Never the Same

Eight weeks and two days ago my life changed forever.

Gone are the early nights to bed and sleeping past 5am (6am occasionally) in the morning.

Gone is having the day to myself to do what I wanted, when I wanted.

Gone are the days of only being responsible for myself.

Gone are the days of being able to leave the house in less than 10 minutes (not that I was terribly good at that before).

Gone are the moments of quiet, relatively easy to find.

Rare will be spontaneous trips out or traveling with a tiny purse.

Here are the days of a new normal.

Here are the early morning feedings, as well as those in the middle of the night.

Here are the days of caring for someone totally dependent on me.

Here are the days of changing diapers, cleaning spit-up (and things a bit more undesirable).

Here are the days of wondering “What have we done?”.

Here are the days of riddled with self doubt, thoughts of inadequacy, confusion, frustration, and sleep deprivation.

BUT

Gone are the days of longing for this blessing.

Gone are the days, racked with heartbreak for a desire unfulfilled.

Gone is the asking, “How long, O Lord?”.

Here are the days of rocking in my mama’s chair; nursing my little girl as sun beams gradually fill the room.

Here are the days of singing “Jesus Loves Me” time and again, with great hope that the Truth will be made evident in this new life.

Here are the days of seeing my husband learn how to be a daddy (discovering such tricks like humming the Star Wars theme can typically calm her down).

Here are the times of snuggling, the three of us, and the enjoyment of just being together.

Here of the days of seeing the Lord’s faithfulness, yet again, and wondering why it was ever doubted.

Here are the days of thanking the Lord (though not at all nearly enough), for this amazing blessing He’s bestowed upon us.

I always knew that being a mother wasn’t going to be easy, but it’s harder than I ever imagined. Especially when it brings to light all the sin and selfishness that’s tucked away in my heart. We are still figuring this out (and will be for the next 20 or so years, or just forever) and adjusting to our new normal, but are oh so thankful to be blessed with friends & family we can turn to for support, advice, and encouragement, and even more so for a God who is always reminding us just how great His faithfulness is.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

November 14, 2018

I was waiting to post this in order of our story, chronologically, but that has just gone out the window – I suppose I’ll try to catch up one day, but more important things have come along 😊

Today it became real to me. There is a new life growing inside of me. One, Lord willing, I will get to care for, nurture, teach, and love. I’m going to be a mom.

Up until now I don’t think I let myself truly believe it. I feared miscarriage (though that’s still possible). I feared getting attached to someone that I might never meet this side of heaven. I’ve spent the past year and a half trying not to get my hopes up and I think that mentality stuck around, even after I found out I was pregnant.

Today was our last appointment with the fertility specialist. He’s been keeping a close watch on things and I had my fourth ultrasound today. And today that little tiny life looked much less like a tiny blob and much more like a baby. My baby. Our baby. They put one of the ultrasound photos in a cute frame for us and happily sent us on our way into the hands of a regular OB. Their work was done. I tried to hold it together as I went back into the waiting room where other women sat, where I had so many times before. I would not be coming back.

We got into the parking lot and I lost it. I sobbed into Steve’s shoulder for a good minute or so. I remember him asking if they were happy tears and I nodded. They were really more of amazement and gratitude. “This is really real, isn’t it?” It had finally sunk in.

I’m not at all sure what we’re in for, besides a kid that’s got to be at least a little crazy. I still can’t think much more past today, and that is ok by me.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

365 Days

This post came up in my Facebook memories today. Of Sorrow & Shame

It has been one year since I wrote these words. One year since I was brought to such a place of brokenness that I could only share with others in the hope that it could be used for good somewhere.

I read those words I wrote 365 days ago with tears in my eyes. Maybe a little from sadness in remembering the pain, but mostly from joy in knowing that the Lord used those words to connect me with so many others. In knowing that He grew me in these past 365 days; to rely upon Him, trust Him, rest in Him, draw near to Him.

Of course, the joy also came from feeling some rather powerful kicks as I read those words. As if my little girl wanted to remind me that she’s here. This blessing I have longed for is here. And, Lord willing, I will get to hold her in my arms in a few short months.

This journey is far from over. It’s changing once again and I feel as if I’m at the beginning of it all. I realize I never finished my remembrances up to the point of finding out we were pregnant – there are just a few more things I’d like to write about in that process and I hope to get to them in the next week.

I know I’ve said it many times before, but, dear friends, nothing is ever wasted. Know that whatever circumstance you find yourself in, the Lord is using it, for your good and His glory.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

When Worship is Difficult

It all started with a song. One inspired by Psalm 118. One Sunday morning in church, probably in late August when I had all but given up. Somewhere in the middle of singing praises to the Lord, this song started. I know it was in the middle because I was already standing and then the weight of it all hit me, and I just couldn’t any more.

🎶Oh, give thanks to the Lord

Oh give thanks to the Lord

For He is good

He is good

For He is good

He is good, oh

His steadfast love endures

Forever, forever He endures 🎶

You can listen to the song here : Psalm 118 (Your Steadfast Love)

The truth of this washed over me as tears fell to the ground. I didn’t want to believe it in my heart, because I had felt that He was everything but good at that moment. But my head knew it was true. His Spirit inside nudged me along. And I sang, though I was angry and hurt and broken. And when I couldn’t manage that for the tears, I mouthed the words. No one could hear them, but I was declaring the truth to the One who is Truth itself. It was my sacrifice of praise. While I didn’t want to acknowledge Him at all, it was really the only thing I could do.

If we praise God only when we’re getting what we want, how is He different from a genie in a magic lamp? His love for us is unconditional, and what’s more, He is God. That fact alone deems Him worthy of worship. Always.

Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;

    bring an offering and come before him!

Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;

tremble before him, all the earth;

    yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,

    and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”

~1 Chronicles 16:29-31

This is not easy. It’s not easy to worship God when you feel unseen by Him. Or when you can’t help but think He’s holding out on you. We all have ups and downs. Times when we feel super close with our Lord and times when we distance ourselves. But He stays the same. He doesn’t change. He sees our struggles and heartache. He sees our success and joy. None of our circumstances can change who God is and so our worship of Him should remain steady through it all.

A few months later, probably some time in November (after we knew I was pregnant), we sang the same song again. As the words began I couldn’t help but cry. Not out of brokenness this time, but because I knew, with all my being, the truth and grace in the words. He was good to me and His love endured. Through all my craziness. Through all my doubts. And sorrow. And questioning. How could I have ever thought differently? I praised Him for His providence in it all; not knowing the reasoning behind it, but grateful that He did.

I don’t know where you are, dear friend. You may be high on a mountain or low in a valley. Know this truth, wherever you find yourself; God is God and He is good. Always.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Thankfulness: Day 3

Today I’m thankful for this man; my husband of two years. A great friend who listens to my crazy ramblings, helps me remember things that get lost in my ever-scattered brain, and never fails to make me smile (even when I’m really grumpy and just don’t want to). I’m thankful for how he humors me and follows me all around Target as I wander aimlessly without tapping his foot or seeming like he’d rather be elsewhere. How he washes all the dishes as I take a nap because the day just wore me out. How he loves me and lets me cry on his shoulder (even when I soak his shirt). How he patiently listens when we’ve just gone to bed and I’ve gotten my second wind and want to talk his ear off. How he has been by my side through this season of infertility, reminding me that we’re in this together. How he points me to a Savior; One who truly loves me and is working for my good no matter what, when I’ve felt overlooked and unworthy.

I pray, friends, that you are blessed with such a person in your life, whether it be a spouse, a parent, a sibling, or a friend. One who encourages you and helps to hold you up when you are weak. One who speaks truth to you, even if it’s hard. One who loves you.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Thankfulness: Day 2

Today I’m thankful for days like this; the last warm ones before fall and winter completely take hold. Ones where I can take the kiddos outside without jackets and they can run and play for however long they want (or, more often than not, until their mama comes to pick them up and take them home).

This was our afternoon, a good one after a long day of grocery shopping, lunch, napping for the little one, and a little tv watching for the one a little too big for naps.

Whatever the weather where you are, I hope there’s a bit of it you can enjoy; a bit that reveals the Maker to you, the beauty of His creation, and His goodness.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Encouragement for today

I was knitting as we waited for our appointment with the fertility doctor this morning. Soft music played in the background. The door to the office was closed as was the window into the reception desk. This did not hinder me from receiving encouragement in a way I hadn’t thought of before.

One of the receptionists was making phone calls. From behind the glass I didn’t hear any real details, but I did hear “congratulations!”. My heart swelled for the ones getting the news. Only for a moment did my heart ache for the day I might be on the other end of that call.

At least twice more I heard similar conversations, and thanked God for the new life He had allowed to be conceived in a way that was probably not expected. Like having heard so many times about friends who had met their spouses through online dating, this gave me hope that He may allow these means to work for us as well, to bring children into our family.

If I have learned anything in my past 5 years, it’s that God uses whatever means He sees fit. Starting down roads, we don’t know if what we desire will be at the end of it, or if there will be a turn we have to take. But as long as we’re following Him, it’s all good. Singleness, infertility, and a million other things I would never wish upon anyone; the Lord uses them in our lives for our good and to bring Himself glory. And so I will praise Him, whether I get what I want, or not.

I pray you will be able to do the same; to still praise the One who gives us grace upon grace, new mercies every morning, and life everlasting. No matter what this world brings. No matter if our prayers are answered in the way we hoped for or not. Even if it’s through tears and sorrow (which it often has been for me, as of late), may we be able to say, “Above all else, Thy will be done,” knowing that the Father of all knows what is best for His children.

Love & Blessings

KJ

Delighting in the Little Things

On days like today when I want to pull the covers over my head and not leave the comfort and refuge of my bed I need these reminders the most. Reminders that in every moment we can find something to delight in. The kiddos help me so much in this and I see so much more than I would have on my own.

There’s delight in the happy growlings (yes, growlings) of a one-year-old successfully feeding herself with a spoon. There’s delight in the shouts of, “Come look!” by a two and a half-year-old proud that he was able to stack all of his LEGO cars together.

These accomplishments may seem small or trivial at first, but there are other things that need to be considered. Like when I previously let her use a spoon, T would continually take it, full of yogurt, and put it down in her high chair. Or that when the LEGOs won’t connect together the way he wants, G can get so frustrated that he tears his creations apart.

We adults are oh so similar. We, so often, miss the small delights, thinking they are “no big deal,” because we don’t remember where we started at. I, for the past few days, have passed on cakes and cookies (sooooo difficult) and have chosen some healthier options. While I doubt the scale reflects any of that yet, I can delight in knowing I made some good choices. Better than ones I have made previously.

All in all, when you’re feeling down and out, take a moment to reflect at where you are and where you started at. Even when things seem dire, God does not forget you and He will not forsake you. He uses circumstances that you’re in, circumstances that I’m in, to sanctify us. To refine us, as gold.

As I continue to delight in the small blessings He’s bestowed upon me, I pray you’ll be able to do the same. If you’re having difficulty with that, then think on the greatest one – remember where you once were, dead in sin, and where (I pray) you are now, alive in Christ. Ultimately, if we find ourselves in Christ, that alone should fill us with delight that will last many lifetimes over.

If you don’t have the delight of Christ in your life ask questions, pick up a Bible, venture into a church, talk to someone of faith that you know and respect. Don’t miss out on the greatest delight you will have in this life, and in the life to come.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Just Like a Roller Coaster

Up, down, around, and back again…

Sometime last week I realized Mother’s Day was coming up soon. I was worried about what it might bring with it this year: heartache, sorrow, bitterness, a few tears (or many), maybe, just possibly, a little joy? We’re in the middle of a lot. Ok, that’s not so very true, but with the extra hormones I’m on, this week has seemed about 20 days longs with all of the ups and downs and very far downs. I typically have some pretty awful mood swings a couple days a month and wasn’t too thrilled when I found out that the effects of the drug could be worse than that. But first, let me back up a little.

We first saw a fertility specialist a couple months ago. It had been almost a year since we’ve been trying and with my only having one intact fallopian tube (the result of surgery a few years ago), we decided it was time to see if there was anything else preventing this all from happening. After a month of collecting info from blood work and other tests the doc found nothing out of the ordinary and ruled it as “unexplained infertility.” Not something really encouraging, but it also means it’s not impossible for us to get pregnant.

When we met with him again, one of his first suggestions was that I take Clomid. It stimulates ovulation so that there’s a better chance that I’ll actually ovulate from the ovary that has a tube intact to carry it down. And before you think I’m crazy and could end up with septuplets, let me tell you that I’m taking a low dose and it has only 10% chance of twins and less than 1% change of triplets. I will admit I’m at the point where I think I’d be ok with twins and wouldn’t have to think about all this any more 🙂

Along the way & through all of this we have been praying and have been prayed for. For a child to be conceived. For strength from and trust in a God who knows what He’s doing. For His will to be done. There have been ups and downs and I’ll probably write about those later, but back to where I started.

Mother’s Day has been hard in the past when I was single and not knowing if I’d ever be married so that I could have a chance to be a mom. Last year it was hopeful and I don’t remember being at all sad. This year I was uncertain.

Yesterday marked day 3 of 5 that I have be taking Clomid and I felt it. I’ve been watching two sweet kiddos since we moved into our house and I left the library. Yesterday we went out for a stroll at Walmart. I needed just one thing but we wandered around and after a little bit I felt like I was slogging through mud. My brain was foggy and unfocused and I just couldn’t get my thoughts together. That, itself, made me start to freak out a little. Anxiety rose as thoughts wracked my brain, reasonable and irrational alike. I made it to the check out and as we left (me pushing the kiddos in the cart) the greeter called out, “Happy Mother’s Day!” I took my sunglasses from atop my head so I could cover my eyes before the tears started to fall.

I knew this reaction was not my typical one. I’ve been watching the kiddos for over 6 months now and have gone on many a shopping trip where I get complemented on how cute they are or asked if I think one will have curly hair like me (ummm, no, I don’t think so :)). It has never bothered me; sometimes I correct them and let them know I’m the “aunt” and sometimes I thank them, smile, and go on my merry way. This time, though, it tipped me over the edge. I knew the hormones were mostly to blame, but I still didn’t know what to do about it. We grabbed a snack and went to the park as I tried to regain myself.

The rest of the day I felt like I went from one extreme to the next, mostly between getting annoyed and angry to being desperately sad. We had dinner with friends and that was nice, but I felt pretty quiet and reserved most of the night. Once we got home and were doing family worship I told Steve all about my day. He, of course, let me cry on his shoulder, waited patiently while my thoughts collected themselves into communicable phrases, held me tight, and prayed to our great Creator.

I felt better, getting all of those pent up thoughts out of my head where they swirled relentlessly around. I felt better, being reminded of a God and Savior who will never leave me, forsake me, or stop loving me.

Today I woke up and felt like a new person. I got lunches and breakfast made and even prepped some for dinner while I thought about what I’d do with the kiddos today. When I got to their house, there were some lovely flowers waiting for me, along with a sweet note of support & encouragement. As we headed to Walmart again…we needed things for a secret project, G (who’s 2 1/2) started asking me about the songs on the radio. As I explained to this little boy that people were singing songs about God and how great He is and how they are glad that He’s always with them, in good times and in bad, my heart swelled.

This is one of the reasons I so very badly desire a child of my own; so I can share with them the greatness of God, the awe and wonder and majesty of Him and the amazing things He’s done for us all. And yet, I can do that while I still do not have children of my own. Is it the same? Absolutely not. But seeing knowledge and wonder of God grow within these little kiddos is amazing, and I wouldn’t trade that, either. There’s still an ache in my heart for a child of my own. A dark-eyed, curly-haired misfit who will drive her parents crazy (because there are only ever girls in my family 😉 ). But as I walked out of Walmart today and was, once again, wished, “Happy Mother’s Day” I simply smiled, said “thanks,” and strolled out the door.

I cannot say that tomorrow or Sunday will not bring different emotions. We will cross that bridge when we get there.

If you anticipate Mother’s Day to be difficult this year, because of the ache you have to be one or the sorrow of having lost yours, know that you are not alone. I’ll be praying for you. If you think of it, please send one up for me.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

God is Good…All the Time

I first want to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers over the last few weeks. The well wishes, phone conversations, visits, and cheery cards in the mail are all very much appreciated.

The day of surgery was somewhat nerve-wracking: we got stuck in traffic and got to the hospital at least an hour later than I was supposed to be there. I was really worried that they would say, “Sorry, no time for you now. You’ll have to come back another day.” Thankfully, they did not and everything got moving less than an hour after I got there. God is good.

It’s funny the things you remember before and after a surgery, especially when anesthesia is involved. I had an epidural (though it didn’t really work as it was supposed to), and while I remember sitting up and getting ready for them to do it, that’s the last thing I remember – not that I’m complaining. The next thing I remember was darkness and someone asking about my pain. I remember saying it was an 8, but thankfully, again, I don’t remember the actual pain. God is good.

I don’t remember a whole bunch from the days in the hospital either. I remember one of the sweetest, most gentle women I have ever met – a nurse – coming early in the morning, while it was still dark, to wash me. Her words were soothing and soon they were all about a God who could get me through this pain and trial. “Oh yes, I know Him.” I wanted to say. “He’s the one I’m leaning on.” But the words just weren’t there. When she was finished, though, she asked to pray and I agreed. I don’t remember the prayer, but I do remember the comfort and peace given in that moment. God is good.

There were countless requests for ice and water that my mama was quick to fulfill (because the surgery was later in the day she spent the first night with me). There was a visit from friends during which I’m sure I made little sense (I suppose drugs do that to a person 🙂 ). There was a phone call from a friend just to let me know that she had been praying and was wondering how I was doing. There was the news that the tumor, though 8 pounds (yes, you read that correctly), was benign, just like they thought, and little else was taken with it. God is so good.

I have been home now for 2 weeks and recovery is going well. I drove for the first time today and there was no problem there. I still walk pretty slow and felt a little in the way when I entered into the crazy bustle of Walmart today. Bending over is tricky and I can’t lift heavy things, but as I sit here typing, I’m in no pain. And the worst it comes to is this soreness like I just did 100 too many crunches. God is good.

There’s not much more I can say. I knew before this all happened that God is good, all the time. This, perhaps, is my first time of being aware of the complete truthfulness of that. I wouldn’t change this experience or wish it never happened because of that;

2Count it all joy, my brothers,b when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Remember the last time I posted that? It might have been one of those times when you say something because you know there’s truth in it and you very much want to believe it. Not this time. I had no doubt in it’s truth before, but now I know I have experienced its truth for myself.

Are you struggling to see God’s goodness in your life? I pray He will make it evident to you. For He is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

Love & Blessings,

KJ