October 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
In part one of this series we discovered that God desires a quality faith. Quality faith says, “I know God is able, but He may not do what I desire Him to do. Regardless, I will not stop worshiping Him.” Part two of this series laid out how we develop a quality faith. Through seeing God working in our lives, we develop a faith that will hold on despite God’s ways being different than ours.
So in our third and final installment we are going to see how quality faith realizes God’s plans are not our plans. Can you see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego standing before the king with their knees knocking together? They boldly tell the king that their God is ABLE to save them from the fiery furnace. I am guessing in their minds they were planning that God could cause the soldiers to refuse to obey the king, or maybe God will put the fire in the furnace out so that it can’t be lit again. I do things like that. I make plans for how God can save me out of a fiery furnace in my life. He can miraculously heal my friend so she doesn’t have breast cancer any more and needs no surgery or chemo. He can miraculously provide the exact sum of money my friend needs so that she can keep her house. He can repair a marriage without the hard work that generally goes into reconciling two people who have deeply hurt each other. He can miraculously open my womb so I can have the children for which I desperately long. Oh, I have great plans. However God often doesn’t save us from the fiery furnace, instead, He saves us through the fiery furnace.
In fact Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Do you see it? God doesn’t promise that you won’t have to walk through some flooded ground, or that you won’t have to swim across a raging river, or that you won’t have to walk through the fire. God does promise that He will be with you, that the waters won’t cause you to drown, and that the flames will not burn you. No sisters He doesn’t promise that your faith will keep you from these things, instead He promises to be with you through those hard times. He promises you that you will not drown or burn. It may feel like drowning and burning, but it is only the refining process. The process that brings maturity, the process that purifies your faith.
Father God thank You that Your plans are much better than my own. Forgive me for complaining about the fiery furnace and for doubting You as I walk through it. Be real to me and my friends who are walking through the water and fire. Cleanse us of our sin, refine us to be more like Jesus. Help us to remember the fire and water are part of Your plan. Let us rest in You as we long for more children. In Jesus’ name Amen.
In what ways can you thank God for being near you as you walk through the furnace of infertility? Share with me what you think.
September 20, 2010 § 8 Comments
Infertility is the cause of many tears I have shed over the last five years. Sometimes I was so raw that I felt the tears would never stop. A flood from some deep dark place that would only ebb for a few hours and then break loose again. What is truly amazing to me is that God knows. He is there. The Bible tells us, He is the God of all comfort, but we often forget that He remembers our tears.
Psalm 56:8 (ESV) says, “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” The word tossings means a lamentation, or wandering. Haven’t you felt that way? Not knowing what to do next, not finding relief from the grief, wandering, tossing. Oh and God has kept count of it all. He knows what is going on inside you. He alone can truly say, “I understand.” Not only that, but He keeps our tears in a bottle. God holds our tears in a bottle to remember them, to memorialize our grief, and to let us know He cares. He doesn’t let one tear drop to the ground without catching it. Isn’t that wonderfully amazing? That the God who holds the universe together, the God that made the mountains, the oceans, the Grand Canyon, cares enough about me. A person made from dust and to dust I will on day return. I am like a dandelion, here today and gone tomorrow. Yet God keeps my tears I have shed because He cares for me! Not only does He keep my tears in a bottle, where they get mixed up and it is difficult to know if that one tear was for my children I will never hold or for the time I broke my arm. No He wants to know why each tear was shed. So He records it in His book. Oh some of the tears I may wish I never wasted. Tears over toys or sin I thought I needed. However most of those tears written down to see will be an amazing testimony of God with me. I cannot wait to get to heaven and see those tear records. My bottle of tears. Honestly I suspect my bottle will be quite smaller than others. I suspect that I have lived easier times than many others. Yet God doesn’t say that I will only keep the tears of those who really deserve to cry, no He will keep all our tears. Recorded for us to remember. In heaven we will have the full picture, we will see God’s glorious plan through the tears. What an amazing way to see God glorified – through our tears!
Are you crying tears of longing, grief, and pain today? As you cry remember God is gathering up those tears, writing them down, and loving you through this difficult time. When you can, thank God for His amazing gift of remembrance that we may glorify Him in our tears.
September 3, 2010 § 2 Comments
I confess I am not always eloquent, nor do I much grace. I am a klutz who is too familiar with the taste of foot because I often find my foot in my mouth. When it comes to infertility it seems the world around us has foot-in-mouth disease. People say things that must seem funny or insightful to them, but feel like arrows piercing our aching hearts. At least that is how I have felt lately.
I have been dodging arrows. People hear I have three kids or see me with them and jokingly ask, “Are you ready for another.” They think I will quickly say, “NO!” They don’t know that I desperately want more and that I am sad that I have lost so many. I try to dodge the arrow, to pretend I didn’t hear or to laugh it off. Some days I answer, “I would like more, but I can’t have more.” Other days I even explain myself further. “Two of my three are IVF babies, but we don’t have any more embryos, so we can’t have more.” The explanation could drag on and on about the miracle I am praying for and waiting on God to accomplish. In the mean time I am dodging arrows.
Sometimes those arrows hit home and hit hard. I get mad or frustrated. I can really let those emotions drag me somewhere I don’t want to go. So instead I have been praying for wisdom and discernment. I have been praying that as I don the armor of God, I use it wisely. That the belt of truth will be my foundation, that the breastplate of righteousness will guard my aching heart. I pray my feet will be ready to go to spread the gospel regardless of my unruly emotions. I hold high that shield of faith because it helps me ward off the fiery darts Satan throws at me. I pray that my salvation will guard my mind as my helmet and that I will use God’s word as the sword of the Spirit in gentleness and love. (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Sisters, infertility is a battle we are walking through, but God didn’t put us on this battle field helpless, defenseless, or offense-less. We have Godly armor available for our use, as others toss hurtful, crazy, off-the-wall comments toward us. We have to choose to wear it and pray for wisdom about how and when to use certain parts of it.
Father God, we are longing for children and You have said no, at least for now. So we pray that You will give us the strength to don Your armor. Help give us wisdom about when to use Your sword and when it is time to dodge arrows. Father, we thank You that through Your power and wisdom, we do not have to face these hurtful comments alone. Thank You for Your love and provision. Amen.
What are some arrows you have and thrown your way lately? Share with me some of the crazy or even uneducated things people have said to you.
September 1, 2010 § Leave a comment
I have been praying for a miracle. A miracle within my body so I can somehow conceive another child naturally; or a miracle that lands an orphan on my doorstep ready for adoption, no strings attached; or the biggest miracle of all, the one in my heart for contentment for my current situation.
I am not talking about liking the fact that I cannot without a miracle from God get pregnant naturally. I can never fathom enjoying the fact that against my will, I cannot add another child to my family. I am talking about the contentment that is found in God alone. Not the kind that I muster up, denying my true feelings, and hold tight to because I am afraid if I breathe wrong I may blow the peace and contentment away. I am talking about the type of contentment that is contrary to my human nature. The type that says, “God I would prefer to have more children, I know You are able to do it, but Your will, not mine be done.” This type of contentment is the kind Paul connects with Christ’s power.
When I lay down my preferences, my plans, my dreams, my hopes, my directions for life, and I allow God to have His way in me, then I can have contentment in Him despite my circumstances. In Philippians 4:12-13 Paul writes, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” So when I find contentment in Christ, I have His strength to do anything. Through contentment in Christ I have His power to face infertility. I have His power to not personalize comments that unintentionally pour salt on the wounds infertility has worn. Finding contentment in Christ empowers me to move beyond myself and my wounds, so that I can reach out to comfort others going through the grief and pain of infertility too.
Contentment in God empowers us to face infertility without tearing ourselves and our relationships apart. Christ’s power is ready and available to us. Are we ready to find contentment in Him?
Leave a comment about what you are struggling to lay down at God’s feet so you can find contentment in Him. I’ll be praying that God give you the strength to lay it down so He can empower you to face infertility. Bless you sweet sister!
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.
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
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.
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.