God has signed my life

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So I know I have been away for a short time but it’s been for a good reason. I was blessed to attend a C.A.L.D. (Christ Appointed Leadership Development) workshop hosted by the PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) group that I am a part of. I encourage you that if you live near a military installation , check and see if their chapel has a PWOC. Whether you are a military spouse or not I know you will be blessed. Anyways I would love to share with you what God shared with me during this workshop.

First and foremost God has created us individually and has penned a very unique signature on your life. How He has signed my life will not look like how He has signed your life, and my story won’t look like your story. But He has a very good reason for this (obviously). Before I go further let me explain what I mean by signed (full disclosure this is something I learned at the workshop so I can not take credit for this nifty acronym): Strengths, Interests, Gifts, Nature, Experiences, Devotion… S.I.G.N.E.D. We each have different strengths, interests, gifts, nature, experiences, and devotion, and combined together they make up God’s signature on our life.

What spoke to me the most was the experiences part. We all have vastly different experiences that God has allowed us to go through for a reason. He has allowed me to experience infertility, years of trying to conceive, the joy of pregnancy and child-birth, and sadly the tragic loss of my son and daughter. Although I may not fully understand the why of all this, I am confident of three things. First God has a very good reason for it. Second, this is exactly what He had planned for me before I was formed in my mother’s womb. And third, He is working it all out for my good! Praise God!!

In Jeremiah God speaks to Jeremiah and tells him, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Now we may or may not be appointed prophets but you better believe we have been set apart. God has written your infertility and/or loss story on your heart and He desires that you use it and share it to glorify Him. As we contemplate the story He has written and how uniquely He has signed His signature we need to recognize three things: How has He made us, how He speaks to us (believe me He is ALWAYS speaking the question is are we ALWAYS listening), and how do we fit into His design.

Now you may be like me and hear all this and think, “Goodness why use me, I’m flawed, broken, insufficient, sometimes I feel worthless”. But when God looks at us all He sees is a perfect vessel that He can use. Remember 2 Corinthians 12:9 God says, “For my power is made PERFECT in weakness!” All He requires is faith and obedience, He can take care of the rest. And something else we are God’s masterpieces, lovingly and carefully created (inside, outside, and all that we experience) as a one of a kind work of art to be used however He chooses. That means all strengths, weaknesses, triumphs, and trials. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do! And we know that God causes EVERYTHING to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Are you still not convinced that He created and signed us and our experiences for a purpose? Do you still not feel adequate enough (I know I need a little more convincing sometimes)? Let me share this with you that I found recently floating around Facebook. Next time you think God can’t use you remember: Noah was a drunk. Abraham was old. Isaac was a daydreamer. Jacob was a liar. Leah was ugly. Joseph was abused. Moses had a stuttering problem. Gideon was afraid. Samson had long hair and was a womanizer. Rehab was a prostitute. Jeremiah and Timothy were too young. David had an affair and was a murder. Elijah was suicidal. Isaiah preached naked. Jonah ran from God. Naomi was a widow. Job went bankrupt. Peter denied Christ. The disciples fell asleep while praying. Martha worried about everything. The Samaritan woman was divorced more than once. Zaccheus was too small. Paul was too religious. Timothy had an ulcer. And Lazarus was dead!

I might add myself to that list… I don’t have a sense of smell, I have half a uterus, I’m infertile, I’ve lost my children, I’m terrified of public speaking, and I tend to be socially awkward and yet I am learning when I answer God obediently, He can do remarkable things inspire of my weaknesses and failures. Praise you Father in Heaven that you are far bigger, stronger, and greater than me!

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Water from the well

IMG_0382_2I will be the first to admit I’m not perfect. Even in the midst of claiming victory and rejoicing in all the things God has done through our infertility and loss, I still have tough days. Days when I’m angry and sad. Days when it just doesn’t make sense to me. Days when I just have a pity party for one. Today is that day. A day when God’s grace HAS to be sufficient. A day where I have to remind myself I am perfectly how God created me to be. A day where I have to remember His plans and timing are perfect. A day where I must refocus my gaze Heavenward instead of a cold, empty womb.

We are in the heart of spring time and it seems like everyone and everything is pregnant. There are pregnant women everywhere, new birdies chirping away in nests, and I’m sure there is a little borough somewhere overflowing with adorable baby bunnies. But not in this house. Here we are playing the waiting game. It’s like the starring game – the one who blinks first looses – although with the waiting game sometimes it never seems like there is a winner. Which I know is a lie because the bible is full of scriptures praising those who persevere through trials. I know one day when God’s perfect plan is revealed I will receive my prize!

Oh and you want to know something else? You want to know what really throws salt into the wound? When you hear these beautiful pregnant women complaining about their pregnancy. I want to scream “Hello I would trade places with you 100 times over!” How can there be anything worth complaining about while pregnant? In these moments I feel so close to dear Hannah ( at least my husband doesn’t have another wife who flaunts her fertility in my face). And then of course you have these women who don’t even want to be pregnant or are in a place where a pregnancy is the last thing they need. I find myself thinking “everyone else can get pregnant so why can’t I?”

I know, I know, who am I to question God’s plan. I don’t know how He intends to use their pregnancies for their good. Ad I have faith that He will keep His promises to me. SO I silently say a prayer and ask for forgiveness and count my blessings that I have a God who pours out more grace than I could ever deserve.  I hear a soft voice in my head whispering, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17). I remember the story of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. He says to her, “If you knew the gift of God and knew who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water” (John 4:10). Well I know who I am asking. I know who He is and what He offers. And it’s days like today where I want to plant myself at His feet, throw back my head, open my mouth up wide and guzzle that living water right up! I need for Him to quench my thirst and remind me that He is al I need. And how comforting is it to know that in my moments of weakness His power is made great. In my moments of weakness I can feel Him wrapping His arm around me and lifting me back up. God knows it’s impossible for me to be strong every minute of every day. I’m so blessed that He’s equipped me with the tools I need to survive those moments.

Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines, though the yield of the olives should fail and the fields produce no food, though the flock should be cut off from the fold, and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior. The sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like feet of the deer, he enables me to go on the heights (Habakkuk 3:17-19). Though my womb may not be fruitful, I can rejoice because my faith is certainly bearing much fruit. And I must remember that is the most important thing of all.

Preparing for battle!

As you may or may not know, my husband is in the Army. One of the many “blessings” that comes with that is the joy of having Army equipment strewn about every room in the house. After more than twelve years of Army service my husband has A LOT and i have grown accustomed to equipment becoming prominent fixtures to every room.

That being said, I was struck by something beautiful this morning when I came downstairs on the way to the kitchen for my Best Morning Friend Cup-O-Joe. I walked by the usual pile of equipment in the living room but this morning I stopped. I stopped and stared captivated by a sudden thought. Just as my husband puts on his full armor in preparation for battle, so too have I as I have been waging this battle with infertility. The fight with infertility is certainly a very physical one. We subject ourselves to a barrage of exams and testing, we volunteer for procedures that others would cringe away from. We repeatedly go back for “just one more” fertility treatment clinging to the hope that the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, heavens seventh time is the charm!

We are also waging a spiritual battle with the prince of darkness. The enemy that comes to kill, steal, and destroy. An enemy that is cunning enough for us to begin to believe his awful lies despite knowing full well God’s truth. Sometimes we suffer wounds from insults (even well meaning comments pierce the heart like a mighty sword). We fall victim to the temptation to advance forward even when God is telling us to “be still and know that I AM GOD”. We become casualties of our own making, believing the enemies lies about our worth and value, instead of claiming victory that we are exactly as God created us to be.

ImageLet’s commit ourselves to donning the helmet of salvation. No attack from the enemy can take away the precious, free gift from our Father. He loved us so much that He sent His only son to die for us. Let us guard our hearts with the breastplate of righteousness. God’s righteousness is what protects our hearts from the enemy and ensures His approval of us. Pick up your shield of faith and carry it boldly! It will protect you from every blow the enemy will throw at us. Keep a Godly prospective and look beyond your current circumstances. Take up your sword of the Spirit. It is the only offensive weapon we have or will ever need. There will be times when you will need to get down into the trenches, low crawl to the front lines, and lead the charge headfirst into the enemy. Trust in the truth of God’s word and be confident that the ultimate victory is ours. Tighten your belt of truth.  Make it so snug that not even the tiniest of lies from the enemy has room to creep in. In God’s eyes we are more than enough. We are priceless to Him and He has great plans for us.! And finally lace up the footgear of readiness to spread the good news and proclaim it. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13). Boldly spread the good news so that others may claim victory as well.

One final thought. Just as in the battles of old, where the little drummer boys would motivate the soldiers with their drums, let God’s faithfulness motivate you through your battle. Let it be the tempo to which you wage you fight! He is and always will be faithful to every one of His promises from beginning to end! Now claim your victory!

Out of the darkness

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The hubby and I just got home from a relaxing, long weekend on the Big Island where we were celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary. While we were there we did a little cave exploring. We had done it before and had a blast so we knew we had to do it again. It amazed me how even though we had gone almost a year ago, the moment we stepped passed the threshold and crossed into the part of the cave where light no longer reached, it was still pretty scary.

Before I go any further let me tell you about this cave. First and foremost it was DARK!! Like really dark. Like you can’t see your hand in front of your face dark. And it’s damp and cool and so, so quiet. The ground beneath your feet is covered with hardened lava and jagged pumice stones. It’s uneven and you have no idea how stable the piece of rock you are stepping onto is going to be. As you walk along you can’t help but think, “Man I’ve seen this movie I know how it ends, what am I doing here!”

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So anyways, we are hiking along until we reach the part in the cave that gets really hairy. Large lava rocks cascading everywhere, the passageway begins to get really narrow, and you could almost swear you can hear the abyss monster crunching on something up ahead. So of course we figure it was time to turn around and head back. As we were walking along in silence enjoying the quietness of the cave it occurred to me that this was kind of like how life was like after Vance and Veronica passed away. The days, weeks, and even months after we lost them I felt like I had reached the very impassable end of a treacherous dark cave. Life was unbearable. I couldn’t fathom that the unthinkable had just happened to us. I remember laying in the hospital bed that first night sobbing, asking God why He didn’t take me instead. Dying would have been so much better than lying there trying to figure out how I could go on living without them.

It went on like this for days. Luckily for us my mom came and stayed with us for a few weeks and that offered some relief. But when she left it was back to the dark void that had become my life. I would find myself alone thinking that it would have been so much easier if I had died (the thought was overwhelming at times). Praying that God would choose to take me while I slept. I was living in darkness while life around me returned to normal.

Of course, He didn’t take me, that just wasn’t part of His perfect plan. As days turned into weeks, weeks into months, SLOWLY things got better. The pain eased slightly. I heard God calling me back to Him. Eventually I just couldn’t carry the burden any longer. I had to throw myself down and crawl to my Savior’s feet. It was at that very moment I began to live in the light again. I began to see the light at the end of my dark tunnel. The ground beneath my feet began to be a little smoother, a little firmer. I began to find joy again. I can proudly say today I am no longer in my deep, dark cave. Of course I still miss my Vance and Roni, I think of what they might look like and what they might be doing at nine and a half months old. But I take comfort in knowing they are secured in Heaven for eternity. One day they will come running to greet me, they will introduce me to Jesus, and show me all the places they had been while waiting for me. I know for now they would want their mommy to be happy and to live life to the fullest… So I will!

You maybe feeling like you are at the very impassable end of your dark cave. The path you are on my be shaky and jaggedly painful. But remember the Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a strong hold in times of trouble (Psalm 9:9-10). The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are His everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27). Cling to His word and promises because His word is a lamp for your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105). There is nowhere you can go that He hasn’t been and no place you can go where He isn’t right there beside you. And just as I slowly found my way back to the light at the opening of my cave (both physically and figuratively) I know with God’s help you will too.

Standing up on Mother’s Day

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As Mother’s Day draws closer I am overwhelmed by God’s peace. I feel as though He is pressing upon me to be hopeful. I keep thinking about Mathew 19:26 and Jesus’ own words saying, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” I have assurance that God can do all things. It is not impossible for me to become a mommy when God says its time. 

I also feel empowered. I feel encouraged to spread the word. I feel like its my responsibility to share the journey of infertility and child loss with people who haven’t experienced it. I feel strong enough to do this because there is a woman somewhere who isn’t and who will be hurting in silence this Mother’s Day. She may be sitting silently beside you at church, or standing in line in front of you at the store, or maybe she has stopped by the park to watch the little kids play. So many are suffering in silence because they are too ashamed to let you in.

I come to tell you we don’t have to suffer in silence any more. We didn’t ask for this, we didn’t do this to ourselves. It just so happens to be something we are going through. We can take comfort in the fact that With God all things are possible. He can do all things. He is also telling us come to me “for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” He wants to be the one and only we turn to. With God we can be real and authentic. We can open up our burdened and aching heart. But we can also leave it at the feet of Jesus and walk away free. Free in the knowledge that we are trusting our God to work out His plan. Free in the knowledge that nothing is happening that He hasn’t already determined. 

This Mother’s Day I am going to proudly stand up when they honor mothers. I am going to stand up for myself and for all women struggling with infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. Let’s stand together sisters in faith, hope, and God’s grace!

An infertile Mother’s Day

*Graphic created by: Brittney Nichole Panzone

*Graphic created by: Brittney Nichole Panzone

Mother’s Day.

If ever there was a holiday that pierces my heart it’s Mother’s Day. I mean how can it not. All the commercials are celebrating mothers. People everywhere toss out a “Happy Mother’s Day” just because I’m a woman of childbearing age. The most painful however has to be the church serve. A day set aside specifically for the precious mommies and daddies to dedicate their babies back to the Lord. An event so small but still something I have fantasized about for so long. Some girls fantasized about their wedding, planning all the little details, picking out the perfect dress. Me…. I dreamt of the day I could stand at the front of the church, with a precious baby in my arms in fabulous pink flowy dress or a dashing khaki suit, to give my precious child back to God.

I thought this Mother’s Day would be my moment. You see last year I was FINALLY pregnant. We were expecting a beautiful little girl and a handsome little boy. This Mother’s Day I was going to give my precious gifts back to God. God had another plan! On July 28th 2013 at twenty-two weeks gestation my perfect Vance was born at 10:18am and his little sister Veronica was born shortly after at 11:05am. We spent three short hours with them before they went home to be with Jesus. During that time I remember trying to memorize their faces. Cherishing how their hands looked in mine. Whispering “Mommy and daddy love you so much” in their ears just so they would know they were loved and that the last thing they heard was their mommy’s voice. I was in complete rapture that even though they were so incredibly small we could see our features replicated in them. My daughter’s long skinny feet are just like mine and my son’s big toe looks just like his daddy’s! They carried a piece of my heart with them when they flew away to Heaven with angel wings.

For so many of us who struggle to conceive or have conceived only to have lost our precious child, Mother’s Day can be absolutely unbearable. While preparing for this post I learned about the history of Mother’s Day. Let me tell you what I learned amazed me. Mother’s Day was founded by Anna Jarvis in 1908 (becoming an official holiday in 1914) to honor her own mother, Ann, who had experienced the loss of seven of her own children. You see the day was created to honor a bereaved mommy! Anna Jarvis (the founder) remained childless her whole life. Wow a childless woman founding one of the most challenging days for infertile and bereaved mommies. GO FIGURE!

There is this beautiful quote from Franchesca Cox and it goes like this, “A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see but by the love she holds in her heart.” I absolutely love this. Just because you can’t see our children we are still mommies. And another thing God uses all kinds of ways to allow us to be mommies while we wait on our own children. We may babysit, or teach, lead Sunday school, or mentor a young child. Me… I used to teach two and three years. I did that for  five years (officially). I can not count how many children I had and I considered them all mine. I cried when they hurt, I rejoiced in their happy times, I missed them when they were absent, and oh how I bawled when they moved up and away. They might not have been my biological babies but they were still mine. God allowed me to mother them while their mommies were away. Psalm 37:4 says to “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I’m not saying only delight because He will give you something (believe me it doesn’t work that way…. in my desperation I have tried ALL things). When I read delight it says to me that I am to draw near to Him. Love Him with all I have and even all that I don’t have. To rejoice always in the countless blessings He has already bestowed upon me. I recognize that when He answers my prayers it might not be exactly how I intend. When I pray for a baby I have to remember He’s given me countless babies including two of my very own.

My Heavenly Father knows me inside and out. As Psalm 139:16 says it so beautifully (the Psalm writers were positively brilliant), “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” He knows my greatest desires and He knows what I need. He has already planned out what, when and how I am going to receive it. A time may also come when I learn that having children here on earth is not God’s plan for me. Believe me I pray of course this is not the case (because I’m not sure I will take it very gracefully, I ask for forgiveness ahead of time). But until that day comes I am going to be joyful always; pray without ceasing; and give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus (1 Thes. 5:16-18).

If you are needing a little extra encouragement and grace on Mother’s Day, personalize Numbers 6:24-26: “Lord bless me and keep me; Lord make your face shine upon me and be gracious to me; Lord turn your face towards me and give me your peace.”

 

*May I also add that while you prayerfully seek God’s plan for you and your family that you remember mothering is not just about biology. Adoption and Foster to adopt are beautiful ways to bring a child into your life.*

Wrestling with unfulfilled desires

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Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl and boy get married. Girl and boy have their first baby by their first wedding anniversary. Oh wait, no they didn’t. Well maybe by their second anniversary. Wait, what? No baby? Ok no buggy. Girl and boy have been married five years certainly they have had a baby or two by now! WHAT still no baby! Down the road a few more years we find our happy couple celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary. Surely by now they have had a baby! Are you kidding me? This couple still hasn’t had a baby? Do they even want to have a baby?

Sounds harsh right? Story of my life. As my husband and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary this scenario runs through my head. When I got married my expectation and heartfelt desire was to have my first baby by twenty-five and by the time I was thirty-two we would be adding our fourth child to the fold! My expectation and desire to have a baby has gone unfulfilled. 

Don’t get me wrong, hubby and I have had our share of wild and crazy adventures, from traveling around the country, day trips to Paris, a Mediterranean cruise. It has been exciting and exhilarating. But every now and then, sometimes more than others, I find myself thinking I would trade all of that just to cradle a baby in my arms. To sit alone in a dimly lit nursery rocking a sleeping baby humming Jesus loves me would be a far greater treasure than climbing the steps to the Acropolis of Lindos.

As I sit here pondering these things I have to wonder surely there are examples of people in the in the bible that have experienced unfulfilled desires and still held onto their faith. I’m sure there are numerous instances to read about but the ones that jump out to me first are of Moses and of King David. And of course my dear sister Hannah!

Moses was incredibly faithful and obedient. After encountering God in the desert in the form of a burning bush, he returned to Egypt and demands Pharaoh to let his people go. Moses leads his people out of Egypt and eventually to wandering the desert for forty years in search of the promise land. How Moses must have longed for rest. How he must have desired so much to experience the promise land after all he had endured. But we read in Deuteronomy 31:2 that Moses goes out to all Israel and says, “I am now a hundred and twenty-five years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me ‘you shall not cross the Jordan'”. Can you even imagine that? Forty years of his life faithfully and obediently following God and he never gets to see the promise land. I don’t know about you but after a few months of failed fertility treatments I was already stomping my feet and questioning God.

Or how about King David. He is referred to as a man after God’s own heart. Sure he sinned, he wasn’t perfect who is? But all the same a man after God’s own heart. What was David’s desire? We find in 1 Chronicles 28:2-3 that he “had it in his heart to build a temple for the ark of the covenant” but as we read on in verse three God tells him, “you are not to build a house for my name , because you are a warrior”. Wow after all David had done in service for God’s people and because of that he is not chosen to build the temple. His desire was unfulfilled. We later learn that it is in fact his son Solomon who God chooses to build the temple. What does David do? The last sentence in Deuteronomy 29:9 says, “David the king also rejoiced greatly”. He rejoiced despite his unfulfilled desire.

However I think the story that I can draw the most encouragement from is my dear kindred sister Hannah. I have always felt such closeness and fondness for her. Although the bible doesn’t clearly specify how long dear Hannah endured bareness, I’ve seen where some scholars speculate that it was close to nineteen years, we can see how she responded to it. Hannah suffered ridicule from her husband’s other wife because of her bareness (I thought I had it rough), she suffered the heart breaking of seeing the women around her bare children. She endured year after year after year of missing out on the joys of mothering. But still Hannah prayed. She prayed without ceasing. In 1 Samuel 1:13 it tells us “Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard”. I can just see her there in the temple on her knees, head bowed, tears streaking down her cheeks, eyes closed pouring her heart out to God silently. Totally unaware of anyone else being there it was just her and God. In that holy place Hannah was pouring out her greatest heartfelt desire to God. Even after years of waiting she still had faith enough to pray.

Now I know after reading all that some may still wonder “what does all that mean for me?” Well let me tell you, though living with unfulfilled desires (even ones that seem harmless and pure) is challenging even unbearable at times, I remember that my God will meet all of my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). God is always going to ensure I have everything I need. And He will do the same for you. Our journey through infertility may seem like just another unfulfilled desire, but it’s actually a process God is using to refine us for His plan and purpose! We can be confident of this, that He [God] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

We are fearfully and wonderfully made

Fearfully and wonderfully madeI have been traveling this road of infertility for nearly eight years. We to be clear we have been trying to conceive for nearly eight years but I have known since I was fourteen that getting pregnant was going to be a struggle. Over the years you hear labels like “infertile”, “barren”, or “childless”. Let me tell you, after a while I began to think that’s all I was. In my eyes my value came from whether or not I could give my husband a child. What kind of wife was I? I felt worthless, I felt like I was a giant mistake. The special thing women were created to do since the beginning of time was to conceive and give birth. But here I am, a woman who can not physically do this on my own.

In this world it’s easy to let the labels stick, to say, ‘I’m infertile”, “I’m barren”, or “I’m childless”. But what if I give you this label instead: “Fearfully and wonderfully made”! That’s right sisters let that one soak in for a minute. Tell me…. how does that one feel?

This is not just a label I came up with on my own. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created me in my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well” (NIV). The New Century Version puts it another way, “You made my whole being; you formed me in my mother’s body. I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful I know this very well.”

Doesn’t that just make you heart sing!? Let us take a little “word trip” together. I’m a uber book-worm and nerdy type and love, love, love researching and digging deeper into scripture. Let’s start with created. The definition according to Merriam-Webster is: to bring into existence, to fashion, or to fabricate. The Greek word is kitzo which applies only to God who alone can make what was “not there before”. The Hebrew word for created is “qanith” which means to give birth to.

Don’t get stuck there because the wordy excitement doesn’t end there! Check out the word knit. It creates this picture in my mind of knitting needles looping and knotting together two strands of yarn into something beautiful. One of the Hebrew words is sakha which means to plait or to interweave. Essentially God took all our inner parts and weaved them together just so. It paints a picture of something very intentional taking place, and this brings me to my very favorite part: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made”.

Again looking up the definition of fearfully you will find the definition of extremely. When you look up wonderfully you will find exciting wonder. Put that together: extremely and of exciting wonder! It gets even better when we see the Hebrew translations. The Hebrew translation for fearfully means with great reverence and heartfelt interest. Wonderfully translated means unique, set apart, uniquely marvelous. What beauty is expressed when we look at the true meaning of these words as they originally intended.

So to bring this all together, I can apply this biblical truth to my life: God fashioned every part of me together with heartfelt interest and respect in a uniquely marvelous way. I am exactly how He intended… infertile and all!

*For further reading see: Genesis 1:27; Isaiah 44:2, 49:1, 64:8; Psalm 100:3; Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 2:10; and Galatians 1:15

Joyfully Infertile

be joyfulJoyfully Infertile… I’m sure there are some that will read that and think I’m completely crazy. How on earth can anyone who has experienced infertility or pregnancy and infant loss say that they are joyful. I come to tell you I can do it easily.

Before I do that though I should probably clarify just what joy means. Joy is very different from being happy or having happiness. Merriam-Webster defines joy as the expression or exhibition of such emotion. Another definition explains it as the inner attitude of rejoicing in one’s salvation regardless of outward circumstances. Happiness is caused by worldly experiences or material objects. Joy comes from first and foremost God our Father. It stems from spiritual experiences, caring for others, gratitude, and thankfulness. Happiness is temporary, joy is everlasting. Happiness can be stolen from you, joy can not unless you allow it.

The Greek word for joy is chairein (or chaironton) which are both from the Greek word chairo which means to rejoice, be glad, full of joy. Notice it says “full” of joy? Not a little bit, or kind of joyful, but FULL of joy. It’s all-consuming and penetrates all parts of our life. The Hebrew word simcha means happiness in the most full sense. Are you noticing the trend here of fullness?

So now that we have a clearer picture of what joy means let me explain how I can say, “joyfully infertile”. Am I happy that I have had to travel along this treacherous road? Absolutely not! Have there been days when my heart has been broken and the ache from my empty womb and empty arms felt as if it was going to crush me? Most certainly. But then I did a Beth Moore study called James Mercy Triumphs. Completely by the sovereign hand of God might I add did I come upon this study at the very moment I needed it.

James was Jesus’ half brother and although it took Jesus’ death and resurrection before he believed, James was still able to pen a letter with such clarity and a firm grasp of the truth. He opens his letter to the first century Jewish Christians with “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.” Now here was a group of people who understood trials. They were being persecuted, imprisoned, and driven from their homes and James was telling them to consider it pure Joy!

Peter also speaks of joy in the midst of trials in 1 Peter 1:6-7. He says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

In both cases (James and Peter) we see that joy in our trials is a choice we must make. Why? Because as James goes on to explain in James 1:3-4, “Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be complete and lacking nothing.” I love that. I don’t know about you but I want to be made complete and lack for nothing! Now that is a powerful motivator don’t you think? Peter also explains that it’s because our faith (which is worth more than gold) will be proved genuine and result in glory to God.

Dear sisters we aren’t being persecuted, imprisoned, or driven from our homes but we can all agree that it’s a great trial and testing of our faith. But can I tell you something? We serve a God who NEVER let’s our pain go to waste. We can be joyful first and foremost in our salvation through Christ Jesus. We can also be joyful because He is allowing us to travel down this road for a reason. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you”, DECLARES the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you HOPE and a future” (emphasis added to declares and hope are mine). God knows what He is doing. Nothing is a mistake. He didn’t look away for a minute while creating us and then say, “Ooppss… well let’s just go with that.” No God is working out something amazing through our infertility. I can’t claim to know what that is for you but I can tell you what that has been for me. My joy in infertility comes from learning that God is using this to draw me closer to Him. TO teach me to trust, to be still and know that He alone is God, and to allow His grace and timing to be sufficient in my life. I challenge you dear sisters to prayerfully ponder what God is showing you through your infertility journey and “consider that pure joy”!

*For further reading check out: Isaiah 65:18; Psalm 104:31; Luke 2:10; Luke 24:52; John 15:11, 17:33; and 1 Thes. 5:16

**Image from lovethispic.com