Several years ago I had the privilege of hearing a friend of ours share his “own” story with us at church. At the end, he then challenged each of us to share our story with others. However to share your story you would first have to know your story. I took this to heart and here today finally I am ready to share my “own” personal story.
My prayer is that through my story you will be able to relate in some or many ways. That you will find encouragement, acceptance and also the courage to then share your story with others.
We all have our own story and should use them to bless and help each other.
So on to the beginning…
part 1…the early years
I was born into a Christian family and I am the youngest of 3 children. I was for sure a surprise to my parents, arriving 9 years after my brother had been born and my sister was 10. So I was very much the baby of the family.
I also was the only one born with my fathers brown eyes (always a fun thing to bring up in conversations.)
Our family attended church each week and we would be considered an involved family. My dad worked in a business he had started himself. My mom stayed at home and managed all things there.
I will forever be grateful to my parents for taking me to church and giving me the opportunity to accept Jesus as my personal Lord and Saviour. It was truly the greatest gift they could have ever given me.
For the most part my childhood would be defined as normal. By the time I was 6 years of age my brother and sister had already gotten married. So I was almost like an only child in some respects, but I wasn’t. I was frequently with my sister and brother in law. He was still in school and spent many hours studying and so my sister would have me over to keep her company. She did then and still does to this day, play a very important role in my life.
I was privileged to attend a private school which also happened to be part of the church we attended. My teenage years were fairly uneventful. I only had one boyfriend and yes you may have guessed it, I did end up marrying him. I guess you would say he was my high school sweetheart, except he was 4 years older than I was. We had attended church and school together since we were very young. I feel so very blessed for God bringing us together, he for sure was the one for me. We were married when I was 18 and he was 22. He had graduated from college with a degree in business and I had earned my cosmotology license. We were ready to begin our next adventure.
part 2…the adventure begins
Married life for us began with a bang! You see 4 days after returning from our honeymoon, we came home from work to find the door to our small apartment had been kicked in and we had been robbed. CRAZY RIGHT!
It seemed so unreal at the time. We did not even have a phone hooked up yet. And for those that don’t realize at that time there were no cell phones just land lines, and ours had not yet been connected. So we actually had to drive to the corner store to call the police.
Needless to say I was strongly thinking about what I had gotten myself into. But that was a very brief thought. We had very wise parents who had informed us about renters insurance and so all of our new wedding gifts and things that were stolen would be replaced. And God had given me a wonderful husband that was a constant assurance that we would be fine. And we were, it was just the beginning.
We made it through that first rather large hurdle as newlyweds and settled into married life. We were and still are best friends. For the next 6 years we enjoyed just being together. And then we decided we were ready to begin our family. And yet another adventure awaited us.
Of course we expected that just because we had decided it was time to begin our family that it would happen precisely the way we had planned. Not quite how it went. You see during my high school years I had developed an eating disorder. Sad, but true. It lasted roughly for about 11 years. In the midst of this terribly controlling illness I never gave a thought to the harm it was doing to every part of my body. All I cared about was being thin. My weight had become so low that my body just wasn’t functioning the way a normal women’s body should and it made it very difficult for me to get pregnant. However, by God’s grace and direction to a wonderful program I began to heal from the anorexia. And not too long after that I was expecting our first child. His birth was a miracle. I had carried him in the breech position the entire pregnancy. I was just 3.5 weeks away from my due date and the Dr. wanted to try to turn him. I was scheduled to go in on a Monday morning where they would externally try to turn him to the correct position. The Saturday prior to this appointment he was born. I had to have a C-section because of his position. It was then that we saw how the Lord had saved the life of our son. I had something wrong and they told us had they tried to turn him as planned on that Monday that his neck would have been broken. God had intervened! We were now parents! And just a short 5 years later, our first daughter came into our life. She also had a miraculous birth where God once again was there with us and her. The cord was wrapped around her neck and cutting off the oxygen. The perfect timing of her birth was crucial to her survival. God is always on time. Now we had a boy and a girl. We thought we were complete. Well as the old saying goes, “That’s what we get for thinking” God had another plan.
part 4… the bumpy ride
Well this next part gets a little bumpy to say the least. But this is where my faith was tested and God made Himself more real to me than I ever thought possible. You see when I said earlier that we thought our family was complete, we had in fact had surgery to make it complete. However as we were driving home from the procedure, we looked at each other and both admitted we had made a huge mistake. The mistake was that we had not asked God if this was His plan. We just ran ahead. And I can tell you from experience it is never a good thing to run ahead of the Lord. But once again His love and graciousness towards us provided us an avenue to correct our mistake. But it was not an easy road even then. We had no idea what was just around the corner. But we did know for sure God was now driving.
part 5…growing again
It was not long after we had corrected our mistake that we found ourselves expecting our 3rd child. We were thrilled! We could not believe how it seemed everything was just falling into place for us. Well, I was not very far along when I started having some pains and went to the Dr. only to find out I had lost the baby to miscarriage. We were stunned. I am sure that is a common reaction for most couples that encounter this loss. And it was terribly sad to us both. Of course, we learned quickly that it was not that uncommon to have a miscarriage, not that it makes it easier but it at least helps you not feel so alone. So we began trying as soon as the Dr.said we could and then shortly again found ourselves expecting. We had another daughter 6 years after our 2nd. And this time we did not run ahead of the Lord. We thanked Him and just enjoyed the blessing of our sweet new baby girl. And here is where our story takes a little turn. When our youngest was about 1.5 years old we found out we were expecting again. And sadly we also lost this baby to miscarriage when I was not quite 3 months. Shocked would be putting it mildly. We just couldn’t believe it had happened yet again. Doubt and fear began to creep in at this point for me. Wondering had we missed the Lord? Had we done something wrong? I was truly struggling with many questions and in my relationship with the Lord.
One thing though about when we find ourselves struggling, God is not surprised. And because of who He is, He lovingly and patiently waits for us to come back to His open arms. I can remember it was after the 2nd miscarriage we had taken a family vacation to the beach. We love the beach. And one day I was walking along the edge of the ocean, talking to the Lord, well maybe more like questioning. But He always listens and He always cares. I can vividly remember asking Him, if He was still there for me and cared about my pain to please show me. And believe it or not I was bold enough to ask Him to help me find a sand dollar. I no sooner said those words, that I turned around and as the water washed back out to the ocean I looked down and there was a beautiful, whole, quarter size white sand dollar. I was in awe. He didn’t have to do that for me. But He did. He showed up and I could hear Him say to me. ” I have you, just rest in Me” It was as if a warm blanket had just fallen on me. His peace was all over me and I was at rest. It was very shortly after this trip that we were pregnant again with our next daughter. So we now had 1 son and 3 daughters. And I had been pregnant a total of 6 times. God was growing us in many ways.
part 6…unchartered waters
Well needless to say we had our hands full now with 4 children. Our son who was the oldest was now 14 and our youngest daughter was just a baby. And God brought yet another challenge for us to face. We had been struggling with some things at my husbands job and it had us wondering what God might be preparing for us. But we were not expecting the change that was coming next. When our youngest was not even 4 months old, my husband was offered a job out of town. This was so unexpected, yet at the same time we had a peace that this was from God. It wasn’t easy to pick up and move our family but God was with us every step of the way. So we made the move and together with the Lord looked forward to what He was doing in our lives. The move for sure stretched us in ways we didn’t know we could stretch but it was that good kind of stretch. About a year after we had moved and gotten settled, we still had the desire and knowing that we were supposed to have a 5th child. So once again I found myself expecting, only to lose yet another child to miscarriage. Hard was not the word I would use to express the grief of now having 3 miscarriages. Well we tried again as soon as the Dr. said we could and again got pregnant and yet again lost that baby as well. You might be wondering now like some people even expressed to us verbally, ” Why don’t you stop trying? You have 4, isn’t that enough? “
Well to answer that question we would simply say, “This isn’t about us, we know we are meant to have 5 children.” People did not understand. I can’t really blame them. I know most if not all were just very concerned for us and all the pain we had been through. So again, we found out we were expecting, and this time I actually carried the baby to 16 weeks, and we even knew this one would be a boy. We thought we were in the safe zone and all looked great. But then it happened. I woke up one morning and was having some pain and we went to the Dr. only to find out we had lost the baby. So if you lost count, that is 5 miscarriages total. The last 3 we lost within a 18 month period of time. We were devastated to say the least.
Many, many questions and angry thoughts wrestled within us both, as well as I am sure they did for my children. It is not easy to watch your mom and dad go through something like this over and over. And sadly, I didn’t handle it that well when it happened. Each time was different for me. I had a couple that I worked through and bounced back more quickly than the others. But either way it had taken a toll on our family. But God was still in the midst of it all, just waiting to bring the comfort He knew we needed. But we do have to make the choice to allow Him in to comfort us. Take it from my experience turning away from His love and comfort at times like these does nothing but prolong the pain and delay the healing. So if you find yourself in a similar situation right now, I urge you to stop and call on Him and I promise He will answer. I know He did for us and what comes next is proof of His perfect plan.
part 7…step of faith
We all have heard the phrase “take a step of faith” haven’t we? What does that mean to you? What memory of your life immediately pops in your mind when you think about those words? Probably more than one, but my guess is more than likely it applies to some of your most life changing moments.
After the 5th miscarriage, to say that we were hesitant to try again would be putting it midly. I know I for one was terrified. No exageration there. I was so afraid of losing another baby that I couldn’t even think about it. But yet the desire and knowing God had a 5th child for our family was just as certain as it had always been for us. So we began to pray and seek the Lord for the direction He wanted us to take.
We had talked many times about adoption although we didn’t know much about how it all worked, we just thought it was such an awesome way to grow a family. So we began to do some exploring, and it was just amazing how many people God brought to us that either were adopted themselves or had actually adopted a child into their family. Our next step was now becoming very clear. We talked it over with our children and we began the process of adoption.
There is no doubt quite a lot of paperwork and process to work through for an adoption, but again God was showing us every step of the way that He had already gone before us and was making the path clear. We literally finalized and sent off our paperwork on Jan. 2nd and by Feb. 21st of the same year, we welcome our 5th child, our beautiful son into our family. He was just a few months old. It was yet another miracle. Our family was complete.
part 8… rollercoaster ride
Do you like rollercoasters? They are unpredictable. Thrilling yet scary all at the same time. That is what most people like about them. And life is very much like a rollercoaster isn’t it? However, when God is in control they aren’t scary just thrilling.
In the same year our oldest son graduated from high school and our youngest son turned 1 year old, and it was also the year that my husband was let go from his job, so our next adventure began. Oh and it was also the year we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. Wow, what a year. You see we had never been without a job our entire married life. You could say that this was one area we felt secure. And we didn’t realize that our security was more in our job than in the Lord in this part of our life. And it wasn’t something we knowingly didn’t submit to Him, it was just where we found ourselves. I guess because we had never been without a job we had not found ourselves in the position of trusting the Lord completely for our provision. After all we had done pretty well up until this point.
God wants us to be totally dependent on Him. And He will shake things up in order to get our attention. And we are so thankful He did. It was and has been the most amazing part of our lives to this point. And we would not trade what we have learned and how we have grown in our relationship with each other and with the Lord for anything. And we also did not know how much we had to learn about trusting Him completely. But He as always has lovingly and patiently been with us every step of our journey. I can’t imagine doing it without Him.
part 9… still growing
And forever learning. And that is how I want to continue to live my life. Learning more about who God is every day and to be used by Him to tell my story to encourage others.
We could have so easily allowed doubt and fear of the unknown to paralyze us at this point. And we did have our moments I can assure you of that. Just as we had when we were going through all the miscarriages, but again it didn’t and never will take the Lord by surprise. He never changes even when everything in and around our lives does. He is our constant.
From the moment we became unemployed, we told each other we are going to trust the Lord, and be thankful for what He is doing in our lives right now. That doesn’t at all mean we were happy about our circumstances, but we trusted that the God who parted the Red Sea and took the Israelites through – not in the mud, but on DRY ground was the God we serve. And he is more than able to handle anything at anytime and bring us through as well.
I said from the beginning I would be transparent and honest with you. We had some rough days where our faith truly wained. There were tears and arguments, as the reality of where we were began to sink in. Money or the lack of can stir many emotions within us. I mean we had 5 kids, I had been a stay at home mom since our 2nd child was born and now we found ourselves working our way through what reserves we had built up. This was when my wonderful husband began to say “God’s got us” It became his response to me every time I would start to question and get anxious. In fact, he said it so much that even the youth in our church who we worked with knew it was his saying. And you know what? He was right. God has got us, all of us.
It has been almost 10 years since this happened. And so much has taken place that it would be a book if I tried to share it all. I will tell you we did secure another job, in the same industry and worked very hard for about 5 years. I would love to tell you that we never had any financial problems and that everything just came together perfectly for us. Well that wasn’t the case. We soon realized that God was taking us on a journey we didn’t think we were prepared for. And that was alright. We didn’t have to be prepared or have all the answers. We just had to seek the Lord and take the steps He directed us to take. After those 5 years, He then directed us to step out and open our own business. And again He proved himself faithful to us. Not that He ever has to prove anything to us, but He did. We were blessed that He brought others along side of us to encourage and help us as we took the necessary steps to set up our new business.
We started with nothing according to the worlds definition, but to us we started with everything, because the Lord was with us. This was His business and it has been an adventure from the very beginning.
Easy? not at all. Immediate financial rescue? not at all. Exciting? you bet! When God is in it, it can’t help but be exciting to see how and when He will work. And the growth we have experienced in our faith and trust in Him is worth more than anything. We are so very thankful for the lessons we have learned and continue to learn every day.
Well it sounds funny to say “conclusion” to a story that is still being written. Of course this is a condensed version but I can assure you that the parts that I didn’t include are much more of the same. One thing you need to know is this, my story is just that, it is, “my story.” And it is the story that the Lord is writing for me. Not that I haven’t taken the pen in my hand many times thinking I could do a better job. And as a result I made multiple dents here and there. Then I humbly hand it back to Him and He lovingly takes those dents and uses them for my good. And it will never ever matter what those “dents” look like. Whether I have run ahead without Him rashly making decisions, maybe walked away at times, or even during the roughest of days considered if He even cared about me. That is so hard for me to admit, but again none of my dents ands doubts catch Him by surprise. He is always the same, and is continually there gently reminding me of the love He has for me.
Romans 8:38 The Passion Translation (TPT)
38 So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles,[a] fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love.
So I will rest in this truth as He continues to write and direct my steps day by day. Knowing that in this truth is the greatest peace and joy that I can ever imagine. And that is my greatest prayer and desire for you as well.
Thank you for walking through my story with me. Revisiting some of these memories has been difficult to remember and put down in text. But even more it has been a tremendous reminder of the faithful hand of my Heavenly Father.