Friday, May 21, 2010

Side Journey or New Frontier?


In the midst of a whole lot going on in the Barlow household, a new adventure has claimed the limelight this past couple of weeks. I wish I could announce that we're beginning a new adoption journey, or heading off to do orphan work in Haiti, but that's not what God has in mind this week.

Instead, a long time issue with endometriosis has recently highlighted a more acute situation. Two weeks ago I had flank pain. The MD thought maybe a small kidney stone? Since abdominal pain is a part of my life so many days of the year already, I thought it might be related to that. A couple of ultrasounds and a little over a week later I found myself sitting in a surgeon's office discussing the inevitable.

The kidney is fine, but the rest is not. It's clear, it's time to end the condition. I'm a little "over-the-moon" at the prospect of an end to chronic pain, but the "rub" here is going to take a little more faith than we thought. I'm never a very big fan of surgery. My system doesn't like many of the drugs. It always takes faith & usually a whole lot of grace (on the medical team's part) to get me through! This venture, I'm afraid, requires the dauntless variety though. The faith that says "anything goes" and relishes it!

See, the ultrasound showed more than endometriosis this time. There is actually a gnarly-looking cyst that is covering my ovary, not an issue I've had before, and alot of other "gunk" going on. There is a risk of malignancy, and it's not the good kind.

So what to do? I feel like Sharon Hincke's ill-prepared character in the Restorer series, a "mom" transported to an unknown land and time, disoriented but alert, trembling, curious, with no idea what lies ahead or why I'm here. Yikes, Adventure!!

Tuesday's surgery will reveal a little more the course we're on. Quick side trip? or a whole new "galaxy"? I'm beholden to a Father that transcends them all and shares every journey with me. But let's face it - I'm a nurse, a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a friend...& a really terrible patient, so I'm a little bit scared!

Monday, May 17, 2010

A new (and by grace, improved!) ME.

It has been so long since I "wrote" anything of much importance to me that I found it interesting to sit down in an attempt to resurrect this dusty old blog. Reading through old posts, I saw myself from a distant place, at another angle, and in a filtered light. Familiar? Absolutely! But OH, so different in countless ways.

It would have been nice to be able to chronicle the deep journey that I, no, that WE have been on. However, despite the fact that I am tapping in patient documentation that rivals my old writing goals of 500-1000 words for my "day job", viewing the transformation from what was printed here has been worth the leave.

It's refreshing sometimes to see yourself change, grow, truly become the heroine in your own "life" story - yes that character wth interesting potential, but OH so far to go..... It strikes me as awesome that God is the writer of our lives.... of MY life! Ok, so that means that He get's to choose the tension and the obstacles to throw in my way. But it's all in order to best develop my ability to glorify Him in the story - that is so WAY much better than any book!!

I'm not sure what this blog will contain from here on out, but I pray it does glorify Him in everyway as the Master Character Craftsman and Writer of Life Stories that He is.

So, that pondering aside...what quite a few have been asking lately is "What are the Barlow's up too??" Well, that's a good question, it might be easier to answer what we aren't up to lately.
Ted is still not employed after 2.5 years. Rebecca is not writing, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping or chauffering kids as her daily adventure. Tania Grace is not sure what her future holds. Ana is no longer attending college. Tynan is NOT planning to be a homebody all of his life. The twins have stopped wreaking havoc, rarely argue and no longer hate school.

Why? Because that is where God has faithfully brought each of us over the past few years.

In fact, Ted has no plans for a career back in IT security! He's now a full-time entreprenuer - working through the start up process to roll out the first product for FiveTwo Ventures, our new company. I'm working full time in nursing, but from my home office as a maternity RN-case manager. We are both investing almost every minute of our spare time in our new role as orphan care leaders at church and orphan care advocates in general. We're also currently praying for God's guidance on future family additions. ????

As for the kids - Tania Grace is working hard, plugging away at classes & taking the time of separation from her special guy right now, as an opportunity to figure out exactly what she should pursue this next year of school. Ana graduated from university 2 days ago (our first!) and is leaving this week to live & work in Germany for a year. Tynan has plans to spend the summer working in France at a christian camp with my cousins, then will "fly the nest" this fall when he starts college life at LeTourneau University. Emma and Olivia are clearly growing into their separate identities at last, though both chose to return to New York for the summer to work at the Word of Life Inn and camps where our other cousins live! They will continue home schooling in the fall.

With so many different roles & directions, God has amazingly brought us together & laid the same ministry passions on each of our hearts at this time - caring for orphans and vulnerable children. I'm sure you can't imagine why that might seem like a surpise to anyone, since we do have 4 children that are internationally adopted. It has certainly risen to the surface in a steady manner the past few years, but we have been taken aback by how clearly His fresh call has fit into so much of the change and the trials in our lives recently. The root might have begun with wanting to grow our family initially, but at this stage God has turned our heads 180 degrees to see what is at the center of His heart, and we are radically different having had that view.

To quote a new acquaintance this past year...we are "recklessly abandoned & gloriously ruined"!

My goal is to try to get back to journaling the adventures of life - one because it helps me make sense of them sometimes as I write, but also to encourage others in need of freedom and hope to stand firm in the midst of precarious journeys too.