The Election and an Immigrant Family

This election process has been the most unsettling one far and above any other. It seems to have created such division within the church and our country. My stomach slightly sinks when I hear the presidential debates, when I hear them attack each other fiercely on national television.

And for the most part I have kept silent about my political opinions. Partly because I don't like to start conflict and so much can get lost in translation in social media. And I'm afraid that even with the most well intended wishes, I could come across the wrong way.

I won't get into all my political views here. But I strongly wanted to share about my experience as an immigrant family to the United States, as I feel there is so many clouded things being said on this topic. And I'll start with this statement:

I am all about stricter immigration laws against illegal immigrants in the United States.

My mom was a single mom who had three girls to raise in a country where she did not know the language well. I couldn't even imagine how hard it must've been at times. But my mom did it all legally- she was sponsored to work by a company here in the U.S which by the grace of God not only supported us financially, but also sponsored our green cards for her, my sisters, and I. 

A few months ago while speaking to my mom on the phone, she told me the story of a lady she knew. She was an illegal immigrant and pregnant with her second child. She raved about how all her prenatal visits, ultrasounds and delivery were all paid for by the government, just as her first child had been. She also mentioned bringing a daughter her current husband had with another woman back in Mexico, just because they would get even more money from the government.

Here I was listening on the other line angry. I was just getting ready to have a baby, and we had a rather large insurance deductible to pay which was putting a lot of stress on us. And after that we would have to meet our deductible for our daughter as well, I wasn't sure how we would be able to afford it. And that was all being paid with hard earned tax paying dollars. I couldn't help but think how unfair it seemed to me.

This summer my dad was granted his green card, a process that took about a year and a half to review. He was reviewed medically, financially, in every way possible. I can't even begin to tell you what an intricate process it was. Now when he is here, I am 100% responsible for any of his medical bills and cannot receive any assistance from the government. But an illegal immigrant would have all their medical bills paid for, would an emergency happen to them and they were hospitalized.

'America' as my mom has always referred to the US is great because there are jobs here. It is great because there is food when you go to the supermarket. It is great because when there is an emergency, there could be a policeman and firefighter within minutes to help (unlike my home country). Many things are great about this country, but these are the three that have been the most important to me for reasons I won't expand on here (just for the sake of this being too long).

America is not great because it provides free health care and food to illegal immigrants. Most of these people do not contribute to the existing system financially, yet they can and often receive a lot in return. I wholeheartedly believe in helping the poor and those in need, and it's something I strive for everyday. In how we spend our time and resources. But I think a system that freely provides healthcare, food and other services, can often be abused, it is not helpful long term as it keeps them tied in this level of dependency on the government. 

As Beth Moore wrote on her blog recently:

'Whatever happens in November, the responsibility for the gospel is coming back to us. It’s not the government’s job. Seed spreads best ground level. We are only as powerless as our passivity. We still have voices to raise at deafening volume for the vulnerable. We still have knees to drop in contrition and desperate need for intervention. We still have feet to run to the aid of those in crisis like single mothers who need support. Like under-served school kids who need tutors. Like neighbors who are being ostracized. Like homeless who need help with shelter. Like teenagers who turn up with unwanted pregnancies. Like the hated, mistreated, forgotten, overlooked, unheard'

Another random thought- My dad and godmother have sat in the immigration room in the Miami airport once each. Both of them shared that hundreds  (if not thousands) of people are let through Miami claiming asylum from other countries. These people that show up have had no background check to the extent that my father had. As many questions as they may be asked, the screening process can't be that good if it's all done in such a short period of time. And that I think it's a process that could and should be improved.

I'm not here to sway on on party or the other. Ultimately, I think most of our minds are made up and I respect other opinions and views. And as cliche as this is- God is sovereign over every nation and election. I'm still uneasy about this election and confess there have been nights where it has robbed me of some serious sleep, but I'm clinging on to Gods promises in the Bible. To not fear, to trust Him, and to believe in him no matter what tomorrow holds.

Praying for this country which has given so much to my family and I.

On your 8th Birthday

Dear Andrew,

Today would’ve been your 8th birthday. This year it doesn’t seem as difficult as other years and that’s probably because my hands are full right now with your baby sister. Not that anyone would ever take your place, but it is a joy to hold a brand new life and marvel at the wonderful things God does. Thankfulness seems to surpass the grief this year.

I like to pause and remember on your birthday what a blessing you have been. Over the years your story has given us the opportunity to share our faith with others around us.  When tragedy strikes someone close by, we no longer turn the other way or shy away from the pain. Instead we can share our story - your story- as a testimony that God can bring good out of the most unthinkable of circumstances. When someone is hurting because they’ve lost a loved one, instead of saying ‘Just trust God!’ we can now understand their feelings of anger and doubt. And that it’s normal and not a sin to feel this way at times.

It is a blessing to be able to connect with the most broken hearted of people, and be able to walk alongside of them during their grief. These are roads that very few walk down upon and they can be very isolating. It is a privilege I never wished or asked for, but now that I’m here I wouldn’t give it back.

My heart changed the day you were born, but it changed even more the day you passed away. It had always been easy for me to trust the Lord when things were going good, but after you were gone I had to learn to trust God in dark places where life didn’t make sense. It wasn’t an easy process, it was hard and messy, imperfect, and certainly there were more bad days than good days. But God used that season to draw me closer to him and get to know some qualities about him I wouldn’t have known anywhere else. And when it’s all said and done, what I strive for in this life is to know God more, even if the process involves some difficult and hard places along the way.

The blessings that came from your life also came with a cost. My pregnancies since you’ve been gone have been very difficult. I’ve wrestled with fear of loss in all of them and wished I could’ve enjoyed them more. I thought about you every day during this last pregnancy. Even to this day I often wonder what life would look like with you in it.

These last three months have been joyful and difficult at the same time. I don’t take for granted the miracle of new life, but I also know how fragile it can be. During the newborn season I try so hard to be perfect- to make all the right decisions to protect this new little human that’s been entrusted to me- and I’m really hard on myself when I don’t make all those perfect decisions. I know it’s my own way of trying to be in control and prevent something bad from happening. Thankfully God extends His grace when I give in to worry and fear of losing another child. Because the fear is still there and I’m not sure it will ever fully go away.

Today I remember your life. I am so thankful for being able to hold you for those short 10 days, even with the countless tears that have come over the last 8 years. You were and are a great blessing, and I dream of the day when I will get to hold you again. 
"The Lord gives and He takes away, Blessed be the name of the Lord" Job 1:21

The Last Week

It seems surreal we are getting ready to meet Lillian in less than a week! While we are very excited there are other emotions that always seem to creep up the week before my due dates.

In my past pregnancies with Jack and Palmer it was difficult for me to allow myself to be excited. Because we had lost Andrew so unexpectedly after he was born, I didn’t want to go through the pain of cleaning up things for another empty nursery. I didn’t really talk to them in my belly like I did with Andrew, and when I did it was difficult and painful. I didn’t really post any pictures of my pregnancy with either. I was very private about both pregnancies.

In this pregnancy I have tried really hard to allow myself to be excited and it hasn’t come naturally. Not because she’s a girl, but Lord willing, because it will be my last pregnancy. I have many regrets of how I’ve done things in the past. I regret not enjoying my pregnancies more and staying so stuck in fear. I regret not getting ready for them as I should’ve, not singing and talking to them like I did in the past, not allowing myself to anticipate their arrival with joy.

Even after they were born, I regret wishing away that newborn season because it was just plain hard and exhausting. Looking back it went by in the blink of an eye and I wish I wouldn’t have looked so much forward to the future.

So this pregnancy has been different and I have enjoyed it more, much thanks to the help of friends and family. But as we get close to welcome her this time around, I am often reminded of Andrew. I have thought so much about him these last few weeks, multiple times a day. And I feel the same anticipation and excitement this time around as we did with Andrew… and it bring back all the memories I have of waiting for his arrival. There have been a few other things that have felt similar to my pregnancy with Andrew (and even Steve agreed with me the other night) that it has left me feeling unsettled and wondering how life will change after this baby. One way or another it will change significantly in five days, and I hope and pray that it ends with a healthy delivery and baby.

I sometimes wonder how I can miss Andrew so much even though he was only with us for 10 days. We have very little memories together other than our time at the hospital with him. We never got to know his laugh, his personality, or his perks. And yet somehow I miss him so so much all these years later. It is incredible how God gives us the ability to unconditionally love our children from the moment they are born, and even during pregnancy. I not only long for the short time we had together, but I think I also grieve all the dreams we had for him that didn’t come to happen. And so these days I miss him a lot.

Other than this mix of excitement, fear, and missing Andrew- physically I am doing ok. I didn't think I was going to make it to my due date (per my big belly, pressure, and increasing contractions) but I think I will probably make it after all. I don't have the energy to do much these days and I've been resting a lot so I don't go into labor early. 

Really appreciate everyone’s prayers for delivery next week. I don’t quite feel ready yet here at home, but I’m hoping that I’ll have time to wrap everything at home during the days I’ll have at home before delivery. My c-section is scheduled for Friday morning at 9am on April 22nd. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement!

Baby Briggs # 4: Boy or Girl?

We had our big ultrasound for baby Briggs this past Tuesday January 5th. I was 23 weeks and 6 days, and we mostly decided to wait until 2016 due to insurance reasons. While I would’ve been happy to wait until the baby was born to know (we never found out with Jack and I loved it!) Steve was very set on finding out this time around, so eventually I gave in.

Since the beginning of my pregnancy Jack was hoping for a girl and Palmer for a boy. Mom and dad were hoping for a baby human :)

After being blessed with three beautiful baby boys….




Baby Briggs # 4 is a…


We are so excited to welcome a baby girl!! I would’ve posted the pic of her bottom, but then who wants their first facebook picture to be of their butt right? We are thankful from the ultrasound she looked healthy and growing as she should be. I did ask Cathy (our ultrasound lady) to check multiple times since we were very surprised and didn’t quite believe her at first... We could tell from this ultrasound this baby has big hands and feet, just like her big brothers :)

And while we are excited to welcome a girl to our family, we would’ve been just as thrilled had we been blessed with a baby boy. (I have to say this because I don’t like comments like ‘Oh you finally got your girl!’ as if we were holding our breath hoping only for a girl). What an adventure and honor it would’ve been to raise little men to love the Lord. I so love being a mama to boys- doing all things boys like Star Wars, legos, and gun fights.  I can’t even fathom what princesses and dress-up will look like in this house, but I’m looking forward to that too.

We praise God for the gift of new life. He deserves all the honor and glory for the little miracles He creates! The verse below has always been a good reminder that God alone has the power to give forth new life- no matter how at times I wish things were under my control or go according to my plan. It has been encouraging during times when I've struggled to get pregnant or wrestled with worry during pregnancies. Truly He deserves all the glory, honor and praise.
'You are worthy our Lord and God  
to receive glory and honor and power
for you created all things
and by your will they were created and have their being'
Revelations 4:11