and He has already won the battle.

We know the Lord has called us to tell Ansley's story. There are times I just dont want to share the things that are breaking my heart. But the enemy wants us to suffer in silence. When we speak about our struggles and share them with other believers, that stronghold is BROKEN! There is so much freedom in sharing our struggles with other believers. So.. first, I will tell you the amazing, astoundingly wonderful news: ANSLEY KATE IS WALKING. Can I tell you I just completely burst into tears seeing that?!!! MY ANSLEY IS WALKING! A precious gift we knew may never be possible. According to her MRI, it would be expected for Ansley to be probably sitting up by now.. reaching across her midline for toys and maybe starting to laugh and have some interaction with us. That is what her brain is capable of. Do you see what the power of Christ has done?! SHATTERING impossible. Claiming the TRUTH of His word over her.. He has shown Himself limitless. She is up to a 13 step record at this point. Little stinker sits down every time I get the camera out, but we will put up a video as soon as we get one : )

On the flip side.. (The OTHER side of the see saw) The difficulty right now is that Ansley has begun looking past us. She has started drifting her gaze to look over our right shoulder when she looks at us, instead of making eye contact. She still does make some, but there is a noticeable change happening. The second concern is that she has started rolling her eyes in the back of her head. Its just for a few seconds, and we can always get her attention when it happens, but it is unbelievably terrifying. (I have to say again that I know there could be a parent reading that could have it so much worse, and think these things sound like nothing compared to what they have gone through.. and I know that doesn't compare. But, this is where we are today with Ansley.) In her story- and I must share it. Ansley's left foot used to be so stiff that it was impossible to bend with all of our strength. Her tone used to be so bad that we would have to massage her legs and feet for half an hour before we could bend them. The Lord has made it disappear and today... she walks. ONLY BY THE POWER OF JESUS CHRIST. This is just one example of the countless effects of this disorder He has done away through His might. We are praying for Him to still this current storm as He has so graciously done with every other effect she has had. Fix her gaze on us again, still her eyes from shaking and rolling... and in the meantime fix our gaze on Him through the pain of seeing her do it.


Onto something happier.. my sweet sweets : )

Oh, the love.. beware.. Girlfriend goes for open mouth kisses : )

He sure does love his "gwurl"


Just some handyman learning with Daddy...

Homegirl learning to drink from a cup! This has been an unbelievable deliverance and HUUUUUGE answer to prayer!

About two or three times a week I can convince Zachary to take a nap with me on the couch while Ansley sleeps. I love it. These cuddle days won't last much longer! I have to enjoy them!

Recent trip to the Bass Pro Shop

Shootin guns..

Zachary loves reading to Ansley.. such a sweet big brother. That is.. when he lets her touch the book he's reading her and doesn't end up making her cry when he yanks it away. Haha!

New favorite game.. peekabo in the curtains. She thinks it is the funnest game ever. She has only pulled the curtains down once ; )

Sunday, August 8, 2010

All in a Day

A little game of 4-wheeler. One of Zachary's favorites! Usually Rob and I are the 4-wheelers, but Ansley loves when she gets a turn on Brother!
Lots of giggles... music, music, music!

Zachary and Ansley are so playful together and have the sweetest relationship. He does this squeeze thing to her face all the live long day. She -as you can see- loves it..

Hysterical laughter fills the room with these two. My rascals. Oh, love them.

Ok, girlfriend is OBSESSED with this spatula. She loops her thumb through the hole and it is like an accessory.

They have started "wrestling" with each other. There are often a lot of "gentle" promptings towards the little man, but he usually does ok.. and again with the laughter. Bliss.

Zachary often entices Ansley to join him in wrestling by putting things in his mouth and taunting her with them. Never fails.

Note.. the spatula.

Oh.. and their new favorite game. A back and forth of the highest pitch squeals their little vocal chords are capable of. It actually (as long as we are at home) is quite funny. It's social for my girl.. love it.

Girlfriend's favorite hang out spot. The books!
We love us some storytime I tell you.

I have no recollection of what was happening in this picture, but I thought it was funny so here ya go. He is never short on drama.

Crayola Adventures: Take One
"Hmm.. tap, tap, bang, BANG!"

"I've got a better idea for this Momma.."

"Yep, it's much better to chew on than to draw with."

And.. cue bliss.

The boy and his guitar

This is how Little Miss greets me everytime she wakes up. Standing up on the bumper and as close to the door as she can get just waiting.. waiting for someone to come in!

Post naptime serenade. Love.

And.. a duet. Note the clean laundry pile that has been there several days.
Okay... a week.

Love this.. she doesn't know an attack is a mere moment away!

"I'll get you back, Brother!"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Needing Your Prayers

I know it has been a little while since we have updated you on Ansley. The last month has been so hard. Obviously, we are processing and dealing with the loss of dad (Dan), which in and of itself is emotionally taxing. On top of that, Ansley has been on a plateau for the last month. She has more or less stayed the same over the last several weeks and we feel ourselves craving the next milestone to bring some joy to what has been an extremely difficult month.

First off, we do want to thank the Lord that Ansley has been her normal, bubbling over with joy self (which always makes everything better!) And she has accomplished a few new things (pushing buttons, increased social awareness, more appriopriate language usage). So, we praise God for these things and recognize that "every good and perfect gift comes from above." (James 1:17)

Secondly, we really need you to focus your prayer on a few milestones that have been slowly creeping along. We are seeing improvements, but they are vvvery slow. Pray that God would burst through these barriers in a way where only He can get the credit.

The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy...
they will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God. (Is. 35:1-2)

1. WALKING. Ansley took her first step yesterday without losing her balance. She was so proud of herself standing there after taking a step forward. She is cruising more and standing constantly. But in a weird way, walking seems so very close yet also so very far away at the same time. For Ansley, pray: "in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, WALK." (Acts 3:6)

2. DRINKING. Learning how to drink out of a sippy cup has been a long process for Ansley. We have been working on it for months and she has gotten better, but she is only drinking a few ounces of milk per day. Please pray she would start "chugging"!

3. SELF-FEEDING. Ansley is eating more and more things beyond puree, but often seems pretty uninterested in feeding herself. Her portions are hit or miss. Sometimes she eats well and sometimes she doesn't. This, combined with her struggles drinking, cause us to ask for your prayers for her nutritional needs. Pray she would have an increase in desire to self-feed, ability to self-feed, and appetite.

4. EVERYTHING ELSE! Keep praying for her language, cognitive growth, social development, physical growth, etc. AND - please keep praying for her mom, dad, and brother. This takes a toll on all of us and we need more of Christ to endure this journey.