I have wanted to update this blog for the past 4 months and since there is never going to be the “perfect” time … I am putting all else to the side tonight and sitting down to this! No time to make sure this all flows just right or anything like that so I am going to share from the heart.
The Lord graciously answered the prayers our children prayed for months and months that went something like this, “Thank you, Lord that baby Beau is going to come out at Christmas!” And just like that, he was born at 39 weeks, 6 days on Tuesday, December 27, 2017. Truly the most merriest of Christmases to date! The whole thing seemed like a dream come true. One of my favorite things is to write out all of the details of the children’s births at some point but that will be for another day!
Tonight I want to share some of the backstory of Spring 2017 that led up to that blessed event in December 2017. I have shared before about the three miscarriages we had in December 2015, March 2016, and October 2016 so you can scroll back through previous posts to read that if you want to get caught up to speed. Knowing that, the other details that I am about to share will make more sense.
While I was experiencing the third miscarriage in October 2016, Brandon found a house that he wanted us to go look at together. We were not even in the middle of a house search anymore (we had been months prior) but that had not been on our radar at the present time. It was all I could do to muster of the physical strength to hop in the car and go see this house that was in our dream neighborhood. The other thought I had was that I did not know if I could get excited about one more thing and get my hopes up about one more thing that was not going to work out how I had envisioned. But God. We met the realtor at the house and did a walk through and did not say a word. Which if you know anything about me, is very uncharacteristic ;) Later that night, we were back at our house and he said, “Well, let’s talk about it. If we like it we need to put an offer in” (Because the Nashville market is HOT!) So we did and the rest is history. So much more I could share about the details here, there and in between but there is more that I want to share on another subject. We closed on the house 4 weeks later on November 7, 2016 and then did some renovations for the next couple of weeks and moved into our new home the first weekend of December. I know this is going to sound odd but there was a PEACE like no other that the LORD gave me at that time and it has not left. When I experienced that third miscarriage and STILL heard from my midwife, doctor, and high risk doctor, “You are young. You are healthy. You have had two healthy babies. There is nothing wrong with you. There is no reason for you to not have another healthy baby” I knew in my heart of hearts that the Lord had me in His grip and that the story I was living was all part of a bigger plan for His glory to be revealed. *I will also add right now that I know there are two sides of the fence to sharing … some people think that it’s too much to share personal stories online and other peoples lives are forever changed by someone speaking openly and this is where I will say that I remember in high school when my public speaking teacher told me loud and clear: “Whitney, God has give you a voice and you are going to use it for good.” So if you’re not one that feels comfortable with the private sharing online, you do not have to read this. But if you are one that is needing to hear that God is a God of PEACE and EVEN WHEN it does not make sense to the world, He can overwhelm your heart with a “peace that surpasses all understanding”...then read on!
So I will say...no more heart racing anxiety after November 2016...we moved into the house and I just felt like I could take a big deep breath.
The page turned into 2017 and something in my bones just felt DIFFERENT. The one word I can use to describe is PEACE. God’s peace.
At that point, I was doing acupuncture once a month. In January 2017, I started Bible Study Fellowship. What a BLESSING that was! We were studying JOHN and I remember the teacher in lecture (Sharon) sharing the story of Lazarus. She was talking about how what looks like a delay to man, is no delay to God. His timing is perfect. And when there is what looks like to be a delay in the natural, God is setting the stage for the miraculous. Amen!! In February 2017, I started a liver cleanse. This is something I had wanted to do after Nelson and Natalie’s births since I developed Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy at the end of pregnancy with both of them. Meanwhile, I was still attending The Well (a powerful women’s event at Church of the City in Franklin) that met once a month. You may have read in the November 2017 blog post about the amarrylis … that song was shared by Christy Nockels at The Well. In February 2017, Rebekah Lyons new book “You Are Free” was released and the chapter I started with in that was on being free to grieve. Amen and Amen! All part of the healing. In March, I started having some bizarre face tingling. We did not know what the cause was and one night I was at The Well event at the beginning of April and went forward during the time for prayer and God provided sweet and powerful prayers from Lauren Tomlin. I will never forget after she prayed for healing for my face during “No Longer Slaves” playing in the background, she grabbed my arm and said, “Let me know when you find out you are pregnant.”
So many things to share and trying to remember all the high points here but at some point in February, Nelson and Natalie and I were at Costco. We had just walked through the clothing section and they were starting to put out some spring looking clothes and there was an adorable little outfit size 3 months that had a baseball on the booty and my baseball loving son looked at me with big eyes and said, “Mom, we need to get this for our baby!” Stuff like that would happen all the time where the kids talked about “our baby” like he or she was already part of the family. I will tell you, God used Nelson and Natalie and their powerful and effective prayers each day to encourage me and speak HOPE to my heart to keep the faith and keep believing and asking in prayer for God’s timing for us to have another baby. It was incredible. I also had a friend (Lauren H.) that had asked me if I had ever spoken with our mutual friend (Anne) about her story. She had apparently had two healthy babies and then a number of miscarriages before going on to have more healthy children. I had not seen this mutual friend in years and years (she was a few years older than me and a girl I knew through RUF at Auburn) and I did not even have her phone number. I had just looked up her name on Facebook earlier that morning cause I thought to myself, “I need to send her a message and ask her about this” and lo and behold, soon after Nelson had put the baseball outfit in our cart at Costco, we RAN INTO HER in person on the aisle AT COSTCO!! What in the world?! Only God. I asked her all about it and it was a short and sweet divine appointment that the Lord used to encourage me that yes, in fact, I can have more healthy children. So then, same day...we had just unloaded our groceries from Costco and I was scrolling through Instagram and came across a post by Priscalla Shirer. I had gone through her “Armor of God” Bible Study before and following her encouraging posts. Well this day was one that I will never forget. If you follow her on Instagram (@priscillashirer) you can scroll back to February 17, 2017 and see this very post. It is a picture of tulips on her counter. I love tulips so that caught my eye! Her post said, “Five hours ago these flowers were slumped over. They looked dead and hopeless. I was just about to throw them away when a friend said, “Looks like they drank all the water. Let’s just add more.” I thought it was too late. I was certain there was no possibility of resurrection from this extreme option….that was five hours ago. ///// Don’t throw it away yet - the ministry, the marriage, the dream, the possibility. He is the Living Water. He can change everything. In an instant.” Reading this tonight, even over a year later, still brings tears to my eyes. GOD USED HER INSTAGRAM POST TO SPEAK LIFE OVER ME and I took to heart what she said and believed to not throw away the dream of having another baby and now I here I sit typing this blog post while watching my four month old better than a dream come true baby sleep on the baby monitor. Yall, do not lose hope. I do not know who needs to hear that tonight but this is for you. I have so many other things I could be doing right now like … showering, making chicken salad, washing the dishes, folding clothes, reading … but the Lord is giving me the strength to share these details because someone needs to hear this.
OK, so that was my encouragement in February. Nelson getting the outfit, running into the friend, then reading the tulip posts. Then in March the whacky face tingling stuff happened and I saw that as a curve ball to just bring me to my knees to believe that NOTHING is wrong with me. I am HEALTHY. I am WHOLE. I can still have more healthy children. Then fast forward to the evening of April 20th (day after Natalie turned three) and she looked at me in the eyes before bed that night while we were brushing her teeth in the bathroom and said, “You have a baby in your belly!” Sure enough, I waited until the next morning to get that good ‘ole fresh morning urine and there ya have it, a positive pregnancy test. We held this precious news closely and did not even tell the children. One week later we went on a family trip to the beach and remember how Lauren Tomlin asked me that night she prayed for me (April 10th) to let her know when I found out I was pregnant? Yall. I can’t make this up. I ran into her that first week of May on our beach trip in Seaside. Only God!!! I not only got to tell her the good news, I got to tell her in person. Meanwhile, I had just gotten a call from the sweetest girl at The Well, asking if I would be willing to share our story at the last gathering for the semester at The Well on Monday, May 8th. I said YES! I knew that would be tough but that God would give me the strength and the words.
For starters, the heavy intense pregnancy nausea hit me like a ton of bricks on Friday, May 5th as we enjoyed Cinco de Mayo Seaside Style!! We were there with friends and family and the friends knew the news but the family did not. So there I sat, more thankful than I had ever been to feel nauseous (because I had intense nausea with Nelson and Natalie’s pregnancies week 6-12 but only minimal nausea for the most part with the third, fourth, and fifth pregnancies) … again, so so thankful to feel nauseous this go round. Amazing what a perspective does! God gave me this nausea as a GIFT. It just felt right in my spirit. My body remembered feeling like this with my pregnancies with Nelson and Natalie and it was a way the Lord kept reminding me that ALL IS WELL. So I got to share our story of faith on May 8th at The Well and that was a hard night but a good night. Sweet in all of the ways the Lord met me in each detail. The significance of that day is that May 8th was the due date of the baby that we lost in October 2016. When I shared with my midwife and her assistant that I was getting to share our story on this day, she started crying and asked me if I knew what the number eight means in the Bible. She said: NEW BEGINNINGS. Well then I teared up because I felt like the Lord had given me such a peace that the season of losses was over and this is a season of new beginnings. From start to finish, fear did not reign in this sixth pregnancy. I had a PEACE from the beginning and it carried through to his delivery. I was expecting MIRACLES all nine of those dear months of carrying him from each heartbeat, to each ultrasound, to each blood test, to my liver enzymes, and so forth and so on...all of it, God gave me a supernatural peace. And it was also the product of a lot of work. For those that know me closely, you know that I went through intensive EMDR work with our Christian counselor months prior. That all paid off.
I will never forget one day in May when I felt the debilitating nausea and Brandon was leaving for work and said to Nelson and Natalie, “Be sweet to Mommy. She is not feeling the best” and they looked up at him and said, “Yes sir, we will. We know she has a baby in her belly.” And again, we had not said a word to them. Sweet moments like that throughout the entire pregnancy were such a gift from God of how He was going before and behind us and answering prayers right and left that our kids (especially Nelson) had prayed for years.
When it came time for the 20 week ultrasound and anatomy scan on Thursday, August 10th...we asked the kids at breakfast that morning if they thought the baby was going to be “Insert baby girl name” or “Insert baby boy name” (we said two names) and Nelson blurted, “BABY BEAU”!!! Beau was the name of a friend he had connected with at our church’s summer camp and we smiled at him and didn’t think much of it at the time. Then fast forward a few hours and we took Nelson and Natalie with us for the special ultrasound and this was going to be the first time we had ever found out the gender in person. We waited and bit into a cupcake with blue icing (for Nelson) and pink icing (for Natalie) in previous years.
When we found out in the ultrasound room, “It’s a BOY!” … Nelson said, “I knew it! God answered my prayers!!!” He not only had prayed for a baby… he had prayed specifically for a brother. We said, “Isn’t that amazing how God answers prayers, Nelson?” and he said, “He is so powerful!!!” A few weeks went on and as Brandon and I were praying through our son’s name we thought, how cool would it be for Nelson to get to name his precious brother that he has so fervently prayed for all of these years?! So we went with Beau! And B loved that he would have another BNALL in the family ;) And some of you may know that Nelson is named after Tom Nelson (Denton Bible Church … Brandon learned about him when he went through the “Song of Solomon” series in college and said he would name his firstborn son after him) and so we chose to Beau’s middle name to be “Piper” after one of our favorite pastors, John Piper. Brandon and I met at the Passion 2007 conference in Atlanta and John Piper is one of the pastors that usually speaks at Passion and we have looked up to him and his preaching throughout our marriage and before we even knew each other. So that is how our little Beau Piper got his name!
As I mentioned before, I am sure the Lord will give me more strength to share the details of Beau’s birth at some point for now, must practice what I preach about “sleep while the baby is sleeping”...since he has been asleep already for 3 hours, I must wrap this up and go get some rest! For those of you that made it this far, thank you for reading. I have looked forward to the day I got to put some of these details on paper. It has been an incredibly sweet four months having Beau Piper in our arms and in our home. He is the sweetest baby. Eats well, sleeps well, and is loved more than words by each of his family and those that have met him!! As Nelson says a few times a week, “He is my dream come true!” It was so cute watching Beau “cheer” for Nelson tonight at Nelson’s baseball game and watching Nelson on third base, run his heart out towards Beau in the bleachers. What a special brotherly connection they will always have. And he is Natalie’s real live baby doll. SO much more I could say but eyes are getting tired. To God be the glory! And oh the power of praying children.
**It has been a special spring, getting to introduce Beau to some of the ladies that have poured into me throughout the past year as I waited expectantly to be pregnant and then walked through this pregnancy with Beau. See below for pictures with the women who led The Well : Lauren Tomlin, Rebekah Lyons, and Christy Nockels. Sweet Beau stayed awake long enough to meet them last week at our last gathering of the spring semester. Then there is a picture with the BSF lecture teacher, Sharon at our last BSF gathering of the semester as well. So special getting to share in person with each of these ladies how the Lord used them as in instrument to speak LIFE, JOY, HOPE and PEACE over me in the past year (s)!!