In my favorite poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay, he reminds us that like the seasons of nature, life is one season melting into another, and quickly fading away. This is my attempt to document each season in my life and my family.

Prayers For My Nephew

Filed under: Family,Photos,Prayer Request — Rachel at 12:44 am on Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sunday morning, my newest little nephew, Aiden Levi Francis, was born. My older brother, Aaron, and his wife, Tasha, added this little guy to their already adorable family of four. With big sister, Kylie, and big brother, Wyatt, little Aiden was just what they needed.

He made his debut into the world about six thirty Sunday morning, and he’s a real cutie. He only weighed 4lbs 14ozs, though, so he’s a little guy. Being a little bit early and being so small, he’s having a hard time keeping his blood sugar up. He is currently in the NICU at Children’s Hospital, and we would all really appreciate your prayers for Aiden. Tasha was discharged this morning, but Aiden can’t go home until he can keep his blood sugar up on his own.

Please pray for Aiden, and also for Tasha and Aaron. I can’t imagine how hard it is for them to go home without their little guy. They need extra grace right now. God is good.

Sick, Tired, Busy, and Happy

Filed under: Family,Kyra,Me,Prayer Request,Random Thoughts — Rachel at 9:19 am on Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I have been so busy lately that I’ve not had a lot of time to blog. I’ve also been tired and sickish, which means I’ve spent a lot of time on the couch.

Since Chris left for Fort Jackson, I’ve had to coordinate getting his car picked up and then taken back to get fixed for something else, having new tires put on it, and the oil changed. Our van was tore up two weeks before he left, and then our car tore up the week immediately prior to him leaving. We still didn’t have it back when he left, so he drove his mom’s car to Fort Jackson, and then he came home Friday evening to pick his up and get hers back to her. So, he got to spend the night here with us Friday night.

I didn’t get to spend any time with him on Saturday, though, because I had training in Oak Ridge from nine till three thirty. I don’t know if I blogged about it here or not, but I have been volunteering at Choices Resource Center. It is a crisis pregnancy center in Oak Ridge. Starting on Saturday, I am going through a 24 hour training to teach me how to counsel with the women who come to us. I’m really enjoying working there, and I’m excited about getting to counsel with the girls who come in. They also asked me to be the  contact person for my church.

Speaking of my church, Chris and I joined our church right before he left. We have been there for getting close to a year now, and took our time about joining. We wanted to be sure it was where God wanted us to be. We talked to the pastor about it the Sunday before he left, we went before the board the next Wednesday, and then went before the church on the next Sunday (the day Chris left for Jackson). So, once we made our desire to join the church known, it didn’t take long to get it all taken care of. We’re excited about being a part of the ministry at Trinity. Chris and I have been asked to teach the high school Awana class, and we are so very excited about that. That starts on August 31, and I can’t wait.

Thank you to everyone who left their congratulations in my comments section on my last post. We’re so very excited about this baby. The kids are really excited, too. I’ve been to the doctor a couple of times to check my hormone levels. The results of Friday’s blood work were that my hcg levels had went up appropriately, but my progesterone levels had dropped. After they drew blood on Friday, I began taking Prometrium, which is basically progesterone, so I’m hoping and praying that taking that will take care of things. I’ll have to go back again sometime this week, but I’m not sure when yet. I confess the drop in my progesterone level made me extremely nervous, but so far everything seems fine with this pregnancy. I’ve not had any problems like I did last time. I’ve been nauseous off and on since a week before I found out I was pregnant, and I’ve been incredibly tired on some days. I definitely feel pregnant.  I would so much appreciate your prayers for me and my baby.

Speaking of my baby, I have some wonderful news about one of my other babies. Kyra got saved this past Thursday. We were having family church (our name for our family devotions), and Kyra would not be put off any longer. She’s been asking questions and wanted to get saved for about a year, and we’ve tried to make sure that she really understood what that meant. She’s been telling everyone she meets that Jesus saved her. As a Mama, nothing could make me happier.

So, that about wraps it up for an update kind of post. Things are going well, and we’re staying busy. My training at Choices ends Saturday afternoon, and I’m immediately going to get the kids and head to Fort Jackson to spend a week there with Chris. We’re all excited about that. So, keep us all in your prayers. We definitely appreciate it.

Faith, Hope, and Love

Filed under: Family,General,Prayer Request,Videos — Rachel at 5:28 pm on Thursday, April 3, 2008

I’m sorry this post is coming so late in the day. I know a lot of you have been checking in on me. I appreciate the comments, phone calls, and emails so much. Most of all, I can’t thank you all enough for your prayers. Last night’s update was brief, so I’ll elaborate a bit on what happened yesterday.

Faith:

From the time I left the ER Tuesday night until sometime yesterday afternoon, I really wrestled with what to do if this was an ectopic pregnancy. There is nothing that they can do to turn an ectopic pregnancy into a healthy one. It’s a dangerous situation. To briefly explain it, it is when the baby implants itself somewhere besides the uterus…usually in the fallopian tube…and therefore the pregnancy cannot continue to term. The baby grows in the tube until it has no more room to grow, and then the tube will burst. This can cause excessive internal bleeding and damage to a woman’s organs, and can sometimes result in the death of the mother. The usual treatment for an ectopic pregnancy is to remove the pregnancy either by methotrexate (a drug that is injected to stop the baby’s growth and cause the mother’s body to absorb the baby) or by surgery. I immediately recoiled at the thought of the shot, and knew that I would not be able to do that regardless. The other option is to remove the baby by surgery. Obviously, both of these treatments would end the baby’s life.

I struggled hard with the thought of having to choose to remove the pregnancy before it burst my tube. I really felt, by what the doctor had told me about what was seen by u/s, by the pain I felt, and by my gut feeling, that I was dealing with an ectopic pregnancy. It seemed to be the case. I was trying to come to terms with what I was going to do about it. I cried over my hamburger at Steak and Shake after we finally left the ER Tuesday night, when I told Chris that I just didn’t think I could end my baby’s life, even if it was destined to end anyway. I told him that it seemed like, if I were really going to have faith that God could do a miracle for me, I would have to leave it in his hands. It wasn’t cut and dry. We didn’t know what the wise thing to do was.

Yesterday morning, I called Amy to pray with her like I do every morning. I told her that I didn’t think I could do it. I told her that I believed God could do a miracle, and, even if he didn’t, I could trust Him. I told her that He had proven Himself faithful to us over and over in the past year. He proved faithful in small matters, like how someone would respond to a hard conversation He was prompting me to have, etc. He proved Himself faithful in bigger matters, like my struggle with disordered eating, etc. I felt like all of those things were preparing my heart to trust Him to be faithful in this…the biggest thing I had ever faced. I knew He could do a miracle. It was a step of faith to trust Him to do so, or to trust Him to take care of me if He didn’t.

By the time I actually was at the OB’s office, my prayers had began to focus on needing my doctor to be understanding of my decision and supportive of me. I knew this was unlikely. I had another u/s, and then we had to wait for a couple of hours before actually seeing the doctor. He came in and told us that the u/s they did yesterday was the opposite of the u/s they did in the ER the night before. They saw nothing on my left side, and they saw a yolk sac in my uterus. As soon as he said this, I began to cry. I knew that God had specifically answered my prayer. He went on to tell me that the yolk sac did not look healthy, and he expected that I was going to miscarry. The tears really began to fall then. I was prepared for this, and it was definitely better than an ectopic pregnancy. It was still hard, though. I still love this baby, and I still want my baby to live. As I cried, he offered me a tissue, and told me that, since my hcg levels continue to rise, he wanted me to come back on Friday to have more blood taken. He said that we will monitor my hcg levels, and we won’t do anything until we are sure the baby has died. If the baby dies and I don’t miscarry naturally, he said we would talk about a D&C. He said there is a chance that the pregnancy could continue, but he doesn’t expect it to because it didn’t appear to be healthy.

So, with a heavy heart, we left the doctor’s office. I really broke down as soon as we stepped through the doctor’s office door into the hallway. I’ve not cried like that in a long time. It all just seemed like too much. When we were finally in the car, I quit crying and took a few deep breaths. I knew that God had answered my prayer. Even though it still hurt, it was an answered prayer, and I had to thank Him. He proved, once again, that He is faithful. He hears our prayers, and He cares. He saved me great heartache, and, even in my sadness, I praise Him. He is faithful.

Hope:

We came home yesterday evening, after taking some time to stop in Oak Ridge to eat dinner and talk, and I lay down on the couch to try to sleep away some horrible car-sickness. I’m reminded in moments like that of the fact that I AM still pregnant, and I still get sickish and tired very easily. Shortly after we came home, my mother-in-law, Velvet, brought our kids home. She was so kind to keep our kids for us from the time I went to the doctor before I went to the ER Tuesday night until yesterday evening, letting them spend the night in between. The kids came home, and gave me hugs and kisses. Chris and I had decided over dinner that we needed to tell the kids what was going on.

I asked Kyra if she knew why Mommy had been going to the doctor so often. She said she didn’t know, but she had a guess. I asked her what she thought it was, and she said, “You have the flu?”

Chris and I smiled at each other. “No, honey, I don’t have the flu.”

She said she had another guess, “You got sick because of winter.”

I told her that wasn’t it either. I told her that Mommy had a baby in her belly, and, before I could finish my sentence, her face lit up and she started clapping her hands. I interrupted her excitement, and told her that there was a problem with the baby and it might not get to be born. I told them that God might take our baby to Heaven, and we would get to see the baby when we went to Heaven. They both thought about this for a minute, and Kyra asked, “The baby can go to Heaven even when it didn’t get saved?” Chris and I laughed a little, and explained that, yes, the baby would still go to Heaven. She accepted this, and then Elijah said, “I have a guess.”

Chris and I looked at each other over his head, and I said, “What’s your guess, Elijah?”

He said, “You have the flu!”

“No, Elijah.” I said. “The reason I have been going to the doctor is…”

Elijah cut me off and said, “I have another guess!”

Sigh. “Okay. What’s your guess?”

Elijah smiled, and said, “You have a baby in your belly.”

I told him, that, yes, I had a baby in my belly, but reminded him that there was a problem and God might take our baby to Heaven. Elijah then told us that he thought the baby would go to the devil. I sighed and let Chris deal with that one.

While the conversation with Elijah was going on, Kyra had left the room to get me a blanket, because, immediately on learning I was pregnant, she had went into “take care of Mommy” mode. She brought the blanket, spread it over my legs, and said, “I know! We can pray for our baby.”

I told her that was a very good idea, and that we could pray for our baby every day. I told her that God knows better than we do, though, and He know what’s best for us and our little one.

Kyra said, “I’m going to pray right now.” She climbed up beside of me, laid her hands on me, told Elijah to be quiet, and began to pray, “Father, thank you for this day. Thank you for the baby in my Mommy’s belly. Please help the baby to get to be born. Please help my mommy to feel good. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

I don’t think I will ever forget that prayer. It was such a sweet moment. Tears were rolling down my cheeks while my little girl prayed for us. She had complete faith that we serve a God who hears and answers prayers. Every time I tried to remind her that there was a problem and we had to be prepared that God might take our little one to Heaven, she responded with hope. She knows we serve an all powerful God who loves us. She knows He can do miracles. In her complete faith, hope seems to be the only logical response to our situation. As a mother, I’m afraid that God’s answer will be “no”, and Kyra’s heart will be broken. She’s already hoping for a sister. Talking about having a baby again. I suppose that, in this situation, I have to take my lead from Kyra, and have faith enough to hope for miracles…while still having faith that He will hold us if the answer is “no”.

Love:

Throughout this whole thing, which is going on two weeks now, I’ve been reminded over and over of how much God loves me. He’s reminded me that my faith in him is not misplaced. He’s reminded me that He is all powerful. He’s reminded me that He still can work miracles in our life. He’s held me when I cried, and He’s surrounded me with people…even total strangers…who love me enough to hold me and my family up in prayer. I’ve come to find that Jesus IS all-satisfying. He meets every need. He comforts every heartache. He is a loving Saviour who comes to my rescue every time. I know I may have much more heartache ahead of me. This whole process still goes on. I don’t know the end, but it’s enough to know that He does. He knew the end before I knew the beginning, and I will trust in that. My Saviour loves me. He will take care of me…regardless.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me. When you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you, declares the Lord,

Jeremiah 29:11-14a


Thank you, Friends, for your prayers, and I ask you to continue to pray for me, my baby, and my family. It means so much.

Praise God!

Filed under: Prayer Request,Videos — Rachel at 10:15 pm on Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I am too exhausted and sick to write a proper post, but I wanted to let you all know that God heard and answered our prayers. The u/s today showed the opposite of what last night’s u/s showed. There is nothing on my left side where they thought they could have saw an ectopic pregnancy, and there is now a pregnancy in my uterus. I don’t have to make a heartbreaking decision concerning an ectopic pregnancy. Praise You, Jesus! The bad news is that they said the pregnancy did not appear to be healthy. He told me he expects me to lose the baby. I go back Friday to have my hormone levels checked again. Please continue to pray. I will post a proper blog post tomorrow. I need to sleep right now. Thank you, Friends, for lifting me and my baby up in prayer.

Please Pray

Filed under: Prayer Request — Rachel at 11:54 pm on Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I’ve had a long and tiring day today. I’ve had a great deal of pain all day long. I thought this morning that I was miscarrying for sure, but, when I called my doctor, he said my hcg (pregnancy hormone) levels had went up. He said I was still pregnant, and he was worried at the pain. He sent me to an ER in Knoxville. They gave me medication for my pain, and did another ultrasound. They didn’t get any conclusive results, but they did test my hcg again. It had went up again since yesterday. They told me that I am still pregnant, but they are not sure where the baby is. They could not see anything in my uterus. The only two options are that the baby is in my uterus but too small to be seen by u/s yet or that it is an ectopic pregnancy. Obviously, I am hoping with all of my heart that it is the first option.

Please pray for me and for my baby. I need a miracle.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can beagainst us?He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,


“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.                               Romans 8:31-39

Regardless of what happens, God is good.

In The Silence

Filed under: General,Love,Me,Prayer Request,Random Thoughts,Videos — Rachel at 5:34 pm on Monday, March 31, 2008

Things have been quiet here at Nothing Gold recently. I’m sure you’ve noticed. I have been busy, as usual, but I’ve had a lot of heavy stuff going on in my life, as well. It’s hard to write family update stuff…or post random pictures…or whatever else when life gets particularly complicated. It’s hard to write about trivial stuff, when you’re trying not to reveal things that make you feel vulnerable. So, I’ve decided that I should just quit trying. Transparency is a big deal to me. My posts from this past summer show that. I really do believe that God can work in our transparency. So, I guess this post is about what has been going on during the silence here on my blog.

Life really has been busy. Chris spent a week in Albuquerque for work, and I took a trip to Springfield to visit Amy a couple of weeks ago. I’ll post later about my trip, for those of you who care. Elijah had a birthday. I can’t believe he’s four already. We had a small party for him the Saturday before Chris and I left on our trips. I’ll post a separate post with birthday photos, as well. The kids are all doing well. Owen’ s talking more, and my days are filled with his, “Mama? Mama!”. Kyra’s reading now, and doing well in school. They are most happy when they are all playing together. I’m so blessed.

The day before I left on my trip to Springfield, I got a horrible phone call. I’ll not go into all of the details in this public forum, but one of my little brothers almost died. It was a horrid day. I got a phone call from my mom. She was crying. My brother, Jason, who is stationed in another state, was missing. No one knew where he was. When they found him, he was almost dead. They said two more minutes and he would have been gone. I took the kids to my mother-in-law’s, and then went to my mom’s house. Everyone was upset, obviously. Me and my sister-in-law went to pick my youngest brother up at school, and I had to tell him about Jason. It was kind of heartbreaking. For any of you who have dealt with suicide/attempted suicide, I’m sure you can imagine the wide range of emotions. This whole situation kind of consumed our whole family for a while. My brother is alive, though, and getting the help that he needs. For that, I am thankful. I wish you would all pray for him. He is a Marine, and he served in Iraq about a year or so ago. For any of you who know him and would like to send him a card, send me an email, and I will get the address to you. I know it would mean a lot to him to know you care.

Two days after I came home from Springfield, I got up on Easter morning, and took a pregnancy test. I was so excited. It was positive. It wasn’t long, though, before I realized that something wasn’t right. I went to the doctor on Monday, and he told me it looked like I was having a miscarriage. I went back on Thursday to have more blood work done. My levels had went up, but not enough for the doctor to be very optimistic. I went back today to have my levels checked again. I should find out the results tomorrow.

The not knowing has been really hard on me. I have been up and down…mourning and hoping…not really sure what is going on. I already love this baby so much, but I’m not even sure if the baby is still here. It’s really hard not knowing.

So, in the silence on the blog, I’ve been wrestling with a lot of things. Not sure what I wanted people to know, and what made me too vulnerable. I’m not the kind of person, though, who’s good at keeping quiet about things that affect me so greatly. I am kind of an open book, for the most part. Until the last day or two, I’ve only told a few close friends who were praying with me. I decided last night, though, that if I am truly going to be transparent on this blog, in a way that people could feel connected with me, I can’t stay silent about such a huge thing in my life. I have run the gamut of emotions since last Sunday. I have been desperately, heartbreakingly sad, angry at God for letting me go through this, hurt at God that He would possibly take my baby from me, repentant over those feelings, hopeful that my baby is still here, and back and forth, so forth and so on. It’s exhausting. I pretty much spent last week sleeping. On Saturday, I finally found a measure of peace. If I am to go through this, regardless of the outcome, I want to glorify God. If there is a lesson to be learned, I want to learn it. If there is someone to be helped in the future by my experience, well, even when I really don’t want to go through it for the sake of being able to minister in the future, I can see that I would probably consider it worth it down the road. I’m not really there yet, to be honest, but I am able to see that someday I will be.

Regardless of what happens, I know that God is with me. Even when I can’t feel his presence, I know that He is still with me, because He has promised to never leave me or forsake me. He will get me through this. I will be okay.

I guess this excerpt from an email I sent to my friends who have been praying with me says it best:

I just wanted to thank you all for your prayers for me and my little one. I’m doing okay. Yesterday evening/night was hard. I tried to journal…tried to pray…cried some. I felt very alone. Chris was at work, Amy’s not here, and all of you guys are so far away. I was in a sad, sad state. Today, though, I’m doing better. Amy and I prayed a long time this morning, and it has really helped. I’ve had a hard time feeling God through all of this, but He met with me today. I feel like I’m okay now, whatever the outcome. Chris prayed with me yesterday before we went to the u/s, and reminded me that God knew the end before we knew the beginning. He knows how much I want this baby, and, if He takes…or has already taken…my baby to Heaven, well, I know He’ll be with me. Chris read a psalm to me in the waiting room at the hospital yesterday…Psalm 77…told me about how the Psalm writer felt like God wasn’t with him and didn’t hear his cries, how he started to think maybe God was never there, how he then began to remember what God had done for him and brought him through, and then how he began to praise God. It really meant a lot to me. That’s where I’ve been. I’ve felt like God wasn’t with me and didn’t care what I was going through, but then I began to remember all the things he’s brought me through and all the things he’s done for me in the past year, and I have to trust that He has a plan. Obviously, I still want my baby and I’m clinging to the hope that the baby’s still alive, but I know that, even if God’s answer is no, He will hold me up. My attitude has changed dramatically. I want to honor God in this. Thank you ladies for praying for me. For encouraging me to keep the faith and turn to God. I’m going to do that. I want him to be glorified in my pain. If I have to go through this, I want God to somehow use it. I was reminded of a video that has really challenged me in the past. It helped me to watch it today. I want God to be glorified.

Here is the video that I mentioned in the email:

I write this scattered post and insert the section from my email just to show where I am. Where I’ve been. I don’t know how much I’ll want to write about this in the future, but I needed to at least explain what has happened and where I’m coming from. I get results from today’s blood work sometime tomorrow. I would appreciate your prayers. I still have hope.I don’t know what the end result of all of this is. Several people have prayed that God would grow me through this. I’m sure that some sort of growth is inevitable, if I resist the urge to hide under the covers and not deal with it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to share my journey with you, and maybe it will mean something to someone. Above all, I want God to be glorified.

Fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13

He’s Gone

Filed under: Elijah,Family,Kids,Kyra,Love,Prayer Request,Random Thoughts,Videos — Rachel at 11:13 pm on Sunday, June 3, 2007

Yes, my beloved is gone. He left at about six a.m. this morning for Fort Jackson. Kyra, Owen, and I saw him off with several hugs and kisses and waves till he was out of sight. Elijah slept. He called once not long before I left for church and said he was in SC.
When I got out of church, I took his broadcast cd’s to the radio station, and my cell phone rang on the way back. I pulled over on the side of the road to talk to him before my signal faded. He told me he was at Fort Jackson, but he had been in an accident on the way there. It was raining, and his car slid as he was getting off the Interstate. He couldn’t stop it and it began to fishtail. He ended up hitting another car. They were all okay, and the only damage was a little bit to Chris’ bumper. After I got off the phone with Chris, I told Kyra what happened. She said that she had prayed for him in Sunday School, and that is why God protected him. Indeed!
I talked to him again this evening. He told me about his apartment and what he had done today. I think he’s really going to enjoy himself. Unfortunately, he forgot his adapter when he packed up his laptop and accessories, so he can’t use his computer. I’m going to try to overnight it to him in the morning, if I can’t send it same day. All of you guys who know Chris and I know that a life without computer service (and speedy internet, at that) is a pained existence. So, hopefully, we can get the adapter to him pretty soon and he will start blogging about Chaplain school.
Tonight, I miss him. My bed won’t be empty, as it is prime real estate even with one family member gone. There’s an empty spot, none the less, though, as half of my heart headed to the Army this morning. Please keep us in your prayers.
On a lighter note, these were made Chris’ last night home. Enjoy! 😉

Prayer Request

Filed under: Prayer Request — Rachel at 10:10 am on Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I just thought of something I hadn’t added in my post below. Please pray for a man from our church, Carl Nelson. He had a heart attack Sunday afternoon, and had to have emergency surgery to clear a blockage. He is also a diabetic. Please keep him and his family in your prayers as he is recovering.