Friday, April 23, 2010

What To Expect When Your Not Expecting

My emotions are all over the place these days. I am genuinely happy for all the women I know who are expecting, but I must admit I am so jealous. Why not me Lord? Why not me?

A co-worker ticked off a list of all the reasons 'it is ridiculous' for me to try to get pregnant. I felt so defeated after listening to that list. I came home and got a hug from Allyson and just cried and had a horrible migraine. Yeah...having a currently unemployed husband and a daughter who is a freshman in college, it may not be the best time. But I am running out of time quickly.

If everyone waited until everything was perfect to have a child, there would be a lot of people without kids.

I just keep beating myself up for my past. I feel like damaged goods. I know God has forgiven me for choices I made, but I haven't forgiven myself.

I try to imagine the future and I want it to include another child so badly. Unfortunately, Jim & I may need IVF in order for that to become a reality. We don't happen to have $15-20 grand handy.

God, I am trusting in You.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Good Book

Do you read your Bible regularly? Daily, weekly, now & again? What is stopping you from spending more time in it?

I am an avid reader, so reading is not the problem. The problem for me was to train myself to NOT speed read when I am reading scripture. I read really fast. I can read a 300-400 page book in a day, no problem. I usually don’t spend more than 3 days, even on the 800 pagers you sometimes get. But reading scripture that fast is not good for me. Not if I hope to retain more, learn from it, and have time to let passages sink in. So I use a daily reading plan that works for me.

If you are a “To Do” list person, the list I use gives you a satisfying feeling because there are boxes to check off each day. This is the website I got my plan from. There are several plans to choose from, so check them out and see what works for you.

For some of you, you hate reading. After high school or college you decided you were done with reading/studying. I promise you, this is worthwhile…and NO TESTS!!! But unlike some of the junk we were forced to read in school, this is real world knowledge with daily practical application. For you math hating people…the math in the Bible is pretty cool. How Jesus somehow made 5 loaves and 2 fish feed a multitude. With a reading plan, the scriptures are broken down into smaller pieces you can process. If you don’t have 15 minutes to set aside for this? Log off my blog and Facebook and make some time.

Are you married? Do you have children? How do you think your relationship with them would be if you gave them an hour one day a week? That’s what you do to God when you only go to church on Sunday morning and let your Bible collect dust the rest of the week. Remember that feeling of being so in love with someone when a relationship is new. You wake up thinking of them, you go to sleep thinking of them, you think of different ways to make them happy throughout the day. Make your life be a love song to the Lord. Spend more time thinking on Him, He is the ONLY person who truly loves you wholeheartedly and unconditionally. He proved that on the cross.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Work Ethic

When I was a kid, I always knew how hard my parents worked to make ends meet each month. We had budgets for everything that we had to stick to. Budgets for school clothes, food, entertainment, etc. I remember before we had our own VCR, we used to rent this huge hideous blue betamax machine and rent a video now and again as a treat. We had a chore chart at home where we divided up all the household chores between my brother, sister and I. On top of their jobs, my parents were always active in our church and also with a service club they belonged too.

At times, as a typically selfish child I resented those budgets and not having much extra for “treats”. I was embarrassed at times with our older vehicles, hand made clothing, our crates for book shelves, etc. But looking back at it now that I am an adult and have much more perspective and life experience, I am so grateful for those life lessons.

I have held my job for over 16 years now and have made myself pretty indispensible. I have earned performance awards, special act awards, etc. At my church I have never been one to be comfortable sitting back and watching others do the work. I am pushing up my sleeves, lifting things heavier than I probably should, getting sweaty & dirty, but getting things done. I have always tried to never have the attitude that I am better than anyone else, or that any particular job is “beneath” me. Toilets sometimes need to be cleaned, trash to be taken out, weeds to be pulled, floors to be swept & mopped, carpets to be cleaned, etc. Everything we do is an act of service for the Lord and anything that needs to be done is worth doing right. Autograph your work with excellence.

Where did I acquire this spirit or hard work? Definitely my parents! Through years of watching my parents work, stay up till all hours at times to get things done, numerous potlucks and events at church that needed chairs & tables set up, tablecloths folded back up, kitchens cleaned up, committees, counting offering, charity drives, delivering boxes of food to the needy, service projects, etc. Teaching me how a family sticks together during hard times. I have worked with my family doing janitorial service at car dealerships, paper routes, cataloguing pictures for display albums, adding beads to gowns, babysitting kids for bridal parties, catching doves that didn’t end up flying away at wedding receptions, running errands, moving a camera store to a new location, etc. I know I resented having to do some of those things at the time. Today, I know I am a better person today for having done those things.

I got a paper route as a middle schooler to make some money on my own. Other than some bad rains or heavy holiday ad laden Sunday papers, I delivered those papers on my own with my bike. When I was old enough for a regular job I worked at a department store, a bowling alley, a tuxedo rental shop and throughout my pregnancy and my daughters first year, I worked at a medical research laboratory. Before getting the job I have now, I worked for a pet sitter as well. I never took a dime in public assistance, and I managed to pay my parents rent.

In today’s economy, it is hard to make ends meet, but I know the lessons I learned growing up will carry me & my family through. I thank the Lord for giving me a sound mind, a strong back and lots of elbow grease and my parents for teaching me tenacity.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Getting Pregnant

I thought I was good with not having another child. I am not. I absolutely adore my daughter Allyson, and I am eternally grateful I had her. But I was so young when I had her and too young to really appreciate and enjoy the joy of being pregnant. I hated maternity clothing. I just felt "fat" instead of enjoying my growing belly. I didn't fully fathom that when you are pregnant, it's a time in life where you are being a co-creator with God! How exciting is that!?!? And being as young as Allyson's Dad & I were, we couldn't afford to both take the time off for Doctors appointments. So he went to 1 appointment with me, the one where the pregnancy was confirmed. Of course he was there at her birth as well. We stressed out much of the pregnancy. We were two young kids who didn't quite know the change we were in store for.

I am now happily married to a man who has never had a child. He's never held his own child in his arms and heard first words, witnessed first steps, heard the words "I love you Daddy". He wants so badly to experience the joys and even the frustrations of parenthood. He loves my daughter as his own. But he came into her life when she was a pre-teen. He knows full well she has a Dad and he has never pushed her to call him Dad, only to respect his authority as a step-parent. It's been hard for him to feel left out, because Allyson almost always comes to me for things. When she is truly ticked at me, then...she will talk with Jim.

So last week Jim voiced his feelings that he knows I am dealing better with our infertility issues than he is. He is not ready to call it quits and wants us to discuss our options with our Doctors. When he told me this, it was like yanking a bandage off a wound still healing and ripping the wound open again. I am good at stuffing my feelings down deep and not talking about them, other than to God. God knows my desires for another child, but I haven't talked about it to anyone else. I feel selfish, especially around people who have never been able to conceive. I am blessed with a daughter. And I also HATE hearing things like "Are you crazy?" "You really want another child?" "Ally graduated, your done!" I am only 38 years old. Yes, a little older, but not too old. One of my most dear friends is a bit older than I and she is pregnant right now. I am so excited and happy for her. I know so many who have recently had children or are currently pregnant. I am happy for them, but I admit, I wish I could be one of them.

Jim wrote me a letter after we suffered a miscarriage reminding me that we believe in the God of Abraham and Sarah and that with God all things are possible. Today, our Pastor's devotional was about having the faith of a child, and having absolutely no doubt of God's power. So that is what I am working on. Laying all my anxiety and stress at the foot of the cross and believing in God. I know God is capable of giving us another child, but He may have other plans for us. I pray that whatever His will is, I will find peace and acceptance.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Glory of Easter

I am so honored and privileged to be part of the praise ministry team at my church led by Daryl Smith & Kaisara Esera. Right off the bat they gave me the song list for each Sunday mornings worship time and gave me accurate lyric sheets with the correct order that they will be singing/playing. So appreciated! After many Sunday mornings of everyone in church swiveling in their seats to look back at me running the slides when they weren’t right…oh how nice to know Daryl is so prepared. And they are good at expressing their gratitude, which is not necessary, but nice. Everyone likes a pat on the back now and again. Anytime they have made changes in how we “do business”, the changes are fully explained and they have always made sense to me. I see how we are constantly striving to make the worship experience better and better. How we want to make sure the focus is on God and that we do everything we can to not be a distraction.

This Easter was so special for me. Being part of such a reverent Good Friday service really set my mind to fully comprehend what an incredible sacrifice was made for ME. My Pastor wrote three monologues from the point of view of Simon Peter, Mary Magdalene and a Centurion at the crucifixion. I saw myself in each of them. Simon Peter…the times I know my behavior has betrayed my faith. The times I have behaved badly and it would be hard to know my identity is in Christ. The times I have ignored that still small voice in me and felt the eyes of Christ on me. The Centurion…the times I have been a part of something I know to be wrong and wished I could be somewhere else or be someone else. The times I have been afraid to speak out. And Mary…I have definitely had times in my life I walked with my eyes downcast and felt unclean. But I also know the feeling of being cradled in the arms of Christ and the forgiveness and cleansing only He can give. I spent much of the service in tears in the darkened sanctuary. Hearing the sound of the nails being pounded in...and knowing my guilt.

So many years I have gone from Palm Sunday and Christ’s triumphal entry straight to Easter morning and His resurrection. I haven’t really spent time thinking about the bloody and bruised and humiliated Christ. It’s so much more pleasant to think of beautiful baby Jesus in the manger and Christ in flowing white robes than to think of Christ covered in blood and torn flesh. But it’s SO important to remember daily just how deep the Father’s love for us was and is. And yes, Christ died for the sins of all mankind, but never doubt for one second that He would have gone through it all, JUST FOR YOU!

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom