This post has been brewing for several months.
Anna Joy has been gone for 2 years and 5 months. That's how old she would be now. Surreal.
Since her birth & passing, we have experienced 2 miscarriages and came quite close to adopting a local baby girl.
Today, we are thrilled to announce that we are expecting a baby boy early August! We found out just a few days before Anna's 2nd birthday. I waited this long to post about it because I wanted to get through the genetic screening, 20 week ultrasound, and the echocardiogram (just last week). Although way down deep my heart knew he would be fine, I can officially share that he looks very healthy. The cardiologist said he has a perfect heart, and it looks beautiful. Thank God!
After sweet Anna left us for heaven, I felt that I wasn't ready to give up on having another biological child. I would surrender my desires to the Lord, but at the same time be completely honest with Him in that I wanted to carry another baby. I love Isaac and Anna so very much. I just didn't feel that we were "done" yet.
So. We are 6 months along, and super excited to meet this little guy (no name decided on yet)... feeling overwhelmed by the Lord's continuing gifts. I'm cherishing each movement, each ultrasound image. Another miracle to love.
As I look back at the events we've experienced since Anna, I don't feel sad because of them now. I feel amazed. Amazed at God's faithfulness in carrying us. He still hasn't let go. Through it all, we still ache for our daughter. Through it all, we still HOPE in His goodness and grace - knowing He will work everything into something good and beautiful. And He is. Not because the tests are saying our next baby is healthy. Not because He's given us another child at all. Because no matter what life presents, He is constant. The pains and questions continue to point us to His eternal plan of an indescribable love relationship with Him. He is ever reaching for us, and that gives life purpose.
This is the verse I started praying and believing for myself Thanksgiving 2012...
"The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like a garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing." Isaiah 51:3
The title of our blog is still fitting. Hope brings joy. Not happiness in circumstances. It is peace in the midst of pain and trials - the unexplainable underlying sense of purpose as we ride the parallel tracks of smiles and tears.
Tomorrow is unknown. Health, relationships, events, finances... We aren't in control. I'm thankful I didn't know what my timeline would look like three years ago. And I'm glad I don't know what the next three years will bring. I do know that God is already there, and I can rest today knowing that He sees the eternal picture of my life... all the while weaving His beauty into every single breath that makes up my story. May this story be more about Him than me. It's all grace. The good and the bad. Because it can point us to His heart if we are willing to look.
Please pray for us as we prepare for our next child to join us. There are so many emotions we experience from day to day. Always missing Anna Joy, always deeply thankful for Isaac, always overwhelmingly excited to meet baby boy... always hoping in God's faithfulness. We expect this baby will bring some healing, but also some refreshed grief over all we missed with Anna. But we know it's still worth it. Love always hopes.