Blog & Personal Updates

First, I want to apologize to all of my wordpress & email subscribers for me not posting since February. I also apologize as well to those who have been awaiting mail from my Cards of Encouragement endeavor that I started this year. I will be resume posting this month (I have several book reviews to post!) and I will resume sending out Cards of Encouragement to those who have signed up starting in July!

Second, the reason behind my blogging absence is that in February I discovered that I was pregnant and have had a lot of complications and sickness because of the pregnancy. If you have followed my blog for awhile you may already be aware of my miscarriage history. The concern quickly became apparent with this pregnancy due to the spotting and cramping that I have had pretty much the whole time so far. Also the “morning sickness” which for me lasted all day was extreme during the months of March & April. Between the complications, sickness, dehydration, hospital visits, etc. I was pretty much in bed most of those months. In May, the sickness started to subside and I was able to start functioning much better. This month, I have been doing great most of the time! I have still had occasional cramping but no spotting or vomiting. Which, trust me, is an answer to prayer!

Because of my history of miscarriage and hemorrhaging due to retained placenta after my second daughter was born, my doctors have been monitoring me closely by doing ultrasounds every 4 weeks. We have also started discussing a birthing plan that will hopefully help prevent complications if I should have retained placenta again. As well as a plan for quick surgery action, if I do have complications. Prayer for these decisions and that I do not have complications will be greatly appreciated!

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So without further delay, I am happy to announce that we are expecting a baby BOY to arrive sometime in October! We have two girls ages 9 and 7 so we are basically starting from scratch with planning for a newborn! This ultrasound photo was taken at 14 weeks! I am currently in my 22nd week. Please pray for my health and the baby’s health throughout the pregnancy. Also, like I mentioned above, pray for no complications during the delivery and our decisions we make for our birthing plan.

My Valley

Several years ago, I shared part of my personal testimony as a Mother’s Day post (you can see original post here). A couple of weeks ago, I had an opportunity to share a devotional with my women’s Bible study group. A few days before I had to share,  I had a pretty personal conversation with Noriko that lead to me sharing my testimony with the women (most of which had not heard it before). I did make some changes from my original post but most of it is unchanged or just rearranged. I did not share all of this with Noriko [my exchange student from Japan who was with us during the 2013/2014 school year] just the parts below that I specifically mention her. So here is what I shared with my friends:

I was saved as a young child and grew up in a Christian but very dysfunctional home. As the oldest of 4 kids I had to grow up way too quickly while we dealt with severe illnesses, divorce, remarriages, constant moves, financial insecurity, and a whole lot more. When I was young; all I wanted in life was to get married and have kids. I dated several guys throughout high school and had serious relationship my senior year and after high school another serious relationship that lead to engagement. Shane and I started dating a few months after my previous engagement ended. We got married in 2002. I jumped into a marriage expecting it to cure all of life’s problems but I carried a lot of my childhood baggage with me. I quickly found out that life’s problems didn’t go away just because I switched households and who I was accountable to. We had a great first year of marriage. After that our careers (Shane-Military & Me-Nursing) and different shifts carried us in different directions and from there our marriage went downhill on so many different levels. We also experienced several difficulties which included me being in a major car accident which God totally and graciously spared my life. In February 2005; I found out that I was pregnant. I had always wanted children and was very excited. I called and told a lot of my family and friends as soon as I found out. My excitement was soon crushed with pain and bleeding. At first the doctor didn’t say for sure that I was miscarrying. But as a nurse who had worked in the OB-GYN field, I knew what was going on. In my pain and while I was still hoping for the best; I wrote the following poem:

My Valley

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death;

You give me strength to sing.

Only you know why I am going through this trial.

I can rest in your comforting arms.

Not knowing what the future holds for this life inside of me;

I give this child to you.

Like Hannah gave you Samuel before he was born,

Like Abraham gave you Isaac before the sacrifice,

I trust your will.

When I rest upon wings as eagles;

You will give me strength.

I shall run through this valley and not be weary.

I shall walk and not be faint.

When I found out that I was pregnant again in November of 2005; I was cautious and did not let everyone know. So when I miscarried again; I did not have to explain to a lot of people who offered their congratulations like the first time. During that time and for several months after; our marriage was in turmoil because of sin that Shane and I each individually had let into our lives. We almost got divorced but during the time we were trying to reconcile we got pregnant for a third time in May of 2006. I believe that God used that pregnancy to keep us together.

We moved to Okinawa, Japan where Kendal and later Audrey was born. For seven months after Audrey was born; I dealt with medical issues including a couple of surgeries. On top of that; our family experienced another major marriage crisis and I started to fall into depression. In 2009, we left Okinawa for about a month and went home to deal with our family situation. During that experience I started to learn what it meant to fully rely on God for comfort and strength.

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In the years since then I have been allowing God to work on me in a way that I never have before that year. The biggest continuing struggle for me has been the anger and bitterness in my life. Each time I experienced a crisis it just added to the problem. I have been able to truly forgive those who have hurt me just like Jesus forgave me on the cross. And I have been able to make time to focus on my relationship with God and my family. I journey with God regularly by praying, writing, singing, and accountability and He continues to heal me on a daily basis. I have not made it to where I need to be yet; but I am daily running the race and pressing towards the goal of being more Christlike. Through everything; God has continued to bless me, my marriage, and my family as a whole.

A few days ago, Noriko (my exchange student) and I had a conversation that inspired me to share all of this with you. Keep in mind that often when we have to explain things to her we have to continuously use her translator for words or concepts she is unfamiliar with. So it is not always a quick explanation. She was asking why Americans have middle names. This led into me explaining that we often choose names based on meaning or family connection. Audrey means Noble Woman and her middle name, Lynae, pays tribute to both my mom whose middle name is Lynn and Shane’s mom who’s first name is Lynn. I told Noriko that Kendal’s name was even more meaningful and explained to her that I had lost 2 babies through miscarriage before she was born. We chose the name Kendal back during our first miscarriage based on the poem which I wrote “as I walk through the valley of death”. In one name book; the meaning for Kendal is: “Ruler of the valley.” We thought that it would be a fitting name for a baby who overcame the valley of death and lived. Noriko seemed to be in awe over all of this.

At the end of my poem I referenced my favorite Bible verses Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

While I was Okinawa, I found a plaque that has the passage in both English and Japanese which is now hanging in our hallway. I showed it to Noriko and after she read it, I explained that when we are tired and broken and are going through things that bring us down, we put our trust in Jesus and he carries us back up so that we can fly again. In response, Noriko said that she likes Christian thinking 🙂

So in conclusion, I would like to emphasize that I give God all of the glory for continuing to work in my life through my trials. My message to all of you is God never promised that we would always be happy when we have Jesus as our Savior; instead he uses Paul’s testimony to tell us that Christians can have hardships far beyond our ability to endure.

In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 Paul says “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

Through our hardships; God wants us to fully rely on him so that he can deliver us and heal us. God wants to draw us into a closer relationship with him. He will always rescue us but sometimes it is in the midst of our hardships. He doesn’t always remove us from circumstances but allows us to go through them in order to draw us nearer to Him. And he can always use our testimonies to impact other people and draw them into His kingdom.

(Eagle Photo found here)

Exposing The Truth

The past few weeks I have read (& watched) a lot of information on the abortion industry (Neil over at Eternity Matters is great at keeping people updated). As a nurse, a mother, and a Christian; I am extremely saddened by the devastating loss of human life. Planned Parenthood is deceitful not only when it comes to abortion but also other issues of sexuality. I am NOT here to judge those who have had abortions or who are considering them; but I feel the need to make people aware of what is really happening. I believe that unfortunately many people are truly mislead and deceived.

I believe that loosing babies either through miscarriage or abortion can cause severe emotional damage; especially when someone knows (or finds out later) that they were carrying a life inside them. I know that miscarriages usually cannot be stopped but abortions can. We need to expose the truth about the abortion industry and lovingly point women in another direction. As Christians we need to also be willing to love and comfort those women who have already suffered the loss of their child(ren). Abortion is something that Christians are good at condemning and judging; leaving women without a place to turn to when they need our help to break free from emotional bondage.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Psalm 139:13-16

*This may be graphic for some* I worked several years ago as a nurse in an OB/GYN office. One day we had a couple who came in after a miscarriage. I cannot remember how far along the woman was when she miscarried; but she brought in the tissues that she passed in a plastic baggie. The doctor asked one of the nurses to send it to the lab. While she was writing up the paper work we got a chance to look at it. Most of it was in a circle (placenta) a little smaller than a half dollar and we could see a clear form of the baby inside the circle. I will never forget my heart feeling like it was going to break. Since then I have had two early miscarriages myself and now know the pain of loosing babies long before they are born. See “My Valley” for more of my story.

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Here are a few videos & articles that I think people need to see:

    Article about a Planned Parenthood’s Pamphlet (PP is telling people with HIV that it is their right not to disclose their diagnosis to their sexual partners and that they have a right to “fun, happy and sexually fulfilling lives” (among other things). You can see the actual pamphlet (in pdf) here).

Image Found Here

(along with one of Neil’s posts about the controversy using photos of abortions)

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WARNING: The following is a site that I came across when looking for a picture of a baby in the womb. I highly recommend watching the video posted on the home page (it shows babies in the womb at different stages of pregnancy). But the site’s “Abortion Pictures” tab is VERY GRAPHIC with pictures of dead aborted babies (children or people with weak stomachs should not look at it). Some of the videos they have posted also contain graphic images. They have posted the following on the home page: “Abortion paints a horrible picture. Those with weak stomachs should not view this website. Those who are considering an abortion should definitely view this website.” Even as a nurse I am deeply disturbed by the pictures that I will forever have in my mind. But I believe that it is time to make people aware of what is happening to our babies.

Abortion Truth

My Valley (Mother’s Day Series-1)

Today as the first installment of my Mother’s Day Series; I am going to share with you a good portion of my testimony which I have not really done yet on my blog. Before I start; I would like to emphasize that I give God all of the glory for continuing to work in my life through my trials. God never promised that we would always be happy when we have Jesus as our savior; instead he uses Paul’s testimony to tell us that Christians can have hardships far beyond our ability to endure. Through these hardships; God wants us to fully rely on him so that he can deliver us and heal us.

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on ourbehalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

*****

I was saved as a young child and grew up in a Christian but very dysfunctional home. As the oldest of 4 kids I had to grow up way too quickly while we dealt with severe illnesses, divorce, remarriages, constant moves, financial insecurity, and a whole lot more. When I was young; all I wanted in life was to get married and have kids. I dated several guys throughout high school; the most serious relationship being my senior year with a guy that most people thought would last into marriage. When that relationship ended after graduation; a new one soon began with someone else. That guy was older and swept me off my feet into a quick engagement. During the engagement; I was having relationship problems with my parents and was told to find somewhere else to live mainly because of my attitude. I moved in with my best friend for about a week. I continued to try to mend my relationship with my parents even though I was not living at home. My fiance’ wanted me to meet him in Pennsylvania where he was visiting his family. I knew that if I did that; it would be even harder to reconcile with my parents. I felt that he was making me choose between him (who I had known for about 6 months) and my parents. When I insisted on staying in Delaware instead of meeting him in Pennsylvania; I could tell from his tone of voice that the relationship was over. By the time my fiance’ returned from his vacation; I was back in my parents home. We went out one evening and he broke off the engagement. Looking back I think that the Holy Spirit was working on my heart that week.

Shane and I started dating a few months after my previous engagement ended. We have been married since 2002. I jumped into a marriage expecting it to cure all of life’s problems but I carried a lot of my childhood baggage with me. I quickly found out that life’s problems didn’t go away just because I switched households and who I was accountable to. Our best year of marriage was our first. After that our careers (Shane-Military & Me-Nursing) and different shifts carried us in different directions and from there our marriage went downhill on so many different levels. We also experienced several difficulties which included me being in a major car accident (God totally and graciously spared my life). In February 2005; I found out that I was pregnant. I was so excited! I had always wanted children and had begged Shane so many times to start trying since we got married. I called and told a lot of my family and friends as soon as I found out. My excitement was soon crushed with pain and bleeding. At first the doctor’s didn’t say for sure that I was miscarrying. He ran some blood work and I had to repeat the blood work at two day intervals during that week. In my pain and while I was still hoping for the best; I wrote the following poem:

My Valley

As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death;

You give me strength to sing.

Only you know why I am going through this trial.

I can rest in your comforting arms.

Not knowing what the future holds for this life inside of me;

I give this child to you.

Like Hannah gave you Samuel before he was born,

Like Abraham gave you Isaac before the sacrifice,

I trust your will.

When I rest upon wings as eagles;

You will give me strength.

I shall run through this valley and not be weary.

I shall walk and not be faint.

For a long time after my miscarriage; I was in emotional pain. I had a friend who was pregnant during that time and when I could I put my emotions into caring about her pregnancy. I held her baby shower at my house and offered support when I could. One morning I got a call from her right after I left work from an overnight shift (I think it may have been a double shift). She was in labor and asked me to come be with her and her husband in the hospital because her mom was not going to make it into town in time. As tired as I was; I excitedly told her that I would be there. That day was a day that I will always remember. Supporting her during that time was a huge blessing. And witnessing the miracle of a new life come into the world was amazing! Holding that beautiful baby somehow filled a hole in my heart. I don’t think that my friend understands how much God used her in my life.

When I found out that I was pregnant again in November of 2005; I was cautious and did not let everyone know. So when I miscarried again; I did not have to explain to a lot of people who offered their congratulations like the first time. During that time and for several months after; our marriage was in turmoil for several reasons. We almost did not make it before we got pregnant for a third time in May of 2006. I believe that God used that pregnancy to keep us together. We moved to Okinawa, Japan where Kendal was born. We chose the name Kendal back during our first miscarriage. In one name book; the meaning for Kendal is: “Ruler of the valley.” Based on my poem (above); we thought that it would be a fitting name for a baby who overcame the valley of death and lived. Since then God added Audrey to our family as well.

For seven months after Audrey was born; I dealt with medical issues including a couple of surgeries. On top of that; our family experienced another major crisis and I started to fall into depression. We left Okinawa and went home to deal with our family situation. During that experience I started to learn what it meant to fully rely on God for comfort and strength. Since then I have been allowing God to work on me in a way that I never have before. The biggest struggle for me has been the anger and bitterness in my life. Each time I experienced a crisis it just added to the problem. I did a women’s study dealing with anger; and since then I have grown tremendously. I have been able to truly forgive those who have hurt me just like Jesus forgave me on the cross. And I have been able to make time to focus on my relationship with God and my family. I journey with God regularly by praying, writing, and singing and He continues to heal me on a daily basis. I have not made it to where I need to be yet; but I am daily running the race and pressing towards the goal of being more Christlike. Through everything; God has continued to bless me and my family.

*****

My message to Mother’s who have lost children or women who have not been able to have children (or to anyone experiencing hardships):

God wants to draw us into a closer relationship with him. He will always rescue us but sometimes it is in the midst of our hardships. He doesn’t always remove us from circumstances but allows us to go through them in order to draw us nearer to Him. My prayer is that you will find comfort in the arms of Jesus.