Overcoming the Ugly {my guest post}

Do you ever feel that bitterness or jealousy creeping up inside you?

Me too.

Today I’m guest posting at Still Standing, an online magazine dedicated to helping women embrace life in the midst of infertility and loss. I’d love to invite you over there to join me in the conversation about how we can overcome these feelings that tend to paint our heart ugly.

Click here – {Overcoming the Ugly, a guest post on infertility and self-care}

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Stories of Hope and Healing

Ann’s story of hope and healing:

I am infertile.

Just wanted to get that out of the way.

It’s true.

Two and a half years and 9,000 tests and procedures later, we know. We’ve known since December 23, 2010 actually, but it takes a while to process something like that and really accept it.

I’ve grieved.

I’ve been in denial.

I’ve been angry.

I’ve legitimately thought that I could fix it if I tried hard enough.

Now, I just know.

Not long after I found out that my fallopian tubes were blocked due to endometriosis, I began delving into research about treatments for the inflammation and scarring that was rendering my tubes useless and keeping me from becoming a mom. I have tried special diets and supplements, seen multiple naturopaths, enrolled in a “yoga for fertility” class, had weekly mayan abdominal massages, endured acupuncture and even completed 1 cycle of IVF.

I’ve learned a lot and I believe I’m mostly healthier for it, but I’m still not pregnant.

Here’s the biggest and most important lesson (of many) that I’ve learned: I can’t make myself pregnant by eating better, praying more, or generally trying harder. No amount of striving on my part will make me pregnant.

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs tothe LORD – Proverbs 21:31 (ESV)

While it is not wrong of me to prepare my horse (or in this case perhaps uterus?) for battle, the victory (or outcome) will always belong to the Lord. He is in control of this situation. I do not have to put my hope in my strivings. That’s a good thing! I fail every day no matter how hard I try. I can never seem to consistently cut out all dairy, gluten, and soy for any substantial period of time. I do not do the massage and castor oil packs I’m supposed to every night. I can’t seem to remember the plethora of supplements I am supposed to take every day. The list of my shortcomings could go on forever.

The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. – Psalm 33:17 (ESV)

My strivings can’t save me. I was hoping they would and they failed me again and again. I was putting my hope in my carefully prepared war horse, the wrong place. I am not healed and I may never be. I am not a perfect wife and I never will be. I am not a perfect homemaker/cook/ dietician and I never will be. I am not a mother and I may never be.

But, I AM God’s precious daughter.

He loves me and I am forgiven, perfect, and clean in his eyes through Jesus. Does that mean I am fine with being childless and suffering physical and emotional pain as a result of my disease? No, no, and no. I am not fine with it. It sucks. It is so awful and painful that sometimes I scream and cry and yell to God. But, this is the worst it will ever get for me. I’ll say it again. This is the worst that I will have to endure! This is the closest to hell I will ever be! And, God is with me right here in the thick of it.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18 (ESV)

Someday, I will be in heaven with Jesus and this will all be over. I won’t be in pain anymore and it won’t really matter that I was. Part of me can’t wait for that. That is where my hope should be. God is the only place for my hope.

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. – Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)

Ann blogs at http://www.annguthrie.com to share her and her husband’s story and hopefully give glory to God as He works in them and through them.

Do you have a story of physical, emotional, or spiritual healing? Join the community and share your story.

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Stories of Hope and Healing: the hard journey

hope and infertilityMy name is Heather and this is my story of hope and healing.

My husband and I are 2 1/2 years into the throws of infertility.  I have a history of hormone imbalance that was shrugged off by doctors for most of my life.  I was put on birth control to keep my symptoms manageable and was told not to worry about my hormones until I was ready to get pregnant.

My husband and I were both in our early 30’s when we got married and didn’t want to wait more than a year before trying to become pregnant.  By this point, I had taken birth control for 15 years and knew it would take my body some time to readjust.  I already ate a fairly healthy diet, but was thankful for the additional resources I found through the NKU blog.  Even though I was seemingly healthy on the outside, my hormones remained a mess, and so we began our journey with infertility doctors and treatments.

These past two years have been an emotional roller coaster filled with invasive tests that were often painful, awful hormone altering drugs and many doctor’s appointments and opinions.  On February 13 of this year, my husband and I learned that I am missing 1/3 of my uterus and my left fallopian tube.  We were given the options of IUI or IVF along with more hormone treatments.  After several weeks of prayer, we decided that those options are not for us and we have called it quits with infertility treatments.

In that decision I felt complete peace AND a great loss of hope. It was very hard to lay down my plans and grab hold of God’s.  Don’t get me wrong, I often go back over to my plans and try to pick them up again because they seem so much better.  But God in his grace reminds me that he is good and that he can’t fulfill his plans for my life if I refuse to let go of my own agenda.

This journey has been the hardest thing I have ever endured.  I have cried until my eyes were so swollen that I could barely see.  I have been angry and asked God why over and over again.  I have compared myself to other women who seem to have all of their plans neatly fall into place.   But slowly, God is healing my heart and my hope is returning.  I don’t know if a baby is in our future, but I hope because I know that God has not forgotten me and he is writing a beautiful story for my life.

 

Do you have a story of physical, emotional, or spiritual healing? Join the community and share your story.

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.

Rejoicing Barren

The following is a guest post from Emily, one of my readers, and I pray it touches your heart like it has mine.

When I first began to suspect that we might not be able to conceive, I was heartbroken. As each month passed with no success, I struggled daily to trust God with our situation. I knew in my head that the Lord’s plans are always best, but I didn’t know how to accept the fact that my biggest dream might never come true. Every day, I begged the Lord to allow me to get pregnant, and every month I hoped that this would be the month. And every month when I found out that I wasn’t pregnant – again – I was absolutely devastated.

I watched as so many of my friends started their families. I hurt as people callously asked why I wasn’t pregnant yet, and I worried that others might assume that I was too selfish or preoccupied with other things to care about having children. I couldn’t talk about it without crying, so I didn’t even tell my family about our struggles for almost a year. When I finally did tell them, they were sweet and supportive. They told me that they were sure that I would get pregnant in God’s time. So I kept waiting. And I kept expecting that this month it would finally happen. But it never did. And I kept praying that God would change my heart in some way, to help me somehow be okay with it all. But I still cried, and hurt, and waited only for my circumstances to change.

After a year and a half of trying, our suspicions were confirmed by a doctor. Aside from drastic medical procedures, or a miracle, we will not be able to have biological children. I thought it couldn’t get any harder, but it did. For about 3 months after that, I waited, and hurt, and struggled on a deeper level than before. And finally, God changed everything for me – not by finally allowing me to get pregnant, but my changing my thinking. It started on Sunday morning while I was sitting in the service, thinking about how I might be pregnant this time, and worrying that I might find out – again – that I wasn’t. My pastor was preaching about contentment. And I was harboring a nasty little attitude – thinking “That doesn’t apply to me because of my circumstances. How could God expect me to be happy and content while he withholds from me the one thing that I want? How am I supposed to just overlook that?” Then my pastor asked us to turn to Galatians, and I happened to look across the page and read the following:

“Rejoice, O childless woman,
you who have never given birth!
Break into a joyful shout,
you who have never been in labor!”

Wow. What could I say to that? Somehow God did still expect me not only to be content, but also to rejoice! And it wasn’t optional. It was a command. And not just a command in this passage, but all throughout the Bible. God repeatedly commands his people to rejoice: Phil 4:4-8, Ps 97, and Joel 2:21 (just to name a few). So I came away wondering how I could daily obey the command to rejoice. And then that afternoon I found out again that I wasn’t pregnant. And so all the pain and frustration and questioning came back. That night as I lay sobbing in bed beside my husband, he sweetly and sternly told me just what I needed to hear – and the Lord used my husband’s words right then to break through the pain and lies in my head, and to show me the truth and give me the freedom to rejoice. He told me that he believed the reason that I was struggling so much is that, while I was saying that I wanted God’s will and that God’s will is best, I was secretly refusing to believe that not getting pregnant could possibly be God’s best for me, and make me the happiest. I persisted in assuming that someday God, because he is good, would have to give me a child, instead of trusting Him with the decision about what was the best thing for me. My husband challenged me to stop expecting to get pregnant: to just give it up. To start planning my life around what it would seem (from our current, human perspective) is God’s plan for us: no pregnancy. No biological children. What then? Something better! Maybe adoption. Maybe a lifetime of ministry to and enjoyment of the family and friends that God has already blessed me with. Maybe something else that I’ve never even imagined. It’s God’s decision, not mine. And could I really decide better than the infinitely wise, loving, and powerful God? Of course not! So that settles it. I will leave the future in God’s hands, and embrace my present role – barren, and rejoicing.

We are currently pursuing natural methods to increase fertility. We are also planning on beginning the adoption process soon. Because of God’s grace at work in me, I am joyfully embracing God’s plan for my life as he unfolds it day by day.

I don’t know if God will give us children, biological or adoptive. He hasn’t promised me that. But look at what he has promised me: a perfect plan for my life. I have a relationship with the Creator and Redeemer of the universe. I have his grace, love, joy, peace, and comfort every day. I can be confident of God’s perfect plan and provision. I have a place of service to him that he created me for, and an eternal home in heaven. And look at what he’s already given me: a loving and godly husband, a place in my church family, parents and siblings that love and support me, a warm home, good food, a couple of fabulous cats, and the joys of working and playing and seeing beauty and hearing truth every day. These outweigh the other things by far. When I compare a childhood dream, false expectation, or a lie, to all of God’s real promises – His truth – I see that perhaps being barren and rejoicing is not really a paradox after all. It’s God’s perfect plan for me.

Thank you Emily for sharing what God placed in your heart.

Check out this month\'s sponsor, Natural Fertility Shop. They are 100% focused on helping you during your journey towards parenthood and have expert staff and knowledgeable customer service here to help you every step of the way.

All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

I am not a doctor and don\'t pretend to be one. Use everything you read only to inspire you to do your own research and be an advocate for your own health. Please read my disclaimer in full.