Thursday, March 7, 2013
Rough Spots and How to Get Through Them
Have you ever looked back on a part of your life and wonder how you even survived?? Like if someone had told you beforehand what was going to happen, you might have just locked yourself in the bedroom and never came out? Or maybe hopped in the car and ran away?
I have actually had 3 absolute terror of times that really define the above for me (I am only going back as far as I've been married). I would like to share them with you, as well as my views on those times now, and most importantly...how I got through them. If you are going through an especially tough time now, I hope I can encourage you a bit :).
Hard time #1. Miscarriage. I lost my 2nd child at 14 weeks pregnant. I had some spotting so made an appointment right away. The Dr found no heartbeat. It was such a shock, and did not feel real to me at first. Having to tell friends and family was really hard. I was embarrassed for some reason. Like I was insignificant because my body couldn't keep a baby alive (which isn't even true!). I had to have an emergency D & C the next day because my body went into miscarriage but I was too far along to pass it myself.
It was such a lonely feeling to lose a child. I still feel the sting once in a while, even though it was 7 years ago.
I remember what really helped me in those first couple weeks was holding my 1 year old daughter. She was such a comfort to me! I know for a fact that God sometimes shows us his Love through the innocence of a child. And that is exactly what happened in this instance.
My oldest (this pic taken at age 4)
Four months later, I became pregnant again. We were so excited!! I went in for routine bloodwork. That night the nurse called me. "Your hormone count is really high. This means either you have twins, or something is wrong."
That night I broke down. I told God that if I lose this baby too, I am not having any more! In hindsight, I wish I would have rested in Him. But, I didn't. I was heartbroken.
Long story short, everything was fine with that pregnancy. And, it wasn't twins, either. Just a [very hormonal?] baby boy!
But we balanced it out with a very unhormonal name- Alexander Troy.
Sometimes I sure don't understand why bad things happen like this. It wasn't a product of anything we did, and we couldn't have prevented it. But now, looking back, I think that it made me stronger. It made me appreciate my pregnancies and the miracle of bringing a life into this world. It gives me a source of "I've been there" comfort to other Moms. And it also helped me to learn that God has my back- when it seems hopeless, a great blessing could be just moments away! This is why when bad things happen now, I try to look at it through goggles of faith. Remembering that when God closes one door, another one always opens.
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Hard time #2. RSV. I had my 3rd (and final) child on February 16th, 2009. Prime RSV (which is basically a fancy word for a bad cold) season. When my daughter was 2 weeks old, we all had to take a trip to the Dr. because everyone was sick! My son was the worst. He was wheezing and it concerned me. Really, I only decided to take all 3 because of him. Figured I may as well.
As it turns out, my older two were fine. Breathing treatments and a little antibiotics and they were set. Then she looks at Sonja, my 2 week old. I had thought she was the "healthiest" of them all. But, when the Dr. listened to her lungs, she said "You need to take her to the hospital".
I was NOT expecting that. My sister in law had luckily came with me to the appointment, so she took the older 2 home while I headed to the hospital.
The first day there was an utter nightmare. You can read my post on it HERE. I stayed pretty strong until they had to do the spinal tap. I had to leave the room. I called my Grandma (who is a nurse) and just broke down.
The doctors kept teling me "babies that breastfeed don't get sick. She may have an autoimmune disease". I was scared to death, and began thinking the worst- that I could lose my new child.
Of course, the Dr's were wrong, and she just had RSV, even though she was breastfed.
We spent a week at the hospital. They had to continually deep suction her lungs and give her antibiotics via IV. I was frazzled beyond comprehension. This week was also the week of my midterms for my college courses, and my other 2 babies were sick at home. It was one of the worst weeks of my life!
At one point, I was so sleep deprived that when I changed my daughter's diaper, I just left it on the ground. I felt like I couldn't even move. The nurse came in and freaked out! She lectured me out germs, laziness, etc. When I think of that nurse now, I picture horns on her head! HA, ok not really. But, at the time, I could not believe the mean words she was saying. I broke down and sobbed. When my family came in later that day, I told them what happened. Boy did they make sure the head nurse heard about it!
So, how did I get through it? Well, I survived! For the most part, I didn't let myself think of what was actually going on, I just dug my heels in and barrelled through. Almost like an autopilot...I felt like if I actually sat down and pondered what was going on, I wouldn't make it through. I still believe that way. I asked for a lot of prayer, and I felt those prayers. I leaned on my family and friends when everything got to me (the spinal tap and the diaper woe). Looking back now, I see that my daughter is super healthy, and such a vital part of our family. I also see that God knew this whole time that she would be fine- and while we can only see the present, He is all knowing. That is, again, why I have decided to trust Him with everything. Not trusting Him, to me, is like getting all bent out of shape over something my husband did before having a chance to hear him out. He usually has a good reason for what he does, but if I set it in my mind that he was wrong, I miss that.
"The stars may fall, but God’s promises will stand and be fulfilled."–J. I. Packer
Hard Time #3 I don't even know what to title this one!
We own a landscaping business, and winters can be slow. So, we got a great idea to sell Jason's uncle's Christmas trees! It would help us to get through the slow season and maybe we could actually have a nice Christmas!
That was SO a bad idea.
How I began to view Christmas trees
Not only did we lose $10,000 that we didn't have, I also had other stressors during that time-
#1- our business got audited, and I am the company's bookkeeper
#2- I was going to college full time
#3- my oldest daughter was having frequent fevers of 105 (which later was diagnosed as reflux of the kidneys).
So, what this meant basically was- the kids and I helped run the Christmas tree lot (unless my daughter had a fever, then we mostly had to leave that to Jason), then I did my college work, and in between there I had to work with my accountant (which was NOT a good thing, she messed up on our taxes pretty royally) and the auditor. All the while we were losing money daily.
You know how with the other "hard times", I can say "looking back, this is how I got through". No, not this one. I have NO idea how we got through this one. It was nothing short of the grace of God. I DO know that I just didn't let myself break down. I knew if I did, I would give up. I had learned a little bit from my other hard times, and that "this too shall pass". The tree lot and the audit had time stamps. If I could just hold up until January, they would be over.
The tree lot and audit did end, but we weren't left unscathed. We ended that year in a grand total of 38,000 in debt. Our accountant made some mistakes on our last 3 tax returns that landed us owing the IRS 18k. It has been tough getting digging out of this debt, but with God there is always hope.
Matthew 11:28-29 "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
What have I learned from this? I learned that it is ok to make big mistakes. That sometimes they are our fault completely even though they are unforseen (the accountant's mistakes). That sometimes as a business owner, we take gambles and lose (tree lot). But what I really learned, is that in the end- I still had my family. I still had my faith. And now, 3 years later- we are wiser for it.
I guess my conclusion is, bad things happen- whether its a result of our mistakes, or simply a side-effect of living in an imperfect world. The one thing I would change looking back isn't what happened to me- but how I responded. I would trust God a lot more. I would have spent a few less nights worrying. I would have taken a lot of guilt off of myself.
That's what I want you to do if you are going through a hard time...and that is what I pray that I wlll do when I face my next struggle.
Thanks so much for reading!