burdened

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Long…

Married my college sweetheart. Started graduate school. Found out I was pregnant two years into graduate school. Found out the baby had a severe abnormality. Denied care by UCLA Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia and another hospital in Florida. A hospital and doctor in Oklahoma were willing to take a risk and had me sign 1.2 million wavers to “try” something during my pregnancy. Twice a week I was admitted to the hospital where they would use a special ultrasound machine to guide a needle into my uterus to take fluid out of the baby and inject it back into the uterus so that the baby would have fluid. He was born prematurely with 0% kidney function. They sat on the side of my bed and told me he would never survive and I needed to be wheeled to his bassinet in the NICU. He was discharged with partially functioning kidneys 5 weeks later. Many surgeries, hundreds of doctors visits, a little brother and a little sister later he started pre-K. When he turned 6 his kidneys began failing and my husband was approved to be his kidney donor. At 4:30 on the morning we were scheduled to go to the hospital our home phone rang and the voice on the other end of the line said there was a possible kidney match for our son but we needed to drive 2.5 hours to the hospital to being the process of proving the match. At 5:30 the next morning our son received the gift of life from a complete stranger- March 31st 2011.

July 4th 2011 my husband came home to tell me he had been having an affair (actually several over the years) and was broken. He left our house that morning not knowing what would come of our family. My three babies were asleep upstairs and I sat alone downstairs trying to breathe. I called him and told him to come home… I was worship leader at our church as we were told that we shouldn’t tell anyone. My husband took a leave from being the band leader and just worked his 9-5 job while I led worship every sunday through a mask…

Beauty from ashes. Discovered I was pregnant with our 4th child in April of 2013. He was transferred from Tulsa to Oklahoma city and we moved two weeks before she was born. Our oldest son, the kidney recipient, became very ill and was hospitalized 3 times that winter for pneumonia. New baby, New town, Alone and now a child was in the hospital. Fast forward to October 2014…

He received a job offer and we moved our family to Katy, TX. I attended IF Austin with a complete stranger who happened to be also from Katy, TX and we met for the first time through IF…

I was in love with life. In love with Jesus. In love with my husband. In love with my children……. but angry.

Why in the world had I had to go through so much to end up alone 400+ miles from my friends and family. Why was I miserable but so full?

February 2015 God told me it was time to share our story of redemption. So we did. In a blog we shared what we had been through. Brian, my husband, shared his story and we both shared how God was moving in our hearts. We didn’t know what to expect but we told God we would do “anything”…. 30 minutes after the post went public our phones started ringing. Our emails started dinging on our phones and FB started blowing up. We didn’t answer the phone calls because we didn’t know how to answer them. One phone call came late that night from a dear pastor friend of ours. Weeping he told us he thought he was alone and was a failure in the ministry and shared what he had been living through. Story after story after story. We began walking with people all over the world through the messiness of marriage. Some were healed. Some were not.

May 2015. Lonely. Talking to people everyday. Helping them through life with whatever I could get from God…. but I was lonely. Friendships were forming in our new hometown but I was getting frustrated because it just seemed that we were always the ones helping and walking with others while getting nothing in return. Where was the tribe I was supposed to become a part of here? Where was the circle of friends we were supposed to have? I broke down…

I was reading “anything” and starting to get very emotional as I read it so I was reading it early in the mornings in our office so that my sobs would be muffled.

Yesterday, June 23rd, I prayed to God. I told him that I was willing to do anything.

I have a child who is not allowed to travel to Africa due to disease risk so that is out of the option for us. I have small children who cannot sit still long enough for me to go volunteer countless hours at the human traffic redemption center. There are things that in this season on my life I cannot do so I dared him….

I told God that if me walking through this life lonely and helping others through their hurt and disappointments is what he wanted he had to prove it to me. I told him that he had to give me a very specific answer and make is clear. I told him that if he would do this I would fall into his arms, regain my composure as he wipes my tears and I would walk this road during this season….. if that is what he wanted. I prayed the “anything prayer” and then I sat. Most of the night I was up still emotional and just not able to rest.

I got up this morning and took three of our little creatures to VBS. On the way there I got three messages from different people needing comfort, encouragement, prayer. I answered only one of them and was still, in my heart saying, “God, prove it.”

I get home and put our youngest down for a nap and pick up a devotional that I had been reading off and on since September 2014. My book mark opened the page and this verse was there….

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3

He answered.

My anything: walking with the burdened and broken….