Tag Archives: pregnancy

The July That Wasn’t

July 2011 was going to be about recovering and preparing for the Fall.  We had a wonderful time with family and summer activities throughout June and July was to be the recuperation month.  But it didn’t happen… which is completely fine because we ended up having much more fun the way it went down.

This is my sister Abby and her husband Trevor. 

They live in Maine.  Someday, I will write about her unusual wedding -which may or may not have been in a remote location in North Carolina and may or may not have involved me holding a shot gun in a bridesmaid’s dress, or not jumping up and down like a complete dork- but for today, I will tell you that they live in Maine and they are preparing to go to Kenya as missionaries, which is where Trevor grew up.  Trevor is my African brother-in-law … of this, I am quite proud. 

I’m also very proud of Abby who is carrying her first child: due about 6 weeks after my 4th.  I’m a little less proud of how totally un-pregnant she looked in July.  This is most likely due to her sick enjoyment of working out and running marathons.  (I sometimes ponder how genetically connected we truly are)

Along with her delusions of fitness and health, she is clearly struggling with hormones during pregnancy because she likes the name “Elvis” for her unborn son.  I prefer to call my in-utero nephew “Thing 1”.  Po-tay-to; po-tah-to … you know?

During the two and a half weeks they were here, Trevor built bookcases for my parents’ living room.  This was a source of CONSTANT joy to my boys as there was a steady stream of tool-usage all over the house.  (They remain both petrified and enthralled by the screech of a circular saw)  Not that they needed any further reason to be in love with their Uncle Trevor … Uncle T is their motivational force on almost everything.  Standing over six feet tall, he is a monument of … well, incredible tallness to both my little midgets.  A standard conversation in our house goes like this:

“Bud, you have to eat your beans.”

“I don’t want to!”

“But they’re healthy and they’ll make you grow big and strong!”

“Big and strong like Uncle Trevor?”

As a parent, it is very hard not to use this weakness in them (Aidan especially) as an excuse to get them to do, well, anything“But, I’m sure Uncle Trevor would eat this”, or “Uncle Trevor would wear shorts like that”, or “Uncle Trevor would never talk to his Mommy that way”.  Don’t worry, I said it was hard; but impossible.  To date, I have never used this paragon of brother-in-law-hood to talk my kids into doing anything other than eating their vegetables … and getting their hair cut … and maybe once I got Aid to wear his camo pants because it was the only pair I had for him at the moment.  But that’s it, I promise!

Sidenote:  Aidan also asks me if he’ll someday be as big and strong as his Aunt Meg (my diminutive, loud-mouthed, 5 foot tall sister) … not sure at ALL where that one comes from.  And Meg, if you’re reading this, I apologize for slightly mis-representing you … I know you’re really a little over 5 feet tall.  (insert snide older sibling laugh here)

Here are a few pictures …

My sister is a great photographer.  The kids especially love that she lets them take pictures with her camera.  …something their own kill-joy of a mother rarely lets them do.

We spent a lot of time outside, both running through the sprinkler and swimming.  While searching through the garage for appropriate outdoor toys, Aidan found this car brush … which -not knowing what a car brush is- he referred to as his “toothbrush”.  …wow, so close … and yet so far.

How many small children can YOU fit in one paddle pool?  In other news: Darcy is the best and most patient older sister ever.

This was captured just seconds before Aidan put the bucket over his head, tripped over the side of the pool, and unceremoniously fell in.  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred time, but in light of this photo, I think it bears repeating … he might not be college scholarship material.  I’m just sayin’…

Here is Uncle T working on the bookshelves in the driveway.  Sidenote: like many craftsmen (is it part of their union contract?), he listened to the radio for background noise much of the time, and I can honestly say I’ve never heard anyone who could cover so many Bon Jovi songs … in a falsetto voice.  Hey, T, if that whole wood-working thing doesn’t work out, you might have a back-up plan…

And finally, here is my father … pretending to work on the bookshelves with Trevor.  If you don’t automatically get Village People’s “Macho Man” in your head when you view this; you should.

Just a few brief glimpses into our fun July.  At some point, I will print a retraction and/or full apology for the last image shared. 

Family is the best. 

Wow, and I still have the chorus to “Macho Man” in my head … wonder how long that’s gonna last …

The Dual Road

Coming back after an almost two-month hiatus. If you’ve missed my previous posts, you can read them here:

Chapter I
Prologue: It Confounds Logic
A Moment of Truth
Is There Another Way?

Breaking the news
In the weeks that followed my discovery of pregnancy, the news began to unfold – First to my parents, then my siblings. From there, it would go to my pastor, our church elders, and finally to friends and those who I wanted to hear this news from my own lips.

These were months of walking a dual road, one of pain and sadness in recognizing my sin and dealing with the outcome of it, and the other of precious joy and growth in the restoration of my heart to the Lord and the awakening of my soul to the Word.

To say that telling those around me was excruciating would be an understatement. I could not have imagined the crumbling faces, countenances frozen in shock, horror, even revulsion … and then have it happen over and over again.

But as I was emotionally drained in each discussion, so also was I being filled and renewed as I was drawn to the Word. [the italicized verse interspersed here are taken from Psalm 32 and Psalm 51 – two especially meaningful chapters to me]

God prepared my parents to live out what is one of the few nightmares a parent has regarding their offspring, and to love and guide me through the entire process.

Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

I remember sitting in my pastor’s office – the pastor, his wife, and my parents. They were new to our church that year, and I barely knew them. And yet, words of insightful counsel and great wisdom flowed. One of my sweetest memories from this season came from that afternoon. Ending our time with prayer, the pastor’s wife, a woman I knew only by reputation at that time, prayed through tears for the life of the baby. She was the first one to pray for my child. How I love this woman.

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Another moment that stands out in my mind from this period is a time with the church elders. I should note that this time was scheduled not in a spirit of judgment, but rather with the desire to counsel, assist, and plan. Throughout my pregnancy, my reputation and my growing faith and testimony were protected by these faithful men.

You [God] are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.

So many phone calls and meeting with friends – even now they blur together. Listening to others weep, hearing condemnation and accusation as well as the blessings of grace, forgiveness, and love. I remember standing in a close friend’s kitchen and getting the sentence out. She rushed over to where I was sitting and, kneeling on the floor, grabbed me and hugged me. When she leaned back, I could see that she had tears in her eyes, but her words were words of love.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

(to be continued on Wednesday)

Is There Another Way?

This time period of intense wondering was exhausting.  Before I could tell anyone about my pregnancy, including my parents, I felt driven by the need to understand. Where did my life go wrong?

Did it start with petty childhood disappointments?

Was it years upon years of a Christian upbringing that seemed to me to only to be a set of actions? …another list from an exacting head who promised death and destruction if I didn’t deliver?

Then, much later, there was the fervent prayer that seemed to go unanswered —

Macular degeneration and congestive heart failure … a cruel death.  One slowly suffocates while going blind.  I sat by her bed almost every night my first year of college.  She was the lady across the street, my German grandmother.  She was dying painfully from the disease, and my family helped as we could.  I remember one night in particular–the nights were the hardest as she struggled for breath–I read to her to comfort her, to take her mind off her suffering.   This particular night, she’d asked (or I’d offered) to read to her from the Bible, from the book of Luke:

“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout,waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

As I read these words, she stopped me, and asked me to read the passage again.  When I finished, she sighed and said, “I wish I could have faith like that.”

“You can, Oma! God will give you strength to have faith!”

She shook her head and turned away. “I’m tired now. I will try to sleep.”

“Please, God! Please save her! Please show her! She wants faith! Please, God!”

Within a few short weeks, she was dead … to my knowledge never having understood faith.

I had prayed! She had even said she wanted faith!  Why, God? Why didn’t you answer me?

Anger.

I searched for some kind of clue, as if a single life experience could unlock the entire mystery of my rebellious heart.  It had to have been that moment with Oma.  There was no other single event that I could point to.  But, truly, there was nothing. Though I could dredge up countless instances of deep hurt and anger–See, God? Look how much I was mistreated here!–there were no excuses.  I had no excuses.

I had made my choices.  I had used circumstances to allow the anger and resentment to grow.  In light of this, it really didn’t matter how I’d gotten to this point.  All that mattered now was what was still ahead.

Was there another way for me?  Another road that left the resentment and anger behind?  And if so, how do I get on that road after all this time spent in rebellion?

The only road before me was God, the very One I’d been running from.  There was no flash of light, but only a strength of silence, a single conviction: there is no other road.

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  

Confess.  Repent.  Change.

“God, I’m broken before you …”