Monday, July 30, 2012

His Beloved

Quick update: My grandpa is in a rehab hospital and is physically doing much better. He is very confused and they are trying to evaluate the damage of the stroke and come up with a game plan. Thank you for your prayers, and please continue to pray for him and my grandma. Sweet little Mim and Sir.
Also- I worked out this morning! yess. 

okay, I have three more weeks of Esther and then I'll find a new inspiration for posts :)... until then.. Let's dive in to session six.

"It's tough being a woman who feels responsible for the "how."

This study talks about The Reversal of Destiny in our lives, which Beth Moore defines as a time when "God appoints or allows circumstances (often crises) in our lives to redirect our paths, which begins with an unexpected pivot." Beth Moore makes some very interesting parallels in the book which I just don't have time to dig into all of it; however, I highly recommend doing this Esther study with the women in your life!

So, as it applies to me, this reversal of destiny, moment of pivot, significantly occured in my life three times:

1. As a little girl when Jesus Christ became my personal savior! (obviously my life was forever changed in this moment; although, He continued to work on my heart as I rebelled from Him in my teenage years). 


2. Meeting Jake as a 20 year old and marrying him before my 21st birthday!! Amazing, exciting, and very much a pivotal point in my life. I was not desiring the Lord and was in a spiritual drought beyond measure! The Lord used our marriage to renew my spirit and turn my heart towards Him. It wasn't a bad gig, I did get an incredibly sexy husband out of the deal ;).


3. First year into marriage- began trying to conceive, Year 2- began testing and treatments; Year 3- took a break from "trying". Year 4  break/adoption Year 5 ADOPTION! Okay, so I believe the original diagnosis was the circumstance God used to create the unexpected pivot in my life and it took 3 years to actually change my heart. This new found freedom and accepting our reality allows me to really let go of the "how".

I'm no longer consumed by the thought of how do we grow our family, how do we overcome this sorrow, how will we get the call about adoption, how will we make the decision for the NEXT child.. how how how. Whew- it's nice to know God has the "how" under control. I also find it extremely beautiful that the pivot of my journey came some what out of "no where". It wasn't when we chose treatement, it wasn't when we stepped away from treatment, it wasn't even when we chose adoption--and He didn't wait for our adoption. His timing, over and over, drills in my heart it's not the event or "answer" I need.. it's Him. Each change in our plan obviously created growth, but this has been a loooong journey of turning my heart towards my reversal of destiny and realization it's not about ME! 


I am a work in progress and I find myself praying daily this passion for Him and state of peace lasts. I pray I remember this pivotal point in our journey- I thank the Lord He's showing me all the ways I'm bent towards sin and encouraging me to press into His word. I am so grateful He loves me and has a greater plan for my life than I could ever imagine. A sweet soul reached out to me and said something that struck a chord in my heart "I've had to say goodbye to a life I had planned for myself and try to become, not just accepting, but thankful for God's plan for my life." 


"When the God of all creation reserves a remark for you, Beloved, that's all you need to be remarkable"
-Beth Moore 


My Beloved
Kari Jobe

Thursday, July 26, 2012

laziness

I am lazy. period.

I want to sleep in, eat bags of candy, never work out, and look like a fitness model-- what's the problem?? haha.

Public confession-I need to work out!! Most of the time working out is for vanity's sake, and I admit I fall into this temptation quite often; however, I also understand the discipline of staying fit encourages discipline in all areas of my life. I feel better about myself when I'm exercising and I find increased energy.


I can't believe I'm only 26 and I already do the "I used to be in shape"... "used to be an athlete"... etc. I'm not saying I'll ever look like an 18 year old collegiate athlete again. Frankly, I don't want to. I love feeling more feminine- but it's time to take a stand. 

For the past few years I've gone back and forth. Very motivated for a month or so, and then back to my old habits. 


This wishy-washy attitude towards my fitness and overall appearance is pretty depressing. 


My diet consists of fat, sugar, carbs, beer (it's a category of it's own), more sugar, and more fat. I eat terribly empty calories and wonder why I gain weight...


Agreed. I love food. BAD bad food. I can't stand fruits and vegetables- so I'm very limited in my diet choices. I need to buckle down and learn some portion control, discipline, and commitment. If I commit to eating healthy- I'll buy better food and won't have the temptation in my home. 

I'm going to try and learn a balance with this whole "exercise" thing. I've never had balance. I've either been working out 5 hours a day for volleyball because it was my job-or nothing at all. Sometimes I believe being a collegiate athlete sets you up for failure in a lot of areas-I'll write a post on that sometime in the near future. But, mostly, when I have a 45 minute workout 4 times a week I STILL feel lazy. Unless I'm about to throw up after a workout I feel like it was a waste of time-wrong!.. and of course I don't want to do that anymore. So, I'm going to ditch my motto--


Well, I'm going to tan it AND tone it. Let's be honest, when would I ever NOT tan ;) 

Alright, so I've publicly announced I'm lazy... I'm most lazy when it comes to exercise and diet.--Having said this... will you keep me accountable? 

My goals:
-Cardio twice a week (walking OR jogging)
-fully body work out with weights three times a week. 

-When I'm home, try and eat a balanced meal 3 times a day. **I will probably take my veggies via pill form. (snacks in between of course)- I'll never eat perfect but I can DEFINITELY improve!
-Date night-thursday is more of a free night.
-When I'm out to eat I'll try and make better choices and monitor my own portions---our portion sizes are disgusting!! 

Alright. There it is. I'm going to take it slow and I don't think these goals are unreasonable. I have the time--no more excuses.

HEEEELP MEEEE! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Freedom

The Esther study we are doing really hit home yesterday. I wasn't able to focus through the week on the daily homework, but I did go for discussion and the video. Man, was the Lord at work in my heart!! I'm very excited to share this new found freedom, and perhaps it's something I've known could and should happen, but I just haven't been ready to let go. 
Isaiah 40:31 " Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not grow tired, they will walk and not become weary."

If I continue to wait for the "event," which for us is becoming parents, then I grow weary and become depleted day after day. The final outcome of our situation tends to create anxiety and fear in my spirit, and I've been putting my faith in "it will happen one day." I've been putting my hope in Him "solving" this problem or answering my prayers the way I think He should. I've been fighting day after day to survive this trial and today I really and truly believe there is something more important. 

**Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.  ~Ambrose Redmoon

Beth Moore says it well "The most critical breakthrough of faith you and I could ever experience is to let God bring us to a place where we trust him-period. We don't just trust Him to let us avoid what we fear most. We determine to trust Him no matter what, even if our worst nightmare befalls us." --So, my most paralyzing fear at this time in my life applies to our infertility. I am excited about adoption, and so grateful the Lord is allowing us to parent in this way. I feel honored to be a part of something so beautiful and so clearly out of my control. However, my greatest fear is we are never able to conceive a biological child. This week during the study, I felt a little bit clearer on "how to manage this"-I really feel like I need to publicly confess: this has been a paralyzing fear which affects my relationships with friends, family, Jake, my God, and myself! I feel a gentle calling to put this fear and "hope of the event" to death. Really and truly. We may never conceive a child, and today, that doesn't carry the same weight and pain. If we are not able to conceive then God is still loving, gracious, and perfect in His plan. period. 

Today, I choose courage and feel as though this struggle is coming to an end BEFORE the problem is truly solved. My real problem is I need my heart to change. I desire to get out of the way and let the Lord work. I'm done waiting on a new circumstance and ready to live. 


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sir

Please pray for my grandpa. He had a massive stroke Monday night and is having a difficult time recovering.

My grandparents are very dear to me and have really had a rough time lately. They moved into an assisted living here in Denton so they could get much needed help and be closer to family. My grandpa, we call him Sir, fell two days after the move and cracked his hip. He was in the hospital for a while and then rehab for about 6 weeks. He has only been reunited with my grandmother at the assisted living for a few months. He really came back physically stronger from rehab and was walking only using a cane; however, he was showing early signs of dementia. I think the move and then hospital, to rehab, back to assisted living really through him for a loop. She woke up to the sound of him falling Monday night and he was unconscious and very disoriented most of the night. They confirmed he had a massive stroke on Tuesday. I was able to stay with him Tuesday night and he really rested pretty well. Wednesday things were looking up- he was able to move his left side, walk around, and communicate clearly. He recognizes all of us and calls us by name. Last night, he had a really rough night which led to an even more difficult day. He has been very restless and confused. Things are really misfiring and they're thinking he may have experienced a mini stroke today. His heart rate is quite low and he has 50% blockage of both his carotid arteries. He turns 87 this month and recovering from this type of stroke will definitely be an uphill battle and may require surgery to prevent future strokes (only if his mental state improves). Please pray for his healing and peace over our family. My grandmother, Mim, is very nervous. They've been married 63 years and I know seeing him struggle like this is very discouraging.

I'm selfish and really really hope he pulls off a miraculous recovery. He is tough--if anyone can, it'd be him.

My sweet Mim and Sir

His first day back from rehab. 

Sir
A few years back reading the Christmas story out of Luke.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sweet Mothers

I realize this is my blog and I am, more often than not, going to write about myself, our journey, and our struggle. However, it's come to my attention this struggle weighs on ALL my friends and family quite heavily. Thank you for reading this and thank you for supporting us as best you can through this hardship. It is "hard" for me at times to have so many children around me; however, I love your kiddos. Holding a baby, hearing a baby laugh, or even a very dramatic sad face makes my day!! Having said this... I want to take a minute to encourage my sweet friends. Most of the women in my life, family and friends, are mothers and I deeply appreciate you and want to celebrate your life.

So...
- to the new mommies who haven't even publicly announced your exciting news- CONGRATULATIONS. You are going to be a wonderful mother. I pray you have a wonderful pregnancy.
-To the new mom's who are dropping pounds each day and zipping pre-pregnancy jeans-YAY! I'm celebrating this exciting progress.
-To the mom's who are facing hardship with breast feeding. (I heard this put really well the other day, the most unnatural-natural thing ever) I'm sorry your supply isn't "sufficient" and/or I'm sorry breastfeeding hasn't been the blissful bonding experience we ALL hope for. You are such a good mother and only you know what's best for your sweet baby. Don't let other people tell you what's best or what you're doing is "wrong." All day every day, you mothers, are caring for your child to the best of your ability. I know all of your choices are made with great care. I respect you all for your courage.
-to my sweet mothers with sick children. I can't imagine the hurt you feel seeing your baby suffer. Hospitals, dr. visits, surgeries, and illness are definitely not the fun parts of parenthood. I pray for your strength and quick healing of your children.
 -For those tackling potty training- stay consistent and enjoy the awkward "yay mommy!" moments when you potty. I'm proud of you for the dedication to your child. I can personally say I'm not looking forward to this age (I have experience with children in ALL other areas) haha. So-... I'm proud of you for talking about potty non stop and living seconds away from a toilet :)
 
-To my stay-at home-moms- some people say this is "easy".. they are CRAZY. I know you don't get the breaks you might always need, and I'm sure it feels difficult to have a life outside of the home. You are such a blessing to your household. Call if you need a break!
-to the working mothers- **The phrase "working mother" is redundant. -Jane Sellmana** a full day of work to a full time mommy job HAS to be exhausting. I admire your ability to juggle so much. It's okay if a ball drops every now and then, but wearing as many hats as you do-you are strong, powerful, and selfless.
-For those with older kiddos- Your ability to juggle school projects, bible studies, carpooling, basketball games and recitals amazes me. You are incredible!! 
-For all those "empty nesters"- mothering is a job never complete. Thank you for your selflessness and all the love and care you've put into raising your kiddos.
-To the adoptive mother- I can't wait to join you!! **"Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother"-Oprah Winfrey** I admire your strength in talking about adoption to your child and thank you for your support through this process.
-For those who are undergoing surgeries, fertility treatments, and charting- I deeply pray the Lord bless you with a child. I can't wait to celebrate motherhood with you!
-To the sweet women who've lost a child. My heart breaks for your loss and I'm overwhelmed by the deep sorrow you experience. I pray for your heartache and love you so so much. 
-For the women who are not ready or may not want children at all-You and your husband **and your pets** are a family. You are no less a woman for not having children. You know what's best and right for you! 

I'm aware there are a MILLION other things mothers do daily that go unnoticed!! I just want to shout out and say you are wonderfully and beautifully made. You are a good mother. God gave your child to you and allowed you the great responsibility of loving and raising them; therefore, YOU are what's best for your baby. I admire you and love you.

 There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one. -Jill Churchill

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

bound by time

Yesterday I took the day to grieve and allow whatever emotion felt like coming up. A lot of it was still anger, confusion, sadness, and frustration. I secluded myself from human interaction because unfortunately, people just don't know what to say. I get it-it's a heavy topic and I know everyone wants to be here to support us, but it generally ends up with me hurt or irritated by their response. I've realized through this, we set our friends up for failure. Unfortunately, you can't say the right thing- you're not qualified to deal with this struggle. Having said that, I've come to terms it is a 90/10 split. My responsibility is 90% of the work- I need to be gracious in my response and take your comments as wanting to support us. However, there is a given 10% of comments I cannot handle well even on the BEST day! So, yesterday was more of a -I have no capacity for ANY comments; therefore, I'll remove myself socially for a bit.

Today I'm ready for a little human interaction, but first I started the day off with the Esther study and looking through my old journal. I do this often because when I'm in this slump and feel as though we are NEVER growing or going ANYwhere in this journey, I'm instantly reminded where I was last month, last year, three years ago, and so on. So, about two years ago to this day I was waiting to see if our IUI had "taken"... I wrote in my journal 2 Peter 3:8-9 "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."

Now, this verse is talking about Christ's return, but it gives me hope in our circumstance and a reminder God is not bound by time. I may feel like He's got my feet planted in molasses preventing me from moving forward, but that's not the case. Through this journey I've learned what it really means to rely on God for daily strength, even little mundane tasks can swallow me whole if I'm not relying on Him. This is the most heartbreaking thing I've ever experienced, and I pray it ends soon, but I'm also grateful for the growth in my heart. I have a new respect for my husband-we talk about it often. His ability to support me and love me is amazing. When we hear a birth story, one thing always sticks out in my mind. The husband always has a new respect for his wife, her ability to endure pain, find strength, and deliver his child. It's always beautifully heartbreaking because I desperately want to labor over our child and have "that moment". However, the Lord is gracious to remind me- Jake has supported me through this "pregnancy of pain" for 4 loooong years. He looks at me and respects me for not giving up and finding my hope and worth in Christ. He's held my hand and rubbed my back through this pain and I am forever grateful to the respect and closeness we've gained through this process. --I'll be the first to admit if we could have the marriage and connection we have now without the infertility, I'd take it in a heartbeat-- but that's not my journey. This is my life and I am grateful.

I'm glad the Lord spoke to me this morning and reminded me He is not bound by time. I need to stop putting Him in this box and expecting Him to do what I want WHEN I want it. He is working and He is moving, He loves us and Has a perfect plan for us. Even when it feels like nothing is happening, I know my God is working in His time, for His glory.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nope.

Today I woke up very anxious for the call. I'd been pretty "steady" this week because I was very occupied and really didn't let myself get too lost in hope for this little boy. It's a weird process I can't even begin to describe, but I'll try.

I did not put my phone down today. I stared at it trying to force it to ring. 2:29 p.m. Hope Cottage called and it was a very short phone call. 48 seconds is all it took to say "I hate to make this phone call, I'm sorry, the birth parents have chosen a different family."... we thanked her for the call and assured her we were okay. She encouraged us by saying our child will come.... My first reaction was relief. Pure relief to know--- just to be able to take a deep breath and stop freaking out about the phone call. It was not the outcome we wanted, but it was the outcome we were prepared to hear. We talked about it through the week and felt torn between what our excitement level should be and what it shouldn't. We can't totally remove ourselves from the emotions the first call brought because had he been our son we would desperately want to remember every moment of the process. All the while being on guard-there was no guarantee he was 'ours'...our missing piece to fill this hole in our family. So today, we learned we'd been correct in not becoming "attached".. or remaining as un-attached as you can be from possibly having a child in a week!! This is proving to be a very difficult and challenging roller coaster.

The feeling of relief wore off approximately 30 seconds after the call and I went into a pretty deep state of frustration. It was hard to form words but Jake and I sat in the car looking at each other with such an understanding. Nothing to be said, just waiting for the next emotion to creep in... commence pity party.

This is how I felt. 

We just expressed frustration, with no filter *oops* about how we wished things were different. We wish this were our son, we wish we didn't have to go through this.. we wish we wish we wish.. okay, so frustration and a big ole WHY US??? when will this hurt end??...

now on to sorrow. Such heart break. We've been struggling with infertility for over 4 years and for us, even if we aren't "trying", every menstrual cycle is like a big fat NO! So here we are, fifty-one "no's" into this thing, and now 2 different types of "no's" with adoption. I know it will all be worth it when we FINALLY get that YES and hold our sweet baby-- but we aren't there, and we really don't feel close. Since we haven't been able to conceive, we consider this to be the closest we've come to actually having a baby. Our treatments resulted in pretty quick no's- there was not even a maybe before..this week a baby boy was born and could have been ours to hold today. We were probably 3 profiles away from having a son. It's devastating and a feeling I know most can't begin to explore. We are just so tired of being disappointed. 

Which brings me to where I am at 1:30 a.m.-- I am weary. I'm praying tomorrow is a better day and the sting of this loss will be short lived. We are not giving up, we are not completely hopeless, but we are hurting. Most of the responses from family and friends today read something like this, "I'm sorry, I love you, God is in control and has the perfect child for you, and I'm praying for you guys."...So, thank you for your prayers, we need them, and although it's truth and we need to hear it, it doesn't help. It just doesn't. Nobody needs to say anything and nobody has said the "wrong" thing. Just from me to you-- pray, we are weary and frustrated and it feels like we are always being knocked down. It feels like we will never get a yes. 

I pray the Lord wraps us in His arms and restore our hope, allow us peace, and the ability to trust Him during this process. 

Romans 15:13 "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Find You On My Knees
Kari Jobe

Saturday, July 7, 2012

a beautiful, crazy, wedding week!

This week my best friend from college, Maegan, married the man of her dreams! I went down to Kyle, Tx Sunday to help her, her mom, and her sister get everything finished up for the big day. The wedding was yesterday and I'm glad to be home, and so happy I was able to be with her all week!!

*the beautiful bride*

*my wonderful, helpful husband*

*so awesome Katherine and Robby came down for the festivities*

*Love these girls*

Okay, so here's a run down of my crazy crazy week. Sunday and Monday involved lists, burlap, scanning pics for wedding slideshow, a small birthday celebration (I turned 26 monday, woohoo), and a dress fitting. The dress fitting was for me- my bridesmaid dress came in a few weeks ago and was about 2 inches or more away from closing, eeeek! So arriving early allowed me to take it to the place I ordered it from and get their wonderful seamstress to fix this dress. 

Tuesday- obviously we worked on wedding stuff all day, but about 2 pm I got a call from Hope Cottage. A baby boy was born tuesday 2:35 am. We were given a lot of information birth weight, birth mother, and birth father. I immediately called Jake and tried to rush through all the information without breaking down so he'd be able to understand every word. ANOTHER CALL!.. so floored by this. So we took a deep breath and didn't have to give an answer to our profile being shown until Thursday. We agreed we wanted to say yes. YES! It was a very interesting feeling to think and hope and pray this little boy could be our son. 

Wednesday- I worked on a slideshow all day and was feeling pretty bad. I got a skin infection behind my ear a few weeks ago, I think from the bachelorette weekend in padre.. the dirty, dirty south got me again ;).. So my ear and neck started swelling, but I'd been on antibiotics for a while so I figured I was okay. Well, I was anxious to call the agency but wanted to wait for Jake to join me-he planned on coming down thursday morning. To my surprise my sweet husband shows up Wednesday night with pink roses for me and light pink roses for the bride-to-be. I was so ready to see him and I know he was happy to finally arrive. He had a blow out on the way down :/. Dinner and drinks with Maegan, her mom and sis, and her in-laws then off to bed.

Thursday- We called Miss N and said yes. We learned baby was released from hospital and in the TLC home (the foster home paired with Hope Cottage). She told us they were showing profiles on Friday and depending on how soon the decision is made we could know Friday and bring baby home MONDAY!! What an emotional day. So, on to more wedding- final dress fitting and it was STILL too tight, so I had to wait there for about an hour for her to fix it. Barely make it to the rehearsal on time.. whew we are almost there. After the rehearsal dinner my neck was killing me. I sat in the shower with a hot towel on my neck and hoped the pain would go away. Jake finally convinced me to go to the ER and get some medication. I'm so glad I did. Two antibiotics, steriod, and hydrocodone later I finally got some sleep. 

Friday- Maegan wouldn't let me help with wedding stuff because she wanted me to rest up!! Good friend, but I felt so helpless. I woke up feeling better and made it through the day with hydrocodone every 4 hours on the dot. The whole time with a pit in my stomach hoping Miss N would call with good news. Wedding ceremony at 3 pm--My dress fit, everything went well, the bride looked stunning!!! Then a long, beautiful, fun reception til midnight! Country folks can party and dance all night :)... no phone call. 

Today we woke up about 10:30 and made the drive home. I did not feel too well, pretty drugged, tired, and my glands are still uncomfortably swollen. I called my mom and asked if she could make me some chicken tortilla soup....Shower, epsom salt and heat compress, Dan and bridgette dropped off little Zo, so happy to see that little pup. (thanks guys, I think she got a lot of treats and attention because she's acting disappointed we're back!!!)....and then a five hour nap. I just finished a bowl of soup and I'm feeling better, thanks momma. 

Please pray for quick healing-- I've been on antibiotics for two weeks and now have another two weeks of stronger meds. Also, please pray for the sweet birth family of the little boy to make the right decision for them. We are praying it's us and really hope we get a phone call monday and they say "you've been picked, you can pick up your son today"... Again, we are encouraged by another call in such a short time, and are very excited we felt led to say yes. What a journey we are on :) I'll update as soon as we learn anything.