Favor and Honor

Dear Child of Mine,

Sometimes I get scared of how life will change when you come. I realize what a great gift these almost-seven years are, just your Dad and me. We can come and go as we please. We can go on dates and visit friends or host a gathering without thinking of how it will affect you. I don’t have to worry about how my body will change when I become a mother, struggling to let go of any pretense that it’s “mine” in the first place.  I can go for runs, practice yoga, study Scripture, take a nap, go for coffee…whenever I desire. It’s a wonderful freedom and I’m so thankful for it.

But I want you, more than anything. How can both things be true worry and want? I don’t know but they are. God is constantly reassuring me, soothing my fears, and reminding me he will equip me for whatever task lay ahead.

This morning in my time alone with the Lord, I read a passage from Psalms that a good friend recommended for me.

Psalm 84:11-12

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
he bestows favor and honor.
No good thing does the Lord withhold
from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
happy is everyone who trusts in you.

This verse struck me as heartbreaking and true. It is hard to squelch thoughts that flicker in the back of my brain. Why am I barren? Is God punishing me? Am I not good enough? Do I just need to “get over it?” I know in the depths of my being that none of those statements are true. But it’s hard to read “No good thing does the Lord withhold from those who walk uprightly” and not question why I can’t have babies. Am I not righteous enough?

Only by the grace of God are any of us called “righteous.” That alone proves His goodness, bestowing favor and honor on all who believe in the name of the Lord Jesus. 01_23_15 Favor and Honor

And through these months of longing and waiting for you, Child, I have learned that God’s good gifts are being poured out on me. In each dark day, Jesus shines.

It is because of this time of barrenness that I have accepted the lifelong call to ordained pastoral ministry. I finally listened, I finally agreed with God. I finally said, “yes.”

It is through these dark years that I’ve sought after the Lord with such fervor that I could never have mustered under sunnier circumstances. 

It was during our years of infertility, that your daddy and I learned to minister together and recognized how our calls to ordination are so beautifully intertwined.

It was this first season of marriage, nearly seven years of just us, that we learned how to be married. We learned how to love, how to forgive, how to serve, how to woo, how to never stop learning.

It has been these years that brought us deep into relationships with countless teenagers. The glories of youth ministry are in these relationships. Connections that are forged in the rocky waters of adolescence and proving to sustain through time.


So, Child, I am thankful. And I am longing. And I am asking the Lord that you would be the next “good thing” the Lord bestows on us.

In His righteousness,
Mama

Twice Her Age

Yesterday was a doctor day again. In my whole life I’m not sure I’ve had as many appointments as in the last 6 months. It’s becoming old hat, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. 

The doctor had said to me at my post-op visit in October, “If you don’t conceive after three months, come back in for a follow up appointment.” And so we watched the weeks tick by; our fifth year of hoping and wondering if we might get pregnant and make the fun announcement at Christmas. Five Christmases of barrenness. It was harder and easier than I thought. It’s becoming old hat, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. 

01_22_15 Gladden the Soul

Side note. This was our eleventh time celebrating Christmas as a couple. Our seventh as a married couple. And I’m wondering how in the world that can true? How has time slipped by, so quietly we didn’t even notice?

We’re now partially through our 4th cycle since the laparoscopic surgery and D&C. Too bad it didn’t turn out to be the magic bullet we’d hoped. These failed attempts are becoming old hat and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

My primary doctor (Ahadi) was out of the office yesterday, so I had the wonderful experience of having my dear friend Cathy (a nurse midwife) as my practitioner. Cathy knows my story almost better than I do at this point (no, seriously), and she’s been an amazing advocate for us. I called her two days before my appointment to say, “You have a difficult case coming in on Wednesday.” I found out she’d taken that responsibility so seriously, researching for hours on her own time and consulting with Dr. Pakidah and his Ob/Gyn resident. I was actually kind of excited to have not one but THREE professionals invested in my case yesterday. Dr. Pakidah was personally interested in my situation because he and his wife have traversed these rough infertility waters in the past few years.

The three of them came into the room, joking and smiling all the way. The office’s lighthearted atmosphere, combined with their genuine concern for my well-being, makes my medical experiences so much more bearable. I was in an emotional pit yesterday and easily could have burst into tears when I had to tell Dr. Pakidah it’s been nearly five years. But I didn’t. I felt supported and heard.

But yes, Child, it’s hitting me. And this five year marker is staring me in the face, feeling so much heavier than four. Sitting in the waiting room, riffing again on my life’s theme of “waiting,” your Daddy and I sat across from another couple. I am almost certain this boy and this girl were fifteen years old. They were waiting for an ultrasound of their unborn child. Fifteen?! Are you freaking kidding me. (Don’t say “freaking,” Little One. Mom’s just a little upset right now.) I’m nearly twice her age.

This world is not a place of justice.

I wonder what Eden would have been like, if we’d kept that perfect union with God. I wonder how His New Kingdom on Earth will one day restore perfect justice in the world.

It’s not fair.

But God is good.

Love you forever,

Mama

 

Why So Quiet?

Dear Child of Mine,

I’ve thought of writing to you many times over the past two months. They’ve been very full weeks, traveling, making big decisions, spending time with people we love. But my absence isn’t due to my busy schedule. I easily could have carved out time to share my life with you. I think I’ve been avoiding our little correspondence due to my psychological efforts to convince myself that I am doing just fine without you.

I know I’ve confessed that at times in my life my need to have children had risen to an unhealthy level. Over the past few years, God has been revealing to me my worth as an individual, my value as his creation, my unique calling and contributions in this world. I’m certain these lessons will continue to transform me. I’m just so thankful to finally be listening to these messages from my Father.

Your dad and I have been up and down, back and forth on topics like infertility treatments, adoption and foster care. We’ve talked for hours trying to determine the “right” thing to do. Everyone has opinions and stories and advice to share. But in the end, it’s Kevin and Melanie who have to make the call. And thus far, no matter how much we really want to start a family, we have not heard the “yes” from God. So we continue to wait. We wait with hope while we go about the rest of our lives, knowing we can’t be inactive and unresponsive while we anticipate getting what we want (you!)

Wait Expectantly

Each day brings new thoughts and conversations, new prayers and stirring in our spirits. We’ve had conversations with someone one day only to be heard saying the exact opposite thing the next. Somehow both stories are true. Being content in our being means following what we discern to be God’s leading day by day by d a y by d a y. For a girl who just wants to make a plan and know it’s the right plan and then stick to the plan at all costs, this is gut-wrenchingly hard. To onlookers, I’m sure we seem indecisive and perhaps immature. At least that’s what I’m afraid people are thinking. I worry too much about what people are thinking.

To say yes to God’s call requires saying no to our own voice and sometimes to the voices of persons and things we love.

-Rueben P Job, Guide to Prayer

Some days I feel content with no children and think I could live forever just the two of us.

But other days I’m on the floor in a pile of tears and tissues, crying in anguish for what I may never have but so desperately desire.

How can these both be true? I have no idea. But they are.

I have attempted to capitalize on that feeling of peace and contentment, stomping down emotion and convincing myself that the reality is I don’t care whether or not I ever have children.

But that’s just not true.

Some days God gives me a grace, a break from the emotion, an other-worldly peace. I am so thankful for those days. But I’m coming to grips with the reality that this same good God has also placed a marker on my soul, calling me to motherhood. It’s ok to have these desires. It’s ok to not pursue any forms of child-bearing until we’re certain God’s okayed it. It’s ok, it’s beautiful even, to finally recognize that I can have two callings: motherhood and ministry.

I’ll have to give you the latest “ministry” update another time. But I just wanted you to know, Child, that we’re still waiting.

Come quickly,

Mama