God gave me you – at the best time.

God gave me you necklace

It’s Christmastime! I wanted to write about my necklace – my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday and this is it! The words, “God gave me you” spoke to me above all the other beautiful pieces I saw at The Vintage Pearl because that is what our son’s name means, “Given of God” from I Samuel 1:17. When I picked up my special order a week ago, the first thought that came to my mind was that God gave me Jesus. God gave us Jesus, His only begotten Son. This is the best gift of all – a gift all of us can receive because God offered this gift to all of us. Jesus came in the fullness of time. He came at the right time, at the best time. All of us can choose to receive this gift of salvation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

As Christians, we are assured through God’s Word that Jesus came at a time of God’s own choosing. I also had to be assured that my baby would come in God’s time. I remember waiting, more waiting, still waiting, trying-to-be-patiently waiting for my baby. Holidays can be harder, especially holidays like Christmas, which we dream of being the perfect time to give a pregnancy announcement or the perfect photo op to show our baby, our gift under the tree. Before God gave us Grant, a precious friend shared with me the thought I’ve not forgotten – maybe it’s not about us and when we think the timing is best for us, but the timing God would have our children be born into this world.

“For such a time as this.”

That phrase comes from the Book of Esther, who was indeed born for a great purpose and fulfilled that purpose. God gave me Grant when He wanted him to come into this world. I don’t know whom his life is supposed to impact. It may be a few people or many. It is for a particular generation. I just rest assured knowing he came at the right time. It’s easier to be assured of that now that he is here, but I still marvel that God gave me him. It isn’t a coincidence who his friends are, who his teachers are, who his life is intersecting with. As parents, we just pray for wisdom, grace, patience, and love as we help raise, train, and direct him to fulfill God’s purpose in his life.

May this song, “At The Right Time” by Mosie Lister and performed by the Booth Brothers encourage you this Christmas season as you realize or remember, “God gave me You – Jesus.”

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“Joy Comes In The Morning” by William & Gloria Gaither

This song is special to me.  It goes along with Post Gaudius Luctus – Joy Succeeds Sorrow.  My husband’s quartet used to sing this song.  My mom sent me the music to this song to encourage me early on, and the fact that my parents named me Joy gives it even deeper meaning to me.  Shortly after my first laparoscopy – my first “darkest hour” in discovering I had Stage IV endometriosis – my mother-in-law called me and said she was listening to this song in her car and she just cried as she realized this song was for me.  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5b

Joy Comes In The Morning

Words by William J. & Gloria Gaither

 

If you’ve knelt beside the rubble of an aching, broken heart,

When the things you gave your life to fell apart,

You’re not the first to be acquainted with sorrow, grief or pain,

But the Master promised sunshine after rain.

 

To invest your seed of trust in God in mountains you can’t move,

You have risked your life on things you cannot prove;

But to give the things you cannot keep for what you cannot lose

Is the way to find the joy God has for you.

 

Hold on, my child, joy comes in the morning;

Weeping only lasts for the night.

Hold on, my child, joy comes in the morning;

The darkest hour means dawn is just in sight.

Hold on, my child!

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

 

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

“God Is Good. All The Time.” by Kathy

My infertility story is nothing exotic. I suppose it could be summed up like this: I wanted kids, but could not have them. God surprised us with two late in life. Now they are grown.

Okay, okay. Guess there might be a little more to the story.

Terry and I did not marry young. I was 29 and he was 32. The same year we married, we began trying to have children. After most of a year with no success, we began having some tests done. Terry was producing plenty of healthy sperm. My fallopian tubes were open and useable. My periods were very irregular, so finding a time that I might be ovulating was described by my doctor to be like “finding a needle in a haystack.” In 1985, I began seeing a fertility specialist. He put me on what seemed at the time to be a horrendously expensive drug called Clomid. I took it for several months, but with no success. Terry and I decided that would be all the intervention we would use. Back in the early ‘80s, there was not quite as much available as is used now, but we both knew that I was not emotionally prepared to go through an ordeal to get pregnant, with no guaranteed result. So, we left the matter in God’s hands.

Every Mother’s Day was hard for me. I would cry. This went on for years and years. I enjoyed my nieces and nephew and “adopted” a few more along the way. But, my arms were still empty, and I still desired a baby of my own.

I had worked as a church secretary all of my adult life, and in 1988 we decided it was best for me to quit work, so I did. Getting pregnant was something we had totally given up on. I did not quit work in order to have a better chance at getting pregnant. I quit because we knew it was right. Exactly one year after I quit work, Terry and I left on a trip to French Polynesia. My period was late, but I wrote it up to the excitement of international travel. I thought nothing more about it. Soon after we got back, Dr. Bill Rice held a revival meeting at East Central. I was there every night, but was feeling a little bit queasy. I would take a few crackers to munch on. After the meeting was over, I mentioned to Walta Hattaway about how I was feeling. She said, “Kathy, do you think you might be pregnant?” That possibility had never entered my mind! Monday morning, after Terry went to work, I called my gynecologist’s office and asked them about a pregnancy test. The nurse told me to sterilize a container and bring the first urine of the morning in to their office, so I did. I did not tell Terry I was doing this. We had too many disappointments for too many years, and I was not going to get his hopes up. I would handle this disappointment alone.

After I handed over the container of urine to the nurse, she soon returned and said, “Kathy, I think you might want to sit down! You’re pregnant!” I was just blown away with this unexpected and very happy news! I paid my bill and was given a receipt that said “Positive Pregnancy Test.” I drove straight from the doctor’s office to where my husband was working at his family’s boat dealership. Terry was not expecting me, so when he saw my car pull into the parking lot, he came to the door. I did not say a word to him, but simply held up the paper that said “Positive Pregnancy Test.” His response was, “You’ve got to be kidding!”

Of course, most of his family was there working with him, so they rejoiced with us. Right away, we told my Mom and all our friends. People were so happy for us! Many friends rejoiced with us just as if they were our flesh-and-blood family!

After my second appointment with an OB/GYN someone had highly recommended, that doctor said, “I think you need to see Dr. Beeson.” Dr. Beeson is a high-risk obstetrician who for years was the chairman of the OB/GYN department at OU. He trained many other doctors. I was cared for by the best of the best! (The reason I was sent to him is that I have diabetes.) Well, I was petrified of having a huge and unhealthy baby, so I was super careful with everything I ate. While pregnant with Julie, I gained just 7 ½ pounds, and she weighed about ½ a pound more. God gave us a beautiful, healthy baby girl in June of 1990, when I was 38 and Terry was 41. When she was about 20 months old, I miscarried a baby I did not realize I was pregnant with. Then, a few weeks before she was 3 ½ (in November of 1993), God blessed us with another perfectly healthy baby, “Tommy” (now Tom).

I really believe God did all this for us to PROVE HIMSELF STRONG! Had I opted for a lot of medical intervention, then the doctors would have been given the credit, and not God. I am not saying medical intervention is wrong; I am just saying it was not right for me.

Today, our late-in-life daughter is newly married, a kindergarten teacher, and going to Russia as a missionary. Our son is a first-semester college student, studying to be a computer network engineer. They have both brought us much joy and made us very proud OLD parents!

God is good. All the time.

Be A Self-Encourager: Encouraging Yourself Through Solitude

Infertility can make you feel isolated, like no one understands or cares, even when you’re crying out for help.  Often the circumstances can be too private or too painful to share.  You don’t want to sound like a broken record and fear being judged for your times of weakness.

Psalm 69:20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. 

Psalm 142:4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. 

Sometimes when we need encouragement, we simply need to get alone in a quiet place with God and encourage ourselves in the Lord.  Our biblical example is from David in I Samuel 30:6, “And David was greatly distressed…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.  He knew what it was like to feel isolated and overwhelmed.  He also knew to Whom he should turn in order to encourage himself.

“The young king (David) turned to the one true God, his God, for encouragement.  There will be times when no one else will be there for us but God.”  Dr. David Jeremiah

We never have to be afraid to cry out to the Lord when we are overwhelmed.  He already knows and He cares.  Jesus said He would give us a Comforter, the Spirit of God.

John 14:16-18 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth in you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”

 The Holy Spirit is our consoler, advocate, and comforter.  When we cry out to God, His Spirit gives us strength, hope, and support to ease our grief.  The Spirit fortifies us!  Do we not feel His presence when we cry out?

When we are filled with comfort, it doesn’t end there.  Once you fill yourself with courage, spirit, and hope, you can look for others to encourage with what you have learned from the Comforter.

“God does not comfort us to make us comfortable but to make us comforters.”  Dr. Jowett  (quote taken from Streams in the Desert, January 11th)

Don’t Ignore People With Infertility – Do You See Me?

When I was talking with my four pregnant friends and you came up to us and said, “Aw!  Look at all the pregnant women!”  Did you see me?

When you, my good friend who was once in my shoes, listened to me time and again talk about the pain of my infertility, yet one day said, “I think you need a support group.”  Did you see I stopped calling you for support?

When you laughed about getting pregnant with your sixth child and said, “All he had to do was look at me!”  Did you see me force a smile and wish it were really that easy?

When I was standing around my five expectant friends, you took note of their pregnant state and then looked at me saying, “What are you doing here?  Wishful thinking?”  Did you see me quietly excuse myself so I could run to the bathroom and cry?

When we got together for ladies fellowships, did you see I didn’t say anything because the only topics of conversation that came up were your pregnancy stories?  “Just call me Fertile Myrtle!”  “I’m so ready for this morning sickness to be over.”  “Hubby ran to the store and got me ice cream at midnight!”  “I felt her kick for the first time!”  “I feel like a beached whale!”

When our group of friends went out to lunch, did you see how I felt excluded when all anyone could discuss were the latest and greatest books and blogs on parenting?

When you talk about how everyone is pregnant – “Don’t drink the water!”  Did you see me?  I’m not pregnant, but I want to be.

When you opened gifts at your baby shower, did you see me in the crowd, trying to share in your joy, all the while hoping I could be next?

When the mothers were asked to stand in church on Mother’s Day, did you see me – sitting – hoping not to burst into tears and not wanting anyone to feel sorry for me?

When all you posted on facebook were pictures of your ultrasounds, updates of your cravings, photos of your pregnant belly month by month, posts of registering at Babies R Us, doctor visits, and Baby Center, did you see I am one of your “facebook” friends?  Did you see I had to limit your updates?

When God finally blessed you with a baby after your struggle with infertility, did you, of all people, see me?

If you do see me…

Don’t ignore me.  To ignore is not to know.  Don’t refuse to take notice of me and my infertility.

Think before you speak, if you must speak at all.

Don’t isolate me.  Try to imagine what it could be like if you were in my place and what you would want someone to say.

Remember I confided in you because I thought you were my friend.

Don’t dismiss my infertility – I may be in the minority, but I still have feelings.

Take a moment in private to tell me you hope I am next.

Don’t make mindless comments about your ability or my inability to get pregnant.

Write a heartfelt note to encourage me not to give up hope.

Think about excluding me from your baby posts so I won’t have to limit your updates.  Or try to understand if I don’t “like” or comment on them.

Don’t disengage me from conversation – take notice there are many interesting things to talk about in addition to pregnancy and babies.

Let me know you are praying for me – and then pray for me.

Don’t pretend that I have never talked to you about my struggle.  I made myself vulnerable sharing that with you.  Can you show balance while rejoicing in your pregnant/mommy state but also by being mindful of my infertility?

Consider that even if you don’t know I am struggling with infertility, there’s a good chance I am.

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