Put ‘Em Up, Infertility

In a recent bible study, we were asked to come up with an analogy to describe our lives. For example, life is like a roller coaster – ups, downs, dizzying turns, etc. Initially, I had a hard time with this one. Everything sounded so cliched and forced. My family has always said if there wasn’t […]

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Remarkable Secrets

Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.~ Jeremiah 33:3 I can hardly recount the number of times over the last several years when I found myself desperately scanning the bible, searching for that perfect, written-just-for-me scripture that would assure me I would get pregnant that […]

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Sadness…Interrupted

I’ve been thinking a lot about the different ways that we all process sadness. I’ve come across a lot of men and women who are actively punching sadness in the kidneys to keep it from putting them in a choke hold. For the first time since I’ve started my bout in the infertility arena I […]

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Rejoice in Suffering? Ugh.

We also rejoice in our sufferings, because We know that suffering produces endurance; endurance, character, and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given to us. ~ Romans 5: 4-5

It took me a long time to be able to appreciate this bible verse – and I will admit that I still have a hard time with it – a lot, actually. I have a hard time “rejoicing in my suffering” or expecting anyone else to do so. I truly believe that absolutely any person on this earth will tell you they wished they did not have to suffer. We wish that for them, too – we wish that for ourselves.

I write every post within this blog with the intent on giving hope and understanding to other women while at the same time, finding some healing for myself. I do lots of reading. I look for just the right scripture to reach out. I try to convey just the right perspective to inspire some hope. And almost every single time I search for scripture, I come across one or two that convey the message, like the scripture above, that we should somehow be thankful for our misery and rejoice in our suffering.

I have, in all honesty, avoided scriptures such as these like the plague.

Why? Not because I’m afraid of you guys leaving comments telling me to “stuff it” – well, okay maybe a little bit of that. But mostly because I just couldn’t back it up. How could I ever give anyone the advice to “be glad you are miserable” when I know good and well that it sucks to be miserable?

So tell me, what rejoicing has come from my having miscarriages and having suffered through devastation and depression while trying to conceive?

Is it so I could grow a bitterness in my heart from the paralyzing fear that I would never be a mother? – Surely not.

Is it so I could wake up mad and frustrated every morning? – No.

Is it so that I could reach out to other women to offer understanding? – Maybe.

Is it so that I will have a particularly extraordinary love and appreciation for the baby girl we adopted? – Now I think we’re getting somewhere.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4

I am a mother today, finally, because Josh and I were given an amazing opportunity to adopt a beautiful girl from a beautiful young woman.

So many of us are going through so much – putting our bodies through so much – stretching the limits of our sanity.

My message to you today is don’t stop. Don’t give up.

But more importantly – don’t close your mind to opportunity. Listen to your heart. Listen to the world around you.

If you think Yoga will help – do Yoga.

If you think acupuncture might be a solution – do acupuncture.

If you have an opportunity and the means – do it.

Chase it.

Do it.

Just never close your mind. Never close your heart.

Nothing is worth shutting the door on your dream of loving a child.

Nothing.

Read it again – Nothing.

Dear Lord, You know how desperate I am today. You know that my faith has wavered. Although I want to trust You, I’m having trouble doing so. I ask for Your intervention in my situation, and for an increase of my faith while I wait. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

And Jesus answered them,  “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. ~ Matthew 21:21

Pick up your mountain and chunk it.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Believe this.

Prayer Vigil Friday 11/25/11

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. ~ Colossians 2:6-7

Welcome to Prayer Vigil Friday

I was doing some reading about prayer and came across an article written about the extraordinary blessings of friendship and prayer:

For friendship is, at its best, a prayer.

It is, after all, an act of faith. It is sacred. It is an epistle, delivered from one person to another. In its best moments, friendship is a canticle that celebrates, a parable that teaches. In the close proximity of a friend, you find a cathedral where promises are kept, and a chapel where tears are shed. Friendship is a responsorial psalm: one heart speaks, another responds, and in the silences in between we hear something of God.

Jesus—no stranger to friendship, or to its swift reversal, betrayal—said that wherever two or more are gathered in his name, there he is, too.

Perhaps when we seek a friend, we are seeking God, the God who dwells in all of us, the God in whose image we have all been made. Perhaps in friendship he is there, waiting to be found, the God of laughter and companionship, the God of shared secrets and long stories and strong coffee, the God who is comfortable just kicking back. He is there to listen, because that’s what friends are for. He is there to guide us on the journey, to see that we are not alone and that there is someone with us who can read the map. He is there to help us find faith in one another, at moments when that particular faith may be all that we have. He is there to let us know that someone else understands our pain, shares our joy and, thankfully, gets our jokes.

Out of that, we are encouraged and given hope. Out of that, I believe, we are given God.

Friendship is a Prayer by Greg Kandra

When I am struggling, I know that I have friends praying for me. When you are struggling, know that your friends are praying for you. Know that I am praying for you. Find comfort in your prayers and in the knowledge that you are loved are cared for.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

There is something consoling, we know, in communal prayer. Hearts and voices join in one place, under one roof, at one moment in time, to acknowledge the Creator and ask his blessings. And in doing that, we acknowledge what we are—people bound by common faith, humility and trust.

A friend loves at all times… ~ Proverbs 17:17

So it is, I think, in this extraordinary prayer of friendship.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His promises never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. ~ Psalm 143:8-10

Lord, Thank you for the blessings in my life. Thank you for family and friends who love me. Thank you that I see the world with different eyes, and have the opportunity to reach out to other women to offer support and an understanding ear. Help me not to be afraid to reach out for help. Help me to trust those around me with my struggle with infertility. I will not be ashamed, but will be proud of the fight within me to battle infertility.

Give me strength, Lord. Warm my heart and soothe my battered spirit. Heal me from within so that I can continue to take advantage of every single opportunity I am given. Keep me alert to the options I am given. Lay a path before me and present the choices before me in such a way that there is no question what path I should take.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. ~ Psalm 62:5-8

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. ~ Hebrews 13:5

I pray this prayer with all of the love and faithfulness I can muster within. I pray this prayer with a vulnerability that only you can nurture and protect. I pray this prayer with all of my sisters – and together we pray that through the mighty power of your love, you will hear our united voices as one, and bless us with your powerful presence in our lives, and your comforting peace in our souls. In Your Holy and Precious Name, Amen.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13

Put some time aside today, even if it’s a few minutes or 20 minutes. Close the door, close your eyes, dim the lights, light a candle, whatever you need to do to focus and spend some prayerful time with God. Pray for women you know, pray for women you don’t know. Then take some time and pray for yourself. Spend some time reflecting over the past week, over any frustrations you’ve had, whatever you’ve been putting off talking over with God. Get angry if you need to. Cry if you need to. Smile and give thanks if you need to!

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16

This scripture truly is what Prayer Vigil Friday is all about:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s join in one big prayer all day today!

Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast

Matthew 19:26

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” ~ The White Queen, Alice in Wonderland.

So what do we define as impossible? I mean, if I woke up believing I was the Duchess of Cambridge folks might think I was temporarily insane (four of her could fit in my left pants leg) but really, who’s to say what’s impossible?

Here are six impossible things I have been known to believe before breakfast.

1) Anything insensitive, mean or hurtful thing I’ve ever done or said is completely forgotten by all.

Obviously this can never be true because we are all human. Though some may forgive and “forget”, there will always be someone who remembers. I would give anything to be able to erase portions of my past from the minds of others with an “I’m sorry” and a smile, but I can’t. Those who love me unconditionally may forgive me and never bring it up again, but I still remember – and I have a hard time forgiving myself. I once wrote a devotional based on this very fact.

But the One we can always rely on to forgive and forget is God. No matter what you’ve done, no matter how badly you’ve hurt Him, when you turn to God for forgiveness, you get it – completely.

I—yes, I alone—will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. ~ Isaiah 43:25

This is possible.

2) I will write a book and travel the world attending book signings in my honor.

The natural course of this impossibility would be to actually finish writing a book. And when I hear about so many fantastic novel successes that were initially turned down 15 times over the course of 10 years, one can’t help but think that immediately after breakfast this really would be an impossible achievement for me. However, when I actually think about this a bit, when I initially got the urge to get serious about writing, I began the Two Week Worship blog. I wanted to reach out to find other women living through the same frustration and heartache that I was. And I wanted to offer faith based encouragement to help them (and myself) keep the hope and dream of becoming a mother alive. Two Week Worship is read by amazing women (and men) all over the world, so in a way I’m traveling the world. And to be honest, I think I would get way more excited about receiving  a comment or an email than I ever would about something so boring as writing my own name in my own book. Interacting with all of you and developing relationships all over the world has helped me turn my previously frustrated and bitter world into life full of purpose and understanding.

Jesus says, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” ~ Mark 16:15

This is possible.

3) I’m going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. When that day comes I shall futterwacken… vigorously.

For about two years of my life, this was all I could dream of doing. I planned my trip over and over again. I contacted several groups that took several trips a year to the summit, I even began running half marathon trail runs to help get myself in shape. But circumstances changed, priorities changed, life happened. While I don’t see my long awaited trek occurring anytime soon, I still believe it will happen. I mean, Martha Stewart did it in her 50’s, so why can’t I?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5

This is possible.

4) I will lose 30 lbs and feel really good about myself again.

This one’s been hanging around since I got depressed and gained 50 pounds two years ago. I lost 30, gained back 15, you know how it goes. There’s always going to be weight to lose, clothes to fit into, skin to care for… My sweet husband’s unfailing response to my insecurity is that he loves my curves and loves that I look like a woman. He’s wonderful.

Unconditional acceptance is something that absolutely amazes me. God loves us unconditionally. Whether or not I will ever be able to look the way I used to, I know that I am loved. And this love without bounds or conditions allows me to look in the mirror and love myself. I may never lose all of that 30 pounds, but I can feel good about myself, and love myself again.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.~ Romans 8:38-39

This is possible.

5) I am a strong, courageous woman and I can stand up to anyone.

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation. ~ 2 Corinthians 6:2

Today is the day. The right time is now. I love this scripture!

This is possible!

6) I will be a mother.

This last one is my own testimony that with God all things are possible. I woke up believing this every morning for years – only for the glamor of the dream to fade as the day wore on, and my spirit settled and my heart grew bitter. But – God did hear my prayers and the prayers of my family and friends, and thanks to the incredible blessing of adoption, I am a mother.

He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD! ~ Psalm 113:9

Not only was it possible, it happened.

So when you wake up in the morning and think about your six impossible things, just remember -

Something is impossible – only if you believe that it is.

Anything is possible with God.

 

It Is Well

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. ~ Psalm 143:8

This morning, I woke up and said a prayer of thanks for the love of my life and the love in my life.

This morning, I thought about you and I said a prayer for you.

This morning, I saw the most amazing sunrise.

This morning, I got to work early and started the day off with productivity and purpose.

This morning, I had a co-worker tell me she was praying for me and for my family this weekend – just because.

This morning reminded me of God’s unfailing love.

This morning, my trust is in God to guide me throughout the day.

This morning, I walk in the direction of the will of God.

This morning, my soul has been lifted up.

This morning, I’m smiling and I hope you are too.

Dear Lord, Let this morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul. Be with me now and throughout today. Go before me and guide me in the direction of Your will. Let Your light shine through me to not only bring me peace, but to help me share that peace with others. In Your Holy and Precious Name, Amen!

It’s Prayer Vigil Friday! 11/11/11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. ~ Thessalonians 5:11

Welcome to Prayer Vigil Friday!

Another Friday is here. Another week has passed. Now is the perfect time to reflect back on your week. Now is the perfect time to reflect back on the lives of those you care about who themselves have been through so much this past week.

Today, remember that YOU possess the armor of the strength of God. When you are feeling weak, when you feel hostility and insensitivity all around you, never forget that the shield of your Father who loves you is with you always. Trust in Him, draw your strength from Him…and when you feel alone – when you feel powerless to stand – RUN to Him. He is a ROCK, girl! Mighty! And He’s on your side!

I will love You, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. ~ Psalm 18:1-3, 28,35

Dear Lord, Walk not only beside me, but go before me and guide me in the direction of Your will. Deliver me from the frustrations I encounter day after day – month after month – year after year. I believe with all of my heart, Lord, that You are guiding me down the path I must take – even though at times it feels as though you just don’t hear me or understand my longing and desperation. Rescue me from my doubts. Take away my fears, anxieties and frustrations. Give me the strength and endurance to face this battle with courage, wisdom and wholehearted faith. Make me stronger in my weakness, draw me closer to You. You are my rock, my refuge, my strong tower. You are my comfort, my hope, my delight and my joy. Lord, I trust in Your unfailing love. Thank you for Your compassion. Thank you for the blessings in my life. In Your Holy Name I Pray, Amen.

But You, O LORD, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the LORD with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people. Who have set themselves against me all around. ~ Psalm 3:3-6

The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,And with my song I will praise Him. ~ Psalm 28:7

In the multitude of my anxieties within me,Your comforts delight my soul. ~ Psalm 94:19

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing with hope. ~Romans 15: 13

We rejoice for those who have won their battle against infertility and who have received their confirmations of pregnancy this week! Pray that God bless our friends who are so excited, yet still live with that twinge of fear we have all become accustomed to in our struggles. Pray that their bodies remain strong and their babies healthy.

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety. ~Psalm 16: 9

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. ~Ephesians 6:18

Pray for those of us just coming out of our two week wait, knowing that we have another month of trying ahead of us. Pray that we not lose our faith, our hope, our hearts nor our heads. Pray for healing and for strength.

I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. ~ Psalm 34:4

Put some time aside today, even if it’s a few minutes or 20 minutes. Close the door, close your eyes, dim the lights, light a candle, whatever you need to do to focus and spend some prayerful time with God. Pray for women you know, pray for women you don’t know. Then take some time and pray for yourself. Spend some time reflecting over the past week, over any frustrations you’ve had, whatever you’ve been putting off talking over with God. Get angry if you need to. Cry if you need to. Smile and give thanks if you need to!

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16

This scripture truly is what Prayer Vigil Friday is all about:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s join in one big prayer all day today!

 


Delivered

On Saturday April 30, 2011, I had a phone conversation that would forever change my life. I wrote this blog post shortly after that day.

Josh and I had been trying to get pregnant for quite some time. So when we were approached with the opportunity to adopt, especially considering the amazing family we were approached by, there was no question that God had beautifully orchestrated our circumstances and so purposefully intertwined our lives with the family that was destined to become an extension of our own.

To try and fit our entire experience over the past 6 months into one post would be impossible – and wouldn’t do justice to the lives involved. It was just too precious a journey with such incredible emotional ranges to try and summarize. I hardly know where to begin.

So for now, I think I’ll begin at the exact moment our old lives ended, and our new lives began – Phoebe’s birthday.

Brandy, Kim (Brandy’s mom), Josh and I had been to almost every one of Brandy’s appointments together. We heard Phoebe’s heartbeat together, we witnessed her sonograms together, saw Phoebe’s toes on the screen, watched her beating heart and saw her tiny hands together, hugging and holding hands and loving on Brandy together. We began to think of ourselves as the four musketeers – Phoebe’s original crew. From the very beginning, Brandy was so gracious to include Josh and I in every part of her pregnancy. Josh and I were thrilled that Brandy wanted us in the delivery room with her.

Brandy went into labor just a few days shy of being full term. She and Phoebe both had been strong and healthy the entire pregnancy. Brandy’s strength always impressed me – and continues to do so.

On Thursday night (Sept 8th) Josh and I got “the call” and we met at the hospital at around 11pm. It was excruciating watching Brandy, this brave young girl, go through so much pain. She had an epidural in the early hours of the morning (which we were all very glad for her to get), and at about 6:45am the nurses began setting up the room and her bed for the delivery.

It all got really real, really quick.

There were two delivery nurses who were in the room with us to get Brandy started until the doctor was called. The head nurse was a very impressive and take charge woman who said she’d been delivering babies for 40 years and in whom we all had every confidence could deliver a baby without the doctor if it came to it. I think we were all just glad there was an adult in the room because we felt like a bunch of kids who didn’t know what we were doing. Thank God she was there to give us all an activity.

Once the delivery began, Josh and Kim stayed at the top of the bed to hold Brandy’s hands and help her push. Myself and the other nurse (who herself was very new) each held a leg in a stirrup – the most important job of my entire life. The nurse had Brandy push until she saw Phoebe crown, then the doctor came in. We had become acquainted with this doctor over the past months of appointments, so she knew Josh and I too. We really liked her. And I think there was a big collective sigh of relief when we saw her familiar smiling face walk in the door.

I really can’t describe watching the delivery. I had no idea what all goes on “down there” in order for a child to be born. It was incredible. I saw Phoebe’s head. I looked at Brandy and she was looking right at me and I said, “Brandy, she’s coming. She’s almost here. Push sweetie!”

And Brandy pushed.

And suddenly, the world slowed down.

I watched as Phoebe was born into this world. She was here. She was born facing up, and her eyes were wide open. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice, but the doctor freed her immediately. The nurses cleaned around her mouth and she cried out – and so did we.

Brandy had arranged beforehand what she wanted to happen once Phoebe was born. Josh cut the umbilical cord, then one of the nurses laid Phoebe on a small blanket -

and she placed my daughter in my arms.

I began crying like a baby. We all did – the doctor and nurses included, I was later told. Well, everyone except Phoebe. She was just wide eyed and looking around – taking in her new world.

As I held Phoebe, suddenly it seemed the doctor and nurses disappeared, it seemed there was no one else in the room – in the whole world – except for the four of us and Phoebe. God stopped the world – He stopped time – for just a moment, and gave us the most precious moment I have ever experienced in my life. Josh and I held each other, and together we held Phoebe, I kissed Brandy on her forehead and I thanked her and I held onto Kim as she had her arms wrapped around her own precious daughter. And God’s arms were wrapped so tightly around all of us it was as though He physically enveloped us and allowed us to leave the earth behind for a moment.

And in that precious moment that Phoebe was delivered – I was delivered too.

I was delivered from all of my fears, all of my frustrations, all of my doubts. I was delivered from bitterness and anger and countless days spent agonizing over my infertility.

I was delivered from the fear of childlessness – and born into motherhood.

It was so important to me to write about this moment. It is so important to me that you know what an incredible experience this has been. I know there are many couples who have considered adoption but have held back due to fear of the unknown. I want to thank those of you who have been through the adoption process and who offered nonstop encouragement and prayers when my frustrations started getting the better of me. I want to thank the adoption agency for their tireless efforts to keep us on the fast track during the very unbelievably tedious adoption process. I want to thank Kim for her courage and her friendship and her unconditional love for her daughter. I want to thank Josh for being strong for me every single time I was weak. I want to thank Brandy for her bravery and selflessness – and for giving Josh and I the incredible gift of parenthood.

Dear God, Thank you for blessing us with a child.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.~ Matthew 7:7

I believe this.

Think About Such Things

Philippians 4:8-9

Fill your day today with powerful thoughts, with freeing thoughts, with loving thoughts. Say a prayer of thanks, take a deep breath. Step outside, look up at the sky and smile….

And think about such things as these…

Whatever is true,

“If we once learn how to apply this never failing test of Truth, we will at once able to find out what is worth doing, what is worth seeing, what is worth reading.” ~ Gandhi

whatever is noble,

“God has put something noble and good into every heart His hand created.” ~ Mark Twain

whatever is right,

“The time is always right to do what is right.”  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

whatever is pure,

“Keep your heart pure. A pure heart is necessary to see God in each other.  If you see God in each other, there is love for each other, then there is peace.” ~ Mother Teresa

whatever is lovely,

“Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill, Laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass.” ~ Rupert Brooke

whatever is admirable -

“When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.” ~ Mohandas Ghandi

if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful, I know that full well. ~ Psalm 139:14

Think about such things as these.

Think about the blessings in your life. Think about the miracles you see every single day. Listen to God’s words – He speaks to you in so many ways!

Live and shine and know…

…that God will give you peace.

It’s Prayer Vigil Friday! 11/04/2011

Therefore encourage one another and edify one another, just as you are doing. ~1 Thessalonians 5:11

Welcome to Prayer Vigil Friday!

I’ve spent some time reading through blog posts, status updates, tweets and messages trying to catch up with everyone’s lives over the past two months.

A virtual baby shower. Physical and mental breaks from trying to conceive. Scared feelings the night before an egg retrieval. Counting down days and then hours and then minutes to hear a baby’s first heartbeat. Desperation nearing the end of a two week wait. Cautious excitement over beta numbers. A meeting with a birth mom. Frustration giving way to obsession.

One of the most amazing qualities this wonderful community of women shares is the ability to not only use our own pain and experiences to reach out to each other, but to look past our own fears and doubts to lift up and support others. It’s through this strength that we are able to find peace. It’s through these relationships that we are able to express sheer joy for the blessings of some, and deepest hurt for the pain of others.

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. ~ Galatians 6:2

Dear Lord, Help us to process everything we face in life through the filter of Your love. Thank you for the support and encouragement you provide through the boundless blessings of friendship and love that have created bonds across seas. It’s often so difficult to understand the circumstances that we face, and why it is that so many of us face such difficulties in something that should be so natural. We often become consumed with trying to figure things out rather than looking for Your perspective and trusting You. Help us remember to always reach out, to never be afraid to voice our fears, to always know that someone will be there to listen and to pray. And help us to remember the incredible healing that comes with being that support for others even when our own burdens seem so heavy.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13

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 hope and a future.’ ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Please pray for the women who are coming out of their two week wait with devastation. Pray for all of those whose hearts fell to the bathroom floor when their pregnancy test resulted in a negative, or when they received that phone call from their doctor giving them the bad news. It’s so hard on one’s heart to go through month after month of your heart stopping the moment you hold your breath to pick up that pregnancy test on the counter, to your world ending at the sight of the negative result. But it’s the dream of kissing baby toes and washing sippy cups that pick us up off the floor and give us hope for the next month.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. ~ Psalm 34:18

But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. ~Psalm 71: 14

Please pray for all women who are pregnant after overcoming infertility. The fears do not go away with a positive pregnancy test. If anything, the paranoia only grows as every day they wake up with a prayer of thanks and a desperate plea. Pray that their bodies remain strong, and that God will place His hands on their shoulders and their bellies to keep them safe, and calm their fears.

Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety. ~Psalm 16: 9

May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing with hope. ~Romans 15: 13

Put some time aside today, even if it’s a few minutes or 20 minutes. Close the door, close your eyes, dim the lights, light a candle, whatever you need to do to focus and spend some prayerful time with God. Pray for women you know, pray for women you don’t know. Then take some time and pray for yourself. Spend some time reflecting over the past week, over any frustrations you’ve had, whatever you’ve been putting off talking over with God. Get angry if you need to. Cry if you need to. Smile and give thanks if you need to!

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16

This scripture truly is what Prayer Vigil Friday is all about:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s join in one big prayer all day today!

A Heartfelt Hello and Return to Two Week Worship

Hello my dear friends and readers. I’ve missed you all so much! I never intended to completely remove myself from the blogosphere for almost two months – but life has changed so much for me!

I would like to sincerely thank every single one of you who have sent me emails, messages and prayers. I plan on responding to each of you. I got pretty behind on checking emails and messages on my blog and on twitter and just sat and cried as I read your words. Thank you so very much!

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. ~ Proverbs 27:9

Josh and I brought Phoebe home from the hospital on September 11th. She was two days old. Sometimes I still just hold her and watch her with disbelief that she’s really lying here, looking up at me. I’m in love. She is now 1 month, 3 weeks and 4 days old. Her two month birthday is coming up soon and time is flying by.  I haven’t quite figured out how long you’re supposed to gauge age by weeks before you can start using months. We met a couple at the adoption agency’s Fall Festival Get-Together who told us their daughter was 25 months old. I’ll probably be the same way. I think when you’ve wanted something so desperately for so long, you want to make sure that every single day is accounted for – because every single day is an appreciated blessing that will never be taken for granted, and could never be carelessly lumped into something so random as a month or a year. Every day is an entire day that is full of smiles and cries and burps and gas and silly faces – complete and all consuming.

Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me. ~ Psalm 66:20

Phoebe’s birthmom, and our hero, Brandy, is doing wonderfully. I am so proud of her. She was back in school after being out only one week. She has accelerated her course schedule and although she entered high school as a junior this September, she will have enough credits to graduate in May. She’s already started looking at colleges and has really stayed focused forward. She truly is one of the strongest and most beautiful people I have or will ever know. Phoebe’s got some mighty tough girl power genes in her! We’ve seen Brandy almost once a week. There have been a couple of two week spans, but we facebook and text and send her updates and pictures inbetween get togethers. We truly love our extended family and I’ve come to think of Brandy’s mom, Kim, as a sister. This beautiful lady has a lionheart of courage and unconditional love for her daughter.

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name Be joyful in You. For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; With favor You will surround him as with a shield. ~ Psalm 5:11-12

I have been working on some blog posts and hope to be back on schedule starting tomorrow with Prayer Vigil Friday. I’ve been catching up on all of your blogs and tweets. My goodness a lot can happen over seven weeks time! It feels so good to be back in touch.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. ~ Psalm 148:3

Lots of love and big big hugs! xoxo

It’s Prayer Vigil Friday! 09/02/11

I read a fantastic devotional this morning on the Proverbs 31 Ministries website. This is a great site for women and I encourage you to check it out. I have been working on my Prayer Vigil Friday post and happened to get this devotional in my inbox. When I read it, I knew that I had to share it word for word with you.

Welcome to Prayer Vigil Friday!

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September 2, 2011

Faith over Feelings
Tracie Miles

“…for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:5b (NIV)

I spent months working on it, with big expectations and high hopes. In the blink of an eye it was crushed. This reality tore into my heart like a jagged knife, ripping my dream into tiny little shreds. Disappointment was so great it was difficult to process my feelings. I had worked tirelessly on this project and now I felt disappointment and rejection.

Disappointment soon turned to irritation which morphed into resentment. I didn’t FEEL it was fair.

Why didn’t God answer my prayers? Why had He placed a dream in my heart only to allow it to crumble? Why had He let this happen? Why me?

I knew I needed to have a good attitude and not give up, but I did not FEEL like doing that at all!

Questions pummeled my brain. What is the use? Why try again? If God didn’t answer my prayer after all this time, why bother keep trying?

I allowed my FEELings to overtake my FAITH.

All I could think about was how this disappointment made me feel, instead of what God may be doing that my faith could not see. I felt things weren’t fair, without remembering God’s ways are best. I felt a longing for immediate results, instead of trusting God’s timing is perfect.

My feelings had gotten in the way of my faith, so I turned to Psalm 25 (NIV) for perspective. The following verses washed over my spirit.

Verse 1, “In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.”

I felt discouraged, unworthy, hopeless, rejected. So I poured my feelings and my soul out to God. And He listened.

Verse 2, “I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.”

God reminded me to trust Him, not a desire or a dream. Not the world’s view. Not my abilities. Not my timeframe. Not my ideas. Trust Him alone. I prayed about my enemies—intangible feelings such as self doubt, insecurity, frustration, and discouragement.

Verse 3, “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.”

Regardless of whether or not my desires become a reality, I will not be put to shame, because God is my God. If His plans coincide with my dreams, I know He will keep His eternal promises.

Verses 4-5a, “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me,”

These words stopped me in my tracks. I began to think more rationally. Why did I beat my head against a wall? Why was I consumed with anxiety and frustration? Was I allowing God to direct my paths? God gently reminded me He is the teacher, I am the student.

Verse 5b, “…for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

If I put my hope in my own desires and abilities, I set myself up for failure. My only hope for joy and fulfillment comes from Christ alone. Hope is found in Him, not people, a career, your husband or children, church, financial success, a carefree life, or dreams that come true.

Disappointments will happen. With God, however, we can turn those disappointments into God’s appointments to trust Him. The first step is to exercise faith over feelings.

Dear Lord, You know the hurt in my heart and the sting of disappointments I have experienced. Please help me trust You, instead of being consumed by feelings. Empower me with a faith that is stronger than my emotions. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
Consider the disappointments you have experienced recently. Ask God to help your faith be more powerful than your feelings.

Unpack Psalm 25:1-5 verse by verse and apply it to your situation, with open ears to hear God’s voice.

Reflections:
Am I allowing my feelings to guide my actions, or relying on my faith to help me move forward?

Have I asked God how He can use my disappointments to strengthen my faith in Him?

Have I sought God’s direction in my situation?

Power Verses:
Psalm 78:7, “That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments…” (KJV)

© 2011 by Tracie Miles. All rights reserved.

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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33

Put some time aside today, even if it’s a few minutes or 20 minutes. Close the door, close your eyes, dim the lights, light a candle, whatever you need to do to focus and spend some prayerful time with God. Pray for women you know, pray for women you don’t know. Then take some time and pray for yourself. Spend some time reflecting over the past week, over any frustrations you’ve had, whatever you’ve been putting off talking over with God. Get angry if you need to. Cry if you need to. Smile and give thanks if you need to!

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.~ 2 Thessalonians 3:16

This scripture truly is what Prayer Vigil Friday is all about:

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” ~Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s join in one big prayer all day today!

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