Monday, February 27, 2012

Set Apart

Yesterday's sermon at church was so incredibly moving. I'm sure I've read Romans 8:14-25 several times before, but this time new light was shed on it for me. It's about believers who go through suffering. Suffering is inevitable for believers because Christ also suffered. But be encouraged that all suffering is temporary. If not relieved in this earthly life, you will certainly be free of suffering in the eternal life (assuming you are a believer in Christ).

It can be difficult to understand sometimes why you are suffering - what's the purpose of it? The main purpose is to show that you, as a believer, are set apart. You are in this world, but not of it. Non-believers will look at you going through suffering, and hopefully they will see someone who does not lose faith. Who does not curse God or others for their circumstances or always play the victim. Who does not give up and become bitter and angry. Hopefully they will see someone who does not allow the suffering to define who they are. They will see someone who still has a never-ending capacity in their heart to love others and praise God for all His glory. They will see someone who has a heart of joy and hope when there is no logical reason to have such a heart. That, my friend, is the main purpose.

There are also valuable lessons to learn through suffering. Your character is refined and strengthened through suffering (Romans 5:1-5; James 1:2-7). For me personally, I have been humbled, grown in faith in God's unlimited power, become more sensitive to others and their suffering, and have such a tremendous gratitude for the blessing that children are. I think having gone through infertility, I will have so much more gratitude than the average mother who didn't struggle at all to conceive. I believe this suffering has convicted me of how often I complain about inconsequential things. It will certainly make me think twice before complaining about my child being sick, fussy, feeling nauseous, etc. I would gladly vomit everyday if it meant I would experience the joy of carrying a child into this world (and trust me, I HATE to throw up!) When you go through a period of suffering, (hopefully) your entire perspective changes. You gain an ability to view life from a heavenly perspective.

More importantly, with suffering, there is always room for hope. There is hope that you will see an end to the season of suffering. Hope that you will come out of it with a sense of relief and accomplishment. Hope that the suffering was worth it to get to where you are today. And most importantly, there is hope in our God who is waiting to embrace you with open arms when you enter His kingdom. Your suffering will end one day, so never give up the flame of hope in your heart.

If you'd like to listen to the sermon, click here and search for The Spirit-led Life - Part 2 that was on 2/26/2012 that covered Romans 8:14-25.

Friday, February 24, 2012

It's Official!

Please share this with anyone you know in town who may be interested in attending. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Would Die For That Song

I saw a friend post this song on Facebook (someone who struggled with infertility, failed IUI's and IVF's for 6 years before having her first child - she's now expecting #3!)

It's a good view of the emotion behind infertility.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Look at Hollywood

Hang with me here while I give you a little background...

In case you didn't know this about us, we love movies. That may even be an understatement because we have quite the movie collection (approaching 600), and average watching about 5 movies per week. It's just one of our favorite "down time" activities that we enjoy spending together. Because we take our collection seriously, we keep lists of several things:
  • Movie Library: Movies we already own
  • The Wish List: Movies we want to own
  • The Tryouts List: Movies that are out in theaters/on video that we'd like to see first (and then decide if it will make the wish list or not)
  • Piqued Interest List: Movies that are not yet in theaters, but sound appealing (but in order to make it onto the tryouts list, they must pass our "content test," where we make movie-by-movie judgement calls after reading reviews, most often from kids-in-mind.)

I often fill out our Piqued Interest List by looking at upcoming releases on imdb. Well, today I came across a movie that is supposed to be coming to theaters in August 2012 called "The Odd Life of Timothy Green."

Will you judge me if I told you that the TRAILER made me cry? (And don't even get me started on The Vow or October Baby! If you have never heard of October Baby, go watch the trailer here.)

This of course is not a Christian movie, but I love that Hollywood is starting to expose infertility and the painful emotions behind it. Maybe I'm only noticing things like this for the first time, and it's always been this way, but for me it seems that infertility/miscarriages/adoption are taking a more forward seat in movie/tv plots.

Want Examples?
  • Facing the Giants, as I previously blogged about
  • The character Celia in The Help experienced multiple miscarriages
  • Monica and Chandler on Friends were unable to conceive naturally, and eventually adopted
  • Sun and Jin on Lost were unable to conceive off the island (as we learned in flashbacks)
  • The movie Juno portrayed a teenager who was unexpectedly pregnant and chose to give it up for adoption to a couple who was unable to conceive
  • Though we've never seen it, there was a movie Baby Mama about using a surrogate
  • The opening story of Up showed that Carl & Ellie couldn't have children
  • Dr. Cuddy on House was infertile and adopted a baby, in addition to other episodes that referred to infertility
  • Even the movie Dreamer had a twist where the mare, Dreamer was infertile, so they decided to try racing her again (apparently it happens to horses too!)
I'm sure there are others not listed here! And it's not just plots in tv and movies...celebrities themselves are struggling. Of course, they have much higher salaries than most people and can afford to do numerous IVF's, but it's encouraging to me that they share their journey and painful emotions with the public.

Celebrities Who Have Struggled With Infertility:
  • Nicole Kidman - used a surrogate to have her second child
  • Kirstie Alley - suffered a miscarriage and eventually adopted her two children
  • Mariah Carey - suffered miscarriages
  • Halle Berry - said she saved nearly 35 negative pregnancy tests before she finally got a positive result
  • Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick - used a surrogate for their second and third children
  • Celine Dion - struggled for 6 years with infertility and then had their first child via IVF. She went through another six rounds of IVF and a miscarriage before having twins next.
  • Courtney Cox - I had no idea when I watched her character in Friends that she in reality was battling the real thing. She and David struggled with multiple miscarriages and finally conceived via IVF.
  • Brooke Shields - she conceived with IVF but miscarried at 3 months, then went through six more IVFs before having her first child
  • Angela Bassett - after 7 years of infertility and a failed IVF, they decided to use a surrogate
  • Christie Brinkley - experienced three miscarriages including a failed IVF before having her third child
  • Jane Seymour - went through three IVFs with the last being successful
  • Emma Thompson - had her first child via IVF and later adopted a child
  • Sherri Shepherd - two years of infertility until an IVF worked with twins, but she lost one of the twins via miscarriage
  • Barbara Walters - adopted her daughter after suffering three miscarriages and being told that she was infertile
  • Sharon Stone - suffered numerous miscarriages and eventually decided to adopt

Always remember that you are not alone. God is ALWAYS with you (Hebrews 13:5)!

Thursday, February 16, 2012


As mentioned on my other blog, we recently exchanged our mattress under warranty because we weren't getting as good of rest as we should be. This got me thinking about how important rest is in our lives (and by "our," I mean the human race).

What does God say about rest?

Genesis 2:2
By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

Exodus 20:11
For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 34:21
[God said] "You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing time and harvest you shall rest."

Hebrews 4:9-11
So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

Matthew 11:28-30
[Jesus said] "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."

I especially love the last scripture. Isn't it wonderful to have a God who wants to comfort us and give us rest when we are weary? Going through this journey of infertility is certainly leading me to feel weary and heavy-laden -- I have to constantly turn to Him for strength and comfort, and I'm so thankful when He relieves me of burdensome feelings! Since I've stopped tracking my temperature and foolishly thinking there's little things I can do to "help" God create life, I have been able to more easily embrace His rest - what a blessing!

If you're struggling with infertility, I encourage you to take a hard look at your routine -- your thoughts, actions, habits -- and ask yourself if you're carrying an unnecessary burden. And then take the next, and sometimes most difficult step: TRUST HIM to carry those burdens for you! Rest all of your hope in Him, and His peace will set you free to find joy in this difficult chapter of your life.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

God Intended It For Good

I'm a bit speechless at the moment. (Lucky for you, I can still type.)

In December I stumbled upon the Dancing Upon Barren Land blog by Lesi Westfall. She also leads a support group ministry for those struggling with infertility in the Houston area. Since then, a desire has grown in my heart to create a similar group at my church.

There were moments of self-doubt -- do I really want the world (okay, my church congregation) to know that we are struggling with infertility? After all, several of my co-workers attend my church, so what implications would that have on my reputation in the workplace? But I decided to email Lesli and see if there was any guidance she may be able to offer, or possibly some of her support group materials. Lesli has been so encouraging and helpful (thank you, Lesli!)

Then I mentioned this idea to a close friend (also struggling with infertility) and she suggested I speak to our pastor's wife and see if she'd be willing to help us get things started. After getting permission from Michael, I did just that. And let me tell you, she has gone above and beyond in being supportive! She has arranged for a specific DATE (March 23rd) for the first meeting and will ask her husband to pray over everyone.

I'm just taken aback at how quickly this small, mustard seed of an idea, has already started to bloom. But after all, that is how our God works, isn't it?

Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

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.

Something that has been so painful to endure, has already resulted in such a transformation of my character and faith, and is now going to outreach to others in the same situation and hopefully help grow their faith as well.

All I can say is: WOW!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Great Unknown

This morning I was driving to work, and in my area there was very dense fog preventing me from seeing past a half-mile.

A thought came to mind about how I had no idea what lay ahead of me on that road. I just had to continue driving and hope that there wouldn't all of a sudden be a large object in my path. All I had to rely on was the familiarity of the route itself and my short-distance vision.

My future feels a lot like that right now - unclear, a little nerve-wracking, moving forward with uncertainty...hoping for several things: my path will become clear, I'll understand why I had to go through this infertility journey, and of course that a child will be waiting for me at the end of this road. It's scary right now because I have no guarantees that my journey will end with a naturally-born child. I could be okay with that, but it's more of the uncertainty of it all that makes me nervous. I'm just so anxious to see where this road leads. (And yes, I was one of those kids who pestered Mom and Dad with "ARE WE THERE, YET?!")

I have no clue as to how long this road is, if I will take any detours or not, where the heck it goes, and what stops are along the way.

But one thing is for sure: I'm not the one driving. And that brings me so much comfort and peace. There is One who knows exactly where this road leads and ends. There is One who is carrying me through each day of this journey. He is One who I trust with my future, uncertainty and all. Heck, He's the ONLY one I trust with my future!

Last night at Bible study (we're studying the Miracles of Christ in the book of Mark), we read about how Jesus healed a leper. The leper first approached Jesus and said, "If You are willing, You can make me clean." He didn't say, "If you can do it, please heal me." The leper KNEW Jesus was more than capable to heal him, and knew that Jesus would only heal him if He willed to. I just love that. Lord, if You are willing, You can conceive a child in my womb. I hope that will be my future. And more of this:

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