TTC Tuesday

We Are Family

Tuesday

Ladies & Gentlemen, we have returned!

We have plenty of pictures to share from our wonderful beach trip, tomorrow, but today, I’d like to talk a little bit about another side of our “Family Vacation”.

As a married couple, Craig, myself, our kitty cat – Miss Daisy, and our puppy girls – Lucy Eliza & Caroline Elise, are our own little family. We go on trips together, have meals together, have our own home, celebrate our own mini-Christmases and Thanksgivings, and make the best and most responsible decisions we can for our little family – together. But sometimes, it doesn’t seem as if others see us in that light – and one of the most glaring instances of this is when we are in a family-oriented vacation setting.

Picture yourself on the Florida beach. The sun is shining brightly (some of the time anyway – on this trip we had 2 days of rain and clouds!); the waves are crashing on the sand at your feet. You lay on your towel, soaking in the rays, hoping for a tan, and yet every time you glance up from the book you’re reading (The Harbinger in my case – I could NOT put it down!! Read it!!!!), you see couples your own age with 1, 2, 3, 4 – or more – children, running and splashing in the water, giggling as their dads hold them over the waves. You remember going on a ‘family’ vacation when you were a child, and never considering there was a time your parents might have gone on their own, before you were born. You decide to venture inside to the indoor pool, and are aghast at the 57 children crowding the water. (Surely, that’s a hazard of some kind?!?) You find a pair of lounge chairs just inside and right next to a floor to ceiling window, and figure you’ll relax there for a bit and get the best of both worlds. A family of 4 follows in behind you and noticeably scoffs that you and your spouse are taking two lounge chairs and have no kids in the pool (We couldn’t fit them in if we did!). When you’re done reading and relaxing, and head up to the room, you find yourself gazing longingly at the family on the elevator with you – realizing later that you probably seemed creepy. Everything to do on the beach strip is either geared towards young single people or families with children.

There is no middle ground.

And although many of you may have just rolled your eyelids farrrrr back into your skull, when you have been trying to conceive for nearly two years with not even ONE positive pregnancy test, this entire scenario is really. heartbreaking.

Even when you know God holds the blessing of beautiful children for you in His promise. Even when you know with certainty your little sweet baby girl is on her way.

It’s devastating when your husband taps you on the shoulder and points out a father, mother and little girl on the beach – splashing in the waves, and whispers, “I can’t wait until that’s us!”

It literally makes me want to cry.

But this is where faith comes in. Without it, where would I be? I’ll tell you where – In a padded room, wearing an I-Love-Me Coat. Without the knowledge that ‘all things work together for good’ (Rom. 8:28) and that my God ‘so loves the world he gave His only Son’ (John 3:16) and, as was whispered to me shyly after a Bible Study I led a few weeks ago, ‘I hate to barge into your life like this, but the Holy Spirit won’t stop putting it on my heart that I need to tell you something – Don’t worry – Olivia is going to be Jonah’s sister.’, I don’t know where I’d be…

So today, two things to keep in mind and thank Jesus for:

1. Remember that everyone’s family doesn’t look the same – Some of us are childless (by circumstance or by choice) and others have several children with only one parent. One more modern definition of family is: “Two or more people who share goals and values, have long-term commitments to one another and reside usually in the same dwelling.” Be kind.

2. As D.L. Moody said, “Faith makes all things possible…Love makes all things easy.”

Until Tomorrow,

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TTC Tuesday

Tears of Joy

Tuesday

I spent a majority of Mother’s Day evening in tears.

Do I doubt God? Do I doubt Jonah Elizabeth’s introduction into our little family?

Not one little bit.

But the enemy is trying – hard.

I am a redeemed child of the Most High God. He died a criminal’s death to forgive me for every single sin that I have committed. He protects me and He loves me – unconditionally.

Does that sound like someone who would constantly remind you of all your failures and regrets and hurts?

Does that sound like someone who would repeatedly say you aren’t good enough?

I used to think God was punishing me by not giving us a child – but that isn’t how He operates. That voice of doubt and fear and sadness and regret – That isn’t God!

When those thoughts pop into your mind, push them away and have FAITH in the God who loves you as the child of His you are. He doesn’t break His promises, and He doesn’t throw things back in your face.

Little Jonah will be here just as He promised. And the only tears I have to cry are those of joy from being loved by the King and Creator of the Universe.

Keep the faith – and remember the character of our Creator!

xoxo

TTC Tuesday

Trying To Conceive On Infertile Ground: His Perspective

TuesdayInfertility is hard. It’s hard on wives. It’s tough on husbands. It can bring a couple together or tear them apart. We ladies talk about our feelings and thoughts on trying to conceive all the time, but how does HE feel? Have you asked your husband? Here’s a mini Q & A from us to you – We had to do this one “long distance” so I e-mailed Craig the questions, and he sent back his responses:

  1. What were your expectations when we got married? How did you expect the first year to unfold?

Craig: I mean, just getting married, right off the bat, I thought within the first year we would for sure be pregnant. I had no reason to believe we wouldn’t be, and I mean, I didn’t know if we would necessarily have a ‘baby in hand’ within one year, but I definitely thought we would be pregnant, at least. As far as expectations, I was planning to spend that first year decorating a nursery and finding a great midwife…All the things we talked about doing when we got married – before we got married.

  1. What do you pray for in this struggle?

Craig: There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t pray for patience and understanding in this struggle. God has answered every one of those prayers. It may not have been as quickly as either me or my wife has wanted, but they are definitely answered prayers – revealed little by little. He has showed us many signs, which can only have come from Him, that He does hear us. I ask Him for increased faith – that’s only going to help us. Overall in the end, I pray for the blessing of a child.

  1. Do you have hope God will bless us with children?

Craig: For sure I do. There is no doubt in mind God will bless us with children. He gives us everything we need, and there is not a doubt in my mind that He will not give us the blessing of a child. I mean, to have hope in Him, that is something I can’t doubt. I have hope in Him greatly, I don’t know how else to say it. Yes. I definitely have hope God will bless us. There is just no question in my mind.

  1. What has been, or would be, the best way to cope?

Craig: You have to go through this as a couple.  There is no getting through this alone. It’s a big thing, and it’s hard, and it takes two – really three – to get through it. The best way is involving that third one – God. You always have to have faith in Him, hope in Him, and know that He is going to take care of you.  Also, you can talk together about your goals and hopes. We talk about building a nursery. It helps us cope. It focuses on our positive future and speaking positively about this as a couple is very important.

  1. How do you feel others could help?

Craig: I mean, just like I’ve mentioned to you previously, the support of the Christian community – your family, is important. Maybe don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you know is having a struggle with infertility. Don’t be afraid to just ask about it, find out how things are going – to let the couple know that you are concerned. You might be thinking about it, but that message might not be being conveyed when nothing is said.

 Maybe if we bring the topic up to you, it will begin a conversation, but when you ask how things are, and if there are any new developments, etc., it shows you care and that you’re there with us in the struggle to get through this. Basically, just speaking up is important. You know, if you reference something that makes you think of us and what we’re going through, point us in that direction. It makes us feel supported.

  1. When we still hadn’t conceived after a year, how did you feel? What were your thoughts?

Craig: I mean, watching what you’re going through and seeing how you feel and knowing everything that has been going on, my thoughts we definitely that something could be going on. The doctor kept saying: “No, no, wait a year. Wait. You’ll get pregnant.”  And it seemed like it took forever to get to that one year mark. The feeling of frustration is probably the biggest feeling I have felt. Not nearly as much as my wife, but seeing her go through all of this, and knowing how bad SHE wants a child (in comparison to how much I do – which is a lot!), I became increasingly frustrated there was nothing I could do myself.

That is a tough situation for me. You know, I just feel that, our (former) doctor should have listened. He should have looked at all of your symptoms at the one-year mark and not had us start from square one. They had all the information they needed right in front of them. That was a very frustrating deal, and it felt like a huge step back. Our having to point out what was going on made me really  feel that the medical field was lacking- especially our particular doctor. He was just so insensitive and uncaring.

  1. Do you feel there isn’t enough support for infertility in the Christian community?

Craig: I don’t know if I feel there is a lack. I feel that it’s (the support)there, but it’s most definitely under advertised and it’s hard to find out about it. If you have the “Hey, I’m pregnant – what do I do?” situation, there is plenty of information and plenty of places to go and people to talk with, but not necessarily with the opposite issue. There just isn’t the readily marketed support. “Who to go to?” is sort of a question. Do you go to a pastor or priest? What do you do? I think once you find someone to talk to, the support is definitely out there, but a lot of people don’t know how to start that conversation. Infertility is not a happy time and it’s not easy to approach. There is certainly a lack of available information on how to obtain support.

  1. What is the best way to comfort your wife?

Craig: That’s been a learning process for me ever since day #1. I would say that “being there for her” is the most important thing – but that is an all-encompassing term. At first, it’s more physically standing next to her, holding her hand, going to the appointments…but as time has gone on, I needed to ‘be there’ but I needed to do more. I needed to… I always want to pick up something, change it, make it right. I’m hands-on. This situation just doesn’t allow that, but I still need to support my wife. It’s hard. One thing I know I can do is that when she’s talking about her feelings and about what’s going on, I need to pay attention and listen attentively -not only agree and say “yes”, but partake in the discussion and share my feelings and thoughts with her about what I am feeling as well. I don’t want her to have the notion she is in this all alone. I am her husband, and she needs to know I am there right by her side physically, emotionally, spiritually through it all. And that’s an ever-increasing and ever-changing thing that I have learned maybe most about through this whole process.

 This has helped us to get to know one another in ways I don’t know if we would have had we had a baby right away. At first I was one of those who didn’t know how to approach it. I was one of those people. I didn’t know if I should say something or not, or what if I said something that made her sad? But I learned that saying how I feel and comforting her, helped her feel like we are in this together – which we are, forever. 

Wow. I learned a lot about my dear, sweet husband reading these answers. Like I said, knowing your husband’s or wife’s views on what is going on (spiritually, physically, emotionally) is really comforting. I have been down in the dumps before – really feeling like I was all alone in my sorrow – but between God and my husband, I have been lifted up and come to know I am not only wrapped in His Everlasting Arms, but I have a pretty amazing husband at my side, as well. 

Sometimes realizing the blessings in your life comes by a rocky path.

Love to you all!

xoxo

Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Listen.

ThursdayOh, the amazing things God has in store for you when you simply LISTEN.

As many of you know, I was raised a Protestant, in the Southern Baptist Church – if you don’t know this, please read this to get better acquainted with our story. Craig was born and bred a Catholic. Luckily, when God asked me to convert, I did so. He asked me at a time in my life when I had pulled away from Him, but through a beautiful friend and co-worker was becoming more and more drawn to the Lord. And the Roman Catholic Church was perfect for me. The routine, the beauty, the ceremony of it all. I found peace in Christ, and while I was oh so far from perfect and the person God was molding me to become, I saw so many changes occurring in my life.

As a child, we went to church every Sunday. We went to Sunday School every Sunday before “big church”. We went to Family Night on Wednesdays. I sang in church. We were very very very involved in church. And then, slowly, the older I got, the more I pulled away – and for the wrong reasons. I pulled away because of PEOPLE, not because of BELIEF. Instead of finding a new church home in college, I just didn’t go to church. Sure, I went with my parents when I visited, but really, I was only “there” – I wasn’t paying much attention.

Fast forward to late 2008-2009, and there I was, in church every Sunday, albeit alone. I began to sing with the choir. I attended Mass during the week occasionally. I had this desire to learn and to grow. My life was changing.

In 2011, God asked me to make a bigger change. He wanted me to stop choosing my own dates. He wanted me to let Him choose for me. He led me to Catholic Match. He chose my husband – and what an amazing choice He made (believe it or not! 🙂 )!

When we first got married, Craig & I were attending a parish in Dallas, Georgia. We really enjoyed the homilies (sermons), but there were some changes being made we didn’t agree with. We felt God calling us. We left that parish and ended up at St. Francis of Assisi in Cartersville, Georgia, where we instantly were welcomed with open arms! We were both immediately received into the choir, and I began to Lector. It was WONDERFUL to be involved again! It was WONDERFUL to have a church family!

As a little more time passed and we discovered the ‘reason’ we hadn’t yet conceived a child, I felt constantly compelled to do more. Seek Him more. Serve Him more. Pray more earnestly. Spend more time with Him. I continued to listen, and I kept feeling that we should attend a Protestant/Non-Denominational church, in addition to Catholic Mass. I kept brushing that thought aside. We were comfortable in our routine, and besides, Craig wouldn’t go to both services with me – would he?

After repeatedly having this feeling, I audibly told God, “If this is what you want, then you are going to have to help me out. You are going to have to work on my husband’s heart.”

A week or so later, I was driving home from work and I felt the Holy Spirit pulling me, “You need to go to Wednesday night church. Don’t you miss that??”

Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I did ‘miss that’! Hmm…Our friend, Julia, goes to church on Wednesday nights… I should ask her if I can tag along.

Lo’ and behold, that very night, Julia texted me…that maybe I should join her for church on Wednesday nights.

Did you just get chills?

I went, and I loved it! In the next few weeks, I continued to go, and then, I mentioned to Craig I would love for him to join me…and that maybe we could go on a Sunday too – in addition to Mass.

And he not only agreed, but appeared delighted and looked as if I had read his mind… Isn’t it interesting how God works? 🙂

And as we continued going to church all over the place 🙂 I felt God pulling at a familiar heartstring…One I remembered feeling a loooong time ago…but had been kind of silent for a little while. I felt God telling me I needed to minister. And the more I discerned that call, the more I knew He was calling me to minister to singles – an demographic I feel is often very much overlooked by the church.  And this time, instead of running away, fast and furious, I listened. I heeded His words, and I realized that no matter how inadequate I am, HE IS NOT! And, through Him, I can do all things.

This blog is another example of listening. What began as a way to keep family updated morphed into a daily message. We felt called to turn this into more than a mushy family update, and make it an expression of our faith. We were cautioned by MANY that much of this information was TOO PERSONAL to share, but we responded with our hearts – This is what God asked of us, and we have to take this leap of faith.

I don’t love airing our personal PCOS/infertility details. It isn’t always comfortable to share of beliefs with the world. But God asked us to make this blog about more than just us, so we have, at whatever expense that may bring.

So, as is usual now, last night I met Julia for dinner and had my favorite Salmon with Garlic & Herbs from Chili’s (I cannot get enough!), and then, we drove to Full Turn Church for our Wednesday evening Praise & Worship, and message from Pastor Alan. We sit on the second row, right in the middle. Julia always apologizes for wanting to sit way up there, but I love it. I love sitting in the front of church. It’s a challenge to be less distracted and more attentive to God. As usual, the message was an awesome one. I felt the Holy Spirit on my heart the whole time – mainly about praying over my infertility, and praying for faith and guidance. I prayed and prayed and prayed. And then Pastor Alan stepped off the dais and came to stand right in front of me. And my heart was beating FAST.

He said he was going to pray over someone, and asked for the anointing oil. Then he began to speak about faith and that with God and your faith in Him there is NOTHING that is impossible. He works in the SUPERnatural, not under the natural law. He mentioned Sarai, Abraham’s barren wife, in the Bible. Physical laws told her there was NO WAY she was going to have a child. She was in her 90’s! And still, Pastor Alan was standing right in front of me.

He sought me out, and asked about our infertility (which he would never have known about were it not for our blog!); he said he knew I had the kind of tenacious faith required for God to work miracles, and he said he knew the Holy Spirit had led us to Full Turn Church…and he anointed my forehead with oil, and the entire church prayed over me for my infertility, for our faith, for our future baby.

People, you should have seen me crying, and poor Julia’s hand probably still hurts today – I was squeezing it so hard, as I shook like a leaf.

God is awesome, y’all.

Look how He led us when we listened. From darkness to light, from light to pure joy, from joy to satisfaction and searching, from sadness and depression to HOPE and GRACE and PURPOSE.

And we haven’t even embarked on how I will minister to singles, yet!

Matthew 19:26

26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Really, give your life to Him and LISTEN with BOTH EARS when He speaks – and He will speak! He can take you where no one would ever have thought possible, and accomplish through you the IMPOSSIBLE – by man’s standards. It may seem silly, and it may feel uncomfortable, but He has a reason for everything. 

We are blessed with Catholic Mass to have a solemn commune with the Lord; We follow that with a fervent praising, worshipping, learning and growing in God experience at Full Turn; Wednesday nights are another opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in faith and praise. And hopefully soon, I will be helping singles in our community stop and listen for guidance from our Lord and Savior all week long.

Truly, where would either Craig or I be if we had turned a deaf ear when He spoke?

In Him,
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TTC Tuesday

Chill! God’s Got This!

TuesdayRight now, we have two girls very close to us both expecting a child – right around the same time. We are thrilled for both of them!

Several months ago, I wouldn’t have been. I would have been wallowing in my own misery. Why not me?!?!?! It’s not FAIR!!

And then, something happened…

Christ broke the stronghold of infertility over our lives.

No longer were were remorseful and full of self-pity. Rather, we ARE FULLY CONFIDENT He is going to bless us – and at the very best time, HIS.

Hebrews 10:23

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

And do you know what blessings have been brought about by leaning on Him throughout this trial? By letting Him take the burden of infertility? We have been able to fully enjoy the blessing that is being “just us” – a young (almost not-so) newlywed couple and our furry little rascals. We have walked through the grocery store – no longer avoiding the baby aisle like the bubonic plague, but instead purposefully walking down it KNOWING we will have to soon enough.

We are planning, in our new home, a nursery for the child we know we will be blessed with. As we have been looking at homes and considering places to live, the Holy Spirit put it on my heart that we were to build a nursery in our next home. Being that we are not with child, this is a plan that has taken root in the form of Noah building his ark. The flood (of blessing – in our case!) hasn’t arrived yet, but we are PREPARING because we KNOW it WILL.

It is Satan who instills doubt, fear, sickness, worry. Allow the Kingdom of God into your heart – where there is no doubt, fear, sickness, worry!

Luke 17:21

21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there! For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

And here we chill. Just waiting on His perfect timing – and enjoying His many blessings along the way!

xoxo

 

TTC Tuesday

The Waiting Game

TuesdaySo, this Tuesday, we thought we might have some good news for you…a miracle to share… but we don’t. Not this time. As I was reading one of my favorite blogs’, Waiting For Baby Bird, posts this morning (which you can see too if you’ll click on the link), I completely identified and empathized with my fellow infertile friend. Waiting on God’s timing is tough, especially when that “perfect” timing comes along – in your eyes, that is.

Each time I think about how this day or that month or this situation is PERFECT in every way, shape and form for our miracle conception, I remember that God’s timing and choosing of my perfect spouse was perfect – but I was “ready” (in my mind) MUCH sooner – like YEARS before He brought us together. But waiting on God was the best thing that could ever have happened in my life. So we are waiting and trusting in the Lord for our precious miracle to come along. 

He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord!  Psalm 113:9

In other TTC news, more fun is around the corner for usWe thought we might possibly be finished with minor surgeries…but alas, we were wrong! About six months ago, I had an HSG (or hysterosalpingogram) test done and my former unhelpful doctor concluded from the results I had a polyp on my right ovary, which resulted in surgery to remove it in October.

SurgeryThe surgery was the first step to getting things on the right track, and thankfully, we were led to our new and thorough and wonderful doctor who showed us the test results from the HSG…and so, we are gearing up for a tuboplasty on Wednesday afternoon, for which I will be under general anesthesia…We are praying this is another step in the right direction…

…and maintaining our faith that the timing and the miracle God has in store for us is more amazing than anything we could possibly fathom.

Ephesians 3:20

Glory to God, who is able to do far beyond all that we could ask or imagine by his power at work within us;

Rest. That sounds great right about now. Prayers – Much appreciated. 🙂

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