4 ½ Years post transplant/Season of rest

Wow! It’s unbelievable to even write those words.

Last week, 8/6/18 marked 4 ½ YEARS post transplant.

There are days where that hits me in such profound ways.

The last three months for Reid and I have been filled with paperwork, paperwork, appointments, and, oh yes, more paperwork for our international adoption.

Last week, 4 ½ years hit me hard. I NEVER want to lose sight of the fact that I am able to be a Mommy because of the gift of life. This new journey is one of the absolute greatest blessings I will receive from being granted more life. We thank the Lord for each day of good health.

I have found myself in a season of rest. I have really cut back on saying “yes” to so many things. I have realized that saying “no” allows me to say “yes” to the things that I need in this season of my life to be the best version of myself.

I heard on a podcast recently, “No one will protect your calendar for you. They will take, take, take. You HAVE to leave white space in your calendar to protect yourself and your family.” I thought that was SO great and so true.

I recently read the book, Girl, wash your face by Rachel Hollis which I would highly recommend. Here were three of my favorite quotes from her book:

“Slow down your yes. Only commit to things you know you can accomplish because they’re incredibly important to you.”

“Every day you get to choose the way your world looks.”

“You are in charge of your own life, sister, and there’s not one thing in it you’re not allowing to be there.”

I LOVE these so much.

I have felt guilty recently for feeling like I have not been involved in so many different areas including volunteering more for organ donation, at church, community service, etc.

I have been in counseling since November, biblical counseling, which has been the most life-giving process.

When I was sharing this with my counselor, she said, “Look at what all you have done this last year. You have walked through the grief process of grieving your liver transplant, your hysterectomy, grieving the loss of a dream of having your own children, you have learned to set boundaries and surround yourself with healthy relationships, you are working on international adoption and so much more.”

When she said that, I immediately burst into tears.

It hit me that although I had not been giving to others as much as I desired this last year, I HAVE been taking care of ME in so many ways that I did not even realize I needed.

There are seasons where we have no choice but to be busy, but, I believe whole-heartedly that there are seasons where we need to scale back.

Where we take a look at our lives and see where we might need to be poured into and work through different situations in our own lives.

I cannot pour into others if I am not the healthiest version of myself. Realizing this truth was full of freedom for me.

With a season of more rest, it has allowed us to really focus on wrapping up our international adoption paperwork. We are finishing our Dossier paperwork now which is part of the international process. We are waiting on our I-800A form to be approved from the Department of Homeland Security, we just finished our psych evaluations this week and should receive our reports back in a couple of weeks. Once we have these documents, we will head to Austin for the day to get the many documents for the dossier apostilled.

Once they are apostilled, we will mail all of the documents to our adoption agency. They will have the documents translated into French since Burundi is a French speaking country. The documents will then be mailed to Burundi and once approved, we will be active on the wait list to be matched with our future kiddos.

This is a photo that was taken a year ago this weekend.

“Not showing but still glowing”

I have had some of my most precious friends announce their pregnancies and have their little babies or are having their babies very soon.

With the work I have done through counseling, I can honestly say I am so overjoyed for them. Although, I most likely could have gone through three pregnancies by the time our adoption journey is completed 😉 I choose to enjoy the story the Lord has blessed me with.

I am content beyond measure with our adoption journey and God’s plan for our lives.

Of course, there are days when the wait is hard. We are eager to have our babies in our home. We dream of them, how old they will be, what their names are, what our life will look like once they get here, and the list goes on and on.

One thing we have been intentional about is making moments count and enjoying each day that we have. We have learned to enjoy each day and see it as a gift since my transplant. We are embracing it just being the two of us right now for as long as we have left as Team Barker party of 2.

I pray you will reflect on the season of life you are currently in. Are there areas where you could scale back or where you need to create more intentional white space in your calendar?

There is freedom in the recognition of this and making the changes necessary to be the healthiest version of you!

Thank you for your continued love and support in every aspect of our life and on our adoption journey growing Team Barker!

A New Decade Begins

I am heading into a new decade today with an overwhelmingly grateful heart.

My twenties went nothing like I had planned. I’m so thankful that God’s plan is so much greater than I ever could have imagined.

When I think of my twenties, I first think of graduating from Baylor College of Dentistry and becoming a dental hygienist- my dream career! I then think of marrying the greatest man I know at 24 years old.

A lot of my late twenties I think of struggle and heartbreak. I think of sickness and trying to figure out our “new normal” and being an organ transplant recipient.

I think of a husband and family and friends who literally walked hand and hand with me through the darkest hours of my life.

Many dreams didn’t come true in my twenties. I could no longer travel to Africa safely. I didn’t get to start a family with my precious husband.

However, when I look back through the hard times of that decade, the most incredible gift that I was given in my twenties was the gift of life!

I will forever be grateful for the gift of life so selflessly granted to me by Courtney Ray Sterling and the grace of God. It truly makes me weep that I get to celebrate another year of life because of the gift of organ donation!
I pray I have made Courtney & God proud these last four years with the extra time they have given me on this Earth!

Two weeks ago, I faced another surgery. A complex cyst on my ovary lead to removal of the cyst and my ovary. I was absolutely dreading another surgery (6 major surgeries since I was 25 & many skin cancer removals in there too). Needless to say, it was dreadful for me. God spared me from ovarian cancer and I am so thankful for that.

I was able to go back to work this past Tuesday and I was overwhelmed by the fact that I GET to work! God provided me the strength to be healthy enough to get up, get ready for the day, to drive, and to work! THAT is a gift. We so often take for granted our everyday mundane days. I hate that sometimes it takes that gift being taken away for a while to remind us of the everyday provision that the Lord grants us!

“The soul knows a glory that the body cannot rob. In some ways, in some cases, the more the body revolts, the more the soul shines through.” -John Ortberg

I LOVED this quote. I cannot control my body and the many ways I feel like it has failed me and taken so much from me. But, the more it has and the more suffering I’ve endured, the joy of the Lord truly being my strength can shine through. I grow closer to Him, I desire and seek Him greater, I hear from Him, He teaches me… teaching me more recently that pain is a gift from Him.

This is the lane that God has me in. I desire to stay focused on my lane… running the race He has prepared just for me. I do not want anyone else’s story… I want HIS story for my life!

God, as I head into my 30’s, I will look back seeing you are faithful. I will look forward knowing you are able!

I am expectant of what my 30’s and this new decade will hold. I have dreams of becoming a Mommy through adoption and dreams of no more procedures and surgeries, & complete health with my organ transplant.

Dreams are good. But what I have learned is that EVEN IF none of these dreams are fulfilled, my God is still a GOOD, GOOD GOD!

My situations may change, but my God does not. He is sovereign. He is not surprised by the trials I will face or what joys and dreams will be granted to me.

I pray today that through whatever you may be walking through, that you will truly find JOY and your strength in God alone.

Cheers to the gift of life & starting a new decade today!