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Friday, December 9, 2011

Hope

This weekend my Pastor, Craig Groeschel, spoke about the song O Holy Night and like he always does, made me think about things in a whole new way.  He spoke about the line in the song "a new and glorious morning" and how sometimes we need to keep the hope alive and make it through the night because tomorrow is always a new day.  Like so many other things in my life, it reminded me of all the pain of infertility and how having hope even in the darkest of nights, is so very important.  He also spoke about our hope being in Christ and how He is there for us by giving us the help we are seeking.  Even when God did not give me the answers I was seeking, He still gave me the hope for a new day and He comforted me through many long, lonely, dark nights.  Isn't it amazing how you can have the worst night and wake-up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready to face whatever that day holds? I believe that having hope and knowing that tomorrow is a new day is very important at whatever stage you are in your infertility journey.  For my journey my hope is not to get pregnant, have a healthy pregnancy, or have a successful IVF process, but instead it is for us to be able to adopt the right child at the right time.  I hold onto and believe in this hope daily.  I also believe in something so much more important and bigger than me and that is Jesus Christ and His promises.  He is all I need, even when I feel I can't make it through another dark night.  Hold onto your hope and keep believing!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful

Once again it has been way too long since I have posted a blog.  I know the older I get the faster time goes, but the last month truly feels like a week :-).   I have been watching all my friends and family post on their Facebook pages the things they are thankful for each day this month.  I have had great intentions of getting involved in this, but once again the pace of life has taken over and not allowed this to happen.  I thought this  might be a good opportunity to not only talk about some of the things that I am thankful for, but also share some of my thoughts about how hard the holidays are for me because of infertility.  
As the end of the year rolls around, I always think about the things that my family has accomplished that year and all the ways that things have changed.  Because of this mindset, whenever I think back on the year, one of the many things that bring me down is the thought that I haven't had or adopted a child that year.  This is always a hard thing for me to accept because I always go into each new year so optimistic that this will be the year.  I definitely try to be a positive and optimistic person, so when that desire is not fulfilled year after long year, my optimism starts to fade and wan.  I guess I would love to tell you that I have figured out the way to deal with this and that I honestly believe that this will be that year, but that is simply not true.  So this year, I am trying to have a different perspective and attitude.
I will be thankful for what I have and not focus on what I don't have.  I will be grateful for the child I have!  I will not look at each year as a waste, but as a possibility to do things I have never done.
 In that spirit here are the many things I am thankful for: Jesus (my savior), my amazing husband, my beautiful daughter, my godly parents, my loving and supportive sister and brother-in-law, my loving and supportive brother and sister-in-law, my three sweet nieces, my two mischievous nephews, my wonderful grandparents, my loving mother and father-in-law, an amazing job, my wonderful and supportive friends (you each know who you are), a warm home to sleep in each night, a car that gets me to work each day, a church that is outward focused,  my health (no surgeries in the last year!), never going to bed hungry, and my freedom.
I know that I could go on, but you get the picture.  When we truly reflect on our lives and what we have been given, we have far more than we deserve.  So, as you face a new holiday season and the many hopes and desires that have been unfulfilled, don't forget to also reflect on your many blessings!

Friday, October 28, 2011

"When the Sun Goes Down"

The last few weeks our life group has been studying Steven Furtick's book Sun Stand Still about Joshua's prayer to make the sun  stand still in Joshua 10:12.  He encourages each of us to make bold prayers to God and have the faith to believe that he can do the impossible (in our own human eyes).  This week at our group we discussed "when the sun goes down" and your prayers go unanswered.  In the book he encourages you to realize that God is using these moments to eventually help you grow and it does not mean that God doesn't care or listen to your prayers.  Needles to say, I turned into a blubbering mess in front of my entire life group that night.  We were asked to share any of these "sun goes down" prayers that we have had in our life.  Through many tears I shared with my group (who is pretty aware of our infertility issues), what the prayer of having another child going unanswered for me has done and what I have learned through it.  I hope by sharing it with those reading this blog as well,  I can possibly give some hope to someone in a similar spot.  I know I have not completely shared my story with all the details yet, and I will do that soon, but I can tell you there were some very dark days.
When we went through all our infertility, I interceded to God in a way I don't think I had ever really done before.  I prayed day and night not only for a child, but for my marriage and for the child I do have who might never have siblings.  I was fervent and relentless in my prayers.  I laid in bed night after long night unable to sleep (partially due to crazy hormones) and prayed and wept.  Then the "sun went down" and my prayer for another biological child was not answered.  I had a hysterectomy and had to come to grips with the fact that I would never have another biological child.  Through those dark days I would love to say that I was a women of incredible faith who kept on going to church, kept my faith strong, and continued to be grateful for what I was given, but I most definitely was none of the above.  I was a bitter, angry, confused, sad child.
Wow, now that I have just depressed you, let me get to the now.  I have slowly began to heal, forgive, love and remember who God has called me to be.  I realized that God did not cause this to happen, but that He did have a purpose through the hurting.  He wanted to use it to bring good and He wanted to bring me back to Him with a faith that was stronger than it has ever been and a belief that He really "works all things for good."  I have come to terms with the fact that I may never truly understand why we have had to go through so many trials and why we were not able to have more biological children.  I do however believe that God will use my experiences for good and I have already seen him present me and my husband with opportunities that I never imagined we would have.  For the first time in a very long time, I am happy most days, I have a stronger faith than I have ever had and I am grateful for so many things! I do have my bad days when I am still sad and angry, but I can tell you that they have become fewer and fewer.  I don't say all of this to you to flaunt where I am or flatter myself, but instead to tell you that there is a purpose in your pain, even when you don't believe it.  This situation can be used for good and you are going to realize that God has made you much stronger than you ever thought you were.  Even when "the sun goes down" on your prayers, no matter what those may be, He can and will definitely answer your prayers again, sometimes in ways you never could of imagined or dreamed.
I definitely still struggle with my prayers that went unanswered, but I am reminded of the millions of answered prayers.  The strong marriage I have today, the beautiful child I have, the friends and family who love me and support me and most importantly a God who loved me through it all, even when I didn't like or understand Him and His ways. I hope that all of this is not just more empty words to those of you experiencing similar hurt, but that these words will be comforting for someone who has been there. I will continue to pray for each and everyone of you and the pain and darkness you may be experiencing!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Empty Words

"It will get better. Things will work out. You just have to trust God.  Just quit trying to get pregnant and it will happen.  It's just not the right time for you.  There is always a reason. I completely understand what you are going through, it took me 3 months to get pregnant with my 5th child."
All of the above are statements that I have heard on this lonely journey, most of them too many times to count.  I am sure that any of you reading this, who have dealt with infertility, can relate to hearing these same empty words over and over.  How do you respond?  What do you say to make people understand?  Well first of all, they will never truly understand unless they have walked this bitter and lonely road.  Secondly, don't punch them in the face, no matter how badly you want to :-).  Most importantly, remember the experience that you are going through will eventually help make you more empathetic  and will teach you to never tell someone that you know exactly what they are gong through.  No matter what we go through in life there will always be experiences and situations that others go through that we cannot fully understand.   I hope that as you are walking through this journey, it will truly make you a stronger, kinder, more compassionate person.  I hope that as you read this you will be reminded that there is someone here who cares about what you are going through and wants to help you walk this road, those are not empty words!                                                                   
What are the biggest lessons that each of you have learned through this journey?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A few questions for you and me

Where do you begin when you have a story to share and people you want to help?  I have been struggling with this question for a long time and starting this blog is a first step towards answering this. The name of my blog comes from the Bible and the story of Hannah in I Samuel (it is an interesting read for those who have never read it).  Hannah struggled for many years to have a child and this was in a time and a society where being infertile was one of the worst possible things.  So my blog is focused on those "Hannahs" out there who are struggling, hurting and in a lonely place.  No matter your beliefs, background, or faith, those of us struggling with infertility can relate to Hannah's story.
My story is long and detailed and I promise to share more of this later, right now I want to say to those out there struggling with infertility and all that may bring for you, I care about you and hope that I can help you as you walk through (or crawl through) this journey.  For all the struggles that I have faced the hardest part of it all was feeling so lonely and isolated.  If it was not for my relationship with my savior, Jesus Christ; my relationship with my husband and a few key friends, I would not be where I am today.  Will those of you reading this, help me by telling me where you are hurting and what I can do to help you?  You can be as open or as concise as you would like.  I also want each of you who are struggling with this terrible thing to know that I think about and pray for you each and everyday.  No one should have to travel such a bumpy and lonely road, but isn't it so much better when you travel with a friend?