Sunday, March 21, 2010

Run and not grow weary

On Thursday, I shared how difficult these past two weeks have been for me. Of course, within the difficult time there have been many good moments, moments when friends have said the right encouraging word or moments when I've felt the peace of God flood over me. This weekend had more of those, and I wanted to write them down.

Friday night, Rob and I left for Lakewood, where I would be leading worship for a small women's gathering put on by our previous church and denomination. They had asked me months ago, and I said yes, obviously not realizing the difficult time I'd be in. I nearly cancelled last week but changed my mind, deciding to trust that God would give me the strength. I'm so glad I didn't miss the opportunity to be encouraged.

As I began the worship time, I shared with them how fitting it was that our theme was "Run and not grow weary" from Isaiah 40. The rest of that verse seemed to be my mantra: They that wait upon (hope in) the Lord will renew their strength. I told them that I was feeling very weak, very weary, but that it was God who would give me strength. And he did! It was an awesome time of worship and fellowship.

Afterward, a woman in the church (and a good friend of ours) came up and asked how she might pray for me. I told her that she could pray for us to have a baby, that that is what is on my heart right now. She began to tell me how they too had struggled with conceiving, and it took them eight years to get pregnant. She said she remembered being in a doctor's office just after having a laparoscopy. Before the doctor came in, she heard God tell her that she would have children, whether it was through the natural way or through adoption. Just then, the doctor came in and told her that the procedure had revealed that she was incapable of having a baby. She had to decide right then whom she would believe: the doctor or the Lord. She chose to believe the Lord. A year later, she was pregnant.

Later that day, we visited with some other friends, a couple who has just had a baby. Our friend shared that it was a complete shock and miracle that she became pregnant. She explained that she had not had a period in years, and she had been told that it was extremely unlikely that she would be able to have a baby. Her experience was very different from mine: she had already accepted in her life that she would not have children, and she and her husband were prepared for that. They were not prepared to get pregnant. Although it of course has been a blessing for them, it has nonetheless required a total dependancy on God.

It's interesting how different and yet similar our stories are. It reminds me that it is not so much about the outcome of our struggles as it is what happens within the struggles. What do we choose to believe? Do we trust the Lord, do we depend on him, or do we continue to think we know what's best for our lives?

Little by little (and I mean little), I am trusting the Lord, and I am not only believing intellectually, but believing deep in my heart that God has a purpose and a plan.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meltdown City

Since I last wrote, things have taken a turn for the worse over here. Now, most people wouldn't know. I still do my job, attend church, and overall keep a smile on my face. However, the truth is, this has been one of the hardest weeks I've had in a long time. I guess I wasn't really prepared for the fall after my negative test last week. I was being honest when I said I was at peace with it. Truly I was! But when Wednesday and Thursday rolled around, and the cysts left over from the Clomid were causing me excrutiating pain again, and about 800 pregnant women were shopping at Target when I was, I started to crumble. By Thursday night, I was a bit of a mess. After a good long cry, I felt better, but it seemed that during the week to follow, I found myself just a thought away from tears again.

There is just a disconnect between what I believe and how I feel. I believe with all of my heart that God loves me, has a plan for me, wants to give me the desires of my heart. I believe that God grants rest and peace to all who ask Him. I believe that all things have their purpose. But I feel sad, disappointed, afraid, even angry at times.

I have found great comfort in God's word lately because it is full of people who believe true things about God but have obvious sorrows, disappointments, and fears. They are the poster-children for the truth we know, that it is in our weakness that God's strength is revealed.

I believe this to be true. Now if only my crazy emotions would just jump on the bandwagon and believe it, too.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Try, try again

I wish I had more exciting news to share, but after taking a test Saturday night, Sunday morning, and this morning, I have another negative result this month.

Saturday night and Sunday, I was heartbroken. John and Kelly left around 7:30, and right at that time, my cramps kicked in. It felt like my period had been just holding off until I would stop taking those progesterone supplements (which I mentioned prevent a period from taking place, but you can still get your symptoms.) I was already depressed, so I decided to just go ahead and take a test. Sunday morning was the worst, and I knew without a doubt at that point. Today's test just proved it all.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. I am doing all right at the moment, having already grieved over it this weekend and feeling at peace about it. I can feel hope growing inside of me again as a new cycle will start. We will be taking a break from the fertility treatments, however. March is just too busy, and I think a break would be good, anyway. We'll pray about when to start again, but probably close to summer.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Luke Review

This past Christmas, as I read the story of Christ's birth again, I was moved by the way God ordains seemingly unpleasant situations to be part of his perfect plan.

In the book of Luke, there is not only one surprising pregnancy, but two. Elizabeth, Mary's older cousin who was believed to be barren, finds herself pregnant at nearly the same time as Mary. What I find so incredible about this story is how God purposely ordains what seems like two terrible situations to be part of his perfect redemptive plan.

Terrible situation #1 is Elizabeth's barrenness. When Luke describes Elizabeth and her priest husband Zechariah, he praises them as righteous followers of God: "Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly." But this couple carried a great sorrow in their hearts as "they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years." We know that children were often associated with blessing. People must have wondered why it was that these two couldn't have children, perhaps even surmised that it was because of a sin. Elizabeth and Zechariah must have wondered why God wouldn't grant them a child.

Yet, this is the perfect way God wanted to bring the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah. God wanted John the Baptist to be born at just the right time, and wanted Elizabeth and Zechariah to be his mother and father. When Gabriel comes to tell Zechariah the good news that his wife would become pregnant, he says, "Your prayer has been heard." I wonder how many times they had cried out to the Lord, and all along, God knew exactly how he wanted it to happen. What at first seemed a terrible situation comes to be the perfect way.

Terrible situation #2 is of course Mary, an engaged girl who is a virgin and is pregnant. I think we are so used to hearing this miracle that we glaze over it. It is shocking, though. Mary, being like all young girls, no doubt dreamed about the day she too would be a wife and mother. I'm sure she never would have imagined her first baby would happen the way it did. In that day, Mary could have been stoned for being pregnant and unmarried. But this is the way God wanted to bring his son into the world. He wanted a young, inexperienced girl to be Jesus' earthly mother, and a committed young man to be Jesus' earthly father.

Both of them pregnant, Mary stays with Elizabeth for about three months. What conversations they must have had: Elizabeth, old in age and ready to have her first baby, and Mary, a virgin teenager pregnant with the Son of God. And this was how God ordained it all to happen.

God amazes me. What could seem to be absolutely terrible situations (barren woman and pregnant teen) are those he not merely uses but actually chooses to be the way to continue his perfect plan. And we know that God, being never-changing, must have just the same ordination of things in our lives. Nothing happens without a purpose. Nothing happens apart from his perfect plan. Praise God!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Baby Dreams

Recently, I was talking with Stephanie G. about "baby dreams" - those dreams where you're pregnant or holding your baby or something like that. I was telling her I've never had a normal baby dream. The crazy few that I had most vividly went something like this:

Dream #1 began with me holding a baby, which I knew was mine. I was in a hospital room and was very excited. But after I looked away and turned back to my baby, it had turned into Calla (my cat)! It was more of a half-Calla-half-human creature, and I was not happy about it, although everyone around me seemed to think that although it was unfortunate my baby turned out as such, it was not entirely shocking.

Dream #2 began with me, again, in a hospital room shared with another girl having a baby. Apparently, we both had just delivered, and she was holding this tiny lovely thing. Soon, someone came to hand me my baby, but she was huge! She was the size of a four-year-old, and I cried that my baby was giant-size.

Dream #3 takes place in a cabin, where there are about 20 women I know, from family to friends. All of us are taking pregnancy tests. (Yep, every single one.) One by one, each girl comes out of the bathroom to announce her positive sign, and slowly, my hope is building. In my dream, I distinctly remembered thinking, "If every single person gets a positive, maybe I will." But I take the test and stare at a blank square.

Dream #4 isn't all that interesting. I'm in a hospital room with absolutely no pregnant belly, but I know I'm going to have a baby. One after the other, different people come in to tell me that either I'm not pregnant or I am. The whole time, I'm very confused and frustrated.

So, why the hashing of all of this? Well, I had a strange dream this week. I suppose it was more of my hallucination dreams (which I call those weird dreams that occur when I'm "awake") since my eyes were actually open. It was Wednesday night, and I "woke up" to see Robby standing next to my side of the bed, holding the hand of a little child. In my dream, I knew it was my child standing there. I tried to wake myself up, but often with these type, it takes a few seconds. Finally, I got myself out of it.

I hesitate to even share this, only because I know it sounds like I think I received a prophetic dream or something like that. It's not like that, although strangely, it brought me some peace, though I'm not exactly sure why. I guess it made me feel that someday, that would be real for me.

Only a couple more days to find out if that "someday" will be sooner than later.