Beginning Again


Dear you,

This is the letter I've thought through in my head half a dozen times. When I last wrote to you, oh, just about a year ago, the world experienced some semblance of normalcy while streets and cafes bustled with folks going here and there, creating memories, running errands, doing each day the best we knew how.

In light of all the changes over the last few months, how can I pretend that everything's the same when we are going through unprecedented times? I have felt wordless, helpless, uncertain what my place is within it all. I do not want to add to the noise, yet silence does not seem a worthy alternative. 

You may recall a series I did on my old website a couple years ago with scripture studies regarding the prophetic times. Even though I write less now about that sort of thing, I very much believe that everything we see as a global struggle is to be expected based on what is revealed to us. Therefore, I am not surprised and neither am I afraid.

That's been the biggest challenge for me. It feels like a confession I am secretly whispering to you. I am not afraid. I have complete peace and zero anxieties, even in the dark of night. And yet, so many dear souls I love tremble with uncertainty. So wait, maybe I am a little afraid. I am afraid of being insensitive, of saying too much or not enough, of not knowing how to be a blessing or help during these days. Of not knowing how to express empathy or reach out in a way that gently comforts or brings peace. 

So what is the message and mission of one who is at complete peace during turbulent, unprecedented times? 

I can tell you what I know about God, and that even if tragedy strikes, I know I will be okay because my soul is in His hands. There is relief knowing that He is good and that none of this is a surprise to Him.

"You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength."
Is. 26:3-4

I can assure you that the promises of Scripture are true. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom. 8:28) 

I can tell you that those who have trusted in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus on the cross for our sin, so we can have the righteousness of God and therefore everlasting life, have nothing to fear because our lives are firmly kept in His tender hand. As born again children of God, His Spirit, the Comforter, dwells within us. 

And you may agree, or you might say, "Well, that's your experience, and I'm glad for you, but that is not mine." 

So for now, I want to tell you a story.

In my last real letter to you, I told you about some struggles I was having with this body of mine. A few days after I sent that letter, I went to get a wisdom tooth pulled. It got complicated and I ended up needing oral surgery. It took almost a month for my mouth to heal.

During that time, I stopped drinking coffee. I could hardly eat anything, and lost almost ten pounds in that month alone.

My sister, who is one thesis away from becoming a master herbalist, told me about an herbal cleanse and a dietary program that might be really effective for some of my health concerns. Why not? I thought. My fatigue made living impossible. Not to mention, my business was not going anywhere and husband and I had deepening financial needs. I had to make the choice to step away from the entrepreneurship I was not doing at the time and begin working outside the home. 

In my current state, such a step was unthinkable. I was at the point where I would pull over when driving to take a nap, so I could safely continue on. I would get home and stare for thirty minutes (no exaggeration) at the four flights of stairs leading up to my apartment before summoning the strength to climb them.

I already struggled for years with a hormonal condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, which led to a wide range of hormonal issues, difficulty losing weight, proclivity to depression, insulin resistance and infertility. I thought perhaps that years of significant stress had brought on adrenal fatigue, but could not get my new doctor to test for it. She breezily looked at my history with PCOS and weight, drew some blood and said I was pre-diabetic. That was that. 

A healing path

With my sister's guidance, my new health protocols began in early summer. The herbal cleanse focused on healing the gut, killing off any candida growth that may have stemmed from past antibiotic treatments, and reestablishing healthy gut flora. For a set time I stopped eating all forms of gluten, sugar, dairy, and I continued to forsake caffeine. In five or six weeks, I lost another 20 pounds—and hallelujah, it stayed off.

Energy came back, and in mid-summer I began a job I loved working as a full time massage therapist in an upscale spa. It was a gift from God, literally the best job I've ever had working outside the home. I've dreamed of owning my own massage studio some day, but until then, this was more than anything I could have asked for. I built a repeat clientele quickly and the income was a huge blessing for us. I saved up my cash tips and actually looked forward to going to work...such a change from previous years of employment!

I continued to lose weight, up to a total of about forty pounds in less than a year.

And then, in early autumn, I began to grow tired again.

Complications

I can't even describe my despair as familiar strains of fatigue overtook me everyday. I began to panic, thinking about all the ways I'd slipped out of healthy habits...that rose gelato that I indulged in...that one coffee I had last week...

Tears flowed freely as I struggled to continue my physically demanding job while engulfed in dark waves of fatigue. My hair started falling out in handfuls. I began to experience unbearable chills to the point that I would wear a jacket and gloves at work whenever I didn't have clients. At home, I shivered under piles of blankets and an electric blanket as my husband sweated out the autumnal Texas heat.

In December, on my 40th birthday, I ended up in the ER.

I'd taken a few days off and my husband had planned all kinds of celebratory goodness. That morning, after a healthy birthday breakfast in bed featuring oatmeal and berries, I stood at the sink brushing on eye shadow. I wasn't feeling well, but was excited for a fun day out with my love. He had also taken off work to celebrate. I forced back a sudden, surprise wave of nausea and suddenly blood began gushing down my legs. 

There may have been a few red lights run on the way to the ER but the shock happened once I was laying between warm, blue flannel sheets. There, wrapped in a hospital gown, with mascara spilling down my face, my world spun as the doctor leaned forward to tell me that, "It's positive." He could have been speaking Russian. "Positive?" 

"Yes. You're pregnant."

I'm crying even now as I write these words. At the time, however, there was a somber hush, because the doctor continued. "We need to get you over to the sonographer to see if the fetus is still viable. We don't know if it's alive."

He left to get everything situated and my husband and I stared at each other in shock. After a few moments, I called my family in tears to ask them to pray. "I am in the hospital," I said. "And I might be having a miscarriage. I didn't even know I was pregnant. There's a chance it's still alive. Please pray."

That was probably the longest hour of my life, but when I finally saw the tiny flickers of a heart beating fast on the screen, it felt like a dream, like I was living someone else's life. As I lay in a darkened room on my 40th birthday seeing signs of life pulsing before my eyes, spelling out the truth....I am a mother...and my baby is still alive within me...I mean, how do you find words for this?

The only words I have are prayers. Thank You. Thank You. Thank you.

They told me I had a large cyst on my left ovary and was about seven weeks along (what?? You mean I'll have a baby in my arms just seven months from now?) and had had a subchorionic hemorrhage. This happens when there is a pocket of blood between the placenta and wall of the uterus. In doctor speak, they told me not to get my hopes up because there was still a 50% chance of miscarriage in this delicate state.

Oh, but hope was going up every waking moment with simple, tearful, joyful prayers.

Life became a flurry of prayer and adjustment. After followup visits with my regular doctor, we determined that the best course of action was rest. Not complete bedrest, but not physically demanding work, either. So I resigned from my job and began a new season of receiving this miracle that the Lord revealed to me on my 40th birthday.

This, the mercy and gift of God who sent a miracle into my life...it still feels surreal; I still feel like I'm walking in a dream.

I am now close to the end of my second trimester. Our son is due in July and every day is still filled with wonder and amazement.

I'm still not working, but all of the cash tips I'd saved combined with our tax return completely paid off our midwifery care. In His providence, God has supplied what we need so this birth is not a financial hardship for us in these times. 

At my last sonogram, I was informed I still have the huge cyst on my left ovary...it is almost 4 inches across. I did some research and while the future of it is unknown, I discovered that ovarian cysts can produce progesterone. As someone with a lifelong struggle with hormonal imbalances, I don't naturally produce much progesterone, and low levels of it can contribute to miscarriage in early pregnancy. The placenta does not begin to produce progesterone on its own until one is further along. So while it is under a watchful eye, the cyst could be a blessing in disguise that helped prevent a miscarriage and also provided the progesterone needed to conceive. 

{The Lord works all things together for good to those who love Him and are the called according to His purpose.}

Life moving forward

You've known me over time as a writer, a maker, someone who creates courses, offers mentoring sessions, and so many other things. Since you're still here, you recall my radical shifts and spiritual changes in 2017 when the Lord reached into my heart and awakened me with such kindness. You've witnessed my faltering voice, my stumbling steps, my myriad attempts to relaunch. My work as a creative entrepreneur has defined a lot of ways I've shown up and what I write, and my "brand," and more.

It's all flown out of the window. I'm not a brand. I've hardly written anything over the past few months. I've barely taken any photos. Right now, I don't know what I am or how to show up. I don't know my "writing voice" or even what to say. I don't know what to post on Instagram. I'd planned to relaunch my business to help my growing little family, and yet the world is in chaos, and I cannot produce a thing right now. 

Right now I am basking in the miracle that I am having a baby. I am adjusting to the miracle that I am having a baby for the first time at forty years old. Right now, I'm just me without any expectations. I am tucked away at home, venturing out only for prenatal appointments yet rejoicing in the graciousness of my heavenly Father who has healed my body and given me this little life that flutters and spins and dances inside my womb. 

The comfort of a good, good Father

He knew what was to come when He tucked this little love into a secret place within me sometime last October. He chose to reveal my little one not just on any old day, but on my actual literal birthday. He has protected and cared for us so tenderly, sheltering us from the havoc and fear that is enfolding the world. I see His hand so clearly, feel His presence so close. 

I don't know what the immediate future holds, and now here I am, bringing forth new life in the midst of infertility, a miracle I had accepted would never come.

I don't know what the immediate future holds, and now here I am, bringing forth new life in the midst of the greatest chaos and distress our generation has ever seen.

What I do know is that we are not forsaken. We are not forgotten or unseen. God has not left us or tossed us to fate. He is closer than ever, willing to breathe life even in the darkest, most secret place. He is near and so ready to engulf you in His arms and bring you peace, forgiveness, hope, purpose, and a life set on fire by His Spirit. His hand is open, waiting for yours. 

As always, I would love to talk more about this if you want to, or say a prayer for you if you'd like me to. Simply let me know. 

Thank you for reading this super long, overdue update! How are you navigating these unexpected days? Do you have food to eat? Toilet paper? Essentials? I pray that God keeps and blesses you. May you find peace in the shelter of His gracious love.