the struggle is real

Being totally honest here, 2016 has been a seriously brutal year for my little family. We got pregnant unexpectedly just over a year ago, without medical insurance, financial stability or a house of our own. We were in a tiny apartment in an area we didn't like, I hadn't seen a doctor in years, and we just were not prepared. 

Shortly after the new year, we lost our medical insurance that we had literally just gotten, because we couldn't afford it. We couldn't sell our Ford Ranger we were still making payments on (but couldn't fit a family of three in), pregnancy was taking it's toll on me physically, we decided to move from our current tiny apartment (that we could mostly afford to pay for) to a bigger place that we can barely pay for (but was so much more realistic for a one-car family) and had a ton of medical bills we literally had no idea how we'd pay for. DJ was working full time, I was working two jobs, we were tithing every single week, and still - the struggle. was. real. It was like a dark cloud was hovering over us. We couldn't find relief and felt like we were always getting help from our parents. This was literally all reason why we wanted to wait several years before growing our family. But, things happen (even when you're careful 😬). 

Honestly, the list of negatives goes even further, but I don't want to drown this post with all things bad. It's been a seriously tough year. Like, it still is. We're still struggling in so many areas. We still feel lonely and don't know who or where we "fit in." We're still searching for a solid community that we feel grounded with, and financial freedom. We both work our tails off, so we're constantly confused by the struggle. Our prayers feel aimless. We're not quite sure where we're headed, or what we should change, or what we should continue doing. It kind of feels like there's this fog - we know God is there. We now He hears us, but it's been difficult to understand anything and see the fruit of being obedient. It's been easy to doubt decisions, and harder to trust in His plans.

We decided on birthing our baby at home, and it was an amazing experience and because we didn't have health insurance, a huge financial burden lifted (though we still have a bill for this as well, it's not nearly as big as it would've been at a hospital). Our Nora is our light. She brings us joy and love and grace we've never experienced. She brings DJ and I closer and brings out a beautiful side of each other we had never known. Motherhood is really hard. It's amazing, but it's hard. The physical struggles I've had since her birth have literally been unending, but her smiles bring me joy that I have truly never experienced before. 

We have so many unanswered questions. We've had a lot of disappointment and heartbreak in this last year. We don't know what's next, what we're supposed to be doing that will bring goodness and glorify God... but we are so so ready for it. We are ready to be done with this long season of serious struggle and truly live out the calling that He has on our life (whatever it is!).

There are so many verses and stories in the Bible that relate. I find comfort in knowing we aren't alone, even though sometimes it really does feel like it. The journey with Christ is not an easy one, but without Him I think I would lose all hope. 

I write all these things to say, I'm not perfect. My life is far from it. This isn't a "woe is me," but a "you're not alone, either, even though it probably feels like it." My family and I struggle and we don't have it easy by any means. I'm blessed with love and family and surprise gifts and so much more, but I don't want my Instagram feed to come off as I've got it all together. I am a mess, but I have a Savior who's teaching me how to turn it into a message.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23