The weather is warm, school is coming to a close, and the jasmine is blooming through our neighborhoods. This is the time of the year that we all look forward to...summer. Time for vacations, time to relax, and time for us to rejuvenate our souls. Typically, our summers are filled with weekend trips to the beach where we lay out all day and enjoy the delicious seafood by night. We ride in the boat with the wind whipping through our hair and we soak up the glorious sunshine rays as the day goes by. Summertime is blissful time and I anxiously wait for this warm weather to come every single year.

This summer, things are a little different. Instead of sunshine, our little girls are basking under jaundice lights so their skin won't turn yellow. Rather than riding on a boat, the most wind I get in my hair has been from my hands nervously running through my curls. I get lucky if I take the time to smell the jasmine on my rather short walk around the block. This summer is different, that is for sure.

But, for some reason, I am starting to thank God for this summer. I am starting to thank Him for this experience and I have begun to sacrifice my warm lazy days for relentless prayer to my Savior. This summer I am not going on vacation but I am going on a spiritual journey where my destination is to grow my faith and trust in God Almighty.

Yesterday, that faith and trust was severely tested. Our dear Adeline took a turn for the worst as her little body became susceptible to an infection in her blood. The doctor told us that she got really bad really fast but they were able to treat her with antibiotics. Raleigh had told me of her condition at lunch as we shared fried chicken with our moms and grandparents. Instead of enjoying this southern favorite, my stomach could hardly handle looking at my plate. I put on a "happy face" as I warned our families of the latest news and told them that everything was going to be alright and they could still see the girls. After ringing the bell to enter the NICU, the nurse that greeted us told me that I could only have one guest because of her "condition." As mom and I scrubbed in, my gut started to get nervous. Walking over to her little incubator, I was not prepared for what I saw. Her skin was an awful sickly pale color and her neck had swollen up to three times of its normal size. She looked lifeless and I could barely see her little breaths that were being provided to her from the ventilator. All of a sudden, I couldn't take it anymore. As I burst into tears, the sweet nurses started to comfort me. It was just too much for me to handle.

I thought, haven't we been through enough? First Maralee and now Adeline? Then, my head realized what my heart had already figured out. Tuesday night, I was reading the lesson from my new devotional, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. The lesson began with this line..."Thank ME for your problems." It then states, "Ask Me to show you My way to handle the situation." As I stared down at that page Tuesday night I really had trouble digesting the fact that I was supposed to be thankful for this problem. I am thankful for the lessons that are being learned but I have struggled with being thankful to see my girls going through so much suffering.

That night, as I cried tears on Raleigh's shoulder, I began to realize that being thankful for our problems doesn't have to mean being thankful to see them hurting. Being thankful means being thankful that God is in control of my problem, our situation...not me. I can't carry this burden...it is totally weighing me down. Everything seems so small and insignificant to me right now compared to the battle we are fighting. And, as a new mom, I have started to carry the weight of their world on my shoulders. I have not totally trusted God...I have fear and I am scared. I want his peace but I know I don't have it right now. I know this because I have not totally sacrificed this burden to Him. God's peace is waiting for me, I have to just give up all control and totally give Him my burdens.

Last night, I picked up a book I read in college called Strong Women, Soft Hearts. As I opened the book, I landed on chapter 6 entitled, Trust: The Art of Falling Backward. I thought...hmm..okay...I'm listening. The chapter opened with this quote from C.S. Lewis, "The thing is to rely only on God. The time will come when you will regard all this misery as a small price to pay for having been brought to that dependence. Meanwhile, the trouble is that relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing has yet been done."

That quote resonated to the deepest of my being last night after having such a difficult day. I began to let the words sink in and I began to understand that this too relates to being thankful for my problems. Trust and Thanksgiving are two words that are like peanut butter and jelly when it comes to our faith in Christ. Paula Rinehart goes on to say that "Trust hangs somewhere between knowing what your heart longs for and trying to dictate the shape or timing or outcome of your heart's desire." My heart is longing for the peace of God to wrap around my soul yet I still have not completely trusted Him with my desire to raise these two little girls. I want everything to be okay but I am not letting Him in to make everything okay. Throughout my life, I have prided myself on not being a quitter but right now I want to quit being in control and start trusting that God is in control of this situation.

Just moments ago, I received an update from the doctor. He gave me great news on both Adeline and Maralee! He said that Adeline's swelling had gone down tremendously and all of her reports came back looking good. Maralee is digesting her breast milk and is coming close to being off the ventilator. Friends, I am THANKFUL!!!! Praise God that He is in control and listens to our problems! I am still on the road to complete trust yet I know that my heart is getting closer to allowing His peace to wash through my soul.

Thank you again for all of your prayers. I have complete confidence that they are being heard. I know that there are many others that are going through tough stuff right now so I thank you for thinking of us.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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