Anchor in the Storm

August 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

While trying to conceive, each month feels like a storm. The storm starts brewing as you plot and plan, watch and wait for the “perfect” time to baby dance. The clouds get darker and stormier as your hope increases because the timing was perfect. The winds start to howl as your hormones are whipped into a frenzy. The day has come and there is no sign of your monthly flow, you celebrate. As you head to the store (or cabinet) to get a home pregnancy test you ignore the first drop of rain, deciding it was only your imagination. As the urine dries on the stick, and there is no second line appearing, the storm breaks loose. You feel as if the walls around your house are closing in and a stick that says you are not pregnant is battering you. What is there to keep you safe from the storm of raging hormones, dreams deferred, and dashed hopes?

We who know Christ as our personal Savior, who trust in Him for our eternal security, have an anchor to keep us from being knocked off course. Despite the storm of possibility and dashed hopes, we have a hope that is secure. In fact Hebrews (ESV) 6:19-20 says, “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf..” Our hope as children of God goes beyond ourselves and this world. This verse says we have a hope that is beyond the curtain, in the inner place. That is referring to the Jewish temple and the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies was where a holy God met with unholy man. After Jesus died for our sins, God tore the curtain to the Holy of Holies. Through Christ’s sacrifice everyone could have a personal relationship with God. Therefore our hope and our anchor is the cross in the most holy place, God’s dwelling place, heaven. We have the hope of eternal communion with God. That anchor, that hope, can keep us from dashing into the rocks of bitterness, anger, and self-pity.

When we cling to our anchor despite the storm, we can find true hope. Not hope that we will one day hold of child of our own. No, a hope that does not disappoint. The hope of eternity with a loving God who comforts, loves, protects, and understands our pain.

Thank You God for true lasting secure hope. Help us to hold tight to the anchor of hope you have for us, as the storm of being unable to conceive rages around us. Help us to rest in Your anchor, trusting You for our future, knowing You have a plan for us that is better than we could dream. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.

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Infertility Isn’t Fair

August 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Infertility isn’t fair. Especially since we want babies, we would be great moms, so why can’t we have children? That question has been bouncing around in my brain lately. Especially after news that a sweet friend has finished her journey of fertility treatments unsuccessfully and another sweet friend is feeling that baby hunger again years after her unsuccessful treatments. It just isn’t fair.

So what do we do with these facts: the fact that there are children born to people who do not care for

Plants Growing in the Geyser Basin at Yellowstone

them and do not take care of them or that women are willingly aborting precious ones? My human brain cannot compute the injustice. I do not understand. Yet God is good, He is just, He is faithful, AND He is all-powerful. So we have some options. We can stew in our whys, our fist shaking, and our bitterness. We can become women no one wants as a friend. We can hold on to what we think are “our rights.” I am a woman, it is my right to bear children. We can stand in defiance, but will bitterness or claiming we deserve better change our circumstances? No.

Ladies, we live in a fallen sinful world. God who is all-powerful and all-knowing allows the injustices of the world to happen. I will not pretend to know all the whys. I believe God uses all the bad stuff and hard stuff to create change in our lives (Ro 8:28). He allows testing of our faith, He uses pain to get our attention, He always has His reasons (1Pet 1:6-7). We cannot understand His ways (Isa 55:8), nor understand all the whys, yet God promises that we will one day fully know (1 Cor 13:12). Instead of allowing our whys to change us into bitter women, we can allow our whys to point us to heaven.

Heaven, where there are no more tears or mourning (Rev 21:4). When we are heavenly minded, we are able to put our hope in God. For those of us who have conceived only to lose children, we have the hope of seeing them in heaven. For those of us who have never conceived we have the hope of having spiritual children with us in heaven. Those people we have discipled during our lives and encouraged to grow in Christ. Heaven where God lives. When we are heavenly minded, we are Godly minded. Being Godly minded reminds us that our pain and mourning are only temporary. We find our hope in the joy that is to come, just as Jesus did when He went to the cross (Hebrews 12:2).

Ladies, let us use those feelings of injustice and unfairness to retrain our minds to focus on God. Let us not dwell on what we do not understand allowing a root of bitterness to grow. Instead, let us dwell on what we know, that God has a reward waiting for those who know Christ Jesus as their Savior. Heaven. Praise God for His provision.

Father God, help us not to allow our whys to pull us into the abyss of bitterness. Help us use our feelings of injustice and questions of why as cues to turn our thoughts heavenward. Help us to think on You and on the glory that is awaiting us in heaven. Lord we give you the pain of grief, mourning, and injustice. We lay it at Your feet and we pray You will help us to focus on You. Give us an eternal worldview that we may continue to grow closer to You. In Jesus’ precious and holy name we pray. Amen.

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Hoping in…WHAT?

August 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

Uncertainty and fear become constant companions when you desire to have children and cannot. You are constantly assessing your body either for ovulation signs in order to correctly time the deed, or for signs that you are indeed pregnant. I pinned my hope for joy and peace on being pregnant. If only that second line or plus line or pregnant would show up on my home pregnancy test, then I could find joy.

The problems was as the urine dried on the test the joy evaporated too. If the test came out negative, I mourned another month passing without a child. However if joy of joys I was pregnant, I found I had a new set of worries to attend. Am I on enough folic acid? Is the baby going to grow normally? Will I miscarry? Is my child implanted in the correct spot? The thing that was to bring me joy, being pregnant, was not the bearer of true joy. Let me say that again, true joy doesn’t come from a stick you pee on or from whether your womb is inhabited or not. It only comes from God. In fact Nehemiah tells us, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 So true joy, joy in God, gives us strength. It gives us strength to make it through today with or without a baby. It gives us joy for today. Joy in a God who has freed us from sin, who has a plan to give us a future and a hope. Joy in what He has promised us, an eternity in intimate relationship with Him! Amazing!

Oh Lord, help us find our joy in You. Not in the state of our wombs, but in Your wondrous forgiveness, grace, and love. Help us to rest in knowing You have wonderful plans for us. Give us wisdom and strength through joy in You to find purpose in You. Help us to find joy for today through You. We love you God! Amen.

What are some things you have done to help you keep your joy on the Lord? One thing I had to learn to do was enjoy each stage. I get to ovulate this week! That means my husband will be happy. 😉 Or if I am pregnant, I get to be pregnant until the next test tells me otherwise. I will enjoy this pregnancy and relish it until the next test. Now share your ideas in the comments section. Thank you ladies!

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No Condemnation

August 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Infertility is full of so many uncertainties. We question everything. Why am I unable to conceive? Did I eat the wrong thing? Did I make poor choices in my past? Did I do something, anything that has caused this pain? Our hearts are condemning us. They are calling us guilty. Guilty of being unable to have a child, if nothing else.

The kicker is that the causes of infertility can include past choices that haunt us. However through Jesus, we have redemption. We no longer have to live in condemnation. In fact any time we hear the accusing voice it comes not from our Lord, but from Satan, the accuser. Have you heard him whisper the lie of “it is all your fault that you cannot have children?” Maybe Satan is bringing up past sin that you have repented of, but he is now taunting you with. Perhaps he is accusing you in a different way. “You are no true woman, since you can’t bear children. You are worthless.” He even tries to get us to believe our bodies, which are temples of God, have betrayed us.

As we listen to Satan’s lies the guilt and condemnation rise. Soon he lulls us into listening to his song with lyrics like you do not deserve the blessing of children. Satan stands back pleased with the sniveling, broken women we have become, simply because we cannot have what we long for. Ladies, let us not buy Satan’s lies. Let us not be taken in by half-truths and thus further fall into depression and self-loathing. NO! Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” Period end of story. When we hear whispers of condemnation we must fight back. We are not to live in the past, tied to sin that we have asked God to forgive. No, Jesus died to free us from sin and death. We are now free, forgiven.

Ladies, we can let God use infertility in our lives to grow us closer to Him, and to mature us, or we can let Satan use it as a weapon of condemnation. Let us not listen to Satan’s lies any more. Let us listen to Jesus, the lover of our souls. Let us rest in the shadow of His wings. We are not condemned, no we have victory in Jesus!

Precious Lord Jesus, thank You that You do not condemn us. Thank You for forgiveness, for mercy, for grace. Help us Lord Jesus not to focus on the lies Satan is trying to trap us in. Remind us that condemnation is not from You. Your word tells us that it is Your kindness that leads us to confess sin. So when we hear condemnation help us to turn our ears off to those lies and focus on Your truth. That You love us, that You forgive us, and that You have heaven waiting for those who believe. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Infertility Tears and More

August 20, 2010 § 1 Comment

I have become a crier. I HATE it. I don’t like crying in front of people, or being vulnerable. My mascara runs even though I use the “waterproof” kind. Then I walk around half the day with dark smudges under my eyes and no-body tells me. Do not get me wrong, I have more days of joy and peace than of tears and grief. Yet, I find myself emotional over things I never imagined. For instance, today would have been the first day of Kindergarten for the babies I lost to tubal pregnancies. Strange as it sounds, I am still affected by realizing milestones those children never reached. Literally he or she was in my fallopian tube for four weeks, I only knew he/she was there for two weeks. Howeverthere is a part of my heart still remembering. Still thinking about what he/she would have looked like and if he/she would have enjoyed school like his/her siblings.

Even though I really HATE the tears, they are cleansing. Through them, I am humbled and more compassionate. Paul mentions in Phillipians 3:10, “that I may know Him [Jesus] and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings…” Paul wants to know Jesus, experience the power of His resurrection or victory over sin, but he also mentions sufferings. He says there is a fellowship of His sufferings. When we suffer, we do not necessarily come closer to Jesus, but He comes closer to us. Often it takes suffering to draw us closer to each other. I know suffering brought me several friends that I may have never connected with had we not lost children before we were able to hold them. So not only did I get to make and keep friends for a lifetime that have suffered similarly to me, but I get to draw closer in fellowship with Christ. Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote in his book Lament for a Son, something like “to love this suffering sinful world is to suffer.” When we suffer we better understand God, we better experience Jesus’ willing and obedient suffering on the cross.

Ladies, I am not making light of how we suffer when we long for a child and cannot conceive. However I am seeing how the pain, the tears, the suffering are drawing me nearer to the heart of God. Yes there are times I feel shaken and I certainly never would have chosen this road for my life. However, I would never have known my God the way I do. My compassion is overflowing now. I long to encourage, love, and uphold those of you on this journey. I remember struggling, and I still do long for a child. I remember sobbing, and I still do sob. I want you all to know that I am here to share that yuck and let You know that God loves you through it.

Will I be tearing up in 18 years knowing the babies I lost to tubal pregnancy would be graduating high school? I honestly can’t say. All I can say is that I need a fellowship of sufferers around me. I am praying you have that type of fellowship as you walk this journey. If you don’t have it in person, consider this blog your outlet. Leave a comment and we can encourage each other.

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Infertility and Relationships

August 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

Infertility often brings out the worst in us. Hurting and sad, we lash out and turn inward. We covet what others have and we have a difficult time entering their joy.

I remember vividly the day my older sister called me to tell me she was pregnant. Do not get me wrong. I felt excited for her. I was glad I would be an aunt again, but there was also pain. Pain that she had conceived easily, at least from my vantage point. Let’s be real. I was not a fly on her bedroom wall. I did not know how many months they had “tried” nor if she used some form of ovulation prediction. I just knew she was pregnant and I was not. I also knew she was pregnant naturally and natural pregnancy was not an option for me. I was already taking shots and on hormones for my first IVF experience. Those hormones were wreaking havoc on my emotional and mental health. I was a wreak. Add in my desperate desire to conceive and voila, instant craziness.

The pain was real and the joy was too. I continue to struggle with this dichotomy. I still wish away my ashes ofinfertility and my pain of loss. I hate that I get teary going to baby showers. I do not wish infertility on anyone. Oh, but my grief and pain still rear their ugly heads when baby announcements come. I struggle. I am joyful and I am sad. I am joyful for them and sad for me. I am sad for the me who could fully enter my friends’ joy. Yet there is something more. I am also more joyful than I had been for my friends. I realize it doesn’t seem to make sense, but it is true. I know the pain of being unable to birth a child. I do not want any of my friends to have to go through that pain. So although there is a pang of wow that hurts, when I hear of a friend who is pregnant, there is also more joy. I am more amazed at the miracle of conception and bringing a healthy child into this world than ever.

Yes, my relationships have changed because of my infertility. Being invited to a baby shower or hearing a friend is pregnant, not only brings joy, but it also brings pain. Sometimes the pain is so real, I choose not to attend the shower. Other times the pain is so mingled with the joy that I can go to the shower and fully enter my sweet friend or sister’s joy. There are even some times when pain is not involved at all. Those are the times I praise God for His miracle in my heart. I have discovered, when I am honest with my friend or sister at the appropriate time (not at the baby shower), that she will mourn with me as I rejoice with her. Thus together we fulfill what God tells us through Paul in Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”

Father help us to enter into our friend, sister, co-worker’s joy as she has a child. Help us not to harbor jealousy or bitterness. Instead let us rejoice with her. Please give her an understanding and compassionate heart so that she may weep with us as we rejoice with her. Give us wisdom about how and when to discuss our pain with our friends. Help us to run to You with our pain, and rest in knowing that You can do a miracle in our lives, in our bodies, and in our hearts. We patiently wait for You. In Jesus’s name we pray. AMEN.

Actively Patiently Waiting

August 16, 2010 § 1 Comment

Infertility is a waiting game. You wait to find out the results of the infertility tests; to find the why. You wait each month to ovulate. You wait  to find out if this month, OH please God, is the month the second line shows up on the pregnancy test. You wait. You long, you ache, and you have no choice, but to wait. Waiting can take its toll on us. It can bring about bitterness, frustration, jealousy, anger. Especially when all we do is wait – like a bump on a log. Infertility can consume our lives and our waiting can consume our todays.

Waiting doesn’t have to be like that. I finally figured it out a few days ago as I started memorizing Psalm 40. In NAS it says, “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” I thought if you are waiting patiently WHY are you crying out? Doesn’t waiting patiently mean being a bump and waiting, not doing anything. Waiting to me is often a void or a vacuum that my days, weeks, months can get sucked into. “What are you doing?” questions a well-meaning friend. “WAITING,” I seethe. As my mind wanders to her perfect family created without miscarriage, loss, or wondering if.

Oh, but the Psalmist is crying out and yet waiting patiently. He is waiting expectantly for what God will do. He is not in doubt that God will do it, but he is reminding God. In this time of waiting for a miracle – for another child, a child to adopt, or for my heart to change, I cry out to God. I know that He is faithful, I know that even now He is working His miracle. I am waiting, but I am crying out. Some days are more difficult than others. There are days when bitterness and jealousy taint my crying out. Those days are not my patient days, but the days I fall into the waiting potholes. The days that I doubt God’s faithfulness, His ability. There are other days when I know that God is faithful. I know that God is able. I wait for His perfect plan. Not my plan, not my way, but His plan. When I cry out with this perspective, I patiently wait. I surrendered to God’s will, to His way. I have given my hopes and dreams to Him and I patiently wait.

Psalm 40 continues (verses 2 and 3) “He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.” Do you see it? The reward for active patience? God brings us out of the pit of destruction. The pit that our perfect plans, our dreams, our hopes have dug. They are destruction apart from God. Then God sets our feet upon a rock. In this infertility journey we need some where to set our feet. Some firm ground. God sets us there and then He makes our footsteps firm. He shows you each step to take. Do we adopt, do we do infertility treatments, do we continue to wait? God will show you each step to take, each step of the way. As He shows you what step to take, He makes those footsteps firm. No longer do we have to wonder or question. God Himself will make each step of our infertile journey firm and clear. This is amazing, then He puts a new song in our mouths. It is a praise song to God. God is giving us a testimony to share with others during this dark infertile time. He is saying sing this song that praises me in the darkness of infertility. Here is the kicker, God receives the praise, but those around us receive the reward. They will see God working in our lives. They will fear God and they will ultimately trust God.

Active patient waiting. Oh it is hard. It is a choice, but the rewards, in waiting in expectation for God to move, are worth the waiting.

Father, help us to patiently actively wait on You. Give us the strength to expectantly watch and wait for You to move. Help us to cry out to You knowing You are faithful, knowing You are able. Lord as You rescue us from the pit our imperfect dreams have dug, let us follow the firm footsteps You guide us on. Let us sing the song of praise You have put in our mouths that others will hear and see what You have done and come to know You. Our hope, our dreams, our expectations are now in Your hands. Help us to live that out every day. In Your son Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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