Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ben's Party Highlights

It turned out to be a lovely day. We had good food and fun with some good friends. Thank you to all who came! The best part was that we set everything up while Ben was napping so when he woke up he was shaking with excitement as I brought him out and there was a whole party waiting for him! It was so sweet.
Thank you God for Ben, he is such a beacon of light in our home. He makes us smile even when smiling seems near impossible. I am positive that you gave him to us knowing how his little self would minister to us in our greatest time of need. My prayer is that he grows up with a fire for you as bright as his amazing red hair! I know you have great things in store for this little man and I am so thankful you chose us to be his family!
OOOHHH Pwesents!

It took forever! In fact we are not done yet as he insists on ripping just tiny pieces off at a time!

Luke and his bff Kylie

MMMMM Good cake!

It is tough when it is your brother's birthday and NOT yours!

(Hopefully his face won't freeze like that)

But WHY can't I just have at it?

My Grandpa Perry

(would you believe he is over 80?)

Me, my dad, and baby Fionn

No family resemblance here!

Backyard fun!

The swingset you see is what we got both boys collectively for their birthdays as they need NOTHING! Luke insists that "daddy built a park at our home" He is now the proud owner of a park!

airplane favors

Chef Daddy

Family Photo!

Impressive technique Joe!

Ben wanted to "Dive" in!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Check Out This Cake!

We decided to cut corners and try to make our own cake for Ben's party today...I baked cupcakes and frosted over them and my AMAZING husband did the decorating! We
are quite pleased with the result...at less than half of what we would have paid to have one made! Just another entry for the list of reasons why I love Howard, he is a cake decorator too!!

Benjamin Oliver Bolte

God's gift to the Bolte Family, July 27, 2006
8lb 6oz
21 inches

One Year Pictures

3 months

2 months


Friday, July 25, 2008


The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 1 Samuel 10:5-7

Today I have done a bit of reflecting. I have given great thought to the person I was even five years ago and the person I am now. I would say that five years ago I knew about God, I didn't know Him. I had religion, but not a relationship. As I look back and think about the person I was during those times it is remarkable to me to compare the way I am turning out. It is funny really. Things I SWORE I would never do, I am finding myself doing.

Today after getting Ben down for his nap, I went outside to the garden Howard had planted to pick some of the veggies that were ready for harvest! As I was picking peppers with Luke I thought back to a conversation I had with a friend years ago. I remember the conversation vividly. She had asked if we planted a garden at our house, I replied with a chuckle and said "Isn't that why we have stores?" Why on earth would I want to work so hard for something I could go to the store and buy? It made no sense to me.

It is interesting to me that as I have become closer with God, I have taken delight in the miracle of planting a seed. As Luke and I picked the vegetables from the garden today we talked about how amazing it is that you plant a seed and you get such great vegetables. Luke was so excited about the garden he shook with glee. He had helped plant these things and was now reaping what he sowed. He proudly ate a pepper right off of the plant exclaiming how it was the best pepper he had ever eaten.

Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. Psalm 67:5-7

Our bountiful harvest

We are blessed. It was the coolest feeling to bring in armloads of food that we had grown for our family. It was amazing to behold the goodness of God. He had blessed us with tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, banana peppers, and zucchini. I held the vegetables in my hand and marveled at the idea that this good food came from a simple seed, that God in all of his creativity had conjured up the idea that we would plant a seed in the ground, care for it and food would come from it! Amazing! God is so good and so present in everything!

Another change that I have found taking place in me this year is my thought on schooling. Don't get me wrong, I am a teacher, my husband is a teacher and I think education is SUPER important. Knowledge is vital. But as the year draws near for my own child to go to school I find myself questioning things I swore I would never question. I would NEVER be one of "those" moms. The kind who is over involved or picks her child's teacher or (gasp) home schools.

Luke will be 5 in August. Yes, he could go to Kindergarten this year, but we had decided long ago not to send him until he turned 6. He is a super smart kid and so capable of handling it, but I just see no hurry. As a teacher I could always tell which kids were the younger and though they were often very bright, it often caught up to them when adolescence hit. As far as I can see, it cannot hurt to keep Luke and enjoy him one more year. He will have 13 years to go to school.

I also always swore I would never be one of those "homeschooling moms" I worked in a public school, Howard works in a public school and it was good enough for both of us so it will certainly be good enough for our kids, and I am not saying that that home school is the path we are choosing, but as the time has come I completely see the appeal, I completely understand why it is so important to many families and I can fully appreciate that. I now can fully understand how when done right, homeschooling could be an amazing blessing for the entire family. What a rich experience that could be for all who are involved! That said, I also see immense importance in school.

I have wrestled for weeks about sending Luke to preschool. I know it is only preschool, but anymore it is about the same as choosing a college. :-) After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided at least for this year, Luke will be staying home. I will school him in whatever he needs here. He will get hands on life experience with me. We will still be able to live by our fly by the seat of our pants schedule and when the mood strikes we will up and go to the zoo or go play in a creek. We love that life, we love being together and I am coming to learn there is great value in that. Next year we will re-evaluate and see what we think is best for then.

I have already experienced other moms thinking I am nutty for skipping preschool, thinking I will put Luke at a disadvantage, my view is not really a popular one and I am okay with that. Kids just don't get to be kids anymore. I am certainly not saying preschool is a bad thing...I just don't think it is for us. I am not ready to share my Luke just yet. :-) I have some more equipping to do before I send him into the world! All families are different and no one knows what a child needs better than a parent, I need to learn to trust my instinct as a mom, we all make the decisions that are best for our own children and for some that is school and others maybe not.

I just think it is interesting that as I become more in tune to God's prompting and am going deeper in relationship with him that my thoughts and views are changing drastically, I am literally becoming a different person, a person I like a whole lot better. There is such beauty in growing a garden and growing children. They are both such gifts, such amazing miracles. I just want to revel in every moment, and enjoy the good gifts my Father has given.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

How Thirsty Are You?

"How blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because it is they who will be satisfied!" Matthew 5:6

While at the Deeper Still Conference one of the things that has really stuck with me was something Kay Arthur said. She said, "We should hunger and thirst for God's word above ALL else." This really got me thinking. This is an area in which I REALLY lack. Yes, I read my daily devotionals and I dabble with the Bible a bit, but a hunger, a thirst, not so much. If we truly hunger for God's word we should dive into that above all else, before watching TV, before surfing the Internet, before reading other books, before doing ANYTHING else.

I have let myself off pretty easy the past few years. I have told myself that I am excused from digging deep into God's word because I am a busy mom. I have young children. I don't have time. Yet, I always find time for TV, the Internet, and many other things that take up parts of my day. I feel a void in my life so I try desperately to fill it with whatever seems good at the time and yet I always still feel empty.

If I have to cut something out of my day, often time it is my devotional time or quiet time that gets put by the wayside. The thing is, I am beginning to realize that if I make time for that FIRST everything else falls into place. Life is so uncertain, so much happens day to day that really throws our day out of whack. But not God's word, His word is steadfast. After a hard day instead of thirsting for TV to tune out, maybe I need to be thirsting for God's unchanging, living word and tune in.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God...Psalm 42:2

This is actually what I have been trying to do. I have since that conference tried to do a better job of submerging myself in God's amazing word. I have plastered verses all over everything that sits still in my house (though maybe my children would be great billboards too). I have learned that a simple tub crayon writes verses nicely on mirrors and windows, even fish tanks. :-) Luke is memorizing verses beautifully, he cannot read but if he sees one on the mirror he asks us to read it as he brushes his teeth.

We all have that void, that thirst yet we all try to fill it with ALL the wrong things. Sometimes I will make a commitment to be in the Bible every day and I do well for a few days and then I skip a day. Well then it is like a diet, you eat an Oreo, you might as well eat the whole package. (or is that just me) So I chalk it up to failure and just give up. That doesn't even make sense but that is what I do...

So....all of that said, I have really been in prayer about this and God is moving. I believe he is calling me to start a women's Bible study. I believe he is calling me to go even deeper and to really study the Bible. I am thinking of using one of the Beth Moore studies since she has been an instrument in all of this. So if any of you out there that live in the Erie area are interested in diving in to the Bible and growing in your relationship with our Savior, I would love to have you. I am still ironing out the details, but need to know who is interested before figuring out the rest. So if you are interested jot me an email! I am super excited about this!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Not that kind of news, and prayer requests.

Thanks for your prayers, the basement is going to be fine. Just a minor stream running through which is now drying up. No major deal!

Ok, just to squelch any rumors that are starting, he plans I spoke of that God has for me do not include pregnancy, at least not yet. :-)

I had many things I wanted to share with you tonight, but due to some serious rain I have to tend to a wet basement (yes, again). So if you could just pray for that situation for us right now that would be great...it always tends to cause tension in our home as the guys who did our basement did not do such a great job.

We have Big Ben's birthday party on Sunday here so this is the LAST thing I needed today! Oh well, it is all temporary! But we sure could use your prayers! I love you all and hope you are keeping dry!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Five months ago today!

Happy five month birthday son!

"Watch yourselves so that you don't lose what we have worked for, but you may receive a full reward." 2 John 8

I sit here tonight reflecting on life at this point and am astounded. I am astounded that God chose me for this. I am learning that he did not choose us because because he thought we were equipped to deal with any of this but because he would equip us along the way. I have had several of you email me WONDERFUL, encouraging messages. Many of you have listened to my testimony using the link I had provided earlier. I am astounded at the response, I am praising God that my boys are bringing others closer to their Creator! I am so excited, especially since that is only part of the story, that is the story as of a year ago and OH how God has worked in our family this past year!

I have spent the past few months in a bit of a fog. I have been hearing Satan's whispers and I have been listening to him. I have been listening as he whispers to me telling me that when I have a good day, I am forgetting my sons, I am forgetting to be sad, I should be sad, two of my boys are dead. I have been feeling this enormous weight bearing down on me lately, a weight that despite my effort I could not lift. I prayed and asked God to lift it and it seemed like he wasn't moving, and I heard Satan whisper, "He has forgotten you, what kind of God would do that? What kind of God would ask you to walk this path and then turn his back on you?"

I have been wrestling with those thoughts for quite some time. I have wondered why God seemed to be waiting to move. I have struggled with him and why a God who loves me so much would allow such pain to be inflicted upon me. Such a sense of loss, such emptiness, sadness, and doubt. I would love to sit here and tell you that Since our "Isaac experience" I have been changed and have been steadfast, but that would be an outright lie. I have to make a decision every single morning of my life to get into God's word and chose to believe that he has got this.

My trip to Atlanta with my "sistas" has taught me so much and brought me so far. They have been shining examples of God's grace. They are providing a support and love I could never have imagined. In many ways that trip was a new beginning for me. I feel closer to God than I have been in quite sometime. I had been feeling paralyzed with my grief and I am beginning to move again.

Today we took our kids on a pontoon boat ride on Lake Erie and spent a nice day with them, then I went to a Mom's night out with a few of my favorite MOPS moms. This was pretty huge for me. I have been finding safety in the comfort of my home and I have been believing that I should just hide out here because I make everyone feel so crazily uncomfortable. (These are also LIES that are certainly not coming from God). This week my prayer to God has been that I am able to break free from all of this, from the lies, the loneliness, the pain. Sitting at home and feeling bad is not going to bring glory to God or do my sons any justice.

It has been five months since I held sweet Asher in my arms and now more than ever I am just plain thankful. Thankful that I had that moment, thankful that God did choose us, thankful that I am learning to live in today not worrying about tomorrow. Tomorrow is never promised.

This may be too much information, but each morning as I get a shower and get ready for the day I have found it helpful to crank my ipod music in the bathroom. We have a little boombox that it connects to and so I rock out in the shower. Sometimes that is the only alone time with God that I get in a day. My shower playlist has consisted of three songs...these three songs were songs I had the pleasure to experience LIVE at Deeper Still. They are, Only the World, Shackles, and Voice of a Savior. All sung by the beautiful MANDISA! These songs have really ministered to me lately and helped me adjust my prayer life.

Today I am rejoicing that my sons are in Heaven with Jesus. Asher has been there for five months, I am sure he is having a wonderful five month birthday. Today I am beginning to feel the fog lift, the weight lightened, I am taking comfort knowing that "It's only the world", this is nothing compared to eternity. The eternity I will get to spend with ALL of my children! That has me excited. It has me looking more toward Heaven and less toward this earth, it has me wanting desperately to be used by God. God has trusted me with something so important, I have no right to stay in my house and hide out...I need to get out and get the WORD out! And I have plans, in my stillness, God has really been speaking, and I cannot wait to share with you what he is putting on my heart, but it will have to wait for another post! I love you ALL and thank you so much for supporting me and my family through the ups downs and inbetweens. Thank you for helping me to keep my eyes toward Heaven, thank you all for carrying me! Stay tuned! The best is yet to come!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

July 20, 2008 Happy Heaven Day Isaac

I love that when Luke went to speak to Isaac to tell him he loved him he looked up and not down at the ground. He knows. He knows where Isaac is, you can tell by the look on his face!

How sweet is this? It is Luke praying for God to take good care of Isaac and Asher!

We still have eachother!

Luke yelling another message to his brothers.

Letting Go...

How does it smell Ben?

Probably the closest we will get to having a picture of all four boys, this side of Heaven.

This is Ben sharing, it is an occasion worthy of a photo!

Happy Heaven Day, Isaac! We love you and are so proud to be your family!

Daddy, I don't think six balloons will do it, you might be a bit too heavy!

Two red because Ben INSISTS red is Isaac's favorite color, two purple and two orange because Luke insists his favorite would be orange like mommy and two purple because Luke things Jesus likes purple.

Ben says Isaac's favorite color is red...so we picked up these awesome red daisies, three of them, one for each year.

Up up and away...on their way to Heaven...we sent six balloons, one for each day Isaac lived and also because there are six members of our family. Luke is confident Asher, Isaac and Jesus will care for our balloons until we can all be there to share them! Who could argue?

Wow, they sure go high!

Where's Ben?

Sermon From the Seats

The song they did in the middle was Homesick, and at the end was Blessed Be Your Name both done by our church worship team.

In the middle I also shared a video we had done with Isaac's photos to the song "Sometimes Miracles Hide" as a sweet surprise Howard ended the video with me reading "I will love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be" from the books I read and recorded for Isaac. It is such an amazing video...I am trying to figure out how to get it on here....

If you are interested in my testimony as it stood a year ago go to http://mclanechurch.org/ then click on "Listen to the weekly sermon." then go to page 5 of those sermons and click on "True Human Stories Kristy" Remember this was the weekend I found out I was pregnant with Asher...

Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Thick and Dreadful Darkness

A thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Genesis 15:12

This scripture comes from the book of Genesis from the story of Abraham. Abraham had just fallen asleep from sheer exhaustion from cares of his day and while he was sleeping he felt this dreadful, thick darkness come over his soul. I imagine it felt much like a nightmare only instead of being in his mind it was in his heart.

I cannot really imagine what Abraham must have been thinking at this time or how dark his darkness was, but I do know something of a thick and dreadful darkness. I do know something of sorrow and disappointment. I do know how hard it is to reconcile with a God who is fully capable to intervene and yet he chooses not to. I know what it is to wonder what God's justice looks like because I surely don't see it on earth. I wonder how a good and loving God could take a beloved child from a family who loves and cherishes him so much, who would raise him in the way he should go. I do know what it is to fall asleep from sheer exhaustion, mental, physical, emotional exhaustion. I know what it feels like to cry myself to sleep only to wake up frantically searching for my child who is nowhere to be found. I know what it is like to yearn to dream of my precious boys and wake from a nightmare where I am trying to save them yet cannot.

Tomorrow marks a lot of things for me. It marks three years since Isaac went to be with his Heavenly Father. It marks a year since I shared my testimony with our church in Isaac's memory, and it marks one year since I found out I was pregnant with Asher. One year ago I was preparing for my "Sermon from the Seat" I was going through my journal of what happened with Isaac and preparing to share his life with about a thousand people it was an immense task and I remember feeling very overwhelmed. It had occurred to me that pregnancy might be something I was dealing with on top of it all but I chalked it up to stress. The next day I took a test to be sure and two lines showed up. I had JUST relived my entire experience with Isaac and now was pregnant again, but the thought NEVER crossed my mind that my God would ever ask me to walk that path again.

I sit here tonight reflecting on all of those things. I sit here looking over the past few years of my life, it is strange to think that it really is my life. I feel like I have been wandering the wilderness for quite a while. I look back and can say that I am thankful for Isaac and for Asher. I am as thankful for those boys as I am for the two here with me on earth. I can remember after Isaac died feeling like I had been abandoned by God, I had been baptized just two weeks prior and here God was not holding up his end of the bargain. The thing is, he always holds up his end of the bargain. The thing is that he NEVER promises that we will not endure suffering, pain, disappointment, he promised he would walk the path with us, even when that path is through the valley of the shadow of death. He never leaves us. There are many times in the past few years that I have felt abandoned by God. Many times I have allowed Satan to whisper lies in my ears, and oh is he a sneaky one and he will fill our heads with lies any chance he gets.

I cannot say I am there yet, but I am learning, learning to turn my ear from those whispers and focus solely on God's. I am learning that with God, beauty can come from ashes, an ending can bring a beginning, life can be brought from death. I am learning that even when I feel alone, God is ALWAYS right there, always ever present in my hurt and wiping away my every tear. I am learning that God does not take suffering lightly. In many ways he bestows it upon us as a gift. He sent his son to suffer and die a death so horrible and yet look at the beauty that comes from Calvary. The beauty that God's love for us is so big that he would send his one and only son to die on a cross for our sins. For the sins of EVERY person on this earth because he loves us that much.

Shall I not drink from this cup the Father has given me? (John 18:10)

This is the cup the master has given. This is the cup I shall drink.

It is my prayer that God will use my suffering, use it for His glory. I cannot lie, I hurt, I ache, I feel a void in my heart that will NEVER be filled this side of Heaven and I have to every morning pray for the grace to get through that day. And every day he provides. He never provides an ounce more than I need though. Just enough for the day, just enough to make me fall on my face and pray for some more the next day. His grace is truly sufficient. This I am sure of. It is the only explanation for the fact that I function every day. I am trying hard to embrace it. To embrace my suffering and camp out here in the wilderness for a while. I have been trying so hard to work my way through it as quickly as possible and well,and like a hamster on a wheel, that just isn't working for me! So as uncomfortable as it makes me I will just rest here, in the wilderness as I am much safer in the wilderness with God than I am without Him on a mountaintop.

Friday, July 18, 2008

May We Have Abraham's Faith

"Because you have done this and have not withheld you son, your only son, I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky because you have obeyed me. (Genesis 22:16-18)

The story of Abraham is one that really struck a cord with us after having Isaac. We did after all name him Isaac because of that story. We had hoped that if we were willing to let go of our beloved son that God would bless us by healing him here on earth. That is obviously not what God had in mind, but I also wonder if I like Abraham was actually willing to let go with an open and gracious hand. I am pretty sure my letting go was with a clenched fist and kicking and screaming through it all. That is not to say Abraham liked what he was being asked to do, but he did it willingly.

The thing I am learning here is that this story is an example of how when we obey God's word and give up things that are most precious to us, things that might be scary, He always multiplies whatever that is many times over. Abraham at God's command was willing to give up his one and only son simply because that was what God asked of him. I doubt he liked it much, but he did it. He was obedient. He was prepared to sacrifice his one and only son simply because God told him to. God in turn saved Isaac and made Abraham's descendants as numerous as the stars.

The God we serve gives and he takes away, he understands TRUE sacrifice and he is calling us to give it all up. Everything that we cling to, even if it is painful, even if we don't want to. We are told that we must die to ourselves to live an abundant life in Christ. I guess I have never really taken that to heart. As I examine my life there are still things I am clinging to, things I have not surrendered and God calls us to surrender all. God is not interested in our comfort for it is when we step outside of our comfort zone that we can see Him more clearly. He calls us to walk on water, but first we must step out on faith leaving our security behind. We need to get out of the boat and as I examine myself I can see I am still keeping one foot in the boat much of the time. Simply because I am afraid I will drown, and this is not faith.

I do have some things, some Isaacs if you will in my life that I need to lay down before the Lord. I am ready, I am ready to give it all to Him. I am ready to die to myself to reap the rewards of a life lived in true faith. I know it will not be easy and I have a lot of work to do but I want to live the life God has for me, I want to know that I am walking in his light each and every day I need to lay my Isaac's down and wait patiently for God to respond. We don't get to pick and choose what we believe about Christ, if we take the Bible as the truth, we have to take it all. Not just the warm fuzzy stuff, but also the tough, painful stuff.

"After waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised." Hebrews 6:15

I would bet that each of us has an Isaac we need to lay down at the altar and be willing to fully sacrifice. What is yours? What is holding you back from living the life God wants for you?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

In God's MIghty Lap

"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." (2 Chronicles 20:12)

I have been searching and searching for what God is calling me to do next. I have prayed, I have searched the Bible for any word he might bring forth to me, I have searched the depths of my being for the desires He has placed within me and yet I am coming up still confused. My thoughts most times are a whirlwind. I have become about as scatterbrained as they come. I have talked before about the fact that I, by nature, am a doer. I feel best when I am actively doing things, taking charge and getting things done.

The trouble is that I am at a complete loss when it comes to what God wants from me next. I don't even know who I am anymore. I feel like a different person, yet I am not sure who I am. I look the same (plus twenty pounds) but I feel so different. I will often get a thought or a glimpse of what I think God is calling me to, then I pray about it and begin to move forward only to feel I am not so sure that is what GOD wants, rather what I want.

I have spoken many times now about us continuing to grow our family. It is something we desperately want to do and something we feel called to, we always have, we from the very beginning have felt God calling us to raise a number of children. I am still feeling a intense pull in that direction, but have no idea what the next step is. At first I thought adoption. Howard and I would LOVE to adopt, that has always been on our radar and now more than ever seemed like the perfect time, that is until I began to research and find out the financial costs that come with adopting a child. This roadblock seems immense. We are just keeping our heads above water financially right now, we could never afford the thousands of dollars it takes to adopt, at least not yet.

I have started the paperwork for foster care and we do feel this is something we want to do, but the further I go I question if this is the right time for our family to do this. I wonder if I am in a state of mind where I can give what these children need. I know it is something we will do eventually, but the more I pray and the more I spend time thinking through it, the more I feel I may need to wait until a little more healing has taken place in this home before we can love and let go again.

We have been and are still considering having more children of our own. At worst, the issue that Isaac and Asher had is a recessive issue, meaning it would likely occur in 25% of any children we may have. I have also already explained how our families feel about this. They don't think it is worth the risk, I am not sure we agree. Though Isaac and Asher both died too soon, they left such an impact on our hearts, we are such better people for having known them.

The confusing thing is that the "issues" Isaac and Asher had cannot be explained. Our case has been of interest to several doctors and geneticists. It has been passed along to several universities and specialists and yet NO ONE can come up with a name for a diagnosis. God knitted our boys together so specifically, they cannot easily be put into any category despite great effort.

Isaac and Asher had microcephaly, both of them had a brain that had stopped developing way to early on. But aside from that their symptoms are very different. No doctor has been able to connect all of the dots. I am not confident they ever will. They believe it is too coincidental for both boys to have had a similar condition that is unrelated, but cannot say for sure what the commonality is. There is a possibility it is a problem we would only have with male children, and if that is the case we could go through treatments and go through gender selection to assure ourselves that issue would not recur by having a girl. I am not comfortable with that.

When it comes to the issue of us having more children, Howard is all for it. He doesn't see any reason why we shouldn't. He looks at the 75% chance all will be fine and even in the event that we should have another special baby, he knows God will carry us, that God will still bring the right people to us to support us and that our family would come around. He sees no reason to continue with genetic testing. They can't find anything, and can't test us because they have NO idea what they would test us for. If it were an issue for only male children we still wouldn't do the gender selection thing, we feel that that would be interfering with God's work. We believe ALL children are a gift from the Lord and who are we to tell him how to do His job? So what is a person to do? Well I have prayed on it and this is what I have come up with...

So God has brought be back to the "Be Still" thing...it seems to be a recurring theme in my life! I guess it should be in everyone's, I am just not so good at it so God has to keep bringing me to this place.

This morning I was reading in the book of 2 Samuel and came across the story of an Israelite named Uzzah. He lost his life because he reached out and took hold of the ark of God. He had great intentions in touching it. He wanted to steady it as he thought it might fall when the oxen stumbled, but he overstepped his bounds, he touched the Lord's work and interfered and God struck him down.

I am learning that having faith is letting the oxen stumble and trusting God to steady the Ark. If we truly walk by faith, we must leave God to do his work, we must not meddle, we must not feel the need to DO something. He knows where we are and if we wait on Him, He will tell us when to act and when to be still. He often speaks in a whisper, so we must be completely still and silent to hear. When we completely give something over to God we need to keep our meddling hands off of it. Even with good intentions, our hands will only screw it up. We need to remember that God doesn't need our help. He is GOD! He is sovereign, he is the Alpha and Omega. He will accomplish His will and he doesn't NEED anyone else to do it. I need to remember that. I need to remember that God is in control here despite what I feel or do.

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." Psalm 37:7

This verse reminds me that though I sometimes feel there is no justice in this world, God will carry out justice in the end. I need set my eyes on Him and draw near to Him because I will always be safe in His hand.

Wait patiently, be still, rest in knowing that God has this under control, there is nothing that my restless work will do to accomplish his will. He WILL accomplish his will. He has promised good for me and I must rest in knowing He is working it all out...

So I am dropping all of this in God's lap and I will leave it there!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Isaac! Has it been three years already?

My devotional verse from yesterday:

"I called to the Lord in my distress, and I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry to Him reached His ears." Psalm 18:6

Oh how appropriate.

This morning when Luke woke up he ran out to the kitchen, where I was and he said, "Mom, I bet those balloons from last night are in Isaac's hands right now! I bet he is sharing with Asher! It was a great party. I am sure he had fun watching us."

That statement reaffirmed why I pushed myself yesterday. Why even though I wanted to stay in bed and cry all day I got up and planned a birthday part just as I would have for any of my kids. We do birthdays big at the Bolte house. Not necessarily big presents, just big parties. It gives us an excuse to get family together and especially now we know what a gift each new year of life is! My boys are keenly aware that having a birthday party for each of their brothers in Heaven is just as important as their own. It in no way seems foreign

Yesterday was a really tough day for me. I didn't want to get up, (and yet it was my turn to get up with Ben who gets up EARLY) Once Howard got up we had some errands to run and were gone most of the afternoon. I had no idea how many people to expect last night as though I invited many I wasn't sure how people viewed my intentions. I am not sure how I would have reacted years ago had I been invited to a party for a child who had died. Being a Monday night I knew many people already had obligations. I just felt it important to celebrate THAT day. Howard's parents were there, his sister and her little guy Andrew, and a few close friends who really knew what the day meant, many of whom rearranged their schedule, knowing how much this meant to us. So it was a small party, but we were happy there were even a few people who wanted to celebrate with us.

We ate, (Howard deep fried turkeys with marinade injected into them and they were SUPER!) the kids played in the yard, we had cake and at the end of the day, Luke and Ben sent Happy Birthday balloons to Heaven for Isaac. (the balloon thing was all Luke! He was so cute. Ben on the other hand did NOT want to let go! It was a cool balloon!)

Today Howard had to go to school for Middle School Open House. Not really a great day for him to have to be gone all day but we will manage. He will be gone ALL day. He went early this morning to get things done in his classroom since he would be heading over anyway. He probably also needed to get away from me...I have not been the easiest person to deal with.

I know I need to be so thankful for the family and friends who were able to celebrate with us, but I must admit that it hurts a lot that not ONE member of my own immediate family called, sent a note, or showed up yesterday. I am trying very hard not to let that get to me but I just cannot understand after all this time how they could let the day go by unnoticed.

So this morning I let the kids have left over cake for breakfast and we are just going to hang out. I am getting better (maybe too good) about letting other things go. It looks like it is going to be a sunny day! I could use some sunshine!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A converstation no one should have to have...

I went in yesterday to order a cake for a birthday celebration we are having in Isaac's honor. I carefully thought out what I would explain to the woman at the bakery...things never go as planned.

Me: I need to order a cake

Bakery: Ok, what size?

Me: 1/2 sheet, I would like brown and blue icing and half chocolate and half white.

Bakery: Is it for a birthday?

Me: Yes

Bakery: "What is your child's name?"

Me: Isaac

Bakery: Don't you want trucks or something like that...I mean what does he like?

Me: I am not sure, that is ok. Just brown and blue.

Bakery: All little boys like trucks or animals or something don't they?

Me: I really am not sure...he is in Heaven.

Bakery: Oh, You are ordering a birthday cake for a child who is dead? (looking at me like she wanted to run away, like I must be some crazy lady)

Me: Yes, he is still a part of our family and we still celebrate his life. He was such a gift, we are thankful God allowed us the time we had and we want to celebrate the impact his life has had on us.

Bakery: Okay, it will be ready Monday..

My day was downhill from there. I lack the words to continue his story. My heart aches too deeply right now. I am at a complete loss. My tears are plentiful and I just feel a heaviness and a void in my soul. I know God is here. He is showing me every day in many ways. It still hurts though. Three years later, it still hurts. Sometimes it seems to hurt worse now than before. I wonder what Isaac would have looked like at THREE YEARS OLD! What a big boy he would be. I miss him so much. I just keep reminding myself that this is all temporary. I will get to spend eternity with him and that is the only thing that keeps me going!
What a joyous event it will be when the Bolte Boys are all reunited with their Mommy and Daddy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

July 20, 2005, a date now etched in stone

I have been sitting here dreading writing this post. I have been dreading it knowing how hard putting that day into words will be. There are no words to describe my aching heart. The void I feel in my life.

On July 20, after calling and finding out Isaac had a great night, after reading stories to him into a tape recorder, we arrived at the NICU. We walked in and there was a team of people around our son. A nurse came walking toward me and I knew...I knew by the look on her face that what she was about to say would change my heart forever. She hugged me. She looked at me and she said, "it won't be much longer. He waited for you to get here. You need to go be with him and tell him that it is okay to let go. His little body is just giving out. There is no doubt in my mind that he waited to have you hold him one last time." I immediately got sick. I ran out of that room and across the hall to an empty patient room where I threw up. This was all happening so fast. I had tried to be prepared, I had tried to be realistic, but I was hopeful. I prayed with my whole heart that God would heal my baby. The nurse followed me in and held my hair and got me a washcloth to wipe my face.

Then she looked at me and said "Ok, now you need to be with him." I told her I couldn't, that I didn't want to see him die. I just could not handle this. She said ok, but went and got Howard anyway. He brought Isaac to me. We sat on a bed, the three of us holding each other singing to our baby boy as Isaac's heart rate continued to slow, his breathing became erratic. The nurses came in and out periodically to check to see if he was alive and the last time she came in, she shook her head. He was gone.

We held him for a while longer. I was so scared about what holding my dying and then dead child would be like. I can say that while I never hoped to live through it again, it was not at all what I had anticipated. It was not scary, he did not struggle, it was peaceful. He was there, and then he wasn't. He drifted gently into the arms of his Heavenly father as his earthly mother and father sang him lullabies. I was there when that sweet soul entered this world and I was there as he quietly drifted out. We kissed him and took one last look, hoping to soak it all in, to etch his presence into our souls forever. Then we handed him over. We were stunned.

We did not expect our day to go that way. He had been doing so well. We packed our things and headed home. I needed to hold Luke. I needed to be reminded of God's goodness. The elevator ride down was long and lonely. We watched as other families came to the maternity floor with carseats to take their children home. This was a luxury we would never get to have with Isaac. He was gone. It felt so strange to leave the hospital that day. In my hand I carried a bag of Isaac's belongings. Not Isaac, just a few of his things. Six days, all summed up in a plastic drawstring bag. I waited until we got to the car to let loose, but then the floodgates opened and I cried, it all felt so unfair. Where was the justice in any of this? We were good parents, we would have given Isaac a good home and we would have tried our best to raise him to be a man of God. We would never have that opportunity. I wanted to believe God was with us, but I surely did not feel him. I felt as alone as I have ever been. My soul ached. My heart shattered. Howard began to drive toward home.

It was a rainy day and as we pulled out of the parking lot I took one last glance at the hospital desperately hoping I would wake up and realize this was all just a nightmare, that God had not allowed this emptiness to fill our hearts, that he DID love us and that he saved our boy. As I glanced back that was not what I saw, what I saw was a rainbow. It stretched across the sky over the hospital that day. I am convinced that God painted it there just for me. He knew I needed a sign, a sign that he was in fact there. That he would carry us through this. That he promised never to leave us and that even in the darkness there could be beauty.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Daddy's Prayer for Isaac

I think the only way to SHOW you the incredible faith of my amazing husband is to share with you the prayer he wrote for Isaac that night Isaac was born as he read the Bible:

Isaac is a gift from God. Love is a gift from God. Sickness and abnormalities are not. But it is through Isaac's sickness and struggles that the Lord Almighty will be glorified. All that we have we will give Isaac and what we have is love and faith.

"Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail."

Our faith and prayer is that the will of God be done. God's will is not death; it is not sickness. It is LIFE, for that is what he gave Isaac when He gave him to us.

We put our trust in the doctors and nurses and the hospital, but not our faith; our faith is in God. We believe the doctors will do everything they are trained to do in order to help Isaac. But it is our faith that will heal him. Our firm undoubting, unwavering faith in God's Goodness. HE CREATED Isaac. He created Heaven and earth, the sky and mountains, the creatures and birds, He created night and day and he even created light itself - the same light that you see reflecting from Isaac's awesome dark brown hair.

This is what we pray in Jesus' name, knowing that what we ask in faith (faith the size of a mustard seed) will be provided according to God's plan, that Isaac will come home to his family, be free from sickness and be able to know our love for him and the love our his Creator.

"Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you."

With faith we will expect and be looking for answered prayer so that the glory of God and His power and love may be known to all who know Isaac. If Isaac has the strength to fight for every breath and achieve victory, then we all can have enough faith that he is in God's hands and that is the greatest gift - LOVE.

I have closed my ear to negative forecasts from the world and am listening only to God, and all of this prayer is what I have been hearing. I ask that those who have offered to pray pray this same prayer.

Thanks be to God, His love, and His eternal power.

But the angel of the Lord called to him from Heaven "Abraham, Abraham." he answered. "Here I am." "Don't hurt the boy or do anything to him," he said, "now that you have not kept back your only son (Isaac) from Him." Abraham looked around and saw a ram caught in a bush by its horns. He went and offered it as a burnt offering instead of his son. Abraham named that place "The Lord Provides."

May we have Abraham's faith

Parenting a NICU Baby

In the following days everything seemed so unreal. People came to visit. I remember little of it as I remained in the NICU as much as they would allow, which was a lot. Due to our circumstances they were very lenient with us. As people would come and I wasn't in the room they would leave little signs for us. We left a pad of construction paper in the room for people to leave messages. It was so good to know everyone was rallying behind us.

We were new to our church and knew very few people but they did everything they could. Isaac was doing better than expected. Howard expected nothing less. He prayed constantly for a miracle. I can remember at first being slightly irritated with him because as I said before I wanted to be realistic, I wanted to brace myself, I did not want to be floating on a cloud that would eventually disappear.

He continued to do well and I admit I began to be hopeful. Our goal was to get him home. I really thought it might happen. I remember walking into the NICU one day and going over to him and the nurse asked if I would like to bathe him and change his diaper. I was on cloud 9! I was getting to care for my son. I had been just sitting by watching nurses do it because I felt so incompetent. This nurse must have seen how helpless I felt and she gave me something to do and it felt great! As I left that day I remember glancing at his chart as I walked out, I remember seeing these words that made me sick "DNR, His parents know he is dying."

I was stunned. I guess I didn't KNOW he was dying. I was hoping that the fact that he was hanging on and beating odds meant we might get to keep him. I was praying that I would take him home even if that meant constant doctor and therapy appointments, feeding tubes, and all that taking care of a special needs baby involved. I knew God would give me sufficient grace for each day and that he would bless our family with this little guy. My heart was breaking. My hopes disappearing before my eyes. Howard remained steadfast as always.

We remained in the hospital with Isaac as much as we could but eventually I had to be discharged. We enjoyed spending our time with precious Isaac and he was doing well. He was tolerating his feedings and was hanging in there. We were torn because though we loved being there with Isaac, we missed Luke terribly.

Luke was staying at our home with my sister Jillian and he was doing well, but we missed him and he missed us. He came to the hospital one evening and he got to hold his little brother and we got a family picture. He lit up when he saw his new brother. He was so excited.

So we were discharged to go home. I will never forget leaving that hospital without my baby. It was the most hollow I had ever felt in my life. As we took the long elevator ride down we were in the elevator with another mom who I had seen caring for her twins in the NICU. I remember her talking to the woman she was with and I remember it taking every ounce of restraint I could muster as she complained about not getting enough cigarette breaks because the babies were so needy not to grab her and shake her. I just wanted to scream. I was screaming inside but I stood silent. Howard gave me a look, he knew. He knows me. He knew I was holding back but that I really wanted to let her have it.

We got home and spent some time with Luke and then we called the NICU first thing in the morning to check on Isaac. He had had a rough night and was having seizures. They were upping his meds to see if that would help. We said we would be in shortly. When we got there he was agitated. You could tell he was out of sorts, but as soon as we spoke to him and held him he settled down. It was so amazing to see him respond to us. They told us he was probably unaware of anything because of his lack of brain development, but there was no doubt in my mind that he KNEW his mommy and daddy. We spent the whole day with him and at about 8 pm we came home to be with Luke.

How we longed to be able to spend time with both boys at once, but a NICU is no place for an almost two year old and Isaac was not ready to come home. It was so hard leaving him there though. We were so torn. We did the best we could at the time, but looking back I wish I had done more.
The next day was a good one. Isaac had done well with his new meds and his feedings were increased, we were still holding on to the hope that he would come home. We spent the day singing to him and telling him all about his family waiting to see him. We brought him pictures colored by Luke and showed him pictures of his big brother even though he NEVER opened his eyes. Again we made the trek home and again it was a tear filled one. I felt like I was being yanked in two directions and there was no way to win.

The next morning was July 20. We called the NICU before heading in just to be sure he wasn't having testing or anything and we spoke to a nurse who said he'd had a great night and that he was doing well. We packed the breast pump, lunch, a Bible, a tape recorder and some books and headed out. In the car I read stories to he tape recorder so I could leave the tape recorder with the nurses so they could play them to Isaac and he would hear my voice even when I wasn't there. I was parenting in the best way I knew how in a situation I despised. I was hoping for a miracle, but the doctors were very pessimistic and made it very clear that we should NOT get our hopes up.
I could not imagine a good God, a loving God would ask a family who had JUST been baptized to walk this road. I began to question everyhing I was beginning to believe in. If this was what it was like to walk with God, I wasn't sure I wanted any part of that deal. I remember telling God, "If you want me to believe in you, you have to give me something to believe in! I have done all of the right things and I do not want to let go of this baby. If you let me keep him, I will follow you to the ends of the earth." AAAAHHH Bargaining with God...we've all done it, but we all learn, that that just isn't how it works.