When I was 21 I gave birth to our first baby girl. I can remember thinking that I couldn't handle what would come "next" just moments before she emerged from my womb- but like all other situations where we seem to think we can't, we can, because of Christ.
There have been plenty of "can't"s along the way.
I remember laying in bed pregnant with Teaghan, McKenna (only about 9 months old) in the next room sleeping. Paco worked early shifts in the produce department at our grocery store. He would leave around 2:30 or 3:00am to unload and load trucks.
Just a few short weeks before, we had come home to our front door, of our second story apartment, broken open with what appeared to be a crowbar, as pieces of wooden door were strewn about the floor and entry way.
The police confirmed "they" must've been looking for "someone" rather than "something" because none of the valuable, monetary things in our home had been disturbed, though in plain sight: the large 55 inch flat screen, the almost-new Mac laptop, at the time brand new playstation 3, wallets, purses, etc.
Still, I would lay in bed thinking that if "they" ever came back, while I was alone, the only way out was the balcony. I remember thinking "I can't sleep" because the thought of throwing my infant from the balcony first, or shimmying down the two-story wall, pregnant and carrying her in my arms was next to impossible.
I would call my dad almost every day around 4:30, completely exhausted, and have him take us to my moms house until Paco got home.
When the time came to renew our lease I thought "I can't" or rather "we can't" live like this anymore.
I remember when Wesley was just a week or two old, and had just been circumcised, along with a freak episode of the most severe diaper rash I had ever seen- with blisters and bleeding wounds on his poor little bum. To wipe him caused screams from a sweet innocent boy, to diaper him, still no relief.
And I remember having to put him in a tub of warm water to "soak" away diaper messes, every single change. Which for a newborn- is a LOT - which is an understatement. I remember thinking "I can't" do this anymore. I can't. I just can't.
I remember finding out we were pregnant with Adalynn- to our surprise.
Paco had been "pushed" out of a job, and had lost his health benefits. Which meant not being able to have a routine check up, left me without contraception.
Only three weeks later, before missing my monthly "visitor", I started puking and gagging at everything. Which lead me to believe I could be pregnant.
I remember my sweet friend Sarah telling me, she would buy me a test because she wanted to know so badly. And I remember telling her, "I can't."
I told her that if I didn't take the test- maybe- just maybe- I wasn't pregnant- again, for the fourth time in four years. But if I did take the test, it could say "yes" and it was a yes I simply couldn't face.
After crying and warring within myself over the next four months, I finally came to terms with the idea of having another baby.
But I knew it couldn't be another boy. Wesley was just about 18 months at the time, and boys and girls are much different. Boys have a difficult period where they defy and rebel and disobey more than I can bear, and he was facing those moments at a prime.
I remember going into the sonogram thinking "I can't" have another boy.
The task seemed to daunting. No matter what people say about girls being more challenging later, in that moment, I knew I couldn't handle another boy.
Thank you Lord, it was a girl.
A few months went by, fast forward to my 37 week check up.
Adalynn was posterior. And my midwife assured me that most babies who are posterior, wait until they can flip into the anterior position, and then "engage labor" quickly. Being that she was my 4th, I did everything I could to change her position, and "engage" her before my due date.
Wesley was nearly 3 weeks overdue, and the thought of going three more weeks, let alone late with Adalynn left me again thinking "I can't".
I think whether we are parents, believers, grown ups...if we are just plain people, and can call ourselves human, we can find ourselves at more than one juncture- saying "I can't".
But the truth of the matter is, that I can. We can. Because He can.
Not because I possess some super human ability of my own.
Not because you or I will ever be sufficient in our own strength.
But because He is able to do it, exceedingly more abundant, than anything we can ask or imagine.
I'm writing today as I sit on my couch, laid out for the fifth time.
And I'm sick, and nauseated, and without energy.
I can honestly say it took both Paco and I by surprise and shock all at the same time.
But I can also beyond a shadow of a doubt, tell you I am thrilled that we are pregnant, again.
I know, we aren't "average".
I know, I'm clearly "outside of my mind".
And at first, I, more than anyone else, including you would think, thought "I cant".
But after wrestling, and questioning, and telling God how my plan was better, for the fifth time in a row, have been given peace once again.
I know that Paco doesn't work a multi-million dollar job, or hardly one that pays 6 figures. Not even close.
I know that our house isn't the "right" size for all 5 kids to have their own rooms.
I know that our car isn't big enough for 5 car seats. And I like you, I began to think "I can't".
But then the Holy Spirit whispers to me that "He will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory".
I like you, thought about the emotional toll of raising 5 kids, under 5, and having so many so close together, and how it will be hard and how my hands will be full, and my heart overwhelmed, and again thought "I can't".
But then His sweet, and reassuring, still small voice says that "When my heart is overwhelmed, He will lead me to the Rock that is Higher than I".
I began to think of all the hurtful, and oblivious, things people would say.
Things like "oh wow you're pregnant AGAIN?!?" Or "you certainly have your hands full" or "you guys are like the Brady bunch". Because they've said them at 2, 3, and 4 kids too.
I've thought about how moms will judge me for my parenting choices, like handing all the kids a fruit snack or refined sugar as we walk trough target to get one thing. Even if it's the only way I can manage when I'm by myself at the store, and keep everyone quiet and from loosing their minds, because it isn't " organic" or it isn't "healthy".
And His power rises up inside of me and says "I am a shield around you, your glory, and the Lifter of your head".
I've thought about the aches and pains that come with being pregnant again, for the 5th time in 5 years, and how my body has not yet- ever- had the chance to fully recuperate from the physical toll taken on my hips, back, and stomach.
I think about the umbilical hernia I have from Teaghans pregnancy, and how with every pregnancy it gets larger, and my stomach becomes weaker.
I think of how my tail bone has been pushed not just out, but to the side, astounding medical professionals, and leaving us both wondering how to "correct it".
I think of how I get sick-
For a good long time too. Not your typical "morning" sickness, but the kind that lasts all day and night, and makes me lose weight and become unhealthy and thin and frail. The kind that depletes my body of nutrients from not being able to keep food down- regardless of "remedies" or "tricks" that worked for everyone else.
I think of the overwhelming fear and phobia I have of medical offices and lab tests, and how I'll have to be poked and prodded, like a heard of cattle for the next nine months to make sure this baby is doing alright.
And to all of that I think, "I can not".
But once again, faithful and true, He thunders words of wisdom from His word to my spirit that say "yeah, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will NOT be afraid. For He is with me. His rod and His staff comfort me. He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies, and my cup overflows. Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of The Lord, forever".
I don't know what you're facing today that seems like you can't, but I'm telling you, by His grace and His sufficiency, you can.
And I will.
I'm looking forward to the testimony of how my kids changed the world for Jesus, all because I gave of myself to allow them to do that.
Not because of my own strength, but because greater is He that is in me, then He that is in the world.
If you're thinking "holy cow! That girl is going to need help" you're absolutely right.
I need it more now, than after the the baby comes. With my sickness comes the inability to do routine things that are needed for my family of 6, as it is. Things like making dinner and loads of laundry seem daunting and impossible while nauseated. So come on over- help me- and don't judge the condition of our house. Paco has done a fantastic job trying to keep up, while he works full time to support us. It would've such a blessing to have people help us in this season when I physically can't do certain tasks.
I would also ask you to pray for me. For our family. That God would continue to reveal Himself, and pour out His grace, as we walk this road.
I ask that you be a voice of encouragement, and spur me on as I move onward through this pregnancy. Rather than give my flesh or the enemy room to discourage my soul.
I ask that you be excited, and happy, and thrilled with the news, whether you think we are crazy or not- because the one who opens and closes the womb is at work, not you or I, or any man.
And by being filled with joy, we support the sovereignty of God, instead of being cynical and critical of His handiwork.
The world will have plenty to say, let's not give them more reason to discourage life.
And I would ask you to not post it publicly, about me being pregnant.
But I just posted a blog about it right?
But I don't want people to make assumptions based on comments like "congrats". I want people to read the story I've posted here, and agree, and appreciate the value of it in its fullness. So if you comment, or applaud- say something else- like, "He is so good" so that God gets all the glory, instead of us.
Because ultimately, He is good.
Even when and while it doesn't seem.
He is so good.
And who am I to question His goodness, regardless of what it looks like.
He certainly knows what He's doing, even if I don't.
So I will trust, I will believe, I will hold tight to His word that says "I can"!