Miracles, Messy, and Missing

Happy Mother’s Day.

A day we all try to get out of the dishes, the monotonous routines and hope a meal out or breakfast in bed may be on the agenda.

My mom used to answer, “what do you want for mothers day?”

She would respond, “I just want you guys to get along.”

I thought that was weird. Mom, today, I get it. Harmony in the home is fought hard for, and rarely with siblings does a day go on that we don’t have at least a couple bickering matches to break up.

Peace is hard to come by when there are kids are that are learning to live with each other. And some days when it is really hard to get through the day- we forget about the days that we waited and wished and hoped for that positive pregnancy test, that awaited adoption placement, or a positive IVF cycle.

The Day I held my children, it was the closest I felt to experiencing a physical miracle in my life. So many little things need to go just right to get them here. A complex number of cells that needs to make it 9 months and survive the intense process of labor. Babies are miracles. I don’t think a mother or father would argue with that.

If you have struggled with that teeter totter of emotions of remembering how you longed for a day to be a mother, and then you have days that you just want one minute away from the crying, the whining, and the huffs and puffs after you’ve just asked for a little favor.

Where does all that lay on this day that we are supposed to be full of thankfulness and awe over our little miracles? And yet just the night before there were failing fits over bed times and embarrassing moments of realizing you forgot a few major end-of-the year-tasks that were due Friday. And here it is Sunday.

Let me just be honest- Some times theses days are messy. I don’t feel what Hallmark tells me I need to feel. I feel tired. I feel helpless because I am entering new phases of motherhood that are unchartered waters and really I am just trying to pretend I know what in the world I  am doing with these gifts of God that can some times be so stinking hard to raise.

If you are feeling this way- let me be the first to say “Happy Messy Mother’s Day.” The day where all the things you feel are just a mess of joy, thankfulness, frustration, and the ever present mom-guilt.

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I want to also say “Happy Missing Mother’s Day.”

13 years ago, we traveled home with a 14+ week baby in my belly, and “Happy Mother’s Day Grandma” cards to hand to our mothers. We had been anxiously awaiting to tell our families that our family was growing. We had a miscarriage earlier (one in which I didn’t know I was pregnant until the miscarriage had started.)

We couldn’t wait to tell them, so the cards were passed out as soon as we got to their houses, and the shrieks and excitement occurred. It was the announcement of my dreams. That Sunday I planned to go to the Mother’s Day Tea with my mother in law and her mother. It was another great opportunity to share with the extended family that I was celebrating my first mother’s day as well.

During the tea, I felt strange. Crampy and achy. We left a little early and I went home to rest. I stayed in bed praying that what I was experiencing was the first of growing pains. We continued to pray, hope, and be full of excitement.

We went back home, and the word was leaking out. This was pre-social media for us. A few suspecting co-workers put it together from my frequent nauseated trips to the bathroom. We waited to be “safe” to share, and we were so very excited to share.

The next couple of days my symptoms became more concerning. My mom, after a phone call from my husband, was there in my house, without batting an eye to come.

My doctor sent me to a sonogram, and we were ready to see our little baby.

Mom was in the waiting room, and the tech started the sono. She turned the screen. Walked out, and said she would be back.

I was sent home. My doctor called. And confirmed that the baby had passed, and it was looking like baby died on Mother’s day.

It seemed like a cruel joke. Miscarriage on Mother’s Day.

Today, Mother’s Day, I miss you baby. I wonder about you. I wish I had known more then about pregnancy loss and how to walk it,  so I could have grieved you better. I wish I would have buried you instead of giving you to the lab to be tested. That hurts so bad, baby. Today- I don’t just miss you as a baby in heaven, I miss you because this is your anniversary of leaving us.

Happy Missing Mother’s Day.

And there was another. One between the two older boys. Much earlier of a loss, but the hurt was just as big.

There was the awkward conversations at Adams graduation after being told “Congratulations!” to follow with, “We lost the baby.” I would quickly react with “oh, it’s ok, you didn’t know!” But inside, it wasn’t ok. I was broken by losing you.

I have these miracles. 3 here. 3 in heaven. We talked about all 6 of you today. My little Mags asked if one baby might be her sister. I saw here eyes light up with the idea of having a sister. It was beautiful. It was messy. It was all the emotions that Hallmark cannot and will not ever be able to put on a card.

There is a tattoo on my husbands arm. It’s my favorite place to rest my head. It’s my place where I can feel the missing, feel the pain, feel the messiness, and feel the miracles.

A day that we want to be celebrated, may be really just a day we need be allowed to feel all the things that motherhood produces. And today I gave myself permission to feel all of them.

And I think that feels right.

Do you mommas. Even if it’s messy. Even if it’s missing. Even if it’s a miracle.

Thank you Lord, for making mommas. And thank you Lord for not expecting us to do anything else but look to you as we do it all.

 

 

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Redeemed: Our story of renewal (Video)

There are days that I need to remember. There are friends hurting and ready to bail that need hope.

There is a story that needs to be told.

Not of a man who encountered grace so powerful that it saved his life. Who lived and walked out out repentance so bravely.

Not of a woman who had some strength outside her own power to forgive and not give up.

Though these things may be true, that’s not the story.

The story is of a good God. A God who took the most broken of people and worked out miracle after miracle on the cross in their behalf.  A God who had nothing to rebuild on, yet in his mercy poured out all they needed to not rebuild but make “all things new” and gave hope that restored a family.

That is the story. We pray you see that grace is abundant when you are redeemed through the work of Jesus Christ.

 

What we really need to know about Ashley Maddison

Getting Real here:
We must be slow to the game here, but we woke to the news of a website called Ashley Maddison. “Life is short. Have an affair.”
Ok- the volcano of emotions this brings to our hearts is too much to even try to comprehend. Infidelity is a clear poison that goes down smooth and convinces that which drinks of its cup that is “safe, no one will know.” It promises that its effects will be like the highest of highs, giving your body a cocktail of risk plus pleasure that forms addictive pathways in the brain that keeps the betrayer convincing themselves it’s worth it.
We are not going to candy coat it here.
It’s poison. It kills. It destroys. It divides. It devastates. Although it goes down clear- in secrecy, it’s side effects begin to surface. The side effects hurt the betrayer, the betrayed. The family. The finances. The work. The health. The first warning sign is saying “it will never happen to me.” From that moment you have lowered your guard and the crafter of the poison sees your marriage as ready. We can be sickened by our world, its choices and its fallen nature. But we can’t pretend we don’t live in it, and swim in its waters. Are you jumping in without a life jacket? Chances are your pride says “you got this.” And you jump. And if you are like us you find yourself blindsided that you have been drowning in it for months. The first words out of Abbe’s mouth was “how? How could this happen?” I’m guessing the same words were uttered out of Anna Duggars and anyone else who has uncovered infidelity. My answer hurts but is is honest. How? Because we assume it can’t happen to us. We love eachother. We are happy. We are Christians. We go to church.
The word of God describes David, a godly man, also falling in. And when he came up for breath from sinking in this poison his guilt resulted in death, murder.
Before you point the finger. Before you judge and let your eyes roll as you read the headlines, grab your partner.
Say these words that will build your defense against the lies.
“I realize that I am no exception to the rule. I know that I have been, or can be at any time tempted. I will fight for our marriage, even before there is something to fight against.”
Zip that life jacket up friends- hold tight to the word of God. Keep the good and hard conversations happening. Live vulnerably. Let people know you well. Good and bad. And when we step out in the worlds waters, we won’t be pulled under.
Close your computer. Grab your family. Get on your knees. Ask for grace. Recieve Grace.

And Church, be ready to talk about it more freely.

Unraveled

️Abbe:

It was a tired I never knew. A weariness that was so powerfully exhausting. I wondered how I was going to do this life. I had cried out for God to spare me, spare my family, my precious children from this. It was over. We were over.

Adam:

I was living a lie. I believed in an A+B=C relationship with God.

A= I do good, follow the rules. Be a good dad, hard worker, and do the right things.

B= God does his role, I am good so he is good back to me

C= a good life. No major crisis or pain.

For the last 5 years, we’d experienced financial devastation, sexual assault, major medical  issues and thier major bills that follow, and emotional turmoil as a result of these things seemingly happening one after the other.

According to my formula, I was doing “A” but “c” the good easy life wasn’t happening, so that left my mind to believe that “B” was what was messed up.  I was following the rules. But crisis after crisis continued. So I checked out and decided listening to God wasn’t worth it.

Abbe: I knew something was wrong. He was distant. I felt like I no longer could connect or see light in his eyes. It was the eve of a painful anniversary. I hated writing that date down. I couldn’t sleep. Surely the unsettling feeling was the day that we hated to recall. Someone hurt our child, and nothing was done about it. So I prayed, the only thing I know to do when pain like that rears its ugly head. “I bet this anniversary is hard on him. That’s why he’s so distant.” I reasoned.

Go check his phone.

What? I questioned that I was hearing God so audibly.

“Just help him. Show him your love, God.”

God answered my prayer. Immediately. And I checked his phone. God showed my husband his love, by using me to bring his darkness into light.

And it tore me apart.  We separated.

Then on a Sunday, I dragged myself to a new church I had been visiting, Journey the Way. Adam showed up too. I could hardly sit by him. Broken, torn to pieces we heard the gospel. In a way our whole Christian lives had never experienced.

We were done. But God was not.

Welcome to our story. A story that will be penned over time here, on this blog. When Our Repurposed Life was started, we had NO idea how true that title would become to us. A few months ago, Pastor Chad preached on Grace. And by that Grace we shared what the past year looked like for us. We are scared. But it’s a holy, God appointed scared. I know someone needs to know that even though you are done, God is not.

A=Me sinner.

B= Christ grace

C= grace upon grace upon grace

the truth is setting us free.

Dollfamily5@gmail.com if you would like to comment privately.

Asking the wrong questions

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It’s been almost 2 years since I have blogged in this way. It’s time again. The story in my soul is ready to be processed- most posts will be marked if they are past journal enteries from over the last year or so. I am humbled to share some of my heart during a very dark and difficult year- but find it so freeing to share honestly about depression, trials, and the beauty of the Lord in it all. This is a post from a my journal a few months ago

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The room is dark. The coolness of the fan above me keeps my face chilled while the weight of the blankets keep my body warm. I can hear the day outside my window. It seems to be teasing me with all it’s offerings of life and tasks to be completed. But my legs and feet don’t work. The unseen blanket weighing on my soul is too heavy. I can’t seem to lift it off.

Like a soldier after a long battle, a long for home. The feelings of normal life seem so easy yet after months to years of being war side, the civilian life seems anything but easier.

Just breathe it in. Just do “normal.” It sounds so easy. So normal. Kids, breakfast, school, errands, work, laundry, lunch with friends. That’s not scary, after all, all the things I was doing while in the thick of bombs and suffering was far more difficult to walk through than a stroll down the cereal isle at the grocery store. Yet it’s not. The small things are not so small any more. The perspective of normal is shifting.

When the brains in your head say “no.more.” and your body aches from just sleeping, a cry from the weariness begins to form. A help that is only offered through supernatural power.

God for me has become real. A friend that sees that your limited body and mind need an advocate when the war aftermath has set in. A place of real hard choices and soul stretching trust emerges.

He says to me “Enter into my rest. Take my yolk.”

I say, “I can’t even get there. I feel you close yet the rest seems so far. ”

I cry “why is the easy so hard? Why can’t I just do “normal?”

He says, “because you are not normal. I don’t do normal. I do great. And with great suffering comes great joy. And with great battles come great victories. Your weariness isn’t the enemy. It’s your pride”

My heart hurts more. “But I think of myself as the lowest of the low. Pride? Really?”

The dark room sits still. Quiet.

Could this invisible blanket that weighs on my soul be pride? Perhaps pride doesn’t look the way I think it does. Perhaps pride is anything that says that what I feel and think is more powerful that the movement of God. How does God move in me when depression and anxiety cling like shackles to my feet?

Conviction comes like it always does, when a child actually hears  compassion in their parents voice.

Pride isn’t always thinking of yourself higher than you ought but it can also come in thinking of yourself lower than He says you are. And just as pride cometh before the fall, pride can also be the chains that keep you from rising again.

The cross means something to me here. In a place where I can’t move. It says that God wants to be something FOR me. Something I can’t be, do, or create.

The questions start to shift. All the “why” and “whats” are the wrong questions. Afterall, who can be in the middle of great trial and at the same time have the power within their human minds to summon up some super spiritual application of “what great spiritual lesson is God trying to teach me right now?”

My answer is none. That answer, that lesson isn’t for now. If God chooses, by his grace you will see it someday. But for now, when the weight of hurt and life is too heavy, whether it be while lying in bed or standing in front of a giant, the question begs to be CHANGED. No more whats. No more whys.

WHO.

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Who does God want to be for me right now? When you ask that question, the pride in your life shatters and the force within you is not of your own power. It’s HIM.

I’m scared lying here alone in the dark.  Who do you want to be for me right now, God?

I am your protector.

I’m weary from hours upon hours of hard, draining conversations and confrontations. Who, God?

I am your strength.

I am lonely. Misunderstood.

I am your advocate.

I am ashamed. Guilty.

I am your sacrifice. 

In my darkest moments, I have cried,  screamed at times, “WHAT are you doing? Why God?!”

And it’s always quiet. I believed it was me- somehow I was still so spiritually immature that I couldn’t hear or apply the greater meaning for my struggle, bad news, or trial.

It was always later that answer came. Never in the midst.

Then I started asking “Who?”

And He always answers. Always.

I always hear.

After all, He IS the great I AM.

 

 

 

Help the Sickos

I intend to blog more than I do. I feel that when I sit and open up the computer I am in a war with myself if what it is that I am wanting to say is actually worth saying. I know this little blog may or may not ever get read. I know that it’s primary purpose is a sounding ground, thus leading to a landing for my thoughts. Yet, I sit and stare. Wondering what I want to write.

I suppose hard times to do that to you. They make you wonder and wish words, feelings, and emotions just flowed easily. It seems they now have a bit more weight. Understanding the power of words  when you are already hurting is a miraculous gift. To understand the damage they can do- as well as the healing they may bring.

So I sit with something to say. This time it is different.  I know these words are important. I know that they come from a place of raw emotion, laced with righteous anger, and a foundation full of great purpose. So please sweet reader, hear my tone. I long to talk to you as a dear friend. A mother. A sister. A wife. A victim.

This week/month draws near several hard anniversaries for our family. I can honestly say that they evoke emotions I would rather swallow up and hold on to. Others I prefer to just spit out.

With anniversaries comes appropriate reflection. I sat at my computer to scroll through my news feed to distract myself from such reflection. Then my phone was the next band aide of choice. Certain photos made me uneasy. I felt sadden. A heaviness that only comes from living out a reality that changes you.

In some cases I was jealous. I wished I had the innocence to post certain photos or sitations thinking nothing but the purest of entertainment. I mean let’s get real.. can it be any cuter than a dimply baby butt in the tub? I vote no.

But here’s the deal. I am not sick. I pray you are not either. But there is a person in your circle, in your friends group, or  twitter/instagram who is. The statistics prove it. I won’t bother you with numbers.

Because of Jesus I can say I forgive the sicko.. I want nothing more than for them to receive the intense help that they need to heal and not hurt the children they lust over. Chances are your sicko friend has never acted out. It’s a quiet battle that torments he or she. All they need is a photo. That photo of your little sweetie to ignite a flame that fuels an aftermath or pain and destruction.

I hate to think that my innocence could trip up those around me. But I would be a fool to not believe that it could.

That is why schools have security, churches ask for background checks, and divisions of the FBI are solely devoted to children sex crimes and minors subjected to pornography. I would break into a million pieces to know that when the sicko is discovered that my child’s naked instragram photo was in the loot of arousal for that sicko.

In a world where everything is online, and we chat with our peers and family online as if they were curled up on our sofa, we have grown comfortable sharing ALL our lives with each other, the same way we would in our living rooms. Some of us can’t avoid the sicko that lives, walks, teaches, and interacts with our children. Some of us will learn the hard way. But some of you can take that control. You can delete that hilariously darling photo of your wee one going wee wee on the potty. You can just text that embarrassing moment your toddler started stripping in the park fountain. You can help the sicko. You can save your child from a nightmare.

I know what you are thinking “I am not responsible for someone else’s sin.” I agree. That sin is between them and God. But when the tornadoes of OK ripped through the plains I bet you felt it was your responsibility to help, although you were not responsible for the F5. This is no different. The same humanity in you then can be the same humanity in you now. If I  walk away from social media at anytime, I want to hold my head up high knowing my children were protected from the right click “save as,” at least the semi/nude ones.

Please share this post if you feel lead. The more the awareness is spread the more children we protect- hence the more sickos we can help, even if we would rather them burn in hell. God is asking us to do something bigger than our pain.

Share on your blog, on your Facebook, twitter, I don’t care. Just repost and say “I helped the sicko.” Our babysitters need to know this, our parents, our friends. I can’t think of better way to spend this anniversary than to see no bare kiddo bums online.

Wombs, Wounds, and Wonder

7 weeks ago I had a hysterectomy. I guess I didn’t research enough about this. I knew I needed it. I knew it would be slow post-holidays work-wise, I had no good alternatives to not having the surgery, so the decision was made hastily. Within about 3 weeks I prepped, worked, stocked up, organized, and lined up my family and business to be covered for my recovery. In that chaos I didn’t stop until the day before to think about the impact this would have. OR  how much I would HATE lying in bed for weeks.

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Week 1: The point where the remote is so close, yet so far away.

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The hubs and I celebrated our 11 year anniversary. It included me in bed. Him hanging out with me in bed watching HGTV, and me taking a nap. He did laundry.

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It wasn’t anything amazing, some could say it was the drugs, but I loved it. It was simple. Just hanging out together and not going anywhere. I am one of those crazy blessed women who has a man who serves so relentlessly and makes me feel like the most special woman on the face of the earth. Even when I am laying in bed with a heating pad and hair shorter than his.

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Week 2: The kids were a bit “scared” of me. I wasn’t my busy self and they didn’t know what to do with a mommy that hadn’t left the bedroom. Soon they figured out it was ok to gently hop crawl in bed with me and hang out. I stewed about missing out on school activities. About not being the one to pick them up from school, and make their meals. But this time revealed a wonderous insight.

I have let my serving them take place of my spending time with them. Where motherhood tends to be a constant struggle and juggling act, it seems the “must do’s” always win out. In a time in my life I felt inconvenienced and struggled with letting control go, I was given an incredible gift. I couldn’t do those things. My time with them was just that. Time. It wasn’t errands. It wasn’t homework. It wasn’t carpool. It wasn’t cleaning rooms.

I believe some our conversations were about hippos. And some were about why kids at school make fun of other kids. Some were about bad dreams, play dough, and Jesus. I learned things about my kids I didn’t know. Things I was too busy to learn.

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I got the stomach flu. Did you know that throwing up with an abdomen full of incisions is bad news? Ouch. But a sweet guy like him helps you make it through hours in an emergency room. Sickness and in Health…

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Have you ever watched a child sleep when they are toddlers? My guess is not as much. When my babies would fall asleep after nursing I would just rock and stare at them. It is like therapy. Stress melts when you watch an infant sleep.  Then comes the toddler years when you just.want.them.to.go.to.sleep. If you are lucky enough to have them drift off while reading Go Dog Go for the 8th time, you will tip toe out of there and pray that they don’t feel you get up. Watch them sleep? Heck no. You are just ready to not be asked “why?’ 8 billion times.  I couldn’t carry sleeping toddlers to bed during nap time, so I stared. It’s still therapy. It’s good stuff.

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I looked at my feet. A lot. Do you ever think about how much they carry? Where they go? I pondered this frequently during my time. I’ve never liked my feet. I’m working on changing that.

What do all these random musings conclude?

That it is ridiculous that removing my womb made me evaluate some wounds, and to slow down enough to marvel at the wonder that is my marriage and kids. God’s gifts are not always wrapped in beautiful trappings. Sometimes they are wrapped in trials, inconveniences or disappointments. But under all that rough, muted paper lies a gift so precious, so perfect, that it couldn’t have been appreciated if given in beautiful circumstances.

What ugly box is sitting before you now? Are you looking around thinking your neighbor gets all the good stuff? The pretty ones with shiny bows and metallic papers? Does your gift seem to be getting uglier by the day?

If you chose to receive it, the things you will find will reveal themselves layer by layer. I can bet that they will be far richer than the nasty paper they are wrapped in. Time to open them up.