Archives for posts with tag: Christianity

Most of us have heard the story.  Most of us have been annoyed with how simple it seems.  Many of us are just fed up with anecdotes that friends and family use as tools during the discomfort.

Maybe God put a fireman at our window.  Why turn it down?  Do we have more faith by staying in a fire or climbing down the ladder?

That fireman just so happens to have a bag full of shots, pills, appointments, and ultrasounds.  Is my desire to use a doctor out of less belief or out of gratefulness at what he has provided? So how does that fit with my belief that God will provide?  487fb1eac0d6825658bf69e2ed7849d7

I think it fits well.  God is big and has the capacity to move mountains.  He is the immeasurably more.  But the real question depends on what my faith is in.  Is my faith rooted in what my current situation is or in what he has already done?

True faith is rooted 100% in what God has done through Christ.  My redemption has been accomplished and my faith is that I have been saved.  I can have the richest of faith that does not depend on any current circumstances.  As I have come to make that realization I have come to accept that my faith in God is not rooted in whether or not we conceive.  It is rooted in the place that is being prepared for me.  If my faith waivers in times of infertility it is not a true faith.  It is a conditional faith that is rooted in  something that has not been promised.

So when it comes to anecdotes that question what God provides I can be confident that my faith does not waiver when I accept the hand of the rescuer.  I am reliant on a miracle to get me through infertility.  Only God can create life.  Science may be a tool he uses to do so.  That cannot lessen my faith in him………..especially if my faith is wholly in him.

-“Abram”

 

 

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”

numb-er

i am not sure if numb-er is a word, but it works better in my little play on words so i am going to go with it.  i added a dash so you wouldn’t think i was counting.

i have abandoned this community that i was growing.  i know that.  i am just going to pretend you are like old college roommates and jump right in where we left off; minus the cheap beer, video games, and staying up until i normally wake up for work.

i just had hoped that maybe by not writing so much as someone going through infertility that i would somehow not be defined by it.  somehow infertility problems would just slowly shrink down and nuzzle themselves somewhere in-between my lesser problems like being a people-pleaser and not being able to pick up after myself (im sure “Sarah” will give an AMEN to that). 

the slow fadeImage

(and yes, i am going to pretend nuzzle is the proper term here.  it is a great term for all married people to learn)

the problem i am finding is that i am denying my story; my part in an epic novel that is ultimately not about me.

i am so afraid of the “scarlet letter” or the “infertility goggles” or “coming out of the closet” that i deny what is going on here.  i am not owning the fact that all things are from Him, through Him, and to Him.  i am not owning up to the fact that i will never know His ways.

and the more i have ignored my story the more numb i have become to how this can change and shape me.

i care about all of you going through this.  i also need to go through this with others.  let’s dive into how to have faith and be men and women of prayer when faith and prayer haven’t seemed to work in our favor.

this has been a nice chat

– “Abram”

what do all of you think absence does to the heart?  does ignoring infertility make anything better?

Tired of seeing negative pregnancy tests. Alone. Surrounded by baby bumps. Overwhelmed. Desperate for a baby. Struggling not to be jealous.

I find myself with these feelings all too often. And from the sounds of things, you probably have too. This journey through infertility isn’t easy. Actually, it sucks. And a lot of our friends and family don’t get it.

Which is why we started this blog. We’re eager to connect with other couples who are going through the same struggles and heartbreak. We want to know that we’re not alone. But we don’t just want to talk about our problems and wallow in our sadness, we want this to be a place of hope.

So a couple weeks ago, we secretly added another page. If you’ve already noticed it, good job. You’re probably great at “I Spy” games. If not, look up to the top of our homepage and you’ll see a link that says Prayer. We believe that prayer is powerful and effective. In the Bible, it says:

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray.

James 5: 16 Pray for one another so that you may be healed.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, we’d be honored to pray for you. There’s also an option to share your prayer request with the community. If you choose that option, we’ll share your prayer request in a weekly prayer post. How cool would it be to know that 100+ people are praying for you? But you don’t have to share it with the community. We understand that infertility can be a pretty private issue (we’re keeping our identities annonymous for a reason!).

So check out our new page and let us know how we can be praying for you.

And remember, you’re not alone.

Some day, God is going to reveal the fact to every Christian, that the very principles they now rebel against, have been the instruments which He used in perfecting their characters and molding them into perfection, polished stones for His great building yonder. — Cortland Myers.

Suffering is a wonderful fertilizer to the roots of character. The great object of this life is character. This is the only thing we can carry with us into eternity….To gain the most of it and the best of it is the object of probation. — Austin Phellps.

by the end of this i will surely have a lot of character!

Hope these help with the Monday blues.

– Abram

it was not easy, but it was progress

i am back!

please excuse my longest absence on this blog to date.  i hope you understand why.  i had quite the weekend last weekend and needed to pretend this was not my situation.

what a weekend indeed

for those that follow us on twitter (twitter.com/stillcountingst) or read this week’s post from “Sarah”, you may have seen that thanksgiving brought a very big announcement:  our sister is pregnant.  we knew the announcement was coming and knew that thanksgiving is going to be a celebration of new life and pregnancy; just not ours.  Wednesday night i was a bit of a mess.

this is supposed to be our announcement.  we are supposed to get everyone excited.

on Friday we had a close couple come in from out-of-town with their 4 week old adorable daughter.  let’s call her “wedding night surprise”.

on Friday night we met up with our favorite couple in the world who have been so supportive and prayed so much for us.  in between beers, BBQ, catching up, and laughter we started to discuss their recent miscarriage and how it is shaping their faith.

on Saturday my fertile brother came into town with four children under the age of seven.  him and his wife met about the time i was engaged and they are way ahead of the game

how this could have gone// what i could have missed

this could have been a weekend i totally missed.  if i thought internally, if i thought only about my current “crisis”, i could have been shut out from the world for three days.

i could have missed out on being excited to have a brand new niece or nephew in the family.  i could have totally missed how cool and fun it will be to play around with the little ones once our sisters start popping out kids.  i could have made it awkward so that no one was excited.

i could have been bitter about the “wedding night surprise” and not been totally excited that one of our friends is a mom.

i could have made my friends’ tragedy and heartache be about what i am missing.  my heart could have been hard and pushed them out rather than grieving with them.  i could have missed a chance to be there for two people i really care about and want to pray for.

i could have held the super fertility against my out-of-town relatives and ignored them.  i could have missed a huge chance to get closer to my nieces and nephews just because i am waiting to add to the group.

i could have put back on my “infertility goggles” (see prior post) and looked at how everything affects ME

my conscious decision to hit pause

i hit pause.  i told myself i had to.  it was extremely difficult to do, but i knew that this is a very exciting point in our lives that i might regret missing when i look back in 20 years.  i spent most of Wednesday and Thursday answering comments and emails and getting strengthened by this new community surrounding our blog.  i was amazed at us breaking 400 views 3 days in a row as a new blog and spent time knowing we are not alone.  i released as much of this pain as i could and then i looked at my situation and told it that the pain is going to have to wait until next week.

i spent time wondering what would have happened if Moses was so distraught over his flock or lack of eloquence that he never stopped at the burning bush and found God’s calling for an entire nation.  i wondered what it would have been like if David focused solely on his small stature and never fought the giant.  i wondered about Abraham, who could have only focused on the infertility and never truly trusted God with Isaac.  What would have happened if these people did not know the pause button?

and in the midst of the craziness i felt a little bit of joy

i actually was happy for my friends and family and made it a little more about them than myself.

it was not easy, but it was progress

– Abram

we have been trying for three years. they tried for three days.

We’re back from Thanksgiving and we missed you!

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend and got to spend some of it with family. Did any of you find great Black Friday deals? I stayed far away from that madness. I love to shop but pepper spray and pushing scare me. Abram and I spent our days with family and friends and even got to catch a few naps in between. As we were going around the Thanksgiving dinner table and sharing what we’re thankful for, I realized that this blog has been a huge blessing to me lately. You guys have become a community of hope for me and you remind me that I’m not alone in this scary land of infertility. Thank you for stopping by our site and encouraging us with your comments. I honestly can’t sum up how much that means to me.

I know that Holidays can be really hard when dealing with infertility, so I spent some time on Thanksgiving Day praying for each one of you. It’s hard when you’ve spent so much time hoping and dreaming of making the Big Announcement to your family but only have negative pregnancy tests to show for it. I know what that feels like. For those of you who follow us on Twitter (twitter.com/stillcountingst), you may have seen that Thanksgiving brought a very big announcement: My younger sister is pregnant.

Oh man.

We knew the announcement was coming, but nothing can fully prepare you for the moment.

I can’t help but think it should have been me. We’ve been trying for 3 years. She and her husband tried for 3 days. Literally. It was their first month trying. I wanted to have the first grandchild and make my family excited and proud. I wanted to be the one to make my parents grandparents. That was supposed to be our announcement. She got to break the news to family while going around the table and sharing “thankfuls”. How picture perfect is that?! Why does it make me feel sick?

Hope deferred makes the heart sick. Proverbs 13:12a

Every time I hear someone is pregnant, I literally get a stomach ache. Jealousy and disappointment overcome me. I want to be happy for them and get excited over every little detail, but I feel like I don’t have it in me. I just can’t get over the question of “why not me”? When will it be my turn?

But a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12b

But at the same time, I’m happy for them. I’m happy for my sister. I’m learning to make a very intentional decision to choose joy. There’s going to be new life in our family and that brings a ton of excitement. And by God’s grace, my reaction has been good. On my own, I would have yelled and screamed and pouted in the corner when I heard her good news, but God’s showered loads of grace on me over the past year just to prepare me for this moment.

The writer of Proverbs sure knew what he was talking about when he said hope deferred makes the heart sick. I’m tired of waiting. Tired of being heart-sick. I want to make that announcement soon. I want to experience my deepest longing fulfilled. I want to know the joy and fullness of the tree of life.

But until then, I will trust God’s timing.

Someday I’ll get to make my Big Announcement.

I just have to keep reminding myself.

I’ll just try to cope with these stomach aches.

How do you guys handle when your friends or sisters make the Big Announcement?

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

I mentioned last week that one of my closest friends recently suffered a miscarriage. I can’t begin to understand the pain she’s experiencing, but I imagine the feeling of loss is immense. Maybe some of you have been there. She had that positive pregnancy test, experienced all of the usual pregnancy symptoms, and even had a growing belly. Her calendar was marked, her work notified, and her joy was growing faster than her belly. And then tragedy struck. She lost the baby. All of her plans shattered.

Less than a week after the miscarriage and D and C, she sent me an e-mail titled “I am thankful.” In the midst of the storm, she was able to praise Jesus and tell of his faithfulness. At a time when so many would disown God, she clung to Him and chose to trust His sovereignty. Her response reminds me of the Willis family’s powerful response I wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

The e-mail my sweet friend wrote detailed all the ways that God provided in the midst of their tragedy. She ended it with a poem that she gave me permission to share. It’s about her time at the hospital and her experience with the D and C, but I think it’s encouragement to all of us that we can be thankful no matter what we’re going through.

I am Thankful

I never thought we’d be in this place,
but we’re thankful to be, to experience His grace.
Today we’re thankful for the goodness of the Lord,
and that He gave us not just enough, but immeasurably more.
He made a nurse obedient to His tug,
He provided another nurse Mollie and a teddy bear to hug.
A doctor not willing to hurry, giving us not a reason to worry.
Loving parents right there at our side,
reminding us in Him to abide.
He made a room open up, so He could continue to fill up our cup.
Each moment was ordained, right there He remained.
Even though our hearts are breaking,
it was for a greater purpose He was making.
Our families at home down on their knees
through the power of prayer our fears were released.
Every prayer was answered,
every concern removed.
Our plans may have been shattered,
but His was proved.
His timing is perfect, His ways secure,
In our loss, His love endures.
Scared and confused,
the questions abounded,
In the midst of it all,
we were surrounded.
We know not the reason,
We cannot question His plans,
We do know our little one
is now in His hands.

I am so blessed to know this awesome woman of God! Please keep her and her husband in your prayers and maybe leave an encouraging word here for them. She pops in here occasionally and I’m sure she could use the support.
This Thanksgiving, let’s challenge ourselves to remember what we’re thankful for. In my family, we go around the dinner table and all share one thing we’re thankful for. Let’s pretend this blog is our table, what are you thankful for this year?

-Sarah

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