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It took nausea and fatigue. It took inability. It took surrender. All of those emotions led me to this point. I just don’t give a flying Fig Newton about wether or not my house is spotless.

I am 9 weeks pregnant. I was on medication that severely added to my early pregnancy nausea and fatigue. No one knew we were expecting. We kept it under wraps until after my speaking engagement. I had become more and more burdened with the news. Having to excuse easily explained symptoms with secondary reasons became exhausting. I was tired in all ways possible.

One evening, I was in our kitchen getting water. There was a paper towel on the floor. I looked at it. I stared at it. I left it there. It was originally on the floor to wipe up small pieces of ice that didn’t make it into my cup and had subsequently melted on the floor. Normal Xara would have picked it up and discarded it as soon as it did the job. Pregnant Xara left it there. Pregnant Xara told the shadow of normal Xara, that still resides deep in the recesses of baby Cake-Pop, that she should leave it there too. It’s just not that important.

Leave it there to wipe up future ice shards that are sure to hit the floor. (Pregnant Xara requires ice water whereas normal Xara prefers room temp or refrigerator cold water.) As Pregnant Xara looked around, she noticed many more things that could stay. Maybe not permanently, but she removed the urgency of cleaning/straightening it. You see, normal Xara does not like starting patterns that aren’t healthy. Halting a cleaning habit, is not healthy nor productive. Normal Xara does not want to get used to being loosey goosey with household chores for fear that she won’t go back to upholding her normal standards.

Pregnant Xara won. She explained to normal Xara that normalcy doesn’t return until the child reaches 2/2.5 years old. Steps of normalcy are made in every season in the newborns life. Adjustments will be made. New normals, either situational or long-term, will be the norm. Pregnant Xara reminded normal Xara that one day her house will be spotless, but it will also be childless. Normal Xara decided to enjoy the mess.

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I had a speaking engagement last weekend. I was speaking during two of the three sessions at a women’s retreat. I was anxious about the retreat. I was going to be away from home for three days. My nausea was more than I have ever experienced before. When fatigue set in, I give in because there is nothing else I can do. With all of this, I was to deliver God’s word to awaiting women. I was so sick, I couldn’t keep my daily prayer and reading time with God. I could not see how I was going to make it through. I know others were praying for me. My short prayers were ‘Lord help me’ or ‘Oh God! I pray you hear the prayers of others praying for me because I am too sick to even pray for myself’.

God answered my heart plea. I wanted to deliver His words without being a physical hinderance to that delivery. Thursday evening was the first session. It was the last day of the medication I needed to be on. (That medication makes non-pregnant women nauseous and fatigued). I was squeamish about taking my last dose because normally, within 45 minutes of ingestion, I feel (and look) like crud. I warned those at my table why I might need to leave early. After my meager meal of green beans and half a drumstick (not because that was all that was offered, but because that was all my new womb-mate would allow) I ate a few dinner rolls. I downed those dinner rolls and some hot tea. It was a miracle! I did not get sick at all!

God brought me through the rest of the weekend. I was only nauseous when I waited too long to eat. Fatigue was the biggest enemy and God prevailed against it. I was still tired, but He enabled me to deliver His word without a yawn and enabled me to drive home safely.

In the weeks leading up to the retreat, I asked God to help me but with the unspoken caveat being that I could handle it after I got back. Well, the day after I got home, I soon discovered that I couldn’t handle it. I thought I could jump back in and stay on top of my household responsibilities. I thought that after the medication ended, I could get a handle on this pregnancy. I thought that I could take it from here.

I was wrong. I was still fatigued. I am still operating slower than normal. I still have some waves of nausea. I didn’t want it to be true. I didn’t want my inadequacy to be real. But here I am, on the other side of the major event I needed God to bring me through, still in need of God.

I can’t take it from here.

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I think I predicted something like this a few years ago. I said something like I would be 42 with a baby on my hip and one in the womb. I had to go back in previous posts to check and what do you know? Forty-Two and Pregnant popped up. 

I had a plan for this post. It was going to be all about my feelings on being a “geriatric mom”. After I found the other post (which I wrote and published TWO YEARS before Baby Grace was born!) the entire trajectory of my thought process changed. I read the post. By the second to last line, I was weeping and praising God. His timing CERTAINLY isn’t mine, but He is still good.

I found out late January that I was pregnant. I was shocked! I look the test at least 10 times. I think I took 6 within the first 72 hours. I had concerns because the line was faint. The last time I had a faint line, the pregnancy was ectopic. I was nervous about reliving that again. The line darkened up over time. I had early test strips. I have had so many negative tests while awaiting a positive for Baby Grace. I’ve had so many negative tests while awaiting a positive for Cake-pop (that is what we are calling my current womb-mate). Now, whenever I got the urge to test and see, I had a back-up plan to squelch any sadness, discouragement, and deep disappointment before it took root. My back-up plan was wine. If the test was negative, I would have a glass of sweet wine (nothing dry for me) and go to bed.

This particular night, it was 1:30AM. I had finished watching an episode of some program and needed to relive myself before going to sleep. I decided to test then. Why wait? My Fitbit predicted my cycle was to come in two days and I thought it had been two days, but I was prepared for disappointment.  I was a week away from ending a weight loss challenge I had been apart of and I was winning. This challenge had a cash prize and I was super excited at that possibility. I was going to try a new supplement that revved up my metabolism. It was to come in the mail any day now. Testing to be on the safe side was important.

After I saw that faint line the first time, I rubbed my eyes. I squinted. I checked it again and again. I kept it. I wanted to look at it again in the morning. Maybe the line would disappear! Not because I wanted the line to disappear, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up for no reason. I didn’t sleep at all. I was to excited, nervous, and plain shocked!

I began the marathon testing. I tested almost every pee. I waited a few days to tell my husband. I needed to process this first. Mainly, I waited until we were alone and could talk freely. The girls were spending the night at a grandparents house and we could have that time to share our thoughts without speaking in code. At first, I thought not to tell my husband. If this was going to end in an early tragedy, I didn’t want him to have to go through that suffering again. I realized that was unfair to him. He has a right to know. We are married and go through everything together. Plus, I would have been PISSED if he withheld something from me.

I presented my husband with a printout that had important dates pertaining to his life. His birthday, our wedding date, and each birthday of our children. At the end, I had October 2019. He guessed rather quickly.

And so our journey began. We told 3 people. I wanted to wait until I saw that baby on a sonogram. I was in that much shock. As you will read in the next two posts, the nausea and fatigue were more than I’d ever experience before. But even with that, I still wanted to see!

I waited until after my scheduled speaking engagement to tell everyone, including our parents and our children. I didn’t want our happy news to overshadow the Word I was to deliver at the women’s retreat.

I was also nervous of the reactions of our family and friends. I am forty. My husband is forty-six. I am (seriously) advanced maternal age. My husband, not so much. It is perfectly acceptable for men to reproduce after forty. For women, especially if it’s not their first, we usually get the side-eye.

As I was going to write about battling that, the previous post, Forty-Two and Pregnant, gave me peace and rest. I am exactly where God wants me to be.

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The people of Israel were complaining. “We should have died in Egypt or the desert. Why does God want us to die in a war in Canaan? Let’s go back to Egypt.” Suddenly the glory of God flashed and shone from the tabernacle. 365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories, “Day 61”.  Numbers 14:1-45

I am to be the lead speaker (for the first time ever) at a Women’s conference. The conference is at the end of next month. I am a planner. I prepare in advance. I mentally prepare and physically prepare for most things in my life. After it was confirmed that I would speak at this conference, I began to wait on God to tell me what I was to say. I’ve been waiting since September. By December, I began to get impatient. I started to read over the theme verse (Isaiah 43:1) and try to get a frame-work about what I should say. I did all this thinking maybe waiting wasn’t the right choice. Maybe God was waiting for me to start to prepare and He would step in with guidance. Usually, when I have something to pen to speak to people, God guides me every step of the way. I wait for Him. That has been our practice. This time, however, I have a deadline. I have an absolute deadline. God may operate outside of time and space but I do not. I am confined to it.

So, I started to prepare. I outlined a bit of what I could say about the topic (fear not) and did a bit of Bible study using my husbands Logos program. That got me nowhere. I was discouraged. Then I heard God say, “Write it as if it were a blog post.” Ding-ding-ding! Now we’re talking! He said something! He said something regarding what I was to prepare for! Woohoo! I thought this was the beginning of a funnel from His mouth to my hands, by way of my ears of course. I sat down and begin to write like I was writing a post. It sucked. All the thoughts and ideas I was penning sucked. They had no direction and no cohesiveness. Ah, discouragement! We meet again.

Early January, I begged God. I prayed earnestly for what seemed like a few days. Think ugly cry. That is how I prayed. I didn’t cry but my prayers were sloppy, snot running, puffy eyed, incessant sobbing pleads. That is when God said I was to write about when I’d lost my faith. I didn’t want to do that. I haven’t even written it about it in this blog. I did obey and the words flowed just like they do when I am writing for this blog; when I feel God’s presence and I know I am operating in His will. I was vastly encouraged. God heard my loud, messy cry and granted my call for help. I thought that was the beginning of the funnel from Him to me for those women set to attend the conference.

I was wrong. After I penned my experience, His silence ensued. I’ve asked Him about it but I haven’t ugly prayed about it. I told my husband that I understand why Saul sacrificed without Samuel (1 Samuel 13). Samuel was late and Saul was anxious. His people were leaving him and he felt he needed to perform. That is how I feel. I know most of the woman who are attending. How in the world will it look if I show up and having only enough content for one session? That’s embarrassing to say the least.

I’ve carried that concern and prayed about it. I got to the point that I accepted dejection. “I am going to get on that stage and bomb because God led me to do this and gave me no words,” I would say to myself. Have you ever met a person who has ample time but waits until the last-minute to take care of their responsibility? The one who knows they need $15 to pay for their co-pay at the doctor’s appointment that is scheduled for tomorrow but doesn’t go to the ATM until 15 minutes before their appointment and the ATM is 15 minutes away from their doctor’s office? The person that always cuts it too close? I don’t want to be that person. I am not that person. I don’t want God to make me that person in regards to this conference. I want to be totally finished WELL BEFORE the end of February.

I read the excerpt I included at the top of this post tonight to Baby Grace. As I was reading, conviction/understanding dawned yet again. I had to pray before I even finished reading that little bit. Baby Grace demanded that I keep reading but I told her she had to wait a minute. The children of Israel had seen God work numerous times. They were faced with yet another obstacle and demanded to go back to Egypt. They saw giants and were afraid. What I understood from that excerpt is this:

  1. I am anxiously waiting (not patiently)
  2. I know He’ll show up and give me the words (but I don’t know when)
  3. I am coping with it not being in my preferred time-line.

I know I don’t want to be 15 minutes before to my appointment, just now getting to the ATM. I also know God doesn’t want me to bomb this. Why? Because, just like the children of Israel, He led me to this. That give me immense comfort. So, I will wait. I will wait because I know He will show up.

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Almost 10 years ago, we had no health insurance.  My husband, Brian, said we had “wilderness health.” He was referring to the children of Israel.  Deuteronomy 8:4 says, “Your garments did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years.” Brian would say something like, ‘they didn’t have a homeland to lay their heads and God took care of them. He will take care of us as well’. He was right. God took care of us each and every (hard) step of the way.

In 2008, I got pregnant. We could no longer solely rely on wilderness health. I was scared. I remember breaking down. I was so overwhelmed. I found out I was going to be a Mommy I didn’t have health insurance. I felt like such a loser. I cried big fat boo-who tears. Two things happened. First, my sister called. She calmed me down, even offering to leave a business meeting to check on me. Her concern for me allowed me to get myself together and focus on the steps I needed to take to obtain insurance. Second, Brian’s friend, one I loathed, called me. She walked me through the steps I had to take in order to get insurance. She had just completed the process a few months before. She assured me that I would get insurance because I was pregnant.

I gathered the information we needed to bring and Brian and I set off to the local office the following morning. I was nervous the whole time. In my mind, getting state insurance was the equivalent of needing welfare.  I bought into all the images and negative talk of they type of person who needed government assistance. I thought those people were lazy, rude, selfish, and undeserving. I thought that until I found myself in the same line with others needing help.

The workers were kind and walked me through the process. They took our information, were patient with us as we filled out the paperwork, and told me the next steps I was to take more than once. I was so afraid of making a mistake that would mess us up. I knew I needed to see an obstetrician. I was only five weeks along. From all I knew, which was gleaned from television, as soon as you found out you were pregnant, you saw a doctor. Immediately! I thought I was late! (I can laugh about that now) The next steps I needed to take was to go to a local clinic and have them determine I was pregnant. After that verification, I would be approved for medical insurance. Once I was approved, I called my former OBGYN office to see if they took my new insurance. THEY DID! What a blessing that was.

Through all of these almost 10 years, I’ve wanted to be off of the state insurance.  Paying for your own insurance was a level of self-sufficiency to me. It meant something. Somewhere around year 7, my husband watched a documentary about health insurance in the United States. It changed our perspective. Being on state insurance was nothing to be ashamed of. It is GOOD insurance! I was thankful to God each and every time my girls had to be seen for a well visit and illness. I was thankful that I could be seen. I was thankful that my husband’s wilderness health didn’t expire. (For some reason, he couldn’t be insured. He was fine with that as long as we, his girls, were taken care of).

For the first time since 2006(?) we are in the position to get health insurance through my husband’s job. Today, I disenrolled from the state insurance. It was a strange moment. At several times in these years, I longed for this day. Now that it was were, I was sad to see it go. Thankfully, we don’t need to change doctors. The girls can continue seeing their pediatrician. My primary and OBGYN can stay the same. Even my husband, who in the last three months of state insurance got approved for coverage, can keep the doctor he saw.

This is truly a new chapter in our lives.

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(originally penned 2013)

I don’t know why hope exists if you can’t experience the fulfillment of it. I really don’t understand that.

I want for my husband.  I want his dreams, desires, and goals to come to fruition. It breaks my heart each and every time that his dreams, our dreams, are dashed right at the finish line.

I can’t fix it. I can’t make it better.  There is no lingerie sexy enough to ease this pain.

He is doing better than I am. My husband is a fighter. I could just cower and throw in the towel. My feelings are so hurt right now.

(words below penned December 2018)

Wow! I am so glad I penned this when I did. I am so happy to see that I captured this feeling raw and in the moment. I just showed this to my husband. He read it and had the same wow response. We had to take a minute to figure out what was happening during this time. Isn’t that funny? Something so awful that put me in such a state of despair and I, today, needed to jog my memory of what that event was! God is so so good.

The event was my husband was up for a paying position in church and, although he got the position, the money fell short of what we needed to move out of his mother’s house. My husband had just graduated from Bible College; something he did so he could get a staff position in a church. That particular branch of Zion knew we had financial struggles and our many attempts to get out from under. We thought this position would provide us with the money we needed to sustain ourselves and our family plus fulfill my husbands desire to work full-time in ministry. That did not happen and I, we, were crushed. That was pain on a very deep level that hit all of our we-are-adults-and-should-be-further-along-in-life-than-this spots.

God brought us through this though. He brought us through with tears, questions as to why, and much MUCH waiting but He did bring us through. After 12 years, we were able to move from my mother-in-law’s home into our own apartment. This happened the month before Bella’s graduation. It seemed like once she was emancipated, God emancipated us! Now that we are on the opposite side of stuck, I often think what our life, what our marriage would have been like if God allowed us out before she graduated from high school. As much as I would have LOVED to have gotten out before 2016, what other cost did we avoid by God keeping us stuck? I think either way would have been unpleasant (to say the least) but the path God chose for us, the ark he kept us in, was the better path. Better. Not easier. Not fun. Not painless. Not tear free. Not something I EVER EVER EVER want to repeat. Better.

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(I penned this December 2017 but can’t remember in between what posts this would go)

I recently posted my rant of a pity party. Sure, I dressed it up nicely and my feelings were real, but it was more of a rant of a toddler. I had no answer for where I was.

But God, in His loving mercy, allowed me to vent out everything, and, in doing so, come back to my senses. I signed up to be in HIS army; not my army of one.  I signed up to serve Him no matter the cost because of HIS great love for me.  My service to Him is not based on if I get what I want when I want it or if at all. My service is not based on if I like His timing.  My service is not based on if I like the assignment He has given me.  My service is not based on how I feel about myself at any given moment. My service is not based on how I feel.  My service is not based on how others feel about me.

My service to God is first based on His love for me and second, an outward expression of my love in return for Him. (1 John 4:19)  I had to remember that at salvation, I signed up to be a part of His army. (Luke 14:25-33) Whatever my “cost” is, it is worth it for an eternity with Him.

A refocus of mind from my circumstances to His glory is what I really needed.

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I knew I was wrong, but I wanted it to work.

I have written many times about my struggle to conceive Baby Grace.  I still struggle now hoping to conceive yet again.  I constantly search the internet for things people have done or supplements people have taken to enhance their chances of conception. In that search, I discovered that Soy Isoflavones are natures Clomid.  Clomid is used to increase fertility. I was SUPER excited about that!  I went straight away to the Vitamin Shoppe and bought a bottle. I followed the directions other women stated worked for them and hoped for the best.  Nothing.  Not pregnant.

I searched the internet again to see if I didn’t take it correctly. I know it is not a miracle drug and expecting to become pregnant in the first cycle of trying something is irrationally hopeful. However, I was doing everything else right, maybe this was the edge I needed to conceive!  I was hoping God would use this supplement to get me pregnant. I was going to give God the glory anyway.  I would tell those who struggle to conceive to try Soy Isoflavones if it worked for me but I still wanted God to get the glory.

We were in church this morning.  I don’t remember what exactly was said but I was so tightly convicted!  I knew the Lord did not want me to take the supplement anymore.  I knew it like I know my name but I was so afraid of surrendering to that!  I wanted it to work!  Today is the day I would have began taking the supplement again.  I had already mapped out how long I was going to take it and how many milligrams per day I was going to take them. I made slight adjustments from what I tried last month and wanted to see how it was going to work out this month. I didn’t want to obey God because I wanted to wait and see. I wanted the Soy Isoflavones to work!

My hand was so clenched. I struggled to release the supplement and obey God.

I knew I was wrong, but I wanted it to work.  I knew from the beginning that I was switching my trust in God to conceive, if it be His will, to the supplement. I knew it.  I denied it, but I knew it. I was scared to surrender.  I thought, maybe I’ll just try it one more time and then I’ll surrender.  But that is not surrender at all, is it?

I must put them down. Burn the bridge. Dump them in the toilet.  Immediately.

I wasted money ($24.99) instead of trusting and believing God that He will build my family as He sees fit. Waiting hurts.  Wanting, desiring and not receiving hurts.

I tossed the contents of the bottle in the toilet and flushed it.  I went to the altar after church today and prayed. I need God’s help to enjoy my life as it is now, to its fullest, while waiting for my desires to be fulfilled.

(originally penned 4/2018)

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I did something so unXaralike. I was bold about my abilities to someone looking to book someone else.

Sometime this summer, a friend contacted me asking for a speaker referral for the upcoming women’s retreat at her church. After I read the message, I felt fire blast from my insides screaming. “ME!” My hands almost typed in autopilot, “Me. I’m a speaker.” I was able to wrestle back control of my hands before completing the message and called my husband instead. He actually answered the phone! (His accessibility on this new contract is limited) I told him what transpired and he said, “That’s exactly what you should have said.” I knew he would say that but I wanted further confirmation other than the Holy Spirit fire that shot through me. The Holy Spirit is enough but I was so fearful of taking action.

I know I am a speaker.  I’ve seen it clear as I see my hands in front of my face. Not too long before getting that message from my friend, I was asking God when. When would it happen? When was He going to bring those things to pass? I envisioned a gradual climb. Small speaking engagements like home Bible Study groups, MOPs groups, other small women’s gatherings. But this? This. Is. BIG!!!

I replied back to my friend stating that I am a speaker but in true Xara fashion, I added a caveat. I said, ” Hey (friend)! I am a speaker but if you would like some other referrals, I will send them your way. What is the topic?” There was silence on the other end. No immediate text back. I had forgotten that she was at work and her response time is slow. I believe this happened on a Wednesday. She checked back with final decision maker on whom the speaker would be and her response led me to believe that some real thought had to go into chosing me. I figured that person would say no.  You see, my friend attends the church I attended for the 23 years. We left in 2015 when my husband became the pastor at our current church. To all but a few women in that congregation, I am common. I am Jenny from the block so to speak. I thought I’d be too common to be considered much less chosen to speak.  The waiting period seemed a tell-tale sign that I would be turned down. Honestly, I would have been relieved. I could truly say that I did what God told me to do and it didn’t work out. The end. Not my fault. Welp, that person spoke with me that upcoming Sunday and confirmed, yours truly would be the 2019 retreat speaker.

How did I feel? Scared to death! I have said these words more or less verbatim ever since that day .

What the snot? Jesus! What the holy snot did you just do? You guided my mouth and my hands. I did what you said. I said what you said and now this? There are 3 sessions. THREE! Three 45 minutes sessions I am to speak to these women. What the snot am I supposed to say? I should have kept my entire mouth shut. Now I’m out here.  Got my name on a registration pamphlet as the speaker. Bammas all excited to hear me speak. What the whole snot? I ain’t nobody? You have me out here, all by myself, charged with bringing the Word to a retreat where women have paid good money to attend. If you don’t show up, I ain’t going. Please don’t embarrass me. Please don’t let me be ashamed in trusting in you.

I ask for your prayers. I don’t know how the snot this is going to go.  I need those faith-filled, believing prayers because I am quaking in my knees. Oh, get this. The topic for the retreat is Fear Not. SMH

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My husband bought me a new computer for Christmas. Totally unexpected.  We had talked about it and I pushed back at the idea citing other needs we had. Our household income is not made using my computer and as long as my vintage computer (so said the nice gentleman at the Apple store) still turned on, I was in good shape.

He, my husband, said he heard me say that the Lord was leading me to write more  (return to my writing). I had not yet obeyed using the I-don’t-have-the-time excuse among others.  When I opened my Christmas gift, the very first thought I had was, “Ok God. I hear ya.”  So, I find myself sitting here, in my dinning room, in a rare moment when I am not needed, typing.

So many thoughts swirl through my head. So many that to pen them down and flesh them out seems like a daunting task instead of the joyful one it usually is.

It was a blessing to see that although I have been dormant from this blog that it was still touching others.  Different posts have been visited with just a few comments being made. That just how God uses us, right? We (I) don’t see how my meager efforts are impactful and stop holding myself up to my standards, waving some excuse or another for I’m-tired-of-doing-and-not-seeing-major-results, and slow down to sloths pace. It’s exhausting.

About 8 years ago, almost two years after having Jazmine, I got back into shape. I hated that initial soreness. I vowed never ever again to begin again. If I always did, I’d never have to start over. I am going to apply that to writing. If I never stop, I never have to start over.

Instead of waiting until Monday, which is my usual publish day, I am going to post this today. I’ll see y’all next week.

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