Georgie’s Army

One day, I am going to be able to pull out a book and hand it to my beloved daughter and show her the prayers of a worldwide army of warriors who came behind her and raised her towards Heaven, pleading on her behalf. I will show her names of people her mama didn’t know existed before she was born. She’ll see places represented that we’ll have to go and get an atlas to figure out where they are. There will be names of people she hugs hello to weekly, and family, both officially and unofficially related. We’ll read names together of faceless people we’ll neither of us meet on Planet Earth but will bump into in Heaven. To everyone who has, is and will pray for our plucky Georgina – thank you! There is absolutely no doubt at all in our minds that your prayers have carried us and our daughter through the hardest days we have ever yet had to encounter.

One day my beautiful girl is probably going to ask me why a Good God didn’t heal her and I am going to have to hug her tight and tell her I don’t know. I will tell her of the diagnosis that struck fear into her daddy’s and my heart that we may not bring her home from hospital or even meet her alive. That every single day we have with her, every single hug, every single strop, every single dirty nappy, was something we weren’t sure we’d get to experience and how Heaven rang with loud praises when we were able to tell her army that she was born with a healthy weight (she’ll probably get cross when I coo over how chunky she was) and whilst her heart was still broken, it could be mended by a team of incredibly talented people. I won’t lie to her and pretend I understand why God didn’t keep miraculously healing her and it may be I never find out and that is something He is keeping for her. (I have to remind myself that He has a story for her and she needs to find it out for herself.) But I can tell her how many people danced alongside her daddy and I when we heard they could fix her heart, when she kept gaining weight, when we were able to share photos of her happily sleeping in her incubator without needing help to breathe oxygen. How her birth and finding out how well she was doing had a stream of people worldwide celebrating and praising God. I will tell her of people whose faith was strengthened in seeing God working in her life, of the atmosphere of praise and thanksgiving that surrounded the first week of her life.

To Georgie’s Army, we are blown away by your love and faithfulness for our daughter and ourselves. Never before have I felt the Church knitted together so strongly as family. I cannot wait to meet each and every one of you in Heaven and hug you and thank you.

I don’t think that life with Georgie will ever be an easy faith walk. There are good things I can see now that have come from this but it is still not a “good” situation. I love my daughter and it eats me up that she needs more surgeries to keep her alive. I wish I could fix her heart, I wish I could take her future pain on myself, I wish I wasn’t faced constantly with wounds and appointments reminding me her heart is still very broken. I think Georgie will continue to inspire and challenge the church and I can only pray as her mother that she will be given the faith and grace she needs.

We love you, faithful members of Georgie’s Army. If you ever feel helpless and like “all you can do is pray” – remember that our little girl is with us because of prayer. Remember that she was born in such a good place because of people praying for her. There is no “just prayer” on this planet. Satan got punched, kicked and beaten to the curb as God took your prayers and turned what Satan had fully intended for evil into good. I pray you will be encouraged in realising the power of His army uniting on their knees. I am reminded of a song line that says: I can stand tall, on my knees.

We do have one more request of you all: so that Georgie, as well as ourselves, can look back and be comforted and awed by the knowledge of how the Church family united in praying for her, we wondered if people would be willing to send their name (just a first name is fine) and town/country to this email address: gurdygroan@gmail.com and we’ll include them in a book with the prayers and messages people have sent.

I’ll end with two simple words: thank you.

Becky

***

We’re all settling well into home life and are being spoilt rotten with meals, gifts and love being showered on us. It is so nice being home as a family of three and we are even coping without our team of nurses!

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The Zipper Club

Sheer excitement.

Panic.

Fear.

Delight.

“Are we going to be good parents????” asked about 1 million times. A day.

Finding out you’re expecting your first child is incredible. Finding out that your first child is going to have to be a little warrior is a little less normal. Finding out that your child will be joining ‘The Zipper Club’* is petrifying.

I don’t know how much I’ll be on here over the next few months. It may be I find release in writing about it, in seeing how God is still weaving His masterpiece as I watch in confusion. It may be that writing something down is too much. I don’t know so I just thought I should warn you.

I have already written a few pieces but they’re raw, very raw, and I’m not sure how much honesty the internet needs about this. I am learning faith and pain can walk hand in hand. I’m learning it’s possible to think you’re doing ok, you really are, only for a baby grow to cause absolute sob fest. I’m learning all the lessons I thought I’d learnt about trust through the CFS were the warm up for this and I don’t feel ready. I’ve learnt you can feel peace and I’ve learnt you can choose to step outside that peace. I’ve learnt there are a lot of hurting people in this broken world and sometimes having everything ‘not ok’ in our lives gives us a doorway into theirs. I’ve learnt a mother’s love for her unborn baby is fierce. I’ve learnt the love a daddy has for his little baby can cause this mummy to tear up.

I’ve learnt.

I’m learning.

I will learn.

How much of that is internet-worthy, I don’t know. Guess we’ll find out!!

*An exclusive group of people who have gone through open heart surgery leaving them with a scar like a zipper on their chest. (Source: Urban Dictionary)

Adoption

For me, adoption isn’t a beautiful concept, a scary word or even a nice idea. It’s four living, breathing siblings. It’s four relationships that have come about as God redeemed broken lives. It’s four extra people to hug and laugh with, love and cherish, fight for and with.

Adoption has four names close to my heart, four people that are so intertwined in my life that it seems impossible how nearly we were strangers to each other.

Adoption, I once read, is beautiful and sad simultaneously. It reminds us that something was broken that needed fixing but it also reminds us that there is a possibility of redemption in the worst situations.

I am the eldest of six and four of my siblings were born from a different mother’s tummy. Our genetic pool is crazy (I think we tally three mothers and five fathers between us?!). And that matters. It’s silly to think that people’s past doesn’t matter because it does. Our past makes us what we are now and adopted siblings need to know that they are accepted with their broken pasts and loved and valued. It breaks my heart to realise what my siblings went through before they came into our family. There are things that, for all my love for them, I cannot truly understand regarding what they have been through.  They need space to grieve what they lost. Space to realise their anger at the unjustness of the situation is allowed and they need to be able to work through that in a healthy way. But I am so so so blessed to realise I get to be a part of their present and future. That God brought us together as strangers and has plaited our lives into each other’s. I get to celebrate (or commiserate!) exam results with them, they were at my wedding and I’m looking forward to embarrassing them at theirs (;-) ), we’re going to hold each other as we hit some turbulent times, we’re probably going to bicker with each other for the next….oooh…six decades? At least. But woe on anyone who attacks my siblings – they’ll have a fiery big sister on their case asap! I’m excited to share life with them.

God brings people into families in different ways. I have parents who gave birth to me and all the extended family that entails, I have a sister who was born the same way I was (and who was definitely easier work than me throughout toddler years!), I have siblings who were adopted into my family, I have a husband who I married and that also brought a whole range of family, and I have family who are not legally connected to me in anyway but we belong together – family is not this rigid, “You enter one way only” thing. Family is so much bigger than blood and genetics. I think we miss out on a lot if we insist on creating families one way.

Today is Adoption Sunday and I would encourage you to think outside the box when it comes to family. Not everyone reading this will or should adopt but be open to how God might want to expand your family. He’s not as stuck in the mud about these things as we often are.

Adoption is redemption in action.

Written to celebrate Adoption Sunday. For those who want more information, I thoroughly recommend this website: http://www.homeforgood.org.uk/what-we-do/adoption-sunday. It’s not just for those thinking of adopting but for all who want to support those who foster or adopt. The book “Home for Good” is also a great read (although not an easy one, hardly surprising given the topic).

Two years on

photos courtesy of Photography by Jade (https://www.facebook.com/photographybyjade.org/)

It has been two years since I walked into a church as my father’s daughter and walked out as Joel’s wife. Two beautiful years, two years that have had their fair share of heartache, two years of learning how great an Author our God is. He brought together two people and has melded them together in such a way it feels crazy that it’s only actually been two years.

I knew there would be challenges when we married. I was ill, after all, which has put pressure on us. A saying I once saw said a diamond is just coal that did well under pressure. Well, it’s still rough, but diamond is what we have. Church hasn’t always been an easy ride as we’ve stayed where God put us despite deep provocation at times. Joel has had extensive training for his job, we’ve moved house and taken on a project (and a half!), added to which I’ve had ongoing therapeutic care for my CFS. There has been significant pressure. We’ve not lived a rose strewn first few years. But our marriage, the coming together of two lives and fusing of two people? That has felt like two halves being brought back together. I have been blown away by how well God knew us when he brought us together. There is no way we could have known how well we would fit until we did but He did.

As a single, no, I did not believe in “the one”. As a married woman, yes, I do. I don’t believe in perfect people and I don’t believe spouses will necessarily come in the skin we’re expecting but I believe it is possible to walk in the centre of God’s will and if that includes marriage, is it so hard to believe the Creator of the universe can bring two people together who work well as a partnership in His Kingdom (and be an incredible blessing in each other’s lives)? For us, the coming together of that partnership took a rather peculiar road but God knew what He was doing (strange that 😉 ).

My beloved husband, you are such a gift to me. You have served me selflessly, lovingly and with a sense of humour that has made the hard days survivable and the good days a blast these past two years! I promised you in sickness and health and am hoping soon I’ll be able to deliver on the second part of that promise! I love you, my cariad, and am so glad (and proud) to be your wife.

A Response To the Response

One of the earliest things I can remember learning about British politics was that the Government are supposed to represent the people. That’s it stripped right back. And right now people are saying a lot about the politicians and how they’re a mud-slinging, lying, abusive set of people (that’s the abridged and clean version) and how horrified they are that they represent us. You know what? Take a look on social media today and I really don’t think politicians are far off in a representation of the British population.

And the future politicians – the children of today – are watching us react and learning how ‘politics’ work.

They are seeing that name-calling is ok, that completely slamming people without understanding two people can actually have differing opinions and it doesn’t make one of them a ***** is ok, they’re discovering that verbal abuse is ok when discussing politics. Someone right now is raising the future prime minister of Great Britain. It might be your kid. It might be a child you have contact with and they look up to you. It might be a younger sibling. Trust me, they are watching how you react, how you deal with this. They are watching you crow over people who have (supposedly) been proved wrong. They are watching you start shouting at people who are crowing. They are watching you type words into Facebook, snap pictures of your angry face on Instagram, they’re taking note of your hashtags. Is that really the kind of politics you want the future politicians of our land to engage in? What words and arguments are you teaching them to hurl in people’s faces?

Is this not an opportunity to demonstrate to a younger generation, who will one day be running this country, that passion is good but so is being kind? Is this the time you can demonstrate to those watching future politicians that when an opponent is ‘beaten’, that is the time to be gracious? No, don’t say you’re happy if you’re not, but don’t call someone a bigot just because they disagreed. Teach those future politicians sentences like: “That’s a fair point – I disagree but I understand your concerns. Let’s see if we can calmly address them” or “I disagree but I honour your point and aren’t you glad we live in a country where we can openly disagree?” Let your younger sibling, your son, your daughter, the toddler who waves to you at church when you walk in – let them see that politics is capable of being a respectful debating situation. Demonstrate it to them.

I’m not asking you to lose your passion. I’m not asking you to pretend you’re excited if you’re not. I’m not asking you to not debate. I’m just asking you to consider the watching eyes and listening ears and realise that if you want politics to change in the future, you’d better start investing in the future politicians and demonstrating to them how to not be a lying, self-seeking, fingers-in-ears person.

I really don’t care which way you voted in the Referendum, honestly. You had a right to vote ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ and that was your decision, your choice and none of my business. So I’m not going to write about that. But you are raising, or influencing, the people who will impact my country in the future and I would really really appreciate it if you could raise some future politicians of integrity who know how to be kind and how to fight fair.

Much appreciated. 🙂

Becky

New layout, (slightly) new attitude

P1080903I decided to spring-clean the blog which made me start thinking… I feel like everything has been pretty CFS-based on here recently and given I decided that wouldn’t define me, it seems a little counter-‘how-I-want-to-live-life’. So I’ll try and lighten up a little, okay? If anyone has any ideas/suggestions of things they’d like to see, please let me know! I was thinking maybe some foodie/craft-y/look-what-I’ve-found posts but if anyone can think of anything else, bung it in!

The Unwanted Season, Episode 14 (One Week Down: Things I Have Learnt)

Not sleeping doesn’t mean not resting. I have discovered being awake does not mean I have to start tearing around at the speed of light. It means if I do 10 minutes cooking and have to sit down and read for half an hour (with 5 minutes complete rest in that), then that’s ok. It means my plans to drive to the car boot, walk around it, go on to the gym and cook myself an intricate lunch are completely unrealistic. Shocker! It means thinking through what I want to do, axing everything apart from the main one (say, clean the kitchen sink or try a new recipe for tea) and that is my goal of the day. I’m rubbish at it. Lol. No surprise there as that’s how I got into this mess! But I am getting better. When my body starts shaking with sheer exhaustion, I actually listened and sat down and spent the rest of the morning watching a documentary, reading and just staring at the view until it calmed down and after lunch I was able to put the washing on the line. Now if I could learn to hear my poor body before it has to start shaking, that would be even better!

Proper rest is really really really hard. Sitting without letting your mind plan the next 20 minutes is agonising. I am trying various techniques and the current most successful one is lighting a candle and staring at its flame (successful = not spending the WHOLE 5 minutes thinking…). Plus it smells amazing. 🙂

Going for a morning walk is surprisingly rewarding. I’ve actually found the morning part probably one of the easier parts of it. It is definitely helped by the fact walking around the Mountain at 7-7.30 in the morning at this time of year is just beautiful and peaceful and quiet. Seriously spoilt by where we live. The bluebells have just come up and it’s generally just stunning and I don’t have to share it with anyone apart from the blackbirds, horses and an occasional seagull.

I am incredibly blessed in my friends and family. I remember seeing a picture of someone collapsing in a marathon and being carried over the finish line by fellow athletes. That is what your prayers and encouragement are doing to me – you’re carrying me. This isn’t easy (like, really really not easy!) but it certainly isn’t as hard as I was expecting and I’m going to lay the credit at the feet of your prayers, your encouragement and our God.

Sleeping through the night is a good idea. This is the first week in a very very very long time that I have managed to fall asleep within 10 minutes of my head hitting the pillow and only wake up (minus my three o’clock bathroom trip) come the morning. Seriously, this is revolutionary in my life! My brain is actually slowly learning it’s ok to switch off as I fall asleep! Guys, this is incredible!!

All coffee makers should come with timers! We bought a timer switch so the coffee maker comes on in the morning. I know some people find caffeine a bad trigger but for me, crawling out of my warm bed into the cold bedroom, the knowledge that there is a hot cup of coffee waiting for me in the kitchen is the strength I need.

Non-ironed pjs, bedding and tea towels is actually ok. The world doesn’t end if you don’t do them. I know, you never realised that, did you? 😉 The doctor told me my new mantra has to be: “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly so it gets done”. Which means if I want to keep us in clean clothes, ironing gets assigned to the strictly necessary (Joel’s work uniform) and everything else gets put on the back burner. It hurts but hey, at least we have clean underwear in the drawer, right?!

God is good. Life may not be good but God is. He hasn’t miraculously healed me but He has showered me with what I call “God kisses” this week – just little things to remind me I’m loved. Like finding some leeks yellow stickered (I adore leeks but they’re far too expensive in supermarkets!) or someone sending me some good news right when I’m struggling the most. Sometimes the lack of a big miracle means we can see the smaller ones clearer.