{Bloom} Where You’re Planted

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One of my sweet friends, Tracy Hales, posted this meme on her Facebook wall today. Needless to say, it could not have come at a move perfect time.

As a part-time Campus Pastor, full-time mom of two, and a full time wife, at times I feel like my ministry opportunities are not as well versed as they used to me. This past weekend a few of my very good friends hoped on different planes to Haiti to go minister and serve. [Envious does not shine enough light on the emotions I was feeling]. I wanted to go, but having a four month old at home and a job that keeps me extremely busy this time of year, would not allow for me to travel. Not to mention all the typical household chores and projects that need to be done. I have spent my time praying for Luke 101 and the team traveling with them expecting God to do great things through their ministry efforts, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling with not being on Haitian soil with them.

Yesterday, as I was driving to my in-laws, my conversation with God was interrupted by my three year old son, Z. At the first initial question, I was slightly annoyed, because I sharing my heart with the Lord about my disappointment and discouragement of not being in Haiti and feeling like I was failing in areas of ministry. As my son began to speak, God revealed some important truths to me.

Z asked me, “Momma, why did Adam and Eve disobey God?” [To be honest, my mind was disheveled by his, rather, large question]. I grabbed the rearview mirror, pulling it down, so I could look at him as I spoke… “Son, satan tricked her into thinking God did not care about her. He made her think God was keeping her from doing something that would make her better and smarter.” (Can I just say that trying to talk serious topic with my son concerning the Bible is extremely intimidating). As I watched his little three year old mind work by the inquisitive look on his face I knew he was really trying to process what I was saying. A few minutes later, he said, “Momma?” “Yes, son.” I replied. “Was Eve just being selfish?” he asked. “Yeah, I suppose she was. She wasn’t thinking about the affect of her actions on herself or other people,” I said. Then Z said, “God told her not to eat that fruit; that apple. She did it any way though. That was not very smart!”

I took that moment to explain to my sweet curious boy that we ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s love, but that is why we need Jesus. I explained it ore simple terms how we are “not very smart” on even our best days. I asked him if Daddy and I ever ask him to do something and he disobeys us? He quickly responded with, “When you told me not to jump on the couch and I did it any way? Then I hit my head.” “Yes, exactly like that! I wasn’t telling you that to keep you from having fun, but because I knew the dangers that come from jumping on the couch. You could have gotten hurt, and you did. It is the same way with God and Eve. God knew what was on that tree could hurt her, and she disobeyed him anyway,” I said. He quickly interrupted exclaimed, “Then she got hurt forever.” Ha! Yeap!

As I continued driving, I watched him mull over those words and his little big thoughts. God reminded me right then that even though I am not in Haiti doing ministry… MY MINISTRY IS HERE! My boys are my ministry and through them I will leave my legacy. I have an opportunity to leave a lasting impression on this world through the men of character and integrity they become. Through our discussions about the Bible and our Creator, I may possibly assist my sons in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to their classmates, friends, teammates, and their precious children.

I felt color filling my pale fall face and tears swelling in my eyes as the Lord brought me back to reality and gave me a lesson in humility. I am doing ministry… every single day! I do ministry from the time my children wake up until they go to bed. From tiny life lessons about seasons changing, those tender prayers he prays every night for the same couple for almost a year and God answers in a HUGE way, from moments where I want to pull my hair out when my [three]nager thinks he knows more than me and tap dances on my last nerve, those precious thirty minutes he climbs in bed to cuddle with me before we start our day, the interrupted bath or potty breaks, the sweet glimpses of his gentleness and love for his brother, or even those billions of “why” questions that sometimes get exhausting… those are teachable moments… ministry moments! From how I reaction, from the words I speak [LIFE or death], from how I communicate my emotions, or even the looks I give… they are all moments for me to minister to my children.

I pray multiple times a day, asking God not to let me screw my children up. Asking for opportunities to share Jesus with my boys and teach them how to be honest, kind, and respectable young men. I am teaching them what to look for in a future wife (by how I treat their dad) and a future mother to their children (by how I treat them). I have my work cut out for me and my focus is needed right where it is. My ministry is here! For now, every minute of every day, this is my ministry and I am working hard on leaving a legacy. I will {BLOOM} where God has planted me. I will take it seriously and realize it’s importance.

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Curve Balls Mean Adjusting

“Life is not about how many curve balls you encounter, but rather adjusting your perspective, to effectively handle each curve ball. – Laura D. Fields

Infertility is becoming a very common word in our society, especially in the last few years. More and more we are hearing of family and friends having unexplained miscarriages or just issues conceiving. My husband and I were all too familiar with infertility during our marriage. We tried for a few years to get pregnant; I was even talked into taking Clomid and Progesterone in hopes of increase my chances of fertility. The multiple doctors at multiple practices sat me down and explained why I would not be able to conceive… “You have P.C.O.S., which will make it nearly impossible for you to get pregnant, if you are ever able to get pregnant.” [So encouraging, right?!?] I left every time in tears and desperately seeking God for answers. Not to mention every Tom, Dick, and Harry around you seem to be announcing their pregnancies and sure you are happy for them, yet every announcement feels like someone cut open your oozing wound and pour salt all in it. I went through many of those moments; some of those moments with my best of friends. I later had to sit down and apologize to my best friend in the world. I wanted to celebrate with her… it was just so painful and I felt so selfish. ***Sorry for the side note.***

After three years of experimenting with fertility drugs and coming up short handed every time, as well, as only ovulating once in an entire year, we threw in the towel. We finally turned it all over to the Lord. [I do realize that not everyone reading this blog, believes in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, but that is where my husband and I firmly stand…on the Rock]. Three months later, we were reading a random email from a friend asking us about adopting a child; a child that is now our son.

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holding my son for the first time
holding our son for the first time

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More about our adoption process here.

After we adopted our son, we were content with giving him all of our love. We took on a serious responsibility when we adopted someone’s child and took him to raise as our own. Our focus turned towards raising a man of character, integrity, and love. It is strange how quickly we forgot he was even adopted. There are days when I have to remind our friends and even remind my husband and myself. Due to our immense love for our son and our attention being solely on him, we quit worrying about fertility drugs, infertility, and pregnancy. Then it happened… and out of no where.

October 12 was a busy day with a giant surprise at the end. My husband’s band, Homegrown Band, had a video shoot that evening. Video for “I’m Gonna Be Me.” here. You can read more about that crazy day here. Constant queasiness, lots of fatigue, and hormone issues should have pointed me into the right direction, but after multiple negative pregnancy tests and “it will never happens” there was no way. But, there was a way… I was pregnant! The first positive test I had seen during our journey together. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing… I was in shock. I slowly crept down the hallway, with a flushed face and sweaty hands. As I approached my son’s room, where my husband was changing his diaper and getting him ready for bed, I felt like I would pass out. An out of body experience to say the least. Sticking my head around the corner, my husband could easily look at my face and tell something was off. Doubt, excitement, fear, and wonderment were probably written all over my face. I smiled and reluctantly asked if he would come to our room (we had guest over for the Walking Dead). Showing him the faded pink line on an old store bought pregnancy test seemed ridiculous and scary, but there it was. Two pregnancy test later, because we were skeptical, it was our new reality.

We were pregnant.

I would love to tell you that it was the most blissful, joy-filled time in our lives, but it was one of the hardest times in our marriage. We were experiencing so much change and a lot of it unexpected. The pregnancy came at an amazing time for us financially, but in all other aspects change was happening all around us. However, God’s timing is never our timing. His timing is always best and He had proven it to us constantly. Even during the pregnancy.

Pregnancies can be very difficult on your body, emotions, health, and weight. At various times, God would remind me of His hand throughout my pregnancy. At my weigh-ins, I was losing and not gaining. I felt incredible the entire pregnancy and carried our son full-term (even a few days past my due date). Blah! 🙂

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~Jasper’s birth~

May 23rd, I went to the mall to shop with my dear friend and little sister, Megan, and my oldest son. [I was trying all sorts of things to get Jasper to come]. We arrived at the mall and unloaded the stroller to head inside. As we started walking through the mall I thought I felt contractions, but they weren’t consistent. I went about my shopping like I never felt a twinge of pain. As I was standing talking to some friends in the maternity store, I felt my water break. [Luckily, there was no gush of fluids]. Ha. I waited until they left to tell Megan that I thought my water had broken. Zeke was begging to ride the escalator, so I sent Megan with him to ride while I made a detour to the ladies’ room. Sure enough; my water had broken. Megan did her best not to freak out, but she did tear up from excitement.

As we left the mall, we tried calling Nick, as he was helping Austin (my intern and our children’s minister) install a new starter in her Jeep. [He was suppose to be going to the mall with us, but Austin needed help, so we sent Nick to save the day. Which he did]. He is a good hubby! (; When he called me back, I explained what was going on and he made a plan. We would meet at the house and then finish getting our stuff together and head to the hospital. We did just that. We weren’t in a big hurry to get there, since all of our classes suggested it would take a while.

After the loading up the car and giving Zeke lots of kisses, we headed towards the hospital. I cannot begin to tell you all the thoughts running through my head. I couldn’t believe after nine months this was really happening… he was coming! We would no longer just be parents to one handsome blue-eyed boy. We would no longer just be reading the bedtime stories and the Bible to one curious fella. We would no longer be giving our constantly attention and love to just one little miracle. We would be doing all of this for two precious miracle boys.

No matter the rushing whirlwind, I can recall every detail of that night, but I won’t bore you with the every intimate detail. When we arrived at the hospital, we were quickly admitted. The nurse could not find a prominent vein in my forearm, so she called in reinforcements. A nurse came in, she never introduced herself, but she walked in tied a rubber band around my arm, then jammed the IV needle in my arm. [I thought I was going to die; it was the worst part of my labor and delivery]. ***I know I am very fortunate.*** After they fully broke my water, they asked when I wanted my epidural. I explained I wanted to enjoy the labor and delivery, so I told them just to send them when they were ready. At this point it was about 10:30p. By 11:30p, the Anesthesiologist had come and gone, and I couldn’t feel my legs. From that point on, Nick and I slept off and on as my nurse would have random checks on Jasper’s progress. At 6am, I woke and called the nurses’ station and explained how I felt pressure and needed to push. As the nurse entered the room to give me one last check, she concurred it was time.

Nick walked over to the bed, as the nurse left the room to get prepared, grabbed my hand and prayed over Jasper, me, and the delivery. We already had so many miracles to be thankful for, but we were thanking Him yet again for this new little miracle, who was on his way to meet us. My labor and delivery was a miracle in and of itself. I could not believe how great I felt afterwards. My heart was overwhelmed with such an intense love as I watched my son be born into this world… a love for this tiny, precious life God had chosen to give my husband and me. An intense new love that was fierce, selfless, and tender all at the same time. I was overcome with a new love for my husband as well. He had been my best friend, comforter, and rock, but this was time it was more intense… unfathomable really. I was feeling three different types of love for him all at once; there was so much emotion flowing from my heart and I could hardly breathe. I could tell by my husband’s eyes that he felt it too. The exhaustion didn’t matter to either of us… we had a whole new surge of energy we’d never experienced before. My active labor lasted about 30 minutes. We started at 6:05am and by 6:25am, our son was here!

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He had more hair than we thought he would. We were not expecting that. We were both so incredibly smitten with him and could not wait to introduce him to his big brother.

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After he was born, they left him with me for skin to skin for about an hour, then took him back to get a bath and be checked out. After the epidural was removed, we got ready to move to our postpartum room. Nick and I were both so exhausted, but we were driven to stay awake due to all the excitement.

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Around noon everyone started making their way to the hospital. We wanted to experience our son’s birth without everyone there. It was such a surreal time for us. Once people started arriving we could not wait to show him off, but mostly to his big brother.

Here are some of the pictures from the day. A huge thank you to Mrs. Evanda Estes, one of our best friends, who happens to be a great photographer. She captured these precious memories for us and our family.

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Big brother, Zeke was extremely curious and excited to meet his new baby brother. He was so sweet with him; he even brought me flowers and Jasper a stuffed animal. He wanted to look at his hands and feet, because they were so tiny. He just kept saying, “He’s so cute!” It tugged on my heart-strings a little more each time he said it.

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Welcome to the world sweet Jasper Wyatt Ivey! You are an answer to so many prayers by many God-fearing people. We are so glad you are a part of our family. You are deeply cherished and loved. God has a great purpose for your life…never forget it! We will remind you daily. Daddy and I love you and Ezekiel more than we will ever be able to put into words. You are a beacon of hope, my sweet son!

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Both of you are answers to many gut-wrenching and heartbroken prayers. Each a reminder of God’s Sovereignty even when we wrestle with our own faithfulness to God’s plan and purpose.

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My prayer for you both is for you to come to walk in relationship with Jesus Christ and as his followers, you will be like the moon, but only so you can reflect the light of the Son. I love you, sweet boys! xoxo

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Photography by Aislinn Rain Photography.