Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hours of Silence

And my last re-post for the day. To view this post on Lesli's website, click here.

Hours of Silence

Whether you are waiting to be expecting or just waiting on God to answer a long-standing prayer, I’m believing His Word will encourage you today. Now don’t let these acronyms scare you! The format is taking infertility medical terms and transposing them into a spiritual acronym. So for some of us, this is very familiar lingo. Get your Bible, pen and a journal or piece of paper and follow along. Take time to devote to Him.

Present Mental State - PMS – Journal your present thoughts.

Take it to the Cross – TTC – Use the journal entry of your thoughts and prayer it as a prayer unto God.

Recently, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary. We took a short, well-needed trip to the Texas hill country. We stayed in this cool, luxury eco-tent near Wimberley. The town itself is built on a square and has a funky, artsy vibe to it. As we were leaving a one-of-a-kind shop the mixed media art piece above caught my eye.

As I looked at the artist creation it triggered a thought ‘Hours of Silence’. It reminds me of a time, not too long ago I felt God was deaf to my prayers, yet He whispered loudly in my heart. I feel the title and picture go hand-in-hand, along with the contents of the devotional.

I’m asking God to whisper loudly in your ear today.
Hours of Silence

Living Hope – LH

“Now Jesus LOVED Martha and her sister Mary and Lazarus. So, when He had heard therefore that he was sick. He stayed two more days in the same place where He was.” John 11:5-6

One morning, very early I awakened, just struggling. Struggling that my prayers haven’t been answered for a sick family member, struggling because the desire of my heart for children has yet to be fulfilled. I retrieved my journal and wrote,

“Seemingly God seems so silent, and/or that He has a deaf ear to my prayers.”

After scribbling down my rational and irrational thoughts, I closed the journal and picked up a book on my desk. A recent purchase from my weekly grocery shopping, If You will Ask, by Oswald Chambers, a classic Christian author. Flipping through the book, a chapter title caught my eye, “After God’s Silence – What?” I began to read the chapter. The tears began to flow, realizing God heard my prayer after all and He just read my recent journal entry too… How dare Him!

I’d like to recollect some of Chamber’s thoughts here.

Most of us are probably familiar with this story found in John 11:1-44. Lazarus was deathly sick, his sisters called for Jesus the Healer to come, but He did not come. He didn’t even send word back to them. Minutes, hours, days. Two thousand eight hundred and eighty minutes, forty eight hours, a total of two days as a matter of fact! Two days since Jesus knew of Lazarus’ illness, yet …

He was silent.

He did not come.

“He stayed two days longer in the place where he was.” (Verse 6)

The wait for the sisters must have been difficult and grueling. The silence, deafening. Their thoughts must have been reeling! They most assuredly witnessed His miracle working power. They probably said, “Why won’t He send word to us? Where is He? Time is running out!”

Have we ever said the following on our journey to Motherhood?

“God, my time is running out! Hello? God! Can’t you hear my biological clock ticking? Can YOU even hear me? Why the wait? You know God I am not getting any younger! Why are you so silent, why do my prayers seem to go unanswered?”

Scripture tells us that Lazarus died, but the most important fact to note here is Jesus did come to the sisters, He came at the right time and was not silent! He SHOUTED, “Lazarus come forth!” The might of heaven spoke and life came!

As I look at the black and white picture I notice the absence of hands on the clocks worn faces, for me, a symbolism of the silence. The human hand reaching up, possibly in desperation, like our hands reaching up to our merciful God as we wait.

Oswald Chambers brings about a good point, “Think again about their situation, along with this question. Which would be the greater miracle? To heal one who is sick or to raise one from the dead?” True, each is a miracle in its own right. Chambers goes on to write, “The manifestation will come in a way beyond our comprehension. His silence is big with terrific meaning that you cannot understand it yet, but presently you will. Time is nothing to God. The manifestation of the answer in place and time is a mere matter of God’s Sovereignty.”

How many minutes, hours and days has it been for you? How long have you waited for the desire of your heart, your prayer to be answered or to hold that bundle of joy? Let’s try not to let the external details of time get us discouraged from praying. Let’s not allow the silence to waste us away and wrap us in grave cloths! It was obvious Jesus came at the right time in Lazarus’ situation and He blew the minds of those witnessing Him coming back to life!

Friend, I believe He will manifest the desires of our hearts in a way beyond our comprehension! Will you believe with me today?

Faith is the Substance of Things Hoped for – FSH a scripture for meditation or memory
“Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams]– Ephesians 3:20 Amplified

His Continued Grace – HCG A prayer for you!


“Heavenly Father, thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by You! I desire faith like Abraham, believing that ‘You exist and that You are a rewarder of those who diligently seek You’. You said, ‘I would find You, God, when I seek You with all of my heart’. Father, I choose to seek You first, along this fertility journey. I praise You as You said in the Bible, that ‘You would bless the fruit of my womb, the number of my days you would fulfill and that none shall be barren among your people’. I thank You that infertility and sterility have been nailed to the Cross of Calvary through the sacrifice of Your dear Son, Jesus Christ! I thank you now, for giving me faith and hope to believe for a miracle! In Jesus’ name, Amen!”

Deuteronomy 7:12-13, Psalm 113:9, 139:14, Matthew 6:33, Luke 1:36-37, Hebrews 11:1, 6 & 11

Praise God! – PG Take time to praise and thank Him for what He has done and will do for you.

A Perfect Window

Another re-post from the helpful and encouraging website, Dancing Upon Barren Land. Hope you enjoy!

A Perfect Window
By Lesli Westfall

In November of last year my husband and I took a well-needed and deserved break. We visited our dear friends and children on their farm in Idaho. I’ve been privileged to travel many states in the U.S., but this was a first in Idaho, the gem state. I loved it! Especially the town of Boise, contemporary yet with a small town feel. The city has a good atmosphere with warm friendly people, an unbelievable farmer’s market with exceptional crafts and artisan foods. A variety of great restaurants abound, like the Basque food we sampled and the Dim Sum (I sampled chicken feet. Let’s just say I’ll stick with my Texas BBQ). However, representing my favorite food group ‘Caffeine’ were ‘The Chocolat Bar’ and the ‘Remembrandt Coffee House’. Two places where I could take my computer, sit a spell, have some good eats and java, and write for awhile!

As we went to and fro visiting various places there was an old shed nearby which always caught my eye. With each passing I’d think to myself, ‘I want to get a picture of that!’ A uniqueness surrounded the structure, maybe it was the soft hued colors compared to the lingering vibrant foliage of autumns’ last days or perhaps it was the rugged, worn look of the building compared to the manicured pastures (thanks to the horses), and stately residences surrounding it.

On a late Sunday afternoon, as some were taking naps and others doing farm chores I decided to take a walk. I packed my Sony Cybershot Camera and iPhone in my pockets and armed myself with my husband’s new fancy- pants camera, a Canon 5D. I was determined to capture some images of this old place. Along the way, I snapped pictures of a vineyard, horses willing to come to the fence for a visit and a tree farm with the rows of trees displaying their fall beauty.

Finally I came upon the old shed, walking all around I must have taken at least fifty pictures! Since I’m a camera novice, I tried to shoot from various angles and camera settings, at dusk no less. To no avail only a few pictures turned out good. But sometimes when I see a structure, landscape, or the like, it brings inspiration to me.

Like this window.

When I walked up to it, thoughts flooded my mind. Yes, it is an old shed, dusty and worn, cobwebs connecting the broken panes, but I saw a point to be made.

Look at the window again. Focusing on the foreground you see brokenness, sharp, jagged protrusions of the glass. The pain of the present is near us. A vivid reminder of the brokenness and protruding pain infertility causes; like the monthly disappointments of negative pregnancy tests or a failed fertility treatment after thousands of dollars spent. The cobwebs; like the dusty piled-up prayers reflecting the longing in our hearts to become mothers. The lingering years of hoping, believing and praying for children of our own, still yet to be fulfilled.

I see the brokenness in the window and I have felt its’ pain, so to speak, and I’m sure you have to.

Now, peer beyond the broken glass, what do you see?

A perfect window.

A complete square, no panes broken, with a beautiful image in the distance.

The pain of the present keeps us from seeing the distant future; His plan for you and me. My friend, come humbly before Him and surrender all! The deep heartache, the ‘why is this happening to me’? and all of the longings to Him. He can put the broken pieces of your soul back together again, He can blow the cobwebs off of your dusty piled-up prayers and breathe expectant hope into you. He’ll strengthen you so you can move forward to the future.

I know this to be true because our great God has done this for me (and still does). I believe He can do this for you!

Like the perfect window, His plan for your life is nothing short of perfect and complete.

As a myriad of thoughts flooded my mind when I viewed this image, so did these scriptures. Praying you’ll be encouraged today!

Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see vision into perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I know everything complete, just as God knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:2.

For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper, not to harm you, to give you a hope and future. Jeremiah 29:11

But the path of righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until the full day. Proverbs 13:12

My prayer for you: “May inspiration come as you surrender to God your pain of the present. As you peek into your perfect window, may your prayers have life again with expectant hope and may you see, by faith, the beautiful image in the distance as you place your trust in Him for your future.”

Having a Heart of Hope

The next couple posts will be from a website that has been very encouraging to me. If you are currently struggling with infertility, I pray that these words uplift your heart as well.


Having a Heart of HOPE – Behind the Wall of Anger

Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

Going through infertility we tend to have a hope sick heart. When dealing with a hope sick heart we go through different psychological emotions/actions. Some common Psychological Emotions/Actions are: Surprise, Denial, Shock, Guilt, Isolation, Anger, Disorganization, and Grief. As we wait for the desires of our heart, God IS AT WORK IN US, GETTING THROUGH TO THE CORE OF US, so we can HAVE A HEART OF PROMISE, BELIEVING IN HIS WORD AND EXPECTATION.

What is the heart? Seat of intentions, thoughts and emotions, our innermost self. Our heart is our dearest treasure.

“Arise cry aloud in the night, as the beginning of the night watches; Pour out your heart like water, before the presence of the Lord.” Lamentations 2:19 NAS

“For God is greater than our hearts and knows everything.” 1 John 3:20


Definition of Anger: partially inflamed, incensed, enraged, infuriated, irate, provoked, and embittered.

Anger as a Christian can be scary for some and can be the most difficult to accept, yet it is a natural response. Some feel that it is not an appropriate response to pain. So some may feel guilty for even having any anger. Anger is a natural, necessary part of the journey through grief, whether the month after month of disappointment thru infertility, failed adoption attempts, or if you have lost a child. Anger is usually the secondary emotion blocking the real cause of pain.

Definition of Offense: the feeling of displeasure.


RESENTMENT – towards unplanned pregnancies, those who get abortions or your spouse who has not given you the necessary support that you need. Or you could be mad at women who have had complicated-free pregnancies and have given birth to healthy babies.

JEALOUSY/ENVY – towards friends or family members that become pregnant.
“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.”
Proverbs 14:30 KJV

FRUSTRATION/HELPLESSNESS – couples may experience frustration and helplessness when they give their bodies/reproductive systems over to clinicians.

SILENCE – feeling as if God does not hear your hearts’ cry or care about your heart breaking. We often wonder what God is up to. There are no shortcuts through this ordeal. It is hard work to maintain faith in the midst of silence and suffering.

If we allow the above emotions to take root we can be become bitter.

If we allow the above emotions to take root we can be become bitter.

RACHAEL AND LEAH, Genesis 30:1-22 (Resentment, Anger)
Hannah and Penninah, 1 Samuel 1 (Jealousy, Rivalry)

BITTERNESS: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

Jesus and John the Baptist: Read, Luke 7:18-23 Amplified
“And blessed is He who is not offended because of me.” Matthew 11:6 KJV

“And blessed (happy–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, apart from outward conditions–and to be envied) is he who takes no offense in Me and who is not hurt or resentful or annoyed or repelled or made to stumble whatever may occur].” Luke 7:23 Amplified.


Pray and ask God to search your heart. Write a letter to God about your anger and what’s behind it.

“Rid yourself of all offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit.” Ezekiel 18:31

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Pr. 4:23

Guard our heart: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32


Having a Heart of Hope means having a heart of promise and expectation that comes from Him. It is important to focus on the future, yet also to glance at the past to see what Jesus Christ had done for us through His sacrifice on the Cross. Below are some prayers for you and scripture for memorization or meditation.


“Heavenly Father, I feel so angry and frustrated about my fertility challenges. I ask for Your divine love to flow through me, for Your love is patient and kind, and not easily angered. Help me to be slow in my speech and slow in anger when it comes to dealing with my family members, friends or doctor. Help me not to be angry with you God, for all I am going through and with all that I don’t understand. Most of all, keep me from sinning against You or any one else in my anger. Thank you, Father for the release from anger within my heart.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Proverbs 15:18 NAS, I Corinthians 13:4-7, Ephesians 4:26, James 1:19-20


“Heavenly Father, your Word tells me how to love and being envious and jealous is not part of your divine love. Father, I am struggling with envy and jealousy as I see pregnant women and hear of a new baby in someone’s life. Help me not to deny Your goodness and Your perfect plan for another as you bless them with children. Teach me not to compare my life with others, to take every negative, envious and jealous thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I ask for Your help to rejoice in the truth with others as I hear of a pregnancy or birth. Thank you for teaching me Your way to love.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I Corinthians 13:4-7, II Corinthians 10:5, 12

Friday, December 16, 2011


by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried.
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, He replied.
I pleaded, and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, “Child, you must wait.”

“Wait? You say wait?” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why.
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I’m claiming your Word.

“My future, and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me ‘wait’?
I’m needing a ‘yes’, a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’, to which I can resign.

“And Lord, you have promised that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking: I need a reply!”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So I slumped in my chair; defeated and taut
And grumbled to God; “So I’m waiting, for what?”

He seemed then to kneel and His eyes met with mine
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens, darken the sun,
Raise the dead, cause the mountains to run.

“All you see I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want, but you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You’d know the power that I give to the faint.

“You’d not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust, just by knowing I’m there.
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me,
When darkness and silence was all you could see.

“You would never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

“The glow of My comfort late in the night;
The faith that I give when you walk without sight;
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

“And you never would know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’
Yes, your dreams for that loved one o’ernight could come true,
But the loss! If you lost what I am doing in you.

“So be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft’ may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all…is still…wait.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Word of Encouragement

This is a (long) list of all the Scripture I keep on hand and turn to when I need to be reminded of God's truth. I pray His Word uplifts your heart as much as it does mine.

God's Word of EncouragementListed in order by books in the Bible

Genesis 18:14
Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.

Exodus 23:26
There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.

Joshua 1:5
I will never leave you nor forsake you.

2 Chronicles 20:15
And he said, "Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, 'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's.'

2 Chronicles 20:17
You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for Yahweh is with you.

Job 6:11
What is my strength, that I should wait? And what is my end, that I should endure?

Job 13:15
Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.

Job 14:14
All the days of my struggle I will wait
Until my change comes.

Job 28:24
For He looks to the ends of the earth
And sees everything under the heavens.

Psalm 13:1-6
How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? 
How long will You hide Your face from me? 
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, 
Having sorrow in my heart all the day? 
How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; 
Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 
4 And my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” 
And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. 
5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; 
My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 
6 I will sing to the Lord, 
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 6:6-10
6 I am weary with my sighing;
Every night I make my bed swim,
I dissolve my couch with my tears.
7 My eye has wasted away with grief;
It has become old because of all my adversaries.
8 Depart from me, all you who do iniquity,
For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my supplication,
The Lord receives my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be ashamed and greatly dismayed;
They shall turn back, they will suddenly be ashamed.

Psalm 22:1-3
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
2 O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest.
3 Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

Psalm 25:5
Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.

Psalm 27:14
Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.

Psalm 30:5(b)
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 33:20
Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield.

Psalm 34:18-19
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
But the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 38:15
For I hope in You, O LORD; You will answer, O Lord my God.

Psalm 39:7
And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.

Psalm 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord;.
And He inclined to me and heard my cry..
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..

Psalm 55:22
Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

Psalm 56:3-4,8
3 When I am afraid,
I will put my trust in You.
4 In God, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust;
I shall not be afraid.
8 You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book?

Psalm 62:5
My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him.

Psalm 66:18-20
18 If I regard wickedness in my heart,
The Lord will not hear;
19 But certainly God has heard;
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.
20 Blessed be God,
Who has not turned away my prayer
Nor His lovingkindness from me.

Psalm 69:3
I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Psalm 73:26
My flesh and my heart may fail, But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 84:8-12
8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah.
9 Behold our shield, O God,
And look upon the face of Your anointed.
10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
12 O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Psalm 94:19
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.

Psalm 113:9
He makes the barren woman abide in the house As a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 127:3-5
3 Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
5 How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.

Psalm 139:13-16
13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

Psalm 142:3
When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
You knew my path.

Psalm 145:18-19
18 The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He will also hear their cry and will save them.

Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 15:13
A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 16:9
The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; 11-12
1 There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
11 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.

Isaiah 25:1
O Lord, You are my God;
I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name;
For You have worked wonders,
Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

Isaiah 32:15
till the Spirit is poured on us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.

Isaiah 40:26
Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.

Isaiah 40:31
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

Isaiah 41:10
'Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'

Isaiah 54:1
"Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child;
Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed;
For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous
Than the sons of the married woman," says the LORD.

Isaiah 55:8-12
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
12 “For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Isaiah 59:1
Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.

Jeremiah 29:11
'For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Lamentations 3:21-26
21 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
22 The LORD'S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul,
"Therefore I have hope in Him."
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
26 It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.

Lamentations 3:31-32
For the Lord will not reject forever,
For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion
According to His abundant lovingkindness.

Lamentations 3:55-57
I called on Your name, O LORD,
Out of the lowest pit.
You have heard my voice,
"Do not hide Your ear from my prayer for relief,
From my cry for help."
You drew near when I called on You;
You said, "Do not fear!"

Daniel 2:22
It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And the light dwells with Him.

Matthew 6:31-33
So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Matthew 21:22
And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Matthew 28:20
I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Luke 1:36-37
36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
*Remember that God can even conceive a child in a virgin’s womb – His power is limitless!*

Romans 5:1-5
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 8:24-25
For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Romans 8:28
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Philippians 4:4-9
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9 The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 10:22-23
22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

Hebrews 11:1-3
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

Hebrews 12:1-3
1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:10-11
10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

James 1:2-5
2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 4:8
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Funny Infertile T-shirts

Advice for Friends and Family

This is an excerpt from Faith Biblical Counseling:

In our quest to be genuinely helpful, sometimes we say things that only make it more difficult. People are not the same and the “solutions” for a pregnancy are not identical. I remember that my wife and I had tried to have a child for about a year. The longer we were unsuccessful the more advice we received. Everything from what we should eat and drink, to what type of clothing we should wear, to when and how often we should have sexual relations and on and on the advice went. Our personal favorite was the dear folks who told us not to be stressed about it. Not be stressed! Really? There were even occasions that we received advice we did not ask for. In due time, we did have a child, three in fact, but to this day we cannot identify a “magic trick.” It seemed to us that we would try to have a child and then the Lord would give the increase in His time. Honestly, that is the way the Lord has worked in many couples’ lives.

So, please do not seek to help those struggling with infertility by simply explaining what worked for you. That may or may not be their experience.

Every infertile couple knows that you cannot solve the issue for them. They are not asking you to do that. They are simply asking that you would care about them and that y
ou would care about their suffering. So, remember, if they tell you about their infertility they are simply asking you to “one another” them a little bit.

Pray for them. Pray that God strengthens them in the inner man to endure this trial. Pray that God would give them the desire of their hearts – to have a child – if it is according to His will. Pray that you would be kind and gracious to them.

Send a card or make a call. Ladies, you know how challenging it can be to start your cycle when you really want a child. So if you learn that one of your friends started her cycle now could be a great time for a card. A “thinking of you” card could go a long way to suffering with your friend.

Those struggling with infertility do not always want the “what worked for you” advice. They often want someone who would pray for them and care about them as they walk through this valley that seems like “the valley of the shadow of death.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Monthly Mourning

Today I had to meet a window installer at our home to install some blinds in our master bathroom. I had originally planned to wait until tomorrow morning to take a home pregnancy test (HPT), but I realized that maybe that's not the best time of day for me personally.

You see, on a normal night, I have this psychological issue where if I wake up at all, I suddenly become aware of the fact that I'm awake and that I could go pee if I tried. It's not that my bladder is full and that I NEED to go, it's just an awareness that my bladder isn't empty, which therefore makes me obsessed with that fact until I give up trying to go back to sleep and just get up and go. Silly? Yep. Just go back to sleep? I know, right? That does seem logical. Except that when I do that, and really, I have tried several times, I just end up DREAMING about going pee or having to go pee. It's a problem, I know. But at least I admit it...

Moving on, so whenever I know that I'm planning to take a HPT the next morning, it compounds this psychological problem. You see, with a HPT, you're supposed to use the "morning's first urine" or urine that has been in your bladder for at least 4 hours. Specific instructions, huh? So whenever I do wake up at 3:00 AM, I'm met with a dilemma. First, we all know I'm going to go to the bathroom since I'm a freak and can't go back to sleep without dreaming about toilets. So does this count as my morning's first urine? When does morning start? Since I'm getting up in 3 hours, does that mean I have to wait an hour after I wake up to pee in the cup? So what usually happens is that I take the test at 3:00 AM and then go back to bed with sad, disappointing news (never gotten a positive result). And then that ruins my night's sleep.

So today, I spontaneously decided to just start testing when I'm awake. It's just better and easier all around, and I'm sure those instructions are just guidelines. Unfortunately, the test was negative today, but having this blog helps to release the sadness and mourn this month's loss. If any husbands of infertile wives are reading this, it's important for you to realize how much your wife may hurt at the end of her cycles each month. You probably don't think about being a parent as much or often as she does, let alone have to get slapped in the face by a bright red Aunt Flow every month. It's important to let her mourn that loss every month. The loss that her dream of becoming a mom will have to wait for a little longer.

Ladies, don't take this mourning overboard, but instead try to remember that with each new period is a new cycle. A new beginning. A renewed hope. I often remind myself during this time that God's plan is bigger and greater than my own, ultimately. It may be a long time before I see or understand that, but it's important to remember that it's not all about me. That my ultimate purpose on this earth is to bring glory to God, and as a result of reminding myself of that, I have been much more aware of how He has moved in my life. In a way, it's flattering to think that I'm special enough to endure a trial like this that can be used to help other women and bring glory to God. So if you're struggling too, take some comfort in that. Remember that God wouldn't let you endure anything that you aren't strong enough to handle, so look at how strong He must think you are! Here's to a new beginning!

The Other Side

Last night we invited a couple over for dinner who have previously struggled with infertility. We didn't know them well during their struggle, and had just joined a Bible study group they were in when they announced they were pregnant after four years of infertility. Since then, we became good friends, and now I'm so thankful to have them as an example to look ahead to. They are actually expecting their SECOND child, which was unexpected, but such a wonderful surprise to them.

We greatly enjoyed hearing their full story, the lessons they learned and rejoicing that the Lord is greater and bigger than ANYTHING. When I think about this truth, it is so reassuring. I often worry and fret that I might have something physically wrong that the doctors can't tell via blood tests, ultrasound, etc. More specifically, I worry that I might have endometriosis because my mom had it, and I used to exhibit symptoms that might be explained by it (very painful cramps and large blood clots during menstruation - fortunately, since using the progesterone cream, I have no longer experienced these symptoms. I still don't have answers whether or not I have endometriosis, but I'm glad to not have those symptoms).

But when I dwell on that truth, it is so comforting to remember that no matter what might be wrong (even endometriosis), God is ALL powerful and is bigger than everything. One of my favorite songs is Chris Tomlin "Our God." If you've never heard it, do yourself a favor and click here. It pumps me up every time!

Our friends were a blessed reminder to not put our trust in anything else but the Lord. For those struggling, it's very easy to think "Ok, these herbal supplements will do the trick" or "Lying here afterwards for 20 minutes with your feet up in the air, you know, letting gravity play a part, that'll work." But there is NOTHING that you do or ever could do to make a life begin.

One neat analogy I've learned through this trial is that infertility is a lot like salvation. When people put faith in their own self-efforts to get into heaven (prayer, number of church attendance, baptism, etc.), it's pointless. We all fall short of the glory of God. There is nothing you or I could ever do to earn our own way into God's heavenly kingdom - it is only by the grace that God extended to mankind, through the perfect, sinless, holy Son, Jesus Christ, and His death and resurrection on the cross that allows us to enter His heavenly kingdom. Just like it is only God's grace in granting the creation of a life inside a womb. It's beautiful, and it's perfect, even if you or I don't understand why, when, or who receives the blessing of carrying a life. God knows all, and His will is perfect. Never forget that.

The night ended with our friends praying over us. I've been so moved at how much love and support has been thrown our way through this trial. I feel like we have a gigantic family of loved ones. It's a huge blessing. I hope you can be grateful for those kinds of friends as well.

It was so nice to see what it's like on the other side of this trial. To see how the Lord was faithful in growing them. And to be reminded that Our God is Greater!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

About Us

Welcome! This blog is a means to help me as I traverse the path of unexplained infertility (and now adoption), but unlike some blogs out there, I am dedicated to keeping God in the center of this journey. If I did not have my faith in Jesus Christ, I know that I would be a bitter, angry, and depressed woman and wife. So if you don't want to hear about how God has moved in my life through this trial, how much I depend on His love, strength, and power, then please move on to a different blog that is more suited for you.

I firmly believe that with God, nothing is impossible, and as a result that is where my hope is grounded. It's a hope that I pray is never quenched or weakened. It's a hope that gets me through the low points. It's a hope that does not disappoint in the end because I know that God is causing all things to work out for the good of His glory and will. Thank you for sharing in this journey with me. And if you are reading this and are struggling to grow your family as well, I would love to have a chance to pray for you and help one another through this journey.

Here is the background of our story: Michael and I have been married since May 2007. On December 4, 2010, we decided to begin trying to start a family. I'm a planner, and had high expectations that we would get pregnant right away, just in time to announce it to our families on Christmas morning. But to my surprise, we did not get pregnant.

At first I did not track much about my cycle, but after 3-4 months of no success, I jumped into Control Mode and learned all about how to track and chart your fertility cycles (using the Fertility Awareness Method, or FAM for short). At the 8-month mark, we had routine blood work and other testing done. Michael's semen analysis was "good" and all my blood work was "normal," except that I learned that I have low progesterone levels (despite a normal luteal phase length).

It was at this point, that I finally learned to surrender to the Lord and let Him lead this endeavor. I realized how much I had been trying to control. Everything from what food I was eating, lubricant we were using, position we were...doing, the timing of sex, etc. As if I thought I had the power to create life! I confessed my controlling heart, and made a personal commitment to give this desire over the Lord and to trust His timing, not mine.

My OB/GYN at the time took my low progesterone level to mean that I was not ovulating and wanted to prescribe me Clomid. I tried to explain that I didn't believe that was the case because I tracked my temperature and cervical fluid (sometimes I refer to this as cervical "stuff" since the hubby doesn't like the word fluid/mucus, lol). I also told her I didn't feel comfortable using an ovulatory drug right off the bat, and would prefer to first try supplementing the low progesterone level, then go from there. My requests were not well received.

After prayer, we made the decision to not see her again and take a month off to wait until September 1st when my insurance would switch back to my previous provider. We felt led to go see our previous family doctor, who attends our church: Dr. S. Being the planner I am, I made a 7:40AM appointment on the 1st - no waiting around people!

Michael was able to attend with me and Dr. S. even prayed over us at the end. He also prescribed me a topical progesterone cream to help supplement my low levels.

As December 2011 was approaching, I knew it was time to schedule my annual OB/GYN appointment. Not wanting to take control of this, I did a quick search of all the OB/GYN's in my insurance provider's network and scheduled an appointment with a doctor. But I kept hearing conflicting opinions from friends about who I should see, with one friend telling me that Dr. S. recommends a particular OB/GYN doctor, Dr. H. I realized as I was praying one night that it was silly for me to worry and fret about what doctor to see, and instead prayed for a clear sign if I should switch my appointment to see Dr. H. instead. The sign I prayed for was to see or hear the name Amy the next day (Dr. H.'s first name is Amy).

Lo and behold, God has a lovely sense of humor. As Michael and I were driving to church the next morning, we were behind a car for several miles that had a "Vote for Amy" bumper sticker. The funny thing was that I did not remember my prayer in that moment - it wasn't until I was talking to a friend after church that it hit me, and I just felt so much awe and wonder that God had so faithfully and specifically answered that prayer. (And my friend wondered why I suddenly had zoned out.) So the next day, I called and switched my appointment to Dr. H.

My appointment with Dr. H. was also wonderful. It turns out that she also goes to our church (perhaps a reason why Dr. S. recommends her), but more than that she was so kind and encouraging. She looked at all my records and told me she's confident that I'm ovulating regularly, but wanted to take a peek via ultrasound to make sure everything else is looking good. I never thought I would get an ultrasound unless I was pregnant, but I was so thankful for her attentiveness and wanting to check things out (without charging for the ultrasound). She confirmed that my uterus and lining look great (no polyps or fibroids). She also confirmed that I do not have PCOS, and that "it looks like you ovulated on the left side this month". I can't tell you how excited that made me since I had felt twinges of pain on the left side that month. It was like confirmation that "Yes, your body does work properly." She encouraged me to continue trying the old fashioned way, but that if I desired to, there are next-step options. She also wanted me to come back for another ultrasound just before I ovulated the next cycle to help us plan the timing better. My appointment for this was on the 29th of that month. She again confirmed that everything looks great, and that I'm ovulating.

Soon after this appointment, I realized that tracking my temperature everyday was only causing me to stress about the finest details, so I made the decision to no longer track it. How refreshing and relaxing it has been since I made that decision! I continued to use the progesterone cream until December 2012 (I'll fill in some details in between next).

On September 19, 2012, I had another appointment with Dr. H. to discuss my next-step options. She basically said we have two routes to take: continue down the diagnostic path or begin infertility treatments. She is a really nice doctor, because instead of telling you what to do, she gives you the option (all doctors are supposed to give you the option, but many come across as being pushy). We took some time to discuss and pray about this decision, and we decided for me to have an HSG test done to check if my fallopian tubes were open or blocked. Assuming they were open, we would then begin using Clomid the following cycle.

My HSG test was on October 4, 2012 and thankfully the results were good - both tubes open and looked great. The test itself was akin to being abducted by aliens (or so I would imagine), but I made it through it, and am thankful for the good news.

We used Clomid for one cycle in November, but decided to discontinue using it. Why? Read on...

In September, we watched a documentary called Forks Over Knives. It recommends that everyone eat a whole foods, plant-based diet in order to achieve optimal health, prevent many common health conditions, and even reverse certain conditions already plaguing your body. As researchers by day, we greatly appreciated the mountain of scientific evidence presented in the documentary that supports their recommendations. At the end of the movie, we turned to one another and both said, "Let's try this!"

Then we watched a special feature on the DVD, consisting of some deleted scenes when the film crew was interviewing Dr. Pam Popper of the Wellness Forum. In her interview, she spoke about how eating an animal-based diet can negatively affect so many aspects of your body, including hormones, and how she has had hundreds of clients come to her with unexplained infertility or other infertility issues and has helped each of them structure their diet so that they were able to conceive a child. We turned to one another again, and realized that we now had even more reason to try this new diet.

Now, when I say "diet," I do not mean a temporary eating plan to achieve a fitness or weight loss goal. I mean our everyday, rest of our lives kind of diet. Our daily diet. Our new way of nourishing our bodies.

We began this diet on October 28, 2012. We also became members of Dr. Popper's Wellness Forum, which comes with a wonderfully informative Wellness 101 course packet and DVD. It's like drinking from a fire hose at first, but it is so clear, convicting, and compelling. Our new diet is discussed in further detail here.

For us, it's like James 4:17 - now that we have learned the right way to treat and nourish our bodies, we cannot simply turn our backs on this information, because it would be as if we were intentionally not honoring the temples God has given us, which is sinful. Looking back, it is so clear to us that God was taking steps, leading us and preparing us to the point of watching this movie and being open to the idea of radically changing the way we eat and live. Our former selves would never have been ready for this. Had we never struggled with infertility, we never would have had an interest in making such drastic changes. This diet is certainly not the path of least resistance, because in our culture, it can be challenging to choose healthy foods when so many unhealthy foods are always presented. This diet takes planning, commitment, and self-motivation to stick with it. But for us, it is worth it completely because we both feel and look so much healthier than when we began.

Continuing with our lifestyle changes, we had a phone consultation with Dr. Popper on December 6, 2012 -- just over two years after we first decided to start a family. This consultation was such a blessing, and I have never felt so much peace from the Lord. It was so clear to me that we are on the right path, and this is what God wants us to do right now. Focus on improving our health and waiting patiently for His timing.

During the consultation, Dr. Popper asked me a few background questions about my female history, and based on my answers (painful menstrual cramps, heavy bleeding, migraines, etc.), she said all my symptoms are indicative of having too high estrogen levels, which happens with an animal-based diet (dairy). This would explain why my progesterone levels were low, and why using the topical cream would provide some relief from my symptoms. She said that having begun this new diet, I am well on my way to balancing out my hormones naturally. (Using topical progesterone cream, or Clomid, was treating the symptom, not the root cause.) She said it could take years for my hormones to completely level out, so she recommended not worrying about actively trying to conceive for a while and just focus on our health. She said I should first notice that my menstrual cramps diminish significantly, and eventually I should notice my periods getting lighter and shorter and my cycle lengths getting a bit longer.

The first period I had after stopping all hormone supplementation was one that was free of PMS, menstrual cramps, and headaches. It was so encouraging to see the things she said should happen actually happen!

So at this time, I'm hoping that I will continually be more relaxed about everything, and continue to improve my overall health through diet and exercise. And of course I hope that if the Lord wills, hopefully one day I'll wake up and be pregnant.

In the fall of 2013, the Lord moved in our hearts to begin the journey of adoption. We realized that a biological child is no better/worse than a child we receive through adoption - they would each be our child (or on loan from heaven). Once we felt that conviction, we started the process. We're currently waiting to receive the baby that God will choose to be our own. We pray for his/her birth parents because we love them and know that their incredible sacrifice will one day be one of the greatest gifts we will ever receive.

Before I close this first blog post, I just want to also discuss how I've seen the Lord move in our lives. There have been several things that I consider blessings as a result of infertility:
  • First and foremost, my relationship with the Lord has grown tremendously as I've learned how to completely depend on Him. He is my rock and strength, and I would be lost without Him. My prayer life has also grown exponentially.
  • Our marriage has grown stronger. When we first started trying, Michael wasn't too thrilled about having kids. He was sort of giving in to my desire, and was more or less indifferent. As it didn't happen right away and I began to struggle with the pain of it, he didn't understand at first and wasn't as sensitive or supportive as I needed. It probably didn't help that I was still in Control Mode and demanding sex everyday during my fertile window without regard for his feelings. Ladies, don't put so much pressure on your men - it's not easy for them to feel like they're being used for their...seed. But as I learned to put God back in the center, Michael changed dramatically. He strongly desires to be a father soon, and shares my pain with me. He is so sensitive and supportive. I am SO thankful to have him as my partner through this. God is my rock and strength, but Michael is the physical presence that I get to hug and cry with whenever I need it. I love him so much more every day as we go through this together. I'm so glad we didn't get pregnant right away because we would not be as close as we are today.
  • I'm so thankful for all of our friends who continue to pray for us and encourage us. I'm also thankful for the friends we know who have struggled or are currently struggling with infertility because we have learned much from them. As painful of a trial it is, that I wouldn't wish on anyone, it's nice to realize you're not alone. So far from alone!
  • We're thankful for our family who also has been loving and supportive through this. We waited a while to tell them because we were still hoping we'd get pregnant soon, but we decided it might be best to tell them so they know where we're at emotionally.
  • If we had gotten pregnant right away, we would not have had the opportunity to lead our Sunday School class for the newlywed and young married couples at our church. We were asked to lead a few months before we began trying, but at that time we knew it wouldn't be too much longer before we started trying for a family, so we declined. But as months and months passed without getting pregnant, a second opportunity to lead came up, and after prayerfully considering it, we accepted since we felt led to not let this time of "waiting" be wasted. We felt led to dedicate this time to growing our marriage and ministry together and enjoy the time of "just us" before children. We led this ministry for another year, before deciding to move on to a different ministry: helping others improve their overall health through diet and exercise. We are still in the early stages of this, so I don't have much else to add here yet.
  • I'm also thankful that we didn't get pregnant right away because I would have never met my present OB/GYN, Dr. H. Now hopefully, if I do get pregnant, I would love for her to deliver our children.
  • I'm thankful that I wasn't pregnant while we went through the adventure of building our first home. Some people say building a home together is a great way to ruin a marriage, but that was not our experience. Stressful at times? Certainly. But we greatly enjoyed designing the plans, picking the fine details, and watching it form before our eyes. We also dedicated this house to God by writing scripture on the framed walls (before they put up drywall). So now it's reassuring to know that in our bathroom (where I take my pregnancy tests and experience monthly disappointments), I have lyrics from John Waller's "While I'm Waiting" song, and James 1 encouraging me to consider it all joy when I encounter various trials.
  • We have learned how sensitive of an issue this is. We used to haphazardly ask people, "So...when are you planning to have kids??" Having now been on the receiving end of that question, I realize just how personal that question is. It really makes you think twice before prying into others' lives.
  • We've also learned how to be thankful and grateful for what we DO have instead of focusing on what we don't have. There is always something to be thankful for. You just have to CHOOSE to dwell on that. (Philippians 4:8)
  • Furthermore, we have learned to be thankful for every trial and period of suffering...even while still in the midst of it. God's light seems the brightest when you're surrounded by darkness. It's been a growing experience to seek a joyful heart even when we're hurting.
  • I'm in awe at how the Lord is using my painful trial to further His kingdom. God has led me to write many of the posts on this blog, and it seems to find its way into other's hands who are struggling with infertility. I pray that anyone who reads this blog will feel encouraged and full of hope.
  • We are so thankful for infertility opening our hearts and minds to trying a whole foods, plant based diet. It has dramatically improved our health and we now plan to raise our family with this way of eating.
  • We are also amazed at how God used our infertility to completely open our hearts to the idea of adoption. Being perfectly honest, we never once considered adopting a child. We were totally the "Oh, that's so nice [for you]!" type of people. That just goes to show you how powerful God is and how His will cannot be stopped. We now hope and pray that we can grow our family through pregnancy someday AND adoption - and we're currently pursuing adoption first! We are SO excited to become parents, and hopefully soon!
Thank you for stopping by my blog, and I pray that the Lord would bless you in your family planning endeavors!

Romans 5:3-5
And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lovely Break

It's been a busy time for us. The first part of April was very busy with work. Then mid-April we went on a Caribbean cruise. It was so wonderful and relaxing. Especially because I was sure that I ovulated prior to the trip, so I could totally kick back and enjoy the break (except taking my temp everyday of course, but that's like 20 seconds).

Cycle Update:
I'm on day 28 of my cycle. I think I ovulated on day 15, which puts me at 13 days past ovulation today. So far no symptoms of pregnancy that I've noticed. I honestly don't expect it to have worked out this month because I was pretty stressed with work and did not seem to produce much fertile quality cervical stuff. That's actually my biggest concern at this point - that I don't produce enough eggwhite cervical fluid. I will have to research if there are ways to increase it. Anyways, getting close to the end of the 2WW and hoping for good news!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Go Back to Start


Well, it's day 2 of  a new cycle...
I made it until day 32 to take a pregnancy test and it was negative. But, my temperatures kept staying up there, and my period had not started. I even saw some spotting on day 33, which was 14 days past ovulation, which isn't unheard of for implantation bleeding. The spotting cleared up for another 2 days, and I kept thinking I was experiencing symptoms (sensitivity to smells, tender breasts). I took a second test on day 36 (which turned out to be day 1 because I started my period later that day) and it was negative of course. I finally saw my temperature lower slightly on this day and sure enough I started. In summary, 35 day cycle, ovulation on day 19 (I think), and 16 day luteal phase.

"Sorry, go back to start!" Just like the board game, SORRY, I felt like I was almost home but got jumped on at the last minute before entering the safe zone (they say if your luteal phase is over 16 days long, you are likely pregnant). Of course in reality, there was no fertilized egg, so I really wasn't that close to anything, it just felt that way to me during the 2+ week wait.

Like I said before, though, a new beginning is also a good thing because with every unsuccessful cycle that passes, I learn something new. From this past cycle, I learned that I have a healthy luteal phase length that should be able to allow enough time for implantation if a fertilized egg is present. I also learned by looking back at my notes that we need to really time sex well and I need to drink a lot more water than I have been. I've always been a little bad about drinking the "right" amount of water every day...sometime less than 2 cups for the whole day, including exercise that day. I know, it's bad. Well, I noticed that I had several days this past cycle that I described my cervical stuff as white and sticky, but very stretchy. It dawned on me that maybe that is supposed to be obvious fertile eggwhite fluid, but it's too thick because my body doesn't have enough water. So, I'm being diligent so far about getting at least 8 cups a day, more if I can help it. Hopefully that will help. Also this upcoming cycle, I will be temping and actively recording cervical fluid and sensations according to the Fertility Awareness Method. I hope to learn even more this month!

Lord, no matter what the result of this new cycle is, I will praise You. Please give me patience and strength  to wait for Your will and timing, and not expect my own.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oh the Uncertainty

The lovely two week wait is nearing an end, which is both good and bad (or has been so far). It's bad because so far every month we've tried, I'm greeted with Aunt Flow, which is a big red slap in the face that "Nope, didn't happen!"

It's good because it's like a fresh start where I can at least know for sure yes or no. I can take a deep breath and start looking back over my notes from the past cycle and see if maybe we could have done anything differently. It's a reminder to lean on God and have faith that this too shall pass and one day I will hold my child in my arms and raise him/her to love the Lord. It is also a good thing because all of the guessing games come to a temporary end. No more questioning every little thing I think I feel going on in my body (was that a cramp? a twinge? are my boobs actually sore?)

But at this moment, I am still uncertain. I don't see any clear symptoms of being pregnant or not. I just have
hope. "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." - Hebrews 11:1
An update on my cycle:
I'm on day 28. Assuming my non-BBT thermometer is decently accurate, my temperature has not begun to drop yet. I think I ovulated on day 19, so it's good news that my period hasn't shown up yet because that would be too short of a luteal phase. Hopefully if I'm not pregnant, it won't show up until day 32 like a normal luteal phase should be (14 days).

Unlike previous cycles, I'm not worrying about pregnancy tests. I ran out last month and have not purchased more yet. I decided to wait at least until day 31 (Saturday) to test and try to be relaxed about it all.

Good or bad, at least I'll know for certain soon enough!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Temp Fast!

I bought a thermometer the other day because I decided I just couldn't decipher the random pattern of observing cervical stuff, so I wanted to have a second set of data to be able to analyze and better determine when I ovulate.

Of course as soon as I get home I take the thermometer out of the packaging, clean it, and then start playing with it to see how consistent it is. The next morning I record a low temp of 96.4 (which, I must ask, is it normal to have one that low??). Then later that morning at work, I start surfing websites about temping (to see if other women have such low temps ever) and I read that actually I was supposed to buy a special thermometer - a BBT thermometer - which is not what I purchased (and stuck in my mouth several times)...oh well. Hopefully this regular thermometer will still serve the same purpose...

Something wonderful happened this past best friend and I were talking about a common friend and her struggles with infertility, and I guess I sounded very knowledgeable about the topic, so she point blank asked me, "So, are you two trying?" Woah, that caught me off guard. No one has ever asked flat out like that. They normally hint at it like "So, do you think you guys might try soon?" That one is easy to dodge. But my best friend asked it straight. I couldn't (and honestly part of me didn't want to) lie to her. I told her yes. So she is now the only one besides the hubby and me who know of our attempts at trying to get pregnant. The great thing? It was such a relief to talk to a female friend about it!! I love my hubby and he's a wonderful (and patient) listener, but it's just different being able to talk about this with her. And she also confided that she and her husband are also trying (technically, not trying, just have stopped preventing for a few months). I'm just glad someone else knows.

As for an update on my cycle...the day I recorded the 96.4 temp was cycle day 19. Later that evening, my cervical stuff was extremely watery and slippery and I felt a few sharp pains on my left side. That's the sign right? We had sex within 8 hours of that, so hopefully the timing was right. Seems kind of late in my cycle to be ovulating. Assuming my luteal phase is 14 days (which honestly, I have no idea if that's the case for me), that would put my expected period at March 21st. The last two mornings, my temp was 97.0 and 97.5, respectively. So I don't know if I just coincidently started temping right when my temp dropped (indication of ovulation) or whether it was a bad reading. Plus, keep in mind that you're not supposed to start temping in the middle of your cycle, but I'm impatient.

I guess we'll see in the next few weeks what happens!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Give Me a "P"...P!

Three friends have announced they are pregnant since we've started trying (which was 3 months ago). And a couple friends I've asked how long they tried and they casually say "a month". It's a little irritating. A lot irritating. I know it's not normal to have luck on the first try, so I really should know better than to feel like there's something wrong with me. After all, their super fast success is much more rare according to statistics I've read. But still, part of me can't help but feel like I'm trying out for a cheerleading squad (had to pick a sport to go with my blog post title) and really, really, really want to make the team, but just can't. All while my friends around me barely practice for their tryout and then bam, they're on the team. My hubby reminds me that it's not a competition. He's completely right, and looking at it like a competition will only put me in a stressed out and negative mindset. Easier said than done though. That's one reason I started this blog was so I could vent about my feelings to get them out of my mind (hopefully). And of course, I really am happy for them and their blessed news. But at the same time, it just reminds me what I want and don't have. Lord, please help me reject these negative thoughts and not dwell on them. Help me to focus on You and keep faith and patience that someday (hopefully soon) it will be my time.

Cycle update: It's day 15 for me and we've Baby Danced every other day since day 7. My cervical stuff is somewhat confusing me this month, but that's how it's been for me every month so far. That's why we instituted the plan of having sex every other day during the mid-range of my cycle so that hopefully we'll catch the timing right and successfully conceive. I've been reading three different books and their sections on ways to tell if you're ovulating. They are all helpful, but then I find my mind playing tricks on me. (I think I feel a pain on my left my right side...I think my cervical stuff is ramping up toward day...why is it dry day...why is it ramping up again...) c.o.n.f.u.s.i.n.g.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Signs & The Guessing Game

Aunt Flow has officially left, hooray! Now it's time to play the Signs & Guessing Game, which basically means waiting for the proper signal that indicates it's O-Day (ovulation day). It's been my experience that I'll think O-Day happened on one day, and then a couple days later I think it happened for sure then, and then Aunt Flo will show up in the time frame that adds a third potential O-Day. So basically, it's a huge guessing game.

This game really used to drive me crazy. I would obsessively check online ovulation calendars and guess how long this month's cycle would be, and then the hubby and I would Baby Dance (a.k.a. sex) everyday during the highlighted fertility window. Well, I don't recommend this route when planning your Baby Dances. When your cycle varies like mine, you just end up putting unnecessary stress on you both.

Our motto now is: "Relax and Just Give It Time." We make an effort to Baby Dance every other day during cycle days 10-20 (approximately) and I am always on the lookout for the optimal cervical stuff (abbreviated EWCM often times). I keep the hubby informed about what I think is happening and he's happy to partake in the Baby Dances.

Supposedly sperm can live in a woman's cervix for up to 5 days. So, since my cycles vary so much, we go with the every-other-day frequency so that we can hopefully hit O-day with a Baby Dance on a future month.

Here's the latest data on my cycles:
  • All Cycles to Date (Started tracking a year and a half ago)
    • Max = 39 days
    • Min = 25 days
    • Average = 30.3 days
    • Median = 30 days
  • Last 6 Cycles
    • Max = 36 days
    • Min = 27 days
    • Average = 28.5 days
    • Median = 29 days
I'm currently on cycle day #9. And based on recent data (last 6 months), I could expect O-day to be on cycle day 15 or 16. But again, going off of cycle length alone is not sufficient. So couple this knowledge with watching for the appropriate cervical stuff (and tracking temperature and cervical position if you do those as well) and then just hope it will end in success.

Friday, February 18, 2011

At the Beginning Again

I decided to start a blog about my journey trying to conceive because it helps to cope with all of the emotions I feel, and maybe it will help anyone else who is also on this journey.

A little about myself: I'm 26 and my husband will be 25 in May. We've been married for almost 4 years. In December, we both decided to "stop preventing" and thus began the journey of hoping for a baby. It's now the first day of a new cycle in the month of February, and still no sign of getting close to a baby.

I don't know about you, but I had some expectations about trying for a baby. I thought we would decide to pull the goalie one day, and then bam, it would just happen right away. I mean, you spend all this time in your life trying to prevent getting pregnant - surely it's as easy as 1, 2, 3 when you actually want to! Nope. Apparently a perfectly healthy couple has only a 20% chance (roughly) of getting pregnant in a given month, and it can take said couple 6-12 months on average to successfully conceive. Those are such discouraging odds!

I'm a believer in Jesus Christ, so my faith plays a large part in how I'm choosing to look at this journey. I've read a lot on the subject of pre-conception, and am no expert, but there are a lot of things you can do to help you in this journey. At first, I set out trying to do most of them, thinking that "Ok, this is in my control..." But after following the rules and tips and driving my husband a little nutso with all the scheduling of it, I realized that ultimately, none of this is in my control. God will bless us with a baby when HE chooses to, and not a moment before. Granted, it's a lot easier to say this to myself than to actually take it to heart and relax.

So here we are at the beginning of my cycle, Day 2 to be exact. This blog will likely contain detailed information about my cycle, including cervical "stuff" as my husband prefers I call it (actually called cervical mucus), and other details. If you don't want to know, then just skip over those parts.

I welcome any comments, especially encouragement because, well, who wouldn't want a little encouragement now and again?