Saturday, May 28, 2016

Could it Be?

(WARNING:  For those of you who have lost or are longing, this post includes content about conception and pregnancy.)

I notice a change.  It's subtle and small, but big enough for me to notice and I wonder, "Could it be?"  My heart dares to hope and dream while my mind cautions me to wait and see because it has learned that it's safer that way.  Too many heartbreaks and disappointments to go jumping to conclusions.  However, despite my mind's warning, I speak these hopes out loud to my husband and we hope and wonder together.

Days pass and the "monthly visitor" is now two days later than expected.  Our hope grows.  We decide that tomorrow, on Easter morning, we will take a pregnancy test.  We wake on Easter, the day we celebrate when Jesus rose from the grave.  The ultimate day of hope and life, and I see the results displayed on the screen:  "Pregnant"!

After two miscarriages, another three years of trying and waiting - four years after we started this journey of trying to have a family, our hearts hope again.  

In January of this year, after much prayer, we had decided to seek guidance from a fertility specialist.  We felt peace about taking this next step, listening to that still, small voice, not wanting to take things into our own hands or rush God's timing.  After completing the recommended testing and procedures, one of the doctors told us that we would not conceive naturally even though we had twice before.  She then gave her treatment recommendations and I listened graciously while knowing and believing that God could do whatever He wanted.

Due to the costs associated with the treatment, we decided against moving forward right away because we felt we were not supposed to go into debt for the treatment.  Instead, we decided to start saving money and to continue to try in the meantime.  Our hearts hoped that God would just do it naturally, on His own, by His own means.

Inspired by a Bible study, Seamless, I was participating in at the time, I started asking God to "remember us".  We were studying the Old Testament and had read about a couple different situations in which "God remembered" those involved and then something amazing happened.

On this journey of loss or longing, it can feel as if God has forgotten you.  It's an easy lie to believe and I know I've fallen into that temptation countless times.  If you are currently mourning a loss or are longing and still waiting, please know that you are not forgotten.  He sees you (Genesis 16:3) and still has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11) even when it hurts or doesn't make sense.

Angie Smith, the author of Seamless, explains what it means when "God remembered": 
"When we see Scripture use the phrase, 'God remembered', it doesn't mean He forgets.  It means, 'He acts'." (p. 66)
On Easter morning and the days that have followed, I have thanked God for "remembering us".  I have thanked Him for doing it His way and in His timing (even though my heart longed for it years ago).  I have thanked Him for this precious gift.  And although, we do not know exactly what the duration of this pregnancy or the future holds, today we celebrate and say "thank you".

Photo Credits:  JEEK Photography

Friday, March 4, 2016

I Didn't Know

When I was weeks away from turning 22, I ceremoniously committed my life to my best friend.  This day had been marked on my calendar and in my heart for about a year (a lifetime, really).  I counted down the days in anticipation of it's arrival.  It was a beautiful day.  A day full of hope, excitement, anticipation, and expectation...It was a dream come true.  

Recently, one particular moment from that day has been coming to mind, a part of my vow that I spoke to my husband as we committed our lives to one another.      
"I will seek the Lord and spend time in His Word, for it is only through His grace and strength that I will be able to be the woman, wife, and someday mother both you and God desire me to be."

When those words left my lips, I had no idea how our story would unfold.  I didn't know what was to come.  I didn't know babies could die before they were even born.  I didn't know people could try to conceive for years only to be left longing.   I didn't know.  My almost 22 year old self just thought people got married and had babies.  I didn't know any different.

We were married for seven years before our longing to become parents was undeniable.  We had spent the first seven years of our marriage learning how to be married and pursuing callings God had placed on our hearts.  But months after we settled into our first home, we both felt excited and ready to start trying to conceive. 

This month marks four years since that journey began.  Our journey began hopeful as we were blessed to conceive right away (a gift I do not take for granted after all these years of waiting).  I remember the excitement and anticipation of this child's life and the love I already had for him or her.  Yet, all our hopes were crushed when we attended our ten week ultrasound only to discover our baby didn't have a heartbeat.

Three months after our first miscarriage, we were blessed to conceive a second time (again a gift I don't take for granted).  This pregnancy was very different from the first.  Because of our previous loss, I had fears and anxieties and reservations, but they couldn't stop me from hoping and dreaming and loving our child even though I was afraid.  However, my fears became reality eight weeks later when we miscarried our second child.

After that first year of loss and heart-wrenching pain, we decided to try again and have been trying ever since.  It's been a long four years.  Years filled with loss, heartbreak, tears, unanswered questions, doubts, confusion, pain, disappointment, aching, longing, hopelessness, wondering, doctors' appointments, and testing.  But also with reminders of God's faithfulness and love, a stronger and deeper connection as husband and wife, comfort and prayers from people who care, healing after our losses, peace that passes understanding, and a deeper, more mature faith.

When those words left my lips eleven and half years ago, I had no idea how our story would unfold.  I didn't know what was to come.  And I still don't, but I do know that in this very moment, I have peace.  I have Peace.