God made it very clear that He wanted me to take a leave of absence this year so....that is why I now have what is called "free time." I don't think I ever had much of that during the 5 years I was teaching!!
God has been so good to us these past 5 years. We can look back and see His providential hand guiding us through life. He led us to Pensacola where I began teaching.....and have loved every minute of it.....He led Jeremy to Olive Baptist where we have had the privilege to lead the middle school and high school students. Oh....so many memories the past 5 years from our little one bedroom apartment....buying our new little home in Pace....training for marathons and triathlons...meeting new friends...taking various fun trips.....making family memories...experiencing new adventures together and the list goes on.
Well.....this past year has had some awesome and incredible moments....but has also been the most challenging year that Jer and I have had to walk through together. In June of 2008, we found out we were pregnant with our very first baby!! We were surprised and filled with excitement! I remember going to our first appointment and seeing the little baby on the screen with a strong little heartbeat! We began to plan how we would surprise our families with the news! Of course, they all cried tears of joy when they found out they were expecting their first grandchild! So....for the next 5 weeks....I learned all about the first trimester and all about the process of "growing a baby!" We went in for our 10 week appointment.....super excited to see the growth of our little one! I remember we had to wait for almost 2 hours in that waiting room! Well, eventually we got in and they did the ultrasound......which resulted in the most painful day of my life. I remember seeing my little baby on that screen - tiny arm buds, little legs and a little head bowed downward. But......shortly after seeing that little image...I remember my doctor putting her hand on me and telling me, "I don't have good news." My stomach immediately sank.....I could feel my heart in my tummy as tears began flowing down my cheeks. She left Jeremy and I alone to take in the news together. Our baby did not make it......which took us down a path we had never walked before. We cried together, prayed together, sat in quiet together, questioned why together.....but most importantly we experienced a peace amidst the pain that we had never quite experienced. We knew our Lord Jesus was the only one who could offer us peace to endure the pain.....faith to move forward and hope for another baby one day.
Well, just a couple months later......we found out we were pregnant once again!! Oh.....I remember jumping up and down with excitement! I knew this was it.....God had brought us through the miscarriage and was now going to bless us with a healthy pregnancy and baby! We quickly shared the news with our family and everyone was praying for this new life. The doctors wanted to see me soon.....so in we went! Well, from the beginning - the doctor did not see what she wanted to see. There was no distinguishable baby growing....there were not signs of a healthy progressing pregnancy. I remember us asking questions......not again??.....would we have to face loss again??? Well, Dec. 31, 2008.....we lost our 2nd baby. This began another journey that we had never experienced. We dealt more with anger.....hurt...confusion and deep heartache this time. Why would God allow this to happen twice? Would we ever have a healthy pregnancy and baby? Will the hurt and pain ever go away? I remember one afternoon....sitting in my 1st grade classroom where all the walls were beautifully decorated for Christmas. We had made all our little Christmas crafts together to celebrate, hung our long red and white construction paper Christmas chain and written stories about why Christmas is such a special time......yet in my heart nothing seemed so special this year. I was hurting......and I began to cry. I grabbed my things and went home where Jeremy met me. I told him that I knew God loved me.....I knew He was in control and I wanted to praise Him. It had always been so easy for me to praise Him.....but it seemed impossible now. I asked Jeremy to take me to the beach. I knew that the beach always reminded me of the greatness of my God. So, we ventured out to the beach.......I remember sitting for hours...watching the sunset, looking at the expanse of the water and sky, listening tot he waves, burying my toes in the sand and slowly watching the stars appear on that clear dark sky. As we sat there......the Lord revealed His glory to me.....all creation worshipped Him....all creation brought Him glory that night. The moon....the stars.....the waves....they all praised Him. He was the creator of everything.....He puts everything into orbit....He holds the world in His hands....He counts the grains of sand......and He brings peace. This experience served as a reminder to Jeremy and me that no matter how chaotic or out of control the events in our lives may seem.......HE is holding it together in His hands. He has a plan......a purpose for everything that happens in our lives. Nothing happens by accident. And oh, how I praise Him for being my sovereign, providential, loving Father.
Jeremy and I began to pray every day for peace, faith and hope as we continued down life's journey. The doctors began running countless tests on me......and through each day God began to open doors for me to share our experiences with others. It amazed me how even through our suffering and pain we were able to bring hope to others walking though difficult circumstances. We felt God prompting us to share our story with our high school students one Wednesday night......and so we obediently did just that praying that God would use our story to encourage them that our God is in control and gives us all we need to face life's most difficult challenges.
The day after we shared with the students, my doctor called and told me that they found a genetic blood clotting disorder....which they believed was the cause of my 2 miscarriages. So.....they diagnosed me with PAI-1 and MTHFR. I began taking a baby aspirin every day along with extra B6, B12 and Folic Acid. Jeremy and I had been praying that they would find an easy fix for our losses......and this prayer was now answered!
We spent our spring and summer busy...busy! I stayed busy teaching my little 1st graders....which God used each and every day to bring joy to me. Their precious smiles.....loving hugs.....innocent little faces each day were truly a blessing. It was during the last few months of the school year that the Lord made it very clear to me that He wanted me to take a leave of absence this year from teaching. So........that is what we decided would be best! Take a year to rest......and allow my body to completely heal from the losses.
Our summer was of course very busy!! I think I counted that we were only home 4 days in July!
We had camp, youth trips and our mission trip to Illinois. The summer could not have been more perfect. I was able to go on every high school trip.......build relationships with the students and serve the Lord on the mission trip along side Jeremy. Well, the day after we returned from our exhausting and physically grueling mission.......I found out I was pregnant again!!!!! YAY!!! God's timing was once again so perfect!! I was able to enjoy the entire summer with Jeremy.....our high school students.....family trips........and begin what would have been my "school year" growing a new little baby! So....that brings us to this new pregnancy.....