Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Not my strength...

Many, many people have come up to us and made the comment how proud they are of our strength, or that I am one strong mom.
I have a secret, if you really, really, really know me you would know that I am not strong. If this would have happened to me 10 years ago, 5 years ago, even 6 months ago, I am not sure where I would be. Wounded, without Him, and trying to rely on my own self-sufficiency, that is where I would be. It shouldn't be a secret that I rely on Him, and am ashamed that it has been one. At the beginning of this journey, when I asked myself how I was getting up each morning, I would pray for Him to give me strength. Gradually that changed to Him becoming my strength. And now I am broken, but with Him and I am overcome by His strength. Daily I have to decide if I am going to depend on Him to sustain me. Our ability to move forward, to cherish each moment, to not waste one minute, there is no other way it could make sense other than it is not our own strength. He puts my two feet on the floor each morning.
"God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times in trouble." Psalm 46:1
When I rest in Him and let Him carry me that is when I feel His power and peace. We needed Him, we were not self-sufficient and this wasn't a situation we could just power through. Through this journey we are learning to not depend on ourselves, and that depending on God isn't a weakness, it is acknowledging His power.
The story Paul tells reaches down deep into my soul.
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10.
Daily I still struggle with doubts, fears, worries, grief, anger, all those messy, messy feelings. And He continues to meet me right in the middle of my mess and weaknesses. We are not perfect. Faith is hard. But He loves us, and I need Him. Our sweet miracle was not a burden, but an indication that God does love us, so much so that He will not let us try to rely on our own strength, but rely on Him to carry us. If I am willing to submit to Him, then I can see Him accomplish even greater things than I can do on my own. And He can do that for you. The same power that raised His son, is available to carry you through the pain, the discouragement, the trials. When you rest in Him you will feel His power and peace. If you can find a small bit of courage to trust, even if all you can pray is "God, I need you, I cannot do this on my own." He will answer, "You cannot but I can and I will take you as you are, right in the middle of your fears and failures and I will carry you."

"A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." Ephesians 6:10

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I am here...

At the beginning of this journey with Isaac, the first few weeks of what we thought was a diagnosis of a cogential heart defect, the sweetest mom reached out to me through a mutual friend. I can remember being so overwhelmed reading about all the possible things that could go wrong. And suddenly here was this picture of hope, this precious little girl who had been born with some of the same heart defects they found in Isaac. She was just turning three and had made it through the first two open heart surgeries with success and had the final surgery scheduled for this summer. She offered encouragement and hope at such a scary time for us. Last week when I saw an update on her on a friend's facebook page it reminded me of them and her surgery. When I checked in I saw they had just completed the final surgery, but ran into some complications and she was in critical condition. The last thing I remember reading is a comment from a friend that she was doing better. I went to bed that night praying for a miracle, praying for God to heal her. Tomorrow would be a big day for Lauren, I just knew it.
Last night I thought to check in, and saw an update that she had passed away on Friday. Suddenly the room seemed to spin, and I couldn't see, it was all I could do not to throw the computer across the room. WHY, WHY, WHY the hurt, the pain, the loss. Why the suffering of another family losing a child. Another mommy who desperately wants her child back. As I walked through the house in a blur of tears towards bed, I checked on Anastacia, and there was my precious little girl, curled up with "Isaac Bear." And I got mad all over again, I don't want a bear, I am a mommy who desperately wants her son back. My daughter wants her brother back. Even if it was just to hold him for a short time and see his beautiful eyes for the first time.
I could feel myself falling deep down into the darkness, into the sorrow, into the place that is so easy for me to go to, where hurts are justified and grief overwhelms. The dark place where I am just broken. Where my prayer simply becomes "God, I need you."
And He ever so quietly whispers, I am here...
In the midst of the anger, the pain, the grief, the sorrow, the darkness, the suffering, He whispers, I am here...
I have never left your side, I have been with you every step of the way, and I am here...
But God, I lost my son. I know, so did I. And right there in the middle of it all he promises, I am here...
And He asks please do not let go, please do not turn away, I promise you through Me there is hope. Hold on, I am here...
"Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5
Take Him your hurts, your pain, your struggles. I am learning He would rather me go "toe to toe" with Him, rather than turn my back in silence. I am not alone, He hears me and He will make an altar of my suffering. It is okay to trust Him, but still question. To love Him, but still struggle with anger over His plan.
"I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he hear me. He set me free from all my fears." Psalm 34:6
I don't know where you are today, but if you can try to turn towards Him, even just for a bit, even if all you manage is "God, I need you," He will meet you right where you are. He sees you even when you can't see Him and He is ready to catch you in His arms and whisper, I am here.
"For I hold you by your right hand-I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, 'Don't be afraid I am here to help you." Isaiah 41:13


Please allow this sweet family into your prayers today.....Prayers for love, comfort, and most of all peace that truly transcends all understanding.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dear Isaac...

A dear sweet friend gave me a journal titled "Letter to Isaac." There is so much to tell our son, it has been amazing to see God's hand on this journey we have been on........

Dear Isaac-
In your short time with us, you have touched so many lives so deeply. You changed us, your Daddy says you changed the world. Did you know your Mommy and Daddy danced to that song at our wedding?
People keep writing and coming up to your Mommy and Daddy to tell them how proud they are of us for being so brave and strong. Did you know you made your Mommy and Daddy brave?
Sweet boy, we love you so very much, so many people love you. Your sister prays every night to tell God how much she loves you. From the very beginning we knew you were special. That God gave you to us. Little did we know the big plans He had for your life. Did you know your story has become His story? That people from all of the world have read your story? That from the beginning your Daddy thanked God in our prayers for giving us you, how humbled we were to be chosen as your parents. He prayed for God to use your story to show God's goodness and love. And people have written from all over to tell us how much your story has meant to them, how much you have inspired them.
Mommy already misses you so much. The sweet reminder of you being part of me. The feel of your kicks. It shouldn't have surprised me how much you loved to move to the worship music at church. Did you know your Mommy, Daddy and sister love to dance and sing to worship music?
When I am sad at night and long to hold you, I wonder what your smile would have looked like, what your laugh would have sounded like. I wonder if you would have had your Daddy's gentle spirit, and sweet loving nature with people. Did you know you had blonde hair just like him? I wonder if you and Anastacia would have looked alike. She was so excited for you to be her brother, she planned a "baby party" for mommy, and she loved to look at all the little boy clothes in stores for you. She misses you so much too. The other night after she cried from missing you, she made "Isaac Bear" for us to hold when we miss you. Isaac Bear wears one of your tiny hats and is wrapped in the blanket that held you in the hospital. A small reminder of you helps your sister sleep at night right now.

Did you know your sister named you? She was so determined that you were a boy and Isaac was your name she told all of her friends at school before the doctor even knew you were a boy. She told us your name came from the story of Isaac and Abraham in her bible, a story about another Daddy having the courage to trust in God.
We prayed for you all the time sweet Isaac. We prayed for God to heal you and make you whole. Anastacia prayed for God to heal your broken heart. In our darkest times of struggle and heartache we knew God would heal you. The fact that you aren't with us now doesn't change our belief that we knew He would heal you. Even the day you were born we didn't question God's will for your life. He knew the plans He had for you!
The day you were born people from all over were praying for you, your Mommy, Daddy and sister. Nurses joined friends and family in prayer over Mommy and Daddy. Friends and family watched our doctor pray over Mommy and Daddy before we went back to have you. Later our pastor and friends told us they had never seen a doctor stop to pray over a patient, but that day for you she did. One more gentle reminder that God had His hand on your story. Did you know there were gasps of amazement as doctors and nurses saw how God made your precious hand to tell us how much you loved us, how much God loved us? Your one "I love you" became some of the most powerful words that were never spoken. Even your sister knew the minute she saw the picture of your hand that you told her "I love you." We love you too Isaac. When Anastacia saw you her first words were "He is so cute Mommy." And you were so cute, a perfect, precious, tiny, 14 ounce miracle.


Anastacia asked Mommy and Daddy if we saw God the day you went to live with Jesus in heaven. She wanted to know if God was in the delivery room with us. And yes, He was. We felt God every moment of that day. Without sounding silly, it was if time seemed to stand still for us, it was such a holy moment. Mommy and Daddy both felt God's arms around us that day, carrying us with His strength, giving us peace. So many have commented about the peace that was felt in the room the day you were born. God truly gave us a peace that transcends all understanding on that day.
We felt that peace again today. Today Mommy, Daddy and Anastacia were both sad and happy. Sad because we miss you, but happy because of the hope you have given us. As we wrapped our arms around each other and sang "There Will Be a Day" we were comforted knowing that there will be a day with no more tears, pain or fears. We are comforted knowing that one day we will see Jesus face to face and know that until then you are sitting in His lap with His arms wrapped around you. And we will get the chance to tell you what you already know, how much we love you, and how God has used your story to change our world.

Love,
Mommy, Daddy and Anastacia

Philippians 4:7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the holy spirit."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

He wept...

John 11:35 "Jesus wept." I have literally clung to those two words the last several days. What I imagine is one of the shortest verses in the Bible holds such great meaning to me. The idea that He, our savior wept with His friends who were mourning, knowing that the man they were mourning would soon be alive speaks volumes to me about the empathy He feels for us. I realize that there are other things that He may have been weeping about as well. But I have focused on the idea that He knows our thoughts, Luke 6:8 and Luke 9:47 "Jesus, knowing their thoughts," and He felt the deep sorrow and pain of two women mourning the loss of the man they loved. He felt the pain of a man who just lost one of His best friends.
He feels the deep sorrow I feel of losing my son.
He cried the tears I have cried because He knows I am a mommy that desperately wants her son back.
He cried the tears we cried last night with Anastacia when she told us that she missed Isaac.
He cried the tears I have cried each night when the sadness overcomes me and the only prayer I can pray is "God, Father, I need you."
And He meets me right where I am, broken, in the middle of my sadness, my sorrow, and my tears for Isaac.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11: 28-30.

Thank you so much for all of your cards, prayers, notes, flowers, meals, and outpouring of love. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such an amazing community of faith.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ways you can help...

Amos and Jennette asked that we share the following:

The family will have a private burial service this week. Please be in prayer for this time they will spend together as a family in honor of Isaac.

All are invited to attend a memorial service at:
Rejoice Church North Campus
13413 E 106th St. N
Owasso, OK 74055
Saturday July 23rd at 11:00am
Visitation is from 10-11:00am with the memorial service immediately following at 11:00am.

The family has set up a memorial fund in Isaac's name to support families grieving the loss of an infant. Memorial contributions will go to support the labor and delivery bereavement program at St. Francis hospital in Tulsa. Amos and Jennette were both touched by all of the support that the hospital provided them during their stay.

-Should friends or family desire, donations can be made in memory of Isaac Lee Berry to the Rejoice Foundation and sent to:
Rejoice Foundation
13413 E 106th St N
Owasso, OK 74055
**Please be sure to write Isaac Berry on the memo line of your check.

-If you would like to send a personal card or note to the Berry's please sent it to:
Amos and Jennette Berry
10746 E 120th Ct. N.
Collinsville, OK 74021

They have treasured every card, note, and message they have received.
If you have questions about supporting the family in other ways, please contact
Trampas or Tracy Thompson at thompsonwho@yahoo.com
Most of all please continue to pray for Amos, Jennette, and Anastacia. Please pray for peace, strength, comfort and understanding in the days ahead.
Thank You!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Joy of the Lord...


She is our "Joy of the Lord"......

Many of you have asked how Anastacia is doing through all of this. And one word describes her....
Amazing.
She has simply been amazing. God has given her wisdom beyond her years and she is a constant source of both joy and strength for Amos and I. She knew Isaac was sick. We had told her a few weeks ago that his heart was sick. Looking back I think God was nudging us to prepare her. I wasn't sure how much she absorbed of the initial conversation. She asked how we knew, and I explained that the doctors could see his heart through the pictures that I had showed her of him. She then asked if we could talk about something else. The following night, we knew she understood. Her prayer was "God I love everyone in the whole world, but I love you most of all. Could you please heal my brother's broken heart." That was a tough night for Mommy and Daddy. Over the last few weeks we have tried to be intentional in talking about how sometimes God heals on earth and sometimes God heals in heaven. Reading her bible stories from our favorite children's bible that teach and illustrate God's love for us and His miracles.
Thursday morning she came early to see us at the hospital. She wanted to know if her baby brother had come. In the best way we knew how, we explained that yes, he had come, but did she remember that his heart was sick? She shook her head yes, and I told her that Jesus had healed Isaac and needed Isaac to live with Him in heaven. I asked her if she remembered what we had talked about heaven being like? She got the sweetest smile on her face and said "Yes momma, in heaven you can eat as much candy as you want and never get sick." In her world heaven is a pretty cool place and she told us she wants to go visit there. I love the simplicity of children.
Yesterday we were finally home as a family together. Anastacia had asked if we could have a family night in bed together. God continues to use her as a source of strength for us. When we said prayers together, she asked if we could all hold hands. So there we were, with our precious daughter laying between us, all holding hands. She told us she missed Isaac and as Mommy and Daddy's hearts broke once more and tears ran down, our five year old daughter led us in prayer. So you can see that she is our joy of the Lord and He continues to use our amazing five year old as another way to give us strength.....

Nehemiah 8:10...."do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength."


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Isaac Lee...

I think I knew...
mom's intuition, the Holy Spirit guiding me....

Monday was a tough, tough day. Not that I haven't had tough days, but nothing like this. I couldn't ever give a specific reason to Amos other than I was just sad. Sweet Anastacia asked why I was crying once and when I told her that I was sad that Isaac was sick she reassured me that he would be okay. The faith of a child. And the one thought that continued to circle through my mind was the "big picture." That there is an eternity and story we are all part of, that Isaac is part of that we don't "see" on a daily basis. I found these verses that so clearly echo what God was teaching me.....

Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 "God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. So I concluded that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to enjoy themselves as long as they can."

Late Tuesday it hit me, I hadn't felt Isaac move all day. I remember going back through time trying not to panic and remember the last time I had felt him. He has always been so active so when I don't feel him, it tends to make an impact with me. I called the doctor Wednesday morning and she had me come in and we discovered that our sweet son had gone to be with our heavenly father. Amos and I both continue to have amazing peace. I know without a shadow of doubt the strength we have is from Him carrying us and the prayers we have constantly surrounding us.
Philippians 4:7 "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

God answers prayers......

Maybe not always in the answer we think we want, but I continue to remind myself of Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all of our hearts, and lean not on our own understanding." and of
Isaiah 55:8-9 "My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the Lord. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

We had an appointment with the neonatal doctor Wednesday at 1pm and knew that we would be asked some tough questions about care of Isaac after birth. The doctors wanted us to have a plan for him if he wasn't born healthy and healed. We had been praying for the last week for Him to take any difficult decision out of our hands, to open or close doors so clearly we would have no doubt going into our doctor's appointment His will for Isaac. As I was admitted Wednesday to the hospital for a c-section we realized He has been holding our hands through each and every painful step we have taken. And our sweet little boy is whole, healthy and safe sitting in the lap of Jesus. In his short life here on earth he was loved as much as any child as we have ever known.

God is answering our prayer, for this journey to be a testimony to His goodness and to bring glory to Him. Isaac's story continues to touch so many. We are humbled to be a small part of it, to have Isaac for our son. As his Daddy says he is one strong little dude. And God continues to give us reminders of how much He loves us, of how much Isaac loves us. His birth was such a miraculous, holy, God moment. He literally arranged so many details, from big to small. From our nurses and doctors praying with and over us. To being surrounded by dear friends and family praying for us. To giving us touching, visible reminders of His love.

I remember hearing "He is perfect" and "Look at his hand" in the delivery room. He was born with his right hand formed to tell us "I love you" and hours later it was still that way. Another gentle reminder of His love for us.




A precious tiny, perfect miracle.....


We rest in knowing that there will be a day that we will have the pure joy of knowing you in a world you are already experiencing.

"That there will be a day with no more tears,
No more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place
Will be no more, we'll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we'll hold onto you always"




John 16:33 "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world."

Thank you so much for all of your prayers, calls, visits, and messages. We are in the process of planning a memorial service for Isaac and will post more details of the date and time in the next few days. We love you all!

Monday, July 11, 2011

How He loves...

Breathe...

We can do this...

At least that is what I try to tell myself. And remember He is our strength to do this. As I have said before, I am not sure how I could otherwise. Especially when some days I struggle just to function as a mom, as a wife and not feel guilty for letting the sadness overwhelm me. I was walking early yesterday morning and I told God that I feel like the father from the story in Mark 9. The story where the father brings his son to Jesus for Him to heal the boy "if he can." The exchange between the father and Jesus in verses 23-24 have gone around and around in my thoughts the last several days.
"What do you mean, "If I can'?" Jesus asked. "Anything is possible if a person believes." The father instantly cried out, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!"
Some days my faith seems so small, and that "if" seems so big. As I struggle to overcome my unbelief, I remember that He loves Isaac more than we even do. That in our struggles is when we are the very closest to Him. That it is His hand I feel gently hugging me when Anastacia wraps her sweet arms around me. That it is Him I feel carrying me when I don't have the energy for another step.

I have always loved the song that the David Crowder Band sings "How He loves." God reminded me exactly how much He loves me and that He is with me each step as I was singing that song yesterday morning in church......


"And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest
I don't have time to maintain these regrets
When I think about the way
Oh, He loves us, oh"

The irony is that in the midst of all of this, I feel the closest I have ever felt to Him. As if heaven has met earth. That there is the bigger picture of eternity that our journey and Isaac play a part in, and that He love us so very, very much.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Today.....

A friend sent me a blog post with this quote today, "Lord, give me the wisdom to not waste all of this." It was referencing a scripture from James 1: 2-4 "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."
As I lay there this afternoon during our ultrasound I thought over and over how perfect that summarized my prayers and thoughts from the last few days. The reality each ultrasound brings is that this may be our opportunity to spend time, bond with and love our precious son. I lay there thinking please don't let me waste any precious moments that you have in store for us Lord. May I continue to remain open to all of the lessons you are teaching me on this journey. Don't get me wrong I still have overwhelming moments of sadness, and cry lots of tears some nights. This is one of those journeys you never ever, ever, ever imagined yourself walking, so please don't let me waste this.........Help us cherish every moment, give us wisdom with every lesson You have in store for us. As Amos continues to say, let this journey be a testimony to His goodness and bring glory to Him.
In our appointment today, Isaac moved the whole first half of the ultrasound and then promptly curled into a little ball, flipped his feet over his head and went to sleep. Amos even noticed the moment his eyes shut. His heart beat is strong, despite him only having two chambers to his heart. He gained four ounces in two weeks despite him being small for his age. And he looks completely "normal" by our standards. A precious, tiny miracle.
Many of you have asked if we will still deliver in St. Louis, and the answer is no. We probably would never have ended up in St. Louis if we had the diagnosis of Trisomy 18 first. There is no surgical intervention for the heart defect. We are planning on delivering at St. Francis in Tulsa and next week we will meet with the neonatal doctor. From the conversations I have had leading up to this appointment, it sounds like it will be a difficult one. So please pray for God's will to be evident with each and every decision we will make. For every major door/decision that appears before us, that He simply will open or close it. For peace that surpasses all understanding. For us to continue to be blessed with amazing doctors, nurses and staff. And once again for us to not waste any moment or lesson. We love you all!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vulnerable....

A prayer that I have been trying to have the courage to pray is for me to be open and vulnerable to God's teaching and lessons for me through this journey. I think I started down this path a couple of week's ago when I could sense myself making decision's to "protect my heart." I was trying to convey to a friend recently that one of the most difficult realities for us right now is the feeling of being in a holding pattern. Not knowing if God's healing will look like how we want our miracle to look. And trusting that His will for our life is best even if I don't know what the reason is and that He sometimes gives hard answers to our prayers.
Tonight I came across this Psalm, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." Psalm 139:23-24.
If I am honest, this is really a pretty scary prayer for me to pray. Now I know He knows what I think before I even think it, but to ask Him to truly know my heart, and point out what offends Him-ouch, that is tough. But what would my life look like if I started each day with that prayer? To make me sensitive to His leading in every detail of my life, and opening my eyes that I may see glimpses of the truth He is trying to teach me. Making myself vulnerable to His teaching, even when the lessons are really hard.