Monday, March 31, 2008

(Bump) Afraid of Heights

Mondays are good for Recycling! This was originally posted on 1.31.08.

(A Friendly Warning: This post may be slightly PG-13 rated due to some of the things I talk about...just a heads up, especially for parents who let their kids read the blog)


Lately, with the blog, I've been becoming slightly self-conscious. Reading the comments and emails and cards and notes is such an encouragement, but it feels as if I'm being unjustly placed on a pedestal (in other words, many of you seem to think I'm all that and a bunch of raisins, which I'm not), and I'm scared that one day (knowing me, probably someday soon), I'm going to show my true colors and disappoint a lot of people. I'd much prefer to do something preemptive to help lower myself down a little...I am afraid of heights.

So, for the sake of honesty and transparency, let me share a few things about myself.

1) I'm pretty sure that being a great dad is going to be a whole lot harder when the NICU nurses are no longer her primary caregivers. I don't think I really need to say much more...see #3 for some more insight into this one.

2) I envy those people who's faith is most evident in the good times. I totally stink when it comes to having an awesome relationship with God in the good times. I keep asking myself why it takes something like my present situation to really make me believe that God really is who He says he is. I "seem" to do a pretty good job on my own most of the time...it seems to me that it's often a lot easier to trust God when you've nothing left to lose than to trust Him when things are going well. I tend to take the easy road...

3) I am a much better husband when Tricia is in the hospital than when Tricia is at home. I'm lazy, selfish, procrastinatory (yes, that is a word), and stubborn, especially around Tricia. I do a great job of showing off the best of me when I'm around most other people, but trust me, I'm no saint when it comes to my marriage, and Tricia would be the first to tell you that (although she probably never would tell you just 'cause she's so stinkin' nice).

4) I'm a much better and more prolific writer than I am a talker. I don't talk much (my mom loves to call me "a brick wall"). The only time I really talk a lot is when I'm placed in a leadership role with a group of people. Most other times, I do a lot more listening than talking. And when I do talk, I usually don't have too many brilliant things to say...and, even when I do, I usually don't say it well. For some reason, I feel much more comfortable writing than I do talking.

5) I have never donated blood. I'm very scared of needles that are pointed toward me.

6) This blog has done more for me than is has for anybody else. God knew what He was doing when He put the desire in my heart to journal this journey. I thought it would be a good way to keep our friends and family informed and to help others who may take a similar journey after us. Little did I know that God was going to show our story to thousands of people...and little did I know that He was going to use this blog to change my future in the way He has.

You see, back in the summer, around the same time that Tricia was being evaluated for the double lung transplant, I was being diagnosed with anxiety and depression. For several years, I've dealt with feelings and thoughts that have confused and frustrated me. I think and feel and act in ways that I know are not the way I've been called to be as one who lives for and in Christ.

For the past few years, and especially the past several months, I've had thoughts of what my life might be like if Tricia died so young. It's not so much that this kind of thinking is bad...it was the possibilities that came into my mind that seemed to be attractive that really scared me. I wondered if I would secretly run away with our dog and cat and try to start a new life somewhere...or, maybe I would be so numb that I'd sit at home until I either died or was placed in a mental institution...or, maybe I'd be so distraught that I'd hurt myself, or worse...

Up until a few months ago, I just couldn't imagine dealing with the grief in a "healthy" way, continuing with my faith in God, living a productive life without Tricia. The alternatives just seemed a whole lot easier, on several different levels. And, I've been very scared to talk with anyone about this.

But, through watching (with the rest of you) with incredible awe and humility the ways that God has been using Tricia and Gwyneth to change so many hearts and lives, He has also been changing me. God deserves all of the credit for anything good that has come out of our story, and I am just floored that He is using me to tell it.

I'll be honest, most of the faith-focused stuff that I've been writing on this blog has been more about me having an outlet to put on "paper" the things that I really need to read and hear to believe are true. Do I totally believe what I mean when I say that I'm trusting God with the lives of my two girls? Of course not! But, thinking it in my head and heart, writing it on this blog for thousands to see, and witnessing the response from you has brought me so much closer to that total faith and trust than I have ever been. When I post things that seem to come from a person of great faith, realize that they're actually being posted for a person with little faith.

I think what I'm trying to say is, if faith is always as easy as placing all of our trust in something/Someone all the time, then I'm not really sure that is real faith at all. I sit in chairs all the time (going back to that lazy thing), and I can't remember the last time a chair decided it wasn't going to hold me (although with all of this hospital and fast food, I'm becoming more suspicious)...but I don't think that my faith in those chairs is really anything to write home about.

If my faith in God is never tested, if my trust that He is always there and always wanting the best for me is always 100%, God might as well be a piece of furniture. And, up until just recently, maybe that's exactly what my thoughts, words and actions were showing about my God...

As I've mentioned a few times, it's not so much that I have incredible faith...it's more that I have an incredible God Who has chosen to put me in an incredible situation that only gave me two choices: rely on my own will and strength and stamina, or increase my trust in God. Knowing my own limitations, the choice was pretty simple.

When I am at my weakest, He makes His strength most evident.

God is using your stories and comments and emails to give me hope for my own life. I know I've said it many times, but I'm believing more and more that, after this part of our journey is over, God will still be Who He is, no matter the outcome.

Thank you for helping me. This post wasn't as clearly written as I had hoped (and I've been wanting to write this for a long time now), but hopefully I've brought my pedestal down at least a little...

Nate

259 comments:

1 – 200 of 259   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

So you ARE human! :)

mom2izzyandallen said...

I completely understand the sentiment. I want to trust God completely; I know I'm supposed to trust God completely; I know he is worthy of my trusting him completely; I know he has only good plans for me and wouldn't use my complete trust against me (in my HEAD) but try telling that to my heart sometimes. I am learning from watching and listening to you! Still praying...The Dodges

Anonymous said...

Praying for you and "your girls". Thank you for your honesty, for that I am grateful. May God continue to comfort you and your family during this season in your lives.

Warmly, Angela

Anonymous said...

Nate,
Thanks for being transparent and letting God use your story to encourage my own faith. Humility is a beautiful thing:)
Love you guys,
Cousin Jenn

Anonymous said...

It may not have been written as you originally thought it should, but it is perfect because it is genuine (of course, we don't know you, but your thought and words are full of just what God made us-human--with joy, trust, mistrust, faith........). And your journal of your journey will lift up many many people who read, and hopefully yourself as well. We continue to pray here in south Jersey! Hope you have a great day!!

Bethann
faithfamileefun@comcast.net

Tish said...

you are not feeling anything the rest of us don't feel, too. i can write some things on my blogs that sound really "spiritual" and i wonder "where did that come from?" and then it's like God asks "yes, but do you BELIEVE the things you have written? do you LIVE OUT the things you have written?" faith seems to be a moment by moment choice i make to trust God. thanks be to God for His faithfulness despite our weakness...Ps 103:14 - For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust

Destini said...

A quote taken from my favorite vegetable Larry Boy :) "He who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exhausted..." He has the words a little mixed up...I know you must get weary in your battles. I think the important thing to remember is you are still humbled, you are still teachable and learning how to be a better husband and father. God is still trying to fashion you into Christ's likeness. You can admit your failures and mistakes. It is when we become unteachable and exalt ourselves and receive our immediate praise from men that we have a problem. That is the time for self-examination. Sometimes I feel like "we" collectively as the adoring public are a lot like the Israelites fashioning their golden calf while Moses was up on the mountain with God. We want so badly to see and experience God in a mighty way that we tend to exalt men to dangerous heights only leaving them with the chance of a greater fall. I am thankful that this journal is filling you with hope and encouragement. I am also thankful that as you read these comments you are able to stay humbled and grounded. I pray continually for your strength and your faithfullness to God to sustain you, as well as the health and strength of your girls. Fill your head and your heart with the good things of God...His word...daily. He will continue to guide your path! stay strong and encouraged brother!

Carole said...

I, for one, do appreciate your honesty. Not many men will admit to the things you just did. I really do relate in so many ways with the whole trusting God issue. It's a whole lot different when that trust is put to the test than when it's smooth sailing. I also struggle with becoming apathetic when things are going well. I don't pray as I should when life is calm.
It's encouraging to see it in print that someone else has the same struggles and opens their heart to the whole internet world, so, in an odd sort of way, maybe you are higher than ever on your pedestal :-)

Anonymous said...

My english lit professor said this in class the other day. She might be about a hundred years old, but she's the wisest person I know. "I was born into a Christian family and God had planted his seed in my before I was born. I was never blessed with the opportunity of doubt or struggle to strengthen my faith."

BuckeyeNP said...

Well, Nate, I think the 400 or so comments that will follow will show you that you are not alone. That took a lot of, um, well - you know - to post. Who hasn't struggled with apathy in the good times? Who hasn't wrestled with doubt in the bad times?

I was re-reading an old Bible Study (beth moore of course!) last night and she was talking about how sometimes there is a "no" now so there can be a "greater yes" later. It seems like the greater yes's just keep on coming for you all, and in that, He is being glorified every step of the way.

Be blessed today.

r.a.w. said...

I second the first comment. :)

I thought your post was well-thought-out (was that too many hyphens just now? I'm not sure).

In any case, I think that regardless of whether you are way up high on a pedestal, or just down here with the rest of us poor schlepps, you give us good food for thought and remind us of some things we all need to be reminded of now and then.

And you also give us the opportunity to pray for you and your family, which is a blessing in itself.

By the way, I hate needles too, which makes fertility treatments vveeeerrrryyyy interesting. Also, my blood does not flow very well and it takes MANY minutes to get one little vial. I genuinely believe it would take 1/2 hour to get a pint, and by that point I would be passed out on the floor. God bless the people who donate.

erin said...

hey you dont need to explain your self to anyone, we choose to read the things here. the people that have a problem with this blog should just stop reading, you just keep on keeping on. you are a great dad and a great husband with a lot going on. thanks for allowing us a glimpse into your world. i along with many others am crazy about that little baby of yours and cant wait til her and her mommy can be together!!

The Brown family said...

Thank you for your honesty. Your truthfulness has shown God's face more than you will ever know. Keep the faith and the rest always falls into place (even if God's plan isn't our plan)

Tracy said...

God is in control -- it is obvious that his plan to increase your faith is working... We are so blessed to have the privelege of being able to lift you and your girls up in prayer and to receive constant updates. My admiration for you isn't because of your "perfect faith and trust in God" -- it is for your love that you have for your girls and for your diligence in keeping us all updated. We are still praying :) I hope today is a great one for the three of you.

Zac and Jenny said...

We love you just the way you are. You're genuine and that's what we all love.

All my best. -Jenny

aunt donna said...

Nathan, Again, thank you for sharing. I do not have you on a pedastal, just proud of you. But I know it comes from God, after all you are my nephew!!! This world makes us think depression is a bad thing, but it isn't. Sometimes comes from chemical imbalance, sometimes due to situations, circumstances. Our world also tries to make so tough, you have shown this is not always the case. you are human, a born again human. love you. Give Tricia a kiss for me.

Sherry Boyle said...

Someone has said that we don't learn anything when we're talking, only when we're listening. People who talk a lot irritate people like me. On the other hand, there is such a thing as stuffing our thoughts and feelings to the point where we don't relate to people. I don't think that's you! Hang onto all of this written stuff -- one day you may write a book, who knows?

Julie said...

I will admit I've been a blog "stalker" up until today--this is the first comment I've made. I came to your site through some other blogs I read. Anyway, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for so eloquently sharing your doubts, fears, and faith through this most recent post. (Not trying to elevate you by saying that.... :) You just put it well. Thanks for giving us a glimpse into your journey, and I will continue to pray for your family.

RiLes said...

Well said...definitely well said.

Anonymous said...

Nate - Thanks for sharing. What is really great is that God uses flawed people like me and you to demonstrate His faithfulness, love, power and strength. If we were so great on our own, who needs God? His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Amen!

Anonymous said...

A missionary from HHBC once shared in SS class how he felt when he left his daughter in the hospital overnight. As he walked down the hall to leave, because he had to, he could hear his daughter crying out for him that she didn't want to be there. This missionary father knew it was best for his daughter to stay there. This missionary shared that he realized it was like God needing to let us go through things that that we didn't want to go through. But it was the best for us.
OFTEN WHEN I'M DISCOURAGED...I think of that example and know that God loves me even though He has to let me go through some hard things.

Annie- Nashville said...

Bless you for your honesty and openness. We all struggle with things in one way or another but the mighty power of prayer is what get's us ALL through- we are ALL HUMAN and have our flaws- and we thank you for being so transparent with us so many times and so honest with us. May all of our faith be strengthened! We all fall short of His glory- but that's why there is GRACE! Praise God!!!!!

Laurie said...

Thank you so much for continuing to be human Nate. It IS in these situations that God shows His stuff and our weaknesses. We all need to walk our talk and your honesty is amazing and truthful. Perhaps we are all helping each other in your journey, I know my faith has really been growing in how much I don't know about our God and His greatness. I for one, do not hold you up on a pedestal, I hold you up in prayer to the one who is in control of the miracle you are part of. Sometimes we need to hear ourselves confess out loud what we believe in order for it to really sink in. This is why I talk to myself all day long, and the Lord, so I can make sure we are on the same page. God is using your journey to turn our eyes to Him, each one of us who support you daily and hourly. You are doing okay in my book!!
Praying for your girls to continue healing and praying for you Nate, to have the privacy you need to hear God whisper to you. He loves you and so do I.

Laurie in Ca.

Amy said...

I think you are finding the faults in yourself that all of us have. Of course it's easier to be closer to God in the hard times because that's when we feel we need Him most. It's just reassuring to know that He is with us just as much any other time... we just fail to recognize it.

I've spent my life trying to please others, and you end up feeling like you have built yourself up so much with others that, when you do something small that they might be disappointed in, it undoes every good thing you've ever done. Please don't feel this way. As it's been stated many times, you are only human and you are bound and entitled to make mistakes.

Sorry if that sounded too preachy.

Melissa Dovel said...

Nate,

For me- its not a pedistal you are placed on but a reminder of what really matters in life (our loved ones). One thing that your blog has done for me is that it reminds me that money being tight, the kids with a tummy virus, the husband (or wife) not fufilling their roll perfectly, being in a dry place spirtualy the list goes on and on.... None of that really matters because my husband and my cildren are healthy- they are not fighting for life. Hope this makes sence to you to say that you are not on a pedistal you are a person fighting for things most of us have every day and we take for granted. Its an opportunity to pray for your needs cause your family is loved deeply buy brothers and sisters in the Lord. I have never once pittied your situation just true heart felt pain for your struggles. You should feel the freedom to say and do what ever it is you need to. Dont feel like you owe anyone an explination. Keep on stepping your growing bigger in Him everyday.

Blessings dear Nate,
M Dovel

refreshing in ohio said...

So, what you're saying is "you're NOT perfect"??? It's going to take alot more than that to convince this crowd of that! Just by admitting your faults makes you even more amazing! Yes, I am glad to see that you are not always perfect, but God has great plans for you and this journey is only the beginning. Oh, and by lazy, did you mean doing the dishes, taking Meka out and driving hundreds of miles back and forth to Durham, etc (I've been reading and watching videos from old posts)? In my book, that's not lazy! And, just like a mother healing from a c-section having to get up several times a night to soothe and feed a screaming newborn baby taking only a minute to swallow some Motrin, you will find that you love caring for that sweet Gwyneth at any moment without yearning selfishly for what life was like before her (or your armchair)! I look back to my marriage before kids and wonder what we did with all of our time!!! And you and Tricia will, too! I'm grateful for your ability to 'write' rather than 'talk' because otherwise I would not know one bit about you or your candid story! Thanks again for yet another thoughtful and inspiring post! Be careful, your plan might backfire and your pedestal might grow taller!

Anonymous said...

nate, your story has been my inspiration! i love your honesty. Like the first post says~you are ONLY human! you will do great being a father after Gwenyth comes home. you and tricia will be great parents and have extreme faith. god bless...how's Gwenyth doing?

sara said...

you are a human and you can't be perfect. and everybody understands that :)

Misty said...

A life full of surrender to the great I AM often brings anxiety and depression -- b/c we have to be powerless for Him to be all powerful!! Not an easy lesson for us humans to learn. One I'm learning right along with you, Nathan (feel like I know you personally -- I'm close friends with Matt and Jenn Kirschner). Just one day at a time, one measure of faith at a time -- if faith were so easy, it wouldn't require "perfecting". Blessings and prayers to you and your girls in this journey that is touching so many hearts and lives for HIS glory!

Kimberly said...

Thank you so much for today's post. I believe this one has meant as much or more to me than any others. I too believe in showing "real" faith to others. We all have failures and are inadequate, if we didn't we wouldn't need a Saviour!
My husband also struggles with anxiety and depression and I so understand the thoughts and emotions that that can sometimes throw at you. We are praying for all of you...you won't believe the ways this blog is being used...so many different levels!

TerryKM said...

I always thought there was something not right about you (I'm sure you thought the same about me). In all seriousness, thank you for being authentic.

Rebecca said...

God love you, Nate.

About the depression/anxiety. As I mentioned yesterday, I was diagnosed with this in 2001, but I'd been suffering with it for MUCH longer than that.

You worry about your wife dying young. I worry about my husband dying when *I'm* young. My husband is 21 years older than I am. (I'll be 33 in March; my husband will be 54 in May.)

Marrying him was the smartest thing I ever did. And it sounds like you feel the same way about marrying Tricia. But we've been married just long enough now (almost 2 years) that I'm starting to realize how much it's going to stink (to put it mildly) when he gets old and dies on me.

And I worry about what happens between the time he "gets old" and "dies." Like you, I'm lazy and selfish. My husband waits on me hand and foot. I tell him that he'll get the "hand and foot" treatment when he gets old and I am caring for him.

But WILL I care for him as well as he cares for me? What if I'm too selfish to do right by him?

Life -- and death -- is scary, I tell you.

As always, you know how to find me, if you need anything.

Love to you, Tricia and Gwyneth.

AlaneM said...

Nate, I very much identify with you! It's so easy to just drift along & rely on yourself when the going's good but when a crisis comes up...we go running back to God. I know I do!
I thank you for your honesty & for sharing this aspect of your journey with us.
Praying you you all,
Alane

Allison said...

A friend of mine turned me onto your blog several weeks ago (before Gwyneth was born) and I have followed your truly amazing journey. As a wife and mother I have to tell you that Tricia and your beautiful daughter are so lucky to have you. You are only human but you have made me and hundreds of others want to be better people and live better lives. Thank you for sharing your journey and for being so honest and genuine. My family continues to pray for yours.

Anonymous said...

Your honesty is humbling and you undoubtedly love your wife with everything you have. Your last post leaves me with much respect to you and now am a devoted fan, I will be here reading your words and following your journey. Thank you.

Dee Dee said...

Well, you just made me love you more. And the folks at this house already loved you - and your dear family - a lot. Thank you for your transparency. It'll preach : )

Anonymous said...

Nate:
In regards to points number 2....so many of us are like that having more faith in hard times. I want to tell you that coming accross your blog and reading your story has increased my walk with the Lord and has made me so thankful for the healthy family I have. We all need to not take God forgranted, however it is so easy to do...thankfully God still loves us.

Anonymous said...

Nate...thank you for being so transparent...as believer it is so challenging to stand in the face of those who would question our faith because we are sick or any of the other false assumptions associated with that!

My personal favorite these days is something that I just heard at a leadership retreat and that was because sickness does not exist in heaven it cannot exist here either..."whatever is loosed in heaven, shall be loosed on earth, whatever is bound in heaven shall be bound on earth." Now, while I agree that sickness should not be here, in a perfect world, the last time I checked, the only perfect world around us is Heaven.

Hmmm...on that same thought...money doesn't exist in heaven either...does that make it completely evil, too?

Anyway, enough rambling...

Continuing to pray for your beautiful family


Amy, Southern Ca.
www.caringbridge.org/visit/rosegirl

Anonymous said...

It is refreshing to hear someone talk so honestly about your struggles. Thank you for sharing.
I am sending a prayer up for you, your lovely wife, and sweet child right now.

Jennifer Burgett said...

Thank you for that!
It was something I needed to read because I have been questioning why I can't have a Faith like yours. But with your post I realized that I do.

Anonymous said...

Nathan,

Thanks once again for your honesty and courage in sharing your heart! Most other long-time Christians can totally relate to your comments about apathy and lack of faith in the smooth times. Most of us just aren't willing to admit to it. :)

I experienced similar feelings while journaling my experiences with my Mom's journey with cancer. Sometimes when I would reread what I had written I wondered where it had come from! And the writing definitely did more for me than for anyone who may have read my entries. Keep writing- it is definitely therapeutic, and God will use it to grow your faith in an amazing way! The awesome thing about your blog is that God has chosen to use it in a miraculous way for a world who needs to see Him.
Remember, God is not surprised by your response to this trial nor by your growth as a result of it. It is part of His PERFECT plan for you (and of course, part of the reason he chose YOU to be Tricia's husband in the first place.) Isn't it cool that He loves us, warts and all?!

I can't help but think of James 1:2-4 right now. Nathan, you're probably very familiar with this passage, but for the sake of those who may not be:

"Consider it pure joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

We continue to be amazed by all the ways God is working through your story. Thanks for allowing yourself to be transparent- that way, we can really see GOD shining through!

Continued love and prayers,
Laura (and family)

Anonymous said...

So glad to know you feel you can be honest with us (your readers and prayer partners). God is using the three of you as a witness. None of us are perfect but letting the "humanness" show through helps others to realize what God can do. Praying for you three and so glad Tricia is in a room. Sorry we didn't get to make contact yesterday at Duke but God has a perfect plan and I'll accept that. Ann

Sanchez Stories said...

No, I don't think what you wanted to accomplish happened... Well maybe a little bit... We do know that you are human, and that you do have feelings, at least I know that. BUT your faith is stronger than you know!
Sorry to inform you of this!

mel2681 said...

You are just human, and speaking for myself, I wouldn't expect anything but that! In fact, I have had a very hard time with religion - my husband and I don't see eye to eye and it's hard for me to believe something that isn't tangible or a rock-hard scientific fact. By reading your blogs, I am believing a little more each day - so thanks! Thank you for sharing your life with us! I really appreciate the sincerity and truthfulness of it all!

Julie said...

I'm sure it was hard to write this post. It's always hard to admit our faults, especially when we can be so good at "hiding" them from others.
Being from a family with lots of depression issues, let me just say that it's good that you recognize that there is a problem. Now just make sure you follow through and get whatever help you need to control it. There's nothing wrong with needing help sometimes.
Now we just have another specific thing to pray for!!

Kelly said...

Praising God for your ability to write such a raw and beautiful post!

grey like snuffie said...

One of my favorite sayings---"my circumstances do not define who God is" The blog world is so strange--we "find" someone and can start to feel like we know them. Reality is that writing on a blog is an incomplete way to express what God is doing. It's so amazing to us and we want to share and encourage others and yet find its hard to put in words. And each of us read the same words and "hear" something different in our minds and spirits. What He is allowing will be for your good and His glory! Your journey as a caregiver will do AMAZING things to you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you again for your honesty. God is SO working through your family. By being so transparent and honest, HE is undoubtedly using you guys to bring people to Himself. I think many people fear or shy away from faith/God because they feel they are not "good" enough or have be this certain way or that before they will be "OK enough" to seek God/ be "worthy" of Him.

What we need though, is more honest people, like yourself, whom, through sharing their stories are a witness that God wants, accepts and downright loves us AS WE ARE! We are ALL WORTHY of Him and if we just come before Him in honesty, He can and WILL work in our lives.

"Perfect" people do not exist. Yet, I think we all think we know some "perfect" people, who "never struggle" and who "have it all together!" (I for one, am guilty of thinking that at times about people in my life!). The reality, however, is that WE ALL STRUGGLE! And, it is refreshing to see someone so openly share, b/c what happens is often like a ripple effect. Others will think "Hmmmm if he struggles with that, maybe I am OK after all" and start opening up and in time, maybe even allowing God in having seen His hand work in your life through a similar struggle.

Sorry to ramble on your site. I too, better express myself through writing (though I am not sure if the jumbled mess above is a good indicator of that!)

Bottom Line.... Thank you and Thank Tricia for being so willing to allow the Lord to work through you and to share with us what He is doing. God is changing lives... and using your family to do it.

Still Praying in NY..... Amy

Chris said...

Nate,
Your deep and sincere honesty about your feelings has moved me to tears. Not the first time your blog has moved me to tears (both happy and sad) as well as made me look inside myself. I deal with a chronic disease (not very gracefully) and I try to hide the fact that I am sick from people. I just wanted to thank you for sharing the courage our Lord is providing you with. Our family will continue to pray for yours and may the Lord continue to work miracles and blessings to your amazingly courageous wife and beautiful baby girl. God bless you Nathan. You may have no idea how your sharing your family's story has caused an increase in atleast our family's prayer life and our faith.

Carol said...

God uses flawed people like you and me to demonstrate His faithfulness, love, power and strength. If we were so great on our own, who needs God? His power is made perfect in our weakness.
Enough said

c&v said...

Nate,
Thank you for your transparency and for your steps of faith these past months. God is using you, through your struggles and growth, to reach others. We are praying for you, Tricia, and Gwyneth every day.

Tanisha in VA said...

Reflection is a wonderful thing! We all have a "thorn" to keep us humble - you know that area that we wish God would "hurry up and fix". For me, my Christian walk is about serving God & blessing others WHILE I'm waiting on Him to "fix me". You're not the only one who slacks off during good times - I'm CONVINCED that's why God won't let my thorn go away...lest I forget His goodness and try to make it on my own. Keep pressing on! We all have to continue to strive to be more like Him! You BLESSED me with your honesty!

elj377 said...

I think you said what you said wonderfully...my pastor has been preaching on faith alot recently and asking questions and I know that for me when things are easy or calm it is so easy to take control and do things my way! For me, while I hate trials and struggles it is there that I am reminded of how great a sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf, how much he truly understands my needs and how much love He truly has for me! Keep your chin up! Enjoy the focus being on your girls...and when you get home keep it there!( As a wife who sometimes feels underappreciated at home I was heartened by your admiting your faults!) We are praying for you!

Love from Kansas City

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Keeping the prayers for your girls and for YOU, going. Sure you are not perfect ( who is?), but you do one heck of a job being a fabulous husband and dad. You are a good person, not only because of your situation, but bc you can admit your faults.

Prayers going up, for more tiny miracles to come down!

Beth said...

Amen, Nate!!
All we can do is let the Lord work in and through us...yes, unfortunately it is when we are in the valleys of life that we reach out to Him the most...BTDT!
Praying for you, your girls, and the thousands that are being touched through your website.
Thanks to you and a friend of mine who also blogs, I have started my own blog and have placed your blogsite on it.
Feel free to drop in anytime.
In Him,
Beth in PA

Tom said...

Thanks for sharing that stuff! Just so you know, and I am sure you do, that you are not alone in those thoughts of faith in God. A real encouragement to hear from your heart! Thanks for doing that man!

LewisFam said...

That was very well said. I know that sharing fears and concerns with others, let alone complete strangers, is hard to do. I have been praying for your whole family. Thank you for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

After this post, you are left un-judged. If that makes sense. We all struggle with our own spiritual weakness. Thanks for being real. I wonder in my thoughts if this will be a movies someday! I totally understand the writing thing versus the talking thing...lol...

Amanda said...

Regardless- I still think you are pretty awesome. It is so much easier to write about your faith than to act in faith sometimes.

Christy said...

My husband and I lost a pregnancy in 05. A pregnancy that we prayed long and hard for. Had I been a blogger, this would have been similar to how I would have worded my feelings at the time. My mom said to me, "You have always been stubborn, and this time in your life is no exception. You can't fix anything without the help of God, and if you aren't willing to let Him come in and fix it, and put all of your faith and trust into the One whom you can't see, than it will never be fixed." Being the brat that I am, I didn't like hearing her say that. I wanted to do it my way. I begged God to show me how to deal with my loss, my anxiety, and my depression. He revealed Himself to me two weeks later, while in the choir loft at my church while singing these words:

No matter the storms that come my way
No matter the trials I may face
You promised that you would see me through
So I will trust in you.

As many times as I had sung those precious words, standing in that very spot, they never really meant as much to me as they did on that day. In the middle of that song I fell to my knees, and threw up my hands and gave it all to Him. I left church, that day, a free woman.

I've learned, since then, that it doesn't matter how long we've been in church. It doesn't matter that we've spent our whole lives in church. We are growing Christians, and forever will be. We are human and we will forever make mistakes. I don't believe I suffered that loss as a result of punishment from God, but instead I believe that God showed me how much my faith was lacking because, like you, it was easier for me to praise Him in the good times, and forget about Him when things got tough, simply because I felt like I could fix my own problems quicker than He could. At 28, I still have so much more growing to do in my relationship with Christ, but I am able to fully give my life over to Him now, as well as all of my worry and doubt and be confident that He will take care of me. I couldn't do that before June 2005.

I'm not putting you up on a pedestal when "saying" this. You should be proud of yourself for admitting your faults. (BTW, most men are lazy babies when their wives are around! he,he. I've just put your wife and all good wives on a pedestal!) >;0) Lifting you up in prayer, Nate. Praying that the Lord continues to use you to share His love and mercy with the world. Praying that you continue to grow in your relationship with Him, through good and bad. Blessings to you.

RealityGap said...

Im sorry to say but I think that you have just been placed higher! lol

What an amazing post, and I for one would love to meet you one day and shake your hand.

Oh you were very right about the parenting getting harder once you get your little bundle home.

Its nice to see you are a regular kind of guy - Human!!

hugs xx

Shari said...

Nathan--I am glad you wrote this post today. It puts many things into perspective. Humility is something we all need to hear. I, too, am facing an illness that could be life-threatening and this was very helpful to me. I appreciate your honesty. I am praying for your precious family and you are in my thoughts daily. Take care!

Shari

Carmen said...

Nate I to have struggled with anxiety and depression. I started having problems with my heart and it scared me and I had severe panic attacks. I've been on medication for 7 years. I still have good and bad times.I don't think your superhuman, none of us are and I know you have to have been so scared for both your girls in the last few weeks.I hate needles and the sight of blood makes me pass out. You have a beautiful family and your lucky to have so much love in your life.
Carmen

Cryssy said...

I don't think any one that you've inspired would expect you to be perfect. Personally, I think it is easier to be inspired by those more like me than by those so clearly out of my league. People that can be honest about their faults and their faith are the ones I feel I can connect with enough to be helped by. I'm challenged more by people I think I might be able to relate to. For me, you've just impressed me more by this post. You are honest in your seeking, feeling, and desire for God and being a better child of His.

Wobbly Librarian said...

Blessings to you! Others have said it better than I ever could.

barb said...

Well, you may not have the faith of Abraham, or the constitution of Paul, but you have a transparency and honesty that make me envious. Yeah, I know—envy is a sin. I think you speak for most of us when you say that your faith is more evident in the hard times… when all you can do is trust God. And I don't think most of us are putting you on a pedestal, but rather lifting you up to encourage you and give you a pat on the back. We all need that at one time or another. In fact, we all need that pretty regularly. As far as our faith being tested, James says, "Blessed is the man who endures trials, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him." (James 1:12) You, my friend, are in for a blessing… and you are a blessing to me as you share your thoughts, your fears, your joys. Hang in there and keep trusting the only One who is worthy of our trust.

Alex said...

This is so good to hear. I think it describes most people, at least at somepoint in their life. I don't think we would be good Christians if we did not question our faith at least once in our life. I, too like you am horrible in my faith when I'm at an OK place in my life, but wouldn't you know, I'm the first to run to God if things are looking down, and he has his way of letting me know that He will answer my prayers in His own way and in His time, I may not think that the answer is good, expecially in my time of doubt, b ut later in my life I realize that His answer is just what I needed. I think it is perfectly healthy as a Christian to question your faith. I'm still praying for you and your family in Iowa, but please let me know if I can do more than pray. Thank you so much for your honesty, and remember that people keep reading your blog, because they are genuinley interested in what you have to say. Please excuse all of my spelling and typing errors!

Anonymous said...

It's always good to remember that God blesses us not because WE are good but because HE is good. It seems He often chooses to work through someone's weakness in order to show His strength.

Nate, if you had the most incredible faith in the universe it wouldn't be so amazing that you are trusting God to see you through this. It's amazing b/c you couldn't do it on your own.

I think we should all do Nate a favor and reserve the pedestal for the ONLY ONE who can stand there without falling--Jesus.

I praise God for how he is working in your lives--Nate, Tricia, & Gwyneth--physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Your story touches my heart and strengthens my faith. Thank you for sharing it!

Julie
in Indiana

Kim said...

Pedestal? no. Human? yep. Sinner? yep. Worthy? yep.

My favorite quote: "Your anchor isn't tested in calm water."

The simple answer is FAITH. He is your friend. The hard answer is FAITH. So small, yet so large. Let go and He'll show you.

May the thousands of prayers gracefully rain down on you.

Kim www.MomUnscripted.com

Kevin said...

Thank-you for your honesty and transparency Nate! You and your family are in our continued prayers.

Casa de Castro said...

Nate,
I found your blog through Sarah Smith's site and have been praying for all of you while following your amazing journey. So many things you've written have struck a chord with me, but perhaps none more so than today.

Depression and anxiety were once my foes also. I was 25 when I was diagnosed. That was 20 years ago. This forum won't allow the telling of the entire story, but the important part is that 20 years later, I'm here, I'm alive, I'm content, I'm fulfilled, and I know my God more intimately than I EVER would have had I not walked that dark and confusing road.

Satan loves to steal the joy of God's children, and depression and anxiety are excellent tools for accomplishing that. I clearly remember the day that truth dawned on me and then in the moments afterward how the Lord ministered to me by reminding me that HE has not given me a spirit of fear, but instead one of POWER and LOVE and of a SOUND MIND! Praise God for His faithfulness to all of us... even when we can't feel Him or sense Him in our lives.

Thank you for your transparency and honesty so that those who read your journal might be encouraged in their own journeys. I am blessed by your words and thoughts and covenant to continue praying with and for you, Tricia, Gwyneth Rose and all of your family in the weeks and months ahead.

Jennifer Castro

Anonymous said...

I think your honesty is very refreshing. I think we are all somewhat of a different persona online. (I know my blog probably sounds different than the real me.) I think God is using this to do a great work in your life and make you more and more the man He wants you to be!

Leah Courtney

Kari said...

Thank you so much for bearing your heart. Your walk is so not easy but we joy in the little steps.

Ive done the NICU ride 3 times and people would say oh your so strong. I identify with what you have written so much!

Again Thank you and I pray for you and your girls daily! Hold on to Jesus, He's holding on to you!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE number 5 on your list! The one time I did decide to donate blood, the week before my wedding (what was I thinking)I ended up with a nasty bruse and a scar to prove it!

Also, knowing that you are growing in your own faith as you write this blog, helps me more than you could imagine. Though we are all human, it is nice to see another NICU parent with a long road ahead, witnessing the awesome daily miracles of our Lord. Even if they come in the form of a good poop!

Off to one of my mulitple daily NICU scrub in sessions.

Prayers from Nashville
M, L, M & W (26.4 weeker)

Judy said...

I'm sure you are constantly debating how much to share in your blog and whether or not you really want to be this personal and transparent with people that you don't even know. I've been thinking about all of this lately and the picture that keeps coming to my mind is one of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people beseeching the throne of God on Gwen and Trisha's behalf. I would imagine that someone is praying for your girls at almost every moment of the day. I know I was earlier today as I was driving home from a doctor's appointment. And I was praying last night around midnight when I couldn't sleep. Your latest posting was a good reminder to me that we need to be praying for you and your parents and Trisha's parents too! This is tremendously hard on all of you and I think most of us who are believers admire the strength you are showing, but realize that you're human too. Sharing your weakness once again shows what God can do through mortal man. Time and time again God has done great things through flawed lives. Pick just about anyone out of the Bible and you realize that God loves to show His strength, through our weaknesses. Praying for you and the girls too!!

Anonymous said...

Amen and Praise the Lord. God is good and faithful.
~Sheryl

Kailah said...

Aren't we all chamber pots that God can miraculously use for wine for The King? :) I understand where you are coming from completely. I have struggled with anxiety depression myself and I also find myself imagining weird things like you descibe that sometimes scare me. Recently I've had to learn when those thought come, immediately start praying for someone. Satan was really using those thoughts against me a couple of months ago. I'm so glad we have a God who loves us, wants what is best for us, and is willing to teach us!! Even when we screw up so much of the time!! Thanx for being so candid. You are a blessing to many. Lots of prayers coming your way from our house. :)

Anonymous said...

"When I am at my weakest, He makes His strength most evident"

Amen to that!

Jill said...

See, THIS post is exactly why you are an amazing person. You and Tricia are real people and you've shared your real journey with us, not hiding any of your stumblings, weaknesses, doubts, or joys. You have both proven your faith by allowing the world into your lives and sharing how God is working through your family. If that's not a show of faith, I don't know what is.

Wishing all of God's blessings for Tricia, Gwyneth, and you!

Jill - faithful blog-stalker from WA

Anonymous said...

Nate, Don't be so hard on yourself - we are ALL human! Opening your heart to us like that, I truly believe, that God will SO honor and your faith and trust in Him will be even stronger! I still think you are amazing! And human!!! Thank you so much for sharing this - I have struggled with anxiety and depression as well, and being from a strong christian family - and a pastor's wife - admitting that would make me seem 'less' of a christian! Well, I'm not! I'm human! You've brightened my day and made me realize once more that God's love shines through us all, in all our situations, and that they are for a reason and for His glory, if we choose to be 'real'! God bless you!!! You and your girls remain in my prayers!

Anonymous said...

We don't think you are great, we think that the God you serve in GREAT and we are confident that He is showing His greatness in you! Any Greatness in any of us is from Him... I pray that He continues more and more to show you His Greatness and that He will continue more and more to let it shine in you! - The Stubbs in Huntsville AL

Anonymous said...

Tosses can of pedestal polish to Nate:
Your still up there, dude.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are only human! Go figure! Thanks for sharing your story as it HAS touched so many. We are currently in a situation where we are putting our trust in God and are waiting to find out what He has in store for us. It's never easy to completely give the control to God but He is always there trying to guide us in the right direction, if only we would listen!

Anonymous said...

I won't go into specifics, but my mother suffered from severe mental illnesses when i was young. While at the same time having to rely more on my faith with each passing day, I would often in the next breath scream out, why me? It's natural to be conflicted during troubled times. And, it is easy to be complacent during good times. But, what enduring the difficult times has allowed me to have a more honest and humbling relationship with God during good and bad times. Without learning this lesson early and often, I wonder if my faith would have survived.

Anonymous said...

You are so fun Nate. Sounds like you are just as human as the rest of us.

Tara said...

Christians are human! I think we all (I know I do) struggle with faith, hope, compassion, trust, etc... on a daily basis. Thankfully, our God is always faithful, trusting, compassionate, forgiving, and on and on.... Because of that, we are able to walk through life and continually learn about the magnitude of His awesome gift.

Anonymous said...

Nate, I've been reading your blogs now for about two weeks. You leave me speechless everytime I read them. Your courage through this journey is remarkable. Everyday, i pray for you and your two girls! I truly believe in my heart that everything will be ok and we'll all have a happy ending to read someday soon! Thinking of you all the way from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada! Looking forward to reading more and more.....
Take care.

Rich and Lauren said...

Thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. We love you guys.

Debbie in GA said...

OK we all knew you were human and a "man" but if this made you feel better go with it. :) You remind me of my son-in-law, the one with the triplets, he also loves to sit. If fact it is the one thing he misses from the 4 months they spent at the hospital (before birth and after). You are right things will be more difficult after the NICU but remember Gwyneth is new at this baby thing too so you will learn and grow together.

Sharon S. said...

It must be so hard to be the blogger in this situation, receiving so many comments, to have a following like this. I so appreciate your honesty, and I identify with your shortcomings (especially as one in ministry). May God grant you grace to rest in the fact that you need only to answer to Him, and your soul is securely hidden in Christ's righteousness.

Joy said...

You made me cry, in a good way!

Who knows but that God has made you for such a time as this? - Mordecai

This is your time! - Michael W. Smith

Peter didn't sink while he was looking at Jesus ... and that's why YOU'RE where you are today ... you've kept your eye on the Lord!

Thank you so much for sharing! I appreciate you!

Sara said...

Honesty....how refreshing! You are human, you have flaws, you will never be perfect in this lifetime. We are all the same that way!

God uses the weak to demonstrate his strength, & has since the beginning. A boy defeated a giant, a great prophet battled depression, the leader of a nation had low self-esteem & a woman gave birth to our Savior. And a man who once persecuted Christ became His biggest advocate!

God can use us, no matter how flawed we are. Thank you for your humble spirit & for giving God the glory. You are a tremendous blessing (along with Tricia & Gwyneth) to a great deal of people! Still praying.......

~Sara in MD

thegirlfromtheghetto said...

Life is hard, and I think it's great that you are writing about your experiences. Education in any aspect helps all of us, so thank you for sharing...

Sara said...

By the way, I'm still laughing about the "needles" commment :-)

~Sara in MD

Olivia said...

Everyone is looking for honesty. It is these people, who are willing to share there fears, doubts, and errors, that really impact others. You have graciously allowed hundreds of people to experience truth. We are all just like each other. We are all either searching for a way to hide our faults, or expose them so we can grow. You are just one of those that are willing to share, which in fact changes people.

Amy said...

Thank you for being so open and honest with us. I want you to know that you are not alone...

I too am one of those people who seems to do just fine on my own. On more than one occasion, God has, in His great mercy, placed me into incredibly difficult situations to force me to depend on Him.

While things in my life are pretty uneventful right now, God is using your story to renew my prayer life. I find that my walk with God is so much better when my focus is off myself. It has been an incredible honor to be able to spend time praying for you and your girls.

stengs said...

I have to say that your post had the opposite affect on me than the one you wanted. I have been a silent follower of your blog since your beautiful baby was born and I heard of you on BBC. I was constantly wondering why in the world you would be spending so much time blogging when it could be one extra minute in one of your girls' rooms. I also found that your outwardly spoken faith made me uncomfortable as I refer to God a different way and more private about my prayers and thoughts. I am very spiritual and faithful to my religion that is different from yours, but I am more private about it, not that my way is the only way. Basically what I am saying is that this post made me feel that you were being true to you, the Lord and Tricia and your analogy with furniture is fantastic. I have been debating on sharing your story with my sister who is not practicing her religion, but finds herself in a similar situation as you. I think your insight and the insight of your amazing wife would bring some clarity to her.
I appreciate your honesty and inside look into you!

JonesFam4 said...

I have friends that went thru a terrible loss (child) and their faith was amazing, but they still had feelings that weren't what they wanted to have. I'll never forget their statement, "we know in our heads that this is okay, that God is in control, its just going to take some time for our hearts to catch up." This reminds me of what you're saying, say it/write it and your heart will begin to catch up.

San Marcos Tumbleweed said...

Nate- I'm glad that you shared your feeling about the pedestal. As I have read many of the comments sent to you, my biggest fear was that someone might begin to view this story as a type of "soap opera" to tune into during a lunch break, and I know that that is not your intent. Your story is a true life story, and through God's help, it is a story that has touched many, many people's life. The words that you write, are your words, but God is speaking them, so that you can write them down. You have not been on the pedestal, but you have placed God at the head of the parade! Thank you.

beanhead said...

Thank you for being human and putting something into words that I have never been able to do. Continuing to pray for you.

Marc and Charity said...

Great post.

My Goodness said...

What a wise choice...and your little family will be blessed in God's will because you seek Him.

We are in NC this week...and drove through Chapel Hill yesterday...oh how I thought of you guys!! I said a little prayer for you right then.

Glad to hear that Gwyneth's tummy is doing better...and mommy too!

God is so good!

Anonymous said...

Nate -
The reason the story of this blog resonates with me like not much before is that you appear very human and very real (you happen to be superb writer, to be very open and honest, and to have a sense of humor - that does not hurt.) I am pretty sure many of us would honestly have to admit that we have demonstrated the most faith when we most needed to rely only and soley on God - and forget a little at other times to rely on Him. Maybe I am wrong, but if so, its because I can surely identify so strongly with what you have written that makes this one very powerful post. Thanks, again.

Rick Lawrenson said...

"This reminds me of what you're saying, say it/write it and your heart will begin to catch up."

That's an awesome principle and it's not some "visualization and it comes true" thing. It's biblical.

How do we know what to believe about God unless first we see it/hear it from His Word? We don't. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Our faith is not in faith. It's in real, concrete promises we can see, hear and sink our teeth into, even before we're fully convinced. But when we accept God for Who He is, our subsequent experience become living proof that His Word and His promises are true.

anita said...

I am so proud of you - God has used your story to touch thousands of people... but you're not about that. You're about grassroots honesty and integrity... and for that I will always be thankful...

Love you & the girls, man!

walkingbyfaith said...

Thank you so much for being so blunt. It's nice to hear about the "real" you and who you are underneath everything that's going on. It just goes to show that God truly does use normal people to reach others. :) You're just a normal child of His, just like I am...maybe THAT is what makes everyone keep reading. Realizing that you're no different from us helps us to understand that we need to daily strengthen our faith, because tomorrow it could just as easily be any of us reading who are placed in a similar situation.

Nate you, Tricia, & Gwyneth are blessings. I appreciate your honesty and send big hugs and continued prayers y'alls way.

Love in Christ...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for being so real. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way...

Anonymous said...

you are human! enjoy it! life is good!!!!

Momnnashville said...

You know that "Dude" commercial? I think it might be a Budweiser commercial....I want to say "Dude, you're human!"

You write to help increase your faith. I talk to myself. More than likely less people think you're crazy.

Your honesty is probably the most endearing thing about you, Nate -- well, that and those 2 beautiful girls in your life!!!! Sending continued prayers from Nashville,

Sheri said...

very wells said! Your feelings just make you "real" A lot of us are just like you in that we often fail to be as faithful to our LOrd in the good times..... Regardless.... your openness is still blessing thousands or more!:)

tripleblessings said...

Your journey through doubts and fears into faith and hope is inspiring, to say the least. I can relate to this post very easily. God shows us the Way, but it can be such a painful, difficult process to learn and grow and change... Sounds like you are doing very well, and are stronger than you think. I thank God for the blessings he has already given you and your family, and continue to pray for healing for Tricia and Gwyneth.

Anonymous said...

Nathan,
Thank you for sharing and I guess I take comfort in knowing that we are all human. What is clear is what a good heartful of integrity you have.
You will be shouldering alot of responsibility over the next few months/years. Early intervention for our premature baby and my CF challenges drove my previously wonderful/unbelieving husband to alcoholism.
I now struggle as a CF mom and parent of a special needs child (who is doing brilliantly!) with a husband that has lost half of his soul. Divorce appears to be emminent after over a decade of marriage.
Hold God close and HE WILL GIVE YOU THE STRENGTH to overcome this. I know you will be just fine, with your wonderful family and support system.

Rachael and Travis said...

You get so many comments that I have to wonder if it's pointless to write one. But this post has touched me, so I will anyway. What you said about God being a piece of furniture...I wonder if many of us even know what faith is if it's not counting on God to keep us off the floor. That has been a weak limb to hang from for me. It's so funny how God has used your words the last few days. God has asked me to look up His promises and reclaim them. One of the first I found was in Romans. "God works all things together for good to them who love Him and are the called according to His purpose." I've read that so many darned times, but it finally occured to me that it means more than just keeping us off the floor! And look how He has kept that promise through you and your family! Perhaps He will do the same for me. (Ya think? duh!)

As far as being on a pedestal goes, I think most people want someone to look up to and thousands of people have probably put you up there. Others, however understand their own limitations and know that everyone else has theirs. I really don't even know you, but the only thing that would disappoint me would be if you started to pretend you're something you're not...well, that and becoming some televangelist (make that a "blogevangelist") who makes millions pretending to be THE man of faith. I'm not sure Tricia would want to wear that much make up, anyway. ;)

Thanks for sharing about your depression. Know that WAY too many people on this earth get it and are doing the happy dance that you figured it out and have found the other side. There is only one person in this world I would wish depression on and that is Tom Cruise. (Maybe that's not such a Godly statement.):)

Take care, thank you, and you are not on my pedestal. That spot has already been taken by One who fits it much better than you. :)

Lesley said...

You are so right....we serve and incredible, unchangeable, loving, amazing, awesome God, who NEVER makes mistakes! Still praying!
Blessings,
Lesley

ematt said...

Love the transparency and I too struggle/was diagnosed with (10 years ago) anxiety disorder...I call it the little piece of "hell" in my life...but most of the time going through the hell of life brings you to HEAVEN and wayyyy closer to Our Savior than ever thought imaginable

Michael M. said...

Nicely said, Dude. Hang in there.

Vicki said...

Nate--I don't any of us are assuming that you are perfect, so you don't have to worry about disappointing anyone. We praise the God who is giving you the strength and endurance and encouraging the man who is putting his faith in our loving Father. You remind us to do the same and thus we are encouraged. This is a testament to how wonderful our God is that in trusting and worshipping Him the blessings get rained down on everyone. Don't worry we know you are human and care about you anyway! So does Jesus!! Yeah God.

momand2kidz said...

Dear Nate,Tricia and Gwyneth

Thank-you for sharing your journey with us so far as difficult as it may have been. Your openness, honesty and love is an inspiration!Keeping you in my prayers.

Windsor,Ontario
Canada

Vicki said...

Nate--I don't any of us are assuming that you are perfect, so you don't have to worry about disappointing anyone. We praise the God who is giving you the strength and endurance and encouraging the man who is putting his faith in our loving Father. You remind us to do the same and thus we are encouraged. This is a testament to how wonderful our God is that in trusting and worshipping Him the blessings get rained down on everyone. Don't worry we know you are human and care about you anyway! So does Jesus!! Yeah God.

Patti said...

1) Just like being a great Mom is easiest before delivery.

2) We are believers. Belief is the knowledge of our Heavenly Father. Faith is the action that comes when God throws us the curve ball.

3) We do the best we can with what we know at the time and when we know better, we do better.

4) Me too.

5) Me Either. Ouch!

6) It is only in giving that we can receive.

Human=sum(1:6)

Anonymous said...

"My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 NLB

and

"He chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful."
1 Corinthians 1:27

Reading your post today brought these verses to mind. Following the story of your family has brought much strength to my own weak faith. Thanks so much.

Continuing to pray ... Carol Jones

jenn said...

you're funny and honest. that's nice! thanks for the candid thoughts. Keep that head on straight!

funkyhammer said...

Thanks for keeping it real!!!

Amen brother...we have an awesome God!!! Thanks for writing/talking!!!

Anonymous said...

After I read #2 I was "THAT'S ME!"

You are not the only one Nate.

Blessings to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

HUMAN. My sentiments exactly. I would be looking for where you put your batteries otherwise.

Ha ha, I think you just got yourself up on an an even higher pedestal.

Audrey (CF UK)

Burnie said...

Nate, Being transparent is hard and takes a lot of courage. Being transparent to thousands of people that you don't even know requires an incredible amount of courage and faith that God can and will use everyone willing to be used. Thanks for that. You continue to be an example that shows a glimpse of the amazing things God can do through His people. Continuing to pray for you and your girls.

Mandy said...

Hey, Nate, Um, You sound like a regular guy..... I, too, have anxiety, so I understand those feelings you describe. But you statement that God will still be who He is when all of this is done is right on the money. The same today as He was yesterday.
You know, we call my husband the brick wall, too. :) It's a man thing sometimes. Good to know all this is in there! I totally get you. Keep blogging, and we'll keep praying.

Anonymous said...

I still think you are amazing but now that I know you are afraid of heights I will put you on a little shorter pedestal:)

anika said...

yep... :)when we are weak, He is made strong... Love the strong thing... hate being weak.
you and your girls are love!
<>< anika

anika said...

yep... :)when we are weak, He is made strong... Love the strong thing... hate being weak.
you and your girls are love!
<>< anika

Anonymous said...

I read this and thought of you...

Staying Alive Your Whole Life



Are you living every day filled with hope and expectancy? Are you living life to the fullest? So many people today have simply lost their enthusiasm for life. At one time, they were excited about their future. They were pursuing their dream, but along the way, they hit some roadblocks. Things didn’t work out, and now they’re just going through the motions of life. They quit dreaming. They quit pursuing their goals. They lost their purpose. Don’t let that be you! Make the choice to stay alive your whole life by keeping your dreams in front of you. Remember, you have a purpose. You have a destiny. You didn’t just accidentally show up on planet Earth. God knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb, and He has an assignment for you. You were created to make a difference—to impact our society—to make this world a better place.

On the inside of you right now, there are dreams and desires put there by the Creator of the universe. Don’t let the pressures of life push those dreams down. Stir up those dreams. Stir up those gifts. Shake off every disappointment and press forward. This is a new day. Get a new vision. Make up your mind that no matter what comes your way, you’re going to keep pressing forward. You’re going to keep growing. You’re going to keep learning. You’re going to stay active. If you will stay passionate about life, knowing what your purpose is and being your best every day, God will pour out His blessings and favor on you, and you will live the life of victory He has in store!

By Joel Osteen

Mary said...

Thank God you're normal Nate. LOL If you thought any of the rest of us never had the same thoughts and feelings and were perfect, you were mistaken. Amen to your honesty. Here's to strengthened faith for us all. (I need it too) Praying God will continue to bless you all each day.

Mary
Florida

Lisa Collinsworth said...

So basically what you're trying to say is, you're human. :)

daralala said...

You are human, just like the rest of us. :)

Kimberly Richardson said...

Kudos to you for honesty, transparency and courage. BTW, a site that might give you some hope for the journey your little one is on... www.caringbridge..org/visit/gracestoffel

Still praying...

Anonymous said...

I read a lot so I thought about this devotional after I read your blog and wanted to pass it on for others to read. Your family is truly a blessing to a lot of family's by you showing others how God works in your life everyday through your bloging/testimony's.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap” (Luke 6:38).

God is a god of abundance! He wants to pour out His abundance on you until you are so full that you are running over with God’s goodness. And notice how this verse starts. It says, “Give, and it will be given to you.” Your giving sets the blessing of God into motion in your life. Giving is like a seed. When you plant an apple seed, it doesn’t just grow a single fruit. That one seed grows a tree that grows an abundance of apples. That’s what happens when you obey God in your giving. You get an abundant harvest in return. And when the blessing is “running over”, you have so much that you have to give more, and the cycle just keeps repeating itself! Is there something the Lord is telling you to give today? It can be financial or material. What do you have in your hand that you can bless someone else with? Take a step today and set the blessing of God into motion in your life. Open the door for His blessing to be running over in your life today!

Father in Heaven, I receive Your Word into my heart today. Thank You for choosing to bless me so that I can be a blessing to others. Show me ways to bless others and teach me to receive all You have for me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Joanne said...

Your message came through very clearly and thank you for posting it. No one here is perfect, and we can only continue to strive to be like Christ in all things. But we will always be loved by God,sometimes as we bumble on through! We all struggle with the trust thing, I know I do a lot. Even when my head says one thing, it's hard to communicate it to my heart sometimes. One of my old pastors told me, when I was really struggling with this, that sometimes true faith and trust is just hanging on by your fingernails, and continuing to pray because we are supposed to, and we know in our heads God is there, even if we don't "feel" it.

God is molding and shaping you. He is using you, Tricia, and Gwyneth for something (for what, we don't know, but I just know God is at work here). I think you're a great example-- we're not putting you on a pedestal at all, but just that we are seeing from a distance that God is working here through you and we have a privelege to be part of that witness.

I'll continue my prayers for all of you. Poor Tricia going through all that-- it really is no wonder, given what she's gone through, and it makes sense. But doesn't make it any less difficult to be dealing with. I'll pray for her peace of mind and much needed rest for her and for all of you.

God bless you!

ShannonW said...

I understand your post very clearly. It is so crazy that it takes very difficult circumstances that bring us to our knees sometimes. I guess when things are going great in life it's hard to see God doing all the work but He's still there making your life great. My mama has always said "God isn't interested in our comfort but in our character." And He came to save the wretched not only the righteous.

cojlisa16 said...

Your #5 made me laugh. The rest of the stuff you wrote will probably help more people than you will ever know. I think it is very hard when people put us on a pedestal (for whatever reason), because we know the real us and often it's not pretty. Or a bunch of raisins.

To know that someone who seems so "together" for lack of a better word, is struggling with what many of us are is very encouraging. To give the credit and your cares to God speaks volumes. So, I'm only going to speak for myself, but I'll take all of your story, good, bad, or ugly, and thank God that He is helping you to share it.

What you just did is alot harder than getting pricked by a needle.

Familia said...

Nate, thank you for reminding us that God is the only one who should be on a pedestal. And thank you for letting us see your heart, because I think we can all relate to what you´re expressing, and it´s wonderfully encouraging to know that, once again, God is strengthening and perfecting another child of His, with all the weaknesses and failings we all have. Our God is indeed an Awesome God!!!!

In Christ,
Dionne

sus and chris said...

if you ever have time, you should read mother teresa, she's great and she is so wise and wonderful. i think you guys might love her like i do. especially her newest book, i think its called come be my light, i am not good with titles, but it is her letters about all her struggles, it has been so inspiring and purifying to read. peace and love, sus

PammyT said...

first off- i'd like to say thank you for sharing your story. a friend of a friend... linked me to your blog and i check on you all daily. you all continue in my thoughts and prayers. thank you also for your honesty and candor. know that the feelings you have are like everyone else- you just happen to be putting them down in print for all to read. that takes guts and i'm sure it's cheap therapy at the same time;-) keep your chin up. trying to do your best each day and learning from your mistakes is all any of us can do- it's called being human. fyi- i think you and your girls are pretty great and inspirational.

all the best,

pam

Mayhem And Miracles said...

No. This was one of the MOST clearly written posts I've ever read. I've wanted to write this post a dozen times myself, but it wasn't for me to word it. God is using you - and I believe more so now that people can very much relate to also having the faults you humble yourself to admit. This is only my second time to comment. But it's extremely hopeful for me to see another Christian with admittedly not-so-PERFECT faith prove that we still can make an impact on those more lost than we are. That is, their's being eternal and ours being "merely" confused and sometimes wavering. I appreciate (and respect) you very much for this post. How else could unsaved souls realize their need for a Savior than by seeing our own need for one fulfilled? If we always appeared perfect, they would never see that. I hope your girls are having a great day.

Douglas said...

Thank you for your honesty Nathan. I think it can be easy to put people on a pedestal and think that somehow they are "super spiritual." But, it's great to see how God humbles us and allows us to see His plan instead of our own. You are continually in our prayers and thank you for sharing your heart and giving us the opportunity to know how to better lift you up before the Lord.
Danielle Davis

kristin said...

Just wanted to try to give some encouragement to you all. My daughter was born Dec. 19th 2006 at 24 weeks. Weighing 1 lb. 5 oz 12 in. long. She is now a very happy and healthy 1 year old. She is even trying to walk. Babies born this early are born with determination. Sounds like she got that from your wife and you! Check out my daughter, Graces' website. www.caringbridge.org/visit/gracestoffel. My htoughts and prayers are with your whole family. God is holding you all in His hands.

Amy Woods said...

Thank you for that....praying.

Gina Witcher / Runnermom4 said...

Why do I always find my self in tears at the end of this blog. :-) Once again you are saying all of the types of things that so many of us should say. Thank you so much, and we will continue to pray for you through this.

On a lighter note, I always wondered why you didn't talk much on any of the videos, and now I know why.

Anonymous said...

WOW!!! Are we related? I couldn't have said it better! I have had so many of these thoughts before! My family has gone through some tough times the last year and a half after our son was born with many medical issues, but I wouldn't trade one day of it! I too have learned so much through our struggles. God has directed this for our life and yours too. What a gift!!! During the 'good times' I didn't always trust as I should have, I didn't look to Him as often as I should have, I didn't see His grace as clearly as I see it now, I tried to control too much and I didn't share His word with others as often as I should have! (Like I do now, through a blog, as well. I do much better writing my feelings than speaking them too!) Anyway, I'm totally with you on this update! Thankyou for sharing your innermost thoughts! They are inpirational! I'm know that God is using you and your family's experience to spread His word! What a blessing! I'm so thankful that you can see this! Thanks again for the refreshing post! God is Good! My family will be praying that your family continues to feel His strength, grace, love and hope! What a feeling those are when given by Him!

Laseanda said...

Nate, how I appreciate you saying what we have all felt at some time or another. My story is too long to share in these comments, but a lot of what you are feeling and what Tricia is going through resonates with me. The reason you have touched so many lives is that you are relatable, authentic, and human. You actually inspired me to share a bit of my soul on my own blog and for that I thank you...Laseanda

megan said...

I find your honesty and writing very moving but more importantly - courageous- a great deal of peopl feel the way you do about their faith- or lack there of... but not many are comfortable -courageous to say it and talk about it- most just go to church ,put on a smile , and show a faithful person that may not be truly there- now when someone has a lack of faith i am not saying that there is anything wrong with that it is just that, if you lack faith - pretend you dont- you will not be fortunate enough to gain more faith and accepting of god love. BUT if you are willing to be honest and realistic about what you feel you are missing in faith- well, you have just started a great process of earning and living with more faith - So yes you should be on a pedestal- not that you need to be but, you should because what has happened to you and what you have learned over the past few years months days.. you should be you are at a place in your faith that we all should be so lucky- and eventually one way or another i believe that many others will be luck enough to be on that "pedestal"

Big Daddy said...

WOW!!!! You sure failed with that one. Your pedestal went up to twice any height it has ever been before. I have been reading your blog through emails from a friend for weeks. I am forced to "play" on the internet when I should be working because I've become so involved in your story. I can't describe the inspiration your story has been for me but I sure appreciate your courage, faith and love. What else can a person need to get through life? I will continue praying for you and yours while you keep us informed and inspired. I told my friend yesterday someone should make this into a book and then a movie. I meant that!!! Good luck!!!
Big Daddy

mom2LEAA said...

WOW
how wonderful that you allow us all to see how your faith is growing, how God is changing you. This post has given another dimension to your story. To read it, one might think that your faith was rock solid and very mature before all of this, what you have shown us, is how much God can use these tough times to bring you along on your faith journey. May God continue to teach you and use Tricia and Gwyn to introduce God to the world. I don't care how you put it, you are awesome, because, OUR GOD IS AWESOME!
may God's peace fill your heart and soul.

jaj said...

You've hit the nail on the head. If we didn't ever go through trials and tribulations, we'd never have to rely on God and then we'd never really know how awesome He truly is.

Corinne said...

Fancy that! I AM going to give blood again tonight, I kinda like it. I know, that's weird, I like watching the blood fill the bag knowing that people can live from it....but yet so many other things scare me and I often wonder what would my blog look like when faced head-on with challenge after challenge...right now it's pretty much same-old same-old, pictures of my kids, things they've done and said....not that I'd want to change any of that but am I trusting God now, when things are "easy"??? Does it show in my life?? In the way that I relate to my husband, my kids, my siblings, parents......????

Thanks for sharing and in doing so challenging and for letting me vent some of my thoughts and feelings and questions in your comments.

You three are never far from our thoughts and are prayed for frequently ......

In HIM, Corinne

Trish Mathison said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debra said...

You could have summed it up "I'm only human, I'm not perfect" but you chose to be very eloquent instead. I had wondered from the video's I saw...you seemed very quiet and it didn't match what I see in your blog. Now I understand.

None of us are perfect and hopefully no one would expect that of you. You are a human, a Christian, a husband, a father, trying to behave in the best way during a difficult time. Tricia is very fortunate to have someone who loves her so much. Someone who get's his guitar and sings to his wife when she is anxious, when it's the middle of the night, is someone special, no matter how bad you might try to paint yourself! lol
Debbi/Aspiemom

Kristi said...

Gosh you're amazing. I love your honesty. You are a good man! Take care yourself and your girls!

Kristi

FourBlackSheep said...

You are human, like the rest of us. You are no worse than anyone else, and we are no better than you.

We are all living life on earth. It is never a perfect walk.

God Bless your honesty - Ashley

Anonymous said...

were all human, we make mistakes and were not perfect :)

god loves you either way!
praying for you and your girls!

Patty said...

Nate, I think that this is exactly why I have fallen for your story and have been following it faithfully now for almost a month. You are human, and you are not afraid to show that human side. You have allowed all of us a chance to share your journey, and to give us all the opportunity to care for you, and your family. You by sharing that your faith is strongest in the hard times, made me realize what I was feeling about my faith. You are right that being a good/great parent will be rough when you are the main caretakers, and there will be times when you and Tricia both will feel like you are failing, but because you have shown what strong people you both are, I can see that you will be great parents even then. You are a great husband, because you are there for Tricia, and have been through it all, if you weren't there would not be a Gwyneth, because there would not be a Nate, and Tricia.
Ok enough rambling, I am praying for you all, as always.

Bo from Florida said...

Thank goodness you can be so honest. I had you on a throne and began to feel very "little". Now I can relate to you much better because you are human like me! Whew!

You're awesome! I know that you're a man but PLEASE don't be afraid to ever ask for direction(s)!

Erika and Matt said...

Thanks for being brave Nate and sharing with all of us. Can't wait for the new cool updates! Thoughts and prayers for your fam from IL!

Korinda said...

Nathan, thanks for being honest and sharing that because just like God is using others to help you, He is also using you to help and encourage others. Just reading that put a few things into perspective for me. So many things have happened throughout my life and I have never really understood why or how God could let that happen but when there's no where else to turn and nothing else to lose thats when i put my faith in God.i guess He was just testing me and allowing me to grow closer to Him. Just like you said though, we should put our faith in Him all the time, good and bad. at the same time its nice to see that we are human and not perfect and we recognize that. Still you and Tricia and others have been and will continue to be an encouragement, and I thank you. Just know God has you doing GREAT things and impacting others in ways you may never see.

shelley. said...

sometimes i think the coolest thing about God is how he uses the "weak" things to shame the strong, as Paul says. the jars of clay passage. especially cool because who of us hasn't tried to be more strong and self-reliant and intelligent, only to forget to lean on him -- when God shines thru us best when we know our own lack. awesome post. thanks for allowing us to know you. and being genuine and allowing God to shine thru your lives, especially the weak parts.

Jane-Jane said...

ditto to the fist comment, from anonymous!

And through all the praying we do for you and your girls, we too are closer to our Lord and Savior. The road is a win-win for all of us! Growin' together for HIS glory.

Lady_Marmalade said...

What a touching, honest, and profound post. You and your family remain in my prayers.

Marla Taviano said...

I actually had already figured out you were a bum before you confessed. :) A bum who loves Jesus and is plowing through this mucky life one grueling step at a time, and noticing all the daisies growing in that same muck, and leaning down and picking them and passing them along to everyone you meet.

(how's that for eloquent?)

Leaf through your Bible. Everyone God used in a mighty way was a screw-up at some point. I personally take IMMENSE comfort in this fact.

Just keep plodding on! And go hug that Tricia-girl!

Kelly said...

You are a fantastic father and husband because you are there. Some men would run. You deserve the praise and I also understand the urge to want to point the light somewhere else. Humbleness is also a good quality.

Hilary said...

Thanks for opening your heart. God is most definitely, no doubt about it, fully IN this moment with you and your family. No way should satan be given any credit in this.
To God be the Glory!
Still praying and thinking of you guys.

Robin said...

So basically you are human like the rest of us! Thanks for sharing and making yourself vulnerable and all the more likeable. You, Tricia and Gwyneth have my prayers!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes faith is "hanging on by your fingernails." Faith is a choice, more than a feeling. I often don't feel "faith-full" even when I make the choice to trust God. Bit O know that if I don't, I'm left with nothing.

Years ago as I was coming to know God, I remember wanting to be sure that I was coming to Him for who He is and not just for what He could do about my infertility.

Chorus:
Even when the sun won't shine,
even when sorrow fills this heart of mine,
You are who You are
And I'm gonna praise You.

You're right. No matter how things turn out for you and your family, He is unchanging - good, loving, faithful, wise, compassionate, kind.......

I am confident that all will be well and will continue to pray that you and a healthy Tricia raise your beautiful little girl together.

Rick Lawrenson said...

May I kindly disagree with Kelly.

Men don't run. Cowards run.

Lisa said...

Nate - Love your wit and candor! Seriously though, you have been blessed with a true gift of writing. Thanks for allowing us to see how the Spirit is working through you and your family. With each post, I see how marvelous and how wonderful He is. Hugs to brave Tricia and strong Gwenyth.
Still praying for all of you.... Lisa in NC/C3

Risha said...

Lately I've been thinking alot about being real and how much transparency is lacking among so many believers. It seems that we are expected to live up to a certain standard. Perhaps we get so caught up in living in a way that is set apart from the ways of the world that we forget that we need to deal with the ugliness of our human-ness and sinful nature on a day to day basis. What is magnificent is that you are choosing to humble yourself before God and open up your heart without regard to how people will look at you with the walls down. You are doing the choosing, so God will not have to do the breaking. This is true brokenness.

You are not alone in your fears and your struggle with complete trust and active belief in God. Since becoming a parent, I worry that I would lose my mind if something happened to my daughter, or to my husband for that matter. I am thankful to God for using you to shine the light on my own life to reveal the areas where I'm lacking. For that, I won't put on the pedestal; I'll just give Him the glory! I will continue to uplift you, Tricia and Gwyneth in prayer!

Marsmile said...

Nathan, thank you for taking the time to share your feelings and hey, at least you aren't alone with these feelings you have. Nobody's perfect and everybody's human. I'm still awed by your true inner strength which is also bolstered by your faith, God, family, Tricia, Gwyneth, etc. and of course, this outlet-- your blog. It's truly good that you stick to your true self and show exactly who you are and not try to hide whatever... Nothing to be ashamed of and we all are here for you, supporting you through some difficult times. Thank God for people who are there for you and others with anxiety/depression, patiently listening and giving encouragement, which is very helpful.

I, myself, also have anxiety-- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)-- and it tends to peak during stressful times and is chronic. So yea, it isn't fun at times like lately. I keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time and not to worry about the future and focus on the present. Also, to be grateful for what I do have and that whatever's bothering me will work itself out within time. Unlike you, I don't and haven't fully included God as part of my support system to get me through my periods of anxiety. I turn to my close friends and family as well as therapy (and SSRI) for support, but I am beginning to explore and thinking more about God for extra support and inspiration currently. Your blog certainly helps, so thank you!

Do try to take it one day at a time and focus on other things, especially positive things, as to not to let your mind keep running and being stuck on the same issues...which can be frustrating, tiring, and takes your focus away from issues that need to be attended to.

It helps to let it out, all these feelings and thoughts, and you've got that here on your blog. :-) I hope you will feel better soon and please do take it easy. If you need breaks from blogging or else, take it. Don't feel guilty. Don't feel compelled to post whenever. We'll understand!

Go get some rest and be with your loved ones. Thanks again for sharing and may God bless you!

Good night,
Marissa :-)

Anonymous said...

You're such a great writer - with an amazing life to write about.

Love to all.

Anonymous said...

Your honesty makes you real. It makes me feel like I can touch you and know what you are saying is truth. It helps people to see the true Lord ,who watches over all the believers and then some. Life is hard and when we face tribulation it is only in him that we can move forward.

viclmbrt said...

The pedastal that is raising under you is LOVE and Prayers.....your human so the rest(like algebra) is a given. But that mustard seed is getting bigger! Love to you all!
Victoria

MCK Mama said...

Yes, God belongs on the pedestal, not you BUT this was still I think your most amazing post yet. I am in awe of those who can be SO honest about their imperfections. Bravo. Thanks for sharing your human-ness with us. You continue to inspire me. (Oh, and "hi." This is the first time I've ever commented!)

Our Family: said...

A-men.

JoythruHisGrace said...

Thank you for sharing your intimate thoughts with us. My own personal belief about trials in life is pretty simple, but, it is what brings me through: It is during the difficult times that I am humbled, brought to my knees before the Lord. I can honestly say that I thank my Savior for the trials in my life because it is when I am humbled that I am more open to seeing His presence in EVERYTHING. And, I truly believe that He uses it all to bring glory to Him. I am human, and as such I do struggle just like everyone else (probably even more so - I am a very stubborn, difficult to reach sort of gal). So, praise God for the trials in my life and the opportunity to be humbled before Him. Some think I'm crazy for thanking Him for the painful stuff. Sure I'm crazy, but thanking Him is one of the most sane things I've ever done.

JoythruHisGrace said...

Oh, and I also meant to say...It is in sharing our pain with others that we can, in a sense, bring the Lord to them. When we keep our suffering to ourselves it limits the opportunities for that suffering to be used for Him. When we share our suffering, not only does it give others the opportunity to join us in prayer, but it opens us up to many blessings and the of sharing those blessings.

jen said...

Someone blessed me with comforting words of Truth yesterday as I am dealing with the death of my mom and 15 yr old cousin with cancer..."None of this surprised God." How comforting is that?

Undomestic said...

Thank you for your honesty. My small Mom's group was discussing Surrendering to the Lord today. We talked about how hard it would be to surrender our children to the Lord, if it meant them suffering in some way, bringing other's to Him through our children. It made me think of you and your "girls." You've surrendered, and you've been enduring, and what awesome things God is doing because of this. Such faith. Such faith.

Anonymous said...

You're still amazing! God is so good! Still praying for ya'll. Ya'll are just such an inspiration and testimony of what an awesome God He is. Love in Christ, Ellen

Lori Turnbow said...

Thank you for being real!!! You don't know us, but we are praying for all of you.

johanna said...

thank you. not only does this blog help you, it touches the lives of everyone who reads it and makes people like me realize what a blessed life they have. a friend of mine is still going through the roller coaster ride of delivering a super preemie and watching someone else have to experience the same always renews my faith. i dont put you on a pedastal but i do have a tremendous amount of respect for the faith and even humor you have kept through your journey. thank you for sharing your story, i look forward to learning of amazing progress from both tricia and gwyneth.
you are all in my prayers.

johanna

ifitistobedoit said...

Having faced a life-threatening illness about 10 years ago that brought me and my husband to our knees, your post strikes a familiar note with me about trust and faith.

We weren't living how we knew we should be. Nothing terrible-just putting things, money, jobs and life first instead of God. He has a way of breaking your knees when you refuse to bow to Him willingly and as painful as it was, it was COMPLETELY a GOD thing - nothing of satan. My illness was a mass originally thought to reside just around my heart but later discovered to have engulfed EVERYTHING in my chest: heart, lungs, arteries, trachea, the works. The story is much too long to tell here but someday I'll write a book about how God gave me an incredible testimony through the worst time of my life. The mass was never identified by man - wouldn't grow outside my body but taught some very proud doctors that they were in fact NOT gods and they had to humble themselves to admit that they were wrong and would have killed me if I had followed their orders instead of listening to what I felt God leading me to do.
I began with faith as small as a mustard seed and now am able to praise God in the good and the bad and raise my children to know a sovereign savior who wants only the best for us but who accepts us warts and all, even when our faith waivers or we fall flat on our face with pride or self-pity and fear.

To know that kind of unconditional love. To truly be able to say, "if I live or die, I will count it gain as my God has a plan for me and they are plans to prosper me, not to harm me. I will trust in Him and know that whatever happens, HE will work all things together for good - whether we can see it or not" and MEAN IT is a humbling experience in itself. For believers, dying is not the worst thing, dying without Christ is.

I am glad God wasn't done with me but I truly was at total peace with living or dying and I NEVER thought I could have said that before then.
So, please know that you are correct, GOD is at work in your situation - He allows things to happen to stretch us and grow our faith and to testify to those around us. I can tell you story after story of how my experience and trying to live my faith through it changed other people's lives and that's exactly what you are doing. NONE of us is perfect, if we were, we wouldn't need a savior. None of us was promised a perfect life with no pain or suffering. Jesus was the only perfect one and even HE suffered - worse than any of us ever will - for us so we could have faith and hope when we are in those trying times. If life were simple or easy just because we accepted Christ, no one would ever realize their need for Him and others would not be able to learn from each other's experiences in trials. As insurmountable as any situation may seem, God is always there, unchanging and hoping that we will indeed trust Him, draw close to Him and know that He is GOd of EVERYTHING. Satan would never put us in situations that would grow our faith.

So, I too, hope that those who would assume bad circumstances are simply of the devil would dig a little deeper and see the much bigger picture of what God is doing through this situation and so many others. It's only if we run from God when troubles come that satan can get a foothold. Do whatever you have to do (write,sing, etc) to keep your faith ever increasing. Looking at the intricate tiny details God weaved together in the womb to make such a tiny little Gwyneth shows that He is right in the middle of your situation. Please know we are praying for you and your little ladies.

The Krumwiede Six said...

Dang!!! There Nate went and blew my theory on him being a model husband and hoping he gave lessons ;) By the way... I'd still like for you to give Chad lessons :)

Please know that our thoughts and prayers continue to be with you all now and always...

Julie said...

Thank you for your honesty and candidness. There's so much I could say but I think I'll just leave it at thank you for explaining so clearly what so many of us feel on a day to basis as we wrestle with our faith, our walk, and desiring to trust Him on a day to day basis in both storms and joy.

Melissa said...

Nate,
Thanks for sharing your further 'confessions'. I think it's so important that we (as Christians) can share these inner feelings, and connect with other people and show that everyone has doubts sometimes. Perhaps it makes the path easier for someone else. But I think this post has made me think so much more of you than any other, because once again you share your deep faith and passion for the Lord.

If faith was easy to accept, if we could just step back and say 'the Lords will be done', then there is no sacrifice, there is no grace in it. But the struggle is half of the sacrifice, God knows when it is hard for us. The times in which it is harder we are so much more blessed, we show so much more our deep-seated faith because IN SPITE OF OUR DOUBTS....we are choosing to rest in His plans.

I love the song from Casting Crowns, Praise You in this Storm, esp because of the following
Every tear I’ve cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I have two children with autism. It has never been an easy road, and I know many from my support groups who grow bitter and angry, who want to blame someone, anyone, for the way their children are. I've done my fair share, but when I look at them as children of God, I can see the blessings he intended for me. God has so many blessings for you, and I thank you for sharing them with me!

Heather said...

Preach on brotha! You are human. We all falter sometimes. I too struggle with anxiety and it's hard to explain to those who've not been in our shoes. Keep looking up. Heather

seekingserenity67 said...

I can honestly say you've spoken to me again...or perhaps that Jesus is speaking to me through your words. You and I share feelings that I thought no-one else had. Thank you....just thank you.

Anonymous said...

Nate, I am completely addicted to your blog & not only because of your undying faith but because of the fight in Tricia & Gwyn. So what, you aren't perfect, WHO IS?? You are showing your families story to the world, giving thousands of people faith they didn't have to fight whatever fight they have going right now showing them that God will & can give you what you need if you just believe & trust in him. I don't even know you & have learned so much from you & Tricia since I began reading your blog when she was pregnant about trusting in the lord & just making decisions based on prayer. I am still praying for you & your two girls every day.
-Bobbi

Scott said...

Thanks Nate, that was a very refreshing post. Now we will all love you for your honesty, humility and imperfections! Imagine a church where people shared those feelings together and were real with each other to the core of who we are! It would make God look bigger and us smaller. Thanks again that was an awesome post.

Anonymous said...

truly these are 'confessions of a cf husband'

we may not have quite the same situation, but i too suffer from the random thoughts what kind of man i would be like if not for my wife (who is currently undiagnosed with a very unusual physically degenerative ailment).

peace

Anonymous said...

Nate,
I appreciate your honesty. I am so amazed at how God is using the net to spread Christian love and prayers and testimonies like your all over the world. Just everyones' comments (and yours of course) are such a blessing and strengthen my faith and our bonds in Christ. We may never meet on earth but we can connect through this site and others in a really cool way. Just to let you both know, every night at family devotions my six year old insists we pray for "Patricia and her baby"!

Linda

Hatten Family said...

Thank you so much for your honesty in this post...I also find myself the "strongest christian" when faced with unbelievable challenges and it's nice to hear that it's normal and doesn't make me someone who jumps on the "God bandwagon" when the chips are down. I've been following your story and I do pray for your entire family. I look forward to hearing wonderful news about Tricia's double lung transplant soon and I also look forward to watching little Gwynneth grow into a beautiful woman on this blog! God bless you and yours!

Outer Banks Brooks said...

Thank you for your transparency. You put in beautiful words what is true of all of us. It was one of the best, most convicting and touching posts you have written. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Love,
Ron and Lynn Brooks

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