The Slow Ache: Moving On In Motherhood


Being a stay-at-home mom, I sometimes catch myself seeing other couples my age with nice cars and big houses and thinking, “How in a mother’s uterus can they afford that?!  Oh yeah, two incomes.”  I forget that some households have double the take in when the paychecks come.  Nevertheless, I love our one income life and family and consider myself insanely blessed.  Nice home, cute kids, good clothes, food, two cars….all of what we “think” we need to be “taken care of”.  Still, having one income makes me REALLY hardcore love some extra money on the side.  Because of that, in the past year or so, I’ve taken a liking to selling off stuff from our home in groups on Facebook.  It’s sort of addictive, really. My life is sort of like a virtual yard sale.   It’s easy money and no matter what amount it comes in…money is money is money and cha cha cha ching!

As of late, I have been selling off baby items since we are done having kids.  A co-sleeper here, bath tub there and money all around, y’all  Even better?  Sweet SPACE!  One thing they don’t tell you when you have kids is that half of your house will be overtaken with large plastic, multi-colored baby gear.

It wasn’t until two months ago that I sold my first tote of baby clothes….the clothes all of my precious daughters have worn season by season.  Again tonight, eager to get things sorted, cleared out, and some more money on hand for the next thing, I began going through another season of clothes.  And just like the first time, a feeling of vunerability swept over me.  It’s the reoccuring feeling of a mother letting go…moving on.   My mother once said that motherhood is a long act of letting go.  She is right.  And while it is such a joy to see your kids grow and a blessing to have them grow older, letting go is a slow ache.  It hits you in moments, not in long drawn out weeks or months…in subtle moments standing over small clothes, thumbing down collars and pressing worn ruffles.

I pulled some shirts out of the tote and felt tears sting my eyes as they welled behind the surface.

“Aw, my firstborn worn this dress the first time I heard her laugh.  I was having such a hard time then that that laugh was like rescue to my tired heart.”

“THIS oufit!!!! I remember each of my little ones wore this on Christmas and that stain on the collar was surely from my last born.  She spit up as if she was getting paid to do so.”

I moved on to the next piece and just like the outfit before, I contemplated whether or not I should sell them.  Should I keep them for my grandchildren?  Should I save some things just in case?  Sometimes it’s not even letting go of the children that gets you.  It’s letting go of the symbols of when they were your babies.  I know I’m only a season or so away of clothes where the feet of footed pajamas, no longer fit in the palm of my hand.

I continue to fold each piece, recall the little people who wore them and the pictures in my mind of them all in that certain dress or those cozy fleece pajamas worn on late night runs to the grocery store.  I smooth the sleeves, fluff out cotton flowers and press down crinkled ribbons and I do so thinking of the mom who bought the clothes from me. I imagine that when she pulls them out, she will picture another little girl, her own, who will wear this outfit to her first Sunday at church and that outfit when summer hits and she smiles seeing her baby’s chubby white thighs.  For me, there was a lot of love held in those clothes and as I pass them on, I’m happy knowing that another mother will find her daughters just as sweet in them.

It’s hard for me to believe that I’m passing these precious tokens of my memory on already.  I’m moving on to a stage that another mother is just beginning. “It can’t be that this has come and gone so quickly,” I think to myself as my almost five year old runs through the nursery.

“Eden,” I call out.

“Yes, mom?”

“My heart is sad folding up all of these clothes.”

“Why, momma?”

“Because we are done having babies and all of my sweet girls wore these tiny clothes and I have a lot of memories of you guys in them.  I’m really going to miss them. I’m going to miss having babies.”

“I’m going to miss you being a mommy,too, ” she says.

“Well, I’m still your mommy.  All of my children’s mommy.  I always will be.”

“I mean, ” and she paused.  “I’m going to miss watching you being a mommy.  I’m going to miss watching you help someone grow.”

With tears in my eyes and a baby shirt in my hands I say, “Aw, baby thank you.  Me, too.  Me, too.” It was priceless validation that she thinks I’m a good mother and not only that, she has enjoyed watching me parent.

It’s a beautiful thing having a gift so precious that handfuls of Gymboree and Old Navy clothes in a hot pink tote can drudge up a slew full of memories and joy with bittersweet fierceness. Even though I still have a 10 month old as we speak, the baby years, the babiest of babies is on her way to growing up.  Trust me, in the middle of the night I still pray that happens sooner rather than later but when you get a minute to stop, which milestones always cause you to do, it comes earlier than you thought it would, faster than you imagined, and pulls at even the heart that on most days, knows shes had her last.

As I went through the last few shirts, skirts, and tiny shoes, I went back to look at the closet one last time.  Tucked in the back on a hanger, I see a dated, color faded and stained romper.  “Huh,” I said thoughtfully to myself as pulled it off the hanger.  It was one of my baby outfits, my mother’s last baby, that she had saved standing in a nursery some 31 years ago.  It was a full circle moment when I found myself doing and feeling the same things my own mother did in 1980-something packing up things for the last time and keeping one thing that she just couldn’t part with. Motherhood, it’s moments, and emotions are all very timeless.  I’m reminded of that all of the time.

Today my precious middle child turned three.  Next week, my firstborn turns 5 and in 8 weeks, my baby turns 1.  As a mom, I’m forever in the middle of moving forward with excitement and tenderly looking over my shoulder as I see the phase we left behind.  I’m stuck somewhere in between ready to move forward and holding on tightly, both literally and figuratively, to a well-loved Onesie.  I know in my heart that my next babies will be my children’s children and that all too soon, they will be sorting through baby clothes remembering what it is was like to live through the chaotic bliss of having babies.

Having all three of my children in 4 years has been and continues to be a wild and exhausting joy.  One of my children will start kindergarten in the fall and another pre-school.  During those days, my baby and I will have those precious one-on-one times that my older two both had.  I will laugh on field trips, smile at the new art projects of my pre-schooler, be in awe as they learn, and watch my baby unfold into that toddler that is sassy and spirited like her sisters.

I will savor it.

I will wallow in it.

I will live in it and I will breath them in.

And when that time comes so unexpectedly like it always does where I realize we are on the precipice of another phase, I will let go.  I’ll look back.  I’ll feel the slow ache.  And just like every stage, as my 4 year old said tonight, I’ll think of how I will really miss being their mommy just as it was in that moment…in that season.  As my role changes and slips in to new seasons, I too, sweet child, will really miss helping my children grow in that specific way….just like every mother before me.  I will look forward with hope, glance behind me and long earnestly, and in quite moments like tonight, cling to a small shirt in silence in dim lamp light and honor those tugging feelings that this thing called motherhood, was more than I ever hoped it could be.



Photo Credit:  Joel Ham Photography

Throwing A Kid’s Party: A Mom Drama

Written for a magazine in Australia by yours truly…




I’m hovering over roughly 40 empty party cups when the balloon banner falls down.  Stupid gravity.  There wasn’t gravity in the Pinterest picture of this.  I’m juggling three kinds of berries and adding them into empty appetizer cups while my husband strolls by smiling and walking at a normal pace.


Regular walking?

Doesn’t he know that the party is about to start in T-minus 62 minutes?!!  I give him a mental karate chop to the jugular and continue in my frenzy.

My daughter comes running through the kitchen excitedly and eyes the cake like a salivating jaguar while I blurt out, “Don’t touch the cake!” I scream it out like someone told me, “The louder you scream, the safer it will be.”  Whew, it’s definitely gonna be okay then.

Then, the worst thing happens.  The worst thing of all party things:  a knock at the door.  Early guests!  An hour early kind of guest!  No wait, guests!  Emphasis on the “s”.  I contemplate running to the corner of the room to rock back and forth and drool on myself.  I guess I should run to the bedroom and put something on other than my mother-in-law’s sweatpants.  Maybe they will forget that the party is half done and the pajamas I was wearing while sweating over the salsa.

“Here, enjoy an appetizer cup with one blueberry in it.  It’s all I could get in before the guest explosion of 2016.”

“Why is everyone here so early?”, I ask my husband’s family.  And in slow motion I see the words forming in their mouths.  No, no, no!  Now, this is the worst of all party things!

“The invitation said 1-3,” they said in a Charlie Brown’s teacher voice.

I forgot to change it!!!  Sweet mother of Martha Stewart, I forgot to change it.  In my mind I vomit and reverse karate chop my husband’s jugular and spin around to instead slice the invitation with the wrong time.  He never saw it coming.  Now he knows how I feel about all of those guests he was just sending my way while I’m half-dressed in the kitchen struggling with tablecloths and tape .  And by “he” I mean the invitation, of course.  He offended me so then I got personal.

Well, ready or not, I guess the party is here and starting so I do the surprise guest clean up and stuff things in unsuspecting closets and drawers. I’m glad I usually have a messy house so I know just how to do the “Who the heck has the nerve to be at the door?!” panic clean up.

What I have will just have to work.  Rest in peace cupcake toppers.  So long you freakin’ bag tags.  Here comes the party for better or worse.

The party rolls on and we all survive. The cupcakes were the wrong color and there may have been cat poop in the sandbox the kids played in but hey, that’s a risk you take when you play in large boxes of dig-able backyard goodness.  You admit to yourself that no one cared that all the flowers you put on the back porch died approximately 2 seconds after you put them out. You know, I had to put out flowers because what 4 year- old doesn’t want flowers at their party? Yes, right after the request for a princess cake they say, “Oh, and beautiful flowers in lanterns on the back porch made of flowers you cut from a neighbor’s bush.”  Man, I’m really glad she was down for that because that’s exactly where I got them.

People laugh, kids smile and your kid’s swear it was the best party ever.  Your birthday girl runs inside with cat poop sand in her hair, a laugh in her throat, and has icing in crevices you are sure to clean for a month.  You high five yourself.  You feel like the offspring of Rachael Ray and Nate Berkus.

You took 200 hundred pictures that you may never print out but you feel better for taking them.  You hug your little rascals necks, tell them you love them and that you wanted everything to be perfect just for them.  You hand out the favors and swear you will never do a party at home next year.

“Next year we will rent a party space,” you say.

“Next year we will buy a balloon banner,” you declare with authority.

But deep down you know you will be back on Etsy and Pinterest pinning your children-party loving brain out.   Blasted creative juices, I curse your name.

Like every party, when it’s all said and done, you realize that it’s not always attention to detail that matters but attention to the personal:  the cupcakes had glitter, the straws you used were a must, not because they matched, but because your 4 year-old loves a good slurp .  Ultimately, parties are about the people you love so much that you spent 57 hours on the internet trying to find the right Frozen banner like every other mother on planet earth.  You pay attention to details because you pay attention to people.

Your people.

For every stressful moment you have trying to make a party they will remember, there is a little dog-eared girl or cape-wearing super hero boy that made it worth it.

It’s always a little crazy.  You always spend more than you planned and next year, you’ll do it all again.  Because for every piece of confetti you will never get out of your favorite wool rug, there is an even better memory you won’t get out of your mind…

Even if the party guests had the nerve to show up at the time on the invitation.


Finding Out 4 And Other Things That Sound Like Jokes


If the fact that I’m pregnant with my 4th ever crosses your mind, and you find yourself shocked, so do I.  I find myself shocked when I say things like:

“I’m pregnant.”

“I’m 8 weeks.”

“I have a doctor’s appointment for an ultrasound.”


“I am going to have 4 kids in 6 years.”

I find myself thinking, “What is happening?  Is this real life?  Do my kids who apparently have a direct line to God who prayed this into my stomach every morning on the way to school have special powers?  Do they need a t.v. show?  Long Island Toddlers/Kindergartners?  I’m scared of my kids.”

I just thought I would let you guys know how the virgin conception of 2016 came to be since many have asked.  They might have asked because I told them I was done for sure, even wrote about it on here.  They might have asked what changed when they saw me selling off all of my baby stuff on Facebook which, by the way, I was doing in a Kroger parking lot 2 hours before I found out I was pregnant.  I have eaten many a crow since taking that test.  God is a miracle makin’ laugh factory sometimes.

Soooooooo, anyways.  Let me take you back to a cool December 15th night.  I was at Barnes and Noble with my friend and started to get a migraine so I had to split pretty fast.  On the way out I told her, “I’ve been having acid refulx for 2 days and peeing more…..”

“Maybe you are pregnant,” said the foreshadowing friend!

“That’s impossible.  I haven’t had any unprotected maritals.”

Dum Dum DUMMMMMMM….  Somewhere far off in heaven, an angel played that sound byte.

I ran to Kroger on my way home to grab a few baby food pouches (irony) and a few other things.  Even though I knew there was probably no chance I was pregnant, I stood in front of the tests and thought, “This is a total waste of 8.99 and it will be negative like a billion other times, but just to get even the slightest possibility out of the dark cobwebbed corner of my mind….”, I settle on a 2 pack of Kroger brand tests.

I come home to my house with my husband on the phone while my 5, 3, and 1 year old are running around.  I didn’t even tell my husband I had a test or that I even had the slightest inclination to take one so guess how surprised he was 2 minutes later?

I go straight to the toilet and take the test.  I look at the box to see what lines were supposed to be where and gasped as color shot across the screen.  “Whew,” I thought to myself, “that was just the color the pee made on the test as it went across the screen.

Two seconds later.

“Oh my gosh…”

“Oh MY gosh…”

“Heavens, angels and Justin Bieber!!!”

As clear as anything those 2 lines popped straight up.  I called clueless Lance in the bathroom to give him the shock of his lifetime.  He came in still on the phone so I hid my test while I still sat on the toilet. He thought I was hurling because of the migraine and that’s why I needed him.

I held up the test in the air like a white flag of surrender of a crazy uterus, “I’m pregnant!!!”

Lance’s face dropped in shock.  His eyes as big as ovaries, “That’s impossible!”

“I know!!!!,” I said.  How did this happen?!”

Literally we had been arguing after a bit of dry spell that we needed to practice marriage relations more and then here I stood, pregnant as a Duggar.  And I was starting to feel like a Duggar.  The girl who had infertility was now having 4 kids in 6 years and conceived this one ON CONTRACEPTION used with the accuracy of an FBI forensic investigator.  I literally took a screen shot of the test and Facebooked my ob’s nurse that night and said, “I have no idea how this happened.  This is basically another virgin birth experience.”  It was perfect.  Just in time for Christmas.

Lance legit asked me if I had a pregnant friend pee on the test as a joke. It was if we didn’t know where babies came from after all.  We were shocked.  Super style.

Within 5 minutes I called my mom, followed by Lance’s mom with the news heard round the world.  There were a few tears (on my end) and lots of laughing.  Many people have said, “I knew you would have another one.”  Uhhhh, did no one believe me?  Did everyone think I was a liar because I promise, those 10 different baby things I sold on Facebook were to actual people with actual items sold in real parking lots across America.  I was floored floored bo bored and I never thought I would have a surprise baby.

Even though I plan on seasons of delirium and crying, I am going to embrace this little person and the reality that, in fact, as I had once thought, I really WILL have four kids.  God is perfect and He has better ideas than me, anyways.

God either thinks I’m tougher than I think I am or He is planning on teaching me some REAL big lessons hashtag real life style.  He might just want to break me like a wild horse.

What can I say, my uterus loves a baby and God has some big plans for this one….just like He had for me when my mom conceived me, her 4th on birth control 34 years ago.  Yes, in just 30 something years, you too, little baby can be sitting on a couch with mascara on your face in your daughter’s hair tie, typing on a blog.  Something big is going on here….



Faith and Getting The American Out



Photo Credit:  Joel Ham Photography


I met a man a few weeks ago who does inner city ministry like we do, only he does it in the big dog towns.  He lives in the Bronx with his wife and three kids.  He was telling me about how they went to another state to visit a family in the suburbs and how his son got to ride a bike on a cul-de-sac for the first time. Actually, it was his first time to ever ride bike period. In the Bronx where they have been raised, he doesn’t get to do things like that.  There aren’t yards to play in and safe streets where they can ride freely.  When they returned back to New York his son said, “Dad, I just want to be able to ride bikes and run like normal kids!” His dad said, “What is normal?  That is normal for American suburbs, but it’s not “normal.” ”

This is question I think about all of the time when it comes to faith and how that is lived out within our culture as Americans.

What is normal?   That suburb life is only normal when you talk to someone in the suburbs.  Is it normal to a child in the middle of Manhattan?  In the middle of Beijing?  In Alaska?  This family was living an unconventional lifestyle and doing missions by living in a rougher area of a major part of New York city.  It’s a worthwhile thing and some people are called to do that.  But, that green sprawling grass and getting to ride bikes in the quiet streets of the suburbs, is what that child wanted to be like.  Just a normal kid….  Living our lives by a ruler of what is normal in our culture is dangerous.  It’s not only dangerous, but it leaves you discontent.  I felt that way tonight.  I do it all of the time.

So, what is normal?  What is normal for you/us?

You go to college, of course.  You get a degree and then you make money, maybe get married and you buy a home. We usually call those “starter homes”.  Half of the world lives below the poverty line and real-estate in major cities is so expensive that a “starter home” would be a quarter of a million dollars but regardless, for most Americans, we call these smaller homes…even new ones, starter homes.  Why starter homes?  Because you move up.  You make more money, you buy a bigger house. You start small. You make more money, you buy better cars.  You buy bigger houses because all of your kids need their own rooms.  Never mind millions of kids are homeless and/or poverty stricken and sleep on the ground in homes shared by 15 people but here, you must not just have a home, but a room for each person.  I will never forget how humbling it was when an African refugee family came to our 2,000 square foot house and after looking around, asked us how many families we shared it with.  We want extra closet space for all of our stuff.  A garage for both cars. We are a nation of moving up the ladder.  It’s normal…for us.  But just like that African family inadvertently showed us, we are blinded to our own extravagance.  My home and standards aren’t “normal”.  They are American or Western but not “normal”, simply cultural.  They would think us having more for our 5 person family would be completely un-necessary.   Most Americans would beg to differ.

I realize that I am so engulfed in my culture that I have wondered over the past few years of our move into an inner city unconventional lifestyle, how much am I blinded by simply being American?  How many of my standards of the choices I/we make as a family are swayed by what I consider is normal because of our culture?  I acknowledge that there may be many things I believe are normal, based on my biases that I am unaware of.  I have started to question over the past few years this very important question that is relevant across the world:

Are you letting your faith define your culture, or your culture define your faith?

Are we living comfortable lives because that is just “what we do” in one of the most comfortable societies in the world?  Are we basing our standards of living based on our faith or our culture?  Are we trying to make our children comfortable or Godly?  Are we making choices for our families and children based on faith or American norms where you live in the best place you can afford and interact with people like you in places you are comfortable?  Are you giving your children a lived out example of the gospel or American goals and standards?  Does the way you live your life challenge your kids in any way?  Do you look different to the world?

Are your prayers American?

“God, please let us close on this new home.”

That home is bigger and better and every kid has their own space.  That home costs way more and is climbing up that ladder.  I am NOT saying it is a sin to have a nice home or a bigger home.  I’m not even saying the desire is necessarily wrong. But what I am saying is, why do we want more?  Why do we need more?  In our culture, it’s just what we do. And that’s just my point, we think culturally. We don’t question it. Actually, we don’t even notice it.  But then I think this, God hears my prayers for a newer nicer home, which I have prayed many times, in the same ear as the Ethiopian woman praying her child lives through the night with Malaria.  God hears that prayer with the same ear as he hears the mother hunkered down in her home for fear that someone may come to kill her in the night for being a Christian. God hears my prayers for more in the same breath of the African mother who just wants one more bowl of millet to feed her hungry family. He hears my prayers for more with the same heart that He hears the Syrian woman happy with what she has. Most of this world not only doesn’t pray for, but doesn’t expect or ask for bigger homes and better material things but for shelter, safety, food.  I can’t help but feel that most of us, me included, pray and ask for more because my culture says that is the next step and we don’t feel convicted about it BECAUSE we are blinded to it.   I can’t help but feel that my culture is defining my faith and not my faith defining how I live within that culture.  The latter should make us look differently.

How are you living your life?  How are you making choices and by what measure are you making those choices?  Ask yourself, are there things you can’t see in how you live because you are living like an American Christian and not just a Christian?

I heard from my last pastor who lived in India for a time of a man who crawled on his leprosy nubbed limbs to church every morning.  It took him two hours.  All the while here we don’t go if we are tired or leave a church because they don’t have enough programs you love.  People around the world are dying for owning bibles. Lepers are crawling to churches and Christians are being beheaded.  Wake up, America! Wake up, believer!

I think of how my husband heard a man in Africa tell an American pastor that the difference between American Christians and African Christians is this:  “In America, you love God.  In Africa, we depend on him.”

That was strong.

More and more I think, “Do I think this way or do I think this is necessary or important because I am an American? Does the bible say this is important?  Does the bible say this is what my kid’s need?”

We aren’t Americans.

We are Christians living in a biblical context.  We just happen to live in the states.

One day, we will all stand before God, I, American Rebecca, will stand among the nations.  God will not ask of you or me, “How did you live by My standards within your culture?”  He won’t ask you if you lived humbly or non excessively for “an American”.  He won’t ask of you, “Did you make time for me and my church, by American standards?” God won’t ask of you, “Were you generous for an American?”  He will only expect of us what He expected of people from the very beginning, that we define our lives by Him, not a cultural standard.

When we stand before God, we will not get  leniency based on our cultural interpretations.  There will be no Ethiopian, Korean, Brazilian, American, Middle Eastern, Japanese standards.  There will be but only one standard, which was the only standard there has ever been:  Jesus.

Does Jesus define your life, lifestyle and your choices?  Or does your life look a lot like how Jesus might have been if He had been an American?  But wait, Jesus wouldn’t have looked different in any culture, right? Exactly.  He would have been Jesus in Nazareth, Jesus in Korea, Jesus in Iraq and Jesus in America.  If we are to look like Him, so should we.  So ask yourself, what does that look like?  Let Jesus define you wherever you may find yourself and not your location define your Jesus.


Her Party Pants

Visit me on my new site! Whoa!  I will still post here from time to time and this site shall live on, never to be taken down.

That’s the new logo and the new name down yonder, hot off the internetual press.  Internetual is a new word that I heard for the first time a minute ago when I wrote that sentence.

Follow the new me on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook!  Other than my Pinterest, these are spankin’ new accounts aka no followers yet so start to follow me so it will be less awkward, geez.  If only there was an option to follow me on Dubsmash with content related to this blog.  It would be revolutionary.  And hilarious.  But mainly, revolutionary.

Check out


Mom Truths



The number one killer of a clean house is busyness…time to make a mess, no time to clean it.


Ironing, baseboard cleaning, and dusting are things people do in commercials.


You only feel as good as your last nights sleep.


The best your children play together is at bedtime or right when you need to get out the door.


Nursing bras are like pajamas for your boobs.


If you have children under the age of 5, the 4th of July is the biggest jerk of a holiday, every sleepless night for three nights.


A kitchen with a dirty island, never looks clean.


The day you get a nap, is the day your child won’t.


You aren’t going to eat the leftovers, but you feel better if you put them in the fridge and you dare anyone to try to throw dinner away. “I will eat that 5 pound bowl of beans!! Ungrateful lunatics….”


The best way to ensure someone pees in the bed, is to wash the sheets the night before.  It’s against nature for this not to happen.  If I clean the sheets and no one pees in them, I’m tempted to just crawl in bed and let it go just to get to the point already.  Now that we have that out of way, someone put a cup or bottle of milk under the van seat because I hear it is gonna be 90 degrees tomorrow.


The biggest threat to dinner is realizing you didn’t thaw the meat.


Your children will only want to share cups, toys, embrace, and kiss on the mouth within 24 hours of one of them throwing up.


The yummiest dinner is whichever one you didn’t have to make.


It is as mandatory as a junk to drawer to have a spot in your house that is always covered in laundry.  In our home, it’s on the couch in the first room you step into through our front door.  Nothing says, “Come in, we might be naked” like every item of clothing you own folded into 5 foot towers all over your living room.


If your child that sleeps through the night the least, finally is sleeping through the night, your child that never gets up, will on that very night.   If by chance all children are sleeping, there will be a thunderstorm.  If all else fails, a tiny mouse will tap you on the shoulder and say, “I’m scared.”  Someone has to.






Part 2: Up Springs Hope

Guest Post by: Cristen Powers

Part 2:

I wish I could tell you that the story gets so much better. I wish I could tell you that within this, there lies a super duper, beautiful, healthy baby or babies growing inside my womb…. But that just isn’t the case.

After prayer and consulting with physicians, Jared and I chose to go ahead and begin the journey of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Let me tell you something. If you have never experienced firsthand or had a loved one go through IVF, it really is nothing short of an emotional roller coaster ride that is far more intense than any month or months of trying on our own for a sweet bundle of joy. I’m just keepin’ it real.

We began our first round in May, and I was so proud of myself…giving myself my first injection alone and on the first try. Everything went perfectly really. Every injection, every pill, every ultra sound came back great. With IVF, you pump yourself full of drugs to produce a ton of eggs in one month vs. one egg like a normal woman in real life would. They told us in class to expect 10-12. We prayed for more. I prayed for beautiful healthy embryos from the very beginning. I prayed for the perfect number that God ordained. I asked so many loved ones to pray as well because I believe in the power of prayer from a mighty God. I am an open book with my life, and sometimes people enjoy that and sometimes people don’t. But I will NEVER go through something this intense without asking the ones I love to cover me and my family with prayer. Period.

My body responded beautifully to the medicine with hardly any side effects. Egg retrieval came, and they got 18 gorgeous eggs❤️❤️❤️. The nurse on the floor told me that was the most that day. To God be the glory. Then, out of those 18 eggs, 15 fertilized! We were told to expect to lose half. We lost 3. Out of those 15, we had 9 beautiful, amazing embryos that made it all the way! We did a transfer of two embryos and froze 7. They told us to hope for 3 total. We had 3 times that. And God gets every single ounce of that credit. We were able to do a fresh embryo transfer because my body recovered well from the retrieval and we transferred 2. The moment the embryologist came in the room and showed me a photo of those two embryos, my heart fell in love.

Now…I don’t want to start a political debate or in any way make someone who chose or viewed this situation differently than me think I’m judging them for one second because I’m not. But in my heart, those embryos that have fertilized and have grown for 5 days are life. They are my babies. God knows them. And God has a perfect plan for all of them. The moment my eyes laid on their picture, I was mush. I prayed over them. I loved them. The transfer went great, and I felt great about every single step of our entire process for about 2 days.

I started to get an uneasy feeling about day 3. It’s such a hard place to be in…hoping but not hoping so great that pure devastation could lie ahead. All the shots, drugs, pills, appointments, blood work etc… That stuff didn’t hold a candle to the waiting. The waiting with IVF was by far the worst two weeks of my life. It was the longest and the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. Nothing can prepare you for it. You just have to go through it. Two days before my blood work, I took an at-home test and it was negative. It was awful. I can’t really even describe in words the way I felt. I told my mom and a couple very close friends, and, of course, they were trying to be encouraging and positive and said it could be wrong, but in my heart I knew. I got the phone call two days later that my heart was right.

It’s hard to think about our future right now because we’re in the midst of the pain. But I know we will try again. I know that this is not the end of our story. I’m not writing all of this to get sympathy. I’m not writing it to make my pain in this period of my life appear worse than someone else’s. In fact, this story actually isn’t about me at all. This story is about Jesus. It’s about redemption. It’s about sanctification. Let me tell you. I have been on my knees a lot in the last month begging. I BEGGED. I cried out to the God who parted the Red Sea and got Daniel out of the lions’ den. I cried out for a baby. I surrounded myself with praise music and prayer and read Scripture to survive those two weeks. I prayed more than I have prayed in my whole life for the life that was placed inside me. And you know what, God heard those cries. He heard the first cry and He heard the last. And after hearing those cries, He simply said no.

There is one and only one who ordains ALL life. And it ain’t me. And it ain’t a doctor at a fertility clinic. But you know what else? I was on my knees for the first time in my life. I was reading daily Scripture for the first time in a long time. This last month has been so hard and so long and at times downright awful. Emotionally exhausting. But Jesus drew me in. I found Him in the midst of this struggle. I found Him on my knees.

I really do not believe our struggle with infertility is the end of the story that Christ has written for me. I believe it’s just the beginning. Or maybe the middle somewhere. But it’s not the end. I don’t have such a strong desire for children for no reason. I refuse to believe that God places desires in our hearts for things that are of Him…. And then tells us never mind….it was all a joke. I do not believe that my God does that. I do believe that He says no sometimes. And sometimes He says not yet. But regardless of when He says no and how He says it, it is making me more like Christ.

I’m gonna tell you what. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. But I never had to send a son to die on a cross. I never had to give up my ONE and ONLY son to be crucified by people who hated him. That is LOVE. That is heartache. THAT is SALVATION, my friends. I am a dirty, filthy rag that deserves nothing shy of hell. I don’t deserve my husband. I don’t deserve my job. I don’t deserve children. But I serve a risen savior who washed away my sins and made me white as snow. There isn’t anything better in this world. No kids, no money, no house, no spouse, no job, no NOTHING can satisfy you like Jesus.

God calls us all to different mission fields…we all have a purpose while on earth. My purpose hopefully one day will be to be a mother…to raise children to love Jesus and to go out among their neighbors and share the Gospel of the one who died for us. But until that day comes…my purpose is right now. Right here in this spot of hard… in this place of heart break and redemption that is keeping me on my knees. I pray Jesus fills me up with the joy of the Lord and with peace that passes all understanding. I pray He allows me to share His good news with other women in this hard spot, in this moment that can feel so unbearable at times. And I pray He uses me to bring glory to Him out of this heartache.

I’m gonna be real honest and tell you…my relationship with Jesus is so much stronger today than It was 3 years ago. My marriage is stronger today than it was 3 years ago. God has transformed my cold, stubborn, selfish heart to be more like Him in these last 3 years. Has it been hard? Oh, yes, it sure has. Has it been good for me? For my marriage? For us? Absolutely. That’s hard to say in the midst of this trial because I’m saying it through tears of pain. But God is constant. He hasn’t left us during any of it, and He will see us through ‘til the end. And if I die with no kids or with 10, it will be the purpose of the Lord.

If you are in the middle of this struggle, it is so hard. But it so much harder without leaning on the everlasting love of Jesus. He has filled my heart and soul with grace to drive away bitterness and resentment of all the pregnant people swarming around me constantly. He is the reason I have joy. He is my strength. The saying that God never gives us anything we can’t handle is the farthest thing from the truth. Cristen can NOT handle this road of infertility. I can NOT handle losing two sweet embryos and possibly more. But salvation allows me to lay what I can’t handle down at the feet of Jesus. And when I trust it to Him, He handles it for me. He really is all you need. Really. He is ALL. I. NEED.

Thank you Kim Ellis for that reminder. And thank you for the reminder that it’s okay to go through the drive-thru of Krispy Kreme when the hot and ready light is flashing to get some glazed donuts on the day you found out it didn’t work out the way you had hoped. I praise God in the midst of this struggle, and I praise God for hot Krispy Kremes.

Romans 5:2-5 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

P.S. I wrote this entry the night we found out our first round of IVF was unsuccessful. Since then, I have had another surgery and lots of hard days. I am struggling with a lot of pain from jealousy, bitterness, and anger. I feel like I used to be able to handle going to a baby shower with a smile on my face. I could handle walking past the diaper and bottles at Target, and I could sit in a room filled with mamas-to-be and listen to their stories about pregnancy and motherhood. Right now, I don’t want to handle it. I don’t want to walk in an empty third bedroom of my home that we have been saving for a nursery. What I want to do is shake the next pregnant woman who complains about her pregnancy. What I want to do, is grab those Huggies off the shelf and launch them at the first baby belly I see. I did choose diapers here and not glass bottles. 😀 I want to avoid all conversations about babies and nursing and sleep deprivation. Instead, I want to lie on my couch eating chocolate and watching “Friends” episodes on Netflix.

To be really real…. I’ve tried to even avoid talking to God. I’m not proud of this person. I know this is sin and that Jesus is the answer. He always is. But I’m a human. I’m a sinner. This “mood” I’ve been in or this place I’m in right now just shows me again how much I need Jesus. I need Him. I need Him to survive this world. I need Him to make it through these hard days and possibly more hard ones to come. He’s still trying to teach me to let Him handle all this “stuff” for me.

I still believe God is going to work this together for the good. He promises us that. He also tells us we need the faith of a mustard seed. Right now, I don’t know if I even have that. But here’s the good news. Jesus is bigger. He is bigger than these last few weeks of mourning and depression. He is bigger than my doubt and lack of trust. He is bigger than my prideful heart and bitter soul. There isn’t any sin His grace cannot reach.

Right now, I need your prayer. Right now, I need to be covered by the grace of Jesus. I know He will see us through. And I know our story isn’t finished.



The Forgotten Art Of Christianity


I lived two glorious years in Louisville, Kentucky when Lance was in seminary.  I use glorious lightly.  Okay, sarcastically.  There were high moments and irreplaceable people, but my marriage, health, and finances were otherwise poo-poo.  Those years were struggling years and, for a season, miserable at times.  It was when my health went south with chronic migraines that were initially hard to even diagnose, much less treat,  that I learned that there is an attribute that many Christians are lacking and that is bearing each others burdens.

Suffering and enduring with someone else is a very honorable characteristic but very rarely do you think of someone, “Hey, they sure are long-suffering today.”  Fruits of the spirit get thrown out in compliments often, but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of a Christian being referred to as someone who bears other’s burdens well.

When I first got “sick” with migraines, I had to quit my job.  I couldn’t drive a car for a while because of the dizziness and there were weeks where I didn’t even go outside. It was incredibly depressing and suffocating. I had migraines daily for 8 weeks and then battled them on and off with good and bad days for the whole first year.  When it began I received cards here and there, visits, prayers, and many “How are yous”.  Then as time progressed but what was going on with me didn’t, people sort of dropped off in their presence with me.  I know that people still loved me…still cared, and to be fair, they probably didn’t know what to do anymore.  Ultimately, I don’t think people knew how bear one another’s burdens for a season.  That isn’t a judgement, but rather something most of us are lacking, including me.  Knowing how to be present for the long haul in someone’s strife is difficult.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to walk with someone through something enduring, you will.  It’s coming.  It is so simple to bring a meal to a friend when they have a baby or to clean a friend’s house when their parent passes.  Not only is it simple, it’s almost innate to do those things for people we love.  We WANT to be there for our friends and loved ones.  It’s natural.  However, what is not inherently in our nature, if left to ourselves, is enduring and bearing suffering with one another. Why?  Because immediate sympathy is a fast love response, but long suffering requires discipline.  When all of the emotions of sadness and shock of the initial onset of a burden wears off in to weeks, months and so on, then you aren’t acting on raw love and emotion.  It becomes inconvenient.  It can become a burden on your own time and schedule. It starts taking from YOU.  You can even start to become frustrated with the person who is struggling.

“Take my advice!”

“We’ve had this conversation a million times.”

“Get over it!”

“Quit complaining!”

“They bring me down and it’s so depressing talking to them.”

“You chose to marry them!”

“Make better choices!”

“Go get help!”

“Lots of people go through this sooooo….”

Nothing will show you how highly you view yourself or how much of a servant you are quite like walking alongside of someone through something ugly.

A woman in your church becomes suddenly widowed.  Everyone organizes a meal delivery schedule for the first few weeks.  People help her around the house or with her kids.  People constantly express concern for her and her family. But then, life goes on.  Well…your life goes on.

After all, what are you supposed to do?  You brought meals on and off for threes weeks and that is so hard on your time and maybe finances.  What are you supposed to do?  Just bring meals open-endedly?


If that’s what it takes.  Maybe if that what she needs.  Three weeks is comforting.  Three weeks is helpful.  Three weeks is supportive, but it’s not enduring.  It would be great if no burden we bore outlasted a few weeks of meals and a handful of calls and prayers, but that’s not real life.  Furthermore, that isn’t being the church if we can’t go beyond that.

Life is messy.  We all ebb and flow between good seasons and hard times and for us all, we all have a few issues we seem to battle for a lifetime:  a difficult marriage, illness, finances, un-forgiveness, anxiety, family relationships, infertility, anger and loneliness.

We will all survive deaths of loved ones and unexpected-ed personal tragedies:  your husband loses his job and you lose everything, miscarriages, diagnosis’s, accidents, etc.   With a world like this, the problem is, we are all at some point going to be required to endure and not just for ourselves, but to help others endure also.  If you are honest with yourself, you may have very well floundered in bearing a burden with someone long term.  You may not even have realized that you missed the opportunity.

Suffering, struggle and strife is not fun to be a part of in any way, regardless of whether it’s your suffering or someone else’s, but bearing with each other is an important sanctifying experience for both parties.

A sweet mother who recently passed away of cancer wrote about it like this:

In our efforts to terminate suffering, too often we can be forced to terminate the sufferer when were meant to liberate the aloneness of the sufferer, by choosing to participate in the suffering….choosing to stand with the suffering, stay with the suffering, let the suffering be shaped into a meaning that transcends the suffering.   The staggering truth is:  Suffering is never a meaningless waste of your life, but a meaningful way through your life.

Suffering is a call to come, to show up, to be there.  Suffering can be a gift because it’s a call for presence; it’s a call for us to be present.

If suffering is about bearing under, suffering is a call for us all to be a community to stand together and carrying the weight of bearing under, only to find that we are all being carried by a Greater Love.

Struggling and suffering alongside of each other is about being like Jesus.  It should be the mark of the church which means, bearing burdens isn’t just something for you and your best friend.  It’s for people you share church with.  Not often do other’s problems effect us and rarely do we take them on as our own and let them “inconvenience” our lives, but bearing isn’t easy, it isn’t quick, but it’s required of us and needed from us.  Disciplines require Christ reliance and never come easy, but they deliver bountifully.  As a believer, you are equipped to navigate through carrying each other burdens.  Messiness is guaranteed but you are called to and one day, you will need someone to help carry yours.

So in the end, the question is not if you need to bear a burden.  The question is, will you recognize when it’s needed, how will you bear it, and will you have the faithful discipline to endure.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galations 6:2″


Photo Credit: Joel Ham Photography

A Year After Forever: The Anniversary of My Child’s Diagnosis With Type One Diabetes


This very hour a year ago I was 36 weeks pregnant and getting ready to go in for a last minute doctor’s appointment. Little did we know, 15 minutes after seeing the doctor, we would leave in a head spin, on our way to Nashville with a type 1 diabetic child.  I didn’t know anything really about diabetes in that moment other than I knew I didn’t want her to have it.  I knew it was forever and little more about what that would mean for our day-to-day life with a newly turned four year old and type one.  In hindsight, I’m so glad I didn’t.  It wasn’t until an hour or so later, standing in a Hobby Lobby parking lot that I realized via a call from my pediatrician that this new life change would mean daily shots for my child.  I remember I just cried with a broken heart.

Today it has been a year since all of our lives changed, and more importantly, Eden’s life changed.  We had a baby two weeks after her diagnosis and it’s been a whirlwind.  To say it’s been the fastest year of my life is an understatement.  To say this has been the hardest year of my parenting life, couldn’t be more accurate.

Most days, diabetes is just a part of our day like brushing teething and getting dressed.  It’s always a thought, always taken into account.  Not even so much as a vitamin enters my child’s mouth without having to account for the carbs in each so that I can make sure she gets enough insulin to cover each bite.  It is an all day long process and while that sounds exhausting, and it can be, most days, it’s just our day.  Blood sugar checks and shots which were SO dreaded and difficult each meal in the beginning, we can give her in her sleep now.  When meeting with her school nurse last week, I told her to have no worries on the blood sugar checks because she would let anyone, including the school mascot, do that for her.  Often times when I come up to her to hand her something or to talk to her, she instinctually hands me a finger.  It’s funny that it’s so commonplace and also, if I’m honest, breaks my heart a little when I let the implications of that sink in.

As common as a type one life has become, there are moments where the gravity of it hits you:  an unexpected low number that makes your heart stop and the little shot dotted bottom of a four year old that has gone through a lot. When I rub her sweet skin and my hands pass over the marks of shots left behind, as a mom, a tiny piece of my heart mourns a little.

It’s taken me by surprise that this first anniversary has been so emotional for me.  I started having short moments of tears starting a few months ago.  I’ve tried to understand why the anniversary would move me like this because after all, she is perfectly fine and healthy and life has continued on.  I have figured out now that it’s because from the second she was diagnosed, I haven’t really had time to pause.  You don’t have time to.  It goes diagnosis, immediate education, immediately giving shots and care, and day after day you learn and go…learn and go.  No to mention, having a baby who has been a 24/7 baby two weeks after she was diagnosed has not helped me to catch my breath.

So now, that’s what I’m doing at this one year anniversary.  Anniversaries make you pause and reflect and in that, I’ve had a delayed emotional let down of all of the struggle I haven’t had time to feel.  In stopping, I’ve felt how much I’ve been just trying to keep my head above water for a year.  There is also intermingled a sense of accomplishment that one of the hardest years of type one is behind us.  By the grace of God, we’ve done it.  It’s a slew of emotions that sitting here in the same hour she was diagnosed a year ago has allowed me to soak in.  I’m a having a sigh.  Not fully a sigh of relief but equally a sigh of, take it all in.  It’s been a hard year.  And I can feel that.  Fully.

Still, I’m thankful.  Thankful for how it all unfolded.  Thankful that it could have been worse or been a worse diagnosis.  Thankful that it’s manageable and that insulin has been around since the 20’s making it possible for children like mine to live not just what would have maybe been a week past full onset, but a whole life.  They are so close to a cure that I am hopeful in her lifetime, that she will know what it was like to live like she did the first three years of her life.

Eden has to have a minimum of 4 shots a day:  a long acting morning insulin, breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Then she needs shots for other things she may want to eat from everyday snacks to special occasions.  We check her blood sugar 6-8 times per day and she has tiny little dot scabs on her finger tips that look like freckles if you look close enough.  My newly turned five year old is sitting watching Sophia the First right now over 1, 460 shots and 2,880 blood sugar checks later.  She’s brave.  She’s strong.  She’s un-phased.  She’s ours.  And I’m just so thankful that she’s here and happy.  We have survived.  She has.

God does, in fact, give us more than we can handle and in that, shows us that He is enough to carry us through rather than letting us believe we are enough.  We aren’t.  We haven’t been.  But He was there in the weeks before we knew what was brewing and when we didn’t even know she needed watching through the night, He did and was there.  He will continue to be and I will have to continually rest in that and teach her the same as she wrestle with this as she ages.  It’s one of the great mysteries of God how He can intricately weave people, purposes, and trials for His people together.  I’m not sure what the next year or years will look like but I know I will have many times were I have to pause like I have done today.  Thankfully, I know that He goes before me and loves my child more than me so come what may, I can know every joy and heartache is accounted for.  We have lived that this year as a family of five.  And when we are overwhelmed and He’s given us too much, thankfully, He’s always enough.  Come what may….


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