Guest Author on POH Blog

I had the great opportunity to be a guest author on a blog that I have followed for quite a while now. Prayer of Hannah is a blog by five ladies who have a passion for raising families and honoring their husbands as unto the Lord. Last week was a week they dedicated to grief and loss and I was able to share as one who hasn’t walked down that road but has been told I might. Click here to read my post!! and Ladies, this blog is a great weekly read for you!!

I went ahead and posted here my post!

Hi, My name is Casey Chappell and I’m a friend of Hollie’s. First I just want to say a public thank you to you POH Ladies who have been so faithful in writing on this blog. What a blessing it is to so many. Thank you!!
Secondly, I want to thank each of the ladies who have written and shared the depths of their soul this week. I’ve learned so much and I know your words will continue to impact my life in the next few months… even years.

I am writing during this “Dealing with Loss” week not because I’ve had a miscarriage or a loss but because I’ve been told that I will most likely have a loss in the coming months. My husband Dan and I found out we were pregnant on Christmas Eve… well, I found out then and then waited to totally surprise my husband on Christmas morning! I still can’t believe I kept it in those few hours, but it was totally worth it!! We were both so happy! ….fast forward past those first few months that every woman deals with normal fears of miscarriage, and so many potential unknowns that we have no control over. {If you are reading this and are in those precious early weeks of pregnancy, those fears are not to be minimized by what others may be going through but are rooted in the same sin of fear that each of us have had to face even when nothing was going wrong… fight it now, because it will not go away just because you have a great pregnancy and delivery… it
will continue to take hold of your heart and rob you of years of peace…fight fear mommies and rest assured by a God of peace!} well, we made it to 20 weeks, “what? we can’t see the gender? That baby just doesn’t want us to know I guess. let’s try again in a few weeks… still, no clear shot of boy or girl…. ughhh…” So in our search of this child’s gender we headed to Prenatal Peek in Durham. And you’ll never believe that they saw us 3 different times trying to find out what this child was (they kept saying that the baby was so curled up and sitting so low that they couldn’t see anything) Finally, our last try… The lady who was doing the ultrasound kept looking and looking and I thought her frustration was due to the fact that she was failing to answer the question on our minds. But we found out the next week that she was upset because she was seeing something that the Dr.’s and past ultrasound techs missed and it wasn’t good. So she called
our OB and they called us and scheduled a level two scan and indeed we found out that our baby had a giant omphalocele and most likely a lethal Trisomy. We couldn’t believe our ears… it had been such a perfect pregnancy so far, how could this be happening to us at 28 weeks?

Since that day we have been thrown into a world of high tech medical scans, heart echos, genetic counseling, sobering talks with Doctors, NICU tours, and hospice packets. We are told no matter what our baby ends up being born with, we have a long road ahead of us and a high chance that our baby will only be with us for a short time, if the baby overcomes the 50% chance of being born alive. Talk about HOPE ladies, I don’t think I have truly hoped and prayed for something like I have been the past 5 weeks.

But I do want to briefly touch on a few things that are currently helping me fight for daily faith and provide a future hope.

First, a theology of a Sovereign God. This has been something that for years I’ve been trying to really wrap my head around and now God is wrapping it’s amazing truth around my heart. The fact that I can place my trust in a God who is totally in control and sovereignly ordains suffering in the lives of His children for His Glory and their joy is so comforting. That fact frees me from Fear, Guilt, Despair, Bitterness, Control, and Anger, and so many other sins that would be so easy to become engulfed by. It’s a hard truth that so many don’t understand and that many reject. But let me say that He is a Good God who has every detail of this pregnancy and the life of this child ordained and for His glory. My husband wrote Here on this more extensively.

2 books on this that I have found extremely helpful:
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
Future Grace by John Piper

Secondly, God’s People have been so used to bless our lives and to encourage us and lift us up when we couldn’t. They are prayer warriors on our baby’s behalf and they are there to help us fight sin that can so easily seep in to our lives when we are weak. Many have asked us how we could be so open about all this while going through this trial and all it’s unknowns, but we can’t imagine not having so many surround us during this time. I encourage you, if you are going through a trial please surround yourself with God’s People and call upon your Church to walk through this with you. You have no idea who will impact you and how many your struggle and story will impact as well. That is how God designed the church body to work. (I’ve found that when I’m not sharing my burden with my church Dan and I take out so much anger and frustration on each other, the Dr.’s, and even the ladies who check us out at the Dr.’s offices.)

2 Practical ways to live this out weekly:
Start a Blog: it will give your church body and family a way to read updates and your hearts cries in a way that prevents you from becoming tired of sharing your story over and over. Many need to hear it but we can grow weary in talking to others especially when you are being vulnerable. Great Blog sites: Blogger, WordPress, Typepad.
Place yourself in a small group or Sunday school class in your local church body: You may even have felt like you didn’t fit in in the past or lacked the discipline to go, but there is something about a smaller group that allows them to really take ownership in carrying your families struggles and joys during a time of great hardship. There are so many aspects where a local church can help, from finances to medical connections to transportation to giving you scripture that you need to get through this time.

Lastly, The fight for faith is a daily one. I was telling someone, it’s like I’m being told I’m going to have to go through something that I can only look at and say there is no way I can go through that. But God hasn’t given me the grace to get through next week or next month yet. He’s given me the grace and strength to get through TODAY… and often it has to be enough to get through this hour. I find that when I’m looking ahead and focusing on those coming trials that I am missing the present grace needed to speak rightly to my husband now, the strength to get my responsibilities for today done, the joy I have complete access to in order to endure with joy my pregnancy during it’s 33rd week, and the desire to run to God’s word for wisdom that I will need for a conversation later this afternoon with my neighbor. We miss out on so much because we aren’t living in the grace provided for today. Which ironically is the same promised daily grace that will
be given to get through those coming days that we worry about and look to with dread. (Ref Mathew 6:25-34)

2 daily acts that will encourage this outlook on grace:
Listening to hymns are a great way to saturate your hearts with sound scripture and theology of this good sovereign God! Click here for some music I have found so helpful.
Rejoice in Today: do things that celebrate what today holds. (we can be tempted to live in the quest of something to come… healing for our child, a positive pregnancy test, our due date….) But God has given you today and given you what you need for today. So, parents-to-be, go do something that you won’t be able to after the baby comes (dates, trips, salon visits and even grocery shopping) Are you waiting for healing or medical answers? there comes a time where you need to turn off the computer and stop researching for a day or more. Celebrate special days, birthdays, 100 days (in the hospital, out of the hospital, of life,) bring gifts to your medical staff or special people you meet through this. Here is an example of a couple who really celebrated each day! Can’t make those two pink lines appear for anything? Go on Mission Trips. You won’t always be able to do those and you are seeing the world. Babysit for others. That will keep your heart soft and your vision of what kids will be like in a right light.

A side note to those who may be presently walking through medical issues with your pregnancy, lack thereof, or with your children. I am so amazed at the technology out there and the medical minds that God has given these Dr.’s. But I am also astounded and horrified at the absence of the knowledge of God in most of these hospitals and Dr.s offices. Some times Dan and I feel like we are alone when we have to stand on our ethics and beliefs in front of these people. But we still stand. We have really found that you have to really question and research EVERYTHING they tell you in regard to treatment and procedures…. especially when you’re dealing with an unborn child with a possible lethal condition. But Moms, God gave these children to you and you have to fight for them, even at times with those who are supposed to be the ones giving them the best medical care possible. The medical world often clashes with the theological world. Stay alert and seek advice from Believers who are in the medical world and from your Pastors. Stay true to your instincts. We have had to leave two medical practices because we did not feel as though they respected our beliefs and desires for this child. And though that was so scary to be out on a limb like that, it was such a great decision in the end. We have had to tell a Neonatologist that she was beating a dead horse in what she kept saying to us because we felt differently about a certain procedure and that we needed to move on to a different topic. We have had to cancel procedures that we had appointments for just because we didn’t feel right about it and were not comfortable doing it. All those things are not easy to do when you have someone with a specialized medical degree telling you the opposite and saying that your reasons are not valid. But Please stand strong. You won’t regret it and God will be your source of strength.

3 Websites I have found so helpful:
Wikipedia (so great for looking up definitions to just about anything!)
The Ethics and Religious LIberty Commission
A Great List of medications that have been researched on the effects of an unborn child

Thanks for reading this long post. I hope you have found it helpful and resourceful in walking through what today holds and will help to equip you in trusting in a Sovereign God who WILL sustain you in the coming days and months and until He returns. It has already reminded me and convicted me of areas where I fall short daily. Blessings to you all. Casey Nichols Chappell.

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