Friday, July 27, 2012

What defines you?

Growing up I always wanted a family. From the time I was able to start playing with a baby doll I had one wrapped under my arm and I probably played with them longer than most kids (don’t even ask what age). Fast forward about 20 years and here I am; a mommy. Doing the job I have dreamed about, desired more than anything, and fantasized about my whole life. The thing you never understand until it happens is how much your world drastically changes from the second you have a child. The point in time when reality changes is different for everyone; whether it’s the day you see a positive sign on a test, the moment your newborn is laid on your chest for the first time, or the car ride taking your small package home where it all becomes a reality. No matter when it occurs, somewhere along the way these little ones have a way of taking over everything you thought you knew or held to be important and turning it all upside down.

In so many ways my children have become who I am…. Literally. There are very few times in my life when I am away from them. Ava was our first to come along and she rocked our world. We had never laughed so hard, felt so much love, or strived for so much in our lives. Then came Jaiden and he/she taught us that love that is lost is something you never get over… never. Finally came Jackson and boy he is constantly throwing us for a loop. I find myself so busy taking care of my children and learning for them and through them that they have become a lot of my identity. And recently more so if I had to take on a title it would probably be: Heart Patient Crazy Mommy. Although I say it in good humor, there is a lot of honesty behind that title. In so many ways Jackson and his condition has taken a hold of every area of our lives and reshaped it. It’s taken over our finances, our location, our priorities, and our marriage.

I find that sometimes the best way to help yourself and others is just to be as honest as you can and so to that I would have to say, “Congenital Heart Disease (Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries) has taken over every area of my life.” In so many ways it kind of has to. After all, as a mother I have to do everything I can to give my kids the very best. I heard it said once from a surgeon that heart patients have to have something to fight for, if they don’t, their heart won’t fight to beat in recovery from surgeries. Granted, some hearts stop beating simply because it is time for them to. But, it stuck with me. So, everyday I wake up and I try my very best to give Jackson every reason in the world to want to fight for his life. I feel guilty when I am not holding him, I stress when he is upset, and I worry constantly that I am not giving enough time, energy, and effort to both my kids. (this is probably true of most moms).  Between budgeting, bills, grocery shopping, nursing, hospital appointments, school planning, cooking, etc, it’s overwhelming.

But then the time rolls around every night when the kids go to sleep and there is for the first time a moment to sit and rest. But, wait, “a payment plan needs to be set up for that bill, the car transmission light is blinking( research the fix), ava isn’t signed up for dance class, must sign up to meet other moms in the area, Jackson needs a refill prescription, and on and on. Enter now my husband who is wanting to catch up and spend time together….. ahhhh!!!! To my poor husband, you get the little ounce of what is left of me and on some days the nothing that is left and I am so sorry. I’m trying!

So, tonight I ponder about the life that I have and the life that I strive for. I have all the incredible ingredients, but I am all out of whack on how to make it just right. Life will never slow down and I will always be the mom that pushes myself to go to the ends of the world to do what I can, but there has to be more than just trying to keep my head above water. I want more than surviving, I want to enjoy my life more than I ever have before.

So tonight we bought bikes and tomorrow we are headed out with the bike cart in tow to enjoy this new city of Houston. We moved here for the heart of a little boy but we as a family will not be defined by a medical diagmosis. It’s time to stop pushing so hard that we forget to slow down and just be what we are. A family trying to fight for what’s most important in life. A mission. An opportunity. An open door. A chance at life together. I will never know what his little heart is doing, but today it is beating. So live, breathe, end enjoy the time that we have. Tomorrow will be what it is, but today….. today is m

Monday, July 2, 2012

July 2, 2012 The plan of Obedience

From the second I walked through the door of our home with Jackson for the first time in the back of my head I was already begging to go back to Houston.  Living three and half hours away from our doctors was one of my greatest stresses. After all, they weren’t just doctors to us. They had become an extended family. A family that understood our son’s condition, had seen us in our most desperate times, and were continually working on wrapping their heads around Jackson’s very rare and special heart.

It was October 2011 when we finally got back home to Austin and the same week we settled in was the same week I began talking with the Lord about moving to Houston.  I felt the need heavy on my heart, but I wasn’t sure if it was my own insecurities or something that God had in store for us. I began expressing my desire to Chris and to my family. Of corse the reaction was, “Just give it some time, let’s just see how you feel after things calm down and you get back in the swing of things.” After all, we owned a house in Austin and Chris’ job (our livelihood) was there too. But, after all we had seen the Lord do; I knew that if that was the plan, we would be packing bags in no time. We began to set into action a plan. One that we decided to follow hard after until God shut the doors. The plan was this: 

1)      Phase 1:  Fix the house to sell it. After all, we had bought it as a foreclosure only 3 months before I had temporarily moved to Houston to wait for Jackson to come.  There was work to be done, but we were determined.  We figured even if the plan came to a stop at this first step, the only thing actually done was getting our house in shape…. Not too shabby. So for months, we put our extra money into the house. We painted cabinets, fixed lighting, did yard work, fixed dry rot, etc. We budgeted and planned to do a few projects a month to have it ready to sell by spring. As spring approached we were almost done and sure enough, the desire to move was that much stronger. So, we moved to Phase 2.

2)      Phase 2: Sell the house. We listed our house with the same agent that sold it to us. We love Pat and are so thrilled to have added her to part of our extended family. Pictures were taken, the sign went up, and March 22nd we made it officially for sale. Our very first showing on that Thursday was nerve wrecking. After it was done, I sat in the kitchen and said, “Lord if this is your plan, just take the house.” We just needed to know that we were doing the right thing. As much as we wanted to move, this step was one of the biggest struggles for us. After all, it wasn’t just selling the house; it was selling our first time home buyer advantage, giving up our stability, and entering us into the unknown. Well, after only 2 showings and 36 hours on the market, we got a phone call. A full price offer! In just 11 months we managed to buy one of the cheapest houses in our neighborhood as a foreclosure, do all the work (but the carpet) ourselves and sell it less than a year later as the most expensive house to sell in the subdivision as of this year.  An amazing $35,000 more than what we bought it for! Hands down, completely the Lord on that one! 

3)      Phase 3: I’ll be honest that we had our doubts that we would make it to Phase 3. This is where we knew we had to decide where to move next. Chris had been off and on been asking to work remotely with his job since we had been going back and forth to Houston so much over the last several months. Every time the answer was, “no.” Now that the house was sold, we had about 30 days to figure out where we were moving. We made the very difficult decision to follow the Lord’s prompting and move to Houston regardless of what Chris was able to do with his job. I would be with the kids in Houston for the weekdays and then Chris would commute down to see us for the weekends. It was far from ideal, but we just knew that God would sustain us through this season of our lives.  So, on June 10th, 2012 we made the move to our temporary spot in Houston to figure out what needed to happen next. It was so difficult leaving. I was moving with two kids to a new area, without having my husband to help during the week, away from family and church family. I knew it had to be done.  Phase 4 begins and the floods of blessings begin. 

4)      Phase 4- God knocks our sock off. No matter where you are in life and what you are in the middle of there is always blessing in obedience. About 2 weeks after we moved, Chris made one last ditch effort to ask for remote work and on Tuesday June 26th, 2012 it came back with the first resounding yes. Not only yes, but a full time yes. After months of trying desperately trying to make it work, God took care of it completely. He moved up here with us the next day and has been with us since. How do you thank a manager enough for that one?? So here we are in Houston together as a family and waiting. Lord, what next? Where to? It’s full of unknowns, stress, and yet so full of promise.

After this last year, how can we not trust? How can we not stand expecting the impossible to become possible? It would be such a shame to doubt or question now. Have I not seen and tasted that God is good? That He cares for the details that only I have thought in my head. Tomorrow we go in for our appointment of tests for Jackson. I can’t help but feel that there is something waiting to happen. Lord, my arms are open, my hands held high, and my head turned to the heavens.  All eyes are on you. Into the unknown we go, for you have already paved the way. Together we journey through this standing amazed at what you have done and are yet to do.

And the angels surround him singing, “Holy, holy, holy”