Most Wonderful Time of the Year

As Christmas is approaching, I can’t help but thank my God for what He has done and will do. Not only for this entire world and its people but also for what He has done and will do for Kevin and me specifically regarding our journey.

This Christmas is going to be very special to us. If you remember from an earlier blog, I mentioned how we are celebrating Annalise’s life for what she has now and will have in Christ. Because of this, this Christmas may be her first and only Christmas that we get to be with her here on Earth.

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As you can see from this picture, we hung a stocking for our sweet (but ornery) Annalise. That stocking will be hung every year to remind us not only of her but of the love of God as well. Without Him in our lives, we would not be where we are today. If He would never have put us on this journey, I don’t think we would nearly appreciate life as much as we do now. I don’t think we would be as grateful as we are now. Our eyes have been opened to so much that probably never would have happened without this experience. Not only have our faith, our trust, and our hope in God grown but also our love (for God, each other, and others) has grown tremendously.

Last night, Kev let me open a Christmas present early. This is what I opened:

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How incredibly perfect is this necklace?

The infinity symbol can mean so many different things for different people…. from representing eternity to everlasting love between people. Personally, it does remind me of the love between Kevin and I being “forever” but there’s also spiritual meaning behind it. It reminds me that God’s love endures forever. It reminds me that the plans of the Lord stand firm forever and that His plans are ALWAYS good. Also, it reminds me that His understanding is infinite. Putting the word hope into this necklace makes it mean that much more. We chose Hope for Annalise’s middle name because we know that God’s plan is perfect and our hope lies in the Lord. “…Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us…” (Romans 5:5).

There’s a verse that automatically jumped out at me when I first saw this gift. It’s from 1 Corinthians 13:13 and it sums up the entirety of the necklace pretty well. It says: “Three things will last forever– faith, hope and love…”.

What would life be like without those three things? What if we had no faith, no hope, and no love in our hearts? What if we never had to go through sufferings and trials? What if we never got to experience the love of God? What if Jesus was never born?

As you celebrate Christmas this year, remember the true meaning behind Christmas. Remember that Jesus was born to die for our sins and He came to show us what real love looks like.

I challenge you to truly cherish the time you get with family and the ones you love this Christmas. Be grateful and appreciative of having that time together because some of us may never get that opportunity.

With all of that said, Annalise is still kicking! We had our regular check up this last week, which took a whole 5 minutes, and everything was good! Her heart beat was the normal 150 beats and we are still growing in weight (very slowly but surely). We did not do a sonogram this time since there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. I do go back on Christmas Eve to take my glucose test though…that’s going to be a WHOLE lot of fun. We are trying to get appointments set up with the specialists from Shawnee Mission in the next month or so to talk with them and see which specialists we would like to work with. Who knows, maybe we go see them and they tell us something completely different? One can hope, right? 😉

To me, this pregnancy has gone by SO incredibly slow because of everything that has happened…but really, our due date is only 3 months and 5 days away. As we get closer to the arrival of Annalise, a lot of decisions have to be made. Decisions like where to deliver, what specialists we want to have, how we want the doctors and specialists to treat her, what we are going to do if she can’t make it on her own, what procedures we want done when necessary, how long do I take off work, and what to do if/when she passes.

Behind all these decisions is a burden. The stress of this burden has not really bothered me because I know my God will ALWAYS provide for us in some way. But, in the back of my mind, I know that when the time comes for this burden to be released, the stress of making it, is going to be sky high.

Honestly, typing this right now is extremely hard for me. If you know me at least a little bit, you know I’m more of a giver than a receiver. I hate asking for things. I don’t like receiving things when I have nothing to give in return. Because of this, my family decided to take matters into their own hands because they knew I never would.

They created a website to help raise money for our financial burden that will come with this unexpected journey. We don’t know how much insurance is going to cover because of the severity and situation of our circumstance. We don’t know what we will have to pay for after she is born to give her the best life possible. Because Kevin is in grad school now, my income is our main income to live off of. With this situation, we don’t know how long Annalise will live. Due to this, I may have to take extended periods of time off of work without pay. And if/when she does pass away, there will be expenses for a funeral/memorial service and everything that goes along with that.

So…to get to the fundraiser page, you have to click on this link:

http://www.gofundme.com/i1jg50

This specific website has a setting on it that keeps the page private until it has reached $500. Once $500 has been raised, then anyone can go to the GoFundMe website and search by name or zip code. Until then, you have to use this specific link to get to the page or to share with anybody else.

Now that I got that over with…. above all else, I ask that you please just continually pray for us and Annalise. With all these big decisions coming up and all the unknowns, pray that our faith continues to grow and pray that we continue having peace over all this.

We love and appreciate all of you…even if we don’t know you personally. We are so incredibly grateful for the love of God and His people. Y’all are a blessing!

Hope y’all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!