The Step Or Bonus

You are important.

You matter.

As a Stepmom Mother’s day is a strange day. It is filled with tension and love. By Monday I feel like I can take a deep breath and finally relax after Sunday is complete.

If you are a fellow Stepmom you know that some may acknowledge your role while others will not. Some of you desperately need and want to be accepted if it is a simple, “Thank you”.

This year Mother’s day is difficult for other reasons for me. Some reasons I will not share in this post but will reserve for another time.

I do not need a day like Mother’s day. I am blessed knowing that I am important and valued by those that matter most to me. I am often celebrated multiple times a year. I am blessed!

But the day does lead to other struggles and I would be happy to skip the day all together.

It will be the 3rd year without my Mom here. Even though the Lord has removed the deep grief I used to live with, the day is filled with a twinge of sadness. I am so blessed to have others in my life who love me like a daughter and I know that my Mom would be happy for these beautiful ones who cherish me so.

The day also brings an awkwardness as my daughter struggles. My desire is for her to love and cherish her Mom. As she grapples and struggles through her situation it is difficult to see her be put into situations that she never should have to be put in. She is a model of bravery and courage as she battles to love everyone even at the expense of her heart from one side.

Finally as Mother’s day approaches I grieve my baby. I should have been 30 weeks pregnant.

It was going to be a celebration of this beautiful miracle. Life should have been moving and growing within me as my family of 3 anticipated the arrival of number 4 this summer.

Despite the struggles I have new hope, and have found joy in letting go. I look forward to what is to come this year. In fact, the more I spend time allowing Jesus to heal my mind, body & soul, the more I laugh at what the enemy has attempted to destroy. It is payback year and the dues must be paid. Justice and victory are coming.

For those of you struggling with similar things I encourage you to know that God hears every hearts cry. He sees every tear that falls. He is for you and your family whether you are acknowledged for loving and caring for your kids or not. Whether you are a Foster Mom, Stepmom (bonus Mom), Adoptive Mom, or Grandma who has taken on the role of Mom- you are seen, known, and valued. Your kids need you. The enemy will try to tell you otherwise and others will jump on that bandwagon but it will never change the truth.

You are important.

You are valued.

You matter.

Keep loving no matter who tries to stop you.

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Memories

Memories are complex. The other night I was thinking of my Mom. I remembered when she was pregnant with my brother and how sick she was. It was almost as if I experienced being a little girl again who wanted my Mom to feel better again. Being a child I thought that by sharing my favorite doll and laying the doll on her belly would make her better. My favorite doll always made me happy and helped my tears go away. Such a precious memory right? My Mom in her exhaustion did such a good job to encourage me even when I was full of energy and I did not make rest easy for her.

I am now the same age as my Mom when she had my brother. For some reason it is a very significant age for me. I wish I could visit Heaven and ask her all the questions going through my mind these days. I have a brother or sister in Heaven that I have never met and I know my Mom would understand every thought and feeling.

There are days I wish I had my sister to chat with. I miss us three girls all together. I had always dreamt that my Mom, sister and I would talk girl talk and about kids with cups full of hot coffee. Those days will never be.

I am blessed with others who understand but no one can replace my Mom.

Love you Mom!

The Choice I Make

There is something very powerful when we can make the decision to choose hope. I truly believe that hope is often a choice much like love is. There are many mountains in our lives. Much of what we face look impossible through our eyes. But if we choose hope, we choose to look at life through the eyes of God.

Mountains bow at His name. Kingdoms fall. Circumstances miraculously & supernaturally at lightning speed, change! Darkness flees. Healing floods hearts, minds & bodies. Death and the grave are defeated. Life is birthed out of nowhere.

I choose hope!

Pregnant With (full of) Hope!

There has been an immense amount of love and support since I shared my last blog post. Thank you!

I wanted to video a message of what has been on my heart recently. I am so full of hope. I know how good, how faithful and how mighty my God is. He is not limited by test results, bad news, diseases, addictions, or any mountain in the path of life. Rocks are thrown into the depths of the sea. Mountains crumble. He is mighty. He is faithful.

It is because of what He has done already and who He is that I know He loves and cares for me. No matter what happens He is what matters the most. He is my hope. He is my joy. He is the reason I am pregnant with hope!

Celebrate Michael

Let me introduce you to someone so precious. He was a miracle. He was a gift.

The first part of November I was having strange symptoms. At first I thought my body was responding to an amazing but extremely busy season of ministry & was protesting. I had also been battling colds for a month & a half. There was a strange fatigue that had settled in my body. So time went on & I remember feeling “pregnant”. I cast it aside as wishful thinking.

It had been impossible for me to conceive. I had already had a previous miscarriage that did not last past the first month early on in our marriage in 2011. I had already grieved through not being able to give birth to one of my own flesh. Hope was on the horizon to foster or adopt and continue loving my daughter (SD). I was content. 

In November a pregnancy test confirmed what was once deemed impossible. Our world was turning upside down and landed a bit lopsided in the most precious and beautiful way. 

I told my husband that I was battling against fear and could only believe life. I felt like I had already lost too much to handle any alternative. Every day I placed my hands on my belly and declared life. I prayed for every organ, for every tissue formation, ten toes, ten fingers and that all would go smoothly. At night I wept with thankfulness because of this beautiful miracle. I fell asleep embracing my baby and told him how much he was loved. The journey felt like a dream.

We had talked in detail about how we wanted to tell the good news and when to do it. Even though I wanted to shout and celebrate his life right away we both agreed that telling family in person would be the best way. 

(Week 6 pregnancy picture)

Week 6 went by and I was so sick & tired. I was so happy because it was the only way that I knew that he was doing well. Week 7, and 8 slipped by without any issues. By week 9 I was able to get into the Dr. and all my test results came back without any signs of complications. He was really coming! He was really real! By this time my belly was starting to grow & I felt pregnant for real for the first time.

Week 10 was the week we were going to tell our daughter & begin the journey to family for Christmas. Our daughter was beyond excited. She was already making plans. She was the best big sister ever!

The next day she could hardly contain her excitement as we were going to tell my husbands parents. Tears, smiles, hugs and congratulations were in order after breaking the good news. But a couple hours later I started to have slight cramping and instead of getting better my heart & body went on a journey I never thought it could handle.

The details into that night are too much for me to write out. The ER visit was horrific. What I was going through was unstoppable medically speaking and those working there did not acknowledge my sons life. With that perspective I know why I was treated as if what I was going through was not a big deal. 

Instead of a proper burial my baby is swimming in sewage because he was flushed down the toilet in the ER. Losing life and not being able to control what your body is doing is horrifying. 

Because of our miracle I have this need for people to know our son. He was important. He was not a blob of cells. His heart beat like yours and like mine. God still did a miracle in my body to be able to conceive and carry for 10 weeks. Those weeks I will cherish for the rest of my life. Our son helped my faith to grow. Impossible is fading out of my life. God is good and He never changes. 

Please meet our son. 

(Drawing by artist Brynna Hosszu)

His name is Michael which means, “Who is like God?”. It is a name passed down in my husbands family. When I give birth to my rainbow baby, Michael will be their middle name just like his Daddy and in remembrance of his big brother who prepared the way.

Michael you were and continue to be loved. It was a fun adventure while we had you with us, tiny as you were! 

Here are some of my favorite memories with you:

(We didn’t even know that we were a family of 4 during these fun moments in October)

(My first big ministry event knowing you were growing in my belly. It was a miracle I didn’t faint on stage due to sickness & fatigue. I remember telling you, “Okay baby, time to go worship God together! Let’s slay the enemy!” Photo Cred: Austin Groskopf, @agroskopf33)

(Family Thanksgiving 2017 two weeks early)

(Together for Thanksgiving at Long Beach)

(Our last full day together at Heritage Kids Family Christmas)

(This was our announcement photo. I bought 4 large stockings expecting your first Christmas with us would have been in 2018)

Enjoy time with Jesus & with my Mom sweet child. 

We love you Michael! 

The Circle

Church service had ended and I was talking with a sweet couple. Soon I went to move and found myself surrounded by a circle of people. I made a joke and hugged some of these precious people. I could have just waved it off but I realized that these people in some sense surround me often with prayer.

For a large part of my life I felt betrayed, alone, & sometimes exposed. I didn’t feel safe or known. No more. 

As I was reflecting on my past and seeing the extreme difference in my present it made me smile. It was just a circle of people surrounding me but it was more than that. It was an example of what is & what will be. 

God goes before you and he stands behind you. He places people in your life to surround you and go on the front lines in prayer on your behalf. You are never alone. You are loved.

I love the people in the circle. They are a reflection of God’s heart for me. 

My heart is full of gratefulness.

I am blessed.

Speechless 

Is there a word that better describes grateful, thankful, or blessed? Joy? 

The past month has renewed hope within me for the impossible. I cannot describe it. I could not tell you when it happened. One day I woke up & all of a sudden what seemed impossible no longer looked or felt impossible. Childlike faith & joy was  restored. It was not like I lost it but the pain that God delivered me from has now enabled joy to invade every part that was ever damaged.

Words are not adequate. Giving my life will never convey how grateful I am for all that God has done for me and my family. 

Just this past week alone I have found myself wanting to shout praises to God! Simple things like being greeted from our cat at home have made me say “thank you”. Or the time she fell out of our window this past week & bounced off the side table onto the floor because she fell asleep there (she didn’t get hurt and I laughed a lot). 

What really gets me is when I see my daughter smile at me & tell me unsolicited, “I really love you Kara”. I love hugs from my husband & waking up knowing he is excited that I’m the first person he sees. 

I am grateful for voxers & phone calls with friends who have lasted the test of time & distance. I love that others have adopted me & love me without an expectation of what my response may be. Love has literally consumed my heart that it often feels as if it will burst.

Grateful? Thankful? Those words do not cut it. Those words merely express a tiny piece of what is in my soul. 

I am living in freedom! 

Joy is life.

Now I know what it means to laugh my way through trials. Do you want to know why?

Because my God is going to do the impossible! There is no way the enemy can win.

Working For It!

I have to be honest for a moment. There are so many things that I want to write about but I am hesitant to because there are some things better kept quiet for this season. Eventually there will be a time when I can write about all sorts of triumphs & victories after mighty battles. If you sense that I am being vague, it is to honor certain people I hold dear as well as protect those that are innocent. Our words can cause so much pain even if the truth is being told. I want to write words that speak life, and encourage readers in times of great struggles yet address great difficulties at the right time.

In church today I realized how much my mind is changing. Getting rid of toxic thoughts and surrounding myself with non-toxic people have led me to a place of such joy & freedom. I still have a lot of work to do but I can honestly say that I have noticed a change in my life. Praise is on my lips even amidst trials. Truth is in the front of my mind rather than lies. Because I know whose I am and He is good & mighty & powerfully loving, not wanting any sin to taint me, or someone to mess with me, I am able to rest. No matter what happens I rest without fear of tomorrow.

Life can be hard but my joy does not depend on my circumstances. My joy comes from the One that never changes. He is always faithful, is always good & never gives up on me. He is my constant one. He is the only one I need to look to for my worth. He is always there when I am alone. He understands every tear & speaks life into my identity so that I can slay the enemy once my feet hit the ground every morning. 

Grace is extended during imperfect moments when my emotions are on overload & pain is expressed outwardly. Every time I invite him into the mess, healing occurs.  A new level of confidence grows and new levels of joy flood my soul after failure or heartache is turned to victory.

Surrender and healing is worth the hard work. Just like others work hard for that hot body, I am working on my soul. 

Waterfall

When you have hiked the trails to a big waterfall have you just stood there and marveled at its beauty? 

I love the smell of the water in the air. Even if I stand a fair distance away I can even feel the mist upon my face. It makes me feel close to the Creator. I long for closeness. It is what drives me everyday.

Life right now reminds me of a waterfall and I am standing in awe. Many circumstances that often cause an ache in my heart still remain the same. I have much hope that these things will turn into good. Why? Because God has literally made impossible things possible.

For so many years whenever something good started to occur an intense season soon followed. It occurred like this so often that I used to live my life flinching, waiting for the next negative and hurtful thing to happen. Instead of enjoying the waterfall up close I was content just feeling the mist on my face. 

I have chosen to live differently. Fear is gone and I am getting drenched under the waterfall.