Monday, October 29, 2007

A Break from Reality

I have found myself over the past few days feeling a new level of disconnect from what is going on than I have previously experienced. This is a facet of the Trisomy 18 journey that I am unprepared for because it is so unexpected. It just seems natural that the longer we live with it, the more it should sink in. The only problem is that the exact opposite is happening. It seems to me that Poppy's disease (Nathan looked it up, and it is in fact classified as a disease) is becoming more surreal than concrete. I can't explain it; it just seems to be the way it is.

I find that I am feeling so normal and that everything feels so much like my last pregnancy, that I am almost having to make a conscious effort to remind myself that this is not the case! I don't mean that I ever truly forget the reality, but it is certainly becoming easier to ignore it. This worries me because I feel like this is a sign that I am digressing instead of progressing toward being as prepared as we can possibly be when Poppy comes. It's shocking to me that right now, as we are looking at delivering in less than 6 weeks, I am feeling less emotionally connected to what is going on than ever before. It's almost like I am in a burn out stage. We have known that Poppy is sick for 13 weeks now, and I guess it's possible that I'm simply worn out with all of the emotions involved. I have been praying all along that God would give us strength and peace during this intermediate waiting period, and I know with all my heart that He has, but peace is something very different from disconnect. I want to feel calm but not numb!

As I sat down this morning to pray, I told God all of this, and then I asked that He would renew me spiritually and emotionally. I then picked up the Bible to the spot where Nathan had left it open on the coffee table, and I began reading out of Luke 10. In that chapter Jesus gives an illustration about a persistent man who keeps pounding on his neighbors door until the neighbor becomes so tired of the knocking that he gives him what he needs. This isn't where a passage I would normally think of as inspirational (it certainly doesn't have that "you shall renew your strength and rise up on wings as eagles" ring to it), but this morning it was exactly what I needed to hear! I think I have just become tired with the waiting, and as a result, I have let a numbness sink in. Instead, what I need to do is persistently and relentlessly take this to Jesus and ask Him to pour out his blessings, mercy, and wisdom on us right now. Poppy will be here so soon, and I want with everything in me to use the remaining weeks as best as I can.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Misery loves company. This is my best explanation as to why I started rereading a series of historical fiction books dealing with the years leading up to WWII in prewar Europe just a few days after learning about Poppy. I was a psychology major for about one semester before I decided to switch to history, so know that my thoughts are home-grown psychological theory, but it seems to me that human nature longs to know that A) I am not alone in my understanding of what it feels like to go through this, and B) Others have been through worse and suffered more.

I have shared before how the first need has been met for me by God in such an unbelievable way through the girls He has placed in my life who have either just been or are currently going through the experience of having a Trisomy 18 baby. This is a gift I did not expect to receive upon first hearing the news. After all, the doctors were describing a disorder that I had never heard of and that had the likelihood of occurring in about 1 in ever 6,000 births! Yet despite the odds, I am surrounded by a group of amazing women who serve to build me up and encourage me every single day. Not for a second am I glad that any one of them has had to experience the pain that is inextricably attached to this journey, but I am so grateful that God has allowed those of us who are going through it to find each other and feel a connection in the shared fellowship of suffering.

I think the second “need” of my human nature is being met through these books by Bodie Thoene that portray the heartache, injustice, hatred, despair, and absolute insanity of the years from 1935-1939 more vividly than anything else I have ever read. The fact that it is real, that the atrocities actually happened, that people experienced grief beyond what seems possible to be endured—all of this keeps me up some nights as I try and comprehend just a glimpse of the sorrow that has been felt by others throughout history. There are times when my own heartache seems so insignificant in comparison with the total loss others have experienced. It is at these times that I think “God, I can trust you through this, but how could I possibly endure through something like that?” In my head I know the answer: God doesn’t give us the grace we need to face situations until we are actually there. I really do believe that. I believe that is exactly what happened for us in regard to Poppy. Yet, when I think of it on a magnified scale, my heart fails me and my mind ceases to comprehend.

Maybe this is why God gave us Job. This is a situation where a man experienced a total loss in every area of life from health, to finances, to family. I suppose Job could be God’s universal answer to my previously listed second need in human nature. I was reading through one of Papa’s sermons on Job recently, and he stated that God was bringing Job to the point where he could say “God is enough.” He allowed him to be stripped of absolutely everything so that he could get to the place that he could say this with integrity from the deepest part of his being. Job got to that point. He was as low as humanity can get, and yet he was able to say “God is enough.”

I guess no matter what difficulties God allows us to go through, this is the response He desires from us. I know there are many people who are reading this who have experienced far more suffering than I ever will, and then there are others who find themselves somewhat unscathed by suffering’s hand at this point in their life. Whatever the case, it is not about comparison. Only God knows why He allows some to go through this and others that. I think the point is this: whatever God allows, He gives us the strength to make it through. It is just our responsibility to acknowledge that no matter what, God is enough.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Praying for Miracles

Prayer is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. One thing that has become blaringly obvious is how much about prayer I don’t understand and how much there is to learn about it! I’ve been struck by its unparalleled power and its amazing ability to have a literal impact on my life. There have been many times in the past when prayer has seemed abstract, almost as if it does not have direct bearing on the day to day events of life, but now I realize it wasn’t prayer but my attitude about prayer that left me with this impression. I still feel in many ways that I am just scratching the surface where prayer is concerned, but I am so grateful that God has brought me to the point He has—the point where prayer is a very real, very necessary, and very constant part of my existence.

Since the moment we heard the news about Poppy I’ve felt a need to communicate with God like never before in my life. For me, this has been the easy part. I have never felt for even a second as if I didn’t want to talk to God about every aspect of Poppy’s situation. What has been much harder has been knowing exactly what to pray. I have struggled to know what to ask for, floundering back and forth between wanting to pray specifically and wanting to ask God to just work His will. Part of me fears that if I pray specifically and with an expectant heart, then I will open myself up to added disappointment if it turns out that what I ask for isn’t what we get. I also struggle with the concept of whether it’s even possible to know what I want in this situation. My thought process goes something like this: Poppy’s condition is something I never could have fathomed for my child, yet God has chosen to give this to us. Therefore, He knows better than I ever could what I need, and maybe that is much better than praying for what I think I want. All of these thoughts are going round and round in my head, and I am continuing to ask God to guide me and teach me how He desires for me to pray.

However, while I feel like there are certainly many areas where I still have questions and no definite answers, I also know that God has revealed a great deal to me through His word, the guidance of His Spirit, and through the wisdom of others He has placed in my life. One of these areas has to do with the concept of miracles. I have been told by so many people that they are praying that God will work a miracle in Poppy’s life. To tell you the truth, that is exactly what I am praying as well! The only thing is, I think there are about a billion different ways a miracle can be manifested in her life, and I feel that so many are referring to just one miracle: that of perfect healing. First of all, let me say that not only do I think it’s okay to ask God for her perfect healing, I think it is something I should ask for! I believe that God has the power and authority to do absolutely anything with Poppy’s precious little body, and I will continue to ask Him to work a miracle of healing in her life, and I invite you to join me in that prayer! But, I feel like God has revealed to me that this should not be the driving focus of my prayer, because it is only one of countless ways that God can and will work miracles in and through Poppy.

He has impressed upon my heart the fact that she is already a miracle, and the ways in which she has touched lives, mine first and foremost, is miraculous in and of itself. Because of this I want the focus of my prayers for Poppy to center on asking God to perform a miracle that my heart and mind can’t conceive or comprehend. I am asking Him daily to be glorified through this in the way that He chooses, knowing that whether that involves perfect healing or not, it will be a miracle in the truest sense of the word. My great fear is that some people might think that God didn’t answer their prayers if they pray for a miracle and Poppy is indeed born with Trisomy 18. I pray that God will place assurance in each person’s heart that this is not the case! He is so big and so great, and His plans are so beyond what we can see and understand, so however He chooses to answer our prayers, I know that the answer will indeed be miraculous. James 5:16 says, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” This is a promise I plan on clinging to in the days ahead. Thank you so much for your prayers for us. We are eternally grateful!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Under the Cover of Night

This morning I was reading and I came across a verse I would normally not think twice about, but due to recent circumstances, it struck me as quite profound. The verse is from Psalm 11 and it says “For, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart.” In order for this to make sense or seem even remotely relevant, let me back up and describe the “incident” Nathan and Marianna had a few days ago.

At about nine o’clock on Thursday night, Nathan and Marianna were driving home when all of the sudden Nathan heard a crash and looked in his rear-view mirror in time to see what he at first thought was Marianna throwing her milk out the window. He quickly realized that instead of white liquid particles flying through the air, what he was actually seeing was the glass from her window shattering to pieces. He immediately pulled over to make sure she was okay (I was on the phone with him at the time, and I could her crying “Daddy, what happened?” over and over again), and he found that she was virtually covered in the glass from her window, but fortunately the weather had just turned cold enough to require pants and a turtle neck, so the only exposed areas were her face and ankles. The glass itself is the kind that does not shatter into nasty shards, but rather just kind of crumbles, so other than a few small scratches and a bloody nose, she was in fine physical shape. The emotional scare took a little longer to wear off. She gave a very dramatic rendition of the event at least 10 times once she was home and safe in her pajamas. What was even more humourous to us was that she began mixing in details from a traumatic play ground experience she had a few weeks ago at Chick-fil-a where a little boy “pulled her piggies!” (meaning her pig tails) and grabbed her by the neck. By the end of the night Thursday her story went something like “The glass came in on me, and then, and then, and then the little boy pulled my piggies!” She sounds like a case study in the making for some early-childhood psychologist =).

Anyway, after examining his car, Nathan decided that he had probably been the target of some renegade rock throwers. In addition to the missing window, the car also suffered a very large dent directly above the window on the door jam, which indicated that something much larger than a pebble was being tossed. We thanked God everyone was safe, and figured that was that. But then yesterday my mom forwarded me a crime report that someone in her neighborhood provides on a regular basis. In the incident report, a situation almost identical to Nathan’s was described as happening in the exact same spot only 10 minutes prior to when Nathan was hit. The only difference was that his man was able to recover a metal ball that had embedded itself in his driver’s side door, and upon taking it to an auto body repair shop, he was able to ascertain that it came from a high powered air rifle. The policeman who took the report told him that if it had been fired at his head it could have proved fatal. All of the sudden we realized that instead of some little rock throwers, we were looking at an amateur sniper who was waiting for the cover of night to hide behind the shrubs on a very dark road and take shots at the innocent and unassuming passersby.

Nathan has since filed a police report himself, and he has even been contacted by the local news to see if he will give an interview. He declined the interview, but we are hoping that the police are able to do a little investigating and quickly nip this in the bud before it turns uglier than it already is. All of that to say, the verse I read this morning had new, if not exactly contextural, meaning for me in light of the “sniper.” But as I kept reading, something else hit me other than the irony of the other night’s shooting. The verses in this chapter are describing people who are ready to run and hide in the mountain because they fear those who wait for darkness to shoot at the upright. In the face of fear, these people had lost their ability to trust in God and were seeking an escape to safety that did not involve His protection. How I sympathized with these people when I read the verses! I thought, “I don’t have a “mountain” to run to because the medical community offers us no hope, but if I did, wouldn’t I want to run to it?” It made me stop and think, if I had options other than complete and total dependence on God, would I take them? That’s a question I honestly can’t answer. The reality is that God is all I have to cling to through this journey. I have no comfort from science, medicine, technology, or anything else the world has to offer. Nothing can help, nothing can predict, and nothing can restore. Only God can give me peace for the unknown ahead and only He can work miracles. Because of this, I am trying every day to simply trust Him. But, what pride and arrogance I would have to look down at others for what I consider to be “lapses in faith,” because I know it is only because I have nothing else that I am able to trust Him with everything. I am grateful to Him for that, and I am also grateful that He protected Nathan and Marianna from any serious injury!

Friday, October 12, 2007

30 Week Update

I wanted to give you a quick update on my 30 week doctor's appointment yesterday. I hadn't been in five weeks, and so I had quite a few things that I wanted to bring up for discussion with my doctor. First, let me say that I feel like I am so blessed to have my doctor! I had actually never met him until the day Marianna was born, but I can't describe to you how amazing he was for us on that day. He understood what was going on with our family with Papa being in the hospital down the street, and the decisions he made I feel like were God ordained. By the time he had delivered her via c-section, I felt like I had known him forever. I have seen no one else since that time, and I am so glad to have him to help us walk through this.

At yesterday's appointment, the first thing he discovered is that I am now measuring exactly on target at 30 weeks! This was very exciting news, because up to this point I have looked and felt quite a bit smaller than I should have been. But just over the past few weeks I have really felt Poppy growing, and his measuring tape confirmed my suspicion. He wanted me to have an ultrasound just to make sure that the growth was actually Poppy and not excess fluid, and upon doing the ultrasound, they found that my fluid levels are right in the normal range. Definitely a huge relief for me! They were also able to tell us that while she is still measuring behind by two weeks in her limbs and stomach, she has maintained steady growth since the 20 week ultrasound, since she was two weeks behind at that point as well. This growth was also a big encouragement! The only thing that wasn't good as far as growth is concerned is her head. Because of the excess fluid in her brain, her head is actually measuring at 37 weeks! We would appreciate prayers that this growth would slow down over the time remaining while the other growth would remain sustained. All in all, she weighs 2 pounds 15 ounces at this point, which is a good size, except for the fact that some we have to take into consideration that some of the weight is from the fluid.

While we were in there, I asked the technician to confirm whether some other very normal markers for trisomy 18 were present in Poppy. She could tell that in edition to the fluid in her brain, her heart still had a hole and she could still only find one kidney. However, there were no new problems with her organs, as we were already aware of these from our initial visit. She also said that Poppy's hands to appear to be clenched, and that each of her feet looks to be slightly clubbed. From what she could tell, her face and profile appeared to be completely normal, without any evidence of a cleft palate, small chin, or any other of the common facial markers of trisomy 18. I know I will love absolutely everything about her because each of these things will make her distinctly "her."

Nathan was able to make it for the ultrasound, and it was so wonderful to be able to see all of her little features on the screen once again. I was reminded that she is a beautiful baby, not a weird medical phenomenon, and we will love her just as we love Marianna. She is such a gift! Today I am praying from Psalm 13:5-6 "But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Faith is the victory

It has been over two months now since we got the news about Poppy, and we have two months from today still to go until her birth. I must say that up to this point, I have considered myself in a mode of getting ready for the battle to come. I have thought of this period as the peace before the storm, and I have been trying to do everything I can to ask God to prepare me for when the heavens break. While I definitely think there is truth to this, I also realized for the first time yesterday that in a way, I am fighting the biggest part of the battle right now.

My sister wrote me last week and told me that she had been thinking of the story of Abraham and Isaac, and the strong correlation it has to the situation we are going through right now. God comes to Abraham and asks the unthinkable: that he sacrifice his son, the son of God’s promise, on an altar. The amazing thing is, Abraham obeys God! He makes all of the preparations, takes Isaac, and already has Isaac strapped down to the alter before God stops him and provides a ram as a substitute. I immediately saw the connection. It is true that Nathan and I don’t really have a choice like Abraham did about whether to offer her up, because her medical condition renders us completely helpless to heal her by our own power. However, we do have a choice about attitude. We can choose to give her willingly to God and have faith in Him, or we can choose to fight Him, resent Him, and live in anger against Him. Like Abraham, I want to give her to God willingly, trusting in His love even when His plan doesn’t make sense.

But it wasn’t until yesterday that I realized another application in this story that I had missed. It hit me that Abraham did not win the battle when God provided the substitute sacrifice; rather, he won the battle when he began walking up that mountain with all of his supplies, including his son, but without any of the foreknowledge of God’s deliverance. He had so much faith in God, that he was willing to obey even when the future was completely unknown and bleak. This is exactly where we stand right now, in the midst of an unknown but ominous future. And it is now that I can place my full faith in God and His goodness, wisdom, and love and say, “I trust you God, to do whatever you are going to do with my baby, even though I don’t know what that means. I give her to you unconditionally.” My battle must be won before we ever reach the delivery room. It must be won right now in my heart through faith. Hebrews 11:6 says, “And without faith, it is impossible to please God…” and that means that if I am going to please Him in the midst of my storm, I must do it right now by placing my complete trust in Him. Yesterday, I realized something that I hope I remember and come back to my entire life: Faith is the victory.

Friday, October 5, 2007


I want to tell you about Marianna's current favorite game. (I say "current" because as she grows and develops, she's always turning to bigger and better things.) After a long day at the office, I am likely to find myself sitting on the sofa. I might be watching TV or talking to Angie or just relaxing. Inevitably, Marianna will walk up to me, start pawing at my knees or hands, and say, "Daddy, get up!" (I could write a long thesis here about how irresistible your own child is and the fact that I, by overwhelming love for my daughter, am required to stand and obey, but I'll save that for another time.) I will sheepishly look back at her and ask, "What do you want?" in a playful voice, but she will settle for nothing less than immediate action. So, I stand. It is at this point that the game begins for her; she will take a few steps away, look over her shoulder, calling me with her eyes, then say, "Now...RUN!" These two little words are probably my favorite part of the game, but I think that her satisfaction comes about when I chase after her into the bedroom, throw her up into the air and onto the bed, and tickle her like mad. She goes nuts, eventually begging me to stop tickling her and then runs back into the living room where I am expected to follow and then repeat the process as often as she deems necessary for the game to have been successfully played.

I could easily talk to you here about how wonderful Marianna is and how strongly I love her and how great is my desire to be the father that she deserves, but I could never really tell you the extent of it all. Just know that I'm wildly in love with two girls and we'll leave it at that. The point I want to make here is that Marianna's simple words are so much more powerful than she either comprehends or intends. "Now...RUN!" I think that they're downright Pauline...

Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1,2

(For all of you theologians out there, I know that Hebrews was not definitively written by Paul. Please just indulge me by allowing me to describe my 22-month old daughter as "Pauline.")

This hurdle in my life as we wait for Poppy was a part of the race that I never saw coming. However, God knew about it all along, and that brings me such great comfort. I know that as my grief will wax and wane with time, it will be so important for me to keep on "looking unto Jesus” and not be bogged down with fear. I am so encouraged to know that no matter how difficult the race becomes, Jesus will never disappoint me and that He has suffered so much more greatly so that my suffering might be lessened. I ask that you continue to pray that Angie and I will keep our eyes focused on the Savior and thereby continue to run the race, in particular during the days ahead.

It's also abundantly clear to me, as I have had some emotionally-tough days during the last couple of weeks, that it will be extremely hard to get to normal life after we've shared our time with Poppy. I know that it will be so important for me to keep on with my routine. I think that it will be vitally important for Angie that she see me do what I've done for years: get up the morning, kiss her while she sleeps, and go to work. I think that she will need to be able to count on me to be routine and not fly the coup when the grief is greatest. Marianna, too, will need to be able to depend upon her daddy. She won't understand the gravity of what we (she included!) will have to endure, but I will need to go on being her playmate. I don't know what her favorite game will be come this winter, when we will still be living life after very possibly having said goodbye to Poppy, but I do know this: if she says, "RUN!" it will be my responsibility to do it!


It has been just over 10 weeks since Nathan and I initially found out the news about Poppy. As with most things in life, the time has been short and long at the same time. When I consider how different my life is now, the passage of time seems quite vast because it feels like another lifetime when I didn't have the impending death of our little girl on my heart at all times. But, when I consider how God has carried us through so far, I am blown away by how quickly the weeks have ticked off. The time has been filled with so many wonderful, "normal," every day type things that have helped the time go by just as it does at any other time. However, now it has suddenly hit me that we have less time to go than we've had since the time we found out. Up to this point, I've been very concerned with not getting ahead of myself with any kind of planning, but over the past week I've felt a peace in my heart about beginning to consider all of the options that are ahead of us. We will probably begin pursuing information within the next couple of weeks, so I wanted to share with you what we are going to be looking into so that you can join with us in praying that God will give us wisdom in the choices we make.

The first thing that has to be tackled in the birth plan. This is basically a written out statement of our wishes regarding the care we want to be offered or not offered to Poppy. Things up for consideration would be whether to allow her oxygen, a feeding tube, NICU care, or any other kind of life-saving procedure. For babies without a chromosmal abnormality, these type questions would be non-issues. The care would be given without a second thought. However, when a baby has been diagnosed with a trisomy, the mentality drastically changes. I understand that there is no way to "fix" Poppy's condition. The things that are wrong with her are symptoms of the fact her whole system has too much information. Yet, at the same time we want to do everything we can to give her the best quality of life she can enjoy with her short time with us. We want to love her the best we possibly can, and I realize this means letting her go when Jesus calls without trying to extend her time with us unnaturally. But, even with this being said, there are so many "gray" areas to consider. We just want to make the right choice, but even having to consider these kind of choices seems surreal and unnatural. I can't believe we'll be making decisions that can possible effect how many days, hours, or minutes she has with us, so I ask that you pray with us that God will guide us and help direct us in the right choices through the wise counsel of those we talk to. This leads me to the next request, which is that God will allow us to speak with a neonatologist at the hospital where we will be delivering. I want to be able to be as well informed about the process we are going to be going through as we possibly can. I feel like the more we know ahead of time, the less we'll have to worry about those things when she arrives, and the more we will be able to just focus on her.

Another thing we will begin doing is dealing with arrangements for after she is gone. I hate this part, because I don't want to do anything that assumes the attitude of "she is going to die, and there is nothing God can do to intervene." I know in my heart that God can do absolutely anything. This includes healing her, extending her time with us for longer than the "expected" lifespan of a trisomy baby, or taking her home with Him shortly after she is born. My heart is full of hope. Hope that God will do exactly what He wants without being dictated in anyway by medical science. Yet, at the same time, I feel that there would be something very unwise to refuse to prepare. I feel like God has allowed us to know this diagnosis, and the wise thing to do seems to be to prepare. So, we will begin to plan out her memorial service and make arrangements with the funeral home. Please pray that God will prepares us for whatever emotions hit as we go through this process.

I was reading the other day that wisdom is seeing things from God's perspective instead of man's. This is what I want for us as we begin to consider the options. I don't want to do what is logical but what is wise. We covet your prayers!

Monday, October 1, 2007


Every day I find myself more and more thankful that God did not make us for this world. I realize that technically speaking, He did make us for this world for a certain period of time, but the days He ordained for us here are short! Whether it be one day or 100 years, in the grand scheme of things it is all, as the book of James says, just “a vapor.” I don’t know whether I would have been excited about this, say, just three months ago. I can guarantee I wouldn’t have been doing handstands about it in high school. I thought there was just too much life to live to be happy about the fact that it is so short. But, with each passing day, I find myself more and more aware that this life is not what we were created for! Nathan told me as we were driving away from Copeland’s funeral on Saturday that this same feeling had overwhelmed him as we sat through her beautiful memorial service. It’s like once the reality of suffering begins to seep through the surface level and implant itself firmly in the heart, all of the sudden the incongruity of what God intended for us and the reality of this fallen world hits full force. The pain we are all going through is just not what was supposed to be!

Just today I have heard from people who are experiencing a variety of suffering and heartaches ranging from leukemia, to depression, to bungled adoptions, to sick children. My eyes have most definitely been opened! No one is immune to the hurt and pain that can hit at a moments notice, and the pain is all around us! Regardless of whether a person knows God or not, the pain is real and unavoidable. The only difference is, that for the person who knows God, he has the concrete assurance that there is a reason for joy and hope in this life because of promise of being with God for eternity in heaven where everything is actually exactly as God intended without any of the scars and blemishes of this world to mar it. There will never be enough words for me to express to Jesus how grateful I am to Him for that!

I don’t want to give the impression that I now feel like life is a burden that I must endure, because that’s not how I feel at all! I love life, and I think that God intends for us to live, even in this vastly imperfect world, with laughter and fun and enjoyment. I love the movie Life is Beautiful, because the father in the story so typifies the very essence of living life despite the circumstances. But the truth is, while I do feel like the title of that movie is true, I think that Jesus will redefine the meaning of beauty once we get to heaven to mean something that is perfect and free from all traces of sorrow. However, for now I want to use whatever short time I have to bring Jesus glory. The gift of this little baby has made that desire deeper and more urgent than ever before. Everyday as Poppy lives and moves inside of me, she is constantly on my mind and my heart. I think about the specifics of her condition often, but she also reminds me of the condition of the world around me. She has helped me to see past myself and my own small concerns and to see the world around me with new eyes. She has helped me to see other people’s hurts, and she has helped provide me with an empathy that I was very lacking in up to this point in my life. God has done all this through her already, and I know He is certainly not through using her in my life and the lives of other people. She is without doubt one of God’s greatest gifts to me.