Book Notes.

A friend of my Mom’s loaned us a couple of books that are near & dear to her heart. (Thanks Mrs. A! It was so good to meet you!) One was a well-worn, much loved copy of “And With the Gift Came Laughter” by Ann Kiemel Anderson. I didn’t read it with a pen in hand, but I could definitely see why it would have touched her heart in such a special way.

The other was a book called “Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss” by Jennifer Saake. Following are {direct quotes} from the book that spoke to me….notes I’d like to remember.

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{Your fertility challenges hurt this much because you already have a mother’s heart and are grieving for your children. God knows this grief personally. He has gone to greater measures to make you His child than you will ever go in the pursuit of growing your own family.}

{For God so longed to call me His child, that He offered the life of His only biological Son to pay the price of my adoption. ~paraphrase of John 3:16}

{Our challenge, like that of the oyster with that irritating speck of sand which will eventually turn into a beautiful pearl, is to take the things that “get under our skin” and use them to God’s glory. There are some things I can change, while for others I must seek the Lord’s wisdom to endure my circumstances with grace.}

{Knowing that God is in control doesn’t always keep the pain at bay. As you find yourself in uncomfortable places or conversations, ask God to give you the grace to survive the moment, along with an understanding heart to hear the intended meaning behind your friend’s words. Ask the Lord to prepare you heart, even now, for ways to help your loved ones understand your needs. Prayerfully consider what you would like others to know about your grief.}

{In the struggle to “have a family” it can be so easy to forget that as husband and wife we already are a family.}

{The authoritative source that answers all questions (about fertility treatments vs adoption vs remaining childless) is the Word of God. But even though we’re all reading the same Bible, Christians often reach significantly different opinion about acceptable options. I believe this can be attributed, at least in part, to the Holy Spirit’s unique leading in each family. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12) While there are some “black and white” scriptural constants, I must remember that the convictions God lays on my heart in “gray” areas, may or may not be applicable to others. Just as I don’t won’t you to judge the choices I make with a clear conscience before the Lord, I cannot fault you for the paths He chooses for you, even when I would not personally have peace in the same decisions. It all goes back to each person’s need to listen for that still, small voice whispering to our hearts, “This is the way, walk in it.” Then we must walk where He directs, not run in our own direction ahead of His will or stubbornly dig in our heels and refuse to move forward.}

*That last one is a big one! I’ve spoken to & received advice from several women who felt much peace with their decision to move forward with fertility treatments. I so appreciate their openness and willingness to talk to me. When we recognized adoption as God’s plan for us, it was important for me to tell those special ladies privately so that they understood I was not “faulting the path God had for them.” 

{The Lord gifts people in many different ways. He has chosen to give us the gift of infertility. It is a gift that neither of us wanted. We spent over two years trying to deny, refuse, refund, or exchange this gift before finally, with many tears, accepting it. God only gives good gifts, and I am continually learning that He chose to make us infertile because He loves us. He has bigger dreams for us than we even have for ourselves. ~Denise England}

{The drama of fertility challenges often painfully performs on the stage of church participation. Public worship, in and of itself, opens the floodgates of my emotions so that I react to all stimuli more intently. Music is designed to open my spirit to connect with the Lord, but in doing so, it can also peel the scab off of my hurting soul. Prayer is a window from my heart to God’s. The Word of God is a double-edged sword that can painfully pierce my heart in ways I may not be able to publicly handle when I’m already so fragile. I have often sat through a service unable to sing as the tears poured down my cheeks…these feelings  are fine between God and me, but in church they easily become a public spectacle.}

*Oh my, was this one true for me when I was in the midst of the storm. I sobbed my way through church for over a month…reading this helped me understand why. 

{Society teaches us that reproduction is ours to control. Shock and sorrow accompany the discovery that we cannot always plan parenthood. Infertility is prolonged grief with few defined points of closure. Anguish is caused by the death of dreams, not always by the death of an individual. Because there are few ways to memorialize the profound loss of a child who never existed, it can be an agonizingly extended grief without validation. Truly infertility or the loss of a child brings deep grief, but does God’s Word validate such anguish? In addition to holding many accounts of barren characters carefully preserved for our benefit, the Bible treats childlessness as a truly devastating pain. Proverbs 30:15-16 lists barrenness right up there in the “top three” things that are never satisfied, along with death, drought-devasted land, and fire.}

*Mom and I had several conversations about how un-acknowledged infertility loss is. No casseroles brought by your house. No flowers sent. No cards with condolences. It is something that is so hard to understand until you’ve been touched by it…

{A lifetime of losses overwhelmed Hannah.}

{My surrender started with the breaking of my heart, of my will. Relinquishment was a conscious, painful decision. Learning to worship through the wait was not a one-time event, but an ongoing process. Living in the ongoing unknown made worship a true sacrifice.}

{God wants my heart to be fertile soil for His love to blossom, even if my womb remains ever barren.}

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Thankful for my love of reading, authors who share their stories & revelations from the Lord, and how God speaks to me through the words of others.

Blessed am I.

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