Monday, March 25, 2013

I love to tell His story... part 5

Sometimes I think God gives you words for different seasons. 
The next season of our life was good and hard -- 
but looking back I just can't help to not think of the word "beautiful".  
It was a beautiful mess.  A beautiful redemption. A beautiful growth.  
A beautiful release and renewal. 

Adjusting to a new city can be hard, but not this time around! Lucky for Patrick and Benjamin, I am an explorer! I will always find something new or something fun or something to do.  I love experience and I can always find it.  
And it's good for them to be pushed out of their comfort zone.

We settled into Edmond quickly and began "church shopping".  We tried about six before going back to one of the first ones -- Henderson Hills.  We loved the truth spoken and the unashamed preaching of the gospel.  It was {er, is} a little big, but God was mighty there.  And everything centered on Him.  We tried a new flock {small group} for a few weeks, but it didn't feel like the right fit.  We just felt -- out of place.  And that's okay.

That summer, my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer.  I felt so awful and so helpless to be 1800 miles away.  I often wondered if moving was the right thing -- although I knew it was. I prayed so much for her and so many people I knew were praying for her.  It was so sweet to see the body pray for my mom -- for someone they didn't know at all. 

I started going to counseling by myself sometime after July.  It was beyond good for my soul.  And incredible for my heart.  My counselor loved the Lord and prayed for me.  He encouraged me to process and work through things that always held me back.  He taught me how to think a little more rationally and helped me understand {and love} how I was made.  He also told me that I was the most emotional person he had ever met.  At least he knew God made me that way. 
I would spend time in counseling yearly if I could.  SO much healing started in his office, by the grace of God.

By the time August rolled around, we decided that we wanted to start trying for another baby.  We had "tried" on our own for about five months -- but that was clearly not working.  We accepted that we weren't one of those "it will happen the second time without ever trying and you'll be so surprised" couples.  We were a clomid couple -- that's the lot the Lord laid out for us and we have walked it with confidence and hope in Him. 

Much to our surprise we got pregnant on the first round of clomid.  I was absolutely certain it would be just the same as before -- but God, in His kindness and sovereignty -- showed me His plan and ways were much better.  I threw up almost daily until I was about 16 weeks pregnant with Andrew.  Everyone thought I was having a girl and I didn't care either way.  God blessed us with another sweet baby!

We joined a new flock and instantly knew we had found a "home" within our church.  The life and love and passion for the Lord among these people was incredible.  We were all in the same season of life and hanging out was easy.  In fact, my three closest friends are girls I met in this flock! Our lives were changed and are still changing because of the beautiful friendships God provided here.

Pregnancy with Andrew was one of the harder times in our marriage.  I was a complete mess emotionally and mentally {despite all the counselor help! ha.} and Patrick was having a hard time dealing with me.  In fact, at one point I am pretty sure he mentioned never wanting me to be pregnant again.  It was that bad and that hard.  A beautiful mess, even.

I had a few scares in this pregnancy that sent  me to the ER.  God always keeps me on my toes and on my knees in prayer, friends! But Andrew was always fine and we rested in God's care.  Toward the end of my pregnancy, my midwife noticed some heart issues that lead us to a lot of prayer, ultrasounds and pediatric cardiologists.  God made Andrew's little heart develop a little slower than others and we waited until delivery to make sure everything finished up well.

Andrew's labor and delivery was great {again}. We had fun and despite being a little longer than Benjamin's, it was so much easier.  Andrew slid right out, and almost into the toilet, and instantly brought joy.  He was small and snuggly and didn't look anything like Benjamin. But his heart closed up fine and we rejoiced in God's faithful hand and that He made all things good {even if it meant there as a heart issue}. {Andrew's birth story}

The transistion to two was a breeze and a lot of fun, really. There were hard days, for sure, but the reality of one more didn't phase us like having our first baby! It was just the four of us and we made the most of each day.  Getting up to nurse a little baby wasn't too hard and God allowed Benjamin to go through a really great napping season! Being a family of four was so good and so sweet.

That fall, God began an incredible work in me and also in our marriage. I started {what I affectionately call} "Freedom Movement 2011".  God started revealing so much baggage and sin in my life.  I wrestled with God daily and struggled through so many truths.  And I don't think I've stopped this "freedom movement".  I'll never be the same -- and I couldn't be more grateful.  God changed me in a thousand ways through that season.  
And I'm better for it -- or maybe more His through it.

We read "What did you expect?" by Paul Tripp with our flock and that rocked us.  Our marriage took a beautiful turn and we started talking about things that were never discussed.  We repented and confessed. We prayed and loved and listened.  It was wonderful...and hasn't stopped, either.  We are always praying for our  marriage and our relationship.  We know where we have been -- and we never want to see that side of things again! There is so much good in change and growth and more of Jesus in a marriage!

And so this season went -- change and grow, renew and repent, learn and love and listen.  In my life, in our marriage, in our family. But little did I know that this entire change was only being made to prepare us for the next season, for the test and the struggle.  Praise God for His timing, for His promises and for His plans...

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