Sunday, March 28, 2010

GREAT is His Faithfulness!!

Well, for those of you who follow my blog, you have probably been wondering why it has been almost two months since I posted anything! It is with a joyful and thankful heart that I finally get to tell the world is that I AM PREGNANT! I have dreamed of this moment, begged God for this moment, wondered what it would be like, and now I am finally getting to experience the joy and beauty of carrying a little-bity life within me! It is the most amazing feeling in the world and many days it still feels like one big dream! After three long years of trying, Johnathan and I still can't believe it's true, but we know one thing...that God has had this moment planned long before we ever knew about it and that this baby is a testimony to God's awesome power and perfect timing!!!

It all started the day after Valentine's Day, when I was expecting to start my period but then woke up with a high temperature. (For those of you who have been trying to conceive for awhile, you know all about the temperature charting!!) Typically, your temperature is supposed to drop on the first day of your period, but when mine was still up I just couldn't go back to sleep knowing in the back of my head that this might be our lucky month! I jumped out of bed and took a pregnancy test, only to see a positive sign immediately pop up! Once I woke up Johnathan with my scream of excitement, we both started rejoicing and crying and saying prayers of thanksgiving for this precious gift!

Since that day I have had a few scares (one of which was ruling out the possibility of another tubal pregnancy), but God has been incredibly faithful through it all. We have now had blood work done and three ultrasounds to get to see our little "peanut". He/she is growing SO fast and we can't stop talking about what a miracle this whole process is. I just don't understand how someone can witness a life growing within them and deny that there is a God. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced...and I am only 10 weeks into the journey!

First and foremost, I want to give all the GLORY to GOD! He has heard our cries for a child and answered them! We are so thankful. The verse I keep coming back to is Psalm 30:11-12, "You turned my mourning to dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever."

Secondly, I want to encourage any of you struggling with infertility to consider giving acupuncture a try. I know that it sounds weird and "earthy", but it did wonders for regulating my hormones and getting my body back on track. I never thought that I would be promoting acupuncture, but I am now its biggest fan! It is completely natural, holistic, non-invasive, very relaxing, and inexpensive (especially compared to fertility treatments!). If you want to know more about it, please don't hesitate to ask.

Finally, I want to let all of my sisters still struggling with infertility to know that I am still hurting with you and praying for you. Not a day goes by where I don't think about the pain of what we went through and lift you up to the Father. We are only a couple of months beyond that struggle, and I still feel like it was yesterday. I know that it seems like the journey will never end, but I honestly can't wait to rejoice with you when God answers your prayers too...and He will. (I realize its easy for me to say that now that I am on the other side, but I believed that long before I knew what our outcome would be.)

Thanks to EACH of you for the prayers, encouragement, and advice that you have given us that have helped carry us through the high and low days. We have truly learned the importance of having a "family". Please continue to pray for us and our little baby as it grows and develops. Pray for it to be healthy, but most importantly to be a lover of the Lord. And pray that Johnathan and I can parents that show it the love of God every day through the way that we live and guide.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine." Eph. 3:20


Our little "gummy bear" at 9 weeks!!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why NOT me???

When tragedy hits or things get tough, it seems like the first question we tend to ask God is, "Why me"??? As it started to become apparent to me that infertility was going to be one of my struggles in life, I remember asking this question often. ...God, why would you allow a 16 year old girl to get pregnant and not me? Why would let a woman that you know was going to have an abortion get pregnant, and not me? What did I do to deserve this?...
And then it hit me - life is not meant to easy and if it was easy, none of us would need God. What makes me think that I should be exempt from the pain or suffering in the world? What makes me think that I am better and deserve more than other people have? My selfishness started to become very apparent to me.
I heard a friend say recently that the enemy's greatest tool is to keep us focused on ourselves. If our focus, energy, and attention is all on us and our needs, we lose sight of our purpose in life, which is to love God and love others. How can we unconditionally love others if we come first?
So, every time I start to think "Why me?", I try to replace that thought with "Why not me?" What if God is trying to use this trial to strengthen me or make me more like him? What if God is using this struggle to test my faith? Or bring more glory to himself than it would have if I had gotten pregnant right away? Or make me appreciate and love my children all the more?
For someone whose life has been pretty easy up until now, I have no doubt that God is using this in some way to transform me, mold me, and make me stronger than I was before. If this is what it takes to get me to where He wants me to be, then bring it on! It is never a struggle that I would ever wish on anyone, or myself, but I fully believe that God's ways and thoughts are far beyond my own (Is. 55:8-9) and that He can and WILL do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20)!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Confessions of a Grumbler

Last Sunday night I got to experience what church should really be like. Dave opened up his time of teaching for a time of repentance, and one by one people stood up to confess their struggles and repent. I cannot even begin to tell you how real and honest people were, which was so refreshing. I was reminded of the beauty of accountability and how God has given us "family" to help carry us through the trials and tribulations of this world. Since I didn't stand up and share my confession at church, I wanted to use my blog as an outlet to repent. So here it goes... "I repent of trying to control my own life and force my agenda and timing on God, rather than submitting to His plans for me." As much as I try to live in submission and surrender to Him, I still run back to my safety net of trying to control it all on my own. So, I ask for your accountability and prayers as I learn to truly submit everything that I am and all of my dreams to God.

I remind myself so much of the Israelites in Exodus 16 who grumble because they are hungry and thirsty. They had been first-hand witnesses of God's amazing works (the ten plagues, the passover, the parting of the Red Sea), and still, STILL they doubt His faithfulness and ability to provide what they need. They begin to grumble and complain to Moses and Aaron about not having enough food to eat, and so God begins to provide them with a daily portion of manna to get them through. What I love about God is that He doesn't give them more than they need, but just enough to get through that that their reliance on Him will continue, and that they will have to trust that He will provide for them each and every day.

As I read this story a week or so ago, I was so convicted of being just like the Israelites. I have seen God's mighty hand in so many ways, but I still complain when things don't go my way or grumble when things don't happen like I think they should. Yet God is always so patient with me, just like He was with His people back then. He provides me with MORE than I really need each day, but also keeps me searching and hoping for more in the days and months to come. I know now why Jesus told us to pray, "Give us this day our DAILY bread", because He wants our full dependence to be on God and His ability and desire to provide for us.

As I see the people in Haiti starving, thirsty, and crying out in pain after the earthquake that devastated their country, I cannot do anything but stand in the presence of God and repent for my selfishness and discontentment. I am so blessed and have no reason to be complaining about not having a child yet. God faithfully provides what I need each day, and I have been reminded more than ever this week that I need to just be thankful and praise Him for His blessings.

Quick update...Johnathan and I went to our first adoption seminar yesterday. We left feeling very overwhelmed by all of the information, but with even a bigger heart to bring a child out of an orphanage and into our lives and our home. We have another seminar to attend this week, and ask that you continue to pray for peace and guidance as we choose an agency and country to adopt from. Right now we feel like God is leading us in a certain direction, but will wait to share the exciting details with you until we know for sure that God wants us to pursue that route. We love you!


Friday, January 15, 2010

A Friend Loves at ALL Times

I was blown away recently when one of my friends (who already has children of her own) told me that she had bought a book on "infertility" just so that she could read it and try to understand what I was going through. I was so amazed that a friend would give up her precious time to read about a topic that she wasn't even struggling with, in hopes to help encourage me and be a better friend to me in my darkest hour. WOW, I am blessed! It really made me take a hard look at my heart and wonder if I would do the same thing for my friends who are struggling with various things...and shamefully, I have to admit that I am often too selfish with my time. This was a real wake-up call for me and gave me the desire and motivation to be a more devoted, compassionate friend.

Once she finished reading the book, she passed it on to me in hopes that it might help me too. So far, the book has been awesome. I can relate to everything she says and I would highly recommend it to anyone struggling with infertility. Some of the things in the book are a little different that what I am used to (since she is a strongly devoted Catholic) but our feelings, fears, and desires are all still the same. I'm sure that I will end up posting sections of the book on my blog, but if you want to get it yourself it is called, "A Spiritual Companion to Infertility" by Julie Irwin Zimmerman. Even for those of you who aren't struggling with infertility, it really might help give you insight into what the day-to-day battle is like.

The past month has been one of the hardest yet in our three year journey, and yet things seem to be taking a turn for the better. My body finally seems to be regulating itself (after two months of acupunture and God's miraculous work!), and I am so thrilled to see it go back to "normal" after years of inconsistency and unpredictability. I am truly amazed at how acupuncture really seems to balance out the hormones in the body and help your reproductive organs to do their job! Since going off of birth control, I haven't had a regular cycle without the help of fertility medications or hormone injections...until now! YAY!! I am giving God the glory each step of the way and praying that our chances of conceiving will greatly increase in the coming months!

On a different (yet similar) note, after much prayer and consideration, Johnathan and I have decided to attend a couple of different seminars to learn more about international adoption, and to see if God might be leading us down this road. For a long time now, we both have been convicted that this is something that God wants us to do at some point in our lives - we just don't know exactly when. We really need prayers for God to give us clarity on when exactly He wants us to pursue this, as well as what agency and country He wants us to adopt from.

So, as you can see, there is a lot going on and yet so much to be excited about and grateful for! The holidays were rough, but we have hope that we are going to get to experience some beautiful miracles in 2010!