Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Season

The holiday season always makes coping with not having a child much harder. I'm not sure exactly why. Maybe it's all the family talk or baby Jesus, or all the adorable pictures of kids dressed up on Facebook (which I LOVE...but would also just love to be able to contribute to...more than pictures of my dogs with their reindeer antlers on!). Whatever the reason is, it is a constant stark reminder that we are missing out on something that what feels like the majority of the world has...and what my heart tells me I am missing.

This season has been slightly different, however. It started off the crying two days after Thanksgiving and not really understanding why. Derek comforting me and explaining this happens every year and that it's ok to grieve that missing part of our lives. That weekend I had a very hard time getting my emotions under control and at church on that Thanksgiving Sunday they offered a time of prayer where you could come up to the front and there were people sitting in chairs that would pray for you while they played a song. My first thought was NO WAY! I am not going up there. How awkward and embarrassing and weird!! But then I felt God prodding my heart as He does and telling me to go up there. I fought Him throughout the entire song to the point that I was crying and shaking and feeling like my heart was going to burst out of my chest. So I made a deal with Him. (Yes, very mature of me I know) I said if they played one more song I would go up there (since they had already dragged out the first one so it seemed obvious they were done). Well the guy came up to the microphone and said, "We've decided for anyone out there who has put off coming up here for prayer we are going to play one more song, so come up here." Jaw drop. I turned to Derek bawling and said, "I think I'm supposed to go up there." He ushered me out to the aisle and I made my way up to the front and saw a woman I know from bible study and sat in front of her. I was crying so hard that I could barely make out any words and somehow managed to squeak out, "I think I'm having a hard time with the infertility thing!"

Now I would love to tell you I was healed on the spot and we got pregnant and lived happily ever after - but that's not the story exactly. It was, however, once of the most amazing experiences ever. Heather sat there hugging me, crying with me, and prayed over me. And it was incredible. Pretty much instantly I felt relieved of my hysterics, my heart calmed down, and eventually I got under control. Throughout the rest of that day and week I felt peace and a calmness I had not felt in a while as the holidays had been approaching. And it has continued thus far. I think the major difference can be summed up that it is the first time I really reached out and admitted I was having a hard time and couldn't deal with my emotions at that moment myself. God knew what I needed and He helped me to reach out to get it. I needed to open myself up, admit I can't handle things on my own, I need God to fill me, and thankfully He gave me the perfect opportunity. I may not have been physically healed on the spot but I was emotionally healed. It's not to say that I wont need that again in the future (because I'm sure I will), but for now I am just so thankful that God has given me this peace in this season because it is truly so unbelievable.

He has been filling me with a constant peace and reassurance that this is indeed His plan and He is in control. Allowing Him to invade my inmost thoughts and truly bless me with peace is incredible - there are really no words to explain it. I am in awe and shock at the peace and comfort He is lavishing on me in the midst of my deepest trial and pain. It's overwhelming and I am so thankful. He is good and He knows best and I trust that. Even in the pain, He is right beside me with comforting arms enveloping me and somehow I am at peace even in the pain.

My life is not my own, it's God's. And if He allows it then I don't want one ounce of pain or trial to go unused or be wasted as simply pain or a trial. If it can encourage even one person or give hope to one person who is struggling to understand "why" or trust in God, then it is worthwhile pain in my life. Regardless of even whether God wants to use my pain to comfort someone else, or to simply grow me better into the woman He created me and desires me to be and can use me to better other peoples lives, I am good with it. I am so thankful He has blessed me with the faith to believe and trust in Him, because I can't do that on my own.

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."
James 4:13-15

Monday, November 5, 2012

Need You Now

I was driving to work at the winery yesterday and listening to the radio when Plumb's song, "I need you now" came on (which I love!) and it really made me think. The drive out to the winery is so beautiful and peaceful that I feel like songs can tug on my heart and allow God to speak to me in different ways than when I'm rushing around to get groceries or gas. It's just so beautiful and allows the words of songs to settle in my soul more completely.

Anyways...I heard this song and it really made me think about how much God uses our circumstances, whatever they may be, to grow us individually into the people He created us to be and also closer to Him. I think of how many times I've prayed for him to take away my infertility or other circumstances but looking back I can see so many areas of growth in myself that honestly I agree with Him for not taking them away thus far. When we don't allow Him to work good in our circumstances they just plain stink and there is absolutely no good in it. But when we accept His will and our circumstances, it allows Him to work good in us even out of the worst. Only then can we experience His true peace and joy that He has for us. This has been my experience over the past six months and I am striving to have it continue to be on a daily basis. It's not easy. It's very hard and painful at times....often times. But with acceptance comes great relief and fulfillment that can only be known through God. He has been blessing me and showing me ways I can serve and give of myself to others even in small ways and it has been amazingly fulfilling. Things I have never thought of before or cared to. I feel as though I maybe never took the time to listen to His still small voice prodding me in ways to reach out to others.

One simple small recent example was on my way home from the winery I stopped for gas (here in Oregon you can't pump your own gas) and normally I just sit in my car staring out the window. But last night I felt like I should talk to the guy pumping my gas (which I never do). He was super cranky and in a bad mood so I didn't say anything more and sat my head back against my head rest to wait. Then suddenly he walked up to my window and apologized and proceeded to tell me a long sad story about why he was in a bad mood. When the gas was filled and he ended his story I felt like I should give him a $5 tip (I never tip the gas guys normally). So I decided I'm going to listen to that still small voice and give it to him. I did and also told him I would be praying for him and his wife and their situation (a family members death). His face was pure shock. He teared up and looked like I'd just given him a million bucks. He was so incredibly thankful and told me he wanted to hug me (which I told him was not he proceeded to tell me he was giving me a "mind hug" then!). It was incredible how thankful he was and that I got to be the bearer of such a small blessing but the receiver of such a huge thank you and able to change his day. It was overwhelming how appreciative he was. I was super teared up on my drive home and in such awe of the whole situation. I'm trying to listen more because when I do, God does amazing things.

Here's the song's so powerful. (Please listen to it!)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's been awhile...

I have taken somewhat of a break from the blog world over the past half a year (I can't believe it's really been that long!) and while I have thought to write a few has somehow escaped me. Now I sit here after 6 months and don't have too much new to update but felt that some sort of update was necessary. I think the main reason for not writing much is that the writing has been a large part of my processing through infertility and the idea of adoption. And although those subjects are not completely closed...they are really not open either. The surmounting peace God has given me over the past 6 months has been incredible and I feel like I have been able to live life more fully and experience His blessings more completely than I had in a long time. God has given me an amazing rest from the burden of my fears and sadness over these subjects. While they do still pop up every now and then....for the most part my heart and my brain have both been at rest over it....which is why I have not had to process write for so long! (But I will try to be better and write a little more often) :)

I know that infertility is a delicate subject and I am so thankful to my family and friends for always being so supportive and sensitive to me. I am so blessed by all of you. I know that questions often roll around in your minds and not wanting to upset me, you patiently wait for me to give updates. So I apologize for not updating more often....but sadly and thankfully I have no new updates. (Sad that still no children, but thankful that I am still at peace with it!) So I thought I would recap where we are on this journey of our lives that God has so abundantly blessed us with....

God has continued to make it abundantly clear to us that now is not the time for us to pursue additional means of expanding our family, by fertility assistance or by adoption. By no means do we feel this is a forever plan but for now in this moment we feel completely confirmed and at peace that this is what we are supposed to do. To wait. What we are waiting for we don't know, but we choose to trust in the One who created us and has a plan for our lives. Since coming to terms with this completely over the past 6 months or so, I have been more at peace regarding this subject than ever before. It is such a freeing feeling not to fight God on this subject and try my own plans and ideas. Since submitting to His will regarding this I have been more free and able to discuss it and be around babies than since we began trying many years ago.

This doesn't mean I don't still long for a child and to be a mother someday, or that my heart doesn't drop into my stomach on certain occasions over a new pregnancy announcement or a motherly Facebook comment...because that still happens. Pretty often. The difference is this is the first time I have completely and wholly believed and trusted that this is exactly God's plan for me. It is the first time I have been able to fully and completely experience Gods abounding grace and peace regarding this situation with no doubts and no struggle against my own will. It is complete and full submission to God's plan and He has abundantly blessed me in return and through this entire experience, and continues to on a daily basis. His presence is more real for me now than ever before. I could not exist or deal with my circumstances let alone flourish and be joyful in them without Him. And I am so very thankful.

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; 
Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. 
Psalm 127:1

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
Psalm 62:5-6

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Babies Galore

I can't believe it's been over 2 months since I've written but they have been filled with the normal ups and downs of life and infertility. As well as quite a few of my friends having babies and a few more announcing pregnancies. Basically...the usual.

One new development, however, has been that about a month ago I finally felt ready to be around / hold babies again! Something I have (honestly) not really wanted to do in almost a year (and haven't done in almost a year as well!). The last baby I held was a sweet couple's baby Jake from our couples bible study when he was only a few weeks old. After they left, I burst into tears and pretty much couldn't control myself for the rest of the day. Since then I have been a bit hesitant (to say the least) to hold any again not wanting a repeat performance.

I am happy to say that about a month ago (right about the time the birthing stories of a few friends started) I was ecstatic to realize that I felt no pit in the stomach punch when I heard they gave birth...I instead felt the intense desire to hold one of those sweet miracles again. After many failed attempts I was finally able to be around and hold 2 friends babies last week (Drew- 7 weeks old, and Peter- 10 days old) and it was wonderful! They were so sweet and tiny! And I didn't even cry. Whoo hoo!! :)

Since then there have been a few more birth and pregnancy announcements and I have held it together quite nicely. By no means am I saying I don't have the typical sad day regarding my situation, but overall I am trying to focus on the happiness of those around me in their situations (as there are a LOT) and also enjoy my time in the now without children or a baby bump. I am continuing to trust that God has a plan that will be revealed in His timing. It's a daily...sometimes hourly decision....but I am choosing to trust Him over myself.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ebbs & Flows

Sometimes I feel like my feelings / hormones are like tidal waves ebbing and flowing. The waves pull out to sea and far away from the beach for just long enough for me to get comfy and used to it, before they come slamming back onto the shore. I do know that this also very clearly correlates with the "red tidal flow" that is due any day now (most likely today because the normal signs are already here) but somehow that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

I've had such a great month of feeling filled with God's peace in my infertility circumstances. It's really been an amazing month. So it makes it feel so much more frustrating and defeating to realize the waves are suddenly back on the beach and ever so slightly pounding me. It's by no means even close to as bad as it has gotten in the past, but it just seems so contrasting to this past month that has been so amazing. I almost forgot what that pit-in-my-stomach-wanting-a-baby feels like. But now I remember. It literally makes me welcome the stupid "red tidal flow" just so I'm not so filled with the crazy hormones!

In my devotional today it talked about the "joy of discovery" and how "Paul did not discover the strength to leave his circumstances; he discovered the strength to stay!" I completely agree. Some days just dealing with the circumstances of life, infertility, whatever you may be dealing with, seem exhausting. But in persevering through those waves and continuing to strive towards God and hang on to Him, those waves will wash back out to sea and He will give us the strength to discover that blissful joy even in our current circumstances once again!

"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:13

Friday, February 3, 2012

Moses grew weary too!

"But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun." -Exodus 17:12

We all grow weary. I didn't realize how weary I had grown about the infertility subject until this past week when I had to come to terms with telling 3 separate people that I couldn't go to their baby showers. One of which was my very close friend and it was extremely trying on us both. However, through this I have realized so much about myself and that infertility is a part of me that I will never be able to get away from completely. It's not something I need to hide from, pretend isn't there, or avoid. I don't need to feel embarrassed or ashamed about it. I've realized it's a part of me and it's okay to be honest about it.

It has been such a freeing week to be able to come clean about this not only to others but more so to myself. I didn't realize how big of a deal this was until I opened up about it and realized it's not so bad to embrace it. And it actually makes it much easier to deal with when I do.

I loved reading the verse above this morning in my "reading the bible in a year" reading (yes I'm still on track and keeping up with it! Whoo hoo!). I loved seeing how Moses couldn't keep his hands up by himself (backstory: he needed to keep his hands raised holding God's staff for them to win a battle, when his hands dropped they would start to lose, when they went back up they were winning). He needed others to help him do it. He had to be honest about his weakness and admit he couldn't do it. He didn't try to pretend he could or avoid it or sulk in embarrassment that he wasn't stronger - he admitted what he couldn't do. Which made it easier for others to help him because they knew what he needed. Which turned out well for them all because they won the battle.

This has echoed my life so perfectly right now in opening up about the true reality of my infertility situation. I feel so free in being able to not hide behind it and talk openly with everyone about it. I've found some amazing infertility blogs and even a web series about it that literally made me laugh out loud. This has been a major turning point for me and I'm so glad to be able to share openly and not feel bad that this is who I am.

Here are some awesome posts I found about infertility that I think are really great to read:
10 things not to say to an infertile couple
5 more things not to say
Supportive things to say to an infertile couple

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Strong Enough

I'm constantly learning new things about myself on this journey of not having children yet and one thing I've recently learned is that I'm not always going to be able to handle this fact perfectly. I'm very good at convincing myself I'm okay and don't care that I don't have kids and then I see one pregnant lady at the grocery store or a chubby faced baby at church and suddenly unexpected tears are escaping all down my face. It amazes me how out of the blue it can happen and it reminds me that the hurt is still there even when I don't think I'm feeling it on the surface.

I'm also learning that it's a confusing situation and constantly evolving. I think I have it pegged perfectly and then suddenly things seem to change. I can genuinely be doing great one second and a mess the next. I'm learning I just can't try to put it in a box and say I've got it figured out and that's okay. It's okay for me to be honest to myself and to others and say I don't always feel together and that's okay. I like to be the fun, happy person with good news. I hate being the downer person who has to disappoint people sometimes because I can't be there for them - especially all the people in my life who are pregnant right now. Some days I can be there and others I am not going to be able to. And I'm learning I have to be honest about that to myself as well as to others and pray they can understand.

One thing that is a big distinction however is that I do believe this is the exact path God has me on for a reason. I truly do. I don't think this is a mistake or that He's forgotten about me or that there's a simple fertility measure that was overlooked that we haven't done correctly or timed perfectly. I think I'm not pregnant because I'm not supposed to be at this moment in time. God promises He has a plan for us....but He doesn't promise it's exactly as we think it should be. I see positive reasons that I'm not pregnant right now almost daily and I feel completely at peace about it. That doesn't mean that I don't still cry or that baby showers suddenly aren't too painful for me to attend. It means I'm human and have human emotions that I can't deal with on my own. But with God and His strength I can truly be at peace in my situation and circumstance - whatever that may be throughout my life. For right now it's about infertility...tomorrow it could be something else. Regardless what it's about, I can't do this life without God's strength. One of my new favorite songs (below) states it perfectly by Matthew West called "Strong Enough." I absolutely love the words.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Bible in a Year

I recently saw a posting about reading the bible in a year and decided to do it myself. I know I've read a lot of it and possibly the whole thing but since I wasn't positive I thought it would be an accomplishment I'd really like to do. I was a bit behind on starting it and have been following the daily readings on One Year Bible Online. This morning I woke up to snow and an email saying our women's bible study for Tuesday mornings had been canceled. So I decided it was a nice opportunity to catch up on the readings so that I would be on the same schedule as the daily emailed list of what to read (starting from Jan 1st). Mind you I didn't start this until 3 days ago so I had a LOT of reading to do this morning! I did make it though and am all caught up! Whoo hoo! :)

At first I just thought it would be a fun thing to accomplish and also give me direction on what to read daily because I had just finished reading James and wasn't sure where to go next. But as I read through Genesis this morning I found a very odd comfort in reading the stories of God's faithfulness in all areas of early life but especially in the stories of barrenness.

I felt a strange connection to these women (Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel) who all suffered from the grief of being infertile for very long periods of time, as well as deal with seemingly everyone around them having children. It was also refreshing to see God work in these stories and that they were all blessed with children in God's perfect timing and not their own. I have to admit that Rachel is my favorite and makes me feel not so crazy in her bursts of yelling out to her husband, "Give me children, or I shall die!" (Gen. 30:1) I also love that her husband (who adores her) has to remind her that he's not withholding children from her.

I've known about all these barren women (and the others that are to come) but have never read the stories straight through from beginning to end and see them all tie together. It's pretty amazing how God works it all out perfectly according to His plan no matter how many mistakes they make or how often they try to take things into their own hands. God is there guiding them along the entire way. And not just about babies but about every area of life. It was really encouraging and nicely surprising for me to read today. It was the perfect pick me up I needed this morning! Just shows again how much God works out everything perfectly according to plan!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

$3 Worth of God

I was looking over my past posts and noticed this post I wrote back in April that I never published. I think I had planned on writing more and somehow never got around to it. Then life happened and here we are almost a year later.

It's short and probably not technically finished but it made me chuckle at how true everything I wrote here has become for me over the past year. The continued struggle of infertility has made my relationship with God deeper and more necessary than I could have ever imagined. Making the choice to wait on His timing and His leading on this difficult path has grown me closer to Him and allowed me to learn things about Him and myself I would have never known otherwise. And I am so thankful for that.

I have realized that I haven't bought only $3 worth of God, but that I am truly in this relationship for the long haul with my whole body, mind, and soul. It's so refreshing to see this blessing of such a constant and close relationship and also the understanding that has come as a direct result of the anguish and suffering of my not having children at this moment in time.'s the original post:

I'm going through this book Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver with some awesome women. The book is seriously so inspiring and I have learned so much from it. I read this excerpt yesterday and it really stood out to me:

"Are we willing to let God explode our comfort zone and expand our capacity for him?
Or do we want a God we can manage?
Unfortunately, a lot of the time that is exactly what we want - enough of God to make us happy, but not enough to make us change. We'd never say it, but our attitude is just what Wilbur Rees had in mind when he wrote:
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please, not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I want ecstasy, not transformation; I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please."

This really made me think. This is what we do a lot of the time. We try to fit God into OUR schedules and OUR lives as though He didn't create us and ordain every moment of our lives. We want some "God goodness" in our lives, but don't want to necessarily change anything about our lives or wake up earlier to spend a little extra time with Him. We'd like to have the heavenly rub off on us like a magic potion, but not put in the effort to cultivate a deeper relationship.

It made me realize I want so much to make sure I'm not doing that and only allowing a small portion of God to fill my life. We can't buy God, or little parts of him. He bought us. He paid the price. It's an all or nothing sort of situation. We either except all that comes with Him or we don't. It's that simple, and that complicated all in one. I want to be an "all" type person and make my God proud that I am living for all of Him. That I am choosing enough of Him to "explode my soul" and have a "transformation."

Friday, January 6, 2012


I strive hard to listen to God's will for my life and know it's something I'll get to practice for the rest of my life but it's something I really do try to practice on a daily basis. The devotional I'm reading lately called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is an amazing help in this area. It's so true the more I listen to and act on God, the more I feel his peace and presence. Which can sometimes feel like my lifeline on a hard day.

There have been some major decisions in our life that we have prayed about and felt God's leading very clearly. Those decisions even as hard as they have seemed at the time, such as getting married, deciding where to go for medical school, residency, buying our house, have all had clear answers for us from God that there really was no room not to listen.

But sometimes listening to God in the small things is almost harder than the large things. When you feel He's calling you: to share your experiences with someone else, go help out a friend, show up somewhere you don't feel like, stop to pray and take the time to spend sitting in silence with Him instead of rushing around, saying no in situations you find it hard to, saying yes in situations you find it hard to. Sometimes the hardest time to hear God is when it feels like the decision we make won't be monumental and therefore wont matter to Him or to anyone else. It can be tempting to think: if it's not some life altering major decision, maybe it doesn't really matter what I do.

But it does. Whether He has an amazing plan through the action of faith in my decision to choose what He has for my life, or whether it's simply to grow my character and practice the art of choosing God's will over my own. After all, practice makes perfect and we never know the choices we will be faced with later than may be easier to hear God in when we have made it a habit to listen to and choose God's will in our lives.

I also know that when I do listen to God and choose His will over mine it feels like coming upon a cool refreshing beautiful resort in the middle of a dry barren land I've been traveling through for days. The amazing severity of his peace and presence I get to experience through the choice to trust him is breath taking in the moment and so refreshing.