Lights. Camera. Action.

People were offering to help us left and right. They were praying for me and “officially” announcing my situation at church in front of so many people. I had heard talk of tee shirts, wristbands, badge holders. All things that people were doing out of the absolute goodness of their hearts, but the thought of being the center of attention on such a large scale, sort of made me want to vomit.

I have always been slightly socially awkward. My dad and siblings can talk to people with such ease, and I usually end up standing awkwardly to the side, hoping people forget that I’m there. It takes a few times of talking to me to realize I’m not quite as awkward as I first seem. Only slightly!

Don’t get me wrong; once we get to know each other, it’s hard to shut me up, and I have actually gotten much better than I used to be.

I swear I did not order my own food at restaurants until I was well into high school; always having my parents or siblings order for me.

To this day a waiter could bring me the complete wrong meal with a giant hair in it, and I would accept it with a polite smile.

After this week, it was clear that God was going to pulling me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone.

I was going to be in the sympathetic limelight, and there was nothing that I could do about it.

I wanted to keep my lousy news quiet until we had some answers, but that ship had long sailed. I was so worried people would bombard me questions I didn’t have the answers to, and I was not mentally prepared for that.

Much to my surprise, it wasn’t people prying or drilling me with questions, but people graciously offering prayers and support, both physical and emotional.

I had two options. I could keep everything a secret and decline all of this help people were offering so freely, or I could be upfront and accept these sincere acts of charity with as much grace as I could muster.

Every time I saw someone from my family they were telling of another person or organization that had plans to help Jordan and me. It was so overwhelming. I didn’t want to put people out or have them think I was abusing the charity they had offered.

I’m sure it has a lot to do with pride. I didn’t want to be the “sick” one needing help. I want to be the one helping others.

In light of all of these people coming out of the woodwork to offer their help and my ever growing anxiety over all of this, the night before my PET scan I bargained with God, big time!

I was so concerned that my diagnosis would turn into a spectacle with my name being plastered all over Facebook or my face on posters for benefit dinners. (These are an introvert’s WORST nightmare).

I prayed and begged God for good PET scan results, and in turn, I would let him make as big of a spectacle as he wanted. (Not the most spiritually mature thing to do, I’m sure) Shoot! I would print off the posters with my face on them myself! I would accept the help offered to me, not turn people away, tell everyone what God had done for me, if he would just heal me.

Well, the next day, as you know, yielded fantastic news from my scan and the morning after that…God made a pretty funny joke.

We dropped the kids off at our babysitter pretty early that next morning. I hadn’t been able to see Robbyn the day before because of my slightly radioactive status and wanted to be there in time to feed her.

We had not been in the room 15 minutes when a tall man in a suit walks in from ”marketing” and says they are shooting a video for nurses’ week and wanted to get shots of a NICU nurse with a family. Our family.

It was quite a production. Lights. Camera. Action.

Well if you think I’m not a fan of being in the spotlight, then you should meet my husband! Compared to him, I have the social graces of Miss America. I’m pretty sure most people think he is in physical pain during social gatherings based on the RBF plastered on his face.

We are a great deal alike though, in that once you get to know him he doesn’t stop talking, and he is loud. Seriously loud.

He yells all the time in the same tone whether he’s happy, mad, funny, or quoting a movie (which is a well-honed skill of his).

I swear, he is so loud that all of our children knew his voice better than mine at birth.

So, this marketing guy really didn’t know how horrible of a situation he was putting Jordan and me in.

I’d done it though. I told God I would gladly be made a spectacle of and he delivered, very quickly I might add.

Now, God has blessed us with free will and I had every opportunity to say no, but I was serious when I bargained with him.

I wanted to be obedient, and see the plan he had in store for me.

I have failed in the past when God has given me opportunities to share my faith and chickened out; using my God-given awkwardness as an excuse. I didn’t want to fail him again.

There is a man in the Old Testament, in Judges Chapter 6, named Gideon. He lived in occupied Israel, and when God appears to him, he is cowardly threshing wheat in hiding, so his food isn’t stolen by the country’s enemy, the Midianites. God is coming to Gideon to tell him to raise up an army to rebel against Israel’s captors. God arrives on the scene and says “The LORD is with you mighty man of valor!” 

God is calling this man to do something extraordinary. A man who is clearly not acting very bold or mighty. A man who is a farmer, not a warrior. A man who knows “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:15).

He is the smallest man, in the weakest clan, from the smallest tribe of an enslaved country.

He has some legitimate concerns if you ask me.

Gideon and I have a lot in common. Mainly, we are cowards, and we come prepared with excuses.

But thankfully, another thing Gideon and I have in common is that we serve a God who sees us not as we are, but as the extraordinary people HE created us to be.

God came to cowardly Gideon and called him a mighty man of valor. God saw Gideon as the marvelous creature he designed and gifted with the ability to do great things for God. Gideon didn’t even want to believe it when God himself told him.

I could feel God calling me to be brave.

To step outside my comfort zone.

He has a job for me to do and I have been hiding. I’m not special. He has given the same calling to me as all Christians.

Love God.

Love People.


(So if you don’t think you know what God is calling you to do, start there!)

I have been so cowardly in the past. I have missed so many opportunities to share the love of God with people. To share how great my life is because of Jesus Christ. That I have peace and hope because he died for me.

How could I experience this magnificent love and not want to tell everyone I meet?

I mean, seriously, when I can tell the cashier at Walmart how to get great discounts at Dunkin Donuts but am too scared to tell them Jesus loves them… That is a problem.

I think God used this nurses’ week commercial as a way to pull me a little further out of my comfort zone before he pushes me head first into the waters of something great.

I don’t know exactly what that is, and to be honest, it makes me nervous but as Judges 6:14 says “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”

He has sent me. So I will go.


Dignity & Strength

I am the mom who never sent my babies to the nursery in the hospital.

If the nurse had to take them, I waited on pins and needles until they returned.

I wanted skin to skin as soon as I popped them out. I didn’t care if they looked like someone had pulled them out of a giant tub of sour cream.

I wanted to breastfeed exclusively as long as I could.

Their precious rear ends rarely touched a bassinet or swing because I would just snuggle them and watch them sleep.

I waited almost 10 months to finally hold these sweet things in my arms, I didn’t want to miss a single second of bonding once they were finally here.

Well, the reality that my experience with Robbyn would be completely different set in as I sat in a dimly lit postpartum room by myself.

I forced Jordan to get some food with his parents, we couldn’t see Robbyn for a couple of hours, and my left leg was still so numb I could barely stand up.

The room was quiet. Had I really just had a baby? Or did I dream all of this?

No newborn snuggles. No awkward fumbling as we try to figure out breastfeeding together.

No breastfeeding in our future either, due to the toxic medications I would soon be starting and the bilateral mastectomy in my very near future.

No sneaking a pacifier in her mouth while the nurse is out of the room.

No peeking into the sleep sack to recount all of her fingers and toes.

My baby was on the floor above me in an incubator.

Don’t get me wrong; I knew this was our destiny once we found out she would arrive a full 6 weeks early. I was ecstatic she was strong, and I was able to hold her for almost an hour, but her tiny body had tired out, and now she needed to rest.

She hadn’t needed to be intubated and only required a small feeding tube through her nose, but that was to be expected. At 34 weeks, she had not yet developed the reflex that allowed her to suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time and she could not eat enough to gain weight without tiring.

She had done phenomenally well, and I was so grateful that she was healthy. This could have been so much worse, and I personally know some of the world’s strongest parents who have watched their babies go through much more terrifying circumstances. After seeing a tiny glimpse into what they have gone through, I have the utmost admiration for them and how they handled their trials with such grace.

So, it didn’t seem fair to be upset about our small hiccup when God had already blessed us so much.

The two other moms and their sweet babies I know who have very recently endured long NICU stays, and multiple surgeries have inspired me with their strength and reliance on God.

Chapter 31 in Proverbs is all about what it means to be a godly woman. (The whole chapter is excellent if you are curious about what it says.) In verse 20 it says, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”

I was in a pretty “needy” state once we were home and Robbyn was still in the NICU without a foreseeable discharge date. Both of these women who have experienced this before checked on me multiples times offering prayers, advice, physical and emotional support every time I see them.

They have been doing just what Verse 26 says a godly woman should, “She speaks with wisdom and faithful instruction is on her tongue.” They used the previous trials God allowed them to face, to now assist me. Something that I intend to do for others now that I have been there. These two women continued to care for their husbands, their households, their other young children in the home and continued to nurture their children spiritually by assuring they rarely missed a Sunday of church to learn that Jesus loves them.

I also know another mom who waited years, YES, YEARS, to get her already adopted son and daughter out of Africa because of paperwork and red tape. She had so much strength. How could I be upset about a possible month-long NICU stay when she waited patiently for years for God to allow her beautiful babies to be brought home, and she gave praise and glory to God every step of the way? She has inspired me to be a woman like verse 25 describes. “She is clothed with dignity and strength. She laughs without fear of the future.”

Dignity and strength.

No, that was not me.

Such powerful words.

Guilty and afraid was more like it.

Fearful that this baby in the incubator would never know who I was pending my PET scan results. Guilty for having to induce labor forcing her into a possibly lengthy NICU stay. Guilty I wasn’t with her most of the day providing her care. Guilty that she would have a different newborn experience than my other children. Guilty that I was dumping two small children with relatives every evening so we could see our new baby. Guilty for not seeing our baby to go to Reed’s first baseball game or having Ryanne’s second birthday party while Robbyn was 30 miles away in an incubator.

I was having some serious guilt. I feel like I hear this over and over again from moms around my age. You have probably heard the phrase too.

Mom guilt.

Feeling guilty for leaving your child while you go to work or them not having as many playmates because you are a stay home mom. Feeling guilty for not putting them in enough activities or debating if you have them in too many activities. Worrying about not having a Pinterest perfect Christmas, to retaking your Instagram picture so your messy house isn’t shown. This mom guilt comes in all different forms and it torments us no matter the mom’s circumstances.

Definitely not Pinterest perfect but perfect nonetheless

Definitely not Pinterest perfect but perfect nonetheless.

We forget that we are daughters of the King, and He gave of these children, whether biological or adopted, knowing we were the perfect woman to raise them.

He knew that you might have work full time or night shift to provide for them, or that you wouldn’t be able to afford to throw the best birthday party, and still, he handpicked you to raise them. He entrusted you with these precious children. I am learning that the negative thoughts and fears about whether I am doing the right thing for my children are Satan trying to take time and energy away purpose God has designed for me.

Proverbs 31 also say a Godly woman, “arises while it is yet night and provides food for her household.” I believe whether you care for your family by staying home or by working part-time or full-time, you are providing for your family the best way that God has shown you.

One is not nobler than the other. Whatever the job God has given you, you should do it to the best of your ability. I am also learning that if I approach God in prayer about the role he has for me, then I need to have peace with that decision instead of this misplaced “mom-guilt.”

James 1:5-6 says “If any of you lack wisdom you should ask God who gives generously to all, without finding fault and it will be given to you. But when you ask you must believe and not doubt. Because the one who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown and tossed about by the wind.”

I don’t want to be like a wave tossed about, second-guessing whether every decision I make about my children is the right one. I want to be the the Proverbs 31 woman whose “strength and honor are her clothing” I am trying my best know to turn over my concerns, fears, and misplaced guilt to God and have peace about my circumstances.

He knew when I had Robbyn that she would be in the NICU and he knew I had two small children at home. He also gave me a fantastic support system to care and love on my kids when I’m not there whether it is our family or the amazing NICU staff.

“She is clothed with dignity and strength. She laughs without fear of the future.” Did you read that? She laughs! Laughs! She’s not even saying, “I know God has my future under control, and I’ll try and be ok with that…”

No! She boldly laughs because her God, My God, the creator of the universe, has already has a plan for her future, so she has nothing to fear! I want to be that bold with my faith in God. I’m not anywhere close yet but I will keep running toward him.