I was 29 and frustrated with an employment situation that just wouldn’t budge. I was feeling so much urgency for ‘more,’ and I was going at full-speed trying to get something to change but just banging up against walls in all directions. I wanted control. I was frustrated. An ember inside of me was glowing -- I was meant for more, but I wasn’t able to grasp it! I felt called to join the catholic church nearby and had taken steps to start the RCIA program. In a message on a particularly frustrated Sunday the priest mentioned that when you are feeling really agitated or unsettled, explore the things that are getting you out of sorts. God is trying to speak to you. So one day not too far after, in a desperate prayer I was pouring this frustration out to God (you know you can be angry with God? It’s actually very productive!). I asked God— “I have so much to offer, I want to be set free from this box I am in. What do you want me to do? What can I do?” You know what his answer was? Baby.
I had been kicking that can down the road. I wanted a little more career growth first. I wanted ‘more’ before I “settled” for being a mom. Oh boy. (I know now it’s the opposite of settling!) I’m not even sure that I fully said yes to God in that conversation. But you know what happened? I got a new job and got pregnant 2 weeks later. Neither were in my view during that frustrated prayer.
I was really happy about the job change. It satisfied me. God threw me a bone with that while I adjusted to the idea of being a mom. I had always wanted children but I needed some time to process! But, I enjoyed my pregnancy and was surrounded by so many loving positive people and it was a really fun experience. I was also going through RCIA during my pregnancy. I felt really cradled and cared for in those 9 months.
Another thing I didn’t see coming. My husband got a job offer out of the blue (at least from my perspective!) in Florida. When I was 36 weeks pregnant. It happened really fast. We had been talking for years about wanting to live elsewhere, wanting to change scenery. We had met while traveling and I hoped we could continue to explore new frontiers together. The dream was in our hearts, but I wouldn’t say this was a dream I was urgent about! But it found us! I talk a lot about “following The Peace”: In many of the Big Changes in my life, God has provided a sense of peace surrounding me. The transitions in my life in which I didn’t feel the peace, I always determined later that it wasn’t where I was being led. So, when this opportunity was unfolding, I felt such strong peace that I couldn’t help but go along with it!
It was a Friday afternoon. I was 38 weeks pregnant. We had just given notice at our jobs. I had just packed my desk because my husband was picking me up for a Friday night dinner and movie rental (I usually rode the bus). As soon as that box was packed, my first contraction started. I had no idea at the time what it was. We had our dinner, it started to dawn on me that I was in early labor. We headed home and watched a movie. And we also had received Happiest Baby on the Block in the mail from M’s Godfather and we watched that which was a wonderful preparation for what was ahead of us. I had M at noon the next day.
We moved when M was 6 weeks old. In all of that transition and the early newborn days and the months of getting settled, The Peace was wrapping warmly around me.
In those first months living here I would rock my baby on a balcony and sing him songs and pray. I was close to God. God told me over and over, I have brought you to Florida for a purpose. I didn’t know what it was but I felt it.
Somewhere along the way, things got hard and the peace lifted and was replaced by fear. I was overwhelmed, I was overextended, I wasn’t helping myself. I was trying to do everything myself. To be a competent daughter-in-law, mother, friend, and not let any weakness or any fault be shown. I wanted to make sure no one thought I couldn’t do it all by myself. Probably because I knew I couldn’t. I felt if I was just better at this or that everything would be good. I was wearing the weight of the world.
I became sick. First it was allergies, then it was digestive. We were also searching for a new home and my baby and my anxiety were growing, and I started to feel alone, isolated, without help, without support. I started to drown.
God doesn’t promise that things don’t get hard. Being close to God doesn’t make you bulletproof from hard things or bad things. Life is full of them. We are not perfect.
After about 6 months of pain and denial, I finally got myself to a GI and was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the story to come soon!
I'm Lisa Yau