I feel like I have had a very tumultuous couple of years. From the moment we found out we were moving to Germany in January of 2011, my life felt like a roller coaster. There were months of preparations, because moving a family across an ocean is no small task. There were nights where I laid awake worrying, wondering what our life would be like. Then, only a few weeks before we were getting ready to move, we were delighted to find out we were expecting another baby.
So in July of 2011, we boarded a plane with 3 kids, 3 carseats, and probably a dozen pieces of luggage. We touched down in a foreign country where I did not speak the language and we were completely disoriented and out of place. We barely had time to sleep off some of the jetlag before I started to lose the baby. It wasn’t my first miscarriage. In fact, it was the 7th baby that I had lost. I knew immediately what was happening. I went to the German ER and tried to explain, but they didn’t speak enough English to understand me. I ended up completely losing it, feeling even more lost. We decided after this devastating loss that we would try only one more time to get pregnant. If we lost another baby, we would take that as a sign that God wanted us to only have 3 children. If we did not lose another baby, we would stop at four. I knew that I had borne all of the loss I could take.
Things got a little better over the next few months and I started to heal. We got a house and moved out of the hotel. Our furniture arrived and we felt like our empty house was now our home. Our van arrived and we could finally leave our neighborhood. Byron had some leave accrued that we had to use so we booked our first European family vacation. We spent most of September traveling around England, Scotland, and Ireland. It was on that trip that I got pregnant again.
The beginning of my pregnancy was wrought with stress and sickness. I felt awful. But of course, I was glad I felt awful because that meant things were going okay with the baby. But it also meant that I was not very nice to my children. Before the sickness could even abate (which it did, eventually, at around 22 weeks), the back pain set in. My 4th baby in 6 years was taking a heavy toll on my body, and the pain was barely tolerable. With the loving support of my husband and new friends, I made it to delivery day, in May of 2012. Finn was born a healthy 9 pound, 3 ounce wonder.
Then came the fog. You know, that I-just-had-a-baby-and-I-can’t-even-remember-my-name fog. It lasted for a few months. Then Finn started to sleep through the night and I started feeling like myself again. I lost 67 pounds in 11 weeks and I could move without hurting. We started to travel some more, taking trips to the Black Forest, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Bavaria, Austria, and Italy, all within a few months’ span. Life felt hectic and rushed.
Then, God gave me October. It was the respite I had been waiting for and desperately needing. We did our schoolwork. We spent time with friends. We did crafts and painted pictures. We went to the park. It was slow and easy.
In November we finished up our school year and I ran a 10K, a goal that I didn’t think I would ever achieve.
Now Thanksgiving is over and the craziness is knocking on my door again. We start Advent next week, with day after day of Christmas activities. I’ll have less than a week off before our new school year begins – my first year of officially homeschooling two children. I’m also leading the homeschool group and co-organizing the co-op that starts in January. And at that co-op I’m teaching 2 classes with 15 kids each, so I have to prepare lesson plans and activities for other people’s children as well as my own. In addition to those responsibilities, I’m trying to get my personal health on track. Since I lost those first 67 pounds, I have been stuck. I haven’t lost a single pound in 3 months. I’m starting up a new exercise regimen to try to shake the last 25 pounds I need to lose. I also feel like I really need to spend more time with God. I have been improving on talking with Him throughout the day, but I need to work in a time set aside daily in His word. I’m trying not to feel overwhelmed, but I can’t help but feel like I’m wading into deeper waters than I can handle.
I suppose I should remind myself of Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” But I am also reminded of Mary and Martha, when Jesus chided Martha for being too busy to sit with Him. I can’t let life get too crazy for that.