Mother’s Day

  

Today is my very first Mother’s Day. I still can’t believe that God blessed me with the miracle of Shiloh. I’m out of town at a resort sitting on the balcony about to check out, but something has been heavy on my heart.

Honestly, I’ve been a bit of a mess. I’ve cried a few times thinking about the wonder of it all, but also remembering the all too familiar sting of pain at the loss of my first little angel. Granted, I was pregnant again the Mother’s Day after my miscarriage, but I still thought about the fact that my little angel would have been 4 months old.

  
Today my heart is heavy for those struggling with infertility. It’s heavy for those who have lost babies. It’s heavy for those who can no longer call their mother’s today to wish them a Happy Mother’s Day. It’s heavy for those in foster care or orphanages who don’t know who their mother is. It’s heavy for those who have severed relationships with their mother for whatever reason. Several friends come to mind, and my heart grieves for you, but my prayers continue for you. 

  

When I say God blessed me with Shiloh, I’m not saying you aren’t blessed. We are ALL so very blessed. Some, in different ways than others. But we all have so very much to be thankful for.  

So today, know that you are thought of, prayed for, and loved. Take joy in knowing that you can be a spiritual mother to many. There are so many hurting, broken children in the world. More importantly, never lose hope for the future. 

  

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Love

I sit in the stillness of the morning, birds chirping and cicadas singing their morning song. Spring is among us, and green is finding its way across the neighborhood.

It’s been awhile since I sat out here and drank deep of Papa’s love and light. I find myself meditating on 1 Corinthians chapter 13—the love chapter.

I often wonder if I know what love is. I say I love people and things—my husband, my son, my dog—but my words and actions often say otherwise. Truth is, I often find myself responding irritably to my Casey, getting frustrated with Shiloh’s fussiness, and getting down right angry at Dallas for his incessant barking and waking Shiloh when he’s finally down for a nap.

But love is patient.

Love is kind.

It does not envy or boast.

It is not proud.
It’s not rude or self-seeking.
It is not easily angered.

It keeps no record or wrongs.

It doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.

Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails…

How is it that most items on that list I still lack the ability to do? How is it that I can read the Bible, go to church, listen to worship music, sing on the worship team, attend a Christian college (in the past), go through deliverance, fast, pray, etc. but still read this chapter as though it is foreign to me?

Perfection.

Granted, the perfectionism I struggle with isn’t the type people often think of. If you come over, most likely the house will be a mess, I may or may not have make up on, and I may still be in my night clothes. In fact, I hardly wear makeup when going out anymore. It’s not the type that cares what others think of me. It’s the type that cares what I think of myself…

I bought an organization program years ago to help me overhaul the house. I started, but soon gave up. I have “x-ray vision” of my dresser and can see the clothes I need to sort through and organize in there. Each time I go into my closet I’m reminded of the purging/sorting that needs to be done. Clutter stresses me out. I believe I’ve talked about this in another blog, but here we are, circling this mountain again.

As I read 1 Corinthians 13 this morning I glanced at the notes in my Life Application Bible—notes I had already highlighted at some point.

“Much irritability comes from a love of perfection, a deep desire that programs, meetings, and structures be run perfectly. The desire to run things perfectly can irrupt in the anger at events or people who get in the way or ruined that desire. Those who are easily irritated need to remember that perfection exists only in God. We need to love him and our fellow Christians, not the visions we have for perfection here on earth.”

Perhaps that’s why I tried so desperately to get Shiloh on a schedule. Perhaps I was hoping that I could somehow control this thing called parenthood. I read a book called “Spirit-Led Parenting” that really gave me freedom but not completely. If his nap wasn’t as long as “it should be” and I’d be in a tizzy. “Not enough day time sleep will cause over-tiredness and he won’t sleep through the night!” I wanted to be in control or everything, and when I wasn’t, watch out.
Why do I tell you this? I do so because I want you to know that no one has it all together. We are all a work in progress. Some have more work to do than others, but it’s work nonetheless. Thank God for grace and hope! Each day is another chance to make a change. However, we must be careful not to let guilt, shame, and condemnation keep us in the hole of self-pity we may fall in . . .

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.“ (v. 9)

God is perfection. In Him our imperfections disappear. He sees us as a chaste bride. If the creator of the universe sees us this way, can we not see ourselves this way?
I am humbled when I think about the trivialness (I don’t think that’s a word, but it is now!) of the matter. What is an organized house, etc. compared to the salvation of souls? I’m reminded of my post “Purple Stains.” What is vying for our attention? Is it really important in the grand scheme of things?

Meanwhile a text just comes through from a friend who just found out she miscarried. My heart drops and memories of my own miscarriage come flooding back. . .

There are so many more important things in life to spend our energies on than the little things we think are so significant.

Lord, help us to love like you. This broken, hurting world needs more of You and your love. Let us value relationships over stuff, over being right, over EVERYTHING. Help up relinquish control. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Worship in the Waiting

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It’s been awhile. 😀 There have been times I have been moved to write but let the urging go dormant. I am 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant. The above picture was taken at 29 weeks and 3 days. My belly is a LOT bigger needless to say.

I’ve never been so happy to greet August again. It’s the birth month of my precious Babe, my rainbow baby—the promise after the storm. It’s 9 days until my due date, and I am finding it difficult to be patient. I’m so anxious to meet my Little One, yet I know that it’s all in the Lord’s hands, and I must continue to worship while I am waiting. I am praying for a natural birth without any intervention, but I am trusting the Lord with the process. Healthy mama and baby are key.

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I am overjoyed because the Lord has really been doing a work in me throughout this pregnancy. Initially I was gripped with fear of how I will care for a child without the support system most people have, on top of my disability, Casey’s work schedule, etc. Then I began worrying about having the birth I desire in the hospital after running my questions through several of the doctors that may be on call when I go into labor. I broke down in tears three times with one of them . . . Insurance won’t cover an at home water birth or birth at a birthing center. So, I hired a doula who will help me to labor as long as I can at home before heading into the hospital.

Then it hit me . . .

I wasn’t trusting the Lord with all of this. I was frantically trying to have everything in my control, and the thought of it not being in my control sent me into a spiral of fear and anxiety (which of course would hinder any chance of a natural birth). With each day that passes, each day that I choose to worship Him during this period of waiting, I can feel the fear chipping away and peace like a river washing over me. He is faithful. He has brought me through SO much, and He will see me through this. That is key to breakthrough—remembering what He has already accomplished in your life.

The fear has turned to sheer excitement for what is to come! I no longer focus on what I am losing by becoming a parent (sleep, freedom, etc.) but on all of the JOY to come! I can’t wait to see life through the eyes of a child (and play with toys without looking like a weirdo, particularly Calico Critters)! 😀 The best truly is yet to come!

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So, what is it that you are waiting for? Perhaps it’s financial breakthrough. Perhaps it’s a restored marriage. A marriage period. Perhaps you are waiting for a child of your own after many miscarriages or years of infertility. Perhaps it’s a new job opportunity, or a loved one coming to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Perhaps you are in the process of adopting a Little One in need of a loving home. Perhaps it’s physical healing . . . Whatever the case may be, know that you are not alone, and that the more you worship in the waiting, as difficult as it may be, the more peace you will receive, and the easier the waiting will become. Trust. It all comes down to trusting the good, good Father that we have. He loves you, hears your every prayer, and hasn’t forgotten you. Worship while you are waiting my friend. That’s all we can do. ❤

 

Hiding Place

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Do you ever feel like you need a hiding place? A temporary escape from the word? Let’s face it, at some point in our lives (maybe several points), we may find the refrain from Ray Price’s “Make the World go Away” playing through our heads.

I’ll be the first to admit that there are times I need a hiding place. Often times I will just get in the car and drive to no place in particular, tears streaking my face, asking God questions I need answers to. Yesterday was one of those days. It was my “first” Mother’s Day, as I am carrying life in my womb at 27 weeks and 4 days, yet it was the first day fear began to grip hold of me. Will I be a good mom? Will I have meltdowns in front of my child? Will I have the help I need raising this child with Casey’s work schedule and family relationships that aren’t as close as they once were? What about mom’s care and all I do for her?

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The truth of the matter is that yes, I have my faith, but none of us have “arrived” yet. I am a lot better than I once was, but there is always progress to be made. I understand that being human isn’t an excuse to act fleshly, but it takes the pressure off of expectations that we so often place on ourselves. Do I trust the Lord, yes. Am I constantly being given more opportunities to trust Him, you bet.

During my devotional time this morning I was reading Psalm 32 and verse 7 stopped me in my tracks:

“You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” —Psalm 32:7

My eyes scanned the verse several more times. Hiding place. Protection. Songs of deliverance. The Free Dictionary defines deliverance as “rescue from bondage or danger.” So first the Lord will be a hiding place for us. I think back to when he hid Moses in the cleft of the rock with His hand. In Him we will find protection, and He will proceed to sing songs of freedom over us. Freedom from addiction. Freedom from depression. Freedom from fear. Freedom from guilt and shame. Freedom from whatever it is that is keeping us in bondage. The song “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music comes to mind. I know I have shared it in the past (It’s one of my FAVES), but I feel like it needs to be shared again.

“I am surrounded, by the arms of the Father. I am surrounded, with songs of deliverance. We’ve been liberated from our bondage. We’re the sons and the daughters. Let us sing our freedom.”

We have a Father. We have a hiding place. We have FREEDOM. Thank you Jesus. And thank you Mical for sharing this song with me way back when. ❤

Promise After the Storm

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Rainbow over my neighbors house. She recently lost her husband and I texted this to her.

“Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” -Genesis 9:14-15

It’s been awhile! I thought I should pop on for a quick post to update my follower’s on what is going on with me. I am back in school another semester but this will be my last . . .

My promise after the storm is on its way . . . I am 14 weeks pregnant! Casey and I saw the heartbeat at 7 weeks on December 22nd, and at 11 weeks and 2 days I heard baby’s heartbeat through a fetal Doppler! We are super excited and trusting the Lord completely as we know that we aren’t in the “clear” until that baby is in our arms.

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Our announcement on New Year’s Eve!

The Lord has really been working on me lately as I did a 23 day fast from FB and have been practicing spiritual disciplines from classes I am taking in school (Old Testament Survey, Theology 2, Evangelism & Mission, Christian Spirituality, and Isaiah). I’ve had so many “God moments” that it’s overwhelming at times. I want those moments to become so commonplace for me that to not have them is cause for concern.

God is good. And He is faithful.

No matter where you find yourself, no matter what storm you are going through right now, don’t forget the promises of God. He loves you. He is for you. Keep your eyes to the sky and watch for the slightest glimpse of your rainbow. It’s there just beyond the clouds. I’m looking to the sky intently until my rainbow appears (around) August 10th. Be blessed! ❤

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Thy Will

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Today, after a 3 hour appointment at the doctor’s office, I went across the street to Brandon Regional Hospital, which I have frequented often due to mom’s health issues. However, this time I went for myself.

The long drive up the parking garage felt different then all of the times I had driven up it before. This time, instead of checking in at security and heading to the elevators to go to mom’s room, I went to registration. I then saw the pre-op nurse.

April 23rd, after weeks of prayer, I tested positive on a pregnancy test. We weren’t trying. It was a total “God thing” that it happened. Really. I can share that story with you if you want to know. Casey wasn’t ready. I was. To my surprise, he was excited.

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We started making plans. I filled out a “Belly Book” pregnancy journal. I bought a shirt to wear and announce it. I read “The Healthy Pregnancy” book. We weren’t going to wait 12 weeks, because “that” wouldn’t happen to us. We discussed names. I ate organically, cut out sweets, artificial colors and flavors, high fructose corn syrup, etc. I took high quality prenatal, EFA’s, etc. I had the pregnancy symptoms.

Then at 6 weeks I spotted a little. No cramping, so there wasn’t much concern. Went in for my first appointment days later. Had my very first ultrasound, not under the circumstances I had wished. No heartbeat. It was still early though.

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I returned the following week and still no heartbeat and an enlarged yolk sack. “What is the baby measuring at?” I asked the doctor. 1 day larger than the ultrasound 6 days prior. It was no longer a viable pregnancy. What?? The doctor talked of having a D&C, going under anesthesia, having my uterus cleaned out of “products of conception,” etc. It was too much to handle.

I felt as though I was taking a walk of shame out of the building. So many expectant mothers sat in the waiting room, bellies protruding, and I walked out with a tear stricken face trying to hold it all in so I wouldn’t scare them. My eyes met a young pregnant mother who had two toddlers with her. I watched her unload them from her car when I arrived. As I pulled away she was loading them into the car. Our gaze met. I think she knew.

A fellow blogger, Vanessa Dionne says it best:

Miscarriage is one of the most painful kinds of death we can experience because it seems so unfair. Blinded to the sanctity of unborn life, our fallen world cannot offer hope to the woman who has lost her baby. We cannot find our hope in this fallen world. We must turn back to the Author who alone creates, cherishes, and sustains life according to His will.

My world came crashing down upon me. I was angry at God. He knew how long I had prayed for this. “We’ll try again honey,” Casey said as he tried to comfort me in the doctor’s office. We didn’t think this would happen to us. We scheduled another ultrasound to confirm a week out.

I spent three days grieving. I began to heal, although I felt so very alone. 1 in 4 women miscarry, and they usually suffer in silence. I wanted to go public with my story in effort to help those who have gone through this, but also to help those who haven’t gain a better understanding of it.

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I want to give some advice to those who have never experienced a miscarriage, as it truly is difficult to comprehend if you haven’t walked through it. I have found that I have needed to have a lot of grace. Those who have walked (or crawled through this) will be able to relate. I will make this a separate blog.

Jalene Browning, a fellow jeweler and Christian sister of mine shared a song with me the day before my follow up. It changed my outlook. I clung to this song as my anthem. Had I not, I would have come out from the next appointment angry and bitter. I returned at my 8 week ultrasound to have the miscarriage confirmed.

 

Today has been 28 days since my baby got it’s wings. Yes, it was my baby, heartbeat or not. I believe life begins at conception. I was holding up quite well, even Saturday when the spotting started. I wanted to pass it naturally, although I had heard how painful it could be, and the chance of needing to go to the ER due to so much blood loss. The memories came flooding back. This wasn’t over. It was like throwing salt into an old wound. Monday I went to the doctor and they recommended a D&C based on how much time had passed. I didn’t want to do it.

At 3:45am this morning on the way to the bathroom, I believed I passed everything. It was horrible, yet surprisingly painless. I thought to myself, “Could this be it?” I hadn’t had contractions or “labor” as so many describe. I went in today for another ultrasound and was told it wasn’t over. “Just do the D&C so you can begin to heal from this,” the doctor said yet again. “But it’s beginning,” I countered back. I knew it could take time, a lot more time, and then the risk of infection would be high. I also ran the risk of not passing it all, and needing a D&C anyway. I just wanted to be over it. 28 days later . . .

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The hospital was so cold. I felt so alone. Two ladies who worked there told me that I have such a positive outlook despite my circumstances. I gave God all the glory for this, because it truly is by His strength that I have been able to get though this.

On the drive home the tears came. I tried so hard to do this the natural way—to let nature take it’s course, but I’m tired. Tired of waiting, and not knowing when and where it will happen. I cried because I felt so weak in that moment. I am having surgery to remove the remains of my pregnancy . . .

I looked at the hospital bands on my arm and tears flooded my face as I drove home listening to “Thy Will” and trying to sing along through the tears. I gave in to the procedure I was so dead-set against. To me, it is essentially an abortion. It’s the same procedure. In fact, the doctor slipped up and caught herself saying “abortion” and quickly said “miscarriage”. I know my baby is no more. It’s just a scary thought, especially when you read the description of the procedure on the consent form . . .

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But, I know that this whole experience is nature’s way of saying that something wasn’t right. Chromosomally, something wasn’t right. God knows. He is God and I am not, just as the song states. Casey and I will get though this. We will trust our Father, even when we don’t understand and circumstances don’t seem fair. He has our best interests at heart.

I want to thank those who knew about this and have prayed for me and reached out to me to see how I have been holding up. I especially want to thank Kelly Spezzano and Jalene Browning, my fellow Premier sisters, as well as Mike Glenn of Premier Designs prayer team. Your love and support have meant so much to me. Also, thank you Jenny Cruz and Jessica White for your encouragement and support. May God bless you immensely. Momma Del, your texts meant so much to me. Cheryl Johnston, your tears and prayers touched my spirit deeply. And lastly, my sister Janet: Your calls, texts, and tears helped me during such a difficult time. Love you.

My procedure is at 10:30am tomorrow. I would appreciate all of the prayers and support I can get. I know I will leave feeling empty. But I know this isn’t the end of my story. As with my accident, this test will become a testimony. This season may take awhile to heal from, but healing will come.

 

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 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.” —Psalm 34:18

 

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Persistence

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Forgive me for being MIA for awhile. Mom ended up back in the ER with another MRSA infection and needed immediate surgery. She is now back in a rehab facility on an IV antibiotic for 6 weeks.

Today I wanted to blog about prayer. My pastor talked about the topic this past Sunday, and although it seemed somewhat juvenile to me, I was able to take away a lot from the sermon.

Last night a friend messaged me about the very topic, asking whether it was okay to repeatedly ask God for something or if that showed lack of faith. My response was the above verse. I also reminded her of the parable of the persistent widow. However, deep down I knew where her question came from. I have been taught to ask for something once, and then step out in faith and thank God for it as though it were already done.

But this is hard. Especially when you have taken that approach for so long and not seen the manifestation of the healing, the financial provision, the restored marriage, the promotion, etc.

Satan likes to come in and cause doubt and unbelief. You may hear him whisper, “Your faith is too small.” Or, he may convince you that you haven’t done enough to earn what you are hoping for. He also may say, “It’s not your job to be trying to change this situation. Shouldn’t your spouse be the one praying?” Those are all lies. Yes, we are called to have faith and believe without doubting (Matthew 21:21), but I don’t believe it nullifies our faith to continue to ask God for that which we desire. If anything, it shows faith to keep pressing in and presenting our requests to Him rather than to simply stop asking.

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Photo can be found here.

Also, we must make sure that we are content in our current circumstance, trusting in God through whatever it may be. If we can’t trust Him in the tough times, why should He deliver us of them? Perhaps like Paul, He wants to display His power in our weakness, because otherwise He wouldn’t get to do so.

Some of the most valuable lessons I have learned in life have come through the desert seasons.

I will finish with this: What you desire may look different from what Papa desires. “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.(Proverbs 16:9, NASB). He ultimately knows what is best for us. Compared to Him, we have such a narrow scope of life. Let’s continue to knock on the door of heaven persistently for that which we are believing for, but let’s also be patient and trust that Daddy truly does know best.

What are you believing God for?