Sunday, November 17, 2013

Here I Sit: My Prayer Through IVF, OHSS, & Unexpected Delays

Father, I come to you today because my heart is hurting so very much.  This week has been one of the hardest weeks of our lives.  There was joy, triumph, humility, failure, struggle and most of all, a lack of understanding. 

Today was supposed to be the day that we were going to have our first transfer.  I thought it was going to be the beginning of an amazing journey, a new journey, a happy journey.  Instead, this morning I sit here crying and pouring out my heart because I can’t understand.  We were so ready.  Our hearts are so ready.  We want to honor you and trust you; we’ve told you our kids are yours and not ours.  We know that this is about something bigger than ourselves and we thought that finally it was going to come to fruition. 

Instead, we had a successful retrieval and then a visit to the ER, an emergency procedure to calm my body down and found out we had to cancel our transfer. 

Father, I sit here hurt and confused.  I sit here not totally excited to talk to you about this and I admit that I am bitter.  Regardless, if I say that we will honor you, trust you and choose to serve you with our children then I need to do so in my actions and words now.  So here I sit.  I sit humbled, I sit sad, I sit confused, I sit hurting, I sit broken down, but I sit here a sinner in grace, in mercy, in hope.  I have fallen and feel knocked down at your feet but at your feet I will stay. 

Lord, I know that there is a reason for this delay.  I know that there is a reason my body was not ready to take a pregnancy and I know there is a reason you kept our embryos safe outside of my body to develop.  I don’t understand your reasoning or your timing but I also don’t know everything else going on behind the scenes for us.  I don’t see the things you are protecting us from but I know you work for our good and for our family’s good. 

So here I remain, at your feet.  I sit here and ask that you forgive me for my bitterness as I work through this and I don’t pray for understanding but instead I pray for a greater trust in Your plan for our lives.  I choose to praise you in this sadness and I choose to glorify your mysterious works at all times, even when it feels almost impossible.   I trust that you will heal my body completely.  I trust that you will prepare a safe place for our “someday baby” in my body.  Lord, I know you are in this and I pray that Jake and I reflect your faithfulness, your character and your presence in our lives even when it is the hardest.  Forgive me today for my disappointment but create in me a new heart and renew a right spirit within me.  

Give us strength, give us courage, give us hope.  Thank you for these circumstances for in them we are refined and made more like you.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No Guarantees

I've realized that so many things in my life lack a guarantee.  My eyes have been opened to so much in the recent weeks that I feel led to share this somewhat somber post. 

The Devil does such a good job of making us think that we are in control of our lives!  He makes us think that if we get a degree and go to school then we are guaranteed a job.  He makes us think that if we wear the right clothes and say the right things, people will like us. He makes us think that if we work hard and show up to work every day we will always have a job and a paycheck.  He makes us think that as long as we have money in the bank, we are financially secure and nothing can touch our livelihood.  He makes us think that if we love each other enough, spend enough time with each other, go on enough dates, have nice things and do fun things, our marriages will be untouchable.  He makes us think that if we eat right and exercise, we are going to have control over our lives/lifespan.  He makes Jake and I think that as long as we put our hope in doctors and medicine, God and faith have no place in our pregnancy. 

How many students have bachelors degrees and masters degrees and are looking for work?  How many men and women try their hardest to conform to the ways of this world, yet still feel alone?  How many people worked hard and showed up to work everyday for 30 years to find a pink slip in the mailbox one day and their severance packages dissolved?  How many people have savings in the bank only to find out after a bad medical diagnosis or a crisis that it wasn't enough?  How many marriages start out with the best intentions and seem so happy only to be ripped apart by divorce and infidelity?  How many healthy and active people treat themselves and their bodies right, only to find out they are another victim of cancer?  How many doctors have we visited and how many treatments have we tried yet we still aren't pregnant?

None of the things above come with a guarantee.  None of the things above are promised to us.  I once heard someone say, "On any given day, your boss owes you nothing more than a paycheck.  Regardless of how good of an employee or person you are, at the end of the day all they owe you is a paycheck for the hours you worked." 

Also, people spend hours reading countless articles about marriage and keeping the love alive only to see the bottom of the page filled with comments from people who say, "I tried this and my marriage still failed...  I stayed in great shape and my husband or wife still cheated on me...  This is a lie, the love never stays alive..."

So much money gets spent on gym memberships and healthy foods and yet, people still die at a young age, or have heart attacks because of their genetics or get diagnosed with cancer.

Satan fools us by giving us a false sense of control.  

Possibly the biggest trick that Satan has is that he makes us think that as long as we show up to church on holidays or even once a week and do the song and dance, we will go to Heaven.   He makes you think that doing good things and treating people right will get you to that happy place above.  Why should you need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in order to go to heaven?  Why should you SERVE someone in order to live a happy life?

I say all of this not to condemn anyone but to challenge people.  Just as I am being challenged right now because I have been tricked by all of these lies and recently my EYES have been opened to the fact that I was BELIEVING so many of these lies.  I realize that the only guarantee that I have in my life is my Savior.  I am guaranteed by asking God into my heart and asking Him to guide and lead my life, that my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  I am not guaranteed that I will always have a job but I am guaranteed that no matter what circumstances I face, whether they are financial, physical, or emotional, He is with me.  My marriage is not guaranteed to be perfect but as long as Jake and I put Christ first, we will have something bigger and stronger than ourselves guiding us.  Our treatments are not guaranteed to get us pregnant but we know that God will lead us down whatever path we are supposed to walk once they are no longer an option. 

God guarantees us one thing in life: His love.  Please remember that the next time you want to complain about something not going your way.  You have not been guaranteed any of these things so instead of being upset, focus on the best and most important guarantee you'll ever get in your life - God loves you and if you submit to His will and His plan for your life, you will spend eternity in Heaven! Where none of this other stuff will matter anyways! Can I get an amen to that?! 

Initial shock: Made Wrong

This week has not been a good week.  On Wednesday I felt down and defeated and throughout the rest of the week that feeling just continued.  My weekend was a great reminder of what wonderful friends I have but it was spent away from my husband.

On Sunday, I picked up Jake from the city and we headed out to the suburbs to relax and spend time with my parents.  We were staying the night at their house because we had two doctor's appointments the next day.  One because I needed to get a booster of the MMR vaccine and the second appointment was for my hystersalpingogram.

I had outgrown my two MMR vaccines from childhood.  I've learned that this isn't as uncommon as I thought but it means that any potential treatments have to be pushed back by a whole month because it is a live vaccine. If we were to conceive in this month the baby could be at risk for miscarriage or birth defects.

The hysterosalpingogram is a test to tell whether or not your tubes are blocked.  It is an invasive test and uncomfortable.   During the test they discovered that my right tube appears to be blocked.

When we left the appointment I asked the nurse what the next step would be and she said to set up an appointment with the doctor.  The next appointment wasn't available for two weeks but we went ahead and made it.

Keep in mind that it has been over two weeks since Jake gave his semen analysis, we have not received any results from that, and our first appointment was on May 6th.  My body simply refuses to get on board with this whole baby idea.  It feels like it has been a long time and we still haven't gotten anywhere....until yesterday.

After hearing that one of my tubes was blocked I felt like I had gotten punched in the gut.  All this time I was waiting for an answer or for the doctors to "figure something out" and once I got an answer it knocked the wind out of me.  All of those negative emotions just boiled over again and I wanted to cry.  Knowing that I have one tube blocked limits our options. 

Like I said, I had finally gotten an answer but this time I didn't hear, "your right tube is blocked" I heard, "It's all your fault, again, you and your husband are having a hard time having a baby because there is SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU."

I was hurt. I was sad. I didn't know what to say.  I felt guilty.  I was discouraged.

Then one day I heard this incredible line, which you've seen throughout other posts.  We chose marriage over parenthood.  Jake chose me before we knew there were any issues.  He chose to do life with me before the thought of kids even entered our mind and he reminds me of that all the time.

Another reminder I got was that not only has Jake chosen me, more importantly God has chosen me.  He has pursued me and created me to be His child.  He has chosen me to be a part of His greater purpose on earth.  I may not always know why God picked me to experience these things but I do know he chose me and created me whatever way He wanted to.  He was gracious and gave Jake and I one another to experience this life with and He has blessed us beyond measure.  No matter what medicine said or anatomy said, I was chosen for a purpose and there is nothing wrong with me.

Remember that God created you and He has chosen you.  He has chosen you to glorify Him.  He has chosen to show you mercy and grace even when you can't sense it.  He chose to create you exactly how you are.  Choose to honor Him with that.  

Treading Water

Have you ever felt so overwhelmed by life in general that you feel like you are treading water?  No matter what you do you can't seem to get to the shore or get a good stroke in for a strong swim.  Everything seems close yet so far away and it is all you can do just to doggy paddle right where you are and keep your head above the water.

After our second IUI attempt failed, Jake and I made the decision to proceed with my surgery.  After the news that our IUI failed and before the surgery we had about a month of wait time.  It was during this time that I started to feel like I was sinking.  So many people kept telling me how great it will be once I have the surgery because I will get answers and know exactly what is going on.  While I wholeheartedly agreed with these statements, the thought of getting answers absolutely TERRIFIED me.  Every step that we have gone through in this process, each answer I have received, has been harder than the next.  When you going through infertility you realize that while you would love to always be optimistic and be a half glass full type of person, you also have to think about the glass being half empty.  So while we want to get excited each time we do a procedure and be hopeful, we are always cautious about keeping our emotions in check because we know that we may hear, "I'm sorry but not this time," or, "it didn't work out this time," or "the test came back negative, you are not pregnant. What would you like to do next?"  20 times we have gotten glass is half empty or entirely empty answers.

All this time the doctors have always said you may have a blocked tube, that may be the reason you aren't getting pregnant but we won't know for sure unless we do surgery.  Once we do surgery then we will know exactly what is going on and be able to give you a firm diagnosis and plan going forward.  If it is something we can fix, we will, if not, we will let you know and look at other options.

"Other options."  Two words that haunted me for an entire month.  All I could think about before this surgery was this is it.  THIS is when we will find out if I am able to have a child or not.  THIS is when we will hear if it is something they can fix or not.  THIS is when the doctors will really know what we are dealing with or are up against.  I was preparing for the worst.  The results of this test were going to affect the rest of my life.  My entire future.  I was dreading hearing that the doctors couldn't fix it and I wouldn't be able to have my own children.  The mere thought of this kept sucking me under and God had to keep pulling me back up. 

I realized during all of this that treading water isn't a bad thing.  You work your darndest to keep your head up and sometimes you succeed while other times you dip under for a little bit.  I got to the point before hearing my results that I said I am giving up on treading water.  I can't do this anymore and that is when it happened.  That is when my friend said to me, "Dana, you always tell me to be still.  Do I need to be telling you that right now?"  And IT HIT ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS!  I didn't need to be treading water, I didn't need to be carrying any of this weight because God would carry it for me.  Right there!  Right in that moment when my friend used my own go-to line against me, I realized God was speaking to me.  He can calm the seas, He can walk on water, and He can meet me in my needs.  I just needed to be still (in the water) and He would be there to catch me and help me float. 

At the end of the surgery I was told it is not something that could be "fixed" but it is something we could "work with."  First of all - God has a funny sense of humor in showing me that HE MADE ME, He created me exactly how he wanted me and it wasn't going to be something that needed to be fixed.  Second, He brought us to another step but this time the answers still gave us hope.  

Wherever you may be today, I pray that you just stop.  Stop treading water.  Stop trying to keep your head above it and let yourself be still.  See what God does to the rough waters then.  See Him walk on the water to reach you.  See Him calm your storm and give you peace in being still during your present circumstances. 

Isaiah 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fires you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

2 Samuel 22:17 He sent me from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Each month, after we find out that we are not pregnant, we have a bit of a ritual.  We keep ourselves busy and distracted for three whole days.  We “relax” and take a break from thinking about treatments, shots, medicine, doctor’s appointments and hormones.  During these three days I allow myself to eat what I want and drink what I want and not adhere to my strict fertility diet.

Also, admittedly during this three-day period, I try to avoid any and all conversations with those that are close to me.  I tend to (or purposely) avoid people who have kids, are pregnant or have babies.  I put myself in a “baby-free” bubble and the only way I get out of it is by force or by choice.  Life almost feels “normal.”

Then comes day four.  At this point we either have to begin our next treatment or make a decision as to what our next step will be.  We talk with the nurses and the doctors, get their advice and then pray.  This month, Day. Four. Was. Tough.

Depending on my mood, any one of my close friends or family could get a day four call or text message indicating my lack of hope at the moment and this time, it was my older sister. 

For a little background, my sister has two beautiful children, a son in the thick of potty training and a two-month-old baby girl.  As you can imagine, she has a lot going on but she always makes time for her baby sister.  She is a loving wife, amazing mom and the best friend anyone could ask for.  She knows quite a few people who are walking through some pretty deep valleys in their lives so when I talk to her, I am always provided great perspective. 

Because of the fact that she has so many friends going through so many things, I hate to “complain” about my circumstances.  You see, I am one of those people who rates struggles.  I put things on a scale and try to gauge what everyone must be going through.  Most of the time, I think that other peoples’ battles are a lot harder than mine and I mentioned this to Jess.  I told her that I feel guilty being sad or disappointed because my battle can’t be nearly as hard as theirs. 

Her response to that statement has been on my heart for a week now and I asked her if she would allow me to share it with all of you.  She said, “Dane, there are things that happen in everyones life that are not anticipated.  Things that we wouldn’t have “planned” or asked for ourselves.  Nonetheless, they happen.  It is through these unexpected events that God shows us that His plan is so much better than our own.  It is through these things that God gives us our platform.  Some people who have gone through infertility don’t share their story; they go through it but it’s not their platform.  This struggle is your platform.”

The platform concept is what hit me the hardest.  I realize that while I sometimes think that one struggle outweighs another, the people going through that other thing may not be called to use it as their way to reach others.  God may have a different platform in mind for them.  As for me, I know that God has laid it upon my heart to share our story in hopes that we will someday be able to help others who walk through infertility.  Just like He has called people who have survived cancer to bring awareness to others.  Or, the way he calls former alcoholics to sponsor those that need help.  Or, the way He calls on a mom whose kids have had behavioral problems in the past to be there for a young mom experiencing the same thing.  The examples are endless. 

It is through that conversation with my sister that God gave me a glimpse of groundwork that He is laying in our life and that is why I share my sister’s wisdom with you. 

The Holy Spirit wants someone else to hear this and know that their struggle is not for nothing but rather it is a platform in which to glorify God in the hard times.  You may not think that your problems are as hard as someone else’s but your actions as a result of those problems could have eternal impacts.  

What is your struggle?  More importantly, what is your platform?

I Peter 3:15
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 

James 1:2-8
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. ...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Don't Discount Your Testimony

I remember sitting at the dining room table with my grandma two years ago on Thanksgiving talking about a Women's conference I had just been to in the Quad Cities.  I talked about the speakers and their excitement and zest for the Lord even after everything they had been through.  Their testimonies were so powerful.  I distinctly remember thinking after that conference, and sharing at that Thanksgiving table with my grandma, that I just hadn't had the struggle that these women have had.  How will I ever have a profound impact on the world if I've never truly had to struggle and wrestle with my faith?  Why would anyone want to hear my story? Its so basic and boring.

My grandma is one of the most wise women I know.  She exudes joy in every circumstance and glorifies God with everything she does.  Her response to my "complaint" was, "Mi hija, some people don't go through that dessert.  Some people are just there to be strong enough for those that struggle.  If you haven't struggled through that, there is still so much power in being strong and supporting someone during their difficulties.  You don't have to be the one going through the dessert, you just have to commit to being strong for those that need it."

She referenced the story of Moses in Exodus 17:12:

When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset.

Sometimes you are Aaron and Hur, but sometimes you are Moses.  

I soon realized, I'm not Aaron or Hur in this story and my complaint about not having a story would change right before my eyes.  A month and a half after that conversation at Thanksgiving, Jake and I decided we wanted to start trying to have kids, and that is when our story began.  Twenty months later, we are still trying for those kids.  Throughout these twenty months God has broken me down to (what feels like) the very core of my being.  Twenty times I have hoped, twenty times I have been disappointed.  Twenty times I have believed, twenty times I have been told "not now."  Twenty times I thought I was ready, twenty times I realized I was not.  Twenty times I have fought with God about His plan, twenty times He has shown me it is better than mine.  Twenty times I have argued and complained to Him out of anger, twenty times He continued to pursue me, love me, and encourage me.

I have no idea how long it will be until we discover God's plan for our family but I do know that we have gone through a lot.  I have had that hurt, that pain, and that brokenness that those women conveyed during their speeches but I don't know how much deeper God will bring us into this.  I am working on getting to the point of that joy and conditioning myself for that zest for Christ, while doing my best to be humble and genuine about my emotions.  I'm walking through the dessert of infertility without an end in sight right now.  

I share this to say that you should never discount your testimony.  Wherever you are at, God is at work in you.  If He isn't, that is because you aren't allowing Him to be.  Be open to His plan for you but be present in your current moments. 

A friend of mine recently said that she has never really had that serious struggle with her faith.  My immediate response was, "Be careful what you wish for.  That is exactly what I said the month before we started trying to have kids and here we are.  Trust in God's development of your testimony and don't overlook the work God is doing in your heart right now."

Know this, God will break you, tear you apart, and put you through the fire, if that is what He needs for your life.  You will feel heartache, disappointment and frustration but He will comfort you, surprise you, and bring back hope when you least expect it.  At the end of the day, God will create a more beautiful work of art from that brokenness than you could ever imagine.  Today you have no idea how your response to your struggle can impact those around you.  Christians are watched every day.  Just like Potiphar's wife wanted Joseph to cave to sin and Job's wife wanted him to rebuke God, there are people that want to see hard times tear you down. 

I don't know what the end of our story is but I do know that I am being refined for a greater purpose, my actions are speaking to others whether I realize it or not and my faith is growing exponentially.  I choose to trust in God's plan and I choose to let Him break me so that I can become a new creation because those that are special in my life and my someday baby deserve the best version of me possible through the grace of God.

"Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.  For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal." Job 5:17-18

"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Hedge of Protection

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During a conversation with my mom tonight we were talking about spiritual warfare and feeling the spiritual battles raging around us.  I mentioned that I can feel a fierce battle surrounding Jake and I right now that I know the devil is not going to be quick to surrender on.  Her response was, “Dane, you are surrounded by such a hedge of prayer warriors that even in the times that you feel too weak to battle, we will carry you, or drag you if we have to, across that finish line.” 

This got me to thinking about how thankful I am for our “hedge.” Our hedge is full of seasoned and not-so-seasoned believers who believe not only in us but most importantly in the amazing God that we serve. Our hedge is full of people who are strong when we are weak, hopeful when we are hopeless and faithful when we are not so faltering. These are the people who are walking through the very depths of this hurt with us and keeping the hope when we don’t have any.  These people are in our hedge out of their own volition; because they care so much it makes our hedge that much more meaningful. These are the most important people in our lives. They love us as Christ loves us; they love selflessly and without boundaries. They are our stronghold.

I am so grateful for these people in my life and I am so sorry if I do not recognize you or thank you enough for the roles you play in our lives and in our marriage.  Thank you for being our hedge.  Thank you for being our warriors, thank you for being our hope when we need it most.

Who are the people in your hedge?  Do they battle for you as Christ does?  Do they support you selflessly and love you without limits?  If you have these people in your life, thank them for playing the role they do.  Thank them for their support and love. 

Lastly, be someone else’s hedge.  Be willing to do life with them.  Be open to their hurts, their hearts and their happiness.  Be there.  You never know how much it will mean to them or just how much they count on you. 

Romans 12:9-10

Don’t just pretend to love others.  Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

I Thessalonians 5:14

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Loving Unconditionally

I Corinthians 13: 4-8
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails. 

On May 6th, we began meeting with a fertility specialist.  Through a series of tests we have figured out that everything on Jake's end is good, praise God! We also found out that there may be more strikes against me than we originally thought.  While initially that was a blow to my ego and my pride, I realize that I have been battling Satan against feeling inadequate for a year and a half now, I can handle a couple more strikes.  I know that regardless of my reproductive "flaws" I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I hold onto that truth and I believe it in my heart.  

Last month we decided to pursue our first treatment called an IUI.  Last night, after a long month of blood tests, hormones, ultrasounds and shots, we found out that the IUI did not work.  Our doctor warned us that he thinks my right tube is blocked and we knew this going into the treatment.  After taking the hormones my nurse told us that the dominant egg was on the right side of my uterus.  We knew going in that if I do in fact have a blocked tube, this egg will not be released.  As such, there was a reality that both of us were facing during our two week wait that this may not work.  While neither of us thought "it" would happen this time because of the tube situation, because we believe God is our healer and the doer of miracles, we had hope that it might work anyways.  

We took the news pretty well, better than I thought we would.  I took it much better than I personally thought I would.  On Sunday our pastor did a sermon on taking things one day at a time and quoted Matthew 6:34  34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  This brought both of us peace and really took away any anxiety or worry we were harboring about receiving the test results the next day.  

Regardless of this peace, when we heard the news I began to feel numb.  So many thoughts ran through my head like: How old will we actually be once we have kids?  How many tries is this going to take?  Will we get pregnant naturally or do we need to start looking into adoption?  What if we are one of those couples that just can't have kids?  Does my husband blame me?  God, why are you making us wait so long?  Are you going to bring us through deeper heartache than what we've already gone through?  Can I really submit all of this to the Lord?  How much is it going to take to "build" this testimony?  What if all my friends get pregnant before I do?  How will I handle all of that?  

I realize that each of those questions are situational.  They all reflected how I was feeling.  None of them were said in a submissive posture but rather a proud posture, an angry posture, a selfish posture.
We always hear I Corinthians 13:4-8 said at weddings and we quote it often referencing love in our earthly relationships.  However, for the very first time in my life, I looked at in terms of my love for God.  Is my love for Him patient? Kind? Proud? Self-seeking?  Easily angered?  Am I keeping a record of wrongs?  Do I always hope? Trust? Persevere?  

I write this morning to confess that I do not love God the way I should.  I have failed to love him in the way that He calls me to.  So often I reference that verse in the way I am loving my husband and how I am treating him, but I now realize that that needs to be the standard of my most important relationship, my relationship with Jesus Christ.  

People always ask me "how do you know you are ready for kids?", and my response is that I don't.  We won't know we are ready for kids until we get pregnant.  When God blesses us with a baby, then I will know He thinks we are ready.  Until He decides to trust me with one of His children, I need to work on preparing my heart and my faith.  This is not my choice.  It is not my time.  

Nonetheless, as of this morning, because I want to love God the way He calls me to love I will hope, I will trust, and I will persevere.    I will not be angered, and I will try my hardest not to be self-seeking.  I will not chalk up this failed IUI as a negative point for God.  I will do my best not to envy others whom God decides are ready for kids but rather I will be kind, I will be humbled and I will know and believe that God's love never fails.  

And finally, I will see this "kid-less" time with my husband as a wonderful blessing and an opportunity to continue to build a solid faith foundation for our marriage and our family. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Feeling Defeated

This past week I just can't seem to get the feeling that this pregnancy is never going to happen out of my head.  There have been so many hurdles, so many doctors calls, so many insurance questions, so many delays.

Going into this and last week I was able to maintain the attitude that God is teaching me patience and showing me just how much of this is out of my control AND out of the doctor's control.  Everything having to do with infertility work ups has to do with your natural body cycle and the fact that mine is inconsistent, unpredictable and longer than most peoples does not help.

Being on the hormones has made me feel so insecure about myself.  I have gained weight, I constantly feel emotional and bloated and this isn't even the high dosage.  I now have to get a vaccine renewed because I grew out of it and that will push back any potential treatments for at least a month and we are JUST getting our infertility work up wrapped up next it is more of a waiting game again.

Worry has gotten the best of me in every aspect of my life right now, my marriage, my work, my hope.  When I say it has gotten the best of my marriage I don't mean that anything is wrong, I mean that my insecurities are seeping over and negatively affecting my marriage.  I don't feel good about myself so I don't feel confident in what I look like, that in turn affects other areas of my marriage, i.e. intimacy and companionship.  Honestly, it has made me really self absorbed but not in the stuck up way, in the "I don't like how I feel so I am going to feel sorry for myself" way.  It's not healthy.     

I look around and I see friends that are pregnant, others who are ready to have their babies any day now and I can't help but wonder if it will ever be my turn.  While Facebook is so great for keeping in touch with people it can also be very hard not to play the comparison game and envy all of the pregnancy joy that others express. 

I am having a hard time keeping my hope today so I am asking that you do it for me.  I ask that you pray that my heart strengthens and that I free myself of insecurities.  

In the mean time, God has given me these things to hold onto:

1. The nurses at my doctor's office are SO patient and understanding and their quote, "we can only control so much about our bodies," has been a wonderful reminder.
2. I need to remember that God's timing is not my own and HIS timing is perfect.
3. I have been able to spend more time with friends and take more trips.   In those visits I am able to further solidify the foundations of my friendships and I have more time to pour love into their lives. 
4.  Everyday I am reminded just how many people are praying for us and today I am extra thankful for that.   
5. Since we have to wait an entire month to even move forward with any treatments, that gives me time to be healthy and take better care of my body.

Dear God, I come to you today with a broken spirit and heavy heart.  I am feeling defeated and I know that the Devil is preying on my innermost insecurities.  Father, thank you for the fact that I know you are battling for me.  Thank you for the fact that I know you are carrying me through this.  Lord, I thank you that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I pray that you give the doctors wisdom and discernment of the best way to work with your creation, my body.  I ask that you stir in the hearts of the prayer warriors that are praying for us and I pray that today their prayers are just that much more fervent.  I pray that you use our experience, our journey, our struggles and our emotions as a testament to your love.  May the foundation of our marriage remain strong and may I remember that beauty lies in the eyes of my beholder.  I pray that I release these negative feelings and love myself and love my husband to the best of my ability.  I rebuke this attempt that the Devil is making to attack my self worth and my self esteem.  I pray that I continue to honor you and hope in you no matter what I am feeling.  Thank you for being my constant hope and thank you for loving me when I don't feel as hopeful.  Forgive me for worrying and doubting.  I serve an awesome and powerful God and I know that this is your will, whatever it may be.  May your light shine through my weakness and may your will be our guide.  In your name I pray, Amen. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Seeing a Specialist - The Decision

It has been a while since I've been actively blogging and I wanted to provide an update.  I searched the web for blogs about what I going through and someone who may understand how hard it is, as a Christian, to decide to see a specialist.  

After a year and half of actively trying to have a baby that it was time to see a specialist.  I want you to know that we did not come to this decision easily or without a lot of prayer and consideration.  We desperately hoped for that miracle pregnancy that just happened against all odds.  We felt like we were dishonoring God by not trusting Him for a miracle.  We didn't want people to think that we were lacking faith in Him by going to see doctors but in the end, here we are, going to a specialist.  

We realized that there is so much more that needs to be addressed.  Up until this point, we have known that I am personally the "problem."  I do not ovulate on a regular basis and my hormone levels are completely out of whack.  An interesting note is that for my whole life I have struggled with exczema, food allergies, seasonal allergies and seasonal asthma.  I thought that this was just a normal part of my life and that it didn't affect my overall health.  I was wrong.  After so many different attempts of diets and medicine and other "remedies" God has revealed to me that I have a very sensitive body and He is showing me just how much I need to be taking care of the temple He has given me.  He is providing me with doctors who are learning and know more about my body than even I do and He is providing me with solutions and steps to take to not only prepare for a baby but to maintain my health. 

After we finally decided that make the appointment with the specialist, I had a break down.  I realized that I wasn't just avoiding making an appointment because I didn't want to disappoint God.  I didn't want to disappoint myself or my husband. 

I was standing there at my kitchen sink, doing the dishes when all of a sudden tears just started streaming down my face.  I wasn't worried about needles, blood, meds or anything like that, I was worried about my emotional strength and in a moment of extreme weakness and vulnerability I admitted to my husband that I didn't think I would be strong enough to go through this.   All I could manage to say was, "I just don't think I'm strong enough to handle any more heart ache.  I don't think I can do this.  It's just too hard."

There was nothing that my husband could say at that moment to make me feel better so I walked upstairs, walked into our bathroom, stood in front of the mirror bawling and cried out to God.  I asked Him to take the burden away.  I told him I am not strong enough. 

His response, "Why do you doubt me?  It is not by your strength that you will do this anyways.  It is by mine." That was it.  That was all I needed to hear and then I knew that we (God, Jake and I) would be able to walk this path forward.  We realized that just because we are going to see a specialist does not mean that we are doubting God's provision.  He was just taking us on a different baby journey than other people.  

I want to take a minute and just brag on the God that I serve.  What a powerful, perfect timing, super-strong God.  He knew that I needed to break down and cry out to Him before I would listen and HEAR His words.  My mind had been filled with so much chatter and doubt that it was drowning him out. 

It never fails, it is when I feel my weakest and most broken that God shows up and loves me the most.  I know in my heart that there are people out there today who are avoiding God or can't hear Him because of the chatter and sound of other things.  I know there are people making excuses and pretending they are strong enough.  I also know there are people that just. need. that. breakdown.  Trust me, God will break you down, to build you back up.  Trust Him with your weakness, let Him be your strength.  He will show you things about yourself that you never imagined were possible. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What does being crabby do for you? - Nothing!

In the past few days I have been really crabby.  Nothing seems to put me a better mood.  I have had a bad attitude toward everything and everyone.  I feel bad for the people who have been around me during this time because I know that I have not been pleasant company. 

Yours truly has felt like I have a right to be angry and mad at the world.  I know that I struggle with this every year around my birthday; I don’t “feel” like I am in the “right” place in my life.  Then again, I have been so wishy-washy that at times I feel absolutely wonderful where I am.  I just can’t seem to find that peace.  I have decided that it is time to make a new birthday tradition.  A tradition rooted in gratitude, hope and joy.  I don’t want to complain about where I am at or compare my life to others.  I want to be at peace in Dana time.  For those of you that have read this in the past you know that this is something I struggle with and I am sure you are asking, “ok, so what’s the deal, why does this keep coming up?”  I’ll tell you why, because the Devil knows that he can get me with this.  He schemes every year and pounces when I am weak.  Right now, I am committing to changing my attitude before my birthday arrives and I’ve got two whole weeks to prepare for it.  With Christ, I know I can do it. 

 Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

In so many of my posts I write that I choose joy and that it takes a conscious effort to remain joyful during times of trial.  For the past few days, I admit that I have not chosen joy.  This is most evident in my relationship with my husband.  He can tell that I have been crabby and upset and he has tried to stay “out of the way” and let me have my time alone in my wallowing.  In the time that has passed my health has deteriorated (in only three days!) proving that bitterness in your soul truly affects every aspect of your life. 

Today I have finally come to the conclusion that self-pity, bitterness, anger, frustration and jealousy serve absolutely no purpose in my life.  They only make me more miserable.  I don’t even like being around myself these days so I am positive that my husband and others close to me don’t enjoy it either.  

Thankfully, God has said, “Enough!  I’ve let you go on like this for three days and now, don’t you see?  It is ruining you.  It is ruining your joy and negatively affecting your relationships and your health.  You are not honoring your husband by sulking like a child.  You are not honoring me by walking around grumbling and complaining.  This is not the life I have called you to live.  Life is so much more abundant when you choose to walk in my grace and be joyful – no matter what your circumstances are.  You are going to be 27, why are you complaining?  I have given you 27 years of life.  I have given you 9,855 mornings of breath and life.  Enough I say.  I am working in your life – just trust me and let me lead you.  You have no idea what is to come so I want you to understand that I am preparing you.  I am preparing you and I am preparing Jake for my plan and my purposes.  Please, just seek me and follow.  I will not lead you astray.”

Well folks, God has put me in my place.  I am ready to blow this pity party and head for higher ground.  Yes, I went on a little detour for a while but now I am back on course and I look forward feeling better mentally and physically.  Thanks for listening.  The pity party is now over and now it is time to move forward.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Glimpse

You know those time when you think you are having just a regular conversation with a friend and they say something that really is good advice and you smile, acknowledge it, think about it as it applies (or how you think it applies) to your life and then store it away in a memory bank of conversation.  I JUST had one of those conversations Wednesday evening.

My dear friend Heather and I go for walks every week.  We are cheerleaders for each other, confide in one another and God has blessed us as friends.  She is the type of woman and mom I aspire to be.  Her honesty and faith are an inspiration to me and I am blessed to be able to walk and have fellowship with her on a weekly basis.  She is one of the most genuine people I've ever met. 

Yesterday we were walking and of course, I brought her up to speed on my fertility numbers and she said, "You know what I think, God was giving you a glimpse.  He was showing you that He does have that plan for you but it's not right now.  Now is just not your time.  You have that hope and He wanted to show you that, but it's just not for right now."

"Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:14

I completely agreed with her and it was a nice way to look at how God, even when we feel hopeless, gives us hope in the midst of trials.
"But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31 ESV
I fully understood how it applied to our journey trying to have a baby and then we moved onto other topics of conversation. 

Something I may not have shared on here yet is that I am pursuing a certificate in Trauma & Crisis Response.  I honestly can't tell you why God has called me to study this because in my heart of hearts, and looking at my past history, I don't feel like I am equipped for that field.  However, out of obedience, I am taking the classes and God is preparing me for something.  I, as well as my entire family, can sense that God is stirring in my heart and preparing me for some specific path.  What that particular thing is no one but God knows at this point.

Heather told me about an opportunity in which I may be able to use my new certification and initially I told her I would pray about it but once my insecurities resurfaced, I didn't believe I would pursue anything.  In the next couple of days I sought prayer from the people who know me best, my husband, my parents and my sister.  We all knew that this would be a big step for me and a large change.  The first day, I just asked people to pray for me to simply see whether or not God wants me to move toward this opportunity.  I prayed the same thing but I was still fearful.

One of the very first things I learned in my crisis class is that when God calls you into crisis and trauma care, He is calling you to be his very hands and feet to people in the midst of some of the deepest, darkest, most intimate struggles of their lives.  Talk about heavy!  I also learned that when God calls you to join in those moments, He knows you are capable and will equip you to be able to handle it.   

On my second day praying I could feel in my heart God wanted me to follow up on the opportunity out of obedience.  All of the usual concerns came to mind and my personal sanity and well being was at the forefront of peoples' minds.  More than once I was told that "it probably just isn't the best environment for you to be a part of.  Knowing how you can be affected by the littlest of things, it may not be the best idea for you to be the one to carry these peoples' burdens."

It was after those comments that God revealed an amazing truth to me.  Those people are absolutely right.  On my own, I know that I would not be able to handle this stuff.  I know that I would struggle with the hurt that others are feeling beyond my control.  I know that I would get angry and have to wrestle through some injustices.  BUT at the end of the day God said to me, "Dana, my child, they are right.  You can't handle this on your own but I would never ask you to.  I am calling you to this because I know that I can give you strength.  If you, as someone who knows my heart, can't come to defend and be a warrior for my kingdom for the saddest of my children, who will?  Can I call on you to carry them with me?  Will you count on me to carry you?" 

To everyone who has ever thought that they couldn't do something on their own, you are absolutely right.  You can't.  But thank God, literally, He never calls us to do anything on our own.  In every step of our walk, in every breath of our lives, God is there.  God sustains, strengthens, empowers, comforts and protects us.  Do you believe that?  Do you know that in your heart?  Believe it! KNOW it!

I found out today that the opportunity that I was pursuing was no longer available so I know that it was not my time.  That is where the GLIMPSE comes in.  Heather was absolutely right but her wisdom doesn't just apply to having a baby.  God gave me a glimpse into what He is preparing me for.  God gave me a glimpse and in that glimpse revealed an everlasting truth to me.  When He does finally call me into the field I am studying, He will already be there.  He will have already created a path.  He will walk me to that point, walk me through those fields and directly on the path that He created in advance.  And most importantly, He will not expect me to travel alone.

Today I want you to rest in the fact that God is preparing a path for you.  Whether or not you are in the midst of a struggle of a hard time, you are not alone.  God does not expect you to carry this all on your own.  Remember, He is always by your side but also remember, if you don't go or do the things you are doing on God's behalf, who will?

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
Galatians 6:9 ESV

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Strength in Numbers: A Love Note

For the first time, Jake and I both had real high hopes for pregnancy.  This time, he and I BOTH have really experienced disappointment.  Jake has been my rock throughout this and still continues to be.  Without God and without Jake's strength from the Lord and the encouragement he provides me, I would not be who I am at this moment.  While Jake and I dated for a long time before we got married, it has been in this past year that I feel we have grown the most as a couple.  This growth has come as a result, not of our trips or activities together but as a result of our faith in God.  We both realize that this is our testimony.  We both realize that we will not be the only people this happens to and we both realize that God is walking us through this.  However, there are times when the sense of loss and disappointment is so great, all you can do is seek God with one another.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." 

Jake and I try to make it a point to pray together every single night.  I believe this is a foundational part of our marriage.  The fact that Jake allows me to hear his most intimate conversations with God truly unites us.  The same goes for the fact that I trust him so much that I am willing to let him hear my concerns and conversations with the Lord.  God is my number one but Jake is my number two.  To speak to both of them at once and let them simply hear me means the world to me.

Because both of us choose to seek God during our trials and struggles, it strengthens our marriage.  As you can see in Eclessiastes 4:12 a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  Between Jake, God and myself, we grow stronger each day.  I sincerely believe that if he or I had our focus elsewhere this year would have been WAY harder and entirely different.  Instead of being hopeless, we are hopeful, instead of being sad, we choose joy.  Instead of turning our backs on God in frustration, we turn towards him for grace and patience.  Before this year I didn't know what it was to truly seek God with my husband.  To seek Him as a unit.  Now, we have learned what it means to submit to him as one.  We have more strength together than we do alone.  We have strength in numbers, we have strength from God.

I want to take a moment and just express my gratitude and love for my husband.  He is the strongest, most capable man I have ever met in my entire life.  He lights up a room with his humor and is the center of my world.  He is a solid man of God and continues to seek God with his whole heart (probably the biggest turn on in the world).  He works harder than anyone I know and has a zest for life that is hard to compete with.  He is easy going but is passionate about his family and his faith.  He is a protector.  He is compassionate, loving and has a heart for the least of us.  My husband is the head of our home.  He is the most important person in my life and I adore him.  I will always strive to provide him strength, encouragement, love and acceptance.  I hope to always encourage him to be the best man that he can be and allow God to work in his life.  I do my best to release his care and life to God always.  I am so blessed that God has given me this man on earth to share in sorrow, joy, and everything in between.

I realize this is a cheesy post but there are times when you need encouragement.  Today is a day that I want to encourage my husband.  I want him to know, baby or not, he is the best man I know and I'm blessed to call him my husband.  I am honored to be his wife.

I love you, Jake.  I thank God for our trials because we wouldn't be the man and wife we are without them.  Thank you for being there for me through all of this and thank you for sharing in this journey.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for my husband.  Thank you for drawing us closer together and nearer to you throughout this past year.  I pray that we continue to walk through these trials together and I want you to know that I am grateful for each day that passes.  I do not wish any of this time away because I know that this is your will.  Thank you for the one-on-one moments I get to share with my husband without any other distractions.  Thank you for letting us focus entirely on one another.  Thank you for giving us strength.  Thank you for our faith and thank you for preparing our hearts so that we will be ready for our someday baby.  I am so grateful for this time, I am so grateful for this struggle.   In your powerful name I pray, amen. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Revelation in deep disappointment

As you know, Jake and I both did the Daniel fast earlier this month.  We completed 19 days.  Throughout the fast God answered a lot of my various prayers and concerns and I was hoping he would answer our prayer for a baby. 

You see, the month before the fast we received great news that my body was finally headed in the direction of healing and being able to conceive.  In previous months we were told that we wouldn't be able to conceive until my hormone levels were right. 

It was on January 2 that I received news from my doctor saying that my body was at the right levels, there wasn't a pregnancy this month but there was at least the possibility of it (for the first time in over a year).  As such, Jake and I were extremely hopeful that we would get pregnant in January.  We decided to do the fast for many reasons but I know that both of us were praying fervently for God to answer our prayer for pregnancy.

In the week building up to finding out whether or not I was pregnant God gave me a few revelations.  Lesson 1, I realized that I was hoping to be pregnant because we were obedient and did the Daniel Fast, and in recognition of our obedience I thought God would give us a baby.  I was wrong.  I was wrong because I had considered a baby to be a "reward" for our good behavior, for our obedience.  God reminded me that it is not by works that we are saved but through Christ alone.  Jesus Christ, God's son was a gift to each of us.  He reminded me that children will not be a reward but rather a gift, a blessing.

Upon our arrival home from vacation I called my doctor to find out what my results were.  I was hoping to hear that there was a pregnancy and it was time to schedule our first ultra sound.  It was devastatingly painful to hear that my numbers had reverted back to their abnormally low levels again.  The doctor had no idea what could have made such a difference in one month. As a note, during the month of December I did a special fertility diet.  It was an extremely healthy, clean eating regimen in which I cut out a substantial amount of my normal eating habits.  This was the main difference.  On this diet I felt good.  You know those times when you just feel healthy and feel good?  During those few weeks that is how I felt.  During the month of January, we did the Daniel Fast and then we went on vacation so my fertility diet went out the window.

Lesson 2, I realize how sensitive my entire body is to my eating plan.  The only difference between December and January was my eating plan.  The medicine did not change at all.  As it is, I have had so many "health" issues during the last year that have been unexplainable and it was incredibly frustrating.  God in His plan and grace has shown me now that I need to really take care of myself and be eating well.  He knows that He has my heightened attention with regards to my body and He took the time to really reveal to me what I need and how to take care of myself. 

Now I know that eating healthy has an effect on my whole well being.  Now I know that I need to treat my body as the temple it has been created to be so that I can sustain and produce a child.  God wants our children to grow in a place that is healthy and ready to carry them someday.  God hasn't brought us a child yet because He knows my body is not ready for it.     

While the pain is still there, I realize that we need to, once again, choose joy because God is still changing us.  He is still molding us, He is still preparing us to be the exact parents he wants us to be. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

DFD21 (1/28/13)

I will preface this entry with a confession that Jake and I broke the fast on Saturday.  At the time we decided we had fasted long enough and didn't think a day and a half would make that much of a difference.  Let me tell you how convicted I was that night.  As I laid in bed I felt so bad for not keeping the fast the full 21 days.  After all, we had made it so far.  My reasons for breaking the fast were purely selfish and honestly I probably could have resisted the temptations but I didn't.  A few thoughts that came to mind after we broke the fast were, who am I that I can't fast for an entire 21 days when Christ lived and moved on earth for the sole purpose of bringing honor and glory to the father?  Why do I feel the right to cut honoring God through sacrifice short? Who am I to diminish the sacrifice and struggles God went through while praying and fasting on earth? Nonetheless, God reached down and spoke to me on that day in spite of disappointment. 

I get an email every day from Bible Gateway with the Verse of the Day.  On Saturday the verse of the day was James 4:10, "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor."  After reading that I was reminded of God's grace and forgiveness, his care and compassion.  I prayed a prayer of confession to Him and apologized for my caving to my selfish earthly desires, like meat.  (How silly does that sound when you read it?  I wanted to eat fish tacos more than I wanted to honor God....lame!)  Regardless, God still loves me even though I quit the fast early.  He still cares about my prayers and worries.  He still welcomes me with open arms.  How blessed are we that God does not hold our sins over our heads?  What a blessing it is that He refines us and sifts out the bad in our lives.  I know I have said a few times that I've been waiting for this epiphany throughout the fast but in "quitting" early, God chose to use those moments to draw me closest to Him.  Fast or no fast, God still wants me.  He still wants each one of us.  Fast or no fast, He has good plans for me and for my life.  Fast or no fast, His will guides my path.  Fast or no fast, He is still my father. 

As much as I wish I could have written this post with a giant exclamation point saying "WE SURVIVED 21 DAYS!!", I can't.  BUT, it is through humbling myself before you and God that I am showing God my love for him.  I hope that you all can learn from my lack of will power on day 19.  God is greater and worth far more than any earthly thing.  God is the ultimate prize!  Don't let yourself get distracted by the Devil's schemes and if you do - turn right back around and throw them in the Devil's face!  Use your weakness as an opportunity for God to mold you and strengthen you into something better.  Show the Devil that what he promises is nowhere near the value of God's promises in your life.  Humble yourself before God and show Him that HE is everything. 

Finally, thank you.  Thank you for being an invisible accountability group to me.  Thank you for letting my humble myself before you and God.  To those of you that read this and have followed my journey throughout this fast, I apologize if I've disappointed you but I think this serves as a good reminder that I am not perfect.  I struggle with weakness and temptation just like the rest of you and it is through times like Saturday that God teaches me some of the most valuable lessons.  Don't let your weakness define you.  Let God use your weakness to mold you.  I'm grateful for the lesson I learned this weekend and I hope you learn something from my actions also.

Friday, January 25, 2013

DFD18 (1/25/13)

Where I am at:
Spiritually: Honestly, this is a little hard for me to write simply because I know I am not in the best place.  I know that the fast is over on Monday and I am getting so antsy to be done.  I am not only anxious to be done so that I can eat regular food but part of me is anxious to be done so I don't have this overwhelming expectation that I need to constantly be seeking some type of great epiphany from Christ.  Now wait before judging, I realize that that IS NOT where I am supposed to be or even how I am supposed to think or feel as a Christian.  Aren't I supposed to be yearning for Christ more and more every day?  Aren't I supposed to be pursuing HIS will and HIS plan for my life 24/7?   I am admitting to you that I am experiencing fast fatigue.  I am experiencing compassion fatigue and I am ready to be still in God's presence.  Good or bad, I've been doing this fast waiting for some type of answers from God.  I need to remind myself that my motivation should not be to receive something from God but instead to show God that I am willing to sacrifice for him as He did for me.  With that confession behind me, I will say that today is a day that I want to lose the expectation or sense of entitlement I have to receive something from God as a result of "good behavior."  I want to accept that God's motivation for me doing this fast may solely be that He wants me to draw closer to Him.  I want to be content and joyful in the fact that I have spent 18 days focused on my relationship with Christ.  And ideally, I want to continue to seek God even after the fast because the best "things" He has given me are grace, mercy, love, and eternal life.

Physically:  I am trying my best not to get sick and I am a little bit worn out.  I am glad that the weekend has arrived and I will have plenty of time to rest.

Mentally:  We are in the home stretch of the fast!!  As you can see from above I am wrestling with a few things but I want to finish strong.  These are a few Bible verses that come to mind specifically for this aspect of my walk today.  "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7  As I said earlier, I don't want to just consider this the end, so I look 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? Every athlete exercises self-control in all things.  They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable wreath.  So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."  I am not running for an earthly prize and my faith walk will be judged.  It is important that I show others what value this fast has had for me spiritually, answered prayers or not. 

Bible Verses:
Psalm 25:5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 42:5 
Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

John 16:33b In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Hebrews 6:18-20
So God has given both his promise and his oath.  These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God ti lie.  Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.  This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.  It leads us through the curtain into God's inner sanctuary.  Jesus has already gone in there for us.  He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

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.

Goal:  While I don't want to be continually asking God for things, I also don't want to lose the everlasting hope that I have in Him.  I need to trust again in His timing and be content in his stillness today. 

Dear God, today I say thank you for reminding me, even with my struggling heart, of your hope.  Thank you simply for the relationship that you and I have together.  Thank you for planning my life each second and minute at a time.  I am so grateful for your presence in my life and only hope that I can try my best to be more like your Son, Jesus Christ.  Be near me today and be with those who are suffering and need you.  Please meet everyone where they are at in their sin and thank you for dying to cover those sins.  You know my struggles this morning, please take them and release worry from my heart.  In your name I pray, amen.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

DFD17 (1/24/13)

Where I am at:
Spiritually: My heart is hurting for my older brother.  I know that he is struggling with a lot right now and I just pray that God continues to seek him.  I also pray that he seeks God. 

Physically: I am looking forward to eating normal food again.

Mentally: Jake is sick so I am trying to stay on top of at home tasks so that he can rest and I want to be a good wife and be able to serve him lovingly while he isn't feeling well.  My mind is moving 100 miles a minute thinking about fertility stuff and I'm getting down to the wire to make sure all things at work are in order before I leave for my vacation one week from tomorrow.  Needless to say, I need to remember God's provision, grace, healing, and love during this next week.

Bible Verses:
Galatians 6:1
Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.  And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

1 Peter 4:12-13
Do not be surprised at the painful things you are now suffering.  These things are testing your faith.

Today I want to spend the day praying for my family members.  Although I may not get to speak with all of them every day, I know that praying for them is the best thing I can offer.

Dear Lord, today I lift up each of my family members.  Lord you know them by name and you know where they are at in their spiritual walk.  Father, I pray that you meet them where they are and that they have open hearts to your pursuit.  I pray that you speak your will into their life and provide them guidance.  Father, thank you for blessing all of us with one another.  I pray that you give a healing touch and self control to those who need it.  Thank you for loving all of us while we are still sinners.  It is in your awesome and powerful name I pray, amen.