A Response to a Reader

I received an email from a reader asking me how I can believe in God since it can not be proven that He really does exist.

I am no Bible scholar and honestly, when I read this email, my first thought was that this email would be better suited for a pastor, not me!

But then I just poured the contents of my heart out to this reader because God IS very alive in my life. He is the reason I walked through the fire of infertility unscathed. He is my Rock, my fortress, my strength, my joy in troubled times.

And HE is the one who orchestrated the Miracle of Little Bug and He is going to do it again as we are now on our journey to #2.

No, I’ve never seen Jesus, but I have witnessed Him at work in my life numerous times and that gives me a voice to answer this reader.

This was my response:

Thank you for your email. I love to hear from readers, especially ones like you that are questioning everything about God. First, I want to say that questioning God is totally normal. Wondering if He exists? Totally normal.

No, we cannot see, touch and literally SEE God. But I know He is real because of what He has done in and through my life. I KNOW sometimes it is terribly hard to trust that He is real and alive and present in our lives everyday, even when we are in a dark tunnel and cannot see the light. HE IS THERE. You just have to learn to look for Him.
 
And really, this is what faith is all about…believing in the unseen. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6
 
I can only speak from my personal experience of walking daily with the Lord. God is a very personal God and He speaks to us in very personal ways. I guess on the outside looking in you could say that my faith is so strong because I come from a family where generation after generation has walked with God and had personal relationships with Him. But I know that is simply not the case. Yes, I come from generations of Christian family members BUT their faith does not give me any more or less faith. It is totally the individual’s choice to believe in God to to not believe.
 
I put my faith in the Lord when I was 8 years old. As a teenager God started working on my life. And by working on my life I mean that He starting building my faith in Him and teaching me truths about Who He is and what He desires from me. It was during my walk through infertility that God really started to do major work in my life to build my character and my faith in Him.
 
I found myself in a situation that I had NO CONTROL OF WHATSOEVER! As much as I desired to be pregnant, I couldn’t MAKE it happen. Then on March 8th, 2009, when we learned our chances of conceiving, even with IVF, were extremely slim, I found myself in the darkest, lowest, most hopeless place I had ever been in in my entire life. Here I was, a girl who had always dreamed of pregnancy and giving birth to four children, and now I was being told that was never going to happen? You better believe I questioned what God was doing in my life. I mean, hello God!, YOU put this desire in my heart, right??? And now you are NOT going to allow me to conceive…ever?!?!? It made NO SENSE whatsoever to me.
 
But I also knew something else. I HAD TO CONTINUE TO TRUST GOD. I HAD TOO. WITHOUT FAITH, I had nothing, no hope. So I choose again to put my faith in the Lord and surrender.
 
As I look back on my journey, I think we don’t realize just how important surrender is in our walk with the Lord. God requires faith, but in order for us to experience the good plans God has for us (Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”) I believe that we must first come to the place of total surrender to GOD’S WILL for our lives. What this means is that we relinquish our need to control, to "fix" things to the way we think God wants.
 
Since March 8th, 2009, God has really been working on my life and teaching me so much about surrender. I believe it is paramount to discovering God’s Will for our life. I had to totally LET GO of my desire for pregnancy. Instead of feeling deserted and forgotten by God, I surrendered to HIS WILL, not having any clue what His will was, and it was THEN that God did a miracle in my life.
 
God had opened our hearts to adoption in Dec. 2008. After the cancelled IVF cycle, I knew God was saying no to more treatments and yes to adoption! In obedience to God, I started filling out adoption paperwork and working on a family profile to be shown to prospective birth mothers. If you’ve read my blog, you know the miracle God performed. A little over 2 months after learning I would never conceive, I was holding my baby girl in my arms through the miracle of adoption. The circumstances that brought Little Bug into my life are nothing short of a miracle. Something ONLY God could have orchestrated and done.
 
And you know what? That was His plan all along! And it was BIGGER and BETTER than my wildest dreams!!! So why did God put that desire in my heart for pregnancy and then not fulfill it? Because He knew He had SOMETHING MORE than even pregnancy to bless me with!
 
My heart is so full and so content. It is overflowing! God is sooooooo good. You have to choose to trust Him, choose to surrender and then….the rest is totally GOD. Obey where you feel God is leading you to go and then stand back in amazement at what God is going to do through your life because your faith is in Him!
 
As we are starting our journey to #2, God is already teaching me more about faith and surrender to Him. When the time is right, I will be sharing more on the blog.
 
I hope what I have shared here has encouraged you in some way. PLEASE write me back with any more questions you may have. I seriously would love to help you figure all this out. Our walks with God are a continuous journey of growth and learning more about God and the truths found in His Word. I would love to help you find your way through this dark tunnel you are in right now. There is HOPE and there is LIGHT, but it is only found in Jesus Christ.
 
Take care and I hope to hear from you again,
Elaine

3/8/09

It’s here again.

The anniversary of 3/8/09.

It’s a date that won’t ever go by without me remembering the events of that day.

It was the turning point of my journey through infertility.

It was the day that separated infertility treatments and adoption.

It was a devastating day for me.

It was the platform God used to perform a miracle …

The Miracle of Little Bug.

On that day, March 8, 2009, I didn’t know how I was going to make it past that day, but now, two years later, I look back on that day with thanksgiving in my heart.

If God had allowed that IVF cycle to produce more than just The Lone Ranger, or if God had prompted us to give IVF another try instead of turning in adoption paperwork a month and day later, I wouldn’t be the mother of this precious little girl.

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God knows what He is doing! I will be the first to admit that I questioned God on that day. Nothing made sense on March 8, 2009. Nothing.

There were tons of people praying during that IVF cycle. We had already gone through three failed IUIs. Four months prior, I had undergone surgery to remove endometriosis. My doctor had given me high hopes of finally achieving a pregnancy with this IVF cycle.

And then everything that could possibly have gone wrong, went wrong! I left the doctor’s office a total mess, totally clueless what God was doing and with my head filled with a million and one Why? questions.

And then, just when things couldn’t get any worse God was asking me to lay my desire for pregnancy at His feet and pursue adoption immediately.

What? Are you crazy, God? Don’t you know this has been my desire since I was a little girl? Surely, you are not serious about this?!?!

Oh, He was serious alright. I knew there was not going to be another try at IVF.

I praise God that He didn’t make me wait long to find out just what He was up too.

Twelve weeks later, instead of staring at a tiny, flickering heartbeat on an ultrasound screen, I was staring at this:

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Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Staring at Little Bug’s tiny little face almost two years ago allowed me to see why I had to live 3/8/09.

Oh, God’s love for us is deeper and wider than our human minds will ever be able to fully comprehend!

I praise Him for this journey!

If you want

I’ve read several blogs that have addressed this issue recently and I thought I’d write my own thoughts concerning this matter.

Adoptive moms carry alot of guilt when complaining about something related to motherhood. (Not ALL adoptive moms, but I’ve learned this is very common among many adoptive mothers.)

It is true for me.

Because I spent a lifetime yearning to be a mother and then had to endure infertility, I feel I can’t complain about the hardships of motherhood for fear that someone will find me “ungrateful” for the miracle God blessed me with.

After all, I chose to adopt. I didn’t just find myself pregnant one day and then say, “Oh, well, I’m going to be a mom.”

No, it took years of pain and heartache and deciding to adopt to become a mother.

I distinctly remember the lawyer’s words on that April 9th, 2009, day:

You can have a baby girl in June if you want.

We could have said “No” but we said “Yes” and 48 days later I became a mother.

There was most certainly a “honeymoon” period. The day Tracy signed the papers and Little Bug was officially ours and then the week after Little Bug’s birth that she spent in the NICU were certainly perfect days. (Besides the fact that we were dealing with withdrawals.) I felt on top of the world. I felt I had just come out of a very dark time of my life and couldn’t stop praising God for the miracle He had performed in giving us a daughter through the miracle of adoption.

Then, we came home from the hospital and real life began. Reality set in and unfortunately, my expectations and reality were light years apart.

Over the past year, that huge gap between expectations and reality has closed considerably, but it is something I still struggle with to this very day!

So, we got Little Bug home and the “honeymoon” continued while family and friends poured in coming to meet our little miracle.

Then reality hit and it hit hard.

People tell you before you have a baby that life will change and so I was aware that my life would change. I just had no clue that every single aspect of my life was going to change.

I had no clue that brushing my teeth and getting dressed in the morning in peace was a thing of the past.

I had no clue my quality of sleep would decline drastically and a year later I would still long for those baby-free nights of sleep.

Yes, I said that. You read correctly. Even the girl who longed for a baby all her life and went through infertility for 2 years has longed to go back to those peaceful nights of sleep when you are not constantly worried about the baby sleeping through the night.

Some might judge an adoptive mom for saying that. After all, she wanted that baby right? She wanted that baby more than her next breath.

A woman who conceived naturally, whether trying or not, wouldn’t be looked down upon if she said in frustration one night, “What I wouldn’t give for just one night of peaceful sleep without worrying about the baby!”

Adoptive moms think like that too. We just are hesitant to say it because we are fearful of being judged for not being found grateful for the child we prayed for and waited for and chose.

But the reality is biological mother and adoptive mothers are the same. We are both mothers. And mothers have a very hard job!! And if any mother is honest with herself, we’ve all been at the point of complete frustration … no matter how we became mothers!

I have such a hard time letting things go. I want to be a perfect mother but instead I’ve been bombarded with numerous emotions I never saw coming.

I believe these emotions would have come whether we had adopted or had a biological child because the transition into motherhood has been the most challenging thing in my life thus far. Yes, even more so than the challenge of infertility.

Infertility was a season of my life. Motherhood defines who I am.

All I’ve ever wanted to be is a wife and mother and here I am and life isn’t perfect!

Imagine that!

Interesting how motherhood has shown me areas in my life that need improvement.

Mothering takes sacrifice. And sacrifice hurts.

But sacrifice is necessary and when it comes down to it, mothers will do anything for their babies.

One of the hardest adjustments I’ve had to make as a mother is in the sleep department. I’ve always required a lot of sleep. When I was in Kindergarten I would come home from school and lay down on the couch and take a nap! Not to many 5 year olds take a nap every single day.

I’m a night owl. I love staying up late and sleeping late the next morning. Try telling that to a 1 year old.

“Ok, Little Bug, let’s stay up till midnight and sleep till 10am tomorrow morning!”

YEAH RIGHT!

Mix my need for a lot of sleep to function properly and my night-owledness and that’s a recipe for sacrifice when you become a mother.

I don’t like going to bed early and I don’t like getting up at 7 or 7:30am. I had recently gotten Little Bug to sleeping until 8am or 8:30 (heavenly!!) but she’s been getting up at 7am lately and it frustrates me to no end!!

Sacrifice with a lot of hope that one day Little Bug will like sleeping later like her Mama!! 🙂

Bringing home that little 5 pound baby girl I had all these expectations of what I was going to teach her.

I had absolutely no idea just how much this little girl was going to teach me.

I know her lessons will continue for years to come.

Great is His Faithfulness

A reader recently asked me how I kept my faith strong even during the darkest of days. This reader is going through her darkest days right now …

Her third attempt at IVF was finally successful. She saw one beautiful heartbeat at 6w5d. But then four weeks later at her 10 week OB appointment there was no heartbeat. Her baby had stopped growing at 8w3d.

Dark, dark days.

Dreams and hopes crashed with the words, “I’m sorry. There is no heartbeat.”

I have felt that kind of pain although I’ve never heard those particular words.

My dreams and hopes were certainly crushed when I heard that I had a very small chance of achieving pregnancy even with the help of modern medicine.

It is crushing to hear at the age of 27 that your ovaries are not capable of producing enough healthy mature follicles for an infertility treatment.

Especially when you have dreamed since childhood of having a baby of your very own.

Sitting on that examination table on March 8, 2009, I knew I had a choice to make. It wasn’t a choice between doing another treatment cycle or moving on to adoption.

It was a choice of whether I was going to hold fast to my faith in Jesus Christ or turn away from that faith because I could not understand how God would not allow me to have a baby.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

Faith requires us to put our hope in the Lord and the promises found in His Word.

I clung to the truth found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

On my darkest days, this verse held me up so I could move forward.

However, before I could really cling to this verse I also had to go through something else.

Mourning over what I had lost and even a time of being angry at God.

People sometimes think it is “not Christian” to be angry at God. I, however, believe being angry at God for a season is part of the process that brings you to a place of complete trust in Him.

I had my days where I cried out to God asking Him, “Why?”.

Why do I have to go through this when all I’ve ever wanted is a baby?

Why do you allow the couple who isn’t even trying to conceive?

Why do you allow the unwed woman to conceive?

Why can’t at least one of our attempts at an IUI or IVF work?

Oh it is so easy for our minds to think this way! Satan wants us to think this way while God wants us to think above and beyond our present circumstances.

I allowed myself a season of mourning when I found out pregnancy most likely would never happen for me.

And then, I knew I had to move forward.

You say, “Move forward to what? If pregnancy isn’t in your future then what is worth moving forward to?”

This is when Jeremiah 29:11 became what I would breathe and eat. Just as my physical body needs food and water to survive my soul needed to cling to this verse to survive past hearing, “You probably won’t even get pregnant doing IVF.”

God’s Word told me that God had a plan for me. Not only did He have a plan for me but it was a plan that would prosper me and give me hope and a future!

In the midst of those dark days it was hard to believe that because I could not see it. But that, my friend, is what faith is.

Believing what you cannot see.

And I am here to tell you that God’s plan for your life is far greater and far better than the plan you saw for your own life.

Far better.

I went through an IUI cycle in September of 2008. I thought it failed miserably and at the time, from my perspective, it did because when my blood test came back I was not pregnant.

God had something more planned though. It was in September of 2008, around the time of that failed IUI cycle, that my daughter, Little Bug, was conceived.

In January of 2009 I came home from talking with friends about adoption and wrote this poem not knowing the miracle God was on the brink of performing:

Our miracle has come, Not in my womb but in our hearts. We are going to adopt. Baby is on the way. She will be here in the month of May.

I can remember after I wrote that poem I sat there at the computer thinking, “Wouldn’t that be something if we did get a baby girl in May, but that is just too soon! It wouldn’t happen that fast.”

After that terrible news back in March of 2009 God gave me the urgency to turn in adoption papers right away.

On the very day we turned in our papers we learned of our baby girl.

And she was born in the month of May.

God didn’t have pregnancy planned for me. He had something more.

Something far better. Something far bigger than my own plans. A miracle.

Choosing faith in Jesus Christ isn’t easy but if you don’t have faith in Jesus Christ you have nothing.

You cannot allow yourself to stay angry at God! Like I said, I would be angry at God for a season and then came a time when I knew it was time to turn that anger into TRUST – trust in Jesus Christ.

After choosing to trust Him I had to believe His promises found in Jeremiah 29:11.

Then I had to surrender my desires for His will knowing His will is always best. Always. Period.

And then comes the hardest part of all … waiting. Waiting on the Lord to reveal His marvelous plans.

This is the verse my Daddy prayed over and over while we waited for Little Bug to officially become ours:

I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:13-14

Despite my bleak circumstances, I knew I had to continue to draw strength from the Lord and wait on Him to turn my tears into songs of joy.

He did – in His perfect time. If it had been any other time, I wouldn’t be Little Bug’s mommy and I wouldn’t trade that little girl for anything in this whole wide world.

Looking back now on those dark days I can honestly say those were some precious days because of the close intimate walk I had, and still have, with the Lord.

On those days when I had lost all hope and didn’t know up from down, I would get a notebook and my Bible and go to a quiet place and just allow the Lord to speak to me. If you go to a quiet place to be still and know that He is God and allow Him to speak to you, He will.

God taught me so incredibly much during those quiet moments with Him. I felt lost, deserted, defeated, angry, disappointed and heartbroken. In those quiet moments with Him, He took all of that and replaced it with His love, His peace, His strength and His joy. He taught me so much about Himself and it was there I learned to trust Him and wait on Him to reveal His master plan.

And like a father takes the hand of his child as they cross the street, God picked me up and carried me through those dark days.

The dark days do not last forever IF your hope and faith are in Jesus Christ.

His faithfulness goes on forever and ever.

He has a marvelous plan – a something more – for you, too.

Believe in His promises and put your faith in Him.

In His time, He will turn your tears into songs of joy.

Great is His faithfulness. Great is His faithfulness.

Reflections on my journey to Little Bug

The journey that has brought me to this place is simply amazing.

Starting out 2 years ago just trying to get pregnant, I never imagined where God was going to lead me. But where He leads I will follow and He lead me down the darkest road I’ve ever had to travel. It was filled with heartache and pain, sorrow, sadness and many, many tears. There were days I didn’t know if I could go on.

There is only one thing that gave me the willpower to press on – my faith in Jesus Christ.

I knew God’s word promised in Jeremiah 29:11 that God had plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.

Because I knew that with my head and believed that with all my heart, I knew the trials I found myself in were simply temporary. I knew God was at work, about to do something great in my life – something more than I could imagine – if only I stepped back in surrender and said, “Not my will be done Lord, but Yours.”

Walking this journey required faith in Jesus Christ to wait on the Lord to move when it was time to move and to know constantly that He held me up during those extremely dark days.

I did not walk this journey in my own strength. I walked in the strength of the Lord and believed with every step that God is a faithful God and He would bring His mighty plan for my life to fruition for His Glory.

And so I waited on the Lord and I, along with everyone who has followed my journey, have witnessed a miracle of God.

God opened our hearts to adoption back in December 2008. At the time, we were in the thick of infertility treatments and did not know yet God’s timing for us to pursue adoption.

In March of 2009, after our first attempt at IVF failed miserably, I felt God asking me to surrender my desire for pregnancy and childbirth to Him and pursue adoption immediately.

Surrendering my desire for pregnancy to God was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was the first time God had asked me to step out in faith not knowing what the future held. When I would question God and ask Him why He had given me this desire since childhood only to ask me to give it to Him, the only response I got from Him was, “TRUST ME.”

Towards the end of March 2009, I got a sense of urgency to turn in our paperwork to the adoption agency as soon as possible.

On April 9, 2009, I walked into the adoption agency to turn in our paperwork. As long as I live I will never forget what the lawyer told me that very day, “We had an adoption fall through this past week. If you would like a baby girl in June, you can have one!”

Forty-eight days later, Little Bug entered this world on May 27, 2009, at 7:11am. Eighty-one hours after her birth, Dave and I officially became her parents. 

While this journey was full of heartache and a pain that is hard to describe adequately in words, we now stand on the mountaintop with God, praising His wonderful name for what He has done.

Little Bug is here on this earth not by chance or by accident. Little Bug is not our “second-best” at achieving parenthood. Little Bug is a miracle and God planned for her to be our little girl since time began.

As I stand back and look at the entire journey, one thing clearly stands out. Our Heavenly Father loves us with a love like no other. We are His children and He has plans for our lives that are far better and far greater than anything we can plan for ourselves. We must step out in faith and trust in His plan, even when things are not making sense and there are many unknowns.

Our journey to reach this place and Little Bug’s life is a testimony to the Truth found in Jeremiah 29:11.

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be still and know that I am God

I want to share something I wrote in my journal on March 6th – two days before March 8th, the day we learned my ovaries would most likely never respond well to even IVF fertility drugs.

I’ve spent a lot of time lately going back and reading previous posts in the blog and the personal journals I have kept throughout this time.

Here is the unedited version of what God laid on my heart and spoke to me on March 6th…

It is quiet. The girls are in bed, the dishes are washed and put away, the toys are cleaned up. All is quiet. So peaceful and quiet. I can feel God calling saying, “Just be still and know that I am God.”

Know that I (God) love you and created your very life for a purpose. And in order for your life’s purpose to be played out in the way I have planned since time even began, you must trust me and follow my leading. Know that I (God) have a plan for you concerning infertility and motherhood that is far greater than anything you, or anyone else on this earth, could plan for you.

Know that I (God) have placed this strong desire in your heart to be a mother to many children. I created and molded you that very way so that I (God) could take your deepest desire to be a mother, give you infertility and use your infertility to mold and shape your character and your dependency on me. I know once you are dependant on me and trust me with all your heart, it is then that I can bring about the fruition of the marvelous plan I have for your life.

Know that I (God) am with you wherever you go – even as you walk and climb the mountain of IVF. I am here. I travel with you. You are not alone, so do not be afraid. Take my Word and bind it to your heart so that when Satan tries to attack, you will have weapons against him.

And don’t forget for one moment … this battle is already won and you are the winner! Keep your eyes on Me and I will bring you through this valley so you will one day stand upon the mountaintop with Me.

I think it should be noted that it was exactly a week later (March 13) that Satan attacked me like he’s never attacked before.

I believe the message here is that God is at work, even when at the time we see no evidence of that.

Something more

I want to let everyone know that I am at peace.
This is not to say that it doesn’t hurt. Or that I am not anxious about what is coming next. Or that I am not SO ready to be on the other side of all this.
It means I am at peace in the Lord because I know another month with no pregnancy does NOT mean I am forgotten or that I will never become a mother.
I only know more lies ahead. More than I, or anyone, can imagine.
God did not create life with The Lone Ranger because He has something more incredible than that in store.
This ride isn’t over.
We press on.
I thank you for praying and for your kind comments.
I wish there was some way I could convey to everyone who reads this blog and prays how encouraging it is to me to know so many are truly praying.
Please pray that we will clearly know the direction God is now leading us towards.

Decision Made

After much prayer, thought, seeking the council of my parents and waiting to see if all necessary details would come together, we have made the decision to proceed with IVF.

At first, just thinking of going through IVF scared me to death.

Fear was forefront on my mind. I couldn’t imagine putting myself through something like IVF just to hear those five dreaded words for the fourth time: Sorry, you are not pregnant.

When I left the doctor’s office on January 15th, I knew God would speak clearly and let me know where to go next because I was all ears.

And sure enough, He did.

I came to realize that fear is paralyzing. And if God is leading us towards IVF, who am I to say to the very God who created me and loves me, “Sorry, God. I can’t go there. It’s too frightening.”?

So I started digging through the Bible finding verse after verse about fear.

And as I dug, something else became crystal clear to me, as well.

These past 18 months have been my “training and preparation” to be able to, in God’s strength and in God’s strength alone, run this upcoming “marathon” called IVF.

I believe God, in His Sovereignty, has used the heartache of negative pregnancy tests month after month, three failed IUIs and surgery to strengthen my faith and mold my character to be equipped to open the IVF door and walk through with confidence in God’s Sovereign plan for my life. I do not know what the outcome of this IVF cycle will be, but I do know whatever happens will be best.

In the past month, God has clearly opened the IVF door widely for us. I will not back away in fear and run.

Instead, I must grit my teeth, my strength coming only from the Lord. When something goes wrong, or there is an unexpected hurtle along the way, I must fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of my faith. I must take one day at a time, filling my heart, soul and mind with the truths and promises found in God’s Word.

I will have an IVF consult appointment with Dr. L on February 12th.

Thank you for your prayers during this decision-making process. Don’t stop now… 🙂

We Need Your Prayers

Your prayers are still greatly needed at this time as we are making a decision about our next step.

Because of the surprise CCT results (we were not expecting failure), this decision has become an even bigger decision than it was.

God will show us the way – of that we are confident.

Please just pray for wisdom, peace and a clear direction from God.

This year, persevere

My devotional for January 1, 2009, was very fitting. The title was, "This year – persevere".

Even though at this time I do not know which direction we will take concerning fertility treatments, I do know that whatever we decide will take much perseverance and focus.

Which is why I will keep this verse close to my heart as we press forward in 2009.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

Those three failed IUI cycles must be forgotten and left in the past. I cannot take the fear of another cycle failing with me if we are going to press forward and try again.

Right now the thought of another IUI cycle is just hard to swallow. I want desperately to try again, especially now with the endometriosis gone, but stepping out and taking that risk for another possible negative result is just frightening.

On the other hand, I know without a shadow of a doubt that if God does lead us to another IUI cycle He will provide everything we need to endure it again – no matter the end result. Once again, His grace will be sufficient.

The devotional book defined perseverance as "succeeding because you’re determined to, not because you’re entitled to". I like that. Before I go further, I need to define to you what I believe success for me looks like when I finally do cross the finish line.

Success does not necessarily mean a baby in my arms. I believe with all my heart that when I do cross the finish line, it will be with a baby in my arms. However, that, in and of itself, is not the measure of success.

The measure of success is my attitude, obedience and the glory my journey gave to God. Did I remain positive with an attitude of relentless trust and faith in Jesus Christ through every dark valley this journey brought me through? Did I listen and obey God as He directed me in every single decision, big and small, that had to be made along the way? Did I give God the glory as I crossed that finish line and every step before?

I can do none of the above apart from God’s strength, power and grace working in me.

Those are my goals this year. If I can cross the finish line with my faith intact and the glory all given to God, there is victory, baby or not.