Archives for posts with tag: Sarah

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”

 

 

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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?

Hey fellow star-counters,

I think that’s what I’m going to call you guys. Star-counters. It’s a reference from the story of Abram and Sarah and you should totally check out the full thing in Genesis 15. But in my own words, Abram is having a hard night and he cries out to God, “Why haven’t you given me kids?!”

Been there? I have.

Many times.

So God tells him to go outside and look up at the stars. The God says to him;

“Look up at the sky and count the stars- if indeed you can count them.
So shall your offspring be.”

In the midst of Abram’s hopeless situation, God gives him a promise. God shows him hope. He causes Abram to look beyond his current situation. And I believe that God wants us to experience that same hope. He wants us to know He’s in control even when our hormones are not. He is the Prince of Peace and he wants us to know His peace even when we get another negative test result.

God may not have promised each one of us that our children will be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Or that we’d be able to have children naturally. Or even that our children will be perfectly healthy when we finally get them. But he has promised to be in control. One of my favorite promises that He’s made comes from Jeremiah 29:11:

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord.
“Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.
Plans to give you a hope and a future.”

So if the challenges of today are more than you can bear, take time to look up and count the stars. Remember the promises that God has made to you. He wants to prosper you and He has plans for your future.

I’ll be counting stars with you.

-S

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

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

it has been very interesting in this long process finding out who my wife has told and realizing who i have told about what we are dealing with.  the random people who are keeping our secret are a unique mix of people.

we feel this overwhelming shame of telling people we can’t get pregnant.  there is a fear that they will judge us, tell us what we need to do, get weird around us, or keep secrets to protect us.

it is almost as if we did something shameful to put us in this place

but we haven’t done anything to put us in this situation.  this is the hand we have been dealt.

to be honest i am extremely scared of telling my parents.  i have let them in on glimpses of what we are going through, but i have always hated their reactions and it is putting a wall between us.  they tend to react with all the wrong clichés and do not seem to understand how hard this is.

my wife has told her mom but it seems like her mom, who is typically incredibly supportive and thoughtful, has no idea how to respond.  we get cards in the mail to get over colds or do well on tests, but never to tell us she is praying we get better.

i really wish infertility could be seen as a disease.  i wish people understood we are handicapped by this.  i wish people understood how many couples are struggling with infertility because their bodies aren’t functioning properly.

maybe then i could come out of the closet and let everyone know that our bodies need healing and that we are struggling to make this work.  that same confusion that people get when they find out they have cancer is the confusion that i live with; why me.

maybe someday this blog will not have to be anonymous.

but for now i want a get well soon card.  i want to be told it is o.k.  i want to be told that I am o.k.

until then i will continue to put up a wall and keep this secret to myself.

how have all of you decided who to tell and who to not tell?

– “Abram ”

I’ve been sick for the past couple days and have spent most of my time sleeping. In between naps, my mom brought over some homemade chicken noodle soup and a torn-out page from World Magazine of an editorial she found interesting. While that article was thought-provoking, what really captivated me was the article on the back. It’s titled “No turning back; In the face of tragedy, a family’s choice to praise God challenges us to do the same.”

This is a thought that’s been on my mind a lot lately. Praise in the midst of tragedy. Gratefulness in the midst of destruction. The article tells of Scott and Janet Willis who “lost six children in a single day when a piece of metal fell off a truck and punctured the gas tank of their minivan.” In moments, their world forever changed. Unexplainable circumstances and unbelievable loss. I can’t begin to imagine the scene.

But in just a few more lines, the tragedy is overshadowed by the response. As Scott was being helped to the ambulance, he yelled to his wife in the midst of the chaos, “Psalm 34“. Her hands were badly burned in the accident and surrounded by emergency workers, she said over and over, “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be on my mouth.”

Just feet away from their burning car and the grave of their 6 children, Scott and Janet made the conscious decision to praise the Lord.

Their faithfulness leaves me speechless.

But Janet and Scott are not alone, the Bible and our own lives are full of these inspiring examples.

“Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” Job 13:15

Sing, O barren one, who did not bear” Isaiah 54:1

Even Jesus made the decision to trust when he said, “I will put my trust in Him.” Hebrews 2:13

I too have a choice over how I respond to infertility.

I can be jealous and bitter and separate myself from my expecting friends. Or, I can choose to praise. The article in World Magazine says it best;

” A command to sing at such a time would be cruel counsel if it were not true that in worship we find deliverance. Praise meets trauma where nothing else can reach. Praise in the face of devastation reaches blessings obtainable in no other way. The presence of God is directly related to worship.”

Right now, the trauma in my life is infertility. I don’t know if I’ll ever be blessed with the miracle of life growing inside me or if I’ll ever get to see tiny eyes that look like me and my husband. But what I do know is that I have complete control over how I choose to respond. Thanks to the faithful example of the Willis Family and so many who have gone before me, I will choose to praise.

-Sarah

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I saw this on the way home from work and was reminded that God‘s promises are still true. Even on the darkest nights. He will never leave us. Never forsake us. He knows what’s going on and cares about the deepest desires of our hearts. He loves us.

That’s all I need to know.

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