Archives for posts with tag: Christian

The more I read, the more I’m compared to a tree

The more I notice that my branches aren’t quite ripening

The more I’m told, the more I feel like no one knows

Simple lines of comfort sometimes cause more pain

Sometimes people try to tell me stories. Sometimes they try to tell me the easy cliches that everyone knows. Sometimes they say that everything happens for a reason or this is how God is growing me into a better person.

Don’t get me wrong, I am healing. It’s not because of your reasons.

Could you just be here, just be with me. Sometimes that is all that i need.

I wish I could communicate in an easy way that the best times I have had in dealing with infertility was when someone came along with me and did life. I knew they were with me. I knew that there couldn’t be some easy spiritual answer that would make me feel better about my pain.

Part of me wishes I could be that voice for you. An anonymous male knowing first hand the pains of infertility . Knowing first hand what friends or the church have done well and what they have done wrong in this situation.

Here is a video that I hope can be seen by more people and can be spread. While not specific to us, it gives me hope that we can just be there for each other.

What Not to Say to Someone Who’s Suffering from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

to be honest I have come back to this blog every couple months and read through all of your comments.  they have given me the comfort that I need.  they have helped me know I am not alone.  i used writing as a way to hash out my feelings and hopefully bless other people going through a similar story.  infertility is a long hard road of feeling alone and overlooked.

growing up I have always been able to turn to music for help.  it got me through my “teenage angst”.  i always loved how an artist could speak the words I wanted to say.  i loved connecting with the singer and knowing i was not alone.

///through the dark skies and the stubborn clouds….

last month a good friend of mine was able to pass along a burnt cd with the title “stubborn clouds” on it to me.  he said that this artist knew my pain and my waiting.  he said that this artist was able to hash through infertility in a way that hasn’t been done before.

these songs tore me apart.  these words described me waiting with “Sarah” for the monthly phone call that let me down.  these words described this vision I once had of God having perfect plans for my life but not coming through.  they describe me looking up at cloudy skies hoping that sun would shine through; hoping I could sing again.

this e.p. I was lucky to run across went through a short story of love and hope of that “someday” we dream of.

I really want to share these songs with you and hopefully bless you.  I am inspired to write again and go through these songs and the feelings I have had that are now put into melodies.  the artist has not yet released the full cd, so I will start with what they put online.  I hope you take the time to listen to the full story and go through the journey of finding hope in a hopeless situation

Stubborn Clouds

Once again in the waiting room
The smell of fear fighting your perfume
And the Holy Ghost and the devil take their turns
One speaks of all that I deserve
The other speaks in simpler terms of a fierce love that cannot be contained

I say I know the man who gives and takes
I’ve done him some favors so maybe he’ll save the day
Maybe not
I know the man who can raise the dead
I haven’t been faithful but maybe he’ll be instead
I sure hope so

Oh, I can see it now
Through the dark skies and stubborn clouds
Somehow you will break out and cover us all in a song
Somehow all of this chaos makes sense now
The fiercest of storms bring out the best sailors

Once again waiting for the call
Trembling yet strong for her
The deceiver finds an opening
He speaks of all you haven’t done
He denies that the war was won
In the graveyard, through the veins of a King

And I say I know the man who gives and takes
And it’s not about favors, it’s more about His story
He is love
I know the man who can raise the dead
He has done it before and he’ll do it again in us
He is love

Oh, I can see it now
Through the dark skies and stubborn clouds
Somehow you will break out and cover us all in a song
Somehow all of this chaos makes sense now
The fiercest of storms bring out the best sailors

may your story
flow through my veins
let me sing again
may your glory
fill my lungs
oh let me sing again

here is a link to the album stream

Brad Atkin - Stubborn Clouds
 

– “Abram”

This past weekend was Easter, and if you’re a Christian you probably spent Sunday morning at church celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus. You also probably spent some time at church on Friday remembering the Crucifixion. The days are only 2 days apart yet they feel so different. One is quiet, introspective, and broken while the other is joyful, social, and, for many, full of chocolate. But until this year, I never thought about the day that falls between those two.

It’s easy to skip over Saturday. From our perspective of the Resurrection story, nothing happened that day. Jesus was in the tomb waiting for the next morning when He would rise from the dead. But can you imagine what that Saturday was like for the disciples? These were men who had quit their jobs to follow Jesus. They had left their homes and their families and their belongings to be a part of His story. Clearly, they believed in Him. What would it take you to give up your job and your home to follow a stranger? Now imagine the despair they felt on that Saturday. Everything they believed in had died. Their hope for a future was gone and the disappointment they felt must have been unbearable. They knew Jesus had said He would rise from the dead, but I’m sure the situation felt pretty hopeless on Saturday. Life didn’t go as they had planned.

Do you ever feel like you’re stuck on Saturday?

You know what God’s promises are, but they seem pretty impossible. You want to believe His words, but you’re overcome with disappointment.

Unlike the disciples, we know the end of the story. We know what happens on Sunday. We see that every word Jesus said was true. And in the light of Sunday, Saturday doesn’t seem so bad.

Maybe you’ve been stuck in this infertility journey for too long and you’re having a hard time seeing the hope of Sunday. Maybe you feel like you’re hanging by a thread. I’m there with you and I know how hard it is. Let’s continue to remind ourselves that God’s promises are true. In your hardest times and disappointing months, cling to the promises He’s made. He is the God of the impossible and we can trust that He won’t break a single promise.

Thanks to a song by All Sons and Daughters, I learned this Easter that God has a lesson for us about that Saturday. When you have a few minutes, listen to this song and their commentary about it. Be encouraged, Sunday is coming!

Let’s face it.  there are not a ton of books out there for us guys.  i have had a hard time finding a ton of guys even talking about this topic.  i especially have not found a how-to manual.  since my wife and i are very open about the process, i have gotten some pretty good feedback from her as to what she expects. Hopefully some of that will pertain to the rest of you.  (i have also chewed on my fair share of shoes)

“Sarah” is one of the most loving people I know.  She is one of those people that lights up a room: big smile, long brunette hair, fashionable, superhuman white teeth.  She is a fighter with a knack for the delicate.  She has a high tolerance for pain and a good eye for decorating a house.  A Jane-of-all-trades (if that is a phrase).  Believe it or not she is also the emotionally stable one of the marriage and we laugh about that all the time.  (I can’t help crying.  I am an artist)

I am one of those guys that just accepts the fact that somehow I landed her.  It doesn’t make a ton of sense that she married me, but I’m not complaining.

I am especially reminded of how I won the marriage lottery when I have to take my size 10.5 shoes out of my mouth.  Here are some ideas of conversations to stay away from:

1. Probably do not mention that she is being hormonal.  This is especially important when she is taking medicine that is a depressant or is specifically designed to play with her hormones.  No matter how much your current argument makes no sense, it will not make it any better to point out that her emotions are out of wack.  she is trying to help you become a father and screwing with the chemical makeup of her body.

2. Mentioning that she gets to be a hot skinny mom if you have to adopt sounds like a good idea, but... she is going to be a hot mom either way.  This is not motivation for your wife to adopt.  This is motivation for your wife to have self-esteem issues.  There is a big difference there.

3. She most likely isn’t the person to tell that they do not understand what you are going through.  I know as a man we keep this bottled up inside and pretend we are not victims, but if our wives are going through all of this medical trauma on top of not being able to have a kid, they MORE than understand what we are going through.  We have a unique set of circumstances, but i am pretty sure she can understand.  Go get some support from friends or family.

4. Probably don’t talk about having a long-term perspective the day she gets a negative test.  Timing brothers, timing!  This is probably a time just to love her and tell her that.  Probably not a time to break out pamphlets on adoption and show her blogs about adopted infants.  Usually not a good time to say “maybe next time”.

Hopefully these quick and easy steps can help your stressful holiday weekend go a bit smoother.  I am going to take a short weekend from the blog and get back to all of you next week.

If you have any advice you would like to add, leave a comment to help us guys out.

– Abram

“Bar of steel worth five dollars, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth ten dollars. If made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars; if into penknife blades, it is worth thirty-two thousand dollars; if into springs for watches it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered, and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished, the greater the value.” – Streams In The Desert

Why not us?

The easy thing to do would be to tell you that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and that we do not know the full story.  It is easy to say that God is teaching us a lesson.  It is easy for my Christian friends to say God won’t give us anything we can’t handle.Grandfather's Watch, B&W

It is just a TON harder to really believe it; to accept that we are being tortured on purpose.  To be told daily of a new pregnancy by everyone we know.  To open up our Facebook feeds full of small heads and chubby cheeks.  To have to revisit our infertility every month and know it once again didn’t happen.  I feel like we are on American Gladiators and everyone is just watching us get tackled and shot with a tennis ball gun. In the end I am in the same place as all of my friends;  i just have a few more bruises and am out of breath.

We are good candidates for parents.  We are a much better pick than the millions who have abortions or are have children outside of marriage or a stable home.  God is our buddy and we live for him as much as we can.  We are ready to bring a child up in a Christian household.  We have spent a ton of time seeking God and serving in his kingdom.  It all looks good on paper.  (These are unhealthy desires, but I am trying to be honest here.)

Yet this process was dragging us down, wearing us out

Don’t look at the bar, look at the springs

Then it clicked while going through my devotions.  I was looking at this bar of metal and not at the springs it will make.  This is not just a fun game where God sees how long we can put up with it.  i have already been renewed.  This is already becoming slightly easier.  I have already turned to prayer and increased my reliance on God.

This is not a story about a bar that is being hammered, beaten, and pounded.  This is a story about watch springs and all of the work God is doing to make us beautiful.

Out of Chaos life is being found in you

This is all chaos, but this is also a story about life coming from dust.  We may never be able to conceive, but I know we have a God through this chaos.

A very important song to me in all of this comes from a couple who overcame infertility.  This song by Gungor was written in the middle of their struggle and is a cry from the watch springs that we know God makes beautiful things.

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

– Abram –

there is nothing wrong with distractions

there is nothing wrong with enjoying this time in our marriage

there is no guilt in enjoying things we can enjoy as DINKs (dual income no kids)

i pray we laugh much

i pray we enjoy our dates

i pray we grow closer together and build a marriage

i pray we do not miss this precious time because we are so fixed on our future


this situation has the potential to drag us down, but let’s not miss the blessings that come with extended time together.  our life is not defined by infertility.  our marriage is not defined by the inability to have children.  it is defined by the work God wants to do IN us and THROUGH us.  let’s change the subject whenever we can.  here are a few ways we enjoy the here and now:

1. see the world, especially places that are not stroller friendly

2. go out on nice dates.  you can afford them much easier without having to pay a babysitter

3. do projects together.  build the team while it is still a team of two

4. enjoy some adult beverages, while you still can

5. volunteer together.  pick a ministry and let God use the two of you.

6. get on the same page with your budget.  my wife and i have used this time to adopt the Dave Ramsey program to help set us up for her to someday be a housewife.

7. travel even more.  we can’t get enough

8. spend time experiencing the joy and peace of God.  i know it can be hard to dwell in, but it can really strengthen you for the long haul.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)

i pray that we can all find ways to pause and enjoy the moment this week.  focus on who we are in Christ and blessings on other areas of our lives.

take off your scarlet letter and CHOOSE to be defined by bigger things

– “abram” –

starting a blog with my wife is going to be a tough road.  if this becomes what we want it to become, i need to be honest.  in our situation (see “our story”) we were surprised to find out that once she came off of birth control a couple of years into the marriage that she could no longer have a natural period or ovulate.  this came as a complete shock to both of us.  this has also put me in a situation where i am dealing with both the realization that God has not blessed us with a child and that my wife is going to have a different experience in this than me.  here are some key lessons i had to learn that have helped us through this process.

this is OUR story/// our need to grieve

the hardest part to establish early on was that i saw this as OUR story.  infertility is not one-sided, even if science points to one person not having the ability to have children.  we are married and are going to go through this experience as a couple that both want to work towards conception.  i needed to let my wife know that we are a unit in this.  i do not blame her.  i do not regret this marriage.  i support her and want to be a part of the process.  this means as husbands we ought to know the process.  we need to know the names of the doctors, pills, shots and medications.  we need to know the appointments and what they are for.  this is OUR journey

and for that we need to grieve.  we need to find someone we can confide in.  we need to find a Christian brother that can remind us of the truth in the word.  we need a time to let out our frustrations.  we need to bounce the tough questions off of someone or spend quiet time with God.  do not rob yourself of being able to hurt.  this situation sucks and you are directly involved.

my wife’s experience will be DIFFERENT than mine/// our need to be her rock

to add on to the last point, it is not beneficial to pretend we will have the same experience.  this is OUR struggle but these medications are going to change HER body.  i want to be involved and knowledgeable about what she is going through, but it is important that i respect the fact that she has invasive drugs and early doctor appointments.  she is being pricked and scoped enough to feel like she has a terminal illness.  she is going alone to many doctor appointments.  she may even start to blame herself for the situation despite the fact that she has no control over it.

and for that we need to be her rock.  we need to be able to be supportive, make her feel special, get her through the sick times, and remind her of our love for her.  we need to show her that we support whatever procedures she does or does not want to do.  i have times where i want to make it known to her that it is OK if she takes a break.  i have to let her know that i am not putting pressure on her to find a way to have a child right away.  i respect that she needs to figure out what she can handle.  you may think your spouse knows these things, but this overwhelming task can consume her and she needs to hear them.

the delicate balance of doing both/// the overflowing cup

i am in no way on expert on this balance, but i do know that going fully one way or the other can be dangerous.  find out what has come easy to you and work on the other. in the beginning i would try so hard to just be a rock and i thought i was not able to grieve in this situation because (1) men are tough and (2) she was dealing with a lot more than i was.  this was a lie.  i was dealing with faith issues.  i was hurting and did not have a lot to give.  i felt like any friend i confided in was just concerned with how my wife was doing because i put on a mask that everything was ok with me.

and for that we need to be an overflowing cup.  seek first the kingdom and wrestle with God personally.  also seek out counseling from a  friend or pastor that can help get you through this.  once i was able to find a safe place to grieve i was able to both support my wife and help her grieve.  i did not have to put all of my hurts and frustrations on her because she had a ton to deal with herself.

-Abram-

path

Image by Molly Des Jardin via Flickr

The journey of infertility can be a lonely one. I’m realizing that infertility is rarely talked about and when it is, hurtful things can be said. It’s often a path full of disappointments, feelings of inadequacy, and the general feeling that nobody knows what you’re going through. For that reason, I find myself eager to connect with other couples who “get it”. To hear about their struggles, hopes, and fears and be able to identify with what they’re experiencing is incredibly refreshing.

After another negative pregnancy test, Abram and I decided to take a trip to spend some time with our couple that “gets it”. I just needed to be encouraged. I wanted to be reminded that I’m not the only Christian experiencing this and that it has nothing to do with my lack of faith or actions. I just wanted to laugh and share life while enjoying a beer- because I can!

But I sensed almost as soon as we got there that something was different and when she didn’t order a beer at dinner it took everything in me to ignore that nagging suspicion. Sure enough, they’re pregnant. Of course they are. Along with everyone else we know. The trip that was meant to encourage only left me feeling more desperate.

Of course I’m happy for them. I know they’ve been waiting a long time for this and they’ll make great parents. I know that God has created this new life and we get to witness this miracle. But those words come out sounding so empty. Like I know what I’m supposed to feel and say, but don’t really mean it. That’s the worst feeling of them all. Hearing myself and wondering, “who have I become that my first thought isn’t joy for my friends, but sadness for me”?

It’s a daily, sometimes hourly, struggle for me to keep the right attitude and trust God’s timing on this journey. But I have a God who’s walking this lonely path with me, right by my side. And lately He’s been whispering in my ear “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18

%d bloggers like this: