Valerie Jones

{Live with Purpose. Lead with Passion.}

I am a blogger, worship leader, and speaker who helps worship leaders and team members connect with purpose and passion in life and leadership by offering encouragement, community, and practical resources so that they can thrive in life and leadership, both on and off the platform.

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Filtering by Tag: pregnancy

{After all this time. . .}

Wednesday would have been her birthday.  Today marks the anniversary of her death. I will not likely forget hearing the news that Sunday morning.  The moment is seared into my memory. Several of us were piled in a small room sleeping on the floor.  The hospital staff had graciously offered the space, and it was an improvement on the uncomfortable, unforgiving chairs and sofa in the waiting room. It was a tight squeeze, but I appreciated having people whom I loved dearly within arm’s reach. The door cracked open and the light from the hallway cut through the darkness. It was so bright. It seemed intrusive. Cold. I squeezed my eyes shut very tightly thinking that whoever had just opened the door might go away. Perhaps they had the wrong room. But, they did not.

I do not remember who came to the door; nor do I remember which of my sweet friends coaxed me to answer. But, the instant I stepped out into the cold, bright hallway I was fully aware that whatever was happening was serious. A nurse was waiting for me and she somberly suggested that I get scrubbed up and go back into the NICU to see Haley. So, I did. You would have never known by looking at my beautiful baby that hidden inside was a malformed heart.  She was born 4 days earlier and had undergone heart surgery 2 days after that. During the second trimester of my pregnancy, she had been diagnosed with hypo-plastic left heart syndrome. I knew the situation was critical, but I was still believing that everything would be fine. In my mind, she simply was not going to die. That could not happen to me. Not again. It couldn’t. I told myself that God would not allow me to lose another baby.  No. Way.

Yet, it happened. She died. A short time after I saw her that morning, a doctor gave me the news.

When Tyler died 15 months earlier from SIDS, I was confused and completely broken.  Now, I was in a full-on crisis of my faith. There were so many unanswered questions.  I began to doubt everything. The overwhelming doubts led to fear and anxiety.  I felt as if I were standing on a rug, and any minute God was going to pull it out from under me. How could a loving, compassionate God not want to intervene?  What did I do wrong? Has believing in God all these years done me any good at all? I was angry. So very angry.

I really was trying to see God, but my perspective had become terribly skewed.  In my damaged (and very wrong) perspective, I served a God who was distant and could not possibly be concerned with my heart or my pain.  My God had abandoned me when I needed him most--not once, but twice. I never doubted the fact that he was God; but, I questioned His character and doubted His integrity. (Have you ever been in that spot?)

Now? After all this time?

Here's what I know: God is so unbelievably good. (I'll save the story of how I got there for another time.)

I am so overwhelmed and in awe of Him and His unfailing love. I am so grateful that I can look back and see Him at work. He is masterfully weaving all the strands of my life together into something beautiful and good. It may not be beautiful to people who walk past me in the grocery store or drive past me in the carpool line, but it is beautiful to Him. To me. I am so thankful that He uses all things -- every moment, every tragedy, every tear, every failure, every success. It’s true, nothing is wasted. All things work for good and for His purpose, because I love Him and He loves me. That's His promise. I am so thankful that I belong to Him.

Take heart, sweet friends. Be patient in suffering. Be full of hope. He sees you. He loves You. He holds you in the palm of His very strong hand.

{92 Days}

Brian and I have a couple of those cool pregnancy apps for our iphones. They’ve been fun. Today, however, I opened one up and read “92 more days to go!” Ummm...what’s that now?

I must confess. I freaked out.

Between moving (twice), Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s there won’t be much time to blink before the beginning of February is staring us in the face! Never mind that I have been known to deliver anywhere between 37 and 38 weeks in previous pregnancies. That puts us in the middle of January! The MIDDLE OF JANUARY! There is still so much to do. That might be an understatment. We haven’t done anything!

Oh. My. Goodness.

Moving on.

We’re 27 weeks along. Our next appointment is November 22. After that, we will likely start going to the doctor every 2-3 weeks. We’ve taken one of our first prenatal classes. That was fun! Brian was paying close attention. I was overwhelmed and suddenly panicky as the nurse covered the labor and delivery process. Suddenly, I had vivid memories. I kept thinking, “Oh yeah, I hate that part!” or “Oh, right. That part HURT!” and even, “I don’t think I can do this again!” Shameful, I know. Brian, being the encourager that he is, gently reminded me that I’ve done this four times. He says it’ll be a breeze! He’s my biggest fan! Our birthing class will be in the beginning of January. That’s bound to provide plenty of opportunities for a good laugh and even more opportunities for sheer panic! Big fun!

We still haven’t settled on her first name. Only a couple names from the original list actually made it to the final list. Some of our favorite possibilities are new additions to the list! We have a short list for her middle name, also. Here is that list: Claire, Dawn (my middle name), Faith, or Christine (after my grandmother on my Dad’s side). That list was easy! Looks like we will take our list with us to the hospital and name her when we meet her. That is, if I can keep the planner in me at rest until then! Luckily, we have plenty of other plans to make!

Speaking of plans, there are a lot of other things happening around here at the moment. I’ll have to save those updates for a separate post. Thanks for reading!

{Pink or Blue? Phoebe or Phoebo?}

Finally! We know the answer to the million dollar question. The topic has been debated in our house from day 1. William wanted a baby brother. Madeleine wanted a baby sister. Brian had a "hunch" it was a boy. I had a feeling it was a girl. In reality, it didn't really matter! Today as we walked across the parking lot heading toward the doctor's office William made an announcement: If his prediction was correct, we should pay him $700. If Madeleine's prediction was correct, then she should be paid. She tried to explain why this was an unreasonable bet and offered an alternative: If it was a boy, William would have the honor of naming him. If it was a girl, she would have the honor! Of course, we agreed to neither! :) We kept walking.

It was a painfully long walk from the car to the door. With every step a new wave of emotion swept over me. Excitement. Joy. Anticipation. Then, apprehension and anxiety. I was more anxious than I realized, and by the time the elevator doors closed I couldn't breathe. Before we reached the fourth floor a vivid memory smacked me in the face. I remembered walking into the same kind of appointment 15 years ago completely oblivious to the fact that something might be wrong. I also remembered walking out of that appointment knowing something was terribly wrong.

Jesus, I need You.

Then, calm. Peace.

Nothing is wrong. Baby looks great. And I am thankful. That is what matters.

Baby Girl Jones!
Baby Girl Jones!

So, here's a 20-week photo of Baby GIRL! It's a profile shot. If you look closely, you can see a little arm and hand covering her precious little face. She weighs in at about 12 oz.!

The next order of business is naming her! We already have a list going. We thought it'd be fun to hear what you think. What's your favorite Baby Girl name?

[polldaddy poll=5536224]

{Playing Catch-up}

It's been a little while, so I'm catching up! I really don't know where to begin, so I'll just dive right in and trust you to bear with me. :) [Long Pause]

On second thought, I think a "Top 5" list will be more manageable!

1. We have a contract pending on our house, which has been on the market for over a year! We are waiting for inspections, appraisals, and bank approval. Yay! God answered our prayers.

2. Madeleine and William DID survive the first week of school. In fact, they are both doing really well. Id say we're in full swing, complete with book reports and projects! I promised pictures. This is what we saw on the ride home after the first Friday of school...


3. Baby check-up went well. I am feeling much better, though there are still days where nausea (and all that comes with it) is wreaking havoc. As of tomorrow, we are at 19 weeks! Our next appointment is September 26th. This one will be an ultrasound. Boy or Girl? What's your vote? We also have a fetal echocardiogram scheduled for the 27th. Because of my history, this is considered routine. Please pray that all is well and Baby is perfectly healthy, heart and all! Everyone around here is getting a big kick out of the baby belly. Here is a snapshot...(I'm not sure what all the fuss is about!)


4. Fall sports are here! We are coaching Madeleine's volleyball team again. So far, so good. William has opted for tennis this year. He's doing well and having big fun.

5. Today, Poppy and Grammy officially move to Louisville! We are very excited.

That's all I have. Consider yourself updated! :)