Monday, May 25, 2015

Positive encouragement

Hi all! I just wanted to share some things that the Lord has really placed on my heart. I visited my younger brother's church on Mother's Day. He is a middle school pastor at Richland Creek Community Church in Raleigh, NC. As an older sister, I am overwhelmed every time I see my baby brother and his sweet wife giving fully of themselves to further Christ's kingdom. Raleigh, NC is a 12 hour way. It is very hard on their growing family to be away from family.  BUT, Evan and Elizabeth never complain. They only praise Jesus's glory and blessings that He has given to them. Their ministry in in itself overcomes me every time I think of them. I only wish I could be as selfless as they are.

(from left to right: Evan, Elizabeth, Ella Cate being held by Mom, Larlee Beth being held by me, and Drew)

As I was visiting Richland Creek and awaiting the baby dedication of the newest Kohen, Ella Cate, I was reminded and humbled about God's grace. I am not one to indulge in my personal life to anyone other than family, but I have been led to open up and share. That maybe someone going through a similar situation can be encouraged and to seek Him in their time of need. Drew and I have been married for almost 6 years. 3.5 of those years have been filled with sadness of not being able to grow our own family. Mother's Day and Father's Day are always a sensitive time for us. When we were first diagnosed as "infertility-unknown," we were crushed, angry, confused, and bitter. We allowed this to consume us. My selfishness grew and I became jealous and very angry.  Infertility is a recurring grief that happens every month. To realize the possibility that I may never see a child that has my features is to suffer a loss I never knew or felt or held. I could not deal with the news of pregnancy, especially for those closest to me. As time went on, my eyes were opened to the hurt and awkwardness this caused for people around us. The announcement of a pregnancy, which should be a time of celebration, was marred by the concern for our feelings. I must say that the sentiment is nice, but it shouldn't be about us...ever. I don't want to be the person people talk about or are awkward around.

We turned our sadness over to Jesus and allowed Him to fill the void that once filled our hearts. I won't say that we don't get emotional at times, but we have a hope and a peace that our day will come (even if through adoption). We don't dwell on the negative but rather rejoice for the many blessings that we do have. I am ashamed that I was bitter and angry. My eyes and heart are now open to the realization that God DOES HAVE A PLAN. I'll be honest to say that those are words you do not always want to hear when you are going through a fertility struggle. To hear "your time will come," or "just be patient" or "quit trying and it will happen" only deepen the wound. I know that God has allowed this time for Drew and I to draw nearer to Him and to each other. To see the blessings and rejoice in the positive. I am honored that my God sees us fit to engage in this journey, to be a vessel and a voice to those that remain bitter and angry. John 9:3 says "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.Our prayer is that the works of God are displayed through our journey. 

My words to the many that are facing this battle: do not dwell in the sadness. You are not alone. Seek encouragement through family, your church family, and most importantly, your spouse. Do not ever blame your spouse during this time. This is a battle you must face together, as a team. Pray together. Have a good cry and pray. Put Christ in the center of your relationship and seek comfort in Him. He is using you for a reason. Stand strong. Next, enjoy the intimate time with your spouse. Don't let the act of "trying" replace the love and intimacy. Lastly, and please do not be saddened by this realization, but understand that He may have a bigger plan that does not include natural conception. You and your spouse have to determine when you "stop trying." Infertility is not only an expensive journey but it is also an emotional one. Know your limit and agree on it. If conception does not occur, DO NOT BE DEFEATED. This does not mean that you aren't good enough to be a parent. There are options such as adoption, foster parenting, or just being the best aunt/uncle in the world!

To the family and friends of those struggling with infertility: Remain positive and encouraging. Be cautious to bring up the issue and to offer encouragement when not sought. Be aware of the encouragement you do offer. It is best not to say "your time will come" or "quit trying and it will happen." The sad reality is that it may not happen. It stings to hear that he/she is trying too hard or not enough. Infertility is diagnosed after several failed attempts to naturally conceive and after extensive (and painful) testing. It isn't something that will happen if we "quit trying." Treat the situation as you would if he/she just lost a loved one. We wouldn't say "your time will come to remarry" or "quit being sad and someone else will come into your life." It's sounds like a good idea at the time, but in reality that isn't much that you can say to help. It doesn't erase the pain. The biggest encouragement and support is to offer your prayers and let them know you are thinking of them.

The writer of this page mirrors much of my own words. Click here to read the article. The only thing that I do not agree with (and everyone is different), but I do not want to be honored on Mother's Day. I am not a mother. I feel that it draws more attention to my struggle and deepens my wound. I look forward to the day that I do get to be honored on that special day. I'll be the one with corsages pinned ALL over my dress and dancing down the aisle at church. ha!

Just remember that infertility is a growing struggle for couples of all ages and walks of life. It does not discriminate. Be cautious when you say "when are you going to start a family?" The very likely reality if a couple doesn't have children is because they can't.

I hope this helps if you are someone struggling with infertility or know someone who is. If you need support, please email me at I will be happy to pray with you and for you. Psalms 91:4, "He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler."

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