This post is a little different than my normal ones, a bit more personal, and a bit longer. And you might be wondering what in the world the three topics in my title (God’s sovereignty, an Announcement, and Gut Health) have to do with each other. Bear with me, and I promise I’ll get to each of them! 😀
One lesson God keeps trying to teach me is that it’s not a good idea to tell Him how we’re going to accomplish something. His ways are so much better than ours!
Let’s go back in time a bit so what I’m trying to express makes more sense…
In December of 2016, my husband made a quick trip to Missionary Acres, in Silva, Missouri. This is where we felt the Lord leading our family, and the trip helped solidify it in our family’s mind. So, we officially started the application process.
One of the requirements to become missionaries was that our debt load be under $18,000. We were sitting at $29K at the time – the rest of my student loans for my master’s degree. So it felt impossible at first. But, we decided we’d buckle down, grow my business, and pay down the debt.
My business grew alright. I took on a curriculum writing job I didn’t have time for and wound up super stressed and overwhelmed. The money was great, but not nearly as much of it went to our debt as we hoped. The cars both broke down. We had some dental work that needed done. And by the time that short term gig ended, our debt was still above the threshold.
Since I wasn’t actively growing my business during the crazy stressful job, it fizzled. I had my first month ever where I didn’t even break even in the fall of 2017. And I was super discouraged.
Then God started working on me. He showed both Bryan and I how we had decided how WE were going to pay off the debt without consulting Him. And we utterly failed in our plans. We couldn’t do this without God.
But then, God started working. He brought in over $4,000 of unexpected blessings towards our debt from friends and family between December 2017 and January 2018, and we are now below $18,000 in debt.
What felt impossible to us was no problem for God.
Figuring Out Candidate Seminar
We finished the application process, and in just a couple of weeks, Bryan and I are heading to Baptist Mid-Missions in Ohio to attend Candidate Seminar. Once we finish that, we will be officially approved to raise support as missionaries.
God orchestrated the details for this trip beautifully.
We were worried about leaving the kids and who we could find to watch them for two whole weeks. Eight kids (one with severe special needs) can be a challenge!
But, Bryan’s Mom, Grandparents, and sister agreed to help. Between them and my Mom and Step-Dad, I know the kids will be in good hands while we are gone. (And we are SO thankful for their willingness – THANK YOU!!!)
And, Bryson has recently started sleeping through the night, so we don’t have to worry about him keeping everyone awake all night! Owen is also staying in bed all night thanks to his inflatable enclosed bed. It’s just one answered prayer after another!!!
Our church voted to fund the trip, and we are so thankful for that as well! Plane tickets across the country aren’t cheap, and definitely weren’t in our budget right now!
With that hurdle cleared, we started worrying about the next one.
You’d think at some point we’d realize that we don’t need to worry. God has this all figured out! But in our humanness, we keep trying to figure it out on our own!
Bryan works for a tiny local business. He gets five days of time off a year. As in 1,2,3,4,5. That’s it, from November to November. And he’s already used a couple of them on days our kids had their tonsils out.
The need for two full weeks off, during the middle of their busy season, seemed impossible. But he asked, and his boss agreed to give him the time without pay. Just knowing that he will have a job when we come home is such a blessing! It was indeed a gift from God, and another way of Him showing us how He will take care of us.
Going Back to Teaching?
Before asking for the time off, Bryan and I started throwing around the idea of me going back to the classroom. It made perfect sense to us.
There’s a lot more flexibility in teaching. It’d free up our summers for deputation travel, and every month comes with a three-day weekend to plan some trips before summer.
So we decided I’d apply for teaching jobs, and in the fall Bryan would stay home with the kids and tackle the homeschooling, and I’d go back to work.
And not just a little pregnant either. I’m 24 weeks along, and we’re expecting a baby to join the family in early October.
There’s no way I could apply for a job starting this fall knowing I’d need maternity leave a month into the school year.
And no, I didn’t realize I was pregnant until a few weeks ago when I first felt baby move.
Which leads me to the final topic in my title…
How Could a Mom of 8 Not Realize She Was Pregnant?
I’ve had eight baby, and two miscarriages. That means I’ve been pregnant ten other times before now.
So I had to wonder…how did I miss the entire first half of this pregnancy?
Well, I’m not a medical professional, but here’s what I think…
I’m in much better health now and didn’t have my typical symptoms. And the ones I did have (like that whole missed period thing) I wrote off as something else. You see, Bryson was still nursing heavily, especially at night, until a couple of weeks ago. I assumed that’s why I hadn’t returned to “normal.”
- The acne I usually deal with during pregnancy (I have a “pregnancy zit” on my forehead that typically appears every time in the exact same spot…)
- Exhaustion (I normally need a nap during pregnancy just to deal with the day-to-day operations of the house.)
- My pregnancy aches and pains
- Evening sickness (when my “morning sickness” typically strikes)
I didn’t have any of those. I felt great. (And I still do!)
Even the pregnancy carpal tunnel I typically deal with for the entire pregnancy hasn’t been as bad. A few numb fingers, and fiery elbow feelings, but nothing like the constant pain I had before.
Though I must admit I’m relieved to discover I’m pregnant because I was beginning to think I was developing actual carpal tunnel, which I wasn’t looking forward to!
Gut Health Is Key
Why am I so much healthier now? Why didn’t I have the same symptoms for this pregnancy that I’ve had ten other times before?
The only answer I’ve come up with? (Again, not a doctor, just my experience and best guess…)
I started taking Plexus Triplex back in May of 2017. For over a year, I’ve been working to restore my gut health. And it’s working!
I have energy. And sleep better at night.
My mental fog is gone.
The anxiety that plagued me for several years is fading. That’s a post for another day, but I now don’t dread talking to people (I used to spend so much time paranoid I’d say the wrong thing…) and have even gone live on Facebook for my business once a week for over almost two months! There’s NO WAY I would have done that a year ago.
And Plexus has helped this pregnancy be my best one yet. I’m so thankful!
Interested in learning more about Plexus Triplex? <= Check it out by clicking on that link, or feel free to contact me with questions!
God’s Plan Is Best
We’re learning to trust God. He has a perfect plan for us, that doesn’t require US to figure out all the details. We just need to walk in faith from step A to step B and so on.
His timing is perfect.
Note that I’m having a baby in October. That means I’ll still be within the safe zone for flying while pregnant when heading to and from Candidate Seminar. I just can’t take a teaching position. He closed that door, while keeping the one for us to proceed with the process of becoming missionaries wide open.
He knows what He’s doing!
We don’t know how everything is going to work out as we step out in faith to become missionaries. We just know that we’re needed down in Missouri, and that God will get us there somehow.
The idea of doing deputation with nine kids is overwhelming at times! It’s not something we could do on our own. But we trust that God will lead us all the way.
And we are so thankful for His care. We couldn’t have gotten this far in the process without His guidance, and we’re looking forward to watching Him work.
We just have to remember to stay out of His way and to give Him the glory. It is not us accomplishing these things. We didn’t get our debt down below the threshold. We tried and failed.
God did that!
God worked out the details for us to attend Candidate Seminar. He gave us the words to say during our doctrinal interview and put just the right people there for us to speak to. He’s orchestrating this whole thing.
And we know He will continue leading.
Yes, staying right here on the farm would be easier. It’s comfortable. And it’s understandable based on a worldly viewpoint. It makes sense to take the easy route.
Everyone who hears our plans questions why we would go be missionaries when we have such a big family, and have a severely disable child.
But, as I shared in one of my early posts here on the blog, we are not meant to live an easy life. It is through challenges that God molds us, and helps us to become more like Him.
Our answer to those who ask is this. We don’t know why God called us to serve. It’d be much easier for other families to answer that call – to go help in Missouri. But, God didn’t call those families. He called us. And we are answering.
I expect I’ll be sharing more about the way God is working in our lives and the process of becoming missionaries over the next few months. It’s an exciting transition in our family, and we are eager to see how the Lord works it all out.