Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The journey to baby: part 1

Awhile back I shared the short version of my testamony at church. And many people have followed along through the beginning, but now I would like to take the time to tell the story as I sit at the end of the tunnel looking back.

When we decided to have a baby, there were 3 things I knew for sure. 1) I would struggle with infertility and it would take me through the deepest valleys I was yet to face. 2) because infertility is such a secret struggle and rarely spoken about, God asked me to not be candid with my struggles. I knew there were people out there that needed to see God's faith played out and needed to know they weren't alone. 3) I absolutely KNEW God promised me children. I knew God promised me a son, and then a daughter.

Now, people have the best of intentions but only know what they have experienced. It was hard for me to let others know what I was going through, but more than anything I needed the prayers to accompany me. Once I started sharing how hard holidays were and how being motherless contributed to an even greater lack of friends, I began to get private conversations about others' struggles and how they deal. I began to have an audience. Now, I knew for sure I was going to have a child, and to make circumstances easier, I began collecting and stocking up on baby things I would need. I even began working on the nursery. I felt at peace with it, because I felt creating a space for my child was an act of obedience, a demonstration that I have faith and I believe. Several people found out about my. Any room and encouraged me that out of an act of obedience, I needed to get rid of my baby room as a sign that I surrender to what God wants to do in my life. Not bad advice.

But I struggled with that concept. Am I refusing to fully surrender by holding into my baby things and baby preparations? After a long struggle with this idea, I came to the conclusion: God may ask you to give up and surrender in your preparation of the baby that your heart so wants, or in my case he may look down at your preparation and smile as you build your home in faith. I felt justified that I was building my home in an effort of surrendering to what God has promised me.

It took 2 years to actually get pregnant for the first time. There are a lot of emotions that to into infertility, and through my blog I have tried to capture those emotions to hope they can help someone else. The greatest of these emotions was guilt. I never expected to feel guilty. I felt guilty that I couldn't make my husband a father. Or aunts and uncles and g rand parents. People really do mean well, but the question "when will you have kids?" Can easily send you into a frenzy. I expected the sadness and anger. I more than expected the feeling of defeat. But I knew I was still promised a child. I didn't know when, but I knew he was promised and his name would be Ryan.

I remember saying that if I knew I could get pregnant right when I wanted, I would wait 3 more years. God allowed me the struggle and journey, but then he STILL gave me my heart's desire... 3 years later...

Saturday, April 5, 2014

So here I stand on what you build

So many that know me know that I've been struggling with work. The location is farther than I would like to be from my newborn baby, and there have been some situations arise where I have been accused, and the atmosphere has been an issue. I've been denied a transfer twice, but this last time was due to being the only qualified teacher at the Head Start. I've been hoping after a teacher gets set in, that I might actually get the next transfer. But I was so overwhelmed with all of it that I started looking for another job. I actually got offered interviews for 2 different positions, and while the location would have been ideal, the pay cut wasn't feasible with a baby on the way and the lesser insurance.

I prayed and prayed about these jobs, and the response I was given was to stay where I was. To stick it out. I knew that's what God was wanting me to do, and so I began to pray for a change of heart. I needed a friend there, I needed somebody a little more like me. I needed a huge change of heart and peace of mind.

As I was driving one morning to work and taking my time to get there, a song came on the radio.

"Here I stand, Here I stand on what you build, you are surrounding me".

And I got to thinking, I am standing here. God has build this position for me for this time, and I am standing on this position, and I am not along because he is surrounding me. Through the accusations, through the distrust, through the atmosphere. I am not doing this job for people. I am doing this job because teaching is my calling, I love my calling, and it's God that I have to please- not supervisors, no coworkers, not parents. He is surrounding me.

"You build me up like a city of gold, the battles rage but I'm standing tall- if only I could see from your perspective, the beauty and the grace of your architecture".

And then my heart is full. God is the one I need to look to to build me up. And I can stand firm through the battles, because he is surrounding me. But my greatest prayer of all is to see the beauty and grace- to see through his perspective the situations I have been dealing with. Somehow, they are beautiful and I just don't have the eyes to see it yet.

And something changed. The atmosphere changed. The accusations went away. The positions are filled. I have a friend. No, the location isn't ideal, but my heart is changing to see his perspective where I am and to see what he is building. I don't see the whole picture, but I see just a little more peace.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

As Bold as a 3 year old

I run the nursery, and I absolutely love running the nursery. Not because my Mommy heart just loves taking care of babies. Not because I'm good at it. No, I do it for another reason.
By the age of 2, a child has developed all of their personality and spirituality that they will ever have. Now, as they grow, their personalities bloom further, but it's set in stone by 2, until they reach the age of consciously changing their inner selves. Spirituality on the other hand can either continue to flourish or it can be diminished. But by the age of 2, the "flame" of their spirituality has developed.

This is why I do the nursery. No, they don't retain a thing I teach. And no, they don't respond and act like they understand. That doesn't matter- when they are surrounded by the knowledge of God, when they are presented with the grace of God, and when they are told the story of God- their spirituality is developing.

And then they turn 3 and this happens:

Yesterday one of my 3 year old students came into class. During free play, she approached a group of about 4 of her friends in the classroom. She began to recite the fruits of the spirit. In her little voice she says "and yet I tell you, these are the fruits of the spirit...". It was very heart warming.

But then the students began to laugh at her. As she continued to try and recite her scripture, they would keep laughing and pointing at her. She got upset and said "Why are you laughing? This isn't funny! I'm trying to tell you the fruits of the spirit- this is God's word! Stop laughing, this is the truth!". My heart broke for her, but I didn't interfere. I continued watching at a distance.
She finally became frustrated at their laughing and ran to me to tattle on them, not knowing I saw the whole event. "I'm trying to tell them about God and they just keep laughing at me, and it's not funny, it's true! Why are they laughing?". I held her close and held in my tears.

Gently, I replied "Not everybody goes home and hears the words of God, they laugh because they don't understand. Did you know when Jesus was alive, he would tell people about God and they would laugh at him too. But that didn't stop him- he kept telling them about God, even when they laughed at him.". She pondered this and went on to play.

Today she comes in, pulls out her memory verse she is working on, and goes straight to the same group of kids. She says "It's okay if you laugh because you might not understand, but I need to tell you the truth. 'The Lord is our Shepherd'". They laughed a little bit, but a few minutes later after I greeted more children and turned my attention back to that particular group, one of the other girls was looking at the memory verse sheet and saying "So God died on the cross so we can live...".

And sometimes I wonder, if we could be as bold as 3 year olds....

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Do what you must do

"Lord make me a servant, make me like you- for you are a servant, make me one too. Make me a servant, do what you must do to make me a servant, Lord make me like you."

I have had this stuck in my head singing over and over again. And then I wrote down the words. I looked at the words. And I bowed my head- Lord, I get it.

Do what you must do to make me a servant.

This past year and half dealing with the difficulties of my job, trying to understand why God has placed me in this company. Trying to understand God's reasoning behind what I've struggled with- testing my patience, testing my forgiveness, testing my endurance, testing my convictions. I have prayed about these, questioned the motives, fought against it all trying to remain positive and at peace...

And tonight I get it. Tonight I am humbled by the realization that God was completing the song in my heart. God was doing what he must do to make me a servant. He is doing what he must do to teach me to be a servant and to serve like him.

I get it.

And I am far from perfect. I want so much to fit in that sometimes I slip. Sometimes I listen when I should walk away- sometimes I talk when I should remain silent, and sometimes I remain silent when I should speak up. Sometimes my anger gets the best of me and I sin in my heart by the thoughts that I allow myself to think. Sometimes I am impatient and forget that I have the ability to forgive when things aren't being fair towards me. Sometimes I want to protest and object that I am being treated differently. But tonight I remember- I have to be treated differently. Because God is teaching me servanthood- being a servant to those I feel may not deserve it. 

I get it.

Tonight I am in awe of what God has been teaching me all along. Not just to forgive, or be more patient, or guard my tongue and mind and heart. No, God was teaching me to be a servant, because I asked him to do what he must do. God is faithful. He is doing what he must do to make me like him- and I am so far from it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Woes of a Working Woman

I had no issues working further from home and making a career. Until I got pregnant and expected a child. I drive about 40-45 minutes to work and back each day. It's not a terrible amount of time and it's not horrible to drive it, but how can I justify leaving my own child an hour away? Not only being away 8 hours of a working day, but 2 additional hours due to driving? I'm so torn. I can't quit my job because my income is very much needed, and I am carrying the insurance which we really have to have, especially now. But my heart breaks thinking of leaving my child for 10 hours out of the day- 11 hours in the summer due to the required lunch break we have to take. That breaks my heart.

The atmosphere is a different story. The refusal to allow me to transfer is a different story. But both of those stories effect how much more strongly I feel about having to work where I am working.

Apparently it is very difficult to find a job you love in the same town you live that pays as well with insurance. I would love to be a stay at home mom, but I know that's absolutely not possible for our situation.

I'm just torn. I don't know what to feel, I don't know how to handle the drama I work around, or how to handle how angry I am at their refusal to transfer me on the basis of "we want you to work where you are at". I am angry and confused. And frustrated.

God, I pray for your guiding hand in this phase of our lives. Lord, I ask that you will lead me to where I need to be, and help make my circumstances more bearable.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Confronting the enemy lies: fear

I am no stranger to the feelings of fear.

I have not kept quiet about the pain I  endured during our miscarriage in hopes that it might give a spark of light to somebody else much in need. Pain was unavoidable, but the lessons learned were very valuable. I had to learn to give my guilt to God- the guilt of my health issue that causes the difficulty in getting pregnant, the guilt of not being a mother and making my family grandparents, aunts and cousins. And especially the guilt of not being able to give my husband a child when we wanted one so badly. That demon was strong, and that demon tore me apart. I had to learn the lesson of which kind of guilt came from God and which was false. I had to give in to my desire to be a mother when I knew that God promised I would be- I had to trust that promise.

It took a bit for me to let go and remember the promise. And as promised, I got pregnant again with a healthy baby. And I'm covered in fear. Not the fear of being a bad parent and not the fear of the pain in birthing, but the fear I've already known- losing my precious child. Getting excited to be pregnant because it's healthy in fear of losing what's already so valuable to me. I'm no stranger to fear, but I've never been so wrapped in fear either.

But I'm learning that God is in the God of fear. God loves me, he's made me a promise, and he is not a liar. HE IS NOT A LIAR. He does not want to hurt and harm me, he wants to prosper me, to grow me. I know this baby is healthy. I know the heartbeat is good. I know I am a mother, and God has every intent of my happiness. My fear is unwarranted, and unwanted. So bit by bit I'm trying to trust more, and to be more happy in my healthy pregnancy. How dare the enemy steal the happiness of my unborn child.  I cannot let this fear continue to take root, and I know it must stop.

So tonight I confront the enemy lies of fear. I will not let fearful thoughts take captive my day. I will not let fear keep me from loving my unborn child. I will not let fear destroy God's promise to me. I will not, and I cannot. So please agree with me, pray with me, and help us stay strong.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Shall we dance?

As a little girl, I often dreamt about dancing barefoot in the kitchen with my husband. And then later on, dancing in the living room with my family and young children. Then life continued and the world threw hate at me. Circumstances led me to believe I was ugly, unwanted, undesirable, imperfect, and not of value. I believed those lies, and at times I let them bring me down. I figured I could never get married, or have children, because I was unworthy. It took a great deal of strength from God to unravel the lies and believe the truth.

Years later I sit in the living room with my husband, doing our separate things yet we are doing them together. Sometimes we can dance in the kitchen if we want, and sometimes we just want to watch a movie, and that is perfect. God reminds me that the world lies to us. If you would have told me I would be here now, I would have cried because I wanted it so badly but believed I wasn't "pretty" enough for that to happen.

But the best days of all are the days that God dances with me. They are the days that God stirs my heart to hear his word. Shows me how to be patient with others as he is patient with me to reveal his mysteries. He shows me how patient he is with my unbelief and lack of faith. He shows me how patient he is with my imperfect thoughts and my stubbornness to correction. And he dances a dance of understanding- he knows my heartache, he knows my worries, he gets me. MY GOD GETS ME! Sometimes we dance the dance of second chances, as I begin to think the worst of people or want to disregard others. He allows me the chance of change- the dance of change. But my favorite dance of all is the dance of love. He dances in the sky while the clouds turn grey and stormy. On my worrisome days he sends the rain because he knows I love to dance in the rain. He sends the lightening and the thunder- knowing I get excited.

And when I remember, I like to ask God, shall we dance? Because I believe all of us need to dance more often ;)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Momma's Worry

I have no doubt I will be a good mother. I am not worried about raising my child. I am not worried about discipline or how to take care of a newborn. I think my many years of child experience and degrees in child development gives me an edge on these topics. I am not worried about giving birth (yet!). But my worries lie in what every expectant mother thinks about at one point. And after you've lost one baby, as early on as it may have been, that nagging feeling stays with you even longer.
I know we've heard a really strong heartbeat 3 different times. I know that the growth is okay. I know that I am 14 weeks and I'm showing and nothing has been out of the ordinary. I know that I have a God that is big and has this under control, who has promised me children and wipes my tears. I know most people haven't heard 3 heartbeats and had 3 ultrasounds by 14 weeks, so the fact that I've had so many and seen a healthy baby this many times makes the risks go down, since most people will be just about to go to a second ultrasound, and not the 4th. But I could definitely use prayer for a peace of mind. And any encouragement as well.

First Ultrasound at 6 weeks

3rd ultrasound at almost 12 weeks

3 months! :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Dream Big

If you could absolutely do anything, be anything, what would you do? If money wasn't an issue, if location wasn't an issue, what is your biggest dream?

I would like to open a homeschool based Christian School. I know this dream is probably more attainable that I can even imagine, more realistic than I think it is. So what's holding me back? My church used to have a private school- what's keeping me from re-opening it? I have the location. I have the support. And I'd totally have the children and the teachers. So what's stopping me?

I don't know that I'd get paid as well as I'm getting paid working for an indian nation. I don't know that I'd have the insurance that I have now, which is a pretty amazing benefit.

And I pray. I pray that if this is more than a dream, if this becomes a calling, that God would have to call me so loudly that my next door neighbors would hear the calling. That the pay would be as good and the insurance easy to come by. That something would happen to ensure that this plan be put to action.

It's fear.

It's fear of the unknown. Of losing the security I currently have. Of getting into more than I could handle.

I would love the make the plans, to jump on this. But I'm so afraid to lose what I have in my current job- a nice income and secure health insurance.

So what happens next, when you have a dream. Do you wait?