Picking a fight.

I woke up this morning with a crying hangover. Puffy eyes, headache, all sorts of crusty-ness…the whole ten yards.

Rewind to earlier this week…

As more days click by, I’ve been struggling more and more with frustration, anger, and general feelings of being completely out of control. {That’s the worst part for me I think.} Add in a bit of terror rearing it’s ugly head and everything has been building to a meltdown.

We’ve been waiting for over 3 weeks now for the family who is looking at our profile to decide if they are going to move forward or not. They keep asking for more time, but I’m beginning to think that their inability to make a decision is a decision. We are just hanging out in the wind here, at their mercy…and if they can’t get comfortable with the idea of placing their embryos I really wish they would just say no. Then we could get back into matching and start moving forward a bit. {Our agency will only show our profile to one family at a time, so we need to reach a resolution here before we can get back out there into matching.}

That is one half of my struggle…the waiting, the depending on others, the cluelessness as to what they are thinking or why they are taking so long.

The other half is that summer is almost over. Today is the last day of July after all. And I’m mad about it.

This entire infertility, adoption, embryo adoption thing has been one big exercise in acknowledging how little control I have over life. You would think I would have learned that and stopped trying to control it by now, but nope. In my head, I just *KNEW* that we would have matched by now, and I was really hoping that we would be able to complete our FET before school started.

I’ve never had an FET done before, but I know it’s a process that will take several weeks and {for a period of time at least} trips to the fertility doctor {about an hour away} pretty much every other day for a while. Plus the shots, hormones, etc. It just made sense that summer would be the time to do that.

But apparently not.

For the last several days, there have been tears building…a few escaping…and frustration mounting. I’ve been praying less and stewing more. At one point I {semi-jokingly, semi-serious} was yelling at the t.v. over a news story {about a family waiting to bring their newly adopted son home from China} that I-was-trying-to-bring-adopted-embryos-home-to-my-uterus!!! It wasn’t my finest moment. Something had to give.

So last night, I picked a fight with Chris.

It wasn’t a blow-up of epic proportions, but it took us quite a while to work past the stupid thing I picked it over to get to the heart of the issue. And then it took even longer for Chris to figure out what type of response I needed to settle my tears and heart.

But we got there, and in the end I was really impressed with a conclusion he reached about how some things in his past effect how he tries to relate to me sometimes. {Basically, he figured out that he didn’t like when those things were done to him, so why was he trying to react to me in that way?}

So….

Today I took a Tylenol for my head, made a hot tea, and spoke honestly with God about how I’m feeling.

Today I’ll be e-mailing the agency…if the couple looking hasn’t made their decision by today, Chris and I want to move on and have our profile shown to other families.

Today I’ll do my best to stop pouting…summer is winding down after all, and I want to enjoy every last second of it.

Today I will surrender control, and I’ll have to do it again tomorrow. And the day after. And on and on and on. I’ve got to stop picking it up.

I’ve got to stop picking it up.

I’ve got to stop picking it up.

Blessed am I, even when I keep having to learn the same lesson the hard way.

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A Graceful Waiting – Harvest Home.

Part 3 of “A Graceful Waiting” by Jan Frank is here…this really was a challenging and wonderful read. I’m planning on passing it on to a friend tomorrow and pray that it blesses and encourages her as it did for me.

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When Waiting Becomes Wisdom

*David Schroeder said, “When I am not sure which way I am to go, I look for the promise of life and the promise of God. I look for whatever seems to be the direction which promises the most life for others around me. When I find that, I follow it with all my heart. If it truly is the direction of God, it will be accompanied by signs of fulfillment. There will be evidence of fruit. If there is not, then I know I have made a mistake.”

When Waiting Becomes Wellsprings

*In my waiting seasons, I have tended to lose my joy. Sometimes it was missing for quite some time before I noticed, I was so busy “doing.” … I have discovered that the greatest joy is to be found in his presence, not in the resolution to a problem, the answer to a long-awaited prayer, or the end of a waiting season.

*Waiting, affliction, unanswered prayers, trials, and emotional shipwrecks are all the temporary storms that produce a deeper, more mature love for our Lord.

When Waiting Becomes Worship

*Waiting becomes worship when we are able by faith to grasp a small portion of God’s eternal plan. We “see” with faith eyes how his hand has worked in and through the circumstances of our lives, causing us to love him more.

*The word hope is often used interchangeably with wait in scripture. Dr. Ed Curtis says that “waiting in these scriptures implies an expectation of fulfillment – in other words, hope.”

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Gracefully waiting. Hopefully waiting.

Blessed am I.

A Graceful Waiting – God’s Winnowing Wind.

Part 2 from Jan Frank’s book “A Graceful Waiting” coming at ya!

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When Waiting Brings Wrestling

*I was wrestling with emotions that were bigger than the circumstances warranted. I’ve discovered this is often the case. When our emotion are more intense then the situation demands, they are triggered by issues rooted in our past. God’s desire was that I not miss this deeper work of healing internal wounds because of my quick-fix mentality. I needed to be thrust into a time of wrestling with these issues; I needed to wrestle through a waiting season. … In doing this, we may find ourselves wrestling first with our circumstances and then with our emotions, wresting for comfort or control. Eventually we may realize we are wrestling to know God.

*How many times did Hannah pray over her condition? Was it the sixtieth or the six-hundredth prayer that God finally answered? Is there a formula for prayers that ensure God’s quick answer? We often ask ourselves such questions in an attempt to resolve what can only be trusted to God.

*Wrestling means we pour out our souls to the One who longs to be gracious and have compassion on us. It does not guarantee an immediate end to the waiting. It does promise to bring a deeper work inside us. {God} wants to teach you the peace your heart has longed for before the resolution comes.

*Giving up is often from exasperation and a sense of no hope. Surrender is a peaceful letting go that is surrounded by strength and confidence. … Wrestling is often the first stage of surrender. … Ask the Lord to lead you through your struggle to surrender, because, when you think about it, what you are really wrestling for is control.  … Why do we so persistently wrestle with God for control of the circumstances in our life? I don’ think most of us would really want control if he gave it to us. We do want to dictate outcomes and timetables, and prevent hardships – all without carrying the full weight of our decisions.

*It is God’s nearness and comfort in the midst of these hardships that brings peace, not the resolution of the situation.

*Eugene Patterson writes that we should not hesitate to put any Scripture passage under the searchlight of our disbelief. He contends that “the reasons many of us do not ardently believe in the gospel is that we have never given it a rigorous testing, thrown hard questions at it, faced it with our most prickly doubts.”

*Ben Patterson writes “To wait on God and to pray is to wrestle with bewilderment and perplexity. But it is God himself who brings on the bewilderment and perplexity. He does it that he might cause us to so encounter him and wrestle with him that we come to know him as we never have before. It is his way of making us come to know more deeply his goodness and mercy.”

*Wrestling brings us to a deepening of faith, a realization of our helplessness, and an awesome reverence for our God who knows our frailty and folly. Our capacity to love God and e loved by him is being expanded, deepened, and broadened. … As we wrestle in waiting we break away from complacency and enter into companionship. Grace-filled waiting is really not just waiting at all. It is about knowing God and becoming intimately acquainted with him as a Person and discovering the expansiveness of his redemption.

When Waiting Brings Weeping

*When we sow in tears, we are breaking up the hardened ground of our hearts and inviting God to sow seed which will reap eternal harvest. … “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.” Psalm 126:5

*Truly, Jesus was a God-man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Many of us pass through the place of mourning and weeping as we journey toward obedience to God. Jesus himself “learned obedience” {Hebrews 5:8} with anguish.

*Waiting and weeping go hand in hand. We might weep over our losses, our limitations, or our failings. We sometimes weep for joy even though our waiting time is not over.

*Waiting often forces us to face some of our own limitations. We can’t make things happen even when we try our hardest. The longer we wait, the more aware we become of our powerlessness. … I think God allows us to experience our own limitations so that we might turn to him and acknowledge his qualifications.

*We cannot truly weep for joy until we have wept for sorrow.

*As we set our hearts on God, our pain, suffering, and tears are transformed into refreshment and encouragement, not only for ourselves, but also for others.

When Waiting Brings Willingness

*David Runcorn {“A Center of Quiet”} writes “Having to wait involves submission.” … Waiting is an acknowledgement of our dependency. It exposes us to the illusion of our ‘control’ over our lives.

*Most of us struggle with waiting. If we have stepped out and done what we believe God has led us to do, we feel cheated or tricked when we don’t receive what we think will be secured by our obedience. Americans have been conditioned to expect immediate gratification. … We lack in our society, and even in the Christian community, what Eugene Patterson calls “a long obedience in the same direction.” He writes, “Perseverance does not mean ‘perfect.’ It means we keep going. We do not quit when we find that we are not yet mature and that there is a long journey still before us…Endurance is not a desperate hanging on, but a traveling from strength to strength.”

*The truth is, we can hear God, be obedient to his call, and still not see the fruit of our labor. That is where faith comes in. Waiting often brings us to peaceful acceptance, to willingness. Willingness is not a passive resignation, but active trust. We are willing not only to wait, but to examine our motives, to confess our sin, to step out in obedience, and to surrender our rights, in confidence.

*My inner apprehensions speak louder than words when it comes to trusting God with the unknown. … I’ve been unable to rest in God because I’ve not been sure I could trust him on my behalf. … My tendency was to run around frantically trying to resolve the dilemma myself, instead of trusting God’s goodness and his willingness to intervene. At the time, I thought God wasn’t willing to help fast enough, but now I understand that the issue was not about God’s willingness, but about my own.

*Oswald Chambers wrote, “Faith, by its very nature must be tried, and the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character has to be cleared in our own minds.” If we  have trouble trusting, obeying, surrendering, or waiting, it probably means we have not settled in our own hearts the truth about God’s true character and nature. I am convinced that those of us who desire to move on in God must face the discrepancy between our stated beliefs and the true state of our hearts.

*God loves us both by the things he gives and the things he withholds.

*David Runcorn writes, “Waiting sharpens desire. In fact it helps us to recognize where our real desires lie. It separates our passing enthusiasms from our true longings. It reveals to us both our shallowness and our depths. Waiting is a test of our love and longing.”

*Our obedience doesn’t always secure immediate resolution or guarantee a long-awaited answer to prayers. Our obedience evidences our love for the One whom we trust. In his book, “After the Spirit Comes”, Jack Taylor wrote, “We may not understand the proceedings, but then, we are not called to understand…only to obey…God will go to almost any extreme to get us in circumstances so as to discover that part of our ego yet uncrucified and expose it to the killing rays of Calvary…”

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Blessed am I.

A Graceful Waiting – God’s Threshing Floor.

In the midst of all of this incessant writing about waiting, I’ve been reading a book about…wait for it…waiting! 😉

I saw a reference to this book last year on a blog somewhere, but it took me a while to track it down and to actually read it. Well, done and done.

Here are my notes from the first third of the book…

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“A Graceful Waiting” by Jan Frank

*As I read through familiar biblical accounts of waiting, I continually came to the conclusion that God calls us to wait for two primary reasons: for our good and his glory. {Abraham, Moses, Joseph, Ruth, Hannah, Lazarus} … Each person was called to a season of waiting. All were witnesses and beneficiaries of the grace and glory of God. If you are, right now, in a season of waiting and not sure how you got there, you can be sure that God has your good in mind. You can be sure because of the record of God’s dealings with his people in scripture.

When Waiting Brings Wondering

*When we question God, we are communicating with him, we are acknowledging our relationship with him and his control over our lives. Questioning demonstrates a pursuit of knowledge and understanding. When we take our questions to God we are asking to know him better. … When we ask questions in general, we are sometimes seeking to satisfy our need for logical answers for illogical events. By asking these questions, we are attempting to find a way to control our future. … Normal questions, when directed at God from a sincere heart, can actually stimulate our faith. We may, as a result of our questions, be prompted to seek God with a fervor that was previously absent. … We need to bring all of our questions before our Father. He longs to be the one to whom we run when life makes no sense. He may not always directly what we’re asking, but he does promise to provide himself as a refuge. “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” {Psalms 62:8}

*To wait with Grace requires two cardinal virtues: humility and hope… Only the humble can wait with grace, for only the humble know they have no demands they can lay on God and his world. {Ben Patterson, “Waiting: Finding Hope When God Seems Silent”}

When Waiting Brings Wandering

*Waiting does not come naturally to me. I’d much rather “do” than “wait.” … {Like the Israelites…} I become impatient when God does not answer according to my timetable. I wonder where he’s gone. I find myself beginning to stray; I plan ways to replace him. I want a god I can see, one who is manageable and predictable, one who can be counted on to meet my expectations. If God can’t be that, I’ll make one myself. Instead of making a golden calf, I have molded my attitudes to try to circumvent the waiting season. … Four idols I had run to: the “waiting-is-not-an-option” god, the “do-something” god, the “if-I-do-it-right-you-will-bless-me” god, the “I-shouldn’t-have-to-suffer” god.

*How many times have I delayed God’s plan for my life because of my refusal to wait?

*Helping God out and performing for God are evil stepsisters. Both are shortcuts to the resolution. … Performing for God comes from our distorted beliefs: we are convinced that if we perform in a prescribed manner or figure out the “right” response, God will be pleased, and will give us what we want. Those right things often include spiritual activity.

*Most of us try to avoid, if not escape from, situations that cause us pain. … The “I-shouldn’t-have-to-suffer” god convinces us that we have already had our quota of hardships, or tells us we should certainly be immune since we have served God so faithfully. … Forget about endurance – I want escape! … I realized that {this} god could not coexist with the Father’s will for me, which is to conform me to the image of his dear Son.

*I now see more clearly how God has used waiting to thresh out a mindset of idolatry, which has kept me from walking more intimately with him. The threshing is sometimes painful, but it’s purpose is clear. God wants us to know him and to bear fruit. … God causes us to wait for our good, to manifest his glory in and through us.

*We all face these times when our vision is limited and we lack clarity with regard to God’s intended direction. … What do we need when we have a bent towards wandering? We need to be anchored, held to something sold or Someone who is immovable.

*Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity, and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter. {Richard Hendrix}

When Waiting Brings Whining

*When circumstances are difficult or uncomfortable for me, I am often tempted to gripe and complain. I am so uncomfortable when I have to wait…even when God is the one who has kept me waiting. I forget so quickly that he knows what he’s doing – in fact, I feel most frustrated when I have to wait God. I react the most strongly to this God who is so uncontrollable and unpredictable. …. I have thrown tantrums when God didn’t change a circumstance or explain it to my satisfaction. The Israelites did the same when God did not do what they wanted him to. … God was extremely patient with their griping and complaining when they first came out of Egypt. It’s as if God were dealing with them as young children, in the early stages of learning to walk with him. But later, as recorded in Numbers 11, he dealt with them more severely, because it was time for them to grow up.

When Waiting Brings Wallowing

*Waiting seems to bring wallowing, especially when we feel out of control. Most of us have several favorite wallowing places: self-pity, complacency, anger and bitterness, doubt and unbelief, just to name a few. … Sly Rogers says, “Whatever we feed grows stronger, but whatever we starve, grows weaker and eventually dies.” … Wallowers have no intention of working through their issues to bring resolution…they only want a new audience. … When we wallow in complacency, we’re satisfied to stay put and feel offended if anyone challenges us. … People who wallow in self-pity believe their plight is worse than anybody else’s, and they usually reject any proposed remedies. … My wallowing has a lot to do with my belief system. I “roll around” in many distortions which lead to doubt about God’s goodness and his promises.

*Depending on God’s promises almost always means we must take our eyes off the externals and exercise faith. It means we rely on, trust in, and adhere to his promise in the absence of what we can see, touch, or feel.

*Forgive me for not living in the now – trusting your provision NOW – experiencing your love NOW – living in contentment NOW – abiding in your peace NOW. I confess to you that this is one of the most uncomfortable places for me. I want to move on into the promises without living in the faith and assurance of the promises today… {from Jan’s journal}

*God wants to make you holy. Take heart. It is essential that the grain of your life and mine be threshed of all the stalk and chaff. Remember his Word promises not to keep you there a moment longer than necessary. He is faithful to complete the work he has begun.

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Blessed am I.

California Time

I’ve been living on California time.

Since Cali is two hours behind Texas, I spend 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. {with a break from 2 to 3 for lunch} tethered to my phone in case we get an e-mail from K at our agency. We know a family is viewing our profile, and I had really hoped to hear from her by the end of the week.

It didn’t happen.

That’s had me feeling a bit ho-hum, so I made a batch of brownies and tried to think of who I could call that would just let me complain for a bit. Sadly, no one came to mind. My people are either a) out of town, b) taking care of newborns, c) dealing with their own struggles, or d) too positive to have a whining party with me. Womp womp.

In the end, I decided to look back through old posts…to go back to the beginning of this wildness.

That Heather cried a loooot. Surely she will make me feel better.

Nope. Wrong. Try again.

That Heather had it pretty rough, I’ll give her that. But wow was God at work in MIGHTY ways.

It ended up being really encouraging, and challenging, to look back at this adventure we’ve been on with God. I’m so glad I have this journal of sorts to remind me of where we’ve been…how far we’ve come.

He has grown me so much, and I feel like with this period of waiting I’ve kind of stalled out a bit in that area. This season of the journey is an animal all in itself and, as usual, I’m learning as I go. {And it’s only been 2 1/2 months…I cannot *fathom* the struggle to behave and trust if I was going on 2 years like some of my friends.}

But hear me say, God is still working in MIGHTY ways. I’ve been reminded of that tonight. It’s not just Chris and I in this thang…somewhere there is a genetic family making decisions for their embryos. God is in that.

And God is still working on me. I’m thankful for and humbled by the ways He has revealed Himself to me throughout this journey.

I want to know Him more.

Blessed am I.

 

 

Fully Funded.

Today is a great day because…our adoption savings are fully funded!

At least…I think so. For now anyway. 😉

I’m not 100% sure how much the medical / legal parts will cost, but I have a pretty good idea…so I added a cushion in to the total amount I felt we needed to save. And now we’re there and will be able to pay upfront for each step of the process!

Praise the Lord for His grace & provision!

A lot of people have asked us if embryo adoption is cheaper than traditional adoption. The answer to that is…complicated.

Had we gone with the traditional agency we were considering, our projected costs would have been around $28,000 for one child. However, we most likely would have received a portion of that money back as a tax credit over the 5 years following the finalized adoption. Any additional children added to our family would require the same type of fee.

Embryo adoption has several different components, which means there are a lot of variables.

*The agency fee is set. We will pay the fees to adopt a group of embryos. Were we to adopt an additional set of embryos in the future we would be required to pay a similar fee again.

*The legal cost is minimal (in comparison to traditional adoption), because embryo adoption is considered a transfer of property.

*Medical fees are where it starts to get really fuzzy. Our doctor will only transfer 2 embryos at a time. Each FET {including all associated fees and medicine} will cost us right under $5,000. {Hopefully!} Right now we are funded for one transfer…but since we are hoping to adopt 4 embryos, we may have to pay the FET fees a second time. {Hopefully later rather than sooner…}

*There is a possibility {again, depending on the number of embryos we adopt} that we would need to pay to store our remaining embryos until we were ready to transfer them. {I don’t have that built into our savings at this time, but by the time the need arises the money will be there.}

*Then, of course, you have the standard medical fees for prenatal care and the birth of the baby or babies.

Insurance will cover little to none of the medical fees associated with the FET, but once I am pregnant will cover me / the baby as normal. Another difference is that embryo adoption does not qualify parents for the adoption tax credit.

So…for one child only, embryo adoption actually has the potential {once all is said and done} to be more expensive than traditional adoption {factoring in the tax credit.} But if the transfers are successful and result in multiples, or in multiple pregnancies, then EA has the potential to be less expensive overall. Get it? 😉

For us, pursuing EA means that we can pay upfront and not take on debt to finance our adoption fees. {EA fees come in smaller chunks and are more spread out…} This is important to us because we have a hefty amount of student loan debt, and because we felt it best honors God in our lives and story.

All that to say, when people ask “So is EA cheaper than TA?” Chris generally takes the easy route and just answers “Yes, for the most part.” and I usually hem & haw and say something like “Well, potentially, but not totally.” 🙂 In the end, the overall price wasn’t the deciding factor for choosing embryo adoption…and God has been so good and faithful to provide through the generous gifts of others, one wildly large garage sale, and steady jobs that allow us to sock away a solid amount of money each month.

That’s the part that really matters.

Now we’re just waiting on our match!

Blessed am I.

A graceful wrestler.

Lately I’ve been following the journey of a sweet family who is following God to Kenya. We were friends for a season while they lived in the same town as us, but mostly kept up with one another on Facebook after they moved to the big city. Now that they are moving across the world to Africa, I’m wondering if we’ll be keeping in touch more through her blog and such…life is weird that way sometimes. 🙂

She and I were messaging a few days ago about these adventures we are joining God on…I love how He can be glorified in so many ways, through so many circumstances.

Anyway, she mentioned the learning curve they were facing…which of course struck a chord with me. From the start of this infertility / adoption / embryo adoption journey, we have faced one heck of a learning curve…or curves, really.

Curves with finding an infertility doctor, learning the lingo, maneuvering through the tests.

Curves with navigating the adoption waters, talking with our family and friends, seeking out the route for growing our family.

Curves with learning about these little lives called embryos, home studies, explaining to others what we’re doing and why.

Curves with figuring out what is most important to us, with loving and forgiving and supporting one another through the joys and struggles.

Curves with handling this terrible and yet necessary…and occasionally not so bad thing called waiting.

Initially we weren’t really close with anyone who had faced these challenges…but God is good and we have since met many people who could speak truth and experience to what we’re going through. {Well, except for the embryo part…we haven’t had the opportunity to connect with anyone on that front, but Lord willing, one day we will!}

I can’t say that the phase we are in now is my favorite part. In fact, Momma told me there would be days like this…she knows me too well.

When we were walking the doctor / infertility route, I had things I could do to stay involved in the process…track my temperature {which was pointless, no doctors even asked to look at the multi-page line graph I had created documenting my basal body temp}, schedule appointments and tests, etc.

Then there was the mourning / grief stage, where I was wrestling with God and reading and searching.

After the decision to adopt was made, I began the agency search, paperwork, and even began to dabble in prepping for a baby. Nurseries were on the brain, a crib was bought, names were picked. Busy, busy, busy!

When the embryo piece was added, we quickly moved into officially connecting with an agency, home studies, family profiles, and big checks. Plenty to do…money to raise…lots of active involvement.

And now that allllll of that is done, we’re waiting.

Just waiting.

I was handling things a bit better when there were things I could be doing to help the process along. But this waiting thing? I’m not feeling it.

Honestly, I’m not really accustomed to having to wait on other people’s timetables. It’s a good lesson for me to learn, no doubt. And I’m thankful for this time with Chris and family and friends, where I am still Heather {not someone’s mom}…where we can pick up and go / do pretty easily…where I can sleep a ridiculous number of hours at a time. I’ve enjoyed learning and drawing closer to my Lord this summer, with lots of time to read and meet with others in bible study. Waiting has it’s high points, I suppose.

But I’m growing restless…the baby fever is rising…I’m wrestling with the wait.

I don’t think the wrestling is bad altogether; I’ve come to learn that as I wrestle I come to know more of who the Lord is, of who He’s calling me to be. But I do want to be graceful as I wait…to point back to Him.

Perhaps I’ll spend some time praying that I’ll be a graceful-wrestler in this season of waiting.

*wink*

Blessed am I.

 

 

Go to the hard places.

After having several people recommend the book “Kisses from Katie,” {by Katie Davis} to me, I finally made a point to stop by our church library and check it out. I’m so glad I did…I found her story and words to be so challenging and encouraging. Katie’s story is one of falling in love with Jesus, and later with the people and land of Uganda. Straight out of high school, she moved there on her own and learned to live in total dependence on God has she cared for and poured out His love on those around her…and as He gave her 13 little girls to adopt and raise as a single mother.

Although her story is very different from my own, a lot of what she said really resonated with me. Everything below is her writing, from her book. It’s good stuff.

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~ “I came to understand and believe with more passion than ever that God is in control. I mean absolute, complete, sovereign control.”

~ “I didn’t realize then, but I strongly believe now that here is a common misconception that whatever happens to us is the will of God. It’s as though we think: Okay, I can do whatever I want and God will either do something or He won’t and that will be His will. It will all work out. It will all happen just like it needs to. I don’t believe this anymore. I believe that God is in control, yes, but I also believe I have a choice: I can follow Him or I can turn my back on Him. I can say yes to Him, or I can say no. I can go to the hard places or I can remain comfortable. And if I remain comfortable, God who loves us unconditionally will continue to love me anyway. I may still see His glory revealed in my life and recognize His blessings, but not like I could have. I can miss the will of God. The rich young ruler certainly did. He didn’t fall dead, as Ananias and Sapphira did; and maybe he went on to live a great life, but it wasn’t the life he could have lived had he said yes to what Jesus was asking of him. I don’t ever want to miss God’s will again. …. I don’t want to miss what He has for me. Ever, ever again.”

~ “When I have a rough day, or several rough days in a row …. I can easily forget why I do what I do. I used to repeat to myself, ‘Do not forget in the darkness what you have been promised in the light.’ When my days are dark and difficult, I am tempted to look around and think, Why? Why do I do this? …What am I doing here? I do not usually forget the answer to all these questions: For Jesus. Because He called me to this and because He gave His life for me. This means that it has been granted to me, it is my privilege, not only to believe in Him but also to suffer for Him {Philippians 1:29}. That suffering is not along, but is with Him, and oh, what a privilege it is just to be able to be in His presence, to share that with my sweet Savior. This is what it means when I say I do it for Jesus. He loved me first; I love Him back. And sometimes it hurts. But even then it is pure joy to even be considered worthy to share in His suffering. That is the promise: not that He is sorry that it hurts, but that He sees; that He knows; that He is here with us.”

~ “I have learned along my journey that if I really want to follow Jesus, I will go to the hard places. Being a Christ follower means being acquainted with sorrow. We must know sorrow to be able to fully appreciate joy. Joy costs pain, but the pain is worth it. After all, the murder had to take place before the resurrection. I’ll be honest: The hard places can seem unbearable. It’s dark and it’s scary, and even though I know God said He will never leave or forsake me, sometimes it’s so dark that I just can’t see Him. But then the most incredible thing happens: God takes me by the hand and walks me straight out of the hard place and into the beauty on the other side. He whispers to me to be thankful, that even this will be for His good. It takes awhile sometimes, coming out of the dark place. Sometimes God and I come out into a desert and he has to carry me through too. Sometimes I slip a lot on the way out and He has to keep coming back to get me. Always, on the other side is something beautiful because He has used the hard place to increase my sense of urgency and to align my desires to His. I realize that it was there that he was closest to me, even in the times when I didn’t see Him. I realize that the hard places are good because it is there that I gained more wisdom, and through wisdom comes sorrow, and on the other side of sorrow is joy. And a funny thing happens when I realize this: I want to go to the hard place again. Again and again and again. So we go. This is where our family is today and where I hope to stay – loving, because He first loved us. Going into the hard places, entering into the sorrow because He entered for us first and because by His grace, redemption and beauty are on the other side.”

~ “A few months ago I was reading in Matthew 17 the story of Peter asking Jesus if He was required to pay the temple tax. Jesus answers that He will pay the tax as not to offend anyone and sends Peter to catch a fish. …. Peter opens the mouth of that first fish he catches and there in its mouth is exactly enough money to pay both Jesus’ tax and his. I am so thankful that I serve this kind of God. He loves to love us. He delights in surprising us. The funniest thing about this story to me is that Jesus could have just handed Peter the money. … But Jesus wanted to come through bigger than that for Peter. I believe that He delighted in Peter so much that He wanted to put this element of surprise and hilarity in his day. Possibly Jesus was using this as another lesson in crazy trust or crazy obedience for Peter. … And once again, God was not too big for the littlest detail. There in the mouth of that fish was the money to pay the tax. ‘Surprise, I am right here. Surprise, it is just as I said it would be. Surprise, I am exactly enough, everything you need, all over again.’ …

I prayed and He could have pulled the answer right out of His pocket. But He didn’t, because He loves me too much and His way is better. I can laugh with my Father because He is a parent who delights in surprising His children, a friend who loves doing something extra special for His closest pal. I can laugh with Jesus, because He is too good to me. Life changes in an instant and we are but grass that withers. And God holds all of the chaos in the palm of His hand, giving even the pain a purpose. …

A year later I can say, ‘Yes, this year has been the hardest yet. Really, though, it has also been the best. And I would do it all again if He asked me to.’ Because faithful God did not let go of our hands. I am young and I know that the most difficult times are not behind us. But as I rest in Him and draw near I am learning much and I am remembering that I am one of His favorites. And even in the middle of a storm, even when I can’t see the good yet, He can. And He is looking at me with that twinkle in His eye, just waiting to surprise.”

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Amen and amen.

Blessed am I.

 

Another match bites the dust.

Hum.

Failed adoption match jokes…probably not cool.

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As you’ve probably been able to gather from the title of this post, the match we were considering is a no go. After waiting what felt like an impossibly long time for the doctor to get back with us {one week and two days, to be exact} we were told that FDA regulations would not permit the clinic to transfer these embryos, thereby making them ineligible for us to adopt.

Insert a little confusion on our part as well as the agencies, more questions and e-mails, and an answer that semi-clarifies what the issue was and you are all caught up to where we are now.

We don’t totally understand why the “issue” is an issue, or if our agency should have caught it before presenting us with the match. I’ve done a bit of research on it, but for now I think we are just trusting that the checks and balances of the agency and doctor have done what we needed them to do and prevented us from moving forward with a set of embryos with which we couldn’t have completed a FET.

So we are back in matching.

I so appreciated the director of the Snowflake Program, who has been nothing but helpful and encouraging throughout this process…and especially in the dilemmas and questions that presented themselves through this last match. When it fell through she spoke truth and peace into our adoption process, and that meant a lot to me.

At the same time, I so did not appreciate my doctor’s office…so I’m trying to sort through all of that now. While I did feel like he could have looked over the embryo information and gotten back with me in a much more timely manner {I had explained multiple times that we were supposed to make our decision within the time frame of one week, if at all possible} I also understand that he is a doctor running a busy medical practice. That part I will probably have to get over. The part that I am having trouble with are the interactions I’ve had with some of the ladies working in his office. This last go-round, I felt as she wasn’t following through with what she said she would do and was being very short with me. {She being the woman who was supposed to be the go-between the doctor and I…}

I think it boils down to this: once we match with embryos, we will be giving these people large sums of money. Sums of money nearing $5,000 a pop. So I feel like, for that sum of money, we should get quality customer service.

We’re not mad that the doctor pulled the plug on this match, and we feel like he helped clarify some confusion with the first match we were presented. Although I do have a few doubts starting to pop up when I think of him specifically, I am thankful for the help he has given us so far.

All that to say, I’m not really sure what to do with the whole doctor situation. I think Chris will go along with whatever I feel is best in that regard, so long as neither of us has to do further medical testing {were we to try and switch doctors.} Needing a lot of discernment in this area, and probably a little space from the frustration that built over the past week or so.

We weren’t devastated when the match fell through, which was probably another sign that this wasn’t the match for us. Still not totally sure what we will feel when we find the match God has for us…praying now that we will be watchful, but not guardedthat we will feel conviction, and not anxietyfor unity of heart and mind.

That’s where we’re at…and honestly, it’s not a bad place to be. I want to be right smack in the middle of God’s perfect will with this embryo match, so I can wait it out. {I may just have to repeat that over and over to myself in the coming days…you know me!}

Blessed am I.