Friday, September 26, 2008

Emma Claire

In August of 2005, well, probably before that, Patrick and I had been praying about our family. What direction did God want us to go in? Have more babies? Foster care? Adopt from Korea? (Patrick is 1/2 Korean, so we always thought that would be cool.) Or, did God want me to be satisfied with the 4 children that we had? As I prayed over it and studied my Bible for guidance, God increased the desire for more children in my heart. As much as I prayed "Lord, if I am not to have more children, please remove the desire" He never did! So then I start with, "Okay, God, but I want a girl! Too much testosterone around her...can I PLEASE have a girl baby??" And as I prayed that for a few days, this is the verse God gave me: Psalm 20:4-5 "May he give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests." The next day, "You have granted him the desires of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips." Psalm 21:2 See, sometimes it takes God more than one time to get through to me...I know...I'm weird! And then, a few days later, "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this! he will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun." Psalm 37:3-6 And then, 2 months later, when it felt like nothing was happening, "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him." Psalm 37:7

The "be still and wait" verses have come to me in abundance over the last 3 years. In the meantime, as you know, God led us to foster care. GIRL BABIES IN ABUNDANCE!!! RIGHT??? Nope. My first call...TWO smelly boys! My second call...Jacob. My third call...Finally...a girl, but she was 2 1/2 and she came with...yep...a brother!!!! SERIOUSLY???? So we put bows on the boys...KIDDING!

Oh...I almost forgot what this post was about. Awhile after receiving my promise, I was sitting in church, listening to Pastor Doug. I was not even thinking about babies or promises, but a still, small voice whispered "Emma Claire". I thought it was a pretty name, so I wrote it in my Bible and went on. A few weeks later, I found the name in my Bible and decided to look it's meaning up. Well, Emma means "complete' and Claire means "with clarity". God was telling me that my baby girl would be named Emma Claire and I would know our family was complete when she came to us.

I also knew that Emma would not come right away and I have been fine with that. It has been exciting to see how God has orchestrated this entire promise. If I had limited God and just taken girl babies, we would not have had our Jacob. We would probably not have had "S" & "J", either. I am so thankful that I listened to God on this one!

Since Jacob's death, God has opened my eyes to many things. In the past, my Bible has always said "Wait on the Lord". ALWAYS! Now, my Bible is saying things like "soon" and "not in the distant future, but right NOW!" I have no idea what God is about to do in our lives, but I am so excited I just can't help but share!

We sold our house. Remember last week when I posted that God told me He would "smooth out the road ahead of us"? That was 9/17. On 9/24, one week later, God sold our house to a wonderful Christian couple. When we close, on 10/15, we will be signing up with an adoption ministry to pursue an independent adoption. We will not have the option of specifying the gender that we want (GIRL) but I am so open to God's will on this one. And I know that Emma Claire will join our family one day. I just can't wait to watch it all unfold!

"For I am God-I alone! I am God, and there is no one else like me. Only I can tell you what is going to happen even before it happens. Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish...For I am ready to set things right, not in the distant future, but right now! I am ready to save Jeruslem and give my glory to Israel." Isaiah 46:9-10, 13

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Which would you choose??

This post will be short, but I wanted to share something that happened a couple of days ago before I forget.

We were driving somewhere and I asked Ashlee (my 13 year old) if there were 2 babies to choose from, one white and one black, both girls, which would she choose? First, she said, "I would take them both." I said, "Which ONE would you choose?" That child said, "Well, I would choose the one that looks the sickest and needed our help the most."

For those of you who are worried about how foster care might affect your children, there you go!

I love that kid!

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Comfort, comfort my people..."

Isaiah 40:1 says, "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem. Tell her that her sad days are gone and that her sins are pardoned." Yep...I underlined it BIG in my Bible today. I am more than ready for sad days to be gone. God never said that sorrow would be easy, His promise is that He will carry us through it.
I was doing very well until my friend, Jennifer, lost her husband, Brady. I don't know if that with the combination of Patrick leaving me for 10 days on Thursday is the problem, or if it's just the way it is, but I have not had a very good 3 days. Things that have not bothered me at all about Jacob, now bother me. I am exhausted. I am tired of being sad. I hate to whine. And I need a haircut.
We will be going to Branson with my family for part of the time Patrick is gone, so that will help, but again, I am so tired and that is just a lot of work! DHS has still not released our allegation. But, they are asking for Jacob's death certificate so they can terminate his benefits. I believe they are trying to get out of paying his medical (which is not out of DHS's pocket, anyway.) They have also asked our lawyer not to charge them for his adoption. WHAT??? I don't know why I allow DHS to shock me, but that did! I told her to get me the paperwork to sign right away! That's like asking any of the caseworkers who had anything to do with Jacob to give their paychecks back. INSANE the logic of DHS! If I have not asked before, please pray that our current case before DHS will be expidited so that we can finalize "S" and "J" and be done with them.

"Your God is coming! Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in all his glorious power. He will rule with awesome strength. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young." Isaiah 40:10-11

Each year, the state homeschooling leaders (like OCHEC) get together in September to meet, encourage, and learn. It's called the "Alliance" and we have made many friends in the past few years. We were unable to go this year, but went last year and Jacob went with us. He had just started walking and would show off his latest trick at the "mess hall". Our friends, Jerry and Susan, just came back from the conference. Susan related this story to me and I wanted to share. A couple at the conference just adopted a baby girl from Ethiopia. Susan, being the grandma she is, was holding this 18 month old black baby. She said the baby reminded her of Jacob, she was little, and liked to be held in the same way Jake did. The mother asked Susan "how are the Phillips"? Susan answered and this mother told Susan that she had wanted more children for a long time. Her husband said absolutely not...they were finished. Well, at the conference, Jacob took a liking to her husband, climbing up into his lap, playing, etc. Which, Jacob just didn't do...he was a mama's boy! She said that when they got home from Alliance, she found her husband filling out the adoption papers from Ethiopia! She said that because of Jacob, they now have Lydia. WOW!

The life of my Jacob Levi has reached across the globe! How many of us can say that about our lives? How far are we reaching to share the love of Christ? "I have called you back from the ends of the earth so you can serve me. For I have chosen you and will not throw you away. Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strenghten you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:9-10

"I am holding you by your right hand - I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, 'Do not be afraid. I am hear to help you.'" Isaiah 41:13

"...and the joy of the Lord will fill you to overflowing. You will glory in the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 41:16b

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Please Pray

Please pray for my friend, J. Her husband was one of the Oklahomans killed in the helicopter traveling to Iraq last night. (I am not giving her name here as I have no way of knowing who sees this and I wouldn't want family to find out here...does that make sense? I can't imagine that happening, but just in case.) They are sweet members of my church and just about a week ago, she insisted on bringing lunch out to the kids and I and ministered to me greatly in our time of loss. I am just heartsick for her. I thought that maybe losing a spouse would be easier than losing a child. There is a sort of responsibility you feel for your children, but that was in the midst of least I had Patrick to turn to. He has been my rock. J has 3 little boys, 9, 6ish, and 22 months. Please bathe them in prayer!

Friday, September 12, 2008

He holds my tears...

Today was a really good day. God gave me a glimpse of His plan for us. He gave me an answer to a prayer I have prayed for many years. Even though the specific circumstance did not turn out the way I wanted, I am at peace and have hope for the first time in 3 weeks.

As my friend, Jennifer, reminds me, today was just a "chapter" of God's story for our lives. Yesterday I posted about God telling me not to be afraid that some "plan conceived behind closed doors would be the end of me". He told me that I need not go looking for my future. Well, today, God dropped an opportunity into my lap that I NEVER would have expected. I started praying that if this was not HIS plan, that He would close the doors. I also believe that when God opens a door, even just for a moment, we are to keep walking through those doors until He closes them. So I kept walking and praying. I am not sure the door is completely closed because I don't want to limit my God, but either way, the joy I have had today was beautiful.

Today, God reminded me of His love and mercy in the Psalms..."You keep track of all my sorrowsl You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book. On the very day I call to you for help, my enemies will retreat. This I know: God is on my side."

I shared with a friend tonight that today was the most normal day I have had since Jacob passed. It really felt good. I did not "forget" about him today, but he did not consume my thoughts as he has. I was happy. I watched a friends children this evening and I found joy in watching our children play outside instead of sadness that I wasn't also watching Jacob. God is good. He is a merciful, loving God.

Tomorrow is Jacob's "gotcha" day. I picked him up from the DHS office 2 years ago tomorrow. I don't think the day will affect me negatively. I am not attached to dates...Patrick and I seriously forgot our first anniversary...BOTH of us! It's a good memory. I picked him up at 5pm on a Wednesday night. I brought him home, bathed him in Johnson's baby bath, followed by that sweet smelling Johnson's baby lotion, dressed him in the tiniest boy outfit I had, and took him to church. My kids were there waiting. My foster kids weren't "mine" until they had a bath and lotion!

If I haven't said it before, I will never be able to express to you all how much my family and I have appreciated your thoughts and prayers. I have felt you intercede for me when I did not have the words. I love you all!
(Jacob loved our stupid little dog!)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

'For when I am weak, then I am strong."

I have been a little down. I guess it's to be expected. I just know that God is not finished with us in the area of helping babies, but every door is just being slammed shut! I have complained today that I know God will answer our prayers and will fulfill the promises He has given me, but I want to know HOW!!! And what am I supposed to be doing in the mean time??

I did get out today and got some shopping done. S & J didn't have any fall clothes, so I decided it was time. Besides...I want to be prepared when DHS asks about their clothing. "S" is very hard to shop for. Easy in the fact that she is all girl and there are lots of cute things out there, but hard because she is a size 6 from her bottom up and a size 4 from her bottom down! Poor kid! Denim is a no-no for her. We only by STRETCHY clothes! "J" is built about the same way, but because he is a boy, it's not a big deal. Size 2 pants, size 3 tops. I can just roll his jeans up and we are on our way.

So, we get the shopping done and get home. I am all over the internet looking at all the possible options available. It is completely frustrating. How in the world are we going to help babies? Where can we possibly go besides DHS? People think those of us with large families "can't handle" anymore, so there are no options known to me at this point and we all know that the powers that be in DHS are not on our side. There is talk that the fact that we were over placed is linked to Jacob's death. I can't wait to hear how they explain that one. I think this is almost as hard as losing Jacob. Before his death, I still had hope of helping more babies when he was older. I didn't know how, just that it was still on my heart. No doors had been slammed yet!

For those of you who do not know, we also still have an open allegation as a result of Jake's death. "Threat of harm to a child." That's a good one. Where exactly can you go that there isn't a threat of harm to a child?? Regardless, if this allegation is not finished up, it will delay our adoption of S & J. Please pray that the medical examiner will get his report to DHS in a timely manner so that we can close that chapter of our lives. DHS has assured us that it is just a formality, but until it is completely closed, I just don't trust them.

I give up and take my bubble bath. (I told you...EVERY night!) After, I decide to read my Bible. (I also realize had I read it this morning, much of my afternoon would not have been wasted!) God spoke to me, again, in such a personal way.

"The Lord has said to me in the strongest terms: "Do not think like everyone else does. Do not be afraid that some plan conceived behind closed doors will be the end of you. Do not fear anything except the Lord Almighty. He alone is the Holy One. If you fear him, you need fear nothing else.. He will keep you safe." Is. 8:11-14

"I will write down all these things as a testimony of what the Lord will do. I will entrust it to my disciples, who will pass it down to future generations. I will wait for the Lord to help us, though He has turned away from the people of Israel. My only hope is in Him. I and the children the Lord has given me have names that reveal the plans the Lord Almighty has for his people. So why are you trying to find out the future by consulting mediums and psychics? (internet??) Do not listen to their whisperings and mutterings. Can the living find out the future from the dead? Why not ask your God?" Is. 8:16-19

"But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. (This is Paul speaking.) Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong!" 2 Corin. 12:7-10

"But, I will call on God and the Lord will rescue me. Morning, noon and night I plead aloud in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice. He rescues me and keeps me safe from the battle waged against me, even though many still oppose me." Psalm 55:16-18

Wow. My God amazes me every day. I no longer have to look for what we are to do next. God is going to reveal that to me in ways that can only be from Him. How exciting! I know His ways are not my ways. the meantime, as I am reminded by my friend, Kellye, "Be still and know that He is God." Okay...I will try...but neither of those are easy for me.

"For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Oh...I wanted to share with you what a sweet little 3 year old named Emilee prayed last night.
"God, please take care of Jacob Levi Phillips. He is up with you and he loves you and we love him. Amen."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I am weak, but HE is strong!

For most of us, the first Bible song we hear/learn is Jesus Loves Me. As the paramedics were working on Jacob that day, I knew I would be leaving to the hospital so I decided I should get dressed and brush my teeth. (It wasn't the best brushing I will admit!) For some reason, whenever I imagined myself in a crisis, I was in my jammies!!! While I was crying and brushing my teeth, the words were running through my head, "I am weak, but HE is strong, I am weak, but HE is strong!" I repeated it over and over, even as the police officers were questioning me. (Really??? You are asking me for my social security number and that of my children while my baby is dying???) In the lowest moments of my life, God was there speaking to me. That beautiful, simple, child's song held me through those dark moments. It was a reminder that whatever was happening, God was right there in the middle of it.

Last week, I mentioned to one of my workers that we still felt led to help babies. Unfortunately, my home already contains DHS's magical maximum number of children so I was not very hopeful. I offered to do some overnight, emergency care and my worker thought it was a great idea. It was discussed within the office and I was led to believe it was a huge need and was told to call the supervisor, so I set up a time to call her. The first thing out of her mouth was, "I am sorry, but you are not ready for this and if we overplace you (meaning more than 6 children in the home) we will lose our federal monies for all of the foster children in your home." Let me preface this by telling you that this particular person has absolutely NO people skills, nor has she ever. I understand this as we are speaking, but then she adds, "Do you not remember that WE (her DHS office) NEVER would have placed "J" with you (he made number 7 at the time and was a sibling to number 6) had the (different county) judge not court ordered it!" REALLY??? Please kick me while I am down! Then she went on to say "We did not receive any federal monies for any of your foster kids while you were over placed."'s NOT about the kids after all, but about your federal monies. I did offer to sign some sort of waiver so they would not have to pay me because for me, it's NOT about the money. So, I told her thank you for her time and that I see that her office has no more use for our family. I was devastated to say the least. Yesterday was NOT a good day.

Helping babies is a God-given desire for my life. This one woman just destroyed my desire. I was really down. I called Patrick crying and he tried to console me as only a man didn't work. Poor guy...he didn't call me the rest of the day...instant messaging was safer for him! He was very sweet about it all. I was really questioning what God's plan was for me. I had no idea how I was going to go on and what I was supposed to do. In the mail, a very sweet lady reminded me that my plans are not HIS plans. BUT, HIS plans cannot be thwarted, especially by DHS!!!

So I felt better...then a DIFFERENT worker came for her visit. (BTW...I have been extremely blessed by my bad one out of 20 is pretty good!) She pretty much told me to run. Leave DHS and do not look back. I was really surprised because she is one of those "by the book" people. She gave me the name of an organization that does respite care for bio parents. (Single moms who need a break, teen moms, etc.) I had hope again! And from the same organization that took it all away! So I am checking into that and even if it doesn't work out, God still has a plan.

I did question him quite a bit yesterday. Have you ever been reading your Bible and nothing really seems to apply, then a verse just pops out at you? This happened to me yesterday. It didn't even really belong there as far as I knew, but as I questioned if I was even supposed to keep going on with all of this baby stuff, God said, "Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows." Is. 1:17 This is a verse very similar to others I have received telling me to defend the orphans and do good. Do you suppose God was trying to tell me something?? And then, maybe as a confirmation, He said, "Stop putting your trust in mere humans (DHS). They are as frail as breath. How can they be of help to anyone?" Is. 2:22

So I started out my Bible study in a funk and ended with this:

"But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I trust in God's unfailing love forever and ever. I will praise you forever, O God, for what you have done. I will wait for your mercies in the presence of your people." Psalm 52:8-9

God does love me and He has a plan for me that cannot be thwarted. EVER!

Every night, I take a bubble bath. It's just what I do! I also pray for my husband and children throught the books "Power of a Praying Wife" and "Power of a Praying Parent". Tonight, I just THOUGHT I would be praying something applicable to Patrick and his faults (heehee) but God smacked me right upside the head! Tonight's prayer was about "purpose". Here is what I prayed for both Patrick and myself:

"Lord, I pray that Patrick (and myself) will clearly hear the call you have placed on our lives. Help us to realize who we are in Christ and give us certainty that we were created for a high purpose. May the eyes of our understanding be enlightened so that we will know what is the hope of Your calling (Ephesians 1:18). Lord, when You call us, You also enable us. Enable us to walk worthy of our calling and become the man and woman of God You made us to be. Continue to remind us of what You've called us to and don't let us get sidetracked with things that are unessential to Your purpose. Strike down discouragement so that it will not defeat us. Lift our eyes above the circumstances of the moment so we can see the purpose for which You created us. Give us patience to wait for Your perfect timing. I pray that the desires of our heart will not be in conflict with the desires of Yours. May we seek You for direction, and hear when You speak to our soul." AMEN!

EVERY SINGLE TIME I start to fall, He picks me right back up. The hard part for me will be having the patience to wait for His perfect timing! I am so anxious to know what He has in store for us! I am weak, but HE is strong!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The rest of the story....

If you make it through this post, I promise the rest won't be as long...this is 2 weeks worth!

Jacob's adopton day was great. The judge was so kind, as were the workers that came. The kids all wore shirts that said:

We went to Zio's as a family to celebrate afterwards. The waitress made him a chocolate brownie sundae dessert that he kindly shared with Mommy. We planned to have the extended family over on 8/23/08 to celebrate and see our new home. We also planned on having Jacob dedicated on 8/24/08.

On Saturday morning, 8/23/08, everyone woke up and got busy as our company was coming at lunch. I heard Jacob and "J" playing in their room, so I went to get dressed (although I think I got sidetracked doing some laundry) and Justin went to get the littles out for breakfast. I was across the house, but knew immediately that something was wrong by the way Justin said "JACOB!"

My baby was not breathing. Justin found him caught between the dresser and the bed. By the time I got to him, he was laying on the floor. He was beautiful. He looked like he was asleep. I know now that he was already gone. Although we do not have an official report yet, we believe that Jacob's death was caused by a heart defect. At first, we thought it was a freak accident with the dresser. I will report more on this when we get the official report, but we do know that Jacob did not suffer. There was no bruising on his neck, which means his heart was not pumping the blood it needed to bruise.

As you can imagine, this is a parent's worst nightmare. 911 came and took our baby and the last time we saw him was on the floor in our living room. We were not allowed to see him at the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. We are still not sure why this was, as it seems terribly wrong not to allow parents to say goodbye to their baby. (And don't you worry...I will be researching this and making sure this doesn't happen to anyone else!)


Now that we are "caught up", I will post soem of the emails that I sent to our homeschool group to keep them in the loop and let them know how God was healing us.

Monday, 8/25/08

First of all, we are being investigated by DHS…they say it is normal…I say it is criminal. While furious with the worker for interrupting our lives, she, as a person, was extremely kind and helpful. She said that the reports from the hospital and police conclude that it was indeed an accident. She also said (and this was a comfort) that had we been standing in the room with him, because of the injury, the result would have been the same. God took him and he did not suffer…who could really ask for more? I told the kids that if Jacob were given a choice, he would never choose to leave God’s side.

Secondly, as my neighbor held me as the paramedics were working on Jake, I was screaming that I didn’t want to be the poster child for furniture safety. I wanted to be the poster child for the miracle He would do on my baby! Yesterday, God revealed to me that I AM the poster child of a miracle. Jacob never should have survived birth. Jacob was very near death when we got him. God gave us a miracle in Jacob long before Saturday, and I WILL be God’s poster child!

I have had a few emails of people wanting to come to the funeral but not wanting to intrude. You are my church. You are my family. You are welcome to come and celebrate Jacob’s life with us. (Wow…2 days ago there was no way I could of looked at this as a celebration.)

Again…even if I do not have the chance to email you back personally, know that your emails have touched my life and God is holding me in His hands, through you all.


Tuesday, 8/26/08

I know that not everyone was able to attend the funeral today, I did not expect that, but I want to thank each of you who did, and those of you who were praying for us even though you couldn’t be there. It was a beautiful service, more than I could have hoped for.

There were at least 2 people there that I do not think are believers. Please pray that the Holy Spirit spoke to them today/through Jacob’s life. One is a neighbor of mine who I have been praying that we would be a witness to. She was the first one here on Saturday and grabbed my little ones so they would be protected from the scene. One is my uncle who was dealing with the year anniversary of his wife’s funeral the day Jacob died.

There were also MANY DHS workers present…half of them were not associated with Jacob at all, but have known our family at one point or another. I pray our family has been a witness to them, as well.

The judge (Judge Richard Kirby) that we had during Jacob’s life closed his courtroom to attend Jacob’s funeral, along with Jacob’s attorney, the court clerk, and the assistant DA, who were all involved with Jacob’s case. Judge Kirby had told me at the adoption that Jacob was special to him and his staff and that they wanted us to keep in touch. I was extremely touched and thankful they were there today.

I am planning on attending the play date on Friday. I would love to see as many of you there as can come, but please expect random thoughts from the past few days to fall out of my mouth. It is somehow therapeutic for me (Thanks, Melanie!) while it could be somewhat irritating for you! J BUT…it helps me sleep at night!

On Saturday, I kept thinking of that song “the Joy of the Lord is My Strength” and at the same time wondering how in the world I would ever have joy again, I could barely breathe. It is still hard at times, but I can truly say that I am joyful. There are so many things I have to be thankful for, even in this tragic death. Jacob died instantly…no suffering. Isn’t that what we would want for all of our children? It’s what I want for me! Patrick and I were talking on the way to the funeral and realized that Jacob was doing what he loved the most when he passed…climbing! So, I have found joy again…it is possible…while it isn’t 24 hours a day, it is there.

Thank you doesn’t seem adequate…


Wednesday, 8/7/08

I really don’t want to or feel like it, but I don’t have anything else to do. I thought about some retail therapy, but not sure I am ready for that. (Who am I kidding?? I am ALWAYS ready!)

Anyway, I open my Bible and the scripture just pops out at me…funny how God can do that…

Before you read this, know that I have been struggling with what to do next. I know it is so soon, but you all know how I am with my “planning”. My family needs something to look forward to…something to pour ourselves into. You may say, “Well, you still have 6 kids…isn’t that enough to do?” Sure, it’s enough, but it isn’t “all”. I don’t know how to explain that. Anyway, this is how God spoke to me today…

1 Corinthians 15:50-58 (New Living Translation)
50 What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever.
51 But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. 53 For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.
54 Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die,[a] this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.[b] 55 O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?[c]”
56 For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. 57 But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.

So I finish posting to you all and go on reading…

Psalm 39
For Jeduthun, the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.” 2 But as I stood there in silence— not even speaking of good things— the turmoil within me grew worse. 3 The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words: 4 “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is. 5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” Interlude
6 We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. 7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. 8 Rescue me from my rebellion. Do not let fools mock me. 9 I am silent before you; I won’t say a word, for my punishment is from you. 10 But please stop striking me! I am exhausted by the blows from your hand. 11 When you discipline us for our sins, you consume like a moth what is precious to us. Each of us is but a breath. Interlude
12 Hear my prayer, O Lord! Listen to my cries for help! Don’t ignore my tears. For I am your guest— a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me. 13 Leave me alone so I can smile again before I am gone and exist no more.


I have questioned God a little bit this past week. Not like you might think. I hope I can explain this. I have been sheltered from tragedy my whole life. I have had my grandpas die, but they were old and sick…it was expected. I have never had what I would consider long term crisis. God has been faithful.

Because of that, I have always wondered how I would react in a time of trial. The Bible tells us over and over again that we are to praise the Lord in ALL things, whether good or bad. All of these years that I have read these verses, and while I believed them, I always wondered if that would be me. Could I really praise Him if He took my home? What about Patrick’s job? Maybe my parents? Seriously? The loss of my baby??? I can honestly tell you that He has given me the answer. YES! Can you believe it?? It is possible to have the joy of the Lord, even through tragedy.

And that leads me to my “subject” header. I will admit I have not been in my Bible on a daily basis this past week…I have held it a lot, but not my normal reading. J I have a one year Bible that I read, so I get Old Testament (Job of all books right now!), New Testament, a Psalm, and Proverb. I shared with you all the passage I received the other day. Here is what was on today’s agenda:

2 Corinthians 4:5-10
5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.[a] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
And then…because sometimes I peek ahead at the next day…

2 Corinthians 4:13-18

13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”[a] 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus,[b] will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are[c] being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
And that’s when I had to share. God’s Word is alive! Had I read ahead 2 weeks ago, it might not have meant a thing, but God is a very personal God, as He has shown me so many different times, especially when it comes to our foster care. He has consistently shown me this past week of all I have to look forward to, and I can tell you, that Heaven is a much sweeter place to me now. Did I want to go before Jacob died? Of course, but for reasons I cannot put into words, I have a much greater desire to get there and I want everyone to go with me!

Have a blessed Sunday!


P.S. Please pray that sleep will come easily for me. I have been taking a prescription, but I think they are making me sickly during the day…can’t stand that feeling! So I will not be taking one tonight.

Thursday, 9/4/08

It’s strange the things that bother you after you lose a child. For me, it was the nursery at PE class. I guess I had not thought about the fact that Jacob would not be joining me in the nursery. For an hour, I had no reason to be in there, and nothing really to do. That was hard. But next week will be easier. I will just hold all of your babies!

Tuesday night I did not sleep well. I had been doing very well and I know that the ONLY reason is the prayers you all have been praying. I would just doze off when some picture of Jacob would flash through my head, jolting me awake. These are not the pictures that were God given, not the truth. So I started praying and it was like God and Satan were fighting for me. It was the strangest thing. I prayed “in the name of Jesus I rebuke these thoughts” and at that very moment, I felt the peace of God flood through my entire body. I have felt peace before, but this was a peace that took away every pain, every fear, every negative emotion and thought. It had to be just a small example of what Jacob felt when God took him from us.

Today, God gave me this:

Eccl. 7:1-4

“A good reputation is more valuable than the most expensive perfume. In the same way, the day you die is better than the day you are born. It is better to spend your time at funerals that at festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while there is still time. Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us. A wise person thinks much about death, while the fool thinks only about having a good time now.”

2 Corinthians 7:10

“For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death.”

Psalm 48:9-10

“O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple. As Your name deserves, O God, you will be praised to the ends of the earth. Your strong right hand is filled with victory.”

Thanks for letting me share…



Background...let's catch up...

Well, we won't go ALL the way back! I will try to catch you up to speed quickly and with only needed details...that isn't easy for me!

Since the very first time I heard that "drug" babies existed, I wanted one. (I didn't want to "make" one, I just wanted to help those that already were!) Thus, God led us to foster care about 3 years ago. We have fostered 5 children in the past 2 1/2 years, 3 of whom have/will become "Forever Phillips". We will then say "so long" to DHS and all of their "ways". (This is not our choice, but DHS doesn't believe anyone should have more than 6 I was bluntly told today, they did not want me to have my last I fought for in court AND WON!) That's a different story for a different day.
I will not post much about our two soon to be adopted children, "S" and "J", due to confidentiality issues, but soon I will be able to post their pictures and stories! We hope and pray!

Two years ago, DHS foster care led us to our Jacob. On July 19, 2006, a baby boy was born addicted to cocaine. 8 weeks later, I picked up the ugliest, saddest looking baby you have ever seen. Jacob wore preemie sized clothes until he was 4 months old. Jacob could not blink his eyes or cry out loud. He slept 22 hours a day, even at 8 weeks of age. He had a flat spot on the back of his head, his coloring was gray and his lips were white and cracked.

With a lot of love and prayers, Jacob started to flourish. In October 2006, his biological mother's rights were terminated due to her drug use. In the meantime, Jacob graduated from Sooner Start and became a healthy, rotten, baby boy.

Jacob met all of his milestones, and for some reason, we celebrated a little more for Jacob...he had overcome so much in his short little life. Maybe there was a small part of me that knew Jacob would only be with us for a little while.

And we made it to Jacob's FIRST birthday! What a celebration that was! Not only did we have a party, but we were also asked if we would be Jacob's adoptive placement as the bio dad wanted to relinquish his rights and wanted us to be Jacob's forever family. That was in July 2007. We said, "YES!" I wasn't giving him up at that point!


We proceeded with Jacob's adoption in October of 2007. Ten LONG months later, Jacob was finally ours!

We finalized Jacob's adoption on 08/08/08! A friend of mine told me that numbers in the Bible are always a symbol...the number "8" is the symbol for "new beginnings". How right she was! More tomorrow....

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Well, blogging is a completely new concept for me! In light of the past two weeks, I have decided that instead of inundate my friends emails with random thoughts they might not care about, I would instead allow them to come to me! As most of you know, we lost our precious 2 year old, two weeks ago yesterday, to what we think was a heart defect. I will go into more detail later, but this blog is intended to encourage, uplift, and allow my friends and family to witness what a mighty God we serve. I have some catching up to do, so bear with me as I try to get in all the details without completely boring you!
Bear with me as I try to figure this blog thing out!