On December 24th, 2006 my best friend and another sweet friend gave me a gift. Bigger than normal gifts, it was not merely a gift found in a perfect package, but one of self sacrifice. I had been praying I would make it through Christmas and the end of the year before Isaac came. In silence the two joined me by fasting without my knowledge to pray that we would make it. To commemorate my journey they also gave me a charm bracelet with two sets of baby booties: one for a girl, and one for a boy. Both charms had my sweet little ones name engraved on them...but only one so far had a birth date. Not much time needed to pass before we had the date January 2nd, 2007 engraved on Isaac's charm and that bracelet became my link to him. I would wake up feeling like I'd climbed a mountain and just the touch of my baby charms made me feel reconnected with life. I hung on to it and held it close to me at all times because it was so so precious, yet somehow...in the summer of 2007...my bracelet disappeared. Up until a few weeks ago, I would still tear the house apart and cry all the while for God to bring it back. It had been almost a year, and it had been such a hard year. I thought for sure God was going to deliver us out of the pit we had ended up in. That my husband would find a new job, that business would be good, that everything around me would be glorious ALL because I had been obedient. Talk about some shame. January 2nd 2008 rolled around and I could not lift my eyes up to heaven for fear of being called out as a total fraud. I stood in the shower adding more tears to the water than the pipes where asking our Father to please forgive me, please heal my unbelief, that I really did trust Him and I would follow Him "Even if..." and "Even when".

As the words rolled off my tongue my phone rang. Wet arms grabbed the call as my husband was trying to reach me to give me the news that he had been offered a new job...minutes away from home...and more money...and he was so happy. The later was all I cared about. The tone of his voice was relieved and peaceful...and he quietly said to me "baby, it's all going to be ok...2008 is really going to be our year". Only moments before I had felt so defeated, I felt like nothing would change and now...NOW...I was carrying another baby and what would that mean for this little one. What if beyond Isaac's purpose in Heaven, it was also a test for my faith and life. Had I passed? Would I have to take the test again? What would prove me authentic? Would God ever really have all of me...ALL the time? You see, I know He has me, but like so many of us, I fall short of the consistency of ALL the time. I so desperately want to give Him ALL of me ALL the time. He is not here for crisis management. He's the creator of the day timer for Pete's sake! He is our every second, of every day. All of me....

So between January 2nd and January 18th, things started to change, but an upset started in the Pipkin house I was not prepared for. I found out a few days before Isaac's birthday that the cemetery had never delivered and placed Isaac's headstone. To make a very long story short, the DA was called to be involved, attorneys' were alerted, the media was contacted and my husband turned into a Lion...and the manager of the cemetery quickly promised my husband the headstone would be in place no later than the 20th of January. So now the 18th rolled around. Hallie was with Grandma and Grandpa Pipkin while Jason and I goofed off and eventually met the greatest friends we have ever been blessed with at the Melting Pot for a beautiful dinner. Dessert rolled around and our waiter came over after passing the plates around and said to me "let me go ahead and change out that plate for you" and placed a new plate with a gift on it in front of me. I couldn't for the life of me figure out what was going on, but I looked at Joni and realized the shape of the box and started crying right away. The box contained a bracelet...a new one...and new charms were on their way. It was a new beginning. A new bracelet...a new start...God's timing was as usual perfect.

This week has a lot. Let me break down what I believe is truly the beginning for us:
Saturday - new bracelet
Sunday - Isaac's headstone was confirmed in place, and Hallie...the big sister got to finally see where her brother was laid to rest
Sunday afternoon - my Bible study so appropriately was on Abraham and the test of sacrificing Isaac - I cried all the way through as I remembered it's not the test but our obedience that is important - Will we give Him all of us...ALL the time
Tuesday - Jason starts his new job
Thursday - the test to know if our new baby is ok.
Friday - just breath and praise Him "even if...and even when..."

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