“A Better Blessing” by Kristi

I remember worrying about my fertility long before I was ready to have children. I knew that I wanted to be a mom and that I would be good at it. But for some reason I had this nagging feeling that I might not be able to. For the most part I pushed it out of my mind. During our second year of marriage my husband was deployed to Kuwait. We had talked before he left about when we wanted to have kids and decided that when he returned from his deployment we would be ready. People who know me know that I am a researcher. When I enter a new phase of life, get a new pet, or plan a vacation I read everything I can get my hands on about that particular subject. I like to be as informed as possible about the things going on in my life.  So I immediately read everything I could find about getting pregnant.  I thought that somehow I could just plan it.

About seven months after we started trying to get pregnant I went to see my OB/GYN. I told her I was worried about not being pregnant yet and that I had a nagging feeling that something might be wrong. She chuckled a little bit and told me that everything looked fine and it was too soon to worry anyway. And yet just weeks later my fears were realized in a way I had never imagined. I learned that I had an ectopic pregnancy. I had to have emergency surgery in order to keep my fallopian tube from rupturing. There was nothing that could be done for the baby. I was devastated. I had not even known that I was pregnant. But I still felt a very real sense of loss.

Imagine my joy just six weeks later when I found out that I was expecting! I should have been nervous, or at least cautious, but I wasn’t. I was elated. Somehow I knew that I would hold this baby in my arms. And I did. I gave birth to the sweetest little girl in August of 2010. God had answered my prayers!

When my daughter was just nine months old, my husband and I decided that we were ready to give her a sibling. We knew that it could be many months before getting pregnant, so we didn’t want to wait too long. God had other plans. As our daughter grew older, we received the same well-meaning comment over and over. “When are you going to give her a baby brother or sister?” People were only trying to show interest in our family, but after over a year of trying, I was starting to worry. And the repeated questions brought me pain.

During the time we tried and failed to get pregnant, I struggled accepting my infertility. I can’t be infertile, I thought. I already have a child. This isn’t supposed to happen to me! I felt guilty for feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t think I was allowed to be sad about my fertility struggles when I had already known the blessing of having a child. But whether I thought I was allowed to feel that way or not, I was crushed. With every new announcement of a friend or acquaintance who was expecting a baby, I fought back tears. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t able to make my own announcement. And for the most part, I went through my struggle alone. I was embarrassed to talk about it.

After a year of trying, I called my doctor to schedule some tests. Due to my previous ectopic pregnancy, our first step was to look at my fallopian tubes. I found out that one of my tubes was completely blocked. Strangely enough, it was not the same tube in which my ectopic pregnancy had occurred. The doctor said that with the other tube in tact, it was still possible for me to get pregnant, but it would just take longer. She put me on Clomid, a fertility drug, so that I would be more likely to ovulate from both ovaries each cycle, which would increase my chances of getting an egg into my “good” tube. I was worried, but thankful that we were able to find a reason why I wasn’t getting pregnant and a solution that would likely increase my chances of conceiving soon. I felt hope.

When I found out I was pregnant just two months later, I was cautiously optimistic. I wanted to be excited, but I was nervous. And waiting for our sonogram confirmation was excruciating. Even though it was just a couple of weeks, it felt like months. When the day finally came, I could barely breathe. The technician started the ultrasound but was very quiet. I knew that meant bad news. The doctor came in and looked. She couldn’t find anything. Unfortunately, since the ultrasound was inconclusive, I was told to wait two weeks and then come back. But just a week later, I ended up in the emergency room with those familiar pains and another ectopic pregnancy. I felt like my life was on repeat. The loss was devastating. I had to say goodbye to a baby I had begged God for, a baby I had waited fifteen months for, a baby I already loved very deeply.

Really, the story of that loss is much longer. I had multiple appointments at the doctor’s office followed by a visit to the ER and medication, which didn’t work properly, although I didn’t know it right away. On our way to an out-of-town trip, my husband had to take me to the ER in a little town in eastern Oklahoma. And after a long day there, I was transported back to the Tulsa hospital by ambulance. Once in the hospital, they had to wheel me through an area very near to the maternity ward and we rolled right past a beautiful newborn baby in the hallway. The pain was unbearable. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t breathe or talk. I was a mess. Ultimately, I had to make a decision about how to terminate my ectopic pregnancy. Did I want to try more medication or surgery? It was a decision I agonized over. (There is no way to save a baby who never made it to the uterus, but still, I struggled with knowing what was the right thing to do with this precious baby that could not survive.) I chose surgery, and when I woke up, I found out that I had not only lost the baby, but also my fallopian tube. By the time I made it home, I was a zombie.

My mother suggested a book called I Will Carry You by Angie Smith. It is the story of Angie’s own loss, the story of the baby she could not keep. I read it in one day. My pain was still very raw and it was difficult to read the book while I was still so deep in my grief. But I am so glad I did. As I read the book I knew that I wanted God to turn my loss into a blessing. I was not sure how He could do that, but I knew that He could. I reminded myself right then and there that God makes no mistakes and I told myself that I would not waste my pain but that I would use it to become a better person.

I know my story is going to sound redundant at this point, but this is really how it happened. Weeks after I lost my third child, I became pregnant again. I felt numb when I saw those two pink lines. More waiting, followed by an inconclusive ultrasound, multiple blood tests, more ultrasounds, fear. When it looked like it was probably another ectopic pregnancy, we were surprised to find something in the uterus. But it wasn’t a viable pregnancy. I miscarried the baby. Two months later, it all happened again. Another positive test. Another miscarriage.  Five pregnancies and only one living child. My pain was deep and my hope was fading.

I remember sitting quietly with the Lord. Day after day, words escaped me. I wanted to pray, but I didn’t even know what to say. God understood. He wrapped His arms around me and just held me. I was confused. When words finally did come, they were questions. Why are you letting this happen over and over? If I am not meant to have anymore children, then why are you letting me conceive? Is my family complete? What are you trying to show me? During the previous six months, with each pregnancy loss, I would hear doctors tell me that I should probably stop trying to have a baby. I started to believe them.

I struggled with the word “faith.” I used to think it meant believing that God would. Now I knew that it meant believing that God can and that if he doesn’t, it is because His plan is different from mine. I realized that perhaps His plan was for me to have only one child. Why did that have to be a bad plan? I tried to lay down my own plan, to give it to Him. But each time I set it at His feet, I would pick it back up almost immediately. I want to give this to you Lord! I want to trust You! But it’s hard to let go of my dream!

My husband and I decided that what we needed was a break. We stopped trying for a few months. We even went as far as preventing pregnancy. I knew I could not bear another loss at that point. I needed some time. Time to renew my relationship with my husband. Time to strengthen my relationship with God. During these months I was finally able to give my plans to Him. I was able to tell Him that I trusted Him, whether He was going to give me a baby or not, and really mean it. I don’t mean to say that I no longer desired another child, but that I was content with the amazing family God had already given me.

During all of this time I blogged about my experiences. I shared what I was going through even as it happened, even while the emotions were still so raw. I was clinging to this verse:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”           

2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I knew that God wanted me to use my pain to reach out to others. He wanted me to use these difficulties to become a stronger and better person. He wanted me to draw closer to Him in a way I had never been able to before. I knew that something good can come from something bad. God showed me that in letting me experience this hurt, He was allowing me to comfort others in the same way He has been able to comfort me so many times before. I was learning to shift from an inward focus on my pain to an outward focus on others and an upward focus on God. It was a blessing I didn’t expect.

A few months after we had decided to take a break from trying to conceive, I felt that it was time to get things settled once and for all. I needed to see a specialist and find out how realistic it was to hope for another baby. God led me to a wonderful doctor through a friend of mine who had been through her own journey of infertility and loss. He looked at every aspect of my fertility and discovered that not only did I have problems with my fallopian tubes, but I also had very tiny ovaries and poor ovarian reserve. Basically, although I was just thirty-one years old, my ovaries were acting more like those of a woman in her forties. Time was running out. My biological clock was ticking faster than I had known. The doctor was shocked that I had even managed to become pregnant as many times as I had. He said that considering my history and fertility issues, my chances of conceiving without intervention were less than 10% and that if I were to conceive again, there would be a 50% chance that it would be ectopic. He told me that IVF would be my best chance for a healthy pregnancy and even told me that I couldn’t wait very long to do that since my follicle count was so low. If I wanted another baby, I needed intervention and I needed it soon.

My husband and I talked about IVF. We prayed about it. Neither of us felt peace about it at that time. We decided to leave it in God’s hands. If we were meant to have another child, God would make it happen or He would direct us toward IVF. If we were not meant to have another child, we would trust the plans God had for our family of three. Either way, I wanted to start living instead of just waiting. I had wasted enough time waiting for the next child. I needed to enjoy my family as it was, without anticipating what would come next.

I feel like I’m supposed to say that I was surprised when I found out I was pregnant just weeks after being told it was nearly impossible, but I wasn’t. I was terrified. For me, it was the moment of truth. If I lost this baby, I knew I wouldn’t want to try again. When I was finally able to see my doctor for an ultrasound, I got bad news. It was another ectopic pregnancy, my third ectopic pregnancy. Furthermore, it was in my only remaining fallopian tube and would probably end my chances for ever conceiving again without intervention. I was numb. The doctor suggested methotrexate, the same drug I had used with my second ectopic pregnancy. But then he decided that he wanted to wait a couple of days to administer the drug. He told me that he wanted to give me a few days to feel comfortable with the decision and he knew that I would want some time to pray for a miracle. As far as I know, my doctor is not a born-again believer, so it was surprising to hear him say something like that. Three days later, I saw the doctor again. This time he saw a sac in the uterus! But he also still saw something in my tube. He now diagnosed me with a heterotopic pregnancy – one baby in the tube and one in the uterus. I would have to have surgery to remove the one in the tube, and the one in the uterus would have a good chance at staying healthy. Again, he wanted to wait a few days and be certain before scheduling the surgery.

I think you can guess where this is going. About two weeks after seeing those two pink lines, after multiple ultrasounds and plenty of scary news, the doctor was finally able to tell me that I had one healthy baby growing inside of my uterus and nothing in my fallopian tube. Despite everything he had seen during those ultrasounds, I did not actually have an ectopic pregnancy this time, nor did I miscarry. God protected this sweet little baby and allowed her to grow and be healthy! She was our miracle!

Our miracle baby arrived just eight weeks ago. As I close my eyes I can again feel that first moment when she was finally in my arms and the tears are flowing now just as they did then. I can honestly say that I am thankful for the difficult journey that led to her arrival. I know how to appreciate her in a way I didn’t know before. I know how to savor the moments with both of my children in a way I probably never would have had I not gone through the waiting and the loss. I have connected with people because of my journey. I am a very different person than the me from five or six years ago. I am a better person, a stronger person, because of what I have been though. And not just because of what I have been through, but also because of the way I was able to draw near to God during my journey.  And I am able to rejoice in a miracle, a true miracle from God!

BabyA

 

I suppose the most important thing I have learned during these last few years is that I can’t predict my future. Nor do I want to. If I were to plan out my own life, it would be easy, smooth, and comfortable. But if that were the case, I would never change or grow. God has a way of using the hard and messy times in my life to mold and shape me into something more beautiful. He is directing the steps of my path and He always has a better blessing in store for me than anything that I could plan for myself.

I can’t wait for the day when my girls are old enough for me to share this story with them. I want them to know that our God is great and mighty! I want them to know that he cares for every single one of His children. I want them to know that even though trusting Him is not always easy, it’s always right. I want them to know that God placed them here on this earth and even in our family for a reason. And my prayer is that they will “live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way” (Colossians 1:10) and that I will too!

Kristi

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 To read more posts from Kristi, follow her blog, A Better Blessing.

 

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“Don’t Give Up (On The Brink Of A Miracle)” by Mike Adkins

I have shared two of the three songs I loved hearing the Hicks sing at a Southern Gospel Jubilee years ago.  The first two were “No Need To Doubt Him Now” and “In His Time.”  The third is what I call a fighting song.  I love the words.  Fighting songs keep you going when things look bleak and the results don’t seem very promising.     

“Don’t Give Up (On The Brink Of A Miracle)”

By Mike Adkins

 

Satan would have you look

at the trials of life that surround you,

And he tries to appear, and he brings

doubt and fear all around you.

Don’t look with your eye or listen with your ear.

Just cry out to God; He is always near,

And in your darkest hour, your miracle is here.

 

Oh, the devil is a thief

and he sends these troubles to confound you.

And he lies and he says,

“This time there’s no way you’ll make it through.”

But you remember God’s true Word, the battle is the Lord’s.

Don’t give in to fear; Think on things that are pure.

And praise the Lord, you’re miracle is here.

 

Don’t give up on the brink of a miracle.

Don’t give in; God is still on His throne.

Oh, don’t give up on the brink of a miracle.

Don’t give in; Remember you’re not alone.

 

On February 2nd of 2005, we had our first IVF-ICSI attempt.  I woke up feeling like something good was about to happen – our embryo transfer was at 10:45 am.  I was staying at my sister and brother-in-law’s house, and my sweet, five-year old nephew gave me two roses, one a melon color and the other yellow.  How special he (and my sister) made me feel!

The embryologist had called the day before and said we would have a transfer in the morning; one morula was ready, and he thought the 10-cell would be ready so we could transfer two.  The other two embryos had slowed down, but we were hoping they would be able to freeze them if they reached blastocyst by day 6 – the day after transfer.

At the procedure, I saw my embryos on a TV screen.  For some reason, I wrote in my journal that it was neat but not as exciting as I thought it would be.  My doctor mentioned that they were morulas, not blastocysts (optimum maturity) and that probably had to do with the condition of my eggs.  The other two embryos did not continue to develop.  This really discouraged me, and after we were alone, I cried.  I woke up at 4 am the next morning to use the bathroom and cried some more.  I sang to myself the songs I heard the Hicks sing – “No Need To Doubt Him Now” and “Don’t Give Up On The Brink Of A Miracle,” as well as Guy Penrod singing “I Just Feel Like Something Good Is About To Happen.”  I quoted Psalm 113 and my poem of faith, rejoicing, and trust, and then I remembered the words of a friend, “Stay encouraged, stay in His Word, and praise Him.”  God brought to mind our pastor’s most recent sermon from James.  I didn’t want my faith to be like the wind, driven by circumstances.  Faith and tears of doubt don’t go together.  I was encouraged in the Lord.

Yet, eight days later, my results were negative.  It was hard to hear.  My husband’s words were that he was still confident I would get pregnant, so we would just sail on.  We didn’t give up.

Don’t Give Up On Your Miracle Baby – Resolve to have audacious faith in 2014.

As an optimist, I always look forward to a new year.  Some of my goals and resolutions may be the same year in and year out, but I welcome the fresh start.  A new year is a reminder I can try again.  I don’t have to give up on what I left undone or didn’t quite reach the year before. 

This new year, 2014, don’t give up on your miracle baby or babies. 

My son is now 7 and yesterday, I came across some notes I had written the day we announced in church that I was pregnant.  I wish I had had a video cam that day, but I kept track of as many well wishes and congratulatory remarks as I could remember, and it is a precious memory that brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face.

Year after year before that January 8, 2006 announcement, I faced times of discouragement, heartache, and confusion.  I wondered how I would ever become a mommy.  I always experienced regular cycles.  To put it plainly, once married, I had approximately 150 monthly periods in a row before I became pregnant.  After each setback or disappointment, my husband would say, “I still think you will get pregnant.”  Those words of faith encouraged me to keep pursuing my miracle baby.  Psalm 113:9 and many other Scriptures encouraged me to continue believing.     

Although it’s not as simple as putting “have a baby in 2014” at the top of your list of resolutions, I encourage you not to give up on your miracle of having a baby.  Don’t give up on faith.  In fact, resolve to have audacious faith – faith that is confident and bold. 

I don’t know what the Lord will do in your life, with your experience of infertility or loss, but I know what He did in my life, and I have seen time after time with friends and acquaintances how He has performed miracles with details unique to each couple that no one could have imagined.  Don’t give up faith.  We just don’t know how or when God will answer. 

“…Faith honors God, and God honors it.  Oh for this faith that will go on, leaving God to fulfill His promise when He sees fit!” 

Thomas Champness (Streams, March 28th)

 “Where we are dealing with a supernatural Being, and taking from Him things that are humanly impossible, it is easier to take much than little, it is easier to stand in a place of audacious trust than in a place of cautious, timid clinging to the shore.  Like wise seamen in the life of faith, let us launch out into the deep, and find that all things are possible with God, and all things are possible unto him that believeth.”

From Days of Heaven Upon Earth (Streams, March 28th)

 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen.”

Ephesians 3:20-21

 “Impossible situations can become possible miracles.”

—Robert H. Schuller

 “Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.”

—Edwin Louis Cole

 “Back of every creation, supporting it like an arch is faith. Enthusiasm is nothing: it comes and goes. But if one believes, then miracles occur.”

—Henry Miller

 

For With God Nothing Shall Be Impossible.

This great truth is universally used to encourage one another, whether it’s for our own reminder or to give another hope.  But if I asked you to quote its reference or share its context, would you be able to tell me?

Having just celebrated Christmas, the season of Christ’s birth, I recently read the account in the Gospel of Luke.  Not only did the angel Gabriel tell it to Mary, in Luke 1:37, to assure Mary that she would conceive a son in her womb by the power of the Holy Ghost and call him Jesus, but he also encouraged her faith by saying that her cousin Elisabeth, who was stricken in years and had been barren, was now with child.

“All the instances in the Old Testament of those having children that had been long barren, which was above nature, were designed to prepare the world for the belief of a virgin’s bearing a son, which was against nature.  No word of God must be incredible to us, as long as no work of God is impossible to him.”

Elisabeth even commended Mary’s faith and encouraged it.  “Those that have experienced the performance of God’s promises themselves should encourage others to hope that he will be as good as his word to them also.”

That is why I continue to blog.  I have experienced the performance of God’s promise, and I want to encourage you – don’t give up hope!

May God bless you and the fruit of your womb in 2013.

Quotes from Matthew Henry’s Commentary

I’ve No Cause For Worry Or For Fear

Three weeks ago today, I found myself in my car, parked outside a medical building that I had not been to in over 10 years.  Although it was years ago, I remember sitting in my car in that same parking lot, crying about results from an exam I had just had.  I wrote about that in Joy-Tester.

I was unable to hold back my tears.  My emotions were right on the surface, only this time the tears were for a blood test I was about to take.  I tried to evaluate my response and wondered, “Why am I losing control this time?”  It was simply worry and fear.  Worry about the future.  Fear that the test might reveal results I didn’t want to accept, which led me to worry about what could happen after that.  As a young child, I trusted Christ as my Savior, yet didn’t my worry and fear translate that I couldn’t trust Him with my current or future circumstances – with whatever His will is for my life?

Fear is defined as a strong emotion caused by anticipation of danger or anxious concern.  Worry is similar, meaning mental distress resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated.  Yet as Carolina Sandell Berg penned in the song, Day By Day, “I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.”

Why?  Because faith’s sweet consolation is my comfort.  “God never gives feeling to enable us to trust Him; God never gives feeling to encourage us to trust Him; God never gives feeling to show that we have already and utterly trusted Him.  God gives feeling only when He sees that we trust Him apart from all feeling, resting on His own Word, and on His own faithfulness to His promise.”  (Streams, September 26).  Faith alleviates my feelings and emotions.  Faith moves me forward to the next step.

Picture a little girl who is scared of the path ahead, but still, she looks up and takes her daddy’s hand and starts to walk with him.  She doesn’t have to be afraid.  She just needs to trust.  We must put our hand in the hand of God just like that and trust He will lead us, even if we don’t know where we are headed.

“The clinging hand of His child

makes a desperate situation a delight to Him.” 

Streams in the Desert, October 14

I have since gotten the results of my test, and although there are still unknowns, I can honestly say I have not worried or been fearful about the situation anymore.   I’ve been where you are: desperately wanting to have a baby, and now that I’m on the other side, it is easy for me to say, “have faith, rejoice, and trust.”  While that is true, this recent experience brought me back to a place where I could remember what it’s like to be IN that moment where you are right now.  I had to trust Him then and I have to trust Him now.

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow,

it only saps today of its joy.”

Leo Buscaglia in Zig Ziglar’s Something to Smile About

“God Is My Strength – Part One” by Amy

I’ll admit; this is probably the hardest thing for me to write about.  When it comes to my emotions, I like to bury them deep, especially when it comes to painful topics.  So, it has certainly taken me a while to get myself to a point to sit down and write this.  And still…it isn’t going to be easy.  I’ve really known all my life that I would never naturally have a baby.  I don’t know why I felt that way, but I did.  I had a lot of problems in my younger years with irregular cycles and as I got older, they got farther and farther apart.  I worried in silence, and the doctors never offered me any solution but to take birth control (which didn’t seem to make any sense to me).  So, I just ignored it for a long time.

I finally talked about it when my husband and I got engaged.  I sat him down and told him.  At the time, I don’t think he took it too seriously.  I think he believed I was over-thinking things and exaggerating.  We got married on Valentine’s Day 1999 and began our life together.  He was 27 and I was 28.  We went about our lives, working, buying a house, collecting stuff, and not thinking about it.  After about two and a half years, when I turned 30, I started thinking it was time we start thinking about a baby.  But we didn’t seek a doctor for quite some time.

Finally, we realized it was going to require some testing and help.  This is when I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) from my doctor.  Syndrome?  What did that even mean?  But there was hope.  I was to take some meds, monitor my temperature every morning, do some ovulation tests, etc., and come back monthly to be monitored.  The first few months were hard because my charting was not turning out as expected.  So, the doctor increased the dosage.  I’m the first one to avoid any kind of medication because I am so sensitive to side effects.  Oh, I felt awful taking this, but I continued.  This time, my chart looked exactly how it was supposed to.  I was so excited to come back and get an ultrasound.  The disappointing news was I didn’t even ovulate.

I told myself I wasn’t going to be an emotional basket case.  I was just going to follow the doctor’s instructions without expectation.  That is impossible.  You spend too much time on this chart and temperatures and tests to not be very emotional throughout the process.  The doctor told me that I was a case that was going to require a fertility clinic.  But, as someone with PCOS herself, my doctor warned me that the drugs (daily shots) were going to be much worse than what I was already taking and told me how her own husband made her quit them after only one month because of how “crazy” they were making her.  Add to that the cost of $2500/month and I was just crushed.  I had to take a break from it for a little while.

We eventually decided instead we would adopt through DHS.  It took several months of background checks, home studies, and classes before we were approved.  Then we waited and waited.   Finally after about a year (and by this time I’m 32), we were given the option to be placed with two boys, ages 4 and 6.  We said yes.  Within a month, we had the two boys in our home.  It was both a wonderful time and a very trying time.  We were unprepared.  As much as the classes try to teach you, it’s an experience no one understands until going through it.  We failed.  After a year, we decided not to adopt.

Looking back, we realize we made so many mistakes.  We both had so much guilt for failing, too.  Our thoughts have always been with those boys as we completely turned away from adoption, fertility, or any other talk of children for years after that.  My husband still carries their pictures in his wallet, and I have kept all the pictures and their life books for when I can get them to the boys.  It was another silent sadness we now carried with us into the present day.  (Recently, I was fortunate to find out that both boys were adopted when I made contact with the older one.  That has given us some peace all these years later.)

A few more years go by, and during this time, my husband gets saved.  Yes, he was an atheist (a nice one), but nevertheless, an atheist.  So, even though I got saved as a child, I had spent much of my life apart from God.  By my husband getting saved, it brought both of us to the Lord.  We both believe that our loss and failure with the boys set him on a journey that ultimately brought him to the cross.  What a blessing from such a tragedy.  As a result, we found a good church home and some great friends.  Even then, we didn’t talk with anyone about this.  There was more suffering in silence.  As far as anyone knew, we just happened to be a childless couple married six years by this time.  So, we dedicated ourselves to serving the Lord and helping others.

It was not longer after, we found out about a local ministry, Crisis Pregnancy Outreach (CPO), from another church member who had adopted through them.  It was 2006 by this time and we agreed to go with this friend to a meeting.  Many different people adopting were giving their testimonies, and one couple told of their failed adoption in which they were raising their baby and the bio father came back into the picture and ended up with custody after they had him for quite a while.  That completely terrified me and I left thinking I cannot endure any more losses.  I can’t do it.  By the way, I’ve heard so many people say that there are unknowns in a pregnancy (and there are) and unknowns in life (of course) and they equate it to the adoption process.  But, I don’t think it really compares.

This journey felt hopeless to me.  It was beyond me and out of my control.  And because of that, I avoided it.  Like I said, we dedicated ourselves to serving the Lord, but for me, I never trusted the Lord.  I did most everything in my own strength.  So, choosing to go through the adoption process now would mean I need to learn to trust the Lord in whatever happens including a potential loss.  It took another two years.

During this time, we got a phone call from my mother who heard about a lady about to have twins.  She had found an attorney to help her locate an adoptive family.  It was very short notice so I wrote a one page “life story” and sent it in.  She chose three families to interview and we happened to be one of them.  I was nervous, worried and excited.  We fasted and prayed for three days and I was certain that this was God’s answer to our prayer.  We could in one moment have our family complete.

We were the second couple to meet with her.  She seemed nice and things went well.  We had church friends praying for us during this meeting as well, so I just knew this was it.  We saw the third couple arrive as we left.  The next day we found out she had chosen the third couple.  Once again, I was crushed.  I was so sure about this.  I told the attorney I needed to know what was the deciding factor and he told me that she was leaning towards picking us after we left and he agreed that we were also the best fit, but then the wife of the third couple begged her and pleaded with her to pick them so she did.  It all seemed very unfair.  But, it was done and we were back again, facing this ever-so-vast emptiness in our hearts.

Why, I kept wondering,”was the Lord doing this?  To be honest, I was quite angry about it.  I remember so many Mother’s Days, thinking if children are a blessing and heritage from the Lord and a reward, then what was God saying to me?  I felt punished.  But, I never told anyone but my husband what I was thinking.  I knew it was wrong, but I had no way to feel differently about it.

Despite that, in 2008, married nine years and at age 37, I remember running into the church member, who now had two adopted children through CPO, and thinking to myself, “What am I waiting for?”  It finally dawned on me that by trying to protect my heart from another potential loss, I was also pushing away any potential blessing God might have in store.  So, while I was bitter and angry with God, I finally realized that I had a role to play, which I had been avoiding.  We almost immediately made a life book, got our application filled out, and went to the very next meeting turning it all in to CPO.  And the real test of faith began.

Click on this link to read Part Two

 

I Would Have Laughed, Too, Sarah.

Last Mother’s Day, I heard a lesson on Biblical mothers of the faith.  The teacher spoke about Jochebed, Sarah, Hannah, Mary, and Eunice.  But then he questioned whether or not Sarah deserved a place in that group because she doubted, referring to the story in Genesis.

“And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son.  And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind them.  Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age, and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women.  Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?  And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old?  Is anything too hard for the Lord?  At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.”  Genesis 18:10-14.

When I heard those words, I felt defensive on Sarah’s behalf and heartily disagreed.  Sarah is one of my heroes.  She’s been my example!  Although I didn’t actually speak up verbally, I asked confidently to myself, “Which of those mothers made it to the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11?  Only Sarah.”  I rest my case.

Who wouldn’t have doubted or laughed by age 90?  Haven’t we done so ourselves at age 27, 30, 35, or 42?

She probably approached each month with faith, but then when that menstrual cycle started, or when she no longer had a cycle, doubt crept in.  Time and time again, month after month, year after year, nothing.  Then there is a glimmer of hope – a delayed period, a twinge of nausea, some other “sign” and we want to believe again.  Could it be?

No, your period starts right after you take your pregnancy test, and your nausea came from a stomach bug.  If you don’t cry, you just laugh at yourself and say that’s what you get for believing, hoping.  I’m not falling for that again.  So who can blame her?  I would have laughed, too, Sarah.

Thankfully, we have Sarah’s story to learn from – how she overcame her doubts and insecurity to become a hero of faith in the God of great faithfulness.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.  Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.”  Hebrews 11:1, 11-12

Matthew Henry gives us insight into her faith; faith we can relate to as well as learn from.

The difficulties of her faith:  Sarah was only human, just like us.  She didn’t believe; she laughed at the promise, as impossible to be made good.  Sarah also went out of the way of her duty through unbelief by giving her handmaid to Abraham.  Lastly, she focused on the great improbability – the fact that a child was promised when she was past age – 90!

The actings of her faith: Sarah’s unbelief was pardoned and forgotten.  Her faith prevailed and is recorded for us to see – for our example and for our hope.  She judged him faithful who had promised.  She received the promise as the promise of God; and being convinced of that, she truly judged he both could and would perform it, how impossible it might seem to reason; for the faithfulness of God will not suffer him to deceive his people.

The fruit and reward of her faith: She received strength to conceive seed.  The strength of nature, as well as grace, is from God: he can make the barren soul fruitful as well as the barren womb.  Sarah was delivered of a child, a child of the promise, and comfort of his parents’ advanced years, and the hope of future ages.  From them, by this son, sprang a great, powerful and renowned nation, above all the rest in the world; and a nation of saints, the peculiar church and people of God, and which was the highest honor and reward of all, of these, according to the flesh, the Messiah came, who is over all, God blessed forevermore.

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