Wednesday, April 27, 2016

My Rainbown Baby Turns 6

It was my 32nd birthday. David Crowder was playing in the background as I leaned my forehead against the nurse's chest and bowed my back at the CRNA who was sticking a needle in my spine. At that moment I began to sob quietly. Uncontrollable. I'm not sure the poor nurse knew what to do or why I was crying. She didn't know that 2 years before this moment I had discovered I was pregnant and 6 weeks later learned the baby had no heartbeat. This loss was followed 3 months later by another lost pregnancy. I became so obsessed with having another baby I took my temperature religiously every day for 3 months in an effort to know my body's cycle.  (I jokingly say my son is so rigid about things done a certain way because his conception and birth were planned meticulously.) I changed doctors and saw an endocrinologist for a full thyroid work up.

This pregnancy had gone perfectly. And finally after 2 years of waiting it was all over. In a few moments I would look in the face of my new baby. I knew that months of tears, praying, waiting and hoping were coming to an end. I could feel the pages of that chapter of my life closing. The poor nurse patting me on the back had no idea that my tears were tears of relief, joy, sadness, fear and excitement all at once.

That was 6 years ago. Social media has taken to calling these post miscarriage babies "Rainbow Babies". The beautiful result after a storm. I call him a miracle baby. An answered prayer. Grace from God. You see in those dark years of not knowing if I would carry another child in my womb I cried out to God. I came to a place where I simply said "Please teach me the lesson you want me to learn, Father. Show me what you would have me to do." I learned that He is my refuge and my strength.

So on my birthday, 6 years ago, I got what I wanted most in the world. A baby. He was longer and thinner than his sister was a birth and had no hair but I adored him. When they brought him to me to nurse at 2 AM my husband was sleeping quietly in the cot beside my bed. One little light was on over head. The nurse handed him to me wrapped snugly in a blanket and smelling like baby lotion. I wanted that moment to last forever.

My "Rainbow Baby" has had his share of trouble. He has asthma, reflux and allergies. It took us years to figure it out and get it under control. I joke and say he is so rigid about having things done a certain way because his conception and birth were planned meticulously. But he has the best smile. And when he wraps his arms around me and says "I need Mama lovin'" Oh be still my heart. He is such a funny boy. Even his kindergarten teacher has commented that he has a great sense of humor. He is the spitting image of his father when his father was 6. He is a big brother now.

Not a birthday goes by that I don't thank my God for this sweet blessing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

When Satan knows your weakness

I spent this past weekend at a youth retreat at a camp in southeastern OK. Our speaker, Mike Kebone, said something that really stuck with me. "Satan knows your weakness." And he knows how to exploit it.

I hate chaos. Sunday morning chaos is the worst. Sunday morning, post youth retreat exhaustion with a headache chaos...well that's what I dealt with today. Satan know I can't handle the chaos. The dog woke 2 of my 3 children an hour early...after he destroyed the book we had been reading at bedtime and a friend's shoe. Hubby, suffering from the same post youth retreat exhaustion, got up just in time to get dressed and head out the door. I'm trying to cook breakfast while the 9 year old is crying because she is awake (I'm not kidding- we are NOT morning people), the sausage is smoking and grease is popping in the skillet, the 2 year old has undressed himself and is walking in only a diaper around crying about something and the 5 year old is talking non stop. I could feel my heart rate rising and my head begin to pound. In the middle of the swirling chaos I just wanted to call the whole day off. Just go back to bed and forget this morning ever happened.

In that moment Satan had my number. I bet he's had your number too, dear mama. Maybe your husband doesn't go to church with you and getting the kids ready is all your responsibility. Maybe your a single mom who struggles Monday through Friday to get the kids up and dressed and off to school and one more day of chaos is one more than you can handle. Maybe chaos isn't the button Satan pushes to keep you out of church and away from God's people. Maybe it's fatigue or busyness or the mountain of laundry that threatens cause an avalanche in your laundry room.

I took a deep breath and through vision blurred with tears finished breakfast and sat with my kiddos in front of the tv for a few minutes until they were all awake and functional. I pushed through the chaos and managed to get to church mostly on time with 3 kids in tow. Although I was weary and worn I found rest at the feet of Jesus in His House with His People.

I don't know what your weakness is. I don't know how Satan is tempting you but know this my God is stronger. He can and will provide a way out of temptation if you will rely on Him and seek Him. Keep pushing through the chaos.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hiding from the storm.

"Mommy, aren't you scared?" The question comes at me in the dark from my 8 year old who's green eyes were wide with fear. It was Memorial Day and instead of sitting outside at a barbeque celebrating the beginning of summer I was hiding a storm shelter with 3 kids by myself. All I could think when she asked that question was "No, I'm no scared. I'm mad. I'm angry because this is not what I signed up for." (That was the reply in my head, NOT the one that came out of my mouth) 11 years ago I stood in front of God and family and friends and signed up for a fairy tale. I signed up to be a youth pastors wife. I signed up for beautiful babies and ministry together and days in the sun. I did not sign up for miscarriages, loss of parents and struggles of faith. Yet, here I was sitting in a concrete shelter in the earth while it sounded like Big Foot was thrashing around outside and the whirly thing on top of the shelter spun like a pinwheel. My youth minister husband was taking shelter with some 20 teenagers at a local camp 40 miles away. Early in our ministry together we went everywhere together. Even after our first child I was able to get to camps and retreats without too much trouble. But by the time baby #3 came along my work had changed and getting away became more and more difficult. So that is how I found myself alone in a storm shelter with an 8, 5 and 1 year old.

Then that same beautiful 8 year old asked if we could pray. And so we did. Every 3 minutes for the next hour. We prayed for our safety. We prayed for the safety of Daddy and his students and the workers huddled in bathrooms at camp. In my heart I prayed God would let me see His will in all of this. "For I know the plans I have for you- this is the Lords declaration- plans to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and fine Me when you search for Me with all your heart" Jeremiah 29:11-13.

There was no tornado over us that day. There was only a storm. An hour later we returned to the house to eat supper, watch tv, get baths and head to bed like every other day. So often we cannot see what is going on in the midst of the storm. We can only pray and trust God.