Love. Babies. Lessons.

2017, and all it’s waves of good change, came crashing into a shore full of washed up lessons. I knew I was in a place where I needed to value family more in my heart. I also knew I was in a place where I needed to surrender a specific stronghold of bitterness but I didn’t know how. All the big blessings came and it wasn’t until the end of the year that I would realize how God was going to use them.

15327388_10207641282331963_3824460975027479935_nIn December 2016, my husband Josh and I attended the “Gifts” course at The Father’s House. It was very eye opening! We were coming to the end of the time we’d been planning to wait to have a child together. Frustration was building because we weren’t where we thought we’d be to create the stability we wanted for that baby. At the end of the class someone prophesied over us that she saw some kind of change coming our way. She said “I don’t know if it’s a job, a car, a house, a baby?….” Josh and I both giggled with tears in our eyes thinking, all of those things God – all of those. In January after much crying out to the Lord we decided we would just start trying for a baby even though we were missing all of those things. We prayed over this child before she was here, we believed we were brought together to leave our legacy.

At the end of February, our very small legacy carrier was on the way. In March we decided to get a new vehicle (although, it was justified at the time to be used for Josh to work an extra job). In June, Josh was blessed with the job he’d been working so hard for. In October we moved into a bigger house JUST in time for a SURPRISE baby GIRL born November 5th. Anaiah is her name and it means “God Answered.”

And God answered it all, the need for a refocus and the bitterness. I have been working in the birth profession for nearly 5 years. Developing my knowledge over the years while witnessing how things do NOT happen the way they should in the hospitals had seriously taken its toll. I’d witnessed more coercion, abuse, and manipulation then I could begin to mention. All towards vulnerable parents who deserve to be respected during a time they will never forget. My work was (and still is) such a huge passion, as it was a mission to change things. As a childbirth educator, birth doula, and lactation educator/counselor, I was extremely focused on changing things as much as I could. Because of this imbalance, the anger that was developing – this drive started competing with my role as a mom, wife, and follower of Christ.

23415185_10210272206583425_3959298861373837751_oNot only was the gender of our baby a huge surprise (pretty much everyone guessed it was a boy besides Pastor Dan), but her birth and my postpartum experience was as well. A planned homebirth resulted in a hospital birth. A determination to breastfeed better this time came crashing down. I spent about the first six weeks of Anaiah’s life wrestling with the fact that a decision I’d made 5 years ago had completely ruined my ability to breastfeed.

When I birthed Anaiah in the hospital it was a pretty hilarious experience from an outsider’s perspective. I was SO tense and ready to fight that I was barking orders with thirty seconds to spare between contractions. I finally relaxed and started being more frank with my communication. For example, when we attempted to express our desire for Josh to help deliver the baby, the nurse said “oh, we don’t do that here. Maybe if I ask the doctor, but probably not.” I nodded as she spoke, smiled, and responded “okay, thank you for telling us all of that but just so you know – we’re probably just going to do what we want to do.” Can you imagine her face? Ha! It turned out that we just began to deliver our baby ourselves with no one else in the room to ensure we got what was so important to us. Josh even snapped a picture of her coming out with both our hands on her head.

As weird as that may sound to most readers, that was a miraculous moment we’ll never forget. Our family, all connected in the miracle of life. So together. I realized that the big mean scary monster the hospital had become was actually none of that to each individual family I help. I learned that it’s actually not that difficult to communicate your desires. And you can even have some fun with it! I no longer needed to carry such a biter burden for all these families. Now I can teach them without fear!

26685212_10210684610613268_2840468400181914057_oThe postpartum experience wasn’t as much of a quick lesson. I could never fully describe the level of guilt I carried. Can you imagine learning your baby was sick and starving and you didn’t even know? And literally because you made an ignorant and selfish choice to take away her nutrition? Weeks and weeks of desperation trying to make milk. Weeks and weeks of mourning a loss that was so incredibly important to me. I likened the emotional expense to some of the most traumatic things I’ve experienced in life. I looked back on the birth and said to myself, if I could pick being able to breastfeed and trade it for a traumatic birth experience – I would. My priorities were totally shifting. Bonding with and nourishing my baby for what could’ve been a year or two (or more!) was realized as WAY more important than a one-time experience together. As I moved through these thoughts and cried and cried every step of the way, my husband was right by my side. He held me tight as I broke into pieces. We’ve never been through something so difficult before. He taught me how much we need each other. It might be safe to assume, I’ve taught him the same. His new job has been difficult, to say the least, and I’ve been right by his side as well.

All these changes, all these blessings, all these lessons. I already knew I needed to value family more, but I didn’t know how. I already knew I didn’t need to harbor bitterness, but I didn’t know how to get rid of it. Welcome, little baby Anaiah. Such a small person carrying such great truths which “God has answered.” Bitterness was built up in fear, fear was the driving force of distraction against focusing on love. God already said, “There is no fear in love, perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18 Of course, oxytocin lives on as cortisol diminishes and Love wins again.


26756917_10210720229663722_1296659016472475728_oKaren and Josh Brann have been married 18 months. Karen brought two precious girls to their union, Natanya and Mikayla. Their family recently celebrated the birth of a third daughter, Anaiah. Karen has been a childbirth educator, birth doula, and lactation educator/counselor for the last 5 years, helping women and families experience their best birth. Empowering women is part of her life’s biggest purpose now.  She is relentless in giving moms the information she lacked. Not only with HypnoBirthing, but also in how to have a positive hospital birth and how to be successful in breastfeeding.

Learning Adaptability in the Unexpected

I had my doubts about having kids since my first marriage in 2001. My first husband and I were married five years, and I never had the “urge.” My clock wasn’t ticking—perhaps I was missing batteries. We divorced, and I went into a downward spiral of reckless dating, selfish ambitions, traveling, sex, booze and rock ‘n’ roll. I did what I wanted when I wanted. I was in an identity crisis that would last me seven years. I don’t regret all the time I journeyed through this wonderland rabbit hole, but I presume it could have been less painful. I was struggling, and it took me a long time to unravel my responsibilities.

I met my Vince in 2009 during an event that my best friend, Victoria Thomas, and I were coordinating for the community. It was called Justice Day, human trafficking awareness. He was the sound guy. Sparks flew, and we were inseparable. We eloped 12 months later.

Our relationship started off rough. He had a divorce and two kids. I had a divorce. He had his own struggles. I was in my identity crisis struggling with insecurity, bonding issues, mother wounds and father wounds. I was abused by a female when I was young and therefore struggled with sexual identity issues. I couldn’t keep close female friends and misplaced myself among men. I have a long line of sexual predators, sexual abuse victims, three murders and a lot of emotional detachment in my ancestry. What a legacy! To top it all off, I would have gone rushing back into the arms of my ex-husband at the drop of a hat. Perfect recipe for a happy marriage.

In 2012 Vince and I decided to renew our vows. Life was “surface-peachy” until one month before our renewal when my ex-husband suddenly passed away. I went into a deep depression. I lost my mind. Then, as I was well-trained to do, I stuffed it as far down as I could. I smiled and went on planning my beautiful vow renewal.

Two days after my vow renewal (which was lovely), my cup runneth over. I got our cell phone bill and WHAMMY. It showed me that Vince was corresponding with another cell phone user way more than me. I went into a panic attack, and I was spinning out of control. When I got in touch with Vince, he slowly confessed his need for an unbiased connection—I was in my basket of stuff, and he needed an outlet. Amid the news of the emotional affair, Vince also admitted his closet drinking to numb his pain. We were in bad shape. We did the only thing we hadn’t done yet: We exposed ourselves to our pastors, ran to Jesus, dove into community, became very vulnerable, booked into counseling and lay in ICU for the next year.

After a year of intensive work, we said our little prayer: “God, we are making plans, but please direct our steps. Amen.” And then scheduled a vasectomy for Sept. 9. However, two days before the procedure, my period was late. I took a pee test and WHAMMY. What the heck?! No way. Holy schnikies, PINK. Oh Lord. (I didn’t really respond too much.)

I thought for sure I would miscarry and this whole thing would end. There was no way I could bond with a baby. I didn’t have the capacity. I was barely out of intensive care. The kicker came when I saw she was a girl! I went home, sat alone and I lost my cookies. It was the first and last time I cried in anger about my pregnancy. It came with a vengeance. Wailing. I was so mad at God: “How could He do this?! I would never bond with a girl! She would end up a victim. How would I protect her in this family legacy? This was horrid. God is cruel.”

The rest of my pregnancy I was completely detached and “un”expecting. Livvy Lou Luchetta came into the world May 23, 2014, at 42 weeks and 1 day gestation. The day after she was born, I was smitten. I cried and cried. I fell in love—deep love. I found compassion. I found a new understanding. I finally understood love. I began to forgive people. I started seeing things through new eyes. God even started to heal my relationship with my own mom. And I could bond! This was a creative, unexpected, miracle blessing from God.

When we had Livvy, Vince and I were so blessed to have five weeks off together. During that time, we found new direction. We decided that both of us needed to raise Livvy. We would do whatever possible to bring her a simple, organic life, loving God and loving people. Her mom and dad would share the intentional task of resourcing her life into adulthood. Vince and I both changed our work hours down to part-time and simplified our expenses. We made purposeful, value-driven decisions to shrink the gap of disconnect between what we want and what we have. The path we have chosen for our family is not easy, but it’s life-giving and fruitful.Luchetta Family photos

Not everyone can copy what we have done, but anyone can bring their own vision closer to reality by taking intentional steps. You may be surprised by the unexpected. I hope that my days with Livvy will be life-giving and teach her adaptability in a world of unexpected outcomes. Her life has taught me that very lesson.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bethany Bio photoBethany Luchetta has been doing Real Estate for the last 10 years. She is currently a business owner and Real Estate Broker for Feel Good Property Management & Sales in Carlsbad, California. She has been married for 5 years to her hubby-poo, Vincent. Together they have a vibrant toddler, Livvy Lou. They are also blessed with Vince’s two older daughters, Paige (11) and Makayla (15). Bethany loves to write and will one day return to finish her degree in Marriage and Family Therapy so she can help other families navigate the adventures of life.

The Source of My Worth

Identity in Christ. This is an area I fought and struggled with when Joe and I first started attending The Father’s House in January 2004. I was far too concerned with what others thought of me and felt that I needed to look and do everything perfectly to have value. Learning the lesson that my value lies simply in being a daughter of the King was something that I grew to feel confident in, and because I had struggled so greatly, it’s an area I’ve devoted a good amount of time in prayer for my own daughters.

I thought this was a battle that I had fully conquered (with God’s beautiful and loving help, of course), until I became pregnant with my 5th daughter. I am usually sick in my pregnancies until around 16 weeks, so when it hadn’t worn off by week 20 I started initially to feel just kinda bummed. Then around week 24 I was suddenly hit with depression. I prayed and asked some people to be praying for me. Then our precious Lord so sweetly helped me to realize the source of my depression. In one word it was worthlessness.

You see, I take great delight in serving my family and taking care of them. I also love to help others through bringing gifts and meals, and here I was, pretty much full time sick in bed for six months. I hadn’t been able to do the things that I so greatly enjoy doing, so I was not only mourning that but also realizing that I had an unhealthy worth attached to it. There is nothing like being sick in bed for months to really check the source of your worth if you enjoy taking care of others as I do.

In my private crying out to the Lord and through some texting with a close friend, I was able to see this precious lesson the Lord was teaching me through this time. I am a daughter of the most high King and even if I was to never again be able to serve my family or anyone else in this life, my value is just the same. It cannot be earned or even maintained. It simply is because that is how my precious God made it to be.

My friend encouraged me to soak up this forced time of rest and let my children learn to serve me and our family the way that I had always done. This was a huge turning point for me. Being able to lie still without guilt is huge! I mean, there is always a to-do list that’s miles long that I can never seem to accomplish, and now I am lucky if I cross one thing off my list in a day. Lying in bed directing traffic may sound wonderful to some, but it was misery for me. I’m learning to embrace it, though. I see the value in my children learning to work hard around the house and grow in compassion for me and for each other. I cannot tell you how precious it is when I receive texts from my teenager asking if I’m doing ok, or when any of them willingly doing more than their fair share to help around the house. Even my 2-year-old notices when I’m especially sick and lays her sweet little hands on me and prays.

Believe me, it isn’t always this picture perfect, but I can look at all God has been accomplishing through this time (not to mention growing a sweet little baby girl) and feel content. I trust my God so completely. He has proven himself trustworthy time and time again. No trial ever has been or ever will be wasted.

So may I encourage you, if you’re feeling down on yourself in a certain area, cry out to God about it. Get prayer from a trusted friend and/or elder at church. All He wants is to bring you into more freedom so you can fully feel and express His love to this dying world. I pray right now, sweet sister who is reading this, that God, the greatest gentleman ever, would so sweetly show you an area where you might have undue attached worth. I pray that he would bring healing to any hurt you have in that area, and that you would trust it to Him. Amen. You are beautiful and oh so loved, precious daughter of the King! I pray you know it deep within your heart and live each day confidently in that knowledge.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

unnamed-2My name is Andrea Pinner. I’ve been married to my handsome husband for 16 years. We got married shortly before we both turned 20 and it’s been a challenging and beautiful ride. God has used our complete opposite personalities and giftings to bring great refinement and glory to Himself. We have four wonderful daughters and I’m pregnant with our 5th daughter due in January. I am passionate about sharing the love of Christ practically with those around me, and encouraging women in the struggles we all face so we can overcome them in Christ.