Long overdue

I know I haven’t written as much lately.  There have been many emotions I have been trying to process.  Over the past couple of months I have had 5 friends announce pregnancies.  With each new announcement, more of my joy was stolen away.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am so happy for each of them and a couple of them I was even praying for them to be able to get pregnant.  Selfish me takes over all too often, though, as I wonder why I am not part of this happy group.  I feel like I am getting left behind, the one who will have nothing to talk about amongst the mothers sharing stories of their precious miracles.

The problem I have noticed about myself is I do too much FEELING.  The range of emotions I feel every day are exhausting.  Today I started to think about something.  Something that I am unsure if I can convey correctly.  It is still somewhat jumbled in my head.  While I desire to feel peace and joy in my life, feeling despair, sadness, and self-pity is much easier.  Negative thoughts flood my mind and I do little to fend them off.  They are my shadow following me through each day.  Eek….did I really just share that?  Trust me, I don’t want to feel like this, longing to see no one and desiring to just curl up in my bed, forgetting the world. I yearn to feel normal again, but I have almost forgotten what I used to be like.  Or is the point that I am supposed to be completely changed from who I even used to be??

The question is how….how do I get out of this?  Why do I hang on to these negative feelings when they are destroying me?  It is silly for me to be in such despair when I know an Almighty God who cares for me.  The tapestry of my life God is intricately weaving together is far more beautiful than this moment and these emotions.  It is almost as if these negative feelings have become a crutch.  I don’t have to have a good attitude today because I am infertile.  I don’t have to be there for my friends because I am the infertile one.  I can’t be content because I don’t have this one thing.  I can’t find joy because I want to be a mother and that prayer hasn’t been answered.  Yes, those are all thoughts I have had.  Years of negativity are hard to shake.  When I look back on how I have handled these four years I am filled with remorse.  Granted I haven’t been a complete failure, but I do not like a lot of my responses.

I will say, though, I am closer to the Lord than I ever have been.  That may not be evident from what I just posted above, but I honestly am.  Even though I don’t understand His greater plan, I know it is good.  That alone brings me comfort.  I have also grown closer to my husband.  I am blessed beyond measure to call that man my husband.  I would not want to go through this life with anyone else.

Joy.  The emotion that has been eluding me for quite some time.  How do I find true joy?  I know all the Sunday School answers.  I know how I should be reacting.  I know how I should be handling the situation.  It is just that… it is easier to be downtrodden.  That is not working for me, though.  What kind of way is that to live?  If my goal is to one day stand before Christ, or be on my knees in sheer awe, and hear Him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant” then I have some changing to do.   If I am allowing myself to be completely honest, I do not feel worthy of such a statement at this point.  The spectacular thing is that God meets me where I am, in my broken state, when I can go no further, and helps me up.  My quest to find joy rests in Him.  I desire to fully surrender this pain, this negativity, this longing at His feet.  This Type A control freak wants to loosen the reins and allow God to take over.  I have tried to rule for so long that I am not even quite sure how to release my grasp for control.  That is my desire, though.

I must apologize to you, because I know on this blog I have not always shown you the best way to handle life’s challenges.  I have tried to be honest, though, because I would never want to be considered a fake.  My emotions are very raw and very real.  Please pray for me as I seek to truly give this all over to the Lord.  It is difficult, but I know I have to do it.  I am too exhausted and too heartbroken to do it anymore.  I want to find peace and joy and rest and I know just where to find it.  Isn’t every trial a journey of discovery?  I have found that I cannot do this on my own.  I learned I lean towards negativity rather than seeing my purpose in Christ.  I am weak when I always want to be strong.  BUT GOD!!  He can intervene and do great things and I pray I can allow myself to let Him do a good work in me.  I want to bring glory to Him and have to use His Word to overcome the negative thoughts floating through my head every day.  In Him I can find victory!

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Lord, I trust you though I do not comprehend,

I know this is all part of Your plan.

Your compassion and love are beyond measure.

You know every tear, every prayer on bended knee

My sorrow I lay at Your feet

You, the one true Comforter.

I long for this “season” to be complete

The storms to pass and bring forth

the beautiful colors of a rainbow.

Your timing is perfect and Your ways far greater than mine.

No matter Your answer to my pleas,

May I find peace and security in Your embrace.

Emotions Galore

Today I thought I would tackle a few of the emotions I have felt during these four years.  Some of them I am not proud of, but I think it is important for you to understand the whole journey.  I have by no means handled this with the grace I have seen from others who have gone through difficult circumstances, so I share with you as way to hopefully aid you in seeing that even in the depths of the pit of despair God is waiting and willing to lift us up.

Anger-  I might as well get this one out of the way first.  I haven’t experienced all that much thankfully.  My worst time with this was after my second miscarriage.  The first one, though devastating, I accepted because lots of women have miscarriages, right?  When I got pregnant a second time I was on cloud nine and on my knees would beg God daily to let me keep this one.  It was not to be and from that stemmed anger.  Prayer was the last thing I wanted to do.  Why pray to the One who again took away my dream?  I would attempt to pray but words could not even be formed.  After several months I was finally able to come back to the Lord, the only true Comforter.

The bible says:  

Psalm 37:8-9

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.

For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.

Embarrassment-  This is a rather new emotion I have been experiencing.  It has really come about in the past month or so as it seems every person I know is becoming pregnant.  It seems weird to say I have experienced this when I have a blog and facebook page dedicated to my trial.  For the first time I have felt embarrassed to be the infertile one.  I have started to feel like less of woman, like I have nothing to offer.  Procreating has happened all through time and I am unable (at this point) to accomplish it.  I am also embarrassed about the many tears I have shed when I should be excited about my friends getting to live their dream of becoming mothers.  I am, don’t get me wrong.  I am just ashamed that I let each announcement bring me to a point of despair, to where I would prefer to never leave my house.

The bible says:

Psalm 73:26

26 My flesh and my heart fail;
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Loneliness-  This piggybacks off the last one.  As all my friends are beginning families I am starting to feel left behind.  Though I would not wish my situation on my worst enemy I feel like I am the only person in the world going through it.  The only one failing to bring forth a little one…. (I know this is not true, but it feels that way at times)

The bible says:

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Despair–  I have spent a large majority of my time here in the pit of despair.  (More than I should probably admit)  The moments on my knees with tears streaming down my face begging God to allow us to have a child have been many.  The times when all hope seems lost are numerous.  When I am at my worst I feel unable to face the world.  Nor do I want to.

The bible says:

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

There are many more emotions I experience on a daily basis.  They are not always negative in nature, but I wanted you to see my weaknesses.  God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness.  The thoughts I shared with you are not what I necessarily think are true, they are just part of the things floating around in my mind, the daily battle to trust.

Often I feel I need to be stronger in my tribulation, but I think, really, I need to allow the Lord to be my strength.  My honesty, I hope, does not cause you to judge.  My desire is for you to see the whole me, the work in progress, the woman aiming to trust fully in God’s plan for my life.  I may never understand why God has allowed this trial, but I know I can find purpose in it.  May God be glorified!

Not that word

Unexplained….that was the word uttered by the doctor this week as I lay there on the sterile, metal table. A word quite devastating in its own right, yet also brought some hope.

Men often do not understand this pain, why tears so freely fall. They clam up and words fail to spring forth from their mouths. In the times that phrases can be strung together they often fall short of comforting the woman so tortured by indescribable pain.  Through the years, though, God has used my husband to occasionally say the exact thing I needed at that moment. This past week, filled with despair I had not felt in a long time, my brother-in-law actually was used to speak words that brought optimism to my heart. “If God has not yet given you a ‘no’ then you should assume it is a ‘yes’ and that you just have to wait.” Those words, that impact. So, as I went in for yet another test this week and donned another hospital gown I prayed those words. That if the answer was indeed “no” that the Almighty would reveal it that day. I laid there in anticipation of the answer, stomach knotted, as I waited to receive an answer and heard the doctor say everything looked good. Then came the diagnosis dreaded by every woman labeled as infertile….unexplained. I had feared that word through the whole process and at its utterance I was almost relieved. Unexplained was not a “no”. As my wise brother-in-law later described it ” not a ‘no’ is a win”. I won a small battle this week. Though, due to some other circumstances, I have cried more tears this week than in the past several months combined, I still found some hope in a word others desire to never hear.

Unexplained to me means God has just not finished His plan yet. The unexplanation is perfectly explained in Him. He has a plan that I most certainly do not understand and haven’t enjoyed all that much, but I didn’t receive a “no”. Thank you, Lord.

Trust

Lord, I am struggling

My heart hurts with pain immeasurable

I aim to trust you

When I feel I am finally on the correct path

I stumble in every hole that lays before me

My weeping begins again

How many tears have I cried?

Do You really know how many I have shed?

You know the final outcome,

the end result

I feel lacking in my faith

My fear and worry take over

Please help

Show me the way to peace

Aid me in surrendering

I cannot carry this burden every minute of every day

Will you take it from me?

I know I can trust you with it,

yet I struggle to free myself of its grip

Bring calm to my aching heart

Fill the void,

the depths that are breaking

Be the Light on my path

Help me to continue to worship amidst the pain

Bring contentment

Give me the strength to walk another step,

not blinded by my selfish feelings,

but seeing You have my hand and will deliver me

Be my Rock that shelters me from the storms.

Ramblings

O, Lord, hear my cry,

Will you grant my petition?

Day after day I bow before You,

my aching heart is bared

On bended knees my tears freely flow,

falling to the floor as the pain refuses to be contained.

Your plan and purpose are hidden from my view,

but You are Holy.

You are the Creator of all things,

Who still works miracles.

I will choose to trust You,

though my desire remains strong.

Lord, hear my cry,

please answer my deepest plea.

Rainbows

As you are well aware by now, if you have read any of my entries, I am an emotional creature.  🙂  I do not always handle life’s trials as I believe the Lord would want me to, but I share my thoughts with you so as to show you my whole journey.  My mountains and valleys.  My lush forests and deserts.  A couple weeks ago I found myself in the valley I know so well named sadness.  A phrase found its way into my head one evening that I almost shared with you, but did not want to show my weakness.  I actually started to type it that day, but then deleted it.  I have tried to be open with you, but sometimes I hate that I am so weak.  Today I will share the phrase with you because there is a story that follows.

During that evening of sadness I kept repeating in my head:  Storms upon storms flooding my soul, where is my rainbow?  As the storms brewed outside, so did the ones in my heart.  Doubt and fear filled my innermost being.   I had been thinking about rainbows earlier that day as I shared with my sister-in-law how I had read if you have a baby after a miscarriage that baby is a “rainbow” baby.  She had replied back then asking if my baby would be a “double rainbow” since I had two miscarriages.  I laughed at first, but as the day progressed my demeanor changed.  By the evening I had that phrase swirling through my mind.  Where was my rainbow?  As I sat on the couch trying to drown out my thoughts, I received another text from my sister-in-law that said, “I just saw a rainbow!”  She told me to go outside.  As I peered off my porch I beheld the beautiful colors of a rainbow.  I asked Jeremy to come outside so he could also see the grandeur of it and explained to him where I had been emotionally that day.  We sat on the porch and just stared at it in silence.   To my amazement a second rainbow started to appear.  A double rainbow!  I quickly text my sister-in-law and told her and she said she did not see it.  She said it must be special for me.  Sure others probably saw it that night, but the moment was special for me.  In my despair and weakness, God had made Himself visible to me.  What are the chances that on the day we were talking about double rainbows and I had cried out for just one, that God provided two for me?  The rainbows seemed to be right over our house.  Tears are welling up as I type this because sometimes I am just in awe of God.  Though the rainbows do not mean I will become pregnant, they reminded me that I am not alone in this journey.  God is there and He is holding me when I am unable to take another step.  I cried that night as I sat looking at my rainbows.  My gift from God.  

Since that night God has been softening my heart.  I am working to allow Him to fill the void.  Jeremy and I have since had conversations about our options, about treatments we can afford to try and ones we cannot, about adoption.  I pray the Lord will grant us our “double rainbow”, whether it be biological or through adoption.  And no matter what, may He be glorified!

A Time for Everything

This month marks 48 months of prayers, 48 months of longing, 48 months of yearning to be a mother.  Sometimes the heartbreak is so intense, I think there is no way I can endure this another month.  In the midst of the storm, God always brings me back to Him.  When I really truly think of our situation, I learn this is not all about me.  God has a much greater plan in this than I can see or comprehend.  

Two people greatly comforted me this week.  One was Jeremy when he commented that maybe God was trying to teach me patience.  Now, at first, that would seem like an attack on my character.  🙂  The truth is, Jeremy knows me better than anyone and knows I struggle with patience.  As I reflect on my unrest every month, I see I still have much to learn in the way of patience.  True patience would bring calm to the waves of emotions that flow over me each month.  My “Barnabas” husband also reminded me the longer we wait, the more people we are able to affect with our story and the greater impact it can have.  Hasn’t that been my purpose in sharing my heart with you?  Not only does it bring some healing to me to write down my innermost thoughts, but my prayer has always been that it will help others.  Oh, how wise my husband is and I am blessed to be married to such an encouraging man.  

The other person who brought peace this week was a dear cousin who is one of the few people I know who has had a very similar experience to ours.  After 6 years, the Lord blessed her husband and her with their miracle baby and I often think of their story when I am on my knees begging the Lord to bless us with a child.  She shared with me a quote by George Mueller that says, “It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must pray patiently, believing, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer.”  The words of this man that were said over a hundred years ago are still applicable.  I must continue to pray until I receive an answer from the Lord, whether it be yes or no. 

So, today I am sitting here renewed yet again, knowing I will continue to pray and believe God will reveal His plan when the time is right.  Until then, I will seek refuge from the storm in Him, the ultimate Comforter.

Things Never Go As Planned

If you are reading this, then you probably already have a good idea of the events of my summer. On June 30th, the hubby and I were out on our “hoosier” boat enjoying some time together. We arrived at a cutout embankment that Jeremy wanted to fish from and climbed out of the boat. I always love climbing to the tops of embankments just to see the land. The view was gorgeous! Then my risk-taking other half decided he wanted to jump off into the water. I asked him several times not to do it as I am not much for risk taking myself! You know how the story ends. He assured me it was fine and took the leap. Since the ground was dirt he had to jump before he got to the edge to avoid slipping. A blind leap. Hmmm….I will come back to that in a minute. The end result was not what I had planned. As his head popped out of the water he casually, yes casually, replied he had broken his legs. One choice. Summer over. Vacation plans ruined.

The five days in the hospital were brutal. Pain management was the biggest issue. Seeing my husband in such pain was heartbreaking. The other possible outcomes flashed through my head. When I closed my eyes to sleep I would see him jumping. So often we look at extreme events like this in our lives and ask why. When you spend your time questioning God you fail to learn. You do not see your blessings. Heartbreak and resentment then become your friend. I have been down that path far too often in my life and they are not good companions. When I finally stepped back with a clear mind I could only see God’s hand at work. Yes, our plans for the summer were dramatically altered, but our plans were nothing of importance in the grand scheme of things. So my toes did not get to feel the sand between them and I am far more pale than I planned, but what I got in return was far greater.

Jeremy and I spent almost every hour together for 4 weeks. Some of you might cringe at the thought of spending that much time with your significant other! Every couple argues and we were not exempt from that, but we did not argue during that four weeks. Though we were together longer than we had ever been, we got along better than we had in a long time. I hate to get mushy, but I feel like we are newlyweds again. (Cue the eye rolls!) We have laughed more and smiled more. We have become more tender with one another. All of this arose from a jump that seemed to doom our summer. Granted I would prefer that Jeremy was not hurt and his recovery is still far from over, but in a way, I would not trade this past month for anything. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary during the midst of this trial and I feel giddy with excitement over the bond we have as a result. Our plans changed, but God had better ones in store. How often do I get upset because God’s plans do not match what I wanted in the time frame that I wanted? This accident just proves His ways are so much greater than mine. As I reflect on the last 5 weeks, I think I can say I trust God more now than I did before it happened. We need to, I need to, have faith in God and the plans He has for us/me. I told you I would come back to the “blind leap” comment. That is what faith is, a blind leap. We do not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future. When we leap we may seemingly come up short, but God will pull us through. He is the hand that is always there, we just have to grab hold. And when we do, we can be more than conquerors!

Lessons

Reflection in life is so important.  I remember as I pursued my degree in education the instructors constantly had us writing reflections.  What went well with the lesson you taught?  What would you improve upon?  I got to where I let out a small sigh every time I heard that horrible word as it meant another dreaded paper.  How often, though, do we truly reflect on events or moments in our lives?  Do we ever sit down and think about what went well in that situation or what could we have improved upon?  Through this long infertility process, 46 months to be exact, how much time have I spent reflecting?  How many times have I sought out the lessons God wants me to learn?  My honest answer would be not enough.  It is so much easier to get caught up in the emotion of it all and focus on the pain and my desires.  Sometimes when I do stop to ponder my situation I get upset with myself for I feel I have not always handled it the best.  

So….that brings me to this week.  A deep spiritual conversation with Jeremy has led me to a week dedicated to reflection and working to learn the lessons God has been trying to teach me.  We have both made the decision to forego TV, video games, and yes, even Facebook.  That last one is a little harder for me than it is him.  🙂  I am using a lot of my new found free time to read my bible, pray, reflect and focus on my relationship with the Lord.  The following list will be ongoing, but I am sharing with you some of the lessons I am learning.  

1.  Patience-  I have never been the most patient person.  My family and husband can attest to that.  It is a character flaw I have had since childhood, yet not done much to try and improve it.  In the bible, Abraham was actually told by God he would be a father of many nations.  Though, God told him this, he still got too impatient and had a child with his wife’s handmaid.  At 90, Sarah finally became pregnant!  I have often thought I wouldn’t have been as impatient if God would just come to me in a dream and tell me I would have a child.  Then I would at least know it was going to happen, but knowing my character I, too, would probably eventually become impatient again.  

2.  God’s timing is not necessarily my timing-  I cracked a smile as I just typed that, because that seems to be the case with most things in my life.  I tend to like things to happen, ummmm, immediately.  Maybe that leads to my impatience!  This has been a big one for me.  As I look back over the last few years I am not sure I was always ready to become a parent.  If I were to have a baby tomorrow, I believe I would be a much better parent now than I would have been a few years ago.  If I am able to have a baby I know my love for that baby will be on a much deeper level.  As I held a friend’s one year old the other day in a rocking chair he laid his head against me and I could not suppress the tears.  The tears were not jealous in nature.  I thought how if I ever do have a child, I feel like I would weep everyday while holding him/her just from the sheer astonishment and joy that I was given the privilege to be a mother.  

3.  Pray, pray, pray-  I have gone through ups and downs in my prayer life due to this challenge.  There have been times when I have prayed fervently begging God to give us a child.  In other moments I found that I couldn’t even pray because I was honestly angry with God.  How often during the day do I pray?  Again, not enough.  The bible says to “cast our cares upon Him.”  He does not tire of hearing my pleas.

4.  Share more with my husband-  The pain of two miscarriages and the months with no positive test is sometimes almost unbearable.  I eventually took the stance that I didn’t want to share my feelings with Jeremy.  I became a closet crier.  I did it because I did not want to stir up sad feelings in him over our situation.  I hate seeing hurt in his eyes.  If I did speak of my pain I generally turned to my closest female friends.  That has slowly been changing over the last few months.  To my surprise I have found that Jeremy, though he is sad also, has the most wonderful ability to be strong enough for the both of us.  He doesn’t even have to always say something.  A simple hug melts away tremendous pain.  It is like he has a super power!  My husband needs to know my pain and when I withheld that from him I was withholding a piece of me.  

As I mentioned, this list will be ongoing.  It is amazing what a little reflection can do!  Pray for me as I seek to grow through this.  Even if I come out on the other side childless, I hope I am more like Christ.