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.

000

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)

Mom or Mum? (Mother’s Day Series- 5)

I had asked a friend to write about her pregnancy experience for my Mother’s Day Series (if you missed any of the series; see bottom of post for links). Unfortunately her internet connection has been on and off for the past few weeks and she was unable to get it to me in time. I personally feel that Mother’s (and Father’s) can be celebrated any time of the year! So today I am going to feature her story. I call her a “Mom” but because she lives in Australia she will be known by her baby as “Mum” 🙂

We have never met face to face but have become very good friends over the past year. We met online through a facebook game called Hatchery and have been co-admins for a facebook group that supports the game. Through our frequent e-mails about the game we also started talking about real life. Probably because we didn’t really know each other; we really clicked and felt comfortable talking about things that we didn’t really share with other friends who knew us personally. We have prayed for each other and encouraged each other a lot. I hope that one day I can give her a hug 🙂

So without further ado; I would like to introduce my guest writer Fiona!

*****

I’m not one of those women who gets clucky at the sight of every baby or toddler and declares, “ooh, your thighs are so cute and chubby I just want to eat them up!”

In fact, when we first got married in 2004, my husband [James] was probably the one who loved kids the most. If it had been solely his decision, we would have started having kids one or two years into our marriage. As for me, when asked when we were thinking of adding children to our family, my vague reply was usually, “maybe next year we’ll start to consider it”.

It’s not that I was scared of being a mother. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I was! The idea that from the very moment you conceive, you are completely responsible for the life of another human being, a little person who is completely dependent on you in EVERY way. And what’s more, any of your own character faults are most likely going to be amplified in a little person who imitates everything you do, whether consciously or subconsciously. Talk about the hugest responsibility of all time.

And then there was the element of being pregnant for 9 months. Not having any control over my own body’s eating desires (or so I had been told), gaining weight, acquiring stretch marks, being sick all the time, sore back, squished organs… the list goes on… and that is only if the pregnancy progresses normally with no complications whatsoever (that whole “glowing” thing? I just don’t buy it)! Let’s just say I had plenty of reasons to hold off from having children.

But, at some point, enough time had passed and I found myself deciding it was time. Was I ready? Probably not. But I told my husband I was probably about as ready as I’d ever be. And on Christmas Day 2009, James and I announced to all four of our parents that they were going to be grandparents for the very first time. And the rest is history.

All in all, despite the regular “symptoms”, my pregnancy has been smooth and relatively easy. Apart from the odd bout of emotional outburst. Okay, so maybe it’s been more than a few times.

At first, it didn’t really seem all that real to me. First trimester was not at all enjoyable. It seemed like it was all symptoms and no point to them whatsoever. For all I knew, I was simply suffering from multiple chronic issues including indigestion, constant nausea (wouldn’t it be nice if it were ACTUALLY confined to only mornings?), loss of fitness, general fatigue, and unexplainable weight gain. The excitement was virtually non-existent… except for when I was talking to Kerry, James’ mother and Baby Snare’s grandma-to-be! I did have the 12 week ultrasound (I told my husband that my only goal for that ultrasound was simply to get proof that there actually was a baby inside me!) but whilst it had its magical moments, after it was over it still felt like I was simply watching someone else’s baby video.

Even as the second trimester began all I felt like was fatter and more bloated than ever, with the addition of blotchy, blemished skin. But then came the magical moment – on Easter Monday 2010, as I was lying in bed enjoying a sleep in, I turned on my side and suddenly realised that the little thumps I had been feeling my belly were not my heartbeat, but physical signs of another human life! Maybe there really was a baby inside of me! The thumps gradually became stronger over the next few weeks until James was finally able to feel our baby too.

I am now officially into my third trimester and the reality is starting to sink in. I am now keenly aware that no matter what I do, I am never alone – my baby is always with me, even in my most quiet of moments (let’s just say, she doesn’t stop moving for long). It’s odd to think right now that I have a constant companion, regardless of where I go or what I do.

There’s so much to do to prepare for our first child. But what I need to prepare most of all is myself. I find myself wanting to be the best parent I can be. Not really caring all that much if I do end up being able to go back to work or not after I give birth to our baby. I’m already thinking about what we can do now to start saving for her education so we can give her the best possible start in life.

Maybe I’m not clucky when it comes to babies, but I’m a Mum all the same. Maybe I don’t see other people’s babies as being anything to get particularly excited over, but somehow it’s completely different when she’s yours and yours alone. And in 11-15 week’s time, I will get to meet our little darling for the first time, face to face. And I can’t wait to meet her, hold her, nurture her, and most of all love her.

Besides which, I’m not even 30 weeks yet and she’s already starting to squish me a lot on the inside… so I’ll be more than happy to push her out of there when she’s ready!

(16 weeks)

“[Children] are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.” Psalm 127:3

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Mother’s Day Series:

My Valley (Mother’s Day Series-1)

Mommy Brain (Mother’s Day Series-2)

“The Next Survivor Series” (Mother’s Day Series- 3)

True Beauty (Mother’s Day Series- 4)

True Beauty (Mother’s Day Series- 4)

Mother’s Day is finally here and as Pastor Brian pointed out in today’s sermon; Mother’s Day does not only celebrate moms but all women. I pray that all of you have had (or will have) a blessed day! If you missed any previous posts in my Mother’s Day Series; see the bottom of this post for links to them. Today, I would like to take some time to honor my moms (yes, I said: “moms”). Also, I have a guest writer further down that I will introduce in a couple of minutes.

There was a lot of bad things that went on throughout my childhood; but God put a strong woman in my life who got us through them all. My mom’s strength and faith kept our family moving forward even through the lowest points of life. Until recently my relationship with my mom was always rocky. As the oldest (I have 2 sisters and a brother); I had to grow up quickly and learned how to be independent at an early age. I don’t know where, when, or why my anger started to be a major oppression for me. But, I do know that a lot of it is because of the hardships our family endured as I was growing up. My mom did not have a Godly example for a mother as she grew up. When she raised us; she relied on the example of Godly women who God placed in her life at various times. She was never perfect but I know that she did the best that she knew how. She always put her children before herself; often sacrificing more than most moms do. As we have watched our mom; we have also grown to be strong and full of faith. Her example of what a Godly woman should be; will forever be the reason that all of us are serving God today. Thank you mom. I love you!

God put another strong woman in my life who became my step-mom. Because I was already an adult when she and my dad got married; she did not have the chance to actually be a mother to me. Instead she became a friend. She was unable to have children of her own; but God provided her with 4 from another family who she could call daughters and son. Even though she is no longer married to my dad; she is still a friend, a mom, and grandmother as far as we are concerned. I hope that she knows how blessed we are to have her in our lives.

We have all heard horror stories about in-laws. I never assumed that I would have a good relationship with the mother of whoever I married. But God had a different plan. He gave me another strong woman of faith who has to be the best mother-in-law in the world (I have the best father-in-law too)! I know that she loves me like she loves her own daughters. She has been supportive of me in good and bad times. I’m not sure that she has completely forgiven me for giving birth to and keeping her only granddaughters in Japan but since we have skype she doesn’t complain (too much :)). I am truly blessed to have her as another mom.

God also blessed me with a Godly heritage from my Grandma (and Grandpa) and other women in my family. Thank you for always being there and supporting me through prayer and encouragement. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all of the other wonderful Godly women who have become my family. They will always be apart of my family no matter where they live or how often I will see them. So that I don’t offend (in case I accidently miss someone); I am not going to post names. But most of you should know who you are. If we ever had a deep emotional conversation (laughing and/or crying), if you have at some point held me accountable by asking the tough questions or confronting my sins, if you ever listened to me as I leaned on you and cried my way through a painful moment in life; then you are one of these women. Thank you!

I am going to stop tearing up now and end on a more humorous note. Remember those Kendal Bloopers that I posted last month? Well today; Shane sneakingly gave Kendal a rose to give to me (and of course, I did not notice it behind his back before he gave it to her). She handed it to me and said, “Happy Mother’s Day”. I said, “Thank you! Its so pretty! Did you get this for me?” Kendal immediately and excitedly replied with, “No Mama, it’s my pretty flower. Daddy gave it to me!”

Now I would like to introduce you to my husband Shane;

who graciously honored my request to write a message for my blog today.

As long as I can remember my mom has been my biggest fan. In good times and bad, in right, and especially in wrong. She was always in my corner. Through her love and even her discipline; she did her part to raise me and make me the man I am today.

I later got married and found myself with yet another mom in my life. I was in awe of her strength and virtue. I don’t believe that I could “do no wrong” in her eyes (because I most certainly have). But I do believe that she never turned her back on me. Even when I was at my worst.

It must have been gut wrenching for my mother to watch me grow, invest time and energy into my life, only to let me go. I can honestly say that my mother did her job well in preparing me for that next chapter in life; but I didn’t really understand forgiveness until I met my mother in-law at my darkest hours in life. When I turned my back on my family, they both loved me through it. Though probably not “my biggest fan” they were one of my biggest supporters. Through both these lady’s example; my wonderful wife has learned how to be a woman and a mother of love and virtue. A fact that holds my respect.

My life in the military has allowed me to meet all kinds of people. I’ve been “adopted” over and over again by the families of my buddies. When one of us would go home for the weekend; we would all tag along. This would and probably did overwhelm the families houses we invaded. The couches we’ve slept on and the refrigerators we’ve raided. But the “MA” would love on us and invite us in as if we were her own. What is it about a mom that makes her want to do such a ridiculous thing as to raise more children. In our case, five or six hungry Airmen. I recall one particularly special woman whose hospitality helped me in a time when I was away from the home and life on my own was very new. She brought reliability back into our lives. Because she made it ok for us to to always “come home.” Interactions with my new found brothers at her house will always remain among my fondest of memories. I was deeply pained when I learned she had passed away. Though my pain was not the same as her real family; we all can say that we were truly affected as she was mother to us all.

It would be very easy this time of year, for all of us to get carried away, with yet another “Hallmark holiday” by paying our simple lip service to these ladies. Send them a card, make our  phone call and then go about our day. I challenge you to take this time to reflect on how your mother has helped you to be who you are today. I know that not all families were as complete as mine growing up. Maybe this time of year is yet another painful reminder of this fact. But I submit to you all that whether or not we had a good mother;  she has left an imprint on us in one way or another anyway. The simple fact that she gave us life is good enough for me. It’s what we choose to do with the life she gave us is what makes us who we are today. From her example good or bad we still learn about who we are and who we want to be. I am truly blessed and thankful for all the experiences I’ve had with my mothers. Everything from the good to the not so good has helped me become the husband, the father, and the man that I am today.

My hats off to you ladies. I am your biggest fan. ~~Shane

*****

“Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her:

“Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;

but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:28-30

To all of the wonderful women in our lives: HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

*****

Mother’s Day Series:

My Valley (Mother’s Day Series-1)

Mommy Brain (Mother’s Day Series-2)

“The Next Survivor Series” (Mother’s Day Series- 3)

“The Next Survivor Series” (Mother’s Day Series- 3)

I only have two kids and often feel the stressors of life that pop up with everyday busyness and tasks. I have known some mothers who have 3, 4, 5, or more kids that seem to have it “more together” than I do. I have no idea how they do it! They give me the courage and inspiration to know that I will get through the next 20 years 🙂 Even with all of the stressors; I absolutely would not trade parenting for the world. It is generally believed that men just don’t understand everything mothers do. I would agree but I know that this is not true of all men. Those of you men who are stay at home dads deserve more credit than people give you! In honor of Moms I would like to share this story that my friend sent me via e-mail (I do not know who originally wrote it). I admit that some of this is extreme (even for most moms) for a 6 week timeframe; but I have known moms who have had to handle all of this plus more in a short amount of time and SURVIVED 🙂
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THE NEXT SURVIVOR SERIES
Six married men will be dropped on an island;
with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.
Each kid will play two sports and take either music or dance classes.
There is no fast food.
Each man must take care of his 3 kids;
keep his assigned house clean,
correct all homework, complete science projects,
cook, do laundry, and pay a list of ‘pretend’ bills with not enough money.
In addition, each man will have to budget enough money for groceries each week.
Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives,
and send cards out on time –no emailing.
Each man must also take each child to a doctor’s appointment
a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.
He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child
to the Emergency Room.
He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a school function.
Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house,
planting flowers outside, and keeping it presentable at all times.
The men will only have access to television;
when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.
The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily,
adorn themselves with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes,
keep fingernails polished, and eyebrows groomed.
During one of the six weeks,
the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps,
backaches, headaches, have extreme, unexplained mood swings
but never once complain or slow down from other duties.
They must attend weekly school meetings and church,
and find time at least once to spend the afternoon
at the park or a similar setting.
They will need to read a book to the kids each night and in the morning,
feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:30 am.
A test will be given at the end of the six weeks,
and each father will be required to know all of the following information:
each child’s birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size, doctor’s name,
the child’s weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor,
each child’s favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song,
favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear,
and what they want to be when they grow up.
The kids vote them off the island based on performance.
The last man wins only if…
he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment’s notice.
If the last man does win,
he can play the game over and over and over again
for the next 18-25 years,
eventually earning the right to be called:

MOTHER!

Mother’s Day Series:

My Valley (Mother’s Day Series-1)

Mommy Brain (Mother’s Day Series-2)

NEW Page Added To Site Yesterday!

ABC Memory Verses

Mommy Brain (Mother’s Day Series-2)

Mommy Brain: having a faulty memory; the tendency to completely forget important stuff; and/or having major “blond” moments. Can also be known as “Pregnancy Brain.” (This is my definition.)

I personally do not know any mom who has never suffered from this!

(If you have not; pleeeeaaaaase let me know what your secret is :))!

Image found here


Let me give you a few examples:

  • About two months ago: I put ingredients in my crock pot to make Tapioca Pudding. Two hours later; I realized that I didn’t plug in the crock pot!
  • Last month: after church, I turned on my car to let the air conditioner cool it down while I buckled the girls into their car seats. After I finished; I sat in the car for several minutes looking around and in my purse for my keys. I was about to go back inside the church to look for them; when I realized they were already in the ignition!
  • Last week: I ran into a friend at the store. I was telling her something and mid-sentence I completely lost my train of thought. I still do not remember what I was going to say. (This happens frequently in my conversations with people).
  • Last night: I woke up (around 2 am) and realized that I DID NOT take Kendal to school yesterday! I completely FORGOT to take her! It did not even cross my mind at all that she was supposed to be at school. This is especially bad for three reasons: 1) The fact that it was Wednesday came up in my conversations frequently throughout the day (Kendal goes to preschool program M, W, F). 2) I had school on the brain all day because I was researching and planning out Kendal’s homeschooling program for her next school year. 3) At some point in the morning Kendal asked me if she was going to school (I told her no).

My message to all of you moms (and pregnant moms):

The stresses of life will come and sometimes make you think that you have completely lost your mind. But in the end the “I love you Mama!” and the cuddle times totally make up for it!

Mother’s Day Series:

My Valley (Mother’s Day Series-1)

NEW Page Added To Site Today!

ABC Memory Verses

Related Articles (from different bloggers):

Raise Your Hand If…You Have Crazy Mom Disease

America’s Most Stressful Jobs . . . Whatever

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.

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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.

Mother’s Day Week

Coming Up This Week:

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In honor of Mother’s Day (for you guys: its this coming Sunday the 9th :)) I am going to have a couple of stories written by other people featured on my blog. If you have a story to share; I would still love to feature it (see my Projects page for more details)!

Those of you who have kids (and maybe some who don’t) might get a laugh out of the following post:  America’s Most Stressful Jobs . . . Whatever

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I have slowly been adding more Praying Scripture posts. Since there are 260 chapters in the New Testament; this project might take awhile. But I’m up for the challenge! Let me know if there is a specific book or chapter that you would like me to do early on in the project. Unless I hear from anyone with specific requests; for now I am just jumping around in no particular order.

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As always, I would love to hear from you either in the comment sections of my posts or by personal e-mail. Any suggestions are also welcome!

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