June 2nd

There are a handful of dates that stick out in my mind, and June 2nd is one of them.

Yesterday at the hospital the nurse wrote June 1 on a piece of paper. I was shocked and said to her “is it June 1st already?!” June 1st was the day I left Zambia after living there for 2 years, and June 2nd was the day I returned home.

I had spent the majority of my 20’s being in school, and travelling a ton. I LOVED seeing different parts of the world. Exploring was and still is my favourite thing. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy – as long as it was somewhere different and new, I was game for trying new foods, seeing new places and meeting new friends. Nearing the end of my time in Zambia, I really felt the Lord preparing me for this chapter in my life to close. Not in a dramatic way – I didn’t make a big deal of it – but I was going home, and I was finally at peace with just staying home and investing in my time there. I have always been one to look at and dream about what’s next – and that usually involved where I would want to travel to next. But God really prepared my heart and even though it’s hard to explain, I was so at peace with the current chapter in my life coming to a close, even though I knew it wouldn’t involve travel (for a little while anyways).

On June 2nd 2017, Lawren picked me up from the airport and we hit the ground running. I was so thankful for my time away in a place I loved, surrounded by people I loved; and I was so thankful to be returning home to a place I loved, and surrounded by people I loved. I knew Lawren and I were headed in the direction of marriage (we ended up getting engaged 28 days later) but who knew the rest. I imagined we’d get married and have babies – life would be simple and sweet.

Last year, on June 2nd, I posted this on Facebook:

It popped up in my memories today (by the way – those Facebook memories get me all the time – anyone else? 😭). What stuck out to me was the last part

“God is faithful. He provided for me then, has provided for me now, and will continue to be faithful. My job: to trust Him”

Those words were so hard for me to read this morning. I automatically thought to myself – Ha! Life was so easy then. It wasn’t even really that hard for me to trust. But now it is.

Where am I on June 2nd, a year after I wrote that? At home, on the couch, with a sleeping babe lying on me who is recovering from surgery. A simple eye surgery turned into her needing a tube stuck down her throat so they could assess her airways. Thankfully they found nothing, but this poor little babe is so raspy and having trouble breathing as her throat heals – so she is laying upright so I can help her when she starts having a coughing fit.

Our journey with Hope has been the craziest adventure I have been on. It’s not easy to trust God when things are completely different than you had imagined your life would look like – but if it was easy, would I feel the need to trust Him? Probably not.

This little lady has already taught and shown me that I need to rely on God more than I have ever imagined possible. Trusting in Him has taken on a whole new meaning, on a whole new level.

My mind often drifts back to my days in Zambia. I want to be in the hot sun, with my cute little friends in Chongwe hearing them say “hallo auntie!” But you know what? While I was there my mind would drift to being home in Canada. One of the biggest lessons I learned while I was there was taking the words of Jim Elliot to heart:

Wherever you are, be all there.

So I choose to trust God and put those hard words into practice. Whether I’m driving down a dirt road, and buying avocados the size of my head at the market, or cuddling a sick little baby in a hospital room, with His help I will remember to be content and to be all there.


“You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again” Psalm 71:20

This morning, this verse refreshed my soul. Knowing that life won’t always be the season we are currently in, helps me to endure. Knowing that ultimately the suffering we go through here on earth isn’t worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us (Romans 8:18) helps me to keep going day by day.

Enduring is hard work. We are impatient and want God to answer us quickly in our times of need. Sometimes we feel like He owes it to us. There are (many) times where I will just cry out “I don’t get it! Just heal her!” But the more I expect this from God, the angrier I get.

So how do you endure? Start by throwing away your expectations.

I slowly see that the more I expect, the more I am disappointed, and the harder it is to deal. I’ve always thought of myself as a positive person – I am constantly dreaming and thinking and the littlest things excite me and bring so much joy. But I have noticed that having unreal expectations of what this life has to offer has lead to disappointment, and quickly to the agonizing pain of suffering.

The reality that I face day to day is completely different than my expectations. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t joy, but just that things look considerably different than what my expectations are. Really though, this didn’t start the day we found out about Hope, this has always been something that has been a challenge for me. Whether it was dreaming about my perfect trips and adventures, my perfect marriage and husband, or my perfect friendships, my expectations have often failed me. In short, life has been good – but oh so different than I imagined.

The other week was HARD. Like so hard. I couldn’t deal with watching Hope on my own, because I couldn’t deal with seeing her have seizures. Nothing was new or different, it was the same as always, but I just couldn’t get a grip that day. So much so that Lawren came home from work early. That evening, both of us were feeling like we were at the end of our rope. Usually I’ll cry to Lawren and say “I can’t do this even one more day!” And he’ll say “yes you can! You always say that and look at how far you’ve come” and then I get annoyed because he’s always so positive…and it isn’t fair because I used to be the positive one! But that night, I really couldn’t do it. We were trying to feed Hope and give her her medicine and she was just having seizure after seizure. She was hungry, but she could only eat for a couple of seconds before she’d start coughing and go into a seizure. We felt so done. We eventually finished and headed to bed. I was nervous for the morning. We were going to have to do this all over again – and that’s exactly what happened. A horrible morning just like the night before, and we were both feeling even more done than in the night. I thought I was at the end of my rope that night, but now it was even worse. It actually scared me a bit because I had never felt so defeated, so in despair. And the worst part was – we felt so alone. Where was God? We were crying out to Him and her seizures were getting worse. We were so sad – and so mad. I was so angry I couldn’t even stand to see my Bible on the table in front of me – I threw it across the room. I was so beyond done. I have never, ever had my faith tested to this extent. We weren’t crying out to Him anymore – we were yelling.

We somehow managed and the craziness subsided. Later that morning I picked up my Bible off the kitchen floor. Because even though I was mad, I knew deep down that God really was and is my only hope. That morning, God lead both Lawren and I separately to passages of scripture about enduring:

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame” Romans 5:3-5

“And not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not good. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” Romans 8:23-24

My eyes were opened up again to the fact that in this world, we will have many troubles. This is life. Even though God can heal, it doesn’t mean He always does. But His word says He promises that He’ll always be with us – and because of that, we can endure.

See, that was where my problem was. I was putting all of my hope in Him just healing Hope so that we could move on with life. I wasn’t putting my hope in who He is. Yes, a mighty healer – the only one that can – but also a refuge for us. A strength for our weary hearts. A helper for moments of confusion and a Saviour who has died for us.

So my prayers have changed a bit. Yes, you bet I am going to keep asking God for healing, but I’m also asking Him for the strength to endure. To hold onto Him like you would an anchor in rough waters.

“But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the Rock of my refuge” Psalm 94:22

3 months of loving you

It’s been 3 months of loving my sweet girl; but really, it’s been so much longer. From the moment on that May long weekend that we found out we were expecting, I’ve loved this sweet baby more than I knew I could.

Lawren’s reaction to me telling him that I was pregnant was “I know”. Apparently him going out at 9:30 at night to get me a burger the week before tipped him off. I was unusually sad that day, and he kept asking me what would make me feel better. I had no idea – until late at night when I knew the only thing that would make me feel better was a Harvey’s burger with extra pickles – and magically, it did the trick! He told me that night that I was probably pregnant and I didn’t believe him.

The next day after finding out we were expecting, I dropped Lawren off at a meeting at church, and I went and sat by the lake. It was such a surreal moment knowing that I was pregnant, and that nobody knew. It was this exciting little secret that terrified me. I was so happy, yet so scared. I felt like I already loved this little peanut inside of me and yet I was overwhelmed by the fact that we were going to be parents! I sat by the lake and journaled and prayed. I prayed that God would equip us to be good parents. That we would do a good job raising our child to know and love the Lord. I daydreamed about all of the activities I wanted to do as a mom. We later had so many talks about things that we knew nothing about. How we thought we would discipline, what we would teach our child, if they’d go to public school or private school. We had no idea that those conversations would quickly change to just wondering how we would simply take care of our baby day by day.

While pregnant, and even after having Hope, I struggled with my role as a parent. I felt like I couldn’t really be the mom that I wanted. In my mind, Hope’s diagnosis wouldn’t allow me to freely go to ‘mommy and me’ groups because I would be constantly comparing her development to other babies, or be scared that she might catch something with her weaker immune system. I wanted to be a part of all the mommy groups and do all the mommy things. I wanted to be running late because my baby had just spit up everywhere or be complaining about how my baby kept me up all night, screaming. Crazy enough, I was actually jealous of the fact that Hope wasn’t doing that. That because of all of the medications she was on, she was actually super quiet and chill. I was told that I was lucky and to be careful with what I wished for – but call me crazy, I wanted that screaming baby, at the mommy group, wiping up the spit up, because all of that in my mind meant “normal”.

I felt like because of her diagnosis, instead of a “mom”, I’d be her nurse. All I wanted was for her to do the normal baby things and for us to just live a simple life. I didn’t want our normal to be going to appointments or to be documenting when she had a seizure and how long it was for. I wanted to just take videos of her smiling at me, or playing with her toys. We were told that she might not walk or talk. That she would develop differently. That she would have challenges. I have been overcome with fear of the fact that taking care of her might mean she never says “mommy” or comes running towards us in excitement. Now, of course we have no idea what exactly is to come – these are just my thoughts and fears – but 3 months in, I have realized that my thoughts and fears have shown me that I am looking at things all wrong.

In the quiet of the night, when I find God speaks to me the loudest, God has shown me that my definition of what a mother is, is often wrong. God has shown me that my role as a mother means being a servant. Taking care of my baby at whatever the cost, even if that means she is never able to say the words “thank you” to me. She may communicate her thankfulness in a different way, but still, that’s not what should drive me to take care of her.

As I press into that definition of servanthood, I realize that being a mother is actually greater than I had ever imagined – and I haven’t even scratched the surface. All of the activities and play groups are great and wanting those things are harmless – until it becomes something that drives my thoughts. Jealousy starts to creep in, and anger is there too. All of a sudden I am overwhelmed because this experience of motherhood right in front of me is different than the one I had imagined, and I start to feel like God has cheated me of something I deserve.

I know that we all feel this way at times. No matter what role(s) you are in, as we start to compare, we often become discouraged and disappointed that our life looks this way. Once I started to accept that this was the life God had designed for me, and that each and every moment was ordained by Him, it became easier to step into my role as a mother, and take care of Hope in whatever way she needed – and will need.

Being Hope’s mom has taught me to enjoy every moment of every day – to be thankful for every milestone and moment, even if they look different than someone else’s. To not compare myself to other people in other situations. To accept whatever our normal is – and realize that I can still probably do a lot of the things I imagined. I am called to serve God by simply taking care of Hope’s needs with His strength, without expecting any recognition in return. It means that being a mom to Hope will probably look a little different than the things I imagined. But, it’s realizing that joy can be found in cuddling Hope while in a waiting room for her next appointment, just as much as it can be found at a playgroup. Thankfully, He graciously meets all of us where we are at, and knowing that helps me to reset my mind when often I yearn to be somewhere else.

I am slowly slooooowly learning that wherever He has placed me is exactly where I need to be.

And with that said, today we celebrate with thankfulness in our hearts that Hope is 3 months old! We love you, baby girl. You are our greatest gift and treasure.

A wet cloth

Hope is on yet another medication. This medication is more of a treatment – to treat a bad type of seizure called infantile spasms. Like any new medication she starts, it’s always too strong for her little body and makes her extra sleepy. When she’s extra sleepy, it makes it extra hard to feed her – kicking my anxiety into high gear.

Waking her up to feed her has been so difficult. And as soon as she is awake and starts to eat, that exhausts her. We’ve tried everything. One of us tickling her while the other is feeding, taking her clothes off, keeping the light on. It hasn’t helped too much. Our most effective tool has been wetting her with a cold cloth on her hands and feet – it sounds so mean and it’s always our last resort, but it’s the one thing that works and gets her to eat.

While feeding her one day, and waking her with a wet towel, I started to think about how this was good for her. It was painful for her in a way, but she needed it. If I let her be, and do what was most comfortable for her, she’d probably sleep all day. She’d be too tired to know that she was hungry and actually needed to eat. Eating would help her. Not eating would lead to dehydration, a trip to the hospital and an IV.

That wet cloth, although causing her discomfort, was actually the best thing for her. One day while feeding her, God showed me how similar He often works with us. Like that wet cloth, God knows what is best for us, even when the process is painful. We may think that what we want to do is totally fine – just like Hope sleeping is totally fine. But too much of that sleep can be dangerous for her. She doesn’t know that and often we don’t know that. We make our plans, and they seem simple and normal – no big deal right? But often, the painful experiences in our lives are actually God’s mercy on us. He can be protecting us and leading us a different way – His way.

Early in October my midwife had called me while I was at work and left me yet another message. This was my third time having an anatomy scan and after each one I’d always have a missed call. Twice, she had told me that because of the way the baby was positioned the technician couldn’t get the best views. No one thought it was serious. But when that third phone call came I remember thinking “really? Again?” And something in my gut didn’t sit right. It was the end of the school day, and I couldn’t wait to listen to the message, so and I texted Lawren right away and asked him to check my messages and text me back. He wrote me back saying that the midwife said the baby had enlarged ventricles. Neither of us knew what on earth that meant, and as soon as my last student was dismissed, I ran to the bathroom and cried. I had a strange feeling that this was the beginning of something I wasn’t ready to face.

Later that night I came across a quote from Charles Spurgeon that read:

“remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one you are in, divine love would have put you there”

The next week, I was reading the story of Jehoshaphat in preparation for teaching Bible to my Grade 1 and 2 class. Jehoshaphat prayed to God when he knew an army was coming to battle against him. It says that he set his face to seek the Lord, and he ended his prayer by saying:

We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you – 2 Chronicles 20:12

That quote and scripture had prepared my heart for the coming days. Days that I thought we’re just plain cruel and unbearable. Days that I knew God had the power to turn around, but wasn’t doing so in the way I liked.

Now that some time has passed, although we are still in the thick of things, I want to be able to reflect and understand that the things we are going through show God’s mercy and power. That although painful, like that wet cloth, they demonstrate that God knows what He is doing, and knows what is best for us in each moment. With our minimal understanding we can face our struggles and trials and conclude that God is just plain cruel – believe me, I have felt that way more often then not. But, if we truly know that God is sovereign, we can rest in knowing that every single thing that happens to us – good and awful – is all part of His plan in shaping us and conforming us to His image.

So when that wet cloth makes us feel uncomfortable, remember that our Father knows best – and in that moment it won’t make sense to us. But can I encourage you to simply trust Him? I’m slowly learning that it’s the best place for me to be.

Even if, yet I

Today, our cute and cuddly baby girl is 2 months old!

These two months have been the craziest, most joyful and heart wrenching two months of our lives. Both Lawren and I have felt every emotion out there, and we are still holding on. Our days have been filled with laughter and tears – prayers of thanks to God, and prayers of “why God?!” Yet, here we are, staring at our little miracle and overjoyed knowing He has gifted us with two whole months with her.

I find myself reminiscing a lot. My mind often goes back to those unknown days of my pregnancy, feeling her kicks and hiccups, yet feeling sick to my stomach knowing her future with us was so unknown. My mind often goes to that weekend when I was induced, that even though we didn’t know what her birth would look like, we were still filled with a peace from God. My mind often goes to those first couple of days in the NICU – seeing her for the first time – all bruised and marked up, getting to finally hold her and feed her and the joy we felt in being able to do the simple, everyday things that I might have taken for granted if our situation were different. My mind often goes to the frantic drives back to the hospital because we didn’t know what was happening with Hope, praying that God would show His mercy and compassion and help her – and He has. My mind often goes to the way He has answered our prayers, usually different than what we were wanting or expecting, but Him showing us that His ways are higher than our ways, and His understanding is unsearchable.

I have learned a lot in these two months. I haven’t done the best job while learning (picture a toddler having a tantrum), but I am learning. I am learning to cherish today and not let my thoughts go to tomorrow. It is a discipline that I really ask the Lord to help me with, and He has. I have also learned that Hope belongs to the Lord. That He has given her to us and our job is to take care of her the best we can – but ultimately she belongs to Him. That takes a huge weight off, especially when we are consumed with fear of the unknown. We can try our best, but God is the one sustaining us and her, and giving us wisdom as we continue to ask for it. My greatest lesson I have learned though can be summed up in these words: “Even if, yet I..”

These aren’t my words. These are words that I read in a devotional a couple of weeks ago (and I can’t remember which one now!) and they are based off of Habakkuk’s prayer in Habakkuk 3:17

17 (Even if) Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. – Habakkuk 3:17-19

This passage can often be our prayer when things are going well. We can start to imagine bad things happening to us and start praying “God, even if this happens, or that happens, yet I will still keep praising you. But when those terrible things do show up – because really, we are all going to go through trials – those words “even if, yet I” can really sting.

But just like it says in Job “shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive disaster?” (Job 2:10) Basically, will we rejoice in God when things are going well, and curse Him when they aren’t?

I will often read that prayer and think:

Even if Hope’s seizures continue…

Even if Hope’s challenges are greater than we imagined…

Even if we spend another night at the hospital..

Will I be able to truthfully say, yet I will rejoice in the Lord? Ha – truthfully, in the heat of the storm, I haven’t been able to most days. But that doesn’t change the fact that He IS good despite our situation and that He DOES deserve to be praised.

I don’t know what you are going through – but we are all going through something, and it simply comes down to us choosing to keep our eyes on Him. Choosing to worship when we are only able to do so while crying on the floor. Because if we believe that He is good and faithful and trustworthy, we can cling to those things even when the days ahead look grim.

The most amazing thing is finally feeling His peace on the days where I’ve reached the end of myself. He always does show up, and I may not “feel” Him every moment but those are the times I need to trust what His word says – that He hears my prayers and is near. Thank God!

Don’t try to do this life on your own – hold onto the only HOPE any of us can ever have – Jesus.

Naming our daughter Hope forces me to remind myself that our HOPE isn’t in a diagnosis, a bad day or week, or even a great day. Our HOPE is only in God. Our refuge, our strength, our well proved help in times of trouble.


A life of purpose

Yesterday, Hope turned a month old, and I couldn’t help but think and reflect on where we were a month ago. I often think about my “birth story” and feel a mix of emotions. It was a long and drawn out labour. I was admitted to the hospital on Friday, and I didn’t have Hope until Sunday evening. I can relive a mix of emotions from being relieved and excited when we finally met Hope after months of uncertainty, and cringing while remembering the pain – both physical and mental.

I will spare you the nitty gritty details of Hope’s birth, but there is one part of our story that I think about almost every day and have felt the need to share. It was my interaction with one of the many nurses I met over that long weekend. With being in the hospital all weekend, I had met quite a few nurses – some that were wonderful, and some that would talk your ear off while you’re in pain. You know the ones. But there was this one – one that I will never forget. She was the one that came in to tell me it was “time” and she rolled me into the OR to deliver. She was the one that kept telling me to open my eyes when I would push because it would make it easier (HA!), and she was the one that roughly tried to give me an iv after the birth. But those are memories that will eventually fade and probably not really be a thought in my mind in years to come.

This nurse rolled me back into my room and congratulated me on the delivery. At this point, I hadn’t really seen Hope. At the moment I delivered her, the doctors let me see her for a second and then whisked her away to the resuscitation room. They were cleaning her up and said they would bring her into my room before bringing her upstairs to the NICU for the night. As you can imagine, I was exhausted at this point, and feeling extremely sad that I didn’t get to have my baby there with me – that I didn’t get to hold her right away. It was just me, Lawren and the nurse in my room.

After congratulating me, the nurse said something to me that I would never forget. She said to me that Hope was beautiful and was normal looking. I thought it was weird that she said Hope was normal looking, but she mentioned that being a high risk hospital they’ve seen it all. She then said to us… “good for you for carrying her to term. I couldn’t have done it and would have ended the pregnancy.” She proceeded to tell us that she has 4 children, and knowing that she’d have another child that would have special needs would be too much for her family.

I sat there, shocked. I literally gave birth 5 minutes ago, and THAT is what she said to us? I calmly responded and told her that we believe that God is the only one who gives and takes life away – that we have no right to make those decisions. She awkwardly agreed with me, but again told me how hard it would be for her and her family.

And the thing is, even without having 4 children, I could understand. I could understand that it would be hard and most likely “inconvenient” for anyone really. I had those thoughts the second I was told that Hope would face many challenges. I couldn’t believe that I was one of those women who would be asked if she wanted to interrupt her pregnancy – never did I imagine that I’d ever face a pregnancy like I did. I thought over and over again about my midwife asking me at my 12 week appointment if I wanted to do genetic testing, and responding with “no, regardless of what happens we are keeping the baby”. As much as I believed what I said 100%, I underestimated the weight that those words carried. We were all of a sudden faced with a situation that no one would ever want, and all of a sudden I found myself questioning whether it was kind or cruel to bring a child into the world that would face challenges, and in my mind, have to suffer. I surprised myself that those were now thoughts that consumed me.

All this to say, the Lord used this situation to not only renew and refresh in me the value of life, but also to grow in compassion for those who were faced with those same difficult choices. You can believe and know deep down in your core that God is the creator and sustainer of life – that He is the only one to give and take away, but we can never know the depth of someone’s pain unless we’ve been faced with a similar situation – and even still, every situation is different.

All that to say, Lawren and I believe that no matter what Hope is faced with, the Lord created her fearfully and wonderfully, and He has a great purpose for her. He will be the One to have His hand on her, sustaining her day after day. That goes for any child – the moment they are conceived, there is life and there is great purpose. Whether that child comes out healthy with everything working “the way it should” or is faced with disabilities. I believe that He will (and already has!) glorify Himself in Hope’s little life. She’s already impacted so many people and it’s been amazing to be a part of that. Early on when we received the news of her diagnosis and my prayers would be lots of “why is this happening!?” the Lord continually led me to the passage in John about the blind man. In John chapter 9 people are asking Jesus what this man did, or what his parents did in order for him to be born blind.

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”- John 9:3

I may never know exactly why God is allowing this in our lives, but what I do know is that He will use whatever means He chooses to show how great and powerful He is – even if that means using a little girl named Hope.

When I remind myself that we are His vessels created to honour and glorify Him, all of a sudden this situation doesn’t sting as bad.

And speaking of celebrating LIFE, here is Hope at 1 month old, simply perfect ❤️ (that first picture 😂)

The S word


Never have I hated something so much. The thing is, we knew Hope would have them, but nothing could have prepared me. During one of our many Mount Sinai clinic visits (while I was pregnant) the doctors told us that Hope’s brain was wavy around the edges, not smooth like it should be. As a result, she was at a high risk for seizures. Knowing she would have seizures consumed my thoughts more than any of her other “problems” they listed. We prayed and prayed for healing, and if not healing, then the right medication to control them; and we prayed that if she would have them for them to start in the hospital, if anything, so we’d kind of know what to do. They did.

3 days after she was born we arrived in the NICU in the morning to be told that Hope had already had 2 seizures that morning, and my heart sank. We saw her third one, and the rest that she had that day, and honestly, I felt ok. All four of her limbs would shake and her mouth would tighten up, and 30 seconds later it was all done. Lawren was able to record her having a seizure and because of that, the doctors prescribed her on anti – seizure medication fairly quickly, and the seizures stopped.

I thought I took it very well – I felt strong. I knew these seizures would come and I thought I handled things well. Very matter of factly.

Unfortunately I didn’t handle things so well when the seizures started again – but this time I was at home, with no doctors and nurses around, and the seizures looked different. A couple of days ago we noticed that when Hope started to wake up, her face, eye and arm would begin to twitch for a couple of seconds. We didn’t know if it was just normal baby twitchiness but something didn’t sit right. I took a video and sent it to our neurologist at Sick Kids. They called me back rather quickly to schedule an EEG – he didn’t like what he saw – and that pushed me over the edge.

I then lived in a total state of fear. Every time she started to stir because she was waking up, I was sick to my stomach because I knew we’d see one. I cried all day, overcome with the strongest state of anxiety I’ve ever experienced. There’s nothing you can do – I would just have to watch her have one. I felt so helpless.

Today she had her EEG and things went well. We were amazed at how well she did and she lay on a table and the lady glued a bunch of leads to her head. A couple of times she squirmed, but then I would touch her leg and she would stop. I feel like she’s already used to having so many tests that the more she is touched, the more relaxed she actually is! Unfortunately an EEG can only spot a seizure while you’re having one – which of course she did not have during the test. However, they again noticed that her brain waves are abnormal – which we knew, and because of the videos I took, they knew what she was having at home were indeed seizures.

The update: they decided to increase her medication a little bit, and instead of once a day we will administer it twice a day so that it is in her system more evenly. After a couple of days, if she is still having seizures, we will include another medication on top of what she’s taking. Thankfully, that medication doesn’t have any side effects and the doctor hopes that she will eventually be on that one only.

During this whirlwind, at the right time, I was reminded of the verse found in Proverbs 37:5

Commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him, and He will act.

Guys – let me be real with you. Trusting in the Lord is hard, and waiting for Him to act is hard. So hard that I’m not going to pretend I have it altogether. When I think of the mountains and the valleys, I realize that I have been so deep down in that valley it’s only God that will help me out. It’s like I’m trying to climb out of it with everything in me, but nothing I can do will be sufficient to bring me to level ground because I get too tired. Too weary. Too depleted of my own strength. And then He reaches down and rescues me – He really does – it’s like once I’ve hit the point where I can’t do anything anymore, He reaches out His arm for me to grab hold of. He fills me with peace, and it’s this continual act for me to choose to remember how He has been my help before and how He’ll do it again. And that becomes what spurs me on. But oh boy, it is hard some days.

Thank you for continually praying for us. We love seeing the way God has already worked in her life, and are trying not to get worked up over things that come/may come. Please continue to pray that the medication she is on would help to control her seizures, and there wouldn’t be any side effects as a result.

And now, because she is too cute, here are some pictures to brighten your day…


A journey of HOPE

October 17th, 2018 was a day I would never forget. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, October 17th was the worst day of my life.

I was 6 months pregnant with our first baby and had just been referred to Mount Sinai hospital’s High Risk Pregnancy Program because a technician noticed something odd on one of my ultrasounds. We had been told that our baby had enlarged ventricles in it’s brain – we had no idea what that meant – but hoped for the best news possible. When we arrived, I remember going to the washroom, looking in the mirror, and asking God to please give us results that wouldn’t leave us feeling hopeless. A couple of hours later, we were faced with the worst news: our baby’s brain hadn’t developed properly and we were told that I should have miscarried, but because I didn’t yet, it could still happen. If it didn’t happen, our baby would probably be a stillborn, and if not a stillborn, our baby would be faced with life threatening challenges and most likely would not survive infancy. We were asked if we wanted to ‘interrupt the pregnancy’, which we both quickly declined. At that point they arranged that we would be followed by the High Risk Pregnancy Program very closely and basically take things one day at a time. Lawren and I walked out of that office more shocked than we’d ever been in our lives. We didn’t know what to say, think or do. We felt hopeless and utterly in despair. We had friends and family praying for that appointment, and we were now going to have to retell the awful news we had just been given.

That day marked the beginning of a journey that neither of us ever imagined our life would look like. A journey that our sovereign God knew and knows so intricately well. A journey that we learned we wouldn’t have to go through alone. This is our journey of hope in the midst of what should have been a hopeless situation.

And now, I sit here staring at my baby girl, Hope, truly knowing that God is walking with us and holding us in the palm of His hands.

Introducing Hope Sara Wetzel


Born January 27th at 9:10pm, weighing a very healthy 9lbs 3oz. 

Hope: “Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and it’s strength is in His faithfulness. To trust in, wait for, look for.”

Sara: “The LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord?‘ ”

We know the future will have it’s challenges, but we also know that we serve a God who will equip us with the grace to go through each one of those challenges – He has already proven that He has! Yes, Hope has abnormalities in her brain, eyes and spine, but out of all of the things the doctors told us, Hope has already proven to be a miracle. We were prepared for the absolute worst.

We were told that “babies like her” would come early – she was a week late.

We were told that she most likely had Trisomy 13 (a fatal genetic condition) – she tested negative.

We were told that she would be in distress during labour and delivery – I was in labour for 29 hours, and my delivery was insane – the nurse told us that she had never seen a more steady heart beat the entire time.

We were told that she would most likely need to be resuscitated and have problems breathing so I delivered in the OR next to the resuscitation room – She came out breathing on her own and had not needed any help with breathing while in the NICU.

We were told she would most likely not have a sucking reflex – and this girl eats like a champ.

All this to say, we greatly respect the doctors that we had. We were watched and followed by the smartest of the bunch. We would listen to what they would say, but we tried our best not to put our hope in their words. We followed their instructions, but we earnestly sought the Lord with each and every detail – pleading with Him to show us His miraculous hand throughout this journey. He has. He has been so gracious and kind. He has been so near and been our very present help in this time of trouble.

This is our journey of hope, for Hope – we hope you will be encouraged as you walk with us.




Memorial Stones

I remember the morning that I left for Zambia so clearly. My flight was later that afternoon, and very uncharacteristically of me, I woke up filled with so much peace. The night before at church, we sang “It is Well”, and I woke up singing that song in my head, and feeling this complete peace in knowing that whatever would come my way during those 2 years in Africa would all be a part of God’s plan. God knew what was ahead. Maybe if I knew the details of it, I would never have gone. But that’s the beauty in not knowing everything – He gives us enough grace to handle things day by day, with His help.

I am now in my last month here on the continent, and I can’t help but to be in this constant mode of reflection. I keep wondering if I’ve seen and done everything that I wanted to, if I’ve grown as a person when it comes to day to day tasks, if my faith has grown, if I have become braver or stronger. I think about how so many situations have changed the way I think about people and the world (in a good way), how certain situations have made me be more patient and compassionate, where other situations have brought a lot of ugly to the surface.

But most of all, this state of reflection has caused me to look back and meditate on what the Lord has done. In moments that are stressful, it’s very easy to focus on that moment. It’s very difficult to turn your thoughts away from that moment and remember what the Lord has done for you before. I’ve learned that it takes a conscious decision to stop, think back to how He has proved Himself faithful over and over again, and worship Him in the midst of a storm.

I often think back to the Israelites in Joshua chapter 4, and how they were commanded to lay down twelve stones taken from the Jordan River as a memorial. Their children would ask “what do these stones mean?” and the Israelites would tell them about how God dried up the Jordan River, and the Red Sea for them to cross, and how His hand was always on them. Joshua 4:24 says “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever”.

When I meditate on the things that God has done in the past, in the midst of a current difficult situation, it reminds me of His power – and that increases my faith. There have been times in the past 2 years where I have seen God’s power, I have felt His protection, I have sensed His leading. When I make a diligent search to remember what God has done for me, it’s like I begin to lay down memorial stones, one by one. The more I remember, the more that mountain of stones grows, and I am able to look back and say “the hand of the Lord is mighty!”.

When we remember what God has done, we are able to move forward in faith knowing that He will never leave us, that He will provide and that He is our rock.

Blessings in disguise

The power has stayed on for a couple of weeks now, and I have really gotten used to just going about day by day, not wondering when it’ll turn off. I haven’t even been charging my lanterns. Tonight, the power went out, one of my lanterns is dead and the other two are very weak. Candles will have to do.

There’s something about not having power that completely calms me down. Mind you, there are days when I’m cooking, or in the middle of something, and the power goes out and I’m ready to scream. But there is something about embracing the fact that there isn’t anything I can do. So, in moments like this, I usually resort to things I don’t often do when the power is on (reading, knitting, journaling)– sometimes I just lie there and listen to nothing. It’s so quiet – except for the sound of generators in the distance.

When the power turned off tonight, I actually felt this sense of relief. I felt so calm. I sat on the couch, knitted, and listened to some music. I just downloaded the newest Hillsong album, and there is a song in particular that I have been listening to on repeat. These words have actually caused me to pause and really examine the way I have been thinking lately:

I lift my hands to Heaven

Here my heart surrendered

I tell my soul again, You are Lord of all

Though the seas are raging, You will speak and tame them

In you I find my rest, You are in control

Lately, there’s been a lot of bad news. Lots of things going on in lots of peoples lives, and I kind of feel like I’m at the point where if I hear one more bad piece of news it’s going to be too much. My mind has been really unfocused. I try to pray and read my Bible, and my mind is elsewhere. You know when you pray, and you remind yourself that God is greater then the problems that we face, and that God is in control, but you still feel uneasy? You feel uneasy because even knowing that God is in control doesn’t always mean your prayers are going to be answered the way you’d hope.

Truly understanding that God is in control means that I truly understand that I am not; and depending on the day or the situation, that can bring such a sense of relief, or such a damaging sense of anxiety.

I think the most important line in that song is I tell my soul again, You are Lord of all. To me it’s the most important line because it reminds me of the only control I should have. I have the control to remind myself of His power. I have the control to choose to surrender. I have the control to understand the role of my Father.  It’s so easy for us to forget, which is why we need to tell ourselves that every day – even moment by moment.

It’s taken me almost two years, but I think that I have finally started to realize that no power is maybe a blessing in disguise.