Sunday, October 27, 2013

Share the Love

As Christians it is our job to be 'salt and light' to the world. I'll be the first to admit I'm not always the best at accepting this challenge. However, for the month of November, I'm going to pump up my efforts to spread the Gospel through my actions. When people look at me they see Jesus, and I want Him to be a Jesus they want to know.

This November is going to be an emotional struggle for me. November 5th marks five years since my cousin (and first best friend) left the world. November 15th it will be ten years since "My Jason" (our nickname for him) died. Oh and I turn 28 on the 16th. That puts me WAY closer to thirty than I would like. Needless to say I'm prepared for a roller coaster of emotions.

BUT, I'm learning to not let my emotions control me. So I've decided once again to try to spread the Gospel through kindness. Last year I wanted to do 27 random acts of kindness by the 16th. I had them all planned out, but most of my plans fell by the wayside when the bank account screamed "BILLS!!" It's not Christ-Like to give yourself into poverty, so I stopped. This year, I want to focus on telling everyone how much I love them & how thankful I am to have them in my life. I'm going to tell the kids I know that I love them, and Jesus does too. I'm going to (try) to be kind to everyone I meet, and look for opportunities to engage in conversation. I'm not gifted with the 'gift of gab', and talking to people I don't know is out of character for me, but I'm going to try. As we inch closer to the holiday season the cashiers and greeters will be overworked and overtired, and I want them to know they are appreciated. But for the grace of God, I would be in their shoes.

Now, my challenge to you: Be kind this November. Visit a kid in the hospital, Pray with someone in the nursing home, treat your cashiers and sandwich makers with dignity and respect. Take a moment and realize the stress level of customer service jobs (i.e. fast food and retail), and show compassion to the workers. Tell your family you love them, especially those related to you by blood. Show your children grace and mercy when they make a big mistake. But more than anything, remind them you love them. It may be your last chance.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Weeping Forward

     Before I get too deep in my writing today I want to explain something. I began this blog a few months ago for myself, hoping that writing about my struggles would ease them a bit. I waited a few weeks before telling Shaun about it, because I really didn't want to make it a big deal. He immediately questioned why I wouldn't share it on Facebook. I explained I was terrified of being judged. I'm one to lay it all out there, and at times I've been pretty open about my struggles. This has brought a wealth of judgement on me. When you're dealing with fertility, judged is the last thing you want to be. After a few months of talking about and praying about it with Shaun, I finally relented. Feel free to go back and read my previous posts. I'm sorry if not telling you sooner offends you. 

My women's small group is reading the book Ruth: Loss, Love & Legacy by Kelly Minter. Last week was our first week, and we talked about weeping forward. Ruth & Naomi wept forward and followed God back to Naomi's homeland following the deaths of their husbands. As I was reading the first week, I wondered if I was weeping forward or weeping backward, or just standing still in my misery. After confiding in my girlfriends, I was amazed how many of them were supportive! I don't know why this always shocks me, they are the sweetest, most understanding women I know. Yet each time I come to them with a concern or fear, I'm terrified of being judged (I'm thinking that's Satan talking...). So many encouraged me to keep weeping forward, and to not lose sight of God. One encouraged me to recommit each day to Him, until He answers. I feel our answer for now is still "Wait", and waiting is hard on me. I tend to repeat myself while I wait. Maybe that's okay. God knows my heart. He knows my fears. More than anything, I know He has plans for me, and they will all work for His glory.

This week talked heavily about sowing in weeping. Galatians 6:9 says "Let us not become weary of doing good, for in the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." This is what I struggle with the most, especially when I don't hear from God. I want to give up. I want this "wait" to be a "no." If it's a no, I know how to work with it and can begin to accept it. "Wait" doesn't mean anything to me. Wait for how long? Wait for what? God is teaching me patience, and I'm learning to trust Him. When I struggle with doing the "right thing" even though no one is watching, I remember this verse. Don't give up. 

The other verses that spoke to me this week are found in Psalm 126:5-6

Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

As I've wept, I've tried to sow seeds wherever I can. I've been praying for the women I know carrying babies. I've prayed over the little ones in the church nursery countless times. I've prayed over the children I've cared for, my daughters teachers, and anyone and everyone the Lord has placed on my heart. Am I perfect? Not by any means! But right now there's not much I can afford to do, so I trust that God will hear my prayers and that will be enough. There are days when loving on everyone else's kids is just tough. I love them to pieces and I'm so thankful for the opportunity to love on them and pray for them, but I wonder why God just wants me to care for others, and won't let us have more of our own. I'm hoping this is just for a time, and someday we will look back on this struggle and praise God for working things out. Until then, I'll sow in my weeping and keep weeping forward. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Missing William

This is definitely not where I expected today's post to go, but I heard a story about a boy named Will, and was suddenly struck with longing.

Most of the time when I talk about William I reference the pregnancy or the miscarriage. I repeat our deepest desire: to raise a baby of our own. I haven't ever allowed myself to miss my son, because I didn't know him. Today, I'm giving myself that right. Today I'm going to imagine my life with all my children. Just once.

My second baby should've been born in the spring of 2008. I've always felt it was a boy, so for this conversation I will refer to 'him'. He would be in kindergarten now. I hope I would be homeschooling him. Maybe he would cheer for the Red Sox tonight, like his dad. Hope would love to tease him about that. Now the fantasy stops, because if I had him I might not have married my husband, and then where would I be? I'm thankful he's in Heaven waiting for me.

William should be ten months old now. I like to think he would be toddling around the church nursery, but with his chromosome disorder that's unlikely. Knowing that, I really can't imagine my life with him. I know I would be terrified. I don't know how I would do it. Ultimately I am thankful both my babies are safe in the arms of Jesus.

I know God has great plans for me. I'm trying to keep my focus on Him. I'm trying to trust His plans are greater than my dreams. Some days are just so hard, but He's always there to carry me through.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Moving Forward

I've been mulling over this post and praying about it for over a week. Last week was rough; the government shutdown confirmed my fears about losing my job. I'm a nanny, so if my employers don't work, they don't need me. I've struggled to find a new job. Even McDonald's is hesitant to hire me with my education.

So, you would think being unemployed would dampen my desires for a child. You would be wrong. I've been praying a lot this week. My husband and I prayed together, and some friends have prayed with me. We sang a song about Grace in church on Sunday, I think it was Your Grace is Enough, but I'm not sure. As we were singing I felt God saying "Why don't you trust me? Why have you given up?" I've realized I completely gave up hope for a family. I tend to prepare for the worst and hope for the best, so I've been preparing to be finished having children. I've told everyone in the last three months we're done. It's so much easier to believe we're done and hope God will provide a miracle than it is to just trust He will do it. I'm stepping off the ledge; I'm trusting God will grow our family. I don't have to live in fear. I don't want to live in fear. I know His plans are perfect, and whatever happens will work for His good.