Saturday, October 3, 2015

My heart this week...

"Oh the love that set me free
You bring hope to those in need
You have written and redeemed my story."

So very grateful to be free. So thankful to be Yours--chosen, treasured, beloved. So thankful for the ways He has redeemed my story and made it something beautiful.

"Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around
Let my heart overflow with passion for Your name
Let my life be a song, revealing who You are."

I pray I always live up to such a calling.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Pruning & Life

Ever have a moment where God reveals something to you in the middle of doing something mundane? Tonight I had a few minutes after Selah went to bed to do some desperately needed pruning in our veggie patch.
As I snipped, I remembered watching a former neighbor (back in Sedalia) trimming her yard back at the beginning of spring. I felt like she was going waaaay overboard and in a strange sort of way, felt sorry for her plants. I really thought there was no way some of those plants would come back with how severely she was trimming. Well, wouldn't you know it, but a few weeks later, those plants were blooming beautifully - far more lovely than they had been before the pruning. I was shocked!
Looking at my own veggie patch today, I could relate to my neighbor. Some of my plants, though flourishing, needed trimming to allow for new growth to come. Some plants were struggling and needed dead parts to be pruned away. And others just needed sections cut away to allow light in.

Isn't that so like us?
Life has a way of getting crowded and busy until we can feel suffocated. New growth can't come because there's too much cluttering up our time. Sometimes we let things linger in our life that don't need to be there. As I look back, this post seems like such a description of the last year and a half for our family - trying so desperately to find God's place for us here and doing lots of good "things" but coming up empty and dry and lonely. We waited and longed for community but it seemed like our plea fell on deaf ears. It was an incredibly difficult season. Little did we know, in the midst of it all, our Abba was snipping away the dead and dry parts...pruning deep, to the parts where it hurt the most, stripping away things that had lingered too long. He was turning up the ground in our hearts for a new season with a new body of believers. And this body He has planted us into? It's more beautiful than we could have imagined.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Grateful

Do you know that joy is a choice?

I knew it in my head. Somewhere in the midst of eleven long months of deployment, I learned it. But it hadn't really hit my heart until a sunny day in the month of May - a day which could have been my last.

I was out on a kayak with my daughter when the wind flipped us over. It wouldn't have been so bad, except I didn't have a life jacket on. I'm not really sure how many times I went under water. All I know is that there came a point where I knew I had a choice: hold on or die.

There was no room in my mind to think of calling for help. All I could focus on was surviving that moment.

Every ounce of energy I had was poured into gripping that kayak, into keeping us above water somehow.

There came a moment when I was laying on my back holding onto the kayak. Water was washing over my eyes, but I didn't care - all that mattered was that my mouth was above water. All I cared about in that moment was that I could breathe.

It was the scariest moment of my life.

But it was a moment that gave me so much clarity too.

I remember as soon as help came, all I could say was "thank you." I was crushed by the weight of my gratitude. These people didn't just pick up a stranger in their boat; in a sense, they gave me the gift of life.

And I remember, as I stepped off the boat, feeling like all the weight of the things I have let drag me down - a messy past, infertility, life not looking the way I thought it would - it was all just gone. All I was left with was a deep gratitude - gratitude for life.

My reality is, I could easily have not survived that day. The boats could have never seen me. All of the family could have never noticed us in the water. I could have lost strength. I could have died.

But God gave me the gift of life.

He didn't have to. But He did.

I've lived so long not realizing I had an entitlement mentality, feeling like God owed me something - a baby, financial stability, whatever. I felt like my joy depended (at least somewhat) on what I had or didn't have.

But on that day, truth flooded my soul. He doesn't owe me anything. He's given me life. And that is enough.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Empty

Do you ever have moments where you just feel utterly crushed?

When you see your dreams falling away, crumbling before your eyes...and you wonder what will be left?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

What I Wish You Knew

I wish you knew...

what it was like to sit and dream for something, but have to remind yourself it may never happen

how it feels to watch your dream being lived out in the lives of most of your friends yet still be unattainable for you

what it's like to not even be able to go to the mall without having your deepest pain thrown in your face as you walk by maternity clothing stores, see the pregnant teenagers, hear the cries of a little baby

how it feels to not be able to walk into a doctor's office without having an emotional meltdown

what it's like to feel like you aren't woman enough to bear children

Infertility so easily strips you of your identity as a woman. It's hard to explain to someone who hasn't ever been there, but it's our reality. It's like your one main purpose, you just can't fulfil. Your body doesn't work right. You feel like less of a woman. You feel like maybe you're just not good enough, or you've sinned too much, or maybe you're just not enough to receive the blessing of a child. And it's haunting to think about.

If you've ever walked into an infertility doctor's office, you'll see. Everyone looks down or away, because none of us want to acknowledge the reality of what we're here for. The disappointment, the hurt, the grief - they are so great that sometimes even knowing others are going through the same thing just isn't enough for us to want to talk.

I mean, talking is the one thing we want to do - find some way to process it all - but we can't. The pain is too raw, too real.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Eleven letters

It's just one little word. Eleven little letters. But they crush me.

You see, I hadn't planned this. For as long as I remember, I had planned on having lots of kids. My sisters would talk about specific numbers. I would say "as many as God gives me," but in my mind, that meant an abundance - six or eight or more.

I grew up in a big family - I'm one of five, my dad is one of ten, my grandma is one of twelve. Of course I'd have a big family!

I never expected this. I never expected infertility to become a part of my life.

Yet, completely uninvited, it came.

Some would say, "be content with what you have!" or "at least you have one child." I say, you don't understand what it's like to see your dreams crushed every single month. How it feels to wonder if they will ever be fulfilled? What it's like to watch your friends and your family members get pregnant when they want to while you stand by. To have this happen year after year. To see families deciding they are done having kids while you wait to have one child (or another).

So please, don't tell me to be grateful. I am grateful. I look at my sweet girl often and think how absolutely blessed I am to have her - how much of a miracle she is.

But I also see how much she loves babies and I wonder if she will ever get the chance to kiss and snuggle with her own brother or sister. I wonder how long it will take this time. I wonder if the medications will work or what my "options" are.

And while I am on this emotional rollercoaster, I see other young women's dreams coming to fruition as their bumps grow, their babies are born, and their adorable qualities are described.

I love babies. I've always loved babies. But please know, sometimes the very thing that gives me so much joy can also really hurt. Sometimes my heart breaks when I see your adorable baby smiling at you for the first time because I remember what that was like - and I want so much to be there again. Sometimes I can't stand to hold your baby because I already want a baby and the emotional turmoil of touching another baby makes that desire unbearable. Sometimes just hearing another pregnancy announcement makes me want to curl up and sob, not because I'm not happy for you but because it's another reminder that my body doesn't work properly.

Infertility is a strange mix of emotions - ups and downs.

I don't say any of this because I'm looking for pity or sympathy or even thoughts/prayers that we would have a baby soon - I'm not looking for that. I just need you to understand why sometimes I retreat away from babies - why I may not ask you to hold them - why at times I may not seem enthusiastic upon hearing your pregnancy announcement. Just know that I am absolutely thrilled for you, even if it is hard for me to express that.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

This Army life (and deployment)...



No exaggeration, this was the best moment of my life.

Spending a whole year apart - birthdays, anniversaries, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas - is not easy. We had already spent many special occasions apart as a result of military training (I think we've averaged one birthday together every 3 years).  But deployment was different. You don't have the luxury of looking forward to seeing your spouse in just a few days or weeks. The months stretch long, and it feels endless sometimes.

There are so many emotions that coincide with the days apart - emotions that are hard to comprehend unless you've been there. Before he left, there was fear. What if he came back a different person? What would he see in combat? Would he return home scarred, physically or emotionally, from war? So many questions, and no answers.

There is also a lot of emotion from trying to prepare for letting go of the person you love most in the world. It literally feels like you're being torn apart. How do you let go? How do you continue living when the person you want to "do" life with isn't there? We struggled to make sense of it all and somehow savor the moments we had left in the midst of so many emotions.

Then, during the deployment, there's the question of HOW you do something you've never done before. There are so many people who told me that they didn't know how I did it, believing that somehow I was stronger than them. The truth is, I'm not any stronger. I'm not any more able to let go of my husband for a year than anyone else. I didn't have a clue how to "do" a year apart from him. I just bumbled my way along and did it.

As the deployment came to a close, there were again, lots of emotions. Would we struggle to adjust? Would Selah act strange around her daddy? How would it feel to be back in my love's arms again, after so long? Of course, there was a TON of excitement too.

When our homecoming day came, excitement was really all I felt. Our year apart was complete.