My Pregnancy Journey Part 3: Beauty for Ashes

Note: Before jumping into the final installment of my pregnancy journey, check out Part 1 and Part 2 first!

Following my miscarriage, I took time to focus on my physical, mental, and emotional healing. Although I seemed to have bounced back fairly quickly emotionally, my heart was still broken and I was consumed by fear. I feared that my husband and I would never be able to conceive naturally. Given the emotional and physical trauma I endured during my miscarriage, I told my husband that I wanted to hold off on trying to conceive because I wasn’t mentally or emotionally ready to try again.

Side note: My husband was incredible throughout this time. He was patient and understanding, he respected my feelings, and agreed to us waiting until the following year to try again. He even said that if I wanted to pursue IVF the next time around, he would make it happen. I honestly believe his love, support, and patience helped me through this time.

For anyone who has not endured a miscarriage, it takes over a month before your body realizes you are not pregnant anymore. Your hormones are still out of wack, your cycle is nonexistent, and you still have certain pregnancy symptoms (e.g., nausea, breast pain, heightened sense of smell, etc.). During this time, I had to get bloodwork done weekly to ensure my HCG was dropping. Thankfully it was, which meant I didn’t have an ectopic pregnancy. However, I was tired of being poked and prodded weekly. What made it even worse was that each nurse who drew my blood assumed that I was pregnant and told me congratulations. I didn’t have it in me to tell them that I had a miscarriage. This made it even harder to move forward and fully heal emotionally.

By the first week of July my HCG had finally reached 5 so I was off the hook from getting my blood drawn. However, my cycle still hadn’t returned. To help get my mind off of all that occurred in June, I focused on planning my 30th birthday. I was excited to be turning 30 and having a 90s themed party. I was also nearing the official release of my book Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional. One of my close friends was getting married and I was one of her bridesmaids. I had also made a decision regarding my career during this time. I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in speech pathology so I applied to Emerson College’s Master’s in Communication Disorders online program. I had so much going on that I honestly didn’t give myself time to mourn the loss of my child or fully come to terms with all the emotions I had bottled up. My response was to move full steam ahead and leave the past behind. Looking back, that was not a wise decision and it did impact me greatly later on.

July 20th was one of the best days of my life. I celebrated my 30th birthday 90s style. I had so much fun and it felt good to smile and laugh with all the people I love. I was so care free and felt better than I had in a while. There was so much laughing and dancing. It is definitely a day I will cherish in my heart forever. I know it was what I needed following all that I had went through the previous month. My cycle FINALLY returned July 21st. I had never been happier to see my cycle. July 23rd my book was officially released. It felt so good to accomplish this goal. I went through so much to birth my book, but it was all worth it.

The beginning of August, I found out that I was accepted into Emerson’s speech program. I was a bundle of nerves and excitement. I was nervous because by this point I had been out of school for over 3 years, but excited for this new adventure. Following that it was time for my friend’s wedding. It was such a beautiful wedding and I had so much fun celebrating with her. I also got my make up done and looked good.

I was finally starting to feel like myself again. I felt like I was moving forward…to a certain extent. All of that changed the week of August 19th. That week I started feeling off. My period was due, but it was nowhere in sight. I started experiencing extreme pregnancy symptoms: nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, severe breast pain, extremely emotional. I knew in my heart that I was pregnant, but didn’t want to believe it. I told my husband of my suspicions and he told me to wait a month before taking a test LOL. He said I needed to be 100% sure that my period wasn’t coming. I also think part of it was that after what we had just went through in June, he didn’t want to go through that again. I don’t blame him. It was an emotional time for us both. I told him I would try to wait, but I was itching to pee on a stick. I just needed to know so that I could go see my OB to see what we can do to try to prevent a miscarriage.

Yes, miscarriage was my on brain. I automatically assumed that I would be prone to miscarriages. I know that I shouldn’t have been bracing myself for the worse, but I did. I didn’t show excitement at the possibility of being pregnant. I shut my emotions off and was all business. I lasted until Saturday and finally decided to pee on a stick. The test read…

There was no denying that I was pregnant. Despite reading the words pregnant on the test, I still felt no excitement. I was determined to not get my hopes up because I did not know if this pregnancy was going to last. I didn’t know if when I went in for my first ultrasound if I would hear my baby’s heartbeat. To keep from experiencing heartache, I immediately disconnected from the pregnancy. I showed my husband the test and he asked me why I didn’t wait a month like he suggested. I think he was just as apprehensive as I was. That following Monday I called to make an appointment with my OB. Unfortunately they wouldn’t see me until I was about 7 weeks, which fell on September 11th. I had to wait two agonizing weeks. I honestly tried not to think about the positive pregnancy test and went on with my daily life.

It wasn’t until about a week before my doctor’s appointment that my worst fear was realized. I started bleeding while at work. My heart immediately sank in my chest. I text my husband, my mom, and one of my friends to keep me in prayer. I honestly did not want to endure another miscarriage. I couldn’t endure another miscarriage. I ended up leaving work early to go to urgent care. After waiting literally hours, I was finally able to get an ultrasound done. The results came back: they saw the gestational sac and a strong heartbeat (141 BPMs). I immediately burst into tears. I did not realize that I had been holding my breath the entire time. I felt relieved to know my baby was fine. I had asked the doctor I saw to test my progesterone, but he refused. I contacted my OB to notify him of the bleeding I had and informed him that I wanted to take progesterone suppositories to be on the safe side. He agreed and immediately prescribed me the suppositories.

The next several weeks leading up to my 2nd trimester was pure turmoil. Everyday I woke up bracing myself for something to go wrong. Despite taking the progesterone suppositories, I was still on edge. I know that as a Christian I had the wrong attitude. One minute I was praying, begging God to keep my baby safe, and the next I was playing out worst case scenarios in my head. To say I was an emotional mess would be an understatement. I shared with one of my friends what I was feeling and she shared with me that I had to take things “one moment at a time”. Something about that relieved me of so much anxiety. I decided to take it moment by moment. I decided to start talking to my baby even though I didn’t know if it would be a boy or a girl. I started singing to my baby and connecting with my little one. I decided that I was going to enjoy each moment of my pregnancy regardless of the outcome. I also started back praying and learning to trust God. I knew that God loved this precious life growing inside of me more than I ever could.

Slowly but surely I began to feel so much peace and I began to enjoy my pregnancy. I joined Facebook pregnancy groups, started reading pregnancy books to track my baby’s growth, started being mindful of what I ate, and really started enjoying my pregnancy and the ways in which my body was changing. My husband and I even took a trip to Florida to visit his family during this time. I was only about 10 weeks along so we wanted to wait to share the news with everyone. Unfortunately, my extreme nausea and fatigue caused my mother in law to ask questions. Hubby told her she was going to be a grandma and she was over the moon. The next day she took us to breakfast and shopping for the baby even though we didn’t know what the gender was LOL. Her response made it even more real for me and it helped reduce my anxiety even more.

On October 16th, hubby and I decided to officially announce that we were expecting. It felt good to share the news. It also made it even more real. I believe that my husband and I had finally reached a point where we were both excited and we accepted that this was happening. Our life was changing and we couldn’t be happier. At this point all was going well with my pregnancy. I was still nauseous, which lasted well into my second trimester. During this time my husband and I religiously prayed the pregnancy/threatened miscarriage prayer from Prayers and Promises for Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. I can honestly say that God has honored the prayer we prayed and stood firm on. As you can tell from the looks of the book, it has gotten much use.

With each passing week my pregnancy progressed and my belly grew. Each month I was able to either see my little one via ultrasound or hear their heartbeat. By about 15 weeks I began to feel my baby move. It honestly scared me to death. I was at work sitting at my desk when all of a sudden I felt something move quickly from one side of my stomach to the other. It felt like a fish swimming quickly. It made me so excited to officially feel my baby’s first movements!

In mid-December my husband and I went to my anatomy scan and learned that we were having a boy. We were both so excited! I don’t think we cared either way, but it made my husband feel good to prove his best friend wrong (him and his best friend always wished nothing but girls on each other LOL). I decided to do a gender reveal at my job. It was fun seeing which of my staff were right. Mostly everyone thought I was having a girl.

In January I started school. By this point I was about 24 weeks pregnant. It was only by the grace of God I was able to pursue a Master’s degree and work full-time while pregnant. In February my staff threw me an amazing baby shower! It was truly a beautiful event and I felt so loved.

Little did I know that following this special occasion, my life as well as everyone else’s would change drastically. I was scheduled to have my maternity photo shoot March 22nd. I had found the cutest lace gown for a reasonable price on Amazon. It was a royal blue gown and my husband was going to wear all black with a royal blue tie. I could not wait for my maternity shoot. Sadly, that day never came. This was due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When news first spread about the coronavirus, I simply just thought of it as the flu and didn’t take it seriously. It wasn’t until it began to spread rapidly across the US and numerous cases began to pop up across California that it dawned on me that this was something to be taken seriously. I ended up having to cancel my baby shower as well, which was scheduled for today, March 28th. I’m not going to lie, missing out on so many firsts as a new mom was heartbreaking. I cried. I even got mad at God. I didn’t understand why He allowed me to be pregnant smack dab in the middle of a pandemic. I was hurt. So much planning had went into my maternity shoot and my baby shower.

I eventually came to terms with it. The blessing is that despite me not being able to experience those firsts as a new mom, so many people have showered my baby boy with so much love, many prayers, and gifts. We may have not been able to celebrate in person, but we had so many people send us much needed items for our little one. I’m truly grateful for that. We have been able to get the necessities for our son, which has helped relieve so much stress.

Currently I’m 36 weeks pregnant. Both me and my son are ready for his arrival. I can tell he’s ready because he is cramped and he expresses his frustration with being cramped by kicking me repeatedly in the ribs or kicking extremely hard whenever anyone, except for his daddy, puts their hand near my belly. I honestly can’t wait to meet this precious boy with so much personality. Yes, I still have my concerns. I mean I have to give birth in the middle of a global pandemic. Hospitals, including the one I will be giving birth at, have implemented many restrictions. I am heartbroken that I won’t be able to have my mom with me when I give birth and that my dad, my son’s godmom, and my in laws won’t be able to visit after my son’s arrival. Despite all of that, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that I have had a safe and fairly easy pregnancy. I’m grateful for this precious boy growing inside of me. I’m grateful for the love and support from my husband, family, and friends. I’m grateful that God saw me fit to be this precious boy’s mom. These aren’t ideal times, but I choose today to be grateful for the many blessings I do have. So now my husband and I await the arrival of our son. I’ve started having contractions on and off more frequently so it’s only a matter of time before he arrives!

My Pregnancy Journey Part 2: Experiencing Loss

Note: If you haven’t read Part 1, click here.

May 27, 2019, my life was changed forever. I was literally on cloud 9. I could not believe that I was actually pregnant! I immediately told my mom and one of my cousins that I’m really close to. I was dreaming of meeting my little one…wondering if I was having a girl or boy. It all felt so surreal. Never did a negative thought cross my mind. I never felt the need to be cautious nor did my mind drift to the possibility of a miscarriage. In my mind I didn’t believe that could happen. My husband and I had been praying for this blessing so why would something go wrong?

The next day I went to work so excited. Even one of my co-workers said I was glowing. Since she noticed something different about me, I shared the good news with her. As the week went on, I felt so much joy. I talked to my baby even though I didn’t know if it was a boy or girl. I scheduled a photo shoot so that my husband and I could do a cute pregnancy announcement. I ordered cute onesies from Etsy so that we could announce to his parents and my dad that they were going to be grandparents. Like I said, it never crossed my mind that this pregnancy wasn’t viable.

Saturday, June 1, 2019, I woke up filled with excitement. My husband and I were going out to LA for a friend’s surprise birthday party. On our way to the surprise party, we made a stop at the barbershop so that my husband could get a haircut. I went in with my husband and ended up having to sit in one of the most uncomfortable seats. I started having severe back pain. I didn’t think anything of it because back pain is normal in pregnancy. I ended up having to go to the restroom while waiting. I soon discovered that I was spotting. My anxiety kicked in to overdrive, but I prayed and reassured myself it was normal after googling “spotting in early pregnancy”.

After my husband got his hair cut, I told him that I had some spotting. He reassured me that everything would be okay and we headed to our friend’s surprise party. When we got there, I had to go to the restroom again and my spotting had increased. I called my mom hysterical. She prayed with me and tried to calm me down. She suggested that I sit down, relax, and try not to worry. Once again, trusty google reassured us both that spotting in early pregnancy was normal. I headed back over to my husband and the rest of the party. I tried sitting and relaxing, but something didn’t feel right. I did not feel like it was just normal pregnancy spotting. I felt like this was the beginning of the end.

My husband came to check on me and I told him that I think we should go to urgent care. My husband told our friend what was going on to explain why we had to leave the party suddenly. She was very understanding and reassured us that she was praying for us and a good outcome. We quickly rushed to the closest urgent care and waited. While we were waiting, the spotting turned into light bleeding. When I was finally seen by the doctor, he had me do bloodwork to check my HCG levels. He informed me that I was having a threatened miscarriage, and that everything could just turn out fine or I may lose the baby.

Although this news was discouraging, I still held on to hope that everything would turn around and that my baby would be okay. I had another friend of mine pray with me and she encouraged me. Throughout that weekend the bleeding continued. That Monday I went back to the doctors to have my HCG levels checked. I was excited because my HCG had increased since Saturday. It hadn’t doubled but it had increased quite a bit. This gave me some hope. I also called to schedule my initial appointment with my OB. I held on to hope that things would turn around. However, the next day at work, the bleeding increased heavily. My heart was broken. I didn’t understand why this was happening. I called my mom and she met me at the doctors. My doctor had my HCG checked again. It was still high, but it had dropped since Monday. My doctor took me off from work for two weeks and put me on bedrest in hopes that the bleeding would stop.

During my time off I did some serious spiritual warfare. I prayed, got before God in worship, and confessed the prayers and promises from the book Prayers and Promises for Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. I would be up at 1, 2, 3 in the morning praying, confessing scriptures, and singing praises to God. I knew that no matter what the outcome was, He was all I needed and He would bring healing. During this time in worship, 2 Samuel 12:16-23 came to me. It’s the story of when God condemned David for committing adultery with Bathsheba and killing her husband, Uriah. As a result of that adultery, Bathsheba became pregnant. As part of the consequences for what David did, the child became ill. David fasted, prayed, and worshiped. He knew what God had said regarding the child, but He still had hope that God would spare the child. When the child passed, David worshiped God once more, cleaned himself up, and then ate. His attitude and how he handled the situation surprised his servants. They expected him to be depressed following the child’s death, but he wasn’t. He trusted for God’s will to be done, interceded for his child, but respected God’s ultimate decision. That story brought me so much peace. I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be, but either way I was going to trust God and I was going to intercede for my child.

Although I had took the same stance as David, it was a trying time. I had my prenatal intake during this time. My husband came with me and it was a very draining experience. I was still bleeding and the nurse practitioner over the intake was very cold and direct. She pretty much told me there was no hope and that I could try again in the future. We still had to go through our family history and she gave me the packet that they give all pregnant women. It was so heartbreaking for me. I had to get bloodwork done including checking my HCG. I had requested to have my progesterone checked in hopes that if it was low I could just take progesterone suppositories, but she said at this point it would be useless.

The following day the cramping intensified. I had my mom take me to the ER to see if I could have an ultrasound done. I ended up getting more bloodwork and an ultrasound done. The ultrasound confirmed that my uterus was empty. There was no sign of a gestational sac. The doctor stated that it could be too early or I could have passed the gestational sac already. They also saw a cyst on one of my ovaries. The doctor stated that she was concerned that I may have had an ectopic pregnancy. She also said it was possible that it was just the corpus luteum cyst that pregnant women get to produce progesterone in the first trimester. She then told me that the best course of action would be to get an injection of methotrexate, which would stop the pregnancy. She also stated that I would have to wait at least 6 months before trying to conceive again because the methotrexate is a form of chemotherapy. I then had to do a pelvic exam, which was painful and excruciating. Tears flowed down my eyes throughout all of it. I was so confused and didn’t know what to do. I had heard horror stories of women who had ectopic pregnancies and how they ended up losing a fallopian tube due to the ectopic pregnancy.

My mom requested that the doctor give us a minute to discuss our options. When the doctor left the room, I just cried on my mom’s shoulder. What was supposed to be a joyous time in my life turned into a nightmare. She prayed over me and I instantly felt at peace. I knew what I had to do. I informed the doctor that I wouldn’t get the injection since she wasn’t 100% sure if it was an ectopic pregnancy or just the corpus luteum cyst. I could tell she did not agree with my decision, but I had my mind set up. At the time I wasn’t sure what was God’s purpose for all of this, but I didn’t want to make any rash decisions. Since I refused the injection, she had me get my HCG levels checked every other day to ensure that my levels were dropping. That night I went home and began to experience labor pains. The pain was excruciating. All I could do was curl up in a ball and cry. I also started passing large clots and tissue. I knew I was having a miscarriage.

My heart broke for the loss of my child. My heart broke for my husband who had to watch me endure this pain and could not do anything to help relieve it. My heart broke for us both and the loss of us becoming parents. My heart was just broken. Despite the pain and the trauma, I had peace over the situation. I knew that God would bring me through and would bring healing to my aching heart. I was so grateful for all the love that my friends, family, and church showed me and my husband. Our Pastors sent us flowers and the leader of the ministry I serve in bought us dinner. The overwhelming love we received was such a blessing during such a difficult time.

Miscarriage is not something to be taken lightly. It’s not just a heavy period. It is the loss of a child. It doesn’t matter if it was in early pregnancy or later, it is still a loss. You connect with that child from the first moment you find out you’re pregnant. You make plans and have hopes and dreams for that child even though you don’t know if it’s a girl or a boy. Speaking as someone who has had to endure such a loss, do not be that person that gives a flippant response such as, “At least you know you can get pregnant” or “At least it happened early” or “You can always try again.” After losing a child, you start to question yourself. You wonder if you did something wrong. Maybe I shouldn’t have lifted that box? Or maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that particular food? Although miscarriage usually indicates that there was something genetically wrong with the fertilized egg, you still wonder if there was something you could have done to prevent it. It’s also not so easy to just “try again”. You fear that if you try again you will have another miscarriage. That brings so much anxiety. So please, please, be understanding and patient with those who have endured a miscarriage. You don’t fully understand the wave of emotions it brings until you’ve experienced it yourself.

My Pregnancy Journey: Part 1

Ever since I was in my teens, I loved children. I loved being around them, interacting with them, having random conversations with them, and their innocent outlook on life. My love for children definitely motivated me to pursue a career in child development. It was never a question in my mind whether or not I would have children. It was a given.

When my husband and I began dating in 2015, we both expressed that we desired to have children one day. When our relationship became serious and headed towards marriage, we picked out names for our future children. Little did we know that our journey to pregnancy would not be as easy as we hoped.

May 12, 2018, I married my best friend and we agreed to start trying for children immediately. After about a couple months of trying, I became frustrated. I know trying for a couple months isn’t along time, but I was naive and expected to get pregnant quickly. I didn’t understand why it wasn’t happening for us. I decided to start tracking my cycle and learning more about my cycle. I began using OPKs and tracking my basal body temperature. I also began to research what a normal period was supposed to look like. I soon discovered that my period was far from normal. Experiencing excruciating pain to the point that all I could do was crawl into the fetal position and cry was not a normal period. Losing as much blood as I was losing and clotting the way I was was far from normal. I decided to seek medical help. It took me switching primary doctor’s to finally get the answers I thought I needed.

After meeting with my new primary and having some tests done, my doctor told me that she believed I had polyps. Polyps are small growths on the uterus that can cause pain, discomfort, and interfere with conceiving. I was told that this was an easy fix through minor surgery. This gave me hope. I felt like I had a concrete answer as to why I hadn’t gotten pregnant. In the middle of all of this (June 2018), my job switched insurances. Thankfully I was able to get all of my information from my previous provider and submit it to my new doctor. My new doctor had to do some tests (hysteroscopy and HSG). These tests of course confirmed what I already knew.

In October 2018, I was scheduled to have surgery to have the polyps removed. I was nervous because I had to be put under anesthesia, but I was excited to hopefully resolve the issue that I believed was preventing me from getting pregnant. After I had my surgery, my doctor informed me that the growths on my uterus were actually fibroids, not polyps. I ended up having a myomectomy to remove the fibroids. Thankfully where the fibroids were located the doctor was able to shave them off and not compromise the integrity of my uterus.

The recovery from my surgery was somewhat painful, but bearable. When I followed up with my doctor a few weeks later, he assured me that my husband and I would be able to conceive in no time and that I would see an improvement in my period. November 2018 I had my first period following my surgery. There was no change in my pain level. If anything it felt as if it made my period pain was worse. I was tired of experiencing such pain month after month so I decided to research natural remedies for painful periods.

I came across a few different remedies including Red Raspberry Leaf tea, arvigo therapy, and acupuncture. According to Euphoric Herbals, Red Raspberry Leaf tea contains calcium and iron, both of which play important roles in the menstrual cycle. Calcium helps regulate hormones, which in turn can help prevent PMS symptoms including painful cramps. The iron in this tea is helpful in preventing anemia, which can occur in women who tend to have a heavy monthly flow. This tea also contains fragarine. Fragarine can help tone pelvic muscles and relieve period cramps. I started drinking a minimum of 16oz. of Red Raspberry Leaf tea daily and saw a difference in my periods. Although my periods became more bearable, they still weren’t “normal”.

My next step was to give Arvigo Therapy a try. I found a specialist who was about an hour from where I lived. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but I was hopeful. I met with the specialist and we went over my complete menstrual cycle history. As we discussed my cycle history, she recommended that I take magnesium glycinate. She explained that most people do not get enough magnesium in their diet and that magnesium helps prevent muscle cramps. Since the uterus is a muscle, it also helps prevent menstrual cramps by smoothing the uterus. We also discussed my diet. I told her that I had been a vegetarian for the past year, but I was ready to go back to eating meat. She explained that vegetarian diets tend to cause hormonal imbalances because your body isn’t getting enough of the nutrients it normally receives from certain proteins (Disclaimer: For those who are vegetarian/vegan, I’m not here to debate this. Let’s just agree to disagree :)). She recommended a Paleo diet, which was what I had been planning to transition to. After discussing my history and diet, she introduced me to Arvigo Therapy and Castor Oil packs.

Arvigo Therapy is a form of abdominal massage. By massaging the abdominal area, organs and tissues in the abdominal and pelvic areas are relaxed and loosened. Internal organs that may have shifted are massaged and repositioned, which can help relieve painful symptoms. For women, this therapy works great for a prolapsed or tilted uterus. Some of the other benefits include increased blood flow, congestion relief, improved flow of lymph and nerve impulses, and improvement in digestion. After she performed the Arvigo Therapy, she had me do a Castor Oil pack. I was given a cotton cloth soaked in castor oil. The cloth was placed right below my stomach. A heating pad was then placed on top of the cloth. This was done for 30 minutes. The purpose of castor oil packs is to pull out the toxins that can cause hormonal imbalance, improve circulation, and decrease inflammation and pain.

Following this first session, I experienced what I would consider a normal period. I felt minimal pain, I was able to function and engage in my regular activities instead of being curled in a ball crying in my bed, and my period was a lot shorter (it went from it’s standard 7 days to 5 days). I was in shock and I cried tears of joy. I finally felt like I was getting somewhere, like real changes were being made. I continued to work closely with this specialist for the next few months. Even after discontinuing our sessions, I continued to implement the natural remedies she taught me and continued to see great improvements in my menstrual cycle.

May 12, 2019, my husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary. At that point I was no longer thinking about trying to conceive, but enjoying the journey and allowing God’s timing to take place. I was still implementing the natural remedies I had learned and focusing mostly on balancing my hormones and ensuring my period was normal.

The week of May 20, 2019, my body felt extremely off. My period was due soon, but I didn’t experience my normal period symptoms. Everything felt different. I was extremely tired and didn’t have much of an appetite. I could not stay up past 9:00pm, which was out of the norm for me. Everything just felt off. On May 27, 2019, Memorial Day, I decided to take a pregnancy for kicks. I honestly did not think I would see two pink lines. When my timer went off indicating it was time to check the pregnancy test, I was greeted by the sight of two pink lines. I came running out the bathroom and showed the test to my husband. I burst with tears of joy as I shoved the pregnancy test in his face (I’m sure he didn’t appreciate me shoving a stick covered in pee in his face lol). I was in such disbelief that I decided to take a digital test just to see the word “pregnant”. When I saw the word “pregnant”, I then decided that this was really happening. Little did I know that the following week everything would change instantly and I would face one of the most heartbreaking and difficult moments of my life…

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Pregnancy Journey!

Tea for Two

I ordered and received a few print copies of Tea for Two! It feels so amazing to be able to actually hold my book in my hands!

I will also be sending out/delivering copies to those who pre-ordered. I delivered my first copy today!

More details to come regarding where Tea for Two can be purchased. Just making those final touches and changes so that it will be perfect! Stay tuned ❤️💜

Marriage: Year One

Today marks one year of marriage for me and my amazing husband. I still remember the days when I longed to be married and would be plagued with negative thoughts and wondering if God would ever bless me with a husband. Four years ago God brought Antoine into my life and after about a month of dating, I knew I was going to marry this man. Antoine and I dated for about two years before getting engaged. It was not an easy journey during those two years leading up to our engagement. I had a lot of brokenness inside me and I struggled greatly with insecurities. One thing I can say about Antoine is that throughout our entire relationship and even to this day, he is the most consistent man I have ever met. I always know what to expect with him. He also has the patience of Job. He showed me the love of Christ from day one and that was how I knew he was the man for me. About 5 years before I met Antoine, my spiritual dad prophesied over me and he said that God would send me a man that would love me as He loves me. And Antoine has done just that.

Antoine proposed to me in June 2017. During this time we faced many trials and tribulations. We faced some challenges as we prepared to bring together two families, but God was faithful throughout. And on May 12, 2018, surrounded by those we love most, we became husband and wife. I wish I could say it was happily ever after and that marriage has been a beautiful fairytale, but that would be a lie. The day after our wedding, Antoine and I were two people with two differing personalities that were getting ready to live under the same roof. We soon discovered that we clean the house differently, that he’s okay with leaving the toilet seat up and I’m not, that our closet realistically could not fit all of our belongings, and so much more. With that being said, I would like to share some of the lessons I’ve learned during our first year of marriage.

1. Pick your battles wisely.

During the first few months of marriage, Antoine and I argued a lot. I hate to admit this, but we even argued on our honeymoon. The Holy Spirit began to show me that I needed to stop voicing every concern or annoyance to Antoine. I needed to talk to God more about what was bothering me and pray over those areas that needed to change. Once I started doing that, God would begin to move in those situations and bring peace in our home. By holding my tongue, the Holy Spirit was able to move in our marriage and show us both those areas that we needed to change or improve in.

2. Accept your spouse for who they are even if they leave random paper towels around the house.

Another reason why Antoine and I argued was because I kept trying to change him. I believed that there was a certain way to do things and wanted him to do everything my way. Yes, I struggled with control issues. Once I relinquished my control to God, learned to accept my husband for who he is, and stopped taking everything so personal, the arguments stopped. Now, when I see a random paper towel around the house, I will throw it away or joke with Antoine about it. It no longer bothers me lol.

3. Remember that you and your spouse are a team.

From the start of our marriage, the enemy tried to stir up trouble. He had me convinced that I was doing this on my own. I was so focused on what I was feeling and what I believed my husband was doing, that I began to feel like I was on my own. I began to pray more diligently over my marriage and God began to reveal to me that I had to change my mindset. I had to know and believe that my husband and I are a team. Once I changed my thinking, I approached my marriage differently and I experienced much joy and peace in my marriage.

4. Enjoy each and every moment you have together.

During our dating phase, I soon learned that my husband was a jokester and loved to crack jokes. At times all the joking was hard for me to accept. I even got mad at him often for his nonstop joking. I learned in our marriage to cherish that part of him. We have such a playful and fun relationship, which honestly has strengthened our marriage. We are able to laugh even during the tough times. We also have learned to enjoy each moment we have together. That is so critical in marriage. The enemy is going to attack your marriage left and right. You can’t let those attacks steal the joy from your marriage. Continue to enjoy one another. Focus on the positives instead of magnifying the negatives. Life may not be perfect, but it is a blessing to find someone you love unconditionally that you can spend the rest of your life with.

5. Pray over your spouse.

Of each of the marital lessons, praying over your spouse is the most important. Talk to your spouse and find out what you can stand in agreement with them on. Maybe they have goals and dreams that they want to achieve. Maybe they have a difficult co-worker. Maybe the enemy is bombarding them with negative thoughts. Whatever the case may be, pray over your spouse. Pray over your spouse’s safety. I pray for traveling mercies for Antoine daily. Antoine was in a really bad accident not too long ago, and by the grace of God he walked away without a scratch. We make it a habit to pray together in the mornings before we leave for work. We share prayer requests and stand in agreement with one another on those things we are trusting God for.

These are just a few of the lessons I learned during our first year of marriage. I look forward to learning and growing more during this second year.

Important Announcement

Effectively immediately I am no longer under Smith Publishing, LLC. Due to the company’s failure to uphold their agreement, I have decided to part ways. If you have not received your hardcopy of Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional, email me a copy of your receipt at andria@edenshearts.org

I do apologize for this inconvenience and truly appreciate your understanding during this time.

Position Yourself

I will take my post; I will position myself on the fortress. I will keep watch to see what the Lord says to me and how He will respond to my complaint.

Habakkuk 2: 1 (CEB)

This morning while spending time with the Lord in prayer, I began to ask Him what He needs me to do to move into this next season. I recently completed my first book, Tea for Two: A 30 Day Devotional, and it is in the process of being published, which is exciting! I have an official release date, which will be April 26. Although this is such a major accomplishment, I’m once again feeling stuck. I don’t know quite what direction to go in. As I poured my heart out to my Abba Father this morning, He began to minister to me. He told me to stop worrying about the logistics and trying to figure out every minute detail. He then told me that I need to position myself in anticipation of what is to come. That truly ministered to me. You see, I am someone who has to know the when, why, and how of every situation. This is part of my issues of control, which God is currently delivering me from. I know what I desire to do with my life, but I can’t make that happen without God. I’m not supposed to make it happen without God. My responsibility is to position myself so that I am ready for all that God has in store for me.

Habakkuk 2:1 shows us how to position ourselves when trusting God to move us into a new season or to fulfill His purpose for our lives. The Hebrew word for position is kun. According to Bibletools.org, kun means to be firm, stable, and established; to be fixed, securely determined; to be prepared and ready. When God tells us to position ourselves, He is telling us to stand firm where He currently has us, but to also prepare for where He is taking us. For me, I truly believe He will move me into a season where I will have speaking engagements. How I can prepare for that? Some of the ways I can prepare is by ensuring I have professional head shots done that will be used on the flyers for these speaking engagements. I can also prepare by setting up a small business and a business banking account, which will be needed to receive payments for these speaking engagements. I can also prepare by continuing to blog and write as if I already have an audience I am speaking in front of.

Although I am standing still, I am still preparing for what is to come. This is what God means by position yourself. God is already moving on your behalf. He already has things set in motion so that you can move into your next season. However, if we are not ready to enter into that next season, if we have not prepared ourselves, He can’t move us. So instead of worrying about why you haven’t moved into what God has called you to, focus on what you can do to prepare. Change your mindset. Change your attitude. Change your thoughts. Operate as if you are already in that new season. And before you know it, you will be walking in all that God has called you to.

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Where Are You Putting Your Faith?

Last Sunday my Pastor spoke on faith and how your environment and who is in it can impact your faith. What resonated with me the most is when he said that we put faith in our prayers, but we fail to put faith in Jesus to perform a miracle. That was such a revelation to me. It made me think of various situations in my life and how I had been guilty of that. I would pray these elaborate prayers, pray in the Spirit, and then as soon as my prayer wasn’t answered when I thought it should or if something happened that seemed to be blocking my prayer, I would be shook. I would cry, I would get mad, I would feel defeated.

For the past 6 months, my husband and I have been trying to conceive. Each month I would pray those gut wrenching prayers, those prayers that take everything out of you. And with each passing month, I would be faced with a negative pregnancy test, heartache, and tears streaking down my face. With each month, I would try to figure out ways to “help” God answer my prayer. I would change my eating habits, take a gazzillion vitamins, track my cycle, take my basal body temperature every morning, and pretty much drive myself insane. All of these actions weren’t putting my faith in God. No matter how hard I prayed, I wasn’t truly putting my faith in God. I was putting more faith in my prayers and in what I could control or change.

Hearing my Pastor say that we put our faith in prayer instead of putting our faith in God, made everything click. It’s not about me or what I want or when I want something done. It is about putting my faith in God. It’s about resting in God even when it looks like my situation won’t change. It’s about not being moved by every bump or the turbulence that comes when you’re trusting God. Once I finally understood that, I had such incredible peace over this situation in my life. God reassured me that He will bless me and my husband with children some day, but right now is not that time because He has other plans for us. You see, when you put more faith in your prayers than in God, you are so distracted that you can’t even hear when God is trying to minister to you. Rest in God. Put your faith in Him, not your prayers.