Welcome!

Wonderfully Made is dedicated to encouraging women and their families along their journeys of faith, motherhood, marriage, and special needs. We believe wholeheartedly that you, your precious children, and your own unique journeys are wonderfully made by God and look forward to walking the journey with you. "You formed my inmost being; You knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise You, because I am wonderfully made." {Psalm 139}

A love note to the mom who struggles with chronic illness

To the mom who struggles with chronic illness, I know you are tired, not only of the pain and the sickness but also of the unknown. You carry worry deep within you that others may not see or understand and you wonder if there will ever be a time when you will be free of it. You worry about your energy, your ability to care for your children, and your mortality. You worry about your illness worsening and how it will affect your family.

“Those who suffer He delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction.” (Job 36:15)

I stare up at the ceiling and focus on the florescent light above my gurney.

“Do you have any questions about the procedures you’re having today, Katherine?” the nurse asks me.

“No,” I laugh. “I’ve had them several times.”

She looks surprised and I know the question is coming. The “why?” that leads to my story, so before she can ask, I smile and say,” I have a lot of health complications. I have Crohn’s Disease, Oral Allergy Syndrome, a pain disorder, and have had flares of pancreatitis, an appendectomy, a cholecystectomy, preeclampsia…”

“Wow,” she says. Her brow furrows. “How old are you?”

I laugh because I know the list of maladies and my age do not seem to match. “28,” I say.

“Oh, honey,” she frowns. “Ok, let’s get you all prepped and ready to go so we can find out what’s going on today.”

I give her a thumbs up and say cheerfully, “sounds good!”

The truth is, though, I don’t feel cheerful. I feel scared.

God, what is it this time? 

I want answers. More than that, I want to have all the pain and sickness go away. To be washed clean of it all. To be a normal twenty-something-year-old worrying about normal problems, not thinking about disease and illness and…death. Because the truth is every time I lay on a gurney, I wonder how much time I have left. How many more flare ups, diseases, and illnesses my body can handle. Each one takes a toll. Each one renders me exhausted. Each one makes me feel small and frail and alone.

I need to stay positive. I know I do. So, I focus again on the light.

love notes heart

To the mom who struggles with chronic illness, I am carrying you in my heart today. I know you are tired, not only of the pain and the sickness but also of the unknown. You carry worry deep within you that others may not see or understand and you wonder if there will ever be a time when you will be free of it.

You worry about your energy, your ability to care for your children, and your mortality. You worry about your illness worsening and how it will affect your family.You go back and forth from feeling exhausted and defeated to thankful and hope-filled. You are a bundle of contradictions.

I know that in between the doctors visits, trips to the ER, and hospitalizations you still have to do the laundry, wash the dishes, and care for your little ones. I know that life does not stop nor do the demands from others around you. The bills must be paid, including the mounting medical ones, and the budget must be balanced. I know that you often feel alone, isolated by the condition that makes it difficult to lead a normal life, to maintain friendships, and to kick off your shoes and just have a little fun.

I am praying for you today. Praying God would fill you up with strength and energy. Laughter and precious friendships to lift you up on the tough days. He hears your cries. So don’t despair. Don’t give up. And today, dear one, choose to laugh. I will laugh right alongside you, with you, in honor of the life you live because even on the days that are gloomy there is always a ray of hope in the darkness.

I believe He is close even when He feels a million miles away. I believe He stands strong by my bedside when the hurts are great and it feels like the night is closing in. I believe there is grace in suffering and redemption in the cross. For He says, “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

love notes heart

To read more love notes like this one, please click here. If you felt encouraged by today’s post, share it with a friend! You are also invited to write your own love note to submit for publication on the blog!

Four Score and Two Aprils Ago {The Beginning of our #Ausome Journey}

Hi, friend! So happy you are here :) April is Autism Awareness month; and, in honor of our ausome™ Jack, I will be sharing stories, information, and resources that are pertinent to ASD.

Does someone you love have autism? Please grab an Ausome™ button from the right sidebar to share with friends and family!

 

Two Aprils ago, Autism wasn't even on my radar. Today, I look back at a poignant moment that paved the way for the journey that was unfolding before us...

Our special needs journey began about 3 years ago. We were living in Atlanta, my husband was working a part-time job due to downsizing, I was on bed rest with Kristen, and Jack was 2 years old.

I remember being in the car that April trying to figure out how we were going to pay our bills, while a radio spotlight on Autism awareness played in the background. I’ll never forget one of the moms who was interviewed speaking about her son who has ASD. She spoke so eloquently about the disorder and provided examples of some of the behaviors her son exhibited. I was touched by her love, compassion, and passion for building awareness of the disorder. As I totaled up the cost of groceries for the week and thought about which bills to pay and which to juggle for another month, I thought, in true southern form, ‘Bless her heart. Better her than me!’

Nine months later, I sat on the floor of a pediatric neurologist’s office holding Jack tightly as he screamed and thrashed in sheer panic of the world around him. For months, I had been trying to figure out his intense behaviors which presented shortly after that radio broadcast and increased in severity day by day until he could no longer function. He screamed all day. Rocked and banged his head incessantly. Recited books and scripts meticulously. He never slept. We were mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.

After an hour of assessment, the neurologist asked me what I believed was going on with my son. I remembered the woman on the radio and the shared behaviors that now made my son and hers brothers on a journey we did not plan.

I knew it was autism. And the doctor confirmed my belief.

Two months later, my husband got a job in Massachusetts and we moved up north, where we knew no one but knew the services would change our son’s life. And they truly have.

In September of 2013, I started this blog to share our family’s journey with a child on the spectrum.

Jack has tried us and blessed us, exhausted us and filled our hearts with joy beyond measure. He has made my life richer, my friendships deeper, and my appreciation for the little things greater. When I think back now on that day in the car, I realize there was a plan beyond my understanding unfolding. Three years later, I now have friends who lead before me and who walk beside me on a road that is riddled with the unknown but is infinitely blessed. I’m so glad to be walking this journey with you, friend!

Scenes from the Past 6 Weeks

Scenes from the Past 6 Weeks | wonderfully-made.net #Juno #Linus #Marcus #Neptune

Hi, friends! Whew, it’s been a while since I last posted. I apologize! The past six weeks have been full of surprises, storms, and snow – lots and lots of snow – and most days have felt like a dead sprint trying to keep up with three little ones and daily life in the midst of four historic winter storms, but I am determined to get back in the swing of things. So, without further ado, here are the past six weeks in review!

Scenes from the Past 6 Weeks | wonderfully-made.net #Juno #Linus #Marcus #Neptune

Connor was born on a mild, 50 degree January night (who knew record low temperatures and storms were just around the corner!) We came home from the hospital and dove in to parenting three little ones. Connor joined the fold beautifully, and Jack and Kristen were completely enamored with him from day one.

Scenes from the Past 6 Weeks | wonderfully-made.net #Juno #Linus #Marcus #Neptune

Then, Juno hit. After receiving a hand delivered notice from first responders advising us to stay elsewhere, we packed everyone up and made our way to an extended stay hotel as the snow began to fall. We were grateful we did because the peninsula we live on turned into an island during the storm and we would not have been able to leave – not a good situation with two littles and a newborn.

We had to get very creative with activities to keep the kids active and entertained while the blizzard blew for three days. We did scavenger hunts and walked with the kids around the hotel to find elevators, stairs, the laundry room, the ice machine, etc. We also did number hunts, using room numbers as treasure to find, which Jack loved!

Scenes from the Past 6 Weeks | wonderfully-made.net #Juno #Linus #Marcus #Neptune

When the storm eventually settled, Jeff dug our car out of the snow and we headed back home. But Juno was only the beginning, as three more storms hit one after the other, each one powerful and dangerous in its own way. We watched our yard fill with 7+ feet of snow, the ocean freeze (yes, the storms actually caused the ocean to freeze! See photo below), the MBTA fall apart and then surrender, and plow after plow try to clear the streets, creating 5-foot-high (or more) snowbanks lining every road and snow mountains at the end of every block, as pictured below.

Scenes from the Past 6 Weeks | wonderfully-made.net #Juno #Linus #Marcus #Neptune

(Frozen ocean and a snow mountain as seen outside our front porch window.)

Scenes from the Past 6 Weeks | wonderfully-made.net #Juno #Linus #Marcus #Neptune

(My husband shoveling snow from our porch which is on the second story of our house. He had shoveled this exact spot two days before.)

Then, as gusts of wind blew from Neptune yesterday, Jack and Connor both came down with stomach viruses. Jack’s worsened as the night wore on and the on call doctor told us if he threw up one more time we would have to take him to the emergency room. Fortunately, he held his own and his tummy settled enough for him to get some rest. (He’s pictured below enjoying some toast this morning with his best buddy Kristen.) We were so grateful as the winds reached 50mph and the temperature dropped to 27 degrees below zero with the wind chill last night.

Scenes from the Past 6 Weeks | wonderfully-made.net #Juno #Linus #Marcus #Neptune

We are tired, ready for the storms to be over and for spring to…well…spring. We are very grateful, though, to be safe, to have kept power, to have friends who have helped us shovel and plow, and to be warm inside with a roof over our heads.

Thank you for your patience, prayers, and support as we ride out this wicked winter!

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