I struggle with this. I put off Bible study to put away dishes. I avoid reading his word to vacuum. I get more concerned about others being impressed with my home I stop to consider how they feel about themselves in my presence. I need to reconsider my priorities.
I fail at this daily. The author of the Bible Recap says “You are a person that reads her Bible, wants to read her Bible or wants to want to read her Bible.” I fall in the middle.
I am on Day 102 of a Bible reading plan, but should be on Day 175 I think. I started strong then stalled. I thought summer days would catch me up and I failed at that, too. My problem is distractedness. I sit down then lose focus. I am a failure.
Now, I celebrate that I have read 102 more days of the Bible than I read last year, but I can do better. I want to do better. I feel better and can handle life better when God’s truth is poured into me. I strive to be more like God.
But believing God is where the joy is at is much different than living it, so I continue to pray and do more. Truthfully, every time God has called me to study His word…he ends up preparing me for a battle where His word has sustained me. I will see if this time is different, but I know I am armed with the truth and that is enough.
I have a goal to read the entire Bible this year using the Bible Recap and Group Me to hold me accountable. This has been a long time goal so I am thankful to partner with this group and hope to finish it strong. I am far behind but not giving up.
Another Bible truth is doing a study with other women. Bible studies are out of my comfort zone since I am a woman outside the mold…but women are women and we can all learn from each other. Right now our study is Truth Filled and learning how to preach the truth to yourself.
However, you get the Word I pray the Lord will reveal His truths and wisdom and you grow to know Him better.
I am putting it out to the universe a few goals I have for 2021 in hopes to hold myself accountable:
Goal 1: continue with Camp Gladiator to gain strength and good health. Of all the things in 2020 that make me proud, starting an exercise routine and sticking with it is at the top of my list. I pay more than I prefer, but I go and that is huge! I see results in my arms, abs and ass…also a positive. I feel more confident and my clothes fit. So the money is worth the confidence! I have paid gym memberships for years and never go so this works for me!
Goal 2: community. 2020 taught me to be vulnerable and be brave with people. I already joined a water group, Bible reading group and Camp Gladiator and hope to continue to step out with people. I have thought a lot about what people would say at my funeral and I hope they say “she was love”. My quote last year was “How do people feel about themselves in your presence?” I hope it is something positive!
Goal 3: get a foster care placement. This involves finishing the paperwork and application process so lots to do to reach this goal.
Goal 4: most important read the whole Bible this year. Growing closer to God and bearing more fruit that shows the light of Christ is always top priority but often my calendar and time does not show it, so accomplishing this will be huge for me.
Goal 5: continue to grow myself as a writer through this blog! Writing is my thing that I know God has gifted me to do and I pray to use this gift for His glory.
One of the things living during a pandemic has taught me is that life is short so live it. We worry so much about tomorrow that we often fail to enjoy today. Life changing lesson taught to me by a man that was about to die is to “enjoy the sandwich”. Creative way to say appreciate the moment rather than looking toward the next big thing. For our family, that involved taking a vacation that was probably not in our budget but filled us enough to remember why God put us together. We are family and God is using us to grow each other and be Christ to others. Well for us that meant trying a fishing trip!
To see God’s creation on water is a sight to see! On this particular day, the storms were coming so the water was restless but we pushed through safely to experience the new memory as a family. I understood Peter’s fear in the storm…I prayed a lot on the boat! Prayed for calm (He answered), prayed to not get sick and prayed for God to share his creatures. He answered BIG with my son catching a Bonnethead Shark. What a memory for ALL of us!
As a scuba diver, I think I loved the shark most of all. Seeing sea life up close and personal and then hearing all about it from a biology teacher on the boat…day made! We would never kill a creature for the fun of it, so we googled recipes to eat it. I know we were all uncertain…but we each took a bite…it was delish!
Big finale to the highlight of our trip and a huge testimony to God’s love for us and how real the Bible is in our daily lives. That storm on the water was real, Jesus slept through it then taught us all about faith and trust. I will never read that story the same. Thankful we experienced this new thing together…when given the choice…taste the shark!
Is infertility a good thing?….Heck no, it sucks! I despised waiting month after month to see if I was pregnant….hoping for two weeks then crying for the next two only to start the cycle again. It got to the point where discovering my cycle had started became a sweet relief because at least I could stop hoping and resume normal living. The worst feeling in the world is to be so out of control of something that is so normal and easy for others. I had plans, a calendar, a kit, a timeline and month after month I had to rearrange and restart the future. Sitting in a doctor office with a title I can’t even spell, so I willl abbreviate RE, was embarrassing. You felt sympathy for every couple in there knowing you all shared a horrific common bond: you can’t get pregnant on your own. It was a miserable time in my life so I am not saying I enjoyed it, but looking back being infertile is one of the things I consider a blessing…
Why is it a blessing? Glad you asked:
#1 It is the exact reason I began to blog. Before Lupus and infertility, I did not have much of a story to tell. Nothing about me set me a part or made my story important. Enter disease and a non working reproductive system and now I am interesting! I never knew there was such a large world of writers that had experienced or were experiencing the same heartache and same struggle that I was going through. I began to lean on their stories and cling to their comments. Their likes inspired me to write more and my anonomity helped me to be real and open and it felt good. Infertility gave me the chance to be a writer again and reconnect to a passion that I had lost.
#2 Infertility gave me empathy. I was like most women clinging to birth control until the exact month I wanted to get pregnant then getting off it and expecting to see positive lines. Month after month after month then year after year it all showed blank. I now empathize with couples that it is not easy. I feel for couples like us that just don’t decide one day we want one more or to go for a girl this time. I don’t assume anything anymore and I learned to celebrate big with those that are successful and cry genuine tears for those that are not. I understand women that struggle with conceiving children in a very unique way.
#3 Infertility brought me closer to God. I learned patience, I learned timing, I learned I was never in control and the delicate system of our bodies is too much even for science to explain it all. I clung to his promises and faithfully believed that I was not alone and my prayers were being heard even if the answer was not the same thing as mine.
#4 Finally, it led me to adoption. I never considered adoption my last resort…I just never paid attention to it before. When the door was finally closed to conceiving naturally then I opened my heart to another option. An option that I did not consider because I did not think it was my calling. Time after time, God dropped hints and signs, but I am so stubborn in my own plans that I kept telling him, “Shhhh…” Finally, I stopped praying to get pregnant and began praying to create our family. The timing was perfect for God to lead us to our son. The boy I was meant to parent all along and the reason I was born. Our son is amazing and a promise fulfilled in every picture we take that I am living the dream. The affirmation of every decision I ever made that led us to him…our child…the perfect one for us. Infertility made me listen to that calling and to stop trying to figure it out. It shut the doors that I kept open with my foot because I wanted to do what I wanted to do.
If I had another life to live…I would do it again if it led me to the adoption of our son. Infertility did not destroy me.
Now this post does not mean that I will congratulate barren women everywhere or speak on behalf of increasing infertility for all the joys it will bring. Never. But, I hope to encourage women that infertility can be an opportunity to turn something tragic into a triumph. Don’t let infertility define you and when you get the chance, be a rock for others to empower us to continue looking for healing. Infertility takes a lot, but it does not take everything.
•http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
</p><p>To all women everywhere…I feel you today. I feel the young girl that laughs at the motherly responsibility and thinks “no way I love my sleep”, I feel the new bride that just wants to be selfish with alone time with her husband, I feel the five year wife that wonders when her husband will commit to trying for children. I feel the barren woman that feels guilty that she can’t create a child for her husband because he is not to blame for us not conceiving, I feel the lonely woman that feels broken and rejected and constantly questions should she keep trying or move on, I feel the woman praying for her husband to consider adoption since she wants to parent a child and believes God has a bigger plan than conception, I feel the woman overwhelmed with paperwork because there are so many details to making an adoption complete. I feel the hopeful mom praying her book was enough to be chosen and feels unworthy everytime a day passes with no phone call, I feel the woman frantically nervous if she will be able to connect to a baby that she has never met and will it be “her” child…finally, I feel the woman that meets the first mother of her son and together they create a plan of how we are going to give this child the best.</p><p>There are a lot of women that I cannot relate to with the positive pregnancy test, the first ultrasound, hearing the heartbeat, going into labor etc…but there are quite a few women that I feel exactly where you are at. I have been there, too.</p><p>
A year ago, I was so hurt and bitter because it was my third year of infertility and I still wasn’t a mother. At the time, we were at the early stages of adoption, but still so far. I remember thinking everyone feels sorry for me because I don’t have a baby, but I am old enough to be a mom. I want women everywhere to know that you are not alone and this is a season. No matter where you are in your stage of life, you are loved and we are connected in that someone out there has been there, too.
The good news is: Love never fails. If you are not celebrating Mother’s Day today then know that you will if you want to. Anything is possible. I have no regrets about letting go of conception even though it is hard to imagine not carrying a baby or seeing my inherited traits in a child. However, I know that our adoption was never plan B…it was the Plan A that I could not see until I gave up what I thought was best for me and learned to trust God.
Feels so good to celebrate this first Mother’s Day…you never get another first Mother’s Day 😉
Well, well, well…turning thirty three will be here tomorrow. I don’t mind growing older as long as I grow wiser. This year has provided me some wisdom…to say the least! I enter thirty three a different woman. When I turned thirty two, I had no idea I was infertile. When I turned thirty two, I felt tired, but thought I was healthier than ever. I had no idea I had an autoimmune disease or the effects of its presence on my body. I considered myself wise at thirty two, but I had no idea!
Recently, I was beginning to feel bitter and uncertain about our path of infertility. Looking around, so much emphasis is placed on biological genes. Our world is designed to say things like, “She looks just like you.” “You are tall like your daddy.” “I know your dad so you must be smart” I have said all these things all my life and I say them everyday in my classroom. I began to fear if the adoption would fill the hole in my heart or if I was reaching to fix a problem that cannot be fixed. I began to question if this was God’s plan or if we were making it His plan. I prayed about it and talked about it, but the emptiness was still there.
I think God allowed me to listen for a while and hear only silence. Then recently-He spoke. A prayer warrior out of the blue, messaged me encouragement. I stumbled upon the book of James which spoke of adoption, perseverance, and patience. Then we were contacted by Marriage Today to film the story of healing in our marriage for their national banquet. I had contacted them over a year ago to share how their ministry helped in healing our broken marriage. In 2011, they were not interested. In March of 2012, they contacted me to do the story and we were not interested since we were still struggling with our infertility. Flash forward to October 2012 and the time is perfect.
We are honored and anxious to share our story with the nation of how we were 60 days away from being divorced when God began to change our hearts. It is weird to share your biggest failure with the world, but we know our story will impact other couples as much as it has impacted us. Anyone in our close circle will know we appeared finished. Thankfully, God was able to speak to two broken hearts and the key is: we listened and obeyed. We are here today because of that obedience and because of Marriage Today’s resources of how to start over. Our marriage is not like what it was…it is twenty times better. It needed to be for us to endure the trials we have just conquered. Many marriages would break under the stress we endured, but ours thrived. We grew stronger and closer as we leaned on God’s promises that He was not done with us yet.
Our child will benefit from our transformation and the legacy of a loving marriage that we will leave behind. We are witnesses that mercy and grace can make anything new and forgiveness is powerful. We could not have been the couple we are today without that season of growing. It was a harsh season, but just a season and seasons change!
The good news is: I am so thankful for our renewed marriage. We are far from perfect, but a much better example of Christ’s love than years before this trial. I will take the bad first three years to get to the amazing last three. Little did we know how much we needed to be knocked down to be built back up. Thankful we did not give in when it hurt most. We are a miracle that we are still together and we believe firmly this was all part of His plan to prepare us for this journey we are on today.
I had never been a blogger before last year. My first attempt was a classroom blog: www.readinginroom40.blogspot.com I did not write much on the class blog, but really used it as a yearbook for a year spent teaching a self contained classroom. The kids loved seeing themselves on the computer and it made the last day of school so much more emotional as we looked back on 180 days of growing together. I thought “I would want my child to have something like that to remember his/her school year” so I will do it again in the fall.
When I started this blog, I had to retell what had happened for the past three years which really struck me. In the moment it was all new and difficult; it was hard to wrap my brain around infertility and Lupus in the moment, but I wrote this blog as a flashback to all that I knew had already happened. It changes your perspective when you are able to look back and see where you are today. Today, I can say with confidence these trials led us to adopt for which I am thankful. During the trial, I did not know where I was going so it was not as easy to take in or accept. Which leads me to my latest “aha” in our bible study.
We just finished the book of Ruth and once again God spoke to my heart. There are only two books in the Bible named after women: Esther and Ruth. I love Esther because she was adopted by her uncle. Her misfortune of losing her parents put her in the position to save her people. I know God did not want her to experience this loss, but he took her loss and brought great good from it. She was a woman of courage, faith and great beauty. I love how God used her outward appearance to change the world.
Next is Ruth. I love Ruth because she was loyal and kept a promise. When she made her vow to her husband, she kept it by following her mother in law despite being given permission to leave. That loyalty and integrity led her to the father of her child. With Boaz, she gave birth to a son which would later be the grandfather of David. Imagine that? A woman that followed her word was given the opportunity to be the great grandmother of David! At the time, she had no idea what she was doing when she vowed to stay with Naomi. She was just being obedient and keeping her promise. Later, looking back, she would see how all those seemingly small decisions would lead her to be an ancestor of one of the greatest men in the Bible; a man after God’s own heart.
Which leads me to my “aha”. I relate to Ruth because in the moment I was just living my life. Like her, I had some heartbreak. Days I thought “Why me?” and “Where are you God?” A few days, I just unleashed it all and cried out, “Do you care? Can you hear me?” These moments were raw and real and all just confirmed that He was sovereign and Lord of my life even if I could not understand Him. But then, I got to this place of adoption and had the luxury to look back. Isn’t that amazing to be able to look back? To see all the little decisions (both hurtful and joyful) that led you to the place where you are now. The key to both of these great women of the Bible is they were willing to do what God asked of them. Both had no idea the magnitude of their decisions, but they followed where He led anyway.
I pray to be like these women. Brave, obedient, committed, faithful and eager to serve.
The good news is: Blogging has allowed me to look back on my life and to read the thoughts and ideas of many other women experiencing similar situations to mine. I am reading so many infertility blogs that I confuse which woman has the surrogate or which woman just went through IVF, but it is humbling to know I am not alone.
I have only recently started to attend Women’s Bible Studies. I have tried five of them total, but only finished two of them so far. The other three I either fell so far behind in the homework that I never went back or lost interest in the topic. The two that I have finished made such an impact on me that I have started another one and I feel confident that I will complete this one. First, I usually commit to completing them in the summer when I have the time to devote to reading and diving into the word (I know, I need to make time during the school year, but they sometimes begin to feel like one more thing I have to do…I am working on it) . Second, I have found that in times of major change I follow through because I need it. Right now is one of those times.
A few years ago, I was going through some hardships in my marriage and the Bible study saved my life. I felt God leading me to join this one specifically and boy did He show up. I gained so much wisdom and truth that it was like He was speaking to me through these words. Other Bible studies I have not been so careful to choose properly and they have not been as effective. This summer, I really prayed about it and chose a great topic, but the time was not ideal. However, I felt led to do it anyway and the past two weeks have proven to be a good choice.
We just finished our lessons on the book of Joshua and God spoke directly to my heart about my situation with infertility, Lupus and adoption. The bottom line: God is with me and is leading me, but I must be obedient to follow and trust Him. A powerful message, but a difficult one to practice. I want control. I want it my way. I want answers NOW with little to no effort. I want things to be easy. God doesn’t always work that way. I have to learn that I have no idea how this will all end, but I know the One who does and that is enough.
The God of Moses and Joshua kept His promises to them and He will keep His promises to me. I just have to trust Him and follow where He leads. The only way I will know where He is leading me is by staying in His word and in His will. Not easy to do when I busy my day with all kinds of projects or just being lazy declaring “I am on vacation!”. However He chooses to get my attention I will take it because I know I need it. So much of what is going on in my life right now is left unknown and it is easy to get scared, frustrated, discouraged and doubtful. The only way to have peace about all this is to cling to Him and trust that He is in control and His plan is good. I get peace in knowing some of the greatest characters in the Bible felt afraid and they were speaking directly with God…I am not alone.
On a side note, I got teary eyed recently because I was reminded of a friend that is pregnant and her story is similar to mine. She and her husband tried for quite awhile and they had almost given up thinking they could not get pregnant until the last month of trying she learned that she was having a baby. The only part of her story that is like mine is “the trying for a long time” part. The reason I got teary eyed is because I wanted her story to be mine. I wanted in the pit of desperation and uncertainty to suddenly discover that our miracle had occured and we were indeed pregnant. That is not the case. Three years later…we still are not pregnant and likely will not be. Ever.
It is sad at times because finding out another friend is pregnant when you want to be is really hard. You are happy for them, but reminded that you are not having a child in this way. Their joy is your reminder that this is not for you. It’s not like I want their baby or I don’t want them to ever have a child, but it is the reality that your story is different even when you wanted it to be the same. It simply is not. My husband says it best, “Our fairytale is different and when our time comes…it will be really great.” Which leads me to end this post on a positive note.
I read a devotional recently titled “It never mattered.” It is about a woman that struggled with infertility and kept thinking if having an adopted baby would take the place of having a biological one. She wasn’t sure if it would feel the same; the same connect and the same joy (beyond being happy). When her adopted baby was placed into her arms and she saw her future she realized “It never mattered.” It did not matter if she gave birth to it or not; this was her baby and it all felt the same. The same joy. The same hope. The same peace. The same sense of wanting to be the best mother possible for this dearly loved child. The lead characters would be different. The setting would be different. The conflict in the story would be different, but the ending will be the same. They will live happily ever after with the love of a child that was prayed about it and well worth the wait. I love happy endings!!
The good news is: The God of Moses and Joshua and Abraham is my God, too. He led these men and other characters in the Bible through times of turmoil and peace and He will lead me through this. His promises are true and His faithfulness is never ending. I am in good hands.