Tag Archives: Family

Journey_to_trust

The Journey to Trust

March 10, 2017

God, the one and only — I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, 

An impregnable castle: I’m set for life. 

My help and glory are in God — granite-strength and safe-harbor-God — So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be. {Psalm 62:5-8}

My word for 2016 was JOY, but to be honest much of it felt anything but joyful. The year started off on the heels of the miscarriage of our much-longed for twins and I spent months wrestling with God over His plans for my family. And His voice echoed in my head:

Do you trust me?

Of course, I trust you God, I’d reason. But the truth was, it was hard to trust. I knew that trusting God wouldn’t create an immunity from the yucky stuff of life. But when life is difficult, trusting God is what has gotten me through, and I’m reminded that God is my strength and safe-harbor, the solid rock on which I am stable {Psalm 62}.

Do you trust me?

Throughout the year, I tried by my own might to achieve the dream of my heart – a larger family. But by December, J and I had concluded that it was time to fully surrender that dream to God and pray about what was next. And so we began 2017 feeling a peace that could only come from trusting Him, even in the unknown.

Do you trust me?

Through prayer and tears, conversations with family and friends, the next has become abundantly clear. We know what He is calling us to trust Him in and with.

As so, with excitement and trusting God with our anxieties, J and I are beginning the journey to become licensed FOSTER PARENTS and to welcome children temporarily {and maybe forever} into our home and family. There is a lot of training ahead and paperwork galore {not to mention physicals, background checks, etc}, but we believe that this is where He wants us. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be good? We sure hope so! And we would love your prayers and encouragement as we begin this new journey.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

{Oceans by Hillsong United)

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Daring to Trust God in the Midst of Heartache

January 7, 2016

“If I just knew the end result, then I could trust, God.” I would pray in a whisper. And then laugh disparagingly at myself. Knowing requires little trust. Trust and faith happen in the face of uncertainty.

For 15 months my husband and I had tried for another baby. At first we assumed it would happen quickly. Even with our losses, we had never had any issues getting pregnant. Staying pregnant had always been the problem.

Now, it seemed, this would be hard too.

I kept thinking, if I just knew, then I could move on. If I knew that we were never to have another biological child, then I could grieve and move forward. If I were to find out that we’d have another child but not until a certain time (preferably given the knowledge of the exact month and day we’d find out, because planning) then I could relax and live fully in the now without worrying about the future.

But where is the trust in that?

Then it happened. Two little lines on the pregnancy test, “I don’t believe it,” I cried as I called a friend. “Can this be true?” And it was true.

Early pregnancy symptoms kicked in, but I didn’t care. I felt awful, but I was finally pregnant and so full of joy. “Thank you, God.” I prayed, not taking a minute of it for granted. This is probably my last pregnancy, I’d tell myself and I wouldn’t allow myself to be consumed by worry or complaint.

Then the best news of all: TWINS! God’s grace and favor felt abundant. Perhaps this is why I needed to wait for another baby, I reasoned as I googled double strollers and non-minivans that could hold three car seats. But the good news was couched in some concern. The babies were smaller than they should have been and the doctor was uncertain of what that meant. As I left the appointment, anxiety overwhelmed me, but my husband and I quickly concluded this was just another area we needed to trust God, and provided another means for Him to show His glory and power. I began to plan our Christmas announcement.

A week later – in early December – we were devastated to learn that both babies had been lost. As we prepared to celebrate the coming of the Christ-child, I felt numb and void.

I had trusted God to make things go my way. But that wasn’t how it went. Could I still trust? In the midst of this shattering heartache and new uncertainty, I didn’t know.

TRUST AND FAITH HAPPEN IN THE FACE OF UNCERTAINTY, NOT IN THE KNOWING1.

This is where my sticky friends came to my aid. I didn’t want to talk – I didn’t even want to see anyone. But cards starting pouring in with words like “I don’t understand but I’m sorry” and included gift cards for coffee and treats. And I realized that even in the midst of my hurt, God heard my cries and provided comfort. I began to want to trust. I prayed for God to fill my lack of trust with faith that only He could provide, and I looked up verses on trust.

Two verses especially stuck out to me:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4

Notice that both begin with “Trust in the Lord.” Perhaps He’s trying to say something? Even in the middle of my pain, I’m choosing to trust. Not because I have any idea of what’s next. And not because trusting is easy, because it isn’t. Rather, I’m choosing to trust because I know that I know that I know, that God is good and His love for me (and you) endures forever. Even when we can’t see what’s coming next, He has a plan, and we are just called to trust in the Lord.

After all, trust and faith happen in the face of uncertainty.

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Recount the Good

November 14, 2015

I thought I could get a few minutes. We’d played out in the snow for nearly an hour and watched her favorite cartoons. Surely, she could play quietly for a half hour while I blogged. That’s when I noticed her using my glass of iced tea as her cowgirl-rubber-ducky’s swimming pool. Ahhhhh kids!

As I poured myself another glass of tea and snagged a piece of dark chocolate from the kitchen cupboard (because clearly I deserve it, right!?!), I began to recount the blessings of motherhood.

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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Trusting God in the Waiting Room

November 2, 2015

You know the scene: the uncomfortable chairs, room full of strangers, a squirmy toddler or two, waiting.

Waiting for your name to be called, for things to get started. Maybe it’s just an annual exam or the exciting first ultrasound of your pregnancy, maybe it’s a worrisome mole or a follow-up with a potentially life-altering diagnosis, or maybe it’s an emergency. You’ve probably experienced more than one of these scenarios in your lifetime. I know I have.

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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That Time I Was a People Pleaser

October 26, 2015

As a single 20-something, I loved being aunt “Rayree.” I relished every moment with family and especially times with my first nephew and niece, showering them with love and affection, and going out of my way to be present during holidays and special occasions. I don’t mean to brag, but I was a rockin’ aunt.

Then I met my husband and had a baby, and began my transformation to less-rockin’-aunt.

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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On Magical Fairies, Kitty Cats and Alligators

October 20, 2015

For the last two years I have singularly chosen what my precious babe would be for Halloween: a ladybug and a little chicken respectively.

The costumes were purchased weeks in advance. Who am I kidding? I bought her first Halloween costume the December before while I was still pregnant (I got a good deal!).

Fast forward to this year. Reagan is two and starting to have her own opinions, so in late September I began asking her just what she might like to be for Halloween. We scoured an entire rack of 2T costumes at a consignment sale.

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

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When Church is the Answer

October 10, 2015

I walked into the new-to-me church feeling a little hesitant. It’s not that I have an issue with church per say, but it’s always a little uncomfortable walking into one where you don’t know anyone (yet).

But this church had something very special going for it. Something that had me falling madly in love with it before even stepping a foot inside the door. You’ll understand why soon.

Read the rest on the Middle Places blog.

 

Making Time for Me

April 21, 2014

As a mom, most of my waking hours – and some of my sleeping hours – are spent working or taking care of those I love. Working in an office or cooking and cleaning at home, sending emails and wiping dirty bottoms and runny noses, my days are not my own.

And I love it.

I love being a wife and mom. I love the messy joy, the sticky hugs and the wet kisses. I love planning meals and birthday parties. I don’t love the dishes and laundry, so if you know anyone who’d like to volunteer for those tasks, I’m all ears.

And yet, even with all the joy and fulfillment being a mom brings, I have needs to be met. Making time to care for oneself can seem impossible or selfish but in reality the value of “me time” is immeasurable. Because when I am in a healthy place – physically, emotionally and spiritually – I am best able to care for my family.

Creative Commons — photo by Adrian Serghie

Creative Commons — photo by Adrian Serghie

Here are five ways I’ve found for keeping the “me” in Mommeeee happy and healthy:

  • Get dressed. Even on days I’m not going to the office, I try to get showered and dressed before my husband leaves for work. Starting my day off with a tiny bit of privacy – while he watches Reagan – and a lot of hot water sets the tone for a better day.
  • Take a break. When possible, do something that you enjoy during nap time. For me this might include a short dance-workout via video, reading a good book or my Bible, taking a nap, trying out a new recipe or watching one of my favorite reality shows with a bowl of fresh popcorn (embarrassing confession – I’m a sucker for all things reality-tv).
  • Make a plan. Schedule a weekly or monthly activity that gets you out of the house for some fun with other adults. Maybe a weekly Bible study, a monthly Bunco group, a Saturday hiking club or an every-other-week MOPS meeting. Whatever you find, commit to it.
  • Set a date. No really, time away from the kids with your man on a regular basis is crucial to a great relationship and a happier, healthier you. So find a trusted family member or friend who can watch the kids for a couple hours while you and your guy reconnect.
  • Invest in yourself. Even in the midst of parenting, you can continue to grow and develop  the person God has created you to be. As your schedule allows, take an art class or dance lessons. Go to a writers’ conference or a weekend women’s retreat. Take an online class and work on your degree. Not only will you be growing but you’ll be modeling to your children a love for life-long learning.

And before you think I’ve got this me time thing down, let me reassure you: these are things I try to do. Some days I do well, other days it’s all I can manage to drag my weary body to bed at night. And that’s okay because I will have another chance to do better tomorrow.

How about you – what do you do to best care for yourself? How does taking care of your needs affect the way you are able to care for your family?

Hating Me

April 17, 2014

“Look at this,” I moan in disgust pinching a handful of stretch-marked, flabby skin from my mid-section. “Why do you even like me?” I ask J dejectedly, adding insult to injury as I place the value of my personhood on the perceived failings of my exterior.

“You had a baby,” he patiently soothes. “You are beautiful and wonderful, and a good Mommy.”

But I hear none of it. Too focused on the imperfections in the mirror. If I could just lose 20 pounds, then I’d be happy, I tell myself.

And I believe it.

I remember the first time my mom mentioned my weight to me. I was in 6th grade. She doesn’t remember, but I can vividly see us standing in the kitchen and my dad telling her she was silly, and that I looked great. A girl needs a dad like that.

It was silly, and that’s probably why my mom has forgotten the conversation. I was fit and healthy, and looking back now, just starting to add a few girlish curves. But I think it’s around that time that I started to realize my mom wasn’t happy with her body. After giving birth to my youngest brother – her third child – she’d struggled to lose the last 10 pounds of baby weight.

My mother was (and still is!) beautiful, vivacious and simply fabulous but I don’t think she always saw it. She was too focused on those 10 pounds.

And now, I’m repeating the cycle. So focused on my imperfections – so focused inwardly – that I sometimes miss out on the joy of just being me with the ones I love.

What would it look like for me to break the cycle before it reaches the next generation – to learn to appreciate my body so that I can teach Reagan to value hers? One thing I know, this change has to start now.  Today.  With me. Steve Maraboli wrote, “There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”

Creative Commons -- photo by Robb North

Creative Commons — photo by Robb North

And so today, instead of focusing on the things my body isn’t and can’t do, I’m choosing to focus on the beauty of my body, the perfect imperfections. The stretch marks that grew as my body expanded to hold and nurture my precious baby. The round arms that offer comfort and hugs to family and friends in need. The pale legs that carry me out into the sunshine to work and make a difference in the world.

And as I focus on living a healthy lifestyle (because even as I learn to value my body, I want it to be healthier so I can do even more with it!), I want to teach my daughter to appreciate her own body and show her how to best take care of it.

Some days I will fail, but I pray that God will give me grace and help refocus my vision when it begins to settle on negative thoughts so that I can see myself the way he sees me.

“Is she your first?”

September 17, 2013

As a mom to a new baby, I get this question a lot. And you’d think it would be a pretty easy question. Or maybe, if you are like me, it isn’t such an easy question.

Is she your first

Photography provided by Danae Wheeler {www.dwdesignandphotography.com}

Reagan is my only living child, but she isn’t my first child. In fact, Reagan is my third.

A few months after ditching the birth control, J and I were thrilled to see that positive sign on the pregnancy test (and at least 3 more … just to make sure!). We couldn’t contain our excitement and called our parents and siblings to let them know right away. Unfortunately, just a few days later I miscarried. And our hearts broke.

“Dear Lord, I would have loved to have held my babies on my lap
and tell them about you, but since I didn’t get the chance,
would you please hold them on your lap and tell them about me?”
{author unknown}

That’s when I learned that nearly 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. That didn’t make me miss my baby any less nor did it ease the ache over the lost dreams I had for the precious life taken-too-soon, but it softened my heart to other mothers who grieved silently, never having the chance to hold their little ones.

After a physical, I was given the green light to start trying again and we were blessed to get pregnant right away. I tried to contain my excitement, in case. This time we waited until after we saw our baby’s heartbeat to begin sharing the good news. When we passed into the second trimester, I breathed a sigh of relief. “We made it!” or so I thought.

Just before hitting the halfway point {20 weeks}, signs of trouble began. When I made it in to the doctor’s office we were shocked to discover that my cervix was dilated to 4cm*. I was rushed to the hospital but before my doctors could try any interventions, my water broke. There was nothing that could be done. Twelve hours later I delivered my stillborn son. We named him Samuel Evan after his grandfather and because of the story in the Bible {Samuel means “asked of God”}.

“The mention of my child’s name may bring tears to my eyes,
but it never fails to bring music to my ears.
If you are really my friend, let me hear the beautiful music of his name.
It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul.”
{author unknown}

Reagan was born almost exactly 12 months after Samuel went to Heaven. She is my rainbow baby and brings her Daddy and I great joy.

But I still have struggled with how to answer the question, “Is she your first?” I have found it best to craft my answer based on who I am talking to. For the most part, when I am asked {by a sweet stranger in the grocery store or a new acquaintance at church}, I simply answer “yes.”  But when I am asked by another mom who I know will understand my heart and my loss, I share, “She’s my third. I’ve got two other precious babes in Heaven.”

Who do you share your mom-heartaches with? MOPS is a community of moms who gather together to talk about the highs and lows of motherhood. From first smiles and steps to potty training and starting school… and everything in between. MOPS mourns with moms who are hurting and celebrates with moms through each life victory. Find a group in your area!

Today I am giving away a FREE MOPS Membership (valued at $23.95 but worth so much more!).  Comment below for your chance to win. I will draw and announce one winner (using random.org) on Friday, September 20.

*I have since been diagnosed with Incompetent Cervix. More on that later.