Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Sunshine Turns 1

One year ago today I had just given birth to our fourth baby. Since then, I have called her my sunshine baby. She has been my light in the darkest places and my ray of hope when life seemed bleak.

Two weeks after I had Sarah was when I was diagnosed with my blood clot. She was taken from me in the hospital and I thought my heart might break when they took me through one set of doors and she went through another. That night I cried to anyone who would listen that I missed and needed my baby. My nurses urged me to calm down and rest so that they could make sure I could still be a mother to my children. When I woke up the following day, my heart hurt and my arms ached for her. My only connection to her was the milk being transported from the hospital to her bottle. When I arrived home, I have never felt such relief as when she was placed in my arms. I got to hold her again. I had made it home.

The following weeks, my ability to be a mother was taken from me. I could do nothing but sleep, eat and nurse. In those days, God gave me purpose in Sarah and I think it saved my mental health. If I couldn't teach and read to my children, at least I could nurse and sleep with Sarah. Babies need to be held and I was doing a lot of holding. As I began to get a bit better, that is literally all I did; I sat in my chair and held Sarah. Fourth children rarely get this kind of touch and attention, but I am so thankful for those four months where she did nothing but sit in my arms. While she lay there, I often sang her "You Are My Sunshine", and she was. Her bright smile and need for my arms, gave me purpose when I thought I had become useless to my family. Being able to nurse her and hold her helped nurse me back to health.

Every baby holds exponential hope for the world and Sarah's was felt by all those around us during that time. Most women look back on the first year of their child's life and can see how much they took care of that child. But I look back on Sarah's first year and can only think of how much she took care of me. I am eternally grateful for her joy and light in a time of great darkness.

Sarah, you bring immeasurable joy to this family. Your brother and sisters adore you almost as much as you adore them. Daddy is already your knight in shining armor. Your loving and vibrant spirit can be seen by all those around you and we can't wait to watch you grow. Thank you for taking care of me in my darkest moments. Thank you for being my hope in a time when hope seemed lost. I thank our loving Creator everyday for the blessing you are. I love you, my sunshine!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

When Life Stops

2015 was a year I never want to re-live. Although it was filled with many blessings, it was also filled with so many hardships and so much stress. The year started with the beautiful birth of our fourth daughter. Following that was severe anxiety that I never even want to think about having again. Once the anxiety settled, I had my major blood clot. Then came the four months of healing and laying around while my mom ran the house (seriously, thank GOD for that woman). After I was healed there were still tons of doctors appointments to go to, which with 4 children, is a stressful thing. Then came my husband wanting to get out of the Air Force and find a new job. Once the new job was found, we had to get the house ready to sell. Again, add the four homeschooling kids factor and that's not easy. Then, in mid October, Max's dad got very ill.

This is when life should have stopped. Everything else should have been pushed aside, but with a move that had to happen in just a few short months, life felt like a freight train coming towards us that wasn't slowing down no matter what we did. For the next six weeks Max tirelessly spent hours after work and often whole nights at the hospital with his dad, while I got the house ready to sell. At then end of November Max's father past away and for the second time in a year, our hearts felt like they were literally breaking. On the day of his funeral, our house went on the market.

The house sold in only a few days, and this left a few weeks in December to spend time with Max's mom before we moved. Life should have stopped. Max should have had time to mourn and just be, but that's not what God had planned for us.

So now here we are BACK in Oklahoma. We are in a small town about an hour away from the city and anyone I know. And it feels like life has stopped. Completely. We are in a house that doesn't feel like home, in a town that seems to have no friends. The days crawl by. Our support system from the past four years feels like it has been pulled out from under us. I can't remember the last time I just sat at home with my kids and wondered what we were going to do for the day. Now I do it everyday. I know that should feel good after the craziness of last year, but it doesn't. It just feels lonely.

It's easy to look back on 2015 and call it cursed somehow. But if I turn my point of view even just a little, I see the hand of God in all of it. I GOT better. Completely. We have a new healthy member in our family. My mom was physically and emotionally able to take on the very hard task of taking over my home and children. My husband found a wonderful new job by simply tapping on a door that flew wide open. Our house sold in only 4 days. And the blessing that just blows me away: we were able to spend the last four years of Max's father's life with him. Max and his dad worked side by side on some project or another almost daily while we were there. I'll admit that when we talked about moving, we always questioned and wondered what we would do when Max's dad got sick (he had cancer, and we knew eventually he would probably get sick). How would we be there for him and his mom while living 8 hours away? God took care of everything. He put us exactly where we needed to be, when we needed to be there.

Even though this new place feels nothing like home, and I feel completely out of my element and alone, all I can do is trust that I'm in the heart of God's will. Even though the past is heartbreaking to look back on and the future to unsure to ponder, I hope that in the present hardships my heart can only say, "Jesus, I trust in you."