Another Ride Around

I first want to thank you all for your prayers. There’s just something about knowing that brothers and sisters are praying for you that brings about such comfort and encouragement; so thank you! I also have been touched by many friends and family who have reached out to tell me they had experienced similar situations; that it can suck, but God still used it, in His perfect timing, to bring about the child(ren) they longed for. There were many grateful tears shed as I read your stories. Thank you for sharing them with me.

I have wondered through these months just how other women deal with this. Hearing that there are ones who have been through this and have come out the other side has meant more to me than you could possibly know. I praise God for you all and Him placing you in my life for such a time as this.

This past week I had an appointment to check and see if/how my body responded to Clomid. It did what it was supposed to do; providing more hormones so that there would be the potential of more than one egg released during ovulation. The hope is that at least one will be released on the right side where there is a tube that it can travel down. Unfortunately, this month, the ultrasound showed that all of the most likely viable follicles were on the left side.

I wanted to be upset when the doc told me that. All of this, and still nothing?! I thought. But really, I didn’t feel so bad. I laughed slightly to myself (is that strange?) as I praised God for the reminder that even with all of the doctors, medicine, & technology available, He is still in control.

Please don’t form an image of Him lording His power over the universe for “the good of the people” like Thanos or some equally horrible super villain (though I’m not sure if there’s anyone worse). Knowing that God is in control brings comfort and hope, because, indeed, “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” I don’t see the God of the universe looking down on me from on high laughing to Himself thinking, I sure showed her Who’s in control. No, that is not my God. His is more of a still soft voice that speaks lovingly of His promise to see me through, to sustain me, and to be all I ever need.

Also, as strange as it may sound, this news brought with it a blessing. The blessing of knowing already that this time around getting pregnant is highly unlikely. There is still the rare possibility of transmigration (where an egg starts on one side and somehow moves over to the other side…I have no idea how. That just goes to show how amazingly created these bodies of our are!), but it is just that, rare. In knowing this a couple weeks ahead of time I do not have to worry about thinking if some strange feeling could mean possible pregnancy and get my hopes up only to have them dashed when day 28 comes around. In knowing this I hope to stabilize my thoughts in the week to come so hormones won’t carry them away as is known to happen. All in all, I am thankful for this knowledge, though it is not what I had hoped to hear. I praise God for giving it to me so I may have peace of mind and the confidence that He’s got it in His ever-loving, ever-capable hands.

One thing I am not looking forward to is riding the Clomid carousel again in a few weeks. I know how it affected me this month, but I don’t know if it will be the same or different this next time around. Knowing what could happen, though, gives me somewhere to start from, I guess. I can only take it one day at a time, stay close to my God, His Word, and His people, and know that, this too, He will see me through.

In knowing what I know about it all, I will continue to delight in my Lord. I will continue to rejoice in His goodness and His grace. I will continue to pray to Him for peace and comfort and strength. I will continue to thank Him for these circumstances; though they are not ones I would choose for myself (or anyone else), I know He is using them for my good and His glory.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I pray, my friends, you are able to see the great hope in these words, and that you, too, would know that whatever it is you’re traveling through, the God of all creation sees you. He does not waste experiences or circumstances, but uses them. To accomplish His will. To refine you as gold. I pray you might find comfort in that.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

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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

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

“O soul, are you weary and troubled?” Last night and this morning those words ran through my head among the lies that floated in last night and made for a difficult nights sleep. I couldn’t remember the rest of the words but I knew who’s voice I heard singing it. Just looked it up and thought I’d share, because maybe, just maybe, you’re in need of this encouragement too.

Love & blessings,

KJ

I am Not My Own

Lord, You have redeemed me,

How can I ask for more?

How can I be selfish and just ask

and ask

and ask

When You have given all for me

That I may serve & worship You forever.

 

While I was still a sinner

You loved me

You love me enough to more than cover my debt

You overwhelmed it and thus

overwhelmed my soul.

Knowing the price You paid

I still back away and ask for more.

 

Let me love You & serve You

However that may look

Whatever that may mean

So that I may enjoy You forever,

Serve Your kingdom and worship You,

As You so rightly deserve.

 

The life given for me

So much more valuable than I can repay

And yet so often I turn away

I ask for still more,

Thinking His life was not enough

to make my life complete.

 

Lies; such lies surround me

Thinking I deserve so much more

That somehow other things could fulfill me more than Christ alone.

Let the lies fall dead on my ears

Let my heart not yearn

after that which is not You.

 

I belong to You

Assign me my place as You will.

The place You have for me

to do good works for You;

That which You have prepared for me

before the foundations of the earth.

And let me be content in that place

that I may glorify You & enjoy You

All the days of my life.

I am not my own.

God Within Us

In 1 Samuel 7 the Ark has been returned and the Israelites have returned to their God. Samuel tells them all together and he will pray for them. As they are gathered the Philistines see an opportunity to attack and the Israelites plead for Samuel to not stop praying for them. As a result, the LORD thundered a mighty sound that drove the Philistines into confusion and they left.

“What an amazing thing,” you might think, “to see God work in such an obvious way.” I would not disagree with you. There are many events in the Old Testament that would be a marvel to witness; Noah building the ark, the parting of the Red Sea,  Daniel coming out unscathed from the lions’ den, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walking out of the fiery furnace without a burn and not smelling of smoke. You might also think that it may have been easier for them, being able to see such physical evidence of God’s existence. I may have thought the same at one time, but not anymore.

In reading this last chapter I was reminded of a book I read a year or so ago, Kyle Idleman’s Not a Fan. At one point in the book he sets up a scenario of what it might be like in heaven; us getting to talk with people we’ve read about in the Bible & getting to ask them what it was like to be in the midst of such things. With the same fervor, he thinks, they might be wanting to know from us just exactly what it is like to have God Himself living within us.

Do you typically think that way? That you have God living within you? If you are in Christ, you have exactly that, the Holy Spirit, living within you.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. ~Ephesians 1: 1314

And not only do we have Him, but we have direct access to God the Father, because of the once and for all sacrifice of God the Son, that is, Jesus. Because of this we need no human priest to intercede on our behalf. We are able to talk directly to God without fear that He will strike us down, as He did to the men who looked upon the Ark in the previous chapter (1 Samuel 6:19).

So, while miracles like those in the Bible may not be as prevalent today, we can find peace in knowing we can approach God, in any circumstance, and He will hear us.

do not be anxious about anything,but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7

We can draw upon the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, who resides within us, to get through this life, with hope, one day at a time.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~Romans 15:13

Those are great and amazing things. I strive to remember them, more often than not, and pray the same for you, dear friend.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

A Mighty God

In reading 1 Samuel 2 tonight (you can read it here) one thought rose above all the rest; our God is mighty. Hannah goes to the temple with Samuel to give him into the Lord’s service (he’s about 3 or so years old) and she prays a heartfelt prayer. Overarching the whole prayer is the fact that God is in control.

The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and on them he has set the world. ~1 Samuel 2:6-8

I don’t know about you, but I find much comfort in this fact and was glad to be reminded of it once again. I can never be reminded of this too much, as I am all too quick to forget this in times of stress, anxiety, worry, and fear. BUT, knowing God’s got this, as well as everything else on the earth, brings me peace. This bit just adds to the comfort that this knowledge brings:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28

Through the whole part of Eli’s sons being awful and not following the rules God set for them I wanted to have a “REALLY?” moment; like “God has instructed you as to how you are supposed to deal with the offerings from His people so that they also provide your food and you are so unsatisfied with that that you take what rightfully belongs to God? REALLY?” But then I realized that I do similar things each and every day. I take time that rightfully belongs to God and squander it on things that don’t matter. I take potential gifts and talents that God has given me to use for His kingdom, and I ignore them because I don’t want to put in the effort. How grateful I am that Jesus came to be my redeemer so that I will never come to the same end that Eli’s sons did.

It was not only the sons’ actions that were in the wrong though; there was also the fact that Eli heard about it, told them to stop, but did not seem to go any further when they did not listen. A man of God comes to him to tell him that he has put his sons above God and there will a drastic price to pay; the death of his sons. And again I’m reminded of how I easily put things in my life above God. Some of them are even good things, but as God is the best thing, nothing should come close to comparing to who He is and all He’s done for me.

There’s a lot for me to still think about here; reminders of God’s great promises and also conviction of things that need to change in my life. I am grateful to have God’s Word; that through it the Holy Spirit can open my eyes to these things, help me to change, and draw me closer to my God. I pray you’re aware of His work in your life, too.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Not Relief, but Redemption

I’m starting my Bible reading in 1 Samuel. I have read through this book before, but it was brought up a couple of weeks ago and I thought I would like to read it again. Looking through it, I found it has 31 chapters – I think I’ve found what I’m going to be reading through for this month 🙂 If you don’t have a Bible on hand, go ahead and read 1 Samuel 1 here.

A couple of weeks ago I went with some friends to Spring Ladies Day at America’s Keswick. It was a lovely day that we got to spend in worship and fellowship, and teaching from God’s Word. Susie Larson was the speaker and she reminded me (and the other thousand or so women there) of some great truths about who we are in Christ and how disappointments can lead us to believe otherwise. In this, she brought up Hannah and how she looked for more than relief from her disappointment, she sought redemption.

Hannah was barren. Her husband’s other wife had many children and didn’t think twice about rubbing that fact in Hannah’s face. This more than saddened Hannah and every year when they went up to the temple she would find herself in sorrow for what she did not have. Her husband would ask her the reason for her sadness, for he loved her, and at one point, said to her, “Am I not more to you than 10 sons?”

It is here where I stopped to let this sink in. I am reminded that I, too, am blessed with a loving husband. Someone whose existence I doubted at one point (or rather many points) in my life. I am reminded of God’s great love and provision and perfect timing throughout our relationship. I am reminded that he and I are a family, with or without children. And I feel convicted by not being content with that, for now.

Perhaps Hannah was stuck in the trap of “if only.” I, for one, do not begrudge her for her deep desire to have a child. She went to the only One who could help her in this situation; she went in the temple and turned to her God. She could have just prayed for Peninnah (her husband’s other wife) to leave her alone. She could have just prayed for a child. But Hannah sought more than relief from her disappointment, she sought redemption. And so, Hannah prayed, not only for a son, but also that if her prayer was answered, she would give her son back to the Lord; she would entrust her son to the Lord’s service.

Hannah wasn’t just looking at how her disappointment in not having a child could be assuaged; she was looking to how her prayer could be answered to the benefit of God’s Kingdom. She was looking at a bigger picture than just herself and her desires and God, in His wisdom and compassion, fulfilled her prayer. She went home, no longer saddened by her circumstance, and soon she and her husband conceived a child.

We all can make grand plans and say that if God answers a prayer in our favor we will somehow use it for Him. I’m not saying that God will not honor that, but, truth be told, He doesn’t really need us for anything. And honestly, anything we have, be it material wealth, time, talents, etc., we should be using for His honor and glory anyway. Please don’t read this as if I always do…for that is nowhere near the truth.

But if there is a great desire you have; for a certain kind of job, for a child, for a spouse, what have you, take it to our Lord. Earnestly pray, asking Him to fulfill your desire, knowing first, that He is the only One who can truly fufill you. Look to Him for your redemption; knowing He is good, His timing is perfect, and His ways are not our ways. This is my focus in my prayer today as I work through disappointment to find not just relief for a day, but redemption for a lifetime. I pray, if there is something you’re struggling with, that you will look to the cross and find your way there, as well.

Love & Blessings,

KJ