Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Peace and Joy

"We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
~Romans 5:3-5

I have read this verse so many times and tried to make myself believe and "feel" what it is saying. But honestly suffering is hard. It's hard to "rejoice" in our sufferings. It's called suffering because it hurts! Who doesn't feel that way? I usually just end up focusing on hoping that someday I will feel this way and for now I'll just try to keep the not rejoicing in my suffering to a minimum!

Yesterday I had an appointment with my doctor to check out my ovaries (not so fun) and discuss a few other things. My ovaries are perfectly fine and don't have any cysts or anything else wrong with them. We also discussed other possible problems and basically came to the conclusion that there really aren't any definitive solutions for me. And therefore...just keep "trying" (aka keep having sex).

After the appointment I expected to feel upset or emotional or something negative. I was surprised, however, to leave the doctors office with my tear ducts in tact. Even after driving home and discussing it with Derek, I was still surprisingly dry eyed. All yesterday I felt on watch for any moment I assumed the emotions would attack (like they always do) and I'd fall apart...but they never did.

Then this morning I realized (for maybe the first time) that I think I am actually rejoicing in my suffering. I know that may sound crazy but I can honestly look back over the past 2 years and see such a growth in the power of God in my life that I wouldn't have had without this struggle and "suffering." It has been a long hard road, but one that I find I am actually grateful for. It has brought this verse to life for me and made me able to realize the immense truth behind it. God truly does comfort us. He truly does have the best in mind for us (even when we don't agree and can't imagine any hope of a good outcome). This "hope" I've realized is also not confined to hope for a circumstance here on earth or a simple hope of having a child someday. It is a much larger encompassing hope. It's hope in the fact that God is true, God is real, that God gives total comfort, and God is preparing an amazing eternity for us where there will be no tears or sadness.

I feel like I am realizing this hope for maybe the first time in my life. Or maybe re-realizing it in a new way. Either way, I am amazed by His goodness and glory of how He truly does work all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). It may not be the good we expect or even desire but it is GOOD. And it's the best good we can't even imagine when we're back at the starting line. Two years ago if you had asked me, "would you like to struggle with infertility and not get pregnant when you think it's the right time?" Of course I would have said, "HECK NO!!!"

But now being on this marathon of infertility, I can honestly say I am so thankful God put me here. If I had to redo the past 2 years and decide whether to walk this journey of infertility or get pregnant immediately - honestly I would chose the same path I've walked thus far of infertility. I have realized a strength that only God gives that I didn't know existed before in me. I have realized a humbleness that only God gives in me. I have realized a gentleness and a compassion that only God can give inside me. I have prayed to have these things in the past and never realized that God has been working them through this experience, but He has.

I know I am in no way close to the finish line or even anywhere near being completed, but I do know that God truly does have the best plan for us. And that as soon as we surrender to Him and let Him lead our lives, thoughts, actions, and ways - He will begin to change us in amazing ways we can't even imagine. And He will fill us with a peace and a joy that is even more unimaginable.

Now I'm not naive in thinking I'll never have another sad day regarding this situation but I do truly feel that God has brought me to a turning point where I am genuinely thankful for my infertility suffering. It has brought about a closeness with Him and a perspective on life that is completely worth every second of it. I am filled with a peace and joy that only comes from God.

"We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
~Romans 5:3-5

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gray Hair

This weekend... I found my first gray hair. I know this probably sounds ridiculous to even write out, but unbeknownst to me it was pretty monumental. I've thought I've found gray hairs many times before but they've always turned out to be highlighted strands of blond hair and nothing more. However, I haven't been dying my hair now for almost 2 years and the color has officially grown out.

On Saturday as we were getting ready to go to Five Guys (SO yummy!) to get a burger with Jane and Jim, I went back in the bathroom to take a quick glance in the mirror to make sure my hair looked good. It was a beautiful sunny day and I thought it would be perfect to take some pictures in front of the house. That was when I saw the light reflect off that little gray bugger.

I ran out into the living room to have everyone confirm that this was indeed my first real gray hair. And it was. I didn't think much of it until we proceeded to get into the car and I suddenly felt a wave of grief wash over me. I was even more surprised to find tears beginning to sting my eyes. I know again this sounds silly but it felt like the turning point of getting older for me, and the reality of not being a mother again reared it's ugly head. (Along with thoughts of gray hairs and dried up ovaries!)

After hashing out my emotions with the Clarks over a burger and fries (and a few more tears), I felt much better. I was able to get my blood sugar level up (which I'm sure was part of the culprit), discuss all the positives of where I am in life, and be a little distracted by other circumstance that were going on around us.

Since then I have thankfully been blessed once again with a beautiful peace about this subject and even life itself. This verse I read this morning sums it up wonderfully:

Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say; 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'
~James 4:13-15

I know God has a plan and purpose for my life and I am honestly and truly enjoying it. It's just those darn moments when things like a silly gray hair creep in and throw it all off. It was a good learning moment for me to remember that "gray hairs" will always be lurking around to throw off our reality and make us focus on our circumstances and disappointments, instead of our Creator and His great plan. I am truly so thankful for the many things God has blessed me with and taught me over these last few years and I am especially thankful for the amazing time and growth Derek and I have had in our marriage.

As much as that gray hair made me feel like life is passing me by too quickly without certain things I want - when I reflect, I am so blessed by all the amazing time he has given me for things I wouldn't have been able to do as easily had my life gone according to MY plans. Time I've been blessed with in growing my marriage, spending quality time with family and friends visiting us here, growing new friendships here in Portland, working on our house, and especially the quality time spent growing closer to the Lord.

I'm so glad I didn't let that stupid gray hair take over my emotions (too much!) and rob me of the joy in my life at that moment. So often we are tempted to let those "gray hairs" creep in and overshadow the positives of life going on around us. Whatever form they may be in, "they" are always there waiting to have us focus on them instead of the positive realities of our life, if we let them.

This is the life the Lord has blessed me with and I am so thankful for it. And may I always remember to say 'if it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that.'