For as long as Nick and I have thought about having children we've always been a family of six and from the day I found out I was pregnant for the first time, all four of my children were already born in my heart. Before we decided to open the window of possibility in the arena of babies we got our lives together on paper: mom with a college degree to fall back on- check; manageable debt load with plan to eradicate-check; three months worth of living expenses in savings-check; dad standing on doorstep of career-check; solid foundation of marriage and faith-check. A wise person once told me that you can never be fully prepared for three things: marriage, kids and death. With the first two you come to a point where you just leap. Do your best to set the stage and let the performance begin. Life is not a dress rehearsal and the show must go on.
When Nick and I began our journey of conceiving we both felt it would be a winding road. Neither of us expected to get pregnant and stay pregnant easily and thought false alarms, miscarriages and complications would be our reality. It wasn't something we feared, but something we were prepared to accept. We have a healthy respect for the holiness of life and that we are not in control. Shortly after we decided to start our family we were privy to the pain and anquish of a tragic miscarriage in the lives of dear friends. As we cried for them and interceeded for them we began to truly ask if it was worth it. Was it worth it to open ourselves up to the potential for such pain in the hope of receiving uncontainable joy.
To completely blow us out of the water I found out I was pregnant just weeks later. I took the HPT while Nick was in Mexico on a missions trip and could hardly contain myself. I tried to calm myself down by planning the perfect way of telling Nick. We were house sitting a beautiful house at the time which provided the perfect setting for a candle lit supper under the guise of welcoming him home, at which point I could share the wonderful news and we would both spend the next nine months smitten and glowing like only expectant parents can.
Nick came home from Mexico completely fired up from his first short term missions trip and began tossing about ideas such as putting all our possessions in storage and squatting in Tijuana so we could build homes for poverty stricken Mexican people and help out local missionaries. His face was so full of excitement and all I wanted to do was grant his every wish no matter how crazy. But instead I blurted; "um, how about we stay here and have a baby instead?".
It only took a few hours, (and modern conveniences like running water), for Nick's source of joy to change from missions work to fatherhood. We ended our time in St. Albert, AB on a very high note. Everything was falling into place so smoothly for us to start living the Canadian style American dream. Nick's internship had been just the right mix of challenges and successes to solidify our faith in God's calling to full time ministry and we stood with one foot in a college dorm and the other in a nursery just waiting to take that last step into the domain of Grown-Up.
We moved to Calgary on the wings of well wishes with the beautiful 'come back chorus' ringing in our ears. Completely invigorated by the previous 12 months we stepped sure footed into the final lap. We felt secure in our plans and our preparations; the future was full of bright, bright, bright sunshiney days.
Merely days later we began the swift descent that usually accompanies a lesson from the Almighty and one by one all our wordly securities were stripped away. Un-employed mom-check; drained savings account-check; increasing debt with no end in sight-check; seeming insurmountable academic challenges-check; foundation's limits being tested-check.....