Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Sister-hood of Suffering

I got a parcel yesterday from on old friend. Someone who has been through the mill over the last few years. I mean, hard hard times. Such hard times that she has retreated and hidden for a while (and that's totally ok). She read this blog and said that it gave her a bit of hope that there may be light for her at the end of her tunnel, because God came through for me. I wept as I read it and said to my hubby that opening up and exposing my life has been worth it, if only for that one person. It's all about the One.

And for the first time, I was grateful for the suffering. Our breakthrough has been healing and wonderful and I am so incredibly thankful, but I just could not be grateful for the journey. The journey (which is not over, we have the first breakthrough, not the last) has been so hard it still takes my breath away. It almost crushed us but because of His Grace, didn't. But at times I can tell you it was pretty darn close. But knowing that my suffering enabled someone else to relate, was enough to make me grateful. There is something about suffering that humbles you and opens your eyes. You get it. You are able to understand someones else pain and frustration and suffering and hopefully point them to Jesus.

Suffering transcends boundaries. Another friend said yesterday that she was encouraged at my baby shower. She had renewed hope that if God could come through for me then he could come through for her with a husband and a Godly marriage. So I get to the place where I am grateful. If my pain and suffering can show someone else that God is faithful and true, thank you God.

The one encouragement I wanted to leave you with, my sisters who are suffering, is to give yourself a break. Suffering is incredibly wearying. I am living with a renewed energy and passion and I realise how much suffering wearied both my hubby and myself. Hang on to God and keep going to church and keep "plugged in" but be kind to you. I can promise you that you will be back. The way you are now is not the way you will stay. The weariness will pass with breakthrough but until then be kind to yourself.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Thankful

I am just so grateful and there is not one moment that I take for granted. I thank God for each minute I spend with my son. I go to bed each night so thankful and look forward to the next day because I get to spend it with my boy.

I thought that this would be good, well I hoped that it would be. People like me who have walked the road we have and are an A-type personality are at a high risk of post natal depression. I knew this and so had no expectation as to what this would look like. All I asked was that my baby bonded and attached to me. So to be loving this is an incredible blessing.

I am in a wonderland, free from pain. I will never stop being grateful. I look through my bible each day and I see the verses and sections of scripture outlined and underlined with dates beside them. I know the pain each verse represents and what encouragement and hope God gave me each time. I can chart this journey though His Word and that is more appropriate than I can ever express. I thank God for the hope that His Living Word brought me. My heart aches for the Sammy back then but how my heart rejoices now!

Thank you Jesus. I will never stop thanking and praising You. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seriously...?!

It's been a while since I posted and not due to any emotional reason, we just switched internet providers and our old modem could not support their system. Typical. So I had to figure it all out, get a new one and then hook it all up. I am actually quite proud of myself...!

But in the meantime we have some amazing news.
(No I am pregnant as every second person tells me I will be shortly. FYI, that's a load of rubbish. Statistically it's simply not true but as all good suburban legends go, everyone knows someone who knows someone who fell pregnant right after adopting. I am not saying it's impossible and one of the blogs I follow had that happen, but statistically it's unlikely. However, I digress.)

Someone close to me know shall remain nameless but is close (wink wink) has offered to be an egg donor for us! Seriously? How unbelievably incredible and amazing. Their generosity astounds me. Although to be honest I would do the same for them. We are close. So anyway!!!! We start the treatment in...pause...January! Yes January that is NEXT month!

In guess the obvious question is how do we feel about treatment and God? because enough Christians have issues with IVF let alone egg donor IVF cycles. So I though I would lay out what we think for what it's worth. But before I do I feel very very strongly that each of us has to go to God in prayer and seek His Face with regards to treatment. What some people feel is ok may not be ok for others. Each of us has to stand before God one day and give an account for the decisions that we have made.
And so we take this very seriously as I would like to be standing before God and hear "Well done good and faithful servant", not "So let's talk about the decisions you made with regard to fertility treatment...!"
I am also not trying to justify the decisions that we have made. We are more than happy that we have prayed and fasted and sought God on this. But I think as someone who has a blog on infertility and is Christian, I owe an explanation of our decision making.

There are several high profile organisations that are against IVF. For the reason (so I believe with the research that I have done) that not all embryos are used in some cases by some couples. Some are frozen, remain frozen and are never given the chance at life. In the States there are millions of frozen embryos and most will be discarded. These organisations believe that these little clusters of cells are life and have the right to a chance at life. We agree. We did IVF with the proviso that we would use each and every embryo no matter how many we got. Unfortunately my body does not produce good quality eggs and so we never had the chance to even freeze any. But we made the choice before we started any cycles at all.

When you get to an egg donor cycle, these organisations are off the chart in terms of disapproval!
They do not agree with donor sperm or donor eggs. And I am not saying whether they are right or wrong. They are well respected and everyone is entitled to their opinion. We would only do this with a close relation for obvious reasons. The same reasons that we will only have an open adoption. The child has the right to knowledge and a relationship with their biological heritage and family. (Please understand that I am not passing judgement on those who may be reading and have done anonymous sperm or egg donor cycles. This is only the decision making process that we went through with God and is specific to us) So as this is the case for us, we are happily accepting with very grateful hearts! Extremely grateful hearts!

This is rather a long post just to say that we have more treatment coming up! But one that is worth an explanation I think. We have always pursued 3 options for a family, a miracle (come on God!), treatment and adoption. I have come to realise that we are not going to have a "normal" family and we are more than fine with it. We are grateful and thankful that God chose us to parent our little boy and are grateful and thankful for the opportunity for more treatment.

Thank you Jesus

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The absence of pain

It's been two weeks and 6 days since we brought our boy home. I am so grateful I could cry and frequently do (!) I marvel at the fact that I have a son and I (yes me- the "severely infertile" girl) is finally a Mommy.

My baby shower was everything I ever dreamed of and I got to thank all those people who have loved me, encouraged me and stood by me. It was completely overwhelming too and in a way I am glad it's over. It was such a huge milestone for me that to finally reach it was almost too much. It was not one of those light and fluffy baby showers but it was perfect. My hubbie made a DVD for me as a surprise with photos of the two of us of our years together and then photos of the 3 of us. There was sobbing... I am so blessed to have that man as my husband. Everyone really enjoyed celebrating with me and I loved it but now I want to move on.

The biggest change for me is the absence of pain. Pain was my constant companion over the last 6 years. Emotional pain and at times physical pain. I don't think I realised how much the pain affected me. I trusted God and opened my heart to Him and loved Him and trusted Him some more, but still life was incredibly painful. Almost every moment was filled with a reminder of what we did not have. I don't think I am alone in feeling this way. I didn't not trust enough or hold onto my dream too hard, the pain just was.
To be free of the pain makes me light headed. It's a bit like when you have a really bad headache and then after taking pain killers you realise the pain is suddenly gone. That feeling is almost euphoric- the absence of pain.

My friends have said that I even sound different and honestly when I look at photos pre and post our baby, I can see the freedom on my face. I now even laugh differently...! I never want to forget and somehow I don't think I will. I will always be mindful of those like me. In fact, I may have a son but I still want breakthrough in this body of mine, so I may not be done with pain yet.
I want to laugh, like Sarah, and sing like the barren woman, with a cluster of children at her knee.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

My moment

Tomorrow is my moment, the one I have dreamed of for 6 looong years. You know.....the baby shower.

There were times that were incredibly hard when it felt like my heart was ripped open and the dream of being a Mommy seemed like it would never happen. Those were the times I would day dream while driving about my baby shower. By faith I would imagine my baby shower- the thing that did not exist yet and had no reason (in the natural) to exist. I would drive with tears pouring down my face and give "the speech". The one where I give thanks to God Almighty for saving me from bitterness and resentment. Where I thank Him for not forsaking me when it seemed like He had. For remembering me so I too, like Sarah, could laugh. Laugh with joy at the favour and blessing of a child.

I have imagined my baby shower more times than I ever imagined my wedding. It has sustained me through such hard times. I think we each have a little thing we do to get us through- when we imagine the victory parade.

So tomorrow is my day, my baby shower. The actual baby shower is incidental. I don't really care what happens and to a degree, who is there. My speech is what matters because He will be there. He will be there in the room mingling, mixing, listening and to those who will hear, talking. I want to say thank you in front of the people who matter. Thank you to my Jesus, for remembering me. For blessing me. For not forsaking or forgetting me.

I want to say thank you. Thank you for my son.



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Monday, November 17, 2008

And one more because he's just so precious...





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Our news...


After a crazy week away from Auckland and enough drama and adventures to keep a soap opera going for a year, we finalised the adoption last Friday (14 November 2008).

My dream came true with a call from our social worker at 12.50pm, we were finally parents.

The joy is hard to describe and the relief is overwhelming. After 6 hard years we have a child. My gratitude to God above overflows. My friends say I am lighter and more free and its because we are just so happy.

My poor blog has suffered and this is short as my boy needs feeding...but more very soon.


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Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Bigger Picture

Been reading (I am a crazy avid reader who will read the back of a cereal box if I have nothing else to read..) "The Horse and His Boy" by C.S. Lewis. I am aware that it's a childrens book, but I was desperate!

Aslan the lion (oh hello Jesus!) keeps appearing and a lot of the time scares the pants off the characters. From their perspective He never seems to help them when they really need Him but just terrifies them. As the reader you can see the bigger picture. That Aslan is directing and moving and encouraging them. But the characters can't see it and feel abandoned and confused for a lot of the story.

Hmmm... sounds like someone I know. I am scared and confused and feel abandoned. But what am I missing about the bigger picture? I know there's one out there! And when we see it the misery that we endured for a night will fade to a bearable memory when we look back on it. My Aslan is directing and controlling this situation.

I feel like Shasta riding to get help through fog on a narrow trail. And there's someone or something running beside me but I can't see who it is because of the fog. I am scared but I have to trust that it's Jesus. I am not abandoned. Aslan is here, my Lion of Judah, my hero.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

He's born!

He's born! A beautiful baby boy, 5.520 kgs (yes that is 12 pounds 2 ounces!) on Monday night 3 November at 9.23pm. The birthmum called and said "get yourselves down here asap" and so we went yesterday morning to meet him.

Now I am not a baby kind of girl and generally think new borns are really ugly....but he's gorgeous. Can you see my melted heart? He's not squishy or red or wrinkled and is just plain beautiful. And he sucks his little fingers and makes a clicky noise...genius.






Meeting him was hard and there's no denying it. We felt awkward and out of place. Sort of like we were intruding. Not that anyone made us feel that way and everyone was so pleased to finally see us again. Even the nurses were so nice to us and welcomed us in.

Due to his size (I guess I better get used to the potential comments as he really does look like a 3 month old!) he was placed in a special care unit to monitor his blood sugar levels.

This place is like fort Knox and you have to be identified to get in. This one nurse knew our situation and was just so kind to us. She let us in with a cheery welcome and left us alone to have a precious special time alone with bubie. That was incredible and so kind. I guess we are not used to being treated with kindness due to the systems opinion of adoption and so kindness just stands out. So I got to sing with him and we prayed over him- it was just bliss. Needless to say he has captured our hearts!



And yet, life is not smooth for us and we had another road block from the social services (bless them Jesus, bless them...I will say it until my heart believes it)

We apparently should not have gone down so soon. We were not told this and were told that access after birth was fine... so another huge telling off from the social services. We really should be used to them by now I guess. Got our lawyer involved and packed up and came back home. I am going on more than I should but I just wish someone would speak to the birthmum about what she wants as all we are doing is following her wishes...



So here we are at home again trying to be positive. My hubbie is incredible and has handled all the various parties beautifully. My lion xxxx. I was a mess yesterday as what started out with such joy turned to custard and was so all tears and sniffles (you know, the ugly giant heaving sniffles) At least we were in a hospital where such behaviour is kind of normal, I guess.

We are meeting with the social services this week to work out "a visiting plan" so will take it as it comes.



When I asked God how we would cope all He said is that He has built strength into us for this time. I would just (quite selfishly I admit) like to not be strong for once and just have an easy perfect run through this. But I guess it comes back to what is unconditional. I have said time and again to God that I want my love for Him to be unconditional. And this is where unconditional rubber hits the road, so to speak. Even though this is a mess and nothing ever seems to work out for us, does my love for Him depend on Him doing things for me? Regardless of how hard this is I have to be able to say "no". That despite the mess I will love and honour and serve. Ouch.



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Monday, October 27, 2008

Our slice of heaven

A place of warm fires and chocolate

Sleeping late and reading lots

Cabbage trees and tiny crabs

Long slow walks along the sand

Dreaming of our little one

Him, me and Tam the cat

Alone but all together
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Monday, October 20, 2008

Break it down...

Here I am on Monday, waiting some more. Not a Mommy. Still.
I have been in the cave on the weekend. Not wanting to talk, just be with my hubbie and hide. Why? Dunno.

I think I lose clarity and perspective. It's like I can't see that there is a good ending to this. There have been so many disappointments and hurts that another another delay kicks of some kind of reaction and I lose hope.

Logic and my head are telling me I am crazy and that this wait is normal. My heart has it's fingers in its ears going "I can't hear you!".... The two are going backwards and forwards and I am afraid my heart is winning.

But reading through my journal of Sunday sermons really helps. We have a God-lover for a pastor and he's been doing a series called "break it down". He is white so not quite as effective as if he was brown and saying it with the hand actions!!

However its really good and talks about how when we lose clarity and perspective we need to break it down. Go back to the basics/ get to the root of things.
So right here and now I have no perspective and I am not going to beat myself up about it. But I will break it down.

What do I know:

  1. God is in control
  2. He loves me. Actually He adores me.
  3. I trust Him.

And that is what I have to focus on during this water torture time of waiting. Despite the battle between heart and mind, He is in control. God loves me and is fighting for me. And I trust Him- no matter what....




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Thursday, October 16, 2008

...still waiting!

Here we are...still waiting. That's ok as I know God timing is perfect and He has this under control. But this is still a battle and the words that God gave me last year still ring true. Before our last treatment He gave me some words and they are for now....

But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Exodus 14: 13
God Himself is fighting for us- we know it and we feel it. The enemy sneaks in and tries to intimidate and create an atmosphere of fear. Every moment of this process has been God-breathed and the outcome is for His Glory. We hope and pray and believe that the outcome is a baby for us but even if its not (small though that chance is), it's an outcome for His Glory.
We have been attacked again via the social agency which handles adoption. I guess its not appropriate to go into details but again this week after an awful phone call fear and intimidation rose up. We have been led in this process by the birth family but this is not according to the social agency protocol and therein lies the issue.
We have prayed and then walked forward and this process is of God, but how do you explain that to a social worker?
In my quiet time the next day the bible fell open at Nehemiah where I had outlined a small passage a while ago (thank you God!) It just spoke into the situation and I thank God from the bottom of my heart that he showed me this then, for now.
My reply was, "You know you are lying. There is no truth in any part of your story." They were just trying to intimidate us, imagining that they could break our resolve and stop the work. So I prayed for strength to continue the work. Nehemiah 6: 8-9
So I prayed for strength to continue knowing that the words spoken over me were not true. I refused to bow down to intimidation because my God is in control and He will have the last word.
So anyway, we met with the agency today and my hubbie who is my hero, went to bat for me. He was like a lion, a nice polite lion, but a lion none the less.... and the meeting went well. We think they see our hearts and that's good. Thank you Jesus.
We have a cute little saying that we say to one another (from the cat- yes I know...but we love the cat and she loves us!) We say "I heart you" for I love you. Or "hearts to you". So all I can say is "I heart you Jesus... I heart you a lot". Hearts to you xxxxx


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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Breathe!

Friday was D-day and I woke up almost hyperventilating. I have a weird habit of not breathing properly when under stress or excitement or I am concentrating...

Anyhooo...went off to work where I was like a cat on a hot tin roof waiting for updates. Then, I got a text that the hospital was full and the inducing (inducement??) would be next week...

Ok, can do that. Was sort of relieved and a bit frustrated and had another million or so other feelings all vying for head space.

So we have the weekend to chill and relax. I know God's in control and His plans are perfect. And this is what He's ordained. So in the mean time my tidying frenzy continues around the house. Every single cupboard bar one is tidied! I need to remember to breathe...



God is so good and this little baby is providing such healing for our family. My beautiful mother-in-law is still so raw after my Da's death. Even today she took one look at us when we walked into her house and started sobbing. She cried for about 10 minutes and my heart just broke.

She has kept the bassinet that my darling slept in and has done it up. It's just gorgeous. It hasn't been used since we announced that we wanted a child as it was so important to my hubbie that our baby was first in it. Here it is:




Note donkey trialing the bassinet and the cat trying to pretend she is isn't interested in what's happening.



So we hope that this baby will help heal my mother-in-law and give the family a new focus. Not to replace what we've lost but to add to and help to heal us all. And in the meantime I am practising to breathe and waiting...


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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Coming soon!

Baby is due soon, I mean really soon! I am counting the days.... Seems like I should take a breath as this is where I have longed to be for so long but the days are flying by.
I just long to have a grateful connected heart with my God. I want to stay in the place of dependence and reliance on Him. There has been too much learning and absorbing and crying and hurting to forget Him.

And besides, this will be number one and I am unashamedly want three! And I have yet to experience pregnancy so there's a lot of room for a miracle. Must say (and I guess I can say it as this is my on-line journal) that I am glad not to be pregnant and having to give birth and breast feed... there, said it! Shock and horror! I am secretly quite glad!!!

God continues to amaze me with his favour at this time. Everything is just perfect, God perfect. He is moving heaven and earth for us and I am so grateful.

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Argh...

Sunday we had a baby dedication. Which is normally enough to send us screaming for the hills... One of my closest friends is our senior pastors PA and she normally lets me know when they are on and we avoid morning church on the day. Sad but true...

But this one snuck right in and before we knew it, it was too late. It was interesting as it didn't hurt as much as usual, because of our adoption, but still did a bit. And I was glad that it did because I never want to forget this pain.

But then the person leading the dedication asked all the parents to stand so they could be prayed for. And THAT hurt. It was like we had a giant ""L" for loser on our foreheads and it was agnoy. I looked at my hubby and he had tears in his eyes. He whispered "It hurts huh?" to me. My heart just ached.

Why do we do that? Why do we single groups of people out knowing that when we do there are people we are leaving out?

I made a decision. I will never ever stand up. Not ever. I have been at church when married couples are asked to stand for prayer. How does that make all the many many single girls feel? And I know how much it hurts when parents are asked to stand up.

Now I am all for honour. I love to honour those who do a great job, our pastors, leaders, Moms and Dads, servers etc etc. We need to acknowledge and honour people around us.

How do we do that without causing pain to others? There must be a way. We must be able to love and honour and respect and not make others want to crawl into a hole.... until I figure that out, I am not standing up when singled out, just so that others don't feel like we have.



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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

One more step

We met the birth father and his Mum last week. We were very nervous! It didn't help that our social workers were 15min (!) late and so we'd all met by the time they got there. But we got on like a house on fire. The birthfather is SO nice and his Mum's pretty special too. He likes cats and chocolate brownies so we really couldn't go wrong could we?!!

Again we are totally overwhelmed at God's goodness to us at picking two such different yet equally wonderful familes for us to be joined to. There's no way that this could have been planned by human hands as every detail is perfect. I think that part drives the social workers mad as they are almost not needed as God orchestrates every move.

I can sense God fighting for us in the heavenlies- sounds a bit super-spiritual but it's true. He's up there fighting for this to work and working out every detail. All we are doing is standing at the moment. I am not in fighting mode or trying to work towards break through. All we are doing is standing as my God fights for us.

I feel so incredibly loved...

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chosen

It's been a while since I wrote. Simply because I have had no idea what to say. Something so huge is happening that it's hard to out words around.... we have been chosen. We have been picked by an amazing young girl to be the Mommy and Daddy for her little baby boy. Even writing it sounds so final and for most of the time that we have known we are picked, I have been running scared. It's ironic that the birth family has not wavered in their choice of us and so have been more faithful than I have. I have been wavering and freaking out and trying to believe and not listen to the voices in my head telling me that this will be like all the other times.

But there comes a time when you have to jump off the cliff and trust completely. Trust that this is the time that God promised us, when He would fight for us and all we would have to do is stand.
What has made it so hard is that this family is incredible. They are God-lovers and to think that we would be tied to this family forever is more than I could have dared to hope for.
So I have been fighting the fear that if this did not work we would not only be losing a baby but we would be losing a family too. Fear is the giant that I face and I know that God has made me His little giant killer. So I have chose to turn my back on fear and trust that this is it. So I am sharing with you!

We are so excited. We are very blessed that this is a private proposal so we have more time to prepare. And I have had list after list after list. It's been wonderful....! We have also had time to get to know the birth family and fall in love with them. There are so many God connections with them and we have so much in common. We meet the birth father and his Mom next week. That's the last little hurdle and we pray that they see our hearts and that we long for an open and loving adoption.

I always knew that adoption would be first best for me. I honestly don't mind whether I have a child through a miracle, treatment or adoption. I would love to have a patchwork family that God has given to us through different ways. Have I given up on bearing a child myself? No way, I think I will believe until Jesus calls me home. But if I don't bear a child myself I won't feel like I have lost out. We will keep trying all three ways until we have our family as that's what God has told us to do, but however they come is first best for me.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Carried

Tonight I am confused and scared. We face something amazing and terrifying at the same time. And as I sat in the afternoon light on my couch all I longed for was to be finally holding my baby as I sat there. I wept and wept and wept before my God and He sat beside me and was just there for me. My empty arms ached and I know He understood. All I know in times like this that there are two truths I hold onto...the Cross and the Resurrection. I cling to the beautiful rock steady never ever changing truth of the Cross and the Resurrection.

I found this amazing song by Leeland (never heard of them before..!) and it really ministers to my shaking heart.

Thank you Jesus, my wonderful incredible Truth






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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thank you God

Mike Gugglielmucci has fallen. Trusted friend of our church and man of God has fallen. But I thank you God for the gift on his life. The way that gift ministered to me despite the man and nothing can take that away. The enemy can't snatch that away. The gift on his life from You Lord has helped us stand firm in this trial, and that is real. The song he wrote, "Healer", spoke to us through my Da's death and is the anthem of his life. Nothing is impossible, so much so that I know that I know that my Da is with Jesus. And I know that I will be a Mommy. So thank you God for the gift on Mike G's life, that despite what he was going through, you remained faithful and ministered to me through him.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Saved through the fire

Been thinking lots about my friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they faced King Nebuchadnezzar (and his hot hot hot furnace) for not bowing down and worshipping him (Daniel 3) The furnace is a picture of the trials we face in life and I find myself thinking about this story again and again...
I read someone talk about how God saves us from the fire, or in the fire or through the fire and He has been talking to me a lot about it.

God can save us from the fire before we walk through a crisis. We make our stand, our even -if stand and are facing the furnace. We feel the heat on our faces but before we are thrown in, God rescues us. This is the type of salvation/rescue I pray for again and again and I suspect you do too. We put our hope and expectations in God coming through for us before we are thrown in the furnace. We pray to fall pregnant before treatment begins. We pray that we don't need treatment at all. I prayed that my Da would be healed before his chemo began. It crushes us when God doesn't come through because we see only one type of salvation, salvation from the fire.

But God can save us in the fire. We are thrown into the furnace and the trial happens to us despite (it seems) our prayers. The very thing that we have prayed for rescue from, happens. We are in the middle of the heat and testing and God saves us. We fall pregnant though IVF or chlomophene or healing happens through surgery for cancer... We experience the suffering, we taste the pain and God rescues us. We pray so hard for this and assure God that saving us now would bring Him so much glory! And if he doesn't we are devastated. We (me) fail to see that there is one more way God saves us.

God can save us though the fire. This is the hard one but the most amazing situation. Even though we walk into the furnace, stay in the furnace and walk through the other side with (seemingly) no sign of God or any kind of rescue attempt, there is still salvation. This is passing through the fire of our final and failed IVF attempt and then falling pregnant or adopting. This is losing my Da and discovering that he accepted Jesus and was in heaven.
This final salvation involves the full and complete pain of the fire and the then whole and complete redemption. This is a full work. God crafts us in the fire (remember He is the fourth man in the fire!), does a complete work and allows us to walk out ''unsaved". Then He restores and completes us.
This third type of rescue/ salvation is so hard as it seems as if the promises are a lie and our faith is empty. We believe and hold on and trust, and them walk into the fire, face the whole extent of the fire without breakthrough or release and walk out "empty handed". But I have learnt that we walk out into redemption, into grace and into newness. God restores. I think that there is a special grace for those saved through the furnace. Why? You only have to look at the life of Jesus.
He wasn't saved from the furnace (the prayers of the garden of Gethsemene) or in the furnace (no angel came and lifted Him off the cross). He was saved through the furnace. He walked all the wall through. It seemed as if He was utterly abandoned (know the feeling?) and walked out empty handed- all the promises and revelation a lie. But redemption and restoration waited. And elevation above all things.

So for those of us who wait on the other side of the furnace, possibly facing another round in the heat, there is redemption and restoration. As God honoured, restored and lifted up Jesus, I believe that those of us who endure and endure with faith (no matter how small it may be) will be restored and lifted up. I believe that God will come through with more than we could ever hope or dream of. I believe that we will look back on the things we hoped for and they will be a shadow of the things we have.
So I need to stand firm. I believe that my God, the God of abundance and promise (refined like silver seven times over) will come through. And we will have more than we ever hoped or dreamed of....amen!

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Even if

I haven't posted for ages! Every time I sit down to write it's like all my thoughts are swirling around my head and I can't pin them down. We are again facing huge things in our lives. Things that I can't form words around, they are so huge and at the same time so fragile. But really, what's new? We seem to face giant after giant (hence the name of the blog!) and still God is faithful. Still God is the same. Still God is unchanging.

As with countless times before we have a choice, will we trust Him? The answer is yes but this time I learn something new. Through an amazing book by Dr James Dobson "When God doesn't make sense" I learn about the difference between understanding and trust. I don't need to understand my life or even make sense of it. God never promised me complete understanding. He did however promise me peace if I trusted. In Dr James' words "Trust needs to be independent of understanding."

No matter how hard I try I can't understand my life and get it to fit within boxes I can make sense of. And in a weird way, that's quite nice! It frees me to just trust.

It challenges me to live with the "even if" attitude. Ages ago Pastor Kennith Chin (from Malaysia- incredible man of God and friend of our church) talked about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they faced King Nebuchadnezzar for not bowing down and worshipping him (Daniel 3) They stood before the most powerful man on earth and said

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

I have to have the even if attitude. I think (!) I do but it's amazing how with each new giant you have to face it again and make the choice once more.
I was driving home late one night this week (ok, late for me meaning at 9.30pm!) and I made my faith declaration in the car. Even if, God. I will trust you and I will love you. My expectation has to be in the Hope, not the hope that my expectation will be met. Now that my declaration is made, I have to live it....


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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wanna-be

I am a wanna-be and freely admit it. My friends inspire me and I see parts of their personalities that I love and I want those parts too.

I see such an aspect in my friend Desi. She stayed with me last weekend and was so so sick. She looked green at times as she battled a stomach bug. And... not one word of complaint came out of her mouth. I would ask her how she was feeling and she would whisper "Not so good, Sammy". She wanted to be at every meeting and event and was focused on the women from her church.

At the same conference my amazing pastor was overdue. She was due to give birth on the Friday and on the Saturday stood on her feet for about 8 hours over the day/ night. And not one word of complaint. I asked her if she was sore and tired as I knew she was. "Yes" she replied and that was it.

Now I don't consider myself a moaner and work hard at not being negative. But clearly I have a long way to go!

So here's my promise. NO complaining about late night and tired eyes when I have a bub. If God ever blesses me with a pregnancy, NO complaining about nausea and pain. I shudder to think that I would, but knowing my fallen nature, I probably would. So I am taking a leaf out of my friends books and aiming not to complain!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More than me

Infertility can be isolating and lonely. It's a painful journey at times. As a couple we have learned to hold on tight to weather the storms and pull together. But it also affects those around us. They carry our pain too and also ask questions of God. My darling Mom confided that she really questions God about this and I realised that it truly affects others. Close family and friends are also walking through infertility and this is their journey as much as ours. I think that's important to remember and even though we are the ones without a baby, our parents are without their grandchildren and our siblings without their niece/ nephew.

This affects your ability to relate to people, especially pregnant girls and couples with new borns. Something in me closes down, no matter how hard I try to relate and "be normal" and it's just so hard and painful to hear about the baby and pregnancy. My longing must be like a neon sign post on my face and I just want to cry with yearning.

This journey requires immense patience from those who love us. Sometimes they can't take it and walk away from the relationship- in a way, who can blame them? But there are others who hold tight and hang in there. Who hold on during the times we can't connect and decide in their hearts to love us anyway.

There aren't words to describe these people. But, being me, of course I will try! They are pure gold, priceless and unconditional in love. Infertility hurts them too as they weather the times when we are hurting. To me they reflect Christ's love.

We are so blessed to have people like this around us. And in the bloggersphere I want to tell Meg that she is one. We love you always Megs and you are priceless to us. Thank you for always loving us, you are incredible.
*****update 10.08.08
Simony you are one too. Thank you for always loving us and carrying our burden. Thank you for always trying to relate. Love you xx

Sunday, August 3, 2008

How can I not sing?

Its been an amazing weekend filled with God encounters at our woman's conference. I got to host one of my dearest friends who is the pastor of a thriving church. What a privilege to spend time with her- our love tanks of quality time are full!

My wonderful man went back to the bach (beach house) with his Mum for the first time since his Dad's death. The bach is filled with Glenn, it personifies the man and everywhere, I mean absolutely everywhere you look, you see him. So a very very hard weekend for my man.
But as we stood in church tonight one of the new songs really hit home. The songs that are coming out of our house are simply amazing (you have got to get a CD if you don't have one) The lyrics say:

How can I not sing?
Freedom came to earth to rescue me
How can I not sing?
Glory came to earth to set me free
The questions of life are ever present. Why infertility? Why death and grief? And sometimes there are no answers. But even in the face of all this with no answers, how can I not sing? How can I not worship my Saviour?
When we look up and see Him, the beauty and majesty of Him, how can I not sing? My heart cannot hold back. Yes it hurts and when I see the grief on my beautiful man's face my heart breaks. Yet he lifted his hands and with tears pouring down his face tonight he sang. Sang for His Redeemer, the Freedom that came and rescued him. He overcame and worshiped his Saviour.



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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Aaron's oil

It's amazing how often we think we are walking alone through life and are the only ones feeling the way we do. We somehow think that even though others face similar things to us, that they somehow deal with it differently. Maybe they don't question or doubt like we do. Maybe their faith is stronger and bigger and ours is weak and brittle for thinking the way we do. I have heard it said that it's a tool of the enemy to isolate us and make us think that we are alone.

But we are not alone in what we face and how we react and feel about it. Others face similar trials and journeys and it is so incredible to find that we are not alone in dealing with them the way we do.

One of my favourite God lover girls, Angie, writes about Moses and how his sister Miriam pushed Moses' basket out into the river. She pushed it out with faith and God came through. Moses was rescued by the daughter of Pharaoh. I can't write the story like Angie has and anyway, it's her revelation. I encourage you to read it.

She described exactly how I feel. How it feels when God doesn't come through in the way you hope. I know what it feels like to be standing in the river having pushed my basket out and God seemingly hasn't come through. My basket just disappeared around the bend in the river....

Again though Angie comes back to the truths that we know. The truth that God has been whispering in my ear constantly since the 29 June. The truths are not that I am infertile and the loss of my Da is irredeemable. The truth is that God knows how I feel and the pain I experience. He loves me, and you, and will not forsake us.

God gave me another picture this week of what we are going through. Sorry if this is a little weird but God often speaks to me in pictures. I saw huge blocks pressing down into one another with incredible force. The pressure of the blocks bearing down was creating oil. It seeped from under the bottom block. It was a picture of our lives at the moment and God said "the oil that dripped down Aaron's beard". I had no idea what this meant and after speaking to someone was directed to Leviticus to investigate further. Leviticus 8: 10 -13 (and Exodus 29)

Aaron was anointed with oil as part of his consecration to serve God in the tabernacle. He was the priest and after washing and dressing, oil was poured over his head which dripped down onto his beard. The oil signified a setting apart, dedicating or consecrating. It was one of the things that was done to make him clean enough to enter the tabernacle and serve God.

So the pressure we are under is making oil in our lives which is setting us apart. It's the process of consecration. That is amazing but to be real, I wish it wasn't quite so hard. This honestly leaves us breathless at times. But I think that's ok, it's ok to wish it wasn't so hard. I am learning to move beyond my performance addiction and not worry about being ok.

God is moving as He moves in all our lives. To know that is enough for now. We are within His purpose and His plan. I know that He loves me and I love Him. Even if I can't react in the normal way I do, He knows I love Him. And I am cherished.


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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Jesus knows....

One of my amazing friends is miscarrying for the second time. As with my beloved Da’s death the question “why?” is a heartfelt cry. But for us as humans living in a fallen world many of our “whys” will never be answered and each “why” reveals another hundred “whys” behind it.
Why does God allow us to suffer through infertility and miscarriage? Why do people die too soon? I just don’t know.

As I seek I find that there are no answers but Jesus and the cross. Its true God does not always spare us but he didn’t spare Himself either. He sent part of Himself, His one and only Son and experienced pain and anguish and suffering. The God of heaven humbled Himself and became one of us. So when I cry out to the heavens I know that there is a God who knows. Who understands how I feel and grieve. That really helps me. I have no answers or fancy revelation but I know that God knows.

God doesn’t enjoy watching us suffer. I admit that I have wondered if He does in the darker parts of our valley. But when I read how Jesus reacted to human suffering and how deeply He was moved when He encountered suffering, I know that He suffers when we do. He knows what it’s like to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

The High Priest Who Cried Out in Pain
14-16Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let's not let it slip through our fingers. We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.
Hebrews 4: 15 (NLT)

Suffering and pain reveal Jesus. I am more in love with Jesus now than ever before through what we walk through. Somehow this journey allows me to see more and more of Jesus. The only time in the four gospels Jesus is addressed as God directly by the disciples, is when Thomas saw the wounds inflicted by Jesus’ suffering (end of John). Jesus’ suffering reveals Himself. Likewise my suffering reveals Jesus and I see Him more clearly.

Does this make living now easier? Yes it does. It’s of immense comfort to me that God knows. I wish my friend’s tiny baby was safe in her. I wish my Da was here. But still I know that God knows what its like to be me here, wishing for a perfect world.


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Friday, July 11, 2008

Waiting for the dawn

Again really comforted by Angie's blog...

I have spent a lot of time crying in the last few days, and I would love to ask for your prayers. I know that this season (and many more to come) will have peaks and valleys. It's just that when you are in the valley, you feel like you won't ever come out. I think one of Satan's greatest schemes is making us feel hopeless because we don't have the strength to climb again. He doesn't want us to believe that God is our rescuer, that He can carry us. He wants us to feel like God doesn't see us, doesn't know how weak we are. He wants us to believe that our Father has left us, cold and without comfort. No flowers, no blanket, no parent. Just the night sky and the sound of silence. I know it isn't true, but I want to say it because I'm sure there are others who feel this way, and I want you to know that I understand.
from audreycaroline@blogspot.com

At the moment there is no comfort as we sit at the bottom of this dark crevasse and hope for the dawn. But I know that this will pass and I will be able to feel God's loving touch and the sun of joy and laughter again.

I felt this after the miscarriage and so I have been in this place before. It's cold and dark and silent. But here we have to rely on faith and what we have learnt. That God is faithful and His promises are yes and amen.

When God's promises seem empty and the words He has placed in my heart seem like my own imagination I have to remember what He has done. That He is faithful and He will rescue us. That I am cherished and loved.
That somehow this is our year of Jubilee. Even though the natural tells me that there is no way this could possibly be our year of Jubilee and in fact this is the worst year yet, I have to choose faith. That He is faithful and His promises are yes and amen.

Again Angie expresses my heart...

I will leave you with a verse that God has brought to me many times in the last few days, and it has brought me great peace. I hope it does the same for you.

“The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The week that was

Well, here we are. Not even a week on. It was today a week ago that my Da was here. In fact this time last Sunday he was with us. Can't really dwell on that too much. We are still in shock I think and are struggling to accept that what has happened is real.


I know this blog is about infertility but this eclipses our childlessness for now. The thing I struggle with the most is that he will never know our children. They will never know what it's like to be wrapped up in his arms and made to feel safe and loved. He was adopted and so was going to help make adoption ok for our children and help them understand that an adopted family is the same and better. The pain of the loss of that wisdom is hard to describe.


His Kelly dog went to be with him today. She was so old and knew her beloved Dad was not around, we think she gave up.

I thank God for the total peace and utter conviction that he is with Jesus. I don't know what we would have done if we did not know that. How do I know that? I don't know but last Monday I just knew. It was a word deep in my heart. Our Da came along to church and we'd had significant conversations and asked him to keep his heart open to God during this time. He said he would and his heart was so soft.

God has been merciful- we both got to tell him that we loved him. It was the last thing we both said to him. I put my arms around him and told him I loved him. And the boys got to spend one last weekend up at the bach (beach house) with him the weekend before.

And I know that God is in control. We are not angry and we don't even have questions, we just have this gaping hole in our lives and we don't understand. This hurts so bad and we don't understand. I got sent these verses from a beloved friend last week and I have been holding onto them.

The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace. Psalm 29: 10 and 11

We don't understand but we know that God is in control. This seems as if it is so wrong and cannot make sense, but God is enthroned over this. He is in control.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Dad

I believe that He is your healer. That the prayers we prayed for you were answered and you are in heaven with Jesus whole and healed. God came through, just not in the way our human hearts hoped and longed for. But I know that you are free, free from pain, free to go for long walks along heaven's shores looking for the perfect fishing hole.

You have left a hole in our lives that only God can fill. We miss you every moment. We love you so much. Words can't describe how much we love you.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The unthinkable


The unthinkable has happened. My beloved Da, my father-in-law passed away suddenly on Sunday night. His heart could not take the strain of chemo. Our world has imploded and it's unthinkable to think that he won't be in our future. The thing that we could not bear is here.

We love you Dad

We love that our family revolved around you

We love that you made our family a safe haven for us

We love that you fathered the fatherless

We love that you cared for the widows in our street

We love that you believed in our dreams

We love you with all our hearts



Saturday, June 28, 2008

Living with no skin

It's been ages since I posted! Mostly because I have been struggling for equilibrium. It's been so frustrating as I find that this journey is like a yo-yo. I go from being pain free and dancing among the daisies to a place where it hurts to breathe. And seemingly in the blink of an eye.

We have had a rough couple of weeks and last Sunday was the worst. We went to the opening of my Fertility Clinic, which I designed (a long amazing story for another time)- Lord Robert Winston was there who did Child of our Time series on TV. As we were the only part of the project team invited, we went. It was awful- they had invited lots of IVF babies who romped around the room. Their IVF success only highlighted our IVF failure. We had no idea all the children and happy Mommy's would be there..... we went home, got into our PJs, into bed and wept in each others arms.

Hence my extreme frustration! I thought having emotional breakthrough would mean that I live pain free! That this would never bother me again and I would be able to live a life as if this wait and journey to Motherhood didn't bother me at all. I long to please Him and "do this journey well"!

God very gently started challenging some of my expectations and understanding of Him this week and although it hasn't made it less painful, it's really helped me free myself from my own expectations. I love how gentle He is with this mad A-type personality of mine, as I just need to think He's rebuked me and I say "hold on God, I'll whip my back for you and double my own load in repentance...!" Like he's ever like that..!

Here's my thinking;
"Is God as pleased with me when I am not "doing well" as when I am? And should I even call my times of heartache and pain "not doing well?"
In my head doing well is being able to live this time in trust and acceptance and joy. Not doing well is living in pain, frustration and tears and not being able to be around babies and pregnancy without pain. The question is, is doing well and not doing well as description from God or from me?

So what about pleasing God? Do I please Him only when I live up to my expectations? It seems that that would be works based and not grace based. The only way I can not please God is by sinning. So am I sinning when I an "not doing well"? I am in pain but I still trust Him and accept this journey... and being in pain is not sinning. So I have to say that I am not sinning.
So maybe I please God in times of good and times of pain. When my heart breaks is God still near? Do I still love and trust Him? Yes- it just hurts a lot!

So at the moment we are in pain. Life really hurts. It feels like we have no skin on and every touch and encounter with a baby related situation hurts. Are we pleasing God? Well, I am still here seeking Him, my heart is not bitter and I am trying to stay open and trusting.... so I have to say that I am pleasing Him.

Maybe there is no "doing well" and "not doing well". Maybe there is just living life with it's ups and downs. Maybe I please Him just because I am. Because He loves me, didn't have one of me and so created one of me.

My revelation this week is that I please Him in times of good and in times of heartache. And it's ok to hurt because we are people with hearts and emotion. We long for the desires of our hearts, which are good God given desires. And I know that this little season will pass and there will be a pain free season to follow- and that's ok.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Threshing Floor

I was reading one of my favourite blogs and I saw a post that touched my heart so deeply that tears started rolling down my face, at 8.30am on a Saturday morning...! Not sad tears just "overwhelmed and touched by God" tears. It was all about the threshing floor...

Threshing floors are open flat areas, like barns without walls, that are used to process the grain that is brought in from the fields. The grain is tossed into the air and the lighter chaff which is useless is blown away. The heavier grain separates and falls to the floor, then is gathered for grinding. Threshing floors are usually on high ground where the wind is stronger as the wind assists in the winnowing and separating of grain from chaff.

The threshing floor is a simile for a place of testing or trials from God and was a very important place throughout history. Incredible God encounters happened for people like Joseph's brothers (Genesis 50:10) and Ruth/ Boaz (Ruth) on threshing floors. But the encounter that captured my attention was between David and God in 1 Chronicles 21.

David found Himself on the threshing floor owned by Araunah. He was there because He had sinned and God told him to go to the threshing floor. Now we are not where we are because of sin- infertility is NOT a punishment but the thing to note is that David went to the threshing floor willingly. I am sure you are the same as us with hearts that long to be used by God. We have surrendered ourselves and our hearts willingly and so by following Him in obedience we have found ourselves here, on the threshing floor of our lives.
I think its also important that threshing floors are high up. God is found in high places and that fact that the threshing floors are high means that we have had to walk up to them. We make a choice to seek Him.

David was in pain. In fact his heart was breaking. But he did an incredible thing. He built an alter to God on the threshing floor, at the place of his testing and in the middle of his pain. David had bought the threshing floor from Araunah for full price because he would not build an alter to God that had not cost him something. And we know what it costs to build an alter to God in the middle of our threshing floor- the trial and struggle of infertility. Sometimes it costs almost more than I have to lift up my hands and worship Him. The struggle to surrender when I know that He could rescue me and for the moment chooses not to, is intense. But I know that I need to.
Building an alter during times of suffering is of incredible beauty. Suffering and surrender are the most bittersweet partners. Together they give us access to the heart of God. We gain a picture of God that we couldn't otherwise. When we worship from this place we do it from a new depth that is created by our surrender.

But it was the next part of this blog that touched my heart so deeply. I felt redemption and hope. In Chronicles 3: 1, Solomon built the temple of God on the threshing floor of Aruanah. The very place that David had built his alter and was the place of his testing and ordeal would now be the site for the most amazing building to ever be built. The building that represented God, the one that He designed to reflect His Glory and His beauty.

For me this was confirmation and promise. On the threshing floor of infertility God promises to build a temple. A temple so beautiful that people will marvel at what He has done.
Our shabby little threshing floor with it's bloodstained and tear soaked alter where we have laid down our dreams again and again as burnt offerings, will be redeemed. Will be restored and made into something beautiful. I am redeemed.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Jubilee night!

God told us that this year was our year of Jubilee (see Leviticus 25) Well, it's been pretty poor so far in the natural so I am inclined to make in your face faith statements anyway that defy the natural. A bit like the fact that when its obvious that I am not pregnant each month, at the time when my body is obviously not (read between the lines) I go and buy something for my babies.
Jubilee was about parties and celebration among other things and so tonight was a "Husband Jubilee night"! I took my darling to the All Blacks vs England rugby match. We travelled into the city on the bus (yes I went on a BUS) as the buses are free if you going to the match and had a macho dinner at...Tony's Steakhouse" and then caught another bus out to the match. Very bus orientated night!

The match was great! We won, of course, and I was very loud, of course. The funniest thing was during the second half when the All Blacks were thumping the English, the terrace (cheapo seats where people get thrown out from and generally play up- lots of attention from the police officers) got bored and started a giant Mexican wave. But... a Mexican wave with bottles and food thrown up in the air as the wave passes. I could see it coming and as it got closer could see sprays of liquid in the air and bits of food flying as people tossed whatever in the air. Nice.... all you could do was duck and luckily I only got hit by a few stray chips (sans the tomato sauce thank goodness). You can understand why all the bottles allowed in to the grounds are plastic now!

We then caught - wait for it- the bus back home. It was hilarious as Kiwi's are very proud winners and not so gracious losers. So the bus trip was filled with a bit of singing and many loud jokes and comments about the poor defeated English bus travellers.

Anyway, it was great to just have fun and celebrate life. To celebrate God and His goodness and just have fun. We had fun together and toasted our life here and now. Jubilee everyone!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Making sense


There's something in us that wants our lives to make sense to others. Especially in a Christian world we want to be "normal" and serving God and ok. But what is normal? Normal is certainly not my life. Normal is not walking through infertility as sometimes I feel like I have two heads. I used to think it was me, until I got onto Hannah's Prayer and saw that many, many others are "not normal" either. This journey often makes no sense to us and so our lives seem to make no sense to others either.

This journey makes a mockery of normal and sensible as we would like to understand it. We can be fine spiritually and emotionally and then take a hit to the stomach and be down flat for a day or two. It's an every day, lived in trial, that is a constant. But the way to move forward is to spend less time on your face, and get up quicker after each knock. To always trust God even through the tough days and to keep your hand in His constantly.

I found this in a blog I read occasionally and it expresses what I think and feel:

Oh, the great creeping notion of normalcy. It slinks around us and encircles itself about our feet and convinces us our calling is to fit into a category, or a box, or a statistic, or a quota. We love the idea of being corporate. And not that we shouldn't. But it's usually about following a crowd so that we can be loved instead of folding in just as we are because we are loved. We've bought into the idea that if we don't make sense to everyone else we must not make sense at all.


I know that this journey is not a punishment or a curse but part of God's plan for us. Not looking normal is part of His plan for us. I know that. He is fine with us and where we are at and I think quite likes us with two heads!

So today I caught up with my pastor and friend and it was so good to sit with her and talk. She really saw my heart in the midst of my conversation and I am so grateful. I should not care what anyone thinks but I somehow do. So I grateful that my friend saw beyond my two heads into my life and saw that yes, we are ok. Thank you God.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Our Living Revelation

This month I thought I had my miracle. The signs were so good, unlike any other month I can remember. But this morning I found that this month would be like any other. I was in traffic on the way home behind my amazing friend Sarah who knew what my day had brought. She jumped out of her car at a red light, ran back to my car and handed me a CD and said the words "track 5". I found this incredible song that spoke to my circumstance and it exhorted me. As I played it over and over on the way home my whole vision, heart, mind and soul filled with Jesus.
The song was an exhortation to me that this time it's not a time to give into the disappointment and hurt. Not this time. This time it's time to exhort my soul to lift up and see Jesus.
"You are our living revelation
You found my lock and turned your key
Opened up every dream in me……You are eternal salvation"
He holds my dreams and they are safe. He opens them up in me so I can trust Him with my life, its twists and turns. And He found me, just ordinary me, and saved me. He picked me to love.
So beloved, I exhort you with the gentleness of someone who is walking alongside you through this journey. Lift up your soul, like David in the Psalms, who exhorted his soul to lift up and see God.
"We give you all the honour all the glory all the praise
The name of Jesus saves"


Yes there is a time to give into the pain, but there is also a time to just see Jesus. Not overcome or fight or struggle, but let His Grace wash over you and lift you up. Just see Him, He picked you to love as he picked me.
So this time for me "No one could steal away this light inside of me" The hurt can wait until tomorrow or next week but this is my moment to "cry Jesus" just like this incredible song says and let His Grace fix the brokenness.

Song by C3 "Eternal Salvation" from the album "for Your Glory" "

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Practical 101: Having bloods done

More practical tips as if I can save someone pain and frustration through stuff I have learned, it makes my pain and frustration worthwhile!
Having blood taken is a very regular part of fertility treatment and can be awful. If you have veins as wide as a highway and this is no sweat for you- don't bother reading on. God has blessed you incredibly!
But... if you have deep and skinny veins and this is a real trial, or through repeated bloods your veins have packed up and gone south, these tips are for you.
They are gold to me as both the above apply to me and I break out into a cold sweat at the thought of having blood taken and have been known to beg for mercy in the blood room...
  1. Keep warm- wrap up like an Eskimo on the way to your bloods. Especially keep your hands warm. You want blood pumping around all your extremities and not drawn away from your hands trying to keep your core warm.
  2. Drink at least a litre of water in the hour/ hour 1/2 before your bloods. I drink a litre and a half. As bloods are first thing in the morning you are dehydrated when you wake up and don't have any further water from your brekkie. Yes you will need to wee 300 times but it's worth it. Rather the discomfort of a full bladder than the pain of pokes in the left arm, right arm, then left arm again! The water makes your veins dilate and they are easier to find.
  3. Ask for a little rubber glove filled with hot water and put in in the crook of your arm. This draws the blood closer to the surface.
  4. Know your arms. I know (after many painful pokes) that my right arms has no veins that are unscarred so my left arms is the only option. Forgetting this means many trails and unnecessary pokes!
  5. Breath- try to stay calm. I do big deep breaths and try to focus on something else. Almost impossible I know.

Hope these help :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

All I have

The prognoses for our loved one is worse than we thought. They need to have 6 months (6 months!) of chemo starting in two weeks. 8 cycles of 21 days each. I have typically reacted in a "what can I do" way and am currently in the throes of a soup making frenzy. Good hearty soup is needed for recovery and so the freezer is rapidly filling with neat little containers with a variety of flavours. Honestly like soup is going to help...

I think I am quietly trying not to freak out. But here's the thing. Do I trust Him or not? I have learnt enough to know that my love and trust needs to be unconditional. Do I trust Him or not? That's the still quiet question in my heart. When I put the soup ladle down long enough to think, the answer is yes. Yes I do trust Him. I trust that He knows what He is doing with the life of this incredibly precious person.

So what now? Pray and lay my burden down. And leave it down at the foot of the cross. That's all I have because He is all I have.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Freedom with Gratitude

What will it be like to be free of this? Not emotional freedom or spiritual freedom which we can have while on the journey...but complete freedom though then receiving of the promise. I see the freedom my friend now experiences and I wonder what that feels like. It must be amazing.

I was reading this morning in Luke 8:26-39 about a demon possessed man who is freed by Jesus. The relief at being freed just jumps off the pages at me. He sites at Jesus' feet after being freed, not even wanting to go home and tell his loved ones. He just sits there, relishing his freedom. He must have felt light headed and almost giddy. I bet the world was brighter, colours more vivid and sounds clearer. And he could look up into the face of his Saviour. This was his Jubilee.

And I love his heart. It overflowed with gratitude. He begged to be allowed to go with Jesus and be near him. And when Jesus told him to go back and tell his family what had happened, he told his whole city. That's gratitude!

I can imagine him walking the streets of his city with dignity and calm. It seems that the demons denied him dignity and pulled him here and there so I think he would never have rushed anywhere. I know I would have always walked- because now I could. And everywhere whenever he got an opportunity, whenever he someone did a double take and recognised him, he would have poured out the amazing story of his salvation. I want a heart like that!

Too often I see people forget the passion they had for God when their prayers are answered. It scares me to think that I would do the same. This man did not forget God and I pray that I would be the same.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Purpose-full burden

A friend of mine has had breakthrough in the journey of childlessness. God has come through in an amazing way and given her far more than she could ever have hoped or dreamed of. We truly celebrate with her in every possible way. As I was watching her this morning I could see that an immense burden has been lifted off her shoulders. She looks like she's been lit from the inside and light and joy just bubble out of her. It's the most beautiful thing to see.

We know that this journey, and in fact any major trial, is a burden. Yes, Jesus says He will take our burdens and I honestly believe that He does, but you do carry something when walk through a huge trial. When I see miraculous and sudden breakthrough like in my friend, you can see what it's like to live free of the burden of the trial.

So I started thinking about how to live well with the trial. Not to deny the reality of it but how to embrace the testing and building. I want to be like my friend who always did it well, with dignity and trust, even when I could see that she was dying inside.

God spoke to me a while back saying that the miracle of this journey for us is not the end result but what happens along the way. This was confirmed this morning at church when Ps. Neil Smith talked about purpose and how everything has a God-created and ordained purpose. He said that our journey is created for us by God to develop us for our purpose. That's so encouraging as it means that this has meaning. Even if I can't see it, it still does. That helps me carry this load and makes it feel a lot lighter.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My God song

Life took another turn last night when we heard that someone very close to us has to have chemo after surgery for colon cancer. This is a person who we love dearly and has featured heavily in our lives. He is going to be an important person to our children so the fact that he is sick and there's no sign of kiddies yet is not great.

Last night I was resolved not to cry and I firmly to set my face towards Jesus . This morning in Starbucks even looking at Jesus made me cry. I sniffled loudly and tried not to sob into my mocha. I know that God is in control and I am very loved, but life is still hard at times. In fact sometimes it's really sucky.

I opened my bible to hide my sniffles and keep my face down and a verse I have never even read before leapt out at me:
"See God has come to save me.
I will trust in Him and not be afraid.
The Lord is my strength and my song;
He has become my salvation." Isaiah 12: 2

Just what I needed, I will not be afraid to lose this person, I will trust in God. He can do a miracle and I have faith to believe for one. God is my song and by faith I choose a hopeful happy song of Jubilee.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shame-less

Yesterday during worship we sang a song which has a line saying''Only Your love defines who I am". And I thought "Who am I, if God defines me?". And God answered me saying that I am honoured and loved. Two of my favourite verses came to mind (Isaiah 49: 16 and Daniel 10:19) which talk about how we are deeply loved. And with love comes honour.

I thought about what that meant and I realised that love and honour drive out shame and reproach. Shame and reproach are issues that come knocking during the journey of infertility. I mean, who hasn't felt less of a woman for not being able to have a baby? Shame has washed over me so often in social settings leading to reproach for not being able to fulfil what seems like the most basic of tasks- give my husband a child and heir. So it was a good reminder that I am beyond shame and reproach through His love and honour defining who I am.

God is quite gracious to me and often speaks to me during worship about the sermon topic giving me time to respond, either give me strength and encouragement or a good old challenge. Yesterday was the same as Ps. Sam Monk talked about living in the light without shame (Matt : 13-16). I loved the sermon and the encouragement to love publicly.

This journey is so often lived in the dark due to embarrassment and shame. It is a hard private journey and I pull away from people, especially people we haven't seen in ages to avoid the question "So.... do you have kids yet?". But God said that I (and you) are loved and honoured and there is no shame in that at all! And if I live in the light and talk and share about this, it gives others permission to do the same. This journey is my salt flavour and when I share it has tremendous power, who I am I keep God's work and glory and power a secret?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

IVF Survival Tips

We have done three cycles and have learnt the hard way what works (and what doesn't!):

  1. Don't stop the quiet/ devotional times with God. Sounds like Christianity 101 but when you are under the weather from the drugs, there's a temptation to skip them. I made them a treat time in a cafe with a mocha. Actually I continued that habit and still do it(hehe!)
  2. Take it easy when starting injections. Gonal F throws your body completely and we didn't realise how much. On our first cycle, I did a half marathon on the first day of Gonal F injections. Ummm..stupid! On the first day of Gonal F injections in the second cycle we flew to Australia. The time difference and drugs knocked me for a couple of days. Third cycle... I took it easy. Yes, I take a while to learn!
  3. Try not to look at it one result at a time. The results go up and down, good and bad in the space of a day. All you need is one healthy fertilised non-fragmented embryo. Full stop. It's such a roller coaster- try not to get on it emotionally. Breathe and then allow yourself to react...
  4. Take some time off work/ time out after retrieval. The first cycle I went back to work the next day. You will be bruised inside and hurt and the body needs time to recover for the replacement later that week. Likewise after replacement, have some R&R time on the couch.
  5. Laugh lots! We rented all our favourite DVDs and we lay around laughing.
    Get prayer support. We did the first cycle solo and it wasn't much fun at all. We opened up gradually and by the third cycle we had close people praying.
  6. Build treats into the process. Do things for you and then do things as a couple. When I looked forward to those things, the IVF tended to face to the background.

Last, again...let God in! Refer back to point 1. You won't feel like spending time with God and will naturally tend towards panic and paranoia but honestly, He's the only one who can help you. He will lift you up and beyond the craziness of the drugs and stress and help you see the bigger picture. He did that for me and I am Queen of Stress!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Jesus knows

I love catching glimpses of the humanity of Jesus as I read about His life. As He was 100% God He was 100% human and He truly knows what it's like to be me.

This of such comfort after I miscarried on Christmas Day 2005. I was reading the account of the crucifixion and I saw that Jesus cried out to God in the middle of His suffering.
At about three o'clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Matthew 27: 46

Even Jesus, the amazing and incredible Jesus, cried out as he suffered. He cried out to His father and asked "Why?" I love Jesus for that, for being human, for knowing what it's like to feel abandoned. For knowing with His head that God the Father is Sovereign and in control but crying out from the heart "Why? Why am I suffering? Why is this pain so bad?".

How incredible it is to have a Saviour who understands what it's like to walk the road of humanity. To understand that we long to serve God well, yet have human hearts that experience pain and falter at inopportune times! Jesus knows, Jesus understands truly what it's like to be me....thank you Jesus xxx

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mothers Day ouch

Warning, Mother's Day is coming this weekend! There's been lots of discussion on the Hannah's Prayer forum about it. What should we do and what does God expect us to do? One poor lady is the pastor (or preacher as she says) and as no-one knows about her infertility journey, she's facing preaching on Mother's Day morning...again...ouch. It seems as if Mothers Day is incredibly tough for mothers -to-be (in faith!) and it's harder than any other holiday/ celebration for me.

So what do you do? Go to church or not? Well, to be honest, I didn't go to morning church last year and am not planning to go this year either. I have sat in church with a smile nailed to my face as the mothers are invited to stand for a round of applause. Don't get me wrong, Mothers are incredible and more than deserve the moment of honour, it's recognition for the hard work and love they sow into their children. But for someone like me, it's like I have a giant red "L" for loser painted on my forehead at that moment. I want to crawl in a hole and die quietly.

So after much prayer, we are going to wake up on Mothers Day, have an incredible time with God and thank Him for our Mothers, snuggle up and watch DVDs on the couch and go into the afternoon services with bells on, celebrating God and His goodness to us.

Being me, I worry about what God thinks about not going to church. But I know that God understands me and loves me and weeps for my pain. And we just can't do this Sunday morning and you know what? That's ok. So I pray that you have a wonderful blessed day this Sunday however you choose to spend it xxxx

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Carrying Hope

I have often heard a simple story line from well meaning people, about someone they knew who reached the end of the road with infertility, gave up (sometimes they went away on holiday) and BOOM! they fell pregnant. The implication is that I just have to give up hoping and it will happen. By the way statistics show that the chances of this happening are very low.
So in November last year after our third failed IVF attempt and after the news that IVF was no longer an option, I decided that I couldn't carry hope any more. I was no longer going to hope each month. Initially it was great and I lived in the greyness of hopelessness for a while. It was safe and grey and calm. But hope started to sneak up on me and I found that I coudn't avoid it. It was back and lurked around corners, in the periphery of my vision. I realised that hope was part of who I believed in. Jesus is Hope. To give up on hope is to give up on the Hope. Hope leads to faith and without faith we have nothing. So what was I to do? Carrying hope without a result for a long time is extremely tiring and wears you down. Also this journey is different. You carry hope each and every month. It's not like hoping for something with a single outcome, like hoping for a job. It's a hope that is raised and dies every single month, 12 times a year. This has been described as an unresolved grief- you never get to move on and heal.
So I discovered two things about hope: the first is that it's easier to carry hope when I manage my expectations. So I do hope each month but also try not to expect God to come through this time in this way. I know He will (by faith) and if it's not this time, then maybe the next or the the next. The second thing is that when we can't carry hope, God will carry and build it in us. I wasn't carrying any kind of hope last November. I felt incapable of hoping after my hopes had been utterly smashed. But I found that God helped me and a little germ of hope started to grow. I believe that God is tremedously merciful to us in this journey and realises that there are times when we are incapable of hoping or praying or standing. All we need to do is wait. He will come through for us. I waited and He grew hope in me and now I can carry it. Unfortunately it wasn't this month for my breakthrough, maybe it will be next month. I hope!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The grace I long for

More than anything I long for grace. The grace that is a gift from God Himself. The grace that I see on Todd and Angie Smith as they talk about the loss of their daughter less than a month after her death. It's a grace that doesn't deny the reality of what they face or the daily choice to trust God over their circumstance, but an incredible overflow of God's grace in the middle of their situation. God's grace enables us to face situations that are naturally so hard and lifts us above the emotion that try to drown us.
In the last two weeks both my sisters and one of my closest friends has given birth. Not one of those situation has allowed me to withdraw and protect myself emotionally. They are too close to me and deserve undiluted joy from me as they celebrate the births of their children. It's only God's grace that has given me the ability to walk into those situations with an open heart and celebrate. But I long for more grace, more of Him. I long for the grace I see on Todd and Angie and I pray God pours Himself out us.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Audrey Caroline

No words...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2CnUtVY35o&eurl



http://www.vimeo.com/951902/



The story of Audrey Caroline, daughter of Todd and Angie Smith. Todd is a member of Selah.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wierdness antidote

Antidote to feeling wierd? P R A I S E..!
Thank you God for loving me; for giving me the chance to experience life so I can have the opportunity to:
  • Take a breath of warm sea air
  • Laugh like a crazy woman
  • Act like a kid
  • Watch a summer storm
  • Feel the sun of my face
  • See the love in my husband's eyes
  • Receive an email from a much loved friend
  • Drink a Starbucks tall decaf trim mocha
  • Be able to love You

Thank you for creating me for love; to be loved and to give love. This is good and You are good.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My wierd world

I will preface this post by saying that I am ok. I love the place I am in and thank God for bringing me here. There is minimal pain and it's great! But I find this place right here and now a little wierd. A bit surreal. I found myself in a place where I am giving advice to my (darling) sister. Advice about babies- I mean how do I know??? But I do and it's good advice! And lending her books that dear friends have bought as gifts for me, for my babies. I don't mind at all as I love her and it doesn't hurt (honest!) But it is a little wierd and I find myself having another "Sliding Doors" movie experience.... is this really happening?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tapora bliss


We just had an amazing Anzac weekend up at the bach (holiday house). Only us and the cat!
I looked across the harbour and was reminded that God is Sovereign. It was so reassuring. In the stress of everyday, sometimes my life and problems become so big, however God is bigger. He is Sovereign. He is Lord.

My definition

I refuse to be defined by infertility. Victory in this area is not our ultimate goal. We have to have more than the goal of victory in this area- Christ alone has to define me. I should never focus on the achievement of one goal, however good.

Paul talk about pressing onwards towards the Christ and the goal of finishing well. If I am too centred on one goal, when I achieve it, I set myself up for disaster as what do I have then? A nothing or a hollowness. The stats talk about the high percentage of IVF women who suffer from post natal depression. That's because they have been focused on this one goal for so long and poured so much energy into it, that when they achieve it, they have nothing afterwards.

Christ alone defines me- He is my goal. Nothing less.
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