Monday, March 31, 2014

A New Camp

I’ve always felt like there have been 2 camps people "live in." One has kids and the other wants kids. Having been in the “wants kids” group for almost my entire life it has gotten much emptier and lonelier through the years as most of the people I’ve known have moved from that camp into the “has kids” one. Obviously if you’ve read any of my previous blogs you know this has been an emotional struggle for me for many many years. However, recently I have found myself in a sort of new struggle having been moved into a third camp I didn’t really know existed until now. As you probably know through the past several years God has been slowly and graciously walking me from the grief and despair of infertility and the “wanting kids camp” into places of peace and contentment. He has been so faithful in leading me and growing me in new ways through it all, and even somehow making me thankful for it. I have even become used to it. It’s become comfortable and very much my identity as “the girl who wants kids but for some reason isn’t supposed to have them (at least for now and maybe not ever).” That has become a major part of who I have become over the years and I have grown used to and even comfortable with talking to others about it. So when I went to a women’s retreat recently and they asked us to get in small groups and share what your biggest hardship or struggle in life was with each other, my mind automatically thought of infertility of course.

However, it was in that moment I realized that was not true. Infertility and wanting children was no longer my biggest struggle or hardship. It was gone. I was so shocked I almost didn’t know what to say and began telling the women how I’d had a cold for a couple weeks, and am not used to being sick, so that’s been really hard. As soon as it left my mouth I told them I know how surface level and ridiculous that sounded. I also said that a year ago I would have told them infertility and now I realized I had to admit a new struggle to them that I hadn’t even admitted to myself yet and was very nervous to do so.

The desire to have my own children is gone. And my hardship/struggle now is how to tell others that for fear of them judging me, looking at me like I’m an alien, and realizing I no longer fit into either of the only two camps I ever knew existed. I am now on a whole new level of fearing others not relating to me.

It’s a fear that now I might be rejected by the world and those with children for being at peace with where God has placed me. I fear this will break the last strand of relation mothers feel towards me. I fear that I am an alien living without the very things they can’t imagine living without or even a life worth living without.

I have realized, however, that I still can relate to others with children and even more so now with my new found peace because I am free to fully embrace and enjoy their stories, their children, and their lives without holding parts of my heart back as protection against envy, jealousy, despair, and even sometimes pride. I can laugh with others, talk with others, and truly be 100% present and enjoy these priceless moments of their lives with children because God has preformed the biggest miracle of my life and somehow has removed that gaping hole of desire for children and sealed it up. I can’t more fully describe it other than it is a miracle. I have a hard time believing it myself so don’t feel bad if you do too. This is truly unbelievable and only possible through God.

I realize this is not necessarily the prayer people have prayed for God to answer in my life but this is how He chose to answer. And the answer feels amazing. It's like I've been set free from a cage I didn't even know I was living in. I knew that peace had been becoming a large part of my life regarding infertility but I didn't realize how much of a stronghold it was on me until I realized that I've been set free. I was in church this past weekend and the song Amazing Grace started playing (which ALWAYS makes me cry and for some reason think about not having kids). I thought "oh great…this is where I'll realize I still have some emotional rawness stewing around in me." But I didn't cry. I just kept feeling this amazing freeness and openness I hadn't experienced before and realized this is seriously a miracle that I'm not bound up in this cage of hopelessness anymore. God has truly filled me and the hole I thought would only be erased by the answer of my own children.

I just pray that others who have children can be joyful with me and know that I am now 100% joyful with them and their children. And I pray that those without children who are still struggling on the long hard road of infertility will be encouraged that God is good and is in the business of doing miracles. Whether that comes in the form of a child or replacing that desire, there IS hope that the dark, empty, lonely days will NOT go on forever.

Honestly I don’t even want to do a disclaimer but feel the need to. That, yes, I know I may still have bad days in the future. I don’t know the future and I don’t claim to. I’m not saying God can’t change my heart again a million times in a million different directions. I am simply sharing my heart and my walk with Christ and the fact that He is good, that I trust Him, and that I am truly at peace in my third camp I didn’t even know existed and I pray you will be too. I also thank all of you so much for your prayers that have brought about this miracle. I am so thankful.

"For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”
Jeremiah 29:11-14

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Touched By Cancer

I know many of you have been touched by cancer, whether in your own personal life or in someone's close to you and it is a terrible wretched journey. Recently a friend of mine's 12 year old son, Sam Day, relapsed for a 3rd time with Ewing's Sarcoma, otherwise known as the "forgotten cancer." It is a very rare cancer and with this being Sam's 3rd reoccurrence they are now pursuing a clinical trial for a cancer vaccine.

I'm hoping to help fundraise soon with this precious family to raise awareness and funds for researching a cure and better treatments for this sad and forgotten cancer that occurs most frequently in teens and young adults. I ask that you would please think and pray about how you can get involved with me through donations, fundraising help once we have a tangible plan, and to carry this family in prayer. Below is a video the Day Family made to share Sam's story and the poem throughout the video was written by Sam himself. It is beautiful and heartbreaking. Below that is an inspiring video discussing the treatment they will be pursuing for Sam. It is the story of Carley Rutledge who was the first to receive this cancer vaccine. Please watch them both and be inspired.

To read more about my friend Lorna and her son's battle against this cancer beast you can read his story at:

Sam Day's Video:

I am Sam from Jay McKenney on Vimeo.

Carley Rutledge's Cancer Vaccine Video

This disease, like any other trial or dark time in life can and will test our strength, our faith, our will to keep moving forward and God does not want us to walk these dark and lonely journeys by ourselves. He wants us to come along side one another to help comfort and support each other. He wants us to cling to Him for the peace that surpasses all understanding. Though both of these things may be practically impossible to do at times, He will give us the strength to do so if we allow Him to. I'm genuinely praying for the Day family as they walk this journey for healing but also for peace and growth. I ask that you would too.

"God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 
1 Corinthians 1:4

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." 
Matthew 11:28-29