Monday, June 1, 2009

if you read nothing else, you might want to read this one

Have you ever had a time in your life during which everything seemed to be falling apart?

Nothing was working out as you thought it would? And then you realized later that things weren't falling apart at all, but actually falling into place?

That has sort of been the story of my life this year. It's been a few months of the unexpected. And I have debated how much of it to share here on the blog. But it's gotten to the point now that it's hard to write about day-to-day stuff without filling you in on the bigger picture.

For those of you who are around me in real life, you know many of the facts of this story. I hope you will read it anyway.

It's always a little scary to get too personal here since you really don't know WHO might be reading at any time. And once you put something out there, it's OUT THERE.

But I have some things that I really need to tell you. I have a million funny stories I've had to hold back, so I'm ready to just lay it all out.

So, hold on.

I apologize in advance that it's the longest post in the history of the universe. I have edited this post a hundred times over the last six weeks, but I just can't tell you this story without telling the whole story. I promise, you will want to read to the end.

It might be a little more serious than usual. I hope you'll stick with it anyway.

Here we go!

**




This year has felt really odd to me right from the start.

When January rolled around, instead of plotting out all of my goals for the year, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do.

I just sat. And prayed. And asked God, "Isn't there more than this? What should I be doing with my time this year?"

I was really excited about a Bible study that I would be starting in a few weeks with a group of women from my church.

We were doing a study called, "Esther: It's Tough Being a Woman."

I was excited about starting this study because the theme of this book of the Bible seemed to hit me right where I was at in life.

For such a time as this.

If you don't know much about it, Esther was the quintessential example of being in the right place at the right time. Actually, she was right where God needed her to be at exactly His perfect time.

Adopted by her uncle, Esther won a beauty contest to become the queen of Persia. Thrown into this place of power, she was able to save her people, the Jews, from annihilation. She was right where she needed to be for such a time as this.

Well, my life certainly wasn't at such an extreme turning point as Esther's. But I felt that I was reaching a crossroads. And I was asking God why he had placed me here, now, and which direction I should go. I was praying that during the study, the path would become clear.

**


During the past eight years of being a mom, I felt like I had become an expert at juggling.

With three kids each born less than two years apart, I have balanced and organized and created systems to make things work. I have run a successful business out of my home during naps and room time and Barney and puzzles.

But finally, the path in front of me was starting to look wide and clear.

Both boys would be in school all day in the fall. And my daughter, who has been hanging out with Mom this year, would be starting three-day preschool. I could only imagine those hours of 9 to 11:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

That would give me 7.5 hours a week for me. Me. Me. Me.

Imagine, 7.5 hours that were all mine. MINE!

But what exactly should I be doing with that time?

Move ahead with my business? Focus more time on ministry at church? Pursue some other dreams, like publishing my everydayMOM planner? Or try something new?

With my 40th birthday approaching, it almost seemed symbolic. A new decade. New opportunities. New goals.

For such a time as this.

But little did I know that wasn't all that was happening in my life...

**



Many of you were here with me when I started the countdown to my 40th birthday. Oh, that beautiful 40 days of 40.

I realize that numbers aren't that big of a deal to a lot of people. But for me, my milestone birthday seemed symbolic in so many ways. A fresh start. A chance to try something new.

And I was staring at those 7.5 hours of free time with great anticipation.

Then, in early March things started to change. You might have gathered from some of my previous posts that one of my children has some struggles in school.

We have been to all sorts of specialists looking for direction. To say it's been a confusing journey with lots of conflicting information would be an understatement.

What I had assumed to be a given for the next school year was suddenly in doubt. My modus operandi at this point would typically be to start spinning in a mad fury to find another solution. But this time, I felt an immense sense of peace.

Wait. Just wait.

God had a plan for my son. And even though the path looked cloudy and full of obstacles, we would find a way. And that way would. be. good.

To make a very long story short, we are considering the idea of homeschooling. This, in and of itself, is a minor miracle. I'm not sure who was more repulsed by the idea in the past. Me or my kids? I have never wanted to be a teacher. I don't like to teach. I would rather do anything than try to be a teacher. And I would like my kids to have a teacher who isn't ME!

But as we have delved further into the issues we face, it seemed to become more and more clear that perhaps the best person for this job is actually the last person I would expect. Me.

**

Umm. But maybe you forgot about my 7.5 hours? My time to pursue my dreams? My. My. My. Me?

A homeschool mom? Ugh. Not exactly what I had planned for my glorious 7.5 hours of weekly freedom!

But I was starting to warm up to the idea. Not that I could envision wonderful lesson plans and creative learning strategies. But I could imagine a child who wasn't frustrated with trying to keep up with his class. A kid who had time in his day to focus on the areas that were holding him back. And an 8-year-old who had time to play. Who wasn't stressed. Or crying.

And that was starting to motivate me.

Oh, but there's more...

**




Let me go back and tell you about something else that was happening during this time.

As much as I try not to mention this in every conversation, many people know that for the past two or three years I have been a little obsessed with the idea that someone is missing from our family.

Yes, missing.

It's like there's a hole in my heart. The hole of a fourth child.

I want to cry every time my daughter brings a new imaginary sibling into the family. I was afraid to let my husband give away the crib and the strollers. I often think that we have deprived someone of life. And I think about it ... a lot.

So, as I approached my 40th birthday, the pain of this obsession increased. My husband and I had already ruled out the possibility of me giving birth to another child, and once I passed that 40th threshold, it just seemed that the door would be slammed shut.

I started talking to my husband about adoption. But the expense and time involved seemed overwhelming.

I did my best to stop obsessing about this longing, but it was getting worse.

I knew I had to give it to God. It seemed to me that if my heart was wanting something so badly, that perhaps He put that desire there to begin with. And if He did, then He could show us how it would come to be. Or he could take it away.

I decided it was up to Him. I had no answer. My husband had no answer for me.

But just as I was starting to celebrate my 40 days of 40, God was giving us an answer. We just didn't know it yet...

**




It was April 6. I needed to make a doctor's appointment.

I knew that the doctor would ask me if there was any way that I could be pregnant. I knew the answer was no. But I really couldn't explain some mysterious symptoms I was having.

Fine. I'm just going to prove this to myself. I don't know WHAT is happening, but it can't be THAT!

I waited for the biggest waste of $10 on the planet to reveal the information I already knew perfectly well. There was no way.

But something wasn't quite right. Why was that dim pink line starting to form? That will go away in a minute.

Wait. I better re-read the directions. I thought it said the second line was the control. Not the first.


Maybe it's upside down.

Hang on. The second line is pink now, too.

For. such. a. time. as. THIS?!?

**



I started to cry. I was overwhelmed by panic. Then fear. Then shock.

And then a calm washed over me. I had a moment of complete clarity: For some reason, God in heaven stopped what he was doing and reached down and gave me a gift. I prayed. He listened. He answered.

Trust Him.

There are so many worries that try to pop in my mind. I have grown to hate the three words, "advanced maternal age" and all they represent.

But I am blessed. God has given me a gift. He has given our family a gift. And he knows exactly what gift we need most.

One of the biggest lessons we learned during our Esther study was about THE HOW? We aren't responsible for THE HOW. God will take care of THE HOW.

When I'm looking at a situation thinking HOW will I ever get through this one, there's one simple answer. He is there with me. He will get me through it.

**



I have been waking up every morning for the last few months wondering if this is a dream.

Then, the nausea and fatigue set in and I come back to life. It's real. It's crazy. It's not what I expected. It's a gift.

I was at a crossroads five months ago when I started asking God which direction I should turn. A detour popped up along the path. It wasn't the wide, open road that looked so sunny and easy to travel. But, as a friend mentioned during our study, sometimes you realize that the detour IS the path.

It could be a crazy ride.

Homeschooling three kids.

A newborn in the family.

I definitely won't be worrying about what to do with my 7.5 hours of freedom.

It's not the gift I expected for my 40th birthday.

But I couldn't be more thankful.




Related posts you might like:
the midwife
jayda
advanced maternal age

29 comments:

clc said...

WOW!!!!

i'm speechless! but i'm also very, very happy for you because god knew there was someone missing, as did you, and now...here she/he comes!

when are you due?

did i say wow already?

Cindi said...

Emily!!! That really is a roller coaster! I am so happy for you! You will have to talk with Jennifer Blais at convention - she had that same 4th child hole and they now have their 4th and the hole has been filled :)
Congratulations, girl!

Maggie said...

Congratulations! May God continue to bless you, your family and your little one on this journey is has for you.

Crystal said...

Congratulations and best wishes on a happy and healthy 9 months!

everydayMOM said...

Thanks for the nice wishes... CLC, I'm due Dec.10... I made it through the first trimester, so I'm really starting to feel much better!

Sarah said...

Amen, Emily. Amen!

Anonymous said...

Oh Emily!!! How exciting!!! I'm pretty sure I will not be topping this for my 40th. I am just so pleased for you. I remember when you first became an aunt and you were worried about the baby's head falling off. You've come a long way baby! You are a splendid mother! What a lucky family! What a lucky baby!
:)Lynn

Jane Anne said...

Oh how wonderful!!! I hope your morning sickness is going away a bit since you are done with the 1st trimister. Mine usually subsided around that time.

Congratulations!!! What an exciting time for your family.

I love having 4 kids- you will too. God really gave you a great 40th birthday gift!!

everydayMOM said...

Lynn... you are really closing in on 40 now!! PLEASE don't make any attempts to "top" me. hahaha.

Jane Anne... Yes... morning sickness has let up for the most part. I can even make it the whole day without a nap!

Anonymous said...

Wow Emily! Congratulations! That is awesome! I can totally see you being an awesome homeschool mom & teacher!! Things happen for a reason! You truly are blessed!!
Laurel

marsaab said...

Emily!!! And, KENT!!!! It astounds me that your symptoms for this new addition were close to mine...when the twins turned three, I always felt like someone was missing...I needed to belt 'one more' in the car...I just thought it was because there were two of them! This is a miracle that you are going to feel every moment of...enjoy and praise God for it...ride all the waves of emotion...and know that I am SO excited for you and your family! And, I feel very much in awe of Our Great God!!!

Angie said...

Wow! What a story! I'm reading your blog for the first time... what a post to start with! Congratulations to you and your family. TRULY a gift!

Gretta said...

Hi Emily! Congratulations! Wow! :)

Suz said...

Congrats, Emily! God has you on quite a journey!

Jenny-Jenny said...

Dear Emily,
What an exciting new adventure! How wonderful it is to see so vividly the hand of the Lord in your life. Sometimes it is overwhelming to KNOW that God is not only aware of you but truly loves and cares about you and your family. It won't be an easy year but it will be wonderful!
Love, Jenny

everydayMOM said...

Jenny-Jenny, You really said that so well. It has been so overwhelming to see God's hand guiding my path. I just have to hang on and trust him!

Marsha, I knew you could relate! Thanks for your encouragement!

Tyson Aschliman said...

Ummmm... WOW!

Wonderful post! Praise God and God Bless You!!!

See you guys soon.

Corrie said...

I've been "lurking" here for a while, thinking I had little to say. Now I feel compelled to express how much I identify with you. My second child was 6 when we found out I was pregnant again. This was our first year of homeschooling, the last few weeks with a newborn. Interesting to say the least. I remember feeling very overwhelmed at the onset of this homeschooling year, wishing I knew someone who was walking the same path...so if you get overwhelmed remember you're not alone! God's grace is indeed enough- even when I am in tears at my insufficiency! His blessings on you and your family and you all prepare for the adjustments to come. You will love watching what homeschooling can do to improve your kids' relationships with each other and with the Lord. I have enjoyed that so much.

LaurieHintz said...

Crying here! Touching, giving it all up to God and patiently waiting for the answer. Kuddos to you for responding to God's call to home school your children. Your children are blessed to have you as a Mother.

Amy said...

Hi there,
Just wanted to give you some encouragement on your homeschooling and having a baby at 40. We started homeschooling our oldest after he had a hard year in kindergarten. Just wasn't learning like the others. We had him tested and they said he would get behind in first grade and then they would help him. This didn't make sense to us. But what to do... One friend suggested homeschooling, but how was I to help him, I am NOT a teacher, and he needed special help. The NEXT day, another friend suggested I homeschool, and God turned a light on in my head and it made perfect sense. And so we began. And it has been the BEST thing ever for that son and all the kids after him. It is our way of life and we love it. We will be starting our 10th year this fall. And that son is truly a good student and was never labeled in school, so doesn't know that he was just poky at the start.
The day after my 40th birthday, I found out I was pregnant with baby number 6! I was pretty sure I was, but didn't want to find out before my birthday. He is a healthy 10 month old and we couldn't imagine our life without him!
If God is in it, no matter what, it will be best for you and your family!
Sorry this is long, but I wanted to share a bit about us to encourage you.

Krista Jiroutek said...

Oh my... how exciting! So I am reading about your son and allergies and I see the picture of the baby spinning. HUH?
WOW.... I am so happy for you and Kent! I'm sure the kids are super excited! Congrats!

everydayMOM said...

Thank you all so much for the comments. Each one makes me feel so good. You have all been so encouraging and I really appreciate it that you took the time to write a note. =] em

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

Oh my word, I can't *believe* I missed all that... I'm so excited for you, for the fourth baby and the opportunity to see what God has in store for your family with possibly homeschooling... I'll be praying for you! :)

PS I was homeschooled all of the way through, and studied Education in college, so if you ever want the good/bad/ugly/beautiful rundown lol, let me know... sounds like it could be a wonderful new adventure for you and your family though!

Janet said...

Just have to send you a huge HUG!!!! It's amazing the things that happen when we take the time to listen for what the right path is. I'm so excited for you and all the positive experiences that are just ahead. Looking forward to hugging you for real at convention. Thank you for sharing this great story!

FrugalinLA said...

Thank you. I have wanted a fourth baby for four years. I have felt like someone is missing from my family too and I thought I was the only one whoever felt that way. Your story is very inspiring.

We are THAT Family said...

What a beautiful story of God's plan revealed to you! Thank you for sharing it with me!

Anonymous said...

So I guessing you didn't get the memo about the human overpopulation disaster here on earth? We are destroying the earth's biosphere with our sheer numbers. We are in fact a plague of biblical proportions.....I pray about it every night.

ashley said...

My 4th baby was a surprise, too---isn't it wonderful when God takes us on an unexpected adventure?
Enjoying your blog a lot! Thanks for sharing!

Janice said...

thanks for sharing. i also did the Esther Bible Study last Spring. Congratulations!

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