Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Week 21: A Companion to Journey With

They say crisis and tragedy can draw people together and create strong bonds. No one would debate that as true--and I really wouldn't disagree with or "poo-poo" it now.

I was going to write a book. Maybe I still will, but for now, it's kind of on hold. My friend and I were going to do it together, on infertility, but then, what do you know--we both got pregnant! I want to share this first chapter with you to help explain this friendship I have been blessed with.

I’m used to getting what I want, when I want it. Usually. So it wasn’t too much of a surprise when on December 16th, 2006 I took a pregnancy test and found it to be positive.

The moment, all alone in the bathroom, early in the morning, was one of the happiest moments of my life. Except for the alarming thought that crossed my mind as I read the positive pregnancy test. “Don’t get excited; you’re going to miscarry.” Clear as a bell, as if the voice of God had spoken. What? Who thinks such a thing when in the midst of discovering such exciting news? I chose not to dwell on the fleeting thought and instead pounced on my sleeping husband and delivered the sooner-than-expected news. I’d gone off the pill only 5 weeks earlier. Apparently, this whole child-bearing business was going to be a breeze for us.

Except, it wasn’t. It hasn’t been. It isn’t, and it won’t be.

My alarming thought turned out to be true. January 22nd, 2007 I began to spot. On January 24th, two days before my birthday, I had a D and C to remove my baby, which had never fully attached and had died before it even had a heartbeat. In that moment, I realized that the alarming thought I’d had a little over a month before had been a warning. Should I have heeded it more? Should I not have allowed myself to get excited? To bond? Who knows. I’ll never know the “right” answer. All I know is I am a mother, but I have no baby.

The doctor who performed my D and C noted that perhaps he felt something malformed in my uterus. We did an MRI in March, but, since he decided to go on vacation and never call me back, I never sat down with him to find out the results. By phone, a nurse told me “Everything looks great—go get pregnant!” So for many months, operating on false information, we continued to try. My husband and I went on to conceive again in September of 2007, but lost the pregnancy at only three weeks. I still was in no mood to trust a doctor again, so we just continued trying. Finally, in February 2008, I found a reproductive specialist. She instantly viewed the MRI films and diagnosed me with a septate uterus, and declared I would definitely need surgery. The surgery was done in May 2008. Since then, we’ve done rounds of Clomid, HCG shots, insemination, and acupuncture. Quite obviously, I am still not pregnant. Needless to say, I can now consider myself somewhat of an expert on infertility—the hurts, the struggles, the pains. I’ve been a mother twice, and lost both. I’ve waited month after month, and still nothing. I know this journey. I feel this journey.

So, when I heard from my friend Terri that she was off the pill, but struggling to figure out her cycle, I felt sick. And excited. Excited? What? Yeah—and guilty for feeling excited. And conflicted.

Suddenly, my friend Terri, who had walked with me on my journey so far, was telling me that she was joining me on the path.

I remember praying, “God, use me.” And to be completely honest, it felt so good to know that although this experience sucks, God was still choosing to use me while in the midst of my pain. He wasn’t going to wait 10 years and then allow me to mentor someone. No, He was going to bless me with a friend to walk with on this path. I am still conflicted when I feel gratitude that Terri has struggled with infertility as well. It still baffles me that two best friends would share such a similar story. But what a blessing it has been. Two friends, who, for whatever reason, bonded sophomore year of college while waiting in line at the polls on election day. If our mutual friend hadn’t decided the line was too long and left, I don’t think Terri and I’d be the friends we are today. If we hadn’t stood for hours in that line and gotten to know each other, and then gone running at the gym afterwards and sparked this lifelong friendship, I honestly don’t know how I’d get through this infertility struggle. December 9th, 2006, unbeknownst to me, I was pregnant, while dancing the night away at my friend Terri’s wedding. Now, years later, here we are. Walking this journey together, and sharing it with you. I hope we can help.

Terri came to a shower that my sister threw for me on Monday night, the last day of my 21st week. She is in her 29th week. We are both carrying babies; tears still come to my eyes and I still shake my head at God's goodness. All those frustrated emails, all those tears of pain, all those deep wounds and resentment ... and God knew He'd given us each other, not only for the journey of infertility, but for the journey of pregnancy, motherhood and beyond. Friendship is a wonderful thing, and I'm so grateful for Terri!

And of course, I'm already praying that my son will marry her daughter. :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Week 20: I'm Here Dad!

So on the very last day of my 17th week, I felt little Bubba move for the very first time.

On the very last day of my 20th week, Erik finally felt Bubba kick! We were chilling on the basement couch, pretty normal for a late evening at the Lindeens, and as usual I had my hands on my belly, hoping for a hello from my son.

I'd just about given up and gone to bed when I sensed a little movement. And then out of no where, a huge KICK! So I grabbed Erik's hand, told him to concentrate this time, and we waited. And then, a kick! and another and another and another! All in the same spot! Finally, Erik was able to experience the amazing moment of actually feeling his son and his new found strength. With his hand still on my belly--on his son--he typed with his other hand on facebook "I just felt my son kick for the first time!"

I'm so excited that this moment has come! I know it makes it more real for Erik, and I love being able to share this with him. Bubba is definitely getting strong--I feel him very often now! Even my sister Molly was able to catch one of his kicks (or head butts) last night. She was super excited!

Pregnancy is so amazing ... for all of my whining about how my clothes don't fit and I can't eat because my stomach is squished ... this is the most amazing experience ever and I LOVE being pregnant!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

He's the Man

So, I have this husband. Can I please tell you about him?

I love my husband so much, it hurts. I think of him and I get that full feeling in my rib cage (does the heart actually swell with emotion?), I involuntarily smile, my eyes get all teary and I suddenly need to breath deeply just so I don't cry.

Oh man, I just realized I'm going to cry while writing this blog. Figures--I'm pregnant! And I'm me! :)

My husband Erik is truly an incredible man. I absolutely am amazed at what God is able to accomplish through him. The work he does at our church, the vision he casts in all areas of life, the progress he has made with a bunch of crazy high school students astounds me all the time.

If you don't know him, or haven't had a chance to get to know him more than as "the guy who leads worship at my church" or "the guy who provides an insane place for my teen on Wednesdays", you won't know much of this. So let me share!

  • My husband does the cat box every other day without complaining. Oh how I love him!
  • My husband will do pretty much anything for me at anytime. (That's why I throw a small hissy fit when he actually says "no" to something--I'm just not used to it!)
  • My husband takes the utmost care in planning for and executing a Sunday morning worship service. The amount of thought that goes into what songs and why and in what order and with what video .... it makes my head spin.
  • My husband will clean the bathroom if I put out a desperate plea for help. (I've learned it's still just better to do it myself, but it's so nice that he offers!)
  • My husband rarely cries--but this fall I got to watch him shed tears of joy over three great teen guys who came to know the Lord. If you want a glimpse into Erik Lindeen's heart, ask him about these guys!
  • My husband is so excited to be a father--and I can't wait to see him experience it!
  • My husband is so good at letting me vent/freak/shriek and sob about life--and he is so good about steering me toward the right "next steps". If there are no "next steps" and I just need to vent/freak/shriek and sob, he lets me do so, gives me a hug, and takes me to get Applebees boneless wings.
  • My husband writes incredible songs. I won't know what's going on inside of him for months and then suddenly he'll produce this incredible song that outlines exactly what emotions have been rolling around inside his heart. I wait patiently for these moments where I get to glimpse so much deeper than normal into his soul.
  • My husband, believe it or not, is quite funny. Sometimes I forget this because he can be so serious when talking about church, but when he decides to get silly, I LOVE IT! My favorite is when he randomly grabs me in the kitchen and pretends to dance. He's so not a dancer!
  • My husband always wants to try new things--I love this about him.
  • My husband has such a gift for reaching out to people and connecting them in the right places. You may not always know it's him doing it, but he's often pulling the strings and making sure a person feels connected.
  • My husband really is a softie--beneath his sometimes loud opinions and fast-paced "Get it done" work style, he really really does care. I promise!
  • My husband is my favorite. End of story.
I could go on and on and on, but I won't. Pretty much because my husband's son is kicking my bladder and I have to make a restroom stop. :)

Thank you for reading my tribute to my husband Erik. I love him so much and am so immensely blessed that God have given him to me for however long I may have him; I intend to live it up. Thank you Jesus for blessing me with such a wonderful man to love and do life with!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Week 19: What the ... ?!

Something happened this week that I didn't expect, never saw coming and threw me for a loop:

I grieved having a girl.

What the ... ?!

We all know I wanted a boy. I was quite sure a son was what I was supposed to have. Most agreed with me, some hoped for pink instead of blue, but everyone was aware that I was betting on a little Bubba boy.

When the ultrasound technician said, "Boy", I felt first relief, then incredible shock, then more relief, then unsurpassed joy! It was so much fun to look over at Erik through the tears in my eyes and see the proud swelling of his chest as he took in the news. What a wonderful moment!

But then, throughout the rest of the day and a couple days to follow, it started to register. I'd see pink and think, "No, can't buy that." or I'd hold my friend's precious girl and wonder, "Are baby boys this soft too?" I saw my Kirsten doll and her accessories in the nursery and realized, "Wow, ok, I have to put those somewhere else" ...

And then I started to think, uh oh--girl stuff I can deal with. Girl "crap" I know--snobby attitude, body image, mean girls, equally mean boys, bras and lack of bras, fights with friends and uncomfortable stockings. But boys? I can't do boys! I don't know boys! I've never understood boys and can't seem to crack the code!

I shed tears over this!

What if my boy gets in fights? What if my boy is "wimpy" and gets picked on? What if my boy starts the fights? What if my son is a bully? What if my son is tempted with porn? What if my boy gets rejected by a girl? What if my son struggles with homosexuality? (for some reason, this is more of a worry for me with a son than a daughter. Haven't figured that one out yet...) What if my son goes to war? I don't know how to do any of this!

I shed more tears over this, and shared with Erik. He is such a good husband. He just tried not to laugh at my hysteria, took me in his arms and said, "Babe, that's why I'm the Daddy. That's why there are two of us. That's why Bubba has a Mom and a Dad."

Oh yeah ... I knew that!

So, week 19--we found out Bubba's a boy, I freaked just a little, I realized I really do still want a girl, but I also realized, just like I thought, I'm super pumped to have a little boy. I can't wait to have a little guy running all over, getting into everything and making my life crazy! (Cora, you are still allowed to quote me in three years when I'm in hysterics over the state of my house!) Week 19, I feel Bubba kick constantly, he has even evoked little yelps of surprise from me, I'm popping out enough for people to comment that I "finally look pregnant!" and my Mom got to feel Bubba move too! Phew! What a week!

I am having a son. I am going to be, and already am, "Joshua's Mom"--I can't wait to see how this changes my life!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Week 18: Just not getting there

So, I'm just not getting to my Week 18 update, so i'm skipping it and instead telling you:

BUBBA IS A BOY!!!!! Yay!!! We are so excited! My maternal instincts were correct! yay!!!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Week 17: Really in there!

So, there's something in my belly! It's finally becoming more clear! I tried sucking in my stomach the other day, and Erik just started laughing because I had to try so hard, and was breathless when I was done--there's actually someone in there!

How cool is it that my child is in my body?!

You know, God could have gone with the whole stork idea--less messy. But instead He chose this marvelous design; I'm so glad He did.

What a privilege to carry my child, to have heartburn because of it, to be up in the night peeing because of it, to have to set aside myself and my desires (though I'm not super good at avoiding my favorite drinks--coffee and an occasional Coke....) for the benefit of my child. What amazing training for parenthood!

Pretty sure I felt Bubba move--freak out really--when I flipped over onto my stomach the other night. Wowsa!! Lots of movement in there!

I'm noticing I'm more likely to find other reasons for "flutterings" because I want to be I've had lots of "muscle twitches" and "gas bubbles"--baby? maybe? maybe not? Time will tell as Bubba gets stronger. I really should just be like some of my friends, and assume everything is Baby moving. It'd be more fun than all this digestive stuff!!

Yay for 17 weeks!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Week 16: Gut Feeling? Or Bucking the Trend?

I didn't expect to care so much!

I was not prepared at all for my intense desire for a son. Especially after our journey with infertility, I was pretty certain I'd have the mentality of "Either/Or! As long as we get (just) one!"

But my oh my I want a boy!

I like to think that my completely and totally unfounded certainty that has no basis in anything and can't be supported by any logic indicates that perhaps I'm experiencing a "gut feeling" and I really do have a little boy tumbling around inside of me.

But, I also know me. I know I like to be different. Not necessarily follow the trend. And the trend has been ... female babies. I'm loving all the pink my friends get to cuddle with, but I'm ready for some blue!

But most times, I'm just quite concerned that in 3 weeks I'm going to feel very guilty as I'm shedding tears after hearing I'm having a girl.

And, it has come to my attention that I am actually afraid I'm going to feel embarrassed. Embarrassed? Yeah--embarrassed.

If you've spoken with me at all about this pregnancy, you know that we are hoping for a boy. I keep picturing myself sharing the news of a "Bubba-ette" to my friends, and feeling embarrassed. Like, "Oh yeah, hey, um, we're actually having a girl....mumble mumble mumble *awkward silence*...."

Does this make any sense? NO! But do any emotions in pregnancy make sense? Not really!

Should I feel guilt? No. Should I feel embarrassment? No. Should I be worried about this? No. Because anytime I see that little "it" cartwheeling around in my tummy, I am filled with joy. Anytime I think I feel some flutters (I haven't, BTW. All gas, round ligament and hunger pains so far) I am ecstatic and gender doesn't matter. Anytime I shop for baby stuff, I'm just excited that it's so little and soft--no matter whether it's blue or pink.

But on that day, I will be very interested to see how I respond. And whether this strange certainty and ridiculously intense, unexpected desire for a son really is stemming from a gut feeling -- or if it's just me, bucking the trend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Week 15: Completely and Totally Unaware

All week, this 15th week of my pregnancy, I've been pondering how awesome Bubba's life is right now.

At my 14 week doctor's appointment, the doctor informed me that I might have a slight infection and that they would do a urine culture to find out. She asked me if I'd noticed any spotting. I said no. The appointment wrapped up and Erik and I left. I went to the bathroom and Ta Da!


Ugh. But it was soooo light and unsubstantial I thought well, let's just see if it gets worse. So I went about my day. The spotting continued, so I let my doctor know. She wanted me to come back in for an U/S, just to make sure everything was okay. That made me more nervous, but I still pretty much kept my calm. Which was great--an quite abnormal for me. I mean, we had heard a strong heartbeat that morning, and I wasn't really spotting so....

She prepped me for the U/S, put that nasty gel on my belly and Boom-there Bubba was. Just chillaxing in my womb, completely unaware of the slight fear and chaotic schedule going on around him. Completely and totally unaware to how his/her little life is so cherished, so hoped for, so prayed over. As soon as we got him on the screen, we saw his usual antics of kicking, twisting and turning. I realized he was totally upside down--and loving it! Bubba's just in there, having a ball, bouncing around with room to spare, while I'm concerned about whether he/she's alive or not. It's just crazy.

Like right now, it has been a week or so since that U/S, so I'm reaching the point of "What if" that I come to between every doctor's appointment. What if something has happened and I just don't know yet. What if the infection is affecting the baby. What if, what if...what if.

And guess what? I'm quite sure Bubba is just dancing away inside me, completely and totally unaware of anything except his love for movement, the whoosh whoosh beating of my heart, and the fact that amniotic fluid now moves through the nose and respiratory tract to help develop the lungs.

What a life Bubba has in there!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Innocence Lost

Pregnancy is an amazing gift. A joyous surprise. A wonderful piece of news to share.

But it’s different when you’ve miscarried.

There’s hesitancy, a lack of excitement. Doubt rules, and fears overwhelm. Where jumping and screaming should occur, looks of concern mixed with tiny bits of hope appear instead.

Once I experienced the innocent bliss of announcing a pregnancy. Just once. And probably never again. That one time will always stick in my mind; I hold it close to my heart. That baby never came to be, but for one precious month, one short, short month, we were excited. We were unconcerned. We did not fear. We got to do the “we’re pregnant!” excited phase.

Sure, we’ve now reached that phase with this pregnancy, and of course, the excitement is bubbling and the joy is inexplicable. But the day I took that test, the moment I saw the plus sign, the “pregnant” reading, the double line, I didn’t jump for joy. I hyperventilated. I collapsed in fear. I froze in doubt. Miscarriage steals the initial joy from pregnancy.

When I told my family, they weren’t sure how to respond. I’m pretty sure my Mom’s words were, “Okaaaay…and how do we feel about this?” It wasn’t an incorrect response on her part—it was a response based out of months and months of hoping and crying and wanting and waiting. It was a response based out of, not blissful, innocent joy, but out of fear of more hurt, more pain, more disappointment.

I’m so excited to be pregnant—Lord knows I’ve waited for a very long time. But my heart literally hurts when I see friends get to announce their pregnancies to screams of joy and astonishment, instead of smiles and hugs laced with concern and memories of pain.

Please don’t pity me, or think I’m pitying myself. This is my journey; this is the path I was led on. It’s just how my life is, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sin and brokenness muck up this world, and this is one way it has affected mine. The discovery of pregnancy, in this household, was terrifying, even though we were trying so hard and wanting it so much. The memory of loss was too fresh, in spite of the time that had passed.

If you are a woman who is able to embrace the news of pregnancy with blissful joy, cherish it. Not all of us have that experience, and I’m so glad you do.

Week 14: The Nursery

As some of you know, our nursery has been painted for well over 2 years.

It was kind of therapeutic for me, right after our losses, to have this project to work on. The color scheme was drawn from a quilt that my mother-in-law made for me.
I had picked out the fabric before we miscarried our first baby. One might think I wouldn't want to use that quilt, since it was chosen for a baby that didn't live, but in fact, I clung to that little quilt--and this room--as a symbol of hope.

Well, though I'm only 14 weeks, my mind is racing trying to decide how to match bedding, furniture and decor to this already colorful room. I need suggestions!

What color furniture? (the crib side in the picture is an option, and the crib will be centered under the set of squares. The squiggly white line is most likely going away. We're tired of it. :] )

What color bedding?

I adore the jungle animals on my husband's cousin's (so my cousin's?) store website ( I incorporate them?

Should we keep the daybed in there for guests? or take it down for more space? (forgive the cat in the photo--she wouldn't move.)

So many questions, so many decisions. :) I welcome the challenge, especially since I have months ahead of me to figure it out. Any ideas or suggestions?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Week 13: People Say Funny Things

Upon seeing my baby bump for the first time, my brother says, "Aw, come on--you could suck that in!"

My nephew Samuel, when he heard me call the unborn Baby Lindeen "Bubba", said, "Auntie Kristin, what's his REAL name?" I asked what he meant and he said, "Bubba isn't a name, Auntie Kristin."

My sister Tara calls to me from the kitchen, "Hey Pregnant One--refill your water bottle."

Ethan, my oldest nephew, explained to me why he wants it to be a girl. "Well, at first I really wanted a boy because there are so many girls. But then I realized I'll be 14 when this baby is 5, so I won't play with it at all. So, it should be a girl, since Abigail, Serenity, Lydia and Katelyn are all girls, and all younger."

I think I enjoyed my 13th week, but I'm not sure--it FLEW by! I can't believe it's over! It's a blur to me. A blur consisting of speaking in Kansas, meeting fun people, flying out of Denver in a blizzard, spending too much time in the Detroit airport, flying not once, but twice into Erie PA airspace (only landing once), driving to Jamestown NY, speaking again, meeting wonderful people there, racing from my late flight to my flight to Denver--through Detroit in my heeled boots--spending one night with my hubby before boarding another flight to Minneapolis where I spent a perfect weekend reconnecting with my siblings, and seeing my nieces and nephews. I'm beat--and I'm pretty sure Bubba is too!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Move Down, Step In and Shut Up!

So here I sit at DIA for the fourth time in four days.

While the rest of Colorado is celebrating an official "Snow Day", I made it quite quickly to the airport, flew through security, grabbed a bagel and orange juice and am now somewhat patiently awaiting my flight to Erie, PA through Detroit, so I can rent a car and drive to Jamestown, NY.

Part of me really covets that "Snow Day".

But, I do love what I do, in spite of the long days of travel. I wonder if my thoughts on my job will change once there's a baby at home. When I left this morning at 5:45am, I tried to imagine preparing and saying goodbye to a little one, as well as trying to get myself out the door at that ungodly hour. Hmm ... we shall see. The up side is the many days I'm not traveling and get to just be at home. It's an interesting trade. 24 hours after 24 hours of being home, broken up by maybe 2-3, 1-2 day trips a month. Very very interesting ... only time will tell!

Well, I wanted to share some random musings about airport life:

Why did DIA put red carpet on Concourse C, the color of what can only be described as stale tomato juice? It's fairly revolting.

I love it when little kids have their own miniature rolly-bags. It cracks me up. A little 3 year old boy just strutted by with his very own Spiderman bag on wheels. He was very proud. I'm sure all the 2 year old girls are checking him out.

Oh my gosh, I HATE IT when people don't scoot down after their bins/bags come through security. They stand there, putting on their belt, adjusting their collars, putting away their laptop, tying their shoes....all while my stuff if just out of reach inside the metal tunnel. MOVE DOWN!!!

Why when people get on the train do they stand right next to the first pole by the door jam? Don't they see the 50 other people waiting to get on the train? And then they glare if one of the 50 gets stuck in the door and the Man on the Speaker who plays the really odd music says, "YOU are delaying the departure of this train. Please stand clear of the doors." Again I teach--STEP IN PEOPLE!

It was a heart stopping moment when I crested the escaltor on Concourse C (I'm rarely on Concourse C because my primary airline, United, is on B), expecting to see Einstein Bagels, but only saw, gag me, McDonalds. Then I realized I came up on the opposite escalator than normal. I walked to my left and straight ahead, my bagels. The world was set right again.

Seriously, the things people sneak on these days as carry ons is a crime. There should be police for this.

Why is there only a Caribou on Concourse A? Now that's just unfair.

It's really quite irritiating that every time I settle somewhere, I have to completely unsettle to go to the restroom. This is far worse now that I'm pregnant.

I've mastered the art of touching the bathroom stalls as little as possible. I use my shoulder to push open the door, step in, twirl my bag in and around and use it to shove the door shut. I don't even lock it--just lean the suitcase. It's a wonderful little routine. Until the latch is missing or broken, which is often the case, and the door proceeds to swing outward, due to the pressure from the suitcase, just as I'm sitting down. How irritating.

Do you know how annoying it is when, on a plane of 150 people, I happen to sit right near the two guys or two gals who decide to be chummy and talk the ENTIRE TIME? Again, we need police.

I wish I lived in Kansas City. No, strike that, I wish that airport would swap with DIA, so I could still live here, but use the Kansas City Airport. Which I guess, in this scenario, would be DIA. Point is, DIA was laid out by crazy people who don't travel multiple times in a week, and Kansas City was laid out by angels.

Deciding what to wear to travel is one of the most stressful events of any given travel week. Jeans or business pants? Sneakers or painful "appropriate" black shoes? Tshirt or sweater? Layers or not? Jacket? Gloves? Socks? Today I opted for socks instead of nylons with my slip on black shoes, (cold feet on a plane=crabby me), jeans, a Tshirt with a sweater, a scarf, mittens and a light nylon-rain jacket. I think this was a pretty good decision. Professional enough, but still comfortable. The worst is when opt for a hoodie, jeans and comfy shoes, and I meet with a prospect. Like a VP of Sales from Qwest. I don't think I'm very convincing when I say I'm a professional speaker/training when I'm wearing my college clothes.

I could go on forever about travel ... but alas, the bathroom calls. So I'll have to pack up and relocate. Maybe after that I'll take a nap, somehow, while leaning over the armrest, attempting to cushion the discomfort with my sweater and light nylon-rain coat. Or I'll just go get coffee.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A View of the Mountains and Blue Like Jazz

I'm almost done reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. For the first time. Yes, I am behind the times, or whatever. People all around me have read this book multiple times, years ago, and I'm just getting to it.

Loving it.

And I'm not reading it because it's trendy to do so. In fact, that's probably part of why I didn't read it for so long. I hate it when people read stuff and talk about stuff just because we feel like we need to to be "cool".

But, on that note, I will probably read Blue Like Jazz again.

The first Miller book I read, Searching for God Knows What, was really good, but it took me longer to get through it. The second book of his that I read, Through Painted Deserts...well, let's just say I'm not sure where it is. That one didn't grab me as much. But Blue Like Jazz ... I flew to Kansas City and back and am almost through the book. That says a lot about this book. Novels I fly through. Christian murder mystery novels I read again and again, as long as enough time has passed for me to forget the exact plot. But whatever this genre is, I normally plod through and usually never finish.

So what's my point? As I flew in from Kansas around 9:30 this morning, I caught an amazing glimpse of the freshly snow-dusted Rocky mountains. They really are "purple mountain majesties" and I love that. I thought to myself, Wow--what could be better than Blue Like Jazz, a view of the mountains, and a United flight that actually arrives on time?

Nothing, my friend, nothing.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week 12: Sick as a ...

So, here's the deal. I don't have morning sickness. I don't have sickness at all--it's AWESOME. I have horrendous heartburn, and have started getting some pretty wicked headaches, but absolutely no nausea to speak of.

But this week, magical week 12, I did not want food. Ugh. Gross. I thought and thought and thought on Wednesday until I realized the only thing I could eat that I actually wanted to eat was Chick-Fil-A waffle fries. MMMMmmmm! Literally, nothing else sounded good. If my couple day aversion to food was even a glimpse into what some pregnant women deal with, WOW am I thankful that I'm not sick as a ... pregnant woman!

I got to see Bubba again yesterday. My doctor's office was involved in a certification or something, so they needed women at my stage to practice their technique. I got $50 bucks and like 30 minutes of watching Bubba flip and wiggle and wave and jump--he even kinda sat up straight up and down at one point! It just baffles me that all of this is going on inside of me, all the time, and I can't feel a thing! It's absolutely phenomenal. Near the end, he was getting stubborn and refused to move into the right position. Then we noticed he had the hiccups! Poor little guy--his whole tiny little 2 inch self would convulse every time he hiccuped! I can't wait til I can feel all of this, as uncomfortable as it will be. What an amazing experience!

My Mom came with me to the U/S. That was sooo special; I'm so glad she could come! When we were done, she teared up a little bit and mentioned how she just can't understand how anyone could look at that little tiny being, and abort it. How in the world?! He's in there--moving around, waving his hands, opening and closing his mouth ... how could anyone deny that it is alive? I just can't comprehend. God must be so heart broken when people choose to abort. It's so heartless ...

This blog really doesn't have a "point" today. I kinda wish it did--I've felt a little aimless in my blogs lately! I feel one brewing though, slightly based on today's sermon at church. We'll see if it comes to anything ... until I get my groove back, you'll just all have to read my random thoughts about Bubba! Week 12 and counting!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week 11: Youth

I’m into a bad pattern—I write my “Weekly Logs” so late in my week that I’m basically to the next week already!That’s okay. I’ll give myself grace, something I’m not very good at doing…

Week 11….hmmm…well, let’s just say that I am SO GLAD to be past week 10! What a milestone, for pregnant women in general, but for me especially after having lost one at 10 weeks. So…Yay for Bubba!

I just spent the weekend at EPIC, a youth retreat that my husband and our neighbor, who is a youth pastor as well, directed. I love those teens. Seriously. Such ­great kids! A good number of our teens come from great families…and a good number of our teens come from broken families.
There are moments when I catch a glimpse of the deep sadness that lives inside these students, and I am shaken to my core.

Parents, do we realize the depth of our role? The importance of our choices? The incredible weight of our relationships with our teens? Far too many parents of teens check out—assume their adolescents are either a lost cause, or will be just fine. Or worse—parents assume they know and already understand what they’re teens are dealing with. They assume and don’t ask. Please hear me: This is when your children need you the most! Ask! Listen! And really hear what it is that your teen is dealing with!

I know I’m not a parent…I’m quite aware. No need to tell me. But I am with teens often. I am with them in their happy moments, their silly moments, their disobedient moments and their heart-breakingly sad moments. And these kids? They need their parents. Both of them.

Sometimes, very rarely, I feel myself freak out just a little about becoming a parent. But really, most times, I am so grateful for the examples I’ve had. I have wonderful parents. And when I say wonderful, I mean really wonderful. Almost textbook. So, in my split second freak out moments, I picture my parents and know that, while yes I’ll make mistakes, and no I’m not perfect and would never claim to be, we are going to be good parents. We are going to be great parents! (Hoping for some self-fulfilling prophecy here!)

Youth ministry has taught me so much. And it will continue to. I can’t imagine not being a part of the adolescent world. WAY TOO MANY adults forget about pouring into the next generation…and it saddens me. I’m sure it’s different when an adult has his own children at home to pour into; I get that parenting is pouring into the next generation.

But it’s also so important for teens to have a loving, caring adult in their life who is not their parent. I enjoy being that adult.

It’s hard sometimes—really hard. Especially when I have to walk that line between being her friend, and her life mentor. I have to say the tough things, and speak truth. And it’s not always easy—in fact, it rarely is. But those moments where they say Thank you. Or when I see one of them come to a new understanding about Christ, life and relationships. Or when I see her make the right decision even though it’s hard…I remember the incredible weight of my relationship with these teens. The things I say and do affect them more than I realize. And I will be held accountable but Someone much higher than that teen, the other youth leaders, the parents, or Erik. I often forget to recognize the importance of my choice of words, choice of time, and choice of body language; the teens see and hear it all. Wow—what an awesome opportunity!

So, this blog is supposed to catalog my thoughts about pregnancy. But, honestly, that gets fairly repetitive and boring.

So, this week, Week 11, this is what I was pondering. One way I can associate it with pregnancy is this: I can only start to pray now that there is someone out there who God is preparing who will play this all-important role in my teens life. As much as I hate to say it, I can’t be everything for my teens. They will need someone to pour into them in a way that I can’t. I can’t wait to see how that relationship develops someday! And I will be so grateful for that person. This baby, 9 weeks and 5 days old, this baby is going to be loved. And not just by Erik and me!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Week 10: Thankful

Caught Up! Written 10-10-09

10 weeks, 4 days

Oh my gosh, it was SO FUN to announce our pregnancy on Facebook!

Surprisingly, a large amount of my emotional support during our journey with infertility came from friends on Facebook. I honestly don’t know how I would have made it if I didn’t have that avenue of friendship!

Of course my face-to-face friends and family provided vital support, but there’s something about the Facebook community that provided a totally different, yet completely necessary kind of support for me. And Erik, I believe.

Friends who I hadn’t connected with since college, even high school, would randomly message me to say that they were praying.

Or one would comment on my status and say a few encouraging words.

Often, it was hard for me to reach out to my “real life” friends
when I was in my darkest moments.

But, because I’m a writer and quite expressive, posting a status on Facebook or writing an emotional blog came easily to me.

And my FB friends responded.

The support these friends, however loose the ties may have been, and however loose those ties may still be, was crucial to my surviving this journey.

So, to every friend, whether we roomed together in college,

shared a degree program,

served as RAs,

roamed the same halls at BHS,

met through mutual friends,

are long-distance cousins,

lived on the same hall at some point,

or simply shared a moment or experience in life that brought us together---thank you.

We could not have survived without you. And we wouldn’t have wanted to!

Thank you for your hope when I lost mine. Thank you for your encouragement when I couldn’t lift my head. Thank you for your prayers when my faith was faltering. Thank you for your funny comments when I hadn’t smiled in days. And thank you for rejoicing with us in this gift—this miracle—that God has given us. May I be able to do the same for you, one day!

We are 10 weeks! I have never felt so tired, had such horrific heartburn, become breathless so easily…and I’m LOVING it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Week 9: Giggling Still...but Very Very Nervously

written 10/4/2009

9 weeks, 5 days

I still giggle to myself unexpectedly, but not as often lately. This week, since we haven’t had any ultrasounds since 9/25, I’ve been battling fear. Not too hard core, but still … battling. It’s so hard for me to trust that little Bubba is alive in there. First of all, my symptoms are next to none. In fact, some have already come and gone. Second of all, I’ve miscarried before.

People are always like,

“Well are you cramping?”


“Are you spotting?”


“Are your progesterone readings good?”


“Well then you’re fine!”


I thought I was fine for 10 whole weeks with our first pregnancy, and I wasn’t. Well, I was, but my baby wasn’t.

To me, the absence of cramps and spotting is
nothing to jump for joy over.

I’ve had the absence of cramps and spotting before … and it did not mean that my baby had a heartbeat. It did not mean that my baby was growing and developing. It did not mean that I would give birth 7 months later. No, instead it just meant that my body hadn’t yet chosen to inform me of my failed pregnancy.

Of course, I’m being monitored closely with this pregnancy. I’m on all sorts of preventative measures with this pregnancy. I have had the reassurance and joy of seeing my Bubba’s heartbeat—twice. But a week and two days after seeing that little life inside me, I’m still scared that it has or will soon fade away.

It’s so hard to trust. But I’m trying!

Week 8: I've Got the Giggles

Written 9/24
8 weeks

I find myself giggling to myself at the strangest of times.

Going through airport security, walking in the beautiful Fall weather, speaking to 70 people, going to the bathroom at 3am …

Suddenly the joy inside of me that I’ve tried to calm for almost a month now bubbles up from my stomach, fills my heart with warmth and reaches my mouth and causes me to burst into a wide smile and exclaim to no one in particular, “I’m pregnant!”

Sometimes there is a hint of a question in the statement, “I’m pregnant?!”, because I still just cannot believe that this gift has been given to me. As I sit here right now, my symptoms of pregnancy are present. I have to pee—again. I feel like my esophagus is being burned by a dragon, and my eyes are foggy and so badly want to rest. My mid section is bloated beyond belief, and due to my messed up blood chromosomes, I have little red-purplish dots all over my belly: burst blood vessels and bruising from my daily shot of blood thinners.

I am so incredibly blessed!

After the ER stint last Saturday/Sunday, we went in for a “real” ultrasound with my doctor’s office. This was the correct U/S experience—the screen was turned toward me, the lights were on, the nurse spoke, she answered my questions, she pointed things out, she told us what she was measuring … and then, there it was.

My little baby. My little blob, just chilling in a sac of fluid. All my worries, all my concerns, all my fretting over the previous 3 weeks….and the baby was perfectly fine.

Friday night (before the ER happened), I remember praying and telling God, “I know You see my little one, and You know if the baby is attached well. You know if there is a heartbeat. You know…so could you just whisper in my ear that everything is okay?”

(I’m now wondering if God, in His infinitely hard to understand ways, decided to “whisper” through spotting, the ER, a killer shot that might save my life and the baby’s and a healthy report. I guess I’ll never know….)

And guess what? I was right. God did know. And there’s the little “it”. I saw the fluttering. I heard the heartbeat. I still cannot believe that there is a second heart beating inside of me. It’s kind of creepy, actually. But so totally cool.

Meet “Bubba the Shrimp”. We call it just Bubba for short. 7w5d, 14.3 MM, HR 153, U/S 9/21

Bubba again, 9/25, due moved from May 7th to May 4th!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Week 7

Catching up! Written 9/20/09

7 weeks, 2 days.

My baby has a heartbeat.

Those are the most beautiful words I have heard since “You are beautifully pregnant”.

Strong fetal heartbeat of 141. And I only had to sit in an ER for 5 hours to find that out.

And two more hours of sitting entitled me to a killer shot.

But it’s all worth it because my baby has a heartbeat.

I was so sure it was over. But was I? Deep in my soul did I really think it was over? I’m not sure. I saw blood, I panicked … it’s not like I had a whole lot of time for soul searching. I was too busy assuming the worst, and going to the bathroom. And washing my hands to avoid the Swine Flu. Emergency rooms are gross.

I just remember saying over and over and over … I can’t believe it. This sucks. I can’t believe this is happening. This is so unfair. I can’t believe it. Is this really happening?

I remember at one point thinking, Wow, you sure were dead wrong—you really thought this one was going to stick. Sucks to be you. Or me. Whatever.

Sitting in the hospital, I couldn’t tell if my hopes were rising and peace was settling in my soul, or if Mike and Kelly were just making me laugh a lot and stay distracted. The one time Erik and I went into a triage room without Kelly and Mike, the reality of why we were there struck us both, and I started crying. I just can’t lose another pregnancy. I’m so grateful for friends who stuck with us for 7 hours in the ER. Who does that?!

This is my favorite quote ever: Up to a quarter of pregnant women have some spotting or bleeding in early pregnancy, and about half of these women miscarry. But if you have an ultrasound that shows a normal heartbeat between 7 and 11 weeks, your chances of continuing the pregnancy are greater than 90 percent.

Please, God, let that be us.

Right after finding out the baby was alive!

Our awesome friends, Mike and Kelly, would distracted us all night!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

So I've Been a Little Quiet Lately ...

Been wondering why?

We're PREGNANT!!!!

On August 29th, I took the test, and we discovered the seemingly impossible had finally occurred--God had answered our prayers and blessed us with a baby. I am 10 weeks, 2 days today!

Of course, I hyperventilated. :)

Being that blogging helps keep me sane, I've been a little INsane not being able to blog. So I kept up on my writing, and recorded my thoughts for each week. I'll post my 6 week musings for you here today.

September 12, 2009

6 weeks. I am 6 weeks (and one day) pregnant. I don’t think it has quite sunk in yet. God answered our prayers. Our prayers that were prayed for a very very long time by a quite large amount of people. He answered. Did I doubt that He would? No. Never. But I did, of course, wonder if perhaps His answer would forever be “wait”, and someday actually be “no”. So to have His answer be “yes” … well, that’s just still shocking for me.

We first found out when I was 4 weeks and one day pregnant. 4 weeks and one day.

That’s hardly pregnant at all! I flipped.

When I saw that positive pregnancy test on August 29th, I literally flipped. I walked to the kitchen, whispered Erik’s name and showed it to him. I remember saying I don’t trust it. I don’t believe it. I can’t believe it. It’s gotta be the drugs. And then, I pretty much hyperventilated. I can’t do this, I can’t do this … that’s all I could say, that’s all I could think. I can’t do this—I can’t deal with a false positive, I can’t wait until Monday to have my blood tested, and if it’s really positive, and I really am pregnant …. I can’t do this. I can’t go through the waiting…again. I can’t reach 8 weeks …. again. I can’t get hopeful….again. I can’t dream of a baby….again.

As crappy as infertility is, and was,
I just didn’t think I could do pregnancy.

Isn’t that funny? It had been two full years, almost to the week, since I had last conceived. I had hoped, and wished, and prayed, and demanded, and screamed for pregnancy. Now I (most likely) had it, and I didn’t think I could do it. The fear was just too much. The unknown was just too much. At least with the unknowns of infertility, a little life wasn’t at stake. My child wasn’t at stake. But with pregnancy… the fear of never being pregnant, of never being blessed with a child of my own…that’s very different than the fear of losing another pregnancy. Or losing an actual child. Or having something be wrong with that child.

I was never naive enough to think that once I conceived, life would be bliss. That pregnancy would feel great, look great on me, and that I would never fear or worry again.

I’m not that stupid, people.

But, now that it’s here—the pregnancy—I’m daily coming to grips with all the new fears to consider. They don’t surprise me by any means—remember, I have been pregnant before, which actually makes my early pregnancy fears all the more compelling as opposed to someone who still has the innocent happy excitement of finding out—but they are something to reckon with.

For the past two weeks (have we only known two weeks?! It seems like so much longer … ) I kept urging myself to write. To jot down what I was thinking and feeling. I’ve been in such a fog. The first few days, I was paralyzed by fear. I laid on the couch and watched Friends (thank God for Friends!) I was so tired, had such horrible heartburn, that I didn’t want to do anything. I blamed my laziness on the fatigue, but when it comes right down to it, I’m terrified. I was paralyzed by fear. I remember at one point, on Labor Day, I think, saying to my mom that I really needed to just get on with my life. I needed to get back to living.

To find out I was pregnant for the first time in two years was almost debilitating.

Time stood still for about a week. I was literally paralyzed. I wasn’t sure how to move forward. Every minute was spent mentally battling between excitement and dread. The hope of “this is really going to happen” and the certain depression of “I’ve lost two…why would this one stick?”
Two days ago, my sister in law asked me how I was doing. I told her that that day had been a good day—I’d gotten up, worked out a little, had lunch with a friend and cleaned a bathroom before the fear caught up to me and landed me on the couch in front of Friends. So, it gets better.

Day by day, I’m learning to move forward.
To be excited! and to HOPE.

To hope and to pray, but to still live my life. I’m pregnant. Sometimes I just say it out loud and giggle. Sometimes I say it to Erik and we smile tentatively together.

Sometimes, sometimes, I think May 4th is going to be a really good day.

More to come!!! Thank you for all your prayers and support!!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Lied.

Written July 8, 2009 ...

My devotionals for the past few days have been on Ecclesiastes 3 “A Season for Everything”. Good chapter, good reminders … I kept thinking maybe my season of waiting would end soon. I kept wondering what season would end next, knowing that it wouldn’t necessarily be my “infertile” season.

And then she called. Terri called. Terri, my friend that God blessed me with on this infertile crappy journey called. She called to say, “I’m so sorry—but I’m pregnant!”

That’s it. The season’s over. I’m back to it just being me. Me, all alone. Me, “That Girl.” Me, the infertile one. Me, the non-pregnant one. Me. Just me. Not me and Terri anymore. Just me.

It never occurred to me that the next season to end would be the season of having a friend to slog through this with.

And I fully understand that Terri is still with me. It’s not like, now pregnant, she gets carted off to some other planet where pregnant ladies go to prepare for their children.

Or is it? They seriously are in another world. Going through things I can’t understand, experiencing things I haven’t experienced, sensing some deep need to bond only with each other…it really does put up a small wall when one of my friends gets pregnant. Course, I’m used to it now. I realized yesterday that every single one of my best, closest, “doing life together on a regular basis” friends are pregnant. Or just were. Seriously God? Really? When is it my turn?!

Terri and I have asked that question together now for almost exactly one year. Almost a year ago today we were commiserating over the fertility drugs we were about to start. We were joking about how cool it would be if we got pregnant together, on the same month’s cycle. We were venting about the side effects and imperfect processes of fertility drugs and procedures.

We have walked this journey, side by side for a year. 12 months. (Actually, more than that in all reality, but my email trails that I’ve saved go back to only a certain date.) And Terri has been with me on this path long before she started struggling herself. She has been a great friend, and I know she’ll continue to be. It’s just, this season is over. She’s pregnant; I’m not. I’m back to being alone.

The Friend who is Infertile.

I remember struggling with excited yet guilty feelings when I realized Terri was going to walk this journey with me. They’re still there. Now, I’m so relieved and happy for my friend—God has answered her (and my) prayers. She knows her answer now. I’ve always said how good it will feel to look back and be able to say, “Ah yes, this is the journey.” When Terri told me she was pregnant, she said, “I just wasn’t supposed to be pregnant before now. This is the right time.” Well, I hate to say it, but DUH! It’s such a relief to know her timing … and yet, I’m so jealous. So jealous of the answer, the timing, the wait that is now over. The excitement that will begin to grow as the reality settles in. I’m jealous of the morning sickness, the cravings, the sleepless nights. And the guilt is still there too. I feel guilty when I think why her and not me? I’ve been waiting longer! I’ve lost two! I feel guilty when I consider selfishly the change in our friendship. The non-similar experiences. The inevitable awkwardness, since she is and I’m not. I feel guilty. And happy. And jealous. And sorrowful. And so so so tired of crying my eyes out over a friend’s joyous news.

I told Terri that her getting pregnant gives me hope.

I lied.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sneezing, Bacon and Shampooing

So, I'm not getting much done today. I already know this to be true, even though there is a large portion of the day in front of me. I just have no desire to do anything. I knew I wanted bacon for breakfast (I often want bacon for breakfast, but i rarely indulge. Mostly because it makes the stove really messy, and I hate figuring out what to do with the grease...), and I knew we have friends coming over at 6. But beyond that, I have no desire to do anything. There's a new curtain rod to be hung, a garage to organize, a basement to organize, clothes to put away, two bathrooms to clean, cats' nails to trim, shoes to sort, flowers to debud and trim, budgets to balance, Christmas lists to write, letters to mail, business trips to plan for, a kitchen floor to sweep and strawberries to slice. And all I can do is lay on the couch, browse friends' blogs, and sneeze. Yep, sneeze. Because of allergies. I hate them. They are really bad this year. I am desperate for the first frost so I can stop being tormented. And to all of you who say, "No! Don't wish summer away!!" Well, you sneeze literally 17 times in a row, and have your eyes swell up to double their size and then see how fun summer is. It's not fun. Just one frost--that's all I'm asking for. One frost, and then we can have some more warm days (don't they call that an Indian summer? What does that mean anyway?) to satisfy all of our warmth longings. Just one frost...please.
We got a new couch. I love it! The cats peed one too many times (really, one time is too many, and they far surpassed that) on the old leather couches, so Erik had to destroy them and carry them out piece by piece. They reeked. But, now we have a new couch!! It's great. I love it. It's chocolate brown, is curved, and seats four easily. I'm so excited to sit on a couch without it crunching, to cuddle on a couch without having to hold my breath, and to feel free to invite friends to join us for movies! yea!
Erik is shampooing the carpets. Isn't he an awesome husband? the amount of cat hair that is coming up out of the carpet is DISGUSTING. If I could go back, knowing what I know, would I still adopt these kittens? Hmmm.....sometimes I think no. And yet, these kittens have been our joy. They have seen us through this whole infertile journey. They have brought such joy and comfort...and yet they pee. Ugh. Life is full of such hard decisions.

So, anyway, I'm still not going to get anything done today. I'm sneezing too much, ate way too much bacon, but at least Erik shampooed the carpets!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Almost Rebellion: Part Three

My flight was delayed. The inbound plane was coming from Chicago. I hate Chicago. Nothing gets out on time. It’s like that place eats planes or something. So, I was stuck in Wichita. It’s one of those tiny airports where everything shuts down at like, six. So no magazines to purchase, no munchies to buy. Just me, my thoughts, and I. I think I talked to my Mom again … yeah, we chat quite a bit. I love my Mom.

You know when someone’s standing near you and you kinda get that sense that they would talk to you if you let them? So you avoid eye contact, and make sure your body language is not open. And you know when sometimes those people choose to ignore all that and talk to you anyway?

Well. I was standing, as my muscles were a little tired from all the sitting I’d done. A shorter woman, probably in her late 50s or early 60s, with frizzy blonde, shoulder length hair, blue capris—the kind of denim blue that shouldn’t be allowed anymore—a button down, oversized pale yellow shirt, and, you guessed it, a hip pack leaned toward me. She motioned toward the big window we were near and said, “Amazing sunset isn’t it?” I turned, and saw the most beautiful Kansas sunset I’ve ever seen. (Truth be told, it was the first Kansas one I’ve ever seen, but honestly, it rivaled the Colorado sunsets at that moment.)

“Isn’t that just the silver lining on this situation?” she asked. I knew she meant the delay of the plane, but …. I could not tear my eyes away from that sunset. I watched and watched and watched … and ducked my head because I was crying. I couldn’t help it. It was like God was saying here look—there’s still beauty in this world. I know you are hurting and broken, but life is still beautiful and I Am still here. I watched that sun until is disappeared behind the horizon. And I’m pretty sure when I turned, with tears still glistening in my eyes, I saw that funny little woman watching me and smiling to herself. I think she knew I needed that.

On the plane, near the end when I was no longer allowed to play obsessive, back to back games of Solitaire on my iPod, I rested my head against the stored tray table in front of me, and cried some more. Simply because it felt good to cry. I just felt so sad. And it felt so good to allow the sadness, still keeping out the anger and bitterness and jealousy. I was just sad.

I pulled it together and got off the plane, helped calm a lady and direct her to her connection, followed her there just to be sure, smiled at her reassuringly, as if her problem was the biggest in the world, and went to find my car. And drive to Colorado Springs, where Erik awaited me in a castle, in the highest room atop the highest tower.

I’m not joking—he really was in a castle, and really was waiting for me.

And so I went. I’d love to tell you I spoke to God the whole way and allowed Him to help me heal. But that wouldn’t have helped me stay awake, so I definitely danced my way to the Springs to the good ole music of America’s very own Britney Spears. Hey—don’t judge me. I got there safely.

The next morning, I went to the beginning of Erik’s conference session. (worship conference, morning session = worship songs). I sat at a table and just watched the words. I could not sing; I know myself too well. I couldn’t do it. But I did soak it in. I heard the words, and I allowed the tears to flow. The song that got to me the most that morning, just this morning actually when I think about it, was:

Matt Redman - You Never Let Go
From the album Passion 06: Everything Glorious

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

Oh no, You never let go
Through the calm and through the storm
Oh no, You never let go
In every high and every low
Oh no, You never let go
Lord, You never let go of me

And that’s when I realized. I really can’t run away from God. He’s got me, and He’s not going to let go. Just like my Mom is always telling me, God is big enough to handle my little emotional moments. He’s big enough to handle my questions, my doubts, and my yelling. He created me with these emotions, these hormones, and He knows what it feels like when they’re swirling inside of me, making me an emotional monster. And He’s big enough to handle said Monster. He’s not going to let me go.

What’s so funny about all of this, is I knew that. I know that. I’ve always known that. And yet, from August 26th-August 29th, I really really thought that I’d almost ... I don’t know what. But “almost”. I almost quit. I almost lost it. I almost attempted to run away from God. And then I realized something—it’s not that I can’t, but I don’t want to. Why would I?

Monday, August 31, 2009

My Almost Rebellion: Part Two

Somewhere in the recesses of my heart, I determined to at least attempt to talk to God a little, before I ran away from Him. I figured the hour drive in Kansas was a good place to start.

I didn’t get very far on that either. I mean, really—what do I say anymore? I’ve asked for answers, I’ve asked for peace, I’ve, of course, asked for pregnancy, I’ve asked for the pregnancy desire to lessen, if that would help. I’ve asked to be taught, I’ve asked to be molded. And I do know that, at times, these different things were answered. I have to give Him that, I guess. So, instead of talking, I turned on worship music, and drowned my sorrows in Hillsongs.

In my hotel room that night, my friend Terri called me. I had just finished reading an email from my friend Kelly, who commiserated with me on the confusion of prayer, answers, and how they don’t always come together. I appreciated that email, and I really appreciated Terri’s call.

She asked me how I was, and I told her honestly. I went through my rant. At one point I said something about saying to God, “God, get me pregnant!” and she said, “Wow—that sounds more like a demand than a prayer request!” I backtracked by saying, well, ah, you know, in real life it was more like “Dear God, please allow me the chance to bear a child …” But you know what? She was right. I started to wonder if I’d fallen into that trap, the trap that is so common for us all to fall into. The trap where as long as the one thing that I deem important in my life is missing, I’m upset with God. Had I really gotten there? Sure. I had. At least in those few hours of wrestling. Man, I hate wrestling.

By the end of the phone call, Terri had me in hysterics—laughter of course, I mean, come on—if you knew Terri, you’d understand—about how newborn babies look like overturned cockroaches. You know how when a bug is on its back and its little legs are flailing? Well, picture your favorite newborn, on its back, screaming and crying, with flailing appendages and you now understand why I was dying and out of breath from laughter.

Mom and I talked again. She called because she wanted to share something she’d read … or was it heard? Or found? Or wrote herself? No, that’s not it … I don’t remember. I admit, I wasn’t listening super closely. I’m a horrible daughter. I do remember this though. She said that whatever it was she had read/heard/found/wrote was something like this: Sometimes we’re so wrapped up with being angry about something, angry at God about something, that we forget to grieve. We’re so focused on anger, and so quick to go there, that we forget to allow the God of all comfort to, well, comfort. She said to me, something to the tune of (man, I need to listen better), maybe you just need to stop running toward the anger, and sit in your grief. God will meet you in that grief and, if you allow Him, begin to heal your wounds. Yep, I think that’s basically what she said. And if that’s not what you said, Mom, well, it’s what I heard and it helped. So good job.

Grief. When was the last time that I grieved? That I just allowed sadness? I jump to bitterness. I rest in anger, not that any rest actually happens there. I run to jealousy. But grief? I was done with grief. I’d done the cycle; I’d grieved the miscarriages. But to grieve simply the journey? To grieve the loss every single month, month after long month of still no baby? I hadn’t thought to grieve that. And so, in Kansas, the next day as I drove around the countryside, plastered on a smile for clients, found my way back to the airport and wandered to my concourse, I tried to remember how to grieve. I allowed sadness. I shut out anger, bitterness and jealousy, and I grieved.

(the third and final installment still to come...sorry it's so stinkin long!! I had a lot to "emote")

My Almost Rebellion: Part One

The past few days have been some of the hardest of my life. Nothing big has happened, I didn’t lose anyone, or anything. But I feel like I almost lost God. Or, well, He almost lost me. Well, wait, that still doesn’t work … I feel like I almost attempted to give up on God. I don’t know if I would have gone through with it. Actually, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have. God is so good about putting people in my life when I’m in these tough spots. People who speak truth to me, and who are willing to help me work through my emotions. People who don’t get scared when I question God, and question everyone’s perfect little theologies of Him. People like my friend Terri, my husband Erik, my friend Kelly and, most importantly in this little discussion, my Mom.

Here’s where I was at on August 26th. I was sitting in my favorite leather chair in our living room, scouring my well-worn Bible, that’s engraved with Kristin Miller—it was a high school graduation gift—and I’m looking for verses that speak to prayer. I found all the normal ones and wrote them in my journal. And after them I wrote a huge I DON’T GET IT. Because in that moment, I was so pissed. I was so confused. I was so done. Erik came home in the midst of this, and I started ranting, in a teary way, about how none of this makes sense to me. I handed him my journal and said, “I don’t get these verses.” And he kinda laughed, and said, “And you want me to explain them to you?” I could see the teasing in his eyes, because he didn’t yet get the personal torture I was putting myself through, and he was just seeing this as another way to prove that his Bible schooling is superior to my Bible schooling. I said yes, and watched his eyes drop to the page. The teasing left his eyes as he scanned the verses that I had listed. I had also underlined certain specific phrases.

1 John 5:14-15

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Matthew 7:7-8

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find … For everyone who asks receives

Luke 18:1

Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

Matthew 26:39b

Yet not as I will, but as you will.

John 15:7

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

He dropped the journal and admitted he didn’t know. Neither of us spoke; we just looked at each other, and I of course, got teary. Because here’s where I was at in that moment:

I was remembering high school me, content to believe “Everything happens for a reason!”

I was recalling college me, content to believe “God has a perfect plan that He is working out even as we speak.”

I was recognizing that this was where I was currently:

To high school me: If everything happens for a reason, then why is this happening to me? Show me the reason, and I’ll deem whether or not it’s worth the pain.

To college me: If God has a perfect plan, and His plan involves me suffering like this and giving up on prayer, and doubting His close presence in my life, then what kind of perfect plan is that?

To all the other “me’s” that have been, and to those who think they have the answers:

If God is in control of everything and plans everything out, well, then, He’s being pretty mean allowing everyone in my life to be pregnant except for me.

If God is not in control and has chosen to limit His power in this broken, fallen world, and is sitting back, just as sad as I am about this suffering, well, then, He’s just not all that powerful is He?

If God really does operate like the book of Job suggests, allowing Satan to harm us to prove that we can be faithful to Him, well, then, where was my choice in the matter? Because today, I don’t feel like being the one that proves faithfulness.

If God is choosing to allow suffering in my life to reveal His glory in me, for some odd reason, well, then, sorry to yet again sound selfish, but I’d rather not play that role, thank you very much.

If God is changed by our prayers, and prayers are worth praying, well, then, has anyone been giving Him my messages? Because not just me, but probably hundreds of people have sent up prayers about this and nada.

And the biggy—if everything is set in motion, and God isn’t affected by our prayers, well, then, I’m out. I’m done. Because the prayers are just disappointing at this point.

Please know that I am very aware—nauseatingly aware—of how incredibly selfish, and bitter, and angry, and well, human all of this ranting sounds. But hey—guess what? I’m HUMAN! And I refuse to stuff my real, true emotions with some platitudes designed to make me sound like a good Christian girl.

I voiced this all to Erik, who is struggling with the same hurt and deep sadness and so obviously didn’t have any answers, and went about my day. My Mom called at one point, and I sobbed my eyes out over the phone. It had been a while since we’d talked, and I was in quite the turmoil, so my conversation with her was full of anger and bitterness and doubt and questions … and the overarching desire to quit. To give up. To latch onto my anger and run. Though I’m not sure how far one can actually run from God, when He’s ingrained into your very being and etched on the walls of your heart, but I sure thought that maybe I was going to try. I didn’t get very far with that idea though, because I had to get ready for a business trip. And off to Kansas I went. . .

(for the sake of length, the rest of this will be posted tomorrow-ish.)