My Other Life

On big birthdays, I tend to get a little reflective. My only girl, the one which took us years to have, became a teenager today. I get excited with each new stage, but like every parent, wish we could go back.

Bruce and I have often said God wanted us to work really hard to get our kids. 4 out of 5 of our kids have a “story.” Jack is the only one that seemed to come without any drama. I will save the other’s for later. 

Bruce and I struggled for years to have our first biological child. There were four years of complete infertility and 3 more years of one miscarriage after another. That time really seems like another life. It is funny how easy it is to forget. Our friends now really know nothing of that time. Our friends then, do not see, or even know our children. These friends cried with us, prayed for us regularly, brought copious amounts of food during the many bed rest times, and were just so incredibly full of support. 

Sarah was one of many pregnancies during a 3 year time span, after 4 years of nothing. My body just could not seem to carry a pregnancy and it was somewhat of a mystery to the doctors. The tests results always came back fine. Just like many times before, I went in to the doctor to hear, “Your blood work is not good and there is no heartbeat. There should be one by now. You are loosing this child. Come back next week to schedule your D & C.” I was so incredibly blessed to a have high risk OB who was also a believer. He truly valued life. 

I went back a week later and we scheduled the D & C after seeing the blood work looked worse and there was still no heartbeat. He told me to come in for one more ultrasound  when I went for the pre-op visit. This was unusual, but I went. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and very quietly said, “Julie, there is a heartbeat.” Everyone was so, so happy. Friends rejoiced, our families were, like us, afraid to hope. When we found out it was a girl we were elated. Girls were rare in the Etter family. I refused to buy anything pink because everyone we knew was buying pink for us like it was going out of style.

When I was 28 weeks along, Sarah decided she was ready to come. I went flat to bed for 2 months. Again, our community and family surrounded us. Many special people stepped in with Isaac. Our freezer was stocked with meals from our church. Friends took turns visiting with me. 

When Sarah did come in August, you can imagine the excitement. This is actually bittersweet for me to think about. My mom was so happy. She was in the delivery room with us and she was just so proud. She loved her “Sarah Beth” so much. She had held my hand through every miscarriage, accompanied me to many appointments, and cried almost as many tears as me. It was also a year ago this week that we were told mom was not going to live more the 6 to 12 months. I was at her bedside and left to go spend Sarah’s birthday with her. It was 5 months later that she died. I knew this special birthday of Sarah’s would be hard. Mom would have been so proud to see her become a teenager.

God has been good to us. I do not know why we had to work so hard to get our children. But, it is okay. God is good, all the time. 

If you ever see me crying when someone loses a baby, is struggling with infertility, or through a tough pregnancy, just ignore me. I am likely remembering my other life and that is okay. God has given me a soft spot for those women and their husbands. I am so grateful for the gifts God has given me. 

 

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More Summer Reading Material

I know many of us are seeking good reads for the summer. Gospel Coalition has a unique suggestion on the 2nd most important book every Christian should read. It may surprise you. Read what they have to say.

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WORLD | Marriage and millennials | Amy Henry | July 11, 2014

So glad to hear someone else say this. I have often said how thankful I am that Bruce and I both had parents who instilled the habit of church attendance and the fear of disappointing them. If not for these 2 things, it would be so easy to throw it all away. Do not misunderstand me. Marriage is about so much more than staying out of habit and fear of disappointing people. However, we all know that without that habit and fear, temptation creeps in to throw in the towel in those very tiring and not so likable moments, weeks , months ,and sadly for some, years. This is a great article to read on marriage. WORLD | Marriage and millennials | Amy Henry | July 11, 2014

“One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again.” —Judith Viorst

 

 

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New Seasons

Numerous parents, students and friends have contacted us over the past months asking about the changes going on in our lives. The lack of communication has led to confusion, false information and speculation, none of which are good. We have been deeply grieved by much of that speculation. We are happy to discuss it privately with anyone who is interested. It is not uncommon for someone who begins something to see it grow in unexpected directions. God places us all in different seasons. The past year has brought about many changes in season for our family on a personal and professional level. We thank God for this. As it is through these times that true growth occurs and my wife and I have felt growth like never before in our 20 year marriage. 

We want to thank Veritas Press, and all of those we have worked with there, for the opportunity to serve families over the past eight years. Veritas Press Scholars Academy has truly been our life and community. We will miss the institution and people immensely. Without that established platform it would have been impossible to springboard into what VPSA has become today. We will pray for VPSA as the school moves forward under new leadership. We ask for your prayers as well as we seek to minister to families at Wilson Hill Academy. We are very excited to get started with this new season in our lives and to see where God leads us. 

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Get a Life

Get a Life.

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Get a Life

This post from Ann Voskamp actually brought tears to my eyes. With my oldest son turning 16 this week, and 3 more following behind him, I often ponder and worry over the world they are growing up in. It is a world which really cheats boys out of a fair start. They are either made to act like girls in an effort to ease the stress on those around them, or insurmountable pressure is placed upon them to “make something of themselves.” There does not seem to be a balance. Lately, I have been very concerned for my own boys and the pressure from our own community. In the last 6 months, we have had adults say in front of our boys, “Don’t you wish you had more girls and not so many boys?” I happen to love and adore my boys, thank you very much. My only daughter has stopped inviting friends over because she so often hears things like, “Ugh, boys are sooo annoying.” Or, ” I hate boys, can’t we come over when they are not going to be there?” I even saw an email that she sent to a friend asking her to come over. The response was, ” Well, let’s use your house as a last resort since there are so many boys there.” For a while, I chalked this up to most of Sarah’s friends not having brothers and the adult comments coming from families of all girls. They just do not understand that it is not funny after awhile. But, the older my boys become, the more I just do not want to except it any longer. Boys need to be loved, guided, and directed. So, my plea to my own husband this Father’s Day is to teach our boys to “get a life.” Block out the world and the negativity, and just teach our boys to be the godly men God created them to be and ignore the rest.

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Sometimes, as a mom, my sinful side can come out. I know you are thinking, “Really??”. Yes, it really does. Like many home schooling moms, this time of year I am worn to the bone. Especially, this year as many challenges have made it difficult to keep going day after day. The kids are tired of school. They are tired of being together 24/7. They are tired of being with me 24/7. We are all just plain tired. Of course, it does no mother well to beat themselves up over the job they are doing when in this state of mind, but we all do it anyway. This morning I had a dose of what is important, and the true measure of my mothering abilities when I read this blog post from Gospel Coalition. In one sense, I thought, “Oh no! I have messed up this year.” In another sense, I thought,”A weight is lifted, There is so much I stress about that is really not going to matter in 20 years. I am letting it go.” Read the blog post and ponder it this Mother’s Day weekend. I hope it challenges you while taking a load off as well. Happy Mother’s Day!

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