What do you say about a woman that you find so dear and true to your heart? This woman Kelly, well she's amazing. I have walked alongside Kelly for about 8 years now, although at the start I can't quite say we knew each other as well as we do now. My husband knew Kelly's husband Mark from going to the Cowboy Church back when we had it in the barn. When I married CW, I started to figure out who people were in the church and Kelly was one of them that I always looked up to. She was so kind and always had a smile. At the beginning of our friendship I only knew Kelly as the counting lady at church, and one who loved worship music and could play instruments. Little did I know as the years grew on that we'd get to know each other more and more as we were able to both serve together on our church's worship team. This woman is not only a wife, a mom of three handsome boys, but also an amazing violinist, true worshipper at heart and has an amazing creative writing talent! I am so blessed to call Kelly one of my friends and sister's in Christ! I know you will enjoy her journey through a very vulnerable spot in her life! Thanks so much for opening up and sharing with us!
I am a thirty-something year old mother of three handsome young boys; Weston (6), Trindon (3) and Tate (6 months). I’ve had the honor of being married to my very best friend Mark for 11 years and counting. As you might guess, being completely outnumbered by boys, my family loves anything outdoors; hunting, fishing, camping, shooting, …you get the point! I am a farm girl at heart, my husband used to joke that he could always just buy me cows instead of flowers if he’s ever in big trouble – but he’s right! I am the ‘numbers girl’ for our amazing church – go N3C! AND, I get to play violin and guitar for the worship team there too. Growing up my family attended church, but it wasn’t until after I was married and God did a miracle to save our marriage that I really gave my life over and started living for Jesus. And, let me tell you, it's been such an amazing ride! Sometimes when I think about my walk with God I think I’ve really only begun to step out in faith. Other times I take a look back and I’m overwhelmed at how good God really is and just what a faith walk every single day has been.
So all that being said, I was pondering, what is my brave story? When did I step out in faith? We often think being brave looks really different and noble and grand, right? But, I think being brave with God can actually look really ‘normal’ on the outside. Perhaps bravery occurs in the battle fought in our minds when we chose to believe the truth and not the lie. As I sat down to write, I really felt like I was supposed to write about my family’s journey to my youngest son, Tate. It is a testimony that I’ve struggled to tell, not because it was all that difficult to go through, but because it wasn’t. It was wonderful. It IS wonderful, so here it goes!
July 23, 2015. That is the day I received confirmation of my suspicion in the form of 2 little lines on a stick. I stood in my bathroom in shock, shaking and uttering explicates under my breath. My two little boys were knocking…no, pounding on the door with that moment’s particular “need." I sent Mark a quick text that said nothing more than “Well, you were right,"n(how’s that for an announcement?!), and tried to go about my day. Inside was a tornado of emotion. I was excited that God had chosen me to be mommy to another baby. I knew for sure it was God because this was NOT my plan! I was scared that I couldn’t handle 3 children, at least not well. But, the most prevalent emotion I can remember was being terrified that I wouldn’t live long enough to find out. Another baby…. Mom of three….What if I die?!
In everyone’s life there are moments that define you. They may only be a few ticks of the clock, but they are the moments that stick with you, shaping the way you see yourself for years to come. For me, two of those moments, like a lot of parents, were the birth of my two eldest sons, Weston and Trindon. Words do not explain the love that flooded my heart when I finally got to meet our precious babies face to face and hear their first cry’s. The nearness of heaven was so tangible as God delivered that new little one He had trusted us with. With each of them God added a new facet to my identity, mommy! As amazing as those moments were, the ones immediately following haunted me like a bad hangover. On both occasions I hemorrhaged post delivery and began losing a lot of blood. I remember doctors pushing and prodding and yelling orders I didn’t understand. I remember looking into Marks eyes, usually calm and steady eyes as they filled with confusion, fear and panic. I remember the fearful words spoken in the room until finally God’s presence returned and the bleeding stopped. The months afterward were harder recovery than ‘usual’ deliveries, although I did make a ‘full recovery’. As faithful and good as God was through all of the complications, unfortunately from those moments I added a few new labels to my identity: Weak. Incomplete. Not Enough. Broken.
I never dealt with my feelings of brokenness because I felt like it would seem like I was ungrateful for God’s gift of life and babies and health, (Yep I bought the lie that my feelings don’t matter…again). Because of this, a major push-pull of fear and faith took place the first few months of my pregnancy with ‘Baby #3’. In one moment I would be confident and excited, and the next I would be filled with doubt whether my body would be able to handle another pregnancy and birth. I did NOT want another C-section, but it was a huge possibility. I was a wreck. During this time I would get on my knees and beg God, literally beg Him for answers, peace, help, anything! And, to my great dismay He was strangely quiet. As any good woman (crazy on hormones) does, I asked my sweet husband to pray and get my ‘answers’, and guess what? God didn’t say anything to him either!! One early November morning I was driving into town with the boys asleep in the backseat and I yelled at God …"FINE, if this is how I’m going to die then I guess there’s nothing I can do about it now. I don’t like it but I trust your plan!!”
November 14, 2015. Arise Ladies Conference. I attended my church ladies conference in beautiful Estes Park. I was so excited to be a part of the worship team there and I was getting more energy and feeling baby kick. The ministry was awesome, the worship was awesome, the fellowship was awesome, it was all great except one thing, I STILL wasn’t hearing from God and I was starting to get mad. I was desperate. That afternoon we had a soaking session but instead of feeling refreshed and connected I felt frustrated and uncertain. What was going on?! I walked into the evening session of the conference and I told God, “Ok, I surrender to you, this is your plan and I’m going to let you do whatever you want." I'll let you out of my box. I will follow you and do what you lead me to do, no matter what that looks like…for real this time.” That night Pastor Darin preached on the baptism of fire and as I raised my hands to receive it I heard God clear as a bell tell me, "Kelly I want to restore you. I love you and I’ll never let you go. I want to restore you.”
The months following that went by quickly. I cannot say that everything after that moment was easy. Every day I had to remind myself that God had my best interest in mind. I didn’t know exactly what ‘being restored’ meant, but it definitely spoke life so I liked that! I repeated Psalms 28 all the time: “The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”I played songs over and over and over again that talked about being brave and trusting God and walking into waters ‘in over my head’. I had no idea where we were going but I had to trust God for the outcome. And day by day the fear left and the joy came. When people would ask I would tell them that God was out of the box and laugh.
March 25, 2016. I was so close to my due date, which was March 29th. Everyone was doing great but then my doctor dropped a bomb on us. Because of my ‘advanced maternal age’ (really, 36 is old now?!) I had to go into labor on my own before my due date. If I didn’t a C-section was my only other option. I was on the clock! Would I stay in faith or go to fear?
March 28, 2016. I promise I’ll spare you the gory details on this! I went to bed after midnight and the last thing I told Mark is that I needed him to have enough faith for both of us because I just wasn’t sure if I had anything left. I cried and he held me. I awoke to contractions that were consistent. Mom came over to watch the boys and we went to the doc who said things were progressing but not to go to the hospital yet! Mark and I were able to spend most of the day together laughing and just enjoying each other. We were finally admitted to the hospital at 5:30 pm and at 9:00 pm my nurse called to the front desk to let them know where we were at in the ‘process’. She told them, “everything is good here and she is complete…. ." The nurse continued with further medical jargon, but those words hung in the air as they sunk in. In medical terms it simply meant that I was ready to push that baby out into the world (no C-section!!!). But, to Mark and I it was as if God was reassuring us once again of His promise. At 9:34 we welcomed our precious Tate William into this world with no complications! By the way, Tate William means ‘Joyful Warrior’ and my oh my is he!
So why this story? Certainly there are other parts to my story that are more dramatic, perhaps interesting. Best I can figure is that God’s got two takeaways from this. The first literally hit me as I was just writing! Yes, God did restore me physically (hallelujah!), but what He was most concerned with was restoring His identity as King of my heart and restoring my identity too. You see the only accurate way to understand ourselves is by understanding who God is and what Jesus does for us. God needs to have his own personal identity to you before you can have your true identity in Him. When we are able to make him, firmly King in our lives, not likened to an earthly King, or your earthly Father, or an earthly role model; But King, THE King, who is ALWAYS good and NEVER fails, and we align ourselves up to HIM, then, He will begin to wipeaway all of those descriptions that we add. Broken. Not Enough. Ordinary. Incomplete.He wants us to be restored to our original design. His daughters who look to their father with admiration and honor without question in our trust for him.Whole. Enough. Spectacular. Beautiful. Complete. Lovely. Life Bearor.
The second takeaway is simply, don’t quit. Don’t give up. Keep your eyes on Jesus. Align yourself to His word and His people and Just. Keep. Going. It will look different than everyone else and that is OK! There is a dream deep inside each of us that we have put away out fear or frustration or some other lie we bought from the devil. But, it's time to rekindle those dreams and go for it! Perhaps you were born for such a time as this! God will give you the desires of your heart when we line our will up with His. For me, this dream is motherhood and music. I had shut the door on both pretty solidly until God ever so gently brought them back to life. And He will do it for you too. So I ask, what is your dream? Tell God and then hold on for an amazing wild ride!