A Year Of A New Journey

We looked at each other, and for the first time, we were on the same page, we knew our family wasn’t complete. 

But there was a big appointment looming, and we weren’t sure what the impending diagnosis would mean for continuing to build our family. 

We ventured to UT Southwestern and met with an MS Neurologist and he said confidently that I have MS. The only real question on our list was whether or not having more children would be wise or even an option. Before we got to our questions, he asked “are you done having children?” We said that we didn’t want to be, but would follow whatever suggestions he made. He began to tell us that many women cease experiencing their MS symptoms and it goes into  somewhat of a remission during pregnancy. He said go for it! (He also threw in that with my age, we should definitely get finished having babies. I gave him the stink eye. Not really, but I did remind Brady he’s older than me…it made me feel better). 

Our boys had no inclination that we had wanted to have more children, but they had started praying every night for a baby sister (this was well before we thought about pregnancy). At first I just thought it was cute, then graduated to wondering if they knew something we didn’t, and eventually I secretly started join their chorus in prayer (not necessarily a girl, but a baby). 

They have been praying over a year for a baby, before we decided to set out on the journey. Pregnancy had not taken a long while of praying for or working towards for us before,  so I really didn’t know what to expect. We spent the next next year (that appointment was in July) learning a little about MS, learning how to give me the injections, radically changing our diets, and trying to minimize my episodes. 

By May of this year, we had really started to believe maybe the Lord was working in our lives and hearts in a different direction that involved growing our family…because pregnancy tests were coming back negative. I decided to quit taking tests and we started discussing and praying about fostering and adoption. 

After our vacation, I felt different and so very exhausted along with some ill fitting clothes. Which very much frustrated me because I had been losing weight and had been on a strict eating plan for a year. Brady advised me to take a test just so that I would know I wasn’t pregnant (he was so adamant and really was trying to ease my heart). Lo and behold that test was positive! I cried. He sat down out of shock. I don’t remember being so overcome with joy the first 3 rounds (including our first angel baby) but I just think each pregnancy is very different and reflects different experiences and understanding.


I could hardly wait for the doctor’s appointment. Given the dates I had, I just knew I must be so far along. Every momma’s wish I suppose. But, the sono showed a heartbeat and 5 weeks 5 days. Pregnant FOREVER was my first thought. But I didn’t care. I had a whole new understanding and joy about pregnancy. Once we went back the next week and heard the heartbeat, we told the boys. There joy and happiness was indescribable. We videoed them (Drake has intuition and had asked a few questions the week leading up which is so evident of his deep understanding and connection to his parents, if you know him well, it’s so who he is and we love it!). He said “really? For real?” And Holt immediately jumped up and kissed my belly. 

This has been the easiest pregnancy so far. I feel great and it’s such a different experience from my pregnancy with both of my boys. I’ve had no MS symtpoms. We find out the gender next month and the boys pray every night the baby would be ready to be born now. They just can’t wait!!! We cannot wait to watch Holt become the only one in the house to be a big AND little brother. Drake has mastered the skill of sacrifice and sharing so we have no doubt will walk in that role and teach his little brother. 


A funny note, in true boy fashion, Holt somehow literally stained his hands. On picture day. Brady scrubbed and washed them to no avail. 


How do I find my voice

  
In a single minute we have more access to technology than many of our ancestors would even know what to do with much less care to utilize. I could look up the statistics, but that would be in direct opposition to what I’m thinking on today. 

I’ve seen several posts regarding national women’s day which have mostly included pleas concerning their own daughters finding their strength, voice, wisdom, etc. I don’t have a daughter, but I am a woman. 

I love people and learned how to do that from my husband (after deep conviction from the Holy Spirit that this is a main crux of the gospel). I don’t love as well as I would like and find myself frantic to invest into my children, be active and helpful for our parents (however, they’re honestly STILL doing this in our season of life more than I would have chosen), and to come alongside my husband’s endeavors whatever that may be (him being out after or before work to serve/minister, giving him time alone to rest and Sabbath-though he’s stubborn there due to his lively & passionate desire to be with us, pushing him to take time away with friends, etc). 

I don’t feel neglected or lost in my identity. I know Who I belong to for eternity and for whom I’m living here on earth. My husband is steadfast in ministering to me in so many ways–sleeping in (my love language), encouraging me to have a day for the boys to go to grandparents and I spend time alone (again, my love language) and so many other ways. 

Because sleeping and being alone are my (jokingly) love languages, I am hampered in building friendships. My new diagnosis (Multiple Sclerosis) has given viability to those loved activities (sleeeeeeep please) and anything alone to refresh. There is a take on energy called “spoon theory” and it is referenced by most chronic autoimmune disease sufferers (MS has been thrust into that category, though, like all things MS, still mostly unknown). It basically means you have only so many spoons of energy a day and you have to choose wisely how they are used for the day. Let me just say, on a rare day filled with fatigue, a shower and getting ready is pretty much ALL of my spoons (and it makes me so angry because I’m learning how this does not equate laziness but goodness it so FEELS like it). But, I’ve learned how to maneuver that and make it work for our life because I cannot slow down and won’t. 

Finding my voice takes energy. Finding my voice takes thought and action. I have preferred the written word for much of my life. Want to know what I’m thinking? May I send you an email? Some of my best friends have said “can you just call me?” Because I can text with you into the depths of my heart and you will get more of my soul than anyone on earth standing face to face with me. It’s a flaw for me, I know. It speaks to my heart when you’ll take my test conversations. I have learned that if I want to be loved by a friend understanding that I would rather text, I have to live by understanding they’re a verbal processor and I need to call them. This will land on the hearts of some of my people and make them think I never want to talk in person or on the phone, ever. That’s not true, this is how we grow in finding our voice. It’s not about me being heard. 

Finding my voice is about me growing and taking baby steps to be stronger. These same friends now text and let me process via text and allow me, in my own time, to call them! And I do. I’m much faster to pick up the phone now. It’s not about being awkward or uncomfortable like some of my introvert friends. I’m the most outgoing introvert there ever was and continue to enjoy being around and with people. But, I have a “recover time”. Anyone else? 

This is still my happy place. Writing. Conveying my thoughts, ideas, convictions (risky, given the absurd speed at which “opinion” travels and the backlash that can ensue before you can ask “I can’t have an opinion?!) and hopes, dreams, and fears. 

Scripture tells us the heart is deceitful above all things. I have a love/fear relationship with one of my giftings (prophecy). It prompts me to think beyond the heart and feelings (which is healthy) but sometimes keeps me in my head (my momma always said I had common sense 😂) and out of my heart. It has proven to me that I must seek to be like Christ because a prophet sees the hard and real and sometimes misses the mercy and grace. 

Today, on national women’s day, I’m finding my voice by admitting that I have some serious steps to take in building deeper friendships. Our culture of women keep talking about “my people” and “my tribe” and though it sounds wonderful, I want to make sure mine knows I’m just as much a part of being honest and vulnerable in having a voice to share as much as I ask and wish from them. 

It seems ironic to say I’m going to talk and not just listen, but to reciprocate friendship I have to be known, too. It seems arrogant. I have wisdom that tells me many of my closest friends who know me and value me will be elated to know I’m ready to be known, too. I won’t just be asking the questions anymore. I won’t just be saying “I’m okay…how was that….the other day that we prayed about?” 

Finding my voice will be a work in process. When most of us process, we start where we’re comfortable.  I’ve started where I’m comfortable but it’s vulnerable and I’m trusting the Lord to move mountains in my heart and flesh.