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

 

Post Gaudius Luctus – Joy Succeeds Sorrow

I would like to wish away the tears that come unexpectedly, without warning, seemingly without reason. 

Yes, I cry for the baby girl – we – my husband, my son, and I want to add to our family but aren’t really pursuing. 

But is that all my tears represent, after all this time?

I remember the tears, just like the tears someone is crying today. 

I cry for others.   

I cry for the woman who is viewing her ultrasound for fibroids, cysts, or endometriosis – instead of viewing an ultrasound of a growing embryo in her uterus. 

I cry for the woman alone in the waiting room of her OB-GYN waiting for her next pap smear – instead of waiting to hear the measurements and heartbeat of her growing baby.

I cry for the woman who miscarried after IVF – instead of hearing the hCG levels after IVF were rising beautifully in the right direction. 

I cry because I have been there.

But then I pray for them.

I remember the joy. 

I pray for joy for them, too.

Post gaudia luctus.  That’s Latin for “joy succeeds sorrow.”  Several verses in Scripture confirm this.     

Jeremiah 31:13b “for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on this verse: Those are comforted indeed whom God comforts, and may forget their troubles when he makes them to rejoice from their sorrow, not only rejoice after it, but rejoice from it their joy shall borrow luster from their sorrow, which shall serve as a foil to it; and the more they think of their troubles, the more they rejoice in their deliverance. 

Psalm 126:5 “They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary: Suffering saints are in tears often; they share in the calamities of human life and commonly have a greater share in them than others.  But they sow in tears; they do the duty of an afflicted state and so answer the intentions of the providences they are under.  They shall have a harvest of joy.  The troubles of the saints will not last always, but when they have done their work, shall have a happy period. 

Psalm 30:5b “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. 

Matthew Henry’s Commentary: If weeping endureth for a night, and it be a wearisome night, yet as sure as the light of the morning returns after the darkness of the night, so sure will joy and comfort return in a short time, in due time, to the people of God. 

“Our joys are made better if there be sorrow in the midst of them.  And our sorrows are made bright by the joys that God has planted around about them.  The flowers may not be pleasing to us, they may not be such as we are fond of plucking, but they are heart flowers, love, hope, faith, joy, peace – these are flowers which are planted around about every grave that is sunk in the Christian heart.” 

Streams in the Desert, April 25

 

Join the Movement. Apply the Ointment.

2013-bloggers-challenge-badge NIAW

I am trying to make a difference in the lives of people with infertility.  I know how it feels.  I know how it hurts.  I have one son, yet infertility is still with me.  I can’t take away my infertility nor can I take away your infertility.  But I can apply the ointment to help alleviate the pain of infertility.

In one word, the ointment is Jesus.

Assuage – I like that word even though I don’t use it in my everyday vocabulary! It means to lessen the intensity of something that pains or distresses.

Through prayer, His Word, a caring friend, a compassionate family member, a song, a devotion, a sermon, and a blog, Jesus applies the ointment to assuage your pain of infertility.  He soothes your troubled soul, calms your anxious heart, comforts your disappointed spirit, and quiets your fears.

National Infertility Awareness Week isn’t just a week to make others (who seem unaware of infertility) aware of infertility. This week causes me to reflect on where I have been and praise God for what He has done in my life through this trial of infertility.  In a sense, this week I relive the pain to relieve the pain for others who are hurting.  This year, I purpose to apply the salve to the women I personally know who are experiencing infertility by praying for them and encouraging them more consistently.

The word ointment comes from the Latin word unguere, meaning to anoint.  When Jesus applies the ointment to our hurting hearts, He is choosing or consecrating us to do the same for others who are hurting.

I do hope for you the joy a baby can bring.  I also pray that you will receive the ointment that can bring you joy as you journey through infertility.

On January 15,2010, I started my blog, due in part to the following devotion I had read four days earlier on January 11 from Streams in the Desert.  I had written in my Streams journal on that day in 2002, realizing I did need training to be a comforter and there would be others down the road that I could help just as someone helped me.

 

Streams in the Desert, January 11th

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.”
Isaiah 40:1

Store up comfort.  This was the prophet’s mission.  The world is full of comfortless hearts, and ere thou are sufficient for this lofty ministry, thou must be trained.  And thy training is costly in the extreme; for, to render it perfect, thou too must pass through the same afflictions as are wringing countless hearts of tears and blood.  Thus thy own life becomes the hospital ward where thou art taught the divine art of comfort.  Thou art wounded, that in the binding up of thy wounds by the Great Physician, thou mayest learn how to render first aid to the wounded everywhere.  Dost thou wonder why thou art passing through some special sorrow?  Wait till ten years are passed, and thou wilt find many others afflicted as thou art.  Thou wilt tell them how thou hast suffered and hast been comforted; then as the tale is unfolded, and the anodynes applied which once thy God wrapped around thee, in the eager look and the gleam of hope that shall chase the shadow of despair across the soul, thou shalt know why thou wast afflicted, and bless God for the discipline that stored thy life with such a fund of experience and helpfulness.  Selected.

“God does not comfort us to make us comfortable, but to make us comforters.”  Dr. Jowett

They tell me I must bruise

The rose’s leaf,

Ere I can keep and use

Its fragrance brief.

~~~

They tell me I must break

The skylark’s heart,

Ere her cage song will make

The silence start.

~~~

They tell me love must bleed,

And friendship weep,

Ere in my deepest need

I touch that deep.

~~~

Must it be always so

With precious things?

Must they be bruised and go

With beaten wings?

~~~

Ah, yes! by crushing days,

By caging nights, by scar

Of thorn and stony ways,

These blessings are!

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

Do You Want A Different Cross?

I can remember my husband asking me if I wanted to tell God, “No, I don’t want to go through this.”  I knew it was His will for us to go through this for some reason, but it was a long and difficult journey.  In a way, I was saying I wanted a different cross to bear – or perhaps no cross at all.

In the August 29th entry of Streams in the Desert, a poem called “The Changed Cross” is referenced, representing a weary woman who thought that her cross was surely heavier than those of others whom she saw about her, and she wished that she might choose another instead of her own.  She tried on other crosses but found them to be too heavy or too piercing, until she came to a final one that she took up and proved the best of all, the easiest to be borne.  Bathed in the radiance that fell from heaven, she recognized it as her own old cross.

At the time I read this devotion in Streams, we had been on our infertility journey five years and had been teaching an adult Bible class for newly married couples the previous two years.  Although it was difficult at times, this devotion helped me realize that my cross had been easier to bear than others.  Just eight months before, one couple in our class, who already had a healthy baby girl, was expecting another baby.  The pregnancy was seemingly uneventful, only to find out the day their baby boy was born that he had heart complications that could not have been corrected.  He lived just a few short hours.  The next month, another woman in our class had her firstborn baby a couple of months premature.  The doctors were 90% sure this couple’s baby girl had Down Syndrome.  She lived only four weeks and they never got to bring her home from the hospital.  Still other couples that we taught experienced miscarriages and other difficult pregnancies or deliveries.

I don’t think I could bear being pregnant for nine months and watching my baby die the day he was born.  I don’t think I could bear not getting to bring my baby home from the hospital.  What really brought this illustration full circle, however, was when one of these women came to visit me and told me she couldn’t have handled what I had been going through.  For her it was easier to be pregnant nine months and hold her baby a few hours before he went to heaven than to experience what I had gone through with infertility.  That was incomprehensible to me.  Another woman I talked to who had experienced three miscarriages before giving birth to her first child told me the same – she couldn’t handle the nine years of infertility we went through, where even one, let alone three miscarriages would have seemed too difficult for me to endure.

“God knows best what cross we need to bear.  We do not know how heavy other people’s crosses are.  If we could try all the other crosses that we think lighter than our own, we would at last find that not one of them suited us so well as our own.”  From Glimpses through Life’s Windows

With Patience, Wait.

Several years ago on my journey of infertility, I had read the February 21st Streams in the Desert entry and was encouraged by the devotion on waiting patiently.  After reading it in the morning and coming home that evening, somewhere in-between, I had forgotten what I had read and probably experienced all the w’s in just a few short hours!  How weak in the flesh that made me feel!  Thankfully, God is patient with me.

This devotion is for those who have “prayed and prayed and waited and waited, and still there is no manifestation”, who are “tired of seeing nothing move”, and who are “just at the point of giving it all up”.  The author tells us we are not waiting in the right way.  We must wait with patience.  These are not my thoughts, just the excerpts of the devotion that encouraged me to keep waiting and doing it patiently.

Romans 8:25 says, “But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

  • Worry – Patience takes away worry. He said He would come, and His promise is equal to His presence.
  • Weeping – Patience takes away weeping.  Why feel sad and despondent?  He knows our needs better than we do, and His purpose in waiting is to bring more glory out of it all.
  • Works – Patience takes away self-works. The work He desires is that we believe and when we believe, we may then know that all is well.
  • Want – Patience takes away all want. Our desire for the thing we wish for is perhaps stronger than our desire for the will of God to be fulfilled in its arrival.
  • Weakening – Patience takes away all weakening. Instead of having the delaying time, a time of letting go, know that God is getting a larger supply ready and must get you ready too.
  • Wobbling – Patience takes away all wobbling. God’s foundations are steady; and when His patience is within, we are steady while we wait.
  • Worship – Patience gives worship. A praiseful patience – sometimes “longsuffering with joyfulness” –  is the best part of it all!

By C.H.P., Streams in the Desert, February 21st

Let Me Be A Rainbow In My Cloud

While struggling with infertility, we can’t put the rest of our lives on hold.  Sometimes we feel like shutting the rest of the world out.  Or we just want things to be different.  Sometimes we want to quit, whether it’s working, teaching, serving, even socializing, but we can’t always do that.  Life goes on.

One of my favorite Streams is October 30th.  Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us run with patience.”  George Matheson tells us what running with patience means.  Running is not the absence of patience, the eagerness to reach the goal.  Patience is not lying down.  Harder is the patience that can run.  Greater strength is the power to work under a stroke; to have a great weight at your heart and still to run; to have a deep anguish in your spirit and still perform the daily task.  It is a Christ-like thing!  Most of us are called to exercise our patience, not in bed, but in the street.  We are called to bury our sorrows not in lethargic quiescence, but in active service.  There is no burial of sorrow so difficult as that; it is the “running with patience.”

Matheson challenges us with this thought: “Men ask for a rainbow in the cloud; but I would ask more from Thee.  I would be, in my cloud, myself a rainbow – a minister to others’ joy.”

We want to see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  We want to see a rainbow – a promise, a ray of hope – in our cloud.  God does promise that, but how about becoming a rainbow in our cloud of infertility?

My husband and I began teaching the young married class in our church in the Spring of 2000 and we loved it.  We taught that class for 4 ½ years.  What do young married couples normally do?  Have babies!  I often hosted or helped with many of the baby showers for these young mommies-to-be.  God truly gave me the means, desire, and grace to want to do this for my ladies.  I never felt like I did it out of duty or grudgingly, even though some people thought it was difficult for me.  Sure, some showers were difficult, if I happened to start a new cycle the day of the shower.  This quote really spoke to me in the midst of my infertility and helped me realize this was one small way I could minister to others on their joyous occasions while still hoping to someday celebrate the same joyous occasion for myself.

Perhaps you, too, can now see how you are ministering or have ministered to others’ joy and become a rainbow in your cloud.  I have never seen a rainbow cloud in person, but I am sure it is an awesome sight to behold.  Rainbow clouds are made of tiny ice crystals.  When the cloud is at the right angle to the sun, the crystals will refract the sunlight into the colors of the rainbow.  This is rare.  When we have the right relationship with Jesus and continue running with patience, we can reflect the Son of God, the light of Jesus Christ in our cloud.

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