Monday, February 23, 2009

Long Time No Write

World's cutest baby - we might be prejudice, but propably not :)

Forgive me for waiting so long to post again! We have been doing great, but busy (as all of you with children are well aware:). Thankfully, Joel is sleeping well. Which means his Mommy and Daddy are sleeping well. Actually, he slept 6 hours last night! Pretty cool - if you know what I mean!

Dad and Mom Schroeder came out from IL this past week. It was tremedous having them here with us. They are quite the "proud grandparents." We didn't do very much, but we did do a lot of watching & holding Joel. While they were here Joel's umbilical cord fell off, which meant he got his first bath (and all of the naked baby pictures that he will one day hate). He loved getting a bath, which was a relief to Katelyn. We are so grateful for all of the family that God has blessed us with. It was encouraging to just spend time with them and rejoice in the new addition to our family.

We are so grateful for how the Lord has continued to grow Joel and keep him healthy. He now ways about 7.5 pounds (he's gained 1.5 lbs in the last 4 weeks). He is continuing to "get bigger," but that is relative :). He is still smaller than most new borns. . . but he's getting bigger. He is picking his head up, only to flop it back down again. However, we are excited by even the littlest of things (i.e. his eyes are open, he filled his diaper, he. . . you get the picture).

Katelyn and I are overwhelmed by the responsibility that God has entrusted us with. Being a parent is an indescribablt gift from God. It is when God allows us to partner with Him in the nurturing of a life to the glory of God. This is no small task. For we are instructed to raise little Joel to do that which he was created for, and that is to worship the One and True God. This is the part of raising Joel that causes us to go to our knees and ask God for His grace and wisdom. We realize that we are unable to do this in our own abilities, but we thank God that He has not left us to accomplish this process on our own. The grace that He affords is more than sufficient to conquer our greatest weeknesses.

His grandpa enjoys him. . . and I'm sure that somewhere inside Joel enjoys his grandpa to:)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Rejoicing & Home

In many ways we are grateful for this day. We are grateful that our loving God chooses our path for us and then leads us along the way. There are certain roads in life that we would not necessarily choose for ourselves, but God knows they are best. In His infinite sovereignty He sees all and knows all. From this Divine perspective, He leads in His perfect way. The path may not always seem perfect to us because we can't see the big picture, but to Jehovah God, the way is perfect. Katelyn and I have begun to learn what it means to truly depend on the Lord. Joel's health made us aware very quickly that we are completely unable to take care of or raise Joel in our strength and ability. While Joel was in the NICU, we felt utterly helpless. We knew that Joel was entirely in the hands of our loving Savior & Lord. As Joel's parents, the Lord has showed us that now and throughout the rest of Joel's life, we are completely and entirely helpless without the Lord. This is a lesson we never desire to forget.

Also, we are thankful for learning to appreciate little joys. You know, at times we begin to expect things in life. We expect everything to go good, for everything to "normal," for life to be as "easy" as possible. However, this is not the way of our loving God. He has taught us to enjoy little things. Like after not holding our son for a week, I was able to hold him on Sunday, or maybe it was the joy of being "allowed" to change his diaper after several days of being in the NICU. We even loved going to the hospital each morning and evening because we were going to see our son. These little joys would have never been learned had Joel come home when we thought he was supposed too. Thankfully, God's plan is far above ours and His plans did not fit according to ours.
Today, Thursday, February 5th, Joel came home. We left the hospital about 11:45 this morning with a beautiful (or handsome, whatever you prefer:) little boy in the back seat. He is so precious. We love having him home. It is wonderful to see him without all the monitors or other things attached to him. Our hearts are truly over joyed in how the Lord has brought him home to us. Thank you to those of you who have been praying for Joel. The doctor and nurses were very surprised that he came home so quickly; they expected him to be in the NICU for much longer seeing that his condition was so grave just one week ago. But, we are confident that God heard the prayers of His children. Should we be surprised that our God hears prayer as He has promised to do for those who love Him and are called according to His Name? Surely not - God is faithful and for this we are grateful.

We are going to continue posting blogs as Joel grows and changes. Lord willing, this will give you a little insight into the Schroeder house over the next months. Below are pictures from today! We hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoy our son!
This is Joels' last feeding before leavning the NICU.

Our family picture once we came home :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Blessed be the Name

This is Joel's favorite pose:)

At this time we are finding that the Lord's name is truly to be blessed. In Job chapter 1, after God had taken away all that was precious to Job (wealth, family, and health), the Bible tells us that Job fell on his knees and worshiped God. As he worshiped, he said, "the Lord gives & the Lord takes away, blessed be the Name of the Lord." We are realizing more than ever that the Lord is worthy of our praise regardless of the circumstances. Today we were not able to gather with the believers and worship our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. However, in our hearts we are adoring Him for the many ways in which we have seen His grace. This may sound strange, but we have even been able to know God's grace through Joel's struggles. God's grace is not only that which provides us with good things, but His grace brings us through many trials that cause us to see Jesus Christ more wonderfully. For this we are grateful and worshiping.

Early this morning (Sunday), Joel began eating out of a bottle. He is not eating much since his tummy is still pretty small. However, this is still a tremendous answer to prayer. His breathing has slowed down enough to allow him to eat orally because his lungs have continued to develop. For all of these things we are grateful to our loving Heavenly Father! We realize that our God is the Great Physician that created our bodies and is able to heal them, and we are grateful that He has been working in little Joel.

Again, we thank you for praying for Him. God is gracious to hear and answer our prayers. Not because we are good people that deserve His listening, but because Jesus Christ has atoned for our sin and therefore we are able to approach the Throne of Grace. Thank you for interceding for Joel.

We are still unsure when he is coming home, but that is okay. The Lord knows all things and we rest in His sovereign care. As I shared earlier, he is off the ventilator. They have also removed the lines that were running into his umbilical cord. Now he just has one I.V. that is in his hand. Also, they took him off the Billi Rubin light this morning, which means he is no longer jaundice. Below are pictures of our precious little boy. He is looking so much better!

Joel & Uncle Scott