A Big Blog Update

We’ll have to start by apologizing for having such time between posts! Life has been quite quick since arriving here in the States and time has simply escaped. We have lots to update you on, so bare with us, as this post may be lengthy. :)

Theo Declan McGaughey

As most of you probably know, we had our fifth baby!! Theo Declan McGaughey arrived a couple of weeks early and rather quickly on September 29th. Man oh man, is he a sweet baby boy! We have a whole crew of kiddos totally smitten with their new baby brother… He’s a blessed little man to have so many who love him and who fight over who gets to sit next to him in the van! :) The Lord was very gracious to me surrounding his arrival. I had prayed specifically for three different things– that I’d go into labor without induction, that I’d make it to the hospital in time (my labor+delivery was an hour from start to finish with Asher!), and that we’d have four hours prior to birth at the hospital (the length of time needed to administer the IV antibiotics I needed). My water broke around 1 a.m. (a few days before the scheduled induction), we were checked in and put in a room at 2:30a.m. and the IV was started, and Theo entered the world at 6:28a.m., just two minutes before the four hour mark! Is God good or what?! There were several little hiccups post-delivery for the both of us- an infection for me, an infection for him, jaundice, and discovering that he was born with the same heart condition that I have, but we received outstanding care and were so thankful to finally get to bring him home at six days old. I’ll expound on his heart condition in a moment, but there are a few other things to catch up on first!

School, kids, work, etc.

First, after two crazy weeks of non-stop packing with tons of help from dear friends on the island, we got all of our earthly belongings shoved into a warehouse on the island, deep cleaned the house we’d called home for nearly two years, and spent two glorious nights at the Marriott relaxing as a family and enjoying time with friends before flying across the ocean and hitting the ground running in the good ole USA.

We got here at 1a.m. Sunday morning, saw our families Sunday afternoon, enrolled our kids in school on Monday, and then they started attending on Tuesday. Talk about a whirlwind– for all of us! But, despite the chaos of it all, it was just about the most seamless transition of all time! They jumped right back in to their old school as though they’d never left, and we were so so thankful for that. Corban joined the cross country team and absolutely loved it, and really excelled at it. It was amazing to watch him compete!! All three of the older kids are participating in AWANA at church on Wednesday nights, and they look forward to it every week. The girls have enjoyed making new friends in their new grades and all of them just love school. We are really grateful! Asher is doing great, adjusting to the cold weather and his new role as big brother, and loved getting to celebrate his second birthday with a party full of family and some friends! :)

Jordan has had no shortage of opportunities to serve and work and be involved. He’s teaching seventh grade Bible at the school, teaching Numbers at the Bible college, and was mowing weekly for a friend’s mowing company. He’s taught Sunday service a couple of times at Horizon, once at Calvary Chapel Crawfordsville, has taught youth group, and has lead some different Bible studies as well. He’s also helped out with Brickhouse Coffee, and has continued to meet with and invest in some young men, amongst various other things. I (Kristen) have enjoyed getting to have playdates with friends, do some photo sessions, have the college students over for game nights, have people over for dinner, etc. Collectively as a family, we have so loved being so close to our families, getting to see them nearly every weekend, and also back by so many friends. It has been really sweet!

A New Season:

With that quick recap of the last few months out of the way, we want to now bring you up to date with something that’s been in the making for months… We believe our time in St. Kitts has come to a close. It has been months of praying through this decision and it’s been incredibly hard, but we are certain that this is the way the Lord is leading our family. As you can imagine, there is so much that goes into this. Beginning in June, we began sensing that a change was coming and began praying through what that might mean. We left St. Kitts in August with every intention of returning (which is why all of our belongings are in storage there!). As time progressed, however, it became more and more apparent that we were to stay here in the U.S.. There are a lot of factors that feed into this, but in large part has to do with our family as a whole. There were so many really wonderful things about life on the island, school on the island, the season as a whole!– but there were also lots of hard. Our kids did exactly one day of class at Horizon before the questions began… “Can we please not go back? Can we please stay here forever? Do we really have to return to St. Kitts?” … Of course, just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not right, but as the days passed and we continued to wait and pray and consider, the well-being of our family was certainly on the forefront. (Please hear our hearts in this– This was not the first go round of these questions or comments from them. We met them the same way as we had each time previously, explaining that we hear them, we love them, and will continue to pray, but ultimately that we have to follow Jesus and what He has for us, even when it’s hard or uncomfortable or not what seems ideal). We began really praying specifically about whether or not we were to return, and began seeking counsel concerning it all as well. And then, Mr. Theo was born.

I will spare you many details about Long QT syndrome (click on that for a general overview), but we found out when Theo was just 48 hours old that he has it, and he appears to have a more serious case of it at this point in time. The length of your QT interval can determine risk involved, and he falls into the ‘high risk’ category. Furthermore, there’s high risk of episode in infancy. He immediately began taking medicine (three times per day), but the type of medicine he takes can lower heart rate and blood pressure, and so you have to introduce it slowly. It’s taken quite a bit longer to get him to a safe dose than we originally thought it would because of how low his heart rates were. We were just at the cardiologist on Friday, and his QT interval read the longest it has been to date. We increased his medicine again (as we will be doing weekly for the next three weeks, and very frequently throughout this next year, as babies grow so much their first year of life), and he will also begin a second medication that he’ll take once a day. A long story made short- while it wouldn’t be impossible to be in St. Kitts with this heart condition (I have it and Cate has it, though hers is much more mild), there’s a lot of monitoring, a lot of medicine adjusting, and a lot of risk involved in this first year of life, and it is definitely the safest and wisest decision for his tiny little heart to be near his excellent cardiologist and the medical care available here, you know?

With all that said, phew!, here we are. Jordan and I (and baby Theo) plan to return to the island the end of December to empty our stuff from storage and sell it all (minus a few keepsakes and some clothing). Jordan plans to spend a couple more weeks there to wrap things up on island. From there… we just aren’t terribly sure what is next. :) We are still praying through what’s to come, though we do plan to be here in Indianapolis, the kids in school and serving and attending church at Horizon. We would so love prayer for direction as we enter into this new season!

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I’d love if we could sit down with each one of you, both in St. Kitts and here stateside and tell of what the last (almost) three years have been for us. From the moment we said we were going to make the move in February 2013, we have been met with such incredible support, love, encouragement from the body of Christ. We learned tangibly that the Church has little to do with a building. We learned what it means to be sustained by prayer. We were blown away and so humbled by peoples sacrificial giving on our behalf. We saw daily what it looks like to be loved and supported in the numerous ways we were cared for both near and far. The lessons we learned as a family… learning to trust the Lord, learning what it means for Him to be our Provider, seeing so clearly our lack of faith and lack of trust and the Lord meeting us there… We weathered some of the roughest storms we’ve encountered as a husband and wife and as parents. We questioned at times the decision we’d made to step out. I cried more tears that first year than nearly any other year of my life! We were broken into once and stolen from several times. I cooked a family of live mice in my kitchen stove, for crying out loud! :) The hard seemed insurmountable for me some weeks. We came to the end of our resources and the end of ourselves and yet, the Lord showed Himself strong over and over.

And even still, and already, we look back on this season (that is perhaps shorter than we’d anticipated it being) as some of the sweetest times of our life. Jordan was teaching at a church just this morning, and I couldn’t stop the tears as he spoke of St. Kitts. I never dreamed (in those hard moments) that my heart would be so conflicted on returning to America, but we really had made home there. There are so many there that we love and care for and long to be with. It was so sweet to watch our kids fight through the hard and come out doing well. We’d found good rhythms and new routines and learned how to really live on the island and we came to love that tiny little rock in a way that I can’t explain. The last few weeks, I’ve found myself doing lots of reflecting and I keep landing at the same place: I am just so thankful that the Lord led us there and allowed us the opportunity to go. The twenty months that we were on the island will undoubtedly shape the rest of our lives. We met people who will always be a part of our family. We got the chance to serve alongside our best friends again. Our kids were given the chance to attend school in another country, to experience another culture, to live by the ocean— but way more importantly, to see the Lord provide and sustain in ways that we’d not yet experienced in America. We have been changed by our time in St. Kitts and while it is so sweet to be back by our families and friends… it’s also really hard to be leaving the island.

I have said it repeatedly and yet no where near enough- but to those who’ve read and prayed and supported and encouraged and checked in and kept up with us… thank you. We would not have been able to go, to stay, to serve, to return without you. To be entrusted with your offerings, for you to have sacrificed on our behalf, for your commitments to pray and faithfulness to serve our family- the Lord has used you in ways you may never realize. We are forever grateful for your obedience to the Lord and your kindness to our family.

We would so appreciate prayer as we continue to seek the Lord for what is next for our family. We will keep you updated as we make decisions and step into new roles here in the States. But also, would you please join with us in praying for St. Kitts? For the island as a whole, for the Grayson’s who are still there serving, for Caribbean Christian Fellowship and it’s ministry and discipleship of both students and locals, for the group of young adults that became so dear to us, for the children we got to know and their families, for Maurice Hillier (our kids school), for those at the juvenile detention center where Jordan taught, the churches that Jordan got to lead discipleship training for…. I could go on and on. We got to witness the Lord do so much and know He has plans for that sweet nation.

Again, we are so grateful for you, for our time on the island, for the Graysons and the rest of our ‘island family’, for the locals who took us in and loved us, for all the mission teams that came down, for our families who loved us and supported us despite the ache of distance, for the Lord’s faithfulness to perform every single thing He promised. He’s so good to us…

I’ve had these lyrics running through my head for weeks now, and it seems like an appropriate way to conclude this post:

“You’re a good, good Father
It’s who You are, and I am loved by You…
You are perfect in all of your ways…”

Jesus is worthy,

The McGaugheys

Comments

  1. We’ve had the same song in our heads too!! He is such a good Father protecting us and taking care of us. We will be continually praying for you and your family.

  2. Brett Goodrich says:

    Love you guys.

  3. Praying mightily and trusting God will guide and provide.

  4. Peggy Grayson says:

    Love you guys. Praying for the family as God shows you His plans. I can’t wait to see Theo.

  5. grateful for you and love seeing you briefly on mondays. 😉 xo.

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