My Journey...

{...a work in progress, updated 2/8/2013...}

I've tried starting this page several times, but I never like what I end up with. It always sounds cheesy. *sigh*   But, here I am today to try again. It may be silly, or even ridiculous sounding but it is what it is. It's my journey, and all I'm doing by putting off writing this page is just adding to the story to be written...... So, here is my story. My journey of finding my faith in Christ in the midst of all the shade that I didn't plan for.

I guess, I'll start with I grew up (mostly) in the South (west). I married my high school sweetheart and assumed that I would marry, have children some day and have a happy life. I deserved it, didn't I? I was a hard worker, honest, kind, giving, creative and loved learning. Little did I know that He would rock my world on more than one occasion and bring me to my knees in the midst of realities that I had only read about. Life in the shade was on the horizon, but all I saw was the sun.

Jimmy and I married in 2002. We had a (relatively) short engagement. Because when you know, you know. Why wait? So, we didn't. He was in the military and stationed in Kansas. I packed all my things, my cat and moved into a small apartment with my husband. It was all I had hoped for, dreamed of, wished for myself. We were so happy. Our first Christmas together, we found out we were expecting more than just gifts under the tree! A sweet baby would come the following August. We were over the moon about adding to our little family.
His unit got orders to deploy in March and by April he was gone. I was to birth our first baby alone. I immediately clung to Scripture and had a peace I couldn't explain to anyone. Looking back I'm not sure if it was my shear naivety that allowed me to not fret or truly God's peace that kept me sane while he was gone. I really thought this deployment would be our 'story,' our one thing that we weather and come through on the other side stronger. So, I made my mind up we would get through this deployment (and any future ones) and be the envy of all our friends. Thankfully, my husband felt the same way.
In August 2003, at 39 weeks I gave birth to our first daughter. It was a surreal experience to be having a baby with no husband in the vicinity. I had a fabulous Bradley Method Teacher/Doula (thank you again MT!) and my friends were great and very supportive (ES, SJ, JV <3) They did all they knew (and could!) do, but my heart was lonely and broken for my husband. I wanted him there so desperately I wanted to hear him tell me I did a great job in birthing our baby naturally, no drugs. I was super mom. Instead, I had a long labor and a tumultuous after birth experience. My baby was born without flaw, but my body didn't want to cooperate with the OB's timing, and thus, I had an inverted uterus. I almost bled out. I almost died. It was the most pain I. Have. EVER. Felt. All I can say is all my girl parts came out through the same exit route my baby had just taken. And then, my 6ft-something doctor had to manually put them all back inside and massage my uterus until it decided to stay put. Awful. Need I say more?
When I awoke (the nurses quieted me by giving me a DOUBLE dose of pain meds) 5 hours later, I was alone. All my friends and family had made the parade through my room, saw my sweet new Baby E., held her, took pictures with her, saw me on the bed and left. The good news was I was all in one piece and my sweet Jimmy was scheduled to call me soon. He called at our scheduled time and he heard his sweet baby's sounds for the first time. I ached to have him close. I felt abandoned by God. I felt like it was all too much, I couldn't do it much longer.
In November Jimmy got to come home for his 2 weeks R&R. When baby E. and I met him at the airport I bawled my eyes out. He awkwardly held her. Then he cried a few tears. I really think he couldn't take it all in right that moment. He was finally home with his new bride and now here was a wee lil babe that bore his name. It was too much. My heart almost burst those two weeks. I never wanted them to end. I never wanted to let go of him.
Our First Family Picture Nov. 2003
He went back to Iraq and I tried to carry on. Though now I was on the countdown, not to a sweet baby but now to having my family reunited. Surprisingly, the time went quickly (or maybe that is just how I choose to remember it). During that time I also started to attend church regularly and even signed up for the young women's mentorship group. I wanted to glean as much knowledge about how I could make my life better.  During those meetings, I kept hearing from older women that once I got through this we would be so much stronger as a couple and life would be easier. I hoped that this would be my storm to weather and survive. This would be my path to a white picket fence, 2.5 children and everything I deserved. This was my valley of darkness to prove myself to God.
 Little did I know that this was only the beginning of my journey in Him proving His love, grace, mercy, and providence in my life over and and over again.... all for the sake of His Glory.
I was about to be blind sighted.

Part 2: 

Jimmy carrying E. to the car in his helmet

Jimmy returned from his year long deployment in April 2004. E. and I were SO happy to have him home. 
We tried to returned to a ‘normal’ routine, although this time it included a Daddy. It was rocky at first. I am a I-can-do-it-myself kinda girl and I had just done life alone for a whole year. I wasn't sure how to let him in to the everyday again. We tried to discuss expectations and needs but really we just went on. I kept doing a lot more than I should have been doing and Jimmy let me. I was running things, and I liked it like that.

 A little more than a year later his unit deployed again and we were transitioning out of the Army under a medical discharge. We moved back to Texas, near family, and thought that our new road would now just be in our home state with a bigger house, in a bigger city. What we weren't doing was budgeting or living within our means. We were just living everyday independently, without forethought to tomorrow.  We were trying to prove ourselves to everyone but the One who really counts.

Within that next year we lost my great Grama, my Dad was in a major motor vehicle accident and my grandparents’ health was beginning to fail. We began to realize that life was fleeting and we needed to live it to the fullest. We needed to plan a little better.

We decided that we were then ready for another (read: last) child to come into our family. We were pregnant by August 2006. May 28, 2007 my grandfather passed. The next day, while I was helping to plan the funeral I went into labor and delivered our sweet baby A. She was beautiful and we knew we were complete. It was an odd feeling knowing that within 24 hours we had completed our family, and I would never hug my grandfather’s neck again. It was so surreal. 

So much had happened in such a short time. Marriage, deployment, birth, death. I didn't know how to collate all the life experiences. I was just beginning to hear the Lord whisper, pointing me to seek the Truth. To seek how He views life and death; to really examine my priorities in light of Scripture. But, I pushed Him away still not understanding how to make Him fit into my life.

Shortly after birth we started seeing so many differences between A. and E. as a baby. Really there were too many to name here (I will expound on her story later). But, what I can tell you is something wasn't right. She was constantly fussy, and not in a I’m-a-fussy-baby kind of way. We began searching for a Pediatrician that would take my concerns seriously. That search led us to doctor after doctor who wouldn't get past what they saw when they walked in the door- a content baby.

 By the time A. was a year old we knew we needed serious help. Not help that a Pediatrician could give but help from a Specialist. She wasn't sleeping, let alone through the night. She constantly had a rash of some form. She was itching ALL. THE. TIME. (to the point of bleeding and screaming and then itching more). We had been told she had allergies and had been diligent to avoid them, all to no avail. We were all miserable. We just didn't know which direction to go in first.  

Our church was too large to really be very hands on supportive. They all knew her and would smile and ask how she was, thinking that we would finally give them the answer so they could cross her off their prayer list (Man, did we pray for that ourselves!). But, the answers never came and her illness seemed to be around for the long haul. I started seeking out alternative treatments. We were desperate, alone in our journey with her and without any answers- only more questions. 

{to be continued.....}

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