In a Downpour of Love

Dear Little One,

I’m not sure what prompted me to share my very personal procedure with the “world” on Facebook yesterday. It’s a strange thing, sharing the private details of your life with so many. But there was something inside of me that knew the people who love me would want to know, would want to partner with me, would want to pray. So I clicked “share post” and walked away from the computer.

Over the past 24 hours I have received the most immense blessings. My heart is overflowing in a way I never anticipated. Friends and family, near and far, from childhood or high school, from this church or that church, from Bible Quizzing and friends of friends, from college or conferences, youth ministry years and blogging friends, known in decades past or just weeks ago – all of these have all been posting their support for me.

The only correlation I can find in past experiences is that epic walk down the aisle. As I approached my groom at the altar, arm linked with my father, I somehow found the ability to look out over the crowd. I saw a conglomeration of loved ones from every age and stage of my life, and I was completely and utterly overwhelmed by the love I’ve experienced.

Who knew I would know an even wider, deeper downpour through social media?

Thus, I’m using this letter to you, Child, to commemorate these gifts I’ve received, reminders of the many graces God has poured onto my life. That even in barrenness, there can come oasis


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And this afternoon, I responded:

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Going Under

Dear Child of Mine,

Tomorrow morning at 6:30, I’m going to try my best to think happy thoughts of you. I’m going to pray that what I’m about to do is successful and that God’s grace will pour out on us in the form of the pregnancy we’ve longed for.

You see, early in the morning, I will be arriving at the surgical institute for laparoscopic surgery. After the anesthesia knocks me out (which won’t take much), our wonderful new doctor will be exploring my abdominal cavity for any signs of endometriosis. Should she find scar tissue or adhesions on my organs, she’ll remove them during the procedure. If in fact I do have endometriosis, this could be the cause of my infertility – my missing you. This diagnosis would also bring enlightenment and proper treatment for my intense abdominal pain during my monthly cycle, as well as my consistent intestinal issues which have gone undiagnosed for years. If lesions of endometrial tissue are found on my colon or intestines or bowel, perhaps my “weak stomach” isn’t just weak.

As strange as it sounds, I hope I do have endometriosis. After years of questions and decades of suffering, I may have a cause, a reason behind my pain and (most importantly) my barren womb.

In addition to the laparoscopy, Doctor is going to do a hysteroscopy and D&C to clean out any possible scarring in my uterus. She will be testing the fluid of my egg follicles because she has a slight suspicion of poly cystic ovarian syndrome as well. My blood work came back normal – good thyroid and progesterone levels. The ultrasounds have been relatively clear, although two different sets of eyes have noted fluid around an ovary. (Possible sign of endometriosis again.) The ultrasound tech today did say multiple times, “Your anatomy is textbook perfect. It’s beautiful.” Why thank you. (I think?)

It occurred to me, just today, that this procedure…this surgery…may have an affect on my life beyond just tomorrow. I am praying for a speedy recovery, but I’m certainly aware of possible physical discomfort and limitations. I don’t like limitations, so resting and healing will prove a challenge for a fast-paced girl like me.

But, Child, I am thankful. I am thankful for a doctor and a nurse-friend who advocate for us. I’m thankful for the friends and family who put things like my surgery on their calendars to remind themselves to be with me in thought and prayer. I am thankful for my husband who’ll be by my side, take good care of me, and force me to rest, and maybe laugh a little when I’m totally groggy from the anesthesia. I’m beyond appreciative of the good insurance we have that is helping us finally get the answers we’ve needed.

And Dear Jesus, I’m thankful for these years of testing, of waiting and wondering, of pain and sadness; because they’ve drawn me into a deeper fellowship with you. Because of this struggle, I’ve seen your faithfulness. Because of my pain, I’m learning of my calling. Go with me tomorrow, Lord Jesus. Calm my nerves. Steady the doctor’s hands. Heal me well.

 

The Look in My Eye

Dear Child of Mine,

Over the past decade together, your mommy and daddy have done a lot of growing up. Life experiences force growth and pruning and newness we didn’t know possible, and yet the results sometimes go unnoticed. It’s like watching a flower grow. You plant the seed, you watch the green seedling push its way through the soil. You notice its increasing height, the leaves forming. And soon, somehow, as if you hadn’t been watching, it’s tall and hearty and blossoming beautifully.

That’s what has happened to Kevin and I in the years since we just 17 and 18, high school graduates, college freshmen, new love birds. The look in our eyes speaks of smitten admiration, purest joy, sincere commitment. We were children, really. Mature, yes. But still children. We hadn’t yet bought our own toilet paper, chosen a life insurance policy, settled into a home, decided which side of the bed to sleep on. Yes, we’d stay up late talking about our dreams for the future, contemplating marriage, watching moves like Hitch and Tommy Boy and The Sandlot. Yes, we even discussed (and sometimes argued) theology and the age of the earth and the reasons to go to church. We learned how to let one another be an individual, doing things separately, not having to be a “couple” all the time.

More than anything those 4 years of college dating left us deeply in love and certainly a little (or a lot) smitten.

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And now, six and a half years into marriage, I look at him like this. My eyes tell of an unspeakable depth, fervent commitment, and unabashed respect. There’s a decade worth of experiences, of church ministry together, of arguments and debates, of lingering kisses and long walks, of dreams faltered, and God’s faithfulness acknowledged. The look of contentment shines, a steadfast covenant of marriage. We can share an entire conversation with just a look; flowery words of “love you forever” now superseded by the day-in-and-day-out faithfulness of a husband and a wife.

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I liked us then, the joyful looks we exchanged after 11 months of dating.

But I’m so thankful for now, the time-tested foundation formed after 10 years.

Whatever you do, Child, don’t forget that your Daddy and Mommy are always going to be working on their marriage, to be more unified, more respectful, more loving – more like Christ – than we were yesterday.

always,
Mama

PS – I want to thank our good friend, Amanda, for selecting these photos (largely due to those glances exchanged) as poster-sized portraits we now hang in our bedroom. Thanks, Amanda, for noticing the difference a decade can make.

PPS – Another thank you to Brittney for taking our photo (this and many others) in college, and to Dad Eccles for capturing this moment at ordination service in May 2014.

Becoming

Dear Child of Mine,

In all this waiting for you, I have begun to learn more and more about myself. I used to define myself by the motherhood I would one day experience. Always living, planning, hoping in the future.

My desire for you has not diminished and I’m certain it won’t disappear. Your participation in my life will remain a welcome 2014-08-16 12.07.59thought, a hopeful expectation. But I’m finally beginning to discover the woman God created me to be. I’ve seen glimpses of myself fully alive, living out every inch of the purposes for which I was ordained. My courage is building as I imagine myself painting with bold colors rather than keeping my gifts subdued with pastel strokes. I’ve lived in fear of failure, fear of rejection, allowing my steps to be governed by my assumptions of others’ opinions and expectations.

And all these years I’ve been searching for my calling. Waiting for God’s direction to be clear, to hear him say,

YES! This is you – at My best. Stay here!

I could have achieved many goals and settled into a life I created for myself. The list of careers, degrees, finances, and even adoptions that could have been accomplished over the last decade is far too long to list. Perhaps onlookers wonder why I haven’t done this or that, believing I’m wasting precious time. And I’ll be honest, my negative inner voice likes to chime in and agree. But the truth is I haven’t felt peace deep down in any one path for my life. I’ve seen times of passion in my work, gifts being used well. But it’s felt like something was missing.

And so, after these months and years of waiting for you, and wondering at my purpose, I am able to thank the Lord for his sovereignty – in keeping me in a place of wandering and childlessness all these years. Because if I had felt content with mediocrity I never would have kept seeking the brilliance God has created for me. I’m beginning to experience a stirring in my core. God is unwrapping His gift for me, and He is faithfully accomplishing a more bold and beautiful version of me than I could have asked or imagined.

While I wait for you, I’m going to become me, fully alive.