Almost six years ago, I discovered I was pregnant for the third time. My husband Joey and I were not trying and the news came as quite a surprise. Obviously, I am glad God had other plans.
About 3 months prior to me finding out that I was pregnant, I was having trouble with my vision out of my left eye. It progressively got worse and worse. I started to see double out of the eye so much so that to see anything clearly I had to close one eye. I walked around looking like I was winking at everybody!!! It was challenging even working out at the gym because I couldn’t see the aerobics instructor at the front of the room. I couldn’t drive anymore. It was very scary. People starting immediately praying for me.
We didn’t have health insurance at the time and so we had to pay ourselves for all the doctors. I was finally referred to a neurologist. He thought it could be early signs of MS. I chose to ignore all of it and keep trusting God to heal my eye. We couldn’t afford the cost of an MRI and so we applied for a hardship grant to help us. We were accepted (which was an act of God) and I scheduled an MRI. We were so thankful because we were all wanting answers. The week before my appointment, I started to experience other strange symptoms in my body and so the day before my appointment I decided to take a pregnancy test.
Sure enough I was pregnant!!
As you may know, a woman can’t have an MRI while pregnant, especially in the 1st trimester. I will never forget telling my parents the news. They wanted to be so thilled and happy for us, but they had also been praying for so long that we would be accepted for the grant so that I could get an MRI.
We were all a little shell shocked. So many questions filled my mind…
- Why is this happening?
- I am not ready for another child-I can barely handle the two I have?
- We are in the middle of starting a church, how can I add a baby to the mix?
- Maybe this is the girl I have always longed for?
- How am I going to make it through pregnancy with such limited vision?
Well, to make a long story short. God healed my eye. It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. About half way through my pregnancy I was at 100% vision! No explanation except for the fact God chose to heal my eye! Doctors could not figure it out! God is so good! I ended up having the most amazing, healthy pregnancy, my best ever. I found so much joy sharing this pregnancy with my boys who were old enough to enjoy it. We waited to find out the sex, and the growing anticipation of finding out what we were going to have was very exciting. I have had a burning desire to have a little girl, but recognizing that this pregnancy was 100% God’s plan for us, I resolved myself to completely let go and trust God. As most you know, we had a third boy. I am not going to say it wasn’t hard at first. My best friend told me that after he came out and they said, “It’s a boy!” I said, “I knew it” and then apparently I had a peace come over me.
I still have a void left inside of not having a daughter, (we are done) but I am so thankful for my precious gift from God. When it came to naming him, we choose the name William because we liked the meaning and it was a family name on both sides. We call him Will for short and about a month ago I got an email from my dear friend Amberlyn. She wrote, “Suzanne, is there a connection with the name Will and the fact that he is completely and 100% a will of God child? I wasn’t sure if you named him with that connection and I didn’t even notice it until you started to call him Will all the time, then it just totally stood out to me. He is totally God’s Will- you weren’t planning him and you were hoping for a girl…all that stuff…just wondered if that was all part of the plan?”
As I told my friend Amberlyn, it was not a part of the plan. And ever since she made that connection-it has brought me so much joy in calling him Will. I know God has a wonderful plan for his life and I am so happy he is in our family. I only want God’s will for my life, and for my family and not my own. It is so amazing that when we can let go of “our” plans and trust God, He brings us His perfect will.
My sweet husband brought me home a paper from USA Today and the top article was called, The ‘Momnesia’ Effect. He has joked me for years that with each baby comes a loss of brain cells. Well, this article confirmed it; Momnesia—“the mental fuzziness and memory lapses that set in shortly after childbirth”—is real!
The article goes on to describe that, as mothers, some parts of our brain are forced to be hyper vigilant 24 hours a day and so other parts of our brain suffer. One mom shares her experience this way…
I’ve been accused on more than one occasion of being a little ditzy. From putting the milk away in the pantry to leaving my keys in the door, I know I am more than a little guilty. However, I learned this morning that it’s not my fault. The blame lies with my children. Just one more reason to say, “You did this to me!”
As if it weren’t enough my thighs and waist grew exponentially after the second child, never to go back to their pre-baby size again. As if it weren’t enough that my disposable income was replaced with disposable diapers. [Where is] the way-hip person I was before the kids turned into ’tweens? Yeah, she’s long gone only to be replaced by “projections” of what the kiddos need in a mother.
I don’t know about you, but the USA Today article, along with the experience of other moms, brings me so much excitement and validation. I must admit, my Momnesia seems to get worse with each child. I call my children the wrong names constantly. I use wrong words for everyday objects. For example- calling the infant seat a highchair, calling a fork a spoon, calling the stairs a ladder… the list goes on. “Nathan, put on your socks before you get in the tub!” Sometimes I don’t even catch it until my boys point these things out to me.
Last week when my husband was out of town, I was so proud that I remembered to put out the trash on time!! As the day went on, I could not figure out why the trash man had not come. I finally realized it was the wrong day. Before babies, I never did stuff like this. I often get concerned with my brain, or the lack thereof, but the newspaper article let me know that I AM NOT ALONE! We give (and give up) so much of ourselves in an effort to raise decent and well-adjusted human beings. It should come as no surprise that brain lapse is just one more part in the equation.
My 3rd baby is now 9 months old and I still have not snapped out of my Momnesia. I was a little worried, but then I read how, “Breast-feeding can prolong the mental haze.” Yeah! I was so thankful to read this!!!! The positive thing the article pointed out is that “once your mommy brain gets readjusted, you get more efficient, and you become smarter and learn things faster, but it won’t happen all at once.” I eagerly wait for this day! Motherhood is such a wonderful thing-this is why I love Mops so much. We can learn from each other, and lean on one another as we strive to become better moms and wives.
There is one more thing that I would like to add. Just as our brains are affected after childbirth so are our souls impacted if we don’t have Christ in our life. I don’t know where you stand with Jesus, but I know that without my relationship with God, life would be much more challenging and I would have less joy and peace. If this kind of inner-peace is something you are searching for, please talk to someone who knows Jesus.
I want to share a few things that have been on my heart lately.
The story begins with Elizabeth, a 23 year old woman whose husband lost his battle with cancer over Christmas. They have a 3 yr. old and 1 yr. old. This has deeply impacted my life and my heart grieves with her daily. At the funeral I heard stories about his life and I cried throughout the entire service. During a slideshow presentation, there was a video feed from her husband with final words to their daughter and son—it was the saddest thing I have ever witnessed. The strong love that this couple had for each other was apparent to all. They longed to have more time with each other and to grow old together. This has really made me think about marriage, commitment and love.
I honestly can’t imagine losing my husband and raising my kids alone. It made me reflect on just how much I treasure my husband and appreciate all he does for me and for our children. We never know what a day will hold and we need to cherish every moment.
I try to be a positive and encouraging wife but we all know how easy it is to slip into the “nagging” wife syndrome.Proverbs 12:4 says, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones”. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be this kind of wife. It is so important that we are a joy to our husbands and not a disgrace.
Sadly this past week, I have found out about two couples in their 20’s who are in the middle of a divorce. These are great people who all started out with wonderful marriages. Marriage is hard work! Add a toddler or two into the mix and it makes marriage even harder!!
Women, join with me today in working hard to cultivate our marriages; to demonstrate love and respect to our husbands; to appreciate them; to treasure every moment we have with them. I don’t want ANY of us to become a sad statistic.
Continually pray for your husband, encourage him and love on him. I am not a fan of making New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think it is important to have goals. So ladies, let’s make it a goal in 2013 to treat our husbands with immense love and gratitude…. as if it were their last year here on this earth!!
In thinking about the challenges facing my family this year. I came across a blog I wrote during a season of struggle in Christmas 2005.
My husband had no income and we were forced to sell our home in Puyallup, WA. We couldn’t afford Christmas gifts and our toddlers knew that they wouldn’t be receiving anything from us. Without no Christmas shopping, baking or decorating on my to-do list I discovered a tremendous amount of peace and a lot less stress! It was quite refreshing and I learned some lessons.
The twist to this story is that a dear friend of mine found out this was happening and she decided to collect gifts from our MOPS group. I was given a love basket filled with gift cards, checks, tickets to Zoo Lights and much more. We were able to buy gifts for our children and even more importantly buy groceries because money was very tight. Just thinking of this beautiful expression of love brings tears to my eyes. I cried so hard when I received this gift. God did an amazing work through my friend and my MOPS group. He taught me three main things;
- How to humbly receive gifts,
- To trust in God no matter the circumstance, and
- To never forget Christ’s loving provision. God is such a faithful God and I am very thankful for the lessons He taught me.
It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season. Sadly enough, a large part of the stress is self-induced. We spend countless hours searching for that “perfect” gift, instead of spending more quality time with our children and families making memories.
It is important to remember the true meaning of Christmas.
I am so thankful that Jesus was born and that He came to bring us the gift of life filled with joy, peace, hope and purpose! My experience all those years ago gave me a renewed perspective of what the Christmas season is all about.
Now the irony of my story from 2005 is that this Christmas I find my family in another season of struggle. In 2011 when my husband was laid off, I thought to myself, “Here we go again, Lord please help me trust in You, no matter the cost!”
People often ask me, “how do you have so much joy amidst your struggles?”
Well, because now you know this is not the first time I have been in this difficult place and I have experienced God’s great blessings as He provided for my family! My faith was strengthened and I saw great things happen. At the end of our trial in 2006, my husband and I went on to plant a church, start a MOPS group in a new city, and make life-long friends… God was FAITHFUL!
So here I am again, in the past 13 months, I have been blown away by the love of our church family in San Diego. I have experienced tremendous blessing from the ladies in my bible study… yet it hasn’t been easy. There are many days when I get discouraged and wonder why God hasn’t provided a full-time job for my husband with insurance for our children. But then I am reminded of what we experienced in the past and it gives me hope for the future!
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- How will you give a gift that makes a difference this Christmas season?
- Will you lean on God and trust Him to get you through a difficult time?
- In what way will you share the love of Jesus Christ?
I just got home from a wild bike riding adventure.
For months now, my oldest son Zachary has been wanting to take a bike ride on the Orting Trail with ’just” me. It is Winter, and I keep telling him it is “too cold” and when it gets warmer we can go. Zachary jokingly tells me I am a “weak” mommy because I don’t want to be in the cold. He says, “it doesn’t matter if you are a Californian!!!!” Too funny.
This past weekend I committed to spend some quality one-on-one time with each of my boys; and because Zachary had a half day at school, today was the day we committed to ride bikes together. When I picked him up from school, it was raining and he sadly asked me if we were still going on our bike ride. I had already decided that I was going no matter the weather. So, I told him, “yes we are going.” His face lit up and he was SO happy.
We get home, I nurse the baby, we put on lots of warm clothes and off we go.
Five minutes into our bike ride, it starts SNOWING!!! I am thinking to myself, “I can’t believe this. What on earth am I doing? Why in the world is it snowing in March?” I am freezing, I can’t feel my fingers, nose or ears.
I ask him, “are you sure you want to keep riding to the trail?” and with a huge smile, he says, “Yes mommy!!!!”
So I tell him, “you better remember this for the rest of your life!!!!” Then he says, (actually yelling it to me from behind) “YOU ARE THE BEST MOMMY IN THE WHOLE WORLD!!!!”
It was so unbelievably sweet and it kept me going.
We get to the trail, and it stops snowing. We are both soaked and freezing. We pass the cows and they are huddled up with each other trying to stay warm. It was so funny. Then we get to the river and Zachary finally says to me, “do you want to ride back home now?” I quickly answer, “Yeah, I think that would be great!!!”
Half way home Zachary decides he cannot ride any more and makes me call his dad to come and pick him up. By the time my husband arrives we are just a half mile from home, but there is no room for both our bikes. Joey tries to convince Zachary to finish the cold ride with his mommy, but he finally gives in to Zachary’s tears. I finish the freezing ride alone while my son rides home in the warm car.
When I get home, we enjoy some hot chocolate together and he says, “Thank you mommy for going on a bike ride with me today, I know it was very cold. I won’t ever call you a weak mommy again!”
All I could do was smile… I still am!!