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Recently my three year old has been begging for a bow and arrow set.  Frankly, I chose not to purchase one for quite some time because he tends to be a bit uncoordinated. He’s an amazing kid in so many areas. He’s crazy smart and very gifted when it comes to reading and writing. I decided, recently, since he had his heart set on the bow and arrow set that I would comply and buy him one. It’s moments like these that I wish I had the power to see into the future.  Had I been able to see Asher’s frustration in trying to shoot an arrow I’m not sure I would have given it to him.

This has reminded me how God’s timing in my life is absolutely perfect.  There have been so many things that I have prayed about for years.  Quite honestly there have been many times when I’ve wondered why God has taken so long to respond to my requests. I wasn’t asking for millions of dollars or to be famous.  I was asking for things like finding my birth family, to be out of so much physical pain, and having babies. All very good things in my opinion.  ;-)

 I started praying to find my birth mom when I was in elementary school. I recall writing letters to my mom telling her how much I loved her and that I understood why she had to give me away.  I tried to imagine what she looked like.  I wanted so much to have someone…anyone who looked like me.  It has been about 35 years that I have prayed this prayer of finding my mom or someone that was related to me.  I began to realize that this probably wasn’t going to happen.  I figured that my mom had probably already passed away.  The worse scenario I imagined was that I would find her and she wouldn't acknowledge me as being her daughter.

Last year sometime I bought a piece of black poster board and a silver marker.  I had decided to make one of those posters you see on Facebook quite frequently.  I’m sure you've seen them…requests to help find a birth family member or a long lost loved one. I came home with the poster board and literally prayed over it.  I slipped it behind our piano and told the Lord to please let me know when He wanted me to actually post it.  It was almost a year before I felt He gave me the “OK.” I had looked at that blank poster board many times.  I noticed it had become quite dusty and the corners were a little curled.  I came across the silver marker quite often.  I was nervous it would get used and I wouldn't have it when I needed it.
On my birthday this year my hubby and I went to a home-school expo.  This was not something I had been hoping to do on my birthday but it just happened to be the same day.  We returned home late afternoon and I had about an hour before we had to leave to have dinner with some friends. I can’t explain why I suddenly felt the need to grab that poster board but I did.  I silently prayed and asked the Lord if I was doing the right thing.  I quickly filled it out and had my hubby take my picture. I cropped it and posted it on FB and we left for our evening out.  As I climbed into bed later that evening I wanted to see if anyone had shared my picture.  I was shocked and amazed to see it had already been shared hundreds of times.

Two days later a gal in Wayland, Michigan saw my picture and showed her co-worker Troy.  She said, “Troy, this sounds just like your sister you’ve told me about.”  He checked it out and agreed.  He sent me a private message, but I never saw it.  Later that night Troy was in bed falling asleep when his wife began to shake him quite vigorously and say, “Troy…Troy…she has your cheeks.  You MUST contact her!!!”  He lazily leaned over to see what she was talking about.  He saw my picture and casually said, “Yeah, I know…I already sent her a message.  I’m sure it’s probably not her.”

The next night I was getting into bed quite late…very normal for me.  I grabbed my computer to check FB and see what was going on with my post. By this point it had been shared over three thousand times.  That totally baffled my brain. I then checked my messages.  I had a LOT!!!!  I came across one from a guy named Troy that made me sit straight up in bed and made my heart beat a little faster. It read: “Hi I saw your post and have a question. Are you black and white? Sorry if this is offensive. My mom gave up a mixed baby in the late 60's early 70's. She was also adopted through DA Blodgett.

I had received lots of other messages from people that were a total waste of my time but this one actually caught my interest.  So I went to his FB page and looked at his picture. Upon seeing his face my heart hopped into my throat.  I grabbed my computer and ran downstairs to show my husband.  I said, “LOOK JESSE…HE HAS MY FACE!!!!!” Jesse looked at me as if I had lost my mind.  He looked at the picture a couple of times and said, “Hannah, I’m not seeing it.  I think your sleeping pill has kicked in.  You really need to go to bed and get some sleep…it’s late.” 

I was instantly mad.  Seriously?  Did he really think it was even possible for me to sleep at a time like this??????

“Jesse, really?  You can’t see that this guy looks like me?  Dude, He has my FACE!!!!!”
“Babe, it’s late.  I know you want this to be your brother or whatever but I really think once you sleep and look at this picture in the morning you’re going to see things differently.”

“Jesse, I just messaged this Troy and he said I can call him…TONIGHT!  I’m totally going to call him!”
“Hannah, are you serious?  You are half asleep!  I really think you should sleep on this!”

“Jesse, I couldn't sleep right now if my life depended on it. I know I’m supposed to obey you so could you please change your mind on this so I can give this guy a call?”

“Ha, fine…call him…but don’t get your hopes up!”

The last part of that statement was heard by me half way up the stairs.  ;-)  Hee hee…not get my hopes up…too late for that!!!!!

It was probably after one in the morning at this point.  I truly thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  I took a couple of deep breaths and prayed.  “Lord, if this isn't what I think it is please show me.  Please be with this conversation and help me to discern the truth.  Help me to not give more information than I should.  Thank you for carrying me through all of this.  Lord, I’m scared… I need Your strength.”  I didn't close that prayer because I knew I would be praying through my whole phone conversation.
I can’t explain how much I wish I could have seen God’s face at that very moment.  I can’t compare myself to God but when I think about how excited I was when I gave Asher his silly bow and arrow set it makes me wonder how thrilled my heavenly Father must have been for me at that moment.  There really is no comparison, BUT I couldn’t wait for Asher to try and shoot an arrow.  Can you even begin to imagine how thrilled God must have been for me to talk to a possible brother?  He probably elbowed his Son and said, “You’ve got to watch this! This is going to be one of the biggest moments of her life.  She’s waited so long for this, and prayed for so many years.  I sure do love to see how happy she gets when We answer her prayers!”  OK, I don’t have a clue what He said, but I love to imagine things.  ;-)

The conversation with Troy was beyond wonderful.  Troy was
and is my brother.  

I finally had someone that looked like me…you see…he had my face. 

I struggle all the time with what to wear.  I rarely feel like I’m dressed for the occasion.  I often feel either over or under dressed.  I loved it when I was in school and we all wore the same uniform.  Absolutely no stress at all…same red, white, and blue outfit every day.  I didn’t even have to think about it.  My biggest concern was if I had a clean uniform or not.
Someone asked me last week if I was “wearing” the suit God had chosen for me or had I donned my own ensemble? I didn’t really know what she meant at first, but she went on to explain that often we wear what is comfy instead of what is given to us.  If we're talking actual clothes, you better believe, I’ll be choosing sweats and a t-shirt every time!  I’m comfy for sure, but not at all attractive.  ;-)  Don’t get me wrong, occasionally I enjoy getting all dolled up and adding all the fun accessories. 

She, however, wasn’t talking about my everyday attire.  She was talking about who I was as a person…my character.  What am I wearing?  I didn’t even know how to answer the question.  I’ve seen at times in my life that I slid into the “victim” jacket.  I think when many areas of your life go awry it’s very easy to be the “victim.” Well, at least it is for me. When you wear that jacket you often begin to believe the lies that get whispered by the devil.  “You aren’t worth anything.”  “You deserve to be treated badly.” “No one really loves you…it’s all an act.”  The whispers become so deafening that soon it is all we can hear, think, and believe.
What about the coat of pride?  You know, that comfy feeling of entitlement.   After all, we’ve trudged our way through the muck and mire of life…don’t we deserve to be treated with respect?

Oh, and let’s not forget the cloak of passivity.  You know, that cloak that fits so nicely and no one really ever notices you.  Because if you’re not noticed then little will be required.  Life is so full and busy…not to mention HARD!  If we wear that cloak life will be easier, and maybe a little quieter.  Sometimes we just want to be left alone. We really desire to go unnoticed.  That is until we do something WE feel should deserve a bit of praise.

I often like to shrug on a shawl of depression.  I can wrap myself up in it…engulf myself in its darkness.  I snuggle right down and take a nice long nap in its warmth.  When I’m down and out I can isolate myself.  I don’t have to worry about responsibilities, or the demands of life.  I can wallow in my own yuck.  I can roll around in my self-pity, get dirty in my “woe is me” attitude, and fling about a few “if only” phrases.  It’s downright disgusting!

Today our pastor was talking about dying daily to self.  Choosing to die every day to my own desires and wants.  Choosing instead to live my life for Christ.  Sometimes I don’t have a clue what that even means. Thankfully, like pastor said, all we have to do is slip into His yoke.  Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me. For I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  I NEED a teacher.  I’m not a good leader.  It is music to my ears to know that I won’t have to lead when I choose to wear the yoke with Christ. I need someone who will gently lead me.  I don’t do well with cruel treatment by authority.  Then He adds that if I choose this, that I will find rest for my soul.  Come on…who doesn’t want that?!?!?!  For myself, I like to try to convince myself that when I’m wearing the shawl of depression that I’m getting peace.  That is the furthest thing from the truth.  There is NO peace when I’m depressed.  There is no rest.

So I’ve made a decision today.  I’ll continue to wear my comfy sweats when it’s appropriate…only around the house.  I will also choose to wake up each morning and thank the Lord for a new day and then slide into my side of the yoke. I can’t wait to see what my wardrobe of life will look like once I start doing this.  No more the frumpy attire of sin but instead I’ll be able to wear the armor of God. My closet will be full of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation. I believe then I’ll even have the beautiful accessories of the fruit of the Spirit He talks about in Galatians 5:22-23 For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Who wouldn’t want to wear those gems?????

It’s such a nice feeling not having to worry about what I’m going to wear tomorrow.  I already have it picked out!  
Dear Uriah,

Happy fourth birthday, big guy! I was wondering, if you were still with me here on earth, what I would have given you for your birthday gift this year. Four year old little boys are pretty easy to buy for.  It would just depend on what your likes and dislikes were. Now when your older brother Abner was four he would have wanted anything with Bob the builder, or a gun.  I think when Abner turned four I gave him a Gator truck…he LOVED it.  In fact, he still talks about it. He would drive that thing all over the place.  He would drive over to Grandpa and Grandma Snyder’s house all by himself.  He thought he was pretty big stuff!  Your little brother, Asher, is completely different than Abner.  I think when he turns four this year he will want books, or puzzles, or maybe some cars.  So it makes me stop and think about what you would have liked.  I have a funny feeling you would have been more like Abner.  You never stopped moving while you were inside of me…just like Abner.  I think you probably would have liked a bow and arrow set, a bouncing horse, or your very first BB gun.  

I’ve been given some amazing gifts in my lifetime. As a little girl one of my favorite gifts was a music box.  I would sit and listen to it for hours. My favorite gift for Christmas this year was a memory book about you. I love it so much. It makes me cry, but it makes me very happy too. I only cry because I miss you.  I’m thrilled that you are in heaven with Jesus, though. Our heavenly Father is amazing, as you well know. He always does what is best for us. He gives and He takes away, but only for our good.  God has given me the most amazing gifts ever.  He gave me the gift of salvation.  I’m so glad He offered and I accepted.  He gives me unconditional love, grace, and favor. He has given me 5 beautiful babies. He gave me your amazing daddy! He gave me YOU!  I had you inside of me for 41 wonderful weeks, and then He let me enjoy you here on earth for 2 whole days. Many, many mommies don’t get to enjoy their babies for that long so I’m extremely thankful for that gift!

I want to tell you why you were such an amazing gift to me.  When I found out you were growing inside of me I was beyond thrilled.  The sad part was that at that time I didn’t love Jesus and I didn’t believe that He loved me.  I had loved Him for many years, but people here on earth had hurt me very badly.  People who had told me that they loved Jesus but sure didn’t act like it.  So I had made up my mind that I didn’t want anything to do with people that pretended to love Him, nor did I want Him.  The great thing about God is that He never leaves us…even when we feel like we don’t want or need Him.
For many years I had told myself that I was unlovable. I told myself that people and God didn’t and couldn’t love me.  When you tell yourself something long enough you believe it.  It can be the biggest lie on the planet but we believe it anyway. God gave me another gift during that time.  It was a person who REALLY loved God.  His name is Pastor Dan Mead.  Every single time Pastor Mead saw me he would smile.  He would hug me. He would tell me he loved me. Don’t tell him this but I didn’t believe him.  Probably because of that big ole lie I kept telling myself.  Anyway, he would also tell me how much God loved me. He even tried to prove it to me by reading me verses from the Bible that proclaimed God’s love to me.  I still didn’t believe. I told him that God loved EVERYBODY but for some reason He had chosen to stop loving me.  During this time I rarely took my eyes off of the floor.  My head was always down.  Probably because I didn’t have the strength to look up.  Also, I didn’t want to see all those hurtful people around me pretending to live a life of love.  Pastor Mead would put his hand under my chin and make me look at him.  I didn’t much like that, but it was needed.  Week after week and month after month Pastor Mead repeated those words and verses to me.  When I would leave his office I would feel a little bit better but I still wasn’t able to accept that gift.

Then I started feeling you move and grow inside of me and I knew I had to change my thoughts.  I didn’t want you to grow up feeling unloved.  I knew how that felt and I didn’t want you to ever feel that way, so I made a decision to try one more time.  I was going to try to accept that love again.  The funny thing was that love was always there…I had just refused to take it.  Then on November 15, 2009 my eyes were finally opened and I saw the truth.  Not only did I see it but I accepted it and felt it.  What an amazing thing God’s love is.  Ha, I’m telling you something you already know full well.

Six weeks later you were born, and two days later you died. You know what I think?  I think God knew I needed you in order to accept that love from Him and live the abundant life He had for me.  I don’t know why you had to die and be with Jesus, but I’m thrilled that you are there. You’ve never had to feel unloved.  You’ve never had to feel unwanted.  You’ve never had to feel betrayed by those who say they love you. You have lived in perfection from the moment you opened your eyes.  That is the most awesome gift ever.  I have a feeling you are very thankful for it.  

So even though it is your birthday and I didn’t get a gift for you, I want to thank you for being that little wonderful gift for me.  You were the perfect gift that made me realize how much Jesus loves me. Well, you and Pastor Mead. ;-)  Thank you Uriah…I love you so much and I can’t for a second imagine my life without you…even if it was only for a short time.

Your loving Mommy

This is your Christmas ornament this year.  :-)

My goal for this year is to be more consistent in writing on my blog. Although, I’m pretty sure that was a goal for me last year, too.  Hmmm, do I at least get an A for effort???

The last few weeks have been quite the challenge for me.  Had I known how difficult life would be today, I may have made a different choice a few months back.

Last January my youngest daughter quit breastfeeding. I really don’t blame her any.  I was only able to make about two to three ounces a day with her.  She had a lip tie to boot so she didn’t enjoy it at all.  So since I was no longer breastfeeding or pregnant I wanted to do something to help with my fibromyalgia pain.

Fibromyalgia…what a pain…no pun intended! Ok, maybe a little bit intended.  ;o)  It’s almost an indescribable pain.  For me, if you touch my skin and use any pressure at all it HURTS! Then add on the deep muscle pain. You know what that is…when you make that New Year’s resolution about working out every day!  You go into the gym and take that spin class and give it all you got.  You leave the gym feeling like Shaquille O’Neal.  You’re on top of the world! You shower and go to bed excited about looking and feeling like the Rock!   Then you wake up in the middle of the night to use the potty because you also drank 1,400 gallons of water while getting so buff. You sit up and attempt to move your leg off of the side of the bed. The pain you’re feeling causes your eyes to pop out of your head. You stifle a primal scream and quickly disengage your leg muscle and try to breathe normally again.  You close your eyes trying to decide if it would be better to spend the rest of the night in agony from your need to use the bathroom, or die from the pain half way to the potty room.  That’s what my muscles feel like. Now, add the chronic back and neck pain. It feels as if you have a knife in your lower back, upper shoulder, and neck…at all times.

I had been without fibro meds since 2009. I have either been pregnant or nursing so none of the meds were an option. So last January I wanted to do a cartwheel because I knew I could begin to take something and get back to living without as much pain. Nothing takes away all of the pain, but if you can somehow lessen the pain life begins to feel manageable again.  My doctor suggested that I start taking Cymbalta. She said the side effects were very minimal, and that most people didn’t experience any of them. By February I was in a very good place with my pain level.  My pain level had been an 8 or 9 most days.  A month into the meds I was down to a 4 or 5.  Aaahhhhh, now that is much more manageable in my opinion.  In August I forgot to take my medication one night.  Not a big deal right?  WRONG!!!  The next day I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk.  I lay on the couch all day…trying to be a mom and wife.  I remember praying that God would take me home because I couldn’t handle this level of pain.  My awesome hubby did some research and found some very disturbing facts about this med.  He wanted me to go off the med.  I wanted him to mind his own business.  I’m joking…kinda.  It just didn’t compute in my brain to stop taking a med that helped the pain so much.

After a couple of weeks I did my own research.  I chose not to tell Jesse because I didn’t want to be swayed by my love for him and wanting to please him. I needed to decide what was best for me.  What was best for my everyday life.  How would I manage my pain and take care of my husband, my children, my house, and myself.  I was appalled at what I read! How could a pharmaceutical company even consider distributing this medication?  The side effects for this medication are far beyond horrendous. What it had already started to do to my body and brain was not acceptable.  I realize I’m not a young lady anymore but I’m NOT old and I have a lot of life left to live!  So I started to taper off of the med. I started the end of September.  I had done enough research to know that this would take many weeks to finally be off the med. 

I was honestly surprised at how smoothly it went.   About a week before Christmas I stopped taking it completely.  Prior to that week I had been taking a very small dose every 2-3 days.  By a day or two after Christmas I thought I would lose my mind. The pain was back with a vengeance…Pain had brought his extended family and friends.  On top of the pain was the way my mind seemingly stopped working.  I couldn’t remember ANYTHING! I would say a word and hear myself say THAT word. However, a completely different word would actually come out of my mouth.  For instance, I would say, “Phebe, would you please go get the clothes out of the drier?”  What I actually said was, “Abner, would you please go get the food out of the cupboard?” Abner wasn’t even in the room, and Phebe looked at me like I had lost my ever living mind! I was also extremely dizzy.  So dizzy I didn’t even feel comfortable driving.  I was also EXTREMELY agitated and angry.  Nothing was wrong in my life but I felt like EVERYTHING was wrong.  I started speaking words of truth to myself.  That may sound stupid, but I knew I needed to do this if I was going to make it through these extremely rough days. I tried to stay away from my children and hubby because I didn’t want to say things I would regret later.  The problem was everyone was on Christmas break so we seemed to always be together.  So I took VERY long baths and spent a lot of time in my bedroom.

So here I am today…wondering if I made the right decision.  I’m not really wondering. I know I made the right decision.  My biggest fear is that this pain and anxiety may never go away.  I’ve read that many people who have stopped taking this medication have not recovered.  I’m doing everything in my power to not be one of those people.   I have an amazing chiropractor that is helping me every step of the way.  He has found many natural supplements that should help.  I’ve only been on these supplements a couple of days, so time will tell.

So why did I write about this today? I don’t have a clue. Maybe because this is all I can think about right now. Maybe because someone may read this and decide against taking a medication that should never be given to ANYONE, or at least do some research first.  Maybe because I just needed to vent a little.  I’m not sure, but I do feel a bit better!

At least I haven’t failed on my New Year’s resolution…yet.  I’m writing and posting.  Go me!!!!!!!