I came across a blog awhile ago that has caused such a huge stirring in my heart, both spiritually and emotionally. It seems many others have had the same thing happen once they start reading Michaela Evanow’s blog. Michaela writes in such an honest way, she truly has a beautiful way with words that you just connect to what you are reading. You will be moved.
The story she is sharing and the journey she is on with her family is incredible. I had the chance to get to ask her a few questions that were brought about from others who are also moved by her blog. I love that I get to share just a little bit more about Michaela, and of course a little about sweet Florence, with you.
Please share a little about yourself.
I met my husband in 2007, after returning from an overseas trip for a year. It was a very fast fall in love and get married kind of story. We married in October of 2008. He is perfect for me. We had Florence March 7 2012, and know that there are many great adventures ahead of us.
Why did you start to blog, and why do you continue to blog?
I started to blog many years ago, before I was married, and when I was traveling the world. Then I blogged about life and food, when I was newly married, and eventually ended up here, the the world of motherhood. I think the reason I gained a lot of readers in a short time is because many people were following my blog during my pregnancy, and then they walked through the journey of Florence’s diagnosis with me, as a new mama. People felt connected to us from the start. I’m blogging still because I love to write, and it’s my way of debriefing, it’s a journal and creative outlet. And it’s fuelling my dream of wanting to write a book.
What have you found to be the best and hardest part of being a Mom?
The best part is the hardest part: laying down your life for your child, praying for them, advocating on their behalf and yet balancing life as a wife too. In our home, my husband comes first, because we were first, and the reason Florence is here is because of us. We have to keep our marriage healthy.
What do you want people to know and understand about your daughter?
She is a precious little girl, trapped in a body that isn’t functioning properly (she was diagnosed with SMA 1). Her mind is untouched, her heart pure. She just has trouble moving her muscles. Children and adults with conditions and disabilities are a gift, and they deserve to live. They deserve a chance to be born, like all children.
Where does your strength come from?
My strength comes from Jesus. It’s not me. He has given me abundant grace to walk this journey, and not only that, He has spoken His promises over me: that this is not His will, that there isn’t always a reason for our pain, that He will make beautiful things from the dust, that He grieves with us too, that He isn’t trying to teach me or break me. And most importantly, that He is fighting for us.
What has helped you grow from a girl to a woman in Christian faith?
I was born into a wonderful, Christian family. But as many Christian kids discover, faith has to become your own, and you have to encounter God as a teenager or young adult. For me, traveling and serving in missions is what started my journey. My heart expanded from it’s “Western” cushy shell, and saw and experienced things that changed me. It ignited a thirst for justice in me, for seeing the wrong things made right.
As life went on, I had my ups and downs, but what really brought me to my knees was my own surgery. I was terrified and I knew my life would be altered from that point on. I had no choice, but to trust and to see Jesus in the midst. It took a long time. I was angry. And at 16, I felt a strong urge to rebel and get caught up in my own situation. I thought I had learned all my lessons and told God, “I’m not going through anything like this again. I’m done!”
But I wasn’t. I’m on the biggest journey yet, the hardest one too. It’s painful, so painful. But you know what, it’s changing me in ways I don’t understand. I can get angry at God, I can bash the Church or try and take it on by myself, but that’s not what my heart is telling me to do. My heart is looking for the good, for the holy, for redemption. And that’s found in Him. No matter what, my eyes are fixed on Jesus and the hope of heaven. No journey on this earth is going to satisfy my heart, especially now that it’s been broken by this world (not by God). I’m not of the belief that “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”, or He is trying to break me to put me back together. That first scripture has actually been taken out of context and I may share that on my blog at a later day. In any case, I’m seeing with new eyes now, and it’s the greatest gift. The things that used to matter, don’t matter anymore. I’m free, and I’m only free because of Jesus. And this learning journey will continue until I take my last breath.
Hebrews 13:14 says:
“For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come.”
There is hope. There is always hope in Him.
Favourite verse or quote?
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.
You show a love for travel in your blog, and have been to several places, what was your favourite destination and why?
Budapest, Hungary. This is the city I lived in for 3 months when I was 17. I was able to explore the history and the beauty of both Buda and Pest (they are two cities with the Danube separating them), eat the food, drink the coffee, ride the metro. It became a part of me, like so many things do when you are young and free and wild. I was able to take my husband back there a few years ago, before Florence, and again, burst into tears at the sight of the city. I can’t explain it, it’s just where I’ve left a big part of my heart.
The babushka dolls, where did your love for them come from?
I love Eastern Europe and always will. I first traveled there when I was fresh out of high school. Ever since then, the magical essence of those days is encapsulated in the hand painted beauty of babushka dolls. And I just love European folklore.
Why did you become a doula? I love that you are a self proclaimed birth junkie. Any advice or tips for expectant Moms?
I become a doula when I returned home from India in 2007. I was catching babies over there, seeing many intense things and the complete opposite of what birth should look like. These precious women birthed their babies on metal tables, were induced and treated like cattle. I wanted to be a part of the birth community, because these women are all radical and passionate. I also wanted to be in the birth world, but wasn’t ready to go to Midwifery school. I’m still not. But maybe one day. Birth is in my blood.
You share lots of great recipes on your blog, what is your go to meal you love to make?
I don’t have one. I get so bored with food, so fast. But, I always make sure to have cheese, arugula or kale, avocados, cucumbers, peppers, eggs, kefir, and hormone free meat in my house. Last night we had pulled pork with organic BBQ sauce over warm arugula, avocado, yellow tomatoes, and zucchini with a splash of olive oil and Herbamare, my favourite sea salt with herbs.
Please take the time to check out Michaela’s blog at http://michaelaevanow.com/ where she writes about the journey of faith she is on with her husband and daughter Florence. You can also follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/michaelaevanowblog or on Twitter at @michaela_evanow