I'll be honest, I don't think I am ready to relive all of our NICU experiences. Today as I was feeding the girls, I watched a little bit of the NICU show on Discovery Health and it was hard for me to hold back tears. Everything on that show is still so vivid in my memory and it is so hard for my emotions not to go spinning out of control when I think about the hard journey that we traveled. Watching the mothers on the show fear for their baby is haunting to me of the emotions that I felt as our little girls struggled for survival. Of course, those shows are intended to be dramatized so it doesn't help for me to hear about how high risk these deliveries are for the mom and the baby. I've never been one that has been able to watch all of these shows about giving birth...the blood is just not my thing. Now that I have had a C-section, I especially don't want to see what I looked like on the delivery room table!!!! Needless to say, I changed the channel. I think it is awesome that Discovery Health has a show about the NICU and I am sure one day I will appreciate it, but today is not that day.
Today, I am thankful. Thankful to God, thankful for my family, and so very thankful that we have two beautiful little girls that are growing big and strong. Spiritually, I am in a state of appreciation to God for the many blessings that He has given us through His amazing grace. I sat outside for my quite time this morning for the first time in weeks and marveled at our mighty God. Granted, it was hard for me to keep my eyes open since I had been up all night, but it was a very nice moment that I spent with our Savior. He has blessed my life abundantly and all I can do is say thank you. I am in this weird state of mind trying to figure out the new road ahead of me. I feel like I have just left a Christian retreat - I had such a "high" from that experience but now I need to apply what I learned to my real world. I want to continue to stay close and rely on God for everything. A couple of months ago, our pastor at St. James UMC, did a three part series on God's grace. It was divided into prevenient grace, justifying grace, and sanctifying grace. Prevenient grace is the grace that goes before us where God is constantly pursuing us. He talked about how God uses us as his tools to get others to come to Christ. Justifying grace is when we get what we don't deserve (like Jesus dying on the cross for all of our sins). After "we are justified (freely) by his grace as a gift" (Romans 3:24) we must repent as an act of our will to turn our lives to Christ. Finally, sanctifying grace is the power for us to live life to the fullest because we have the Holy Spirit within every place of our hearts.
Friends, I know from the depths of my heart that we received God's prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying grace through our NICU experience. God was calling us to turn that scary time over to Him. He gave us the ultimate gift of life and now He wants us to continue to invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts and minds so we can share His grace with others. I think these three different types of grace are a great way to visualize the Holy Trinity - God is the prevenient grace because He wants all of us to come home to Him, Jesus is the justifying grace because He gave the highest sacrifice of himself possible for us, and the Holy Spirit is what lives inside of us to give glory to our Father and not to this world. So many people struggle with their relationship with God. They felt His call, and confessed that Jesus died on the cross for their sins but they haven't fully invited the Holy Spirit to reside in their soul. I believe that the Holy Spirit is very much our conscience and it can navigate us when we are unsure of what decision to make (good or bad). Of course, with the trinity comes enemies and those are satan, the world, and ourselves. So, I am trying not to let these enemies into my sacred place; instead I am trying to meditate quietly with the Holy Spirit for my direction in life.
As I mentioned on Friday, we visited Mark Broadway photography this past weekend to have the girls newborn pictures taken. That morning as we were taking our pictures, I felt the Holy Spirit inside of me. I was filled with His love as I held our precious little girls. For me, having those pictures taken was like a right of passage. It felt like we were sharing with the world what God gave us. Also, we were able to introduce Adeline and Maralee to some of their extended family members. We had a great time visiting with everyone and I was definitely a proud parent the entire time!