Something's been burning on my heart lately and I just thought blogging about it would be the best way to get what I'm feeling across to all those that are my friends and family. Whether it be that we were in grade school together or met in college, or Church, or met through friends. I've never been one who has been able to easily share my faith. As in leading someone to Christ. It's happened 3 times in my life. One of which was my oldest daughter and it was the most AMAZING feeling in the world. August 18th, 2010 will forever be engraved on my heart. I can't tell you the day I was saved because I was only 5 and I did so privately by my bedside. It was a private, intimate moment with my and my Savior.
As a child, I always had a very tender spirit. I longed to hear more about Jesus and what He did for us. My heart would break when I would watch reenactments of His crucifixion. It amazed me that He would love ME so much that He would choose to die for me. Not for the sins I had committed as I wasn't even born yet. But for the sins that I would one day commit. I mean, that is some kind of love!!! I was raised in a Christian home and my mom always had Christian broadcasting or Christian music playing. ( Thank you mom!!) And at 5 years old, if you gave me a choice to watch Sesame Street or a preacher on television, I would choose to watch the preacher (depending on who it was but I'll not comment on that one. LOL...I'll just say some seemed harsher than others and a tender spirit doesn't respond well to harshness). It was late one night. I was already in my pajamas. Mom was doing dishes. Dad was probably reading the paper and I imagine my brother was in his room and most likely my sister was either helping my mom with dishes or baby sitting. I was sitting down listening to a preacher (yes I remember well who it was but it makes no difference. I know many people who do not agree with this man but I can tell you that night, he was talking about the plan of salvation). When he was leading those in the audience and watching by television in the sinners prayer, I snuck off to my bedroom, knelt beside my bed, and asked Jesus to come into my heart. It was the best decision I've ever made.
I'm not sure why I chose to do so privately. I think it's just because that is my personality. I felt it was between me and God and that it was MY decision to make so I did. I also thank my WONDERFUL Sunday School teachers for the role they played. My most memorable ones (when I was very young) would be Saundra Winn and Jerry Roberson Sr. Saundra had such a loving spirit about her. I don't think there was anyone she didn't love and little kids sense that. I just wanted to soak up all the Bible stories she told us. There are so many that played a role in my walk with Christ that if I took the time to name them all, this whole blog could become a novel.
My whole point is, that as we grow up, there are times we stray from what we are taught. We don't realize how detrimental that can be to others and their decision or lack of decision to accept Christ. We are to be a living example and there are times my example was not the best. There were times my little light wasn't shining so brightly and for that, I am sorry. It is because of that, that I can not let another night pass me by without letting everyone know that my faith and my trust and my hope lies solely in Christ. In Christ alone!! I am not a perfect example. I need to dig into my word more. I need to be a better leader to my babies but I pray that from this day forward, whatever I say, and whatever I do brings glory only to Christ!
Is being a Christian a bed of roses? Absolutely not. Is it a huge weight lifted off my shoulders? Without a doubt YES!!! My faith has been tried more than once and I pray that if I ever have to face the trial that Job and others in the Bible had to face that when I come out the other side, my light is burning brighter than ever and my hands are raised in praise and my fingers are pointing others to the cross because with HIM, I would not be here today. There are 2 trials in my life that I can think of off the top of my head that truly tried my faith. The first being the loss of my father. The actual loss of him wasn't as trying as when we first received the news that he had cancer and would have to under go surgery. At that point, I still had hope and faith but when the results came back after the surgery, that's when I faced the fire. As a sophomore in high school, I was told I would lose the person I loved most in this world. Don't get me wrong, I love my mother with all my heart but there is something about a bond between a daddy and his little girl. I was a big time daddies girl. I went to work with him, I went to mechanics shop when he was getting a car tuned up or worked on, I went with him to run errands, it didn't matter where he was going, if I could, I went with him so to hear that this man that meant the world to me wouldn't be around to see me graduate, to walk me down the isle at my wedding, or to meet the grand babies I would once give him....that he wouldn't be there to hold me and wipe my tears when I got my heart broken or was in my first car wreck.....it shattered my heart into a million pieces. I became angry. I was a very angry and bitter teenager for a while. I even tried pulling myself away from him but anyone knows when your world is built around someone so much, you can't ever pull completely away. So, instead of focusing my anger at my dad, or my mom, or the Dr. or even cancer for that matter, I focused it at God. I cried, I begged, I pleaded and then I let Him (God) have it. How could you God? WHY MY DAD??? Why such a great man of God when there are murderers and rapists and child molesters out there?? How could you pull MY rock out from beneath ME?? If you truly loved me and my dad, you wouldn't let this happen?? Why not ME instead?? I can't bare to see him suffer. I can't watch my dad die.
If you notice in all of those last phrases in my screaming match at God, the words Me or I was in every one of them. I didn't notice at the time. How could I? I was angry. I felt alone, abandoned.....broken. This went on for several days. I stopped wanting to go to Church but if you knew my parents, you knew they made sure we were always at church....(again, Thanks mom!) So even when my mom was sitting by my dads side at the hospital, she made sure I was in Church. Most likely if I could see myself sitting on the pew, I probably had my arms crossed over my chest and a grimace on my face because after all, I was being a teenager. I was giving God the silent treatment. You know what is funny about that??? Just like parents keep talking when you tune them out...just like they follow you around trying to correct you when you are huffing and puffing and walking away, God does that with His children. I really don't know how much time lapsed but I remember I was driving home from my boyfriends house and felt God telling me to go to Church that night (it was a Sunday night) and go to the front and have the deacons and elders lay hands on me as I stood in for my dad. I did the normal teenager thing. "You want ME to do WHAT for you?? Are YOU serious?? I don't really think I can do that. After all you ARE God. You can heal my dad with or without me." It was at that moment I realized how much of a spoiled brat and a selfish little teenager I was being. This wasn't about me. It wasn't about me at all. It was about my OBEDIENCE! It was about my reaction to what was thrown at me. In that moment, I broke down bawling and squaling humbly before my creator." I'm not sure how I didn't have a wreck on my way home. My mom was still at the hospital with my dad and I was the only child left living at home so I was able to go home without having to explain to everyone why I looked like such a mess and why I was crying so hysterically. I went in, composed myself, got myself ready for Church and that night, I did what God asked me to do. At the end of the service, during the alter call, I went up and had my pastor and the deacons and elders of the Church lay hands on me and anoint me with oil. I felt that anger and bitterness fall off of me. The peace of God fell upon me like nothing I had ever felt before. I had come to terms that whatever happened to my father, it was in Gods hands and He had a purpose for it. Well, that cancer that was supposed to take my father in a matter of months, it didn't. In fact, all his tests kept coming back clean. No sign of cancer in his body. Was it because I obeyed God? Maybe, maybe not. I truly believe that was one of my life's tests. When the day was over and it was all said and done, where would my faith lye? I honestly believe my dad was given an extension on life for my sake. I feel it was for the sake of a few others as well but I know it was also for my sake. For me to realize not everything is about me and that even in sickness, God's light can shine bright. My daddy got to see me graduate and I was one happy graduate that night! :)
When I was 21, my daddy was once again diagnosed with cancer and this time, it was so bad, there was nothing the could do but try and keep him as comfortable as possible and let me tell you, there were times, that being comfortable was impossible. This time though, I never waivered. I never doubted that God was in control and whatever was meant to be is what would happen. I and many of the rest of the family knew it was his time to go before dad did. He faught the good fight and he finished his race and he touched so many lives during his time as a Christian. We was a great example and the best husband and father of any man I've seen. He was far from perfect but in a daughters eyes, she doesn't look for perfection she looks for humility. He wasn't ashamed to be seen crying. He wasn't afraid to ask forgiveness when he felt he had wronged someone and he took lifes trials and made them life lessons and for that, I'm so grateful, lucky, and blessed! Even in his passing, lives were touched.
Another one of my life's trials.....wow, tonight is a cleansing night and a healing night for me. It's a good thing tears don't fall on computer screens and smudge the "ink" or you wouldn't be able to read this. Especially my next trial because you see, one of the most important things to me ever in my life other than God and my parents was to become a mommy. If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be a mommy. I wanted 4 or 5 kids. Shoot, in my head, as a young girl, I'd have those 4 or 5 kids and was the most patient mommy (Obviously a day dream! haha) had a spotless house (another day dream lol) and had a yard full of cats, dogs, horses and who knows what else. Looking at that dream now, as an adult, I laugh. That would have been a true life fulfillment of the movie "Funny Farm". ANYWAY, my point is, my aspiration was to be a stay home mommy and a good one at that. When I met my husband and things began to get serious and we felt like this is it, we've found our soul mates (which happened rather quickly I might add...Met in May, engaged in July, and married in October of the same year). I'm sure there were rumors flying around that I was pregnant (which I was not ! LOL) Anyway, as things became serious and we began talking about making a life together, Jeremy told me that he was told he would most likely never have kids. At that time, I didn't know it but I had a disease working against me as well that typically affects the fertility of women. I hadn't been diagnosed at that time as it was very rarely diagnosed until more recent years. When he told me this, I maybe kind of laughed it off and thought well, if it doesn't happen, we can always adopt. Prior to meeting Jeremy, I would often pray that God would prepare my husband for me and I would have visions/dreams of who I was going to marry. I even told some people that his name would start with a J and that I "thought" in the dream it was Jeremy. I also felt God telling me I would be a mother. So shortly after we were married and the topic of kids came up again, Jeremy says, "well you know, the dr. told me I would probably not ever have kids." Keep in mind, he was married once before for 5 years and most of that entire time, they tried for children and were not successful, thus the trip to the dr. and the dr.'s findings. My response was always, "well you know GOD told ME we would have kids!" For most women in my family, fertility didn't seem to be an issue so I really thought this would not be a difficult task for us at all. Especially with God on my side but as we were approaching the 2 year mark of trying for our first child, I began to get discouraged. Several times in that 2 years I had false alarms. And several times I had given up. In fact, just prior to finding out we were pregnant with our first, I had had some adoption papers mailed to me. They were sitting on our computer desk. I decided we would give it one more shot at conceiving on our own. This may be a little to much info for some but I had even went to the store and bought an ovulation predictor kit. This particular one had a free pregnancy test in it. I decided what the heck! I might as well take this test first before trying out the kit. I've seen enough negatives another one isn't going to send me over the edge. I hadn't not in the least thought or even anticipated that I might already be pregnant. No signs, no symptoms, nothing to make me think it was even possible. In my mind, I was to the point of almost numbness about the whole thing. I'd seen probably 30 negative tests in the past almost 2 years that to me, it was just another test. Well much to my shock, amazement, and SURPRISE! It was positive. I had SO not expected that that I was shaking so badly I thought I was going to faint. I went RUNNING into our bedroom where Jeremy was sleeping (he was working nights and had to work that night so he was sleeping during the day), I pounced on the bed and with a quivering voice (because I was still shaking so badly) I told him, "you're going to be a daddy" He jumps up, but still doesn't believe it. Looks at the test and makes me go buy more. I buy a box with 2 in it. Both positive, he makes me take 2 more AND go have it confirmed at the dr. haha! So hope is once again restored.
We had only been living in Alabama a little over a year at this time so we weren't established at all. I was working as a waitress at pizza hut to help bring in some money until I could get a better job or until we could get moved to Dothan. A few weeks after finding out I was pregnant I noticed some things that were not normal. Cramping and bleeding (again, sorry for the TMI). I think to myself, oh no...this can't be happening. Then the situation with my dad comes to mind and I start praying. I call my mom and have her pray. I have Jeremy take me to the ER. We drive an hour to the ER because 1) the local hospital was not equipped for maternity anything. They don't even deliver babies there. and 2) I had been told that unless you want to die, do NOT go to the Eufaula hospital. HAHA! So needless to say, we drive an hour to Dothans ER. They do an US but I'm not quite far enough along to tell anything. They can tell I'm still pregnant but can't at that time detect a heartbeat and the fetus is measuring a little behind where it should have been. The ER dr. orders bed rests and prepares me to expect the worst. He wrote on my discharge papers and instructions that I was to be on bed rest do to threatened miscarriage. A newly pregnant woman, expecting her first child is filled with fear upon reading those words. I stay on my bed rest the required amount of time and things seem to be going smoothly once again. Including AWFUL morning, noon, and night sickness. Everything I ate came back up. The rest of the pregnancy goes along smoothly until....DELIVERY DAY!!
April 25th, we go to Jeremy's moms for dinner. I start not feeling very well while we are there. I had been having braxton hicks and early labor for months at that point so I dismissed it. As we go to leave, I had stomach cramps so badly I had to stop and wait for them to subside. I told Jeremy that night, "we'll be in the hospital tonight or tomorrow having a baby." He didn't really believe me at the time but on the ride home, my contractions became harder and time-able. He asks if I want to go to the hospital and I remembered from birthing classes that you should wait until they've been 2 minutes apart for at least 2 hours because 1st time labors are typically fairly long. I said no, go home and get some rest because I'll need you when it is time to go. He sleeps most of the night while I labor. Finally at 4 the next morning, I wake him up and tell him it's time. Contractions had been 2 minutes apart for over 3 hours. We go to the ER ( labor and delivery floor doesn't open until 6 for admittance so you have to go through the ER) They take me up for observation and I'm definitely having strong contractions but after 2 or so more hours, I'm still only at 2 cm dilated so they send me home. Long story short, I end up back there a couple hours later. Labor was LONG!!! from the time I started labor on the home the night before until they decided an emergency c-section was my only option, I had been laboring right at 24 hours. 17 of which was without any pain meds. I had to have an emergency c section because once I fully dilated, the midwives hadn't thought to check the position of the baby and they had me trying to push a transverse baby out. (she was laying side to side instead of up and down and her shoulder was presenting first) Her heart rate was over 300 which by that point, it was miracle she made it through and my blood pressure had dropped to 62/40 something and was still going down. The midwife FINALLY calls a Dr. in after I asked her if my baby would be ok with a heart rate that high. He takes her out in the hall with a stern order to get out there and we never see her again. They run me back to the OR and as soon as they start cutting, I start feeling it on my right side. Sharp intense pain. I can feel them cutting. I tell them this and the next thing I know, anesthesiologists (plural) were inserting meds into my IV simultaneously. I have no clue what it was but it worked. I started feeling groggy like I as going to pass out. I get to see my daughter born. She's healthy (thank God!) her first apgar score was little low because of color...after all she'd been through a traumatic experience) and then the last thing I remember was my mother in law coming into the OR (she's a nurse at that hospital) to check and see how things are going and she has this weird look on her face and then I black out. She later tells me that I had a bleeder that was shooting blood up to the ceiling. She didn't tell me this until we were home so I never got the full story from the attending dr. but needless to say, it was a traumatic experience.
By the time we start trying for baby #2, I have an OB I see regularly and have been diagnosed with PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome) It's a hormone disorder and typically results in all sort of ovarian cysts, weight gain, and infertility. Because of my experience in how long it took to get pregnant the first time, after 6 months of trying on our own with no success, my dr. puts me on fertility drugs. They work almost immediately and withing about 6 weeks, I have a positive pregnancy test. Again, we are elated and call every body and tell them. Again, withing a few weeks, I start having complications. This time there is evidence of what appeared to be a miscarriage. I go in, see my dr. and to my excitement, my HCG numbers reflect I'm still having a normal pregnancy. I'm told to go home, take it easy and if anything else happens to come back in. I start experience cramps that remind me an awful lot of the night I went into labor with Olivia. I start to worry and again, there is physical evidence of a possible miscarriage. I call the dr., they tell me to come in. I should be right about 8 weeks along. The dr does blood work and sends me back for another sonogram after having prepared me for the worst but says at 8 weeks, if everything is normal, we should be able to see and hear a heartbeat by US as well as see the baby. We go back for the ultra sound and the technician gets started and the poor girl, you could tell something was worrying her but didn't know what. She does an external ultra sound first and then an internal ultra sound. For over 30 minutes that girl tried to find a heartbeat and a baby and some sort of good news but all she could see was an empty gestational sac. A perfect circle but it was also perfectly empty. I start sobbing. What did I do wrong, could I have done anything differently to prevent this. My dr. calls us back to his office. He gives us the diagnosis of a blighted ovum. Basically the gestational sac forms that protects and nourishes the baby but for whatever reason, a baby never develops. He'll go over my blood work, I'm to come back the next day to discuss the results and set up a D N C. (procedure to clean out anything remaining of the undeveloped pregnancy). I leave hopeless and distraught. A crying, grieving mess that didn't want to talk to anyone or have to answer anymore, "well, what the dr. say?" questions. We had left Olivia at our Churches daycare and I sent Jeremy in to get her because I didn't want to talk about it to anyone. I get home, cry in my pillow for a while and call my mom. I tell here exactly what happens and what the dr. said and I knew my sister and others would want to know what the dr. said so I told mom, "You can call whoever you want but I'm not talking calls tonight. I do not want to have to explain this 200 times, it hurts to bad." I cry most of the night and finally drift off to sleep. I was in a little bit better state the next morning and able to pray about it and turn it over to God. I still didn't want to talk about it but I called mom before the appointment and she let me know she had been praying all night. We get to the dr.'s office and I don't know what it is but hope springs up inside of me and I put my hands on my belly and I start quoting these Bible verses, er 29:11 (NIV) "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 1:5: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." I knew this baby had a great destiny if it was still within my womb and I started praying silently to myself. The next thing I know, the nurse is in the waiting room asking me if I'd be willing to have another ultra sound because my HCG levels were still increasing at a normal rate. I give a little nervous laugh and say of course. We go back for the us and within SECONDS the very same US tech says, "ummm....wait a minute! I think there is a heart beat" and sure enough, the most beautiful sound and the most beautiful heart rate shows up on the monitor. AND THEN! And then, my baby is there floating in my womb! Measuring at a perfect gestation for where I should be in my pregnancy. Again, another day of sobbing! My dr. comes storming into the room with a shocked but happy grin on his face and offers to go blow up a picture of himself to a large size so I can throw darts at it. I told him that wasn't necessary. He was only doing his job and my God did His! He heard my cries and He answered my prayers and the prayers of the biggest prayer warrior I know! My mom! The rest of the pregnancy goes without a hitch. I did end up with another c-section from failure to progress. I labor to 9 centimeters and then I never dilate anymore. So to avoid it becoming an emergency, they go ahead with a c-section.
Baby number 3 and final baby, pregnancy couldn't have gone any better and I was able to have her naturally so you see! I KNOW where my faith and trust and hope lies! It took some trial and these were only the biggest of my trials. There were others but these are the ones that made the most profound difference in my faith and my trust in the almighty God! The King of Kings, Lord of Lords, my great physician, counselor, prince of peace the, I AM!!!
If you ever catch me forgetting what amazing and wonderful things God has done for me in my life, I ask you to call me out on it. Hold me accountable. We all go through discouraging times but it's those times we need to look at where we came from and with God's help what we've overcome and count our blessings and CHOOSE to be blessed and to be happy. If you are on my friends list, YOU'VE impacted my life in some way whether it be a friend from elementary school, or Jr. high, or high school, or college or a former co-worker or MY FAMILY.... and I wouldn't not be able to sleep tonight...well, now it's this morning if i didn't know you knew what my God has brought me through and if He'll do it for me, I KNOW he'll do it for YOU!!! God is no respecter of persons. He doesn't care what you've done in the past...or in the last 5 minutes or in the last 5 seconds. He doesn't care how many joints you've smoked, people you've hurt, or lies you told, or the amount of money or items you've stolen! If you make the decision to ask Him into your heart and to be your Lord, your slate is wiped clean! You get a do over! His blood that was shed at Calvary was for you!! All you have to do is accept it! If I've ever failed any of you in being the example I'm supposed to be, I am SOOO sorry!!! and I pray you will forgive me. I promise to do better and I am here for everyone of you!! <3