A word for the waiting…

 

The moment I laid eyes on my son for the very first time I felt God’s grace in a way I had never known. His love washed over me as my love for Grant began to seep into the deepest corners of my soul. I now knew his unconditional love for me in a way I’d read about, sung about, and clung to for so many years… But that day was the first time I had felt it in such a real way. His presence was there in that delivery room as the nurses handed my son to me and our eyes met. Only 6 months after Mother’s Day.

You see all week I’ve been trying to write a blog to encourage those women who are waiting and all they feel is an empty, shallow pain during Mothers Day, as they are reminded of their barren womb. I stared at my computer screen several times watching the cursor flash and the words just wouldn’t come. “But God… I want so bad to blog on my first Mother’s Day!” I prayed… Yet still no words came. He was silent.

As I sat in traffic on Saturday evening, I glanced in my rearview mirror, to check on Grant, and it hit me. All of the emotions came crashing like a wave breaking… and God gave me the words.

I would love to tell you to stay faithful or that His promises are true. I would love to encourage you with another blog about your waiting. But I’m not going to. I’m going to simply say what He placed on my heart tonight for the young woman facing another Mother’s Day without a baby, having to explain your tears to your husband knowing he will encourage you but never truly understand. This is for the girl who thinks secretly that God has forgotten her and tried to tell herself that maybe she just isn’t called to be a mother. Lean in and hear me whisper this and know it comes from a Father who loves you so very much.

It is worth it.

I know you’re thinking “that’s it, that’s all she’s got?” Yep that’s it… And I wanted to just shrug it off too, but God wouldn’t let me. He was persistent because He knew one of His girls out there needed to hear it. So there it is, my Mother’s Day blog, not at all how I envisioned it. Know this… I’ve been where you are. I’ve felt all of those feelings. I’ve hated Mother’s Day. But this year I look at my son’s reflection and the words that consume my heart are simply, it was worth it. I would do it all over again. I would sit through all of those Sunday sermons honoring mothers. I would bear with all the first Mother’s Day posts on social media. I would feel that empty, shallow feeling that no one understood what I was going through again and again, if it meant I could experience the love I’ve known the past 6 months.

And the more encouraging reminder today is that Jesus would too. He would do it all over again if it meant the same results. For Him, it was worth it too.

Trust Him. Lean into Him. Let Him fill your void until He’s ready to give you a child. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful love story He could’ve written for our family in His very perfect timing. Jesus hasn’t forgotten you. He’s heard your prayers. And He IS faithful.

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Photo Cred: Abby Funderburk Photography http://www.abbyfunderburk.com

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Mommy’s want…

A letter to my son…

4 months—that is how long I’ve known you, but I’ve known the promise of you my whole life. When I looked down at my very first baby doll I felt the want for you for the first time, though I didn’t understand it completely. With every boy I dated I secretly imagined the kind of daddy he would be for you, and sometimes that is the very thing that made me realize he wasn’t the one for you and me. The day your daddy got down on one knee and asked me to marry him I said yes because I loved him and wanted to spend the rest of my life with him—but I also said yes for you, because I knew he would be such a great daddy!

The next few years passed by and my want grew stronger. Sometimes I would catch a glimpse of what our life would be like if you were there… visiting with my aunt Jill and watching daddy rough-house with her boys, and his patience each time he had just sat down and was called to play again. The teachable moments he created with every kid he interacted with. Each time a baby was sat next to us at a restaurant, your daddy would go out of his way to make funny faces and then encourage the mommy and daddy by telling them how precious their gift of parenthood was. Those were the days I started to see his want for you.

That rainy day the doctor told us you were impossible was the day I felt my heart break into a million little pieces. I ran out of the office and your daddy was right behind me. He hugged me tight and reminded me that Jesus is faithful and that He would give us you in His timing. We both cried and that’s when I saw daddy’s want was just as big as mine.

February 17, 2014 (mommy’s 26th birthday) was the day Daddy and I announced to the world that we believed God’s promises to us were true and that He would give us you. We stepped out in faith and claimed the calling He gave us to adopt and started praying for the special woman who’s tummy you would grow in. Our want was multiplied on that day.

Those next nine months were the longest months ever for mommy and daddy as we pursued, waited, and prepared to meet you. Your whole family was so excited, but none of them could begin to imagine just how big my want for you was.

November 10, 2014 at 3:30 in the morning we got a phone call that you were on your way. So your Daddy and I jumped in the car and drove to the hospital, anticipating meeting you the whole way. We spent the next few hours dreaming about what you would be like and couldn’t believe how close we were to meeting you. At 1:23pm the nurse placed you in my arms and instantly my heart was put together again. That want for you I had known since I was a little girl was met with a peace that only Jesus can give and a full heart unlike I had ever felt. The moment my eyes met yours I knew Jesus had created you perfectly for me and daddy. All of those years of waiting were so worth it when I saw your little smile for the very first time. And watching your Daddy light up as you wrapped your tiny hand around his finger was magical… nothing can describe the love we had for you in that moment.

I share this story with you because there will be days in your life that you feel a strong want, something deep inside of you that you won’t quite understand at the time. That want will grow stronger and stronger with time, and there will be a stormy day where that want will feel impossible. When that day comes, know that mommy and daddy have both felt that hopelessness that drowns a want or shatters it into a million little pieces, and we will be there to hug you tight and remind you that Jesus is faithful. Hear me son when I tell you that Jesus IS a promise maker and a promise keeper and He will give you that want, but before He does He will grow you in ways you cannot imagine. He will write a beautiful story through that want and then use it to encourage other people’s wants. And one day, when you least expect it, after months or maybe even years of Jesus preparing you… He will provide your want. And you, too, will feel that peace we felt when God gave us you.

My prayer for you is that you will grow up never doubting Jesus loves you and how His want is immeasurably more for your life than you could ever dream or imagine. That you know the love your daddy and I have for you and that we wanted you so so much. That you will understand the impact your story has already had on so many, and that you will continue using it to glorify God in such a way that no one can deny His hand on your life. Your life is an example of how faithful our God is and that He keeps His promises.

I love you my little one and always will.

“And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” – 1 John 5:15

Photo Credit: Abby Funderburk Photography http://abbyfunderburk.com/

Photo Credit: Abby Funderburk Photography http://abbyfunderburk.com/

 

Thanksgiving… One Year Later

One year ago we received the most devastating news… that we could not conceive naturally. One year ago I drove out of the parking lot of that doctor’s office feeling a hopeless, aching pain like nothing I’ve ever felt. That ten minute drive to work felt like it took a year and I don’t think I’ve cried that hard in my entire life. I remember that night Chip held me and repeatedly told me he loved me. I remember my very raw and angry prayer to God asking why He wanted me to experience so much pain. Thanksgiving was the hardest… two of my cousins brought in their new babies and I felt such a desire to hold and cuddle them… in a weird way it brought me peace I had not been able to feel in days. It was that weekend God first put a burden in our hearts that eventually led to our calling to adopt. Little did I know that exactly one year later I would be preparing to bundle my son up and bring him to our family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Chip and I are also celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary and in this past year I have never felt closer to him. The Lord has used our waiting period to strengthen our marriage and teach us how to love each other despite difficult days. Those lessons have proved already to be valuable ones and I can’t begin to tell you how full my heart is as I look back on this past year. If I could offer anything it would be that I don’t know your current struggle, I’m not sure what battle you’re preparing to face or what pain you’re dealing with… but I do know that our Lord does not allow us to go through difficult days unless He is preparing us for something bigger, something better than we could ever dream up ourselves. This Thanksgiving I have so much to be thankful for. We have been abundantly blessed and I will never forget everything Jesus has done for us this year. I know there are people out there who are struggling this year with pain,  I would encourage you to keep trusting Jesus because you never know what blessing He has planned for you this year.

Infertility Blues… Again.

I woke up this morning with a suffocating lump in my throat. The sickening pit in my stomach, the desire so strong I could explode, met with the realization that I may never be… pregnant. After being 18 days late, this morning… I felt all of that hope crash all over again. I know some of you are thinking, “but aren’t you and your husband called to adopt…” or “how selfish is she to want to be pregnant when she’s adopting…” Trust me, I’ve said the same things to myself over and over again. A good friend of mine who has walked in my shoes shared some wise words to me once that adoption does not cure infertility. I couldn’t agree more… adoption does not cure infertility, but daily searching for my identity in Jesus and finding my fulfillment in Him does.

I am no where near perfect… I have struggles on a day to day basis just like everyone else. I squeeze my toothpaste from the center of the tube, forget to replace the toilet paper roll, let dirty dishes pile up in the sink, and I struggle with real sin every single day. Finding my fulfillment in anything but Jesus is sin, but the beautiful thing about all of our sin is that it’s never bigger than Jesus and His grace covers it all.
My husband and I were called to adopt a newborn baby domestically eight months ago. Since that time God has grown me in ways that I can’t even describe and has proven His faithfulness again and again. I know that He has big plans to use our story to bring so so much glory to His name. I have made incredible friendships with people literally all over the world since our announcement. I’ve heard stories similar to mine with all sorts of amazing journeys of how God brought a baby into their lives. I cannot tell you guys how much your encouragement, prayers, and support have meant to me over the past several months. Know that I still struggle, I still feel pain, and I still battle with infertility. At the same time, I have such a deep longing to get the phone call that could come literally any day now, from the birth mom that Jesus has for us. I cannot wait to be able to tell our baby the beautiful story of how their adoption impacted so many people, and how they were loved and pursued before they were even conceived. My struggles with infertility in no way lesson my burden and calling for the child we are adopting.
I decided to blog today because I know that keeping these feelings to myself rob God of potential glory and I want nothing more than for Him to use every single bit of our journey to help encourage others on their journey as they go through similar emotions. Honestly, I immediately felt guilty over the excitement I have been feeling the last 18 days that I might be pregnant. My mom reminded me earlier this morning that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose” (Rom 8:28). This means that He allowed these 18 days and the feelings that have accompanied them, as part of His preparation in us for what’s to come. If nothing else, it has reminded me that God has given us exactly what we needed when we needed it throughout our journey, His timing is perfect, and He isn’t finished with our story.
Thanks for reading! I appreciate your prayers today…

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Pain.

Jesus knew pain and exposed His emotions during His suffering. He has been teaching me that although I know that what we are going through is ultimately for His glory, that He wants me to be real with my feelings during the process. He wants me to expose my suffering to Him and not be superficial in my prayers. I will have good days and I will have bad days, and I must allow myself to experience the pain as well as His strength.

I can hold tightly to these truths during the process…
God is a good God who wants good things for His children.
God is faithful and knows His children’s desires.
God will get the glory for my suffering.
He has chosen us to go through this.
Our story will preach the gospel and point people to Jesus.
I am not alone in this process.
God has a child out there for us.
Gods plans are ALWAYS greater than our plans.

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The News…

I’ve had a hard time composing myself enough to sit down and write this… but it’s time.

Chip and I decided about a month ago to pursue our infertility with a little more intensity, it was time for us to talk to our doctor and find out what was going on. My mother’s family has a history of PCOS and Endometriosis as well as miscarriages, so I have always expected it would be a little harder for me to get pregnant than most. I had heard all about my various options for fixing what was wrong with my body in order to conceive… I was prepared… and ready… so I made the appointment.

I will always remember that night. We had just gotten home from taking a friend of ours out for a birthday dinner. It had been a long day, so I changed into my pj’s and climbed into the bed. Chip spoke up and said, “There’s something I need to tell you…” My heart started racing and I knew something was wrong. He continued, “the doctor called today to give us the test results…” At that moment, I pictured myself in a hospital bed and the doctor handing me my baby, with tears of pain, excitement, and love I looked up at Chip and smiled. I thought about the day I had planned out telling our parents the news that we were expecting. I imagined feeling our baby kick and move inside of me. All of these experiences…in an instant became impossible. Chip interrupted my daydream, “Elizabeth did you hear me?” He began explaining in his own way that the tests were not what we had hoped… In that moment God revealed something to me… He did not intend to keep us from experiencing these magical moments, but had BETTER more meaningful moments planned for us. Jesus wants nothing more than for me to experience His best—which will fulfill me more than any dreams and plans I could ever want. The truth is God wants to give us the desires of our hearts and He ALWAYS keeps His promises. So as difficult as this next season will be for us both, I know that God is faithful and He will fulfill His promise to give us a child.

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Relating to the Shunamite…

Unknown to many… My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for two years now.

We decided a few months after we were married, to stop taking birth control and give full control to God on when to have a child. Now we are not anti-birth control by any means… I just had been on a roller coaster of emotions and my body continued to reject (through various health issues) every brand of birth control we tried. So, we decided in January of 2011 that we would give complete control to Jesus in determining our pregnancy.

Chip and I knew we wanted babies and were perfectly ok with having them early on in our marriage. We expected a “surprise” shortly after we stopped taking birth control, little did we know that God had other plans…

I was raised in a very large family. My grandmother, one of 8 girls and a mother of 5,  kept a daycare from the time her youngest was a toddler until she retired a few years ago. As long as I can remember I have been surrounded by children. Being the oldest of 13 grandchildren—ages 4 to 25, and 2 great-grandchildren, with 2 more on the way, it goes without saying our family comes from a long line of “fertile myrtle’s”. I have had the desire for motherhood since I was old enough to hold a baby-doll.

After meeting Chip, I knew we would be wonderful parents. He is such a kid at heart and loves to be around children of any age… I never dreamed that our prayers would not be immediately answered. But now, it has been over two years since we went off of birth control, and we still have not conceived.

It is such a struggle to trust and hold on to the fact that God is a promise maker AND a promise keeper, but that is the only thing that keeps me from losing my mind. Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Currently, I have 8 friends (off the top of my head) who are expecting, my Facebook feed is swarming with baby announcements, and I have already attended 3 baby showers in the last month. I am so excited for them all, and I don’t for one second want any of them to feel bad for sharing their excitement and updates because I want to be there for them every step of the way. They are experiencing God’s blessings and I do not want to take away from that one second. I want them to understand that they are not hurting me by sharing their news, honestly it is just a reminder when they do that one day God will fulfill His promise of motherhood to me too. I just wanted to make that clear before going any further, because it is important for my friends to hear me when I say, please do not stop sharing with me out of fear of hurting me. I love hearing all of the joys of motherhood from you!

With that being said…

Yesterday as I watched all of the mother’s at church beam with the overwhelming joy of being a mom, and all of the moms-to-be with their excitement of what’s to come, I was met with that all too familiar pang of jealousy. I almost didn’t even go to church because I knew it would be a sermon focused on motherhood, something that I had convinced myself may never happen for me. I always manage to put on a smile and tell everyone that I am ok with that, and honestly if we are never blessed with a child I will know that despite how hard it is that God is still good and wants great things for my life.

But yesterday, Jesus took the opportunity to speak to me right where I was during the sermon and I just wanted to share some things with you in hope that He will speak to you as well.

The story starts in 2 Kings 4:8. Elisha was a prophet in Israel (and prophets were very popular politically and spiritually—they represented the promises of God in Israel).

  1. God knows our hearts- This story is about a Shunamite woman who had a heart that was inclined toward the things of God and her struggle (like ours) to not doubt that God is a promise maker and a promise keeper. It is important to remember throughout the story that Elisha should represent Jesus. Starting out in the story, the woman recognized this fact and literally made room in her home for God to work (v.9-10). This is such a “Christian” idea… but I had to ask myself in the midst of my fears of not ever experiencing motherhood, had I made room for God to work or had my fears and reasoning of what was to be consumed my heart?
  1. God cares- Elisha was thrilled that she had made room for him, so he asked her if he could do anything to show his gratitude and she said no that she didn’t need anything… Isn’t this just like us women? I know it is so easy for me to think my problem (infertility) is not as big as some people’s needs and that I will be ok without… because there are tons of people who need their prayers answered so much more than I do… Elisha knew better… and again he represents Jesus. The fact is that God cares not just about us, but about what we care about. Don’t be scared to pray big prayers because God cares. Sometimes we get in circumstances that seem impossible… we call them impossible circumstances, God calls them miracles. Once Elisha heard that she had a desire to be a mother, he made her a promise that she would be a mother within a year. She then chose to take God at his word. We have to pursue the promises that God made in His word… We can’t just pray, we have to pursue… After she heard Elisha, she didn’t go pray (not that it’s a bad thing) but she went to work… Now this doesn’t just have to be physically, but something changed in her. All of the doubt that previously consumed her vanished just by hearing the promise spoken by Elisha. We have that same promise based in the Word… We must take that promise and go to work just as she did, and no longer accept that God will not fulfill His promise to us.
  1. God is able- By verses 18-20 we see that at the brightest point in the day, her promise from God died in her lap. The thing is she did not give up here… Her actions in this moment are so important. She carried the boy (which Bible scholars believe was around 10 years old at this time) up to the roof to Elisha’s room. She took her promise straight to lay him in Elisha’s bed. Remember that Elisha represents Jesus… This mother did not give up on God’s promise even when it died. She laid him in God’s bed, left the room, and shut the door behind her. Sometimes we have to get to a point where we trust God with our fears more than we trust ourselves, to the point where we lay it at His feet and close the door behind us knowing He can handle it much better than we can. We have to trust God with the promise, more than we trust ourselves.

She didn’t just stop there though… she left to go find Elisha, clung to his feet, and refused to let go until he (himself… not his staff, or a servant) came to heal her son. She was a persistent woman who refused to give up on her promise maker. Too many times we are willing to pray for God to do His part and not perspire to do our part.

I took so much from this story, and I know it could speak to women in all sorts of situations; however, for me it was a reminder to not give up on the promises of God. It’s so easy for me after two years of infertility to become ok with not receiving the promise of a child… but God desires for us to cling to his feet as the woman did in the story and refuse to give up on the promise that He has made for us.

To be honest, I will be perfectly ok if I never have a child of my own… but God is not ok with that. He wants us to continue praying and perspiring knowing that He will come through for us. In the bible, God ALWAYS keeps His promises. Even if he does not grant us a child, it is not He is not able… so I will continue believing that He is and refusing to believe anything short of that. In His perfect timing, He will answer my prayers in such a way that will fulfill His promise as well as my heart’s desire.

I hope this speaks encouragement to you, as it did me.

I try and stay in touch with my readers on a personal level through social media. Share this post to pass it on, and then click here to find me on Facebook.