An extra dose of comfort

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The last few days I have needed an extra dose of comfort that only God can provide. Its been such a battle between joy for my sister, excitement for these precious little boys God has gifted to us to love, and sorrow for my own loss. Especially after she texted the other night when she was discharged from the hospital after her C-section. My precious nephews were born on Wednesday of last week and have been in the NICU ever since. Praise God that they are doing so well after being born at 32 weeks. Its just brought back so many emotions that I didn’t expect to deal with.

Anyways the other night she texts me and of course she feels guilty as it is for texting me of all people but she needed comfort. She says, “I’m being discharged from the hospital and I didn’t realize how hard it would be to leave them there all alone. Will you please pray for me?” I’m sure she struggled immensely with reaching out to me of all people but we are a family who prays for each other and she reached out to her big sister. My earthly self was screaming “How dare you complain to me about this. At least you babies are touched and fed and snuggled so tightly in warm blankets. I had to leave my babies cold and alone knowing they were waiting to be picked up by a funeral home. How dare you come crying to me looking for comfort.” I am ashamed that I even have earthly thoughts like this. Thankfully I pushed my earthly thoughts away and was able to offer her comfort.

The next day I came across 2 Corinthians 1:3-5,

“Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles,¬†so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God”¬†(emphasis mine).

God has not showered me with compassion through my darkest times for me to store it up. He hasn’t poured out compassion and peace that surpasses all understanding for me to bottle it up and ignore those around me who are hurting. God has poured out an abundance of compassion and comfort so that after receiving it and healing (even though it doesn’t seem like it sometimes) I can then pour out that compassion on someone who is hurting. It doesn’t matter that my loss was permanent. That when I left the hospital that night with empty arms I wouldn’t be going back to get them when they got better. In that moment when my sister texted me she was hurting and her pain was real, and God has called, prepared, and equipped me to offer her comfort.

Would you like to hear something beautiful!? One several occasions over the last few days friends from various parts of the country have sent me messages saying that God has placed me on their hearts and they are praying for me. These friends had no idea what was going on they just knew they needed to pray. God saw me hurting and He called people to pray. He again poured out His compassion and reminded me that my pain and suffering never goes unnoticed to Him.

My Heavenly Father also never misses an opportunity to speak to me. Just the other night (the day that I was hurting a little bit more than the other days) I opened my nightly devotional and 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 spoke to my heart.

“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

Even as the day was drawing to a close My precious Heavenly Father saved up a beautiful promise to share with me. In that moment I realized I’m going to press on through the hurt, I will finish this race God has called me to run, and someday I will receive my eternal reward and my precious Vance and Veronica will be waiting there at the finish line to welcome mommy home! Jesus tells me in this world you will have trouble but take comfort my dear child I have overcome this world!

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God can make the impossible possible

IMG_0884Yesterday was one of those days where I had to remind myself of all the impossible things God has made possible. I needed the refresher because yesterday was one of those days where imaging I will ever have a baby seemed like a giant impossible! Oh did I forget to mention that while I was having “one of those days” my sister was in labor and gave birth to my twin nephews last night! Perfect timing right!! It was one of those days where the weight of infertility felt like it was crushing down on me. So its days like yesterday that draw me closer to God’s word and all the times God made the impossible possible.

I turn to the book of Joshua and watch as the wall around Jericho falls and the city delivered into the hands of the Israelites, and all it took was some marching and some trumpets and a whole lot of Godly intervention. I look to the “mighty warrior” Gideon and how he took on the Midianite army with a minuscule army. Not only did they take them on but they were victorious. God made that possible.

I can turn to the book of John and witness as Jesus turns five small loaves of bread and two small fish to feed 5,000 people. I don’t know about you but no matter how I try to slice a loaf of bread and a filet of fish I just can’t seem to get it to stretch that far. Again another impossible that God made possible.

Now if these stories aren’t enough to snap me out of the funk I was in yesterday there are so many others I can turn to, to remind myself that God can easily make an impossible possible. But what usually brings me the most comfort is when I look to the women in the bible who also thought having a baby was impossible. What better source of comfort than to be inspired and comforted by women who have lived with the pain of infertility! When I look at them side by side and see the children God blessed them with it blows me away.

Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was barren. The same Abraham whom God told would be the “Father to many nations”…. and his wife was barren. Years, and years, and years go by and still no baby for Sarah. But God was faithful to His promise to Abraham and Sarah. Even after the instance with “the other woman”, God still blessed Sarah with a son. This son would be the first in a long line of descendants. Isaac’s wife Rebekkah was barren. Genesis 25:21 shows us that Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was barren. God answered Isaac’s prayer and Rebekkah has not one son but two! Twin boys Jacob and Esau. Jacob is one of the most influential people in the Old Testament and the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. Rachel gave birth to Joseph who because of his faithfulness in all circumstances became the second most powerful man second only to Pharaoh. This positioned him in a place where he was able to provide for Israel during a time of great famine. Or how about Hannah. Oh dear, sweet Hannah. Her story tugs at my heart strings more than the others for some reason. Hannah prayed with all her heart for a precious son and God answered her prayers. Hannah gave birth to Samuel who later becomes a priest and a prophet, a man of God who anoints the first two kings of Israel. I can also read about Manoah’s wife who gives birth to mighty Samson who is one of the great judges in a time of great rebellion. And we can’t forget about Elizabeth. Elizabeth was barren but God blessed her even in her advanced age. Elizabeth gave birth to John the baptist. THE John the baptist! The very one that Jesus called the greatest man born of woman.

As I look over this list of women I can’t help but realize that I am in good company. I’m sure at one time or another each one must have felt like having a baby was just impossible. For some it was old age, for others maybe it was just taking way too long. For me sometimes I feel like I’m getting too old. Sometimes I feel like its taking way too long and I’m running out of time. And then there are times when I look at the finances and the burden of paying for yet another round of treatment seems like an obstacle we just can’t possibly tackle. Thats when I have to remember all the impossibles God made possible. I have to remember that yes on my own it is impossible but I am not alone. The burden has been lifted! God makes even the most impossible possible! He did it for Sarah, Rebekkah, Rachel, Hannah, Manoah’s wife, and Elizabeth. And someday, in someway, when He says its time, He will do the same for me. Yesterday was my pity party, today I get back to God’s reality. Today I rejoice for the new lives that God has blessed us with. I may not be loving on my precious babies right now, I can love on my precious nephews.

Life On The Infertility Super Highway Part II

IMG_0878Welcome back as we continue our road trip on the infertility super highway! If you missed yesterday’s post I would recommend reading Part I before reading Part II. Probably the worst part of any road trip is the traffic jams! After living in Hawaii I have a whole different understanding of traffic jams! The freeway actually becomes a parking lot twice a day Monday through Friday and more often than not on the weekends as well. There are traffic jams on the infertility super highway as well. They come in the form of failed cycles of IUIs and IVF. They come when the money you have budgeted runs out. It comes to a screeching halt when devastated by the loss of a pregnancy or neonatal death. However the traffic jam manifests in your life try and approach them in a positive way. I know this is so much easier said than done. When you find this hard to do turn to James 1:2, “Consider it pure joy, my brother, when faced with troubles of many kinds”. Believe me I know this is a hard pill to swallow. But I can attest that there is joy to be found in our traffic jams! And sometimes the greatest joy is the joy you experience in your greatest trial. If you are currently stuck in a traffic jam crank up the music, roll down the windows, look around you at the beauty all around you. The beauty you would probably have missed had you been flying down the freeway traffic free.

Like any road trip there comes a point when you have to take that exit and get off the freeway. You’ve found the exit and you go from 60-0 in a matter of seconds. Sometimes you get off where you want to but other times you are forced off for reasons outside of your control. Maybe you have been successful and your exit is called mommy-hood. Maybe your exit is called adoption and its leading you to a freeway change. Maybe your exit is called rest. Or maybe your exit is called child free. Whatever your exit is called recognize that the off ramp isn’t the end of the trip, it’s merely a transition from one route to another. You just have to keep driving!

Every road trip is different. We all take different roads, drive different cars, and have different experiences. One thing that is necessary for all road trips though is a road map or GPS. We can’t get to where we are going if we don’t know how to get there. God’s word and the Holy Spirit must be the road map on our infertility road trip. He is our strength when we are weak. His voice whispers words of affirmation and encouragement just when we think we can’t go any further. And He directs our path when we turn to Him. Proverbs 3:6 says, “Seek His will in all you do and He will show you which path to take”. We may make the plans but the Lord will direct our paths (Proverbs 16:9). Its so easy for us to get in the car and drive and just wing it. But that only leads to dead ends and unnecessary detours. Seek God’s will and plan for your journey. Trust that He will select only the very best route for you.

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Life On The Infertility Super Highway Part I

At church yesterday the pastor started his sermon by referencing the Rascal Flatts song “Life is a highway” and though his sermon continued about sin and the detours we try to take to work around it, it made me think about infertility. It seems like I can draw some kind of connect the dots game with infertility and almost anything else. Rest assured I put infertility on the back burner and paid attention to the pastor’s sermon and the words God wanted me to hear. After church however I couldn’t escape the truth behind the simple statement “life is a highway” or rather “life on the infertility super highway”.

When we plan a road trip, or just get in the car to go somewhere we expect to start the car, pull out of the driveway, and drive to wherever it is we are going. We obey the traffic laws but we hope and expect to just get to where we are going. I think we expect becoming mommies (or daddies) ill happen much the same way. We get married, do the “deed”, and bingo-bango two pink lines and nine months later a beautiful, healthy baby swaddled tightly in your arms. Sadly for so many our road trip to mommy hood isn’t so easy.

The beginning of the infertility journey reminds me of a roundabout. There is one way in but several ways out. Everyone else seems to know exactly where they are going and there I am sometimes I’m confident and sure and other times I’m stuck going around and around until I figure out which way to go. The worst roundabout I have ever experienced was several years ago in Paris. I swear it was like seven lanes wide and I don’t think anyone knew what the direction of travel was or if they even cared. It was a giant free-for-all. If you find yourself at this point in your infertility road trip take heart. It won’t last forever. Be patient, eventually you will discover your way out.

As you continue on the infertility super highway you will inevitably happen upon a yield sign. Your yield sign may be waiting on God to determine what to do next. Your yield may be ¬†stepping back and allowing a mommy-to-be in your life to be filled. Your yield may be taking a break between treatments . Whatever your yield sign is be encouraged. This is the time I have found that God does some of his greatest work. Allow Him to pour into you. Be refreshed and renewed by the Holy Spirit. Believe me I know how hard this is. I’m a take chafe, proactive type of person and this “yield” time I’m in at the current moment has been the greatest challenge for me. But I can say with full confidence that while I have been yielding, God has been hard at work in my life.

So you’ve been diagnosed, you’ve determined the course of treatment thats right for you, and you are moving forward. You have reached your on ramp. Everyone else is traveling at a high rate of speed and you are just trying to catch up. You have to merge, find an opening. Sometimes thats easy and sometimes thats hard, either way you are on and traveling along like everyone else.

It doesn’t take long at all once you’ve merged on the freeway to remember that even though you are traveling at the same rate of speed your road trip isn’t like the other travelers. You hit a patch of bumpy road. You can still drive on this road and get to where you are going, but goodness it’s an inconvenience. Maybe you are switching doctors or treatment options. Maybe the treatment and the struggle to conceive is straining your relationships. The bumpy roads on the infertility super highway are inevitable but they don’t last forever. Recognize your pump roads and appreciate them. Consider them a sign from God that rough road is ahead if you don’t patch up the road you are on.

Now if you are stubborn like me and you have ignored the “bumpy roads ahead” signs in your life you are bound to run right into a pot hole. Some pot holes are small, sneak up on you, cause a little bump, but little else. Others are giant pot holes that you can’t avoid. Losing Vance and Veronica was the biggest pot hole I have ever encountered. It WRECKED me. Put my “car” out of commission for quite sometime. This pot hole required serious roadwork and a long detour.

God is the master road worker. His tool box and the equipment He has to use is beyond comprehension. He takes His time, never rushes, or cuts corners. When God begins His “roadwork” you can be sure He will complete the good work He has started. He will put up detour signs, and like me you might get frustrated that you couldn’t just take the easy way. But God’s way is always the best way! God’s roadwork results in new pavement. There is nothing like driving on a freshly paved road. Its smooth and quiet. Its like sailing more than driving. When you have found yourself on the “new pavement” on your infertility highway you will know that its the way God has chosen for you!

*The road trip doesn’t end here. Stay tuned for Life On The Infertility Super Highway Part II.