Holding her on the other side.

March 15, 2017


Just over a year ago I took a pregnancy test. It confirmed what I already knew, and the tears streamed down my cheeks as I sat alone on the bathroom floor. You probably even remember when I wrote about it. This would be my 5th baby, and what I would soon find out is that I was already two months along. Little Rocco was only 7 months old. The tears that flowed were from waves of doubt, fear, and anxiety and I felt like I was about to drown in the unknown….

A short 6 months later, a tiny little flower arrived early, and instantly took root in 6 hearts. Azelie (meaning flower in Hebrew) would bring with her a happiness we never thought could exist within us. Never have I been so aware of my human weakness throughout the past year, but I also saw God’s strength carry me in a way I had never experienced. And now I hold Azelie on the other side of it all. After the storm, the light burst through, broke my heart wide open and it bleeds gratitude.


I wouldn’t be able to count the ways we love this little one. Gabe was thinking aloud the other day how Azelie has pulled him through some very difficult days this year. It has been the same for me. She brings so much peace to our home, and her gummy smile beams right through us. Yes, life with 5 little ones is probably what you would imagine it to be…..messy, noisy, and sometimes chaotic. I mean, I just got done with a double round of homework guiding while making dinner with a baby strapped to my chest. It is hard stuff. It is often thankless. It is usually exhausting. But I would still choose it every day for even a fraction of the joy and perspective that they have brought me.

I wanted to share this little update in case you are in the middle of something similar in any shape or form. Azelie is a reminder for me that even in the dark moments of our life where we feel alone, there is an opportunity for a greater story to unfold. There is always light waiting at the end of the tunnel, and if we make room for the unimaginable, there is often something we cannot even fathom waiting on the other side.


*First and last photo by Morgan Blake

Leave a Comment

  • Jennifer

    Love your heart 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  • Anna, I just love you so much. You are such a wonderful and inspiring woman and mother. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart so freely here.

    Now if you’d just like to move next door to me, that’d be great.

    • It still makes my stomach turn to push publish – ha! Thank you Janssen. If we were neighbors I’d come kiss that sweet new baby of yours! x

  • Such a heartfelt blog post. Could really, really feel your emotions. 🙂

  • This is so beautiful!! I was just remembering today the total fear I felt as a (relatively) newlywed, aged 20, I saw the positive pregnancy test. But now that “baby” is about to graduate from high school!!! And she is absolutely one of my best friends. <3

  • Thank you for this. It’s so important to remember how beautiful life is and how joy can come from the darkest times. Thanks for sharing. And thanks for being a great mom.

    • Thank you so much Natalie. It’s hard to remember when you are in the thick of it, so I wish I could have had a glimpse of this in those first days of feeling so overwhelmed.

  • Thank you, because I AM there right now, number 5 on the way. You provide good perspective as well as the reminder of the joy that awaits! Now to make it through the next year… 🙂 I love following your posts ❤️

    • Sasha, it’s a tough point to be in, but you will be amazed by how much your other little ones mature and adapt. I’ve been so proud of each of mine as they step up to proudly own their job as big brother or sister:) x

  • So good Anna. She’s a beautiful gift, thank you for sharing your story!

  • Regina Kelly

    Thank you so much for sharing! This is just what I needed to hear.

  • This spoke to me more than you know. Our #4 was very much planned, but I ended up with severe PPD after her birth, which I’d never experienced before. The entire year was a struggle, but now she turns 1 next week and I feel like I understand God’s plan in all that happened. Her sweetness and gentleness have balanced out an incredibly difficult time, and now I can finally look ahead to finding joy in my motherhood again.
    Sending you and your family all my love. Your words bring me a sense of peace and I love coming over here for inspiration! xoxo

    • Anna, PPD is such an isolating experience, and I can only imagine how dark that time felt. It’s hard to see past those days when we are in the thick of it. So happy you are able to find the light again. Thank you for reading. x

  • Nancy Palmer

    I am crying as I’m reading this. What a beautiful love story. I am blessed to know you. I send you all my love and prayers.

  • Christina

    ❤️????? all the hearts!

  • Such bright and beautiful words! Thank you for sharing your family with us!

  • Beautiful! Congratulations on your baby, your growing family and for allowing Faith to always win.


  • Oh Anna, I loved reading this post so much. While my situation is much different than yours in that I only have two, it’s been a tough past year between Emmett’s epilepsy diagnosis at seven months, Essley starting preschool and activities, and the fact that my husband is on the road with the band for half the year so it’s just me here doing it all. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed to the point of tears, but at the same time I am profoundly grateful, and so happy. It’s hard to put into words, but you did it so well. Love you friend!

  • She is such a sweet light for you and your family! I’m so happy for you guys!


  • this could not be more beautiful or true! so wonderfully written, my friend! Glory to God!

  • So beautiful. God knows our hearts and what we need before we even do. How amazing is that?! It doesn’t mean it’s always easy, but oh how He showers us with the grace we need. Stay strong momma. Always a joy reading your blog. <3

  • Oh my word, this post gives me goosebumps–the very best kind. So beautifully said, thank you for sharing. You’re a wonderful mother and your family is just the dang sweetest. xo

  • That was really sweet.
    I was coming to your site today to see your preferences on baby wearing. I can’t find anything on it specifically but then to said you were cooking with your baby strapped to you. Which wrap/carrier/sling do you find you use most? I just seem to trust your opinions since you’ve done it 5 times! ?

  • Thanks for sharing such an honest post!

  • Ummmm hi. I needed to read this today. I cannot fathom what five babies feels like for you, so I won’t try to level with you on that one. But I will say that having two babies (2.5 years and 3months) is giving me the hardest challenge of my life and I have no idea how other women manage this gig. It is the most humbling, sacrificial and beautiful thing I have ever done, and my time is best put into these gorgeous little people that I have the privilege to parent. But whoa, Anna. I often think of you (is that weird? It’s internet life though), wondering how you manage your home life with grace and still keep your blog a priority. The balance and discipline you keep up is astounding. But it inspires me to continue to run my race as my own pace, not looking to the left or right, and saying no to most things so the “yes” can be to the health and investment of my family. Grateful for your words of encouragement and inspiration to keep running to good race, with complete abandon of my own strength and total reliance of Gods sufficiency and grace. You’re amazing, lady! Thanks for continuing to create an uplifting space here in IHOD! Xox

    • Kristen! I can’t believe I am just now responding! This made me laugh because I totally have dreams that involve internet friends sometimes- ha! Thank you for reading and your encouraging words. I am still learning balance and discipline because sometimes I don’t feel like adulting;) but also seeing how much it can benefit my children when I stay the course! To God be every praise because only in Him have I been able to stay afloat and find joy. Much love- you are doing good and beautiful work friend!

  • Thank you for sharing this post with your honesty and open heart. Right now, with my four little ones, I can recognize my daily life through your words. The difficult times but also the great moments.
    Especially all the inner peace I feel when I go to say good night to each of them just before going to bed. Seeing these 4 little angels and kissing their cheek, smelling their neck and hearing them breathing – every night I measure how life is such a miracle, and how gifted I am to have my husband and my kids.

  • She is beautiful and what a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing! It’s often hard to imagine what life has in store when things don’t go as planned but often God knows what we need more than we do (coming from a mama who also had an unexpected little miracle- though not quite so close in age).

  • Leigh-Anne

    Thank you for this honest testimony of the fear that creeps into those precious first moments of motherhood. I have felt them too…how will I do it? How will this affect us all? Etc… What I love most about your story and so many others like it is the total redeeming grace that is given to us when we say “yes” to life. Life gives LIFE! Prayers for you and your family!

  • Your words! They always bring such joy and happiness to me after reading them. I can’t tell you enough how inspiring you are to me as currently I am moving right along into my second trimester with my first and just going thru the waves of emotions. I love your family pics and hope that one day I will get to be where you are with your adorable loving family, along with feeling the way that you all do towards one another. Thank you for always sharing your heart 🙂

  • Oh jeez!! So beautiful ❤️❤️

  • Beautiful family. I had my last child at almost 39 and my eldest child was 16. He has been a blessing. You will be alright.

  • Thank you for this! You are an amazing and beautiful inspiration to follow. I was in your same shoes with my fourth. We had just moved to a new town with three kids, the oldest being only 4.5 and the youngest being 6 months old and I found out I was pregnant with number 4. I was shocked and scared and depressed. But now 2 years later it was the best “accident” that could have happened and I’d do it all over again in a second. Same as you I find myself wishing time would slow down. Thank you for sharing you thoughts with us as it’s comforting to find people who you can relate to.

  • Stephanie

    Loved reading this! I can totally relate. My youngest just turned one when we found out we were pregnant with our fifth baby. We were so shocked! But as I tucked her into bed the other night staring at her in her crib, my heart so full of love for her. She is such a blessing in our family and we all love her so much! God always knows what he’s doing! ☺

  • As a mom of four, I so hear you especially about the messy, noisy, and chaotic part! It is hard stuff but I cannot imagine it any other way. Your words are so inspiring and uplifting! You have a beautiful family. xo

    Taffeta & Tulips

  • WOW Beautiful how you express your thoughts and emotions. I’m happy with my first son, but struggling to think on having a second one, which I know my husband would be so so much happier, but it just feels so overwhelming, and a bigger responsibility to carry. Thank you for your words, and showing the bright side of motherhood, and 5 children.
    Carolina MJ http://www.dearbabymj.com

  • It is so true that babies bring so much joy to our lives – the ‘hard’ is always worth it – a message we don’t often hear in the world.

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