Friday, October 28, 2016

My Superhero

Scott is my superhero.
Our 20th Anniversary

Scott and I have been married for 20 years.  I know I don't look old enough to be married for 20 years...ok, I realize that how I look in my head is not reality.  It is mind boggling that this man chose me.  I am a mess.  My self esteem sucks.  He has spent a lifetime building me up.  He believes in me, way more than I believe in myself.  He wants more for me, than I could ever dream for myself.  He is freaking amazing.  He really, really is! 

The past few weeks, I have been reflecting on our marriage and who this man is for me, our family, and for everyone else.  What I cannot get out of my head is that he is my superhero.  My knight in shining armor.  He truly is.

A few years ago, I felt like the bottom fell out from beneath me and I could not find my way out of this pit of doubt and humiliation.  I experienced an attack on my character and endured such humiliation.  I struggled with the knowing the difference between being humbled and humiliated. 

The afternoon that I received the phone call that kickstarted this downward spiral, I did not know what to do except call Scott.  He immediately took action.  He asked the right questions.  He assured me that my feelings of disbelief were correct.  And, he made phone calls and demanded answers.  He drove immediately to speak to someone, to anyone.  He fought for me.

The end results were not positive for me.  I spent days, weeks, months...shoot years, feeling humiliated and embarrassed every time I saw some of their faces.  I was left wondering what remained of my character.  But despite the ickiness that I am still dealing with, the entire experience demonstrated to me that my husband would fight for me. 

As I deal with the aftermath, Scott has had to remind me time and time again who I am.  He would remind me of the truth.  The positive things that I have done were not erased.  He has had to singlehandedly build me back up.  When tough love was needed and perspective given, he did so with such love and mercy.  When I just couldn't get past the hurt, he extended grace and allowed me to just feel it without trying to fix it.  He has been incredible.  He was my superhero that summer day, but he has continued to be...he is my biggest fan!

On Sunday, Scott and I went to visit one of our sweet friends who was in her final days with her battle against cancer.  I am not good with death.  I am awkward.  I don't know what to say.  How to say it.  What to do with myself.  But Scott knew that I needed to go and say goodbye to my friend.  I needed to do it for me, for her family, and for her...this woman that I just adore.  A woman whose hunger for God's Word and complete joy was inspiring to me.  My superhero knows me well...

Scott was sitting next to her holding her hand and he would just talk to her.  He told her that we loved her and how amazing heaven would be when she got there.  He assured her that we would help take care of her family and to not worry about them.  He played a song for her.  He found a picture of our Scottie to show her because she just loved our Scottie.  He would pet her bald head.  Lean in and listen to her talk.  When things were confusing and she wasn't making sense, he spoke to her with such dignity knowing she could hear him.  He told her she was going to be in heaven and not feel pain anymore and she said "we all go to heaven."  And he smiled and told her "Yes we will all go to heaven, but you just might beat us there.  And that's ok.  We will see you there." 

And all I could think was that this man who is my superhero is the kindest pastor.  He speaks truth.  He loves with grace and mercy.  He extends hope and peace through his godly reassurances.  He exudes such's like, if he is there then everything will be ok.  He isn't just my superhero...he is actually a superhero.  He doesn't get public recognition for moments like this (and nor does he want it), but I saw it that afternoon.  Those who have experienced moments like this with him know that there is something so special about him.  God has gifted him in extraordinary ways, and I for some reason have the privilege of being his wife...his partner.

Superheroes may not be out front where everyone can see and hear them.
Superheroes may not be the lead story on the news.
Superheroes may not have their names lighting up the sky.

Superheroes fight for those who need someone to fight for them.
Superheroes offer truth with grace and mercy.
Superheroes encourage and build you up...not tear you down.

I believe real superheroes are known for how they love others.

He is fun!

Superheroes look like this...

He loves his kids and leads by example. 
(Here he is with Emma Grace in the
Dominican Republic on a mission trip.)
He is a teacher who wants to make
his lessons memorable and fun!

Scott is my superhero. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

In the Beginning

In the beginning... Perfect pregnancy.  Perfect delivery.  Perfect baby.

The last few days I have been reminiscing about the first year with Scottie.  Of all of the pregnancies and deliveries, hers was textbook perfect.  Within hours, I was sitting up in bed holding my baby, feeling amazing as we waited for Jacob and Emma Grace to come and meet their new sister.  I went home within 24 hours because Scottie was perfect.

The first night, I remember sitting on our family room floor and baby Scottie was sound asleep in my lap.  Everything was perfect and so easy...of course, baby number 3 should be a piece of cake.  I'm a pro at this mommy gig.  I could have easily graduated with honors majoring in mommyhood and baby Scottie was evidence of how awesome I was.

Quickly after, there were small signs that things were not perfect.  She took FOREVER to drink a bottle.  I mean FOREVER.  I would sit there FOREVER, and then just when I thought we were finally finished she would spew the entire contents all over me, the floor, and anything within 3 feet.  And an hour later, it was time to start all over again.  I would go to the store and buy new bottles hoping that perhaps it was just the bottle, but nope...she was just going to take FOREVER to drink her bottle.

The doctor said there was no need to do anything about the reflux because she was thriving and didn't seem to be in any pain.  Good thing I secretly enjoy doing laundry and folding clothes and putting everything away in the perfect order.  Laundry and closets are something I have complete control over.  The long feedings and spewing...well there was no control over those. 

Scottie would cry and cry for two hours every evening.  I would just walk circles holding, singing and loving my baby.  I was convinced that she was the last, the finale, the omega for our family.  I wanted to enjoy every single minute, even the crying for two hours.  I am so grateful that I thought she was my last because it gave me a little extra dose of patience.

But lots of babies have reflux and are colicky.  Nothing to be alarmed about.  Right?

Around 8 months, I vividly remember looking over at a friend as she pushed her baby in a stroller.  Her 6 month old little girl was sitting up and soaking in the world around her.  It was that moment that I knew...something wasn't right.  There was NO way Scottie could sit up in her stroller and she was 8 months old.  We would have to recline her seat just right and prop blankets and toys around her just to make sure she didn't topple over.  Eight months.  She should totally be sitting up and playing.  Shoot, Emma Grace was probably menu planning and cooking by 8 months.  Slight exaggeration...slight...she was walking (more like running) by 9 months and taking steps at 8 1/2 months, but she was a freak of nature (the most amazing freak of nature...the girl had things to do!)

A friend of ours worked for a state organization called ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) who provided services for children from birth through 3 years of age.  She came to our house to do a little informal evaluation.  She told me that Scottie would most likely be able to receive services because she was developmentally behind by at least two months.  So we called ECI and set up a formal evaluation.  Of course, she qualified for services.  (And I must SHOUT from the roof tops how incredible ECI was to our family and life changing for our Scottie!)

It is a hard thing to realize that your "perfect" baby is developmentally behind.  It is a hard thing to wonder what is wrong.  It is a hard thing to question yourself and how you missed it or how you may have caused the delays...what did I eat, drink, do?  It is a hard thing to watch your baby struggle to do what other babies did instinctively.  It is hard to learn for the first time how to teach a baby to reach for a toy when baby #1 and baby #2 did so without any effort.  It is hard to ask for help.  It is hard not knowing...

Remembering how hard it was is important, but knowing that we did it is such motivation to keep on doing it.  We can do hard things!  We loved harder.  We loved more.  We asked questions.  We did research.  We prayed more.  Our hearts grew a little larger because we needed to learn to love differently, better.

I wish someone had told me that it was going to be hard on our hearts to raise a child with special needs.  I wish the doctors who talked to us didn't seem so disappointed for us.  I wish someone had told me that even though it would suck, we would also discover an amazing love and appreciation for the world and all of God's people because of Scottie.  I wish that someone would have said that there would be days when we felt like it was just all too much.  I wish someone had said that there may never be a reason, and that's ok.  I wish someone had said it is acceptable to cry.  It's ok to freak out.  I wish someone had told me that Jacob and Emma Grace would become the most amazing siblings.  I wish someone had enthusiastically told me that even when it all seemed too impossible, that we could do hard things.  That the hardest things in life are often the most beautiful blessings. 

Those first few years were hard because we were living in the moment without realizing the amazing life blessings we would receive because God gave us the most incredible gift.  Ultimately, we are able to do hard things because we are not doing them alone.

In the beginning of Scottie's life, we learned to love unconditionally, to love completely, and to embrace hard things. 

May we not forget to love like that.

May we have the chance to share with new mommas and daddies as they question whether they can do hard things. 

May we use our Scottie story to encourage and speak truth. 

May her story be a story of hope and bravery. 

May Scottie's life be one of overcoming the hard things with laughter and joy always shining through. 

God uses the hard things for good.  He is using Scottie's life and journey for good.  What hard things in your life is He using for good?