Friday, January 29, 2010

Jumbled mix of thoughts

I've hesitated in posting because I just can't really get a good grasp on where I'm at.

In a prolonged period of delayed gratification of a virtuous and God-given wish, I think it's pretty normal to ask the why question. I think people who lose a loved one ask it. People who long to be married but remain single ask it. People who want to go on the mission field but are prevented ask it. And most certainly, women possessing of a mother's heart ask it.

I've asked it myself over the years, at different times and with varying intensity. Sometimes I'll arrive at an answer that satisfies me. Several years ago, early in our TTC journey, DH admitted something to me that really rocked our marriage. So for a while, I was grateful that God held off satisfying the desire for children while DH and I worked through that issue and rebuilt the trust that was lost.

After the shock of our initial diagnosis of permanent infertility wore off, we were grateful that God had heightened our desire for children so much as to pursue medical care, as we discovered DH's condition, got him on the medicine he needs and potentially warded off serious complications later.

When a friend's wife had an affair and split up their marriage and he moved in with us, I was glad his room was not yet a baby nursery. My brother has also lived in that room twice and even now it is occupied by another friend in a transitional place in life. We couldn't have done that for any of them had we been a household of 3.

Then, when DH lost his job last year, I thought it was because having a baby during a tough transitional time would have been too difficult.

Just recently this spring, I was sure that it was because our friends needed us and with children we would not have been able to drop everything and jump into their lives the way that we did.

And I have been grateful for all of those things. I really truly have. I appreciate the other prayers God has answered, the opportunities He's given us, the protections He's granted, the growth He's directed. But again, I'm back to asking "why?"

I'd previously always dismissed thoughts like "God doesn't let you have kids because He knows you'd be a terrible parent" or "You don't really want a child-you want a baby. You would get tired of it quickly." I've never allowed myself to think that way because in my head, I knew it wasn't true--that God didn't work that way and that my desires weren't that shallow or short. But honestly, with all other options exhausted, I felt like there was no other explanation.

Then I jumped in to caring for our friends' kids every day-getting them up and making them breakfast, getting them ready for the day, playing with them, taking them on errands and outings, getting them in and out of strollers and carseats, taking them grocery shopping, disciplining them, playing with them, fixing their lunch, putting them down for naps, fixing their dinners, helping with homework, packing school lunches, giving them baths, doing their laundry, getting them ready for bed, reading them stories, praying with them, comforting them when they cried, singing them to sleep. I did their whole routine, from start to finish, day after day. And I loved it. And I was really, really good at it, just like I knew I would be. And DH was really good at it, too. And I couldn't wait to get up and do it again the next day. So in a way, it was a good encouragement, confirmation of the truth and reminder that I think the desire to parent is well placed in me. But in a sense it made it more difficult-I know we'll make good parents, so what is the hold up? And I guess that continually asking the question and hearing silence in return just gets lonely sometimes. I know I'm not entitled to an answer, but knowing that doesn't really make not having one any easier.

My best friend is pregnant again. January marks 6 years of trying for us. My best friend tried for a year and a half, got pregnant, had our godson at full term, he's 19 months old, and they're pregnant again. And we've still been trying longer than all of that time combined. I have friends who didn't even know their husbands or weren't dating them when DH and I started trying, and yet they're now married and on child #2 or #3. When we started our young married women's group a few years ago, one woman in the group had 1 child. Now 3 of them have 2 kids, a 4th has 1 child and Kim (best friend-part of this group) has 1 born and 1 on the way. And the kicker is that all but one of those women struggled with infertility. I'm literally being lapped in life. I'm standing still, and their lives continue to move on, away from mine. And I hate it. It's lonely, I don't understand, they don't understand, and I just want so desperately to go with them. I remain close with two of the women and of course they include me in their lives and I love and adore them and their children, but it's not the same with their lives there and mine here. And they don't understand that--or they do, and they're just too nice to let it bother them.

Then there's this whole thing with Mike being sick. Once the dust settled and we got into a little bit normal of a routine, it hit me really hard that we came so close to losing him and that there's a realistic possibility that we will lose him sooner than we should. So, that's been emotionally overwhelming in it's own right. But it also compounds my fear that our children will never get to meet or remember certain people who are so important to us. DH's grandparents are in their 80s. My dad and DH's parents are in their mid 60s. I praise God that all of them are healthy and God willing, we have lots of years with all of them left. But even if our kids were born tomorrow, by the time our children would be old enough to really develop relationships and lasting memories, a lot of opportunities will have been lost and there's a chance with any one of them that our kids wouldn't be able to remember them. And that kills me. Kills me. It literally makes me sick to think about and I just can't handle the unfairness.

And I hate that the only thing standing in the way right now is something so earthly and temporary as money. I just want to say "really?" After everything we've been through, something as stupid as money is the hold up??

I'm just exhausted of trying anymore. I'm ready to give up on ever trying again and if not for my children still waiting in a frozen state, I would throw in the towel on this journey. My heart is broken and I no longer believe that God is intending to fix it. I would have been ok with never having children, were it not for the God given desire to have them and the talent to steward them well. It feels like a sick and cruel joke though that He's placed those desires and talents in us and still remains silent. I don't even know how to get back to a place of hope right now. I literally expect God to forever disappoint me on this issue. And I know in my head and in my heart of hearts that that's His right and with my mouth I say that if it's His will, so be it. But I just wish He would take this desire away because I don't know what to do with it anymore. I just don't understand why He would give it to us, just to deny it again and again and again. I feel that no matter what I do to relinquish it to Him or pray about it or leave it alone, or walk away, or try to examine it in a positive light or try to minister to others in it or see the greater good that comes out of it, it continues to hold a power on me that I just can't break free of. I feel like it drives a wedge between me and my friends, me and our families, me and DH, and me and God. I'm only human--I can't force it to stop and it doesn't seem like He will, either. I am utterly helpless. I have nothing left to say or think or pray on the matter.

I read a book the other day and there was a quote in it that I'm really trying to meditate on:

"[She]...wrestled with relinquishing her will to the holy Creator. She stood on the precipice of doubt, clinging to her needs, desires, and goals, which the Lord beckoned her to release...release and fling herself and her future wholly unto his care. In her human weakness she struggled to comprehend that God was fully able to give her more in her release than He could in her clinging."

I do get that in my head. And I've really tried NOT to cling. I've tried to be patient and gracious and forbearing. I just don't know how to do anything different than I've been doing and yet my pain persists without relief.

As I've shared before, I try to tell myself not to ask the why questions. And on good days, I am content with the "because I said so" answer that I've blogged about before. When I am rational and calm and whole-hearted, I understand that God's purpose is better and bigger and more important than my needs and wants, however virtuous they may be. But tonight I'm just a daughter with a broken heart who wants her Daddy to fix everything, and I just don't understand why He won't. I'm trying so desperately to cling to the Character I know is true in spite of my grief, but my broken heart wants more than that. I don't want head knowledge right now, I want ministry to my heart and my brokenness, and I just can't feel it.

God, help me!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Friend's Surgery Update

We didn't get the news we were praying for. They did find another tumor. They were able to get it, but he has a long road in front of him. Thank you for continuing to join us in prayer.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Drive by Posting

Hi Friends,

Thank you for continuing to check in with me. This has been a crazy week. It started off with a trip to the Packers-Cardinals game (not THAT one, the one where the Packers actually won). The tickets were courtesy of dear friends (actually, the parents of sweet Skyler, who I mention here frequently). We had a great time.

Then we hung out with said friends Monday night. Our friend Mike, Sky's dad, has had a couple of brain tumors in the past few years. On Wednesday night I was over there and Mike had an episode that required he be taken to the ER, who decided to admit him. His MRIs show something..they're not sure what. But, one possibility is another tumor. He has surgery tomorrow.

As a result, we and another family from the church became the round-the-clock caregivers for their kids, so his wife could be at his side. So, we've really just not been home this week and I've certainly not had a chance to blog.

We went up to visit with Mike tonight and we got to spend an incredible 3 hours with him. Because of the issues, he's not been quite himself this week and has not always been lucid. But tonight, he spoke with perfect clarity, passion and truth. He spoke of God's greatness and mercy and providence. He extolled God for placing him in the hospital, where he's had the chance to minister and to witness. The hospital staff has been able to witness the great relationships he has with people who love him. Today, while visiting him, the Pastor had the chance to share the love of God with some staff members. Tonight, one of Mike's caregivers, a growing believer, overheard our conversation and enthusiastically jumped in with questions and thoughts of her own. It was incredible. And I was so humbled by the fact that Mike looked beyond his very great suffering and praised God for His purpose in this. How small is my suffering compared to his and how much I still have to learn! So thanks, sweet friend, for a great evening and for teaching us tonight.

But on that note, please pray for Mike. We really love him and he is an integral part of our lives. We're praying very specifically that this "thing" tomorrow is nothing more than scar tissue (or something else equally harmless) and that Mike will be healed, on this earth, from all tumors and cancers and that we all will have many, many more long and healthy years with him. Please also pray for his doctors-that they would be given excellence in wisdom and skill. Please also pray for his wife, children, and extended family, that they would be comforted.

On a much smaller note, we may be moving. It would result in an amazing opportunity for DH's business, but would require a lot of change and stress and work to get there. Would you please just pray for wisdom for us and the other people involved as we make this decision? Thank you!

Edited for clarity: We'd be moving across town, not from the area ;)