Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Highway of Infertility

I picture the road of infertility as more of a congested freeway in LA. If only the road of infertility had just one fork in it. Having to choose between the path to the left or the path to the right, would be complicated enough. However, infertility is more like 7 different exits, onramps, and detours. Many paths take you in a circle right back to where you started, and other ramps take you miles away from where you thought you were headed. When I first started feeling so lost and confused with where this journey was headed, I would get very angry and frustrated. I wanted God to simply tell me which lane on the freeway to take. Why should I have to make all these wrong turns before I get where I am needing to go?
Then I realized something. I would not be the woman I am today without all these detours. I wouldn't be as strong or nearly as faithful. I would still be leaning on my own understanding and my husband's strength to get me through. Instead of living my life completely out of faith in God and His plan for my life.
I have started to resent ever using the phrase "God is stretching me out really thin." I have shifted my thinking and phrasing, and now like to think of it as God enlarging me. Traveling down the different roads of loss, getting to a dead end with a treatment option, or trying to figure out what exit ramp to take next, God is using each of these situations to enlarge me. He is allowing me to grow more in faith, in my relationship with my husband, and most of all grow closer to Him. I probably would never voluntarily choose to take an extra detour on this infertility journey, but I am very thankful for each one of the detours I have taken. I have to focus on what I have learned about myself and how it shapes my future.
The next time you feel stretched too thin, remember God is enlarging you and teaching you something extremely valuable. You just have to be open and willing to look at it with a positive perspective, as opposed to the all too common "why me" response. (Which is the response I have been known to use all too often)
When I am having a particularly tough day it really helps me to go back and read past posts about what I have learned. It is such a great reminder to where God has brought me, verses where I was when I first started down this road. I don't think you will ever catch me saying I am thankful for going through infertility, but what I will say is how thankful I am for what I have learned from the painful situations. I am better for having gone through this process, my marriage is stronger because of it, and my relationship with Christ has never been better. The day to day may be tough, but knowing my future will be different because of where I have walked is a great encouragement to continue this journey.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What I am Worth

There have been many occasions over the past 3 years in which I let people's words get under my skin. I have been spending a significant amount of time working on this because I have to realize that they don't even know how hurtful their words are.
However, more than just words I am hoping to help people realize there needs to be a bigger change than just words, but also a change in their perception. One of the most hurtful things I have experienced is at parties or other large gatherings. The first thing people say to one another is the oh so common, "So what do you do for a living?" When I respond politely with, "I don't have a job, I stay at home." Their next question is, "So how many children do you have?" Then in my most patient voice, I respond with, "I don't have children." (This response angers me anyways, because what I really want to tell them is about my 5 beautiful children in heaven; but I am afraid of their reaction) Then they respond with a blank stare, they don't know what to say, so they say, "Well what do you do all day?" Now, I realize they are not trying to hurt my feelings, but man oh man they do! It took a while for me to realize this was going to be everyone's response, so I began to use humor. When people would ask those basic questions I began responding with, "Well, I don't have children or a job, so I basically shop and sit around and watch t.v." Then they would stare and wait to see if I was serious, then I would laugh and they would laugh with me and it didn't hurt so bad that way.
I feel like me being me, taking care of my husband and my dog, cleaning the house and cooking is not enough. It doesn't measure up to the world's standards of having enough purpose. I have struggled with this issue for the past 3 years, and I think it is so wrong! Why do we have to be measured by our job or how many children we have raised? Society makes us believe that if we don't have either, than we aren't worth much.
I was reminded yesterday at church about how much we are worth! We are worth so much more than what we do or what we have. An occupation or being a mom doesn't define who we are. God made us each in His image, exactly the way He wanted to make us. We are all different with various spiritual gifts. As Christians, we are called to so much more. We are called to love unconditionally, give to those who need, care for those who are hurting, and give compassion when it is due.
I have never felt as fulfilled as I do today. I concentrate on helping other women who struggle with infertility and walk along side moms who lose their babies. I love to dream about the future, and what I can do to help. This is a different me, a changed me. I used to only dream about being a mom. I thought having children was the only thing that would make me feel complete and fulfilled. Don't get me wrong, I still have a huge burning desire to be a mom! It just isn't the only thing that drives me every day. I don't wake up fixated on getting to that point in my life. I have realized if I live that way, life will pass me by. I now appreciate Ferrari so much more, I appreciate the time we have just the two of us. I know one day, it won't just be the two of us and that will be amazing! I know I am worth so much more and so are you! Don't let other's thoughts or perceptions about you get under your skin. I guarantee they don't know how much they are hurting you, because they don't walk in your shoes. Instead, focus on who you are and where your are in life; because God has you here in this place for a reason, so relish in His glorious and perfect plan!

Our Church's prayer for the week:
God, allow me to see others the way you see them.
God, allow me to see myself the way you see me.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Tale of a Whale

I spent the better part of last week out of town. Therefore, I spent the last few days catching up on everything here at home instead of blogging. While I was out of town I spent time with quite a few of my nieces and nephews. I had a conversation with one about Jonah and the whale. After our sweet conversation I couldn't help but think that this child's story provides so much insight for me. It must have been years since I read that story, so I decided to go back and reread the story of Jonah.
Just in case you aren't familiar with the story of Jonah, or want a refresher- this little girl retells it the best, by far!

During this infertility process, I have definitely felt a lot like Jonah. Out of fear, I have ran from Nineveh. There are tests and procedures that I have never wanted to do. I have turned down options that seemed too far fetched, expensive, or uncomfortable. I wanted to stay right where I was, where it was nice and comfortable and I knew what to expect.
When I get into rough waters after running away, God is there to rescue me and provide me a safe place- it just might be in the belly of a whale. Initially, I pray and am so thankful to Him for rescuing me, but after a while, in the belly of the whale is not exactly what I had in mind. I get agitated that His plan is not my plan. Why am I not content with where He has me, I am alive at least? Why is it so hard to see beyond the stomach of the whale, and realize all that He has blessed me with? I have to consciously decide to be thankful for what He has done for me, and look beyond what I don't have. Only then, will I be strong enough to venture out to Nineveh, down the road that is scary and unknown.
One day, I hope to be able to finish the comparison of my life to Jonah's. I want to be able to express how Ferrari and I listened to God and obeyed his instruction. No matter how unchartered the territory is, that we had the faith to do it together!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Brush of Faith

Have you ever felt like you are with the Israelites wandering through the desert? In the past, I have pictured myself just wandering, not in the desert, but in this field of loss and infertility. You try and listen to what you think God is telling you to do next, but at times you're unsure of what He wants you to do. God uses those times, when we feel lost and unsure, to teach us what it means to live off of faith. Faith is knowing He has the perfect plan for you without seeing it what it is. His plan is just around the corner, if you would just believe. Faith that his plan for you is not to harm you, but to give you hope.
There are other times, when you clearly know what God is telling you to do. You may not want to do it, so you try and ignore Him. God is persistent, and He will not let up. Even if you are scared or have anxiety over what God is telling you to do, you have to have faith. Faith that what He has called you to do is not setting you up for failure, but have faith that what He wants you to do is for your good, and it is part of His will for your life.
Today, because it is Wednesday and I should be with my Bible study girls watching a Beth Moore video (if I weren't headed out of town), I decided to post this video of her that I absolutely love. She is a woman of such great faith, and one of my biggest role models. Enjoy, and prepare to laugh!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Tale from the Bottom of the Barrel

Has there ever been a time in your life where you had to literally trust God with everything, and move forward with faith alone? If you have, you know full well how hard this can be.
When something throws our plan off, even just a little, we freak out. Well, traveling the road of infertility has felt like that for me. It has been a three year path so far, and it has definitely not gone according to our will. After you have lost 5 babies in 3 years, you start to reassess your plan. You start to ask more questions. Am I on the right path in the first place? I thought this is where God wanted us to be, but maybe it's not.
Ferrari and I had a plan when we got married. We were going to start a family right away! We wanted four children and then we wanted to adopt a precious little one that we could give a home. (I know, Ferrari must really love me to agree to 5 children, haha :) Then, life started to happen and it wasn't going according to our plan. Who would'a thought? We figured our plan was perfect, why would God want to mess that up. Reality is, our plan is far from perfect and it has definitely not gone our way. Yes, we have our five children, they just happen to be living with Jesus instead of here on earth with us. There comes a point when we have to sit back and ask God what is the deal? Obviously, His plan for our life does not mirror our plan for our life.
We have to throw our plan out the window and forget about it. Otherwise, I sit and constantly compare how it is going all wrong. How we had planned to have two children by my 25th birthday, which happens to be this June, and we have none! Each year I vow to myself that I will have a child at Christmas to share the holidays with, 3 Christmases have come and went with no children in my arms.
The way I see it, we only have one option anymore. We have to move forward with complete and utter FAITH. There is no other way! I may not be able to see the path ahead; but God is going to direct where our feet should go, which doctor's to see, and which decisions to make.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

The amazing thing is with faith comes peace. Peace is one of my new favorite things. Waking up in the morning knowing I have no control over my life and where it takes me, ironically gives me peace. When the human side of me stops focusing on MY plan, and allows GOD'S plan for my life to take shape it gives me peace. I know that whatever happens to me or for me comes from God, therefore it will all be for GOOD.
I know some of you reading this are thinking, how can you really live like that in such hard times. Honestly, it is easier for me to live out this faith filled lifestyle when life is hard. When life is 'easy,' the human/sinner side takes over and you don't feel like you need God's help. When you are at the bottom of the barrel the only thing you see is the Light shining down on you from above. It is much easier to focus on the light, the Lord, and nothing else. He is the only way out of this mess, and He is the only way I can get back up on my feet again. We used to recite this verse a lot back in high school, but it now holds a new meaning for me.

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

When you find yourself in times of trouble, God does not try to hide. He wants you to see Him! He wants us to see His shining face looking down on us. For me, seeing the light from the bottom of the barrel is like seeing God looking down on me, and it gives me peace. When you know He is with you, there is nothing to worry about and that is such a great feeling!