Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Sorrow in my Heart

In my last post, I asked how long I would carry this sorrow in my heart. I think this question is one I am really struggling with right now. These last several days I have been so sad and I wonder if it will always be this way. Pregnancy, childbirth, babies, children - they have all been on my mind lately. I have always been more upset by the idea of not having children as opposed to the idea of not being pregnant. But lately I have been thinking about pregnancy too. I am sure that the fact that it is my time of the month isn't helping any with all these emotions. It is a monthly reminder of what has not happened and will likely never happen. I think that is the hard part though. I believe in miracles. I believe that with God all things are possible. Nothing is too hard for Him. But therein lies the problem. I never completely give up hope of becoming pregnant. Almost every month the question of "what if..." is there. I believe that it is best to finish fertility treatments before moving forward with adoption and this is what we have done. I have also grieved the loss of conceiving a child with John and experiencing pregnancy and childbirth. We have sought to accept that we will likely never have a biological child. But when you believe in a God of miracles, do you ever fully accept this? Are we meant to? Should we always hold out hope that God will do a miracle? It is not that adoption is in anyway a lesser choice, but the desire to bear children is a powerful one. Proverbs 30:15-16 says,

"There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say, 'Enough!': the grave, the barren womb, land, which is never satisfied with water, and fire, which never says, 'Enough!'

Like I never have before, I am having to surrender this desire to the Lord. I believe He has led us to adopt and I continue to pursue that path, believing it is God's best for us. But I do wonder, once we have adopted and no longer have the sorrow of childlessness, will it be better? Will I be able to go to baby showers? Will others' birth stories cause me the pain they now do? Will a book or a movie that depicts an interaction between parent and child that goes unnoticed by most people be the knife in my heart it is now? Will I be able to go to MOPS and hang out with all the other moms like a normal person? These questions remain unanswered for now. But I do know I want this sorrow to be gone. I can't carry it any more. Lord, please heal me, please take this sorrow from my heart.

I am once again brought before the Lord in prayer. It is the only place to go. He is the only One who can change our situation. Lord, glorify your Name as you fulfill your purpose for our family.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Worry, Waiting, Wondering...

I have always struggled with worry. In fact, I am from a long line of worriers. I have gotten much better as I have learned to trust God. But sometimes I need to be reminded to not let my life become weighted down with worry. Maybe some of you need this reminder today as well.

For me one of my life changing quotes in regard to worry was quoted by Nicky Gumbel in the the follow-up to the Alpha course called "A Life Worth Living." It is a study of the book of Philippians.

"Sir Winston Churchill said, "When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his death bed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.""

When we worry we make trouble for ourselves when in fact the situation we are worrying over may never happen.

The second quote is based on the amplified Bible translation of 1 Peter 5:6-7:

"Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you,

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares for you watchfully.

The quote is from Joyce Meyer in "Battlefield of the Mind." She wrote,

"This passage lets us know that to humble ourselves is not to worry. A person who worries still thinks that in some way he can solve his own problem. Worry is the mind racing around trying to find a solution to its situation. The proud man is full of himself, while the humble man is full of God. The proud man worries; the humble man waits."

Ouch! I had never connected worry with pride before reading this. Worry is me trying to find my own solution and control my situation. There are some situations we do have control over; infertility is not one of them.

Joyce goes on to say that our position should be one of abiding in Jesus and entering the rest of God. "It is one of waiting on the Lord continually with our eyes focused on Him...."

Waiting. I think that is what I am struggling with today. Feeling left behind. Wondering how long?

"How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?" Psalm 13:1-2

Monday, January 25, 2010

In a Holding Pattern

I had a great weekend in Florida visiting my family. The highlight of course was the chance to love on my niece and nephews. I went to the zoo, had a sleepover, and got my hair done by my niece. Let's hope she never learns how to get photos off her cell phone :)

Unfortunately, I came back and immediately came down with a cold. Hence my lack of blogging last week. I am now on the mend.

I also had lots of homework to catch up on this past weekend for my Perspectives course . I am loving it, a complete shift in my thinking is taking place. It really gives you a more global vision of God's purpose in the world. But I must say the reading and homework is kicking my behind! It is a lot of work.

No news on our adoption home study. We are still waiting for one form, a child abuse clearance, from the state of Maryland. When I contacted our agency, they said it was now taking 8.5 weeks for the form to come back which means it may not arrive until the end of January. They won't assign us a social worker and precede with the rest of the home study until this form arrives. So we are in a holding pattern. I was feeling pretty anxious about this delay initially, as I envisioned all kinds of scenarios and problems coming up resulting in us not getting approved. Thank God for my hubby who patiently reassures me of how unfounded my fears are. Recently, the Lord has given me a peace about this delay. I don't know the reason for the delay, but perhaps there is a reason for it that will become clear as His perfect plan unfolds in His perfect time.

It is really difficult to know what will happen as far as the designated situation I wrote about in this post. We are still pursuing it, but I am not sure how this delay is going to affect things. C has not yet relinquished her parental rights; from what I understand she is waiting for us to get approved. But I can't exactly wish for her to do so. I wish for her to be able to parent, for Y not to have to go through the loss of her mother. Currently, Y is in a government facility for children of low income mothers which was described to me as an around the clock daycare. To me it sounded like an orphanage which broke my heart thinking about Y in that place. I think the only difference from an orphanage is that C still has legals rights and she can go and pick Y up and take her home. She just can't pick her up and drop her off; she either has to take her home or leave her there. She can visit Y at the facility though. I really don't know what it is best in this situation. I pray continually for Y and C. I ask God to protect Y emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually and give C strength. Y will be 2 in March so she is at an age when transitions and loss are especially difficult. I ask God to help C to parent and find the resources she needs to enable her to care for Y. But it may not be possible, C is very young and life is extremely difficult for North Korean refugee women. She also has significant health problems. If Y is the child the Lord has chosen for us because C is not able to parent her, then we will receive her as a precious gift from the Lord. All I can do is wait. And pray.

Friday, January 15, 2010

"But God Meant it for Good..."

Initially, I felt guilty writing a post about hope on the anniversary of the day we found out we lost Johannah. I wondered if it would seem like I had forgotten her or hadn't honored her short life. But I realized I had to give myself permission to move forward. I lived many years in bondage to my past and I won't do it again. I choose to "press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me" Phil 3:12.

Wednesday was not an easy day, but I got through it. Several times throughout the day I repeated the words of Phil 4:13:

"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

One of the things that came to mind on Wednesday was the story of Joseph and his brothers where he says to them,

"You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."

The Lord takes the evil things of this world and works them for good. I know there are differing opinions as to why bad things happen and what the enemies role is in them, but I had a thought I had never had before as this Scripture came to mind. I felt like satan wanted to rob us and destroy us (though I believe God ultimately allowed it to happen), but his purposes were thwarted because God worked out everything for my good and His purposes. Satan meant evil against us, but God meant it for good.

"The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands" Psalm 138: 8.

I am going to Florida to visit my family over the long weekend. I haven't seen them since Christmas 2008. I am especially looking forward to seeing my niece and nephews! Hope you all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


One year ago today, I wrote this post:

Today at my OB appointment there was no heartbeat on the ultrasound. I am still in shock at this point. I would like to ask for no phone calls, I will post when I am ready to receive calls.

I came upon this scripture awhile back in the NLT and was very struck by it. It seems very appropriate today:

20 I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this: 22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

"Yet I still dare to hope..."

For most of my life I lived with a "Don't get your hopes up" mentality. As I saw it, if I never expected anything good to happen, I would never be hurt or disappointed. But as I began to mature in my faith, I sensed the Lord telling me that was no way for a Christian to live. It's really no way for anyone to live.

After the miscarriage, I wanted to give up all hope. I had finally started to hope and then disappointment and devastation came. I wanted to give up hope; I did not want to risk my heart again. But I found I could not. A spark of hope had been lit in my heart and no matter how hard I tried, it refused to burn out. In fact, it began to burn even brighter. I had found the hope that does not disappoint. It was much less a hope for... but rather a "hope in."

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isa 40:31

I began to trust in a way that I had not before that God had a plan for my life and that it would be better than anything I could plan for myself. We fully surrendered all our hopes and dreams to the Lord, asking Him to "build our house" however He chooses.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jer 29:11

This past year I also found hope in God's word.

"I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope." Psa 130:5

Psalm 113 says, "He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children."

I choose in hope to believe His word, "Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations..." Rom 4:18

These past couple of weeks have been difficult as I have remembered "this awful time."It was easier for me to look back and cling to what once was rather than look ahead to what's next. It is not easy to risk your heart again. But that is what I must do. I must look ahead to what the Lord is doing with our adoption. I must in hope believe. And hope in Christ does not disappoint.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas and New Years Recap

I am still here! John was on a break from school so I took a break from blogging to spend time with him while I could. We managed to dig out of the huge snow storm I mentioned in my last post. We ended up getting about 19 inches!

Needless to say we holed up inside for a few days including Monday since the federal government shut down which meant I didn't have to work. John and I did manage to get out briefly on Monday for some shopping and a lunch date. The rest of that week I had to work and make preparations for cooking my first Christmas dinner. Despite six years of marriage, I have never cooked a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. We have always gone to family or friends. Since we are saving for adoption, we decided to stay home this year.

Here is my menu:

Ham, twice baked potatoes, sweet potato casserole, temptation salad (a "fruit" salad with marshmallows, sweetened condensed milk, almond extract, and whipped cream), cranberry sauce, garden salad, and rolls. Dessert was pumpkin pie, shoefly pie, and coconut cake. I only had to make the pumpkin pie, the other desserts were brought by friends. I think it went off very well and I was quite pleased with myself. I wish I had taken a picture to document it.

I also discovered something new the day before Christmas Eve. Dogs like chocolate. My dog likes chocolate. I woke up to this:

What was a full candy bowl of chocolate was empty and on the floor. Four hundred and fifty dollars later we had one unhappy, but alive pooch.

You can see the charcoal stains on her beard.

We had a great Christmas with friends and some family (John's brother and my cousin who both live in the DC area). We went to Christmas Eve service, then had a few friends over for brunch Christmas morning. We also got to read the Christmas story and sing a few carols. This is something I have always wanted to do on Christmas, but it has never been part of my family tradition. Since this was really our first Christmas at our own home, it was nice to be able to establish what I hope will become a regular part of our Christmas. Later in the day we had a few more folks over for dinner and then played some games.

I was okay during Christmas, the hardest times were while I was at work the week prior to Christmas. Since it was so slow, I had too much time to think. The day after Christmas infertility/loss really hit me hard. We went to visit some friends (our former neighbors at Eglin AFB) who are expecting their first child. I inquired about our other neighbor who I had not heard from in a while. I had this nagging feeling that I knew why. My suspicions were confirmed, she is also pregnant due in February. That same day, we had an engagement party to go to. I don't fully understand why and I would be curious if anyone else feels this way, but weddings have also become difficult for me. I think it is because one of two things will happen, either I will get a pregnancy announcement in the near future or worse that couple will become one of us. I can't help but think of the hopes and dreams most of us have as we start out our married lives. For some of us, those dreams are shattered. The other thing (which I am sure is completely in my head) is I feel like John and I are an ugly reminder to the new couple that things don't always turn out like we want them to. I am pretty sure most people already know this, but I still feel this way. Anyway, by the end of the day I was a complete mess. I cried almost the entire drive home, almost 2 hours (my poor husband). The following week was another slow one at work, which gave me too much time to think about this time last year. I was pregnant. I was starting to think I could relax and begin to enjoy the pregnancy. And then my world shattered.

However, John and I were able to spend some fun times together the week after Christmas, we had a dinner and a movie date to see the Blind Side (highly recommend it) and took full advantage of Netflix (also highly recommend). New Years Eve we stayed in and watched movies. The weekend after we went out to Virginia - it is so beautiful there. We did a little antiquing and had a very relaxing time.

This past week John started school again. This semester is looking even tougher than last. I will be happy when this first year of school is over in May. Supposedly it gets easier the second year.

I also started a course called Perspectives on the World Christian Movement this past Tuesday. It has a huge textbook and tons of assigned reading. I think it will keep me pretty busy as we wait for the adoption. I am also continuing to take part in a North Korea prayer group each week. I am so blessed to be a part of this ministry. I feel like I have finally found my passion in life.

Yesterday, the Christmas decorations came down and the house is back in order. Always makes me a little sad. Another year has begun. It is officially 5 years of infertility - I don't say trying to conceive (TTC) because we aren't really trying anymore. But it is five years of wanting and waiting, and hoping....

I hope this year is the year for me and for all of you who are waiting with me.