a liberty not afforded to me.

A few posts ago I  wrote out some notes from Beth Moore’s “James: Mercy Triumphs” study. She said something in one of the weekly videos that stuck with me, because I can definitely relate.

It went something like this {paraphrasing here!}…”As an independent person, I was accustomed to doing things “on my own”…but in this situation it was a liberty that wasn’t going to be afforded to me.” This struck me in two ways…

1) Obviously I have learned a lot about how little I can really do “on my own”…I can do nothing apart from Christ. That has been a whole big lesson in and of itself. It’s been a journey of watching and trusting God for each step, even when I can’t see the big picture, don’t know how it will all play out, or understand what He is even doing. It’s been a struggle of not holding tightly to my plans, to recognizing how not-in-control I am…and not letting myself be upset & stressed out about that.

I actually just read something on an infertility/adoption blog a few days  ago that caught my attention…really made me think & spoke to me specifically as we’ve been wondering what God is doing with Chris’ job and our delayed transfer.

From “Adding a Burden: On Not Knowing Why“: “I would do well to slow down and not ascribe meaning to life events too quickly. I’m realizing more and more that this act of constantly trying to interpret the events of my life is just another way I’m trying to hold onto control over it. It prevents me from fully trusting the Father.  Hebrews 11:1 describes faith in this way: “Now faith is assurance of what we hope for and confidence in what we do not see.” If I’m always trying to make the unknown, known and unseen, seen… it’s not really faith, is it? Add to that the fact that when I say things like, “God did this so that xyz would happen” I’m only guessing and often wrong and- well- it’s a recipe for disaster. For hurt, for questioning, and for discontent. I can only do two things when I look into the events of my life: humbly admit I don’t know why and confidently trust that God will not waste the events of my life: he will use them for his glory.”

Then, a few days later, a friend posted Ecclesiastes 11:5, which says this – “Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.

There are moments when the mystery of God & His work drives me mad…but isn’t there such beauty in the mystery? As we look to our transfer in the next couple of days, I’m praying that I’ll be able to spend that two week wait enjoying the mystery of what God is doing within me. He is trustworthy, I have hope & assurance in Him, and He will work it all for His glory. I am totally dependent on God, and I want to stay that way!

2) This quote caught also my attention is because of the inner struggles I have faced as we’ve been so open with our infertility / adoption journey. Chris is just naturally a share-er…he has no filter and will practically tell anyone anything. I am generally quite a bit more reserved than that. Not overly private…I share very personal details with a few and err on the side of discretion with the masses. However, I’ve had random conversations about *very* personal issues/body parts {if only I had a $1 for every time I, or someone I’ve been talking to, has said uterus.} We’ve been far more open with all of this than I would have preferred probably…but it’s really only come back to bite us a few times. If anything, I just find it kind of tiring.

BUT. More often than not, I am amazed at this incredible support system that we have. Our family, friends, church family, coworkers…we’ve received such love & encouragement from them. Because we live in a small town, our family doctor has us on his prayer list. I occasionally meet random new people who have heard about us from so-and-so and are praying for us. Little old ladies at our church are interceding for us with their whole hearts, even as they don’t fully understand what exactly we are doing.

Last night my parents drove in and joined with Chris & I and our in-laws to pray over us and enjoy an evening of chatting and thanking God for what He is doing. {Thanks for planning and coordinating all of that, Debbie!} It was such a sweet time and felt wonderful to have our parents pray over us.

Then today, I felt such a need within me to go to church and worship. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that God had all of the songs and sermon in place for just me, but I will say that the Spirit moved within me and spoke words of bravery, love, and assurance over me. Chris and I prayed together at the alter…well, he prayed aloud and I prayed silently…couldn’t quite choke out the words. There, at the same alter at which I gave my uterus to God {yes, that happened}, I gave our little ones to God. I placed it all in His hands…committed this transfer to Him. I have such joy & excitement in my heart for our upcoming transfer…there is so much less pressure when you give it all to God!

The rest of the morning was filled with hugs, promises of prayers, and an unexpected gift of a beautiful crocheted snowflake blanket to ‘keep me warm while those babies snuggle in.’ Just blew my mind…so sweet!

Truly, truly…these little ones already have such a legacy of love.

I’m rambling here….this post has gotten away from me. All of these words to say…I could not have done this, walked this road, without making myself vulnerable to God and to those around me. I wasn’t created to function independently of others…to handle it all ‘on my own.’ I have seen God at work and I have seen His church at work as countless people have shown me the hands and feet of Christ. I don’t know how I’ll properly thank them all…I just continue to pray that God will pour countless blessings on them. I am so thankful that He pushed me outside of myself in so many different ways – including talking about my uterus in the teachers lounge, with the 70 year old woman sitting next to me at a baby shower, and basically a lot of other people who I never imagined I would talk about my uterus with. 😉

It’s been a beautiful ride.

Blessed am I.

home life.

Back to my cataloging of the random thoughts that have been speaking to me lately. Our church subscribes to “Home Life” magazine, so each month I pick up a copy to read while taking a bubble bath. {I am a woman of routine, after all.} The last one that I picked up just kept hitting me in the face, over and over again, with words that spoke straight to my head & heart. By the end of the magazine I was just like “Okay God, I get it, I get it.” Ha! Here are some of the thoughts from the January issue…

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From “Margaret Feinberg: Fight Back with Joy” by Emily Ellis

*Joy emanates out of the abiding sense of God’s fierce love for us. The two are intertwined. It’s interesting that in the listing of the facets of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, joy follows love. When we know how much we are loved by God, joy percolates in our hearts. We walk lighter, laugh harder, smile wider – even in the spooky face of adversity.

*”But if not.” Followers of Jesus live in a tension. On one hand, we are the people who ask, ‘What if God?’ as we seek His will, His power, and His redemption for our lives. We know nothing is impossible for God. He can cure any disease, meet any financial need, mend any relationship. But we also know sometimes people still die, declare bankruptcy, and divorce. Yet we are encouraged to keep seeking God and His miraculous power – to heal, restore, and redeem – in our lives as well as in the lives of those we love. That’s why we must also declare “But if not,” much like Shadrach, Meschack, and Abednego did in Daniel 3. Even if God doesn’t respond in the way we hope or ask for, we will still be a people who walk boldly in faith.

From “Feeling Behind?” by Leeana Tankersley

*…. For any number of reasons within or beyond our control, we feel behind. I wonder how many of us are living out of that internal pressure to catch up and keep up more than we realize. What happens, unfortunately, when we ask our desires to arrive in certain ways, is that we end up squeezing the neck of life. We end up grasping for control.

*All I do by trying to force the fantasy is make myself, and my husband, crazy, and I miss what’s happening right under my nose in the glorious impermanence of our life today.

*Everything I throw into the void….is consumed. The only way out is to take Christ’s hand, the one He is always extending to me, offering me the way into the wide-open field. …A sense of breathing room. Spaciousness instead of the squeeze.

*The problem is, Christ so very rarely offers us the solution we believed would make everything feel better. Usually the breathing room arrives because we finally, in our fleshy exposed humanity, let go of the striving and allow Him to love us – fully, deeply, inexplicably – right where we are.

*You want something, too. Something isn’t arriving in the timing you’d assumed it would. And it’s okay. These are the desires of our hearts. They are soul-longings. They are good things. The problem isn’t desire. The problem is what we do with our desire when we feel like we’re behind in satisfying it. Christ reaches down, as we are drowning in our various and individual voids, offering us breathing room. If we will stop our striving and writhing, and take His hand, we will be saved.

From “Changing for Good: One adoptive mother writes an open letter to the father-to-be” by Tammy Darling

*My husband loves this little boy we have yet to meet every bit as much as I do, but because he’s wired differently, he handles it differently. He loves receiving our adoption updates, prays for our little guy every day, then goes about his daily routine. I, on the other hand, am a Mama. And that, I believe, is at the heart of the “change” my husband sees in me. While he can go on day by day as usual, I can’t. Instead of carrying this child in my womb, I am carrying him in my heart. And my heart is becoming heavy. I can’t feel him kicking. I can’t see his growth via sonogram. I can’t hear his heart beating. But from the moment we started the process, he became a part of me.

*Living in the present makes me face some hard realities that I don’t want to deal with. …. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” says Psalm 118:24. I want to enjoy and appreciate the gift of today, but I need you to remind me of the blessings and beauty right before my eyes. …. Subtle reminders will help me to fully live in the present and not just for the day.

*The truth is that sometimes I get so caught up in the whole adoption process that I don’t really know what I need until I stop and think about it.

*”Delayed hope makes the heart sick.” Proverbs 13:12 is a verse that has become very real to me. I need to know that there’s light at the end of the adoption tunnel and that one day it will happen. On my good days, I know without a doubt that this adoption process will all be worth it. Other days, I wonder. I doubt. I lose hope. It is those days, especially, that I need your encouragement.

*Adoption was never meant to separate us, as we are currently separated from our son. Instead, my heart’s desire is that this process will bring us closer together, day by day. And just think, with each passing day, we are one day closer to bringing him home!

*I know our son is in God’s hands and that He has a marvelous plan that I just can’t fully see through the fog of waiting.

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There was even more good stuff, but that’s the bulk of what I read that is related to what I typically blog about here. I just love a word from God!

Blessed am I.

every bitter thing is sweet.

I mentioned in a post a few days ago that I recently read a book called “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things” by Sara Hagerty. It is an excellent read and really challenged me; it reminded me of “1,000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. Good stuff.

Following are a few of Sara’s thoughts that really resonated with me…some of them will only really make sense if you’ve read the book and understand the context through which she was speaking…so go read it! 🙂

*Grief’s tide can’t be predicted.

*Like most pain, until you have known it for yourself, you are blind to it.

*The book I’d once used to plan youth ministry talks, the book I’d once used to quote pithy sayings and to confirm opinions I’d already formed, that book at found its way into my deep. The God behind it was proving Himself to be fundamentally different than what I’d supposed for at least a decade, maybe more. But I was finding Him. In all the placed I had feared most and spent a lifetime avoiding, He was meeting me. My worst, my very worst, moments were getting rewritten without circumstances changing. I was getting acquainted with the kind of deep satisfaction that bad news can’t shake. He was showing me Himself as strong enough. He was letting me hide in Him, letting me find a safe place.

*Like any good story, time revealed it’s layers.

*The Father had forged a connection, even before our eyes stared into theirs.

*Each of us was a new part of a new whole, though God had known us as “us” since the beginning of time. We had a history together, though we’d lived apart. We’d each known brokenness and loss, yet with no concept of how those paths would merge into each other’s beauty one day.

*When my lips brushed Eden’s forehead for the first time, a holy vindication echoed throughout the heavens. My life surfaced a win, His win. It had always been there, but now I could touch it. Evidence that God not only loved me but liked me and enjoyed me something I’d spent decades subtly refuting now worked its way into my visible story. I got to sweep aside the ashes of years and try on beauty.

*And now, here I was, in the unfolding fulfillment of many (though not all) circumstances, living wildly alive. God’s signature over my barrenness, over my broken story, once unknown, was now a spiritual branding on my flesh. It said: God is good…to me.

*Marriage would be the first of many times to come when I needed to love in a way that reflected a characteristic of God that was yet unfamiliar to me.

*My mess wouldn’t forever be a curse. One day it would be my crown. One day it would tell the story that yes, He is good…to me.

*I often pictured the future from the perspective of fear, as if imagining the worst-case scenario might allow me to prepare myself. But God comes highly to prepare, and with a grace He’ll release only in that moment, not in advance.

*The fact that her experience made it impossible for her to connect with me made her healing words wounding.

*As with any calling, we dip our toes into the water of yes and hope to God that this is the biggest yes we’ll have to utter, the biggest move our hearts will have to make with such trust, only to find ourselves submerged, years later.

*Fear loses oxygen when every moment suspends itself under the purpose of bringing Him glory, of knowing His name and His nature. Sometimes, instead of leading us up and out of those very fears, big and small, He let us live them. He gives us over to them. Because it’s in this giving over to our fears that we find the perfect love that frees us from them. Forever.

*Again, it was looking at Him, long and rightly, that was performing miracles. Adoration makes walking with God more than just reacting to a series of externals. Adoration calls the circumstances, no matter how high or low, into proper submission in our hearts. Adoration roots us in a reality that no amount of pain and no amount of blessing can shake.

*Adoration steadies us. It repatterns our thinking. It centers our lives around a God-man instead of forever trying to make sense of the God-man through the lenses of our circumstances. Adoration aligns us under Him. This is the place where life is found.

*I knew that my womb wasn’t the only thing barren. My inability to respond with trust, to lean, to rest peacefully in what God could do, but hadn’t done, exposed me.

*My instant response to that moment over my bathroom sin, to many moments like it, was far from eyes-on-Him. Instead of saying, ‘Show yourself as Healer,’ I asked ‘Why haven’t you healed me?’ Instead of saying ‘Show me the Daddy side of you,’ I asked ‘Why aren’t you Daddy to me?’ Instead of saying, ‘Show me Yourself as Comforter of those in pain,’ I asked ‘Why all the pain?’ My questions revealed my resistance to the vulnerability God loves. If I’d let it, weakness would continue to produce a need in me that would draw me nearer to Him.

*The question of pain, it’s buried deep in my bones. It is my story, though I’ve barely traveled the circumference that others have,not even to the half. But God wants me to know that the nearness of Him in response to the deepest questions of my story, the kind of nearness that, when realized, heals.

*Many of us, with bodies broken, find comfort by accepting what we’ve loosely defined as God’s sovereignty. After all, hope is awkward in a life of living by sight. It’s messy. It’s vulnerable.

*But God was healing me, even while I waited on His healing.

*My awareness of my infertility was as variable as the rain. Some days it was a drizzle in the backdrop of my story, and other days it was a downpour altering my whole day.

*This was love. One long conversation, not interrupted by adversity but enhanced by it.

*But I was wounded, and the wounded set up provisions for their comfort.

*The truth is nothing about adoption is safe. We sign papers and write checks and make timelines as if any part of this process is secure, and then we’re shocked when the battle waged in the heavens over these children’s lives encompasses the natural.

*Hope had done what it always does: it preceded us.

*The odds were no longer what gave my heart stability. Endurance was producing character. Character was becoming hope. I walked into the embassy, expectant.

*I was a different woman than the one I had been before my life unraveled, because God had become to me a different God than the one I’d contrived Him to be when it was all working as it should.

*Just as soon as I remembered the sharp moments of pain, I remembered the nearness of the Father, who came right into the middle of the them. Both memories – the sting of pain and the balm of His coming to me in my pain – were vibrant, real again, but it was now as if His presence during that pain overshadowed the memory of the pain itself.

*The lowest points of pain and some of the sweetest touches of Him came back to me as I heard the words of that song that had broken my fall and cradled me. I knew my life would need hundreds, thousands of such moments across my life for my heart to grow. I couldn’t eat yesterday’s bread today. I had to continue to hunger both in the pain and in the ordinary.

*But in all seasons of searing grief, times of great redemption, times of the mundane, every single moment was pregnant with His whisper: Come, let us run together. Come find me. Here.

*To know Him is to hope for the impossible.

*Even those closest to you will challenge it, as the world around you collapses, but hope is your greatest weapon because it is His invitation into the unseen. Hope requires a true view of God. And that true view of God is not natural. It’s from Him. One day, the Unseen will be more real to you than what your eyes can perceive.

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Blessed am I.

The only words that matter.

*Previously written…saved to post until the official word was out there. 🙂

This past week, on a Tuesday evening, I received a call from a nervous, voice-shaking daddy-to-be who was calling to tell us of the baby on the way…an unexpected and happy surprise.

That new daddy is my little brother.

C & J have been married for just over 3 months…their baby will arrive a week or so before their first wedding anniversary. While we all knew a baby was a possibility, I think it’s safe to say everyone was pretty shocked that one is on the way this quickly. This little one will be the first grandchild for my parents, and for her parents as well. It’s big news, and it’s wonderful.

There’s no point in lying; pregnancy announcements…they tend to sting. By God’s grace & our love for my brother and his wife {along with our genuine feelings of happiness for them and our family} Chris and I reacted well to the surprise. I’m so glad…you don’t get to ‘re-do’ your reaction to something big like that.

It took a bit of time for us to process the news…we each have our own way. Chris tromped around outside for a bit, I had to sort all of the feelings out…figure out what was what. I knew I was excited and happy, shocked and surprised. Mixed in were feelings of anxiety / sadness over our own waiting for a baby…frustration that things aren’t as easy for us as we’d hoped or would like for them to be.

I’ve learned through this whole process that I have to do this…identify the feelings. What they are, where they are coming from, if they are a representation of truth, if they can be changed. And once I had everything sorted out, I was standing toe-to-toe with the real source of my troubled heart & mind.

The feeling that I…we…my whole family…had been cheated. Robbed. Lost something precious to us. A lot of my brother’s nerves were that of a man who has just found out he was going to be a father…but some of them were because he had to call us, knowing the struggle we’ve been through to have a baby. My sister-in-law, who has been our biggest cheerleader, was trying to speak encouraging words to me…even as we were marveling over their news. Instead of calling to celebrate the news together, my mom was texting me to make sure we were okay.

I realized that even when they got married and I knew a baby was a possibility, I never really thought through the idea that they might have a baby before us. Generally I like to think things through and prepare everyone for the appropriate feelings / reactions / etc. {This started after Chris failed miserably at telling me that my grandma had just passed away. I wish I was joking, but it’s true.}

Anyway, all that to say I was not prepared for how this happy news would now carry this weight of sadness because of our “situation.”

And after I got done feeling that sadness…I moved {pretty quickly} into being pissed off about it. Ugly cry pissed off.

{“Infertility…you SOB…you’ve taken a lot from me. I didn’t see this one coming though…didn’t realize you would cost us this.” ~me}

After going back and forth about talking to my mom that night, I texted her and said we could talk about anything and everything as long as it wasn’t about me or Chris. She agreed, of course, and it was just what I needed. We shared our excitement and shock sans pity or “your turn is coming.” {Not that you would have done that Mom, it was just the last thing I needed.}

By the next day, Chris & I both shared a resolve to experience every bit of joy this new baby is bringing to our family…we want every bit of it. We called my brother and reassured him that we’re okay and asked that they not hold anything back from us. {Turns out my dad basically told him the same thing…that if C tried to spare my feelings he would just end up hurting them…smart dad.} Mom got the same call, and I got a “thata girl” from Dad.

Our infertility struggles are separate from this little blessing of a baby…and pretty much from that day forward everyone has acted accordingly. So much so that I am tired of writing about it. Just too many words.

So here are the only words that really matter…

We’re going to be an aunt & uncle again!

Blessed am I.

*In the days following, Chris and I found out that our match is official, and mom found a sign that says “Grandma’s: Where cousins go to become best friends.” How sweet is that?

 

State of the Union.

Lots of waiting on God and watching to see what He’s up to in the last few days…

We know that Chris’ job is going buh-bye within the next year or so. He’s been looking and applying for jobs for several months now, and on Friday he had a phone interview for a position about 4 hours from where we are living now. No idea how we would work that out, so trying not to spend too much time sorting through it until we have an official need to. God would have to be all over that one to coordinate it, because I’m just not seeing it at this point. We should hear back this week whether or not they want him to come in for a second interview.

Later that afternoon, he stopped by a local business to apply for a recently posted position they have. He ended up talking with the owner for over 2 hours and was super excited about the visit. We are expecting to hear back from him sometime this week to set up an official interview time.

So two job opportunities on the horizon.

We are also hoping to hear this week regarding the blood work our doctor requested from the donor family we are considering matching with. We aren’t expecting any surprising news, just in a holding pattern until the results are officially in.

And in another twist, I am also waiting to connect with a family who has more questions about embryo adoption. {We were connected through my mother-in-law and a member of the church she goes to.} Since I haven’t talked to her I don’t know if they are just wanting more information or are considering wanting to match with us privately. Not sure what to do with particular bit of information, but again not putting too much thought into it until I’m able to talk with her and find out what they are thinking.

Needless to say, it could be very interesting around these parts this weekend.

In other news, I’ve been reflecting a bit on this journey of ours…September 23rd was the ‘anniversary’ of when we received the official diagnosis of infertility from the doctor. {That’s also when he told us in vitro was our best shot…} It hasn’t been weighing too heavily on me…I didn’t even think of it at all on that particular day, only realized it had passed a day or two later. I had intended on writing about it this weekend, but got caught up in a good book….so I’ll save those thoughts for another time. 🙂

Praying for the Lord’s clear directions this week!

Blessed am I.

How many people does it take…

Time just gets away from me sometimes…here’s where we stand with the current match opportunity. 🙂

Received the match information on September 11th, felt good about it from the start. Didn’t match our preferences 100%, but got pretty darn close…and much closer than any of the other matches that were presented. Most importantly, the number of embryos was right.

Sent the info on to the doctor on the 12th, and received word that he would be leaving for a week on the following Tuesday. Insert lots of prayers from us & our prayer circle of family & friends that he would get back with us on his recommendation before leaving.

Weekend comes and goes, then Monday was quite a bit of e-mailing back and forth. Once again not totally pleased with the lady I was corresponding with at the doctors office…could be much more forthcoming and helpful…but I didn’t let it make me super mad this time.

In the end, the hang-up with the doctors office was that the genetic family does not have current infectious disease screenings. {They had it done when the embryos were created, but since they were being created by/for them at that time and now they are technically “donors,” it needs to be re-done. A technicality really.} So our agency director got in touch with the family & asked them to do the additional blood work. They agreed & a kit was sent out to them. {Yay genetic family – y’all rock already!}

So, we’ve taken a step forward…and now we wait a bit more.

Sometimes I feel like we’re in the middle of some really ridiculous joke…”How many people does it take to get Heather & Chris a baby?” We’ve now added a couple of extra postal workers and lab workers to the list with this extra blood work. 😉

While we wait, we are continuing to pray & check in with one another…so far we both feel good that this is the match for us. I doubt we’ll hear back from the doctor this week, but once we do we’ll hopefully be prepared to make a final decision and move forward.

It’s an exciting time, and although I started off feeling that ol’ terror rise up, I’ve been able to rest in faith & in the present. It’s good stuff.

Blessed am I.

…One more thing that I just have to share…on Monday we also received a really sweet surprise from the genetic family {via the agency, of course}…updated pictures of their boys! The information we received initially didn’t contain pics of their newest babies, so she knew we would probably like to see pictures of everyone. It was a welcome and touching surprise, definitely endeared my heart toward her and helped me know that she is open and invested in this process. Special moment for sure!

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.

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.

 

Giggle with Wild Abandon.

I’ve been wanting to write a bit about our recent “Staycation” to a nearby lake.

Today was a good day…the husband had a successful interview, I had girl Bible study time, we had an enjoyable evening, and then we decided to wrap it up with a hearty argument over what can best be described as a misinterpretation of important information presented. {I could describe it in a worse way, trust me.}

*Sigh*

I hate it when good days go bad.

So as I logged on to the old bloggaroo here, I began pounding out a vague and frustrated post about how this husband of mine can…oh, wait a second. Almost slipped there.

As much as I like to think of this like a ‘diary’ or journal…it is still a public space. I don’t want to, for lack of a more comfortable word, slander him in that way. And as much as I want to sort through my feelings and thoughts, it probably wouldn’t do me much good to pound out in writing exactly what he did that frustrated me beyond belief. Is that really something that I would want to go back and read later?

In that spirit, I deleted the post I had started and decided that maybe tonight is a great time to write what I wanted to about our ‘Staycation.’ To build up instead of tear down. To work at softening my heart instead of justifying the hardness that tries to sneak in.

With that in mind…

Last weekend, my parents rented a cabin on a lake that’s about 30 minutes from where Chris & I live. We went down and stayed with them 3 nights/3 days, and my brother & his fiancée came for part of the time as well. None of us are ‘lake people,’ this was the closest we’ve ever gotten to camping, and we weren’t totally sure what we were going to do the whole time we were out there. Over the course of the long weekend, we ended up doing a lot of eating {seriously tasty eating}, relaxing, visiting, and game playing…with a little trail-walking, go-carting, and lake floating mixed in. It really was a lot of fun, and I was happy to have felt as though I really got to go on a vacation this summer. {I didn’t think we would get to budget wise, and I wasn’t quite expecting a trip so close to home to really feel like a vacation – but it did!}

Score one for the staycation…and way to go Mom! She did the majority of the leg work {as in, basically all} and made it a great weekend for our family. I appreciate it so much!

One of the parts that I really want to hang on to…that I feel is most relevant for what I most commonly write about on this blog, is just this brief moment in time that happened as Chris & I drove out to the cabin at the lake…

I was driving, so he’s in the passenger seat. Sun streaming in, on our way to a vacation adventure {but without the stress of having to drive super far or do tons of planning}, he’s taken a day off work. Lately he’s been listening to Hootie & the Blowfish a lot, so he started singing a song that was in his head. It started out nondescript enough, but soon he was in full entertainment mode…belting out that song and hitting notes that shouldn’t exist, all while making the craziest faces. It wasn’t long before we were both just rolling with laughter…the kind that is completely legit and carefree. The kind that reaches your eyes and the corners of your face. The kind that is full of wild abandon…the kind where you are in the moment, and the moment is sweet.

In thinking back on that moment, I came to realize that what made it feel so darn good…so special…so familiar and yet wistful…is that moments like that have been hard to come by in the days of late.

Don’t get me wrong. We laugh together. A lot. Everyday really.

But times have been hard. This last year or so has been a struggle. Not without it’s joys and triumphs and God’s glory…hear me on this. It’s just that, without a doubt, it’s been the toughest year of my life. Facing infertility, fighting the depression that threatens to gain a stronghold on this husband of mind, relying on a multitude of people…doctors, social workers, agencies, genetic parents – most of whom are total strangers…to help us grow our family, an incredibly challenging Kindergarten class for me & a job that will no longer exist for Chris in the next year or so…it’s been a lot to sort through. Most of the time I feel as though we’ve caught our breath, but still haven’t fully regained our footing…

And I didn’t realize, until that moment in the car, how much I miss laughing…like that…with my husband.

I guess this is part of growing up. Some of the naivety we had when we were dating is gone, somewhere in the midst of jobs and a marriage life settles in and there are responsibilities and expectations and anxieties and misinterpretations. And in the hard seasons, laughs don’t always consume the moment…

This post is turning out to be sad, and that’s not how I intended it to be. I wanted to remember a happy moment. And I do believe with all of my heart that days are coming when we will giggle with wild abandon again. This is a season.

So I will remember that crazy husband of mine belting out Hootie songs on the days when this season of trial & hurt threatens to steal our joy. I will thank God for the gift of marriage, that He doesn’t leave us alone in this world, and that He has a plan that weaves good & glory into all things. And I will look for opportunities to laugh every chance I get…until the day when laughs come more readily/often than tears.

That day is coming. A new season is on the horizon. God is at work.

Blessed am I.