After announcing this new series, I’m back with the first submission. The mom who submitted this story is actually a dear friend of mine from college. She has a heart of gold, and I always, always enjoyed talking to her because she has such a way with words. I hope you’ll enjoy her story, and feel encouraged by her experience!
Here is her story:
Tell us a little about yourself, your family, your job, your kids, the age of your kids – anything you’d like to share.
Registered Nurse by trade, but currently a SAHM. We moved from PA to AL when our oldest was one basically so I could stay home (cheaper cost of living here). My husband, Josh, had spent time in AL as a young adult and deployed with a Marine Corps unit here, so when we thought about where to move, we thought this was a good place because it wasn’t brand new to both of us. All of our family except our in-laws are still in PA. Our kids are Hudson, who is now 4 and Eleanor, who is 15 months.
Tell us your story.
The freshest, most influential to me, was willingly moving our family away from everything we knew, to do something we’ve never done. I thought the move and adjusting to a new community and culture would be hard, but that was easy. Within the first 3 months of living here, Hudson started developing recurring cases of strep throat coupled with asthma and a need for home nebulizer treatments (apparently AL is the WORST state for pollen and allergens). He was never sick his whole first year of life, and it was so hard watching him gasp to breathe and just being in a new place and still trying to figure out being a SAHM without family support (again, we willingly chose those circumstances). Then 6 months after living here, Josh was rear ended on his way to work and over the next 12 months we went through physical therapy, traction, pain shots, and ultimately back surgery for a ruptured and bulged spinal disk. During those same 12 months, Hudson continued to have bouts of strep throat every few months that resulted in enlarged tonsils that would not respond to medication to shrink them. Exactly 4 weeks after Josh’s surgery, Hudson had an emergency tonsillectomy because he was experiencing apneic episode while sleeping at night (his tonsils were so large that they were blocking his airway). And to add to the fun, I was in my third trimester of pregnancy with Eleanor. Josh was unable to be in the hospital with me when our son had his surgery and had to stay overnight. And when I delivered Eleanor, he was still recovering himself so he coached me from a recliner right next to my bed (best birthing coach from a recliner if I do say so myself).
How did this experience rock your faith, or grow your faith?
There were many times when I felt extremely guilty for asking to stay home, because that ultimately landed us in a new state away from what we knew. And when the hardships came, I honestly felt like it was all my fault— Hudson would have never developed the sensitivities and needed surgery. Josh wouldn’t have had to be forced to change jobs post accident because he was no longer able to do manual labor work. I just kept wondering if we screwed up.
Were you a person of faith before this experience?
How did you move past this experience? What have you done to heal your heart or what did you do?
The most constant thing that carried us through was community and our willingness to be transparent with our tribe. From the beginning, it was important to us to get plugged in with a church family and build solid and honest relationships. We moved to AL in June of 2016. In March of 2016, we started praying for those relationships ahead of time before we even sold our home in PA. I know God answered those early prayers because we were surrounded with people who loved us and cared for us and met our needs ten fold— food, money, prayers, wisdom, babysitting Hudson during our numerous doctor’s appointments, etc.
Was there a song(s) that you found encouraging or symbolic during this time?
Worn by Tenth Avenue North; Any song by Lauren Daigle
Was there a certain scripture you found encouraging?
Isaiah 55 (specifically vs 11): what God sets in motion will not fail. What he purposes to happen will produce goodness and life! ; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 I knew that what we were enduring would not be wasted, it was part of our story to encourage and point others to Jesus.
Overall, how do you feel like your faith has changed since this experience?
We chose to live outside of our comfort zone. So we were ready for it to be different and sharpen our faith. But we had NO idea just how much we would need God and need his people. I’ve learned the true value of authentic community and what it looks like to be like the first century church in Acts 2 and meeting one another’s needs. I’ve also learned that I don’t have to feel guilty for bad things happening that are more a reflection of the state of our broken world versus the choice we made to move. We prayerfully considered that decision and God richly blessed us prior to our moving, so to doubt those blessings and to feel guilt took away from Gods power to show us just how good and faithful he is, even when things don’t turn out how you thought they would, or how you think they should.
What would you tell someone going through something similar?
God doesn’t need you to fix it, he needs you to surrender your desire to want to fix it. Even on your hardest days, when you are in the lowest pit, speak truth to your heart and remind yourself that God loves you and is for you. And when you really don’t believe, cause you won’t at first, surround yourself with people who will keep speaking it to you and over you until you are strong enough to walk in that truth.
If you would like to submit a story to this series, you can do so anonymously HERE.