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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Grandma Moses in Labor

Young Teresa 7 months pregnant with firstborn, Danny
Yes, dear friends, I'm alive. I apologize for my silence the past 3 weeks, but I've been in labor. 
 
I've been laboring to bring forth the new life, vision and purpose God has ordained for me. And it has been harder than hard.
 
Please journey with me as I take a little side road and tell you the story about my labor and birth of my firstborn son, Danny. Trust me, this will make sense - just stick with me for a moment.
 
When I first found out that I was pregnant with Danny, I cried. Not because I didn't want him - actually, quite the opposite! I dearly wanted a house full of children and I was thrilled that God had quickly answered one of the deepest desires of my heart. I cried because I was scared.  What does a 19 year old girl know about raising kids?

I soon got over my fear and began preparing for pregnancy, labor and delivery. I truly loved being pregnant. I was young, strong and healthy. As you can see from the photo above, I really only had a belly for about 2 months. Somehow I instinctively knew that I would love my child and care for him well, but I was super afraid of the actual delivery. Even back in the 1970's, there were so many birth options to consider that it made my head spin. All I knew was that I wanted the best possible start in life for my precious little baby. Long story short, we chose to have Danny in a birthing center with a midwife. No sterile environment, no bright lights, no epidural, no invasive/unnecessary procedures - just a gentle atmosphere to welcome Danny into my loving arms
But there was a hospital nearby . . . just in case.


I went into labor on a Friday night and we headed to the birthing center. After 24 hours of very hard labor with very little progress and a baby who was starting to show signs of stress, we went to the hospital. 7 hours later, with the help of Pitocin, forceps and skilled doctors and nurses, Danny was safely delivered into this world. What a joy! Danny was a tiny little baby weighing in at only 6 lbs. 12 oz. I learned then that my body did not have the ability to carry and deliver 10 pound babies. And there is no shame in that - it's how I'm built.

To save the life of my child (and myself), there was a necessary change in birth plans.
 
So now . . . back to me. 38 years later and I am laboring to bring forth new life again.
 
3 weeks ago I moved to Chicago to begin this next chapter of my life. "Grandma Moses stepping out" into the unknown, trusting God to part the waters for me and to lead, guide, and provide. Mama T wanting to be near my children, grandchildren, and to help with the launch of my son's new church plant, VIVE Church Chicago next September. Well, dear friends, I have been miserable.
 
That's right. Miserable.
 
The very hardest part of labor is transition, the time when a laboring mama wants to give up. And this transition in life for me has been unbearably, excruciatingly painful. Please, just hook me up to the epidural! I have cried more tears in the past 3 weeks than I have in the past 3 years. I have doubted everything.
 
What have I done?
Did I just make the biggest mistake of my life?
How am I going to make it?
Where's my faith?
God, what am I going to do?
My kids are watching; what will they think?
How do I tell my friends?
People will think I'm indecisive and crazy.
I'm so embarrassed.
I'm never, ever, ever, never going to fit in here.
I want to go home.
 
From day one I have felt out of place in Chicago. I came here for all the wonderful reasons stated above, but I also came here to find myself. What I want out of life. To birth the next chapter in the life of Teresa. Not just MamaT/GrandMama-T, but Teresa.
 
I think I've been in the throws of a pretty intense, pretty serious 4-year "Mid-Life/Empty Nest" crisis. For 4 years now, I have been agonizing over the loneliness I have felt being away from my 5 children, and now my 5 grandchildren. I have just wanted to be near them again. I have questioned daily, "Should I move to Chicago?" After all, it makes sense that if I'm in Chicago living near some of my children, and work together with them in ministry, then it'll be easy to go visit the other children and grandchildren during the year. Right? So, I made the jump. And even though I have been miserable and have questioned whether or not I hear God's voice at all, I'm glad I did it. And here's why.
 
Because I found Teresa.
Silly me.
I want to dance again.
 
For the health and safety of me and my future vision, there is a change in birth plans. While God allowed me to labor for a while, I won't be having my "baby" in Chicago.
 
I'm going back home to Springfield, MO.
 
I don't feel like I made a mistake in moving to Chicago, and I have no regrets. Because now I know.
 
Now I know that I don't belong in Chicago. I could stay there for 100 years, and I'll never fit in. I have wrestled with this for 4 years, and now it's settled. I belong in Springfield. I would never have known this had I not tried. I figured it out, and I have my answer. And I finally have peace regarding where "home" is for Teresa. It's Springfield.
 
And yes, I am still laboring over this new phase, this new child, in my life, and I have many questions. But I do know this: I am not designed to give birth to one 10 pound child - I am built to give life to several 6 and 7 pound children. And there's no shame in that. It's how I'm built. 
 
There is a grace on my life to continue to write. My prayer is that I will make many new friends and that this will grow and give me the ability to help many people in need. I still desire to birth ministries that will help provide shelter, food, clothing, and encouragement for families and single mamas - in Springfield, Chicago, and beyond. While I may not be involved in the capacity that I thought I would be with VIVE Church, I still desire to help in any and every way available. May God take my heart and vision and use them in ways I have never dreamed possible.
 
So, there it is. My heart splattered all over this post. More pearls in the making. Thank you for reading and for allowing me to share my journey openly and honestly. Thank you for your friendship. And mostly, thank your for your encouragement, support and prayers. You mean the world to me. My plan is to move back to Springfield within the next 2 weeks. I appreciate your prayers as I settle back into my home and begin searching for a new job. Please pray that God will order my steps and lead me to a job that is deeply rewarding and will use my heart, gifts and talents fully. I will keep you posted.
 
Once again, you are my heart.
 
Much love,
Teresa/MamaT/GrandMama-T
 
May The Lord bless you and protect you.
May The Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May The Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.
One tiny, precious pearl among many-the product of pain. Conceived through irritation, born of adversity, nursed by adjustment.
 

9 comments:

  1. And this is why you are destined to be used so powerfully through words and through your blog, Mom! Your eloquence in addressing a subject that is so delicate and ability to simultaneously show genuine vulnerability and determined strength will encourage more people than you realize or will ever realize this side of heaven. I am grateful to be walking this journey with you. While the thousands of miles separate us physically, you are still teaching me more lessons than I know what to do with. I know the Lord has placed on you a passion to reach people where they need it most, and it's through your compassion for these people and your availability to them that the Lord will reach them. Our callings do not change even if the ways in which they are carried out look different than we initially thought. Chicago is not the place you will call home, but the world is wide open to you. I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do with you! Thank you for showing us your resolve to faithfully seeking after Him to discover in which direction He would have you travel to accomplish carrying out your calling. It is encouraging! I'm proud...proud...PROUD of you! I love you and I'm praying for you!

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    1. Your words humble me, Jason. Thank you for encouraging me during this time. Although it's so hard to write about this journey when my emotions are so raw, I'm thankful that God has this all under control and will lead and provide. I'm so proud of you! Love you!

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  2. We will be praying for you thru this transition, Teresa!

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    1. Thank you so much, Cliff. Even through the passing of many years since I've seen you and Joleen, and the thousands of miles that separate us, I am so thankful for the support and prayers of my dear friends! You'll never know how much that means to me.

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  3. You have always been a leader and amazing example to women and following Gods calling. I adore you and am thankful you have shared your heart and continue to shake mountains for His kingdom! Love you Momma T!
    - Kimberly

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    1. Thank you so much, my sweet Kimberly! You are, and always have been, such a dear friend and one of my biggest supporters. Your words humble me and encourage me. Thank you for always allowing me to share openly with you. You're a great mama! I adore you also. I heart you!

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  4. WOW! What a fantastic illustration in explaining your journey. Transition is NEVER easy. I moved to St. Louis in 2008 and it has NEVER felt like home. I maybe have a half dozen friends here and find myself asking why all the time. God has finally opened a door where we will be able to relocate and it feels like a breath of fresh air. Finding ourselves in the process presents the good, the bad and the ugly. I can't imagine the empty nest feeling, but I'm so glad that you are making a decision for YOU in moving back to Springfield. HUGS to you friend.

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    1. Thank you so much, my dear friend, Kelly! It's been such a long time since I've seen you. Your words have absolutely comforted and encouraged my soul! You're right, transition is super tough and sometimes this journey is excruciating! But God is always faithful. I'm sorry that you've had a lonely time in St. Louis but I'm so very thankful that you're coming back home to Springfield! We need to get together when you return and renew our friendship. We have much to talk about. Love and hugs to you also, sweet friend!

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