“My daughter was born three weeks ago with Down Syndrome” | A Mother’s Journey, part 17

Note: The following two entries in my mom’s journal are hard. They’re sketchings from the road, not perfect prose written from comfort. Please be sure to read both…

Jonathan Trotter

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February, 1993

My daughter was born 3 weeks ago with Down Syndrome. I can’t write about it yet. It’s too fresh — it hurts so bad inside. I can’t believe we’ve experienced this twice — sticky chromosomes!

Wondered if Elisabeth Elliot ever cried out, “Again?!” I have to go through this pain and grief again?! Please God, NO! I don’t want to! Teach someone else — haven’t I learned the lessons I was supposed to learn? Have I been that stubborn?

Whatever.

I need to read Job. I’m not asking for answers. I do need comforting. I feel so fragile, so scared. I feel like I have to have this fake front — so everyone else will be OK — Mark, the kids, everyone.

It’s like,

“Someone took a knife, edgy and dull, and cut a six inch valley through the middle of my soul.” — Bruce Springsteen

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July, 1993

Now it’s been six months, and tears are still streaming down my face as I read the last entry. I’ve read this whole book and here I am again in God’s waiting room. My daughter is precious, gentle, sweet.

I thought today how easy it will be for her to be Christlike. In fact, the words he uses to describe himself are “mild and lowly” and I thought of all the words to describe Downs — loving, trusting, gentle — all synonyms for Jesus.

And I’m ashamed that I am so sad about her not being what I wanted. Twice when I wrote out prayer requests I could not write “healthy” baby; just “baby.”

It was like I felt God might want to show us another “gift” and I didn’t want to seem ungrateful for what might be God’s best for our family. However I felt like I’d been hit hard — slapped down.

And then a guy at church says, “Are you going to risk it again?” As if we were going to Las Vegas!

 

A Mother’s Journey: Table of Contents

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When Strongholds Fall | A Mother’s Journey, part 16

April 13, 1992

Fourteen months have passed. I’m within six pounds of my target weight. I went to Nutri-system. For the most part I’ve not felt deprived — in fact I’ve felt so much better — low sodium, low fat.

A stronghold is something Satan says is impossible that God never said was impossible. I had let this become a stronghold in my life. I feel so sad because I feel like it kept me from wanting to be pregnant and have more children. I think that was Satan’s aim. Finally, I asked God what He wanted me to weigh. What was his plan for my body? Was it possible to have another baby? So far, no baby. But God has shown me that weight loss is a possibility — something I had denied.

Denial, what a huge word that keeps us from the truth about ourselves. I’m still shocked when I see pictures of myself — somehow I don’t ever picture myself that fat! I carry around an image a thinner me, even when the facts aren’t so! I pray that this month, April, I’ll see my goal. As I’ve gotten closer to my goal I’ve gotten lax about my eating, almost as though I’m scared to reach my goal. What will I concentrate on then? Where will all my guilt go? The feelings I’ve felt since I was 13, where will they go? The “I’m fat — I need to be on a diet” thoughts.

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I have unsuccessfully tried to lose weight all these years with discipline (unsuccessfully!). But by obedience, it has been possible. What a revelation! I’ve always felt a need to live a disciplined life, but a frustration about how to do it. But obedience? That’s different; I can do that.

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November 10, 1992

I got pregnant two weeks after the last entry. I wonder if God was using that time to teach me something. We had tried for 11 months and I really thought it wouldn’t happen again. I’m gaining weight as usual, but I don’t feel any despair about it. I know it will come off quickly after the baby is born. I’m confident that I can diet — aha! No more strongholds. Hallelujah!

A Mother’s Journey — table of contents

“Powerless over food” | a Mother’s Journey, part 15

February 19, 1990

[Note: These entries are out of chronological order in her journal, with a note from mom that these were “transferred notes.”]

To admit that I am powerless over food is difficult. The facts would say that I am — the fact that I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to lose 20 pounds would indicate a lack of self control. I keep saying to myself, 1) my metabolism has slowed down, 2) I’ve been pregnant 4 times, 3) I didn’t lose the weight after Laura, 4) I don’t get enough exercise (it’s not my fault, I don’t have time!). I’ve been saying these things for the past 10 years. I do not want to diet and count calories. I’ve felt depressed in the past when I’ve done this, and yet that is the solution I’m coming to: self-discipline. I’m scared of it. Self-denial. I don’t want to deny myself of food; it’s comforting.

Please God, help me to put these things together to lose 30 pounds. Show me and teach me self-discipline and self-denial in the area of food. Please change my desires. Help my desire to be thin to be greater than my desire for cookies, ice cream, and candy.

Let me see this as an exercise to learn from you about what you desire for me. Teach me how you want me to eat, teach me your attitude about food for my body.

A Mother’s Journey — table of contents

We’ve Been Homsechooling! | a Mother’s Journey, part 14

From the journals of Kerry Trotter

January 13, 1992

I can’t believe I haven’t written in 2 and 1/2 years! We’ve been homeschooling!

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January 14, 1992

Jonathan was showing Corrie pictures of Laura. Corrie said, “I was sad when Laura died.” Jonathan said, “but you weren’t born when Laura died.” Corrie said, “but I was sad with God in heaven when Laura died.”

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February 14, 1992

I’ve been going to Nutri-System for 7 weeks. I have lost 13 pounds and am grappling with all the feelings that go with being fat.

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A Mother’s Journey – table of contents

Called to Homeschool | a Mother’s Journey, part 13

From the journals of Kerry Trotter.

September 10, 1989

We have been led by God’s Spirit to homeschool, I believe. But such criticism! Today a woman at church told me that she believed I was doing the wrong thing. I tried to say I was doing it because I knew it was what God wanted for us and not something I wanted.

She really didn’t understand. She said I was isolating my kids (ha! Gymnastics, baseball, ballet, soccer, jazz, neighborhood, church, and always extra kids at the house — yesterday, six!)

Anyways, she said Jesus always blended, and I thought, Jesus didn’t leave home and begin his ministry till he was 30!! She said our kids should learn to stand alone — I believe that!! That’s why I’m homeschooling.

I was a little surprised that someone would say I was doing the wrong thing.

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A Mother’s Journey – table of contents

Every Day is Precious | a Mother’s Journey, part 12

From the journals of Kerry Trotter.

July, 1989

Corrie is one year old today! This has been one of the happiest years of my life. Probably it has been so sweet because it followed the saddest, hardest year of my life. I have enjoyed watching her grow with more appreciation for the miracle of life and good health.

Jonathan and Kathryn have such a zest for life and are both such robust kids and I do not take it for granted like I might have had we not had Laura. I’ve enjoyed everything about having a baby. Even the nights.

When I thought I might never get to experience the joy of holding a  newborn or rocking a baby to sleep, I ached so for the time I had wasted (or not appreciated) with Jonathan and Kathryn.

With Corrie, every day has been so precious, made so I think by the knowledge of how fast they are passing. She will never be this age again — I will never have this day again and it has made me savor this time with her.

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A Mother’s Journey: table of contents

Joy in the Morning | A Mother’s Journey, part 11

From the journals of Kerry Trotter

July 17, 1988

“Joy came in the morning,” with the birth of Corrie Trotter.

A perfectly healthy baby girl. I felt as if the Empire State Building had been lifted off my shoulders… such relief! I stared at her immediately after birth while they were checking her and just couldn’t believe how happy I was. I really feel like I am the happiest person in the world.

Heather came to the hospital about 1:30am and spent some time with us in our room. It was such a special time. We left the hospital at about 12:15 and got home at 1pm the same day. It was great to be home. I felt like it was a dream, that I might wake up and it would be over.

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July 22, 1988

Psalm 25:17. God has freed me from my anguish, affliction and distress. I’m so happy. I feel so free. Free to walk, free to think calmly. I guess you can’t know such freedom until you’ve gone without it. It seems I had been without it for about fifteen months.

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Part 1