Category Archives: Catastrophe

The Storms Make the Best Waves

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Last week, the weather in our vacation spot said sunny all day er’ day…this week weather reports say storms and overcast all week.

Disappointing as sun just gives life to the soul, but a blessing as no one is hurting from a sunburn and we still play all day in the ocean…win-win! Yesterday, we grabbed our boogie boards and went out when the wind was blowing hard. Kinda crazy, kinda exciting, kinda stupid…those waves hurt! But man, such good waves to ride…tall, fast, fun…so many laughs and squeals. Constant sounds of “that was a big one!”  We went back at night and we had fun, but the waves were back to being calm and consistent…we began to miss the waves that were hard, crashing and furious and wild!

Isn’t that life? Storms make the best waves. The waves in a storm knock you out of your comfort zone.

Waves in a storm give you the restlessness and sense of urgency to..

Look for a new job.

Finally move.

Make the budget.

Have the tough conversation.

Go to the doctor.

Dry the tears and begin the next chapter.

Say yes to family.

Mourn the loss.

Stop wishing and start trying. In short, the biggest life changes come from the biggest storms. It was in my storm, we began to both work on our marriage and adopt our son. The storm gave us a new perspective to pack up or camp out. We chose to stay.

Storms make you stop complaining about the rain and start playing in it. And the reward to withering the storm is so beautiful and a direct promise from God that He sees you, loves you, was with you and will never leave you.

Rainbows are best seen after the rain. God’s perfect design for his children.

Today I ask you to pray for this family and their fight to beat Colon Cancer. You can google Staggs family to read more about them. They have used their storm to share about Jesus and the fight is stronger than ever right now. The most ferocious of storms are made easier when we stand together…I am standing with them in prayer.

A Mother’s Love

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Reading about the Naya Rivera story…a story of a mother that used her last bit of energy to save her son before drowning…hit me hard as a mom.

I feel her frantic trying to keep her child safe.

I feel her fatigue using all her energy for another’s life.

I feel her panic that she cannot swim any longer.

I feel her love for her child and his future.

I know if she had any fight left in her or clarity of mind to make a plan then she would have done more/anything to save herself. As a mom, we want to be on the front row of watching our children succeed. Nothing breaks my heart more than to imagine not being able to see my child grow up. Not being the one to give the hugs, cheers and watch them grow into adults. I know it devastated her to not get into that boat with him. She gave her life for him.

“No greater love than to lay down your life for a friend.”

Jesus understands this kind of love for His children. He gave his life for me. He chose to die so that I could live. He gave all his energy and breathed his final breath only after He knew I was safe. I owe him my life.

I owe it to God to live my life to the fullest because He sacrificed his for mine. I owe it to God to be thankful for the gift. I owe it to him to tell others about this love.

I do not understand much about parenting, but I get the deep love for the life of a child. I will forever be connected to Naya Rivera on this deep love that you would use your last ounce of energy before letting go. Praying for her family as they navigate a future without her and praying for hearts to be opened that this kind of love is found in Jesus Christ for you and me.

Lupus and the Corona Virus

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So I am one the many the media keep talking about with a compromised immune system. Do I look unhealthy or sick? Probably not. Can you tell that I have Lupus? Definitely not because you cannot tell from the outside. But I can tell. I know my Lupus by the fevers I get on a daily basis. I can tell by the aching joints, the rashes, the fatigue and twice daily necessary steroids to stay somewhat normal so I can make it through the day. I know by the year round anemia and decreased white blood cells. Truth is I may never know if I have the Corona Virus because I live with those symptoms daily. My life is all the symptoms especially in a flare. My blood work always comes back low and abnormal. Not a pretty picture, but my reality.

However, and I am probably in the minority here, my health is my biggest concern not yours or the public. I mean the public has a part by not knowingly going out with contagious diseases, but not going out right now where anyone can have been exposed and not know is all me. In the midst of all this I need to quarantine myself and not be out exposed. The truth is you do not know what to look for, but I do. So since my disease is one of those that is mysterious and easily covered up then it is up to me to stay safe. Reality is you would have no idea my immune system is compromised unless I told you. So I pray for all the people like myself that others eyes are opened. I pray my symptoms and yours stay mild. I pray all your organs stay active and well and that the good Lord brings a miracle quickly for not just this disease but sickness and disease everywhere including the heart disease of not knowing Jesus!

Kobe’s Death and the Picture of Ecclesiastes

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Dec 7, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) salutes the crowd reaction

Like the rest of the world, Kobe Bryant’s death was shocking. Almost unreal. One night, we are watching THE Lebron James break his record and filling our hearts and minds with all of his accomplishments and accolades and 12 hours later we are mourning his death.

Unreal.

Yet it is real. A 41 year old man with all the power, praise, success in his field, intelligence, artistry, family and promise can also be the same man that passes in helicopter crash on a random Sunday morning. A life, a legacy, a legend…gone. All I can think is that this is the meaning of life that King Solomon tried to warn us about.

It reminds me of the book Ecclesiastes where the wise author goes on about all he has accomplished and in the end it is meaningless when you compare it to eternity. We amass these great things, these great rewards and this great promise all to see it passed on to the next generation before we die.

Our time on Earth is that short.

It just gets me thinking about what it is all about when you have it all and still will someday die. It blows my mind. No jersey, no ring, no trophy to take with you yet you leave your legacy and torch for the next generation and next person to carry if you do it right. Lessons from Ecclesiastes:

  1. Life is beautiful, but mysterious and foggy. We cannot always see what is up ahead, but we know something is there.
  2. Our time on Earth is short compared to Eternity.
  3. We all die.
  4. Fear God and trust His creation to bring meaning to our time together on Earth.

Amazing how a basketball icon can be the perfect visual of a beautiful book of the Bible and a representation of our lives. I write this with the upmost respect for a man that did it well on and off the court. His legacy is so much more than basketball and can even get a girl like me thinking about day to day living and how I can make it better. How I can make my days count since they are numbered and take my eyes off of the unimportant and fleeting.

I will now have a clearer picture of my life in Jesus and how true the words of King Solomon are to all of us even today. I pray for those that are deeply struggling with this loss and what it means that maybe they can seek truth in the book Ecclesiastes as it is about a King seeking wisdom in a world that often seems confusing. It is a powerful thing to be reminded that when it does not make sense to seek the truth in God. I pray for his family and all the families affected in that crash…I know we all focus on one man and his daughter, but other important lives were lost too. I pray all those lives will be honored as we honor the one that was most public.

The Good, The Bad, and the Are you Serious? of being married to a police officer

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After reflecting on these nine years of my husband working as an officer, I can sincerely say this list pretty much sums it up for me:

The Good:

1.They look hot in uniform.  They just do. But that uniform also makes them very hot (literally) and sweaty.

2.They (or at least mine) stays in shape.

3. I always feel safe..like he can kick anyone’s butt at anytime.  It is sexy sleeping next to a trained shooter with combat skills.

4.The only other women he is around at work are female officers and prostitutes so not a whole lot of jealousy.

5.They actually get a lot of time off and paid for their overtime (this is a teacher talking).

 

The Bad:

  1. They work holidays, birthdays, game days and pretty much every other important day that matters to you.  Forget plans and calendars.
  2. They leave your house with a gun and bullet proof vest. (The gun goes everywhere including and especially to church.)
  3. Their work gear and uniform seems to be everywhere and takes forever to put on correctly-I have seen guns and socks on the same kitchen counter (before kids). Another wife mentioned how loud Velcro can be (ha!!) and I would like to add how tricky those button covers are as well…little pieces just everywhere and always needing to be washed or dry cleaned.
  4. Deep nights means black out curtains and never being rested. Speaking of sleeping…night terrors are real.  I have to be careful not to wake him suddenly because he could be dreaming of being attacked and someone is getting hit (I took night feedings).  I have heard some helpless cries in his sleep wondering what is going on in his head-I just held him tighter.
  5. The stuff they see, hear and live every day is beyond me.

The Are you Serious?

  1. A good day at work involves a shooting or gruesome accident..a bad day is no calls and nothing happened…really????
  2. Due to today’s climate, I can’t post pics of him in uniform on FB, his social media name is concealed and changed and he pretty much does not want to be identified as an officer.  He gets legit death threats on his life and the life of his family all because he does his job. Also, the current divorce rate of an officer is around 72% last I checked…does not surprise me–their job is not easy.
  3. When someone special comes into town like the president, that means a 12-16 hour workday without notice.  This is also true of any major sporting event in our city. I know some may say 20 hour workdays are the norm for my husband..but in all that gear and hot uniform?
  4. His shift, station and duties can change at any time with or without notice and you just go with the flow.  He literally comes home some days and says “for the next two months… I will be working at this this time etc.”  You just get used to rearranging your schedule and going with the flow.
  5. He has to constantly live in fear of getting in trouble.  If he is at the wrong place at the wrong time, it will be plastered all over the Internet.  We always have a DD (that is smart anyway) and we choose our friends wisely.  If you make a mistake, get ready to read about it because the consequences are on you and everyone will know.

I am sure this list will grow and change as the years go on, but any officer wife or husband to be fair can relate to this!  We love our officers, but life with them ain’t easy–but so worth it!

 

The good news is: Officer wives are not weenies!2013-03-06 18.45.30

July 7th,2016

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I have to go back nine years ago when my husband first entered the police academy for Dallas…July 11th, 2007 to be exact.  After a year of never ending tests, physical challenges and basically a boot camp style mental beat down–he finally got his badge.  Later came his recruit stage where he followed another officer…then two man and finally one man where he could officially patrol alone.  I was so proud of all his hard work and mental toughness, but then came the hard part where I had to be mentally tough.  He started his career working deep nights and has never stopped which meant I had to get use to sleeping alone and being by myself at nights.

I did not start off being very good at it.  In fact I was straight up paranoid.  I would pace the house and look out each window.  Turn the TV up loud so others thought there was talking..would jump at every sound especially when people would ring the doorbell and run (we had a few night of this-terrifying).  I would have my Bible handy at all times, recite scripture and kept the phone glued to me.  I was anxious, afraid and paranoid and had to get over it quickly or get sick from exhaustion.  With lots of prayer, I got used to it and have ended up pretty good about it now.  Many other wives tell me they could never fall asleep alone…but when you have no choice you learn to do it.

One way I learned to do this though came at a cost.  I could not watch the news at night and I could not watch crime shows of any kind either.  I learned that the hard way.  I would have nightmares for days along with hearing noises, so I learned to watch happy shows or keep the TV off.

Jump to this week…July 7th, 2016.  We now have a kid so my nights are not alone anymore which is helpful.  But now instead of worrying for just my safety I have a little one’s to worry about as well.  I always fear the “what if” emergencies, but for the most part we have relaxing evenings at home and do whatever we want.  On this night, I was watching recordings of Million Dollar Listing while my son played with the Talking Tom cat app on my phone.  We were going about our business happily until I took the phone to check for messages which I often do in case my husband texts while at work.  I saw three messages so checked them real quick.  All three were from friends or neighbors asking “Did Nathan have to work tonight?  Is he okay?”

I had no clue what they were talking about and replied with those words of curiosity.  They both seemed shocked and said turn on the news.  One even tried to call and tell me in person, but I hate talking on the phone and avoided it.  I turned to channel 8 and immediately saw what everyone was worried about…Dallas officers were ambushed and under attack.  The city was in chaos and all you could hear and see was panic with officers in position to find a shooter. Now, my husband does not wear a uniform to work so I knew the ones in uniform were not him, but he could be anywhere in Dallas at that moment.  His job requires plain clothes, but basically to do whatever is necessary and whatever is asked.  This job ranges from the very safe to the extremely dangerous so to speculate if he was there or what he was doing was beyond me.  I also had no clue when this all started, but I knew he had not contacted me whatever that meant.  With shaky hands, but trying to be positive and strong I sent him the text “I see the news.  Are you okay?”  In what would be the longest minute of my life, he finally responded.  “Yes…but can’t be on my phone right now.”

Those words were sweet relief followed by lots of questions that could not be answered for hours to come.  I immediately started to let the ones contacting me that I heard from him and he is okay.  I then went through the painful process of watching the TV to see what was going on, but not wanting to watch the TV because I had a son present that hears random things though is still too young to understand (thank God!).  In between that, I kept in touch with worried friends and social media.  Hour after hour the news stories, the death count, the injuries and the events of that night played everywhere.  I kept watching for my husband not knowing where he was at or what he was doing. One officer put in nicely “That would have been awful to be at home not knowing what was happening…at least we knew what was going on.”  Exactly!!   An hour later I texted again…”I know you can’t be near your phone but keep in touch.”  He would later tell me about more shots being fired and being in a car chase, but still okay.  At one point, I did not hear from him in a couple of hours and all I could think is “If he is hurt, would he tell me?”  He does a great job of shielding me from his job especially since he works nights and does not want me to worry.  I began to doubt if I knew the whole story or what parts he would tell me…trying to accept what is happening while keeping your mind on things positive is hard.  I prayed, quoted scripture and just thought happy things.  When I had had enough of the news…we turned it on to Disney.  Disney was our happy place…Sheriff Callie saved us.

A friend would later text that her husband spoke with him and he is good so that gave me peace of mind.  Even though it was well after midnight…I could not sleep.  Could not rest…felt so anxious and stiff with a knot in my stomach.  Nothing made me feel better, but I still had a child to entertain and discipline when he sprayed Windex everywhere and broke a plate.  He was a much needed sweet relief to the range of emotions I was feeling.  Facebook was also a relief kinda…in between random opinions I would get sweet words of encouragement…all of our friends and family were checking on us-that is what is good about social media.  My husband even posted he was good, but unable to respond–that brought lots of sweet comments.  Finally, around 2am he texted he was going back to the station and might be home on time…then and only then I tried to rest.  I eventually fell asleep, but when he came home I went in the kitchen and hugged him before laying my head down to really sleep…we all woke up the next day close to noon after such a long night.  I was thankful my husband came home and I did not receive the dreaded phone call…but my heart ached for the women and families that were not so unfortunate.

Now here is where I get real.  The main thought that kept going through my mind that night was “I did not kiss him goodbye.”  On that dreadful night, we were on night three of a much heated argument.  You see being married to an officer, working opposite work schedules in addition to already having a rocky marriage from past incidences..those that read my blog previously know what I am talking about…all that can weigh down a marriage.  I have no idea how we have lasted 12 years with all the odds stacked against us…I do know how…Jesus and lots of him.  But on this night, we had attended my son’s swim lessons, my husband was the parent in the parent tot class (yes, he did ring around the rosy with the other moms).  Since we were not on speaking terms, at the end of the class I told him “be safe”..funny how you remember those details…then took our son home while he went to work.  The entire night I kept thinking “I did not kiss him goodbye-I have to get another kiss.  He cannot die tonight.”   I am sure some might say “He was not likely going to die”, but I am sure the other wives thought that as well.  A new rule in this house is no matter how mad we get-we kiss goodbye–no matter what!

Flash forward to today, the new challenge each day is walking the fine line between over-talking about it and not talking at all.  I want our home to be his happy place and his normal knowing that he hears enough of it at work.  The tragedy allowed us to talk a lot of things out and cry some much needed tears while recommitting to work harder to meet each other’s needs despite the tough challenge ahead of us.  Him going to days is nowhere in sight and my job as a teacher does not work nights so we must make it work.  I committed to listening more about his daily struggles without freaking out and he committed to opening up more-it is the only way officers can be able to do this job without losing it.  We have watched the news together and kept up with current events including attending a funeral later this week.  It comes down to I am here with whatever you need, but our home is base and it is safe.  Talk as much or as little as needed…just know I am here.

I struggle seeing those officers’ faces knowing it could have been my husband, but by the grace of God was not.  I also struggle to feel safe that if it is not him now..could it be him later?  All those thoughts are real and just, but the truth is none of us know tomorrow so we must live for the moment now.  We must love with full hearts and do what God has predestined us to do while we have the time to do it.  I will never forget July 7th 2016.   I grieve with Dallas and for the DPD.  I am proud to be an officer wife and never more proud to be a Texan.  This was easily the worst night for me being married to an officer, but also one of my proudest nights knowing he was serving and protecting our city despite all the what-ifs and oh nos.

The good news is: “Some people never get to meet their heroes; I married mine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Take the Good with the Bad

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We are on Facebook Fast Day 10 and I think I am slowly getting used to life without it.  I don’t find myself missing it as much since I have not been on it for ten days.  I do catch myself wondering about certain people’s posts about various topics or feelings about world events that I know would have something to say, but I enjoy being separated from the drama.  A coworker will ask me if I saw so and so’s post etc., but I can honestly say no and I have no idea what is going on.  I do feel isolated from current events or from social happenings around the community; the main reason I joined is because a friend was moving to Australia and a different one got engaged and I had no idea because they thought I knew through Facebook.  People don’t call each other to share news or even email…they just post it on Facebook, so I feel I am missing out on that, but you have to take the good with the bad.

I went for my semi-annual Lupus check up today.  It is only on these days that I remember I have a chronic disease that is in constant need of monitoring.  Only on days like today where I see how bad my disease could be that I appreciate the mildness of it all even if it is inconvenient.  For the first time ever, I got a bone density scan to measure if my bones were deteriorating due to the steroids I take daily.  I did surprise the machine guy with my scoliosis.  He thought I was sitting straight at first, but then realized it was my back and calmed down.  Thankfully the test had positive results.  We took my usually two vials of blood to monitor that the levels stayed the same and then did my normal check up.  This time I had a concern because my scalp has developed these lesions that are causing my hair to thin in areas and I am not having that hair loss!  He recommended a visit to the Dermatologist but assured me it was an effect of the disease and the hair will likely grow back.  I can tell that I am in a flare or about to be because of my extreme weight loss.  I am down five pounds, but eating more or as normal.  I like the natural weight loss, but will not tolerate hair loss…I guess you got to take the good with the bad!

Finally, my son is in the Terrible Twos in full swing.  The amount of “mine” “no” “I don’t want to” and pure break downs when things do not go his way are intense.  We call him bipolar Callen because one minute he is on top of the world and the next he is sprawled out on the floor.  We are trying to balance the thought that he is learning these bad behaviors to get our attention with this is just the age and we must push through it.  We are constantly reinforcing him to use his words and express his feelings while punishing using time out when necessary.  The good thing is our caretakers report he does well for them and the meltdowns are non-existent or minimal, but not sure why we get all the good stuff.  Hoping we are not encouraging the bad behaviors without knowing it, but we have no idea are just trying to do our best.  As I am fussing at him for taking out the chicken hammer, spilling the bubbles, putting his sock in the water and carrying the laundry basket into the shower…I thought I was about to reach my breaking point.  In my mind, I was thinking “we are not going to make it out of the twos” and then my mind went back to the mother that lost her 17 month old girl on Thursday and I know she would give anything to have the terrible twos.  I know she would sell all she owned to have one more day of spills, tears, messes and meltdowns.  I appreciate that I am blessed to have these moments with him…the good ones and the bad.

The good news is: Facebook Fast, Lupus and infamous two year old behaviors–I am blessed with the good and the bad.  Humbled tonight in so many ways especially knowing that the sweet parent tonight endured her child’s viewing.  I know God is good and He loves us.  I know God is faithful and His promises are true, but this one has rocked me.  Why give that good and perfect gift to later take it away?  I know she is in a better place, but my heart hurts at the thought.  Her story has rocked me today.  I know she will get up and breathe and take it day by day and hour by hour…I know she will find the strength, but I wish she did not have to.

IF Community Unite

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So, in the midst of this Facebook Fast where I am unable to check social media, I get an email about a prayer request for a family that lost their little girl.  The email stated the mother was a local teacher and the father a local fire fighter.  Both of these roles I immediately connected to because she works in my school district, lives in my city..we have several mutual friendships-though we do not know each other directly.  DPD and DFD have a connected bond through the work they do for the city.  I am also a mother of a toddler.  I could not find any information on the situation on Thursday night without jumping on Facebook, so I just committed to pray.

Yesterday, a fundraising site began circulating around and long story short now more people are talking, sharing and mostly fundraising to help this couple with funeral costs and paid leave as they grieve.  My child choking is my worst nightmare and my child experiencing pain while in the care of a daycare or sitter is a close second.  Every working mom has guilt and the number one guilt is that you cannot be there for your child and will someone else care for them to the depth that you will.  I mean I have to work (infertility is expensive), but I hate it because it took me so long to be a mom.  In the end, you just have to let go and let God and trust that you are making the best decision possible.  All of this rocked me to my core as a parent.  It hit too close to home.  And then I learned a detail that brought me to my knees.  This couple suffered from infertility and their child was conceived through IVF.

We in the infertility community know this pain too well.  “For this child I have prayed…”  The loss, the waiting, the patience, the emptiness and then to finally parent (whether through treatments or adoption) is your greatest joy because it did not come easy and it was not natural and you thought time and time again “What if it never happens?”  We know the brokenness our bodies feel and the shame and the regret and the pain when everyone around us has two then three then four or just starts selecting dates on a calendar to try for another like it is so simple; for them it is.  We know something entirely different. Our story is not the same.  The love is the same, the parenting is the same but, the struggle can only be felt if you have been there and felt like that 1 in 8 that cannot conceive.  My friends might cringe at my numerous kid posts, but this was a kid I never thought would exist and this kid may be my only one due to the work it took to get him…so I am embracing each day because I know it will not likely come again.  I don’t get the luxury to plan for baby number two….I have no control.

In light of all this my Facebook fast seems pretty unimportant and small.  In fact, it allows me more time to hug my son and embrace his laughter.  It allows me more time to pray for this family and listen for God to tell me how He will use me to help.  This blog is it.

http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/emma-turner-memorial-fund/299958

IF community I urge you to join me in donating to this family.  They have already reached their fundraising goal, but we know it is not about the money.  It is about the community of us that struggle to conceive and cling to those miracle babies only to thing their birth signifies the struggle is over only to lose a child while you are at work.  God be with your donation, God be with this couple and their families and God be with all of our community.  Let’s UNITE and show them we see them, we care and they are not alone.

THe good news is: I am not saying infertility babies are more loved or more special.  Any loss of a child is tragic,  I am just saying that nine months to meet a child and 36 months changes things.  THe baby becomes like a prize and a reminder every day of a blessing you thought would never come.  Every dirty sock, every poopy diaper, every temper tantrum is a gift that I do not deserve and adoption allows me to be a parent.  My heart aches tonight.  God, be with them and all of us that do not get it.  Remind us that death is part of your promise and without it we would not see you.  We must die for our life to begin.

MY Times

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I have seen these End of the Year Facebook movies and MY times pop up in my Facebook feed lately. They basically take your most popular posts of the year and make one huge compilation or collage. Although, I enjoy glancing at them as I scroll down I have no intention to create one of my own. Although I am curious, I know the posts that I created this year for Facebook do not accurately show my year for two reasons.

#1 I have learned that what my friends like to see most is cute pics of my son. I probably over post him to the point I am likely hid from some people which is fine with me. He will not be this cute forever, his birth parents soak it up and really he is the majority of my life right now. I am kinda afraid if I make one it will confirm that my social life is wrapped up in a two year old or at least that is what people see.

#2 the second and real reason I do not check mine out is it would not be accurate. Facebook to me has a specific audience intended for a specific purpose. It is about living the life you want people to see. I am not fake on it, but I refuse to post drama and to be honest my life has had it even though it never made my newsfeed. Not major drama (praise God), but the truth is my husband and I have fought this year…big arguments that I questioned our direction. We have made some financial decisions that have changed our spending. My kid was sick once.  I have had my fair share of Lupus flares.  In one right now…have this red, itchy, flaky scalp that will not go away ( a new symptom).  I struggled with my walk with God. I have abandoned some unhealthy friendships. I have grieved infertility as we learn contentment with one and have grown to be fine with God’s plan. I have questioned my career path and the reality of my parent’s mortality. I have had some crazy wild girls’ nights and racy husband wife vacations….none of this would be in MY times because I did not share it publicly. I could have, but chose not to, but these things define my year as much or more than the funny stories or nostalgic moments that I posted. My title of the Facebook creation would be “My Times as I chose for you to see it”.

Saying all that I love Facebook for so many reasons. I am almost addicted because I love writing and reading and it has both. I am a fan because it gives you a way to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. People that hate on it do not appreciate that if you are my friend then I should rejoice for your success or hurt for your loss. Otherwise, we are not friends. So as we head into 2015 I choose to look forward and not back even though 2014 has been very good to me…I know the best is yet to come and I pray it is for you, too!

When God speaks…

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So my heart is still so heavy with all the loss, pain and challenges friends/strangers are experiencing. Some of the situations I know personally and others I read through social media and yet they still have impacted me. Their stories have made me cling closer to God and really cry out to Him on their behalf. I feel so many thoughts and emotions that I don’t know what else to do but write. I feel selfish writing about myself in a time like this, but my experiences are all I have. I also feel compelled to take my challenges and use them as an opportunity to encourage, comfort and help those that may need it like I did when I was going through the fire. The blessing of hardships is you learn from them and then can use that knowledge to comfort others. Today, I wanted to share a few specific times God spoke to me…

1. God spoke to me during a dark time in my college years. Did I listen? No. But he was calling me to stop and turn around. He gave me a way out time and time again, placed people in my life that knew I was getting out of control and even punished me in ways that I should have seen the destruction that was still ahead. Sadly, I pressed on and took a lot of hard falls because of it, but He spoke nonetheless. He tried. Later when I fell flat on my face…he picked me up and showed me grace. Amazing grace. God speaks through people and circumstances.

2. God spoke to me on the toilet during my separation. You may know my husband and I separated for two years. One year we lived a part and one year we just ignored each other or argued. Still don’t know how we are standing here today, but praise Jesus we are and celebrating ten years in November! (Yes, we count the two years that were doomed because we were still married!) I remember I kept trying to fix it. I would send a text, write a letter, make a phone call to him or make a phone call to her or just call a friend to see what they knew. I tried to fix it over and over and over again and it was exhausting. Until one day, I was contemplating my next move while peeing (probably peeing..who knows) and distinctly felt God speak to my heart “Stop!” Stopping to me felt like giving up, so I did not take this message lightly, but he said it again…”Stop!” When He finally got my attention he stirred in my Heart “Do nothing.”
What? The marriage will end…
He responded…if you keep doing what you are doing it will end anyway.
I argued some more before finally letting Him win and stopped trying to fix it and let Him take control. The hardest six months of my life followed in that I did nothing. I tended to our home, tended to my work, tended to my personal growth and the needs of others and just let God be God. We are still married today because in the silence God changed my husband’s heart. During that storm of life (by far the hardest thing I have ever endured and I have Lupus and infertility), God reminded me to keep my eyes on Him during the storm. “Watch me-keep your eyes on me.” I love the quote “God might be doing the most when it appears like He is doing nothing at all.” God speaks to your heart and He speaks in the silence.

3. God spoke to me through a Bible verse about my Lupus. Psalms 103:3. I read it one night before bed and it turned on a light that God is in control of this disease and healing in His hands. This gave me such comfort through infertility as well. God is the great physician. This verse was later in a song at church and it gave me such hope and strength during a tough time of feeling helpless. The song is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sG94EKGDcU another powerful one that goes with this verse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtwIT8JjddM God speaks through His written word and in church (duh)…the trick is you have to read it and go.

4. God spoke through a song on the radio about the direction for my adoption. I had just visited the reproductive endocronologist (still don’t they I have ever spelled that right) and got the devastating news that pregnancy would not be in my future barring a miracle (which is always possible-but I am content that it may never happen.) I was beat down with that bad news because I had still clung to hope of IUI or IVF and we were willing to do that if he thought it would help. In his words “I could take your money and we could try, but it is not likely.” My OBGYN later said it more harshly, “Getting pregnant with your blood levels like these would be devastating to a baby and would possibly kill you.” She later went on to tell me how high risk my pregnancy would be and how I much monitoring would be needed..blah, blah, blah. I get it…no. While I sat in the parking lot of Schlotzky’s ( I eat for comfort) this song came on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yooJzuW8XDA This song spoke to me that God has a plan for my broken reproductive system and to go where He is leading. We began the adoption process the following week. God speaks through the radio.

5. On the day we were leaving to Houston to adopt our child and I was still so frantic and worried that we would get all the way there and the birthmom would change her mind, my devotional that morning (also on the toilet–hmmm???) was from Max Lucado and it spoke about taking risks. One of the lines in the devotional and it is saved in his baby book if you think I am a lie said “Go adopt the baby.” I ran out to Nathan and showed him the devotional and said “This is it. Let’s go adopt our baby!” It was an affirmation from God (and be mindful I am hit and miss when I open my devotionals and I am not even following the dates correctly. For instance my devotional today said December 22nd…I just read them when I can.) But this one was for me and it was for peace and comfort when I needed it most. It was Him speaking to me-I am with you. God speaks in the bathroom–ha just kidding or maybe–but God speaks through devotionals.

Now, you might have noticed a trend that God speaks to me most in my hardships. Sadly, that is often the only time I am listening. I pray for you and for myself that we listen in the good times too, during times that we don’t feel like we NEED him. (But hey, if a trial brings me closer to God then bring it…not really, I am good.) But, if you ever question if God speaks-he does. Stay near to Him and in His presence and you will hear it. Through a song, a hymn, a verse, a person, a text, a blog post, a peace in your heart. It happens.

The good news is: I don’t want this post to me about me and my problems, but it might offer someone out there encouragement when they need it most. Some day soon, my posts will be more light hearted and fun, but for now, I am grieving, praising and praying for the people that need it most. I pray that you are listening to what God is speaking to you because in all of these situations God has spoken to me. Your trials have drawn me closer to Christ; they are not in vain.