No Tears

Kayla & Dad Dance

I gave my first born daughter away this past week. So many plans had to be made over the last six months since her engagement, that I really didn’t give much thought to tears on that special day. I had arranged for “designated criers” since I knew that my auto immune disorder would flare completely if I did give way to tears. My best friend even gave me a special Mother of The Bride handkerchief in case I needed it. She also never left my side, I am certain to not only be a help, but to watch over me the way only best friends know how to.

But I found myself in a different “mood” that day. While the day before the wedding, I had allowed an unreasonable fear to grip me for several moments, having confessed that to God and begged for His peace, I found myself almost basking in it the day of the wedding. I felt that peace that passes all understanding that Scripture speaks of, promises to those who cast all their cares on Him. I felt sheltered under an amazing set of Eagle’s Wings.

The plan was for me to whisk all the girls away to the church so Dad could shelter his girl for the last few moments before he would walk her down the aisle. It seemed like a good plan. Dad was surely going to shed some tears, but he never loses control. And he would do whatever it took to protect her and make her feel safe and ready to walk down the aisle to her prince. But plans have a way of changing, and sometimes all that takes is a look.

The look my girl gave me right before I went to leave with her entourage. It was that look that says I know why you must go, but I wish you could stay. I had no choice but to stay at that point. This grown-up princess of a girl needed her mother. So, in a room filled with hairspray and beauty, I stayed to help my girl get ready, not in style, but in spirit, for her walk down the aisle. And I am ever so glad I did.

The tears would not stop flowing. They weren’t tears of fear or sadness or regret, she assured me. They were the tears of change. She made the comment that it might help if Dad and I were crying just a little. We giggled at that, since we had all prepared for the inevitable downpour. But then she asked us to pray, Mom and Dad and their girl who had been a threesome until the babies started coming.

I started to pray and had no words at first, but then out of that spirit of peace The Lord had gifted me with, came assurances of where we were, how we had come to this place, and what lay beyond for this child who had meant everything to me for a moment in time. I had no tears because I didn’t need them. From the moment they had taken a one pound fourteen ounce screaming, fighting, baby girl out of my womb, The Lord, her Lord, had proven to me time and again that she was HIS, that He had her best interest at heart, and that His plans would be fulfilled in her.

I had been trained at the alter of denial of all that a mother holds dear, the welfare of her child. I had begged to have a child like Hannah of The Word, and had promised that I would commit it to Him as she had. He had held me to that, and in this moment, I was so thankful. For I was not letting her go…anywhere. As she walked down that aisle and moved into another’s home, she was still right where she had always been, in the arms of Her God, under His Eagle’s Wings where she had always been safe and secure.

So, I had no need of tears, and my body was thankful for that. I still had much to do that day with the guests we had invited to share this celebration of love that she had been given. I had no fear, no tears, and no regrets as The Lord ministered to us in only the way He can.

This photo brought to mind a moment in time when Jay asked me to be his wife. As soon as we got home, he lifted a six year old Kayla up on his knee, and through tears even then, out of love for her that was already welling up in his heart, he asked her if she would give him permission to marry her mother. She did not hesitate when she asked “Can I call you Dad?”

As I look at the two of them in this picture, I am filled with love, and peace, and gratefulness for a God who began to teach me early on in her life, that he had good things planned for this special one. Heading down the aisle towards her future, I knew that she had been prepared for such a time as this. Knowing that her prince has the same love for her Savior as she does, I am filled with hope for the future, and prepared that there may be a few more tears, but at the right time, and for the right reasons.

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My God

IMG_6733If you are anything like me, you are going through a range of emotions this morning. Coming off a sentimental holiday, which at best forces us to check our own hearts more than our loved ones’, and at worst, adds to the disappointment that only a national “imaginary” holiday can elicit, I felt it all yesterday. But adding to that, much deeper than the elusive concept of “love” were two very different stories that gripped our hearts in a way that the holiday could not.

One outcome was nothing short of a work of a Living God. The other left us wondering, and still wondering “Where in the world is God at all?’ If He cannot or will not be in a high school filled with vulnerable children, while a gunman tears through the halls looking to devour every single one of them, then where is He at all?

But His presence with little Heidi yesterday when so many cried out in agony for her welfare, for her protection, for her to be returned into the loving hands of her broken mother, His presence there was unmistakable. A man with a vulnerable, terrified frightened little toddler, just runs away, leaving her not alone, but in the arms of a police officer? I don’t know what you cried out yesterday, but it sounded something just like that. God! Please make him release her into the arms of safety!!!

and He did….

So, while rejoicing this morning for Heidi and in the mighty works of The Lord, I am also reeling from the pain of the students live’s lost in Florida. I did not know to pray for them. I did not know what was happening until it was too late. I do not know the precious ones by name to cry out for each and every day who’s life will end in the womb before they get even a chance….

and my heart that was filled with love yesterday is broken, and left wondering, God???

I learned a long time ago that God is not my genie in a bottle. For years I fought that, became somewhat bitter over that. The question of God’s sovereignty has been debated forever, and I am not a good enough theologian to even broach the subject in my humble blog. The late R.C. Sproul probably helped me understand that more than any other, so I encourage you to listen to anything he left behind. That is, if you want to know God.

I have always wanted to know God, probably from day One. I don’t know a time I never wanted to know God, and if simply wanting something bad enough, or praying fervently enough, would have granted the answer that I sought, it would have been times in my life that I can recount the answer firmly being No.

Like, on my knees night after long night in poured out prayer, begging, pleading, for The Lord not to let my first marriage end. If sweat drops of blood could have been brought forth from my brow, they would have in those moments. I ate, slept, and dreamed that prayer continually. And yet, my loving Father said no. I still can’t explain it, it seemed against everything I knew about God. But if you know me now, and my life, you can see “why” He said no. There is a better answer, and He has given it.

But the question that keeps coming to me this morning, between cries of sadness for the losses, is Who are You God? He is not my 6 year old’s imagination of God. He is not my confused 13 year old conjecture of God, nor my broken hearted 26 year old plea of a God. He is God. I am going to dig deeper, going to go further with Him today. I want to know this God, the One who loves so deeply with agape love for us, that He sent His own Son to endure the absolute worst of what humanity will ever endure on this earth.

I am going to praise Him for rescuing the lost, and beg for understanding about things I cannot fathom. But what I will not do, not today, is turn from the Only One who is big enough to answer and shoulder all my griefs, all my sorrows, and sometimes, in a very powerful way, say yes to my greatest plea.

I hope you will join me. I’m going to Psalms, because those were real people who experienced real life with a very real God. and maybe Jeremiah, the one who had the gall to say to The Holy God, ” I would speak with You about your justice…” yeah, I think I will seek His Word to once again remind me of Who He Is.

Just The Right Words

Words are escaping me just now. I try to communicate, try to write complete thoughts, sentences, and ideas, but they seem stuck in my brain. Partly its because I have had to exercise much more cognitive thinking than usual lately. Preparing for my specialist visit required much research and organizing of labwork and medical history. I wanted the visit to be as fruitful as possible. It was a huge investment to see this doctor, both in financial, physical, as well as emotional resources.

I have found over the years, that I can either invest my energy more in physical things or in spiritual things. I realize we are meant to operate simultaneously in both, but for me I have discovered, I am more “spiritual” than physical. I used to hate that about myself, as it made teenage and even adult interactions more complicated. My brother likes to tease that I am the “Junior Holy Spirit.” Its an endearing term, but I get his point. Its not very much fun at parties.

That’s why focusing so much energy on my physical illness, which has been life long, and will continue to be, per the specialist, is so draining for me. It is also depressing, and feels pointless, and even frivolous. I gain much more energy out of helping others, like my family or a friend in crises, than I do in concentrating, even for an instant on my pain and discomfort. Its always there, my constant companion, but it does not help when it is the highlight, the focus. It seems to grow more trouble, depression turning to “suicidality” as the good doctor aptly put it.

Yuck I hate the term used so aptly to describe the beast that I keep buried most days, when I can keep busy with other more fulfilling endeavors. But its accurate, and it must be addressed.

Its in these times, when I am forced to confront the very physicality of this body that prefers the spiritual, that the “great darkness” comes creeping in. While I should be able to focus on solutions and procedures, and well, hope, instead this slow flood of shame and despair creep in, threatening every time to consume me, and those I love. Most disturbing is the distance, the disconnect, from The Lord, The Savior of my desperate soul. Because the spiritual is dampened, pushed down, so too is my connection with Him who I know in Spirit. And that makes the darkness feel ever so present and extremely threatening.

I know the Scriptures for such a time as these. I have memorized some. I know the prayers and the Truths and the calls for help, and I am desperately grateful for them! Oh, how very lost we would be without the living, active Word of The Lord! I rejoice only in that today, that gift of His working Salvation in me.

But then, also, knowing that we are weak vessels, easily distracted and helplessly hopeless, He does a thing unexpected. Today, while weeping over my lot, as in the past few days without fail, I found a letter from 20 years ago. A simple hand written note from a godly woman of my childhood, who took the time to write to me in another season of anguish. It has been almost 20 years since that time. But the thought came to me, in that moment, all was truly lost for me. I have spoken of it before, but it bears repeating, I had lost EVERYTHING. and yet, since that time, I have gained a family I never thought would exist, love I never thought I deserved, and hope for a future I could not fathom. But I did not feel it then, as I struggle to feel it now.

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So the letter that came to the front of my stack of busy work that must be done in clearing out our house Once Again, was a balm, a breath of hope, a Gift from my Lord. He wanted me to know, in the physical today I believe, that He still loves me. I am so thankful that Mrs Beulah took the time and the love to write me that note from God. I needed it so much then that I kept the letter, and she could not have known that 20 years later, even after she had experienced His completed Love in Heaven, that I would desperately need it again. But I did, and I am so thankful.

I think I will write my own letter to someone who may need to hear it. Because His love is not dependent on how we feel, and without it, I would be so very lost.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Manna For Dinner

I’ve been working on being thankful for “manna” lately, as my list of safe foods has dwindled with the humidity in the swampy Lowcountry again. Certain seasons I can get away with eating a little more variety, as the amount of triggers in my environmental “bucket” has not caused it to overflow on a daily basis. An overflowing bucket leads to anaphylaxis, and one bite of an enzyme or even smell of herbs and spices can wreak havoc for days.

Yesterday I found myself in Costco waiting at the end of an aisle while Kenzie went to get cheese. I was contemplating what I could feed my extended family for a gathering that would be yummy and fun for all, but safe enough for me to smell, and possibly eat a portion of. Typically, I just make dinner for them(or Jay cooks it) and I sit with a drink or crackers while they enjoy the meal. I am somewhat used to it, but sometimes the lure of “tasty food” beckons me, as fellowshipping requires more than just being a bystander.

I was standing there woefully considering what I might be able to work out, when a lady stopped and put her hand on my shoulder. “Are you alright?” she asked sincerely. It startled me so, that burst of humanity right in the middle of Costco on a busy Saturday, so I almost jumped. Her touch was light but meaningful, especially since touch is something I rarely get from others, due to my allergies.

I realized in an instant, that I was not doing what I had promised The Lord I would begin putting into practice, being thankful for “manna,” His daily provision of sustenance that He was providing me, however bland and un-nourishing it may seem. I wasn’t asking for cake, I had reasoned, but a meat and vegetable that would be more fun, as well as provide much missed nutrients.

The funny thing about allergies and food restrictions, is that you find yourself no longer longing for junk food, but for things like Kale and Grilled Chicken, and wish that you could eat the plate your kids are rejecting, swapping your bowl of bland cereal with them anyday.

But a few weeks ago, I was convicted that I was feeling like a martyr in my food consumption, instead of being thankful for the daily bread The Lord was providing me. No, I do not get bread often anymore either. Like the unruly traveling Israelites, I was whining about having to constantly drink this, or always eat that, and why could I not just have ONE tasty nutritious thing to eat sometime without a swollen tongue and an instant migraine? Meanwhile, I gain 10 pounds a week on the medicine that gives me the ability to at least eat some of the bland things I do.

You know what comes next: Its NOT fair! Whine…whine…whine…

Like The Israelites did in the desert when The Lord provided manna for them day after day. It was heavenly food, perfect for their needs at the time. It came with a catch however, they could only gather enough manna for that day. If they tried to gather more and save it(be honest, you would have too) then it would rot overnight and cause worms and become inedible. Allowances were made for The Sabbath, of course, which only proved even more that The Lord was providing for all of their needs, and not placing unnecessary burdens on them. But they whined when they got bored with manna, the heavenly food, and I realized that was what I was doing.

God has been providing for me like that too. My diet is not one of my choosing, and you won’t find it on Any health website, but for me, it is manna right now. It keeps me going.

A bag of plain potato chips will get me through a shopping trip with my girls without rushing them through choosing a lipstick color. Thank You Lord for manna.

A Diet Coke (Satan Juice) will boost me enough to drive the car on a hot humid day without crashing. Thank You Lord for manna.

A plain bowl of cereal, when taken with medicine just in time will reduce the need for an Epipen and keep me out of the ER all night. Thank You Lord for manna.

Until a cure or even an appropriate treatment is found for me, I have to live moment by moment leaning on The God who Made Me. I am learning to trust Him for my needs, all of them. Giving thanks to Him, and being truly grateful when He says “NO. Not for you,” is a work in progress.

So, sweet lady who touched me physically, as well as emotionally (and spiritually) in Costco on Saturday, you do not know what a blessing you were to me just then. The sincere concern in your eyes for a suffering stranger was a testimony to me right there in the cheese aisle (of which I cannot eat) that God is looking out for me, and He is still providing my manna.

Thank You Lord for that woman, and Thank You Lord for manna.

 

Blessed With a Bum Leg

Today I found myself giving thanks to God for a bum leg. It aches me in the night, disrupting my sleep, and causes turning over to be a dangerous feat. I cannot take one step forward without consciously thinking about that leg. Moving it at all requires forethought. I am aware when I am out that at any time, if I forget about it, I can go tumbling down, and risk breaking a brittle bone, which could send me into a crises I can scarcely consider. Surgery for me is life threatening.

This leg doesn’t work right, it causes much pain and limits my already limited life. It really annoys me most days, especially when it is “acting up” with humidity induced flares. I find myself grumping about it, not wanting to get out of bed, momentarily deciding to rebel and stay put if walking on this leg is my only option.

Usually it is at this point that The Lord whispers reminders to me. At first its a further irritant, as who wants to be spoken to about their bad temper when enjoying the taste of it presently. But as His words flow through my spirit, I sense that peace that comes with conviction that I have begged Him to never stop supplying. This wayward soul is most prone to wander, so I have asked Him to keep me closer, which requires a great deal of suffering apparently.

The kind of suffering this bum leg brings me.

He reminds me of when it became “broken.” It was my last surgery, two years ago now, when I had damaged my spine so badly, I laid in a hospital bed for a week without rising before they performed the surgery to repair what parts they could. My spine is not completely reparable, so its a tricky business to decide what one can humanly accomplish. But this injury was causing paralysis, and I could not even lift my right leg off of the bed. The doctor gave no assurances that I would ever be able to walk on it again. I laid for a week, and afterwards, wondering what living paralyzed with my already overwhelming allergies would mean. I was quite sure I would not be able to endure it.

Obviously I prayed. Being blessed with many friends and family, I also had a lot of prayer for me. The surgery was a “success” and the pressure on my spinal cord was lifted, so that in a few weeks, it was apparent I would not be paralyzed after all. My auto-immune kicked in post surgery, so we barely made it through that season of life and death days. My leg became a minor irritant, when anaphylactic reactions consumed me day after day for as long as I can remember.

Now, two years later, I am not in that same crises with anaphylaxis continually. But this leg, this injured one that still reminds me that its connected to a very damaged and weakened spine, it is a constant reminder of the fact that I will never be whole again on this earth. and I don’t like it at all.

But then the whisper. The Faithful One reminds me of what I learned, and what I promised, and what He has promised to do through me.  I learned that He truly does hear me. Not only does He hear me, He actually cares. The laments of my heart do not fall on deaf ears.

“Behold, The Lord’s hand is not too short that it cannot save, Nor His ear too dull it cannot hear.” Isaish 59:1

My promise: All of Me, Please take all of me. All that I am, and I’m not, everything. I promised that for as long as He gives me life and breath, I will serve Him, and no other. For in Him is eternal life.

“Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3

I am not interested in any other life. I am greedy enough that only the true and completely fulfilling life for me will do.

and what has He promised to do through me? Even with this bum leg? Perhaps even with it paralyzed if that is what He chose?

“Whoever believes in Me [Jesus Christ] out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

I know some people in my life who need LIVING water. The kind that does not run dry, that does not leave one empty and parched. The kind of water that not only refreshes the body, nourishing physical cells back to life, but also cleanses the soul, the spirit, renewing all that is a life, completely, fully.

The irony that He chooses to use my broken and unable-to-be-fully nourished body to flow His living water through is not lost on me. I don’t understand it. I would not have written the story this way. But I would not trade the fullness of His Spirit flowing through me into those I love for anything. Anything at all…

Even my bum leg. Even if it does become paralyzed. I said “All of me”

and I meant it.

So, Thank You Lord for my bum leg. I will rejoice in You for it. But I will also ask to see the work You are doing through me. May I see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living?

Your Kingdom Come in those You gave me to love.

 

In The Body

The Lord is taking me through a series right now that I have been through once before. But because I am in a completely different phase of life, its like fresh manna, and new forms of discipline all over again. I am flourishing under new nourishment, while being convicted about the weight of how far I have allowed my sin to imbed into my spirit.

This week, this part of the course, is about the body. Life in the body. Spiritual life, lived out inside this unique and complex package that is the human body. I have always felt more spiritual than physical. I am that mom who would rather their kids hair be messed and their teeth go unbrushed than them go to sleep not knowing where they will spend eternity. and I was under the impression that once you taught them something spiritual, it would click and they would not need constant reassurance of spiritual truths.

nor did I realize how everything they witnessed from me would shape their view of spiritual as well as things they will experience in the body.

This week, I had an epiphany. I was traveling to take Jessie to her class, when the weather outside made my nose and chest wall inflame to the point I could barely breathe. The real issue with this, is that it makes it unsafe to drive, as my brain is deprived of oxygen, which makes me not as good a driver as I need to be. Its not safe to drive a lot when I am like this. Jay had called to chat with me, as he often does. But I knew I could not talk and drive and breathe all at the same time. So, I dictated a text to Siri so that he would not expect my call.

I spoke into my phone “I cannot talk right now. I can’t breathe well. I am taking Jess to class and heading straight home.” It communicated what I wanted to say, my main goal of telling Jay that I was okay, but was not able to talk.

But when Siri read it back to me before she sent it, it sounded much different than I had dictated it. Jess and I looked at each other and laughed. I said “Well, when you put it like That, I don’t know if I should send it.” haha It sounded pitiful and whiny and almost like Jay should make a bee line to come rescue me immediately. None of what I wanted to sound like.

It really made me think about the way I communicate. I have often had difficulty being understood in a conversation that is strictly digital. I am learning that the people who know me best, know what I am trying to say, as well as my intentions, as Jay knew that day that danger was not imminent. He knew I wasn’t making a statement about why I had to take Jess to class, or complaining about my illness, or crying out for his help. I was just telling him that I was doing the safe thing and heading home without talking.

I really hope my girls know that too. Our lives are often filled with limitations placed on us by my illness. and while I would prefer to live my life out spiritually instead of in this broken physical body, for the time being, The Lord has placed me here on this Earth to glorify Him.

This Scripture was a balm to me today:

Philippians 1:18-26 To Live Is Christ

“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.” (ESV)

So, when you read my posts or my facebook messages, or maybe even texts dictated to Siri, keep in mind that while my body may be giving me fits that day, its my sinful flesh that is probably causing me more consternation. and that is what my girls are most exposed to. I am eager for their “progress and joy in the faith.” That is “fruitful labor for me.” I am convinced that is why I am still here.  So, while prayers for my healing are welcomed, please pray for me to keep my eyes focused on Christ, where I truly find life, and where I want my girls to look as well.

I’ll tell you a secret; I am praying that for you as well. 😉

Counting The Cost

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While its true that I have been seeking the cause of my health challenges for a long time, it is also true that I have known for most of that time where the true cause lies. Having tried many self help holistic approaches, as well as natural, and not-so-natural remedies to alleviate or at least slow down the progression of disease in my body for years, I have always known that failure was ultimately imminent, and my health in this body would always be elusive.

I knew this because of several factors. The first was the fact that I have never known complete health, even from childhood. I have always been “reactive” and “sensitive” to certain stimuli that goes unnoticed by most. I was prone to sickness and moments of “spacing out” as a child, and especially as a hormonal teen, which was written off as anxiety. This was not a diagnosis I scoffed at, as my body has forever been in an alert state. Finding remedies for that, however, proved pointless. All attempts to medicate this have been a trial in survival, and I do mean suicidal as well as anaphylaxis. I react to medicine as one would to illegal drugs produced by back alley addicts.

When I found having babies to be difficult, I did pray and seek God’s favor, for being a mother was truly all I wanted to be. Ever. He did bless me with not only one, but three beautiful healthy daughters. Most of their birth stories I have written about and also spoken about in great detail, but what I rarely mention is the effect the pregnancies had on me, on my body.

The Lord did not give me a child until I was 23, and that was after I begged for years. That pregnancy proved to be quite dangerous, as this sensitive body that reacted to everything, decided the baby was an invader and began to terminate the pregnancy, along with my own life. By the time they delivered Kayla at 27 weeks, I had severe Preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome, which meant by all accounts, we were dying that night. It took 10 days to get my body out of reactive mode into stable condition, and then 6 months to heal enough to look anywhere near normal again.

The second pregnancy was much easier, at first. I had reached a good balance with my body, and was feeling quite healthy. But by the 30th week, I began to show signs of early preeclampsia, and during that visit, Jessica’s heart condition was discovered. The only treatment for her to survive until birth, was for me to be placed on large doses(lethal by the pharmacist’s standards) of heart medication in hopes that she would not have heart failure before she could reach age of good viability. She was delivered at 36 weeks, and that was the best recovery I had ever had from surgery.

But I herniated my first disc, and the doctors discovered that my spine was in very bad shape. I would forever require surgery to repair what would surely be one disc after another herniating. I had the first spine surgery less than a year after her birth. and my Neurosurgeon told me to never have babies again.

It was during this time in our lives when Jay and I began feeling The Lord’s leading in how we were planning our own future. We began to study the different forms of birth control, and the reasons for them, and although there is much debate and explaining away of the issue, we were convinced and convicted that any method of birth control, outside of timing (rhythm method), would be saying to The God we promised to serve, NO. Every form of internal birth control stops the development of a life that could have begun at different stages. For The Pill, it makes the uterus uninhabitable for the fertilized egg (the baby.) For the IUD, it blocks the fertilized egg (the baby) from getting to the nourishment of the uterus. There are other methods that we could have used, but we felt that saying No to God was where we personally had to draw the line.

“Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.” Malachi 2:15

Baby number three was not a surprise then, and neither was the health challenges that came along swiftly. It would be nice to say “God honored our sacrifice and gave us a healthy pregnancy” but then where would the sacrifice be in that? Makenzie was born at 35 weeks in the most dangerous surgery of all, which forever rendered our baby carrying days over. I required a hysterectomy in that birth, and I don’t mind telling you that we were both very glad about that. God had said “Three’s Enough.”

There was the “follow up” spinal fusion surgery required a year after her birth, but we hoped life and health would soon get back to normal, now that we were no longer taking any “chances.”

Funny thing about “normal” is it never seems to look like what you thought it would.

“Normal” since the birth of our blessings(and I mean that) has been one mysterious illness after another, sometimes completely debilitating, others “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” While many symptoms point to one disease classification or another, they all have common threads about them. Inflammation. Auto Immune in nature.

Kinda like Preeclampsia…

So, while I seek to live as well as I possibly can on any given day, I know deep in my heart a truth. What little bit of “health” I had, I gave it away, and I am okay with that. I prayed that God would give me the desires of my heart, to be a mother, and He granted that request knowing what it would cost me. I am so thankful for my girls I would do it over and over again.

In this age where life is devalued and children are only a blessing if we get to number them or design the timing of their birth, I do not feel like a martyr. But I do cry when I see the effects of our choices on our society and our girls who are told to be anything first, and maybe then a mother. I saw it when people pitied my girl who was having her first at “only” 22. I do not mean for this to be a sermon for those who are otherwise convicted. I only mean to answer the question I get the most out of concerned hearts, “Have they found out what’s wrong with you?”

I know what’s wrong with me. Jay and I chose to give life, and in that, one must be emptied, poured out. We had no idea of the sacrifices it would take for our future. Its possible we would have made different choices if we had. So, we are both thankful that The Lord took us at our word, and that He promised to see us through this time in our lives when the way is not so clear.

The Lord brings this Truth to mind to comfort and sustain me:

Luke 9:23-25  “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would Save his life will lose it, but whoever Loses his life for MY sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?”

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20