Shocking, I know. Two post in a week's time. I promise I'm trying to do better!
This post was spurred on by a friend that I've known for a long time. In fact, I've watched her grow up as I was friends with her oldest brother, her parents worked with the youth, and our families have gone to the same church together for a lot of years. It's a post that will be very open, honest, and expose some of my rawest emotions. The reason I'm doing it is, God has spoken very softly to my heart and has encouraged me to start a women's bible study for women experiencing infertility. The bible study that I have yearned and prayed so long for, will begin at the end of August at my house. I know that to begin to be honest with these women, I had to start somewhere, so why not here? To say I am nervous is all truth. To say that I can't understand why God is asking ME to do this, is a HUGE question. To say that the ONLY way any of this is possible, is because God is there upholding me, is quite the understatement. I don't understand it all, but I know I need to obey.
The reason I decided to post this was because I know most of the readers of this blog are my friends. People who support and uplift me daily, and for them, I will forever be grateful. We could not have been able to get through the past 5 years without you. We love you more than you know!
So, here's our story. When we got married, Donnie was 36 and I was 31. Not spring chickens by any stretch of the imagination, and we knew that kids would need to come sooner rather than later. So, our plan was to stay on birth control for six months, and then start trying to have a baby. We knew it would be hard, as I have PCOS, but we also knew many women with PCOS who still get pregnant. We officially ended up getting off of birth control 4 months after we got married. There was some confusion at the pharmacy about what our insurance would cover (go figure) and we just decided it was the perfect opportunity to just get off of it completely. As of this September, we have officially been trying to have a baby for 5 years. And it sucks.
I have been a pin cushion at the fertility clinic for 4 of those 5 years. The only time we stopped going was last year when I needed a break from the needles, the ultrasounds, and peeing in a cup. I've seen two different doctors, both of them in the same practice, but both very different in their method of "helping." Some days I've felt nothing more than a file on a desk, and some days I've thought "If I have to go up here one more time I'll scream." When you know your cycles better than you know what you want for dinner, and on any given day you can spout off information, very technically, about what you are "supposed" to do, then you know you've been going to the doctor too much. As of yet, we've had no success through the help of the fertility clinic. I've probably taken, over the span of our 5 year marriage, approximately 30 pregnancy tests. Each time I've cried when it came back negative. The weird thing is, I always knew it would, and told myself this was just part of the "process," mainly because I was told to take these test, but nonetheless, the girly side of me always won, and my brain went to "what if," instead of "just business." Just this past month we've decided to return to the fertility clinic, of course with guarded hearts, but realizing we were telling God how to bless us, not letting him just do it on his own.
Last year, as you know, we felt God calling us to adopt. Actually, we felt God hitting us upside the head and saying "will you quit being so stubborn and listen to me?" So, we started the LONG process of adoption. After a very extensive home study, 10 hours of training, reading books, and making a profile, we were approved. Actually, it will be exactly 1 year next month that we were approved. We've never been told an actual time frame that someone would pick us, but we were told it would be about a year. Of course, always the optimist, I thought for sure someone would pick us sooner rather than later. What I didn't know, is that adoption is just as emotional as infertility, and your emotions stay on edge just as much.
About two months ago we got a call from our social worker saying a girl in Pensacola asked to see our profile. To say we were ecstatic is erring on the side of caution. We were elated and immediately began to pray for this baby. We prayed for the mom, we told only a few people, but asked them to pray as well, and we sat back with "a good feeling." We were told to start looking for pediatricians, figuring out a "loose" travel plan, and got updates every time the girl went to the office. I started looking at fabric for a nursery, heck, we would even occasionally go out and look at travel systems-after all, we would have to get the child home. We were told that the birth mom did not want to pick a family in Florida, so we felt even better about our chances of being the ones chosen! We just KNEW this would be our baby. For a solid six weeks we prayed as this girl looked at our profile. Though we needed to say cautious, we opened our hearts to the hope of a child. Sadly, about two weeks ago, we learned that she had picked another family, in Florida, and their joy, was our sadness. She had decided she wanted more visits than our once a year trip to Florida would offer, and we were sad. As we told those that knew, which wasn't a whole lot of people, I did just fine. I was surprised at my own strength, and even wondered a few times when the other shoe would drop. It really didn't, until this weekend.
Let me preface the next paragraph by saying, over the time we've been trying to have a baby, I've had MANY friends have children. I have hosted, co-hosted, or attended baby showers multiple times. During the years of 2007-2008, I went to at least one, if not two baby showers a month. Sure, when I got in my car to go home, waves of sadness would reduce me to a pile of tears, but I've never been malicious, or hurtful to any of these people. I've never pushed my sadness on to them, and I've never made them feel bad about talking about their pregnancies, or having their tiny babies with them all the time. I've always been genuinely happy for them, and have taken great joy in being able to visit with them, and hold their little one's just days after birth. That's what made the events of this weekend so hard. We found out on Saturday that someone close to us was pregnant. While it was a shock, we were okay with it...like I said, neither Donnie nor I have ever wished anything bad on anyone who is pregnant, or starting a family. This announcement was a little harder on us than most, maybe because of what we just went through with the adoption stuff, or maybe because we had just gone to the fertility doctor the day before, or maybe it was because I had just taken, yet another, pregnancy test during vacation two weeks ago (again at the request of my doctor, because when you are losing weight, "you never know.") Of course, it was negative, but I never realized how I squashed down those emotions, in the efforts of having "a good time," while we were away.
On Saturday, I called my grandmother to see how she was doing (she's been very sick for a few weeks.) During the course of the conversation we started talking about people getting pregnant, starting families through adoption, etc. , and she said to me " Well, Amy and Brent never gave me a great-grandchild, you and Donnie can't, so I'm going to have count on the other grandkids to give me something to live for." Um, ouch....still raw, and now you are pouring salt in my wounds? So as we continue on with the conversation and she tells me that while she's been sick she's been talking to God a lot. If you know her, you know this is not at all unusual, and she does this quite openly, quite often. Shebthen proceeds to dump the rest of the salt canister into my wounds with this one.... "Kim-you just need to be happy for people that have babies-not sad. (Okay, never said I was sad, just that to say "it was an accident to someone that's been trying a while is not exactly what they want to hear") and then... "I've been thinking that not everyone is made to carry children (I agree with that) and that maybe God is telling you that you and Donnie are not to be parents, so you need to stop pursuing all this stuff you are doing and just be happy being alone together." Silence...on my end of the line. You've got to be kidding me right? My OWN grandmother is saying this to me....out loud? So I say, "well Mimi, you never know what God has in store" and try to leave it at that-however she had other plans in mind. She then proceeds to tell me that "You were too old when you got married, and this has been wasted time." Seriously, am I throwing up yet because that salt in my wounds sure is hurting. Part of me, well all of me, wanted to scream " do you know what we go through on almost a daily basis where it comes to children?" Do you know that we pray for the birth mom and baby, even if it is me, every time we pray? Do you know that I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God gave me a mother's heart at a young age, and that, to quote Psalm 27:13 "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."?!?! But I didn't. I was told to respect my elders, so I hung up with her a short while later and sobbed. I sobbed like I've never sobbed before, and felt hopeless. The kind of hopeless where you feel like you are letting everyone down. The kind of hopeless that leads to the "why am I here" type questions. Just plain hopeless. And I stayed there-until this morning.
This morning our church had Dr. Charles Fowler come in view of a call to be our pastor. I went in expecting great things, after all we had gone to an informational meeting on Saturday and I just felt he was right for GBC. I will stop here and ask, have you ever gone to church with the outside looking great, but the inside holding together by bare strings, and just your flesh and bone? Have you ever set in a pew, choir loft, wherever and thought God, are you here today? Well, that's where I was. Smiling on the outside, weeping on the in. So, off I go into the choir loft, and start to get emotional BEFORE we even started our patriotic music. By the time the played Tapps, you could've put a fork in me, because I was done. But still, I heard God whispering to me "just wait." So, Pastor Charles took the stage, and begin to give a message, inspired by God, to our church. He talked about obstacles in life, those "giants" that are there, that we don't think we can move. One of his quotes hit straight into my heart..."the enemy does not control our future." WOW. Talk about toe stepping. He was all over mine...as if he was right up in the choir loft preaching to just me. I can't even begin to explain how I needed that sermon. I can't even begin to explain why he chose to preach on that as his first sermon at GBC, but all I know as that God was there, and HE was all over it! When I finally saw Donnie, who incidentally also sings in choir, he met me with that all knowing smile. He said "do you think the sermon was aimed just at us?" I laughed because I felt the same way. I came home this afternoon with a new resolve, and new attitude. I know that God does hold my future, and that HE is the only one that can close the doors. Not my grandmother, God love her, nor my parents, friends, or even doctors. He holds the plans for us, and those plans are perfect! Though we may not be able to see it now, no matter how He decides to shape our future, we (I) will obey.
So with that, I will close this part of my continual testimony. I know that God is taking me through this to be able to share with other women. I know that, at this season in my life, it is my cross to bear. What I have to still learn is that this "cross" is also a great joy! I can say that, I do have a group of close friends that have prayed for us for the past few years. They've prayed tears of joy and sadness over us, they've been there when we didn't know what else to do, and they've always put their arms around us. You know who you are, and just know YOU are loved!