I secretly hoped and prayed God would give us a couple years before we started having children, and God did. So, we spent the first two years of our marriage growing together as a couple, and then the day came when we were expecting our first child. There was excitement and fear. We were both attending Bible school at the time, and working at Wal Mart. My fears abounded that we would not be able to care for a baby and do school. But, the time came and baby Tyler Ann was born on April 28th, 1996. Jeremy decided to step out of school and go to work full time, and I continued to work part time and attend school part time, and be a full time mom (baby Tyler went with me everywhere). Surely, God did not mean for us to keep having children right then, and surely he wanted us to be better able to provided security for our children. So, we decided to take the doctors advice and use birth control. This was not a good choice, since, I suffer from hormonal imbalance, but the doctor seemed to think it was and doctors always know best. So, birth control and contraceptives were bought and used, but amazingly even with these precautions we soon found ourselves expecting again. Another easy and blessed pregnancy and delivery and another beautiful baby girl. Rachel Elizabeth was born on September 28th, 1997, and we were living in my parents basement at the time. Yes, that’s right, I said parents basement. So, we knew for sure God does not want us to have anymore children in these circumstance. So again we tried another birth control and more contraceptives to assure a good space between pregnancies. Shortly after Rachel’s birth, we moved into a home and began to foster children. We were excited to share our home with other children and work with parents to reunite these families. A few children came and went, and we felt blessed to have been able to care for and serve these families. But, then one day, two children came into our lives, and from day one we knew God waned us to make a long term commitment to them. Still with no plans to adopt any of our foster children, we cared for these two, Daniel and Lydia, and our hearts were broken as they came and went from our home into troubling situations. As this was going on, we found ourselves pregnant again, even though we had taken great precautions to not be. This time, we were blessed with a baby boy, Brenden Joseph on May 5th, 1999. We realized that God is going to number our children and we needed to trust in him, and stop worrying about what others think or say. So, even though we had made some poor financial decisions and were working to get out of massive debt, we decided not to take steps to stop another pregnancy.
God gives us this verse during this season of our lives. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths.”
Life sort of settles into a routine of homeschooling, spending time at grandma’s, and being involved in the church. God blesses us and we are able to pay off all our debt in less than 2 years (over $28,000). To this day, we are not sure how this was done, but God multiplied our income. We buy our first home, and I become pregnant with our seventh child. This is a difficult pregnancy as I become very mentally unstable. I am extremely cruel to Jeremy and often times have terrible nightmares and fits of depression and anger. By the end of the pregnancy I am suffering from sever insomnia and I am terrified I won’t have the strength to deliver the baby. But, on September 26th, 2003, I give birth to a baby boy, Jeremiah John, weighing 9 lbs. 13 oz. I continue to struggle for several more months with depression and anxiety. Jeremy decides maybe this is a sign we shouldn’t have more children. So, he schedules to have a vasectomy. The doctor tries to talk him out of it, but Jeremy is not convinced and the surgery is scheduled. Three times unusual circumstances interfere with the surgery, the doctor has to have emergency surgery, the hospital has a problem with the surgery room, and then the hospital has no recorded of Jeremy’s scheduled appointment. After the third conflict, Jeremy and I both realize that it is not to be done. Soon, I become pregnant again, and it is the most beautiful, enjoyable pregnancy I have had. (note: all my pregnancy are extremely easy and without complication, even with Jeremiah’s I was physically very healthy) The day of delivery comes and it is the easiest labor and delivery thus far. Joshua James is born on April 25th, 2005. He brings us so much joy, and is a happy, easy going guy. We are so grateful God brings him into our lives.
I continue to struggle with mans opinion of our choice to continue to have children and to raise them at home. But, God blesses us and we move forward. Each year of homeschooling is more fun than the year before. I wonder if it is possible to be more blessed, and even wonder why God chose me for this great job of training these young ones. I think back often to those days when Jeremy and I would walk and talk. I remember God speaking to us that he wanted us to raise up Kingdom Builders. Often, feeling so unworthy of such a calling, I would pray and ask him to show me how to do such a task.
He was ever faithful, even when I wasn’t. We continued to have the privilege to care for other children in our home, and to help other families. It was amazing how God would bring people into our lives for us to minister to right in our own home. We enjoyed ministering to single mom families, as well as, offering respite care for families of severely handicapped children. Our children seemed to have a desire early on to care for others. The day to day, could be hard at times, but God provided even when we didn’t always trust him to.
Then in 2007, on May 10th, Zachery Caleb was born. The boys began to out number the girls ,and it was evident in the house. Rough and tumble boys everywhere. It is at this point we hear God calling our family to adopt again. The call is clear, and yet both Jeremy and I secretly feel overwhelmed by the thought. We know God wants us to consider adopting a medically fragile child with limitations. We are excited to use the experience he has given us to offer a home to a waiting child, but at the same point we wonder if we are truly up to the call. Stepping out in faith we start the process and again it is a more painful process than pregnancy and delivery. But, God in his sovereignty matches us up with a child who, we will find fits into our home perfectly. As we fly out to California to adopt Davey (Robert David, March 6, 2003) I am full of emotions. One moment, so excited to finally meet my son, and the next so overwhelmed and feeling so unworthy of the task of being his mother. I question God the whole way there if he is sure this is right. We arrive at the place to meet him and he gets out of the car, and in that moment I see him and I know without a doubt this is my son. David had been in a wonderful foster home, and they had prepared him to meet us. So, from day one he knew us as mom and dad and felt right at home. I am always so grateful to the family that had him and helped him become ready to be in our home. He continues to grow and develop in independence. He is one of the happiest most content people you will ever meet. God has truly blessed us with him.
On the plane ride home from picking up Davey, I realize that the sickness I am feeling is not just from the rough flight, but that it is morning sickness. So, we brought David home at the beginning of the summer of 2008, and God blessed us again in February on the 5th, of 2009, with Stephen Michael. The boys are truly outnumbering the girls. Some days, I think they are running things and I am not. But, God has truly blessed us to be able to continue to keep them all home and learn and grow in him together. We start sensing that God is planning a change for our family, and we begin praying that he will prepare us all, and that we will be obedient to whatever is next. He begins teaches me what true submission looks like, to Him and to Jeremy. Jeremy decides to try for a new position with his company.
God gives us a new verse: Joshua 24:15 “As For Me And My House We Will Serve the Lord.”
We are all excited and nervous to see what the Lord will do. Jeremy gets the position and we are on an adventure moving to Lancaster, PA. But, it isn’t that easy. Jeremy heads out to start his new job in April 2011 and to find us a home. I am pregnant again, and wait trusting in God’s timing (or trying to be trusting). It takes longer than we expected to find a home, and Jeremy has to come back to Michigan for the birth of baby girl, Christianna Hesed, on June 8th, 2011. During this time of being separated and learning to truly trust in God and Jeremy, I grow greatly. We are blessed with an opportunity to rent a house finally, and we see the Lord’s hand’s all over this provision. We finally pack up the kids and move to Lancaster.
After arriving in Pennsylvania, I begin to suffer with feeling blue. I am not sure if it is baby blues, anxiety over the move, or something else. But, I find the homeschooling laws overwhelming and think I need to change the way I have been teaching. I buy all kinds of books and materials and lay out a plan for the year. It is a complete fail , or as the kids say, epic fail. I can see my kids struggling ,I am struggling, and Jeremy is struggling. I begin to pray and seek God, and Jeremy and the kids do too. God reveals to me that he wants me to return to teaching the kids from His Word. So, I get back to work on writing my own curriculum and find others who have done great work in this area, and seek their counsel. God blesses me with new friends and great Biblical counsel through the church we are attending and through home school connections online. This season of our lives is like none we have been in before it. We are all challenged to grow into a deeper dependency on God.
God gives us a new verse: Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
This is our present season of life. We do not yet know what is next for us. But, we do know that God wants us to depend on him every moment of everyday. We realize when he called us to be Kingdom Builders and to let Him number our children, that what he really wanted was to teach us to trust Him with everything. Trust Him to provide physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally all that we need, because we realize that we are nothing without Him. As I write this, it is baby Anna’s first birthday, and we look forward to celebrating today and many days to come her life and the lives of all our children. But, whatever God holds for our future, we choose to seek to obey Him and trust Him.