Monday, July 21, 2014

And then my heart skips a beat.

Nearly 7 hours I spent chasing you around this weekend. 

Nearly 7 hours I spent in my Heaven this weekend. 

You’re no more than 3 ½ feet tall, but you pack the energy of a Dalmatian puppy.  At first, there are only a couple of you.  Before I know it, there are more than 30 of you, and I no longer have thoughts of my own inside my head.

And then my heart skips a beat.

One minute, you’re running at me full-speed to see if you can knock me on my back from sitting position.  Your twin follows so closely that all I can do is roll backwards and try to protect all of our heads from hitting the slightly carpeted, cement floor.  How many times did we play that game?  Each time ending in a sea of giggles and more cries for, “Again!”

And then my heart skips a beat.

The next minute, I have two of your other friends on my lap in hysterics.  “Why are they crying?” one of you asks.  “Because they miss their mommies,” which just makes the screams even louder.

And then my heart skips a beat.

Some of you hold my hand, cuddle in my lap, or lay your head in my lap and let me scratch your back while we watch our lesson.
And then my heart skips a beat.

Some of you can’t sit still long enough to learn the 10-word Bible verse for the week.  However, when the worship music starts, you’re the first to grab my hands and let me twirl you in circles.

And then my heart skips a beat.

As I hold one of you and try to soften the pain of your most recent fall, another of you walks up and places your hand on his knee as if to say, “It’s okay.  Sometimes, I fall, too.”

And then my heart skips a beat.

I look over and see one of you cuddled up with my teenage girl in our jungle gym “doing nothing” as I later found out was your plan for the hour.
 And then my heart skips a beat.

“Do you want to go color?” I ask one of you.  “Are you going to come with me?” is your reply.

And then my heart skips a beat.

As we color, a different friend turns to me and says, “How’s this, Mommy?”

And then my heart skips a beat.

Your parents come quickly and take you home with them.  Some of you remember to give me hugs, but I can still feel the gentle touch of each of you on my arm or in my hand.

And then my heart skips a beat.
We pick-up the room, shut off the lights, and head towards our home.  Me with empty arms.  Without one of you for myself.

And then my heart skips a beat.

Then, I remind myself that we will do this all over again in one more week.

And then my heart skips a beat.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It’s Time

I would like to preface this blog entry by saying that my kids are awesome, loving kids.  They are human, too.  In our family, we all are.  Most noticeably, they are currently teenagers.  That does not make them bad people, and I hope that I do not portray that in this entry.  I think they are great kids, but sometimes, our communication is lacking.  Maybe I need to learn to be more swag.  (Is that the word they use these days? J)


I pull up into the garage, load myself down with the bags and purses that I require to get through my day, and head into our mudroom.  As I step into the kitchen, I sing out the kindest “hello” that I can muster after another long day at the office.  The kids respond with a mixture of chipper and muttered hellos.  Then, they return to what they were doing before I came home, leaving me to wonder if they even missed me at all that day.

When the kids are at their mom’s house, I’ll try to text with them.  It’s hit or miss if I get a response.  When I do get a response , it’s almost always like pulling teeth to communicate:
Me:  Hi, how was your day?
Teen:  Good.
Me:  Do anything fun?
Teen:  Not really.
Me:  Have anything fun planned for tonight?
Teen:  Not really.
Me:  Did you talk to that boy you like?
Teen:  No.
Me:  Would you like me to leave you alone?
Teen:  That would be nice.

Okay, I made-up the last two lines, but you get the gist.

Phone calls or texting me first?  Never happens unless they need something. 

Pictures of us on Instagram together?  I’m averaging two a year but only with one kid.

This is how communication with my teenagers has looked for approximately the last 4 years when the first one received a cell phone.

This is how communication with God has looked for over 33 years.

Driving home yesterday, I realized that I am just like these teenagers.  Overall, I am a good person just as they are good kids.  Deep down, I want God to shower me with blessings; I’m pretty sure these kids are very content when special gifts are given to them.  However, one of the things that breaks my heart day after day is the exact same thing that I’m doing to God.

I’m ignoring him.

How often do I really sit in conversation with God?  How often do I stop talking and try to hear what He wants to tell me?  How often do I call him first and without needing anything?  How often do I post something on social media about my relationship with Him?  The answer is…even less than my kids do with me.
The difference?  They are teenagers.  This is what teenagers do.  I am an adult that calls myself a Christian.  I just expect God to be there for me whenever I need him.  However, if it’s not convenient for me, I don’t go out of my way to make sure I am in communication.  When I enter His house, I definitely sing out His name and give Him attention.  I even sit there every. single. Sunday. and think about how I’m going to make changes this week and really start that Bible study Mom bought me back in January.  Then, I walk out the doors of church and change nothing.

My priorities are all wrong.

I’m scared, though.  I’m scared that if I change, what will that mean?  Will He ask me to do things that are uncomfortable for me?  Could He possibly give me a new direction to my life that doesn’t fit the path I had planned?  Will I ask Him for something but not have strong enough faith for Him to answer my call?  Will I have any friends that start to avoid me because I’m becoming “too religious?”  I’m scared of all of these things.

Most of all, I’m scared I won’t be good enough.  I’m scared that I will tell people how I want to be a God-fearing woman.  I want to have 100% faith that God will give me the one thing that I’ve always dreamt of.  However, if I tell everyone that what I’m going to do is to fear Him and have that blind faith, what happens if I stumble?  What if I say something wrong?  I will be judged.  I know how this works.  I’ve seen people point and scoff at Christians that are human.

It’s time, though.  It’s time for me to say a prayer, take a deep breath, and take that next step.  After all, what I have been doing isn’t working for me…or for Him. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Sharing Another Blog – Remembering the 1 Samuel 1 Woman this Mother’s Day

I realize that I've been sharing a lot of Elisha's posts lately.  She just puts things into words in a way that I cannot seem to do.

This is so beautifully written that I feel like I shouldn’t add any of my own comments.  Although these words make me ache inside, it’s a good reminder to me that I’m not alone.  We all need that reminder from time to time.  Usually more often than not. 

Remembering the 1 Samuel 1 Woman this Mother’s Day

Do you remember the excitement you had when telling your husband, best friend, sister, or parents that you were expecting? Do you remember how pregnancy changed your body–it was just a little at first, but then as your baby grew, so did your belly and you rejoiced with each belly rub, or picture taken to show the progression? Do you remember the emotions you felt when your miracle kicked for the first time? Or had the hiccups?

What about when your baby would move inside of you at the sound of your voice? How about the overwhelming sense of joy you felt when you gazed into their eyes for the first time and counted their fingers and toes?

Now try to strip yourself away and imagine never having those memories or experiencing those climatic moments. Take a moment to close your eyes and place your hand over your womb while imagining the pain of hearing a doctor tell you that the chances of conceiving are less than 3 percent, you do not mature eggs for ovulation, your husband has zero sperm, or your pregnancy is no longer viable and you will miscarry.

Imagine yourself in your second or third trimester going in for a routine doctor’s appointment expecting to hear the nurse tell you that there is a healthy baby developing perfectly, but the only thing you hear is the silence followed by a muffled voice telling you there is no longer a heartbeat. Imagine instead of picking out your child’s first outfit, you choose a casket. Try to imagine the pain associated with never knowing what it will feel like to have your child’s arms wrapped around your neck and you’ll never get to hear the sound of their voice or look into their eyes. Better yet, your beloved infant will never get to look into your eyes and see the love you have for them.

No one wants to imagine these moments or feel this type of pain for even a second, but for some women, it is their reality. It is their reality that often paralyzes them with worry as they fear of never being able to experience motherhood. It is their reality that keeps them set apart and always on the outside looking in while attending social gatherings. It is their reality that makes being able to get out of bed and attend a church service on the second Sunday in May an unbearable and tearful struggle.

The second the alarm goes off and their eyes open they begin to feel a queasiness in their stomach, a heaviness in their chest, and a lump in their throat as they try to pull themselves out of bed and put on their Sunday best.

The fears, worries, and painful emotions are magnified and intensified as many women who are struggling with infertility attend a Mother’s Day church service. For those who have suffered a miscarriage, still birth or experienced an unsuccessful adoption, watching the baby dedication is like pouring salt into their wound and as each mother stands to be recognized and receive their gifts, shame covers those who are forced to be left sitting, unqualified for such honor. Even for those who are strong in their faith, this day is not easy and I know many who will intentionally avoid getting out of bed and going all together. But it shouldn’t be this way. These women should feel invited and be able to run to the church on this day for prayer, peace, comfort, and hope instead of crawling underneath the covers and feeling left behind.

Therefore as your church celebrates Mother’s Day this year, I encourage you to please take the time to also remember and give special attention to those who are still waiting for their miracle, or who have experienced a loss through a failed adoption, miscarriage, or still birth. For instance, if during your Mother’s Day service you normally ask mother’s to stand while others remain seated, secretly lowering their heads, I encourage you to instead expand to appreciate the contributions of all women because it extends to teachers, pastors, neighbors, aunts, sisters, Godparents, foster parents, or anyone who has loved with a mother’s heart. If you are a church leader, I encourage you to openly pray for them, encourage them, and ultimately remind them of the hope they have in Jesus.
This Mother’s Day, I encourage the church to celebrate the Proverbs 31 woman and give her the love and attention she deserves, but in the process, please don’t forget the 1 Samuel 1 woman who is quietly sitting in the back, wiping away her tears.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cousins...Siblings Your Aunt Birthed

I have 2 cousins that are just 1 and 2 years older than me.  We have a lot of memories...a lot!  They start as kids and haven't quite ended.  Sometimes, I think about how lucky I am to have these cousins that I grew up with.  We are originally from a small town, and I wonder if any of our friends ever wish they had cousins so close to their age.  Is that random?!

They both live in Kansas City now, which is not really cool on their part.  Todd and I are visiting them this weekend.

This is Matthew.
He's always been very protective of me, so I used to return that favor by dating his friends.  Don't worry.  I didn't marry one.  😊. He also opened his home and let me live with him for 7 weeks when I first moved back to Tulsa.  Snow storms can damper some people's spirits.  Us?  We made snow angels in his front yard.  We are cool adults.

This is Bradette.
(This picture is from our wedding and 4 years old.  She won't let me take pictures of her during the end of her pregnancy, so this is what I have.)

Kidding.  This is from last weekend at church:
She's my best friend.  Bradette is different than most of my friends.  There are few days that pass that I don't talk to her.  She, Todd, and my mom know me better than anyone...maybe even myself.  She's the only person that can read my mood through an email or text and nail it every stinkin' time...even if sometimes I tell her she's wrong because I don't want to admit I'm upset.

Bradette is also 35 weeks pregnant (hence the lack of updated pics) with a baby girl that I generously named Baby Laura for her.  I realize she will never be able to repay the favor, and that's okay.  I don't do good deeds for rewards.  Mom and I threw her a shower last month that I will blog about once I get a few more pictures from framily.

Anyway, one day last week, I was sending her email #75 for the day, and I told her I was struggling with sadness more than normal.  July 4th, I had to pause during my primping routine to cry in Todd's arms.  I seriously love July 4th, and seeing all of my friend's Facebook posts of their babies in red and blue struck a little nerve inside my tear ducts.  The night before the email, I had cried myself to sleep on Todd's chest because of my continual empty womb.  Anyway, so I told Bradette that I was sad.  And in her best "I know how to handle Laura" email voice, she replied with the most perfect words she could have said to me:

You know, what I imagine is that it's like starting to put numbers or ratios to scenarios now rather than hope for the best.  And how to deal with that I'm sure is very difficult.  Best case/worst case scenario type things and how to deal with best/worst when it happens.  Because one of them is going to happen.  However, in your heart of hearts, I know you're thinking positive somewhere in there or at least hoping for positive thoughts to resurface.  It just may be a period of time of doubt or what-ifs.  Which I'm sure is normal.  And soon enough, you will be back to thinking positive.  Because there's no good in worrying about the negative, but how can you not?  That's what worry is.  I read your blog today.  So let me be positive for you when you can't.  Or Todd.  And you will come back and join us when you can.  Because I think positive thoughts for you every single day.  Even Rob does.  Something happened on Saturday and we were driving in the car and he said you know, I really want this to happen for Laura and Todd and I'm being very hopeful that it does.  My point is, you have lots of people being hopeful for you and if you need to worry or be realistic, we're holding your place.

And then I found myself weeping at my desk with a newfound sense of peace.


Our five on July 4th...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sharing Another Blog – Unanswered Prayers

Two entries in a row, I have shared something from Elisha.  She’s that good.  Honestly, she isn’t just good, she’s timely for me.  I’ve been reading another blog called Two Sisters, Two Stories.  The blogger really dives into her walk of faith during her infertility struggles.  Finding Elisha’s blog shortly after I had read that one is a sign to me…from God.  He wants me to learn some of the same lessons these women have learned.

This particular entry is something with which I am currently struggling.  On a daily basis, I have wondered if it really mattered what I prayed because I know God has his own plan.  I have wondered if He will ever actually allow me to carry our child.  I don’t know the answers, yet, but I do know that I want to have more faith in his plans for us to prosper.
Here is the link to the post.
Unanswered Prayers
Posted in FaithElisha

Have you ever asked God for something but didn’t believe or have hope He would make it happen? Maybe it was while sitting in the bathroom getting ready to take a pregnancy test or perhaps a more serious situation in which you were pleading desperate prayers for a loved one while in the waiting room of a hospital. No matter the scale of seriousness or reason for your prayers, have you ever felt as though they never left the four walls of the room? It was as if they would just hit the wall, bounce back and smack you in the forehead. I know I have…

There are many reasons as to why our prayers seem to be unfruitful, or go unanswered, but I believe one of the main reasons they might not get answered is because we have doubt in our hearts and we lack hope that the God we say we trust, will even come through for us.

But wait! What?! I do have hope when I pray! Okay. What kind of hope do you have when you pray?

When you pray do you feel like you are standing at the “wishing well” just tossing up your prayers “hoping” God might answer, He might hear, or He might come to your rescue?

Or when you pray, are fully confident and waiting with a positive expectation that God hears you and will answer? This type of prayer is filled with the biblical definition of hope and it doesn’t include thoughts afterwards of “might“, “maybe”, or “will He or won’t He”.

The definition of hope in the bible is to have a joyful, confident and positive expectation of good

So let me ask again, what kind of hope do you have when you pray? Still unsure? This entertaining and less than two-minute skit below should help you decide if your hope is “wishy washy” or that of confidence…
Did you watch the video? Are you the person who after praying thinks of and points out all the reasons why the level of expectation shouldn’t be high or are you the one expecting a down pour of blessings? I can venture to say that for most of us, if we are COMPLETELY honest, we spend much of our prayer time standing at the “wishing well”. We ask God to heal our bodies, but then doubt He will. We beg and plead for Him to answer our prayers to conceive, but think in the back of our minds why He won’t come through for us. We ask Him for something, anything, but come up with every reason to doubt that He would or could. Just like each coin, we toss-up each prayer with the kind of hope that God might or might not and then stand back and wonder why we are disappointed.

But is praying with hope in God, or expectancy that He will answer THAT important? Isn’t it better to just not get your hopes up at all so that if your prayers aren’t answered their won’t be as much disappointment? Let’s take a look…

James 1:6-7 tell us the importance of having a confident and positive expectation (hope) that good will happen when we pray. Scripture says this…

“But when you ask (God), be sure that you really expect Him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

YIKES! It seems as though if we want to receive anything from the Lord, than we need to get our hopes up…we need to raise our expectation level!

Each morning I wake up saying prayers filled with expectation. Prayers such as, “God, I am expecting to be amazed and in awe of all of the great things You will do today.”

I can’t guarantee that if you expect a certain answer each time you pray that you will always get what you ask of Him in the time frame that you want it. But I can guarantee you this, if you stop standing at the “wishing well” and are saying prayers filled with faith and with a confident and positive expectation (with hope), then your percentage of answered prayers will increase dramatically. I have seen it in my life and in the lives of many others.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” ~Romans 12:12

So back to my original question, what kind of hope do you have when you pray? After you say your prayers, are you waiting with a joyful and confident expectation that at any moment God will turn your situation around for the good? Or do you end your prayers with thoughts of “Well, God might answer…God might do this for me…If I expect little then I won’t get hurt…”

Be expectant! God loves to answer hopeful, expectant, and faith fulled prayers!

What situation in your life are you praying for God to change? Whether it is conceiving a child, healing in your body or of a broken heart, a financial breakthrough, restoration of your marriage, or a new job, I encourage you to wait in true biblical hope because “The Lord is good to those who hopefully and expectantly wait for Him.” (Lamentations 3:25 AMP).

*I do want to emphasize that not only must we have biblical hope that God will answer, but we must be willing to wait for His answer in His timing. Always be persistent in prayer just like Romans 12:12 points out.*

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sharing Another Blog – The Mom’s Club: Outside looking in

I just started following this blog, and today’s lunch break allowed me to read an excellent entry from her.  This is for all of my infertile friends.  I know that this is easier said than done.  Don’t you wish we all had this strength?

The Mom’s Club: Outside looking in

Posted in The JourneyElisha

Every Friday morning at 10am they meet together. As the front door opens, the children giggle as they eagerly run inside to the play room, the moms put down their purses, take off their shoes, and then huddle around a pot of coffee and pastries. As I stand outside, just looking in, I can’t hear their words, but I can see them talking as they laugh with one another.

I imagine they are exchanging stories of when Sally started walking or how old John was when he said his first word. I can bet they are also giving tips on getting their toddler to eat or exchanging advice on the best methods of discipline. One mother might be getting ideas for their child’s first birthday party, while another is discussing her plans for having baby #2.

I could go in, most of them are my friends, but what would I contribute to the conversation? Our lives are so much different and despite being of similar age, with similar education levels and interests, I am now “set apart”. Infertility sets me apart. It didn’t used to be like this. In fact, at first, it was Sarah who was “set apart”. She was the first to have a child and was unable to go to dinner because of the difficulty in finding a babysitter or there was not enough money due to the extra expense of diapers and formula. But the tide has shifted and Sarah is no longer alone as more of the group friends now have babies. It’s no longer Friday night group dates but Friday morning play dates.

It’s one of the hardest things to deal with when your friends all start moving on to the next stage of life, having children, and although you are trying, it simply isn’t happening. You start to feel excluded. Sure they are still your friends, but as their conversations shift from which new restaurants to try, to which breast pump works the best, you realize you are being left behind…whether it’s intentional or unintentional, it’s happening.

What do I do? Should I ‘borrow’ a child and join them on Friday’s? Maybe I should find new friends who don’t debate cloth diapers versus disposable or jar baby food versus fresh? While I am not into feeling ‘phony’ by borrowing another child, I am also not into finding new friends. Infertility has robbed me of so much already that I don’t want it to rob me of my friends as well.

So as I stand outside on this Friday morning looking in the window as if a child staring into a candy store , I could will put on my ‘big girl panties’, go in and enjoy myself. I won’t think thoughts of being left behind or throw myself a pity party by feeling excluded because for now, until I receive my official “Mom’s Club” card, I will embrace my “non-member” card. I understand that I don’t have much to add to their conversations, but it gives me time to listen. I can listen to them talk about the best breast pumps, diapers, and formula. Or what a waste of money half of the items that were purchased after little Timmy was born turned out to be. I can take notes on how to shove food get my future toddler to eat more fruits and vegetables and I can ask for their REAL advice on what to expect when expecting.

These “official members” are loaded with resources and now is the time for me to gather advice while kicking up my feet, sipping on my hot coffee, enjoying my pastry, and not having to worry about whether my child is fighting sharing toys with Sarah’s child. God is faithful and I can sit with this group of women knowing that my time to trade in my low-rise jeans for Mom jeans is coming SOON! I have faith that SOON, my “non-member” card will expire and God will be sending me a new card…a card that reads “Welcome to the Mom’s Club.”

Don’t stand on the outside looking in, despising this time as a “non-member”, but rather embrace it and learn all you can now, because one day you will be an “official member”. You will be the one passing down helpful advice while drinking cold coffee, sharing a pastry with your toddler, and chasing little Billy Bob, who is holding a sharpie marker, down the hallway.