Dec 30, 2008

HAPPY New Year!!!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

How many times have I heard that passage over the last year? How many times has someone either quoted it to me, emailed it to me, or reminded me of this verse from God's Word? Too many times to count. Still, after all the times I've heard it, read it, and even quoted it, it brings tears to my eyes. To allow myself to think, even briefly, of God's great love for me and Reagan this past year. Not just this past year, but these past several years. There have been days, I believed any and everything BUT that God had plans for me. There were days when I thought God was done with me.

But He wasn't.

He isn't.

He continues daily to pour out His grace and mercy on us - on me. And I see it each morning in the smile on the face of a little girl I never thought would come. God has answered every prayer we had for a child. He even answered prayers we didn't know to pray. She is the happiest baby I think I've ever seen. The pictures I post, those aren't staged. She smiles pretty much ALL the time. She is content. She is loving. It's almost like she's reading a book on what she's supposed to do next. Sleeping through the night? Check. Teething? Check. Singing herself to sleep? Check. Wrapping Mommy and Daddy and everyone else who knows her around her little finger? CHECK. She truly wakes up with a smile on her face. And she smiles ALL day. Rarely is she fussy. Only when she's hungry, sleepy or teething. Or mad at me because I won't let her touch something.  She is so social. We can't go anywhere without people stopping to talk or her stopping people to talk. If a stranger passes her in  a store, she follows them with her eyes until they either speak to her or leave. And if they speak, she gives them one of those smiles that covers her whole face.

I'm not saying these things to brag on her or us. Heaven knows we don't have a clue what we're doing. We're just loving her. And singing to her. And laughing. And exposing her to as much as we can. And just looking at her in amazement EVERY DAY. I say all the things I do about her not to brag on her, but to brag on God. Look what He has done. I'm crying just to think about it now.  To think, we started out this year with no hope. Well, I had no hope. Reagan did. He never lost hope. But when I look at how our year started, and how it is now, it's almost too much to contain. I can't even put into words what my heart feels. 

But let me try.

Before you watch the video, let me re-cap a little about our year.

We started out our year pretty much going through the motions. Living life as it was and trying to find happiness and contentment in it. We had an opportunity to re-visit David and Regina in Guatemala, but this time as a part of a short-term mission team. I spent a lot of time in prayer before I went on this trip. Reagan and I didn't want this to be a trip about going to see David and Regina, as it could have easily been for us. We wanted it to be about following God and being used by Him. While it was good to see them and spend time with the other team members, it meant even more to see God revive a desire and a longing in us to serve Him as a member of a short-term mission team, and through at-home mission projects.

While we were gone on this trip, I began taking medicine to prepare my body to receive two embryos we had adopted, in hopes of the transfer resulting in a positive pregnancy. The transfer was unsuccessful. I would have given birth this month, if I had gotten pregnant and gone full term. While I would have loved to have siblings for Sara Madalin, looking back, I am so thankful that I didn't get pregnant. If I had another baby, or twins, as the case might have been, Sara Madalin would miss so much. And I would miss so much with her. Not that we wouldn't have made things work. We would have. But I get to dote on her and play with her and sing with her and roll around on the floor with her as she learns to crawl. I couldn't have done that if I was pregnant or caring for newborns. I wouldn't want to miss those things. I don't want to miss ANYTHING with her. Even taking her to the sitter's during the day, makes my heart ache. I miss her so much sometimes. (Don't get me wrong, I welcome the break. And I know I'm blessed to have Mrs. Gail just down the road. ) I've truly seen God's plan and His BEST this year in our lives. 

Just a few weeks after the failed embryo adoption we got to witness the most amazing miracle I think I'll ever see. I stood in the room, next to the feet of a woman who suffered through labor and delivery to give birth to a child that within minutes of her birth, she placed in my arms. And as I saw my sweet, precious, BEAUTIFUL baby girl being born, all I could think was, "THIS is what I've waited for. SHE is our hope and future." Everyday that God has allowed her to be in our life has been a joy. I've done things I never thought I'd be strong enough to do. Like bathing a child who has taken Augmentin and has poop all over her back and clothes, and bed and everything else she's come in contact with. (See those aren't the things that make it to the blog. And I know you're glad about that.) And I've done things I never thought I'd have a chance to do. Like decorate my van for Trunk or Treat and dress my child as a monkey. Or unwrap presents from Santa. Or, as my sister pointed out, add ONE MORE name to our Christmas card. God has richly blessed us this year. 

There's no way I'll ever put into words all that God has done for us. I can give you a glimpse each day, through our blog, of the joy we share as a family. But I can't bring you into our home and let you watch her smiling, even before her eyes are opened every morning. Or hear her "singing", then see her look at me and wait for me to pick up where she left off. Or let you see just how excited she gets as she first sees Reagan when he comes home from work. Or watch her napping between us in our bed on Sunday afternoons. As much as I want to, I'll never be able to tell you how full our heart is with this child. But I'll keep trying. Because I hope someday, with something we share, something she says or does, will change someone's life for the glory and honor of the Lord. Our prayer is that this blog is just the beginning of what God will do with her life.

I know I've said this several times in a number of posts, but thank you all for visiting us here. I wish I could share all the comments, the conversations, the encouragement that I have received through the people who visit here. It continually reaffirms to me that sharing her life and her testimony is the right thing to do. God is using her to encourage others who are still waiting on their child. Or those who have children already. As I was composing this post, I received an email from someone who said they had found our blog and reminded her what a blessing her children are. I can't wait to share those words with Sara Madalin when she's older. I want her to know that God used her even at an early age. And our prayer is that she continues to allow Him to use her throughout her life.

Thank you for sharing this year with us. May God bless you. I hope He makes you HAPPY this New Year. And y'all keep coming back and reading. I have a feeling, the fun is just beginning.




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6 comments:

K Storm said...

Oh, I needed a good cry this morning!! Aren't you so glad that God makes the plans for our lives and our plans are never as good as His?

Carpenter Family said...

I can't really say anything about the post right now. Maybe later I can. God bless you.

Melinda said...

I have left a comment on your blog in the past. My husband and I are "waiting". I know exactly how you felt last year, as I am feeling that way now. Some days I think it is never going to happen for us, but your blog today has encouraged me. Patience isn't my strong point, and going through yet another holiday without children was hard. I had really hoped we would have our child by this Christmas, and now I am hoping we will have it by next Christmas. I have really enjoyed your blog. I hope I can be as diligent about blogging as you when we get our little one.

Kandi Sullivan said...

I am so happy for you and Reagan. God has truly blessed you two with such a sweet and happy little girl. He is going to use her in a mighty way. I enjoy reading about her daily and I know that you are very happy to have her in your lives. We will pray for yall and hope that the new year brings lots more smiles and good times for your family...love, Kandi, Dwight, Breanna and Allyson.

Regina and David said...

Very good video! She is just precious.

Peggy said...

Malinda:

I have enjoyed catching up on the blogspot and I love your recap of this past year and how God has blessed your lives with Sara Madalin. I cried as I read your words as a precious reminder of God's goodness and grace and his precious promises to us ... in his time ... in his time ... he makes all things beautiful ... in his time. And truly Sara Madalin is beautiful ... throughout and throughin. She and you and Reagan are so special to me. Thanks for the reminders through this blogspot. By the way, I loved watching her sit up. WOW.
Love you --- Mrs. Peggy (Taylor)