November 29, 2011

Beyond the Walls

I was looking back through this blog at some very old posts and I found this one that I had forgotten I had written. It really jumped out at me as something I needed to share again. So I am resposting it in part. Here it is... :)

God is purifying me! And wow am I seeing lots of dross! Too much it seems sometimes. At times I want to say, “Stop! That’s enough! Don’t show me anything else!” But thankfully, HE knows when to stop! Praise Him for that!  I’ve definitely seen some walls coming down in my life. Okay, maybe not all of the way down… I’m not sure the state of the walls… but I DO know that some mighty big cracks are showing. You’d think that would make for an exciting, joy-filled time, wouldn’t you? Ha! As walls come down, they EXPOSE what’s behind them! When Jericho’s walls came down, the Israelites didn’t just throw a party because the walls were down and then that was it. They had to go in and continue the conquest of Jericho. They had to put to death the inhabitants of the city. The Lord showed me this but I wondered how to fight, and Pastor shared the answer the next Sunday- We don’t battle with natural weapons, we put those things to death through the cross--through dying.  The walls ARE coming down (hallelujah), but I’m seeing ugly things behind those walls. Things in me that need to die! And they’re not dying easily… Some of them are fighting to live on! But I am determined! I will not go round this mountain again. I will not jump off this altar again. Jumping off may give me a temporary reprieve, but rest assured- I'll be back at this same place one day again if I do not remain and let God finish what He's begun.

I believe there is an anointing, RIGHT NOW, for breakthrough- to deal with deep-seated strongholds we’ve dealt with for years. Strongholds we’ve become so familiar and comfortable with that we’ve ceased to even fight them. Yes, we hate them, but it’s easier to live with them in the land than to fight them and put them to death. I’m reminded of so many of Israel’s kings who may have been good and who destroyed the idols of the land, but who left the high places… or left some of the inhabitants in the land and didn’t deal with them. And those inhabitants are still a thorn in Israel’s side to this day. The descendants of the children of Israel are today, battling those same enemies who were not dealt with back then. If I continue to leave the high places in my heart and life, if I continue to leave certain strongholds and open doors to the enemy- am I not hurting more than just myself? Am I also leaving that door open to my children? My grandchildren? My great-grandchildren? This go-'round, I feel a determination in my heart that I’ve never felt before when I’ve faced familiar strongholds once again- This time I will not stop fighting and dying until the walls are down and Jericho is conquered. This is the last time I will face this. Because I am going to not only face it, but conquer it in Jesus name! If I won’t do it for me, then I’ll do it for my children; for my generations. As I said before- there is an anointing for breakthrough right now! And it’s not just for me. It’s for everyone. Perazim- breakthrough! Yet we have a choice. Will we respond to Him in this season? Or will we jump and run before He’s done? Lord, help us to remain in the flame! (That sounds like a song! :^).  So if I've seemed not myself lately, just know, I am in the fire. It hurts and it isn’t fun. But I have hope in my heart that after the breakthrough, there will be more of Him! What more could I ask!? HE’s gonna be worth it all!

"Purify our hearts
Cleanse us from our sin
Open up the doors
And let the King of Glory in"

November 17, 2011

Gabriel's birth

Isn't he just beautiful? :)
As promised here are the details of little Gabe's birth... but rather than me telling it, I will instead give you his mom's perspective. Here's a  beautifully written post my daughter Haley posted on her blog at I have been so impressed by the maturity, the faithfulness and selflessness my daughter and son-in-law have displayed throughout this long week. They have stood together in unity as they've tirelessly put their baby's needs before their own. Needless to say, little Gabriel is very loved. Anyway, here's the story, in Haley's words:

 I would like to officially announce and update you on the birth of my sweet little boy. Gabriel (God is my strength) Michael (Who is like God?) born November 11, 2011. (11/11/11!) He weighs 8 lb and 7 oz and is 23 inches long. He is definitely the cutest thing I have ever seen, with dark blue eyes and good bit of dark brown hair. He is so handsome!

Labor was long, 24 hours, but it was also the most amazing experience. I felt God's hand on Josh and I through the entire progress. I know there were a lot of people lifting us up in prayer and I could feel the covering of the Lord. Like most things in life, things never go quite you like you plan. I've been thinking and dreaming about those first few moments and days with my son for 9 months. It didn't quite go like I had planned. Here's an update on the events of our lives over the last few days...

Gabe: Upon arrival, Gabe was having some trouble breathing. At first it was no big deal, seemed to be pretty standard for him to have trouble catching his breath. After several minutes of labored breathing they called the house pediatrician to take a look at him. She wasn't initially concerned, but after awhile of the same labored breathing she ordered X-rays of his chest. X-rays revealed what is called a Spontaneous Pneumo thorax ( a pocket of air between the lung and membrane wall) or collapsed lung. Gabe had two. Apparently this occurs in 2-5% of babies and usually corrects itself with no therapy. She consulted with a Dr at St. Louis Children's Hospital and was advised to send him to the NICU there. One of the pockets of air in Gabes lung was large enough they used a small needle to remove the air to prevent it from expanding and causing any pressure. After running some more test they also discovered that his white blood cell count was high. Over the next few days, all of Gabes X-rays and test came back great. Due to the initial results of the blood test though they have decided to keep him at Children's until Thursday. They want him to finish up his antibiotics just to make sure he doesn't end up back at the hospital. I absolutely appreciate the caution of the Doctors and as a parent definetly want to use wisdom...but I do know that Jesus healed my little boy. It's just kinda hard to explain that to a doctor.
In Daddy's arms

Josh: Is amazing! I didn't think it was to fall deeper in love with my high school sweetheart..but I did this weekend. He was so incredibly supportive. He never left my side through the whole long process. He must have told me how awesome I was doing 25,000 times. And even though I didn't always feel so awesome, having him believing in me and cheering me on made all the difference. Seriously, the guy that can still call you princess and beautiful when your in the worst pain of your life, throwing up, and experiencing all the other glamorous aspect of labor is...a liar, and totally worth marrying and keeping forever. :) I got to meet a new side of Josh this week, the part of him that is now a Daddy. When they took Gabe from me, to a hospital almost an hour away, I was beyond devastated. I had such reassurance in knowing that Gabe went with the presence of God and with his Daddy riding right beside him in the back of the ambulance. Josh was going on 72 hours with 5 hours of sleep, but he never left Gabe. Going through things like this as a couple will either make you or break you. I am so thankful that Josh and I both carry the presence of Jesus Christ, and in moments like these I just grow in love and respect for the man of God that he is. And oh my goodness! Is there anything cuter than a man and a baby? Josh is so smitten its not even funny. I love to watch him fall in love with that smooshy little baby. 
Mom and Gabe making eyes at each other

Me: Well...needless to say the last several days have been emotional. Never in a million years did I imagine that I would spend the first day of my baby's life almost an hour away from him. I was seriously devastated. I knew Gabe would be ok. I kept saying, "I know my God, and I know he is a healer." The real struggle was just not getting to connect with my son. I got to hold him for about 15 min before he left. which I was very thankful for...but of course it was not nearly enough. So since my arrival at Children's Saturday afternoon, Gabe has hardly been put down. I don't think you can spoil anyone with we seize every cuddling opportunity possible. He is just so good at snuggling...oh I could just eat him!! I just love being the momma of Gabriel. Words just can't express how in love I am with this beautiful, sweet, screaming, bright eyed, squishy boy. I speed shower and rush through eating so I can get back to him. As hard as this week has been...probably the hardest I've ever had to go through...I know God is our author and finisher, and he is so faithful. Without realizing what i was singing, i realized this morning I was singing the line, "You are faithful, from generation to generation.." God has never failed us and he continues by showing such faithfulness to Gabriel. Josh and I had the opportunity today to pray with three people who had babies in the NICU. One has been here for over 7 months. I know so many of you have been keeping Gabe in your prayers this week. Words can't express our gratitude. We've been so blessed by all the text, messages, and comments we've received. As you pray for my baby, would you please also take the time to lift up little Christian, Josiah, and Mitchell...all three little boys who have been here entirely too long and need a touch from Jesus. The NICU is such a sad place to be. Thankfully the presence of God goes with us even into the most dismal places. I pray that if for no other reason God used us here this week to show love to a hurting heart. What an honor it is to be chosen and used by God in those moments. So we count it all joy :)

Baby Gabey

November 15, 2011

Indescribable Love

Me and my grandson. So in love...
When I first found out, I was concerned about what I'd be called. People tried to tell me it wouldn't matter when the time came and I don't know if I quite knew what they meant... But now I do.

Gabriel Michael Ortego has made me a grandmother. He was born this past Friday night. Yes on 11/11/11 at 3:01 am weighing 8 lbs 7 oz and 23 inches long.

I guess he'll call me Mimi. But he can call me whatever he wants because I love him. I just want to get this down and out there while the emotions are high but although he isn't even a week old and I've only held him once, I love that baby more than life itself. I would lay down my life for him, no questions asked. Gabriel cannot yet speak, show me love, do anything for me. Heck, he can't do anything much at all right now but eat and cry and make dirty diapers. He's totally helpless and dependent. So why do I love him so much already? How can this be? Just because. He's my grandson. Just like I love his beautiful mother and each of my children. Just because. They are mine. And just like that, I begin to sort of understand Jesus' unexplainable love for us. He loves us... just because. He did give His life for us and He longs every day to be with us. He doesn't 'need' us and we can't really do one thing of ourselves to even come before Him... But He paid the highest price, because we were priceless to Him. He made a way because He loves us. I think I am kind of getting it now.

We love Gabe. The love on Haley and Josh's faces for their baby is just beyond beautiful to me. I love watching them with him almost as much as I love to watch him. Its like a whole new layer has been pulled back off of my heart and I feel love at a new, raw, holy level.  He's absolutely priceless to his parents and to each of us who are blessed to be a part of his family. Our lives have each been forever changed by this tiny little soul that my beautiful daughter and son-in-law blessed the world with.

There's much more that I haven't found expression for and more details about his birth which I promise will come at a later date. But right now I am almost speechless. Hard to fathom I know :). And if you haven't been there yet, I'll tell you like they told day you will understand. But you probably won't be able to explain the emotions any better than I just have :). It's indescribable.

So here's some pictures of our precious  baby boy. You gotta admit... he's pretty dang cute! :D
Gabe and Mommy

I will still and quiet my soul like a well fed child with his mother.

Bright eyes