Miracles and Memories

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Since before I could walk, our family has had the tradition of vacationing at a summer cottage in Michigan that my grandfather invested in when his children where teenagers and young adults.

Michigan summers hold some incredibly special memories for me.

John and I have been able to take our children many times over the past 24 years.

The last few summers, it has not been possible due to Mattie’s health.

To say that I am excited that we are able to travel to Michigan this year would be an understatement.

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As I packed this week, several times my eyes filled with tears at the thought of being able to go again this year.

Being able to celebrate LIFE this year!

Taking Mattie on his very first vacation is a milestone that for the past 3 years, we only dreamed would become a reality.

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So off we go, on a grand family adventure.

And this will be one vacation that I will never take for granted.

Before it even begins, it will always stand out in my mind as magical, remarkable, miraculous and very, very treasured.

 

 

Remembering the Miracle

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One year ago, we sat at our son’s beside and prayed for a miracle.

Today our living breathing miracle is playing on the family room floor making zurbbles with his lips, laughing, and blowing spit bubbles.

We lived a MIRACLE.

I wrote this last year after Mattie’s miraculous recovery.

I’m hoping that someone today needs to read this.

Dear Friend,

I may not know you. It is possible that we have never met. But you’ve been reading this story. Captivated by it and drawn in for some reason. I’m real about my fears and my faith. And they sometimes collide.

You watched us pray for a miracle. You might have doubted. So did I.

In the same day I prayed for miracles and read words of hope and life over my son, I also planned his funeral in my head.

You listened to me talk about God’s love and it intrigued you. Maybe even confused you.

You’re not sure God is real. Or maybe you think perhaps He is out there, but you don’t have time for Him; and you’re certain He doesn’t have time for you.

You’ve walked through too much pain. Seen too much injustice. You’ve be alone. And you question where He could possibly be in the middle of it all. And even if He is there, you feel too messed up to find Him. Like you’ve made too many mistakes for Him to even look at you.

Deep down you kind of want to believe, but you’re afraid of what believing might look like.

We all long for a Savior. A Rescuer. A Deliverer. All of creation cries out to be rescued. Look at the stories and the movies that have captivate our attention for years and years. We want to believe. We want to believe there is a “Superman” defending the weak, rescuing the downtrodden. We want to believe that there is a “Gandalf”, ready to lead us and bring peace. We want to believe that Jean Valjean will find us in the gutter, sweep us up into his arms and carry us to safety, nurse us back to health. Love us as his very own.

We want to believe there is a Savior.

I found Him. He is real.

He defends me. He has recused me. He leads me. He brings peace to my storm. He swept me out of the gutter and nursed me back to health. He calls me His own.

I’m not religious, if religion means following a set of rules or adhering to a list of principals so that I will somehow allowed into heaven.

I’m not good enough.

None of us are.

But I have found love.

I hold fast to my relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s about love and friendship. He points me to the Father. A God who loves and forgives, who teaches and leads. His Spirit instructs me, whispers to my heart, heals me.

He is available.

Reachable.

Touchable.

The miracle of Mattie is one miracle. A big one to me. But ultimately it is just one.

There is a God who breathed and spoke and life came out of his Words.

He said that it was good.

A miracle.

He is a big God, a laughing, loving, full of life God.

He created so He would have someone to love. Someone who would love Him back.

A miracle.

Sin entered the world. Mankind chooses to sin day after day. We make horrible choices. We hurt each other.

But He made a way for us to be reconciled, forgiven, set free.

He sent His Son, who lived and walked among us. It wasn’t an easy life, but He chose to come into it so that He might fully know us, understand our struggles, feel our pain. He was despised, rejected, scorned. Even those who chose to love Him, doubted Him from time to time, denied Him even when they knew the truth.

And He died. It is not a fairy tale. It was real. You know you want to believe it was real.

That a man would throw His life away for yours.

Pay the price for you. To set you free.

I didn’t deserve it. Neither do you.

It is such an extravagant gift that there is simply nothing we could ever do to earn it.

He planned it that way.

It’s an invitation to a miracle.

And simply stated, He just wants you to say “Yes” to the miracle.

Believing that He is love, and that He sent His Son to reflect that love and give you life (John 3:16)

Admitting that you need His love, and that sin is separating you from Him. (Romans 3:23)

Accepting that a redemptive act of mercy, an ultimate sacrifice had to be made so that you could step into freedom. The death of His son. (Romans 5:8)

Opening your heart, saying “Yes”, and letting Him in. (Romans 10:13)

A miracle.

All you have to do is ask.

Father, I believe that you love me and that you sent your Son to give me life. I need you so desperately. I hate being alone. Please forgive me and make me new. I open my heart and ask you to come in. Thank you for giving Your Son’s life so that I could become Your child. Lead me, teach me, heal me. Amen

 

If you prayed this prayer, I would love to know about it so that I can pray for you. Please email us at mattiebreathes@gmail.com.

Reflecting and Giving Thanks

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We are in the hospital.

Asthma.

Sitting here this time is strangely like living a different life. My kid had an asthma flare up. How “normal” is that?

1 out of 5 American will struggle with asthma and allergies.

44,000 people a day have an asthma attack.

1,200 people a day are admitted to the hospital with an asthma attack.

(Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America)

Being admitted and discussing his symptoms with the medical staff was so odd.

We are so familiar with the severe. The traumatic. The life-threatening.

Asthma and allergies were always the least of our concerns.

So here we are. We are not in the PICU because he is no longer on a ventilator. We’re not trying to uncover some mystery illness or bring a child back to life.

We are just trying to support breathing and help this flare up subside.

Please pray for him. For children with chronic lung disease, asthma is not a walk in the park by any means.

He had a rough night but finally got some sleep by 3AM.

So we are grateful that it is nothing worse and it is impossible for me to walk through these next few days without reflecting on last year at this time.

Last year.

A year.

A year of walking out of the valley of the shadow of death into life and hope.

If you want to remember with us, you can go HERE and start from the bottom and read up.

Because though remembering is so very, very hard, Remembering fills me with Gratitude.

I don’t have much else to say.

Give thanks with me, as you pray for Mattie today, give thanks for the miracle that is his life.

Freedom

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Through this journey into wellness I have been keenly aware of the triune nature of our beings: we are body, soul and spirit.

There is no denying it. Interwoven, interconnected, a swirling mist of humanity ebbing and flowing, unable to be separated.

Try as you may, you cannot neglect one part of your being without the others being deeply impacted.

You cannot carry grief of the soul without the body feeling the weight and pain of that grief.

You cannot walk with a spirit that is uncared for without your soul suffering under the pressure of sorrow and sadness.

You cannot walk around in a body that is neglected through poor nutrition, lack of physical fitness, or wracked with pain and sickness without your spirit feeling heavy as well.

As the Lord gave me courage to start taking care of my physical body, I quickly discovered that the impact was intense on both my spirit and my soul.

I began to feel free again.

There is no magic formula for this, but for years and years I cared for my spirit and cultivated my soul but the neglect of my body was literally wrapping chains around my heart and causing my spirit to be weighted down.

As I took the first steps to find freedom for the physical pain in my body, everything loosened up and I began to experience freedom in so many other ways too.

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Freedom to love and be loved.

Freedom to be real with my feeling and express my heart without shame.

Freedom to relate to God in new and fresh ways.

Freedom to “live and move and have my being” in Him. (Acts 17:28)

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This photo taken in a mirror is just a reflection of something way bigger than what you see in my body. The transformation on the inside that you cannot see is far more significant to me.

Feeling strong and alive and having energy for life carries more weight than anything! The number on the scale is just a number. The size of my jeans is just a number.

The joy in my heart, the life in my spirit, the peace and confidence in my soul….those things are who I am and why I keep sharing about this journey I am on.

“My Story”- Guest Blogger, John Loux

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“I won’t hospitalize you yet, but we are getting REALLY close. I need you to talk to someone if you continue to have thoughts of hurting yourself.”

Those were my doctors words to me just one year ago.

It was bad. Really bad. And everything was crashing in around me. Just a couple of years earlier, my brother had died in a tragic car accident. Shortly after that, I had seen our newly adopted son, Mattie, on death’s door so many times I could not count. His whole first year in the hospital, subsequent trips back and forth with tragic illnesses, watching the doctors & nurses revive him numerous times.

All of my past failures, whether it be in my career, morally, or surrounding relationships were overwhelming me. Addiction was rearing it’s ugly head again and I just wanted out. I was heavy, dark and disconnected.  I took the meds he gave me that day, but as many of you know, the side effects were pretty intense. They may have kept me from doing something drastic, but living with them was not really living at all.

Something had to change.

I had to fight for myself and my family.

Many view Isagenix as a weight loss program. It’s not. Weight loss is only one side effect of nutritional cleansing and superfood maintenance. When you cleanse the body on a cellular level, eliminate crap food from your diet, and put whole super-foods in, the body begins to heal itself like God intended.

Isagenix actually means “Perfected by God”. (The root “isa” is Arabic for “Jesus”, and the root “genix”  means “perfected”.)

For me, it was not the pounds lost so much (thought that was nice) as it was the clarity of mind. It’s like somebody turned on a switch in me that had been off for a really long time. My hope was back. I was able to deal with my issues and dream again. I had energy and focus for my wife and kids.  Somebody asked me the other day if I sold Isagenix. I’m not interested in “selling” anything, trust me. I spent 20 years in some kind of a sales related job, and I’m SO over that. However, I WILL share my story and the power of these amazing products.

Did Isagenix save me?

Well I have an “after” picture, my kids have a dad and my wife has a husband, so yeah, I would say it did.

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I Really Am Writing a Book…. really, I am.

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Here’s an excerpt from the prologue just to prove it. To you. And to me!

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I am writing a story that is still being written. I don’t even know how this story ends, but I am so grateful that it is being written and that the story of my life was woven into the story of the lives of the incredible children you are about to meet.

For you created my inmost being;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together,

Your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:13-16

 

I like to imagine the Father, my Creator sitting in a massive stuffed chair in a grand library (you know like the library in “Beauty and the Beast”) surrounded by ceiling to floor shelves with so many books it is impossible to count. On the spine of every book is a name. The name of one of His creation. And somewhere among the countless book, there is one with my name embroidered on the spine.

My name. Tracie Lee Mickey Loux.

I look and I see the Father pull that book off the shelf, get settled into His chair, and begin to flip through the pages. I watch in wonder as he reads quietly to Himself, at times throwing His head back in laughter, at times wiping tears from His eyes, at times with a tender look of lovingkindness like none I have seen before. He reads with love in His eyes. And then He writes some more. He writes things that have not yet happened. He writes the story of my life. All of my days. Each one ordained by Him.

And He wrote four other books that I would like to share with you. I am not the Author, I am just the observer, the one He has chosen to participate in these beautiful love stories.

Once there were four children, formed in their mother’s womb.

Created by God.

Fearfully and wonderfully.

Before they breathed their first breath,

Their Maker knew them.

He called them by name.

Aiden

Emma

Elia

Matthias

 

He breathed LIFE over them.

He dreamed a dream,

And they became.

 

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

Nothing was hidden from Him.

The One who created them saw it all.

 

He began writing. A story. Their story.

One called “Elia.”

One called “Aiden.”

One called “Emma.”

One called “Matthias.”

As He penned each word,

He was pleased.

And then He sat back and watched the story become all that He dreamed it could be.

He laughed.

He cried.

He took great delight in watching their destinies come to life.

He watched every step.

Even from afar, He saw them.

And He delighted in them.

He directed them.

Protecting them in front and behind.

His hand was upon them.

He kept them steady.

He was the light that led the way.

He held out His hand, and He never let go.

 

He sat back, eager to enjoy the story unfold.

Knowing every word from beginning to end, yet still, He delighted in their journey.

The wonderful works of His hand.

Free to become everything He created them to be.

Dancing into His story.

 

Skinny Jeans and the Mission Field

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I know people think crazy things when they see someone get serious about health, wellness, and fitness.

I’ve had people really happy for me, and I have people make some judgements too.

There is this kind of weird idea out there that sharing about health and fitness goals is somehow self-absorbed or prideful. Really?

Setting goals, whether it be weight loss goals or fitness goals, represents getting to a place of wanting CHANGE, setting pride aside and saying,  I NEED CHANGE!!

It’s not easy. It’s hard work. It requires focus, determination, and overcoming obstacles.

Am I prideful about it? NO

Am I Happy. Yes! Joyful. Yes!

Do I feel confident! YES! Does it feel inherently GOOD to have set a goal and achieved it. ABSOLUTELY!

But Confidence and Pride are not the same thing! Don’t mistake them!

Everything I am doing and sharing about our family and our journey to amazing health has been because I want to see others set free too.

I’m not out there stalking people, or pounding on doors, or nagging about it.

I’m sharing a story and inviting you to come along. Inviting you to a place of CHANGE!

I wouldn’t care at all, except that I DO CARE!!  I care deeply.

What I’m saying is that if I didn’t love and care for people they way that I do, I wouldn’t be doing this.

It’s not about ME!

But I’ve found too much HOPE to keep my mouth shut.

I’m sharing a journey. Not twisting your arm.

It’s a journey from death to life. From despair to hope. From bondage to freedom.

It’s a journey that has taken me from exhausted, sick, emotionally spent, and worn out beyond belief…… to THRIVING.

I’m sleeping well. I wake up pain free and full of energy for my day. I love my family better with a happy heart.

My husband is a different man. He is free from depression and anxiety. He is full of hope and life. He is active and engaged in our family in new ways.

And we are both more spiritually alive than we have been in a long time.

This journey has been one of BODY, MIND, and SPIRIT.

IT IS NOT ABOUT THE SKINNY JEANS!

Though there is nothing wrong with a person being happy to have finally gotten into a pair of great fitting jeans!

Of course I am happy to have lost over 30 pounds. Of course it’s nice to have clothes fit better.

BUT WHAT IS REALLY NICE IS….. not being out of breath when I play with my kids, not feeling like a truck wreck when I wake up in the morning, not being exhausted every night by 7PM, and knowing that I can live life to the fullest because I’ve taken care of the body that I’ve been given.

This is about being on a mission. Caring for our family with fullness of strength. Helping other families love and serve each other better. Giving to missions in bigger ways.

Everything we do directly impacts the health and wellness of adoptive families, supports people in adoption ministry, and those working on the mission field full time.

I love helping babies find families. I love walking adoptive families through their adoption journey.

I made a call today to let a sweet couple know that they are going to be parents. I got an email from another family being discharged from the hospital with their newly adopted baby.

I LOVE IT!

This journey has taken “orphan care” to a whole new level for us because we are caring for many, many adoptive families. Moms and Dads who were worn out like us. We are seeing family after family become stronger and more able to care for the gifts God has given them.

Today a new member of our team wrote:

“I cannot believe how emotional I am today. I feel like this is so much more than just my Day 1. This is my promise to my babies that I will be here for their weddings and the births of their children. This is my promise to my husband that I will grow old with him and when death does part us it will be after a long, love-filled life together. This is a promise to myself that I am worthy of all of these precious people God has placed in my life and that I can be a healthier, longer part of their stories. This is not because I hope to wear skinny jeans (okay…maybe a little) but it is because I want to be able to run through the fields, climb the mountains, and swim the seas if that is what God calls of me.
I am so ready for this…”

This is why we do what we do. To help parents like this one become the people they long to be!

Because yes, my friend, you are worth it, your family is worth it, the world is worth having you be your most AMAZING, STRONG SELF!

So tomorrow I’m going to throw on my skinny jeans, thank Jesus for a beautiful new day, and be ready to love and serve all of those God has placed in my life!