A Ray of Hope

I have to say, I have some hope for the first time in a long time for my daughter’s contact reactions.  We moved and have a new allergist who gave us a plan to start to try to reduce and hopefully eliminate her constant contact reactions when we are out in public.  I felt so emotional at the chance to finally be free of contact reactions, I almost cried.  My hope was stuffed down and crushed, but still, I always pray for a cure.  I’ve always said that if her contact reactions would go away, it’d be so much easier to manage.  Not easy, but easier.  Having a ray of hope is nice.  It’s refreshing.

It’s a good reminder that my hope is in the Lord and perhaps I need to readjust my heart and remember where my hope comes from.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.”

Psalm 62:5 (NIV)

Where I Belong

I’m a wife and mother. My precious SG is 4 years old. She is our joy.

It took us years of trying before we became pregnant with SG.

We tried again for baby number 2 but it hasn’t happened.

We have an only child.

Not by choice.

But for now, it’s part of God’s plan.

I have to trust God and know that whatever happens- He’s got this.

I’ve found peace with our little family.

It’s not what we planned or hoped for. But God’s plan is always better than mine. Always.

So, lately, I’ve been thinking about where I fit in this world of fertility and infertility.

I AM a mother, so I don’t really fit in the world of hurt that I lived through for so many years- the childless couples. If you’re there now, my heart aches for you. Keep praying and trusting God for His perfect plan for you and your husband.

I have not been able to become pregnant again, so I don’t really fit into the “we’re having baby number 2, 3, 4 or 5” group. Neither are we are in the our family is complete and I’m completely content group.

I’m not jealous, truly I’m not. But there is a sense of being “left behind.”

If you have one child and long for another, I know you get the left behind statement. If you don’t understand it, then that’s okay, too.

I’ve learned with infertility and food allergies, there are depths of pain, worry and stress.

I have learned to lay my worries, stress, and pain down at the foot of the cross. There is where I find peace, contentment and bask in the gloriousness of trusting it’s going to be okay even when I feel like it’s not. Ya know?

So, where do I belong?

I belong in my precious little family of three. I find joy in covering my little 4 year old with kisses and holding her precious little hands. I find joy and lots of giggles in painting her perfect little toenails bright pink. I find love and acceptance in the strong, hardworking arms of my Huzz. I find wisdom and peace in reading the Holy Bible. I find friendships and support through my sweet girlfriends. I find love and acceptance through our supportive church.

Isn’t it all too easy to dwell on the ugly and hard stuff of life? I can all too easily fall into that trap. Life with food allergies, after all, well…it’s HARD.

I have to choose joy and contentment. I have to choose to thank God for the blessings I have- and I have many. So many.

I choose to cry out to God and know that “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

I choose to “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Psalm 116:7

I choose to say “You are my God, and I will give you thanks.” Psalm 118:28

I choose to remember “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

I choose to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

I choose to believe “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

I choose to “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

(All NIV)

I belong right where I am, nestled under the loving and protective wing of my Almighty God, my precious Savior Jesus, with my Huzz & my SG. That’s where I belong.

From "Who I Am" by Jessica Andrews

From “Who I Am” by Jessica Andrews

Our Story in a Nutshell

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to describe myself and my little family to a dear group of new friends in about 5 minutes. I tried and it just didn’t seem deep enough (and I was sick at the time and I was losing my voice so I didn’t really feel like talking too much.)

So, now, a few months later, I’m trying to describe me and my little family in a nutshell, so to speak. How to squeeze 12+ years of marriage into a few minutes? How to squeeze our heartbreaking trials and glorious triumphs (all to God’s glory) in a few minutes?

Girl sees boy. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl become Mr. and Mrs. They move to a new state to start a new life without jobs. Mr. & Mrs. find good jobs and live life as they planned. Mr. and Mrs. are moved around due to Mr.’s job. Two years into “their plan”, Mr. and Mrs. try for a baby. Countless tears followed, invasive fertility tests, dreams slowly started to die and hope was crushed month after month. Time after time. Years of trying to conceive without success brought the Mrs. to her knees many times with many tears. Six years later, on the very last try before pursuing adoption, the Mrs. became PREGNANT.

The pregnancy was rocky in the beginning due to a sub chorionic hemorrhage at 11 weeks. The hemorrhage and the belief that they were miscarrying because of cramping and bleeding brought the Mr. and Mrs. again to their knees, with a sound coming from the Mrs. that she had never heard before. The sound of agony and mourning. Yet, God healed the hemorrhage and protected baby. The hemorrhage eventually healed. The Mr. and Mrs. praised God for the healing.

God used that time of healing to bring the Mrs. closer to Him through the sweetness of His Psalms. The Mrs. learned a deep trust in God. The Mrs. learned that many were her steps and plans, but that without God it meant nothing.

The Mr. and Mrs. learned that their precious miracle baby had life threatening food allergies to cow’s milk (anything dairy) and eggs. The Mrs. sobbed and mourned the life she had planned for baby. The Mrs. learned an entirely new way to cook. The Mr. and Mrs. eliminated baby’s allergens from their house. They learned to accept this diagnosis and learned how to provide a safe and normal childhood for baby. The family of three learned to thrive, leaning on The Lord daily. The Mr. and Mrs. learned that love and care for their daughter’s special needs would come from the body of Christ.

The Mr. and Mrs. 12+ years of marriage cannot be fit into just 5 minutes. The Mr. & Mrs. have many stories of God’s provision, protection, His faithfulness, His goodness and His sovereignty in their lives. This is just a fraction of their story.

The Mrs. learned that through the many trials she faced, she could either trust God in all of His sovereignty or rail against Him. The Mrs. learned to trust God in all things and so did her Mr.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of The Lord that will stand.”
Proverbs 19:21

“The heart of man plans his way,
but The Lord establishes his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

Food Challenge Update

The Egg designed by my very talented graphic designer- my brother!

The Egg designed by my very talented graphic designer- my brother!

****This was what I wrote back in February but never published. Since writing this, we had to stop the 1/2 cupcake every day. SG starting breaking out in rashes on her body when eating the cupcake. The allergist and I decided to stop the baked in egg cupcakes. We will retest her next year and see if her skin tests and blood tests show an improvement. This is a very delayed update. Thanks to those of you who prayed for us!****

From February 2014:

I was a mess Wednesday night cooking with raw eggs. I was paranoid about cross contamination. I was fighting worry with prayer. Lots of prayer. I had nightmares Wednesday night.

Then the moment came Thursday morning when I watched my miracle child eat a cupcake I had baked that contained a food she is allergic to… That was very hard for me. SG, on the other hand, had no idea what was happening. She is just three and the allergist and I decided we were not going to tell her she was eating baked in egg in her cupcake. We told her we were going to have a little cupcake party at the doctor’s office.

I packed a Tinker Bell paper plate and Tinker Bell napkin. I packed a juice box and bottled water for her. I put it all in our little picnic cooler.

The cupcakes were in a Ziploc bag and then in a Target bag.  There's the Tinker Bell plate & napkin!

The cupcakes were in a Ziploc bag and then in a Target bag. There’s the Tinker Bell plate & napkin!

Then she gobbled up the 1/4 of the chocolate cupcake. And we all waited and stared at her. She was completely fine. She had one light red blotch (not a hive) and that went away in a few minutes. Other than that little incident, she did great. She ate the entire cupcake over about an hour and a half.

We left with instructions to give her one cupcake or muffin daily.

This morning, I gave her an entire chocolate cupcake for breakfast. Right after eating the entire cupcake, she had a little hive on the corner of her mouth. I called the allergist.

After talking to the allergist, SG is not to have an entire cupcake every day. She is to have 1/2 of a cupcake given to her in small portions, every other day. Hopefully, she will tolerate this lower dose better than she did today. I’m glad the Huzz will be with me Sunday as SG eats 1/2 of a cupcake.

Right now I’m feeling the weight of all this. It’s a lot for these little thin shoulders to carry. The Huzz is super supportive but I’m SG’s caregiver. When he’s at work, I have to decide on my own what to do. I’m the stay at home mom. I’m the one with her all day every day calling the shots. I pray when I’m alone with SG I always make the right decisions regarding her food allergies.

So there you have it. The food challenge at the allergist’s office surrounded by the doctor, nurses, The Huzz and me, went amazingly smooth. When I was all by myself with my child, then the hives appeared. Sigh.

Please keep praying for my child. I keep reminding myself,

“God is bigger than food allergies. He is bigger than eggs and dairy. Have faith.”

And here’s the verse I’m praying for SG,

“With God, all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)

Because that verse is true my friend. And I’m clinging to it, with all of my heart.

P.S. These past two days have drained me. After writing this I felt very emotional. Wouldn’t you know it, one of our pastors read my prayer request about the food challenge and called shortly after I wrote this and was feeling low. He called to say the pastors have been praying and wanted to check on SG. Coincidence? No. It was just what I needed when I needed it. Thanks, Pastor Kip for praying for us and praying with me on the phone!

Baked in Egg Food Challenge

The Egg designed by my very talented graphic designer- my brother!

The Egg designed by my very talented graphic designer- my brother!

Tomorrow morning we have a baked in egg challenge for SG at the allergist’s office.

I’m excited and terrified at the same time.

I felt weird purchasing eggs today.

I’ve overthought even the cracking of the egg. Raw egg isn’t being tested. Baked egg is. I think I’ll crack the required two eggs on a paper plate and throw it away. No cross contamination please!

I’m praying her little body will tolerate the baked in egg. It’s cupcakes.

So these are my random jumbled thoughts as I prepare to haul my tired self off the couch and bake with eggs for the first time in almost two years!!

Will you please join me in praying for my little baby? Her food challenge is tomorrow, Thursday at 8:45 CT.

I’m praying for the best. I’ll be sure to let y’all know the results.

Thanks, friend.

Infertility, Food Allergies, & Faith

Today, I’ve felt a nudging. A tug to sit and let my fingers flow across the keyboard. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to write. But I’ll tell you it will be about God’s faithfulness.

For my bible study, we’ve been reading God As He Longs For You To See Him by Chip Ingram. I’m on the last chapter, “The Faithfulness of God” and I’ve been underlining a lot of sentences.

I keep coming back to two major trials in my life. And they are in the past and ongoing. Infertility and food allergies. Both are not easy and have tested my faith. I have asked:

“Why me?”

“Why this Lord?”

I can tell you we beat infertility the first time. We have a beautiful little toddler. She’ll be three on Thanksgiving this year. We have much to be thankful for. She is our little joy, a precious gift from God. And a living, breathing, walking reminder of God’s faithfulness.

Thank you Lord Jesus, for the gift of my daughter. She is an everyday reminder of Your faithfulness. When I was lost in the grief of infertility, You knew that my heart would one day be filled to overflowing with the precious child You would give us in Your very perfect timing.

There’s a story I tell SG. I hold her in my arms and snuggle her close. And it usually goes something like this:

“Mommy wants to tell you a story. Mommy wanted a baby so badly and couldn’t have one. Lots of mommies had babies but Mommy didn’t. She was so sad and cried because she didn’t have a baby. Mommy prayed for a little baby. And then, one day, The Lord put a little tiny baby in my belly. Guess who that was? “Me!”, SG answers. Yes, you, SG. You lived in my tummy and grew and grew. You kicked Mommy’s tummy. Mommy was so happy. And on November 28th, 2010, The Lord said, “Sarah Grace! It’s time to be born.” And mommy went to the hospital. And you popped out!!! We saw your beautiful little face for the first time. And we were so happy. We love you so much Sarah Grace.”

It helps me to remember God’s faithfulness every time I tell SG her/our story. God is so faithful. He is so good. I may sometimes get caught up in emotions, but this remains true. God was faithful to our prayers.

For number two, we tried again with the doctor’s help. We did not get pregnant. I know that God is faithful. I have to trust Him and His plan for our family, whatever that may be. Whether or not we ever have another biological child or not. Whether we feel The Lord leading us to adopt or not.

Recently, SG was at a salon getting her hair cut. The hairdresser innocently asked SG if she had a brother. SG looked at me through the mirror with huge eyes because she didn’t know what to say. I shook my head no, and she said “No.” The lady then asked if she had a sister. Again, the huge eyes, a shake of my head no, and she replied “No.” I don’t know why this turned my heart and squeezed it so tightly. As I felt my stomach drop, my daughter exclaimed, “But I have Hunter and Logan!!!!” with a triumphant smile on her precious face (my nephew and niece.) SG lifted me out of my little state of sorrow with her sweet heartfelt response.

Just like with our food allergies, sometimes I want to shout, “I didn’t choose this! I want more children! I don’t want to deal with infertility, painful emotions linked to innocent comments, strange looks when doing stuff for our food allergies, a different lifestyle to keep our child safe, etc.” Yet, The Lord has allowed it. And through it all, He’s faithful.

“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
1st Corinthians 12:10

Lately, when the mention of food allergies and living a dairy and egg free lifestyle comes up, people have lots of questions.

“What DO you eat???”

“I could never do that!”

“How do you do it?”

To which my response usually is, “It was hard in the beginning, but it becomes a new normal.” After reading this:

image

I’ve felt convicted. I need to give God the glory. To proclaim His faithfulness in these trials. For His provision of supportive friends and family and knowledge to keep my child safe. In his financial provision because our diet is not cheap. Quite expensive, actually. Faithful to provide friends to stand in the gap. To love on us. To take extra steps to make us feel loved. Faithful to provide a local food allergy support group. People who live in my town who understand what it’s like to live with life threatening food allergies. Friends who have gone through infertility. Friends who understand the ache of empty arms. Friends who have overcome infertility. Family and friends who love me when they’ve seen the worst of me. In His provision to give me a husband who has stood by my side for eleven beautiful and messy years. Faithful to give me a beautiful, “fearfully and wonderfully made” precious little child, my SG. God is so very faithful. All the time.

“But I trust in you, O LORD;
I say, “You are my God.”
Psalm 31:14

“Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you.”
Psalm 55:22

“We will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD,
his power, and the wonders he has done.”
Psalm 78:4

Remembering God’s faithfulness has helped me so many times. Until next time, my friend.

Letting Go of our Maybe Baby

If you are a follower of this blog, Blessed Little Family, you know that my faith shapes my views.

If you have followed my posts, you know that we have battled infertility– twice, yet we only beat it once. We have moved multiple times for the Huzz’s career. We live with life threatening food allergies. I pretty much, for some reason, have decided to just lay it all out here for the entire world to see.

After writing “Be At Rest Once More”, I have felt so much peace. (Oh, I still have my moments, but mostly I have been in a really good place.) Since then, The Lord has been moving in my heart and in our lives. We’ve decided to let go of some major things. Some I’m not ready to share yet.

One thing we decided to let go of was stuff for our “maybe baby.” By stuff, I mean a ton of baby items we used with SG: changing table, all of her beautiful baby clothes, baby toys, bumbo, swing, etc. That doesn’t sound very meaningful, but it is. It was not easy. But it has been freeing.

I feel like if I’m truly trusting in The Lord and trying to be CONTENT WITH WHAT I HAVE, then I don’t need to hang on to baby stuff I just don’t need. It’s only a REMINDER of the second child I DON’T HAVE.

We have decided if The Lord chooses to bless us with another child, we will JOYFULLY start again with everything we need. It will be pure bliss to shop for another miracle baby, IF that is what The Lord wills for our family.

For now, I will:

“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for The Lord has been good to you.”
Psalm 116:7

I continue to hold onto this verse and seek contentment in all of the wonderful blessings The Lord has given me.

I am blessed, indeed.

Yes, very much so.