I was given what I deserve.

This is another one of those posts that I really don’t want to write, but the analogy to my salvation through Jesus Christ is too profound to keep quiet.

I consider myself a safe driver. I was one of those that wasn’t really anxious to get my learners permit the day I turned 15. I think I was around 17 years old when I got my drivers license. Since the girls came along, I’ve taken even more precautions to drive safely. And I prided myself in the fact that I had never gotten a speeding ticket in 15 years of driving. Because, as a general rule, I don’t speed.

Can you see where this post is going?

One afternoon nearly one year ago (yes, it’s taken me one whole year to hit the publish button on this one!), I was headed to the Crisis Pregnancy Center for my weekly volunteer shift. I was driving along in my own little world. Driving to the CPC is one of the only times I am driving alone without the sound track of two little girls in the background talking my ear off or requesting particular songs on their CDs we listen to while in the car. I often find myself deep in thought on my trips to the CPC because the car is quiet. Often times I even turn the radio off completely so I can pray for my shift and that God would bring women to the clinic that day that we could minister to.

So there I was driving along when I got over the hill I drive over to get to CPC and there is a cop car sitting at the bottom. I did what every person does subconsciously whether you are speeding or not. I put my breaks on and then put them on even further when I saw the light ahead of me was turning red.

And then I stopped at the light. The cop was stopped too on the side of the road where he had been at the bottom of the hill. I could have waved to him.

The light turned green and traffic started moving again. In my rear view mirror I noticed the cop had pulled out. I continued driving along and so did the cop.

Out of nowhere, I see the cop behind me with his lights flashing. I looked around to see who he was trying to pull over.

And then, I realized it was ME he was after! I always imagined if I were to be pulled over, my heart would be beating out of my chest, but I was still in “cruise mode” in my own little world and my heart was still beating normally.

I pulled over and the cop came to my window and asked I assume what every cop asks when they pull someone over, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”.

I answered honestly. “No, sir, I do not.”

“I clocked you going 62mph. Do you know what the speed limit is on this road?”

I didn’t know so I guessed, “55mph….or maybe 45mph.”

He said, “45mph” and I began praying for mercy in that moment because that is 17mph over the speed limit. Oops.

He asked for my license and car insurance and then headed back to his cop car.

I started thinking, Surely he will give me a warning! I have NO RECORD whatsoever and I am 32 years old. That is 15 years of driving. I saw him look in the back seat so he saw I am a mom to two little kids. I am dressed nice! AND – I am on my way to the Crisis Pregnancy Center to volunteer for crying out loud! Yes, he will just give me a warning! Surely he will!

And so I sat there waiting for my fate and praying I would be extended mercy, once again.

When he approached my car he had this yellow slip of paper in his hand and said, “Mam, I am going to give you a ticket today, but I am going to say you were going 55mph instead of what I clocked you at. It’s the least expensive ticket I can give you.”

Mercy? Um, I guess so. However, not exactly the mercy I was hoping and praying for in those moments!

He got in his cop car and drove away and I just sat there SO ANGRY. My first reaction was to figure out what I could do to get this ticket OFF MY RECORD and to not have to pay the fine!

And then it dawned on me.

I was given what I deserve.

I was speeding. The speed limit was 45mph, I was going 62mph and therefore, I was breaking the law. The consequence for speeding is a ticket.

I left that parking lot with the yellow ticket sitting there on the seat next to me because that is what I deserved.

Once my anger subsided and I could think clearly again, it hit me like a ton of bricks that as a sinner who deserves eternal death as payment for my sins, I am not getting what I deserve!!

Instead of getting what I deserve, I have been given mercy, grace, forgiveness and salvation.

Through Jesus Christ’s death on a cross that paid for mankind’s sins – past, present and future – I have eternal life through Jesus Christ my Savior.

Then I started thinking about how I was hoping all those circumstances would help the cop give me mercy. Because I was on the way to volunteer my time at a Crisis Pregnancy Center and I had a clean record with no previous speeding tickets, that should be enough for him to not give me a ticket, right?

Wrong. I got what I deserved on the side of the road and I have received eternal life through nothing that I did. God didn’t require me to attend church regularly, tithe and do good to others at least 5 times a week to earn salvation.

No, in his great love for me, and while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me and paid the price for my sins. It is the ultimate picture of redemption and mercy and nothing that I earned or deserved to call mine.

While I did not receive the kind of mercy I was desperately hoping for that fateful day, I am thankful for that ticket. Strange thing to say, I know.

That ticket painted an even clearer picture for me of the work Jesus Christ did for me through his death on the cross and resurrection three days later.

I am thankful that where it counts, I did not get what I deserve.

five years

I realized the other day that it’s been five years since we were going through all our infertility treatments.

FIVE years. In some ways I can close my eyes and catapulted myself back into that time and feel like I am still in the middle of it all. And in other ways, it feels like that time of my life was a lifetime ago.

For the most part that time seems long ago, but I don’t think there will ever come a time when I won’t be able to easily go back in time and feel like I am in the middle of it all. I will forever remember that season of my life. That time of my life was monumental to who I am today. God used those years and the experience of going through those treatments to mold me into who He wanted me to be today. That time was truly life-changing for me.

Life is so different now than it was back in those days. I try to remember how I spent my time. My house was immaculately clean. I do know that much. There wasn’t a speck of dust anywhere and cleaning the blinds was on the weekly cleaning list.

I still haven’t cleaned the blinds in our house and we’ve been in it almost 6 months now!

It’s funny how priorities, goals and life in general changes as time goes by. Cleaning the blinds is just no longer on my priority list, and I’m so thankful. Not because I disliked cleaning the blinds. With a Swiffer duster, it is actually kinda fun and easy to clean blinds.

But I’m thankful because it means my focus is elsewhere. On my daughters.

The little girls that, five years ago, it seemed they would never be. It is hard to sometimes go back to those desperate times when I wondered if I would ever be a mother. Maybe because in all honesty never becoming a mother just didn’t seem like an option for me. I truthfully believed that I would one day be a mother.

Up until that fateful day on the examination table in the doctor’s office when we learned our IVF cycle wasn’t working quite like we had hoped, I believed one day I would see those two pink lines.

I figured we were just having to go the long route to finally see them. But, eventually, they would be there.

I sometimes wonder if we had continued trudging along on the infertility treatment path, would we have eventually seen those two pink lines?

It is really a mute point because God lead us elsewhere and the what ifs truly don’t matter because we received God’s perfect plan and there is nothing more amazing than that.

Looking back on that time five years ago, I am so thankful God brought us through those treatments and taught us what He did, and then put a stop to them when He did. I am not sure how much more I could have physically and emotionally taken.

The road of adoption certainly wasn’t a cake walk, but strangely enough, it was a breath of fresh air once we knew the treatments were over. Sure I still had to mourn the loss of pregnancy and a biological child, but knowing the treatments were behind us was such a relief.

I am five years removed from that time in my life. It is not even something I think about every day anymore. It is a season of my life that I remember and always will remember. But I am no longer living those days. I have not forgotten that, for some people, maybe someone reading this blog right now, they are living these days every single day.

First of all, I am so sorry you are going through this. The pain of desiring a child and not becoming pregnant month after month after month when everyone else around you seems to become pregnant so easily is so very hard. I remember the pain of those days. I remember not being able to go to baby showers because it hurt too much and I was fearful I would start crying in the middle of someone else’s celebration. I remember being happy for others who became pregnant but inside it felt like a knife had just stabbed me in my side. I remember falling to a heap on the floor and weeping when we’d get another call that another treatment had not worked. I remember being angry when thinking about all the money we were spending just to attempt pregnancy. I remember feeling angry at my body because it wasn’t working right to be able to conceive.

I remember…

I also remember everything that God taught me during that trial in my life. It’s too much to even begin to type it all out into one little paragraph on this blog post. But, I remember when I started to realize that all this suffering and pain wasn’t about me. It was about God and what He wanted to do in and through my life so that others could see that God did this; not man. I remember when I realized I had a choice to make: was I going to choose to put my trust in God or choose to be angry and bitter about the less than ideal circumstances that I was currently dealing with in my life? I remember when God’s Word (the Bible) spoke to me as I read Jeremiah 29:11 and I knew that I could trust God to keep those promises for me, too. He did have plans for my future, plans that would prosper me and not harm me, plans that would bring me hope and a future. I remember clinging to the words in that verse as if my life depended on it. And, really, my life did depend on it. I was at the bottom of the barrel of hope and those words revived my soul and gave me true hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I remember when my outlook on my circumstances changed and I stopped thinking woe-is-me-thoughts and started thinking, Ok, God, how are you going to use all this for your glory!? I am a willing vessel. Use me! Show the world you are God.

I remember…

And then, how could I ever forget what God did next? I can’t and I won’t as long as I ever live.

I will never forget working on our adoption paperwork with renewed hope and expectation that God was going to do something marvelous. I will never forget walking into the adoption agency and then texting my husband moments later, Do you want to be a daddy in June?! I will never forget our first meeting with Little Bug’s birth mother sitting there at the adoption agency. The nerves were high on both ends, but as we talked, there was such tremendous peace. I will never forget walking into that delivery room just in time to see Little Bug enter this world. Poor Tracy had delivered naturally and she was still screaming in pain saying that hurt more than anything she had ever done, but she still had the presence of mind to ask the doctor to let me cut the cord. Such a beautiful gift she gave me to be there at the birth of Little Bug. And I remember what it felt like for Little Bug to be placed in my arms for the very first time. Arms that were once empty were completely full with the expectation that this baby girl was going to be my little girl, always and forever.

And then, not two years later, we found ourselves in the adoption process again! Pregnancy came hard for us (they never came!), but adoptions seemed to just fall in our laps. It was a very clear reminder to me that when God has a plan, He brings it to fruition in His time and in His way. Within two years I became the mother of two little girls.

I remember holding both of my daughters for the first time, one of them still hooked up to all the NICU machines, and just thinking, So this is what my infertility was all about?! God wanted to perform these miracles and He used my broken womb to do so! Wow.

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In those moments all the pain and heartache of infertility made sense. We serve a God that is BIG and desires to do BIG things in our lives, if we are surrendered and allow Him to do His work in our lives. I didn’t go in to the details about how we were matched with our daughters’ birth mothers but each story is a clear picture of the hand of God at work in the lives of everyone involved. He alone is the one who orchestrated the adoptions of my daughters. I had nothing to do with it, except the fact that I surrendered to His plan laying on that examination table. He did the rest and I just happened to have front row seats to the show.

Five years removed from infertility and I can honestly say it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I still have a broken reproductive system. I don’t need a pregnancy to feel complete. I can sit among a group of women talking about pregnancy and childbirth and not feel like I need to escape now. God has done a work in my life only He could do and I am just so thankful.

If you are reading this and going through infertility or some other trial, there is a purpose that goes beyond you. God desires to do something marvelous in your life! Something beyond anything you can see at this moment. You see hopelessness and despair but God sees a miracle waiting to unfold. God takes bad and makes good as only He can do.

Let the work God has done in and through my battle with infertility serve to bring you hope today.

To God be the glory!

Forever “Miss A”

I took the girls on a trip down Memory Lane.

It was a spur of the moment decision and one I am very glad I made.

I had not been to the elementary school I taught at since Little Bug was two! The week of pre-planning I decided to make the drive there with my two girls.

Little Bug said, “You were a teacher here before I was born?”. I think it was hard for her wrap her mind around the fact that Mommy did things that didn’t involve her before she was born. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around that, too. It seems Little Bug has been here forever and not just four years!

I stood on these steps four years to take a picture with my classes. And that day I put my two little “students” on those steps and took a picture. I didn’t have to do silly things to make my students smile, but I did for these two!

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I haven’t walked the halls of this school as a teacher in six years and it is amazing how time changes the appearance of all things. Well, some things never change.

These steps, that I had to walk up and down a hundred times a day, are still the very same.

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It is still blustery hot in there during the warm months and frigid cold in the winter months. I really don’t miss having to train a group of 20 or more nine and ten year olds how to walk up and down these steps. Oh those steps. They caused me much pain as a teacher, giving the mischievous students ample opportunity to be mischievous!

And then we made it to my beloved classroom. I still think of it as “my” classroom. My teacher friend is still plugging away teaching up there in my classroom. It was wonderful to see her again. I was always so grateful for those huge windows in the back of the classroom. This school is one of the oldest in the city and the building has so much character compared to some of the newer school buildings that have been built in recent years.

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I love this picture! My sweet baby girl sitting on the floor in my classroom reading a book. The floor her Mama walked on for four years as “Miss A”. It’s funny. My teacher friend introduced me to the teacher next door as “Miss A”. I guess at that school and in that classroom I will forever be known as “Miss A”. That is fine with me because that is exactly who I was within those four walls.

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I went to every hall way and saw all the teachers that had been there when I taught. I didn’t just spend four years at this school. I started volunteering there when I was in high school (a friend of mine taught there and mentored me as a teacher). So many of the teachers there have seen me grow up from high school student, to college student, to college intern (I interned with my friend), to 4th grade teacher in the upstairs corner room, to Mommy who comes back to visit every now and again. Teaching was stressful, and unfortunately due to state mandated standards, it’s only gotten more stressful for my friends who are still there, but this school will always be home to me. I have way more fond memories than bad memories there.

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We left the school and walked over to the park where I would take my students for recess.

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The bench in the background of this picture is where Miss A would sit, probably for the first time in the day, while all her students would go play.

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There was no sitting at the park for Miss A this day as there were two little girls who wanted to be pushed on the swings!

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I am thankful for my time at this school; for the friends I made there, the experiences I had as a teacher that grew and stretched me and for the students that walked through my classroom door each year.

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My mind was never far from my ultimate goal while I walked those halls…the children that would one day be my children. I had no idea what was ahead of me those four years I taught 4th grade.

We never know where life will take us, but we can always count on the faithfulness of God, every step of the way. Walking around that school with my two daughters, reminiscing about time’s past, reminded me of that.

Stalled Train

We were on the way home from visiting Dave’s parents when we came upon a train that was stopped on the track.

There are two railroad tracks that we cross on the way to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Since our move, the ride to visit Grandma and Grandpa has turned into a little trip for our family since they live just outside the city.

And so this train was stopped with about 5 or so cars stopped ahead of us. I looked to Dave and said, “Great. Can we turn around and go a different route?”

“Not if you want it to take us an hour or more to get home.”

“Say what? An hour??” It takes us about 35 minutes to get home and we had left with just enough time to get Sweet Pea home in time for bedtime. And, with her naps being a little out of whack, I was really hoping to get her to bed on time this particular night.

This wasn’t looking good and I silently prayed for God to move this train! An hour drive with the girls and a late bedtime for the baby wasn’t exactly how I wanted to end the weekend.

And then the first car in the line of cars stuck because of this train made a U-turn on the road and started talking to each car as they made their way back the other direction. They got to us and said, “The train is broken down. No telling when it will move.”

Fab-u-lous!! And we made a U-turn and started going the opposite way we wanted to go so that we could get around the stupid train.

In my moment of frustration my husband says, “God is in control of everything. He obviously doesn’t want us going that way!”

Thanks. Just what I wanted to hear!

In my moment of frustration I also knew I had a choice to make: be frustrated or choose to be happy (as I always tell my 4 year old. Are you sure that has to apply to us adults too?!).

Driving along the road in the middle of nowhere, I asked God to help me apply this situation to life, and He reminded me of four things.

1. That train in the middle of the road, stalled, and going nowhere – a complete road block to where we wanted to go – is so symbolic to March 9th, 2009. The day a pregnancy road block landed right in front of me and there was absolutely no going around it. Road blocks force us to move to a new direction. We had to turn around and go in the completely opposite direction than we wanted to go. Hearing I’d probably never conceive forced us to move to a new direction – adoption – on our journey through infertility.

2. As we were driving along in the middle of nowhere Dave turns to me and asks, “Do you know where we are?”. We might as well have been in China because I had no clue. I asked him, “Do YOU?!?”. Having grown up in the area he confidently said, “Yeah. These are my old stomping grounds.” There was peace in knowing at least one of us knew where we were going. I’d have been in a pickle by myself in that predicament. But, all I had to do was go along for the ride, trusting Dave to navigate us through the boonies back to civilization. That’s how it is with God, too. He turned our direction on March 9th, 2009, and I had no idea where we were going. But His Word promised me that He knew and it was going to be good and it was going to be even better than I imagined. I just had to go along for the ride, and trust Him. His Word was (and still is!) truth, because God navigated us through the road of infertility, blessing us with two precious daughters.

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3. The whole God is in control of everything comment? He was so right. And that served as an excellent reminder to me. He knows everything that is going to happen in my life and His ways are perfect.

4. Attitude is a choice. We can’t control everything that happens to us in our life, but we can control how we respond to what happens. Having a positive attitude when things don’t go our way – for things as serious as infertility or as silly as a stalled train in your pathway – is half the battle to overcoming whatever obstacle stands in our way. I consciously decided I was just going to sit back and enjoy the scenery and the time with my family. We cranked up the music, saw some interesting things along the way that you don’t normally see in the city, listened to Dave reminisce about his old “stomping grounds” and heard from the backseat, Mommy!! I need to go potty! Now! That brings me to point number five.

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5. I just laughed at this point. Here we were with no potties in sight and Little Bug needs to pee. We told her she was going to have to pee in the grass on the side of the road. She was all for that. Dave pulled over and I jumped out of the car to go get her. She peed and then she saw three little flowers and said, “Mommy, I want to go pick those flowers for you!”. And I let her. Who cares that we were on an impromptu road trip and running late for the baby’s bedtime? Sometimes life calls us to just stop and smell the roses – literally. It was a reminder to me to enjoy, thoroughly enjoy, life and the small things that make life worth living.

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Don’t look at road blocks as a negative thing! Sometimes, many times, they are what force us to move in a different direction and it’s the detours of life where God teaches us invaluable lessons.

Full Circle

The first week of July I was brave and decided to make the trip with my parents and aunt to Beersheba Springs, Tennessee. Dave was on a mission trip to Haiti that week. I remembered going there as a child to my mom’s highschool reunions and I thought it would be a wonderful place to take the girls.

My mom attended highschool at a boarding school in Brazil because her parents were missionaries to Brazil. So all the missionary kids (MKs) would go to this boarding school for high school. Everyone was like family because no one had any family living nearby due to living in Brazil, so the other missionaries became your family. The bond between these people is remarkable and it stretches through several generations which is why I really wanted to go this year.

The last reunion I attended was in 2003. I was 22 years old and fresh out of college with my 4th grade teaching position lined up for the fall. That summer, my family decided to take a road trip with the Reunion being one of our stops.

A few days before we set out for this trip, my mom completely surprised me by saying, “They’ve asked me if you would share your testimony the first night we are there.”

My first thought was, Seriously?! I am going on vacation! I don’t want to have to think and talk in front of a big group of people!! But, of course, I knew the answer……yes, I will share. But not before I asked my mom first, Can I just stand up and tell them all to just go read my blog??!

I got to thinking about sharing my testimony in this place and realized this was actually a full-circle event for me.

Because, 10 years ago when I was there as a naïve 22 year old with her whole life ahead of her, I had an idea of how my life was going to play out over the next several years.

I think back to the me of ten years ago and I am a very different person than I was a decade ago. I was still in the mindset of teach school, get married, teach some more, quit teaching to have babies.

Getting married and having babies, even fresh out of college, was on the forefront of my mind. I was never really career-minded; all I truly desired was to be a wife and mother.

As I walked around the Beersheba Springs campus ten years ago, those were my life goals. Getting married and having babies (4, to be exact, but not all at once!) is what I saw myself doing. If I had been asked where I’d be ten years down the road, I would have said, “I’ll be married and have four children.”

As I told the group that Wednesday night, my life did not play out in the ways I thought it would when I was a 22 year old college graduate about to start my first year of teaching.

Infertility met my dreams, shattered them and then God’s faithfulness redeemed everything. And He redeemed so much more than just my barren womb. He redeemed the lives of two baby girls and the two special women who chose life for them and then chose to place them with me.

Ten years ago I would have said being faced with infertility would be the worst thing that could possibly happen to me as far as fulfilling my dreams – and it was! But, now, ten years later, I can say with absolute certainty that infertility is one of my greatest blessings in this life.

I assumed my womb would bear much fruit, but God chose to close my womb – and not as a curse or punishment – because He had a different plan for my life than the one I saw set before me at the age of twenty-two.

At 22 years old, I knew the verse Jeremiah 29:11 about God having plans for us that will prosper us and not harm us, plans that will bring us hope and a future.

But now, at age 32, I know and believe that verse with every fiber of my being. That verse is my life.

God did have plans that brought me hope and a future – a very bright future with two of the most precious daughters I ever could have dreamed of.

Changes at God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility

This is something that has always been on the back of my mind ever since arriving on the other side of infertility.

How long will I keep blogging?

I’ve wrestled with this time and time again and now I finally know what needs to happen.

I guess it has always seemed a little eerie to me that my blog is public and anyone in the whole world can read it. And people all over the world do read it. That is why I have never shared my daughters’ real names on the blog and why I try to keep our exact location off the blog.

Much of this turmoil stems from the fact that I am by nature a quiet, reserved, private person. I still marvel at the fact that God used this blog as a platform for me to be able to proclaim to the world His faithfulness through my journey through infertility. The fact I was so incredibly open and vulnerable with essentially the world as I walked that very personal journey is nothing short of a miracle in and of itself!

I never dreamed God was going to use this blog in the ways He did.

There is no way I could count the number of emails I have received from readers who stumbled across my blog and found hope in the Lord from reading my posts because they are traveling the road of infertility after me. I’ve been asked some pretty deep questions about infertility, treatments and adoption via email and when I started the blog, I never imagined it would open doors for me to minister to people from all over the world, many of whom I will most likely never meet. But my story has such a strong and very evident thread of God’s faithfulness woven through it from the very first post all the way to the end and God continues to use my story to bring glory to His Name.

Since passing over to the other side of infertility and falling fully into my role as mom with infertility completely behind me my blog – for me – has become my “scrapbook” of our life as a family of four. I enjoy going back and reading posts that I wrote years ago (about infertility and about the girls growing up) and I am so, so, so grateful that I have my children’s lives documented via my blog from birth to present day! My dream is to one day make this blog into a book format and I will have instant scrapbooks of my girls!

But – and I hope you don’t take offense to this and understand my need for a little bit of privacy after blogging publically for over 5 years now – I am just not so sure I want to continue to put pictures of my girls and write stories about them where the entire world can read.

It occurred to me recently that Little Bug is getting older and one day I hope she will want to read this blog from beginning to end. I have always been very careful to write things that she wouldn’t mind being on the internet for anyone to read. But who am I to judge that? She is her own person and what I may think is “okay” she may not want shared.

So, what exactly does all this mean for God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility?

Honestly, my first thought was to completely close God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility down. I feel my girls are too exposed and I simply want to protect them and it no longer feels “right” to have their lives exposed on a public blog. At the same time, it didn’t feel “right” to completely obliterate my story – GOD’S STORY and the work He has done in my life – from the internet. It’s a beautiful, miraculous story full of hope and I truly did not want to remove God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility from cyberspace, but I just didn’t see a way to protect them without completely closing my blog down.

So I took my thoughts and concerns to my husband and he came up with a fabulous solution that will allow me to keep God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility up and running without exposing our daughters.

I will no longer be using God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility as my scrapbook which means pictures of my girls and posts about our daily lives are no longer going to be frequently posted. This is not to say I will never post another picture of Little Bug and Sweet Pea on the blog. I know many have read my blog from the beginning and have watched the girls grow up via my blog. I will post a picture of them every so often but their pictures and posts about our every day lives will no longer be heavy content on my blog.

The main content of my blog is going to go back to it’s roots: infertility and adoption. I will still write about those topics in this space. I also plan to finish up my Learning Time posts for this year because I can’t stand to start something and not finish. (As in, post October to March and then quit posting. So I will post what we do from here until I finish the plans I’ve made for this year…which are a month behind due to our move!) I have a wide variety of topics I write about on this blog and I do plan to keep writing but just eliminate the “scrapbook posts” and frequency of posts. I haven’t decided if I will continue to blog about parenting and my next adventure: homeschooling.

Whether I closed the blog or just started posting less frequently, I’ve known for some time now that there would be big changes coming to this blog in the near future.

I do 100% of my blogging while my children are either sleeping or doing their Independent Playtime in their bedrooms. And I’d venture to say that probably 75% of my blogging is done while my children are napping in the afternoons. My children are not going to nap forever! Little Bug is nearly four and I know she has started her nap wean. She still has a daily nap and she still usually sleeps for the 2-2.5 hours. But more and more she is laying down for nap and not sleeping. One day recently I asked her why she didn’t sleep for nap just to see what she would say and she said, “Because I wasn’t sleepy!”. So, yes, her napping days are numbered I know and while we will have a “rest time” during the day where she is required to lay in her bed quietly with books or quiet toys, I know my days of complete silence to be able to blog for a couple hours during naptime is coming to a close.

I also plan to homeschool and I look at that as a new responsibility in my role as mother that is going to take up A LOT of my time. Nap/rest time will soon become my planning time for school. I know homeschooling a preschooler/kindergartener won’t necessarily take up a lot of my time (or maybe it will?) but I know as we get further and further into homeschooling and the girls grow up more and I start schooling two children instead of doing just a Learning Time with Little Bug, I am most likely going to need to carve out a lot of time to be able to prepare our lessons. And I feel like now would be a good time to go ahead and get used to not blogging during this time.

I feel very good about these decisions that I have made. It is always good to evaluate things in our lives and really make sure they are serving their purpose well and, if not, do something about it. I am happy that, with the help of my husband, we’ve come up with a way to keep the story of the work God did in our lives out there for anyone to read but to also protect our girls from having their daily lives broadcast on a public blog. It will be interesting to see the ideas of where I want to take this blog play out in the coming months and years, but I think this new focus is going to work.

I don’t think I can ever “shut down” God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility. It holds some of my deepest most intimate thoughts concerning a journey God took me on that has changed my life forever. As long as God keep using our story to bring encouragement to others walking this path, today, God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility will be right here where it has always been.

I will never grow weary of writing about infertility and, especially, adoption. While the posts won’t be nearly as often as they once were (because I can’t think that deep every day!) when God spurs something within my heart to write about infertility and/or adoption, it will end up here in this place.

I will forever be grateful for the lifelong friends God brought me through blogging which is something else that came totally unexpectedly. I never imagined I would meet people on the internet and then one day consider them some of my closest friends – but it happened, multiple times!

And now, to all my faithful readers through the years – I know there are some of you out there that have read every single post I’ve ever written – I thank you for joining me in this journey, praying for me through my darkest days and rejoicing with me as we both watched God’s perfect plan unfold in my life.

Throughout this blog, there is a tapestry of God’s faithfulness woven through every post because He is faithful. His Word is FULL of promises He has made to those who believe in Him and call Him Savior and Lord. When we are weary because of the circumstances we find ourselves in, He is there – right there in the middle of it all. Nothing is happening that takes Him by surprise. The day I learned I’d never experience pregnancy did not take Him by surprise, at all. It was just His platform to do Something More in my life, something more than I ever could have imagined on that dark day. But that is our God. He takes the brokenhearted and turns their mourning into joy. He takes something as ugly as infertility and turns it into beauty. Why? Because that is Who God is. From the beginning of creation, His plan has been to always redeem His children and bring good from bad. He promises that He has plans that will prosper us and give us hope and a future. We can’t always see that right away, but if we hang in there long enough and sit back and let God do His work, following His ways in surrender and obedience, He WILL reveal His Plan. And that plan is going to be better than anything we can imagine or plan for ourselves. That is just who God is. He is faithful.

God’s Faithfulness Through Infertility will forever proclaim God’s faithfulness to anyone who happens upon this place!

Another March 8th

As March rolls around every year, it takes me back to March 8th, 2009. I don’t think there will ever be a March where I don’t reflect on the day that totally changed the course of my life – forever.

I like to go back in the blog and read posts from that time. They certainly aren’t pleasant posts to read, but they tell a story of God’s faithfulness, that is for sure. Here’s something I wrote the day after on March 10th, 2009:

What can you do but pick up the pieces after a day like yesterday?

It’s no joke that the road of infertility is full of ups and downs. While yesterday was probably the lowest of the lows for us in our journey so far, I still found myself watching the clock and waiting for the day to end so a new one could begin.

I know a new day signifies a fresh outlook and while we never assumed the outcome of our first attempt at IVF would be this bad, we can only move forward from here and deal with the new set of circumstances that have been given to us.

I decided long ago that I am going to choose to set my mind on God and not my circumstances that seem to grow dimmer and dimmer with each passing treatment.

However, this blow knocked me down hard. Yesterday put me that much closer to the reality of having to accept that I may actually never be pregnant and give birth to a baby.

But yesterday also made me realize once again that I am not in control here and neither is my doctor. God is in control and yesterday did not take Him by surprise at all.

Now, more than ever, I must trust that God has a perfect plan that somehow involves the bleak circumstances of yesterday. If I don’t believe that simple truth, I literally have nothing.

As for now, we are converting this IVF cycle to an IUI. I will go in tomorrow at 8am for another ultrasound to monitor what this solo follicle hanging out in my left ovary is doing. I’m predicting (based on how the three IUIs before surgery went) that we will be ready for insemination towards the end of this week. Assuming, of course, that this one follicle doesn’t decide to take a leave of absence as well.

Honestly, I’m not allowing myself to think too much about this IUI and the possibilities that lie within. I justcan’t allow my mind to think that this could be it.

As far as our next step beyond an IUI goes … we are once again at a crossroad of decision-making and need your prayers as we make (another) big decision.

When not-so-great odds, a huge sum of money and a deep desire to be a mother are all thrown into making one decision, it makes for a very complex decision to be made.

I know without a shadow of doubt that the prayers of many faithful prayer warriors is what pulled me through yesterday. Thank you, from the bottom of my broken heart, for all the prayers, comments, emails, Facebook messages and phone calls.

I could never convey to you in words how much it means to me to know that I have an army of prayer warriors lifting me up to the Father on a consistent basis – especially on a day like yesterday when I literally just didn’t know what to pray.

We will probably never fully understand this side of heaven the complete impact your prayers have made.

But I am completely confident that one day we will all be able to look back on this entire journey and see a beautiful outcome that is far better and far greater than anything we can even imagine today.

I, for one, am looking forward to that glorious day!

It’s four years later and I am no where near that place I was four years ago on March 8th. These words I wrote then give God glory, today: Now, more than ever, I must trust that God has a perfect plan that somehow involves the bleak circumstances of yesterday. If I don’t believe that simple truth, I literally have nothing.

Oh, how true those words were and still are now! God did have a perfect plan that did involve the bleak circumstances of March 8, 2009. He was setting the stage to do His miracle. First the miracle of Little Bug and then, two years later, the miracle of Sweet Pea – all of which He had to orchestrate outside my womb.

But He also did another miracle.

I never in a million years thought I’d ever be at peace with never experiencing pregnancy and childbirth, but I am. I am totally at peace.

There was a time when even the thought of never experiencing it would send me into torrents of tears. I always held on to hope that one day it would still happen. Even after Little Bug’s birth, I still wished I could experience pregnancy.

I really cannot pinpoint the time when God changed my heart on this matter. It didn’t happen overnight; it happened gradually. When we started thinking about #2, we talked about trying for a pregnancy again, but we soon realized God had turned our hearts fully on adoption and I realized I didn’t need to experience pregnancy for my life to be complete. Carrying a baby in my womb and giving birth does not make me who I am.

God makes me who I am. I find my worth in Him because without Him, I am nothing and apart from Him, I can do nothing.

God wrote a different story for me. Yes, God created woman in the Garden of Eden and told her to “be fruitful and multiply”. My womb will never be fruitful, but my arms are lacking nothing.

I am thankful to be in this place, today, 48 months later.

We don’t normally get each other big Valentine gifts…

But we went to see this house on Wednesday, February 13th, loved it, put an offer on it and just before 3pm on Valentine’s Day…

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OUR OFFER WAS ACCEPTED!!!

The faithfulness of God astounds me, folks.

The backyard sold us on this house.

But before I show you a picture, do you remember my stories about my Grandma and Grandpa’s house?

It is such a special place to me. So many memories there…a memory of my Grandma in just about every single room, memories of family gatherings for the holidays, memories of playing with cousins on the beautiful property, making forts and playing in a creek that runs through the backyard.

Here is a picture of Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard. It’s wooded with a creek running through.

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Thanksgiving of 2010 was the last time I will ever go to this place. I didn’t know it at the time. My Grandpa has moved into a retirement center now and even though he is renting his home out, I’ve decided I won’t go back so that I can preserve the memories I have in my mind of that house set up just like Grandma and Grandpa had it.

It has sadden me to think this place is somewhere I can no longer go, except for in my memories.

But then, on February 13th, we walked out the back door of this house with our realtor and onto the deck which overlooked this:DSC00979

A beautiful wooded backyard with a creek running through!!!

Seriously?! I had no idea this kind of land existed right smack in the middle of our city! I thought you had to live in the boonies to have land here!

I instantly felt like I was standing in my Grandma and Grandpa’s backyard.

And, once again, the faithfulness of God overwhelmed me in that moment because, really, like I’ve said, this “house hunt” has been so trivial compared to other life matters. We know our home on this earth is so very temporary. It is all sticks and stubble that will one day return to dust.

But apparently God likes to prove His faithfulness in all areas of our lives and He likes to give us little surprises that we had no idea were coming. It’s another gentle reminder that He cares for us – big and small details of life alike.

I will write a post soon about the entire house! It’s got plenty of space for a homeschool room, office and even a playroom. And, we look forward to sprucing the place with a few remodel projects! That will be down the road once finances allow.

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I am so thankful for GOD’S LOVE on us, in big and small ways.

And I am so thankful our House Hunt is OVER!

mercy

This was certainly not in my plan for yesterday. But, it happened. And good has come from it.

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It was one of those surreal moments where you sit for a split second and think, Did this just happen? Did I really just smack into a truck? Yes, I smacked into a TRUCK. What damage has been done to the car??? Dave is going to kill me! I am so stupid. I cannot believe I did this!

But I did.

Long story short, it was totally my fault. I cut a corner, was distracted and ran into the side of a lawn care truck.

And I absolutely could not believe I had done this and burst into tears immediately.

I was literally two minutes from my parents’ house, going to drop Sweet Pea off so I could go to Little Bug’s “Snow Day” at preschool.

Through my tears I called my mom to come get Sweet Pea and then I called Dave and blurted out, “I am SO sorry!!!”. He was obviously very confused but could tell I was very upset.

The driver of the truck had come over to check on me and asked if we were okay. I told him we were fine but I was just really mad at myself!! He told me everything would be okay and then I crawled back in my car.

Sitting there, waiting for the police to arrive, and beating myself up over my own stupidity, I prayed, Okay, Lord, what do you want to teach me today? I am listening. I was suppose to be on my way to a fun day at preschool with Little Bug, but there I was – stuck and waiting for the police to arrive.

Mercy immediately came to mind and I knew God wanted to teach me about His Mercy.

I have mentioned briefly that I am a part of a year long Chronological Bible Study. I’ve actually got a post in my drafts nearly ready to be published about this Bible study. Each week we dive into the Word of God and discover themes throughout the Bible and truths about God. One of the themes that can be found throughout most every story of the Bible is a theme of mercy.

Our God is so merciful, beginning with Adam and Eve and continuing on through the generations to us, today.

I struggle with having mercy, especially towards myself. I am a very “black and white” person, which doesn’t leave much room for mercy.

In those moments sitting in my car I knew God wanted to teach me about having mercy towards myself. I am so hard on myself. My standard, for myself, is perfection. I hate to make mistakes. I live my life trying to prevent mistakes so that I can do things right the first time. But, I am human. And sometimes humans make careless, dumb mistakes like cutting a corner and slamming into a truck.

But through that whole experience yesterday, I was extended mercy over and over and over again.

First of all, no one was injured by my carelessness. Sweet Pea, Pup and I were in the car and no one was hurt, at all. God was merciful in that the accident wasn’t any worse than the damage that occurred to the car.

The driver of the truck was so kind to me. He could have been so upset at my stupidity. But he showed no outward appearance of being frustrated or upset about anything. Even though he had to call his company to get the mechanic to come look at his truck and he also had to go have a drug test because it is his company’s policy anytime an employee is involved in a car accident. I felt so bad I had ruined his day but he acted like this was just a normal day on the job for him.

When his company’s mechanic showed up on the scene to make an accident report for the company, he first came over to me and asked if I was okay. He got the same response the driver got: I am fine but I cannot believe I did this! Just like the truck driver, he was so kind, offering mercy instead of judgment.

And then my sweet husband. Why I ever thought for a minute he would be mad, I don’t know. Actually, I do know why. Because had the roles been reversed, I am ashamed to say that I know I would have slipped in an I can’t believe you did this! Why were you not paying closer attention?!? But, not my Dave. He told me it was okay from the moment he learned about what I had done.

We have insurance! It’s what it’s there for! The car can be fixed!

And my practical and very black and white self replied with, But it is money we did not NEED to spend! Such a WASTE from me being so DUMB!

And he simply responded back with another line of mercy, never once blaming me or making me feel like a moron.

Except he did say, “Now you are going to get a ticket. I just want to prepare you for that.”

That sent me into another torrent of tears because in all my 15 years of driving, I have NEVER gotten even a parking ticket and I’d like to keep it that way.

I was sure that there was one person I was NOT going to receive mercy from that day: the police officer.

He arrived and I was still hibernating in my car, crying.

He got out of his cop car and walked over to my car and asked for my version of what happened.

I told him, fully taking blame and then he went to talk to the truck driver.

He came back to me and asked for my driver’s license and insurance info and then headed to his cop car to destroy my pristine driving record.

I decided I better go ahead and get out of my car so I crawled through to the passenger side (my door wouldn’t open) and stood, waiting for my fate.

My mom came back around that time and it wasn’t too much longer and the cop came to talk to the truck driver and me. First, he handed us each a booklet that had the accident report number on it. I was just thinking, Just get the ticket over with, would you?!

My mom was anxiously awaiting my fate as well and finally asked, “So, what is the next step after this….?” to which the cop gave her a questioning look and my mom just ended up blurting out, “Are you going to give her a ticket??”.

He said, “Nah.” and I think we both screamed in his face, “THANK YOU!! Thank you VERY much!!”.

Mercy. From a cop. I realize that doesn’t usually happen. I felt the world had been lifted off my shoulders.

And as if that wasn’t enough mercy in the span of about an hour…

I had intended to go to Little Bug’s “Snow Day” at preschool and was really bummed that I had missed out on seeing her play in the “snow” (i.e.. “snow” generated and blown from a truck and not actual snow falling from the sky), but it was what it was and my dumb mistake had cost me the deductible to get the car fixed and a fun outing with my big girl.

My mom drove me to Little Bug’s preschool for pick up and as we pulled in the parking lot there was the big mound of “snow” where Little Bug had played. The director, who is a very good friend of my mom’s, was out there cleaning up from the day and my mom decided to drive over there and see if she would allow Little Bug and me to play on the “snow” for just a couple minutes. She was more than willing and we had a blast slipping and sliding on the “snow” that was turning more into an ice skating rink because the temperatures were in the upper 70’s!

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I think I will forever look at this picture and remember the events of that day and the mercy I was shown—all the way from not receiving a ticket to getting to play with Little Bug in the “snow” even after my stupidity cost me not being able to be there with her.

As the day went on I continued to think about mercy and especially the mercy that is extended to me from my Heavenly Father.

Oh, He is so merciful. There is story after story of Him extending mercy and forgiveness to His people – and it begins in the Garden of Eden, right after Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge.

They immediately became aware of themselves, feeling shame, and sought to find covering for themselves from fig leaves. (Genesis 3:7)

But then later, in verse 21 we read that, “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.”

Another theme we learned early on in this Bible study is that God requires blood shed to atone for sin. So what does He do for Adam and Eve? He gets one of his beloved creations (an animal) and sacrifices it’s life so that Adam and Eve can have proper coverings. It’s the first sacrifice made to cover man’s sins. And it is foreshadowing of the ultimate sacrifice that was to come – the shedding of Jesus’ blood on the cross to pay for mankind’s past, present and future sins.

Mercy. God is so merciful towards us.

God is certainly a God of justice, too, but His mercies truly are new every morning.

This incident has opened my eyes to the fact that I need to be ready to extend mercy, too. Yes, there is a time and place for justice, but there is also a time and place for mercy.

I am forever thankful I was extended mercy over and over again yesterday.

 

And PS: Yesterday was actually my second day in a row with a run-in with a cop. I will share Wednesday’s adventure tomorrow. Today, I am praying for a nice, calm, boring, police-free day.

A Perfect Place to Be

I have reached the point where I am over the baby phase. I guess that pretty much tells you what we are thinking concerning a #3.

I am over picking up toys all day long, over changing diapers, over nap schedules and having to be home by 7pm so everyone is in bed on time. I am over toddler drama and washing children from head to toe because they just ate dinner.

At the same time, I am wise enough to know these days are fleeting. Here today and gone tomorrow. So I am savoring them, because I know my babies won’t stay babies forever and one day I will wake up one morning and wish I could just have one more morning of wiping honey out of Little Bug’s hair and cream cheese out of Sweet Pea’s. And it is sad to think my baby is only six and half months away from turning two!

I just never in a million years thought I’d be satisfied with “just” two children. I have always, always pictured myself with four children.

Perhaps the realities of raising children have something to do with that or perhaps my heart is content simply because these are the two children God had planned for me from the very beginning. And there really are no more.

Or perhaps I am scared that number 3 will be just as stubborn and strong willed as number 1. Just kidding.

Bottom line is: At this time, neither of us feel God’s leading to get the ball rolling on another adoption anytime soon.

I will never say “We are done.” because if there is anything I’ve learned from infertility (and there is lots) it is that God is the one who grows our family. We have nothing to do with it. These two girls came in His time and if there is indeed more children for our family, they will come in His time, too.

It is such a beautiful place to be. Fully knowing and believing that I don’t have to do anything – except follow the Lord’s leading – for Him to bring another child into our life.

At this time, He has placed no stirrings within our hearts concerning another child.

I used to think that we needed a third child because we needed a boy. Who is to say a family isn’t complete until they have at least one of both genders?

I think when I realized that it was my turning point in realizing that I feel my family is complete at this time and we don’t have to “try” for a boy.

So this is my family: My husband. And my two daughters.

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And while it isn’t the two boys and two girls I always pictured growing up, it is perfect in every way imaginable.

If God sees another – He will bring them to us and we will welcome them with open arms.

Is my family complete?

Only God knows. And that is a perfect place to be.