This will probably be the most unorganized post ever. I usually wait till my thoughts become clear before I share, but i’m not sure when that will happen again. So please hang with me. There will be a pretty big update mixed in here somewhere!
Most of you saw my Facebook post last week about the devil trying to steal my joy. Last week was not a good week for me emotionally. I felt anything but strong. I felt incredibly burdened. Emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially. If I’m gonna be real with you all, I gotta be honest. I had my first panic attack, with my sweet Annie Clare in my arms. I couldn’t breath, couldn’t control my tears, and I felt like my body was on fire. Thankfully my mom was there to hold me tight and tell me everything is going to be okay. The words, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” may have come out of my mouth.
I lost my focus! I’m not perfect, and thank goodness I’m not expected to be. One emotion, one burden, is heavy and hard enough to deal with, but when they all hit you at once, it seems unbearable. I felt angry, guilty, frustrated and extremely overwhelmed. I am so thankful that I can lay my burdens at the foot of the cross and walk away. Let go, and let God! Some days are just harder than others, and praise the Lord, His mercies are new every morning (2 Cor 1:3), and He’s always there waiting to intercede with grace and His redeeming love. I reminded myself that it’s okay to feel. God gives us all of these feelings for a reason. We don’t have to deny our weakness. He’s there, waiting to catch us when we fall, and He forgives us when our focus is lost.
With all of those emotions raging in my mind, I had no idea how to pray. That happens a lot lately! My devotional (New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp) that evening was this…
“You will face loss, trouble, and disappointment, but nothing has the power to separate you from your Redeemer’s unrelenting love.” Romans 8:26-28, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him who have been called according to His purpose.”
I just simply prayed that God would prepare my heart for the next step, and then the next, and the next. Even when we can’t find the words, God hears our cries. He knows our hearts, our thoughts, and our greatest needs better that we do. Our words may fail us, but He never will! James 5:13-15 “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well, the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.”
It’s so hard to describe my faith because it’s believing in something or someone you cannot see. How in the world do you explain that to a non-believer? I can’t. I can only testify to God’s goodness and grace in my life. We are called to live by faith and not by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7)
About six and half years ago, I was struggling in a different way, but through it God led me to 1 Peter. I know I’ve referenced it before, but it is incredibly relevant in so many ways. I cling to it, always.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trails. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9
Through our faith journey, our story (that God himself has already written), He is preparing us for eternity spent with Him. A glorious place where there will be no more suffering!! I’ll say it again, God allows us to suffer trials because He wants us to seek Him with our whole hearts!! God is changing/refining us through this process and bringing us closer to Him. I feel like that passage describes my faith the best I know how. God is also preparing our hearts to be used for His glory. He also wants us to share our stories of comfort and His redeeming grace with those who need to hear it.
People all around us are suffering. People who do not know where to turn in difficult times, people who have no idea where to find hope. We are HIS children. He is molding and making us into His image, and He wants to use us for His glory. 2 Cor 1:3-6 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.”
This is not just our Faith journey, but a journey of hope as well. In the process of trying to steal my joy, the devil also tried to steal my hope. It’s hard to be hopeful when your heart is bursting with overwhelming emotions. Nicholas planned the most perfectly romantic evening for us Monday night and it was exactly what I needed. (I could write a whole post on him alone. Maybe one day I will.) We went out to the farm close to sundown and roasted hotdogs. We made a cozy spot on the back of the truck and laid out there for two hours looking at the stars. It made me be still (Ps 46:10). It really took my mind off of everything because I started asking crazy (and dumb) questions about the universe. As we made wishes (prayers) upon shooting stars, it also renewed my hope. It took me back to one of my devotions earlier this month. “Hope is more than wishing things will work out. It is resting in the God who holds all things in His wise and powerful hands.”
“So what is Biblical hope? It is a confident expectation of a guaranteed result that changes the way you live.” It breaks it down like this…
- Biblical Hope is confident. Hope in Him is hope well placed and secure.
- Hope is an expectation of guaranteed result. My hope does not rest on my understanding, but on God’s goodness and His rule.
- Hope changes the way you live. We live with confidence and courage. We never have to live hopelessly!
“I may not understand what is happening and I may not know what is coming around the corner, but I know that God does and that he controls it all.”
Psalm 28:6-8 “Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The Lord is the strength of his people a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”The two biggest things that have and me so overwhelmed this past week are the financial burden, and just the unknown in general. I do know this, where God guides, He provides. He always has!!
A few nitty gritty details…
As of Monday, we have somewhat of a plan. I started birth control, which I never thought I would ever do again. I have to take birth control so they can manipulate my cycle. It will be interesting to see what side effects I encounter. Blah. Next week we will go for a saline ultrasound, a trial transfer, and cultures. If all goes well, we are on the books for IVF in November. The whole process is too much for me to understand, much less explain it to everyone else. I just try and grasp each step as it comes. If you are detail oriented, here’s a link to webmd. I honestly didn’t read it all, but I think it will explain it pretty well. I honestly didn’t even try to explain it to my family. I told them they could read the folder of information my doctors gave me. Thankfully I trust my doctors 100%. My nurse, Sonjala, is amazing and incredibly patient with me.
Like I’ve said before, I’m so thankful that I don’t have to get it all. I know the author of my story, and I have faith that He is preparing our hearts every step of the way! He gives us a peace that passes all understanding! (Phil 4:7)
This process has already been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to endure. Some days I want to give up because I’m human, and that’s our nature. We desperately covet your prayers in the upcoming months. We aren’t promised that there won’t be bad days, but I pray that those days don’t steal my joy. I pray that when I do suffer, I suffer gracefully well. I never want to feel that way again. We will be faced with many difficult questions, which I may share later. Please pray that God gives us the wisdom to answer them according to His will. I was very impatient last week, please pray that we are okay while we wait.
While being bombarded with ALL of those emotions, I have never once felt alone!! God is incredibly present. My family and friends accept me and all of my crazy thoughts. They don’t question me, they just listen. Most importantly they pray for me, along with many of you. We feel your prayers and appreciate them more than you will ever know!
I feel led to share this. We are introduced to Elijah, who was a prophet of God, in 1 Kings 17. His name means “my God is the Lord.” His life was full of turmoil, ups and downs. Some days he was strong and bold, and others he was weak and fearful. God brings him to a city, where he prophesies a drought to come upon the whole land because of their ruler’s (Ahab) evil doings. Sure enough, a drought and famine sweep the city. Elijah was faithful and open to God’s will, so God protected and provided his every need. Skip ahead to chapter 18:41-44 “And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is sound of heavy rain. So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. Go ahead and look toward the sea, he told his servant. And he went up and looked. There is nothing there, he said. SEVEN times Elijah said, GO BACK. The seventh time the servant reported, A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” A heavy rain came. The story is long and there are so many details, so you can read it for yourself, but eventually Elijah’s faith does waiver and he loses his focus. In the end God rescues him and takes him home to heaven. (2 Kings 2) Elijah faithfully carried out God’s mission in the face of hardship and danger!
I can seriously relate to Elijah. I have good days and bad days. There have been many times when God tells us to wait and honestly I don’t want to wait, but it’s not our story to write, it’s already been written by our Father. He wants us to have complete faith in Him. We may lose our way from time to time, but God is right there calling us back. Look again. Be still and listen. Walk in obedience. Elijah wasn’t perfect, but God used Him in a mighty way. I pray He uses us, our story, to encourage others. I am so grateful for the journey God is leading us through, the good, the bad, and the panic attacks.Food for my soul…”This is my story, this is my song.” and “He’ll meet you wherever you are.” Just listen…