Reflections and Resolutions

I am not big on New Year’s Resolutions but for me the New Year is definitely a time where I seriously reflect on the past year and make new resolves for the next year.

In my resolves for 2018 there is one that I desperately long and need to fulfill. It is the one of following hard after God. I have been following hard after “God-and”. As A.W. Tozer writes,

When religion has said its last word, there is little that we need other than God Himself. The evil habit of seeking God-and effectively prevents us from finding God in full revelation. In the “and” lies our great woe. If we omit the “and” we shall soon find God, and in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.

As 2017 drew to a close, I came before God, asking Him to show me some specific areas in my life that needed to change. One of those was this evil habit. I was seeking God…and motherhood. I was desperately praying and seeking God but I wasn’t seeking just Him. And that is where the problem was. In all reality, I was living in idolatry. I’ve just finished reading through the Bible and when I read about idolatry, I knew it could apply to my life but I didn’t take it seriously enough. Motherhood was my idol. God absolutely cannot fulfill that desire if I have made it my idol! It would contradict His very character to do so! I have to serve Him, and Him alone!

My flesh recoils at this. It tells me that life will be dry and boring, that I will feel unfulfilled if I seek only God. But the next paragraph in The Pursuit of God reads like this.

We need not fear that in seeking God only we may narrow our lives or restrict the motions of our expanding hearts. The opposite is true. We can well afford to make God our All, to concentrate, to sacrifice the many for the One.

And the last paragraph of Chapter 1

The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the Source of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may lose he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.

Even when it is written so well, my flesh still doesn’t agree. However, all of 2017, God has been trying to teach us, as a couple, that our sufficiency is only in Him. We cannot do anything (especially become parents 😉 ), if we do not put Him first in our lives. He demands all, or nothing. We have seen it so clearly, that when we put God first and obey in every aspect, He blesses us. But as soon as we err, that blessing is removed. It feels almost like a boot camp of sorts because the rules are so strict. But if we can learn this lesson now (and I have to admit, I’ve been a terrible student), we will be saved a lot of grief later in life. Even though I can’t see God’s plan, I know that He has a reason. It is so assuring to know that God has the very best in mind for us and that His plan is trustworthy. Although I am still learning to trust, I am so thankful that I have a Father that is in control and that will also teach me all the lessons I need to learn if I am willing to be taught.

  All Honour and Glory and Praise belongs to our God because He is Merciful and Gracious and Faithful! 

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Strength for Today, and Bright Hope for Tomorrow!!

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I woke up with this as my “day-starter”. God has been so good to us! He has faithfully been there for us this past year when “Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow” seemed a thing of the past. He has carried us through when we couldn’t walk on our own anymore and were about to give up. He has let hardships come our way so that we would change. He has given us the tenacity to keep seeking Him when it seemed like His promises were failing. His faithfulness has been great to us!

This month has been a month of new beginnings. We sold our car and bought a new one. Jon is quitting his job of almost two years and starting a new one. We are quite close to having our renovation completed and starting life in a house that is not in progress!! But most importantly, we have a new start to our marriage relationship!! God has been so good! He worked in us and slowly changed us so that this ‘much-needed’ new start could come!! Having this resolved has changed so many things! It has made life so much easier! Its effects are so far-reaching! Praise the Lord!!

It has given us new “Strength for today, and bright hope for tomorrow.” We are praying that God took us through infertility to get us to the point we are at now, because that means we can get pregnant (insert cheers and excited dancing)!!! This gives us new hope!

This new hope caused me to start my day on an exciting note! I went back to bed after Jon left for work and dreamt a very vivid, very ‘true-to-life’ dream about us having a little baby girl! Maybe it’s childish to share this but, when you’ve gone through infertility and imagined that joy so many times, to dream about it is so meaningful!! No matter how childish it is, I started my day with a smile!!

Thanking God for being faithful in giving us strength and hope and praying for dreams to come true,

Yesenia

 

Obedience

The Eternal Goal

The Eternal Goal

By Oswald Chambers

Abraham has reached the place where he is in touch with the very nature of God, he understands now the Reality of God.

“My goal is God Himself…
At any cost, dear Lord, by any road.”

“At any cost, by any road” means nothing self-chosen in the way God brings us to the goal.

There is no possibility of questioning when God speaks if He speaks to His own nature in me; prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says — “Come,” I simply come; when He says — “Let go,” I let go; when He says — “Trust in God in this matter,” I do trust. The whole working out is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.

God’s revelation of Himself to me is determined by my character, not by God’s character.

“Tis because I am mean,
Thy ways so oft look mean to me.”

By the discipline of obedience I get to the place where Abraham was and I see Who God is. I never have a real God until I have come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ, then I know that “in all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee.”

The promises of God are of no value to us until by obedience we understand the nature of God. We read some things in the Bible three hundred and sixty-five times and they mean nothing to us; then all of a sudden we see what God means, because in some particular we have obeyed God, and instantly His nature is opened up. “All the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen.” The “yea” must be born of obedience; when by the obedience of our lives we say “Amen” to a promise, then that promise is ours.

 


 

Obedience. Such an important part of our Christian lives!

The promises of God are of no value to us until by obedience we understand the nature of God.

So often, we want to do something great. We want our lives to be of so much use to God. We pray that He will be glorified through us. We ask Him to work in our lives. But we don’t realize that, all we are asked to do, is to be obedient.

Be it small or great, whatever it is that God is asking of you, He will not let you move on till you have obeyed.

But once we do obey, the half cannot be told of all that God will do!

As you all know, Jon and I are praying to become parents. Having gone through this past year, I realize again and again that I know what to do because of all my parents taught me in my younger years. They didn’t teach me how to be a wife, they taught me how to live life and it’s helped me so many times in my struggle to be a better wife. As I ponder this, I get overwhelmed. How will I ever teach our children all the things my parents taught me?! How will I raise children fit for this evil world? Will they be able to stay strong?

But then the still, small voice comes, “If you live in obedience, I will guide you and your children will learn all the things they need to know.” How precious!

“Oh God, let me never forget this wondrous truth!”

Sometimes I worry that I am not growing in the way that God would like me to. But again and again, He assures me that if I live in obedience, He will take me everywhere I need to be.

It seems to simple. Is that all I have to do? But then God calls me to obey in a certain particular and I say, “Not that, God. I don’t want to live in obedience here or there.” It calls for a surrender of the will, but when I say “Yes”, God stays true to His promises and my life is blessed because I am in the centre of His blessed will!

There is no possibility of questioning when God speaks if He speaks to His own nature in me; prompt obedience is the only result. When Jesus says — “Come,” I simply come; when He says — “Let go,” I let go; when He says — “Trust in God in this matter,” I do trust. The whole working out is the evidence that the nature of God is in me.

A Clean Slate

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It’s a law of nature. Our human nature is so pleased with something like a clean slate, and yet, there is an almost irresistible urge to write on it. Just look at what happens to big open walls or clean railroad cars. Even though the drawing that is done isn’t always the most neat and most beautiful thing, there is a gift and a unique sense of art about it. As as perfectionist, when I see a clean slate or an blank sheet of paper, I really want to fill it with something neat or beautiful. I am not an artist of any sort so this usually doesn’t work for me.

However, there is a really important slate that I work on every single day. Each morning, God gives it to me, clean and ready for use. It is totally up to me, how I choose to fill it. As a child, my parents impressed on me the importance of filling this slate well. Yes, we have the blood of Jesus that can clean our slate at any time during the day, but the day is so much better when we do our best to fill our slate well.

This concept is one that I rarely think about in detail, but it has become one of those principles by which I live my life. A while ago, however, it became more meaningful to me. As I mentioned before, I am a perfectionist. So when I mess up, I desperately want to start over. I don’t know how to work with a mess. When my daily slate gets dirty because of a decision I made, I really want it to be clean again so I can start over.

Here, I have a problem. It has caused me a lot of unnecessary heaviness and hardship. I realize, as Oswald Chambers says,

Beware of the pleasant view of the Fatherhood of God – God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That sentiment has no place whatever in the New Testament. The only ground on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ; to put forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy. The only ground on which God can forgive sin and reinstate us in His favour is through the Cross of Christ, and in no other way. Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony of Calvary. It is possible to take the forgiveness of sin, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and our sanctification with the simplicity of faith, and to forget at what enormous cost to God it was all made ours.

Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace; it cost God the Cross of Jesus Christ before He could forgive sin and remain a holy God. Never accept a view of the Fatherhood of God if it blots out the Atonement. The revelation of God is that He cannot forgive; He would contradict His nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God by the Atonement. God’s forgiveness is only natural in the super-natural domain.

  In an effort to understand this, and make it real in my life, I made a mistake. Instead of accepting my clean slate (even though it cost so much to cleanse it), I would reject it. I would tell God, by my actions, that, “God, this cost You too much. I can’t accept it. Because it is worth so much, I’ll just let you keep it because I feel too bad to accept this gift from You.” So I lived my day with a dirty slate. All of my failures from yesterday staring me in the face, causing me frequently to repeat them. My problems just got bigger and bigger and I spiralled deeper and deeper into depression. God was offering me forgiveness, but I was too proud. I rejected the clean slate that He offered again and again, choosing to live in my own misery.

Finally I realized a great truth. That clean slate would be there for me, whether I accepted it or not. If I didn’t use it, nobody else would. God had it there, just for me and my rejecting it was not holiness or righteousness, it was pride and even blasphemy! So I humbled myself and accepted that slate. The least I can do, but all that God wants of me, is to accept it with gratitude and fill it with one good thing at a time.

Compared with the miracle of the forgiveness of sin, the experience of sanctification is slight. Sanctification is simply the marvellous expression of the forgiveness of sins in a human life, but the thing that awakens the deepest well of gratitude in a human being is that God has forgiven sin. Paul never got away from this. When once you realise all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in a vice, constrained by the love of God.

  The next thing I realized, in thinking about a clean slate, is that God isn’t the only one who gives clean slates. I do too. Every time I forgive someone completely, I hand them a clean slate (in that area).
  This became very real to me in marriage. When Jon fails and asks my forgiveness, how am I forgiving him?  Do I say, “I forgive you” but if he fails again in that area, do I bring out the old slate that has all his past failures on it? Do I add up his transgressions? Or do I completely wash his slate so that, next time he asks my forgiveness, I only have one thing on there to clear away? This is how God treats me, should I not pass this on?
   This doesn’t just apply to Jon. How about my brothers and sisters in Christ? Do I forgive them completely or do I let the slate get dirty and dirtier? When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, Jesus answered in a way that didn’t give Peter any right to hold back forgiveness, complete forgiveness. The same applies to me.
  So let’s accept the forgiveness of God with grateful hearts, never forgetting how much it cost, and pass that forgiveness on to those around us.
P.S. I realize that forgiveness and reconciliation are very closely related. I did not touch on reconciliation here but that plays a big role on this topic. For a beautiful representation of “A Realistic Reconciliation”, follow this link. John D. Martin does a wonderful job of explaining it.

Being Broken

A little over a year ago, a glowing young woman was sitting at a ladies’ retreat. Her life was perfect! Within the last two years, she had gotten baptized, she had graduated, and now, she was newly married! She knew about hardships but they had never come very near her. But these facts actually made her slightly afraid.

You see, the woman sharing up front, her life had been the same way. It was perfect! God had been good to them and they were basking in His blessings, especially the blessing of their firstborn child. But then, hardships came their way. Their sweet little boy needed a heart transplant, he got cancer, their second daughter was born and also needed a heart transplant at a young age. They dealt with many hard, hard things.

Things that the young woman in the benches had never even come close to! But the similarities of the stories made her quite uneasy. Was her life going to be “flipped upside down too?”

How blessed she was that God didn’t show her what He was sending her way!

As you probably know, the “young woman” is yours truly, and the speaker is Cindy Mullet. She showed us an object lesson, and as object lessons often do, it stuck to me better than all the words she said!

First, she showed us a clean, perfect mirror. It didn’t have a single flaw. She likened this to her life before Austin got sick. As I looked, I realized that it was my life as well. My life was like that nice mirror.

But, as we know, God can’t use someone who isn’t broken. So she took a mirror, placed it in a bag to prevent glass from flying, and started hitting it. The glass started breaking and we cringed as we likened the hits to hard things in our life and the sound of shattering glass to the breaking of our hearts.

With the memory of the broken mirror still in our minds, she brought out a beautiful piece of art. No, it wasn’t a complete mirror. In fact, the new mirror’s beauty quickly dulled in comparison to this lovely work. It was all those broken pieces, put back together in the shape of a heart! All of a sudden, being broken looked slightly more appealing.

“If God can make something beautiful out of my brokenness, I want to be willing to be broken,” I thought.

God didn’t miss that. When He sees a willing heart, He uses it.

It wasn’t even half a year later that I saw my perfect mirror start to break. The rod of infertility hit me again and again till I started wondering how many pieces were left to break. I felt like my heart had been ground to a powder and there was absolutely nothing beautiful in that!

But God doesn’t break us just for the fun of breaking us. In fact, it hurts Him too and He would much rather not. But He can’t use us if we’re not broken so He chooses just the right hardships for us, not too big and not too small, and He asks us if we will be broken for Him.

Now I discovered a new part to the story the other night. After a rough day, Jon and I were cuddling before falling asleep and all of a sudden I felt it! I lay very still because I didn’t want it to end. I felt the healing touch of the Master through the warmth of Jon’s cuddles. And all of a sudden, I realized that, although God lets situations come our way to break us, He doesn’t just break us and then heal us. The healing starts in the midst of the brokenness. I could feel God starting to put the pieces back together and I could feel His love warming my heart!

I don’t know how long this journey will last but I do know that God is good in spite of it. This past weekend we got a blow that hurt more than anything had yet. Another pregnancy announcement from a couple that wasn’t expecting to have children yet. Since they are friends of ours, it was very hard to accept. The grief was so great that no words or tears could lessen it. We drove home in silence and tried to process, again, the mysterious ways of God.

I have been so blessed this week though. Again and again, again and again, God shows us that He loves us and that He will fulfill His promises. It was such a blessing to have sisters in Christ text encouragements because they feel for us. To hear this from my sister Imelda was a tear-jerker, “When I heard that they were expecting, I right aways thought of you and how you would handle it.” And to have her run out of the volleyball game she was playing to give me a hug soon after I found out meant so much! Thanks sis!!

And Utje! She was sitting there watching me respond and to hear her applaud my courage was such a strength. To have her care enough to ask how I was handling it and her promise to pray for us as we faced it in the evening meant more than words can express.

And my dear Mama. (Sorry, I just can’t get used to calling you “Mom” yet ;-)) She picked up the phone and called me Monday morning when I really wanted to talk to her but didn’t have the courage to call. She reminded me that God has a plan and that He is making a wonderful character out of us through this time. She encouraged me to keep pressing on and to keep turning to God, willing to learn the lessons He wants to teach! Thank you again, Mama!!

After seeing God’s goodness in those ways, it was easier to tell God again that “I trust You have a plan through all this”, “I know you are teaching us important lessons”, and “I believe that You will answer our prayers.”

P.S. Please join us in praying that our journey will end this month. Like I told some friends already, we would love a special reason to celebrate this holiday season ;-)!

A big THANK YOU to all who are praying for and encouraging us. Without brothers and sisters and family, we would be quite lost!

What Are You Feeding Yourself?

This past weekend was tough. Really tough. It wasn’t just the fact that it’s the time of the month when failure to conceive becomes the most real. It wasn’t just getting over the fact that Jon had been sick for two days and almost being tired of each other (Never dreamt I could spend too much time with the man I love ;-(.) It wasn’t just hormones making their ugly appearance. But all these things contributed to a feeling of failure and depression in both of us. “Why can’t we do anything right?”

Yesterday was our first Sunday as Junior Youth Leaders and it was their annual outing. They had asked Daddy to preach the message. The message was mostly questions relating to spiritual strength. “Are you strong spiritually?” and if not “What are you feeding yourself?”

“Do the things you’re feeding on make you spiritually strong?”

“Is the music you listen to upbuilding and nourishing, or is it making you weak?”

“What about the friends you have? Do they help you spiritually or do they tear you down?”

“The movies/videos you watch, what are they doing to your spiritual health?”

“Are you willing to say ‘No’ when you need to say ‘No’?”

These questions hit so close to home. We had been weak and we hadn’t known why. But the answer was so obvious! “When you don’t feed yourself, spiritually, how do you expect to be strong?” “And if you are feeding your flesh, how do you expect to conquer it?”

So I started this week with a vision to feed myself. To sift all my actions and thoughts through the sieve of whether or not it will feed me. And what a blessing! How simple! And how sweet!

I encourage you to consider the things you do and ask yourself what profit those things have in your life!

Learning to Surrender

Anger. Hurt. And the deepest frustration. I realize that being angry at God is not right, and yet, that is how I feel. Life is NOT going like I would like it too and since God is in control of it, I’m blaming Him. Now, even as I am writing, I know that by the time I’m done, I won’t be angry anymore. I just have to express myself because the pain is too great and too real to keep swallowing it.

Tonight was hard. Being unable to conceive makes all of life difficult but especially time spent with people. Because, in our circles, where there’s people, there’s families. And where there’s families, there’s babies. And where there’s babies, we hurt.

It was Grandpa’s birthday and it was a special evening. I was looking forward to being with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. But the little ones sitting on laps and the two swollen bellies where unavoidable. I couldn’t help but notice the daddies that held babies instead of getting food with the rest of the men. I couldn’t help imagine how wonderful it would be if Jon had a sleeping baby to hold like my uncle does.

But what hurts the most is that, that’s normal life for them. And I’m supposed to sit there like everything is perfect and I’m happy, when deep inside, I don’t even want to put a smile on my face. And nobody seems to notice. I wondered today if anyone ever asks my mom why we don’t have children yet. I wonder if the people at church just take for granted that we’re happy the way we are. I wonder if anyone notices the pain.

I feel like something’s wrong with me that I want to be a Mama so bad. I feel the scorn of “You’ve only been trying a year?? What are you worried about? Give it some time.” And the only advice I ever hear, “Just forget about it, then it’ll happen.”

“You said what??!!?? Forget about it?? Forget about the thing that is so near and dear to my heart?! Forget about my deepest desire, my obsession?? Let me ask you, ‘Have you ever forgotten about your obsession before it was fulfilled? Can you tell me how it’s done?'”

Forgive my brutality. I guess tonight it just hit me again and I feel like I absolutely can NOT go on like this! I am so ready to move on to a different set of problems. My problems never change and they never get solved. I just can’t stand it anymore! And please, if you’ve never dealt with infertility before, don’t judge me too harshly. I know very well that my attitude is wrong and that I desperately need to change. (And as a side note, my “pre-ttc self” would never have understood this post. I would probably have judged myself quite harshly so I will try my best to forgive you.)

Back to “forgetting about it”. That is actually what I wish the most I could do right now. I wish I could be free from this constant unfulfilled desire. I thought the only way to forget about this desire, would be to have it fulfilled. I realize though, that in God’s kingdom, this probably works otherwise. Now I believe that God could easily get rid of my desire by fulfilling it. It would be no big deal to Him either. But for some reason, He chooses to continue to let us go through this trial. I’ve pleaded and prayed to know what I’m supposed to be learning through this period of infertility but I haven’t really gotten an answer. I know God needs broken vessels and people completely devoted to Himself.

I’ve definitely gotten a lot more familiar with being broken lately but am I completely devoted to God? The simple answer is “No.” My first desire right now, the desire that takes up all my spare time and energy and is constantly on my mind is, unfortunately, not God Himself. It’s my desire to be a parent.

Now you might not respect me very much after I say that and to be honest, I don’t respect myself either. But, it’s true. I’ve found it so again and again. Yes, I do desire a better relationship with God. Of course I do. But do I want that as much as I want to bear a child? I wish I could say “Yes”.

I know what it’s like to have a “Vision that cannot be dimmed, a passion that cannot be quenched, a destination that will not be abandoned” (quote from “Love with Shoes On” by Darrel Champlain). But that desire is not where it should be. Oh, how I wish it was! How I wish that I could be so on fire for the Lord! But there is something in the way and I’ve basically told God that if He would take away my “thorn in the flesh”, I would focus my passions on Him. But God is a jealous God. He wants my passion now, not later! He wants all of me, not just the part that’s left over after I’ve wished and dreamed and planned for my little baby.

After I think about those things, I realize that I don’t even deserve to become a parent. God doesn’t owe it to me. I have way too much to learn first!

Now do I think that you have to be perfect to be a parent? Of course not! But I feel like God is using our inability to conceive childrent to teach us some valuable lessons. Now I wish that He would have found a different way to teach us, but this must have been the best way and I will not wish for someone else’s cross!

So now I’ve come to the point that has flustered me till now. In order to serve God fully and whole-heartedly, I will have to give up this desire. That part doesn’t seem so complicated. However, Who do we believe gave, both Jon and me, the desire to become parents? There is no other answer than God Himself! Who gave us a miraculous promise that we would become parents? God. Who continues to give us promises in His Word when we ask? God.

That is what I don’t understand. Just the other day, a well-meaning friend told me again that we should just not try anymore and then it would happen. I received the advice for how she meant it but inside, my reason was asking, “How do you quit trying when you have such a clear promise that it will happen?” I guess I just answered my own question. If God has said that He will do it, why am I worried about it? Why don’t I just leave it in His hands and trust Him to do what He said He would do? And if He doesn’t do it in my time, I need to still keep trusting that God is changeless and that to Him, time doesn’t matter.

So I ask for your prayers. This is not a “give-it-up-once-and-done” thing. This a constant “laying on the altar”. I wish it could be done once and for all but for now, I will choose to surrender every time the desire is awakened. Whether it be by the families around me, the baby section in the stores I visit, the baby product advertisements on my phone, or my “Momma-bear-heart”. And I will “Seek first the kingdom of God.” Not for the “things that will be added” but for the sake of serving God. I need your prayers for this though. I have tried to do this too long in my own strength and I know I need to go in God’s strength, through your prayers.

P.S. To those of you who have come alongside us, a big thank you!! You don’t know how much it means and how emotional it makes me every time someone promises to pray for us and our little miracle <3. Thank you also for lending a listening ear and for sharing encouragement as you could. We do not take that for granted. You are proof that someone does care and we appreciate that a lot!

P.P.S To those of you struggling with infertility, my heart goes out to you. Infertility is only understood by those who go through it. Or maybe it’s some other sort of pain that you feel similarly about? I hope this post can somehow be an encouragement to you to leave all things in God’s capable hands.

2 Years, 2 Completely Opposite Emotions

September 6

Two years ago today, I couldn’t go to sleep for excitement! You see, the Love of my Life had asked me that day, to be his “Special Friend”. And boy, did I feel “Special”!!!

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Never having considered myself extraordinary, especially in beauty or opinions with guys, I was shocked to find out that Jon liked me! But, on September 6, 2015, he was at my door with flowers, and, a couple hours later, the request to begin a courtship!

And what an adventurous two years it has been! First, 6 months of courting. Then 3 months of engagement! And now, a year and almost 3 months of marriage! I wouldn’t trade it for anything! Like I mentioned in a previous post, our first year of marriage hasn’t been easy, but it’s totally been worth it!

Now to September 6, 2017. I can’t sleep again. But for a very different reason. Instead of joy, excitement, and wonder, my heart is filled with some very opposite, but still strong, emotions. Tonight, it’s an empty hole. And the hole is extremely empty. It’s so empty, it’s causing pain. This emptiness is so strong that I feel like I’m going to go crazy if it doesn’t get filled!

It goes without saying that this hole is caused by infertility. Who knew that something so empty could hurt so bad? And who knew that something as innocent as a maternity outfit or a carseat, could make this hurt even worse? Every little baby causes me pain. Life isn’t meant to be this way. God created babies to bring joy! But every time I think about the meal I need to prepare for my friend who just became a mama, the hurt rears its ugly head. (If you’re reading this Tina, I am not saying this against you. We are honestly rejoicing with you and I gladly prepare a meal for you!) And every time I see a mother with a newborn, it makes me want to cry.

I don’t want to be this way! I want to full-heartedly congratulate the new moms and the mothers-to-be. I want to rejoice with those that rejoice! But, unless I can completely forget about myself, I cannot do it!

Sometimes, I wish that, if I can’t be a mama anyway, God would just take away the desire. But instead of going away, this desire only gets bigger. And instead of shrinking when it’s dashed, my hope only grows stronger!

I realize that this is something I need to totally leave in God’s hands. But when the desire is so strong and you’ve been thinking of it, almost constantly, for so long, surrendering is far easier said than done!

I came across Michaela and Brandon’s Blog today because my sister mentioned that they were struggling with infertility as well. In reading the 300+ comments in response to their post about their infertility, I came across this poem that someone shared.

As children bring their broken toys, with tears, for us to mend
I brought my broken dreams to God because He was my friend
But then, instead of leaving Him, in peace, to work alone
I hung around and tried to help, with ways that were my own
At last, I snatched them back and cried “How can you be so slow?”
“My child,” he said “what could I do? You never did let go.”

This really hit close to home! I need to completely leave it in God’s Hands. And then there were all the stories of people who couldn’t conceive until they gave up.

“Dear Heavenly Father, I trust that You have a perfect plan and that You don’t do anything without a reason. Please, help me to surrender all into Your capable hands. And leave it there! Help me to be submissive to Your plan for my life. I know You are using this circumstance to mold me more into Your likeness and I praise You for that. I thank You also that You understand. You know exactly how I feel, even if no one else does. But yet, there are so many that do, and I pray for them. Help them to let their infertility draw them closer to You and accomplish the cause for which You sent it into their lives. Help me, personally, to not live in depression and sadness, but rather to focus on the positive and live in gratefulness and joy. I do praise You for all that you have done in our lives this far, and I look forward to all You will do!

In Jesus’ precious name, with thanksgiving, Amen.”

God Is Still at Work!

My first post on my new blog! It’s definitely exciting but a little bit overwhelming. I’m writing something that (very likely) a lot of people will be reading, not a private letter to God in my journal. And yet, I’m excited about it because I feel the need to share this. God tells us to tell other what He has done for us and that is what I am about to do.

Anyone who is married knows that, the first year of marriage is not necessarily a fairy tale. In fact, a lot would attest to the fact that it is far from it. Marriage is definitely beautiful and wonderful, but our first year has probably been the hardest year in my life so far. I don’t say that in bitterness or unhappiness, but rather in gratefulness. Because, learning important lessons is not usually easy, and that is what has been happening. God has been trying to teach us things that we really needed to learn and I am grateful for that.

There is one thing that was very, very hard for me to learn.

Let’s go back a few years. I got baptized when I was 18. That was not something that I had planned. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be a Christian at a young age and I wanted to be baptized as soon as I could. However, I did not have the assurance of salvation till I was in my mid teens and right during that time, we didn’t have a home church where I could get baptized. The reason it took me so long to get assurance of salvation is another thing that baffles me. I wanted so badly to do God’s will! But it took till I was around 15 when I finally accepted the fact that every salvation experience is different. And just because I had never seen myself as a horrible, wretched person, He was still working in my life and I could be confident in that, as long as I lived in obedience. I got baptized, knowing I was at peace with my Lord and that He was working in my life.

Thursday night, God took me to another level in this salvation experience. Actually, He’s been trying to get me there for a very long time, but it took till last night to get me there. I was trying to go to sleep but the problems in my life were frustrating me too much. The biggest one was a lack of respect for Jon. I was upset at him for not being a better spiritual leader and was blaming him for my poor relationship with God. Yes, I read my Bible every day and tried praying, but for the past year+, I hadn’t truly had peace. I would get it in a measure, but it would disappear right away. I didn’t have joy either and was utterly exhausted because of all the things I was trying to do, to get that joy. Sometimes I tried to get it from Jon, which obviously didn’t work, so I’d get upset at him. Then I’d try getting it from a satisfaction of all the things I could get done in a day. But that left me exhausted and empty too. I didn’t let myself try sin (like really bad stuff) because I was a ‘good girl’. I would try disciplining myself, thinking that that would maybe fulfill my emptiness, but without God, that was empty too. I thought, maybe, if I could be a mama, that would make me happy. But after trying for a year, we still weren’t pregnant. In the midst of all this, I was hopelessly addicted to YouTube. I would pray and plead for victory, but it always came back. The quote “A man’s real character is shown by what he does when no one else is watching” was very troubling to me. I spent a lot of time alone and a big part of that time was wasted on this stupid thing called YouTube. I just couldn’t overcome it! I felt so bad about it, that, even though I prayed for forgiveness, I never accepted it and now, I was carrying around this huge load of guilt and sin.

Early Thursday morning, I realized, I was scared of Jesus’ return. We had an extremely loud thunderstorm and the thought came to me that Jesus might be coming back. I was so scared! But I went through the day, avoiding deep thoughts as much as I could.

After awhile of thinking about my frustrations in bed, I started sobbing because it all seemed so useless. Why would I even live? Jon woke up and asked me what was wrong and I started pouring out my troubles. I felt so useless. I was nothing. I wasn’t worthy of God’s or Jon’s love. I was so depressed, I didn’t feel like living. And then I blurted it out, “I wish I could just become a new person.” The guilt and the shame, the lack of joy and peace, the lack of security in my identity in Christ, it was just too much.

“You can”, Jon replied. And I realized the moment might be here. For years, I had prayed that God would show me my need of Him. That I would see my goodness in Him alone and not in my own righteousness. Now, with Jon tightly holding me, I realized that I was finally to the place where I had prayed for so long to be. I saw my righteousness as filthy rags and I saw myself for the selfish, sinful, human being that I really was.

Finally I asked Jon if we could pray together. He asked if I would pray first and, although I could hardly get myself to get started, I finally did. I told God who I saw myself as and that I didn’t deserve His love or His forgiveness. But because He wanted me to have it anyway, I was going to accept it by faith. I wasn’t going to try living on my own anymore but I wanted to live by His strength and His grace. I wanted my identity to be in Him and not in all these other vain things. I wanted to live in victory over sin and not drag it around anymore.

Oh, the peace that flooded my soul! I finally had an open heaven! It was clear! I had joy and I could see how good God was. I could feel that He loved me and when the thought came to me that He loves me more than Jon does, it was so amazing. Because, Jon loves me so much! He’s born with my getting upset at him again and again and he’s always fully forgiven me. He’s assured me that he loved me even when I did something so wrong. And he did his best to make me feel loved when I was depressed and not at peace. He’s definitely been my rock and I couldn’t imagine love greater. But yet there is!

I felt ashamed for all the times I had blamed Jon when it was really my own fault. And I felt bad for all that God had to take me through to get me to this point. The thing that I think God used the most to break me, was infertility and that, Jon suffers for just as much as I do,  sometimes even more. Here I thought that God was taking us on this journey to teach Jon a lesson. How twisted my thinking was! True, I think God is teaching us both, but He really wanted to break me! Why did it take me so long to figure this out?

But I praise the Lord that even though it took me so long, yet He didn’t give up on me and He kept working in my life. He deserves all the honour, glory, and undivided service!

P.S. I don’t mean to confuse anyone or make you feel like your salvation experience isn’t real. Or maybe you think mine wasn’t real? Let me assure you, I don’t understand it all myself and I’ve come to believe even more that God’s ways are beyond our understanding.