Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Semi-Wordless Wednesday

I guess if it's semi-wordless, it's not actually wordless. 

{But you get the point...}

I couldn't post a photo of this kid without saying
I love him.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One Week Later

Let me begin this post by saying, "Thank You!" to you for your sweet words of encouragement and prayers. My phone and email were lit up the entire week as so many of you took the time to send us scripture and remind us of God's faithfulness following the surgery. Each of you blessed us beyond measure...and we are forever grateful.

For you parents out there you can relate to the first day your sent home with your baby from the hospital. You get home and just stare at that sweet bundle wondering, "They trusted me to leave the hospital with you?! Were they nuts?!" That pretty much sums up my mental state as we drove away from the hospital Wednesday afternoon. Glancing over at my best friend in the passenger seat, with his new bionic spine, those thoughts came rushing back. The fragility of his neck made me want to turn the car around and entrust him to people with fancy titles like, R.N. and M.D.

But Trip reminded me that Northside Hospital wasn't the Marriott and we didn't have money trees growing in our backyard. {Rats.}

This first week has tested each of us in unique ways.

For Trip, he is having to find the patience to take each hour as it comes. He has had to fight back the fear that his pain will not last forever and that with each new day he will heal and get stronger.

For Jack, he has struggled to find peace in the midst of so much change. For the first few days, he wouldn't even look at Trip since the neck brace distorted the image of strength in his father.

As for me, I have had to learn to trust the Lord entirely for my strength to fulfill the needs of both Trip and Jack.

The Lord reminded me of these verses in Isaiah and I wanted to share them with you. I am confident that regardless of your circumstances, you will find great comfort in knowing that our God will never grow tired or weary. And even more... He will never leave you alone.

Isaiah 40.28-31
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary...

but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Date of Significance

I may be the first pregnant woman ever to pray:
"Dear Lord, please do not let this baby come early
 {like his brother, ahem}.
'On time' or even 'Late' would be awesome
Thank you, Amen."

I just heard several of you shout at the screen:
"What in the WORLD?! 
Sister, is you crazy?!"

:) Yes, I know it may sound crazy. But, perhaps if I can explain the last few months in the Radtke house, and what still lies ahead, you'll understand the reason I have such an insane passionate prayer request about a "date".

On November 15, 2011 our world was rocked. While away on a business trip to Indiana, Trip woke up to the most excruciating pain he has ever experienced. The pain started in his neck and radiated down into his shoulders causing numbness and tingling in his left arm and hand. By the grace of God he made it through his meetings and got back on the plane to return home later that day. But the moment I saw him walk through the door of our home I knew something was very wrong.

To make a very long story short - after medical consults and an MRI we learned that Trip's pain was caused by the degeneration of his cervical discs in four of his vertebrae {C3-C7}. Because of this degeneration, his spinal cord and nerves were lying unprotected and being pinched, causing the severe pain and numbness. After meeting with a surgeon the decision was made that surgery was our only option.

This Tuesday, March 13, Trip will have the surgery to fix his spine. The surgeon will remove what is left of those four cervical discs from his neck, fuse each of the vertebrae together and seal them titanium plates. Then bone marrow from his pelvis will be placed down the middle of his vertebrae to promote bone regeneration. Following his surgery, he will be in a neck brace for 8 weeks.

If you just did the math, following his surgery and recovery time, that puts me 2.5 weeks from my due date. {And everyone says..."oh I see...well, then the prayer request isn't that crazy."}

The point of this post isn't to give you a medical lesson. Or have you feel sorry for us. {Or seriously question my sanity...}

It's the opportunity to tell you that in the midst of all of this...
                 ...our God has been faithful.

Make no mistake, there have been moments of pure anguish. To watch the love of my life, my best friend, experience crippling pain has made me question God's purpose for this trial.

But as I would struggle to understand, He would give me one lesson after another in His word. Three weeks into my study of James, the lecture focused on verses 2-4:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, 
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing 
of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you 
may be mature and complete, 
not lacking anything."

The teacher pulled apart those verses and walked me through a lesson about anguish and joy I had never known. She closed with this point, "Anguish is meant to lead to a birth. If you trust God {regardless of the circumstances} he will birth something precious to you."

I could barely breathe as she closed with that thought. As I sat there 22 weeks pregnant, in the midst of Trip's crippling pain, God revealed His purpose and timing of this pregnancy.

Kristin, you will give birth to joy.
I, the Lord your God, 
knew what you & Trip would walk through between
this child's conception and birth...
and I choose to give you JOY.

So, while I try to lighten what we have been through with humor regarding my due date, at the end of it all, I know that the evidence of His faithfulness is only part of the plan. His timing for our son's arrival will be perfect. And God reminded me as I came to that conclusion, that Trip and I have already experienced the power of his timing in our lives. 

And do you want to know the date of that revelation? 
The day that God turned our anguish, 
our complete weakness, 
into JOY.
Three years to the day that this last trial began. 

He asked us then: 
"Do you trust me? Do you believe me?"

He is asking us those very questions again.
And without hesitation we can answer....
God ~
"You were faithful.
You ARE faithful.
You will {always} be faithful."

~Job 8.21~
He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.

~2 Corinthians 12.10~
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight
in weaknesses...
...in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

{27 Weeks!}

T MInus...13 weeks!
{Don't you just love my belly button? ha!}

~I continue to feel great. There is a lot going on in the Radtke house right now {a post is in the works} so my great energy and health has been a huge gift from the Lord. But boy oh BOY, this baby is a KICKER. My sides are going to eject this kid with joy and singing come June 5.

~I am so glad the weather is starting to warm back up. We have had a very mild winter this year, but it's still been too "bristly" for this Mama to get out every day for a walk. I'm looking forward to those final stroller walks with just Jackson. I can hardly believe I'll be pushing TWO little boys in a stroller in just a few short months.

~With the exception of hanging the curtains, the nursery is FINISHED. I will post pics in the next few days. I have loved using the bedding from Jack's nursery for his brother. One of my sweet memories of getting the nursery organized is having Jack "ooh" and "ahh" over the clothes as we put them in the drawers. He could not understand that HE used to wear all of the onesies and bibs. At 33lbs, it's hard for me to remember that he was once barely 9lbs. :)

And finally...

~The name...will be a surprise. Everyone knows we're having a boy, so the name is our treasure to hold onto until he arrives.