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

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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

September 15-18

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

You can read Psalm 42 in its entirety here.

I knew at the beginning of the month that I would find out if I was pregnant while away on a girls’ weekend with my mom and sisters. I dreaded the thought of getting my period and my reaction to the let down. The emotions, the sorrow and the disappointment, had started to grip me with such intensity that I worried about it happening around them. Not that they would see it, but that they would see it and question, “Where is your God?”

And the morning came. I woke up and there was blood. I had since stopped being hopeful that it could be implantation bleeding. I couldn’t raise my hopes like that just to have them dashed. Self preservation mode was what I was running on. I went back to bed trying to control the flood of tears. Sobbed into my pillow in hopes that no one would notice. Tried to gather myself as everyone else started waking up much earlier than I had hoped. I just wanted to stay in bed, but we had a full day ahead of us and adventures planned. I hadn’t flown to Minneapolis to stay cooped up in a hotel room. I prayed for strength. For grace for one more day. For contentment in Christ and not to obsess with what was or wasn’t happening within my body. He brought me through to the other side of the day. I dealt with it as well as I could. I don’t remember any other melt downs that day. It wasn’t the best day ever, but I remember being able to enjoy the time with my mom and sisters and I was grateful for that.

Despite not wanting to get my hopes up, they were slightly. That or I was in denial. I spotted through the next couple days and still went in for the blood test because this period just didn’t seem normal for me. I went to watch the kiddos and tried to forget about the phone call that would be coming in a few hours. We went to the grocery store and as I was just getting them back in their car seats when my phone rang. I knew what was coming, but had to hear it to be sure. “I’m so sorry, but it’s negative.” I tried to coherently speak with her about details and cycle days and setting up the next appointment. I’m sure she heard my voice crack and the extra moment of silence it took me to gather myself. As soon as I hit the red icon, the tears came freely. Another disappointment. Each got harder and harder as I wondered why. And I wondered how much more of this I could take.

I honestly don’t remember much more of that day with the kids. I went to help a friend with wedding plans that night and quietly skipped over a telling of highs and lows for the day. I just couldn’t muster bearing all to them, though a little later that evening it did come up as one of them asked me how it was all going.

What I remember most is lying on our bed with Steve. Not being able to look him in the eyes as I voiced my fears. Fears that I knew to be untrue but had such a tight grip on my heart.

“Am I doing something wrong?”

“Am I not good enough?”

“Is God holding out on me?”

He answered a firm and confident “No.” The answer applied to all the questions swirling in my head and he continued to remind me of the Lord’s great truths and promises, something I needed so very much.

Dear friends, have you had such moments? Ones when circumstances seem dire and there’s nothing but sorrow and fear and oh so many tears? I believe those times fall upon us all. And while we may not see how we could possibly praise God in that moment, take hope in knowing, like the psalmist, that you shall yet praise Him again. He is our only salvation and God.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Thankfulness: Day 30

Well, this was an interesting experiment. I did not keep a perfect record of writing every day, but I did make it a point to think about something I was thankful for each day.

After a season of not really being sure what there was to be thankful for this was a really good exercise.

Today it was more of the simple things. We’ve had various commitments in the evenings for the past few days and tonight we got to just hang out, which included breakfast for dinner, pj’s by 6, and watching a movie. I’m thankful for this relaxing evening at home.

I’m also thankful that tomorrow is December 1st & Christmas preparations will begin. We’ll tidy up so we can put up the tree. I’ll soon be baking up a storm to have a supply on hand for Christmas parties, gifts for friends and neighbors, and just because. Most importantly, though, is the preparation inside myself. Preparation to celebrate the coming of the Lord. The preparation of remembering what He left behind to come into the world as a totally dependent baby. All to bring the Father glory and restore a right relationship between us and Him.

I pray, as the season of Advent begins, you, too, will take time to prepare. Not so much with gifts and cookies and decorations (though those are all well and good), but with remembering the reason behind it all. The glorious miraculous birth of the One who will make all things new.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Thankfulness: Day 20

Today I’m thankful we were able to share this news with the everyone: come June we’ll be welcoming a little one into our family.

It has been a journey, but really it’s only just begun. We are thankful for the faithfulness of the Lord. For Him allowing us the opportunity to be His ambassadors to a child.

I have some things I’ve written in the in between; before I got pregnant, before I knew I was, and after I knew I was but didn’t yet want to release that info into the world. I’ll be posting periodically and hope they may be an encouragement to those of you going through similar situations.

I know not all stories of infertility end this way; with the happy news of a baby on the way. I still know that feeling and I pray for those of you going through it. It is a difficult, exhausting, heartbreaking journey. Through it all, know that you are thought of, prayed for, and loved. By me, yes, but more importantly by the Good Lord above.

Love & Blessings,

KJ

Thankfulness: Day 8

Since yesterday I’ve had the hymn “Sweet Hour of Prayer” stuck in my head. I found it ironic, because if I were to add up my prayer time for the month so far, I might get up to 30 minutes.

This has been something I’ve been struggling with for some time; finding taking the time to spend with my God. To cry out to Him. To call upon His strength. To repent and ask His forgiveness. To praise Him for His many blessings.

And then this songs pops into my head. And I suggest it as one we use to open our LifeGroup tonight. It reminds me that I can leave it all with Him. All my worries, sorrows, pain. And I can find rest there.

So today I am thankful for two things: these songs that were written to remind us of Truth when we’ve forgotten; and a God Who is always ready to listen when we come to Him.

Oh that I would remember that daily and put it into practice. I hope you’re able to do the same.

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