Curve Balls

James 1:2-4


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My Achilles’ Heel

Businessman Stepping on Banana Peel

I just came across a post from Cycleguy’s Spin that really hit home for me.  The topic is envy and what it does to us.

I struggle with envy because I do not understand how God can love me as much as the person who does more than I do.  I am in constant fear that I am not doing enough for God and I envy those who “have it all figured out.” My son, Joshua, means the world to me.  Not a day goes by that I do not thank God at least three times for him.  Being a mother has helped me to better understand the love God has for us.

We are children of God.  Just as a parent is quick to love and forgive, so is God. I do not expect our 13-month old son to constantly please me by his actions and neither does God expect those things from us.  God’s grace saves us and His love redeems us.  Growing up, my mom would (and still continues to) tell me she loves me no matter what happens and that she is proud of me as long as I try my best.  It seems too easy, but God is proud of us when we are not at our best.

It is not about having it all together, but rather being together.  The greatest gift we can give God is to have a strong relationship with Him.  The rest will fall into place.

Do you ever question if you are doing enough for God or how He could love you so much? Have you become envious of those who “have it all together”?

Thank you for letting me be real with you.

 

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I Am Not Ready

 

Lord,
I am not ready to celebrate Joshua’s first birthday and welcome in his next chapter of being a toddler.  I am not ready to stop our special nightly encounters in which I can soothe Joshua back to sleep.  I am not ready to put him down and let him explore.  I want to hold him for just a bit longer. I am not ready to have him sleep in his own room.  Our room has been his room.  I am not ready to wake up to the absence of seeing his smiling, ready-to-start-the-day face first thing in the morning.  I am not ready to stop tucking him into bed with us.  I not ready to stop putting him to my chest to nurse and watching in awe of how precious it is when he falls sound asleep.

As soon as we brought him home from the NICU, I decided I would not let him go.  I loved feeling him close to me.  When I nurse Joshua to sleep, I whisper to him that he is safe and loved.  Then, I see his tired eyes close, drifting off into a peaceful sleep.  I am not ready to let go of that.

Joshua is turning one this Saturday and I cannot stop time.  Believe me, if I could, I already would have.  On one hand, it is beyond exciting to watch Joshua grow, explore, and come into his own.  His playful nature and his giggles are contagious.  He is determined to either discover something new or make someone smile.  On the other hand, I have to pay a rather hefty price of letting go of our golden moments.  No more comforting him with the breast, tucking him into bed with us, waking up next to him…

I am sorry Lord, I am not ready.


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Getting through the Storm

storm

Right now, I am fighting to once again hold back a slew of emotions that I have only shared with those closest to me.  I find it easier to run away from traumatic events in my life and not look back than to face the difficult feelings associated with them.  Since we brought Joshua home, I have done my best to put on a smile and act strongly when it came to speaking about Joshua’s NICU experience.

Joshua came early and even though I have heard over 100 times it was not my fault, I still bear the guilt.  I am my own worst enemy because I continue to beat myself up emotionally.  Instead of hearing people praise Joshua, insensitive questions like “What did you do wrong?” and “How could you let this happen?” stick with me.  Pregnancy is a huge deal that can be very scary, especially if you are like me and read every “what can go wrong” story possible.  As a mom-to-be, I took all of the baby classes offered with Garrett.  I read all the books and I made sure to eat well and drink a lot of water.  I tried my best to do everything I was supposed to do, which is why it was such a shock when my water broke 7 weeks early.

Garrett, my other half, has helped me walk past the lies of the enemy by loving the heck out of Joshua and me.  I am blessed beyond belief to have such a supportive husband and family and I could feel God leading me through this difficult time.  I told my mom the other day that Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” is the verse that got us through the storm.

The memories of NICU still hurt, but the pain is dulled when I look over my shoulder and see Joshua and Garrett clapping hands with one another.  I am reminded of Lamentations 3:22-23:  “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Whether you are caught in the storm or walking away from it soaking wet, realize that you too can truly do anything through Christ who strengthens you.  You may not feel better overnight, but within time your heart will begin to heal.


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Our Curve Ball

On July 5th 2012, God threw me a curve ball that I shall never forget: my water broke 7 weeks early.  Even though Joshua is a healthy six-month old, I still get emotional thinking about it . . .

I can remember waking up that morning feeling off and I wasn’t sure why.  My husband left for work because I thought I was fine, just going through the motions of being in my third trimester.  Fortunately, I decided to call my mom and have her take me to the hospital because I noticed that my symptoms mirrored that of preterm labor.  My mom rushed me to the hospital, starting the beginning of Joshua’s testimony.

The nurses were quick to run an array of tests on me, but the last one seemed to take the longest.  You know that feeling you get when you are “waiting” to hear back from a doctor?  During that long wait, my mom and I sat there and contemplated all that was going on beyond our closed doors.  My worst fear was that we might lose Joshua.

Charlotte, one of my nurses, came in and looked me straight in the eyes and said,” Sweetie, your water broke.”  I cannot remember hearing anything else because I immediately lost it.  I remember grabbing my mom and holding her so tightly, hoping that she could use her mommy power to make things “all better.”  The tears rolling down her cheeks showed me that she could not fix this one.  I was paralyzed by fear, but Charlotte stepped in.  She said, “Honey, look at me.  You cannot afford to lose it now.  Your baby needs you to be strong.  We will get our through this. Now you HAVE to pull yourself together!”

My husband, Garrett, came to the hospital immediately after my mom called him because I was crying too much for him to understand me.  Our doctor was amazing and she understood what I was experiencing since she had two preemies that are now 4 and 6 years old.  She knew what to say to prepare both of us and we were told that I get two shots to help Joshua’s lungs and they planned to induce labor in a week.  We had quite the shock when another doctor came in and discussed the potential issues a premature baby may encouter.  After she left, my husband’s eyes were just as bloodshot as mine.

Thinking we were settling in for a week before Joshua’s arrival, my husband left the hospital about 10:00 p.m.  Soon after he left, I started feeling some discomfort in my abdomen that got progressively worse.  I was moving around so much due to the pain that the nurse told me she could not detect a fetal heartbeat.  The nurse thought I was in the beginning of a long labor.  I called my huband at 1:22 a.m. to let him know to come to the hospital.  He arrived at 1:50 a.m. thinking I was going to get a shot to delay the labor.  Instead, he was greeted with “The baby’s coming!”  I had gone from 0 cm to 6 cm in less 40 min!!! There wasn’t time for an epidural or pain medication.  I was in so much pain that I tore a hole in my pillow case with my teeth.

Ouch is right and at 2:09 a.m., our precious blessing, Joshua, was born. Everyone was relieved when he cried because that was huge milestone for him.  We got to see him briefly before he was whisked away to the NICU, which became our second home for the next 23 days.

Our first real interaction with Joshua was quickly halted because his heart rate dropped and he needed to be resuscitated.  Joshua was covered in IVs  and wires from head to toe.  We went through a roller coaster first week in the NICU, overjoyed that we were blessed with Joshua, but very concerned because we were told he had a small brain hemorrhage, he may need spinal surgery, that he has a stomach infection, and that his apnea was still an issue.

However, God brought Joshua through it all and he is doing remarkably well thanks to all of your prayers, love, and support.

The NICU experience cannot be summed up in a page. I will take time to share in detail about how God equipped us to hit life’s curve ball and how we have grown through the process.

In conjunction with Walking with God, I got inspired to write Curve Balls because I wanted to develop a place to talk about the curve balls thrown to us as well in this game called Life.

God bless,
Michelle