The podcast that I didn't know would prepare me for my future.
Morning walks were a common occurrence for me and my best friend, Finn. Typically, we would go on these morning walks and listen to music - Texas Country to be specific. But one day on a walk in July, I decided to change it up and listen to a podcast. Let me preface this by saying, the only podcasts I had listened to prior were crime and mystery podcasts with Austin on long car rides years ago, so what I'm about to tell you is totally out of the norm.
For a little background, I am a huge watcher of Survivor, Amazing Race, and Big Brother. If you are too, then you might be familiar with Amazing Race contestant Mallory Ervin. When I was pregnant with Finn, she was also pregnant with her first, and I began following her on Instagram. Mallory radiates a bright light, and I found myself drawn to her. Her son, Ford, is only a few months older than my Finny. Mallory had shared on her Instagram that she had started a podcasts titled "Living Fully." For me, this title struck a cord. I knew I had a wonderful, near perfect life, and I wanted to make sure I was living it fully. If you know me at all, you know that I don't know how to do anything halfway so living fully; that was a must. So on one of our morning walks in July, Finn and I listened to the 2nd episode of Mallory's Living Fully podcast titled: "Finding Joy Through Pain with Ashley LeMieux." Now, if that didn't just give you goosebumps... If you've been following my blog, you know that's something I am so desperate to find and the very month my life drastically changed God had called me to listen to this podcast, of all podcasts, preparing me for the battle I didn't know I was about to fight.
In the podcast, Ashley, who started The Shine Project to help underprivileged kids, and her husband unexpectedly became guardians to 2 children overnight. The kids were 4 and 6 at the time, and they raised them for the next 4 years. They became an instant family. She goes onto tell of her journey through the adoption process and the constant fear of losing her children. However, she felt everything was going to be fine, and they would be able to continue their lives with their children. I am listening to the podcast back as I write this blog and her words just struck me, "I couldn't comprehend it not being ok." Throughout the nightmare that started in our home on July 23rd, the ambulance ride, the care flight, the surgery, I could not comprehend that it wasn't going to be ok. Not for a second did I think I would not be bringing my baby home. Our stories may be very different, but the feelings she shares throughout the podcast are scarily parallel to my own.
Ashley had to attend a tradeshow across the country for The Shine Project and while she was gone, there was an unexpected court hearing called and while she was gone she received a call that her kids were being taken away. They were not going to give her time to come home and would not allow her or her husband to tell their kids what was going on. All she could do was write them a letter.
I remember listening to this as I walked Finn around the pond in our subdivision as my eyes welled up with tears, but still playing peak a boo with him through his stroller sunroof all the while. How could anyone live through this? Ashley's kids that she had raised for 4 years were taken from her. She has not been allowed to contact them in any way. How could she go on?
She explains the feeling of being buried. She explains how she didn't want any part of her life because it's too painful and too hard. Not that she was suicidal, just that she didn't want it. This is where I am now. I tell Austin repeatedly, I don't want this life. I don't want this story. Am I going to tell it? Yes, because I have to, but do I want it, not for a second.
Ashley goes onto tell how she learned to shine in darkness. So here I am, listening to this podcast that God sent to me for a second time trying to figure out how to shine in the darkness. I know things will be dark for a very long time, but I do know that brighter days are coming. That God has prepared me for this battle with this podcasts and the numerous other signs as written in my blog post "That's God". That God has given me the army of all armies. That God has my baby boy in his arms.
So stick with me, while I learn to shine in the darkness.
And if you are on this journey with me or you have darkness of your own to overcome, I invite you to listen to the podcast that God sent me.
I will see you again my sweet Turkey Butted Baby. Until then, Mama is going to learn to shine for you. You are my light.