Walking through the Valley of Tears

“Nothing comes to you that doesn’t pass through God’s providential fingers first.” – Tony Evans

Oftentimes I post a blog after I’ve come through a valley and found myself on the other side. I can share my experience and hope because I’ve found comfort in the outcome or the resolution of a pain. However, I realized it may be beneficial to offer honesty in the midst of a tragic and deeply sorrowful season so others know they aren’t alone.

Can you relate? What happens when life hits and all you can think is, “it’s not supposed to be this way?” How can situations be reconciled when you’ve prayed so hard, fought relentlessly and tragedy still occurs? Waking up each morning with the gut wrenching alarm clock that life is forever changed…it isn’t merely a dream…this is a sickening awareness.

Sorrow is a deep experience encompassing the soul, overwhelming the heart and emotions. It is a process that can be devastating physically, mentally and spiritually. When tragedy happens through death, betrayal and losses of other types it can be paralyzing. Although time does not stand still, I sometimes wish it would so I could regain a sense of grounding. Each day is a battle, a conscious one, to face life one day at a time in the midst of a new reality. A new reality I didn’t choose. One that effects so many. One that was never supposed to happen but it did anyway. Where is God’s providence in that?

“Providence acknowledges that ultimately God is in control, and that His method of being in control often involves twists, turns and meanderings.” -Tony Evans

So how do we fight this battle with courage, hope and dignity? How can I maintain a patient enduring trust without an end destination in sight? Here is where I am landing. We fight, we fight relentlessly with His Word as our sword. I honestly take my pain, anger, hurt, frustration, confusion, fear and selfishness to His throne. I lay it down there multiple times throughout the day and ask for His wisdom to see the situation through His eyes. I seek Him through His Word and have found much comfort in Psalms. I repeat scripture back to Him. I cling to His promises even when my emotions don’t line up and trust they will…..eventually. His word penetrates and pierces down to the joints and marrow, it judges the thoughts and attitudes of my heart and WILL straighten out what is broken within.

“…God will often allow things in our own lives to go south, or remain unchanged in order to bring us to a place where His sovereignty is on display. Whether it is our own hearts or someone else’s, rebellion against God breeds further rebellion as the Lord uses those times and situations to demonstrate His sovereign hand.” – Tony Evans

When I’m hurt my tendency is to find someone or something to blame. Although this is only natural, we are not called to live a life of the natural but of the Spirit. The enemy is the enemy and we live in a broken, lost and confused world. He comes to steal, kill and destroy so when these fiery trials happen, why do we act surprised? It is in these moments that I must fight everything within me and choose to submit and clothe myself with the most unnatural clothing, that not of my flesh but of His Spirit. Why? Because bitterness and anger will only destroy me and many others around me. This is what I must set myself against, not another person but the self-will & humanity of my flesh. I’m called to be different and shine a light regardless of the darkness threatening to settle.

“Because when you know that God is in control – even of those things that appear to be out of control – you are able to move through life benefiting from the blessings of assurance, peace and self-control. When you truly understand that He is in your corner – our greatest defender and vindicator – you will no longer seek to rescue yourself.” – Tony Evans

The Valley of Baka, or Valley of Tears, is referenced in Psalm 84. I was led to this passage in Beth Moore’s The Quest just this morning. It is proving to be a balm to my wound and is pulling me out of the hole I crawled into when my grief overtook me. I pray I will embrace the blessing of His strength and sovereignty. When my world is falling around me and the depths of my sorrow know no end, I pray to pass through this valley as His strength transforms my pools of tears to springs of abundance because of His favor. I pray this for you also. This doesn’t mean the circumstance has to be resolved for my soul to be still. This is an active, daily choice knowing the Lord will work out His plans for my life, in His time.

So what will I do? I will grieve this season of life, fully. I will feel the emotions to the deepest levels. I will mourn with all that I have within me, but yet I will trust Him still. I will continue believing His promises and know that one day He will turn my mourning into dancing. I will allow myself to be broken completely so He can put me back together His way, not mine. My brokenness will be used for His glory. I will not pretend to be ok when I am not, but I will not be one without hope. Though outwardly I’m wasting away, inwardly He will renew me day by day. One day He will bring purpose and redemption, because He promises to do so. It’s who He is. I however must release any expectation of what that may look like. Right now my position must be one of surrender to mourn what must rightfully be mourned as He catches my tears, EVERY SINGLE ONE.

“Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8

Grief- A Story of Shattered Pieces

“Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.” Proverbs 14:13
This month I’ve had two episodes of glass breaking. The first occurred when Tyler knocked a lamp off a table shattering the light bulb spraying tiny pieces in every imaginable direction. The second happened when yes, Tyler, dropped a glass scale on the tile causing it to break in various fragments with a continual crackling in what remained of the scale. It’s interesting considering both breaks involved glass but the aftermath looked different. Such is Grief. It doesn’t have rules. There isn’t a playbook or a set expectation. Like glass shattering, grief sends splintered shards of your heart in all directions. Remnants of what “was” continue to be discovered as gut wrenching reminders of what will never “be” again. Not that things can’t be restored & made new but letting go of what has been is hard & that’s the first step into what is to come.
“For the land you are about to enter and take over is not like the land from which you came….” 
Oftentimes when I write it’s something I’m currently struggling through or learning, but at least feel some sense of resolution. Not with this. I’ve been waiting, writing thoughts and quotes as they grab my thoughts. I’ve been living and processing, but see no end in sight. I write to make sense of things. I write to share my experience with others. I write in prayer that somehow my pain can help someone who is struggling. Yet now I write out of pure obedience because I don’t see how my jumbled thoughts and emotions are going to make much sense. I’ve been holding onto this theme for several months waiting for the moment when I know it is time. That time did not come in the way I expected it to, but here I am typing away.
“Rather, the land you will soon take over is a land …. with plenty of rain.”
I’ve been waiting for a moment of clarity but inevitably something happens….a subtle reminder of the pain that remains. I so desperately want to share something encouraging that sends the message “I’ve figured something out.” No such luck. Time can pass but in an instant the emotions come crashing with an intensity I’m completely unprepared for. So here I am with an unnerving level of authenticity that I pray at least offers comfort of solidarity. Know you are not alone. I’m hurting too. When I used to envision grief and pain of loss it always dealt with death. The kind of death that involves one passing from this life into eternity. Although that is so utterly painful, it makes sense to me. This void causes a shift of perspective and makes each memory hold so much more depth. I remember this hitting me on the way to my grandmothers’s burial. Her death felt too abrupt, although we knew it was coming.
My current struggle is grieving the loss of what still holds breath. The letting go of what I thought life would look like. This grief is a daily struggle to determine what reality is, for today…one day at a time. Submitting is a daily grind when it entails a surrender of something you want with all your heart yet know its not in God’s plan, well at least not for today. Maybe it is a dream that appears to no longer be a possibility, maybe a relationship that has seen its last chapter or a calling to move onto something ahead but to leave behind what you still love. Perhaps the grief of time, as it does carry on lest our best efforts, has brought about realities you never thought you’d face yourself. How do I grieve what remains to offer life to others, but for today has no room for me? This reality can be utterly devastating. In these moments I find myself face down on my blue shag rug crying my eyes out to songs like “I Surrender” and “I’m Listening”. Other times I blast music as loud as it goes in my headphones, take off running down the road and try to drown out the noise with heavy metal and screaming guitars.
“…a land that the Lord your God cares for. He watches over it through each season…”
I’ve discovered a new form of grief in the changing of seasons. I’m learning what it looks like to let go of dreams and desires that aren’t bad in and of themselves but yet the answer is still “no” or simply not now. Guys, I’m in the midst of a heartbreaking journey. Yet where anything is broken there is a promise of restoration. My God is good and I trust Him, so I willingly remain steadfast abiding in the shadow of His wings. There is one thing I don’t want to miss, that’s HIM. Uncertainty is certain, but Jesus is here with me through it all. If the goal or end hope is anything other than Him, I’ll be greatly disappointed. There are so many things in this life that I truly believe are His desires for me, I just don’t have the road-map for all the stops along the way. I don’t want to give up dreams and hopes that are so deeply woven in my soul because something turned out differently than I thought it should. It can be excruciating, overwhelming, even paralyzing when life…well when life happens. We can pray continuously, sob endlessly, bargain and plead, but sometimes life just is what it is. What do we do then?
“….He will send the rains in their proper seasons – the early and late rains- so you can bring in your harvests…”  Deuteronomy 11:10-14
In this season of grief, I’m embracing the truth that HE IS ENOUGH. He is enough to handle my disappointment, questions, anger, sadness & fear. He is enough to be my comfort, teacher, Father, husband, counselor, refuge and friend. When the scattered pieces of broken glass appear & even cut me deep….instead of being surprised, I’m learning to immediately take the pieces to Him. The pieces will continue to appear as I live but I cannot live with the delusion that they aren’t there. He makes beauty from ashes. He creates collages from broken things. Out of my shattered heart He will bring forth a flame that will catch fire to refine my deepest hurts for His purpose of redemption. This I believe and hold fast when the pain threatens to suffocate. He is my breath. Not the outcome of a situation, healing of pain, restoration of relationship, return of what was lost…no, He alone is my comfort & He is here NOW. I don’t have to wait for the pain or grief to subside to live the life He has for me. I have a beautiful life in the midst of it all. God goes before us. His provision prepared in advance. Even in the midst of uncertainty, His plan prevails. He has planned for every moment. My life is so full today because it is centered on Him. I don’t want to miss the blessing of the present, I want to experience the depth of it all. The joy and the pain.
“Each heart knows its own bitterness, an no one else can fully share its joy.” Proverbs 14:10
When loss occurs there is a somewhat unsettling stark reality check. What once was will never be again. It leaves you forever changed. It adds a tenderness to life, an appreciation of the present. Grief doesn’t take away from the beauty of the moments in the past but adds a level of gratitude mixed with vulnerability sometimes in unwelcome measure. This is where I’ve been with grief lately. It’s a common misconception of mine looking back over life and still can be today. If I’m obedient, why does it hurt so bad? If I’m listening to God and doing what He’s asked me to do, shouldn’t it be easier? Grief is something in the past I’ve associated only with death or disobedience. It’s a new experience as I approach grief from a posture of obedience, trusting God’s provision. If you’re hurting and grieving please don’t think something is wrong with you. Sometimes obedience can hurt the most, especially when people don’t understand. Loneliness may visit, but remember you are not alone. Of one thing I am certain – He will never let you down.
“Oh Lord, you are my God, for in perfect faithfulness You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.” Is 25:1 
I picture a dark tunnel where I am standing at one end, seeing light on the other side and knowing the only way to get there is to walk through the pain. I never lose sight of the light up ahead, but there is uncertainty with what each present step has for me. I do not waver because the light is ahead. I don’t know how long it will take me to get there. What is behind may seem closer, maybe if I turn around and go back? But no. I must move forward. I must because He is calling. He has something waiting for me. So I trudge on.
“Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy.” Psalms 126:5

Faith in the midst of Fear

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Romans 8:15

I’m thankful for seasons of life that are tied together. Maybe it’s by a specific emotion, a scent or even a song. This morning while bawling my eyes out (one of those ugly cries where I really shouldn’t have been driving) I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness in the midst of a year consisting of a strange mix of loss and new beginnings. I’m wrecked with fear because of current happenings that I have no control over and overwhelmed with grief from past events that I also have no control over.

Today marks one year. One year since Greg passed away. Around here he was mostly called Grandad or Dad. He was a hard working man, tough and determined (bull-headed really). Yet at the same time gentle, caring and soft. He was a friend, not just my father-in-law. We played cards into all hours of the night and the next morning. We went hunting and watched the races together. Well he watched the races, I usually fell asleep. He was our neighbor & we had this amazing agreement when we’d do take out for dinner, it was called, “You fly, I’ll buy.” I did the flying part.

He was the patriarch of our family unit. Dad was a provider and didn’t want any of his kids or grandkids to go without. He took pride in being available if we needed anything. He may have been loud, stubborn and blow his top off every now and then, however this was juxtaposed by his quiet and still spirit in the midst of crisis. So many times he would pause, not react and turn the conversation to spiritual realities reminding me of WHO really was in control even if the situation seemed chaotic. Although sometimes this was highly agitating because I really just wanted to complain, it would jump start my heart to focus on faith in the midst of fear.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:1

Grandad was a pro at playing “patty-cake”. He used his knees for some crazy “giddy-up” horse rides. I have videos of piggy back rides around the house and also educational rhymes….”Eye-winker, tom-tinker, nose-dropper, mouth-eater, chin-chopper…” followed by mandatory tickles. All this after getting home from a long day at work in Pyote, Texas. He made the 180 mile round-trip drive for over 25 years running the aggregate mine for the family concrete company started by his father. Grandad also had his cup of sweet tea mysteriously go empty on many occasions and it is no wonder why all the granddaughters have a particular affinity for sweet tea. This year has been really tough without him and to say his presence is missed is quite an understatement.

It’s difficult to describe someone using only memories, not that they have faded, but because I’d much rather him still be here with us so we could create new ones. I wish he was here to see and enjoy his grandsons, like he was able to with his granddaughters. He would be so proud to watch his kids working together and communicating & get a real kick out of them arguing and trying to figure things out. He would swell with pride at the continued transformation of his son…. to see the godly man, father, husband & leader Chaney is.

After Greg’s short battle with cancer, there was a sense of relief that he was no longer in pain and gratitude he is with his Jesus, eternally healed. But…..also the sadness, emptiness, the fear of what life would look like without him and the heartache that doesn’t go away. As with any death where the assurance of Christ’s salvation exists there is a thread of faith that holds the heartache. Faith strings the many pieces together offering peace in the depths of despair. Faith offers hope when fear is paralyzing. The morning after he passed away, our family unit and Charlotte’s  family were all at his house. None of us had gotten much sleep the night before. We had breakfast and were listening to worship music, Tyler and Bailey Dodds albums mostly with “The Way I Feel” on repeat. We all looked a HOT mess as you can imagine. Suddenly Chaney decided we all needed to go to church so we did. All 9 of us, including 3 children, were dressed and ready within 30 minutes and we made the 20 minute drive into town.

There have been many poignant times of worship in my life, many occurring outside of a church service. However this particular Sunday stands out & was a very encouraging time of corporate worship with my family, surrounded by our family of believers. There were many pivotal and life changing circumstances that were enveloping our existence last September aside from Greg’s cancer. I couldn’t tell you what the message was, or who preached, but there was this moment when all the emotions, fear and uncertainties were overcome with assurance of God’s sovereign faithfulness.

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

I am surrounded
By the arms of the father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance

We’ve been liberated
From our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
My fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
And I could stand and sing
I am a child of God…

When our praise team began singing “No Longer Slaves” over our church, Chaney grabbed my hand and we stood up. Ya’ll if you know us at all, I tend to be the more outgoing one. I love to sing and get lost in worship. Chaney tends to be more reserved. Not this day. Nope. My man led me & encouraged me to worship my King. He showed me how to not be paralyzed by fear. In the midst of all the situations staring us in the face taunting us to give into FEAR, Chaney stood up and proclaimed he chose FAITH. With tears streaming down my face I proclaimed I chose faith too. I began to recall the vastness of God’s character and remember the milestones of faith in my past where He took painful and seemingly impossible situations and healed my soul. My Abba Father whispered there was no need to fear. My child, I’ve got this. Too bad those moments of assurance don’t wipe away the existence of fear, forever.

This short word (fear) somehow touches about every aspect of our lives. It was an evil and corroding thread; the fabric of our existence was shot through with it. It set in motion trains of circumstances which brought us misfortune we felt we didn’t deserve.

Lately I’ve been unraveling. Like a sweater that has one loose thread you can’t tug on it, you have to cut it off, if you want anything left of your clothing. I’m run through with fear & have been pulling the thread. The above quote has been running through my mind. It comes from 12 step literature (pg. 67 in Alcoholics Anonymous) and paints such a vivid mental picture. Fear is something I’ve struggled with my whole life. Not just fear, but how I react to it. When I’m shot through with fear, I act based on emotion. This is NEVER a good thing. To live a life characterized by emotional decisions you’ll end up with a track record like mine. My past is a tumultuous one and I’m so grateful for a life where I now aim to live guided by a foundation of faith. I’m not saying emotion is bad, after all it’s part of the beauty of being human. But emotions vary and don’t supply a consistent and standard guide to live life. Although fear still comes up, it no longer controls and defines me. However, there are still situations that trigger my fears and an internal battle ensues.

Uncertainty tends to be one of these triggers and instead of admitting I’m afraid, I have this unhealthy need to be in control. When I can’t control circumstances that are affecting my life, I decide it’s much easier to try and control YOURS. Lovely isn’t it? Let’s be friends, ok? Ok. Then I can fix your life while ignoring my own problems. I’ll even act like I have it all together. Yes, I’m one of those people. Well, fear can quickly turn me into that person. So, here I am admitting I’m afraid and giving you a heads up that I may try to fix you instead of me….don’t fall for it, if I can’t let go and trust God how am I to help you?

Currently I’ve had the realization that I can’t even pretend to hold it all together. I don’t have the energy anymore. Reality has set in and although Tyler is doing ok right now the scans are continuing to rise getting closer to that magic number we want to stay below. The logistics of relocating to Houston for his birth have me paralyzed with fear. Our application wasn’t approved for the Ronald McDonald House so we are looking into other housing options. I’ll be down there for a minimum of 3 weeks before his birth without my family. This past week while Chaney and I were in Houston with Michael, I missed our girls so much. I can’t imagine what it’ll be like to be away from home for a month. How long will we be there after his birth? The weekly appointments are wearing me out, each week wondering if his MCA scans  will show signs of anemia requiring a trip to Houston for a blood transfusion. AND cue the SNOWBALL of emotion…..basically any thought I have after this point is emotionally based and out of the context of logic. Pregnancy hormones are really helping me out at this point. FOR REAL.

Yet, this morning has been healing. So wrought with emotion and the release of fresh tears from the pain of Greg’s absence, I’m again assured of the peace in God’s presence. I’m so thankful for his mercies that are new every morning. He doesn’t ask me to handle it on my own. He doesn’t expect me to hold it together. Faith working in the midst of fear is a battle. Faith is the Son shining his light to melt my snowball of emotion before it wrecks havoc causing explosive damage. Faith doesn’t mean fears aren’t pressing in, it means there is an ability to see things through a different perspective. My fears are real emotions and I have to face them, but I choose to view them through the lens of faith that scripture offers. Faith allows me to see God’s hand in each situation. I have family familiar with Houston neighborhoods & they are helping to identify the more favorable areas to stay in. There is an amazing Doctor able to help Tyler if he needs transfusions. Chaney & Charlotte will both be able to spend some time in Houston so I won’t be alone the entire time. I also have several friends and family I can spend time with. The girls will be taken care of here with a wonderful support system of family, friends & teachers. They will even get to come visit so we can celebrate Katelynn’s bday together. Aside from what I’m able to see with my physical eyes I know there is so much more in the unseen.

My assurance is in my Father’s steadfast love chasing after me in my fear and meeting me where I am in my grief. My hope is in His faithfulness and my rest is in His arms. The Lord has our baby boy, our family and our future. He wants me to stay in today, in this moment. He is my portion. He is enough. Let it be so Lord, please comfort my soul.

But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

Lamentations 3:21-24

 

Preparation is Key

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

James 1:2-4

When I met Chaney over 10 years ago I had a couple birds. Well, several would be more accurate. He gives me a hard time saying I was one bird short of being the “Crazy Bird Lady”.  How many birds you ask? Eight. Eight of my feathered friends consisting of a parrot, cockatiel, two doves, and four parakeets. I’d tell you all of their names, but I don’t want to bore you. (I’m sure you’d rather know the name we have decided on for our baby boy…but I’ll get to that here in a few paragraphs. Just stay with me I promise this all has a purpose). I had a two bedroom apartment…one bedroom for me and one for my birds. They needed plenty of room to fly and exercise their wings. Needless to say when Chaney and I started a family, several of the birds had to go. It was really tough, but a new baby  trumps pets every time. Three were particularly close to my heart so we made it work & Chaney put up with my bird loving self. Ahem…. I’d like to add here —> I’ve also put up with Chaney’s reptile loving self. We have had several snakes & lizards over the years and to say I’m not a fan of the slithery kind is a drastic understatement.

 

One of these three was my parrot Kiwi, who flew away several years ago. That was rough, but is a separate story and a rabbit I won’t chase. The other two were my doves, Bebe and Coco. I found Bebe at a carwash 12 years ago, when she was a baby. She didn’t have any feathers and I had no idea what kind of bird she was. I went to Pet Mystique, my local pet store, and my friend Cindy guided me in the process of hand-feeding a baby bird. She had another customer who found an identical baby bird but had no desire to raise it, so I had two baby birds to take care of. Raising baby birds is no easy feat. I fed them every couple of hours, kept them warm, kept them clean…all while continuing to work and go to school. Luckily I worked for my Papa at Johnson Bros. Oil Co. and he and Barb (the real boss) let me bring the doves with me. I was able to stick to their feeding schedule during the day and at night.

 

At the age of 19 I learned a little bit about commitment and nurturing and how hard it really could be. In a way it was a crash course for motherhood. They thought I was their mom and would fly to me wherever I was in the house. They basically acted like a dog would, except not…they acted like two little doves. There is just something about doves that is very calming and peaceful to me. If you can’t relate, just think about your favorite pet of all time and pretend I’m talking about him/her. (Channel those emotions so you can experience this story and not miss out.) I bonded with these little doves and they have been with me ever since. They met my three kids. Moved to each new home with us. The girls enjoyed letting them fly around and see who they would fly to. The last 12 years of my life have included them. When we came home from my Papa’s 90th bday celebration in Austin this past weekend, I found out they were gone. I was in no way prepared to lose them anytime soon. However the way it happened made it devastating. Chaney met me on the way into the house and told me I didn’t want to go inside. The bull snake we’ve had for 9 years got out of his cage and into my doves’ cage. He killed them and ate them. I am a total mess. I could not get ahold of myself and Chaney picked me up off the ground and held me while I bawled. I didn’t have to see any of the aftermath as he cleaned everything before I came inside, but I’m still finding evidence of the attack, think of my sweet little doves and then I lose it all over again. This whole event came out of NO WHERE. I couldn’t have made the scenario up if I tried. Seriously after 9 years of having them both…..no problems…and then…. Ugh. I can’t even explain how torn up I am. Yes, I know snakes are a natural predator of doves, but I’m still baffled. I was not prepared for this. I’m heartbroken.

“For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven”

Ecclesiastes 3:1

Life is so much that way. Circumstances happen that absolutely wreck me because I am not prepared. I don’t see them coming. I am blindsided. These events can be life altering situations or smaller upsets, but truly don’t most situations that catch us off guard seem huge? Accidents, loss of job, sickness, just change in general…anytime these events hit it knocks the breath out of me. I’m learning more and more as I go through life how important it is to be prepared. I can’t be prepared for everything, and I get that, but I can continually gain my courage and strength from the One who isn’t surprised by anything. It’s almost paradoxical because the more I let go and trust God, the more prepared I am for what life has in store. Yet if I try to hold on and control every detail of my life, I find myself completely unprepared and my resources inadequate to face the uncertainties that inevitably come my way.

This week one of those uncertainties has shown up in our pregnancy as we had an elevated MCA scan on Tuesday. They were all over the place, with some very low, but we did have a couple at 1.5 MoM or over. Obviously that is not what we are wanting, but we are grateful for technology to let us know if our baby boy is becoming anemic. I emailed Dr. Moise’s office in Houston and they would like to see me on Monday. Chaney, Michael & I will head down on Sunday and be there for a couple days or the week. They will perform their own MCA scans and if our boy truly has become anemic due to my antibodies attacking him he will have an IUT performed to keep him from having a chain reaction of health issues. (If all these terms are completely foreign, I did my best to explain our anti-kell journey & terms in this previous blog.) The good news is we will already be in Houston for the IUT if it is in fact needed. If it is not, we will get to come home grateful for The Fetal Center and their expertise closely monitoring our boy. We will also have an opportunity to find out what we can expect in the weeks going forward pertaining to a tentative time frame for my temporary relocation and induction date.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

2 Peter 1:3

 

If you’d like to pray for our boy by name, we have decided on Chaney Tyler Vines. Most likely we will call him “Tyler” as having more than one “Chaney” in the house could get somewhat confusing. This name thing was a really interesting process and I’m so relieved to finally be able to talk to this man child and pray for him by name. We have talked to the girls and explained, as best we can, why we are seeing a doctor in Houston and why Tyler is going to be born there. I don’t want them to be worried, but I do want them to be involved and aware of what is going on. We are so thankful for the prayers and support from all our family and friends. I know we will continue to need your prayers and support in very practical ways especially in these coming weeks as our family’s lives will be out of routine and spread out across the state.

 

With my pregnancy, my prayer and focus has been to trust the Lord. My tendencies to control and get stuck in the details are constant and an area I must surrender repeatedly. Sometimes I struggle through the emotions and anger before I realize that I’m attempting to run the show. I’ve had many days where I scream in frustration and finally voice, “Man, I really need your help today Lord!” Then I start crying, because trying to do it by myself is really exhausting. Part of the joy of being human is experiencing emotion. It helps us have empathy for one another through the highs and the lows. Another part of being human is struggling through emotion. I think I’m getting better at “feeling my feelings” vs. “thinking about my feelings”. If you understand what I’m talking about we may have similar personalities/mind-styles. Typically I deal with life by logically approaching situations, including my emotions. Sometimes this can be really useful, but other times “feeling feelings” can be so vital to healing. Crying isn’t something I do very often, but I’ve done it quite often these past several months. I’m taking the time to slow down and be honest with myself about how I’m feeling and then allowing time to deal with it.

 

Not knowing how everything will happen logistically is driving me a little crazy, but this is where I’m doing my best to focus on faith in action. The foundation of scripture in my life is the most valuable gift my parents and spiritual mentors have passed to me. Without scripture I don’t know how I would have made it through difficult times with grace and dignity. There are so many verses that remind me of specific seasons of life. They remind me of moments in time when God revealed more of His character to me through his Word. I couldn’t really say “This is my FAVORITE verse” because there are countless verses that are meaningful. However right now, this verse is one that sticks out above the rest. It is one of comfort because it doesn’t focus on the variables of life but the certainty of God. This assurance is what I need remember every day, in every moment. This truth is what I cling to so I can be prepared for whatever happens. This verse to me signifies the intentionality of being prepared. Preparation is all about where my FOCUS is directed. He’s got my back.

“ I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”

Psalm 16:8

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