Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Little Piece of Heaven

As most of you know, I am the proud mother of three children. What some do not know, my youngest child was not conceived of my womb, but in my heart. I gave birth to my two oldest children, Ryan Victoria and Zachary Keith, as most mothers do. Ryan, my oldest daughter, was the perfect first baby to have. I felt great throughout the entire pregnancy, not one moment of morning sickness. I gained a little over 17 pounds. My water broke at 3:30 in the morning, labor pains started at a little after 4:00 a.m. and by 5:29 a.m., after two pushes, I had a beautiful, healthy 8 lb. 6 1/2 baby girl.

Zachary, however, made me work much harder for him. I had morning sickness, I believe from the moment of conception (or so it seemed!). I gained over 80 lbs, how I do not understand as I threw up from the time I woke up until I went to sleep at night. I felt exhausted the entire nine months. I went into labor and he was breech. They, for some reason known only to them and God, did not attempt a c-section, but allowed me to deliver this 10 lb baby boy, vaginally, and did I mention NATURALLY? I pushed for almost 3 hours and got a little bottom popped out, one leg, and then another and by the time that I got to his shoulders, they realized I was fading and put me under. Coming out of the fog, I could hear someone saying, "This is the lady that gave birth to the 10 pounder." and in my fog induced state I thought, "That poor woman." ( The poor woman was myself!)

After Zach, I was finished with having babies. So sure of this fact, now that I had my girl and my boy, I had my tubes tied. Just so you all know, no matter what we do in life, if God has other plans, He will make it happen.

Fast forward to my oldest daughter's junior year in high school. She comes home one day and tells me about this young girl at her school that is pregnant. Ryan tells me that the young mother to be has been raised in foster care since she was 3 years old and that the kids at school are not very nice to her. Sara ( not her real name), is poor and has a chip on her shoulder that has been a permanent fixture all 16 years of her life. I suggest to Ryan, that since she is a popular kid, she should befriend this young girl and the other kids will follow suit. Ryan not only befriends Sara, she takes her to doctor appointments and even has her over to our house on several occasions. I will never forget one time, soon after finding out that she was carrying a girl, Sara told me, "Well, this kid is going to have to live without affection, because I don't do affection. I didn't have it growing up and I turned out fine." I knew that was not true, and for a minute, my heart broke for her unborn child.

Ryan continued to go to each and every doctor appointment. She was thrilled when she found out Sara was having a little girl and was in the delivery room the day that the baby was born. Ryan was even given the honor of cutting the umbilical cord. Sara had gone into premature labor and the baby was born 2 1/2 months early weighing in under 4 lbs.

One night when the baby was about 2 months old, Ryan asked if she could bring her home on a Friday night to spend the night with us. I told her that it was fine, but SHE was going to be the one to get up with this baby because "my baby days are OVER!!!" After assuring me that she would, I consented. When she walked through the door with that baby, my mommy heart melted. She was tiny and looked so vulnerable. Ryan shared with me that the baby's mother had recently "joined" the carnival and had taken this precious child and she sat in an infant seat in a popcorn wagon all day and all night as her mother worked. When she fell asleep at night, the mother would lock down the wagon and go off to the fairway and ride the rides and "hang out." There was no telling how often this baby had cried and not been heard.

This started a pattern and the baby spent a lot of time at our house. My daughter had helped Sara name the baby...Nevaeh (heaven spelled backwards). When Nevaeh was 3 months old, her mother asked me if I wanted to adopt her. She was just turning 18 years old, had dropped out of school her senior year and had no prospect of a job. She was willing to sign away all parental rights. The father of the baby, was in prison, but was soon to be released. Little did I know, that at that very moment, Sara was already pregnant again.

We went through all the proper channels and one year later, Nevaeh was ours. The adoption was finalized the day before her big sister's wedding. Nevaeh was the flower girl, while Zach was a groomsman.

Several days after Ryan's wedding, two things happened that will stay in my memory forever. First, I was cleaning out the closet in Ryan's bedroom she had just vacated. I found a journal and noticed what looked to be a black and white picture sticking out of the top. It was Nevaeh's first ultrasound picture. I opened the journal to the date of Nevaeh's birth and Ryan had written "Today I watched my little sister come into this world. I cut her umbilical cord and I held her first. I don't know why, but she feels like my little sister." I cry as I think of that now. She had written this way before we even contemplated adoption. The second thing was, my son had to write a report on something extraordinary that happened in his life. He wrote about his baby sister's adoption. He wrote "Heaven Graced us with her presence and now she is a Young."

I was finished with having children. My baby days were over. I had my boy and my girl. I had the tubes tied! For 14 years, I was perfectly happy with the two children I had given birth to. However, God had other plans for me. My daughter was born, from another woman's womb, but my child nonetheless. Nevaeh Grace Young was born to be my little girl. She is and will forever be, my blessing straight from heaven above!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Day In The Life

I have had so many people to ask me what is a day in my life like.

I always find the question rather funny because being a Pastor's Wife is just like being any other's man wife. I am a stay at home wife and mother. There are the normal duties of any other, cooking ( not one of my favorite things), taxi service, etc. Then, mixed in with that, I have a very busy husband, who just happens to be a Pastor. While I can only speak for myself and how I see my role as this Pastor's Wife, my role is more of a "supportive" part. I choose to remain in the background. This is where I am more comfortable.

I love to visit the nursing homes, hospitals and I always go to the funeral home when we lose a cherished member or a parishoner loses family. These are the things that I have a deep love and passion for. I never tire of doing any of the above mentioned things.

So, what is a day in the life of a Preacher's Wife? Well, I think that the question is better answered when we look at a day in my husband's life. Most pastors wives have careers of their own, and while that is great, I have no idea how they manage everything in addition. I tend to struggle with it all at times.

My husband gets up every morning about 6 a.m. and does his personal devotion and prayers. We have our coffee together and map out our day! Yesterday was not typical of all days, but we do see these type of days more often than naught. My husband was getting ready to leave for Nashville to visit an elderly member that has spent over 6 weeks in the hospital after having had his leg amputated. His wife called before Ken left and was overjoyed that at last, her husband was being released from the hospital. So, my husband decided not to go. Instead, he called another church member that had had surgery on his knee on Tuesday and his mother in law suffered a seizure on Wednesday and was in a coma and it was only a matter of time, and scheduled an earlier visit with them. He left and went to see them. I was home cleaning and packing for the annual conference we'd be attending immediately after church on Sunday. When he left their house, he called me to tell me that she was still in the coma. He had to get material to his secretary for the bulletin and then would be driving 25 miles away to visit another church member that has been battling cancer for over a year now. I got a phone call that the elderly woman in the coma, has passed away a few minutes after he left. I called him to inform him of that and immediately after ending that call, I got another call that the elderly man in Nashville was not being released after all. The doctor felt he was still too confused and wanted to observe him over the weekend. Did I mention that my husband had a Men's Cookout planned for that night at church?

I got several phone calls all day, another Pastor called to discuss funeral arrangements with my husband, members calling asking about the cookout, the wife calling about her husband that was in the hospital and always we have people call needing help with electric bills or food. I field all of these calls and pass them on to my husband and where he cannot be, I go. We like to call it tag teaming! There are many times that there are plans made that have to be broken due to his pastoring duties and while it can be disappointing, I know that it is necessary and I am perfectly alright with that.

So, as you can see, my days are not really that different from anyone else's. Doctors wives have to share their husbands. It can be frustrating at times, lonely and there is so much sadness at times it is overwhleming, but it is the most rewarding job. I love my life and would not want to be anywhere else. I've said it many times, Ken's calling has become mine.