I'm a 33 year old adoptive mom trying to make sense of life. If you are tired, you are in good company. If you are awake past midnight, feel free to call. I'm probably up. But, mainly, I want to pray for you.
Friends, I am so overwhelmed by your response to Chris's post. Thank you for sharing and spreading the word...thank you for your words of encouragement. Thank you for loving us...even those of you that just "met" us on the blog yesterday. We are beyond grateful and completely humbled. It has been such an incredibly hard week. There are times I am just willing myself and begging God for my next breath. There are moments I have thought "I'm not going to make it" and then there are glimmers of God's glory...of His hope. And ya'll are giving that to me this week. Jesus is using you to bring life into these painful days. It all feels so overwhelming and lonely at times...who do we focus on now?! Do we focus on my treatments/protocols for my Lyme disease or do we focus on our precious girl that is seriously trapped in fear and trauma?? Both take a lot of diligence and discipline. One of these things would be difficult, but both of them together can make me feel like I'm being crushed. In those moments where Chris and I feel like "WHERE ARE YOU GOD"..."HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ABOUT US"...He inevitably sends something or someone to remind us of His great love for us. He sees every single tear I cry and loves me in my brokenness. Our sweet friend Stephanie made this print of our family's verse. And it brings so much hope...because even in the darkness, I know that darkness hasn't won. There is meaning in our pain. And JOY will come in the morning!!
Love you all so much...my heart is so full tonight.
Lindsey and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary! We can hardly believe we’ve already had the privilege of a full decade of life together. I can honestly say we are more in love now than ever and are growing closer every day. Lindsey is my best friend. I would truly rather be with her doing nothing than be with anyone else doing anything! God has blessed Lindsey and I with our 6 year old daughter, Eliana who is the most precious little thing on the planet.
Each and every day I find myself marveling at the pure grace of God displayed in Lindsey’s life. Lindsey is the epitome of compassion. Lindsey cares for and truly loves others in ways that can only be explained as “Christ like.” The crazy part is that Lindsey is in constant pain and exhaustion as her body is plagued by Lyme disease and multiple co-infections. This invisible sickness is brutal. Lindsey has arthritic like pain that migrates throughout her entire body. She has shooting pains followed by numbness. On top of that Lyme disease prevents her from getting restful sleep. The discomfort keeps her awake and even if she sleeps for 10 hours she still wakes up feeling like she just pulled an all-nighter in college. I have no idea how but despite the agony Lindsey doesn’t complain or whine...she just hopes. She has been to 5 different doctors and hasn't given up. I don't know how she does it. Despite feeling trapped in a tortured body, Lindsey is so kind to Eliana and me. Lindsey is the best Momma - constantly pushing through the pain to engage in playful connectivity with Eliana.
As many of you know our precious daughter Eliana battles an internal emotional war called “trauma.” If you’ve ever met E then you know her little heart is so sweet and kind and gentle (and she's hilarious). In the midst of her tenderness, Eliana is very fragile. Eliana lives in near constant fear of the rapid paced world around her. To say that she battles anxiety feels like a gross understatement. Making it through each day of Kindergarten is a major triumph for our baby girl! I am happy to report though that for the first time in her life Eliana is now sleeping at night! For the first 5 1/2 years of life, Eliana’s trauma kept her awake until crazy late every night. There were many all-nighters when the hurt in her heart robbed her of any rest at all. Now for the past 3 months she has actually been falling asleep and sleeping through the night. We are breathlessly thankful each and every time we see her drift off into slumber.
As you might imagine providing care for Lindsey and Eliana takes everything we’ve got! Though we pretty much feel overwhelmed every night, we are committed to walking down the road toward healing for both Lindsey and Eliana no matter how long or costly it may be. Though I am a speaker, lately I have really tried to limit the number of additional speaking engagements I take on so that I can be home and available to care for my family! That being said, we really need help financially. Every single treatment that Lindsey undergoes is not covered by insurance and the same goes for Eliana's therapy.
We decided to create another Give Forward page to invite folks to join us in our journey. We know we’re not alone. God has always provided for our every need through people just like you. We are inviting you to be a part of God’s answer to our prayers! Thank you for being willing to step up and help. We are so incredibly thankful to all of the many folks who have supported us along this path! I wait in hopeful expectation for the day when both of my girls are healthy and whole!
It's been a while friends. My little family and I have walked through some incredible highs and lows since my last post...which was about forever ago. I think (without knowing it), I've tried to hold a lot of junk in over the last few months. I can't pinpoint it. Maybe it's because I fear that people are just plain sick of me being sick. I'm afraid I would be sick of me. It's hard to tell and re-tell my story and the ending still be the same. "Hi, I'm Lindsey. I still feel awful. I still beg God for healing every single day. I'm afraid I'm stuck with this dang disease for the rest of my days." I'm asking God for the NEXT RIGHT STEP. It's no fun to share that you are on your 5th doctor to try and figure out how to fix the endless issues going on in your body. It's exhausting to just put one foot in front of the other. But, ya'll...I have (by God's grace) put one foot in front of the other. And guess what, He has given me another day to breathe and live. Each day is a gift. Let me be honest. That is a tough thing to say sometimes. But, I keep repeating it (even out loud to myself sometimes like a crazy person) over and over begging God for me to believe. To believe He is good and loves me and hasn't abandoned me. And HE NEVER WILL.
This past weekend thousands of girls from all over the world met in Austin, Texas for the IF:Gathering, dreamed and created by one of my friends Jennie Allen (my bff's sister). IT WAS AMAZING! There were two groups. IF:Gathering in Austin and IF:Local (groups all around the country meeting together watching the live event). Because of the fact I barely leave my house, I didn't fit into either one of these groups. So, I laughed (to myself again) that I was having IF: My Bed. And, I did. And God met me in my room on my bed. I didn't realize how much I needed to dream again. To believe that God is not through with me yet. I sang...I took notes...I laughed...I cried...and I dreamed. I found myself asking two different questions to God. The first was even if I still feel the exact same way the rest of my life, will I jump back in this race?! Will I do whatever it takes to LOVE Jesus and LOVE others? The next thing was less of a question and more of a "RESCUE ME Jesus" in a way I haven't cried out before. It was emotionally cleansing for me to cry and grieve over the years I've felt held captive by this disease and Eliana's trauma. I have cried and prayed and begged God for MORE.
One thing I can do from bed is pray...and that was the entire reason I started this blog in the first place. Madrugada means "after midnight" because I never used to sleep because of E's trauma. Then, I didn't sleep because of my Lyme. And instead of being angry and bitter over my sleepless nights, I felt like I needed to pray for y'all. I did and I won't quit. Since the IF: My Bed conference, I have felt such a HEAVY burden to pray for the other women around the country stuck in their beds...left alone in their hospital rooms...women devastated by loss...families hanging on for dear life with an adopted child that rages and has mood disorders and won't be okay if you leave them...women struggling with deep, dark depression that feel like the cloud will never lift. I wanted ya'll to know tonight that you aren't alone. God loves you...HE SEES YOU! That's what I keep hearing Him whisper to me in my pain and sleepless nights. He is proud of you. Don't give up!
Our tears matter to God. I love that. "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." Psalm 56:8
P.S. Keep the prayer requests coming! And check out IF:Gathering...you can buy the digital downloads to hear all of the incredible speakers and stories. Life changing!!
I have no idea how you do it! You truly amaze me every day. You are so beautiful. You are so wise. You are so discerning. You are so smart. In the middle of Lyme disease - on the hardest days You are still loving. Seriously...How do you keep smiling? How do you stay positive? How do you still listen so intently to the needs of others? How do you keep moving forward? Your life exemplifies the Grace of God! If I were you (and felt yucky every day) I'd be meaner than a snake! Instead, you are so gracious and kind and compassionate and patient and tender towards the world around you!
Thank you for staying home with Eliana all these years! Thank you for fighting for our girl. She wouldn't be #elianatheoneandonly if it wasn't for YOU! Let's be honest...if it wasn't for you she wouldn't have an I.E.P. at school, or even have completed adoption papers for that matter! Thank you for being the Momma tiger that you are! Thank you for investing all of yourself into E. Thank you for making every day so special for her! I love how you celebrate her every accomplishment and make it so meaningful. Thank you for being so incredibly supportive of me in all of my crazy ministry endeavors! I'm not fully me without you! You are so thoughtful. Coming home to you is the best part of every day.
In addition to all of this...NO ONE plans a party like YOU! You are amazing at decorating!!! I have no idea how you keep coming up with these fresh creative ideas! You truly are the queen of the details! Eliana's luau this year was one of your best parties ever! You think of everything.
It is my prayer that this new year is full of new life. It is my prayer that #34 is a year of deep healing, community and hope. I love how you write; I love your honest story telling. I can't wait to read through this years' journey!
Everyone who knows you is BETTER because YOU are in their life. I love you with all of my heart!
Have a Happy 34th Birthday!
I just read and cried my way through Ann Voskamp's latest post on Labor and Delivery. I think a lot of my tears started with the fact that I missed the day of Eliana's birth. Eliana still doesn't fully understand her entire adoption...children with her anxiety and trauma process things differently. So, she still truly believes that she was in my tummy. Every time she says it, a part of me wants to bawl my eyes out and part of me wants to throw up. It breaks my heart that I don't have pictures with her in the hospital or maternity shots. I hope that makes sense. So, after I threw myself a little pity party, I re-read what Ann said about delivery...and the biggest part was that delivery does not stop when the baby enters the world.
Ann writes, "Once you start delivering a child, just keep on: Keep delivering, handing over, yielding the child to God. This is how you birth beauty in the midst of the messy."
I can't tell you how much Ineeded to read this tonight. We spent over a week away from Chris while he was leading a team of students from Show Hope to Haiti. I experienced a few moments with Eliana that were extremely painful and difficult. See, there is a deep-seated fear that when one of us is gone for a longer period of time...we won't come back. She raged and sobbed and begged for "dada" and then finally cried "who will be my dada if he doesn't come back." Oh Lord, help me. Those words just tear me apart. I can't take her fear away. I want to...I wish I could carry every single bit of her anxiety and pain. I can't make it okay. I can't talk her out of it. I just keep on delivering her to God...praying for her little life...begging God to restore the pieces that are broken. After her episodes have dissipated, I just look at her in amazement. We get to show Jesus to her...to love her...to be patient...to believe in healing for her little soul. Lord, please keep birthing beauty in our little girl in the midst of our seriously messy lives. Use me when I can't even get out of bed. Give me strength.
If you want to see our version of Eliana's delivery, click HERE. It's the day she was first put into our arms! I love our little girl so much.
(P.S. This picture was taken right after she was placed in my arms!)
My sweet girl has Lyme disease (on top of everything else)...
I had my doctor's appointment on Friday in Atlanta...but I didn't share that we also had a doctor's appointment for Eliana (or maybe I did share...that's my brain again). For the past few months God has been preparing me for this appointment. I believe that with my whole heart! There are so many pieces to Eliana's little body that just haven't added up. We have talked to neurologists, psychologists, her therapist...and some of her symptoms just haven't been making sense. Each doctor would refer us to a different doctor when they couldn't explain her conditions. Our girl has one of the highest pain tolerances of anyone I know...and for the past few years has complained on and off about her head hurting her. This is not a headache...this is an "I'm throwing up" from the pain kind of headache. We chalked it up to maybe she has migraines and we will continue to learn more as she grows older. Plus, there have been nights where she has cried and yelled about her feet. She will say "there's crumbs in my feet"...we could massage them for long periods of time and nothing would help. Another biggie is the rages and insomnia, but we assumed that this was part of her developmental trauma (it probably still is in many ways). All of that to say...there were still so many question marks. I received two different emails from two totally different people a few months ago asking me more questions about E. They asked me, "has she been tested for Lyme disease??" and "have you heard of Lyme rage." Then, two months ago we went to a homeopathic doctor that ran tests on Eliana to see if we could help with Eliana's sleep and anxiety (in addition to her anti-psychotic and anti-seizure meds)...and guess what?? She said that Eliana was testing positive for spirochetes (aka Lyme). So, we met with my doctor in ATL this past weekend and he tested Eliana (he is also more homeopathic but has treated a TON of lyme patients)...and he found Lyme in Eliana. So, we are now heading down that road. I was not completely shocked because I feel like I've been prepared for this...a mother's intuition. We will never know exactly where we both got it...more than likely we got it at the SAME time in a group of infected ticks. My body has other co-infections and viruses, so my body is taking it harder than hers. But, my heart breaks for E!! I don't want her to suffer, and I don't want her symptoms to get worse. Chris and I are still processing all of this...not sure how we are really feeling. Just be praying for the NEXT RIGHT STEPS. This just can feel so overwhelming. Hope this makes sense. I do know that God has not abandoned us...I MEAN, HE GAVE US A CAR THROUGH SOMEONE!! Thanks friends for your prayers...for money to help with our treatments...for encouragement. I can't thank y'all enough...we are really going to need prayer over the next few months!! Love y'all.
Most of you have already heard about our unbelievable gift we received this week! If not, check out Chris's post. We still keep looking at each other in disbelief every time we get into the car...or talk about the story. What's so crazy is this gift is about so much more than just a car (even though it's HUGE). This story is about grace, mercy, and hope...this car is a symbol not just for us but to a lot of people that are questioning God and His goodness. The beginning of this week looked completely different than the end. Let's rewind to Tuesday night. It was not one of my finest nights to say the least. I can always tell when my body is about to shut down...it's a neat intuition God has given me with my disease. Different symptoms will start popping up out of nowhere and then I prepare myself for my body to meltdown. The last two weeks (really since Eliana finished Pre-K) have been rough on my body. I've been battling debilitating fatigue (I try not to use this lightly). I have to scrape myself off of my bed in the mornings just to get Eliana ready to go to a baby-sitter because I've been unable to do anything (side note: I will never be able to repay the Rooker family for all they've done to help with Eliana). I went from bad to worse on Tuesday. Once Eliana fell asleep Tuesday night, I had a breakdown.
Every bone in my body hurt...my head was pounding...the pressure in my head also felt like my head was going to explode...I had a hard time making fists with my hands...my gums and teeth were in tremendous amounts of pain...and my throat felt like a knife every time I swallowed. I told Chris I wanted to be alone because I knew I would snap on him because I wanted to snap on someone. I took one of my Epsom salt baths and tried to relieve some of the pain. I cried and cried. I sent my mom a text to spread the word that I needed prayer. My mind started racing...do I need to go to the hospital?? Am I going to be okay?? The answer to these questions are always a "NO" because very few doctors even know what to do with Lyme patients. Quite a few doctors will even say, "there is no such thing as Lyme disease in Tennessee." I have to take a deep breath and ask God to help me not punch them in the face when they say that. So, I just kept praying and crying most of the night. My emotions began to escalate the later it got. I am not one to really get angry...but I definitely did. I remember crying to Chris on this Tuesday night, "WHY WON'T GOD TAKE THIS PAIN AND DISEASE AWAY?!! I KNOW HE CAN!!" I haven't really ever verbalized these thoughts. But, I was angry. Why God?? Why are so many people praying for me and I'm still not healed. Why did you decide to allow this disease in the midst of all that we are dealing with our precious Eliana?? A "normal" person would be exhausted while working with E and her anxieties. Let's just say that was one LONG night. I slept about two hours...and woke up feeling very overwhelmed.
That Wednesday morning we had Eliana's two hour in-home therapist come to our house to work with E. I spent the next two hours trying to keep my mind focused and listen to all of Melody's words of wisdom for E (she is AMAZING)...and then was able to send Eliana off with her baby-sitter right after. I fell sound asleep. Then, I get woken up to Chris shaking me saying "Lindsey, I've got really good news. Someone has bought us a car." It took me a while to register what was going on. Chris and I drove to the car lot so confused by what was going on. We get there and are stunned that someone did actually buy Chris a car...a perfect car for him. They also made the most unbelievable gift basket for our family filled with notes and gift cards (they know my love language). Each gift card was so specific and was hand-picked to bless Chris, Eliana and me. Plus, they put a huge bag of our favorite popcorn. Seriously?!! A car wasn't enough...Anonymous created one of the most amazing gifts ever to go with it!! BLOWN AWAY!! I think I've said that a few hundred times in the last few days.
Chris and I can't stop thanking God, sharing this story, asking God to bless whoever gave this to us, praying that others would be encouraged by this story...that God would be glorified. It's made me hyper-aware to be on the lookout for people's needs that we can help with...no matter how small. To say that I was completely humbled by this experience is an understatement. I went from being so upset with God, questioning Him...to receiving gift after gift after gift. It didn't stop with the car or the gift cards. A few people have sent us money for baby-sitting for Eliana...a friend from Focus on the Family sent us a check the other day for the amount we will need for our doctor's appointments in Atlanta for June 14th. A few people have given on our Give Forward page...and I have received some of the most encouraging, hope-filled emails (I promise to write ya'll back soon). It has literally been one thing after the other. I am just so in awe...so grateful. God just keeps reminding me that He has got us in His hand...that He has not abandoned us...that He loves us and knows what is best for us. While I might think that healing for Eliana and me is what is best for us, God knows how the story ends. He knows what I need, when I need it. So, even in the midst of the continued pain/fatigue, my prayer is to rejoice in this storm. I definitely still need prayers...today has been another rough day. But, thank you friends for getting excited with us, for praying for us, for "liking" our pictures on facebook/instagram, for sending us messages, for giving financially, for sharing our story...we love you all so much.
P.S. This picture is from today of E having a blast in the rain...thought it fit perfectly!