GIVING JULIA BACK -WEEK 23

Dedicated to my wife, who amazes me everyday with her bravery, integrity and faithand to the little girl who has changed my world with no words at all.

February 1, 2012 – DFW Airport, flying to Cali 

Last week, as I sat at Gate A29, emotions came flooding back again as I reread the things I wrote about Julia nearly 5 months ago.  I know time will heal but even ten, twenty, thirty years from now it will still be tough.  I may have only held her for a very short time, but I held her for her entire lifetime.  Just as I did with my other babies, I fell in love with her instantly.  I will never get over losing my little girl.  And why would I want to?  I love her; I want her to look down and see how much her family is missing her.  Seeing her again is just another reason why Heaven will be so wonderful.  So as I sit underneath the monitors with all the gate information, a constant steady flow of people continue to pass me in a blur as they scatter to their own little corners of the universe.  Although I don’t recognize any faces, I can’t help but think how we all share one thing in common; we are all susceptible to this cold, cruel world and its harsh realities.  We all lose loved ones, we all experience pain, and sooner or later (hopefully later) we all die.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Sorry to be so real and depressing, but it’s the simple truth.  Life is short and unpredictable with no guarantees.  This life is overrated.  Don’t get me wrong, I love life and cherish every single day, but I will not invest my soul into something that doesn’t last.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:14

I know these blogs about Julia are tearjerkers and sometimes I feel bad dragging folks through our heart breaking experiences.  And if you think these last few posts are emotional then just wait for the blogs from October!  Mercy!  But I’m going to plow through regardless because I feel like this is what I’m called to do.  Please don’t EVER feel sorry for my family or I because we are no different from you or any other family.  Just yesterday a family down the street from where we live buried their sixteen-year-old son.  I do not even know them personally, but I am heart broke for them just the same.  I am not sharing my story with you in search of sympathy.  I am sharing this story with you because you too have hard times ahead of you as well.  So prepare yourself.  I know there is someone out there right now going through hell or who has already been to hell and back and I want him or her to read this and know they are not alone.  I want to share my FAITH, my HOPE, and my LOVE with them.

For example, today my road manager forwarded me an email sent from a sweetheart from Fullerton, California who came to one of my shows out on the west coast.  Bless her heart; she has been through some terribly hard times over the last couple of years.  She lost her house in a fire, lost her father quickly and tragically, and then lost her mother slowly to breast cancer, all the while raising her kids and dealing with everything alone while her husband was deployed over seas.  She admits feeling lost, feeling as if her faith has been shaken and she has been very angry with God.  Her email was so heart felt and encouraging, hearing her tell how the story of Julia Grace has helped her regain strength.  Here’s is my short response to her email:

“Honey, it’s ok if you have been mad at God.  He understands your hurt and frustration and knows that some things are almost impossible for us to understand.  Know that God is in no way mad at you.  Being a mother, you will be able to relate to what I am about to say  When one of my babies (Jake, Jack, or Jolee Kate) gets mad at me, does it make me love them any less?  Absolutely not!  I love them regardless and when they are sick and in pain all I want to do is love and hold them even more.  The Bible says we are made in God’s image, therefore we love as HE loves but HIS love is immeasurable and perfect.  HE loves us so much that He sent His Son to save us.  So you are shook up emotionally and I don’t blame you – you have every right to be upset!  But I believe your faith is intact, after all, you have been “MAD” at God, which is proof that you have not given up on Him.  Be mad, be upset, and for crying out loud, don’t stop crying out to HIM.  He will listen to you.

In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears.”  2 Samuel 22:4 and 7 

JULIA HOLDING HER DADDY'S HAND

Honestly, I’m looking forward to the days of writing some less draining, less dramatic types of blogs but this is the story I’m telling right now.  Though Julia’s short life is already over, her story and her impact on her daddy continues to go on and on and only GOD knows how her short sweet life will impact this world.  Julia, I hope you know how much your daddy wishes he could hold you right now. 😉

AUGUST 3rd – I WILL CARRY YOU by Kimberly

I can’t even begin to tell y’all how much this song means to me. I literally have every single SELAH CD, and am anxiously awaiting their newest album to be released this month, and out of all of their songs, this song has been one of my absolute favorites for the past 2 years. Little did I know it would apply directly to me one day.

Anyhow, many of you are familiar with Angie Smith’s story, but if you are not, it is very much the same as ours.  Angie’s husband, Todd Smith, is the lead singer for the contemporary Christian group, Selah, and their baby girl, Audrey Caroline, was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 just shy of 19 weeks.  They carried her until 32 weeks, she was born weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces and lived for 2 1/2 hours. Oh goodness, I can hardly handle thinking about what is to come, but I am trying my best to face it with as much courage and bravery as I can.  But honestly, I still can’t believe it’s happening to me. I wish so badly this weren’t the case.  However, as the song says, “I will praise the One who’s chosen me to carry you.”

Here is a link to the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2CnUtVY35o

I have also copied the lyrics below.  This song will forever be special to me. 

I Will Carry You 

There were photographs I wanted to take,

Things I wanted to show you

Sing sweet lullabies; wipe your teary eyes,

Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I’m not,

Truth is I’m barely hanging on

But there’s a greater story written long before me

because He loves you like this

(CHORUS) So I will carry you

while your heart beats here

Long beyond the empty cradle

through the coming years

I will carry you all my life

And I will praise the One

Who’s chosen me to carry you

Such a short time, Such a long road

All this madness But I know that the silence

Has brought me to His voice

And He says…

(CHORUS) So I will carry you….

I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning

Walked her through the parted seas

Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes

Who could love her like this?

(CHORUS) So I will carry you…

HAIR APPOINTMENT & A LITTLE ANGEL CHARM – August 4th

KIMBERLY'S CHARMS

There are a few things as I husband I’ve learned to dare not interfere with.  One is asking for a bite of Kim’s crème brulee and the other would be asking her to reschedule a hair or nail appointment.  She puts such importance on these appointments that you would think it was a matter of national security.  One time we actually had something last minute come up and she couldn’t make it and it was a huge dilemma.  Apparently there is some unwritten woman law that prevents them from canceling on their beauty parlor.   My wife would cancel a meeting with the President of the United States before she would “no show” on her hair or nail lady!   I do not understand it and I’m not even going to try.

JOLEE KATE FEEDING HER BABY

So anyway, she was supposed to be back a little after 1pm and it was now approaching 2:30.  I called her to see if she was ok and she answered with that fragile sweet sound in her voice, which was an indication to me that she had been crying.  She softly said she was just a few minutes from the house.  When she came through the garage door, her hair was beautiful, but her almond-shaped eyes were red and swollen.  Turns out, after her appointment she stopped by a little boutique in town that sells Pandora Jewelry.

MY BABY WITH HER BABIES

Kimberly has a Pandora bracelet with little dainty charms, all representative of special things and people in her life.  My charm is, of course, a guitar.  Jake’s charm is a giraffe, because when he was two, he loved the giraffes at the zoo and he would always say, “Look Momma, giraffes have a loooong neck.”  Jack’s charm is a little frog.  He still calls a frog a “pog” and it is so cute.  It is going to break my heart when he finally calls a frog a frog instead of a “pog.”  Anyhow, and for Jolee Kate, a little baby doll charm because she is so obsessed with her little babies and she is a baby doll herself.  She walks around the house 24/7 holding and kissing on her babies.  She even goes crazy when she sees a little baby at church, which I find hilarious, because after all she is still a baby. And then Kimberly showed me the charm she picked up for Julia.  Holding that little angel charm between her fingers, she smiled and said, “She will always be my little angel.”  So bitter, bitter sweet.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 4th – Our 8th Anniversary, and 2nd Ultrasound, by Kimberly

Tuesday morning, August 2nd, we saw our precious Julia Grace again.  We had another appointment with Dr. M, basically in order to see the growth over the past 2 weeks (15 days).  Tuesday was also our 8th wedding anniversary.  Going to an appointment as such was not exactly the way to kick off that type of day, but we did it.  It’s like this is our “new normal” these days.  Anyhow, she was weighing 13 ounces, which is still small, or approximately 2 weeks behind.  Given the circumstances of this pregnancy, our doctor’s exact words have been that “ultrasounds serve as our time with our baby.”  Whew.  That is hard to hear, yet at the same time, we know the doctors are right.  So, our plan is to have at least one ultrasound every two weeks for now, and of course more towards the end of the pregnancy, which only God knows when that will be.  And I think that has to be by far one of the toughest parts with this pregnancy…we do not know how long we will have her, and even given her conditions, doctors can not tell us how long she has.  There is absolutely no guessing.  We have been given several facts, one of which is that we do know that over half of babies with T18 die in the womb.  However, as I said, there is absolutely NO way of determining how long she will “hang on.” 

Does that make sense?  Basically, I feel like a ticking time bomb, just waiting to go off.  And really, we are all like that to some extent, because we don’t know how many days the Lord has for us on this earth, but with this pregnancy, it is just hard because you never know what to expect.  It could be tomorrow, or it could be at 28 weeks, or I could carry her all the way to 38 weeks, and still have her on my scheduled c-section date of Nov. 17th.  I have absolutely no idea.

And I think that is what is going to be so nerve wrecking…the feeling of complete lack of control and of uncertainty.  I know that God is in control all of the time and pregnancy in general is not promised to be smooth-sailing, but I guess I am just a little more nervous since I know my baby is not “okay” and that I have to have a repeat c-section, and I am praying for as long of a pregnancy as we can possibly have.

Well, enough of that talk.  Aaron is home from Europe!  He flew into DFW late Monday eve, August 1st, and he had his bus driver pick him up and drive him back to Abilene on the bus that night so that he could get a little rest and be here in the morning to play and get back on “our routine,” whatever that may be.  Ha! Anyhow, he was so sweet…he brought Jolee Kate two hand-made lace dresses, and he bought the boys some toys…a horse, a Knight, and a dragon!  And he brought me a few things for our anniversary.  Look at the wrapping; he said they insist on wrapping your purchases over there.  Ha!

WISE BEYOND THEIR YEARS AUGUST 5th

(Jesus said) Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. Luke 18:15-17

MY PASSIONATE LITTLE WARRIORS!

Big brother Jake is 5 and little brother Jack is 3 1/2 and they are super, super excited about “baby Julia Grace inside Momma’s tummy.”  Honestly, its stabs me deep when I see them mention her name with such delight and excitement.  I envy and admire them because, I too, want to be so excited about my baby girl, but I’m scared to death to face the inevitable.  The words of the doctors keep haunting me, “your baby is incompatible with life.”  Yet there is still a little part of me that wants to believe that Julia will enter this world defying all odds and shocking the medical world with a perfectly healthy delivery.  Is this my faith, or am I in denial?  It’s probably a combination of both.  I’ve already told friends and family that if she is born healthy that I will travel the globe telling the world of her story.  But then again, I will tell of her story regardless.  She is my baby girl, and every baby is a gift from God.

BROTHERLY LOVE

Naturally, things have been more emotional around the house as of late.  Momma is doing more crying than ever before.  She is exhausted from grieving and worrying. Her spirit is shattered.  I am doing everything in my power to keep the train on the tracks.  I am so thankful for having a house full of sweet kiddos because they give us a joyful, energetic atmosphere.  This week I decided it was time to explain the severity of Julia Grace’s condition to both Jake and Jack.  One night just before our bedtime prayers, I told the boys that Julia Grace has a broken heart and if it doesn’t get better, then she will go to Heaven.  Jake said, “Dad, it’s ok, Jesus will fix her heart in Heaven and then send her back to our house in Abilene.”  Jack chimed in and said, “Yeah Dad, Jesus will fix Julia’s ouchie,” as if he was reassuring me that his big brother’s wisdom was true.  Sometimes I think my two little boys have a better understanding of the situation than I do.  Hearing them pray for their little sister, Julia Grace, every night is something that I will cherish all of my life.  Pure sweetness.

BAD THINGS & GOOD PEOPLE

your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45

Lately I’ve had a certain question pop up very frequently.  Whether it’s at a honky-tonk, a church, online, on the road or while I’m out and about at home, it seems like someone is always saying to me, “I don’t understand…why do bad things happen to good people?”  It’s a great question…sure doesn’t seem fair, does it?  Flip through the TV channels and you can find examples of all kinds of injustices.  On one channel there is a National Geographic special about a small village in Africa on the brink of starvation, yet they are so thankful for their new water well and small herd of goats that they have been blessed with from a church back in America.  Look at all those precious little kiddos with their big smiles and deprived swollen bellies running around kicking an old soccer ball barefooted in a dirt field.  Then flip it over to one of the major networks and there are those reality TV shows filled with spoiled rotten brats from New Jersey or desperate housewives from Orange County.  Everybody is fighting, cussing, screaming while wallowing in their self consumed, backstabbing, selfish, superficial, materialistic worlds.  Change the channel one last time over to the Military Channel and watch the World War II in HD episode on the Holocaust.  It’s hard to believe that such a nightmarish atrocity ever existed!  They gathered up the Jews like cattle and filled those concentration camps with innocent children, mothers, fathers, and grandparents.  They were raped, beaten, tortured, starved, murdered and at best, treated like stray dogs.  Then there stands the proud German soldiers, among the naked and helpless, all decked out in their fancy uniforms, skull and cross bone medallions, and their MP40 machine guns, and it just gets my blood boiling.  The Holocaust is by far one of the greatest tragedies in world history!  Now turn the TV off and open up your Bible and you’ll read about the same kind of things you just saw on TV.  Long before being tortured by Hitler and his Nazi’s, the Jews were enslaved by the Pharaoh and his Egyptian army and had their first-born sons cut down right before their eyes.  The Bible is full of real stories about real people like us, surrounded in a world full of scandal, controversy, injustice, murder and pain…lots and lots of pain.

So back to the question at hand…why do bad things happen to good people?  Well, I wish I could answer that question for you but I can’t!  Whatever the explanation, it’s the very same reason why bad things happen to bad people as well.  Since the beginning of time there has been a mastermind behind all that is evil and he shows no prejudices and gives no exemptions.  If you need someone to blame, then point your finger at Satan.  He hates everybody and everything.  If anything, he preys most heavily on the innocent and defenseless.  He is the reason why we suffer.  He is the culprit behind heartache and disappointment.  He is the rodent that spreads disease and death.  Why God has let him torment the world this long is something I cannot explain nor understand. But I do know this, the Bible says that Satan’s days are numbered.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

ITS OK TO ASK WHY (The following was inspired from a good ol’ fashioned church of Christ sermon I heard once upon a time)

When tragedy strikes, the cry of the soul is “Why?”

The parents of a very smart and very active ten-year-old girl noticed that she was becoming very sluggish and was even slurring her speech at times.  They decided to take their daughter to their family Doctor who referred them to a Specialist.  After seeing several Doctors and running tests they finally diagnosed the young girl with Leukemia.  One year the girl was the starting short stop for the all-star softball team where she had the game-winning hit in the championship game.  Sixteen months, two weeks and 3 days later, after her cancer diagnosis, endless amounts of chemo and a long hard fought battle, their little girl died of cancer.  Her heartbroken mom and dad cried out “God, why did you take our child?”

A young mom noticed that she hadn’t been feeling too good and seemed to be getting more and more exhausted everyday.  Then one night while walking down the stairs, she lost control of her feet and fell down the last few steps.  The next day she went to the doctor and he told her she had multiple sclerosis.  She was told that as it progressed, she would find it harder and harder to walk, and it would eventually be the cause of her death.  Upon hearing the news she broke down and cried, “God, why did you let this happen to me?  I have a husband and two babies who need me.  I am a good wife, a good mother.  What have I done to deserve this?”

RANDY & HIS KIDS

In the book, “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch, Randy is a perfectly healthy, middle aged dad, husband and very successful college professor.  He and his wife have three children all under the age of four.  Life is good for Randy and his family.

THE PAUSCH FAMILY

You could say that they are living the American Dream!  Just when things were full steam ahead, Randy’s world comes to a crashing halt when he learns he has pancreatic cancer and only a very short time to live.  One day you are on top of the world planning your next big vacation, consumed in your work, scheming and dreaming, and then the next day you are trying to fathom the idea that you will most likely not be around to see your oldest son’s next birthday party.  Randy’s wife cries out, “WHY, WHY, WHY?”

TAKEN A FEW DAYS BEFORE JULIA'S JOURNEY TO JESUS

There is a couple in their thirties.  They have three beautiful babies but long to have a fourth.  After the excitement of learning they are pregnant again, they prepare for the future.  They plan a big “gender reveal party” for the evening of the big day where they find out whether they are having a boy or a girl.  But that morning, as the couple anxiously waits to hear the big news, the doctor says that he regrets to inform them that their little girl has a condition in which she will not be able to survive.  I walk outside to the parking lot, look up to the heavens and say to myself, “Lord, why is this happening?”

My last example is about a guy in the Bible that goes by the name of Job.  Job was a blameless and upright man; a man who feared God. God had generously blessed him with great wealth, ten children, excellent health, and the love and esteem of his neighbors.  Suddenly, through a tragic series of events, Job lost everything – wealth, children, and respect!  His anguished cry was, “Why?”  “Why was I ever born?” (Job 3.11-19)  “Why didn’t God take my life when everything else was taken from me?”  (Job 3.20-26)  “Why has God turned away from me?”  (Job 9.13-24)  If you have read the Book of Job then you know that it wasn’t God who was attacking Job, but it was Satan who was doing the tormenting, just as he still does today.  The LORD answered Job’s cry, but He did not tell Job “why.”  He just simply said, “Trust me!”

When the going gets tough, God is simply saying, “Trust me!”  Since God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), we can trust Him in all things – even those that we cannot understand.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a long list of questions for God someday, but I do not doubt His ways because I cannot fathom His magnificence.  Through Julia’s ordeal, I honestly haven’t spent a lot of time asking God “Why?”  I have mostly prayed for strength and understanding.  I have learned that sometimes you just have to saddle up and ride blindly, holding onto your faith, trusting in God’s wisdom, and believing in His mighty power and love. I cannot understand how the earth was created, how He separated day and night, or how He hung the moon and stars.  I cannot comprehend how a small acorn can turn into a mighty oak tree or the everyday miracle of childbirth.  So while I say it is ok to ask God “Why,” we also have to acknowledge that He is the LORD and His ways are not our ways.  So often we look at things from a very shortsighted perspective.  I read about a preacher whose wife does counted cross-stitch designs. If you look at the work from the back it seems to be only a tangled mass of chaos and threads, but on top a beautiful design is being worked out in intricate patterns.  Many times it is hard from a human’s point of view (staring at the tangled mass of chaos) to see the topside where the true beauty is revealed.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” Romans 8:28

Like I said, it’s hard for us to see it now, but God has a master plan and He uses all things in this world to do good and mighty things.  In John 13:7 Jesus said, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

MY PAW PAW ON HIS BATTLESHIP DURING WWII. HE WAS A BIG INSPIRATION BEHIND MY SONG "BARBED WIRE HALO".

My mom’s big sister Elizabeth died from cancer at the young age of 16. Elizabeth was a Daddy’s girl, and her daddy was my Paw Paw.  Paw Paw was a good man, but a bad alcoholic.  Before Elizabeth died, she called for Paw Paw and said, “Daddy, take our family to church.”  It took something dramatic like losing a daughter to finally wake that stubborn, prideful old man up, but, better late than never!  Paw Paw went from a drunk on a stool to a man leading a song every now and then at the Kinwood church of Christ just outside of Houston.  The end result was they lost Elizabeth early in this already temporary life, but the LORD used her death to bring Paw Paw back to His kingdom.  Considering the road Paw Paw was on at the time before Elizabeth’s death, it was doubtful whether he would ever give his life to Jesus.  I asked my Mom, who still grieves over the loss of her big sister today, “Was it worth losing your sister knowing now that her death led Paw Paw to being saved and born again?”  Mom unquestionably answered, “Yes!”

You see, God is merciful and compassionate and knows our pain too well.  God sent his Son, not to give us an instant escape from pain and suffering, but to give us hope in the after life.  The sufferings of this world should remind us to lift our eyes towards our home in Heaven where “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more” (Rev. 21: 4).  But know that He is also offering us more than just eternity in Heaven.  Throughout this pregnancy my wife and I have experienced other perks from being beneath God’s protective wing.  We have been surrounded with compassion and love from our friends and our church family.  It’s a support system that could carry the weight of the world upon its back.  I honestly do not know how anyone could go through the pain of losing a loved one without being surrounded by the love of Jesus.  I definitely do not have all the answers, and I surely have my fair share of struggles, but I do my best to trust in the LORD.  I constantly pray for strength and understanding, and though I can’t quite explain it, I now see a much bigger picture than I ever did before.  This life is fragile and temporary, and I know I’ll see my little girl again in Heaven after we tell her goodbye here on this earth.

D&E

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

JAKE - OUR 1ST LITTLE BLESSING BORN MARCH '06

When we received confirmation that Julia Grace did in fact have Trisomy 18 we were given two options, if you want to even call them that.  The first option was to let her continue to grow for as long as she could and if she was able to make it to delivery, to lose her shortly after birth.  The second option was to immediately schedule a procedure known as a D&E (Dilation & Evacuation), which is a method of abortion specifically preformed during the second trimester of pregnancy.  For the record, I am absolutely 110 percent pro-life, yet at the same time, I am 110 percent against anti-abortion extremists who protest using hate and violence.  I understand and appreciate their passion, but I also believe they are going about it all wrong.  I, too, have an intense passion for life, especially for innocent children, both born and unborn, but violence only creates bad media, which distracts the attention from the real issue at hand.  I also have a problem with many of these anti-abortion protesters because they wave the Christian flag, yet do not conduct themselves in the same manner in which Jesus would.  Violence adds fuel to the fire when what that fire really needs is love, compassion, and mercy.  Oh yeah, and forgiveness!  I have researched abortion and even studied it in a college class and honestly, if our society knew the grim details and the truths behind abortion, I believe they would feel much differently about it.  I am all for womens’ rights, but I also believe we have a responsibility to protect our young, first and foremost.

JAKE & JACK

According to the Bible, life begins at conception. Jeremiah was known of God and called by Him while still in his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  John the Baptist “leaped with joy” and was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:44) in his mother’s womb.

DIXIE & JACK!

Jesus was “conceived” of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20) in Mary’s womb.  The Apostle Paul was chosen by God while still in his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15-16).  The conception of children is seen as a gift from God (Gen 21:1, 2; 25:21).

JACK - OUR 2ND LITTLE BLESSING BORN NOVEMBER '07

When it comes to abortion, my heart breaks for both the mother and her unborn child.  These women and young girls, so heartbroken, desperate, scared, ashamed, and confused, feel they have nowhere else to turn, no other option but an abortion clinic.  So many of these women are completely misguided to the point they completely ignore their motherly instincts and love for their own flesh and blood, which grows within them.  Sadly however, their motherly instincts and love for their unborn child will never go away.  Studies have shown an overwhelmingly high percentage of women who have abortions will suffer from major depression for the rest of their lives; the guilt is simply too much for them to bear.  One day they realize the extent of their actions, but at that point it is too late.  Every child they see serves as a reminder of what could have been.  Every year there is a birthday that never occurred, yet still haunts them like a ghost.  They wonder, what would my child have looked like?  What kind of personality would they have?  What would they have grown up to be?  They long for the child they will never know. Too late, they realize they are missing out on so much.  We need to reach out to these women to let them know there are better options than abortion. I am not being political, just simply speaking from my heart: a daddy’s heart speaking up for little ones who cannot speak at all.  I love the bumper sticker that says, “Thank your mother for letting you live.”  I am not taking a stand against abortion; I’m taking a stand for life…simply saying that life is the only way.  Maybe you have been involved with an abortion in one way or another, and maybe it has haunted you all the days since: I hope you know that God loves you still just as he loves all of us regardless of the mistakes we make so forgive yourself and ask Him to wipe your slate clean.  Live your life and use your experience to help someone else who is going through the ordeal you’ve already encountered.

JOLEE KATE - OUR 3RD LITTLE BLESSING & HER DADDY'S PRIZED POSSESSION...BORN NOVEMBER '09

So here is our dilemma: my wife has given birth three times by c-section over a relatively short period of time (3 ½ years).  With the birth of our first child, Jake, in 2006, there were serious life threatening complications which lead to an emergency c-section after 18 hours of labor.  Because Kimberly had a cesarean with Jake, her doctor felt it was the safest decision to schedule a repeat C-section with Jack, and Jolee Kate and this was to be the case with Julia Grace as well.  Now this is where it gets complicated.  Due to certain medical conditions and the health risks to Kimberly, choosing to carry Julia Grace will most likely mean we will not be able to have any more children.  Kimberly’s body simply cannot handle a fifth c-section.  So if we avoid the c-section with Julia and go ahead with the D&E procedure, we could still try for another baby in the future.  What a dilemma: Carry your baby full term and then lose her, along with the hopes of ever having any more children in the future.

SEEING LIL' SIS FOR THE FIRST TIME!

One doctor after another has said that medically speaking, the easiest and safest route would be to terminate the pregnancy. So much of what I am hearing is far above my comprehension; just because there’s a biology degree on my wall doesn’t mean much right now.  I do know that at the end of the day, we would have to make the decision to end her life.  How could we ever make such a choice?  I can feel her moving and kicking inside her mother’s tummy; she is real and she is alive.  We don’t ever want to let her go, however, eventually we’ll have to.  But maybe, just maybe, we can hold her for a little while.  Like my wife said, “Our little girl has already been dealt a bad hand and we will love her for as long as God allows.”  If there is one in a million chance I can look into her eyes just once, hear her cry just once, sing to her just once, then I will take it and cherish it for the rest of my life.  I am her Daddy and it is my job to protect her, and I cannot bare the thought of her little body going through that D&E procedure.  After she leaves us, I want to see her wrapped up in a tight little bundle as if we were putting her down for a nap.  I can see a little country cemetery and a little shady peaceful spot beneath trees.  It is important that we do everything right during this experience so that when Julia Grace is looking down on us soon, she will know that we loved her in every possible way we could.  It is also important for my well-being and marriage that we do this right. I know this is something we’ll never get over and we don’t need regrets stacked on top of pain.  I will love my little girl her entire life, however long that may be.  All I can do is place this completely in God’s hands; after all He is the Great Physician, the Great Healer.

JULIA GRACE - OUR 4TH LITTLE BLESSING. INCOMPATIBLE WITH LIFE YET SHE IS ALIVE & LOVED

“This day I call heaven and earth as witness against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE LIFE, so that your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 30:19- 20

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Published in: on February 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm  Comments (32)  

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  1. This was beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes not only is your music wonderful, but your heart is too. blessings to you and your beautiful family, me and my best friend absoulutely love ya’ll.

  2. “I know these blogs about Julia are tearjerkers and sometimes I feel bad dragging folks through our heart breaking experiences.”

    They are tearjerkers, but I am so thankful that you open yourself and your life up to everyone and share your story. I knew something had happened in your family, but I didn’t really know what until I saw your blog a couple months ago about what your family has been through with losing your baby girl. I was reading them right after I found out I am pregnant with our second child. This was not something we were planning or were ready for, but I thought tell God your plans and he will laugh, right? I felt like such a horrible mother because I wasn’t jumping for joy to find out we were having another baby. We tried for a long time for our first child and were overjoyed when we found out we were pregnant. I kept feeling like I should just be grateful that it was so easy this time around. Reading your blog and how excited your wife was to be having a fourth child and then the courage and unselfishness she showed when told your child wouldn’t make it gave me a different perspective on having another child. Looking at my little girl there were days I thought this is enough I don’t need another chld (my husband and I have always wanted a big family too), so I guess God made the decision for me since it was one I wouldn’t be able to reach on my own. I guess I just wanted to say please don’t feel bad about opening up and sharing your life story because you never know who you are impacting and what positive things someone else can take away from your words.

    I have loved your music since the first time I heard you at the Hall of Fame, but knowing you through your blog as such a strong Christian, husband, father, and person makes me want to see you be successful even more! Thank you to you and your wife for sharing your story. Your wife is stronger than anyone I know. The two of you have an inspiring faith story.

    Thank you,
    Trisha Pavlock
    Friendswood, TX

  3. I always anxiously await the email I get when you post a new blog. I enjoy reading them as a lot of times the scriptures you use and the words you write somehow relate to something I am dealing with at the time. Of course, I cry every blog and will probably continue to do so. I am so inspired by you and your wife Kimberly. I am a single mother with two little girls 9 and 5, who’s father has been pretty well non existant in their lives and my heart breaks for them. As much as I feel I do my best for them, I still always feel like its not as much as I could do. I know we all make mistakes and by no means do I feel my girls were mistakes, but of course I wish I would have went to college and got a good degree. Now I struggle everyday to make ends meet and its getting harder and harder. I could not ever imagine losing one of my kids or go through what ya’ll are going through. Reading your posts on this blog has helped me in so many ways to do my best everyday for them. I hope to start my college back up and finish my nursing soon, but I am also working on my music. I love to sing and have done so since I was young and I love the fact that my girls are just as passionate about music as I have been my whole life. I have met you in person twice and you have always been the nicest guy. I was never into texas country until my best guy friend introduced me and i was hooked. And of course i have always wanted to be famous, but now I just want to be famous in Texas. I want to be able to do what I love and well I love to sing. I would rather plan the honky tonks around texas that play all over the world. So with saying that I want to thank you for being and inspiration to me, as well as your wife kimberly. By reading the blogs she writes too, she is the strongest woman. Bless you Aaron and you beautiful family, and bless you for sharing your stories with us.

  4. I am so grateful that you and your wife are sharing your story. It really is amazing to read and share in your journey as heartbreaking as it is. I have two beautiful children of my own Noah Grant and Elizabeth Grace. Life wouldn’t be the same without them. I am inspired by the strength and love in your family.

  5. Wow! This was beautiful, as were the others. You are truly a blessing and I’m so glad I can call myself one of your fans. Thank you for sharing your story and your faith.

  6. It is such a blessing to be able to read your blogs. Everytime I think things aren’t going the way I planned, I think back to your blogs and the fact that we are not in control…God is!  Praise be to God…HE still sits on the throne!
    I, too, have dealt with death in such a way that it greatly affected my life.  I was just 25 years old and married just shy of 3 years before God took my precious husband home…he was 26. I also had 2 miscarriages prior to my husband’s death…all 3 deaths occurred in the same year (1999). At the time, we were both very involved with our church and I don’t recall asking God “why?”, but I do remember knowing that God had a plan and I had to trust Him.  Through his death, one of my husband’s good friends accepted Christ as his Savior at the funeral. To this day he is still serving Christ!  Fast forward 12 1/2 years and here I am…struggling with some of my own personal demons because I stepped away from the comfort of Jesus’ love. After a year of grieving, I felt it was time to get back to life and start living again. The problem…I started living just a little too much and before I knew it, I was out of God’s will. Granted, I never did anything TOO BAD, but in God’s eyes, sin is sin…there are no degrees of how big or little it is. 
    I have a lot to be thankful for…first that I am saved and will see my loved ones again one day in Heaven. Second, that God loves me unconditionally and without fail. He is the God of second chances!  Third, that I am happily remarried with a beautiful and precious 4 year old daughter. Fourth, that I am finding my way back to where I need to be spiritually and because of that, I am a happier person. 
    Aaron, I don’t even know if you read the comments to your blogs. If you do, then THANK YOU!  Thank you for being such a great example and sharing your story!  If not, then to whoever has read this…keep on keeping on!  God is there, He knows your pain and He will see you through it…you just have to trust Him!
    I will continue to pray for you and your family. I also look forward to your next concert in my area!
    God bless!

  7. I too have lost a child. He was born at 26 weeks. It is the hardest thing i have been through. Your words are so helpful and inspiring. Thank you.

  8. As I read this I can barely see the Computer screen these stories My Heart just Breaks!!j I also lost my child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 2006, He was 6 months & 8 Days old weighing 24 POUNDS & wearing 12 month clothes, I also Couldn’t not understand how this could happen to someone like me… But as you said, “Bad things Happen to Good people.” I almost lost him @ Birth so He was my little angel even before he was a REAL Angel. Christmas made 5 years that he went to be with Jesus as his Big brother puts it, So reading this God my heart breaks for you guys! Life as short as it can be is a blessing from God, & the way I see it As much as I so wanted to raise my boys together God had a bigger plan, I don’t understand it, but ONE day we all will. When I lost my little Tanner, it was like someone just ripped my heart out & But Somehow I have gotten through this Without my Faith in GOD lord only knows where I would be today. I use to dream about being a mother that’s all I ever wanted & to lose my child I didn’t think I could go on or be a stable good mother to my Son because I couldn’t even walk into Wal-Mart & Pass the Baby Section without Breaking Down, I didn’t even want to be in public & look @ all the babies, It hurt. But, Still 5 years later there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think my precious baby boy. God Bless You Guys & May God give you the strength you need to carry on. The Book Heaven Is For Real really helped me, Because it describes Heaven in a child’s perspective, & it helped me to picture him up their Smiling Laughing & playing with Jesus!! Oh My God It makes me feel so special that, that’s where my Tanner is at With NO MORE PAIN & TEARS & You too will meet your Precious Angel again & all the pain, hurt, Questions, will be Gone & it will be just Pure Happiness!! Thank You for Sharing you story ~ A Mother of An Angel

  9. You and your family are such a blessing…if your words help one mama not take her baby’s life into her own hands, what you have written here is gold!!! thank you for not only sharing your family’s grief and pain, but sharing your witness…and what a bold witness for Jesus ya’ll are!!! I look forward to every entry, knowing i will read a verse and see it differently…thank you!!!

  10. This is sad. I couldn’t emagine going through something so heartbreaking . Ilosttwo babies in 2011 and here I sit, wondering how this 5th pregnancy is doing. I am sure your blessing is looking down upon you and your family.remember Sheila safe, and she is watching 🙂

  11. All I can say is WOW! I’m so saddened by all you and Kim have gone thru – it truly breaks by heart. God definitely has a plan, one you can’t currently see, for you and your family. Aaron, you are a true soldier in God’s army. I really enjoy reading your testimony and love for the Lord. What a great witness you are for those that love you and your music and possibly don’t know our Lord. Just a quick note to say hi and thanks for all you do. I hope to see you again soon in Texas (Dallas area) – actually met you in Nacogdoches a year or so ago. Take care, my friend. 🙂

  12. Aaron and Kimberly,
    Wow. I am totally in awe of your spirit, love, hope, faith and belief in our Savior. I have read and re-read your blog, looked at you precious family, cried for you and prayed for you. I feel as though I know you and I hope others will feel as touched by your story as I am. How I wish you had not had to go through this, but, your growth in God serves as testimony to all of us. Reading your story is heart wrenching and inspiring at the same time. It always leaves me with renewed hope and an overwhelming feeling of love and peace. Thanks for sharing your story with all of us. Just know in some way how much so many of us are sharing this journey with you and know how loved your family is.

  13. Of course you know I am crying Aaron. You were such an inspiration to Lauren Green. You helped her get through some tough times by being her friend. She thought you were the most awesome person she had ever met – how you lived your life, expectations of those around you, etc. She talked about you all the time. I am so glad she was able to meet you and become friends. I never saw her so happy as when you came in the hospital room and that carried her through to the end. You made our family so happy. I can never thank you enough. It doesn’t matter how long we hold them in our arms, we always hold them in our hearts. It will be five years in November since I last talked to Lauren and I miss her everyday. You and Lauren are my heroes.

  14. Wow this has brought tears to my eyes. This has really touched me because I have also lost a baby and i know how you feel. Your music is a blessing. It’s something I can play and not have to worry about what the lyrics say.

  15. All I can say is wow! You guys are so amazing I can’t even imagine! God truly lives through you two! Your children are beautiful and are so lucky to have both of you!
    God Bless 🙂

  16. You write about this tragedy so beautifully Aaron! My prayers go out to you, Kim, and your wonderful children here and in God’s arms!

  17. I am so glad about your decision to go as far as can with Julia and “terminate” as so many people decide to do. All Babies are a gift no matter how they come to us. It us so sad the morals of people today to destroy a life when so many cannot have what they so recklessly disregard as not worthy to be born because of a flaw. I cannot imagine what you have been through, I am so greatfull all of our babies and grandbabies are healthy. Bless you both.

  18. Aaron & Kim,
    Thanks so much for sharing Julia Grace’s story with all of us, I anxiously wait for your blog and as I read it’s like I’m walking down memory lane and all the emotions and questions I went through 14 years ago when I was pregnant with my trisomy 18 angel, Joan Elizabeth….we just celebrated her 13th birthday in Heaven on February 9th….she was only here on this earth for one week but will be in our hearts forever. I too questioned God, why me, why my baby….I was angry for a very long time….I know in her short life she thought me a lot and through it I have met some real special people. I’m thankful for my husband and son who keep me sane and we all love your music and find you very inspirational. It’s great to know there are role models like you for our kids :-). Take care and hope to see you in the near future.
    God bless you and our family,
    Atousa Slafko
    College Station

  19. Aaron…. may God bless you and your family. Yes, your blogs about Julia Grace are tearjerkers, but with that also comes the ability for other people to hear your story, and realize we are not alone in our journeys. Reading your blogs makes me want to be a better human being… a better wife, a better mother, a better sister, a better friend, and a better child of God. Thank you so much for being such an inspiration.

    P.S. After reading about your beautiful Julia Grace, I think about her EVERY single time I hear “If you could see me now” by Jeff Bates. It is such a powerful song, that no matter how many times I listen to it, the tears always come. But, it is also full of hope. If you haven’t already, I hope that you and your wife will take a listen to it, and hope that it will help in your healing. Much love!

  20. Thank you for sharing with us Aaron. I can not tell you how much your sharing your faith, experience and love with all of your fans means to us. For those of us who have lost a child, we can certainly understand and sympathize with the pain and anguish that your family has experienced. When I lost my son, I wish that I had known God’s word at that time as I believe I would have dealt with things much much differently. Thankfully, I now have the faith and understanding of God’s grace and love and have accepted it into my life. But there are still days that I need to be reminded and today was one of those days. Reading your blog today, it was as if God was speaking to me through your words, reminding of us his love and reinforcing our faith and strength. Bless you Aaron and your family as well for sharing your faith, your love and your journey.

  21. Aaron I have been keeping up with your blog and it now especially hits close to my heart. My neice was born at 25 weeks and lived only a short 6 days. I wanted to question why so many times, but I know god has a bigger plan and that he needed her with him in heaven more than we needed her here. I miss her like crazy and think about her daily but I know one day I will see her again. Thank you again for sharing your experience!!

  22. Thanks for putting everything into perspective. Tears are rolling down my face as I type this on my iPhone. God is so amazing. He’s blessed you and kimberly tremendously. For everything y’all have gone through the last few months, it’s amazing how y’all aren’t mad at God. What faith you both have! God has a plan, Aaron, as you know. God bless y’all and your kiddos. See you in odessa!

  23. Thank you so much for sharing Aaron. Tomorrow marks 11 years since I said goodbye to my precious daughter Hope. You are right it is always tough and you will always love and miss your daughter, but don’t feel bad about sharing your journey, your words and songs help people deal and heal. My heart and prayers go out to you and your beautiful family.

  24. Aaron,

    Like many I have been following your blog from the beginning and all I want to do is share with you something my grandmother always said. She always told us grand kids that she defined life as this… She said,” I believe good things happen everyday. I believe good things happen even when bad things happen. And she said she believed on a happy day like today we can still feel a little sad.”

    Just wanted to share. Have a great weekend and see you at the HLSR WCBBQ concert tomorrow night.

  25. Aaron,

    Thank you. You have reminded me that God and his blessings take many forms and to be thankful for all of them. The last few months have been rough and I had lost sight of the important things. My husband had quit his job to start his own business and because of lack of money and stress we were growing apart. Our baby girl has constantly been sick, catching one cold after another. I myself was losing my faith about to reach my breaking point with the situation paired with a few tragedies in the family. But as I sit here, I realize now that I am a stronger person for this. Each hardship, each tragedy, teaches you something. I know this is a little cliche’ but it reminds of “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. I’ve learned that you don’t have to have money to be happy. I’ve learned that holding your sick baby makes you a stronger parent and gives you the patience you need for next time. The unfortunate things that struck my family made me thankful for the time I spend with them and to not ever take that for granted. Most of all, its made me thankful for all of God’s little blessings; seeing my little girl smile when I hold her, my husband being the one I can lean on, and the love my family truly has for each other. I know all of this may seem sappy, but reading what you have wrote has put it in perspective for me.

    You and your family are the prime example of what it means to have unwavering faith and love. Whether you realize it or not, its inspiring to someone whose faith has been shaken. May God always smile down on you and you’re family and may you continue to show others the love God has to offer.

    -Catherine
    Odessa, TX

  26. Aaron,

    a friend introduced me to your blog because i was having a hard time dealing with the loss of mine & my husbands second child who we lost at 12 weeks, allthough we did not find out what we were having or have names picked out it still hurt me in no way i can ever explain, my wonderful husband & i have been through so much that we thought for sure we could handle this but i was wrong i find myself struggling everyday & asking god why? reading your sweet & emotional story of your precious Julia Grace has given me closure & hope that things will be okay, thank you for sharing your story with us all & making me a stronger woman! BTW our precious little girl Paislee Rae has a birthday of march 6th 🙂

    Morgan
    Little River TX

  27. I wanted to tell you God’s arms are around you and your family. He is good ALL the time! Right now your hearts are in a storm. But God will bring you through! And when you see the rainbow, you will know the grace and mercy God has for you.
    Take comfort in knowing He has already used Julia Grace for His glory! People you will never know are pooring their hearts out before God because of her. I wanted to pass on to y’all the services of our pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Max Lucado. I think it might help mend your hearts to hear these sermons. Y’all are in our prayers. May God continue to bless y’all. Also if you have it in you, you should check out Courtny Roths blog “Eb”ing a mom. She will be a source of encouragement! An amaizing sister in Christ!

  28. Aaron, brother you never cease to amaze me! I am very fortunate to call you my friend and to know those two little boys! With what we are going through with Dylan, I can’t tell you how much it helps to read what you have written here! I know that I can call you anytime and you would talk me through anything we are going through, but to read your words, which are your inner most thoughts and feelings. It’s amazing, how strong you are through this, you are once again an inspiration!

  29. Aaron,

    I have seen you many times at gigs and events, but I never knew this story. I am so touched my your and Kim’s faith and strength in going forward. I buried my son in 1994, he was stillborn at 23 weeks. I made a terrible mistake that day. I was asked if I wanted to hold him, but I passed on the opportunity. I did not want to remember my son in that situation. I had a rough couple of years and even as recent as 2007, I still have difficulty being in the same hospital and a couple of times the same delivery room. I wanted to share a saying that was shared with me. It concerns the idea that God has a way of doing things and its not your way. When I was going through my rough times, a friend told me, “you have to let God take control, and not fight Him on His plans”. Everybody hears that one right? Then he put it like this:

    “God is your horse. You can walk beside Him, you can let Him carry you when you are weak. You have the free will to go whichever direction you want, but it’s best to be comfortable in the saddle and let God take you Home.”

    I am looking forward to seeing you next at the Llano Crawfish Open in April, we’ll be in the prep area purging some mud bugs! Take care and safe journeys, my friend!

  30. I was first introduced to your Barbed Wire Halo today and was so touched by the song! Great! After listening, I got nosy about who sang it. My research led me to this blog. So touched by your sharing of your baby girl. So so hard. We lost our 18 yr old son in an accident and man did I ask why! As a Christian and a Baptist Ministers wife, I couldn’t believe the thoughts I had after Trent’s death. I bought, borrowed and dug in every book I could get my hands on. Just wanted to know exactly how I should feel! Crazy huh! One book that helped me was called Why me Lord! People say we shouldn’t question God but Even Job questioned and God admired him. So… This is how I cope… I just tell myself that Trent isn’t dead. He is alive and well, just living somewhere else. And.. This is true! He is alive and well and living in Heaven!! So is your baby Julia!!! She is playing at the feet of Jesus!!! Bless you for your convictions. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Hugs and prayers for you, Kim, and the Kids!

  31. Aaron,

    My husband and I have been a big fan of your music for a long time. I am the president of the Perinatal Hospice in Odessa and am a certified perinatal bereavement coordinator. I work with families in similar situations as yours on a regular basis. I find your words touching in ways I can’t describe and have given your blog to several families. I think your blog is especially important to dads and husbands who are walking in shoes that you have walked. Many times men get overlooked in these situations. Our perinatal hospice, the Pediatric and Perinatal Palliative Program of the Permian Basin (4Ps for short) would like to put together some type of benefit for our families and were wondering if you would like to participate in some way. We work closely with ABC Ministries whom I think you are familiar with. Would you think and pray about this and let me know what you and Kim think? Any thoughts and ideas are appreciated. My email is jkchance@att.net or jchance@iasishealthcare.com.

    Thank you and may God continue to bless your family!

    Jamie Chance

  32. Dear Watson family I read these blogs about your precious baby a few months back and was heart broken, little did I know soon I would need to reread it. You see in early March we found out my 20 yr old unwed daughter was pregnant very unplanned by us Atleast!!! I was in shock and awe at first I was a 17 yr old unwed mother 20 years before and thought I had carefully instilled in my baby girl not to repeat that. But then I realized every baby is a blessing my daughter was Gods greatest gift to me second only to His Son dying on the cross. So I threw myself I into preparing for our newest miracle we hoped for a boy (lol we joked that the world sure did not deserve another kaleigh Anne ) we were so excited and the baby was already bringing Ka and I closer About 8 weeks after we found out my baby started hemoraging we rushed to the er and were ecastic the baby was ok. They said sometimes that just happens and yes it put Ka at higher risk for miscarriage. But do far everything was ok well we went thru a week of that with each day bringing worse hemoraging with multiple trips to drs each time just knowing we had lost our precious miracle only to leave drs feeling blessed. We thought we had survived the hurdle but then on 4/15 Ka began cramping she drive herself to er not wanting to wake me again. Well we lost our miracle baby on 4/16 in the early morning hours and we were devastated. I can’t even begin to imagine what my poor baby girl felt like. I do know as a momma and a grandma what I felt totally helpless and lost. So I stumbled back to your blog about your baby Julia and plan to have my Ka read it also. So thank you for sharing. We unofficially named our miracle angel Cutter Jack but of course since Ka was only 10 weeks pregnant we really don’t even know the gender


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