Sunday, November 06, 2016

I Counted Up The Cost

We've done this song (below) two Sundays in a row at church. Each time, the same lines wreck me.

My wealth is in the cross
There’s nothing more I want
Than just to know His love
My heart is set on Christ

And I will count all else as loss

The greatest of my crowns
Mean nothing to me now
For I counted up the cost
And all my wealth is in the cross

If you know me personally at all you know that 2016 has been full of startling loss. But as much as I probably over share on social media, the majority of people have no idea just how much loss we've actually faced. It's been a brutal year people. And it just keeps on dealing blows. I've joked multiple times, ok not joked... I've been deadly serious at being ready to run away from this year. I'm ready for the clean slate. I'm ready to put this one away and deal with it in the rear view.

But today as I sang the words "I will count all else as loss" I couldn't help but pause.
Do I really mean that?
         If nothing else good happens...
     If more loss comes...
        If my hearts desire is now completely re-routed or destroyed..
  Is my heart set on Christ?
When I count up the cost, where is my wealth?

Doctor's can only do so much for us. Miracles may come. But they may not come in the way I had set out. I have planned. I have a box that I want God to check/fill.  This right here, God, this is what you must do for me. I've been like a stubborn toddler. This here and now God. This is what is acceptable.

But if my faith means anything, if God is the big God that I believe He is, He won't fit in my box.
And trying to force Him to is disastrous - for me. My plans break against loss. My plans cannot stand up to the whirlwind of life. My plans are fragile... fallible... selfish... s.m.a.l.l.

And I'm undone today. Because I have counted up the cost. Everything is loss.

There is NOTHING more I want. Then just to know His love.
Whatever else comes must come against the strength of that conviction.

Though He slay me,
            I will hope in Him.

And when I stand in glory
My crowns before the Lord
Let this be my confession
My wealth is in the cross

Friday, June 03, 2016

If We're Being Honest

I just realized, the last time I wrote here my brother was still alive. The last time I wrote here I just thought things were tough. I think I'm glad that I had no idea how much rougher things were going to get.
So far in 2016 I have seen a friend die. I have stood at the bedside of my big bear of a brother and said goodbye for now.
I have lost much to this year.
I decided the second half of 2016 needed to live up to its name and bring some redemption.
But so far, well its brought some realizations.

Fertility drugs make you crazy. Well they make you feel crazy. They amp you up emotionally so you manage to either be unhinged crying or unhinged angry.
This time around they are also making me seriously nauseated at everything around.
I am NOT a happy camper.
And I'm really only here for one reason - a simple reminder.

Out there in your world 1 out of every 8 couples is trying desperately to either get pregnant or stay pregnant.
Out there in your world there is a woman whose body has betrayed her over and over again. The one thing that is seems everyone else just "does" her body just doesn't.
Out there in your world there is a man who has no idea how to help his insane wife deal with the ups and downs of a process while he struggles through the process himself.

We are your 1 in 8.  But I bet you know more and you have no idea.

I wish with just about every part of me that I didn't know the freakin in and outs of fertility. I wish I didn't know about the medicines and the ultrasounds. I do not mean the great ones where you see a little body on a screen. I mean the ones where you see a blank canvas and hold your breath and pray you hear "Ok, we can do this." I wish I never, ever had to hear someone say "just relax," or "it'll happen when it happens" or "my cousin's neighbors sister had problems and they did x" or any. other, thing.

It seems weird to put this out into the world. But what seems weirder is to navigate this in silence. I'm a freakin mess right here. I can go from laughing hysterically to sobbing in about 2 seconds. And I literally walled myself off most of this week because I just could not deal with the headaches, the smells, the STUPIDITY (it's me... it's not you), or anything else the world had to toss at me.
All this for a chance, just a chance, at what 7/8 couples take for granted.

Right now, I'm sick and tired. I'm scared to hope for a different outcome. And I'm hoping with all my heart.
If you made it this far thanks for listening.  And please pray that this is our turn around month/

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Redemption - 2016

I haven't blogged in months. Aside from a brief run at Nanowrimo (at which I crashed and burned...), I really haven't written anything in months. I haven't even written in the journal in months.
This is totally not like me. I've at least written something in past years -  probably at least once a week.
But since April, I have been silent.

Yesterday someone posted an article that stunned me into realizing where I've been over these past 6 months or so.
I've been living in the between.
Last year, during this exact same stretch of time, we were working our plan towards finally expanding our little family. I had hope. I really believed that by the end of 2015 we would have what we had so wanted and desperately prayed for, for so long, I felt like that miracle was right around the corner.
And then our world caved in a little bit. Our focus had to change for a while. Life happened. Plans paused.
And we waited in the between.
I know I have said before that I feel like we are in the hallway but it has only locked doors and no windows. And now I feel like I'm at the place where I just want to chainsaw a hole in there and get on out.
We are just here.

It's Christmas and so far, I have mostly avoided it. I've tried to be all holly and jolly and it just isn't working.
This morning, when we left for church I put on my cheesiest Christmas sweater and yelled "Christmas" at the top of my lungs as we headed to the door. (Think Braveheart without the facepaint...)

I told my husband I was going to drag myself into this holiday kicking and screaming if I had to. Because this time last year I was fully enveloped in hope and spirit. And right now, I'm feeling little to none of it. My hope is bruised. My joy is chipped.

I chose my word for 2016 just the other night. Redemption.
I really feel like most of 2015 needs that. This year was filled with way more drama than we signed up for. We all made it out and frankly that is a miracle.
But I had so much more hope for the year than just making it out.
So, for 2016 I am believing for a flood of redemption. I want to see the tears that fell in the past years redeemed in joy.
I want change, lots of it, drastic GOOD change... and if it came in a crib, that'd be super thanks. :)

I never regret a year, no matter how much pain it held. And I definitely do not regret a second of 2015. Lessons were learned. Bonds were formed. And I learned a lot about myself in the fires of the unknown.

But I am ready to break out of the in between. I am ready to move from this hallway.

Bring it 2016 - Redemption

Oh and if you see me between now and Christmas I am still working on my holly and jolly. So bear with me.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

It's The Choices You Make

If I could pick out the moment where my life forever changed in these last 3 weeks, it would not be the one most people would expect.
Yes, hearing that my super hubs had a massive heart attack was life changing, but not the most significant moment for me.
For me, it would be the moment at 3 am when they took my love away for a scan to test for a blood clot in his lungs.
He’d been sick up to that point. He had almost died just days earlier, but in the previous 24 hours he had taken a bad turn and really did not look or feel well.

And at 3 am at the foot of his empty hospital bed I had a choice of what I would do.  I was alone for the first time in days. And at 3 am I couldn’t reach out to many people.

I was terrified. For the first time in the whole process I realized exactly what was happening.
First I sobbed, because I hadn’t really cried yet in the days before.  Then I realized that the only person who had any control in the whole situation was there in the room with me.

So I pulled out  my journal, Bible and my iTunes and got with Him.

I think we always wonder who we will be when life knocks us back. Where will we turn? What will we say?

These last few months have been a constant stream of test, doctors, herbs, medicines, hormones and desperate prayers while we tried to conceive.  We've already been through so much all the time wondering... at least me wondering... where God could possibly be.  Why the delay? Why is such a simple thing for millions of other people out of our reach?


And at 3 am, at the foot of a hospital bed, I just got to lay it all out there.  I won't share everything, because that's 'me and God' stuff.  But I will tell you this: I still don't know why.
I have no answers for why bad things happen to people who are doing their best to serve and trust God. I have no answers for why any bad things happen to anyone.

But I do know this.

When life knocks this family back - we run to - we sprint towards - we dive into - the One who created us. 
Would I like answers?  Yes.
Would I like a baby?  Yep.

But if I don't get either, is He still good? 

Emphatically yes.

Tonight I still go back to the first song that pulled up on my playlist that night.  Because:
"... I will call upon Your name. And keep my eyes above the waves. When oceans rise. My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine"


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Joy... Even here.

It's Sunday night. For the first time ever I'm posting this blog from my phone. Not because I think it's nifty. But because my husband is laying in a hospital bed 4 feet from me.

Friday morning we experienced a total shock. Al had not been feeling well for a little over a day, so he went to his doctor. An hour or so later he was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital.

We now know the feeling "unwell" for days was from a heart attack.
My funny, strong, stud of a husband had a blockage of his left anterior descending artery. You may not know what that is. I sure didn't. But I'll leave the finding of that to you. Just google "widow maker."
Thankfully he got here to the hospital and straight into a lab to get a stent and clear the block.

We were told we would probably go home today. But today has come, and as many plans do, this one hasn't panned out.
Currently we are waiting and watching for some things to improve a bit more.
So here we sit.
Tired. Living in a little bit of uncertainty as we wait to find out what our next steps are.

And as I sit here, even with everything, I'm finding my joy.
Joy. Because life is uncertain but life is still here. He is breathing and that's a miracle.
Joy. Because so many things happened just exactly in the right order to get us here.
Joy. Because I'm learning that the delays of my plans were certainly, with no doubts, God's protection.
Joy. Because I don't have answers yet... But know He does.
Joy. That every minute of my waiting lifestyle prepared me for here.

2015 hasn't gone like I wanted in many ways. But it's still my year of Joy and I'm glad to be living it.

Please pray my friends. God has this.

We need rest. Answers. Easier breathing. Appetite and an end to nausea.
Sweet hubs to wake up feeling much improved tomorrow.
Thanks friends.


Friday, February 13, 2015

It's Just This Thing That You Don't Talk About

This blog has often been a place to process through things for me. But it has also been a place where other people can come and say “Oh me too,” “I feel that too” when the hard stuff in life hits.
The last year or so I’ve been mostly absent here.
I’ve alluded to some things happening in our lives. I’ve put statuses on social media that have probably tipped a lot of you off to what has been going on. But I’ve never come out and just said it.
But now, with the permission of my husband, I’m going to lay my heart (really our hearts… which is why I asked first) out here in cyber-land.

When we got married we knew we wanted to have children.  We’d talked about it in the way that most engaged couples do – when we’re ready, we will start a family.
The thing that so few people mention in that lead up is that some people don’t get to choose their “ready.”

We are one of the millions of couples (1 in 8) that want to have children but, so far, cannot.

I will not go into the nitty-gritty details of what our issues are.  I know a lot of people blog their specific issues.  But for me, just for me… in OUR case that will not be happening.
This is such a personal deal. But it’s also so isolating. And that isolation is why I felt the need to blog it in the first place.
What you can know, if you’ve read it online somewhere or your grandmother’s cousin tried it (and it worked for them), we’ve also read it, heard it, and probably tried it. I’m not asking for anyone to tell me about their herbal supplement, their doctor, or their “sure thing.” Everyone is different. People have amazing success stories under impossible circumstances. 
What we can do, we have done/are doing. We’ve been to/are going to experts for our situation.  We’ve prayed.  
We’ve had others pray.  
We’ve begged God.
And here we sit.
I believe that God has a plan for our family. 
I believe that we will have children – the how is a completely shrouded thing to me – but I believe it.

What you can do?  
Pray: If you think about us at all, pray - right then and there. The last few months have been especially hard on us. But the prayers of many and the grace of God have kept us afloat.
Understand: I love your children. I am truly happy for you if you have/had/are going to/ just announced that you are expecting. But some days, I just cannot take it.  So if I can't be at your baby shower/birthday party/whatever please don't take it personally. Some days are just tougher than others. Some days I will (thanks super-hormones) cry over nothing. And those days I will usually wall-off a bit. Let me. I will come back around.

Listen: If you're one of my 3D people and I'm around on one of those uber bad days, I may just need someone to 'sit with me in the suck.'  Some days I may need a kick in the spiritual tail, but most days are NOT those days.  I promise I don't hate God. I'm not really mad at Him. But I am processing.  And the processing is messy.  Pray me through it. Walk me through it. But you cannot talk me out of it.  We're just not there.

If you've made it this far.  Thanks.  I love my people who still come here and read. I know blogs aren't the thing they once were. But I still read and therefore I will still write.

Stand with me friend.
We really do believe that the best is yet to come... it's just taking it's flipping time.  :)


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Deciding that it is going to be OK.

Somewhere a long time ago I ran across the phrase:
Everything is ok in the end. If it's not ok, it's not the end.

Little did I know that this would become a mantra in my life.  :)

I've led a charmed life. I really have. Sure, I've taken the long road to everything I've gotten.
Years to finish college.
Years to find Al.
Years to date Al before marrying. (Worth every minute of every second of every one....)

In reality, my life is just awesome.

However, it's not perfect.
Is anyone's life perfect?  I know I can answer that for you.
No. No one has the perfect life.
We all have struggle. We all have sleepless nights. We all have angst ridden moments.
We all have cliffs that we feel just about ready to topple over at any minute.

Life.  It can kinda seem sucky at a moment's notice.

Life.  We cannot control it.

But we can decide that it is going to be OK. If there is one thing that I know with unwavering certainty it is that you have gone through a rough patch. You're either there, coming up for air, or going there. 
That is reality.
But no matter where you are in that path, you can know that it is going to be OK.
Because even pain must someday end.  The worst of tragedy cannot last forever.  Every single earthly pain will someday be completely erased.
Lamentations 3
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.

Struck down, but not consumed.
Knocked down, but not out.
Hurt, but not destroyed.

If you wake up tomorrow breathing, but not OK, that is OK!  It's not the end. Draw that breath. Get up. Keep fighting.

Down, but not out.
Hobbled, but not broken.
Broken, but not dead.

Keep fighting.

This is not the end. You are still here.

Keep fighting.