Screens vs. The Kitchen Table

This blogging world is interesting.  To me, some things are too sacred to be shared through screens.  They have to be shared over kitchen tables, with coffee and wine and kleenexes, and chocolate. They have to be prayed over.  There are tear stains on pillows, and hands held in the dark.  Prayers for mercy.  For change.  For dreams lost.

And, then when it passes, when I have hindsight, I am more vulnerable to share with the masses.

That’s when God releases me to be open and vulnerable.  Not usually when I’m in the middle of something.  That is the beauty of writing.  You get to look smart, and put together and strong… because you are usually on the other side when you share.

That is not the beauty of real life…because in real life you are in your friends playroom having a complete meltdown and bribing the kids with video games and candy to let you finish your conversation.  Declaring your anger at God.  Crying.  Throwing a fit.

So, please before your read this, know that I am now on the other side.  The HIND side.  With HIND sight.  In the middle of this journey, I was not strong.  I was a mess.

In the beginning, Vince and I wanted 4 kids.  That was the plan.  We rolled right a long with 1.  And, then somehow, I couldn’t get pregnant with Parker.  We had 2 years of infertility, and finally went to a fertility doctor and had treatments…and got pregnant the very first month of treatment.  So amazing and exciting!  My dream was little off kilter, because I had planned to have babies 2 years apart, and now Reese and Parker were going to be 4 years apart.  But, that was ok.  That’s just details, and the Lord knows I’m not really into that anyway.

Along come Parker with a slew of health problems.  3 years of not sleeping.  3 years of sickness.  And, for some reason, I was still really stuck on my plan.  We weren’t trying to get pregnant during this time, but we weren’t NOT trying either.  Now in hindsight, looking back over this time…wow…God was protecting us.  We had more than we could handle.  More.  Way, way, way more.

Then, suddenly, we have a 4 year old and an 8 year old.  The 4 year old is eating and sleeping.  Has a diagnosis.  The 8 year old is continuing to be the sweetest thing ever…the 4 year old is also the sweetest thing ever. Right about prime to time to have another baby – huh?!  Well, right about that time my body decides to freak out.

In medical terms, I start growing a lot of fibroids in my uterus.  They were placed in the perfect spots for declaring war on my body.  I’m not going to go into details…because I just don’t feel like it’s necessary, but I will say, the war was long and rough.  Exhausting, mentally and physically.

We tried what I like to refer to as my life medical philosophy “Eastern, Western, and Jesus.”  Which kind of means we tried everything.  Medicines, herbs, vitamins, time, waiting, exercise, healing prayer, time, foods, medicines, prayer….back and forth and back and forth.  And…ta da….everything was getting worse.

In August, we were at our leader’s retreat with our church, and had an amazing weekend.  We hadn’t told many people at all about my health struggles, mainly because it was so personal in nature.  For some reason, it didn’t feel appropriate to me to go to the front on a Sunday and ask our pastor to pray for my uterus.  Sorry.  I’m just more bashful than that.

We had a guest speaker/pastor at this event from Scotland….that didn’t know me or Vince.  We had not even had any conversations with this man.  And, he prayed for me.  He put his hand right on my uterus and prayed.  And, let me tell you guys….I almost feel on the floor.  How in God’s green earth did he KNOW that my uterus needed prayer!!!  I was getting hot and starting to kind of cry.  He prayed, “You have been trying to push open a door.  God is going to open that door for you.  He is going to bring joy back into your home every month.  Every month you will thank the Lord for what he has done.”

I just sat there dumbfounded.  What in the world did this mean?  Of course, my mind ran with it.  I turned to Vince and said, “Maybe I’m pregnant right now!”  Mind…..running……away……

Vince, in his normal even-minded nature, said, “Hon…that’s not what he said.  And, he is not God.  He prayed that.  God led him to pray for your uterus.  But, he did not, and God did not say you were pregnant.”

“Oh.  Well.  That’s right.”  I said.

But, people let’s be real.  If someone you don’t know, prays for something they didn’t know about, that’s right on…. and the desire of your heart is for another baby….of course it means you are pregnant. At. This. Very. Minute!  Men.  They are so rational.

WelI, I wasn’t pregnant.  And, I was raging mad about that.   Cue the crying in my friends playroom.  “Why did God have to even bother me with this?  Why did he even bring it up?  It’s like here, kid you want a snack?  Oh, I didn’t mean you could have a cupcake…here is a fish for you.  Enjoy that fish.  Ok.”

I don’t want a fish!!!!!  I didn’t even ask for a snack!!!!!

(See I’m really rational.  This is why I am best at sharing in hindsight.)

After all all my fit throwing, Vince and I sat down and had a good rational conversation.  Basically, we moved forward.  We do fertility treatments and get pregnant, or we remove the fibroids.  Those were our only two options.  We could not keep things going as they were.  Especially after all the medications, etc. we had tried…did not work.  The effects of this “war” on my insides was not something that could just be left alone.  So, we were at a fork in the road.

We committed to praying for direction.  And did for a long time.  God was completely silent. Nothing.  No blinking signs saying “GO THIS WAY!”  No nothing.  And, again…Mrs. Rational, was really mad about that.  Mad at God for not giving us some kind of direction.

Then, on a Sunday after Thanksgiving I was cleaning out Parker’s closet.  Folding up clothes that he had outgrown.  I was totally overcome with emotion.  I sat down on his closet floor and was crying in there.  And, then Vince came in. Apparently he had gotten emotional out on the back porch.  At this very same time, he was praying for direction for us, and felt a push from the Lord.  Then he found me in the closet crying.  He sat right down on the floor in the middle of the clothes, and we held hands and cried…just cried that our dreams for our family might look differently that we had thought.  We prayed and cried.  And God spoke to us.  He spoke very clearly that his dreams for our family are WAY better than the ones that we have.   He reminded us that he is our protector…and sometimes unanswered prayers are for our protection.  He reminded us of the blessings of Reese and Parker.  He reminded us that he does not need my uterus to grow our family.  He reminded us of autism statistic we had just learned at a convention. He reminded us that he is here.  Listening.  Close to the broken hearted.

After this conversation, weighing the statistics we had learned, and hearing so clearly from the Lord…for the first time, Vince and I felt peace.  Total peace.

We called my doctor to re-open the door of discussing what to do about the fibroids.  I had another ultrasound, and had grown even more of them.  Answer confirmed.  I was getting worse.

So, here we are.  Post surgery.  I am healing really well.  And, can’t stop thinking about how the Jews missed Jesus because he didn’t look like what they thought God had said.  They were expecting the messiah to be a warrior.  Not a peace maker.  I was expecting God to make me pregnant to bring Joy…not take away my sickness to bring Joy.  I know I will be grateful every month.  Vince and I will be so grateful for health!  Looking back, I think I may have just misunderstood.

 

Read these lyrics from Lauren Daigle’s Trust in You.   This came on as Vince and I were pulling into the hospital the morning of the surgery.  It was like a movie.  Like slow motion.  We were holding hands, breathing deep the emotions of God, the promises of God….

If I were to bet, I’d say this is just part one of some kind of incredible journey God is going to take our family on.  Because after all, his dreams are better than our dreams.  His dreams are bigger than our dreams.   What’s next?  We will trust in Him.

TRUST IN YOU

Letting go of every single dream.

I lay each one down at your feet

Every moment of my wandering

Never changes what you see.

I’ve tried to win this war, I confess.

My hands are weary, I need your rest.

Mighty warrior, king of the fight

No matter what I face you are by my side.

When you don’t move the mountains, I needed you to move.

When you don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through.

When you don’t give the answers as I cry out to you.

I will trust.  I will trust in you.

Truth is you know what tomorrow brings.

There is not a day ahead you have not seen.

So in all things, be my life and breathe

I want what you want Lord and nothing less.

When you don’t move the mountains, I needed you to move.

When you don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through.

When you don’t give the answers as I cry out to you.

I will trust.  I will trust in you.

You are my strength and comfort

You are my steady hand

You are my firm foundation

The rock on which I stand

Your ways are always higher

your plans are always good

there’s not a place where I’ll go that you’ve not already stood.

When you don’t move the mountains, I needed you to move.

When you don’t part the waters, I wish I could walk through.

When you don’t give the answers as I cry out to you.

I will trust.  I will trust in you.

 

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Creatures are stirring

CREATURES ARE STIRRING

About 12:30 this afternoon, I heard a loud noise coming from our library room. And, I saw a HUGE animal in the fireplace. Our neighbor had lost a cat, and I honestly thought that’s what it was. I grabbed a flashlight and shined it through the glass fireplace windows to get a better look at the cat. Then SCREAMED in horror, because it was not said fluffy cat…but a squirrel. A huge, rodent…knocking on my fireplace glass. I am not Jesus, if you stand at the glass fireplace door and knock… I WILL NOT, I repeat, WILL NOT open the door for you.

I called Vince from the car and told him we had a squirrel trapped behind the glass doors and that we were LEAVING until he came home. I was not going to be stuck in the house with a rabid squirrel knocking at me all day. I put Preston (our dog) up just in case he got out and bit him and gave him rabies. No one wants rabies for Christmas. I took Parker to school, planning on being gone. AWAY. Squirrel free. All day.

I came home to put some presents in the attic, and NOT go inside…yet curiosity got the best of me, and I kinda had to go to the bathroom. So, I peeked inside and to my TOTAL HORROR the fireplace glass was OPEN!!!! And my Christmas Town village was knocked off the piano, broken. And a lamp was broken. And the stocking was no longer hung by the chimney with care. And ornaments were everywhere. And, a movie was knocked off the TV top and ornaments were down from the tree. I started yelling to myself, “HE IS HIDING SOMEWHERE IN THE HOUSE, AND I THINK HE IS IN THE TREE!!!!!” I started screaming again, and ran outside and called Vince. He calmly told me to go open all the doors and maybe the squirrel would run out. And he laughed. He was thinking this was pretty funny, at the office and all.

I screamed opening each door, I tell you, and imagining the squirrel hiding under a piece of furniture and biting my ankle. I know this sounds ridiculous, but for real, I was so scared. It’s like when you are in a haunted house and you KNOW someone is there, it scares you even more…because they are HIDING!

I got back in the car to calm down wondering if I was going to spend all day in here. Then school calls, and poor Parkie is throwing up. For the LOVE! This day! So, I hop in the car and get Parkie and Reese, and now we have to go home… because where are you going with a puking kid??? That’s right. Back to your rabies house.

Reese, being the big brave 8 year old that he is says he will sit in the living room and watch a movie and watch for the squirrel, while Parker and I hide in the back. I called my neighbor Kellie and told her my whole sob story. Luckily, her husband, Austin was already headed home from work, so she volunteered him to come check under my furniture so I could at least touch my toes to the ground before Vince made it home.

Austin came over and looked under and behind everything, and then went over to the tree. Starting very cautiously at first, he stood way back and shined the flash light in. Then as time went by, he got braver and braver saying…”I just really don’t think he’s in here Joanna. He must have run out while you were picking up the kids. But tell you what. I’ll give the tree a good shake, just to be sure.” Then he shook the tree, and EXACTLY like Christmas Vacation, the squirrel came FLYING out of the tree. I mean flying!! At me!!!!!! I screamed like a mad woman jumping on the couch. Austin was yelling “Sh8%” and “Stop screaming. Stop screaming!” Preston was chasing the squirrel and crashing into the window. At that point I ran out the front door. You get to a moment where you just run. Ya know. I won’t mention that I didn’t grab the kids. Because I just ran out. Every man for himself.

Austin, preston the dog, and Reese chased the squirrel back into the library room where the squirrel ran across the piano as they made a makeshift blockade. And then the squirrel ran out. And Reese and Austin slammed the door. And everyone was sweating. And out of breathe. And I stopped screaming and came back inside. And Parker played Wii the whole time and still doesn’t know what happened.

Hallelujah. Holy Squirrel. Where’s the Tylenol.