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June 25, 2012

The faith seen in faithfulness...


A year ago on Father's day I wrote a post called Father's Day and faithfulness.

Funny that a year later, that's the same exact thing on my heart.


God is still really working on this with me.

I think the trial of going through the passing of our daughter has most definitely taught us much faithfulness. It has taught us God's faithfulness to us and is teaching us how to be faithful to Him (even if in the worst of situations.)

It's been a learning process and we (have learned) and (are learning) much.

So, as Father's Day approached this year, I just kept thinking to myself, this has to be a great one! Rick really deserves it and I was really excited.

The boys and I made Rick some really special gifts to make it a special day for him this year. We took some pictures, painted a canvas and picked out some new cologne for him. I printed lots of pictures off and made some collages for his office at work.

We planned to wake up let him open his gifts, head off to Church and then take him to lunch. It was supposed to be a great day.

Well things started off okay until we realized something terrible that had happened to us in the night; we were robbed.

Someone broke into our SUV and stole a bag of Rick's that had ALL of his important things inside. They threw out his passport but stole everything else. They took his Mac book, his IPhone, Ipod, another work laptop, his projector, SD cards, and Memory sticks.

Now yes, these things are all electronics and can be replaced, but that bag carried most of his work and a lot of pieces of our life.

The computers and phone had video's, pictures and most importantly ALL his sermons he preached after Maddie. These were things in our lives that have helped us heal. Rick was writing a book in Maddie's honor and it was gone. He had written poems and letters to her on there, all gone. He had them backed up on both of his laptops, only for them both to be taken. It was awful.

We were in shock.

WHY do people steal?

What they took maybe made them a quick dollar, but to us, it took away pieces of our daughter we can't get back. These were things that were written in heartache and deep sorrow that we wanted to have always.

All gone.

My Husband's job was wrapped up in that bag and everything was gone.

The police came out and pretty much told us there was nothing they could do, but the one officer said he would do his best to help us.


Later that afternoon we headed home. It was after Church and us having to "teach" and push forward with a smile, on a day that was already so very hard on us.

Rick went over and talked to the neighbors to see if there was anything they saw, and there was nothing. About that time, the police came by.

I watched from the front door as the officer handed my Husband back his bag. I thought, "They found it, praise the Lord!" Only to be wrong.

It was found, yes, but it was empty...


I watched as Rick spoke to the officer. He kept shaking his head as he spoke. It was breaking my heart.

But, the officer handed him something. He did find something that day thrown in a thorn bush. It was the ONLY thing left behind.

And it was Maddie's journal.

Rick had began writing a journal the day after Maddie Grace's funeral. Our sweet friend Nick, bought Rick this journal and told him to write when he was struggling, and Rick did. He wrote an entire book. Entry after entry he wrote about his heart and how he was feeling. He wrote about how God was helping us and all the things we were learning.

I watched as the officer handed Rick the journal.

I watched Rick wipe the dirt off of it and hold it close.

I don't think either of us had realized it was in that bag.

And to think, that this thief just tossed this "book" into a thorn bush. No thought of what it was, but knowing he probably couldn't make money off of it, he tossed it away...



I cried. (Hard)

This was truly a blessing through the storm to have this back. This book meant the world to Rick and to me. I'm just so thankful that if nothing else, we were able to receive this back..

The officer left and I then watched my Husband walk across the field (in the rain) looking for the rest of or any of his belongings left behind.

I found myself getting a little angry.

I was on the phone with my sister in law and I was bawling. I told her I didn't understand why this now was happening to us.

We just finished an entire week of preparation for Vacation Bible School. We stayed up at the Church till 11 pm every night that week. We were working ourselves so hard and giving every ounce of energy we had. The next day was the beginning of vbs and all of the lessons and all of our information was on those computers.

I just didn't understand. I didn't know why this was happening to us...

It just seems like one thing after another after another.

We haven't even recovered from Maddie and yet it seems like we just keep going through all these trials.

I was feeling wore out and frustrated. I was feeling angry and hurt.

Watching my precious Husband walking through the rain, searching for remnants of things that had been stolen from him on FATHER'S DAY was just too much for me.

We should have been enjoying our day and trying not to cry "too" much over missing Madeline.

We should have been eating lunch and celebrating the wonderful father that my Husband is and yet there we were... Broken hearted over yet another loss. Granted it was nothing like losing Madeline, but it was still awful. We just felt so beat up...

I waited for Rick to walk home and when he returned I could see the pain through his eyes.

I knew he was heartbroken and so very hurt.

I waited for him to get mad. I waited for him to say "I'm done."  I can't do anymore.

But he never did.

He never got angry. He never questioned God.


Not once.

Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't questioning God either, but I was just feeling so alone in that moment. So sad and so hurt.

Rick held me and we sat there thinking about everything that had just happened.

I said to him "What are we going to do?" and he responded "I'll make it happen."

And he did. He always does.

We looked over Maddie's journal and talked of the pieces of her on those computers that we can't get back. But, then, we got up and headed back to Church and decided to just stay faithful.

We decided to believe that there was a reason we were going through this now in our lives, and that something good would have to come of it.

We sat down with our boys and shared with them what had happened. We told them that this is a very good lesson why we do not take things that do not belong to us. Because it always has much more value to the owner than it ever could to the thief. They listened intently.

That night as we said bedtime prayers, Eli prayed for the "robber" that he would bring our stuff back, and that he would get saved so he could have his sins taken away and go to Heaven. (chills)

Nothing like learning lessons from a 4 year old on how to pray for your enemies. =)

He has prayed faithfully for this robbers salvation since. And now Rick and I are praying for him or her too.

Maybe he/she opened up Rick's laptop and read one of his sermons and accepted Christ.
Maybe they read Rick's story of Maddie Grace and realized what the family they stole from has been through.

Maybe she even touched their life? I don't know.

I don't know why this happened to us (to Rick) on Father's day but it did.

And while I looked to him fully expecting him to get mad or angry. He never did.

And in that moment he brought me out of my anger and reminded me of what an amazing man that he truly is.

The kind of man that I want my children to grow up to be just like.

Faithfulness is found in many forms, but that day; I saw the extremity of my Husbands faithfulness to God, to his family and to his ministry.

My Pastor preached yesterday on faithfulness right after I taught on it in Sunday School. (I love when that happens :)

He said "Your faith is seen in your faithfulness." -Pastor Ross

I couldn't agree more.

We went on to have the most wonderful week of Vacation Bible School. I'm sure glad we pressed forward.

I had the opportunity to lead dozens of kids and teenagers to the Lord (including a little girl named Madelyn.)

I couldn't help but think of "my" sweet Madeline in Heaven witnessing the Heavenly celebration going on as these young ones accepted Christ as their Savior, and secured their home in Heaven for eternity.

Maddie was there to witness it all and I hope she was proud of me. It was another moment where I believe she looked down from Heaven and said about her parents.. "That's my Mom and that's my Dad."

What a blessing to think.

My Husband will never know what his strength meant to me on Father's Day of this year or the strength he's shown me in the last 18 months. It just proves to me, he is the most amazing man I know.

I'm so very proud of him for so many things, but that day, I was proud of his faith.

He stands strong. Always.

And on this day, his strength held me too.

May we all stay faithful to the One who is always faithful to us, in the little and in much. And may our faith be made sight through our faithfulness.

Much love,
Natalie






June 22, 2012

Jonah Bear update...6 months!

Well our little Jonah Bear is grooooowwwing...

At his 6 month check up he weighed in at a whopping 19 lbs 8 oz and 28 3/4 inches long. I can't believe how chubby he is!

He enjoyed tearing up the paper. Ha!

 
He loves to eat. I'm still nursing full time but I have recently introduced baby food. So far, he's tried green beans, carrots and sweet potatoes... He isn't quite loving it yet. I guess in time he will.


He's not really a fan of cereal either. He's just like Noah was as a baby. He just wants to nurse all the time. We are gonna keep introducing veggies to him and hopefully he'll enjoy them a little more soon. It's fun watching him try new things. :)

Jonah's sleep schedule has been tricky recently. The last two nights he's slept 10 hours again. Yes! But earlier in the week he was getting up once or twice in the night. I really can't complain though, I'm enjoying this all again so much.

He's finally sleeping in his crib because he outgrew his bassinet. He's a bit of a light sleeper and Rick and I felt that we were keeping him up in our room, so now he's across the hall. I'm actually really proud of myself for moving him into his nursery. I didn't think I would ever be able to feel comfortable enough for him to go in there. I check on him throughout the night and of course I have a monitor on him all he time. It helps my heart to feel at ease. I like to hear his little noises and see his movements throughout the night.

Talking to his friends =)



He loves his owl/birdie mobile... <3

Jonah LOVES his room. We play in there a lot. I rock him and feed him there. It's a calming soothing room that we both really enjoy spending time in. I'm thankful we were able to create such a happy place in a room that made me so sad for so long. It's been a blessing.







Maddie Bird <3



Playing with his birdie family =)


My sister is an angel <3

We love this onesie!

Jonah is wearing 9 months clothes now! He's rolling and sitting and trying to get on his knees. He grabs anything and everything within his reach and then of course, he puts it to his mouth. He wants to eat everything!! He seems to be teething but none have popped through yet.. I'm gonna keep watching..





















































Jonah has been spending his summer LOVING on his brothers!!! We have been going swimming and to Kings Island amusement park. We go on walks and play outside. Jonah absolutely lights up when Noah and Elijah come around. He LOVES his big brothers so very much!



















Thanks Kellie Staats for this cute idea for father's day...=)

I have lots of stories to share about this week, including a really hard day on father's day. Rick and I were challenged again with a huge trial in our lives. I don't have the energy to share that now, but I will soon. We are thankful to put last week behind us and move forward. We are continuing to trust God and praise Him through both the hard and good days.

So for today, where are we???

We are loving more than anything having Jonah in our family. I don't think I can imagine what life without him would be like. We are just so thankful to be watching him grow and learn and become the precious little boy that he is. I don't know what the future holds for our family, but I think it's safe to say, that we are so happy and in love right now. We are enjoying watching these three fabulous little boys grow up. It's just so fulfilling. Maddie Grace is never far from our thoughts, and we know we will be seeing her again. But for now, we just thank the Lord for the precious children we have here that we are raising up for Him, always believing and looking for the good things in life. And Jonah is most definitely one of the best things that could have happened to our family!


Here was a snapshot of my boys and I on Mother's Day...  I need to get an updated family photo taken soon!

I'll be writing again soon and sharing Jonah's 6 month photo shoot... Until then.

Much Love,
Natalie