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.

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Is it well?

In my last post, I wrote out the lyrics to 2 of the songs I’ve been listening to on repeat from Bethel music. So, so good. I finally got around to listening to more of the album and added a couple more songs to that repeat list. Shepard & We Dance…I’ll probably post about those tomorrow. 🙂

But here’s the thing. 

It’s kind of like when we were in the middle of figuring out our infertility and how God would have us to grow our family and I kept singing Oceans by Hillsong. You don’t just sing songs like that to God…with your whole heart…and not expect Him to act. I sang with my all for Him to ‘take me deeper than my feet could ever wander‘ – and He did just that. I had never imagined my feet wandering into this wild thing called embryo adoption, but here we are!

So when I got stuck on singing “it is well with my soul” for days on end, I should have seen what was coming. It certainly wasn’t long before I found myself having to answer the same question…over and over again.

Is it really well with your soul?

Is it well with your soul when one of your best friends has her adorable baby and you struggle with feeling like you’ve been left behind somehow? When you worry that the dynamic will change between the two of you?

Is it well with your soul when you hear people talking about how a baby looks ‘just like mom’ or ‘has dad’s features’ and you are reminded again that your child won’t have your husbands curls or dimple or color-shifting eyes?

Is it well with your soul when you want to be buying baby things alongside your sister-in-law, but you know it’s not time for that yet.

Is it well with your soul when you host your 6th baby shower since your infertility journey began and have at least another 2 coming up?

Is it well with your soul when a big box of needles and medicine shows up on your front door step?

Is it well with your soul when you are struggling to get your husband to understand what you are feeling and what you desperately need from him?

And from today…is it really well with your soul when you have to give yourself shots to manipulate your body into being ready for a FET?

It’s one thing to say those words…it is well…but it’s a far different thing to live them out. I can’t say I answered each question with an automatic “Yes!”…and some were definitely easier to work through than others. The showers and new babies were pretty quick for me to work through…showers are fun and babies are sweet and I love and trust my friends tremendously…and honestly, it’s just not new ground for me to cover. Thinking about how our babies probably won’t look like us stings, but again…not new. The basic plan each time was to  follow my usual MO – sort through the feelings, commit to the Lord that yes, it was well with my soul, and move on with it.

The medicine is a new thing though, so it has taken a bit more for me to sort through those feelings. So many feelings with this infertility / adoption journey!

Leading up to the medicine, I would say I was…hum. I honestly don’t know the word for it. I wasn’t nervous per say, and I felt mostly prepared. I knew it shouldn’t really hurt, but I wasn’t sure what it would do to me as far as side effects went. {Still not, actually.} Chris and I had worked out our business and had a plan in place {I just wanted to do the first one on my own…I felt like an audience would only make me nervous.} We had dear friends and family praying for us and encouraging me. I had decided on which song I would play {‘You Make Me Brave’ of course!}  for that first shot, and I had watched the tutorials online. I felt goodish, I guess.

But when it actually came time to do that first shot this morning…I found myself tearing up. I felt a sense of grief/sadness that this is a necessary part of our journey…that it has to be so involved and hard. I felt a bit isolated…I felt my spirit beseeching my God to ‘please let this work’…and in that moment, I felt overwhelmed. I fought through the tears, prepped the needle, pinched a piece of belly fat {first time I’ve had a reason to be thankful for that!}, stuck it in…and felt absolutely nothing. Not a thing. That was the silver lining for sure.

And then I took all of a minute to sob into a washcloth. The entire time I kept hearing “Is it well? Is it really well Heather?

I dried my face, gathered my things, and took Huxley for a walk…listening to ‘it is well’ and fighting to sort through this thing that is to be my new normal for the next month. {Hopefully for the next 3 months.} I tried to pray, but mostly ended up doing that thing where the Holy Spirit had to intercede for me.

And then, He settled it. 

It is well. It isn’t fun. It isn’t what I would have planned.

But it is well. He is with me. I have the love of a husband and family and circle of friends & believers supporting me. I have little ones waiting on me. I have a God who is doing something bigger than me here, something that demands we turn our eyes to Him and give glory that He is the giver and sustainer of life.

Not to say I won’t have to sort through this again when it’s the big shots I’m facing…but God has helped me work through it once – He’ll do it again.

He is good and it is well with my soul. 

So tonight I go to bed thankful, and tomorrow I’ll wake up and give myself shot #2. I’m not expecting tears. 🙂

Blessed am I.

P.S. – At the advice of my sister-in-law, Chris had a bouquet of lovely flowers and a cupcake waiting on me when I got home today. He’s a good man.

 

 

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.

****

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.

*****************************************************************************

~ “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.”

************************************************************************************

Amen and amen.

Blessed am I.

 

Hot mess.

Today I was doing this summer housewife business like a boss.

Which leaves me with two questions.

A) How do I keep up with all of this during the school year? {Oh yes, I remember now…that’s how I earn those dark circles under my eyes.}

B) How do people with kids keep up with all of this? {That lingering questions leaves me with a shiver…}

I mean, I worked so hard today I didn’t even get a nap.

*wink*

The weird/not cool/I-need-to-get-over-myself thing about suddenly being off for the summer and having the ability to manage my time more as I wish also means, as I learned today, that I want to post an abundance of Facebook posts about everything I’m doing. And since I do enjoy the hashtag, I even catch myself thinking in twitter talk. {And I’m not even on twitter!}

Off to our ‘Weird Animal’ VBS, rockin’ my garage sale cheetah vest… #dontyouwishyourvbsteacherwascoollikeme

Meal planning, grocery lists, and Wal-Mart…oh my!

Who has two thumbs and picked THE MOST DELICIOUS WATERMELON OF THE SEASON? #thisgirl #twiceinarow #ilovewatermelon

There is a big ball obstacle course {from Wipeout!} on Steve Harvey?! Oh the things I would do to get my hands on one of those…

Pinteresting it up with my banana oat non-muffin muffins recipe and pink lemonade pineapple punch {served in an adorable little mason jar, of course} this afternoon…glorious! #summerhousewife #yum

and later… Turns out non-muffin muffins with no flour or sugar are….quite bland. #wompwomp

How does this dog have any hair left? It looks like I killed a small animal in our front yard! Off to get this puppy into the bath…

Multiply = truth, truth, truth #francischan #davidplatt #discipleship

A little yoga while dinner is in the oven? Don’t mind if I do…

and later… Oh lawd have mercy, I shouldn’t take 10 months off of yoga. #notflexibleatall #corpseposeismyfavorite

Pioneer Woman ‘crash potatoes’ are a hit at the Thompson house…and I successfully cooked in the crock-pot without burning the meat to a crisp! #heatherforthewin #summerhousewife

While all of that is legit {I had a highly productive afternoon…it was my first of the summer and will likely be my last} it also would have been seriously annoying to clog up people’s news feed with that junk. {Which could be made only more annoying by A) even more hashtags, or B) an ungodly series of emoticons following each update.}

And also, why do I feel such a compulsion to update everyone on everyone little accomplishment? Was anyone going to bring me a cookie?

{No seriously…I wonder if anyone would have brought me a cookie? Hum…maybe I’ll start adding #ifyouareimpressedbringmeacookie to every post I make from now on. That requires far more commitment than simply hitting the like button.}

It’s sick, these things Facebook makes me want to do.

As it is, I only posted once. And it was about VBS. So I felt like that was acceptable.

#selfcontrol

#gag

#thispostisgettingawayfromme

Sooooooooo anyway.

No new news on the embryo front. I fight to lay down my feelings on that…somewhere around 2-3 times an hour. But only during my waking hours, so it could be worse.

Just like that ol’ nasty desire to post pictures of my dinner to FB, the urge to have a meltdown every time the ding alerting me that I have a new e-mail turns out to NOT be from the agency is ever present.

God is good though, He mercifully and lovingly sustains…and calms…and focuses me. I love that He has taught me a new understanding of ‘give me this day my daily bread.’ Some days I fail miserably at it and try to demand more from Him, but I’m learning that He gives me all I need. In His timing.

I keep adding to the list of verses I want to meditate on and memorize, but so far God hasn’t let me leave this one. “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

In case you haven’t figured it out {how you could have missed it after my facebook-update-running-commentary, I don’t know} I like control. Productiveness. Schedules and plans. Cookies. Waiting is not high on my list of favorite things.

All of this to say, if some posts sound like I’ve got it together…like I’ve got this infertility / adoption thing all figured out…then just know that by myself, I’m a hot mess. Any semblance of gracefulness in this wait is from Jesus. Some days I walk easily with Him in this area, other days it is a moment by moment struggle to die to self and live joyfully and peacefully in Him.

I may contact the agency later this week…if I haven’t heard from my contact lady. Try to get a better understanding about the process on their end and see if she has any feedback for me on why the families who have seen our profile haven’t requested to match with us…but only if He wants me to. 

Still figuring out the line between what I need to understand in this process and what I need to trust and submit to Him on, I guess.

Blessed am I.

#youdeserveacookieafterreadingthispost

#wink

 

Such Is Life.

 

May was a crazy busy month…wrapping up a school year is always that way. Since that first match opportunity {which we declined}, all has been quiet on the adoption front.

I had really been fine with that…a lot of other things to focus on, after all…but in the last several days a lot of people have been checking in with me to see where we’re at. And honestly, it’s made me start to become a little antsy.

I finally gave in and e-mailed the agency to see how it’s going on their end. Nothing wrong with that, right? She said to call or check in whenever I wanted/needed to…

Sounds legit, except that I feel like I’m sitting by the proverbial phone…just waiting for it to ring. {In reality I’m carrying my cell phone around with me everywhere I go and hearing phantom alerts that I’ve received a new e-mail.}

Sad, I know.

I have a friend who is going on 2 years of waiting for a call that a birthmother wants to match with them…I can’t even *fathom* what that feels like for her. It has to be my 3 weeks of waiting feelings x about a million.

I’m doing a lot of praying…a lot of asking and thanking God for His provision for today {aka – daily bread}…a lot of slowing down my breathing and heart and mind. A lot of reminding myself of the purpose of all of this is to glorify Christ…and praying that I will do that gracefully as we wait to here more.

Waiting and praying. Trusting in the hallway {or maybe on the porch…with a glass of sweet tea} until God opens a door. That’s where I’m trying to rest…{I did hear back enough to know that a new family is looking over our profile currently…praying!}

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On the infertility front {and as those of you who have been there can attest, that is a distinctly separate beast from the adoption front} there have been a few bumps in the road lately.

Tis the season of life…for pregnancy announcements! In the last couple of months there have been several pregnancy announcements…one of which a surprise {even for them!} from some of our very best friends. I didn’t skip a beat when I found out the big news…but although Chris reacted well initially, he still had a couple of days of sorting through the emotions it brought up for him.

Part of it was *totally* my bad…I knew that they were expecting, but didn’t tell him privately. They ended up telling him when we were all out together. When we got home and I figured out that the news had upset him…I honestly felt surprised. I hadn’t really seen it coming…I guess I blindly assumed he was in the same emotional place I was. {How dumb of me…seriously, we are hardly ever on the same emotional page…}

He worked through it, and I’ll know better next time.

Other than that there have been twinges of “and they get to have a baby?!” when I’m in a restaurant or store and see some parent/child interaction gone wrong…which I know is evidence of a prideful heart on my part. :/ Moments like that don’t usually cause me to become super upset…it’s more like they make me shrug and scratch my head in confusion. I get past them.

So yeah. Such is life. It’s messy and not always explainable and sometimes joy comes hand in hand with pain…but thankfully nothing is wasted. My God uses it all.

Blessed am I.

 

Mother’s Day Thoughts.

{Disclaimer: I know for a lot of women who are struggling with infertility or waiting to adopt Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of what they want so badly. What I’d like to share today doesn’t come from that place, but I hope you’ll understand that my experience in no way invalidates yours. As you’ll see in my thoughts, we all come at this motherhood thing from a different place, and we should support one another in our walks!}

I approached Mother’s day this year from a place of curiosity. I wasn’t nervous about attending the service, or upset about the inevitable flowers that would be handed out to mothers. I attribute this in large part to two things – a) I’m in a much more stable emotional place right now than I was back in the fall. If Mother’s day had fallen in October I would have been a sobbing mess probably. b) From early on I prayed against jealousy and ‘baby fever’ in my life, because I had read how it was a struggle for so many women in my position. God has truly honored that prayer, and I believe He strengthened me again on Mother’s day.

But since I wasn’t feeling anxious or upset, I wondered what I would feel exactly.

Chris went to be with his mom that weekend, so I headed off to church on my own. When I sat down, I took a moment to acknowledge the flowers {dun, dun, duuuuuuuuun!} and tried to prepare my heart for what God had for me through the worship and service. I had a sweet time of worship, smiled at the chubby cheeked baby in front of me, and prayed alongside my church family as babies were dedicated to the Lord. Our pastor has a very gentle heart, so when he recognized mothers for the ‘flower ceremony’ he also asked those who fill the role of a mother to stand and receive a flower as well. I knew that I could stand, but chose instead to sit and look around, to thank God for the mothers in my church who I have learned from and be blessed by.

That’s when God really began to open my heart to what probably goes on in the hearts of mothers on this day meant to celebrate them. The enemy would like to have us feel alone…isolated in our pain…to pit those without children against those who have children. But instead of feeling alone, I felt…amazed.

You see, there I sat…childless. Having recently given to God the opportunity to have a biological child…waiting on His timing to welcome adopted embryos into my heart and womb. But I wasn’t alone.

Behind me sat a mother with a row full of children {seriously, I don’t even know for sure how many kids she has, but I know it’s a lot!}…but I knew one was missing. She had shared with me a while back that her adult son passed away a few years ago. I praised God for her strength…it couldn’t have been an easy day to come to church…to celebrate being a mother…while knowing that one of your babies was gone.

I knew somewhere in the congregation was a sweet, sweet teacher who has never married. {I have a few friends like that actually, women who long to be married…to be a mother…but for whom neither of those things has happened yet.} She is a foster parent who has two little ones right now, and it was only a few months ago that she had to give a child back whom she had taken home from the hospital and raised for 14 months with the hopes of adopting. Her arms were full, but I know her heart had to be aching.

My dear friend & pastors wife sat with their 3 girls…but she’s been waiting two years now on God to move and match them with a baby through traditional adoption. Her heart longs for His promise and call to be fulfilled, and I know she struggles to understand why they are still waiting.

The more I looked, the more types of mothers I saw…single moms, moms who {like my own} have lost their mothers, moms with wayward children who have been praying faithfully for years for their return. Moms with toddlers who are tired, who struggle with wondering if they are getting this mom thing right. There were stepmoms, grandmas, grandmas raising their grandchildren…moms-to-be, at least one who had just found out a few days prior. Moms of teenagers {all blessings to you!}, moms who grew their families through adoption, and women who act as ‘surrogate’ mothers to so many. I know of a mom for whom Mother’s Day marked the one year anniversary of her baby girl’s birth AND death…a baby that she carried to term knowing there was no chance of survival outside of the womb. Working moms, stay-at-home moms, homeschooling moms…

You see, I think there’s a lot of truth in the statement that the struggle is part of the story. Being a mom is no walk in the park. Waiting to be a mom is no piece of cake. But God has grace enough for all…and He is glorified through the strength and beauty that I saw shining through so many women that day. I pray that He was shining through me.

motherhood

So that’s what God was up to in my heart this past mother’s day…it’s a lesson I hope I never forget. It reminded me of how necessary it is that we be honest with one another in our struggles and joys, how important it is that we lift one another up in word & prayer.

And yes, I did end up receiving a flower. A couple actually, given to me by the children of sweet friends. I kept one to enjoy as a reminder of the day…and gave the other to a woman in the church who, while not a biological mother herself, is faithful to pray for me, hug me, and who genuinely cares about me. That sounds like the heart of a mother to me.

Blessed am I.

 

Home study.

This past week we finished submitting all of the paperwork for our home study, and today we had our big interview!!

I have a group of ladies from church who have adopted/fostered in the past {or are hoping to soon!} and have completed home studies of their own, so they were a great resource for me. Their biggest piece of advice was not to stress too much over cleaning…so we really didn’t. Chris mowed the lawn yesterday, and I made sure everything was straightened up {the house had been thoroughly cleaned on Thursday.} We tested the smoke alarms {not that we didn’t already know the one in the kitchen works!} and installed a carbon monoxide detector. Chris got his gun safe moved inside and all the guns stored inside, and we were pretty much ready to go.

We actually even took our regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon nap, which felt like a good sign that we were relaxed and ready for this next step.

Our social worker arrived at 4 and left at 6, and was very friendly & helpful. She interviewed us separately, then together for a few minutes, and took a brief tour of our home. We’re looking forward to receiving the proof of our study within a week, and hopefully have the completed study turned into our agency by Easter! {Then we can enter the matching phase…wow!!}

I think our favorite part of visiting with her was hearing about a friend of hers who has a successful embryo adoption story…twins! Unlike traditional adoption, we haven’t been able to have a direct {or even indirect, beyond reading} connection to anyone who has walked this path before…so that was neat.

Overall we both felt good about the interview & managed to stay pretty cool, calm, and collected. I’m going to go ahead and give a big shout out to the prayer warriors we had praying for us for that victory! 🙂

Blessed am I.

Can of Worms.

Before I get to typing out today’s post, which is kind of a past & present kind of thing, I want to make sure I capture a sweet moment with Chris yesterday. 🙂

He walked into the room as I was washing dishes and wrapped his arms around me. “It’s funny,” he said, “But I really miss {boy name} and {girl name}. Is it weird to miss someone you’ve never met?”

It just melted my heart, and was such a blessing to me…we’ve done so much thinking about and praying for and crying over these future children of ours, to the point that I miss them sometimes too. I love that Chris is feeling connected to the process and is beginning to see himself more as being a dad one day.

Love moments like that!

{Of course, then there were a few moments today where I could have just throttled him…that’s marriage for ya. *wink* Gotta take the sweet with the frustrating!}

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Today we had an appointment with the fertility doctor…a pretty important appointment, in my mind. We needed to clarify the medical side of adopting an embryo…the process behind a frozen embryo transfer (FET)…if I needed any additional testing to get the doctors sign-off that I should be able to carry a baby.

I was a bit nervous…mostly because in a call with one of the office workers a couple of weeks ago I felt like I had been hit by a linebacker. She didn’t understand the need to ‘adopt’ vs. go with donated embryos, and {seriously, no pun intended} was pretty icy about the whole thing. She finally gave me the information I needed, but I wasn’t encouraged and was afraid that we might have a similar experience with the doctor.

{That day was just not my best…in a different phone call to an embryo adoption agency, I felt like I was then hit by a train going in the opposite direction of the first lady. Although I agreed with almost all the agency rep was saying, I didn’t feel like she “heard” me…and she definitely took several opportunities to go off on rants about her strong feelings & belief systems. I felt like I’d been hit from both sides & was just left spinning…}

Going in to the doctor today, we were prepared to have to defend our choice/interest in adopting embryos vs. receiving donated embryos. Much to my relief, it wasn’t really an issue after all.

While the doctor obviously didn’t totally “get it,” and still presented a few other options, he also repeatedly reassured us that he understood the importance of the decisions we were facing and that he would respect our wishes / do his best to help us have the most successful FET possible. He gave us the professional advice that we needed, and left us feeling encouraged that this is a very real possibility for us. {No guarantees of course…and some of the stats still had that ol’ terror rising up in my throat…but God willing, it is a definite possibility.} He also said no further testing will be required for me at this time, which was great!

While Chris was grumpy before the appt {combination of not feeling well & a muuuuuuch larger charge for the appt than we were expecting} I had a bit of a…processing time, we’ll say…afterwards.

The doctor mentioned an option that kind of caught me off guard…mostly because I couldn’t remember initially if it had been presented to us before or not. It had my head spinning for a while, but as I thought it through I decided that we had been aware of that option but had not seen it as an economically feasible possibility for us. {Like my dad said when I talked with him after the appt…sometimes it feels like we’ve opened a can of worms or Pandora’s box or something…there are just no easy, clear cut decisions in the land of infertility and adoption!}

Once I got a grip on that I was able to move forward in my thinking and acknowledge that really, everything we had hoped to find out/accomplish during the appt had been covered. Chris felt very confident after leaving the office, my parents seemed relieved to hear the doctor’s opinion of the medical side, and over the course of the evening I’ve settled down from the jitters I felt after the appt.

Whew. This is some serious business people.

It’s terrifying and amazing and all sorts of craziness rolled into one.

I’ll close today’s post with a question I heard in a video testimony I watched recently…

“Is your life explainable apart from the Holy Spirit?”

It’s been echoing in my mind since I heard it, and honestly…if we do pursue embryo adoption…it will be explainable only BECAUSE of the Holy Spirit. We didn’t go out looking for this option…it is, in several ways, “scarier” for me than traditional adoption…and it would be nothing short of a miracle if God so chooses to bring a baby to our family in this way.

He is the author and creator of life…and I’m thankful, fear & pain & all, for the opportunity to be part of the story He is speaking into life.

Blessed am I.

What are you up to God…

Hum.

Well, it’s been a few days since I posted last. I’m a year older now {the big 2-9…ha!} and a little wiser perhaps from a teaching conference I spent a couple of days at in San Antonio.

I’m calling tomorrow to just confirm that everything is for sure on with our agency orientation in a couple of weeks…we are looking forward to learning more and having a more concrete “stepping stone” to this calling God has placed on our lives.

And so while that is drawing near, it would seem as though God may be opening another door…down a slightly different path. Still adoption, still through an agency.

But definitely different.

I’m trying to err on the side of caution right now…which is what keeps me from even allowing my fingers to type it out. My heart & soul & head & entire being are back to calling out…back to asking “Just what are you up to here God?”

So we’ll see. We’re praying that He’ll clearly open and shut doors…that He’ll settle a peace deep into our bones about the path He has…that He would confirm our next step.

A burning bush would be nice.

I’m just sayin’.

Blessed am I.