Monday, September 30, 2013

A New Page...A New Path

Moving on from the realization that our dreams had just taken a drastic change was hard at first, but happily peaceful. The most challenging thing was spreading the word to our family and close friends... the people who were pulling for us to be parents and were I think the most in anticipation for us to have kids. I can't say thank you enough to those friends who shared in the shedding of healing tears and for all the encouragement that we received. Having to be open and bear my soul out loud instead of keeping my "secret" inside was harder than you know. Still harder was all the times that I was asked "when are you going to have kids?" to which I would have to decide do I share the whole truth or just my simple answer of "whenever God wants." The truth was that I knew God was telling me that I had to trust Him and if He ever wanted to decide to give me kids, then it would be from Him and He would show me the way. I had to learn to die to my self (my desires, my wants) daily, and to pick up my cross (trusting in Him) and follow Christ.

And follow Christ is what I strove to do.

Naturally when someone is tested for or has an experience of infertility their mind drifts towards other ways to have children. Personally, (and this is just my opinion and what I know is right for me) I do not believe in artificial insemination or fertility treatments or the like to become pregnant. It just seems unnatural to me and not something that I feel God has called me to do. That being said, I had many questions about what we were gonna do next to create or obtain a child. This didn't offend me, but it made me uncomfortable. I still was mourning the loss of the pregnancy that I would never have and didn't want to think about the alternatives at that time.

But one word kept popping up in my mind...

Adoption

I mean this word was everywhere! On TV, ads on facebook (which are annoying fyi), in articles I read, in the news... adoption was everywhere. You know like when you buy a new car and then all you see on the road is the exact same car you purchased... adoption was everywhere I looked. Robert and I really didn't talk to much about this until I decided one day to go to Mardel and just look at books on adoption. I had heard about a book from a friend and decided to check it out.     Adopted for Life by Russell D. Moore
After starting the book I knew it was time to talk to Robert.
Things kept adding up in my mind and through prayer I was given more and more signs pointing at adoption. 

I will never forget that day, a Saturday in the cool winter air of 2012, when Robert and I were pulling up to a local restaurant for lunch. I had felt it was the right time and so I said "Robert, I want to talk to you about something."
He looked at me curiously, but then his expression changed as if God had whispered my thoughts in his ears and he said" Yes we should."
"Yes we should what?" I responded.
"Yes, we should talk about adoption."
Ok, God you must really be in this! After never having said anything to him about it... and he didn't know about the book yet, he mentions it out of the blue :)

So adoption. Could this be the path we would take? The path to a family, to some dream and plan that God had prepared a long time ago for us.

Yes... oh yes it could.

I wish I could quote some things from the book, but I gave the book to a friend. Russell Moore leads the way through he and his wife struggling with infertility, then coming to the decision to adopt, and their journey to adopt two small boys from Russia. He gives advice for families considering adoption or who are in adoption, how to deal with questions, things to consider before making a decision, and the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly about the adoption process. He also relates adoption back to our spiritual adoption through Christ and how important it is for Christians and churches to band together and become better advocates for adoption. I actually would read this book while working out on my elliptical in the morning and one day it brought me to tears so thick that I basically fell off the machine... hidden camera would have won us millions I'm sure. Lol! This book is the place to start if you know someone who is going through adoption or if you are considering adoption yourself.

I will update you more and more on our adoption story in the next few posts. It hasn't been an easy ride, but its one worth rejoicing over :)


Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Trust.

Throughout this journey, God has been merciful. One message that keeps creeping into many sermons that I've heard is that God pursues us in His love. He pursues us... He never gives up on us... He goes after us, no matter how far away we go... He loves us so ferociously that He wants us to have that intimate relationship with Him, so He chases after us... that is the full measure of God's love.
And just when I thought I was barely hanging on and coasting through each day, God was ready to show me how He was pursuing me...

After accepting but not wanting to deal with God's words about my childless future, I fell once again into a mask of "everythings fine". That was until God rocked my world again.

August 2012 brought on a spiritual revival for our church. An amazing evangelist named Dan Bohi was invited to come and speak. He spoke on healing, the power of God, the full surrender to His calling, and God's charge to all Christians. The 2 day revival ended with a time for response. I was having weird mixed feelings throughout the entire revival... challenged by Dan's words...but somewhere disconnected. As Dan called us up to the front for response time, he of course called on the keyboard lady (that would be me) to go and play... little did I know that I would be trapped on stage for 45 minutes all alone. I didn't matter, I was helping with whatever God wanted me to do and He has given me the gift to play the keyboard so I don't mind being used by Him during worship... But I do have a small fear of having to play all by myself bc I'm so uncertain of my playing and not wanting to make a mistake.

God knew that by putting me up on that stage that He would have my full attention. I struggled at first with playing, but was able to eventually let go and let Him lead my hands across the keys... this allowed my mind to become more free and more readily able to hear God's words. Remember the pursuit... God wanted me to know a deeper love, and to get there I needed to pay attention.

Again, His voice rang loud and clear these words...

"Jennifer, I love you and I ask you again. If you never have children, would I still be enough for you?"

Now God? I thought we had been through this, yes of course you would be enough.

"It is not my will for you to have children. Will you trust me?"
Will you trust me...

Somewhere in the midst of playing music, of hearing Dan Bohi's voice, or hearing the prayers and cries of my church family, a hush came over me... you know like the movies when the sound goes blank but theres buildings blowing up next to the actor and chaos erupting but all we hear is silence... that was me.
Just me and God.

And then what God was saying to me finally made sense. I realized that God was telling me my future, a small glimpse at a piece of His plan and promise for my life. And instead of being scared or afraid or mad or angry... I surrendered. I knew that there was nothing more beautiful than God revealing this part of his promise.
And in that surrender, I was also able to fully come to grips with mourning the children I had prayed for and the babies I had longed to carry within me. I decided that night that I wanted to chose obedience and trust. My first act after that night was to sit Robert down (he was not present for the revival as he was in charge of the children's gathering service that night) and I finally opened up to him about what God had told me.

I cried bc I wanted so badly to make Robert a father and to give him the children that we had talked and prayed for. He was so loving and understanding and prayed for me and for our marriage that we would understand. But more than anything we prayed that God's will be done in our lives...no matter what happened...together we surrendered.

God was pursuing a deeper relationship and a deeper commitment for His purpose. He loved me enough to pull me away from the depression and the sadness of longing for a child. As weird as that may sound, God rescued me from my deep pit of selfishness and delivered me to a new world of mystery in His love. Saying yes to trusting God and yes to believing in His words and obedience to His call means knowing that He will pull you through any heartache to the ultimate victory. God said I was not to have children according to His plan, but that didn't mean His plan didn't include happiness.

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Trust.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

When God Speaks... Listen

Early in the summer of 2012, God tried getting my attention the first time.

I had just found out another one of my close friends was expecting a baby. I came home excited and yet defeated. I remember Robert holding me and telling me everything was going to be ok, but I let my emotions get the best of me. That night we went to a prayer gathering at our church (just one night a week of prayer... and only prayer). Satan knew he had me trapped in my emotional "woah is me" state and I began to battle inside. Happiness for my friend and celebration for this new life... yet depression, anger, and sorrow. I've never liked being the Debbie Downer person, but again the enemy knew how to capitalize on the moment and drag me further down the road of despair.
That is until God had had enough.
 I can still remember The Voice, His Voice, and the exact words He spoke to me.

"Jennifer, if I never give you children, would I still be enough for you?"

Wow.

Was God serious? Of course He would be enough! But what was that first part... surely He didn't mean what he said, I mean I love God and I trust Him, but that word "never" in there seems out of place...
 Yet God did mean what He said and to confirm this He said it again.

 "Jennifer, would you still love me if I never gave you children."

Call it His greatest promise to me or my worst nightmare, either way... He had my attention...
At least part of it. 
Being the good Christian person that I am, I pledged my love for God and my commitment to His calling on my life and vowed to be a happier person around my workplace, friends, family, and church.

The months went on and I do want to say that I was a bit more cheerful around others, I tried to not let my infertility drag me down to depression, but there was a piece inside me that continued to sting and hurt. Mine and Robert's relationship continued as normal, but I wasn't ready to give in to God's words entirely. I continued to hold my breath each month as test after test came back negative. I would try to stay positive on those days, but I couldn't help think that God was whispering His words to me the whole time.

God wasn't being an unloving and hateful or hurtful God like some would think with His words. He knew what was best for my life, He knew the plan He had for Robert and I, and He knew what path our future would take... a path I could never have imagined for myself, but that now I can't imagine not living through.
The pain and the hurt were just a small part of His agenda, and God doesn't like it when we hurt. Just like a mother hurts for her child, our Heavenly Father hurts with us. But just like learning the stove is hot and we shouldn't touch it as a child, we have to learn that a little pain brings about an abundance of blessings. We just have to be willing to withstand the hurt for God to show us the beauty behind it all.

I leave you with another verse...

Hebrews 10:35-36
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

To Endings and New Beginnings

I realize it has been almost a year since I have written, but sometimes you have to pull away from something until its time to come back. With all that has transpired in my life over the past few months, I can't stay quiet. God has been so faithful and gracious in mine and Robert's marriage and future that its time I use the lessons He's given to help others and provide encouragement for people in all walks of life. Please bear with me as I pour out my heart and the deepest desires of my soul as well as the things that God is continuing to show me daily. This path towards God's plan and purpose for my life has been heartbreaking, breathtaking, overwhelming, and beautiful.

First of all, I am nothing without Christ. My whole life and everything in it is His alone.
Secondly, just bc God may say no to you, doesn't mean that His promises aren't true.

Remember when you were young and you dreamed of your future... go off to college... find the perfect Godly guy... marry him... start a career... buy a house... have children... travel and enjoy your blessings... retire...
And your life starts out that way... I found my man in high school... I went off to A&M... graduated... got married... went to graduate school... started my career... bought a house... and then it came time that we were ready to have children. I honestly hate when people say "once you stop trying to have children and relax you will have them." I don't mean to be rude... but sometimes you don't know what that person is going through or that maybe, just maybe, they aren't able to or meant to have children.

But the desire was still there.

I finally got to the point where the greedy green monster of jealousy and frustration overtook me at every turn. I wanted to be a mother more than anything, but I also wanted what God wanted for my life... unfortunately I tried to make God's will what mine was bc surely what I wanted was what He wanted, right?
I am embarrassed to say how much I began to resent my facebook newsfeed and receiving word over and over about which ones of my friends were pregnant and I wasn't. I love my friends and trust me when I say that I prayed for you all and your sweet children, but my faith was being shaken and I didn't know how my world wasn't playing out how I always dreamed. 

Its crazy how much you can strive to follow God and His plan for you... all the while manipulating "His direction" for your gain. Thats exactly what I was doing and I was letting anger and a depression that I kept denying to reign instead of my gracious Heavenly Father. Luckily, He never turned His back on me. In fact He was trying everything to get my attention. But I chose to ignore and hide behind my wavering faith and act like everything was ok.

This post is getting long and I promise to finish my story and to update all of you on the current status of our new path in life, but I have to get through these rough details and be raw with you, raw with God.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future.