Suffering

Running Injuries and Sanctification (More Similar Than You Think)

Running Injuries and Sanctification (More Similar Than You Think)

About a year ago I went for a run for the first time after hospital bed rest. After weeks of recovery from a c-section, I craved running. So I grabbed my running shoes and headed out the door. This might seem like a minor event, and it is in the grand scheme of things. People get back to running all the time after childbirth. I have before too. 

Except this time, I haven’t. 

We Can't Take Our Platform to the Grave

We Can't Take Our Platform to the Grave

The further removed I am from the events of last year, the more I see what happened as a gift. I wouldn’t call nearly dying, or nearly losing my infant, a gift. But the fruit that came from it is one. Like Joseph in Genesis, life in a broken world meant our suffering for evil, but God meant it for good (Gen. 50:20). He wastes nothing. It always serves his purposes—even in the darkness. 

One of those gifts is seeing the world through new eyes, particularly regarding platform building and the world of self-promotion (especially in Christian publishing). 

Our Bodies and Birth Trauma This Side of Eden

Our Bodies and Birth Trauma This Side of Eden

Eight years ago this month innocence was lost.

Like millions of parents who have gone before us, we rejoiced at the faint pink line that showed up on our positive pregnancy test in the early morning hours. We went to work as different people that day. We went hopeful. We went excited. We went with a smile on our faces, knowing we had a secret that no one else knew yet. I remember making my first OB appointment in my car while I was on my lunch break, lest anyone hear my conversation and know that I was pregnant. I wanted to tell people on my terms, in my way. 

I never got that chance.

We are Not In Eden

We are Not In Eden

When Daniel and I were first married we lived in an apartment that was infested with mice. What started as one little mouse running across the floor one evening turned into a full-blown colony of mice taking up residence in our apartment (and possibly the entire building). For months (even years) after the fact, I inspected every speck of dirt in our house for evidence of mouse droppings. Even when we were far removed from the mouse-infested apartment (living many states over), I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that we weren’t alone in our residence. 


Life is a Gift: Reflections on My Son's Difficult Birth

Life is a Gift: Reflections on My Son's Difficult Birth

oday is Ben’s birthday. This time last year we were anticipating his arrival. Today we are enjoying his happy presence. What a gift! Birthdays are such interesting days for moms (at least me). It’s the day of his birth, but so much of that day had to do with me and the effort it took to bring him into the world. While a birthday is the celebration of the person born, it also is intimately connected to the woman who bore the child.

The night before Ben’s birth, contractions had started up again. We were accustomed to the roller coaster ride that comes with being a high-risk patient. Every few days, Ben’s heart rate would do something (or my body would do something) that put everyone on high alert. I was used to contractions. I was 35 weeks and 6 days pregnant, so Braxton Hicks contractions are pretty standard at that gestation (especially with a fourth child). And in my mind, even painful Braxton Hicks felt like a slight pinch compared to the abruption pain from three weeks prior. So I didn’t think anything of them. My friends came to visit. They stayed through my routine evening monitoring, until my nurse came in and asked me if I was feeling the contractions.

On Nursing, Weaning, and Not Being God

On Nursing, Weaning, and Not Being God

Ben turns one in a little over a week, which means that nursing is coming to an end. Since he’s my last baby, I’ve been reflective and emotional about the idea of being done. But I’ve also been hopeful and excited. It’s a new stage in our parenting. Our kids are getting older. As with every stage, there are challenges, but there are so many fun things as well. So it’s very bittersweet.

When I weaned Seth I was very sentimental about it all. I cried. I talked about it all the time. I even wrote about it! It was a hard process for me emotionally and for him. We had such a sweet time together that first year. I loved nursing him so much that I couldn’t wait to nurse another baby.

This time around I am less sentimental.

One Year Later: Reflections on Life in the Face of Death

One Year Later: Reflections on Life in the Face of Death

Last year, on May 19, we celebrated Seth’s second birthday with a wonderful family day. I made cookies for his birthday dessert (because cookies are his favorite), ate pizza for dinner as a family (another one of his favorites), then packed my bags and headed out to teach at a local women’s retreat—my last speaking engagement before Ben’s birth.

It was a great weekend of rest, fellowship with other like-minded women, and studying God’s word together. I also had a nagging side ache that only intensified as I spoke throughout the day on Saturday. I chalked it up to a pulled muscle or just general third trimester achiness, traveled home that afternoon, and spent the evening resting.

The pain only intensified.

Good Friday and My Fear of Death

Good Friday and My Fear of Death

“I don’t want to die,” I said to my friend last summer, hooked up to a baby heart rate monitor and overwhelmed by the constant intrusion that is life in a hospital room.

Not wanting my baby to die was a given. I’ve faced those fears with every pregnancy. My worst fears were realized twice. But never had I also been hit with my own mortality. Pregnancy is safe and routine in America—until it isn’t.

Psalm 23 and The Valley of The Shadow of Death

Psalm 23 and The Valley of The Shadow of Death

I’ve said before that the only thing I could read during our hard days in the hospital this past summer were the psalms (and a few other things). I read them every single day, journaling, thinking, praying. In the psalms I had a language for what I was feeling. I had a language for my fears. But in the psalms, I more importantly had a language for who God is in spite of those fears and feelings. The psalms showed me God, even when everything was uncertain. My hope in spending my days in the psalms was not only that I would be sustained in the moment of waiting for Ben's birth, but that I would also be sustained if (or when) the dark moment came to deliver Ben unexpectedly.

That moment did come, but my mind went blank.

Finding Glory in My Ordinary Year

Finding Glory in My Ordinary Year

One year ago next month my book, Glory in the Ordinary, was released. It feels like an eternity has passed in a way that I didn't with my first book. In large part, I think it’s owing to all that happened the weeks leading up to Ben’s delivery (and the weeks following). Our plans for the book launch didn’t include three weeks of bed rest, a premature delivery, or a hard recovery. But God’s did, and it completely changed how I viewed the book as a result.