The following begins a a story of our journey through loss, heartache, and growth. I'm certainly not a fan of dredging up old, unpleasant memories, but the challenges in our life as a family have proven to be of far more value as time has marched forward. Time certainly softens the harshness of the initial pain we once felt. I choose to remember also, because when I remember the difficult times I am struck by the grace and strength of God in our lives as He has carried us through it all. That is a great encouragement, to be daily reminded that He is God in the storm and the strength in His voice can and will calm the waves. It is my sincerest hope that the struggles I write about and share are an encouragement to others.
This blog is the start of something fresh for me, a change that started back in April and begins with a story of the events happening in our life this year. As with the beginning of every year since I began my photography business, I began to brainstorm ways we could change our business, and implement new ideas to make our business more successful. I looked forward to booking more weddings, more seniors and photographing more little babies who would be arriving soon. Three of my closest friends were expecting new little ones and newborns are one of my favorite things to photograph, I couldn't wait.
I set out one morning in April to photograph a senior session, and it was that morning that I discovered, much to my surprise, that I was pregnant with our fourth child. I had the whole day ahead of me and wouldn't see Caleb until that afternoon. I couldn't think and my head was a fog of questions and worries as I frantically changed lenses and batteries hoping my client would not catch on to the confusion going on in my head. Caleb and I had not planned on a fourth child, we hadn't planned on the third, but Jacob had become such a joy in our lives, and a treasure we would never change. Still I worried that Caleb would be upset and blame it on me, that it would stress him to no end, and that he would agonize over how to provide for his family. After all he had only just begun working again after being out of work for almost a year in a failing economy.
My mother in law, Marla, had offered to watch the boys all afternoon so I could catch up on editing. However, when I returned home to work in my office I couldn't think. The house was too quiet and my thoughts too loud. I decided to join my family at Caleb's parent's house where he was helping his father Tim with landscaping while Marla watched our boys. I told him we needed to talk...about things, about everything in general, and specific. He looked at me and somehow he just knew, as he walked to the driveway he quietly asked me if I was excited. I was surprised that he not only figured it out so quickly but that he seemed to be beaming from the inside out. I couldn't believe after all the worrying I had done that his response was that he was absolutely thrilled and wanted to tell the world. His exact words, "If God thinks I can raise four Godly boys, then bring it on!"
Over the days that followed I began to become excited over our fourth little child. Caleb's excitement was infectious and rubbed off on me quickly. I was terrified of having to deliver a baby again-Jacob's birth had been far from ideal. Yet I knew I had months before I needed to worry about that, so we continued the exciting news in telling my family, Caleb's family and a few friends. I began to get the usual fatigue of the first few weeks of pregnancy, not having the energy to get everything done, and I began to feel the need to just be with my kids. Deep thoughts started to fill my mind, thoughts about what really mattered and I began to enjoy just doing nothing but sit and play with the boys. Why had I never done this before? I was always too busy, working on some project, worrying aout everyone getting what they needed so I could have more time for me when it dawned on me. I had been going about my life this entire time as a wife and mother trying and stressing about getting things done for everyone else so that I could back to what I wanted to do without being bothered. Where had that left me? Tired and stressed out about nothing ever getting done around the house, frustrated with the kids for getting in the way of my time and fed up with Caleb not helping so I could get back to what I was doing. I wasn't satisfied at all and I wasn't taking the time to simply enjoy being a mother to my children. What I had told Caleb was right-things needed to change, generally and specifically, beginning with my own heart. I realized I had been living selfishly and needed to shift my focus. When my goal would be being who I am and sharing that with my children, then I would find satisfaction and contentment. Rather than chasing after time I didn't have for things I didn't really need to do I decided to enjoy the time that was right in front of me so that I could be rewarded with the blessings of the fleeting moments with my children. Little did I realize how much of a comfort my children would become to me in the coming weeks, I'm so thankful I've put them first. Yes, I know, being a wife, and being a mother are not what define me as a woman, however the moments I allow God, to work in my heart, and set my own desires aside, define the kind of woman I am and it is my prayer that I am becoming a woman whose life points to Christ.