the struggle.

real

{source}

the struggle is real, y’all. and sometimes when i open my bible instead of throwing a temper tantrum like my nineteen month old, i realize it is the way it’s supposed to be. recently, i’ve been settling into the book of romans and am learning about the struggle of the oh so wise, paul. he calls himself a servant, and recognizes that means he is to embrace the struggle.

i hate the struggle. i get depressed by it. i get beat down by it. and i think to myself, in all my righteousness and complete darkness, if i am doing the right thing- things will shake out in my favor. sometimes they do turn out the way i have planned. but sometimes, they don’t, even when i’ve prayed, and prayed hard.

i am learning that paul prayed hard, he lived out a life worthy of the gospel. he was always ready to preach, serve, and suffer. he probably was the first one to raise his hand when the church hosted a clean up saturday. he probably put a post-it note on his bathroom mirror to remind him to pray for his preacher, and actually did it… and paul, beyond that, he was ready to die. because that’s what being a servant of jesus christ looks like sometimes. it’s not always a fun time. sometimes it’s really, really hard.

recently, while reading a commentary on romans one using blue letter bible, i read a truth that wrecked me…charles surgeon in his great wisdom said: ” i do not suppose that paul guessed that he would be sent there {rome} at the government expense, but he was. the roman empire had to find a ship for him, and a fit escort for him, and he entered he city as an ssador in bonds. when our hearts are set on a thing, and we pray for it. God may grant us the blessing; but, it may be, in a way that we never looked for. you shall go to rome, paul; but you shall go in chains.”

i’ve read these words a 100 times now and i can’t help but put myself in paul’s shoes. if i had known the stakes, would i have been so eager to follow Christ? i would have pitched a fit and said, “but, look at what i’ve done. i don’t deserve this. ” i’ve been a christian for over 20 years (by the way, they think paul had been a christian for that long when he wrote romans) and i haven’t learned to live like paul. i still feel entitled to an easier road.

i don’t deserve the easy road. and i am learning through the words of paul that i am to embrace the struggle- whatever that looks like. if i am pursuing a life worthy of the gospel- a life for Him- i have to commit to a life free from grumbling and be satisfied with the truth that He is in the struggle seeing me through regardless of the outcome.

Birth Story- Ellias Patrick

E  had a cold this week. While cuddling him, I thought about all the moments I wanted to remember from his first days. I know, there’s already many, in the last nineteen months, I’ve lost because of busyness and distractedness, but it prompted me to want to make an effort to preserve the sweetness of motherhood and beauty of life. 

The most glorious memory to date has been his birth. On Monday, June 22, 2015, my life changed forever. While E was growing in my tummy, I would think about things he would do and ways he would bring joy into my world, but when I studied him outside of the womb for the first time, I knew these thoughts wouldn’t even match the reality of his impact on me— and our entire family. {photo below is the first time I actually got to admire him on the outside.}

FullSizeRender

 

I went into labor at 2 AM after taking a clary sage oil bath before bed. I labored until 5 AM before I woke my husband and that was after calling my mom to see if she thought I was really in labor. My sweet husband helped get things ready for the ride to the hospital, called his mom to help with our daughter, and timed my contractions for an hour. While at home, my water broke shortly after my mucous plug fell out (somebody should have told me what that experience would be like). We arrived at the hospital around 6:30 AM. It is worth noting that my parents beat us to the hospital.

I labored naturally until 11 AM and then made the decision to receive an epidural. While laboring naturally, I preferred to labor in the bathroom at the hospital while holding the handicap bar. My sister read scripture and affirmations to me to help me stay focused. The decision to get an epidural came after I could no longer walk around or get into the tub as I couldn’t keep the heart monitor on because of sweat… They asked me to lay in the bed as that was the only way we could monitor the baby and the pain became unbearable once on my back.

I moved to another room to get the epidural and still had little progression. My midwife brought me a peanut ball (genius invention) to labor with and had me roll over from side to side. Each time I rolled, little man’s heart rate would drop and I’d have to go back to my back. This went on for hours and they made a decision to start a pitocin drip to try and get him to progress. This dropped his heart rate some more and because of the time spent laboring, I had to stop the pitocin and also get an amniotic transfusion.

Around 7:00 PM, my midwife came in and explained that something was causing his heart rate to drop each time we tried to progress delivery and she was recommending a cesarean. Until this point, I had been relatively calm, rolling with the punches, and taking each adjustment to my birth plan as it came. But, when she said cesarean, I burst into tears. Once I calmed down, I felt fortunate, because I knew the physician that was going to deliver as we had followed him early in pregnancy. I was quickly rolled to the operating room and my husband scrubbed and stood at my head along with the anesthesiologist. The physician came in the room said, “charge my phone” and a couple minutes later at 7:49 PM our sweet Ellias Patrick was in the room, 21 inches long and weighing 7 lbs 14 oz . I remember looking at my husband and asking “is that our baby?”. Jason, my husband, showed me the baby and went to the nursery with him. He had a red bump on his forehead because he was trying to drop in the birthing canal, but his umbilical cord was in the way (the need for a cesarean).The anesthesiologist stayed with me and rubbed my head until I was back together and birthing shakes were under control (a side effect of the epidural). {photo below is the first image I remember of my sweet boy}.

4E9B6870-91B6-4669-91FA-90084CAFDF99

The nurses rolled me back to my room and I was finally able to cuddle. In that moment, all of the pain, anxiety, and uncertainty from the last several hours faded away. From that moment forward, I have been in complete awe of the whole experience. Not only because the Lord richly blessed me with a perfect baby boy, but also because he gifted me with an incredible support system. My husband, parents, mother-in law, sister and brother-in law, helped me greatly by comforting me, caring for my oldest, and keeping me in a positive frame of mind. My medical team- nurses, midwife, and ultimately physicians, helped make sure E was protected and healthy during this the entire ordeal. For all of these things, I am grateful and humbled.