Kiss Your Miracle

motherhood after infertility

Today October 29, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Family,Motherhood — Linnea @ 1:24 pm

On Monday, Adam, Skylar and I flew from Michigan back to Florida. I’ve been gone for three and a half weeks and things at home have been piling up. Skylar and I both have doctor appointments this week, and Adam needs to put in some time at work. Our plan is just to be here a few days and then fly back to my family this weekend.

I guess in a way it’s nice to be home. Our house feels spacious and quiet compared to the noise and chaos of my parents’ house in Michigan. But I can’t really enjoy being here. All day long I think about my family up north. I wonder how my dad’s day is going – whether he was able to sleep last night, if he’s eaten much, if he’s feeling calm or anxious, the things he’s said today, his pain level – all things I would know if I were still there. I can always call my mom for an update, but I know how busy she is, and that long phone conversations are a burden to her these days. If I were home, I’d catch her in the kitchen while she makes her standard breakfast (rice cakes with peanut butter, eaten while bustling around) or I’d sit on her bed and talk to her while she puts on her makeup. I’d be able to see for myself how my dad is doing, and I could hug him and tell him I love him before he goes to bed, which is wonderful even when he’s not coherent enough to say much in return.

Leaving my family for the week has only emphasized to me what a blessing it’s been to be with them. Every day with my dad is precious and I want as many of them as I can have. Even though traveling with Sky, our firecracker fifteen-month-old, is not easy, the thought of flying back to my family this weekend is a relief. But as I approach the third trimester of my pregnancy, I wonder how long I’ll be able to stay. It’s just one of the many question marks that cover the days ahead. Thank God it’s not up to me to find the answers. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t plan out the next few months of my life. But the Lord knows what will happen. He knows our son’s birthday and he knows how much I want to be near my parents through the crisis of my dad’s cancer. He will work things out for our best. And all that’s required of me is to follow Jesus today.

“Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.” – Deuteronomy 30:11


Hope October 25, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Family — Linnea @ 4:46 pm

This past Thursday I went with my parents to see Pastor Colin Smith, head of our old church in the Chicago suburbs. That day happened to mark the one month point since my dad’s diagnosis. It’s hard to believe that just over four weeks ago he was putting in busy, twelve-hour days at his law practice. He now has difficulty walking and trouble formulating his sentences. Those who’ve had experience with pancreatic cancer know it’s not like any other disease. Its vicious appetite shocks us daily.

When we got to the church, Pastor Colin and my dad talked privately while my mom and I waited near the sanctuary. We found a little bench and decided to sit down and pray. At one point during her prayer my mom said, “Lord, we wait with anticipation. We are excited to see how you will work things out over these coming days.” I opened my eyes and looked up at her. Had she really just used the word “excited” about the future? As soon as she finished praying I asked her about it.

Me: Is that how you really feel? Excited?

My Mom: Why shouldn’t we feel excited?

Me = blank stare

My Mom: Linnea, your father’s world here is narrowing. Every day there are more things he can’t do. He isn’t interested in food. Talking is difficult. He’ll never work or drive again. Can you imagine how hard it must be for him?

Me: Exactly, it’s hard!

My Mom: But he’s about to go to heaven. His tiny world will be blown wide open! Think of all he’ll get to experience, and it’ll be much, much better than anything we have here. If we are truly believers, then that’s where our hope is – in heaven. Not here.


There aren’t words to express the level of difficulty and stress my mom is currently facing twenty-four hours a day. She doesn’t want to say goodbye to my dad, and I know she battles her share of fear and uncertainty and sadness. But she doesn’t stop there. She always comes back to the promises of God. The words of scripture are her daily vocabulary and they shape her perspective. I don’t think anyone would blame her if she fell apart. But instead she is reaching out for God’s grace, and she is setting the tone for our entire family. No matter how hard things may be, my mom is quick to remind all of us that life here on earth is not all we have. And when we are overwhelmed with sadness at the thought of my dad leaving us, dwelling on heaven is the only thing that helps.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” – Philippians 3:20-21


Miracles October 22, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Family,Infertility,Motherhood — Linnea @ 10:07 pm

My dad’s cancer is the main thing on my family’s mind these days. We’ve spent hours praying, talking, and wondering what the future holds. But at the same time, life rolls forward. Since I got here three weeks ago, the leaves have changed colors and the air has grown cooler. “Your belly is definitely getting bigger,” I hear from someone just about every other day. Sky is fifteen months now, and since we arrived she’s learned to repeat names and say her first full sentence – “I don’t know” – which she says like a teenager, making us all laugh every time.

The other day Adam and I took Sky over to my cousin Johanna’s house. She has a two-year-old named Beck and a nine-month-old named Ruby. My brother Hans and his wife Katy were there too, with nine-month-old Nicholas. The kids ran/crawled around in a chaotic mess, and we all marveled to think that a year from now, there will be three more babies in the mix (our baby boy, due in February, and Hans and Katy’s twins, due in April).

I have to be honest. I haven’t spent much time lately thinking about my pregnancy. When I stop and give it my full attention, I’m excited, but there’s been so much happening with my dad that my thoughts have been concentrated on my parents. But as I watched the kids play, I was struck by the simple thought that one of those children is my daughter. And when Katy talks about her pregnancy, I can participate firsthand because I’m pregnant too. Me. The girl with a major hormone imbalance and just one fallopian tube, which is supposedly blocked.

My dad is struggling and it’s difficult for us all. But the God who gave Adam and me two “impossible” pregnancies is the same God who holds my dad in his arms this very moment. Sometimes His miracles are tangible – answers to prayer that we get to hold and hug. And sometimes His miracles are so deep in a person’s soul that only God is truly aware of their extent. But they are no less miraculous than physical blessings. God is at work in the heart of each individual in my family, and He alone knows what is most important for each of us.

Play Day


Loyalty October 19, 2009

Filed under: Family,Motherhood — Linnea @ 7:45 pm

My entire immediate family was together this weekend in Michigan. That’s two parents, four brothers, three sisters, two spouses, two grandbabies, plus three grandbabies on the way (our baby boy, due in February, and my brother and his wife’s twins, due in April). The days are a little chaotic with so many people around, but now more than ever it’s great to have everyone together.

The other day, as I watched two of my brothers help my dad into his wheelchair for a quick trip around the block, I was struck by how grown up everyone suddenly seems. There is still plenty of laughing and kidding around – thank God! I can’t imagine my family without that – but there is a new awareness of responsibility too. Everyone seems ready to help out in whatever way possible. There is stress and sadness over my dad’s cancer, but not the usual whining that used to go along with too much family time.

I wish I could say that I have always respected my parents, always given them the benefit of the doubt, and always trusted their decisions for our family. But I can’t. I know that over the years I’ve been quick to notice their faults, not to show grace. I bet that each of my siblings could look back and find things they regret too. But right after my dad’s terminal diagnosis, my mom told us, “Don’t go over your past mistakes. Let’s just focus on what we can do for each other today.”

I am so grateful that my parents are loving, forgiving people. As a new parent myself, I feel like I see my mom and dad differently these days. I understand a bit more the frustration that comes when your child won’t listen to you, especially when you’re just trying to help and protect them. I know it’s impossible to raise a family without any arguments, and that tension is part of the growing up process. But I also hope that somehow Adam and I can follow in our parents’ footsteps with our own children, gently teaching them by example that they will never regret investing time in their family today.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – I Cor. 13:13

Family Walk (6 of 1)


Food October 16, 2009

Filed under: Faith,Family — Linnea @ 12:41 pm

When someone is sick, friends bring food. And my parents have a lot of friends. A LOT. My parents’ house is overflowing with ham, chicken, rice, casseroles, pasta, vegetable dishes, bread, and soups. And desserts. Oh my word, the desserts! The counter is currently covered with two apple pies and a pumpkin pie, brownies, several batches of chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, zucchini bread, apple cinnamon bread, and a plate of lemon squares. yum

Friends of our family have made sure that no matter what difficulty we’ve dealt with during the day, we’ll still get to sit down to a rich, home-cooked meal that night, and I am so thankful. It’s not just about the food itself, though the food has been amazing. It’s about all these people who love my parents and would do anything to make things easier for them. We all want to take my dad’s cancer away. We can pray for that, and of course we do, but how my dad feels and the course of his future belongs in the hands of God alone. The fact is that there’s very little anyone can physically do to make my dad feel better. But good friends don’t focus on that. They don’t dwell on the impossible feelings of helplessness that go along with a terminal cancer diagnosis. Instead they think about what they can do, and then they do it.

When we finally get around to dinner, usually at 8pm or so, I can’t help but think about the friends who made it, who coordinated the meal schedule, planned the menu, went shopping, cooked and baked, and finally arranged for it to arrive at a specific time – a big chore since many of them live two hours away near my parents’ old house in yum Chicago. I’m sure at some point my mom, the queen of note-writing, will thank each person, but I wanted to offer my thanks as well. If you’ve sent something tasty our way, please know we are so grateful for it.

Cancer is awful. But as my family walks this scary path, we know that we aren’t alone. God is with us, and so are a lot of good friends. A LOT. And once again, I can’t help but notice that in these dark days, God’s blessings on us are more apparent than ever.


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