Family Pix

Family Pix

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Being Thankful in the Pain

I have been reading an amazing devotional by some women of the Proverbs 31 Ministries. It has brought a lot of hope and encouragement to me in the past few days as I have just struggled with thoughts of my infertility. Some days are good others not so good. With Mother's Day and a couple of appointments approaching it just sort of brought my brokenness to head. But when I read this devotional message called "Into Her Pain" it made me realize how blessed I have been that God has used others through my infertility to bring me back to him.

In this devotion by Samantha Evilzizer it talks about how to be a friend to someone who is grieving. One particular quote was..."I didn't want to disrespect my friend with a walk-by, stepping over her pain with thoughtless words. Words withheld are better than careless words. Clich├ęs offer no comfort...Be still. Listen. Administer Mercy."  When I read this quote it brought to mind some ladies who have really seen me through in this way...I will tell you about them in a minute.

The bummer about infertility is that is a sensitive topic. Certain events and words just hurt more...I know I have used these phrases to others before as well but I began to realize sometimes it is just not what we should say...The famous phrases of "God's Timing is Perfect", "His plans are best." Although, these thoughts/sayings are SO true...they aren't always an encouragement in the trenches. Sometimes the listening ear, or just saying "this really sucks" (sorry dad, I know you don't like that word :))

So I have singled out a few people who have gone above and beyond...that doesn't mean others haven't encouraged me or been a huge part of helping me through (especially my hubby and our parents) but these 3 ladies met some needs that this devotional talked about. Being still...listening and Administering Mercy.

Firstly, my wonderful SIL, Amanda. Over the past few years I don't know how many times she has called me just to listen to me be angry...or to be happy.  She is REAL...she says "this sucks" and sometimes just listens. I think I can remember conversations of 20 minutes or more where I just talked and  she just never once interrupted. Sweet messages, visits and a listening ear did more than she could ever imagine. The thing I love most about her is her mercy and her comforting spirit. Just yesterday she sent an email to me that just brought me to tears because she truly lives this and acts this way toward me..."Here's the Mother's Day "poem" our pastor read at church yesterday. And I really mean this part: To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is. Amanda has always been so good about not saying anything that would hurt me but build me up...on her part that takes work, it is the ability to just be still and listen. I know I don't say it enough but from the bottom of my heart I thank you for being you and caring for me in this way.

Secondly, Krista. Only just in October did I meet you at church retreat. Immediately, I felt a huge connection and friendship that I knew I would grow to love! On the retreat I discussed with her some things that were really getting me down...I shared about my infertility and other hardships and you were such a good listener. Your responses were honest and heartfelt. I could tell you were listening to me...Through my surgery in December and with the complications I experienced in February you were ever present. You brought over Dairy Queen and just listened as my heart broke when they told me I had a 1% chance to have kids again. You came over and prayed over me as I dealt with complications from the surgery. I don't know how many times I called, emailed, texted you and your response was never just an quick email would come over and spend time with me...."got me out of that reclining chair"(retreat).  The time and effort you have spent have meant the world to me. 

Thirdly, Jolene. Again, I just met you in October at the church retreat. You are as sweet as can be. We have both experienced loss this year of different sorts and have been able to go through it together.  After my surgery you brought dinner to us as I struggled to heal from complications. Weekly for a while your sweet words of encouragement through cards brought joy to my soul, each one of them is in my Bible. I love how you can just sit and listen and just be present without saying a word...Your calls to ask if you can do anything or just pray.  The thing I most admire is your you have grieved the loss of your dad you still show mercy to others that are suffering as well. You don't complain, you are present and always helping others. You have been a blessing to me more than you will ever know.

These ladies have probably heard me cry, be angry, complain, and share praises more than anyone (accept Ben)...So even though infertility is hard it has brought me amazing friendships I would never have had without it. When I see these ladies...I see compassion that has helped me restore my hope and faith in HIM. They didn't have to quote bible verses or tell me God's timing is perfect....they were just there to listen.

The truth is I know God's plan is best and I know he has amazing plans for our family...He has blessed us beyond words can even imagine....but when days are tough and I can't seem to get my grip; it sure is a blessing that He uses his servants to bring Glory to his name.

So today I am thankful for these amazing women who have gone above and beyond for me...who have helped me believe in God's goodness, to have hope and to trust in His plan without having to say a word.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
 John 15:12-13

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Day I became a Mom--Mother's Day Tribute

Just a little over four years ago I got to experience in all senses a true miracle. Our precious miracle Addison Rose was born and she made me a mama! Not until recently after going through numerous fertility treatments and then being told we will never be able to have kids again did we truly know what a miracle she was. God has blessed us abundantly by allowing us to raise this amazing little girl.

As Mother's Day approaches it has brought a wave of emotions over me. One of the emotions that has been strong is heartache. Why something so natural and something so pure has been made so hard for us...not being able to have another child. Through this difficult time in our life I have learned to trust God in a whole different way...and let me tell you there are some days I just shout at him wondering why. But as my father-in-law always said even until his last breath...HIS WAYS ARE HIGHER!!! Sobering, isn't it. To trust in the almighty and rest in him that he has the best plan for us. Not so easy for a control freak :)  But, I have learned a lot through this process about loss, heartache, trust, hope and faith. It hasn't been easy and lately its really been tough. It comes in waves. As I was reading the other day in my devotions..."He withholds out of protection. With loving restraint, he withholds the big to protect the hidden workings of the small." God is always at work and wants us to draw close to him. So I will trust HE knows best even if its hard. He never said it would be easy...He said it would be worth it!!!

So on this Mother's Day I will be thankful for the many blessings I have.

My sweet Addison Rose, you made me a mama!! You challenge me, you love me, you help me and you always make me laugh. You are a true treasure in every sense of the word.

I have been blessed with an amazing mom!! Oh, my this year she has been a rock for me...I don't even begin to know how to describe how the Lord blessed me with such an amazing mom. Through the process of infertility and the loss of Ben's dad, my mom has been there every step of the way. She brought me to my surgery, she sat there with Ben for hours, she cared for me after surgery and the weeks to come. She made a jar full of pieces of paper with encouragement and bible verses on it with the front saying SHMILY (See How Much I Love You). Ever since I was little my mom has had the most caring heart and as I have become a mom I have seen it even more...She would give her life for any of her kids and grand kids. She sacrifices her time weekly to help us. On her days off, she spends it with her kids/grand kids. My mom has struggled with rheumatoid arthritis for 30 years which can be a crippling disease and yet she has not once let that stop her from being and doing things for her family. I admire my mom, she mirrors to me how Christ would care for people, she is one of my best friends. I pray/hope that I can be half the woman/mom that she is. She has been a true example of a mom to me. I am so blessed.

The Lord also blessed me with an wonderful mother-in-law. Cathie has been a true blessing. She has been through so much this year with the loss of her amazing husband and yet she still continues to stand strong. She works hard for her Sweetwater Revival ministry, which they have just released their new CD!! The thing I have always admired about her is her hard working mentality. Whatever she does she works at it with all her heart. She also loves her family more than anything. Whether it be her kids, grand kids, siblings, her mom....she is always there for them. Last but not least, she knows SO much about the Bible...she is always in the Word. I can ask her anything about the bible and she knows it...such a true example of seeking Him! The Lord really knew what he was doing when I married Ben because he really blessed me with amazing in-laws.

I have been blessed so much by the amazing women in my life. I have amazing grandmas who have continued to pray and love me unconditionally. They have been there every step of the way; every basketball game, wedding, baby, family get together. They are present and always caring. I prayed the Lord would have me marry a man with a sister and little did I know I would have 2 sisters :) Amanda and Katie are amazing. They are great sources of encouragement. They bless me with their friendships daily. Its such an honor to raise our kids together...

If I had to list all the women that have made an impact on the mom I am it could go on forever...But you know who you amazing cousins, aunts,  friends and amazing church ladies.

So on this Mother's Day...Thank You, for making an impact on my life and helping me to be the mom and woman that I am.

 Last but not least thanks to my hubby for being an amazing dad and parent right alongside of me. Without you, I don't know where I would be. Our year has been down right tough but if I had to go through it, I am glad it was with you. You are a rock...I get strength from you...You truly know how to always make me laugh even when the situation is just not fun...Through this infertility you have been a huge comfort...never made me feel inadequate because I can't have another child. Thank you for being a blessing to me.

Enjoy the pictures below of my first day as a mama with the amazing moms, grandmas and sisters that I have!

But those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31