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

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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 something 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 out 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

Idols Unveiled

We have just about a month (hopefully) before the arrival of our little girl and I’ve been horrible at keeping up with this – I haven’t even gotten to the part when we actually found out we were pregnant 🙂 That will be the next one; I promise (most likely).

One of the most difficult times in all of our fertility treatment was when we went in for a second consult with the doctor to talk about what to do next. It was the week after our third IUI and I was at the point where I didn’t know if I wanted to bother with it anymore. We were veering away from IVF, but still wanted to know what other options we had.

Our doctor was very well spoken and had a great way of explaining things with clarity. He told us more about IVF and the more he said, the more it made sense to me. If they limited the embryos and we used them all, surely there could be no wrong in that. As my mind was being changed I looked at Steve and couldn’t really read him. We had talked about it before and how we weren’t that comfortable with it. Amidst all the emotions I couldn’t help but cry, then and there, my heart and mind at odds with each other. The doctor was compassionate and apologized for going anywhere we didn’t want to, but said he was just giving us the facts (which he was; he was not at all pushy or manipulative). He moved on to talk to us about injectable medication and how all of that would work. It seemed way involved; lots of monitoring to make sure there weren’t too many eggs maturing (quadruplets were not the goal) and how if multiples occurred they could do selective reduction. That part was a hard pass and we told him so. Still, it seemed that injectables might be worth a shot (haha), though the thought of giving myself one was not my favorite. The only thing was we would have to order them soon because all of that starts earlier in the cycle than Clomid had and we would need them on hand. And then there was the thought or what would we do with the meds if we got them and then didn’t need them. We did not make any decisions right then; there was too much to talk about.

As we left, my fear was confirmed. Steve told me how he was still against IVF as I told him that I might be ok with it.

Before I go further, please hear this: I do not and will not judge anyone for going the IVF route. God uses what means He will; and that is totally a decision made between you, your spouse, and the Good Lord. If IVF worked for you, I praise God for the precious life He brought into your family through it!

We had sought insight from our pastor before we had this meeting. Probably even before we started down much of this road. We just wanted to make sure our perspective wasn’t skewed or we weren’t blinded by what we longed for. His suggestion (that stuck with me) was that because IVF could be really expensive, we should consider putting the money we would use for that toward adoption instead. At that time, this made sense to me. But as we came out of the consult, totally not on the same page, all I could think of was the fact that our insurance would pay for IVF while funds for adoption would have to be raised on our own.

To be completely honest, I was bitter on that drive home. Steve and I talked it over, he expressing why he didn’t want to do it, and me trying to convince him it would be ok. In the end (or maybe even at the beginning of it all) I knew it wasn’t going to be an option. I knew I would submit to my husband’s decision, because that is what I promised to do, but it torn me up inside. We all know it takes two people to make a baby; we both needed to be on board. I couldn’t do it without him and I knew arguing about it wasn’t going to do any good. Plus I knew, above all, the covenant I made, to love and respect him as the head of our home, was not made lightly. It is something I believe wholeheartedly in.

Does that mean I had no trouble putting IVF out of my mind? Absolutely not. The answer just seemed so easy, so right there in front of us…

Of course, nothing is ever really that easy.

Over the next few days I talked it over with a friend. My broken-heartedness over not being able to try something that could result in us having a child was raw and real. But as I spoke about the process, as I heard myself saying the words the doctor had spoken to us, I began to understand why it wasn’t right for us. I had done some research myself, months earlier, but just didn’t want to think about the possible disappointment in it all. Sure chances of getting pregnant with IVF are higher, but they are not guaranteed. I was already a basket case at least twice every 28 days, could I really handle going through with that IVF entailed; mentally & spiritually? And I knew my husband was right.

I wanted a child so badly, and IVF seemed like such an easy answer; we wouldn’t have to pay for it and it had a higher success rate than what we had been trying.  I wanted it so bad I was blind to reason. I was blind to the effect it would have on my well-being. I was blind to my husband’s conviction that it wasn’t right for us. I was blind to the Holy Spirit’s conviction within myself. This desire had become an idol (and not for the first time) and I was willing to look past the means as long as they met the end I wanted.

Laying down an idol is not easy. Nor is accepting truth you don’t want to believe. Admitting you were wrong, not only to the Lord but also to your spouse, is painful. Repentance and asking for forgiveness is difficult. Going through this whole process was the hardest thing I have ever done. The Lord reminded me through it all that He is in control, not I. He can see the whole picture, not I. He knows what is best, definitely not I.

I am ever so thankful to my husband for not caving in and standing firm in his convictions. Even more so for the gentleness and love with which he expressed them to me when I may or may not have been completely rational. In the end we decided to stick with Clomid and try one more IUI before moving on to injectables. Though we didn’t know it at the time, we would be dealing with any of that. The easy part was done and our lives would never be the same.

If you have ever been in a spot when an idol has taken over the Lord rightful place in your heart, you know how difficult it can be to dethrone it. If you haven’t, you might want to examine your heart… Oh so often the things we place as idols in our lives are not bad things; a child, a relationship, a career. It is when these become ruling things that there is a problem. Seek the Lord; all of the children, spouses, and money in the world cannot fulfill you like He can.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Love & Blessings, dear friends,

KJ

All Things New

A year has come and gone and I’ve done what most of us have; reflected on what was accomplished in those 365 days and found areas that could still use some improvement.

One big goal I have accomplished this past year is losing weight & actually keeping it off. Every year for at least the past 10 I have said I would do this when it’s time for making resolutions, but the resolve was just never there. In 2013 I started running, and I have a spectacular running buddy (though we are on a kind of hiatus for these really cold winter months), and, by the grace of God, we are getting fit and feeling good. Which does beat out losing weight (though it is nice to start buying smaller sizes). In this year, my goal in the fitness department is to keep going. It’s actually kicking off tomorrow with a trip to the gym before work in the morning. I’m going to keep running, getting fit, losing weight, and ultimately train for a half marathon that will take place in 2016. My friend, Johanna, had this crazy idea for us to do the Disney Princess Half Marathon when she gets out of the Peace Corps. I ran two 5ks last year; surely, by 2016, I can work my way up to 13 miles…And what better way to do it than to have Disney cast members cheering you on? It’s hard to see it actually happening, but if you would have told me a year ago that I would be able to run a 5k, it would have been just as unbelievable. 

Another area that I have grown greatly is in my faith. This is, by far, the most awesome thing. Words cannot describe it accurately except to say that I feel so much more secure in who I am in Christ. A new creation. A joint heir. God’s workmanship. It is truly amazing to think about & one thing I am going to do better this year is make the time to think about this, to talk with and praise God for this, and not get so caught up in the day to day junk that I completely dismiss the One who gets me through each day whether I acknowledge Him or not.

The message in church this morning spoke, so loudly, to this rekindled faith of mine that I cannot help but share it. Pastor just showed the title of it on the screen and I knew I was in for it. I made up my mind that I didn’t want to hear it and it would be too hard. Maybe someone else in the room would hear what he was saying and think of deep desires I had shared and think of how pathetic it all sounds. His title, you ask? A Love Worth Longing For.

If you know me, or have read my blog from the start, you know there is one thing I struggle with above everything else in this life; the fact that I am still “on my own” in a world where my sisters, friends, cousins, coworkers; everyone else but me, it seems; has gotten married and are happily starting their families. While this is not a thought in my mind every second of every day, it is something that I think about and is definitely a button of mine the Devil likes to push as he roams this world. I would be lying if I said I have never looked on these relationships of my friends & family with envy. It is something I long for, a kind of love I long for, and so when Pastor began his sermon asking about the kinds of relationship people might envy, I did not really want to hear anything that was coming next.

But I’m glad I did.

The message focused on John 17:20-26, the end of Jesus’ high priestly prayer right before He was arrested. I’m sure I have read through this section before, but new things were brought to my attention this time around. the first being in verse 20:

“My prayer is not for them [the disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,

Do you see that? “Those who will believe in me.” Jesus prayed for all of us who come to believe in Him through the message of the Gospel. How amazing is that to know that the Lord of all creation has prayed for you!

Jesus goes on to pray that the disciples, and indeed all believers, would be unified as one, so they/we might show the world the love of God, knowing that God’s love for us is the same as His love for Jesus.

Through this walk of faith of mine, I have not much doubted God’s love. It’s what first drew me in, finding out there was One who loved me so completely. And while I think of it time to time, especially when I think of the great ways He has blessed me and how much He must love me to do so; or how about the fact that He sent His Son to die for me? Yes, I know God loves me, but what was said today about it all makes me see it differently.

So while I have been fighting with being envious of my friends and family who have these amazing relationships; who have found their “perfect match,” that perspective was turned on its head a little today – I realized that a relationship I have, am a part of, is worthy of longing for as well. I actually have something others look longingly for, usually not knowing what it is. I possess something that good – the love of Christ and my relationship with Him. I’m not sure I will ever look at this the same again, or ever be so quick to be envious of a relationship that I don’t have – I have something amazingly better. It’s hard to keep in the forefront of my mind because there is no physical person always by my side, who shares my home, my life, my bed; but this relationship will never fade away. No matter how I might want to run from it or decide I’m unworthy of it – because I am – He finds me, His grace finds me and He delights in me. I am His and He is mine, and nothing can change that. Ever.

And I feel made new all over again. I have a Love worth longing for. I pray you do as well.

Love & Blessings,

KJ