Friday, January 18, 2019

Grief. And the Joy we can find in it.

Grief. Grief is defined as 'deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone's death.' Some synonyms for grief are sorrow, misery, sadness, anguish, pain, heartache, heartbreak, regret. I have experienced many moments of grief in my life in many forms. I remember when I was 10 years old and my pawpaw died. I remember sitting around the dining room table at my grandma’s house and my dad, my aunt and uncles all talking about the memories, laughing through the tears. I remember being in the 4th grade and learning that our dog had died. I remember having my heart broken by a boy---another form of grief. I remember my grandma dying when I was an adult. Most recently though, this monster called Grief has taken on a whole new meaning in my life.
If you read my last blog, you learned that we suffered a miscarriage in July of 2018. I was 6 weeks and to say we were devastated would be an understatement. We both dealt with our grief in our own ways. And I don’t think it was necessarily the healthiest way for either of us, but we survived. We learned and we got through.
The months following we really learned to communicate with each other, we learned to laugh at the small things, to enjoy each other and the blessings we already had. We learned to trust God in a way that we hadn’t before. We learned to love each other all over again.
In November, we found out we were pregnant again. We were shocked. I was terrified. Miscarriage changes you. It changes the way you think, the way you view everything. I had never had a “healthy” pregnancy, so I didn’t know what it was supposed to feel like. So, everything I felt something that was “off” I panicked. All day, every day. Yet, at the same time we were excited. We waited until we were 8 weeks to tell our family (which we thought was better the 6 weeks we waited the first time). We were making plans, talking about him with our family, we were excited. The day after Christmas, a Wednesday, we went to our first sonogram appointment and it was horrible! The dr. didn’t tell us anything---he found out my age and my previous pregnancy history and that was it. We felt in that moment that he wrote me off, wrote us off. He told me that I would miscarry by the end of the week and to schedule a follow-up appointment by weeks end to make sure “everything turned out okay.” I was completely devastated. This was the baby God had promised us! Why would he allow this to happen? Why would He give him to us just to take him away? We left that appointment and Josh put me in my place. He reminded me of the promises of God and we decided in that moment that we were not giving up on our baby! We were going to fight for him because he could not fight for himself! So that is exactly what we did! We alerted our closest friends and family, we notified the prayer team at our church and we fought. Was it hard? It was very hard for me. My spirit was telling me one thing, but my head was telling me another. I’d been through this before and I told myself then that I would never go through this again…yet, here we were.
New Year’s Eve---Monday morning---I started cramping…I knew…I’ve felt this before, I’ve been through this before. We had friends over, we were celebrating the end of 2018 and I was in so much pain—I was losing my second baby in less than 6 months. Grief became so real to me, again, in that moment. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I carry a healthy baby? What did I do wrong? What did I eat that I shouldn’t have? What did I drink that I shouldn’t have? I should have exercised, etc.
We had a sonogram taken the following Wednesday and discovered that we had indeed lost the baby. I was 9 weeks.  I knew it. In my heart, I knew it. This time, our grief was different. We grieved together. We talked about it, we felt. We cried, we laughed, we got angry, we got sad, but we did it all together.  We felt it TOGETHER.  We named him Noah Isaac, meaning, "Peaceful Promise of God's Laughter."  He was ours and we loved him so.  It has almost been 3 weeks…so we are still grieving. We are still processing through loss. We still feel it—the sadness, the anger, the jealousy. Every time we see a baby, every time we see a pregnancy announcement, gender reveal, etc on social media, we grieve all over again. This kind of grief is unexplainable.
Yes, we are grieving and no we don’t understand BUT let me tell you this. We STILL know what God has promised. We STILL believe that He will give us our promised baby. We CHOOSE joy and SPEAK life over those babies we see, those parents who are expecting. We HOLD fast to the promised of the Lord and we know that His Word is truth. We will not stop planning, we will not stop believing, we will not stop preparing. And when we come to the day where we will hold that precious baby in our arms, we will not take him for granted, we will tell him of the miracle that he is and he will know how loved and thankful we are for him.
Miscarriages ensured I lost a certain innocence about pregnancy that I carried before. They also ensured I wouldn’t take cover under false promises or assume that life will turn out as expected. I am not entitled to happy endings, nor am I ungrateful for them when they come. If anything, suffering has made me appreciate joy more… but I will not demand it more. I can’t. I know too much.
I am seeing the faithfulness of God in the midst of the storm—while in the eye of it surrounded by eerie silence yet thankful to realize I’m still alive, I have also seen it while being tossed in the fray of it, gulping and gasping for a lifeline, wondering if a rescue boat will come before I drown. I’ve also seen it while safely back on shore, recovering under a blanket and wrapped in the comfort of love and sustaining grace. Here he is---God faithful within all. (It’s who He is. He can’t NOT be.)
I’ve also seen the faithfulness of God well AFTER the storm when the clouds are well and truly parted and the seas have grown still. I know the sun will rise in the east again tomorrow and the buds will eventually push their way through the barren winters. I know that LOVE ALWAYS FINDS ITS DESTINATION. I also know that new life comes after death---it’s the order of the world (made in light of heaven) and we can always hope for it and call it into being.
I understand how little I understand and I see Jesus anyway, through it all. He is the source of life as I know it and my hope rests securely in knowing he never stops creating, never stops reproducing life, never stops loving us into becoming more of ourselves.
Miscarriages are a real thing and they happen in 1 out of every 4 pregnancies and 20% of those women will have a recurrent pregnancy. This means that, more than likely, someone you work with, go to church with, someone in your family has experience a pregnancy loss. I’m tired of not being able to talk about it. My first miscarriage, I felt ashamed, I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone because no one understood. I felt like I should keep it a secret. With my second, it was different, because we had so many people praying, more people knew, therefore more people were praying for us, asked us questions, and showed their support. Through this miscarriage, I learned of the many women in my circle who had experienced a pregnancy loss of some kind. In some ways, this made it ‘easier’ for us to grieve, ‘easier’ for us to walk through.
So, if anything, this blog is not written for you to feel sorry for us. It is written to let you know that, if you have had pregnancy loss, you are not alone and it is not your fault. There isn’t anything you could have done differently. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Talk about it, share your story. I promise, it will help and I promise that time does heal. It never goes away, you always remember…I still have things to go through, but I am healing. And you will too.

Still Dreaming~

Drea

Friday, September 28, 2018

God is Good. ALL the time!

Wow!  It’s been almost 4 years since I have written last!  A LOT has happened in 4 years!  Let me catch you up…I met the most amazing man, and I married himJ  With him, came two adorable girls.  So, now I am a wife and a mom.  I am still teaching in Dallas, but that is slowly coming to a close as well.   
God is good.  ALL the time. 

Before I got married, I had this fairy tale idea of what marriage was going to be.  I knew it wasn’t going to be all rainbows and daisies, but I sure wasn’t prepared for the storms that would come.   Nor was I prepared for the simple thing of compromise.  You see, on my end, I was 36 years old when I got married.  I lived on my own for 2 years.  I had an education and a career.  I took care of myself, made my own decisions, did what I wanted to do, went where I wanted to go, and spent money when I wanted to spend it.  My husband, on the other hand, had 2 children, one of whom he had every other week for a full week.  He made the decisions, he raised the children, made the rules for them, etc.  When we got married, I moved into his house, their house.  They had a way of doing things, that wasn’t always my way.  That first year, wow!  It was tough…it was rough.
 We got to year 2 and thought we had made it past the hard stuff but little did we know…year 2 was crazy!  We got full custody of his 7  (at the time) year old.  Things dramatically changed for me.  I was okay with the week on week off.  I was mentally prepared for that.  I still got him to myself every other week.  For that one week, I was his everything.  I got his undivided attention.   Then on Valentine’s Day 2016, life as I knew it came to a screeching halt.  Now only was I know a full time mom…for this time, I was the ONLY mom.  Everything changed.  Date nights didn’t happen as easy, time alone didn’t happen as often.  We were now consumed with this little girl who had everything that she knew as familiar ripped out from underneath her.  We were answering questions that we should have never had to answer.  We were dealing with counselors, case workers, etc.  We were trying to navigate a scenario that we had been hoping we would never have to navigate, for months.  For me personally, I was dealing with loss.  I was dealing with the loss of my husband being just mine for a time.  I was dealing with these emotions of being a full time mom, raising a child that was not even biologically mine.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love her with every ounce of my being and for everything that matters, SHE IS MINE.   But, she was 5 when we got married and she was now 7…she had 7 years of influence from authority outside of me. It was tough.  Then to add a 10 year old who was now dealing with her sister ‘having more than her,’ was a whole other issue!  This was year 2.

Then we come to year 3…we are currently in year 3 and it has already proved to be heartbreaking and satisfying all at the same time!  We have finally formed ourselves into a blended family.  Josh and I are learning to communicate about our parenting better and better every day.  Hannah is much more adjusted and secure.  She is only talking to a counselor when we feel she needs a ‘checkup.’  This year holds some roads that we are unsure of how we are going to navigate them, but we do know the One who does know.  We have an almost teenager on our hands who believes that she is way smarter than us and knows way more than us, so pray for us!  Trying to filter our way through that is pretty muddy but like the millions of parents who have gone before us, we will manage and we will persevere—only by the grace of God!
This year 3 has also already held great loss and great pain.  On my 39th birthday, we discovered we were pregnant…something we have been waiting and praying for a year.  And 3 weeks later, we miscarried.  I believe that I have experienced a lot and been prepared for a lot, but this was something that I was never prepared for.  Not even a little bit.  The pain that came with this was heart wrenching.  I didn’t know you could already love someone that you had never met so much.  We made the ‘rookie’ mistake of telling the girls, they were so excited!  We planned, we told some family, never once thinking we would lose.  We knew this was God’s answer to our prayers, God’s miracle for us, and God’s prophecies fulfilled.   And then…I don’t think I will ever forget that feeling…and then having to tell my husband---made me feel like a failure.  He did his part, it was me.  Something was wrong with me.  I failed.  The emotions that came along with this loss…the thoughts, the hurt, the pain.  I was angry.  I was angry at God for taking him, I was angry at God for all of it.  I was angry at myself.  Then, we had to tell the girls.  Telling Hannah-someone who was so young and had already lost so much in her little life…she has stared loss in the face more times than most of us ever will…she has such a heart for people that her concern was that we were okay.  I remember her just trying to do everything ‘right’ to make things easier for me, for her daddy.  This baby had not been a reality in her little world for very long but she felt the loss. 
These emotions are still so real.  Jesus and I have had many conversations about this.  I still have a lot of questions that I know I will not get answers to until I see Him face to face…and there is a lot that I don’t understand.  We learned a lot about how we communicate with each other through this process and we learned a lot about grief.  Life wasn’t fair.  I felt like I had already grieved so much.  I grieved about the time I ‘lost’ with my husband when we got Hannah full time.  I grieved about the choices that others made that had in turn directly now effected the very life I knew.  There is so much to this story that I am not sharing at this time, the time will come.  I don’t know a lot.  But what I do know is that God is good.  ALL the time.  I have felt loss, I have felt pain, I have felt hurt.  BUT I have also felt joy.  I have felt health.  I have felt hope. 
That’s where we are at now.  We are hopeful.  We know that the promises of God are true.  We know that He does not lie.  We know that He is faithful.  We know that He is love.   So, we cling to this verse in Habakkuk 2:2 (Amp)

“For the vision is yet for the appointed [future] time
It hurries toward the goal [of fulfillment]; it will not fail.
Even though it delays, wait [patiently] for it,
Because it will certainly come; it will not delay."

Although we have experienced a lot of pain, we have also experienced a lot of joy.  We have experienced alot of good.  We have laughed until it hurt, we have loved and been loved until we felt like we would explode.  We have fought and we have won.  We are good.  Our family is good.  We will one day be a family of 5, but until that day, we will hold to the Father who has promised hope.  He is good and He does good!  God is good.  ALL the time!

Dreaming His Dreams, 

Drea

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015!!

2015...it's 2015.  I remember a time, a few years ago, when I didn't think I would survive the day I was in, much less ever make it to 2015!  One thing I know, God is faithful!  I love this blog, even though I have been horrible about keeping it up to date, I love it...why?  The things I have written here have been full of emotion, raw emotion.  Reading them takes me back to days, to moments that I would rather forget, yet, I am reminded time after time that God is faithful.  In my darkest moments, the biggest storms of my life, God was there....when I didn't feel like I was going to make it, He was walking right beside me.  In those moments of joy, those moments of celebration, He was also there with me...walking right beside me, rejoicing with me.
God has been faithful.  He has fulfilled many promises and there are many more He has left to fulfill, but He is faithful.  2015 is full of hope, full of anticipation.  2015 is ready and waiting for me to fill its pages with love, happiness, life.  I know that no matter what this year has in store for me, for my family, that He will be faithful and I will walk through  to the end of it.  2015 is going to be an amazing year:)

Dreaming His Dreams,

Drea

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hope deferred no more!

It’s been 6 months since I have written a blog…I guess you could say I got busy…no excuse.  I guess I went through a dry season…not necessarily a bad one, just different.  Now that I have a job, an apartment, I am learning to balance my time, and this blog just didn’t make the priority list.  Maybe it should have; this is what I love.  I love to write.  I do that better than I do most other things.  It’s hard for me, to say what I feel, what I am experiencing, what I am going through with my mouth…it’s much easier to write it down.  It is delivered much more clearly that way.
At the beginning of January, God sent me on a journey that was unexpected, but much needed.  He began to do things in me that I wasn’t prepared for.  He started dealing with some deep seeded things in me, from my past, that I felt I had already dealt with…and I believe that I did, but just like an onion, there are layers.  So in this new layer, I went to this amazing, prophetic, counselor who walked me through a process of healing, restoration, forgiveness, and identity.  She was a God-sent!  Through this process, I took a break from some ministry things that I was involved in.  This was a welcomed break, I must say.  Through this journey, this one of healing and independence, I have learned so much about myself, and about God.  
Independence—how exhilarating it has been!  I live on my own now; I have no roommate (unless you want to count my sweet Daschund ‘Adee’).  At times, I get lonely—rather I miss the noise…I lived with my sister and 4 nieces for a couple of years—but, this has been a great experience for me.  When I decided to live alone, I did so because I felt I needed to.  I needed to get to know myself, my style, the things I loved and the things I didn’t; before I got married and had to live withsomeone else for the rest of my life.  It has been amazing.  I have made my apartment a home.  It is still a work in progress, but it is mine:)
Dreams—one thing that God has done through this journey has been a reminding of dreams.  There are some dreams that He has given me that I forgot about, rather my heart became sick with a hope deferred.  I wasn’t seeing it happen, them happen.  From the outside looking in, you would think that they were happening.  I had my dream car, my dream job, and my dream of living on my own, etc.  Everything seemed to be unfolding right before me…but there were still…dreams of a ministry, dreams of a family, dreams…my heart was sick… “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12(NIV)... “Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around. (MSG).  When was it going to turn around for me?  When was I going to get that ‘good break?’  I felt like it was winter, there were no blooms on my tree, the leaves were gone, and the branches were bare and falling off the tree.  I didn’t know what to do.  
Through this process of counseling, independence, healing…God began to stir within my spirit those dreams once again…I know that I will get that family that I have so desperately wanted…I know that I will get to be a mom someday.   But this dream of ministry…this dream of living out my purpose, the destiny of what He has called me to…I will get that to.  There are some aspects of my life, of my dreams, that have been kept close, safe, and private.  Maybe because they seem to be much bigger than I, they seem to almost be impossible for ‘little ole me’ to ever achieve.  But if I have learned anything through this season, I have learned that He who is in me is greater…If my dreams aren’t big enough to ‘scare’ me, then they aren’t big enough.  God’s dream for me is muchbigger than I could ever dream on my own.  It is coming.  He has restored them into my heart.  He has given me the joy to hope again.  I can see it, I can taste it, and I can almost touch it.  I am going to change the world.  He is going to change the world through me.  I have a voice.  He has given me words to speak and for a long time I have been intimidated, by others around me who seemed stronger, my insecurities, etc…but when the time is right, I will speak them.  
You can read throughout this blog about the journey that God has taken my family on throughout the past 6 years…starting in October of 2008.  A journey that has been the hardest things we have ever gone through…but through this journey, one that we are still walking, we have become different people.  We have become, I hope, more like Him.  Loving people that maybe before we would have cast aside.  Welcoming people that maybe before were easy to judge. I have this increasing love for an entire community that I never thought twice about before; these men and women who are currently spending their lives behind 4 walls because of the power that Satan had over their lives.  I have a burden for thiscommunity whose hurts, rejections, and brokenness have made them turn to a lifestyle of homosexuality.  6 years ago, this group of people would have never been on my radar.  But now, my heart breaks, my heart grieves for both of these groups.  I don’t know what God has in store, how this will tie into the dreams that He has already placed in my heart, but I know I have a voice.  
I know this has been a random blog, but that’s how my mind is working right now.  I feel a change coming.  I don’t know, but I think it may be a lot of changes…location, physical, spiritual, etc.  It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it’s time!
Once again Dreaming His Dreams,
Drea

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Miss Independent

Independence...who would have thought it would have taken me 34 1/2 years to get to complete independence.  Almost a week ago, I moved into my first apartment without a roommate.  I am completely independent.  The emotions that I have experienced in doing this have been overwhelming; some were positive and some were negative.  I was full of excitement and fear at the same time.  I don't like change, even healthy change, because it's still change.  BUT I do know that this change was very good for me.  I am learning myself...learning who I am, what I like, completely independent from anyone else's influence, ideas, or opinions.  It's been fun and it's been interesting:) 
The last time I wrote a blog was in May...wow!  It's a new year already!  I have an amazing job with people that I love to work with!  I have a new car, and now I have a new apartment.  God has been completely amazing and faithful in my life!  Now, I just need for my brother to come home and all is well!:) 

I have learned that God is still faithful.  Even when I don't understand His ways, He only wants the best for me, and if I will get out of my own way, He will do wonders!  I am excited to see what this new year has in store for me and my family...God surprises are the best ones! 

Don't be a stranger!  I promise I will write more!:)

Dreaming His Dreams,

Drea

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dreaming!

I spent some time today looking through these blogs...I don't like to do it often because it brings back some memories, moments, emotions that I try not to remember alot;)  In October of 2010, I moved back to Waxahachie because I knew that God told me to.  That first SUnday in October, I went to my church, FFI, filled out my connection card, and put down three things underneath the heading 'prayer requests.'  1. A new job; 2. a new car; and 3. Shawn's SOON release. (that's exactly how I write it.).  Every Sunday since then, I have written down those exact three things...on April 24th, I got the exact job I wanted, teaching Kindergarten, making more money than I have ever made in my life...almost $15000 more.  On May 20th, I bought a BRAND NEW car.  So, for 2 years and 18 months, I wrote down all three things...for 2 years and 19 months I wrote down 2, and now I only have 1 to write down.  In less than a months time God answered two prayers of mine...my faith is set and my hope is high.  I have no doubt that my brother is coming home!  Why would God faithfully answer two, only to leave the last one remaining?  That isn't who my God is!
These past 2 1/2 years have been rough.  I have been tested and I wish that I could say I have passed with flying colors, but I can't.  What I can say is that HE IS FAITHFUL!  He has not only given me what I needed, but He has blown me away by giving me exactly what I wanted!  I mean, He has done things that should not have been possible, that weren't possible!   He has truly gone above and beyond what I could have ever hoped for!!! 
I know, I KNOW, that all this started when I set it in my heart, in my Spirit, to align myself with Him; to get everything in order.  When I moved here, I was a mess.  I didn't really see it, and I sure wouldn't have admitted it, but I was.  I had been in a relationship that was destroying me...we had ended things, but not really...we hadn't broken up emotionally.  It would be many months later, before that was taken care of.  I loved him, I truly loved him...no matter how wrong it was, or how much it shouldn't have happened...I loved him with everything that I was...I loved him hard.  He broke my heart, and he hurt me as hard as I loved him.  Slowly, I began to heal...slowly I began to allow the Lord to soothe the places that he has so painfully broken.  I believe it truly started when I attended the Ramp Conference and God restored some things in me that been stolen, or broken.  Slowly, I began to hear His voice again, I began to dream again.  I obeyed.  He asked me to move here and I did.  He asked me to trust Him and I did.  He asked me to desire Him above all else, and I did.  It was the absolute hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  I think about that decision all the time, I don't regret it, but sometimes I do wonder...and now I am FINALLY seeing His promises fulfilled.  It's a great feeling to know that I am exactly in the center of His will and He blesses me because He loves me:)  I can't wait to see what is next!  A husband maybe? lol
Trust me guys, the valley, the desert, is very hard and rough and painful, but in order to get to the top of the mountain it is necessary!  I am not on top of the mountain by any means, but I am closer, I am on the rise and it feels amazing!  I know now that I will not take my job, or my car, for granted because I KNOW that if it wasn't for Him, I wouldn't have them.  He is the giver of all things!:)  I just love Him.

Dream with Him because it is so worth it!:)

Andrea

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Caterpillers and Thunderstorms

I'm tired.  I'm just tired.  I'm tired of hoping and not SEEING anything happen.  I'm tired of trusting and believing in a promise that isn't being fulfilled...or atleast I'm not seeing it be fulfilled.  I'm tired of telling people that Shawn IS coming home, and having them look at me like I have completely lost my mind.  I KNOW that God is not a man that He should lie.  I KNOW that His promises are yes and amen.  I KNOW that He has promised us that Shawn will come home soon--and by soon, I mean sooner than the "law" says...they say he won't even be able to come home until 2021--God says, NO WAY.  God is bigger than any law.  He has promised!  I know all of these things...but when do I get to see it?  When do I get to hig my brother again?  When do I get to have a conversation with him that isn't over the phone?  When do I get to share my life with him and him share his with me?  I want a time.  I want a date.  My heart is growing weak and my hope is weary.  I know what His Word says, I know what He has said.  I guess I just simply need to be reminded once again.  Instead of him coming closer to being home, it seems like he's farther away.  I don't understand.  I just don't understand.
I know this isn't the happiest post in the world, but it is where I am at right now...maybe soon I will have a new post full of butterflies and rainbows:)  For now, you get caterpillers and thunderstorms...
Dreaming His Dreams but very tired,
Andrea