Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Trusting Without Borders // Part 1

I was so torn about sharing this or not, but I fully believe in the POWER of prayer and writing it all down is part of the dealing and healing process for me.  Maybe I'm writing it more for me because I don't even know when or if I will push the "publish" button.  

*For later reference, it is currently early August, 2015.

There is a ton going on in our lives behind the scenes.  But before I get there, I need to go back to when it all started.

When Jude was just about 10ish days old in the NICU, I sat at his bassinet desperately trying to cope with his recent chromosome abnormality diagnosis.  Y'all- this was seriously the hardest days of my entire life.  Not only was my world ROCKED by Jude's diagnosis, but a fear gripped me so hard I could hardly breathe: what if all my babies will be born like this? The doctors were pushing for genetics testing with Lane and I, but I just couldn't bring myself to go through with it.  What if the news was devastating?  All I wanted in this life was to raise a bunch of babies with the man I loved.  I had dreamed of a big family my entire life.

Desperate and knowing where my hope is, I picked up the bible I brought to the NICU everyday and begin to search for Ecclesiastes.  I don't know why, I just knew I had to read there.  I know now that was God.  Well I started from the beginning.  
Yes, God, I know there is a time for this and a time for that, but I need more.  I know there is something else you have for me in this!

That's when I came to Ecclesiastes 11:4

He who observes the wind will not sow,
And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know what is the way of the wind,
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
In the morning sow your seed, 
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.

I knew without a doubt that God had given that scripture to me at that time.  I clung to it over the next three years as my heart cried out for another child. You see a couple months after I read this, my worst fears were confirmed.  Jude's genetic disposition was the result of an unbalanced translocation in which I unknowingly passed to him because I have a balanced translocation.  And it could happen again with more children.  Oh the grief... it was unbearable. It was greater than having a child with multiple disabilities; it was and is my deepest grief to date.  I'm so thankful I could and did run to Jesus in the midst of my heartache.  There were so many times over the next three years that I had to remind myself that Jesus is greater than any circumstance.  I have a specific memory of one spring season being so heartbroken, I could not even find my voice to sing during worship service at church.  Instead I just cried out for God to help me through this pain.

I still had the scripture, and knew God wanted me to step out in faith in Him and try for another baby.  However, I did not let faith order my steps, but fear.  I never really tried for another baby.

Then came the fall and with it the unbelievable surprise of a positive pregnancy test.  Lane and I hadn't been trying at all.  I wish I could say that my heart sang with joy at the sight of that digital test that read "pregnant" across it, but fear flooded my heart and I cried for about a week.  Gradually my fear gave way to joy and I begin to be hopeful about this pregnancy and future baby.  We decided we would tell the world about our expected bundle of joy early at six weeks.  We thought about waiting until 12 weeks because the risk of miscarriage for us is SOOO high, but together we decided that the more people praying for our sweet baby, the better.

After a bumpy road in faith, our sweet Aubrey Lane was born the next summer.  Once again, I fell madly in love with a baby.  She was PERFECT in every way.   A complete miracle and gift from the Lord.  My heart swells with joy and tears flood my eyes right now just writing about it. 

My prayers were answered and I had a healthy baby.  However, I felt deep down inside that I didn't deserve my sweet miracle.  I had never stepped out in faith and actually tried for her like I knew God wanted me to.  I took the scripture and held it at it's word, but I didn't act on my faith; just my fear. 

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
James 2:17 NIV

Even though, I felt like God fulfilled His promises (let me be clear- I don't feel like God owes me ANYTHING.  He has already given me His Son), I didn't feel like I held up my end of the deal.  I also knew that I would want another baby and that the road to that would be a difficult one emotionally, but I focused all my energy on my new little miracle and the joy she and her big brother brought me.  I stuffed the nagging worry over the path to future children way down deep and hid it there until the day it refused to be ignored any longer....

to be continued

Monday, July 25, 2016

Low Key Summer Days

This summer Lane’s work schedule has been overly demanding.  Well actually his schedule has been demanding the WHOLE year.  He works at a nuclear power plant in a little town just north of us.  And the plant was on an outage for a month right in the middle of summer which meant Lane worked every day of the week with one day off.  This outage was unplanned for the company AND for our family.  We had actually been hoarding Lane’s vacation because we knew the time for the floor DIY was heading our way. Unfortunately, the outage came at THE SAME TIME that we were ready to start our floor DIY so it has thrown a BIG hold up on house progress.  Which equals no time for those beaches we dream of playing on with our littles.

The first week of summer vacation, Lane and I were both racked with guilt as all our friends were packing for the Alabama and Florida beaches.  We wanted to make sure our kids had a great summer too.  But as our summer days have unfolded, I can look back and see that while our summer has been low key, the kiddos have been making fun memories.

The second full week of summer, Aubrey Lane went to dance camp which she absolutely loves.  They dance, swim, eat, craft, dance, eat, and watch movies...  HELLO?!  Where is the dance camp for adults??  Seriously, though, she came home everyday exhausted but excited to show me her new hip hop moves and tell me about swimming in her dance teacher’s Mickey Mouse shaped pool.  And AL is far from a morning person.  We have never complained of kiddos getting up at 7am every morning; our's sleep late everyday and getting them up before 8am is a chore in itself, but that was not the case that week.  All I had to do was remind AL about dance camp and she was out of bed in seconds.  It was a good, good week.

Since then we have just being laid back. We mosey over to the new splash pad at the park a couple times a week in the mornings before the smoldering Louisiana heat gets to be unbearable.  And this year, the splash pad along with EVERYTHING else we do as a family has been so different this year now that Jude is walking.  I didn’t have to carry him- he can walk! 

Didn’t I mention that the pictures are cuter two now that Jude can stand next to Aubrey Lane.  She won’t get much closer because Jude likes to pull her hair, and she knows it.  Oh yeah, and I get asked if they are twins ALL THE TIME now!  You should see the look on faces when i say they are four years apart.

Some days when my father in law was off, he and I were able to work on the floors some.  During most of the other afternoons, it’s really too hot to do anything outside so we have been going by the library.  Besides watching baseball, being read to is Jude’s favorite activity.  And with Aubrey Lane learning to read, I decided to go ahead and let them get their first library cards.  They were sooooo excited!

With longer days, we have been mostly working in the new house in the evenings.  When Lane gets home, we bring the kids to his mom, and then we work on the floors until dark.  We clean up, head to Lane’s parent’s house where his mom usually feeds us and has bathed kids waiting on us.  So thankful for all my in-laws’ help. 

A couple evenings, we let the floors wait and have taken the kids to do fun stuff out in the world or around the house.  We’ve played a couple of rounds of miniature golf or “Hutt Putt” as Aubrey Lane calls it.  And thankful our sweet friends who live near by extend an open invite to use their pool.  AL is a fish and swims everywhere, and even Jude has gained confidence in the water and kicks around in his puddle jumper.  So the pool is also a little therapy for him.  It’s great for giving so much sensory input he seeks, and really works on his balance and core strength.  All pretty important for him.

Last week we all participated in our church's vacation bible school.  Once again, with Jude walking this year, it seemed like a new experience.  Everthing we do seems like a new experience.  Until this year, Jude completely depended on the use of a medical stroller or us carrying him anywhere and everywhere he went.  Now that he is walking everywhere, he is not nearly as dependent, and our arms are free.  It feels so liberating to watch him explore instead of carry him everywhere.  In fact, Jude feels soooo independent that he will often swat away hands that are offered for him to hold... little stinker.

But that’s it... Really that’s all it can be.  It’s far too hot for the zoo or playground here.  We hope to get over to the beach before the new school year starts which is in TWO WEEKS!! Can anyone else believe that?  

Hope your summer has been great.

Friday, June 24, 2016

More Than Just a Biscuit

*WARNING- this post is kinda long and has no pictures.  A post full of pictures is on its way.  I promise.

So we have been extremely busy with the building of our new house.  The floor DIY is about to kill us all!!  Since we spend sooo much time in the new house, there is hardly extra time to do regular life stuff that we need to do like say laundry, clean house, grocery shop, cook... you get the picture.  Thank goodness for my mother in law that has been practically raising our kids for us lately.  

So anyway, last week Lane worked that Friday and I spent some of the day in the new house working and some of the day in our current home just trying to catch up on things.  When Lane got home from work, I hadn’t cooked dinner yet- mainly because I haven’t grocery shopped yet.  So he ran and got some of my favorite bad for you food- spicy fried chicken, mashed potatoes, red beans and rice, and of course the biscuits.  Most of y’all know the place...  

I know, I know... We’ve been eating horribly during this DIY, but I’m certain  the meal quality will improve once we are in our new house.   So to all my healthy friends, don’t deem me a lost cause yet.

Lane comes in with the takeout bag and starts unloading it on the counter so I can fix some plates.  He does a quick inventory for me, but before he could finish he lets out a deep breath of frustration and looks to the ceiling.  The fast food service forgot to give us all our biscuits and there was only one in the bag.  Those of you who know which place I’m talking about understand that the biscuits are actually the coveted part of the meal.  And we live pretty rural so to go get the biscuits would have taken at least 30 minutes. 

Well our four year old immediately became aware of the circumstances and started to cry.  I’m telling y’all, biscuits are a BIG DEAL!  Because I know my husband considers me first above anyone else, I reassured him that I didn’t need a biscuit to be happy with the meal. However, because my husband considers himself last after everyone else, he turned and reassured our daughter that she could have the biscuit.  She accepted without out a second thought or a THANK YOU!

I stood there in our kitchen spectating this small moment and something just didn’t sit well with me about the events that I just witnessed.  I know how everyone in my family feels about the biscuits.  I know that my husband was just as disappointed as my daughter was.  I was not surprised that my he gave the only biscuit to our daughter.  However, I was surprised that she took it without thinking twice- like it was owed to her or something.

Memories from my childhood came racing back to me.  Remembering my own mother saving the best piece of chicken for my father, and if there was only one biscuit, you can believe, he was going to get it.  And there was no argument from me or my sister.  

I looked over at my husband who was quietly fixing his plate.  He was tired.  Real tired.  His shoulders were low with it it and his words few.  He had been up since 3:30am to make a 40ish minute drive to work a 12 hour shift all without ever complaining. EVER!  And our daughter AND myself had just shown no appreciation or RESPECT for the king of our castle.

Not only had that happened, but I watched Aubrey Lane admire her full plate and knew what had to be done.  I knew she was going to be very upset and that’s natural for a child her age.  I quietly called her and asked her did she think she should give the biscuit to her daddy who worked all day so that we could want for nothing.  Things started to get dramatic quickly as I expected.  I tried reasoning with her at first, then just demanded that she give the biscuit to her father.

Lane started to object because he is Lane, but then he realized what was really going on and stayed quiet.  This was more than just a biscuit.  This was about respecting my husband in all areas.  This was about Aubrey Lane honoring her father.  This was a lesson for her too.  Yes I hated hearing her cry and felt awful for it, but all I could see was her 20 years from now, a young adult breaking down because her father and I prevented her from feeling disappointment and frustration as a child.  I could see her as a young wife and mother not respecting her husband because I didn’t restore divine order in our own home.

I haven’t been the best wife to Lane or role model for Aubrey Lane.  I’ll admit it.  I don’t say thank you near enough and have put a huge demand on all my husband’s time between work and this house build.  Then I give him grief if he forgets to take the trash out.  God’s word commands the husband to love his wife and the wife to RESPECT her husband.  Why not love? Because men need respect more than anything else.  Gratitude translates to respect, and respect translates love to them.  It is their love language from their wives and children!  Respecting our husbands in Godly ways will certainly grow their love for us, and even grow our love for them.  So I want to encourage any wife or wife to be reading this post (thank you for hanging in there), to go out of your way today to show your husband a special gesture of gratitude and respect. I can almost guarantee you will be blessed in return.  And if you aren’t, don’t be discouraged because when we honor our husbands, we honor God, and we should do that without the need for reward.

I stayed persistent and eventually even Aubrey Lane realized giving up the biscuit was the right thing to do.  When she gave it to Lane she was insistent he have it, and in true Lane fashion, he broke it in half and shared it with her. But a lesson was learned.