In The Waiting

We’re closing in on the birth of this next baby. You’d think by now I’d be used to the waiting, but turns out I’m an extremely impatient person! Every time, I feel this impatience grow. Part of it is just wanting to be done being pregnant, part of it is wanting to meet this new little blessing, part of it is wanting to be past labor and on the other side.

But God. He’s been teaching me so much these last few weeks about enjoying the moment and being present where we’re placed. I’m definitely not good at that as I’m a planner by heart. I love to pull out my planner and write all the things for the week. I love to look ahead and see what’s coming this summer.

No matter how much you plan and look ahead and anticipate, you can’t make a baby come faster! They come when God ordains, at least for me they do. I don’t go the traditional route and let a doctor dictate inductions. I let my body and the baby decide, as long as we’re healthy and doing fine, of course. But in the midst of choosing that route, there’s the knowledge that I could be waiting much longer than I want to be waiting!

My first six babies came via c-sections and I never had to wait to 40 weeks or longer. My twin boys were at 36 weeks, unexpectedly because I got so sick. I had HELLP syndrome, where my liver was being adversely affected by high blood pressure, and PUPPS rash, where I itched all over my torso from an awful rash. There was no other choice than to take the babies out and let my body heal. It was so hard and so traumatic for all three of us.

My next 3 pregnancies were repeat c-sections because, well, that’s what you do, right? I’m not trying to downplay babies coming into this world via c-sections. They were still amazing experiences and I really knew no different so there was no expectation that wasn’t met.

At this point in our lives, we had six children under seven years old and to say we were overwhelmed would be an understatement. We were pressured into a tubal ligation, which I regretted from the moment I got it done. In fact it was a moment where the Holy Spirit was speaking very clearly to me and I disobeyed. (Another story for another day!)

Three years and a whole lot of hard life later, and I just knew we had to reverse the ligation. Two months after we did we found out we were pregnant! I knew I wanted something different this time around. I knew I didn’t want another c-section. What was interesting is that my OB actually mentioned that to me at an appointment. She wondered if we could somehow avoid another c-section. Of course, no hospital would even consider helping me with a VBAC after four c-sections.

I kept praying over it and taking care of my body with good food and exercise. I would search the internet, looking for a midwife that would be willing to help me. One day I prayed, Lord, if this is what you want for me and this baby, lead me to the right help. I googled midwives near me one more time and a new one came up. I emailed her without much hope, because all the others had turned me down. Much to my surprise, she responded with a yes, I’d be happy to meet with you and help you. Andrew still wasn’t totally on board with the idea of a home birth so as we were driving to meet her, he was praying the Lord would show him this was the right path. Believe it or not, the answer came in the form of a kid’s coloring book. We had our kids with us and she offered them coloring. They were arguing over who got to color first and she said, “I have one more coloring book but it’s a Bible one and I’m never sure if people will want their kids to have it or not.” Andrew knew right then that she was the help the Lord was sending us.

Dottie’s birth, 2020

Heidi, David, Jacob, Lukas and Dottie have all been born with her help. We couldn’t ask for a better midwife and friend. She’s one of the family now! She’s been a true Godsend, giving me the opportunity to experience raw, beautiful birth. She’s helped me see the amazing ability of a woman’s body and encouraged me every step of the way. She’s been there to tell me, “You can do it!” when I think I can’t. She’s been there to save the life of my baby and me when things weren’t going well. She’s been there to experience the joy we feel when we add to our family.

Dottie’s birth, 2020

Back to the decision to take this route. It comes with the knowledge of waiting for baby to come. My last five births have followed a pattern of sorts. While they’ve all been different, there are definitely similarities.

For instance, my water usually breaks right around my due date. But not a big break, just a small trickle. One that isn’t enough to send me into labor. From that point on, I labor overnight every night for 8 to 14 days. And then, the contractions stop as morning nears. Super fun. They are intense enough where I can’t sleep and I can’t stay laying down. So I walk. And sway. And pray. Then I get a few hours of sleep before the kids wake up and the day begins. It’s the most exhausting thing ever. I don’t ever feel the need to train for a marathon. Those nights are my marathon.

And then, finally contractions won’t stop and baby comes. Heidi was sweet and came in the evening. The rest came in the early morning hours so I was up all night laboring.

Waiting until 41 1/2 to 42 weeks is a trial. Waiting night after night, wondering if the contractions will continue or stop is a trial. Wondering when it’s real and when it’s not is a mind game.

Of course it’s all worth it when you hold that sweet newborn in your arms. And then in the blink of an eye, that baby is a week old, a month old, a year old. And I forget all that waiting.

This time around, I’m trying really hard to just be present in the day I’ve been given and I’m trying hard not to wish these days away. I don’t know if this baby will follow the same pattern or not. All I know is I’ve been given this time to wait. And I can learn from it and enjoy it. I can choose to wish the days away and speed up the time. Or I can choose to enjoy my kids and engage with them and be present in the time I’m given right now. It’s not easy and I have to continually make the choice over and over, day after day. Sometimes even moment by moment.

What are you waiting for? What are you anticipating? And what are you missing because of allowing your mind to dwell on what’s to come?

How do you choose to be present? I’m still learning this skill and I think I flounder more than succeed at it. I’d love to hear your ideas!

The Lord tells us, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

I say each day has enough blessing to enjoy too! Find it, dwell on it, and leave tomorrow for tomorrow. As a good friend of mind often says, “That sounds like a tomorrow me problem!”

Crazy Summer Recap

Well, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on here. It’s been a summer for the books! I think I just needed to process all the things and couldn’t quite put them into words.

First, we decided to start a CSA. Well, to be honest God decided we should. And that came with a while host of troubles. We had to prepare the area by ruling and discing, which a farmer friend was so kind to do for us. Then we had to lay cardboard with mulch and paper with soil. We spent days and days on it. And then we still had to plant! Meanwhile we got hit by a nasty storm that we think included a tornado. So our house needed new siding and roofing. And, we decided since we were doing all that we might as well replace windows. And since larger windows were going in the two living rooms, we decided to gut those two rooms and remodel them the way we have always wanted to. Sounds like if you give a mouse a cookie, right?

That wasn’t all for the spring. One of our oldest was getting married in May so there was wedding prep happening too. And our other oldest was preparing to leave for the Marines. Just a few things going on.

One thing that just takes the cake in the midst of all this, was the fact that the day of the rehearsal for the wedding, a local Ag sprayed the field adjacent to our property. It was an extremely windy day and the wind was blowing right at us. Everything on our property got hit by Round Up and another weed killer called Vector. We didn’t know it that morning but the days later when the weeds in the field were turning brown, everything on our farm was turning brown and crispy. And when I say everything, I mean everything. Our orchard, the CSA garden, our herb garden, my flowers by the house, my elderberry bushes on the opposite side of the property, my raspberries behind the garage, everything. It was devastating and I spent a lot of time and money starting things over in the garden and praying over the rest of the property. Things have slowly recovered but we don’t have apples or pears this year because of it. And someone who runs an orchard said it could be the years before our trees fully recover. It still hasn’t been resolved by the Ag, so pray they make it right.

So, now, suddenly the summer has flown by. I’ve spent countless hours in the garden tending to everything. We’ve had squash vine borers, cucumber beetles, squash bugs, grasshoppers, cabbage worms, blossom end rot, powdery mildew, fungus, lack of water, flooding… you name it. Sometimes I can’t even bring myself to walk to the garden and see what’s happening next!

And, the garden is now going crazy! It can take us two to three hours as a family to harvest everything. And then we have to separate and get things ready for pick up evenings. It’s more than a full time job! And I’m still bringing plenty in the house to can and freeze so we have good food all winter. There’s always a bin of veggies sitting in the kitchen waiting to be processed.

And, let’s not forget that the house needed to be fixed. So, we’ve been siding and installing new windows for the last month and aren’t even half way! You never really know how huge your house is until you have to side every square inch of it. The last few days the roofers have been here. They are hard workers and I’m thankful they are doing it and not us! That roof is a long way up there and it’s steep!

While all the tasks are happening, there’s relationships to be worked on, so to be planned for, and food to make (these people in my house eat A LOT).

Let’s add that my grandma passed away recently and we’ve been getting ready to celebrate her life. Have you ever had to decide whether to tell your son his great grandma died and deciding it’s best to wait until he’s done with boot camp? There’s other things too, I can’t even list them all.

At this point, I’m exhausted just listing all these things. I have no idea why God has handed us this cup this year.

But I do know He can be trusted. I do know He is good. I do know He is faithful and will NEVER leave us nor forsake us.

Often, we simply can’t understand what’s happening, even when we sit and analyze it. Even when we ask God why? In those moments we have a choice. We can be frustrated, complain, and grow bitter. We can choose to get angry at God or the situation around us.

Or we can choose faith. Isn’t that what faith is? Trusting our good and loving Father even when we don’t understand? It isn’t easy, but we can make the choice.

A friend of mine said to me recently, “you’re handling all this really well”. It got me thinking as to why? I think it’s this very thing. I’m making choices daily to be thankful and focus on the good. Because there has been so much good this summer too!

God moved in some mysterious ways this summer and yet when I look at it I can see His abundant grace and blessings in it! For instance, before it all went down, a dear friend called and said, “so I think the Lord is telling me to move in with you for June and July. Can I?” It’s now mid August and the Lord hasn’t told her to move so she’s still blessing us. I didn’t know I’d need her, she didn’t know she’d need us, but here we are thoroughly enjoying each other’s company and working alongside each other!

Pulling siding off, we found plenty of rot and windows installed incorrectly so water was just leaking behind them for 30 years! Thank the Lord we had to do this project and could find those issues before they became really huge problems! Even the roof had gaps and holes so they redecked the whole thing. By the time we’re done, we’re going to have what feels like a very snug new house!

Even though it’s been hard to process two kids growing up and launching, it’s been such a blessing to watch them find their path in life and really walk with the Lord in the way He wants them to. I can see His grace and mercy on their lives over and over and it’s heart warming.

We watched prayer heal our property too! We had so many people praying and plants we thought were completely dead are flourishing and producing! Many have said none of those plants should have survived and yet they are doing great!

So, in the midst of trials I’ll choose praise…

O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you; I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
Isaiah 25:1

In the midst of uncertainty I’ll choose trust…

Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

The Battle: Fear vs. Trust

Well, it’s getting really real! The second shipment of seeds came!

Unlike the first shipment, I didn’t feel excitement. I felt fear and dread creep over me. Do you ever get that uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach? No? Just me?

This whole idea came about slowly over the years we’ve lived here, yet now that it’s here, it’s a bit terrifying. I’ll share the vision story at some point, but for now, we truly believe God has called us to this. He put this idea on our hearts and is leading the way.

So, then, where does the fear and dread come from, you ask?

I’m a planner. To my very core, I love to plan. I love a clean notebook and Pilot G2 0.7 pen. I love to research and take notes and ponder what it could look like. I love to think through all the details and sort them out. Problem is, God’s not letting me plan this time around. At least not how I like to.

He has been slowly giving us one small step at a time and I’m having to learn to just trust Him over and over and over. It’s been a huge refining process for me. Huge.  I want to look ahead and figure out everything as is my nature. But God keeps reigning me in and telling me He’s got this.

Those steps He gives are so good and perfect just like you would expect from Him. He has been leading us down a beautiful path that He has created and ordained for our family. I’ve always looked at those families who have that “one thing”, that unique trait that sets them apart. Like a family of musicians or a family of farmers or a family of kayakers. Whatever it might be, they have that one trait that binds them together. And God is giving us that trait to unify us as a family, which is another whole story in the midst of this.

For now, as we walk this path He has given us, I have to keep laying down the fears and worries and the unknown. I have to keep reminding myself He is trustworthy and faithful.

Years ago, a friend and I had planned and set up a silent auction to help a women’s center. It was a huge undertaking and I remember freaking out the week before. I was asking Andrew, in a panic, “what if no one shows up? What if no one contributes?”

He said very calmly, “He got you this far. He’s not about to leave you at the doorstep.”

So, I guess one of the steps I have to keep retaking in this journey is the step of trust. I have to repeatedly tell my heart His truths to calm fear and anxiety. And maybe you are facing a totally different journey, and yet you feel your throat constrict, your heart race, and your gut sink when you look ahead. Maybe you don’t wake up in a panic over bugs infesting your squash or mold killing your plants, but you do wake up in a panic! Maybe you don’t worry about no one signing up for your endeavor, but you do find yourself worrying.

Here’s what I’ve been doing and maybe it’ll help you too. Stick to Hs truths.

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Psalm 20:7

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
Proverbs 29:25

I could keep going, but you get the idea. Look up trust in your Bible and start reading and praying His words right back to Him.

Lord, I trust you. Let me rise up on eagle’s wings, help me run and not grow weary, help me walk and not grow faint. Let me not sit in the snare of fear but trust you and be kept safe. I will cast all my worries on you because you care for me and I will trust in the path you have made straight for me. I will trust in the name of the Lord and when I doubt, renew my strength and trust by reminding me of your faithfulness again and again.