Reflecting on 2017

Hey friends.

I love blogging, even though you’d never know with how little I’ve posted these last couple of months. I have big dreams and goals for 2018 not only for this blog, but also for my life in general.

I wanted to post today, on this last day of 2017, to reflect back on the year and just reminisce on a year that was full of some heartache, however, still amazingly wonderful at the same time.

Life does that sometimes, it knocks you down, and sometimes beats you while you’re down there, but you don’t have to stay down there. You have the ability to choose how you handle all situations. 2017 was the year that we finally achieved our financial goal to do a fresh IVF cycle. We were so expectant and believing that it would work, and unfortunately it ended in a chemical pregnancy.  We were devastated and heartbroken, but grateful that we had gotten a discount, so we had money leftover to be able to do a frozen transfer cycle the next month. Again, lots of expectations and excitement. During this time also, we had to put down our beloved cat who had been super sick. She was one of our first babies and we loved her so. This was a hard thing to do while in the middle of our two week wait. Again, I landed pregnant, but it again ended in a chemical. How much more can our hearts take?

The summer brought on our 9-year wedding anniversary which was absolutely amazing, but it was also full of bloodwork, and a surgery and lots of running and training for Rob. August was our 3rd transfer and again..I was pregnant! We made it to the point where we could hear the heartbeat…actually two heartbeats. Grateful and happy were understatements as nothing could compare to the joy we found in our hearts. However, this pregnancy ended just under eight weeks in a miscarriage of both twins. A D&C one week before my birthday is not really ideal.

Even though we’ve had heartache and gone through some of the hardest moments of our lives, we have had some great ones. We celebrated 9 years of marriage in June. I went to Dallas in October for the Moms in the Making conference. Rob ran his first marathon which allowed us to take a vacation to Washington D.C. and I was selected to be a leader for a MITM group here in Cincinnati. This is just a few of the amazing things that happened this year.

One thing I do know is that through the hardships and downfalls and even the good things….my God and Savior was with me. He was always faithful and helped me through these trying times. I am grateful for the experiences and for who I have become in these trying times.

I would never say that 2017 was a bad year because that makes it sound as if my life is bad. I don’t take things for granted. I appreciate everyday I have and am not one to wish my life away.  You’ll never hear me say “I’m glad this year is over.” or “Man..I’m ready for the next year!” Be happy with the life you’ve given. Good and bad things happen, but how you handle them and work through them is what determines what kind of a person you are.

Joy awaits in 2018 and I am ready to embrace it!

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Cast Your Cares on The Lord-Psalms 55:22

I am a person who is fairly organized. I make lists and sometimes even make lists of lists. I am being serious. Before I traveled to Dallas last month I wanted to make a list of things to pack, so I put on my to-do list “make Dallas packing list”. So, if that’s not OCD, I don’t know what is. If you came to my house, though, you may not think I’m so organized. I am a work in progress as I have recently been purging my house. I did not get a chance to have a yard sale this past summer, so rather than having the stuff pile up, I am donating, which I am totally OK with. But it’s amazing how much stuff one can accumulate. Anyhow, it’s a goal of mine to become very organized and have baskets and drawers for everything, shred old papers and bills and just make a place for everything in my home. Sometimes, having a lot of clutter can cause me to be overwhelmed and stuff just all gets piled in a closet or behind a chair as an out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality. But this clutter in your home is easy to fix, but what about the clutter in your mind? That’s where I am now. It’s not bad clutter, but just a lot of stuff. How do you organize your thoughts?

Let me explain this a bit. I recently had a huge blood draw to try to determine the reason for my miscarriage and prior to that, my two chemical pregnancies. Recurrent loss is not a good thing and obviously we wanted to try to find out. So, in October, I had a blood draw that included the nurse taking 24 vials of blood. This was to test for any blood clotting disorders and NK cells. Well it was determined after a few weeks that I do have a blood clotting disorder called PAI 1, which means I now have to add an aspirin regimen and another shot (Lovenox or Heparin). It was also determined that I do have a mutation of the natural killer cells and have to take Prednisone for the first trimester of my pregnancy. All this and there is another medication being added to my FET protocol. That’s overwhelming to take all of this new medication on top of all of the other FET medication. It’s scary to think of having to try to remember to take it all and to remember when and what time’s of the day to take it. The organizational part of me is trying to come up with some kind of a chart or app to track it all, then I get overwhelmed trying to come up with something that’s simple!

But then I realized, God’s already got this. Pslams 55:22 (NIV) says: cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. That gives me so much relief. Cast your cares on the Lord! Yes, Lord….take this burden from me and help me to feel peace during this process. The righteous will not be shaken. I will not be shaken. God will provide me a peace and calm in this season. He will take my burden of feeling overwhelmed and anxious and carry it for me. He will allow me to take my medications and stay organized and allow all to go well because that’s what he does. He does not want us to be burdened. He does not want us to be anxious. He wants us to be peaceful and live with joy!

So, all this to say, it will be OK. I will be OK! This is just a step we are taking to try to have a baby all while allowing God to lead us. We know that God has the ultimate decision in this, so whether I remember to take the medications at the right times or they work or don’t work, God will be the one who determines if they do. He has final say over my body and my womb, and because of that, I will not be shaken!

Praise you, Lord!

 

I Am Grateful

My church has sermon series that generally last 3 to 6 weeks. We are currently on one entitled Stay Positive. And under that main heading each week has a smaller theme title that still relates to the overall theme. This past week was our 2nd week in this series and it was titled “I’m Grateful”! I loved this sermon. I am one who loves to be grateful and wants to always show gratitude for everything, however, I am a work in progress when it comes to actually showing that gratitude. I know I have done other blog posts on this and listed out specific things I am grateful for, but this time I am taking a bit different of an approach.

Our minster, Dan,  spoke about having an attitude of gratitude for everyday things and making sure you’re showing God that gratitude. He used the example of you’re sitting there praying for a good grade on a test then you get that “A” and then are boasting that you got the good grade, but not thanking God for it, when He is the one who helped you get it.

Dan posed this question to start things off: Do we have everything we need to live a Godly life? The answer is YES! But sometimes we think that means things and abilities. But as long as we have a relationship with our Father then we can live the most grateful life of all.

In order to have an attitude of gratitude, Dan mentioned that there are 4 truths that we must all face. If we find any of these to be difficult or hard to manage, then we know that’s where we need to put our focus.

I will list them out as they were presented to us:

  1. I am a sinner and don’t deserve God’s blessings. (further reflection in Romans 3:23 & Romans 6:23)
  2. I will not let envy corrupt my attitude of gratitude (further reflection in Ecclesiastes 4:4 & 1 Timothy 6:6-8, 17)
  3. Recognize that every good gift I get comes from God. (further reflection in James 1:7)
  4. I will choose to praise God for all of my blessings (further reflection in Psalm 13:6)

Now that these are outlined, you have a basis on which to base your gratitude. Practice these and continue to remember them and make them a part of your everyday prayers.

I know that I am still a work in progress. I battle back and forth with all of these. Which do you struggle with most? Which are the easiest for you?

Are you living your life with an attitude of gratitude? If not, let’s start NOW!

Psalm 147:3 He Heals the Brokenhearted

As you know from my last couple posts, I am in mourning. I am brokenhearted. I am grieving. This is hard, so hard. This is the absolute worst thing I’ve ever gone through in my life. I know people say that a lot, “this is the worst day of my life.” And a lot of times it was just a bad day, not necessarily the worst. I am sure I have said that, but never fully meant it. But this time, I do mean it. I cannot think of any other time in my life where I was this hurt, this broken, this sad. Infertility is not easy. Miscarriage is not easy. Miscarriage after infertility is definitely not easy.

I expect my next several posts to be about mourning and grieving, just because that’s the state of mind that I am in. I obviously want to feel better and find that joy again, but right now, I’m not OK.

We have a lot of people praying for us right now, which is amazing because I haven’t been able to muster up the words to say to God. I have talked to him and I think it’s just been rambling. I am not even sure if my words made sense. I know that God can decipher them. Thank goodness! But I just don’t know what else to say. I’m angry. Angry at God, angry at the doctors, angry at my body. I don’t like being angry. It’s leading to confusion and more tears. I am trying to rely on the Word to get me through. I am still working on this. I am a work in progress. I am still working on reading the words on the page and accepting that they are meant for me and allowing myself to calm down from them. I want the words to find peace in my heart so I can being to heal.

I googled “what does the Bible say about grief?” and I found 13 good passages. This is a good one. Short and sweet: He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. That comes from Psalm 147:3. He is the only one that will heal this. I know that they say “time will heal.” Yes, maybe, but God. God can and God WILL. In time! So I guess that saying IS true that time will heal, but let’s add something to that. Let’s make it read….”time will heal…with God!” He’ll bind up my wounds and make me feel whole again. I know he’ll make sure I never forget my angels and he’ll take care of them for me until I get to heaven. Even though I’ll miss may babies and will always honor them, God will allow me to do so without continuous mourning. Missing is OK, mourning is OK, I just don’t want to keep crying. I want to just be OK. I want to be able to know and accept that this is what was meant for us and that these babies were meant for the Lord and not for me and Rob.I have to allow God to work in me and through me to be able to fully heal. I will never not cry over them again. I know I will. We plan to honor them every year on September 25. And perhaps again on their due date. Will I cry those days? Yes, probably so, but hopefully it’ll be a joyful cry as I celebrate their lives in heaven.

What I am getting at is, I don’t want that hurting cry. I want my heart to be mended and for my mind to be able to know that this is what God chose for us and this is just part of the path he has us on. I may not like it, but as long as I accept that God has our best interest in us, then I will be OK.

So, please pray for us and with us as we continue to heal and allow God to bind up our wounds. The wounds of our hearts! We know that Baby Tank is still coming, that doesn’t mean this is any less hard!

I’m finding that joy! Life is meant to be celebrated!

Galatians 6:9 For In Due Time

Time! In due time! What does that even mean? It’s hard when you hear someone say, “it’ll happen for you, in due time”. Well I feel like my time IS due. It should be here. I, of course, am referring to motherhood and pregnancy. I have been in a 7+year wait for my miracles and have been so close twice. I am in another wait and feel like my “due time” could be very very soon.

Let’s break apart Galatians 6:9. It reads: let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  If we do not give up is an important part to remember.  I have been at that point. I’ve wanted to give up. I wasn’t sure how much more I could handle. After our 2nd loss from our first FET cycle, I was in tears, heartbroken, falling into my husband’s arms, saying, “I don’t know how much more I can handle. I don’t know if I can keep doing this.” He then says to me, “It’s not over! We still have embryos. Don’t give up!” Simple as that “don’t give up!” My husband was hurting as well, but God love him, he has been so strong and so patient! To me, though, even in the midst of his grief, he was telling me that he believed our due time was coming, just not at that moment.

When will my time come? I don’t know. I hope it’s sooner rather than later, but all I know is that I cannot give up. I have to give it my all. I have to know that at the end of the day, I did all I could to glorify the Lord and follow his commands. He says it right there, that let us not grow weary in doing good. Keep doing, keep being good. The more good we put into the world, the more good we will receive back. I am a firm believer in what you put out, you get back. If you’re negative all the time and being nasty then you cannot be surprised when people are being rude and negative towards you. If you’re happy and loving towards others, you will be surprised at the amount of love and happiness you will receive back. That’s what God is saying. Don’t get tired of being and doing good. That’s what he commands us to do. That’s what we should do to just be decent human beings. It can get tiring being good and nice to others and it’s not reciprocated, but if we keep it up and keep going then IN DUE TIME, we will reap a harvest! My harvest is babies. I am not giving up on my baby. I am not giving up on my TTC sisters, I am not giving up on the infertility community and remaining an advocate, I am not giving up on God and his plans for me. I am praying for others and doing what I can to spread love and encouragement to those walking the same path as me.

As hard as this wait may be, I can take comfort in knowing that my due time is coming, it’s been promised to me. And knowing what I know about God, he won’t give up on me!

Healthy Attitude in the Midst of Waiting

We are all always waiting for something, aren’t we? Whether it be a new job, the approval for a home loan, a special vacation, or, for me, a baby! I have been waiting for a baby for over 7 years. I have endured much in my wait, impatience, heartbreak, hope, renewed hope, joy, excitement, financial strain, and so much more. Waiting is hard and it can be gruesome.

As mentioned before, we have gone through IVF which ended up in miscarriage. We did a frozen embryo transfer, which also ended up in miscarriage. Two “sure fire” things that gave us 80% chance of getting and staying pregnant. A dream we’ve had for so long, ripped and taken away from us. Still waiting.

I got the title of this from something a friend said to me last week. We were texting about her recent pregnancy loss and some of the emotional struggles she is dealing with. She has a 2-year-old son who she is so grateful to have, but her desire for more children is still there. She texts me, “but you and Rob have gone through so much more”. I reassured her that her feelings still mattered and that whether we’ve gone through “more” or less, it doesn’t matter, we’ve still both dealt with waiting and pregnancy loss and I know that my babies are still coming. Her very next text to me was, “you have a very healthy attitude!” That was an interesting way to put it, but it’s so true. My response to her was that I had no choice but to have a healthy attitude. This healthy attitude breeds joy. It helps me to continue to enjoy the things I’ve always enjoyed in my wait. It’s helped me to know that my miracle is still coming. The enemy wants me to be sad and defeated and completely torn up about this. He wants me to continue to mourn over my losses and he wants to constantly remind me of those losses. We are transitioning into our next transfer and are so blessed and grateful for that. Why would we want to muddy that up with thoughts of what happened in the past?

So those words, “healthy attitude”, continue to stick out to me and it’s something that I strive to continue to have through this process. Having my eyes fixed up on the Lord while I walk the path before me is the only way I will get through this continued wait and know that my desire is waiting for me on that road somewhere. It’s been a long road, but it keeps going. It is endless. So as long as the Lord keeps leading me to my baby, I’ll keep following.

Keep that healthy attitude no matter how much stress your wait may be causing you. It will help you find joy in the wait and will bring you so much peace that the days of the wait will just tick away and your end result will be yours!

Am I Mad at God?

Just reading this title, I am sure you all are probably thinking that this is going to be related to our fertility. Actually, it is not. I mean, I guess it is, but not in today’s reference. I hate saying that sometimes I am mad at God, but it’s true. I am sure we have all gone through that. Someone told me once that your relationship with God is just like any other relationship? Have you been mad at your spouse? Yes. Have you been mad at your mom? Yes. Have you gotten over it and moved on? Yes. Same goes with God. It’s ok to be mad at him. He’s a big boy, he can handle it. The thing is, you just can’t stay mad at him.

My husband has been having  a hard time coming upstairs to bed. He always falls asleep on the couch and I get angry when I wake up in the middle of the night and he is not upstairs with me.  And as to not air my husband’s dirty laundry, I’ll leave it at this. I pray. I pray. I pray to God to help him remember to come upstairs when he feels tired.

Last night, I was angry with God. I was angry that this happens all the time. I was angry. God, I am asking…why am I not receiving? I am seeking you and your guidance….why am I not seeing good resolve?

As I attempted to fall back asleep and upon waking up this morning, I had the lyrics to the song by Hillsong in my head called “Oceans”: Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders. That part just kept playing over and over. I always wake up with some random song in my head that I am sure is attributed to a dream I had the night before or maybe a song I heard right before bedtime, but I couldn’t figure this one out. We hadn’t sang it at church in a while. It is on my playlist but not one that I have listened to recently. Then I had to take a step back and look at those lyrics….spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.  That’s it! Trust without borders. Our trust for and in God should be limitless. It should be more than I think I can ever give. I should just walk through life and just know that God has got me, so I don’t even have to worry about anything. That’s what I needed. Was that song, that part of that song in my head coincidentally? Probably not. I think that was God saying, Linds…follow the spirit. Ask it to lead you. You will see that my trust is limitless and that it’s always there.

I know that it’s hard to remember this when our prayers don’t get answered at the exact second we pray them or when we want them to, but it’s important to remember that God hears them and remembers them. Can you imagine the number of people praying all day every day? That’s a lot of prayers that God has to tend to. Is one more  important than the other? Not to God, they’re not. He is the one who decides what we get and when we get it.

So, even though it may be a work in progress for my husband and our communication when it comes to his sleeping patterns, I know that God is working behind-the-scenes to make sure this prayer is answered and that our demons are cast aside.

Worship His Holy Name

There is a song that we sing in church often that has the lyrics “worship His holy name”. Worship and praise are two component of having a relationship with Jesus that I am working on daily. Everyday I am reminded of God’s greatness and all that He does for me. Just waking up and being able to go to work is a blessing in itself. I think oftentimes we pray to God for things we want or need and that’s great. That’s what we should be doing, but are we praising and worshiping him after those things have happened? I know I am getting better and better at that.

There have been times when I have prayed very small prayers and God answered. Here is an example. I was driving home once in a huge rain storm. It was the kind of rain that the highest setting on the windshield wipers didn’t work and you still couldn’t see. It was horrible and scary. I was white knuckling the steering wheel. I couldn’t see. I just kept praying, “God, please allow this rain to let up and let me get home safely.” I couldn’t find a spot to pull over as it was hard to see and I think I was on the highway, anyhow. I knew I still had some time before I would get home, so I just wanted the rain to let up. Eventually it did and I got home safely. As soon as I was able to turn my wipers to a lower setting I just sat there driving saying “Thank you, Jesus! Thank you for keeping me safe! Thank you for stopping the rain!” I am not against the rain, but this torrential downpour was scary while driving! Some may say that wasn’t God and that the rain just stopped or as I drove further I was getting into areas of town where rain was not on the radar. But I still say it was God. He could have had it rain my entire way home. Every area of the city could have been rained on, but it wasn’t . He kept me, as well as many other drivers, safe!

I bring this up today, because as some of you may know, we are working to do our next FET (frozen embryo transfer) in August. We got a very good quote from the doctor’s office but it expires at the end of August. I became very stressed out and had no idea how we would get $2400 together in a month! Well you know what? We did! God provided! We had friends go above and beyond our expectations. We had friends working their tails off to do successful fundraisers and we even had some anonymous donors who gave us money with no recognition! It was absolutely amazing. Our doctor told us we could put down $1500 and pay the rest in $300 installments over the next few months. We appreciated that offer but did not want to do it as we just wanted it to be paid for and not have to worry about an extra expense the next three months. I just kept asking God to bring us as close to our total as he could so that we would not have to cover much else. Well He gave us exactly what we needed. We are beyond grateful of everyone’s generosity but most of all, for God’s provision.

I don’t know why I ever doubted this. If God did not want us to do a transfer in August then I feel like He would have shut that door quickly and would not have let the money come together, or would have put some other roadblock in our way. But he didn’t. To me, this is God saying, “yes! You can have this!” I will probably never know why he didn’t let us have it the last two times, but I am confident that he will this time. Maybe he just needed us to let go and trust him a bit more.

So what I am saying to you is to praise Him! Praise Him ALWAYS! Keep praying, but don’t forget to praise him when those prayers are answered and dreams come to fruition. God wants you to be happy, but it’s not always when we want it! It’s when He wants it for us!

Perfect Joy

I love quotes. I am always taking screenshots of quotes I find on Instagram. They always give me something to write about and spark my creativity. That being said, I found one recently that says: If we wait for perfect, we’ll never find joy. BOOM! Aren’t I always preaching about joy! If we wait for perfect, we will never find joy. This was posted on Elizabeth Laing Thompson’s Instagram (@elizabethlaingthompson). But isn’t this just the best quote. I feel like we are always chasing perfection. I know I am. The perfectly cleaned house. Everything perfectly organized and put in a place. But I find that this just stresses me out even more! Trying to put everything where it goes and rearranging things to make it work. Balancing my checkbook to make sure it comes out to a T, or even organizing my closet by color of the clothing items. This gets tedious. I do know that sometimes these things ARE necessary for calm and peace. I recently cleaned out our downstairs hall closet and now I feel great. Things are in there nicely. It’s easy to find and I even found that I was able to trash/donate a bunch of stuff. It’s amazing. You can now see the floor of the closet.

What I am getting at is if we’re always chasing perfect…then we’ll never be happy. God doesn’t expect perfection. He knows that we’ll make mistakes. He designed us with flaws so that we learn and grow. Are we going to Him, though, when things get rough? When things are looking pretty dim, are we calling out to our father? I know I am trying! I am remembering in every dark and stressful situation to just look up and know that my Lord is taking care of this for me. He would rather see us being our own unique selves and instead of trying to be a perfect version of somebody else. I heard a talk one time in which the woman said “God don’t make no junk!” That’s so true. He designed you in HIS image. If he was perfect then he would have made us perfect! But I think that perfection makes things boring. It’s ok to make mistakes and wrong decisions, as long as you’re overcoming them. Are you happy and joyful? Or are you stressed and beaten? Jesus is the only one who knows what true stress looks like. He carried that cross because we’re NOT perfect. He carried that cross because people who came before us made mistakes,  and sinned, that’s why we’re not perfect. But you know that Jesus will always forgive you. He wants you to be joyful. He wants you to find the best in each day. He wants you to live as if it is the best day of your life.

So, when that time comes along and you think that things are falling apart and nothing is going right, just remember these three little letters J-O-Y! That’s all you need! Find that joy and all that perfection nonsense will seem null and void!

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