family really matters

In watching the interviews of the poor people across the Southeastern United States who lost so much in the tornadoes this week, I noticed a pattern. Those who lost homes and cars and belongings all agreed: If their family was spared, they were grateful. Those who lost family don’t care at all about their stuff that remains.

With nearly losing my daughter and granddaughter this week, I am consumed with how important family is. God has been helping me to see how important my family is – He has been preparing me (take a look at my blog post from April 12). This is what crisis does for us: it clarifies our priorities. David Chrzan says, “A crisis helps us clarify our values by showing us what really matters and what really doesn’t matter.”

Our world is in crisis. It is time to put our families in their place: just under God.

I am speaking tomorrow about families and relationships. I am passionate this week about my topic. As I prepared for this series, I prayed for and thought about so many people I know whose families are getting bashed around. My heart hurts for them. If this describes you, I am hurting for you.  God has something to say to you.

If you are in or near Palm Beach County, Florida, join us for Indispensable Relationships. If it’s too far to drive, check out the message online tomorrow afternoon.

Much grace to you!


wrapped around the finger of a preemie

I had the high honor of holding my granddaughter Sophia for the first time yesterday. I was a puddle. She was so alert and looked me straight in the eyes the entire time. I couldn’t tell her enough how much we love her and how thankful we are that God brought her to us safely. But in a strange way, it was intimidating. As she stared at me, I wondered what she was thinking. In my imagination, I could see her wondering why she couldn’t just be held all the time instead of staying in an incubator. As I watched Jessica hold her, I wondered if she was wondering why we didn’t protect her against all the needle sticks and wires and tubes. Why did she have to wear a mask covering her eyes 23 hours a day? And the tape ripping. If I hadn’t controlled myself, I could have become violent with the nurse who was just doing her job. (btw – God bless these heroes!)

This baby is so fragile. She still weighs only 3 pounds and 8 ounces. My heart breaks every time I see her. But I love her so much and am so proud of her. I thank God she is here with us.

Please keep praying for Sophia and her parents. They have a long way to go. But God has already worked so many miracles!

Sophia blew up my blog!

The last few days have produced exponentially more visits to my blog that any time in its history. I’ve been blogging for well over 2 years. I work hard at coming up with interesting and thought-provoking material.  I do all the stuff they tell you to do when trying to gain readers. Still, visitors are minimal. (My mom would be a faithful reader but she’s not on the Internet.)

All this changed last Friday. When our granddaughter was born last week under extreme circumstances, readership exploded. Seriously, I’ve had more hits the last 4 days than I’ve had in the past several weeks (maybe months) combined! All thanks to Sophia.

So I think I’ll just hand this spot over to her. I’ll just post pictures of her and tell stories about her.

Seriously, she is getting better. Yesterday was good: she had gained 1 ounce (yes, you celebrate one ounce when it is more than 1/64 of her total body weight). She is holding down most of the milk that is being fed to her thought a tube – about 5 CCs per feeding.  Her jaundice numbers have improved.

I cannot express how thankful we are to everyone who is praying for baby Sophia. Please continue! She has a very long way to go. The doctors are saying she could remain in NICU for up to 4 weeks more, possibly longer.  I’m glad to tell you that Jessica continues to improve. She is gaining strength and is providing all the care for Sophia that she can. We are very proud of Jess and Josh – they are doing a great job!

So, lesson learned. If I want people to actually read what I write, the topic has to be Sophia Kate Hanson!

no exaggeration, it was a miracle

The birth of Sophia Hanson was a gift from God. Without hesitation, I say God worked a few miracles to bring our granddaughter into this world.

Our daughter Jessica and her husband Josh were visiting us from Guatemala where they serve as missionaries. They were expecting their first child on June 1. We thought it would be great to spend the holiday together and to celebrate Jess’ birthday on April 21. They were scheduled to go back home today (Monday).  We had no idea that God absolutely orchestrated the entire experience with the goal in mind of saving Jessica and Sophia’s lives.

Jessica was experiencing some complications and pain but she managed to enjoy her visit. On Friday, we decided that her pain was serious enough that she should be checked out. We made a call to a member of our church who is a Nurse Practitioner for a world-renown high risk pregnancy doctor. When we described Jessica’s symptoms, our friend suggested that she come in to the office to been looked at. It generally takes six weeks to get in to see this doctor but our friend got us an appointment in an hour. As soon as he saw Jess, he insisted that she go straight to the hospital. Once we were there, he informed us that she needed an emergency C-Section. The baby was severely growth restricted. But the more immediate problem was, Jessica’s platelets were dangerously low and she was at extreme risk of bleeding out on the table. The longer we waited, the more dangerous it became. Needless to say, we were all in a bit of shock.

We started to pray. And we sent out text messages and facebook posts informing our family and friends what was happening.  People from all over began to pray. It was Good Friday and lots of people were at church. And they prayed for our family. I can’t thank all of you enough!

The doctor came out of the surgery in just a few moments and told us that Jessica and the baby were OK. We were greatly relieved but were told that neither of them were out of the woods.

On Sunday Jess’ doctor told us that we were only 24 hours away from losing them both. Jessica was diagnosed with HELLP, a very rare and sometimes fatal syndrome that threatened her life and the life of the baby. We had been so close to a complete disaster but hadn’t had a clue.

There are reasons that I say that we received a miracle. If Jessica and Josh would have remained in Guatemala, we would have lost mom and baby. If the complications would have occurred just a couple of days later, we would have lost them. If we would have ignored the symptoms, we could have lost them. Even if we would have had a different doctor, it is possible that we would have lost them. With all of his experience, her doctor has only seen this syndrome one other time.

Jessica was released from the hospital today. Thank God, she is doing pretty well. The baby remains in Neo-Natal Intensive Care.  She has a long way to go. She only weighed 3 pounds and 10 ounces at birth and has lost a little since then. She is having some respiratory issues, is jaundiced and is still eating primarily via IV. But she appears to be a fighter. And I know for sure that God’s hand in on her.

We thank God for our miracle. We know for sure that this was not luck or good timing. It was God.

pictures of Sophia

Wow! Our granddaughter, Sophia Kate Hanson was born yesterday, six weeks early and weighs 3 pounds and 10 ounces. She is doing well, and her mom, Jessica (our daughter) is improving. Lots of people asking for pictures so here are a few: (by the way, thanks to everyone who is praying for them!)

save Jesus? ignore Easter?

Our friends over at The Resurgence responded to a recent Washington Post article which said that “Christians focus too much on the death and resurrection of Jesus and that we need to focus more on his ethical teachings.” Justin Holcomb did a masterful job of explaining why this idea is nonsensical.

Take a look at Justin’s work here.

The author of the WP article, Erik Reece, makes a very strange statement: “This is why I’m against Easter. It celebrates the death of Jesus nearly to the exclusion of his life.” This comes from a guy reared in a Christian home by godly parents (both his father and grandfather were Baptist ministers.)  So my question for Erik would have to be, “did you even pay attention at Easter?”

Easter does not focus solely, or even mostly on the death of Jesus. That’s what Good Friday is for. Easter is celebrating life! Jesus came back from death, He defeated the grave! Easter is victory!

While I respect the man and his right to an opinion, my heart goes out to guys like Erik. He was surrounded by the story but something or someone prevented him from grabbing the story.

I hope that those who hear the Easter message this year do grab it. It’s not just about the Cross, although that is the focal point of our salvation. Easter is life! Without the resurrection, we are all lost.