Close To My Heart | Loving *MY* Enemies?

About 2 1/2 years ago something happened that shook my world. It shook my definition of love, of people’s worth, of forgiveness. It was one of those times when all that “talk” actually is tested and I got to see what I really believed.

I grew up hearing Christians say that we were to “love our enemies”, “love covers all sins”, and “love isn’t easily offended”. I believed all those things. I really thought I did. I believed that everyone and anyone was deserving of second chances, forgiveness, and love.

Then the unimaginable happened and someone very close to me committed serious crimes and hurt my family (and others) in ways that I never imagined possible. After the initial shock and disbelief wore off, I was left with so many emotions. Anger, hurt, sadness. I won’t go into the details of the situation that happened, but it has dragged out over the last 2 1/2 years.

Throughout this time, my “love” has been tested. See, love often gets confused with the amazing emotions that make us feel “in-love”. I don’t feel “in-love” towards this person anymore. I don’t have those happy feelings or think of them with fondness anymore. I think this person deserves consequences for their sins, this person not only hurt others but largely impacted their life negatively, and this person will never be part of our family the same way again. Yet through all of that, my heart feels a sadness for this person. This person has worth. This person needs love. True love. Love that all of us Christians preach about but hardly ever show. How can I expect this person to receive love from anyone if I myself am not willing to show it?

You see, it’s easy for me to love the murderer that I’ll never know, who killed someone I’ll never know. Because as horrible as that situation is, I’m removed from it. I am not personally connected to either one of them so it’s easy for me to “love” them. It’s easy for me to say that the prostitute deserves love and a better life, because I don’t know the families that her affairs have shattered. Once again, I’m removed from the situation and loving her is easy. However, when someone commits an offense against my family or someone I know, it all of a sudden becomes personal. It becomes different. It’s a whole lot easier to preach that everyone deserves love/forgiveness/a second chance…EXCEPT for that person.

It easy to love our enemies as the Bible teaches…until we are faced with loving OUR enemies.

What I’m asking you to do is call yourself out on this hypocrisy. Face it for what it is, and purify your heart. Loving people isn’t easy. Loving sinner’s isn’t easy. It’s easier for us to hold onto our hurt with pride in our hearts because of the injustice that has been done to us. The reality is, when we do this we are killing ourselves more than we are even effecting the other person. Love may be for others, but forgiveness is for ourselves and they have to be done together otherwise they are incomplete… and we’re still left drinking the poison.

 

Farm Life and Home Life

Summer is an amazing time of the year on the farm. As much as the calendar says that it hasn’t even begun yet, it certainly feels like it has. The temperatures have been in the 90’s lately and the gardens and fields are reflecting that.

Out in the fields and orchard things are growing rapidly. The vegetable patch is one of my favorite places to be right now. Row after row of lush green vegetables are growing beautifully. One of my favorite treats to grab from the field while we are out on a walk would have to be the kohlrabi. If you haven’t had a kohlrabi before, you will want to change that. It has a little bit of a cabbage flavor but it’s texture reminds me more of a radish. I had never even heard of a kohlrabi until last year and now I’m hooked.

Last weekend Mommy and Daddy Stelzer helped us plant our berry patch. Zechariah and I have lots of plans for our yard and I am so happy to see some of it coming together. We definitely couldn’t have gotten our berry patch planted without mommy and daddy’s help. We have huckleberries, boysenberries, blackberries, raspberries, black raspberries, ariona berries, and several others. It’s our dream to make this a beautiful, fun, and enjoyable place for all to enjoy. I can’t wait to watch our little ones run barefoot through the gardens.

Other than berries, we have been planting almonds. The almond trees look more like twigs that someone stuck in the ground than anything else, but I look forward to watching them grow and begin providing our family with almonds.

My “Normal” Pregnancy

I have giggled about people’s comments on my pregnancy. Blood draws and supplements are intimidating I guess…so I think that it gives the impression that something about my pregnancy is foreign. In all reality though, this is my normal and blood draws aren’t so bad. 😉 So here’s a post for all those people who wonder what pregnancy is like for me.

Before I even became pregnant again I decided I wasn’t going to let my past pregnancies cause me to miss out on the joy of this pregnancy. It has been a very deliberate choice but I wouldn’t change any part of this pregnancy.

We see our midwifes once a month. I absolutely love them. They’re so fun to talk to and very down to earth. Not to mention, they are genuinely excited about this baby and that really blesses me.

When we go to our midwife appointments the midwives usually tell us how our hormone levels are doing, we talk about any questions that have come up since our last visit, listen to the heartbeat, and then schedule my next blood draw. I have my blood drawn by a lab in The Dalles because it’s a lot closer than going to the midwives. I love the lady that draws my blood. She is so sweet, blunt, and hilarious. We go the the lab about every two weeks. We’ll continue doing this until the midwives feel confident that everything in my body is working properly and supporting baby enough.

When at home, I take a variety of vitamins and supplements. I use a bottle of Progessence in about 2 weeks. I definitely take more than what is “recommended” on the bottle but since I’ve been keeping an eye on how my body is absorbing it via blood tests, I don’t mind. I have a list of vitamins that I am supposed to be taking but I’m usually pleased if I get half the list down (shhhh don’t tell the midwives). It’s really not that big of a list so I’m not even going to make any excuses for why I haven’t been very diligent in that area. 😉

Emotionally, pregnancy has been great. I have been told that I’m “scary” and “assertive” which actually makes me laugh. As much as I try to stay “normal”, I do know that I am just a wee bit more hormonal than usual. I get frustrated with people a little more easily (usually people really can’t bother me even if they tried), and I cry a bit more easily. Like watching birth videos and reading stories totally makes me cry. Especially when the baby cries for the first time… oh. my. word…it gets me every time. I love the sound of a baby’s first cry.

So this is my normal. I really feel like aside from blood tests, it isn’t that different than most people’s pregnancies. I can’t imagine it being any different. I have loved everything about being pregnancy thus far and couldn’t be more excited that we are finally in our second trimester.

Finding out the good news…

Hi there! So today I thought I’d share how we found out that we were expecting and give you a little bump-update.

Zechariah and I had just gotten back from a week of traveling. We had gone to Idaho for newborn photos, then to Kansas for a family visit. I was getting kind of late but I really didn’t want to take a pregnancy test. I don’t like taking pregnancy tests and getting a “negative”. It’s extremely disappointing to me. So, after a couple days I finally decided – I’d take a test and Zech would read it. After taking the test I went and hid under a blanket on the couch (being the wimp I am), after we had waited 10 minutes or so Zech went and read the results. He came quietly over to the couch and set the positive test in my lap. And that is how one of the most awesome days started. ❤

Bump-Update

All is going well so far. We have another blood test coming up this week. We’ll not be drawing as much blood this time and just be testing hormone levels.

Last time we had a test done we found out that I have O- blood. My initial thought was “this is so cool! I can donate blood to ANYONE!” Then my midwives mentioned that there was a little more to it than that and we’d need to talk at my appointment. I was all like “huh?” and did a google search to find that negative blood types can sometimes have complications in pregnancy.

Luckily, there won’t be any complications with this pregnancy (it would possibly affect future pregnancies). I might need to take a rhogam shot after the baby is born depending on the baby’s blood type. It really isn’t to much of a concern to me. I’ve been researching it off and on for the past few weeks and I feel pretty comfortable and at peace with everything. My mother has negative blood and has never had any shots for her pregnancies. There have been many other stories like that so I’m hoping to follow in her foot-steps. 🙂

We might get to hear the baby’s heartbeat this week. I can’t believe we’re already 10 weeks. It’s crazy that I’m just at the beginning of pregnancy and yet I feel like it’s going really fast at the same time. I doubt that as the spring and summer activities pick up, I’ll feel like it’s going any slower.

I’m actually super excited to be pregnant through the summer. I have an addiction to freshly picked peaches… and I think this pregnancy has increased it! I’m so excited about all the fresh fruits and vegetables.

So there you have it. That’s the latest on this little bump. I hope you’re all having an awesome Spring!

 

Adoption | Be Prepared To Have Your Heart Broken

I was raised in a family with several adopted children. So it isn’t uncommon for someone to ask me, “will you ever adopt?” I’d say in the past 3 years my whole view of adoption has changed dramatically for several reasons. Here’s how I answer the adoption question.

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I would gladly welcome a child into my home if the Lord brought one into my life. However, you have to know a few things first.

If you’re considering adoption, you have to be prepared to have your heart broken. It’s not that the children are bad, it’s not that everyone in the CPS system is bad, it’s not even that all the parents are bad.

It is a breaking experience because you really don’t know what will happen next. Even after all the paperwork is signed, things from behind closed doors like to come out and rear their ugly heads. Ghosts sneak in from a past that should never be relived. Yet as an adoptive parent/sibling, you have no control over these ghosts and monsters. It’s a fight that these children go through by themselves unless by some miracle, they trust you enough to share their dark secrets with you. When they do, it will break you. It will break you to know how much pain a parent can cause to their precious children. You’ll feel angry and sad all at once because, how could anyone ever hurt someone else intentionally like that? For example: my brother, Ezekiel, was burned from his waist down and abandoned on the side of the road. To this day, he has chose not to let that define his life though. He has chosen to be cheerful and thankful for the life he has. He’s an amazing brother!

What about adopting a newborn though? We adopted Daniel as a newborn. He is an amazing little boy and I always call him my “sunshine”. He just has a way of lighting up people’s lives in the most amazing way. Yet what is difficult about Daniel, is that we adopted him with an “expiration date” so to speak. We adopted him knowing that he would likely only live to be 5 or 6 years old. When you’re looking at a precious newborn, you have no idea how much their life will hold. For Daniel, his doctors still say that he will only live to be 5 or 6. The hard thing is, he is already 4 years old. I feel like a clock is ticking, I can see the time in front of me, and I don’t like it. What’s amazing though, is that Daniel’s clock is no different than yours or mine. Daniel has often made me think, “if I could see everyone’s clock, how differently would I treat them? how much more would I care? how many more phone calls and visits I would make just to let them know that I love them?” That’s the amazing thing about Daniel. He is made me value life more and filled my life with so much joy.

So you see, adoption is amazing. It’s beautiful, it’s full of trials, and it’s so incredibly worth it. Just be prepared for the unexpected and never stop loving those children. They’ll change your life.

Your Pregnancy Questions Answered

Hey there!

So we’ve received a few questions since announcing our pregnancy so I thought I’d just jot the answers down here for you.

General Questions:

Are you finding out the gender? 

As Zech likes to say, “yes, we’ll find out in nine months.” 😉

 

When are you due? 

We’re due around the last week of Oct./first week of Nov.

Is baby Joy a nickname or is that it’s real name? 

Baby Joy IS a nickname. We picked that nickname out when we found out we were pregnant again.

Do you have morning sickness? 

Yes. I totally didn’t skip morning sickness. It isn’t worth complaining about though because – WE’RE GOING TO HAVE A BABY. 🙂 Peppermint tea has been so awesome this trimester.

 

Pregnancy After Loss Questions:

What are you doing to prevent this pregnancy from being like the others?

We are continuing to work with our midwives, who offer us excellent services. We are also monitoring the pregnancy by doing regular blood tests.

Are you taking prometrium 200 again? 

No. Thankfully, we are able to use more natural remedies to help my body and sustain this pregnancy. We won’t say that any one product helped us get pregnant or is the “cure” for me because that just wouldn’t be true. God ultimately is the one who gave us this baby and will help us carry him/her full term.

What are you taking then? 

Well, we are taking Progessence from Young Living. We use about half a bottle in just over a week. In order to help my body produce the needed hormones for pregnancy, we have to use a LOT of this oil. I have no side effects from using this though (a huge blessing).

We also take Vitex (chaste berry), and red raspberry tea amongst the other more “normal” pregnancy vitamins.

Are you worried? 

Nope. We are incredibly thankful for this baby. We are doing our best to take care of him/her but at the end of the day, it’s all in God’s hands. We have full confidence that everything will be okay. 🙂

Miscarriage Journey Is Coming To An End |

This is the end of what has been a long time coming. It’s time to move on and prepare for the new things that the Lord is bringing into our lives.

When I think about closing this chapter of our lives inscribed in this blog, there are two things I would like to share. This is part one.

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To the Broken.

You are not broken. Listen to me, you are not. Believe that. Believe it with your whole being.

Somedays your pain will come with such fury, you’ll wonder if you’ve really healed at all. The waves will crash over you. Somedays you will feel normal. The storm breaks and you function effortlessly.
You will laugh and you will cry. Most importantly, your heart will mend.
No, it will never truly be what it once was…it will be even better.

On the days your pain feels raw, talk to someone. Perhaps write about it. Don’t be afraid of it. Don’t be afraid to feel it and let someone else feel it with you.

It has been a year now. Looking through from the other-side of the pain, I can tell you that truly- you will be okay again. Almost miraculously, our hearts really do mend.
No matter what happened, remember that your body has not failed you. You are strong. You are healthy (or you will be). Hold onto this truth until the waves of pain cease to crash over you.

Rejoicing Always,

Bethany Joy

Join us next week for the final post in our journey, What A Mother Of Angel Babies Hears When She Finds Out You’re Pregnant.