There was once a day, and many of them, where I craved the time to write like I now crave sleep. It was my thing and it wasn't because I was necessarily eloquent or funny. But I actually enjoyed being fully exposed. Eww.Even before over exposure was cool via social media, I had an unhealthy habit of being way too real in person or on paper. I got it from my mama. I used to watch my mom in conversations and I would admire the way she made friends with the cashier at Publix. My grandmother had this same gift. No one met my grandmother without knowing she had 7 daughters. My favorite minutes of any day is making a new friend out of the man making my smoothie or the neighbor power walking by my house. My husband can attest, I make a special mid-day work-day phone call to him (I'm sure he loves this) just to tell him about the “nicest man I met walking out of Costco”. These are big deals in my world but not everyone feels that way about other peoples stuff. But I love a story and I used to love to write them down. And, transparency. I love that too.
Several years ago I would turn to “paper” in the form of a blog with my stories. That writing time had a life of its own. It felt like what I wanted dating to feel like before my gem of a husband began intentionally dating me. I will never forget him telling me “Betsy, I am intentionally pursuing you to date you." Somehow, writing in a similar way allowed me to be fully me and because I am not famous and only a few people read my words (not enough to actually be criticized) - I seemed accepted and loved. And I was very intentional about my writing. It was the perfect relationship!
In the years since producing little Bagwell humans I get a little sad and embarrassed to think of my former love that I just dropped one day out of nowhere. One day I just didn't have words that fit what was going on anymore. There was so much. So much refinement, sanctification, and beauty and pain too big that was brewing within our four walls in those first years of parenting. And then the exhaustion. Yes, the kind of tired that makes one want to sleep but more so, the other kind of exhaustion that you don't get until you are 2+ kids deep and dying for connection but dying from connection. Those days only long glares full of both "want" and "complete satisfaction" would suffice in our marriage. Words were too tiring. They took too much of what we didn't already have. So I dropped writing at least publicly and anything more than a quick note in my phone about the stats of the boys - "Bradford, 18 months, finally walking and so happy" - was lost.
Then we hit bottom. And hit it again. And here we are now. Hanging out on the bottom looking up and back at the long way down. Even with a beautiful baby girl on the side. It is still a bottom. But we are finding it is quite a comfortable place to be.
Throughout the days lately my mind spins with headlines. My own headlines. “She finally found sleep after years of searching for it!”. “Girl drinks water with lemon and cayenne and overcomes chronic sleep disorder.” Or even more realistic - ”The girl whose last pregnancy healed her for good!” Sometimes for atleast a day one of these headlines are true. We all get hopeful and have a few sweet tears and feel strongly that we suffered well but that the time has come…....And then the next morning the sun peeps out and I add yet one more completely sleepless night to the count that I thankfully stopped counting some time last year.
We are there today. Holding on to the last few hours of another bittersweet day. Theres a lot of good on these days. The good…..a selfless husband who is in it with me. Who has the ability to take off work yet again and tend to me and all of our children. And then the mother who once again in the midnight hours receives what I can imagine as a gloomy text of desperation and comes to our aid. Bringing with her always a coke, a box of sweets, some humor and endless compassion. Then this morning you have the angel, Brittney, who I think knows when Ill have a bad night before I do because dinner is always on our doorstep the next morning. Without her even needing to be seen. Dinner, oh and breakfast for the weekend too! Of course there are also baby smiles, and cute blonde haireds playing together in the backyard, the peaceful yet the sad sound of leaves blowing because that means yet another season has come, and there is always the encouragement from friends near and far. All of those things helped us get to this hour today. God truly delivers our hourly bread. Hourly. And each of these hard days I can remember every hour that He brought yet another carpool ride, a visit from a friend, or the perfect song or lovely scripture along with gobs and gobs and oodles of grace from my husband and family. He gives. We have certainly learned that treasure - He gives.
But there is still not a bow on this story today. Not the kind you are looking for. Not the kind that most people write books over or way too long blogs about. I have thought throughout this entire story from July of 2010 until now that it would culminate in some huge miracle story. Surely that is how God gets the glory? That is the kind of thing I have been suffering for…a big ole story.... "and they all come to know Jesus." Surely. But there is still no end. Finally today after years of writing this story in my head and waiting for the end to actually come about in order to acknowledge it on paper I had the thought to just write about it like it is now. Messy. Unfathomable. Severely beautiful. Unbelievable. Tragic at times. Painfully tragic. Like the leaves…the leaves are changing again and I remember sweating this summer in between contractions on our back porch and literally envisioning myself with my girl, my only daughter, taking a family photo of 6 in the yellow and orange of the season that was to come. I envisioned the birth of Anne Louise as the date where the battled ended. It seemed like such an intriguing story. Or better yet - the hemorrhage 12 days post birth. Surely that was my spiritual and physical bleeding that would make way for our new season. I just knew it.
……..And then we would have missed out on so much yummy treasure. Oh goodness, there is so much we have gained in these last 3 months. I feel guilty enjoying so much richness and not being able to send it with everyone who comes our way. That our life could have had a bow on it 3 months ago? 2 years ago? That we could have lived a fairly normal life with four kids this hard anyway season of parenting? That we could have taken family photos and smiled big and enjoyed one last summer jaunt to the beach or my husband could have gone to work most days and not worried the whole day about his wife at home? That could have been our story and it would have still been a God story. A big one. We would have missed so much.
Ours is still unfolding. Even still. And we praise Him. Even still. With burning eyes from days and years of lack of sleep and with a body that aches out my fingernails - I gratefully write. Our story is beautiful even without the ending I have been waiting for. I don't want to wait any longer to tell of His beauty. There is precious treasure in these thick middle chapters.
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