Tuesday, March 19, 2013

October Baby Movie

Here's a trailer for the movie, in case you've never heard of it:

Every Life is Beautiful.

That's the movie's tagline. We watched this movie last week and were moved to tears. For several reasons.

1. It's a reminder that no matter what, you have the power to forgive others for their wrongs. For their choices. But here's the key: you only have that power if you yourself hold the free gift of God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ in your heart. "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." - Ephesians 4:32

2. It's a reminder that God has a plan. And even when, from our narrow perspective, His plan includes pain, suffering, and death...there is inevitably beauty and glory to be found in that plan. When a life is lost due to miscarriage, abortion, murder, an accident, illness, suicide, or simply old age, it is a tragedy. It does not escape God's notice. It is within His sovereign plan. There can be joy found in those moments of sorrow. When a life is saved from those tragedies, it's for a purpose. Had a life been successfully aborted, then that life would never have interacted with all the people it eventually did. It's amazing how the chain of events are impacted. In our personal situation, we are beginning to see how God orchestrated every detail in our journey of pursuing to have children. Every moment of sadness, every setback, every disappointment...has led us to the place where we are today. God has used our painful journey to shape us, completely change our hearts about a variety of things, and open our minds to the reality of our health choices. Enough to change our diet and lifestyle forever. Which, in case you didn't know this about us, has now changed how we plan to raise, nurture, and nourish our future children. If we have anything to say about it, our children will not eat meat or dairy. When they are adults, they can make their own choices, but while in our house, they will be given no other choice than to follow our dietary standards because we believe it's what best for them. We can only speculate if God has spared us or our future children of some health-related condition that would have otherwise been developed. He is so good!

3. It's a beautiful story about adoption. Without spoiling too much of the movie, I'll simply say that it's tearjerking to hear stories of fallen, sinful human beings displaying the kind of unconditional love that God showed to us through Jesus. God adopted us horrible creatures as His children. We don't deserve it. We should not be desirable. But God loves us and adopted us anyway. When there is a child who is adopted in the world, it's beautiful. When there's a disabled or impaired child who is adopted, it's so beautiful. God loves us all. We should strive to return that love to all the world.

I highly recommend that you see the movie!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Settled In

It was a sunny afternoon on December 4, 2010. We had just returned from a church social event, where a mutual friend/couple had brought her twin girls. They were so precious! She asked me to help feed one of her girls, and I sat in awe as I held this little girl and gazed into her eyes as she sipped from her bottle. I remember thinking, "I could totally get the hang of this." (I formerly had a fear that I wouldn't have a clue how to take care of a baby's needs.) Michael came over shortly after and held one of the girls. I remember thinking how much I loved that image of him - my handsome husband holding a tender, delicate little baby girl.

I had been talking for months with Michael about how I felt more and more comfortable with the idea of starting a family. So this afternoon, after having been around babies, of course the conversation went that way again. I shared my feelings and desires to become a mom, and after expressing some concerns about financial stability and how a baby would dramatically change our lives, Michael agreed that we could begin trying.

Hooray!!! It just so happened that I was scheduled to ovulate a couple days later. What perfect timing to get pregnant, just in time to announce it to our families on Christmas morning! How did I ever get to be so lucky to have that timing work out so well.

After a few days of enjoying the "consequences" of the decision to start trying (hint hint), I began counting down the days until I could take a pregnancy test. I had everything planned perfectly...I went to the Dollar Store and bought a cheap pregnancy test. Kudos to me for saving some money!

Finally the day arrived when I could take the test. Having never taken one before, I of course had to read the instructions to make sure I did everything right. Put a couple drops of urine on the strip, wait 3 minutes, and then let the celebrations begin!

2 minutes 55 seconds...
2 minutes 56 seconds...
2 minutes 57 seconds...
2 minutes 58 seconds...
2 minutes 59 seconds...
3 minutes!

Wait a second...what does one line mean? Only one baby?


It's amazing how much one tiny pink line can impact one's emotions. And it's equally amazing how quickly your mind can be inundated with thoughts of doubt.

Is there something wrong with me? With Michael? Will we have a hard time getting pregnant?

A little disappointed, I brushed off those thoughts, and was determined to figure out this whole conception thing. Christmas came and went.

I remember sitting in bed talking with Michael on New Year's Eve. We were discussing our New Year's Resolutions. Michael's was to compete in an arm-wrestling tournament (which he did). I remember stating mine: "To become a mom."

Oh dear was I setting myself up for disappointment. To make that a resolution, or even a goal or accomplishment was so naive. I had yet to learn how little control a person has on the conception of a life.

Fast forward to today. It has been 2 years, 3 months, and 7 days since that decision was made. 829 days to be exact.

829 days of waiting. Of prayers and pleading. Of tears and broken dreams. But also of growth and character development. Renewed faith and neverending hope. God has completely transformed the both of us in these past 829 days. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually...we are forever changed. We have a new mindset and heart when it comes to children and the hope of having them someday.

I personally went through darkness and thankfully, emerged again into His light. I know that I did not always behave or react the right way during these past 829 days, but I have learned so many valuable lessons.

I'm at a point now where I feel very settled in. Infertility is the norm for me now. I don't mean that in a depressed way. More of a comfort level kind of way. I am so used to the process of trying, waiting, grieving, and trying again, that I feel like if things were to change, it might take me some time to get used to that change.

I've always been slow to change...it's just my personality type. When I make a plan, I get uncomfortable if the plan changes. I used to be a lot worse about that, but I've relaxed quite a bit thanks to infertility. But still, I'm comfortable with where I am now. The thought of getting pregnant is almost bringing back the same fears as before we started trying. Wow, could I really learn how to take care of another life?

I realized the other day after we listened to a conference call about pregnancy that the Wellness Forum hosted that I know nothing about pregnancy and labor. I mean, I know the basics of what goes in must come out, but I'm lacking the details of what happens throughout a pregnancy, the stages of labor, and what in the world you're supposed to do with a baby when you take it home (without an instruction manual)...that's really scary to me. I intentionally forbade myself from reading and learning about it in order to keep my expectations from getting out of hand. I also wanted to save something special for pregnancy. Because of that, I realized that if the Lord does allow us to become pregnant, we will be starting completely over from scratch. We will have a ton of research to do and things to learn and decide about. I already feel like I need to start taking some deep breaths to relax!

Sometimes I imagine what our lives will look like if the Lord does allow us to get pregnant. Would it really change our lives and daily routine all that much? What social norms am I comfortable with now and which am I uncomfortable with? Will I one day forget about this struggle and begin to take our child for granted? And here's my biggest question: Will I always feel that twinge in my stomach whenever I hear a pregnancy announcement or see a pregnant woman, or does that go away? I have gotten so used to that twingy feeling that it's hard to believe it will disappear over night.

I'm just so thankful that no matter what changes occur in our lives, one thing will remain unchanged:

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Our lives could remain this way for even more years, or they could be thrown upside down with the blessing of a pregnancy. But God will always remain the same, forever the steady and peaceful presence by our side. Settled or unsettled, He is always with us. I'll close with a song I love that illustrates this point...enjoy!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Hindsight Series, Part 4: Sonia

Our last story is told by Sonia. Sonia and Cameron have been married for almost 12 years, where a third of that time was spent waiting for the Lord to bless them with a child. Please enjoy Sonia's story below. Thank you, Sonia, for taking the time to contribute!

Sonia's Story

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1. Please share your story/background briefly (about your journey of infertility and how it ended, where you are now)

Cameron and I tried, prayed, and trusted God for 4 years to get pregnant. We had all sorts of tests done, saw doctors & specialists, did 3 IUIs, I was treated by a Chinese acupuncturist & a Russian naturopath, took herbal fertility supplements, and were prayed over at a faith healing center by some friends. While I had different issues affecting my fertility, i.e. endometriosis & luteal phase defect, doctors never gave us definitive reasons as to why we couldn’t conceive. After 4 long years while taking a break from seeking treatment, to our surprise we were pregnant! God made the impossible, possible. Praise God! He first blessed us with our son, Lincoln (now 2.5 years old) and 10 months later, we got pregnant with our daughter, Naomi (now 1 year old).

2. Looking back, how was God at work during your time of waiting for children?

I think that God was maturing us. With Cameron, when we began trying to get pregnant, he wanted to have children, but it wasn’t a really strong desire. After a couple of years of trying, I feel that he began to really want to have children and become a father. With me, I feel like God drew me closer to Himself during that time of waiting. While reading through the Bible and in prayer, over and over God laid things on my heart. He impressed upon me that nothing was too difficult for Him, that He was right there with me on this journey, and that He loves me. I experienced a beautiful intimacy with the Lord unlike I ever had before. Suffering and waiting for a child is what brought me to my knees before my Savior. While the waiting was painful and harsh at times, there was a sweetness to it knowing that God was with me, right by my side, and that He would get me through it. Were there times when I lost hope that I would ever get pregnant? Yes. Often I rode on the hopes of others and my hope in God that He could do a miracle.

3. Looking back, what would you describe as the purpose for you having to wait for children? In other words, what do you think was the reason(s) you had to wait?

I feel like there were several reasons that I know of as to why I had to wait and the purpose behind it. Of course, I also realize that there were other reasons that I’m not aware of and that I may never know or understand. My role is to be faithful to Him and trust that He loves me, He works all things together for my good, and that He is in control. He is the author and sustainer of life. I had to learn to put my hope in Him, not in my doctor, upcoming procedure, or anything that I was doing. God wanted to use the time of waiting to grow and mature me. In the Bible, James 1:2-4 says that God uses hard times to develop perseverance. Perseverance helps us to mature. In Romans 5:3-4 it says that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character, and character hope.

Another reason I think I had to wait was to give me compassion and sympathy for others going through infertility and other struggles. I was clueless about infertility before we journeyed through it. Looking back now I’m reminded about a few of the insensitive comments and questions I said to others. And those are only the ones I remember. I’m sure there were more. 2 Corinthians 1:4 says that God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God”. How beautiful is that? He comforts us and we comfort others out of the comfort we’ve received from Him. Infertility has definitely helped me to better be able to comfort others and walk with them.

4. What was the biggest lesson(s) you learned through your journey?

God’s character is never on trial. His character does not change whether it’s smooth sailing or I’m going through hard times. My circumstances do not dictate His character, His nature and who He is. Also, I’m not in control. I never was and I never will be. I thought I was in control of my life as I enjoy setting goals and planning. Infertility helped me to see that no matter how hard we tried, or what our doctors did, God is in control of my life. He is the author and sustainer of life. I believed before that in most things if you try hard enough, set your mind to something, you could accomplish anything. This is not the case with the miracle of life. It’s just that. It’s truly a miracle and God has to act.

5. What helped you endure the time of waiting?

Endure is the right word as it was such a challenging rollercoaster ride! For me it was spending time reading through the Bible and in prayer, journaling, seeing a counselor, meeting with other friends going through infertility, having family & friends pray for me and knowing that I wasn’t forgotten. Also important was allowing myself to grieve, but to not stay stuck in the grief. So I would have a good cry when I needed to and then I would ask for God’s help to endure. As a couple we continued to live life and do fun things like travel and visit friends. It was also critical to not compare myself to others. Comparison robs you of joy. So I made it my goal to keep my eyes on Jesus and to not shift my focus onto who all was pregnant or having babies.

6. If you could go back and tell your past self something -- the past self who is in the midst of waiting -- what would you say?

As you suffer, suffer well. God is going to redeem the time and turn the suffering into something beautiful if you let Him. It will be more beautiful than you could ever imagine. This is really hard, but you’re going to get through this and come out on the other side. Put your hope in Him, trust Him, lean on Him and the family and friends supporting you.

7. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

A friend of mine, Heather, once told me in the midst of waiting that God has in mind a certain time for my child to be born. God wants him to befriend certain people and influence those around him. I have seen that come true. God has given me some beautiful friendships through my son. There is a bigger plan at work around us. Allow God to do His work and you won’t be disappointed. You will be amazed!

Previous: Part 3: Jenny's Story
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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hindsight Series, Part 3: Jenny

Our next story belongs to Jenny. Jenny and Kyle now have three beautiful children and maintain their own blog called A Chosen Child. Thank you, Jenny, for taking the time to contribute to this series. I hope you all enjoy her story as much as I do.


Jenny's Story


When I think about my story of becoming a mother, I think about adoption. About God teaching me that He loves me so crazy much that He would come down to this place, make a way into my life and choose me, for some reason I'll never figure out He chose to adopt me as His daughter. I think about how somewhere along the way He began to teach me that He wanted me to love someone so crazy much that I would find a way into their life, that I would cross over countries, and fears, and obstacles, and make them mine. I often forget that He started that journey for me years before I knew what was happening, that He used us waiting to conceive to show us that there are other ways to build a family.

We waited 14 months to become pregnant with Kylynn. At the time it seemed forever, it seemed like it would never happen, at the time it was all the reason I needed to believe every lie Satan tried to feed me. But somewhere in the midst of it all I looked at Kyle and said, "What if this never happens, what if we can't get pregnant?" and without missing a beat he said, "Then we'll adopt." It was simple for him and even though my mind was raging with BUT...I allowed myself to cling to his simplicity and say, "Okay."

We never saw a doctor, I'm a scaredy cat when it comes to doctors, but after about a year I decided that even though we weren't interested in most medical interventions, we should at least consult a doctor. So I made an appointment. They couldn't see me for a couple of months, October 5th was their earliest date. On October 5th, I heard my baby's heartbeat for the first time, I was six weeks pregnant. It was one of the happiest days of my life, we celebrated at Sonic, we called family, we rejoiced, and I quickly put to bed the idea that our family would consist of anything but little Kyle/Jenny clones.

But before I knew it Kylynn was 11 months old and it was time to talk about having more children. God had done something quietly, steadily in Kyle's heart during those months and he had decided that one: he only wanted two children, and two: it was important to him that we adopt at some point and so that some point had to be now.

I did not feel the same, I mean adoption is a nice thing and sure I wanted to (maybe/probably) do it someday, but let's do that once we are done having biological children. But God gave me a peace about what Kyle wanted to do and I was able to say yes to his plan. This was the first time in my life I can remember simply obeying God, even though I didn't like it, I was finally learning to let go. At that time if you would have told me I would never give birth/nurse another baby I would have been heartbroken, God took me to where I am today slowly. I began to pray during Jack's adoption that God would remove every one of my own desires in regards to children from my heart and replace them with His desire for children in our family. He was so faithful with that prayer, which I prayed daily for months and clung to desperately. Our third child, also adopted, is testimony to how He changed the desires of my heart, it made everything in our journey easier.

It's funny how hard it is to remember that time of waiting on children, they surround me today and overwhelm me, and sometimes they even remind me to bend low in awe of His goodness and the abundance of blessings in my life. But what I learned while we waited for Kylynn and for Jack and Chloe -   adoption requires a lot of waiting :)   - was that I want more than anything for His will to be done in my life. He is using this journey to teach me that He is truly good, that He can be trusted, it has caused me to want to choose His plan (scary and painful as it may seem at the time) every time. It taught me that it's only in trials and pain that we can grow and strange as it may seem that there can be such sweet joy in the midst of deep sorrow, there is nothing quite like being tended to by the great Comforter.

Waiting, on anything, is painful. Waiting to become a mother is perhaps one of the most painful times. All my children came to me through a journey, all of them required a great deal of waiting on the Lord. If I could go back in time to the woman I was as I waited on Kylynn, I would want to introduce her to the woman I became while I waited on Jack. I would encourage her to use that time to draw nearer and nearer to our God, to allow herself to be stretched, to be changed, to rejoice in the midst of pain. I would press down on her that God's promises are true and He can be trusted.

"This God-his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?-
the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless."
Psalms 18:30-32

Previous: Part 2: Charissa's Story
Next: Part 4: Sonia's Story
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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hindsight Series, Part 2: Charissa

Our next story belongs to Charissa. Charissa and John had a lengthy journey of waiting on the Lord, but now have three beautiful daughters. They also have their own blog called Highs and Ludlows. Thank you, Charissa, for taking the time to contribute to this series. I hope you all enjoy her story.


Charissa's Story

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1. Please share your story/background briefly (about your journey of infertility and how it ended, where you are now)

John and I were married for 4 years when we just felt it was a good time to start trying for a family. We ended up trying for 3 1/2 years before i got pregnant. My mom got pregnant very easily and I just never had infertility on my radar. I didn't know anyone who had had a hard time trying to conceive personally. Sure I heard stories and prayed for people's prayer requests, but it wasn't really real until it happened to me.

We tried for the year that they suggest to you before you do anything, and nothing. So we both went in for tests and my doctor was not really concerned at that point. I felt that it was a lot of tests, just for them to say, 'eh'. We decided to pursue medical intervention through IUI. My doctor really only recommended three rounds and this what we did for 3 months. Scheduling, shots, and tears were normal during this time. We took a break for a few months and then tried one more IUI round.

The day I got my period and not a pregnancy was the day we also got a call that John's younger sister had gotten pregnant on her wedding night. We called a counselor the next day. It wasn't that I didn't want her to have a baby, it just was supposed to happen to me first! Going to a counselor was one of the best decisions that John and I have made as a married couple. We discussed our families and how we viewed God, and the loss of not being able to have a baby.

We also felt like we were ready for the next step of IVF. I read in one of the many infertility books that sometimes couples can go broke trying for just "one more time", and that it was good to have a limit on what you were willing to do before you started. So we set a limit of one.

It was during this time that I heard our pastor's wife share her personal story of infertility at a women's event. I came blubbering afterwards to talk to her and we met a few months later with a group of others who had struggled with infertility. I was surprised at who all showed up. Couples I knew in passing showed up. Couples who already had babies were there. And I remember bitterly thinking, "They have their babies, why do they struggle anymore?"

God was so gracious during this time. He showed me how much he did love me and cried with me each disappointing month after disappointing month. We used the same doctor as the pastor and his wife, which was unfortunately 2 hours away! John and I used that time to pray, talk, and discuss life. We transplanted two embryos but unfortunately lost one of the babies in month 2.

Gianna Joy was born 6 weeks early in an emergency C-section as she was breech! But God was faithful and our baby girl came home with only 8 days in the hospital. Fast forward 18 months later and we found ourselves going through IVF again. John had amazing insurance that covered IVF, and he was laid off but could still be on COBRA. We had no frozen eggs so we repeated every shot, every pill, and every blood check again! On the day of our retrieval, we had to be relocated for our procedure to Dallas, as our doctor's office was in the direct path of Hurricane Ike. God spared us and this time two embryos are our twins Elizabeth and Cosette. Currently we are days away from Gianna's 6th birthday and Elizabeth and Cosette are 3 1/2.

2. Looking back, how was God at work during your time of waiting for children?

I would say that God used my time of waiting to let me really see how good He is. Even when things were hard - that He still cared for me and my needs, that He cried and held my dreams dear. That He loved me no matter what, and that I needed to love Him no matter what too.

3. Looking back, what would you describe as the purpose for you having to wait for children? In other words, what do you think was the reason(s) you had to wait?

I wish I knew! All I know is that it was totally His timing. Maybe it was so I would be able to identify with so many women and share how a void worked in my life. Maybe it was to bring about greater dependency on Him, or maybe it was just so I could remember when other things have been hard - that I survived and He helped me with the pain once as He will do again.

4. What was the biggest lesson(s) you learned through your journey?

That God is good no matter what.

5. What helped you endure the time of waiting?

Having my husband be in the same place of desperation and longing and dependence on God as I was. We were partners and prayed so so much together. It also helped to have friends that had been through infertility praying for me. And honestly, going to counseling really helped me identify some sin patterns and areas I needed to trust God in, that I don't think I would have ever discovered if not for going through infertility.

6. If you could go back and tell your past self something -- the past self who is in the midst of waiting -- what would you say?

Your life may not ever end up being the daydreams you had in your mind. But God is still good, and you are loved. Time will ease this pain and memory.

7. What were your thoughts/feelings about IVF prior to trying for a family, and how did your struggle affect those feelings?

Ok, honest truth - I judged people who had IVF. I wondered about all that science stuff and if it was really "God's plan." I thought that twins from IVF weren't "real" and somehow cheated. So yup, I am a hypocrite. But when faced with my options I no longer cared. I wanted a baby and felt that if other holy women in my life thought it was ok to do, that I just might be ok with it. We prayed and really put up our own limitations prior to ever walking in the doctor's door. We knew where our lines were and what the number and effort we were willing to do for it. I also flat out told family members that we have prayed about our decisions, and shared some of our reasons for them, but that if they had any problems with IVF to keep them to themselves and to just pray for us. I was blown away by the support from many members of all our families. I also struggled with the "what ifs" about having too many fertilized eggs, but I never had any extra to spare that were of the quality to be frozen. In fact when we decided to do IVF again because of insurance, I had to start completely over with every shot and pill again. God was gracious with us again and the second time we didn't have any eggs that were of the quality to be frozen.

8. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I truly can't believe how fast time has flown since I cried ugly tears and begged God to give me a baby each and every month. I still pray with a heart that understands when I hear of someone who is struggling with infertility. It's a shared sisterhood of quiet tears. I now know the pain, but I also know God more. Without the struggle, I would have kept God in my box and my plans and my desires. I wouldn't have been able to say my God is good - all the time.

Previous: Part 1: Amanda's Story
Next: Part 3: Jenny's Story
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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Hindsight Series, Part 1: Amanda

Our first pair of shoes belongs to Amanda. Amanda and Joey have been married for 5 years, and struggled with infertility for over 3 years before welcoming their daughter, Joni. Please enjoy Amanda's story below. Thank you, Amanda, for taking the time to contribute!

Amanda's Story

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1. Please share your story/background briefly (about your journey of infertility and how it ended, where you are now)

Joey and I surprisingly found out we were pregnant in December of 2008, just a year after we were married. We say surprisingly because we were using birth control at the time, but unfortunately just learned we were expecting right as we were miscarrying. The loss of a baby we weren’t expecting or prepared for affected each of us differently, but profoundly. We decided to stop using birth control in February 2009 and see what the Lord had planned for us. Little did we know that we were what you call “idiopathic infertile” and would have our second miscarriage in January 2010 after trying a round of Clomid, since we had not gotten pregnant since our first loss and wasn’t testing positive for ovulation, followed by our third miscarriage in October 2011 after trying Progesterone cream and regular chiropractic treatments.

Interestingly enough, just two weeks after miscarrying the third time, we became pregnant and got the strongest positive test ever on November 14, 2011. We welcomed our daughter, Joni Elizabeth, into the world with a beautiful natural water birth on July 27, 2012, 1,306 days after the loss of our first precious gift.

To this day, I attribute our fertility success to the use of natural products. Just two months before getting pregnant, Joey and I went on the Maker’s Diet, shedding 20lbs each, and getting my blood sugar in the most level place possible. I researched causes of infertility and natural remedies, taking to a mixture of beliefs. I really focused on diet, knowing that nutrition is key. I gave up gluten, in case I had a gluten sensitivity that could be causing some Celiac disease (causes miscarriages). I also started eating organically and drinking raw milk in an attempt to remove as many preservatives as possible from my diet. We started seeing a Chiropractor as well, who did micronutrient testing on me and put us both on very high quality vitamins. (Highly recommend the micronutrient testing! Call Dr. McCrae at Essential Sport and Wellness in The Woodlands and tell him Amanda told you about this and he’ll order it for you long distance). We found a doctor that 1. Believed we had a problem and didn’t just keep testing my hormones over and over and 2. Who offered affordable solutions that if were unsuccessful, would at least help me feel better as I was. The micronutrient testing showed that I was deficient in a non-essential amino acid that’s only essential during, interestingly enough, DNA replication as it pertains to reproduction. All of our miscarriages were at 5 weeks, which is about when the heart starts beating. My lack of an otherwise useless amino acid was causing our babies to not properly develop to the state of viable pregnancy. God’s design is amazing!

2. Looking back, how was God at work during your time of waiting for children?

I truly think God was wrestling with me in an area I’ve always struggled in -- trusting through everything. I can look back at pivotal moments in my life where there was nothing but disappointment and abandonment. I think God was trying to show me that He blesses us in His timing as it fits according to His plan. I’ve always been in control, or so I thought, as I grew older to try and prevent disappointment from entering my, what I thought was, stable adulthood. Dependence on God is so much more beautiful and freeing than thinking we have everything under control that we don’t need Him. He was trying to show me that He has a plan for me and stop fighting against that plan.

3. Looking back, what would you describe as the purpose for you having to wait for children? In other words, what do you think was the reason(s) you had to wait?

I think I needed to wait for children so that I could really see God working in my life. I think if I would have gotten pregnant so easily, I wouldn’t have been as thankful for my daughter as I am now. It’s so easy to look at things and think, “Look what I did!” God wanted me to say “ALL praise and glory to Him!” I don’t mean that to say I wouldn’t be thankful either, but I think the growth and spiritual maturity that occurs during struggles can be so beautiful in hindsight, and makes us into such better people!

4. What was the biggest lesson(s) you learned through your journey?

I think the biggest lesson I learned was to just trust in the unknown. I think there finally came a point in time where I was so miserable in not being pregnant as I watched 37 (yes, I counted) other couples around us get pregnant and have children throughout our three and a half years of infertility where I just threw my hands up and just cried/screamed “God, I really don’t understand what you’re trying to show me! Could you possibly make it a little clearer, because I don’t think I’m going to figure this one out on my own?!” I had to force myself to listen to KSBJ (which the afternoon show host was pregnant at that time) in hopes I’d hear an inspirational song, read my bible as often as I could and specifically search for passages that would encourage the difficult walk that was laid before me. I learned that trust in the unknown doesn’t mean it’s easy, but rather more so that it takes hard, real, diligent and deliberate work to stay grounded in Christ. Hear me, though, when I say I went off the proverbial deep end before reaching this place, where I was so angry at God and anyone around me that was pregnant, wanting to offer advice, or who wanted to pass judgment upon me for our infertility as if it was a sin that was keeping us from getting pregnant. The enemy is near when we are hurting and wants nothing more than for us to blame God and turn away from Him. I had to learn to cling to Him, even when it was more a choice, rather than an instinct.

5. What helped you endure the time of waiting?

Actively seeking other women/couples that experienced the same thing is what helped the most. Infertility is such a strange beast that I think most people really don’t know how to respond so they end up responding oh so poorly! I had to find people who understood my struggle and who I knew I could feel safe venting/crying/praying with. It’s such an extremely emotional time that there are often times of questioning yourself. How much or how little should I share with people? How should I respond when something unknowingly hurtful is said? Should I feel obligated to go to showers, and will people who don’t understand be mad and not come to my shower later on? My mind would go in crazy places constantly, and knowing I wasn’t alone saved me from crying every time someone asked, "So, do you and your husband want kids?" Something else that someone told me was really helpful. "God wears big boy panties, so He can handle you being angry with Him right now for the hurt you’re feeling, as long as you keep two things in perspective. 1. Be seeking forgiveness for being angry with God and work toward fellowship with Him, even in the midst of your hurt. 2. Don’t forget that He understands your hurt and sent His only Son to die for you."

6. If you could go back and tell your past self something -- the past self who is in the midst of waiting -- what would you say?

God knows you and wants you to be a Mom. It may or may not be your own biological children, but He wouldn’t give you such a strong desire to love another human as a mother and give you such a Godly husband and not let you fulfill that gift in rearing children. Just be patient and learn to fall in love with God during this time.

7. Is there anything else you'd like to share?

I think it’s so extremely important for this topic to be discussed in premarital counseling, to talk about as a couple how they would like to handle things should this come up in their marriage. Infertility is so unexpected, that often times you don’t know how to react to one another, especially if you are lucky enough to get an answer as to why you’re infertile, leaving that party feeling so responsible and blamed. It’s also imperative that you pray about treatment options and only do what you feel comfortable with! Don’t let your emotions cloud your judgment and do something just because a doctor recommended it. Search within yourselves and really think about what treatments line up with your beliefs, what your budget is, what your timeline looks like, etc. Infertility treatment can be so expensive, and the last thing you want is to create financial stress between a husband and wife that are already stressed about infertility when you’re trying to bring a child into a family. Also, remember you became a family when you said, “I do”, not just when a child is introduced. No matter what God has planned, the ultimate goal is for the glory to be given to Him.

Previous: Hindsight Series Introduction
Next: Part 2: Charissa's Story

Monday, March 4, 2013

Hindsight Series

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As I previously promised, I will begin blogging tomorrow a 4-part series about hindsight. Each of the 4 posts will feature one woman. But not just any woman...a woman who at one point in her life was right where I am today. Waiting patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) for the Lord to answer her prayers and deepest heart's desire to grow her family. A woman who knows what it feels like to wait on the Lord's perfect timing. A woman who knows what each month's disappointment feels like. A woman who has a scar from all the knife-probing questions and insensitive comments from others. A woman who had her fair share of tears, doubts, fears, and frustrations. A woman who was familiar with years of waiting, doctor's appointments, infertility treatments, or adoption papers.

But the special thing about each woman is that all of the pain and anxiety associated with the struggles above is now over. They are now on the other side. Each woman is now past the chapter of infertility in their lives. Each woman now sees, looking into the eyes of each of her children, that all of the tears and heartache was worth the wait. They now see clearly why God had them wait to receive each child: because God wanted them to receive their specific child, who has a very special purpose.

So beginning tomorrow, and for the next four days, let's allow ourselves to step into the shoes of another. To hear her story, and reap of the wisdom and life lessons that each learned as a result of their struggle. Let's take a sneak peak at the other side.

Part 1: Amanda's Story
Part 2: Charissa's Story
Part 3: Jenny's Story
Part 4: Sonia's Story