There’s No Place Like Home

Several weeks ago I mentioned to a friend that I had a dream of owning a pair of red shoes.

There’s something about red shoes that just speaks FUN.

Well, that same friend showed up at my house a few days after our conversation – toting a shoe box.

I love my new red shoes.

I wore them on the day we moved the Happy Baby to a different hospital’s NICU (the original hospital had reached a point where they just couldn’t offer the resources and specialists our little man so clearly needed).

A nurse noticed my red shoes right away and said with a smile, “You just click your heels together, darling, and you’ll all be home before you know it.”

I liked her Wizard of Oz reference… It made me happy to think that maybe wearing my red shoes would help the Happy Baby come home faster.

So I have literally worn these things EVERY DAY.

But as the days have passed and the Happy Baby has not made any progress… and the doctors continue to order more and more tests and make super scary speculations about his condition… I began to lose confidence in my red shoes.

Doubt has crept in, the ‘Why, God??’ questions have popped out of my mouth on more than one occasion, and I’ve shed enough tears to supply a city’s worth of water.

But today I was driving down to see the Happy Baby and the words of Laura Story’s song ‘Blessings’ sprinkled their way across my heart…

“When darkness seems to win we know that pain reminds this heart that this is not, this is not our home…”



A place where there is no darkness or weeping or sickness or hurt…

We must not lose the eternal perspective, my friends.

When placed in the context of eternity and the eternal purposes of God, our troubles are – no matter how painful, or overwhelming, or disappointing they are – light and momentary.

We can rejoice in the midst of them because we have the confidence that God is using it all to achieve His glorious good.

He is doing good – somehow, some way.

The Happy Hubby took my hand the other day and said, “Baby, we’re running a marathon here, not a sprint.”

And it was then that my red shoes no longer were a symbol to me of getting the Happy Baby home quickly (although that is my sincerest desire).

My red shoes became a reminder of the Home that my heart is truly yearning for – Heaven.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

49 thoughts on “There’s No Place Like Home

  1. I have been reading your blog since a little before the Happy Baby was born. I’ve prayed you along and, even though my situation is not like yours, I know a bit about waiting.

    My hubby and I have been married 19 years. We don’t have any bio-kids… we waited and tried and waited some more. We do have three of “our own” which are not yet adopted out of the foster care system. We’ve had them 2 years (as of tomorrow!) and for some reason, the judge JUST WILL NOT terminate the bio-parent’s rights.

    My point is not about our case specifics, but that my heart nearly gives out when I think that the kids could possibly be put back in the scary situation where they came from or that my kids might never see me again, if placed back in that home.

    I may not understand exactly where you are, but I appreciate the positive attitude you and your husband are taking in this. I’m praying for you. Thanks for sharing this scripture!

  2. I have continued to follow your each and every post and your heart too, just know you have friends standing with you, holding your arms up too, as you are in this marathon. God created this precious child in your womb and has the perfect plan, know God is using your testimony in each and every post. Heartfelt love and prayers are with each of you!

  3. Wow you guys are amazing! I was happy to speak to Ryan today, and now I see your post. I love you guys and are praying for you. I can’t even imagine what’s it like. But it’s all in God’s hands. If you need anything please let me know!

  4. Julie,
    I love your story, thank you for sharing, while your hearts and lives are so heavy with concern for your new little boy. We continue to pray that The Great Physician will reveal amazing things to your team of Doctors and that you may all go “Home” to Ft. Lauderdale very soon, red shoes and all.
    Jackie Rodewald

  5. You are such an inspiration. I pray your baby has a super fast recovery. I couldn’t imagine not being able to take my baby home. You are a strong woman. And stay strong in the Lord. He is our true strength and comfort:) love following your blog, helps me with being a better momma and wife.

  6. Thank-you for this. My husband and I are struggling with finances and health issues while we strive to bring up the four amazing children God has blessed us with. I needed this reminder to not lose heart. It’s all for His glory, and He is in control. You bless so many people with your honesty and I pray that He will continue to bless you with His wisdom. My family will continue to pray for yours.

  7. Bless you. That made me cry. And I’m not going through anything at ALL like you are. I need my own red shoes. What a GREAT way to keep that perspective in front all the TIME!
    Praying for you and precious happy baby….

  8. Well said, I too admire you’re courage and will be keeping your family in my thoughts. When you’re afraid…keep putting your trust in the Lord.

  9. Stumbled upon your blog via Lisa and have been praying over your family since reading your story. You and your husband were such a blessing to me while on staff at CP/TCO way back in the day. Prayers of comfort and understanding for you both.

  10. I dont frequently comment because I read your blog on my phone while I am putting my toddler to bed at night and naptime. But today I had to write. I think about you and your little family several times a day (since the happy baby was born), and each time I do, I am led to pray for you as well. It is weird praying for someone you dont know but God uses us in weird ways! Thank you for kweping us updated on the little giy so that we can know some of what you are dealing wih and continue to pray you through. I feel so blessed to get to be a part of this even in a teensy way. You are amazing for being so

  11. I know we’ve never met, but as I type this tears are rolling down my face. I can’t imagine what you are going through, sweetie. I will continue to pray for complete healing for your little one and peace and strength as you continue to be strong for your precious baby.

  12. Happy Home Fairy- I have been following your blog for a long while now. I have a two and a half year old daughter and we steal, er, um, borrow lots of your ideas. I have also recently had my second-he’s two months old. I am also ‘an old NICU nurse’ – so I so can understand what your family is going through – from both sides! Your faith is a true testament for those your life and story touch-know this!! So glad you can still find your courage and strength thru Jesus- it would be so super easy in this situation to be so human and doubt, question and worry until you make yourself sick!! I pray that God will constantly comfort you and remind you with this passage from Psalm 139:  13 For you created my inmost being;
       you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
       your works are wonderful,
       I know that full well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you
       when I was made in the secret place,
       when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
       all the days ordained for me were written in your book
       before one of them came to be.
    17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
       How vast is the sum of them!
    18 Were I to count them,
       they would outnumber the grains of sand…
    I know how frustrating it can be to feel like, ‘just get the problem diagnosed so we can fix it already!’ as we nurses are often in agreeance with parents on that one! I know you know this, but it bears repeating- there is a reason. God put your wonderful family in this place for a reason-your are destined to be in this place, for this season. Though we’re not always sure of the reasoning of God’s will, He never promises to always explain or make it easy, but He DOES promise ‘never to leave us or forsake us’. And with all that said, I will leave you with this verse: ‘He was pierced for our transgression, and bruised for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and BY HIS STRIPES, WE ARE
    HEALED.” Isaiah 53:5.
    God bless you and your happy family! Thank you for touching others’ lives even through your trials- may you be blessed beyond measure!

  13. I wanted to write and let you know I’m praying for you and Happy Baby and your family too.
    I’ve been so blessed by the ideas on your blog- my children have made a lot of your crafts! I was introduced to it by your sister-in-law, Jenny, (I think that is how you are related anyway) about a year ago and have enjoyed reading it ever since.
    Anyway, all that to say it is amazing how much you can care about someone you have never met! So I’ve been and will continue to be praying for comfort and strength at this time and for the health of your sweet baby boy.

  14. Praying that you head home soon with the Happy Baby. Hugging you so tight!
    Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
    Romans 12:12

  15. What a beautiful perspective…thanks so much for sharing your heart. Your family is in my prayers. I also had a baby in NICU. Keep the faith and hope…God is faithful!

  16. Dear sweet Julie,
    Your words about heaven are so encouraging. Your spirit of optimism that the Holy Spirit has given you is so evident. Our troubles in this world are so small because we know we have such a glorious future ahead of us! We are praying for you and for your happy baby! If there’s anything we can do, please let us know.

  17. It is only by God’s hand that I came across your blog a month or so ago. You and your precious family continue to be in my prayers as you endure this trial. I praise Jesus for the strength He is giving you and the words He is speaking through you. Although my trial right now is very different, your words have comforted and encouraged me so today! Each person you come in contact with is seeing Jesus in the flesh and that is the greatest ministry you could ever ask for. I know God will restore DOUBLE for your TROUBLE in all you are enduring with your Happy Baby and all those tears you shed out of concern for his well-being. God is our Healer and He is Faithful. Be encouraged that He IS IN CONTROL and is GOOD!

  18. Sweetheart,
    I so wish I could come and hold your hand. My little one never misses an opportunity to pray for the happy baby. Summer keeps count of the days and reminds the Lord. I am dealing with my mother in law’s cancer right now, or else I would be bringing you organic food and quinoa! Ya’ll are continually in my prayers.

  19. Dear Family, I too will continue to pray for your precious baby and the whole family. Know that already great things are growing in your lives as you cling to God each day and trust Him with your child and the outcome of each day. He has written your name on His hand and you are not alone.Isaiah 49:16 He is right with you each day, each hour with comfort and blessings too numerous to count…and He loves your baby,with and everlasting love. So we who only know you through your website spread to you little pieces of love, strength and hope, and we will trust God to bring you all home soon. Gabi

  20. Take Heart!! Eph. 3:20 to paraphrase. . .God can do exceedingly abundantly more than we can think or dream. May He poor His blessings on you this day. May His love rain over you and your family. PS Prayer woks, wear a rain coat. :)

  21. I am so, so sorry that this is taking much longer and is much harder than you ever anticipated. You are running a marathon and marathons are long and arduous, but that makes them even more victorious when you reach the finish line! And just think, you’re doing it in sparkly, red shoes. I know because I have the exact same red shoes and I love them!
    Keep your chins up, or if you’re too tired, let Jesus do it for you. He’s our glory and the lifter of our heads, as the Psalmist said. You’re doing a great job keeping it all in a Godly-perspective. Blessings to you all!

  22. Hey Julie! My wife sent this link to me this morning, and I was reading it as my students filed into my classroom. So when I started class, my eyes were glassy, and the students were looking at me like I was insane. So I explained, and I read them your post. My classes have been praying for your family, and our worldview class is actually discussing the sanctity of life this week. Your walk with the Lord is such a great, real-life example of the kind of faith that I want for myself, my family, and each of my students. What an encouragement to see the beauty of faith in the midst of such a hard time! You may be wondering how God is going to ultimately weave this story together for good, but (in a million smaller ways) God is already using your walk now to bring beauty into a painful world. You sure blessed me and my students this morning. So thanks for your faithfulness!

    Praying for you guys!

  23. Your strength and your courage are unbelieveable. I know I would not be able to handle myself with the sheer faith that you are and I want you to know that I am thinking of your and your family and that I am praying for you all. I look forward to your posts full of ideas to make my kids smile a little bit more, and now I am looking forward to your post that tells me your Happy Baby is coming home one day.

  24. You do not know me, but I have been a reader of your blog for some time now. You are precious, and that radiates in how you write. You are an amazing child of God, wife, and mother. We spent a short time in the NICU with our third child, who was born on the exact same day as a dear friend of mine delivered her third child. Our two boys (neither of us found out what we were having, so we were surprised together with boys) wound up in the NICU the following morning after they were born. My son ended up being fine in a matter of days, but hers spent months fighting for his life. We prayed, we cried, we turned to God for every agonizing step of the journey. God never failed us. That sweet baby boy just celebrated his first birthday, and has an amazing prognosis and outlook for a LONG LONG life. I do not know how people without faith get through hard times, I truly don’t. What I do know, more than anything, is that God will never let us down, and will always see us through – the good and the bad. I will continue to pray for your happy baby and your entire family. I can not imagine what you are going through, but you are never alone.
    Lifting you up,

  25. Praying for you and Ryan every day Julie. This has to be tough and exhausting for you guys. God’s in control. You have a lot of people waiting to see an update on you bringing your Happy Baby home. Praying for the doctors wisdom and hoping they find an answer soon and that Happy Baby makes a lot of progress. Love you guys!

  26. Julie, what a beautiful story and reminder to whom we belong and where we belong. I know God will see you through this and I know you know that as well. When Samantha was born, 23 years ago, she was in ICU for four weeks. She was not able to breathe normal air. She had wires and tubes connected to every vein the doctors could find. She was 5 pounds and 1 ounce. I did not know God then- I was truly alone. I did not think my precious baby girl would come home- Now, 23 years later- I am still waiting for her to come home. She is on her own, taking care of herself, with a college degree that offers her the world- Much more than that – she knows Jesus as her Lord- As mothers, we always hold our breath as our children walk through this world. I know your precious baby will be home with his mommy, daddy, and big brother soon- I just know it! He knows the love of mommy and daddy, friends and family. You all are continually in my prayers. Hugs to you all. the Koren/ Stevens Family.

  27. Julie, all of these comments are concrete evidence of how God is using you and your HHF blog and yes, even this current situation that you never would have chosen for your family! Thanks for being willing to yield to the One who HAS made this choice for you. I appreciated Summer’s quoting above of Psalm 139, a good reminder that all the days ordained for your little guy were written in God’s book before one of them came to be. I need to hear that!

    I know you are weary, friend, in body and in soul, and while many commenters admire your strength and your faith, I know you would agree that the strength is God’s (His power made perfect in our weakness — 2 Corinthians 12:9) and that the faith is a moment-by-moment struggle and choice to continue to trust Him (“Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:24). That in itself is glorifying to Him because your strength and faith point to Him as their source.

    I look forward to being part of the world-wide, heaven-wide celebration when your little one gets to come home, healthy and strong and breathing perfectly! Love you all!

  28. I love how God uses the small, simple things in life (red shoes) to teach us about HIM and His Father’s heart… you are still in my prayers often and I pray that He is sustaining you with peace and hope as only He can give. Hugs!

  29. My heart aches for you and your family. I too have some understanding of the heartache as you know, of a child that is not well. When my Erin was diagnosed with Breast cancer 3 years ago I slumped into the darkest days of my life. I remember the abundance of God’s peace and the constant reminder how much he loved me, my family and my Erin.

    I was humbled by my clear understanding of submission to the one who created us. I remember being so emotionally drained that I had no desire at that point to read scripture, but began to realize in those still quiet times that his words were already ingrained on my heart and were alive in my soul.

    I was lead to Philippians 4:8…Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things….

    This verse is what pulled me out of my dark place and back into the light. It led me back into the arms of Jesus, who is all those things that are spoken of in this verse. He began to give me a peace that she was going to be just fine, and she is. He adores your little man and holds him when you are not there. It is hard for us to believe that he loves our children more than we.

    I am humbled by your loving and sweet spirit, that is so obviously filled with the Holy Spirit. We are praying for all of you and especially for your beautiful babies healing.

    Love you and your family,
    Forever and Always,

  30. I heard about Jet at church on Sunday. Please let me know if there is anything I can do. If you need some help with baby boy #1, a meal, or someone to sit with you at the hospital. I’m sure your heart is in two places at once days. Your family is on my heart before the Lord.

  31. I am saddened to hear it’s taking longer than expected for your Happy Baby to come home and I can’t wait for the day when we all hear that that day has arrived! I’m encouraged by your strength in these days and am glad that you are finding delights in the little things. God works through these little things and lets us know he’s there by sending delights that touch your heart. May your days be filled with these delights to sustain you while you wait for God’s time to come when your baby boy will join you at home.

  32. Hi, I just wanted to let you know I’ve been praying for your family. Your faith, your perspective, your attitude- all bring glory to God. You are so faithful to Him, and He is faithful, always, to us. God has a plan for your tiny one, and He knows the outcome already. His plan is perfect, and in His timing, you will know His plan. I know you know that, but sometimes it helps me to have a reminder. To KNOW it, really. The waiting is so incredibly hard, but what a comfort to have faith. God will work this whole horrible situation for good.

    “But as for me,I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7

    God is in this, and He’s at work right now. Marathon is right. But God will not let you fall. One step at a time, one day at a time, you are in His hands. In His will.

    Hang in there. God’s power is perfect in our weakness. In your baby’s weakness. In yours. Praying for miraculous healing that the doctors can only attribute to God!

  33. Dear Julie,

    I KNOW that the Lord loves you and your family, and I know that He will strengthen and help you as you continue to turn to Him in faith and in prayer.

    I have been praying to know what words of comfort and encouragement I could give to help you at this time, and I felt prompted to share this quote and scripture.

    “There is no physical pain, no anguish of soul, no suffering of spirit, no infirmity or weakness that you or I ever experience during our mortal journey that the Savior did not experience first. You and I in a moment of weakness may cry out, ‘No one understands. No one knows.’ No human being, perhaps, knows. But the Son of God perfectly knows and understands, for He felt and bore our burdens before we ever did. And because He paid the ultimate price and bore that burden, He has perfect empathy and can extend to us Him arm of mercy in so many phases of our life. He can reach out, touch, succor, — literally run to us — and strengthen us to be more than we could ever be and help us to do that which could never do through relying only upon our own power.” – David A. Bednar
    “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
    “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

    I also wanted to share with you a link for a beautiful song that fills my heart with peace, and I pray that it may bless you as you continue to press forward with faith and hope in Christ.

    “Consider the Lilies”:

    Sending much happiness and love,

  34. What a wonderful place to come…a home of it’s own…your ministry here. I’m thankful for you and for your readers and their testimonies. May God bless you and your “Happy Family.”

  35. I do not know you in person…but i know that through Christ we are sisters. My heart aches for the pain you and your family are experiencing. However, I know that through your family’s unique situation…you are reaching the hearts of others. There are so many out there that do not understand His love and how Christ gives peace in the time of troubles. You are showing this through your trials. You all are in my prayers and I pray that your baby will soon be well. I know that Christ is using your family in a wonderful way.

  36. Julie,
    Your family remains in our prayers. You are not alone. God totally has control of everything.
    We love you!!
    Stephen, MB, Beckett & ?? Martin

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