The Past Seven Months, The Last Three Weeks, & Things to Come

August 15, 2011

My heart was to post this update three weeks ago.  I knew that I would not be able to write during those three weeks and so I wanted to give you a heads up and let you know why.  As it is with so many best laid plans, that did not happen.  And so here I am on the backside of those three weeks, finally updating you on the going-ons in our family: my heart during the first seven months of this year, the reason for my three week hiatus, and our plan for the future.

January

Luke on Halloween--more than two months before being hospitalized.

The last time I gave an update about our family God was teaching me contentment while in the hospital with our sweet son, who had been deemed “malnourished” and “severe failure the thrive.”  (I still don’t know how to structure sentences with the awkwardness of those two terms.)  Needless to say, we are past that trial and Luke is doing very well.  That was January.  January was filled with confusion, and thankfulness, and contentment, and blessings.  It is impossible for me to remember (why didn’t I journal more?!) every single person who blessed us while in the hospital (and shortly thereafter), but we were so overwhelmed with the love of our friends and family–we truly felt Christ’s hands and feet at work.  Thank you.

It is the lesson that God provides that permeates the months that follow.  I cannot say it enough.  God will provide.  He does provide.  He is providing.  It is remarkable to me to look back and see him take that bill away, provide food for that week, change those numbers in the bank account (no, really.), and allow those three things to happen so that this other one is possible.  He is so gracious to me.

February

The rest of January and most of February is a blur.  I spent every day of these few weeks pumping, supplementing, measuring, feeding, drinking, popping, pumping again, freezing, defrosting, changing, clothing, and washing.  In my attempt to continue nursing while gaining my milk back I ran myself into the floor and finally, at the end of February, gave up.  This was a very dark time for me.  Mothers are supposed to be able to provide for their children!  What is wrong with me that I can’t provide for my son? Thankfully, my sweet husband agreed to look into a natural homemade formula alternative, and so it wasn’t long before Luke was gobbling up a wonderful, nourishing goat’s milk formula.  I still do not know how we afforded the ingredients for the formula–back then or now.  It’s a mystery–a miracle.

God was so gracious to me during this time.  I’m sitting here trying to think of exactly how he brought my sin to light and I cannot remember, however it was the end of February when He showed me my life-long, super-ingrained love affair with pleasing others.  As I read and studied about this sin I realized that practically everything I did, everything I said, most of the motivation behind most of what I did was to please others–including even the intense desire to breast feed.  Of course, I wanted to (and still wish I could have), but the reason that I was so crushed that I couldn’t anymore was because of how others would look at me!  I spent the next few weeks in prayer over this sin and began mortifying it with the help of sweet, sweet Jesus.

March

The month of March is a bright shining light in my mind.  The Lord provided so that our family could travel to Los Angeles where we spent two marvelous weeks with our very best friends: my husband’s brother, Jason, his wife, Claire, and their two adorable daughters, Sophia and Alaythia.  This trip was exactly what I needed.  A break.  A refresher.  A time of loving confrontation.

It was at the end of this trip that the Lord showed me glaring sin in my life in three or four different areas.  It was overwhelming, to be sure, but so needed.  I had been living on autopilot since the hospital in January and I needed my sweet sister-in-law to lovingly talk to me about my sin.  How fabulous to see one’s sin–it is then that we can repent and let the Holy Spirit change us!  Pride and discontentment in different areas of my life permeated.  How wonderful it was to talk those things through with Claire and how gracious God is to forgive me my sins!

April

I am having a difficult time remembering April.  I suppose it’s because nothing monumental took place.  I really just spent the month getting back to life after a crazy winter.  This was the month that I finally began to feel as if I had a handle on this mothering thing.  I think now that it was simply because I wasn’t in unrepentant sin that I was able to relax and find joy in being the mommy to my joyous little boy!

May

Luke and his sweet great Grandma

May is the month that my grandmother passed away.  We knew she had cancer for several months, but that didn’t seem to make the sting any less harsh.  I spent a great deal of time contemplating death and Heaven and Hell.  I found comfort in God’s sovereignty in a way I never had before.  This was also the month that U.S. forces found and killed Osama bin Laden, mastermind behind the September 11th attacks on our country, which forced me to think about death in terms of two very different souls–one being my sweet, sweet Grandma’s and the other, one of the most twisted to ever live.  It was difficult to find a place to land, but in the end I landed with Christ.  I landed with the knowledge that He suffered, died, and was buried.  That He rose again and ascended into heaven to reign forever.  I landed with Christ and Him crucified.  Who am I to question His Plan?  I landed with the following:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt. 11:28-30)

This was the beginning of a new way of thinking for me–a way that has completely changed my life and the way I interact with others and my circumstances, but most importantly, it has changed the way I think about my Savior.

June

June was a difficult month for our family.  Since . . . well, I don’t really know when . . . I had been feeling tired.  No.  Really tired.  I struggled to get out of bed in the morning, I struggled to stay up past 7:30 at night, I struggled not to take two three-hour naps during the day.  In addition, my hair began falling out, my toes and fingers were always ice cold, I had trouble (during the times of the day I was actually awake) coming up with the words I wanted to use.  All this and the fact that I hadn’t lost hardly any baby weight was hard on me physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.  Needless to say, keeping a home, being a loving wife, and caring for a sweet baby became more and more difficult.

Finally I researched my symptoms and (as I’m sure a few of you have already figured out) it seemed as if I might have had a problem with my thyroid–Hypothyroidism.  I made an appointment with my doctor and my suspicions were confirmed.  In fact, it seemed as if I had built up yeast in my body that was causing the thyroid issues.  So I cut out most grains and sugar from my diet, I began taking a multitude of natural supplements, I began drinking more water than I ever have before in my life put together.  I began (after a while) using a drop of lemon essential oil a day and practically bathing in Progessence Plus Serum (a natural combination of oils with progesterone in it).  And I started feeling better.  Unfortunately the jury’s still out on whether or not all this will heal me, but I for sure can tell a difference in how I feel.  I’m excited to see if this will work and ask you to pray that taking care of the yeast in my body and my thyroid naturally will solve my health issues.  Be sure that I will update you if it does!  Also, please pray that I would be diligent and disciplined in the way I take care of my body.

July

July should be called The Month of Grace.  It was actually the end of May (during my Grandma’s passing) when the Lord began teaching me about His Amazing Grace, but then in July He gave me two very difficult situations in which to apply what He was teaching me:

In the beginning of the month someone close to me sinned against me in a major way.  This exact situation had happened years before and I believed that I had forgiven them back then.  As my head reeled and my heart ached, I reached for a book I knew would help me see this trial through the lens of the Cross.  A few weeks before, for my birthday, a sweet spiritual mother, Liz, gave me a book by Elyse Fitzpatrick, Counsel From the Cross.  I ran to the first chapter and the one about relationships and found the following:

By faith [you] can war against anger, self-pity, and self-righteousness because [you] trust that [your] struggle against sin isn’t in vain.  On Calvary it seemed as though all had been lost, but Calvary isn’t all there is.  There is an empty tomb.  The empty tomb assures [you] that even though [you] feel hopelessly trapped by anger and self-pity, the power of sin has been broken in [your] life.

Then, as [you] experience the enveloping comfort of the Spirit, [you] will be humble enough to seek to comfort [others], to see [other’s] sin as no more repugnant than [your] own, and much of [your] self-justifying wrath will be drained.  (pages 32, 33)

We are sinful and flawed, errant children who have been welcomed by a patient, long-suffering, kind Father.  God loves us and draws us to himself.  He speaks words of love to us continuously because we are so slow to believe.  He is patient, kind, gentle, and faithful, and he always uses every opportunity to reveal himself to us.

He showers us with grace, mercy, encouragement, and generous words of love.  Because we are more loved and welcomed than we ever dared hope, we can become effusively loving and welcoming. (page 163)

This changed my view about sin.  How could I get upset?  How could I be so angry?  How could I be so selfish?  Did Christ not have to die for me?  Had Christ not forgiven this person?  Of course He did!  Of course He had!  Who am I? I was amazed with how quickly my heart changed.  I was in awe of how quickly I could show compassion to this person.  This was not me.  This was the Holy Spirit within me. This was God’s Grace.  It is not in my nature to forgive quickly and easily.  In fact, through this trial I realized I had not forgiven this person for the incident years ago and I was able to fully forgive them for both situations.  Praise Jesus for His forgiveness and His work in my heart.  I am in awe of Him.

A few days later Tim and I found out that we were pregnant with our second child.  I had known for a couple weeks, but it was so wonderful to see that confirmation “Pregnant” on the stick!  The very next day we left for Glorieta, NM to attend a high school summer camp with our church.  I had begun spotting a tiny bit, but that happens in the early days of some pregnancies, so I thought little of it.  As the week went on I began bleeding more and more.  After a call to my doctor we decided that going to the Emergency Room was what would be best.  The E.R. in Santa Fe confirmed the pregnancy, but because I was only 5 weeks along, they received no information from the Ultra Sound.  They did, however, find out that my HCG level was 31, which should double every 48 hours or so.  While at camp I continued to bleed, although not nearly at the rate of other women who have miscarried.  In addition, I wasn’t cramping or in any pain.  It was a very confusing time with no real answers.  God kept pushing back the day that we would get answers: first Thursday, then Saturday, and then Monday.

Camp was a difficult week.  I wavered back and forth between complete devastation and timid trust in the Lord.  It was strange.  I knew God was in control, but without knowing what was happening to my baby, it was so difficult to apply the truths I knew to my situation.  At first I couldn’t believe I was going through this at camp–away from my home, in this far away place.  But now, thinking back, I am so thankful that we were at camp.  God was so good to surround me with so many older, godlier women, and so many sweet, sweet friends to hold me and cry with me and pray with me.  Having my best friends, and near 100 family members from our church there to go through this with me was so wonderful–God’s grace.

The Monday we got home from camp we went to the doctors and they confirmed that we had had a miscarriage.  I am still in awe of what God did in my heart at that moment.  It was sad, please don’t get me wrong.  I cried.  A lot.  But truly moments after the confirmation I just felt so at peace.  I finally knew what was going on and I was able to thank God for who He is.  I was able to praise Him for what He’s done.  I was able to love Him and trust in Him in a way that I never thought was really possible.  I will soon blog more specifically about what God’s been teaching me about Himself, but for now, I was just so amazed by Jesus and the Cross and Grace, that while losing our baby was very sad, I felt at peace . . . that’s the only way I know to describe it: peace.

The Last Three Weeks

As you might have guessed, the week of summer camp was three weeks ago.  The following two weeks were full of family get-togethers because Jason, Claire, and their girls came back from camp with us to spend their vacation time in Texas.  Needless to say, things were much too busy to blog–in addition, my hormones were so wacky it’s only God’s grace that I had always planned not to blog during those three weeks anyway!  We had such a wonderful time with our sweet friends and it was a great taste of what life will be like in just a few short months.

Things to Come

That’s right, Lord willing, Tim, Luke, & I will be moving to Los Angeles so that Tim can attend The Masters Seminary.  Tim will graduate with his Bachelors in Christian Leadership this December (just one semester to go!) and we will head out to California as soon as the Lord provides.  Please pray that God will provide a place to live (we’re praying for a Resident Manager position that would pay for rent) and a job for Tim.  Lord willing he will start seminary next fall (Fall 2012), so there will be several months that he could work full-time before classes start.  We are confident that the Lord will direct our steps and we know that He will provide exactly what we need, even if it’s not what we want or what we thought we needed!  Please pray that as His plan unfolds we continue to have such a perspective!

Thank you for being a part of our lives.  Thank you for praying.  Thank you for loving!

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3 Responses to “The Past Seven Months, The Last Three Weeks, & Things to Come”

  1. jravery said

    Katie,
    I don’t even know what to say… this post was beautifully written and so raw and real. Thank you for sharing your experience with me and with others and what you have learned. Seeing God’s grace in your life in a very real way is an encouragement to me. I am sorry for you and Tim’s loss and pray that He continues to be your comfort and peace. Love you Sister.

  2. Cassandra said

    Oh Katie, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss! But it’s like you said, thankfully you were surrounded by friends and family in this great time of confusion and sorrow. Know that I’m thinking of you, and I hope everything goes well with the move and the job.

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