It’s hard to believe that I gave birth to our precious Sadie Rae one month ago yesterday. It fascinates me how the overwhelming feelings of time flying can be juxtaposed to feelings of time passing so slow. On one hand, I feel like it’s impossible that it was four weeks ago, as I feel like it was just yesterday. On the other hand, I feel like we have already had a lifetime of memories and experiences with this sweet child.
I could say so many things about the last four weeks. I could talk about our parenting decisions, exhaustion, our baby’s unique habits, her beautiful head FULL of hair, or a million other things that consume my mind nearly every minute of every day, but what I really want to share is Sadie’s birth story.
Now, before you get excited to hear all the details of water breaking, intense contractions, whether or not I needed an epidural, and how big my baby was―that isn’t the “story” I want to share.
I want to share the story of an experience that changed my life in the most unexpected way.
A little bit of backstory is probably needed for it to make sense, so here is that…
My husband and I moved to Texas on January 7th, 2016. We moved with open hearts and a great expectancy for all that was to come. We had dreams of our life in a Southern town, my husband’s expected career path and financial blessing, my own graduation (FINALLY!), and a family to be built in the midst of it all. Oh, and we had HUGE dreams for our garden in Texas, but the Texas sun just stretched out its scorching hands and laughed in our faces regarding that one.
We decided about two months after moving that we were ready to try to get pregnant… and just like that, we were. In those first two to four months, we were still trying to settle in our new place, and the reality of our lives was still far from our minds. We had no idea at all that our inability to find a church as well as our lack of relationships and family was slowly but surely wearing away at our hearts. In early May, we realized that we were desperately lonely, and that we (especially me) we were losing hope of finding community and relationship. When we were meant to have a visit from family in late May and it was cancelled, it hit me in a very hard way. I realized the depth of my loneliness and that I had almost completely lost hope of finding a church and community in Wichita Falls. For the first time in the five months of our time, I told my husband that I hated our lives in Texas.
Over the next few months, and a series of intense and disturbing experiences with a church that was anything but healthy, I began to slip into a deep and dark depression. I told my husband on several occasions that the little life inside me was the only thing that gave me desire to wake up in the mornings. I was not in a good place at all.
After a visit to our church family and community in August, I started to see a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. We made decisions together that we would put our family first and have a goal of getting out of Texas by the end of the year.
On multiple occasions, we thought that we were close to getting out. “Just one more week, just two more weeks, just one more month…”
And again, I started to lose hope…
We decided on a whim to take a roadtrip to International House of Prayer in Kansas City. We simply needed to be in a place where we were surrounded by other people who were passionately pursuing the Kingdom of Heaven. This trip didn’t solve all of our problems, but it certainly filled my heart with a joy and wonder I hadn’t felt in a very long time.
In late October, my husband looked at me and said, “I feel like I have my wife back.”
Somewhere along the way I had managed to find hope in our situation, and had a great deal of joy that I didn’t have before. Still, in the midst of that, I felt like God had abandoned me, and I felt like I had lost every bit of relationship I had with Him.
Don’t get me wrong, I still knew that God was real and that He was good, I just didn’t feel like I knew Him personally anymore, and the level of guilt and shame I felt for that was grand.
So fast forward to December 5th, 2016…
I had no idea what to expect when I checked into the hospital at 4am. All I knew was that my husband would be by my side the entire time, and that one way or another, I would walk out of the hospital with a baby in my hands.
I had been having prodromal labor for about three weeks prior, so it really wasn’t until my water broke that things started to feel incredibly intense for me. As my labor progressed, along with the pain, I definitely started to cope―a sign they say is vital in knowing and understanding how the mom is doing.
There was a moment, in the midst of seriously intense pain, when I found a position that brought comfort to me, and I settled into that position with zero intention of ever leaving.
As I sat on a chair facing backwards, with Daniel sitting on the floor in front of me, I embraced each and every contraction and allowed my body to relax as much as possible.
If you had asked me how long I was there, I would have said ten minutes…
It was hours.
I had no idea what was going on around me, because shortly after settling into that position, I began to encounter the Lord in a radical way.
You hear stories of women encountering God and having a totally supernatural and pain free labor―and while my labor was most certainly not pain free, I did truly encounter the Lord.
In that time, in the most painful of contractions, I was so deeply and intimately connected with the Lord that I almost felt as if I could fall asleep through my contractions―not because they were not painful, but because I was experiencing so much peace and comfort with the Lord.
I could share with you all of the things that God was speaking to me, all of the ways He was healing a year’s worth of wounds in my heart, and all of the ways He was gently reconciling me to Himself, but those tender touches are still far too fresh to be exposed.
The greater point is the fact that He was doing all of that… in the very middle of one of the most painful experiences of my life. (Trigeminal Neuralgia was a beast- it takes first place in the race of pain for me).
In my most helpless state, experiencing unrelenting pain, God met me. He touched my heart, my mind, and my soul, and brought healing and refreshment to my bones. He spoke words of wisdom and revelation to my heart, and encouraged my spirit.
Many hours and contractions later, I felt Sadie Rae leave my body and enter this uncertain world. I was terrified, overwhelmed, relieved, and excited all at the same time.
And in that exact moment that I felt this shift in my body, I felt a distinct shift in the Spirit.
God had healed my heart and I was, once again, one with Him.
In a moment I was completely undone by the enormous love in my heart for this baby.
Yet somehow God loves me even more.
I’ve thought many times since then I don’t think it could ever be possible for me to love another this deeply. I asked my husband just a few days ago if he thought it would be possible for me to love another child this much, and he said “well, I am sure God expands your heart each time, but it is also true that she will always be your firstborn,”
With tears in my eyes, I replied, “yes, and she will always be the one that brought me back to the Lord.”
And that is the story of my Sadie Rae. I believe it is truly a testimony of her life―that God will use her little life to restore those who feel lost, bring hope to those who are hopeless, and light a fire in the hearts of those who were once in love with Him but have drifted away.
To my sweet Sadie Rae, the one who changed my life and brought healing and freedom to my entire being, thank you. You brought life and light into my world, and I am undone by your beauty and your gentle spirit.