Sunday, September 2, 2012
I am often challenged to trust my creator more than I have had to before, to rely on Jesus to bring me peace. I had a feeling Jesus would challenge me in many areas, trust being the main one. I had no idea He would decide that this time of great change and upheaval would be a wonderful time to challenge my identity, my ideas on womanhood, my fit into ministry and life, and my understanding of true joy and happiness. I think God's sense of humor often shines in His timing.
The latter of those was probably the most surprising. One would assume that when you have everything you wanted (stable job, great husband, house, baby, financial security) that you would inherently find happiness and joy. That has not been the case for me, and it ought not be for you either. Do not misread what I am saying. Those things bring me great joy. My husband's caring demeanor and ultra helpfulness, along with his foray into fatherhood makes my heart overflow with happiness and thankfulness. My sweet daughter's smiles make me cry tears of joy often.
But still, many days I have found myself unhappy. I find myself, overwhelmed, anxious, tired, and just down. The best conclusion I have come to is understanding that my joy cannot solely come from what God does for me, but who God is. I often feel the weight of what God has given me, and I have immense fear of it being ripped from my grasp. This is when I came to the conclusion that my hope, happiness, and joy must come primarily from Jesus. What he has given me brings me great joy, but my trust must rely on Jesus, not my possessions. Jesus ought to be my all regardless of my life circumstance, be it joyous or dismal.
In my attempts to have it all together, to find happiness, I am often fraught with anxiety about what may go wrong, what I could lose. I am reminded often that I need Jesus. I can never have it all together, I can never predict what will or will not happen. Instead, I learn to trust, I learn to lean on Jesus.
Zechariah 2:5 says "And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst." This is a promise of God, that he will protect us and that through his protection and his ultimate goodness, HE will be glorified. What peace that verse brings, and what joy. That in God's mighty love for us, he would protect his children. So, I rest in this truth, knowing that bad things will happen, I won't always be the best mother, wife, friend or daughter, but in the end God will be there and He will be glorified.
Being Mom to this girl:
and wife to this guy:
are the greatest gifts God has ever given me!
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
That is what my grandfather said to me months ago after our miscarriage and subsequent struggles. It struck a chord with me then, and it has stayed with me for the past months. I have realized that this quote has never been more accurate a description for our life. The past year has held so many ups and downs, laughter and tears, grief and excitement, and so much more. I am not sure God could pack more into one year.
In the past year we had a miscarriage, followed by a second loss (chemical pregnancy), and in October we found out we were expecting again. Then 10 weeks in we got to hear our precious little girl's heartbeat. I will never forget the relief I felt when we heard that wonderful sound. 10 weeks later we got to see her and name her Ellia. Ellia means the Lord has answered, and her name could not be more fitting. We prayed hard for this little girl and He answered us.
During this time I had finished graduate school and began looking for a job as a school counselor. I had an interview for my dream job and did not get it. Instead, I took a low paying, but fun job as a para at a local middle school. I grew to love those kids and I am glad that I've been able to keep in touch with them. I applied for a job at Purdue, not expecting to get it and to our surprise, I did. I am amazed at how much I enjoy my job and God has placed me in a position that will allow me to work from home some after Baby E makes her debut.
On top of all of this Greg also took a new position at a local bank and began working normal hours with a consistent paycheck. For the first time in our marriage we were finally able to start saving money to purchase something big, something really big. Last month, we bought our first home. The home where we will raise Baby E and hopefully some of her siblings. Oh and for over a month we had a teenager living with us while he figured out some family issues.
So to tally that is: 1 graduation, 3 job changes, 1 successful pregnancy, 1 new puppy, 1 new house, 1 extended visitor, and numerous other ups and downs.
We had both been praying that God would move us into a time of blessing, I just hadn't expected that God would throw everything at us at once. I am immensely grateful for His grace and patience during this stress filled last year. God's provision has been so evident over the past year, and yet at times I still let everything overwhelm me. I have to constantly remind myself to focus on what he has done for us, but at the same time remember that it is not about what He does for us, it's about who he is and how he changes us to make us more like him. To build character in us. It's not always pleasant, but in the end it is always worth it. The last 5 years have been nothing short of an adventure.
I have to end this post by thanking God for providing an amazing husband to lead and walk beside me during the past 5 years. Our anniversary is this weekend and I am just overcome with thankfulness for the man of God that Greg is. I don't know how to end this post with anything other than thanking God for His provision and grace over the last year.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Sunday, December 11, 2011
I'm pregnant!!!!!! Not only am I pregnant but at just shy of 12 weeks we heard our sweet little one's heart beating away. My nurse practitioner said that at the end of your first trimester, hearing the heartbeat on the Doppler is a very good sign and that my risk of miscarrying is now down below 3%.
I cannot tell you how thankful I am that it seems like this one is going to stick. I know there are no guarantees, but I am trusting in God's plan for this all. I am amazed at how much trust God has built into me over the last 6 months. With my history of miscarriage/chemical pregnancy I would have assumed that I would be a wreck for the first trimester of my next pregnancy. Instead, God gave me so much peace and reassurance that I couldn't help but trust. It has been helpful that I have dealt with some pretty substantial morning sickness (going on 5 days without throwing up! Woo Hoo!) and I have really "felt" pregnant this time. It's all God. Left to my own devices I would have been fearful, anxious, and lacking of any trust. But in His great mercy and grace, God has given me so much peace and calmness.
I won't keep rambling on and on, but realize this: God is faithful. He hears our prayers and He answers them. God is bigger than our problems and He knows what is best for us and so I will choose to trust Him through this pregnancy, knowing that His ways are higher than mine and He works all things together for the GOOD of those who love him.
God is so very good :)
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
All of this has been compounded by the sheer number of pregnant bellies around me. It seems that everyone is getting pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or just had a baby. Deep down underneath my own sorrow, I am happy for them. Right now I am just sad for myself.
The recurrent theme among conversations with doctors, pastors, and friends has been patience. I often wonder if they know who they are talking to when they tell me to have patience. Do you know me? Do you know that I suck with patience? At my last doctor's appointment Greg asked for a written prescription for patience when my doctor recommended I relax, be patient, and "enjoy trying." --I have to interject a small tangent here.. a friend reminded me that when people say enjoy trying it's a polite way to say enjoy having sex like rabbits...it made me laugh so I thought I would share it.-- Back to patience, or my lack thereof. How does one who struggles with patience in everyday life be patient in suffering?
I am constantly reminded of Romans 5:3-5
"3More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
How does one rejoice in suffering? I assume patience is implied here, because if you are able to rejoice and gain endurance you are being patient. I have to believe that the only way I will be able to have joy and patience in this trial is through Jesus' power.
I say that because I am awful with patience, contentment, envy, and joy in difficulty. Jesus is the only reason I am not in a heap on the floor in a puddle of tears every day. Jesus is the only way I will find patience and joy and contentment during this tumultuous time. Jesus is my only hope and He is unshakable. He is faithful. Even if it means we have to adopt or wait years to have a child, we will persevere because Jesus' is our strength.
Last night I came upon this verse. It has resonated with me all day today. Isaiah 43:2
"2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you."
I don't know why it stands out other than to show us that Jesus is always with us. He is always holding us up and protecting us. Lately I have felt like I am drowning. The imagery of rivers overwhelming someone are all too real to me right now. BUT, Jesus promises us that they will not overwhelm us, He will not allow the darkness to overtake the light.
I will say that there has been blessing during this trial. Jesus has been faithful and our community has stepped up to care for us. I am very bad at being cared for and feeling needy and burdensome, but I have some great friends who are willing to shoulder my burdens for now. A dear friend sent my the song "You are More" by Hillsong which says "On the day I called // You answered me // And the hope in my soul increased // I lift my hands // And turn my eyes // To the God who heals my heart // And gives me peace // You are more than // My words could ever say //You are Lord over all // Over all of my days // I will see this season through // I will fix my eyes on You // Only You //Only You" That is what I will attempt to do. I am fixing my eyes on Jesus because he is my only constant right now. I have to say, too, that Jesus gave me an amazing husband to walk with and to share this journey with.
I keep wanting to apologize for being so open and so personal, but forgive me if I don't. I think many women go through miscarriages alone and without support. I am not saying that is wrong, for women who are very private that seems the best thing to do. Personally, I am pretty open about my life and my struggles. My hope for this blog is that it will open doors, even if it's just an encouragement to one person going through a similar struggle.
I want to end this post with verses/songs that have been an encouragement to me.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 "16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer selft is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
"Higher than the mountains that I face // Stronger than the power of the grave // Constant through the trial and the change // One thing remains // One thing remains // Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me // On and one and on and on it goes // It overwhelms and satisfies my soul // And I never ever have to be afraid " (Jesus Culture)
Zephaniah 3:17 "The Lord your God is in your midst,a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all." Psalm 34:18-19
"I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry; He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD." Psalms 40:1-3
Saturday, July 16, 2011
I debated on whether or not I should write this blog. I wondered if it was too personal, too sad, or even too taboo. I wondered how people would react to someone being so open about something so painful and often not spoken about. Then, I decided that this blog is where I share most of my feelings, good and bad. I realized that I find healing in writing things down. For me, healing takes place when I take the thoughts swimming through my head and put them into words or onto paper. When the thoughts get trapped in my head they seem to weigh me down. They build on each other and grow and grow until my mind feels like it might burst. I’ve thought about this a lot and decided it’s time to share.
At the end of May I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks. The day I had been looking forward to for 3 months was turned into the day from hell. Our precious little baby had stopped growing at 9 weeks. For over 3 weeks my body tried to hold on to something that was lost. I won’t go into all of the details but the story of the actual miscarriage ended with waiting for almost a week and then going through a D&C. My body was determined to keep the pregnancy going even when it couldn’t.
Now, I’m here grieving the loss of a child I never knew. More than that, I’m grieving the loss of a future that had been dreamed about since we started trying to get pregnant. I thought about whom this child would become, what they would look like, and how much they would love Jesus. I felt as though I was having a boy, and I wondered what a great big brother they would be. I wondered how they would lead their future siblings to follow Jesus. I thought about how great of a dad Greg would be. I often daydreamed of the day that he would look into our child’s eyes and fall deeply in love with them. I looked forward to our first Christmas as a family. Now, I am left alone with my thoughts.
The past month and a half has not been what I thought it would be. As we all know, God’s timing is best. But, to be honest I still struggle with why this is happening and why now. I am left waiting on God to show me how this fits into His plan. I know that He will, but right now I seem to be stuck in murky waters. Life is confusing and little seems to be going our way. But, we are blessed and I will continue to do my best to praise Jesus in the midst of this trial. Every time I get knocked down I know that He will pick me back up. When I feel like crumbling under the pressure of life, I know that he will hold me close. Our God is a loving and gracious God and He does all things for the good of those who trust Him. So, I hold on to that hope. I am learning how to trust Him and His plan for my life. I know that He is good and I just hope and pray that He is glorified through my life.
The other piece of hope I hold dear is knowing that our dear child is now with Jesus. He or She didn’t even have to endure the troubles of this world. They are praising Jesus in heaven. Better they be with Jesus, than here for my selfish wishes. As much as I grieve the loss of the days I would have had with our precious baby, I praise God that they are safe in His arms.
So, we will keep moving through the murky waters of grief with hope of some clarity. Right now we are stuck figuring out where to go from here. When a job recently came open I had hope that maybe God just really wanted me to be a school counselor for awhile, but that fell through and now I am left wondering what to do. So I wait on Jesus and pray that He is glorified even in my grief.