Thursday, July 30, 2015

Digging for Treasure

There are some seasons in life where the gifts and the treasures are so bright and shiny that they blind you at every turn.  Everything is going right.  You have everything you have ever wanted.  Even your relationship with the Lord is stronger than ever.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), these seasons don't last.  We are eventually tested.  The bright and shiny gifts in our lives lose their luster or become hidden.

In these times of trials, it's so important that we don't sit back and wait for it to pass or wallow in some pity party.  The truth is that these are the times that count the most.  And these are the times that we might have to dig for those treasures and fight for joy and our faith.

As radical as it may sound, I've often thought of infertility as a gift because of all the good that the Lord is doing in my life that might otherwise not be done if it weren't for this trial, this season.  But all good things come from the Lord and infertility is not a good gift.  It's actually contradictory to God's commandment to "go forth and multiply" (among others).  It's not God's will for my life.  Don't get me wrong - I am SO looking forward to this season ending.  Isn't that the BEST news?  This season WILL end.  In one way or another, it will end and we will move onto another season. Hopefully, that season will be one where I am always holding at least one, precious newborn baby.  But if it's not the season that I'm praying for, I trust the Lord enough to know that it will be something good.  When He closes a door, He opens another.

God PROMISES that He will work all things for our good and for His glory.  When I look back on this season, I will always see that.  I'll be able to see a time where I was able to work on my marriage, grow closer to the Lord, cultivate godly friendships, study the Word, focus on my precious little girl and not miss a moment of her precious early years.  

While this is the way that I feel right now, I want you to know that there were times that I was having a pity party.  There were times that I couldn't see any bright and shiny gifts.  But Jesus never left me, and He alone shined His beautiful light on all the work He was doing.  He gives good gifts to His children.  Sometimes we just have to look for them, like digging for buried treasure.  And to me, those are the best gifts because they are the little reminders that He keeps His promises, that He loves me, that He is for me, and that He's with me.

Dear Jesus, thank you that you are always working things for our good and Your glory.  Thank you that you have conquered infertility and that it does not define my life.  Thank you that you have written a beautiful story, just for me, and that this is just a short chapter. Please help me to see all of the gifts that you give me.  I don't want to miss a single one.  Lord, I lift up every woman, every family that is in a season of infertility.  I pray that they are seeking you in this dark time and that they find rest in You. Thank you that you are working infertility for their good and Your glory.  Thank you that you are by their side, showing them in many ways that You are for them, that you are with them, and You will never leave. Today, and every day, I ask that you give us our hearts' desire.  Please bless our wombs with precious babies.  We give you all the glory.  In Jesus' precious name, Amen!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Joy of the Lord

I'm a few days away from finding out if our fourth IUI attempt was successful.  There's a peace about the fact that it is all in God's hands.  It's funny because after my angry post a few weeks ago, I wrote down all of these great verses to memorize... verses about trampling the enemy (Luke 10:19) and verses about God's power, but you know the verse that kept showing up on my heart?

Nehemiah 8:10 The joy of the Lord is my strength.

I had a few conversations with the enemy about how I belong to the Creator of the Universe, I am a daughter of the King, and with my authority in Jesus, I commanded him to leave and take infertility with him.

But then I was just so done giving Satan the attention that he had gotten for so long.

Jesus died for my healing and just because I may not see the results of that healing this week, it doesn't mean I'm not healed.  So, the enemy can tell me what ever lies he wants to this week, when I'm at my most vulnerable, but I'm just not listening anymore because the joy of the Lord is my strength and I've sent Satan on his way.

That means that the minute I feel the doubts or the anxiousness creep up on me, I think about what would make the Lord joyful.  Instead of getting down (what the enemy wants), I think about what Jesus would want for me in that moment and it gives me strength.  So, sometimes I'll pray, sometimes I'll put music on and dance with my daughter, sometimes I'll think of all of the friendships that have been strengthened in this season of my life, sometimes I'll just picture my family with our new baby (or babies)... I picture the joy on our faces and the excitement in my daughter's voice to have a new brother and/or sister (she's been praying for both).

For anyone else who is still waiting, I thought I would share the conception prayer that I memorized to pray daily. This prayer comes from the book God's Plan for Pregnancy, by Nerida Walker which I'll discuss in another post.

Conception Prayer

Thank you, Father, that your Son Jesus Christ bore all my sickness and disease and carried all my pain and sin on the Cross and that by His stripes I am healed.

This means that I am healed of infertility and of all sickness and disease that causes it.  Therefore, body, I command you in the name of Jesus to conceive and be pregnant!  Every part of you is to come in line with the Word of God.  You are to function efficiently, the way you were created to, because you were fearfully and wonderfully made.

Father, I also pray that my baby (or babies) will attach perfectly to the uterine wall (not the felopian tubes).  I ask that my baby (or babies) would be protected from all harm, sickness, and disease, and that I would carry my baby (or babies) for the full nine months.

I give You all the glory for my healing and for my baby (or babies).  Please let it be done to me according to Your will.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Setting Life-Giving Boundaries

Today is one of those days where I am in awe of our mighty God.  A few days ago, I was so hopeless in my marriage.  There was so much hurt, anger, and frustration building up that I didn't know what to do.  I felt that I had explored so many different options on how to handle not one, but multiple situations, but all were failing.  I was brought to my knees and through tears, I cried out to my friend Jesus.  I was so desperate to hear from Him.

I'm currently in a "spiritually unequal marriage".  Yes, that's a thing.  In a lot of cases, this means that a believer is married to a non-believer.  In my case, my husband has been saved, and will even go to church sometimes, but he does not walk in His faith.  He is not the spiritual leader of our family.  I believe wholeheartedly that this will not always be the case.  I can so clearly see God pursuing my husband, it's just a matter of time before the Holy Spirit changes his heart.

But in the meantime, I get overwhelmed with what I'm supposed to do when he sins against our family.  I've tried being passive.  I've tried showing more love and no judgement.  I've tried having the hard conversations. I've tried threats and screaming matches.  I'm not proud of that.  But when you feel like you've tried everything to get someone to hear you, respect you, and honor you, the enemy will lie and tell you that you have to fight sin with more sin.

None of these ways worked.  I was feeling like nothing could restore my marriage.  I was crying out to the Lord, begging Him to tell me what to do, and all I kept hearing was the word "boundaries".  OK, fine.  So, I need to establish boundaries, but what in the HECK does that look like?

My gut was telling me that if this situation gets worse, I need to remove myself and my daughter from it.  But is that the right thing to do?  Is that the godly thing to do?  Is that best for me, her, and my husband?  I don't believe in divorce.  I believe that the Lord can breathe life into my marriage, but I just didn't know what I was supposed to do to cultivate that.

I considered speaking with a Christian counselor.  I thought that maybe they could tell me what appropriate boundaries are and help me decide what to do to move forward.

I still might meet with a counselor, but I remembered a book called "Boundaries" that I thought might help.  When I began searching for it, I came across a book, by the same authors, called "Boundaries in Marriage."  I read a few of the reviews.  Several of them sounded like women who were in the exact same situation and the book had helped them tremendously.  I decided to give it a try.

I was two chapters into this book and it was already VERY clear to me what I must do.  Thank you Holy Spirit for your perfect guidance!!  I'm positive that this is where He wanted to guide me when He spoke the word "boundaries."

In "Boundaries in Marriage", I learned that we shouldn't try to control our spouse by acting certain ways or saying certain things.  We should both have freedom to make our own choices.  In everything I had tried so far, I was trying to exert some control or nothing at all.  I hadn't presented choices, I had made demands. I had also failed to protect my heart by not being clear about what I would and would not tolerate.

Today, I was honest with my husband about how his actions and words had made me feel. According to the book, keeping these feelings hidden is a form of dishonesty and only strains the marriage.  I can take responsibility for that and change it.  Then, I clearly stated what my values are and how he has been violating them.  I told him that he is free to continue dishonoring my wishes, but I am also free to leave the room, the house, and eventually the state if this behavior continues.

It's very important to mean what you say, and I can honestly say that I meant every word.  He could see that.  And you know what?  I got to witness the floodgates of repentance, restoration, change, and hope.

Not only did I receive an apology for recent events, but Jesus used all of this to convict my husband to acknowledge a problem that he has had for a long time.  My house feels lighter and we both feel more free.  Chains were broken today because I leaned on the Lord in my time of trouble.

I wanted to give up and walk away, but I cried out to the Lord and trusted His voice.  I'm so grateful for the immediately answered prayer.

Speaking of answered prayers, my daughter is 3.  I believe she is old enough to be affected by what has been an unhealthy environment for a few weeks.  I have LONG prayed that the Lord would make her deaf and blind to our failures as parents.  I've pleaded for His grace in protecting her while we figure all of this out.  I am most grateful that when things were at their worst in my house, my daughter seemed to not even see or hear any of it. The Lord heard my prayer.

My marriage might have a long way to go, but I know what to do now.  I know what my responsibilities are in protecting my heart and my marriage.  I'm believing and following Him for the answers.  He has already proven what can happen when I trust Him.  I can't wait to see what else He has for me and my marriage.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Speaking to Mountains

In the last (almost) two years, during this struggle to get pregnant, I've done a lot of talking about infertility... I've talked to my family, I've talked to most of my friends, I've talked to my husband, I've talked to doctors, and I've done even more talking with God.  I've begged and pleaded with the One who can give me the baby that my heart desires.

In addition to all the talking, praying, and begging, I have done hours and hours of research about this problem. I've tried every trick, supplement, method you can think of.  Or at least I thought I had...

A few nights ago, I had a dream that I was in some water and there were snakes swimming around me.  Sounds terrifying right?  But I wasn't scared in the dream.  Whenever a snake approached me, I grabbed it just below its head and popped its head off with my thumbs.  I know that's gross!  It wasn't as gory, in the dream, as it sounds.  And I should add that this was not the first dream I've had in the last couple of months that included snakes approaching me and me killing them in some form or fashion.  I've been reading a great book on Biblical dream interpretation, and it says that a snake (or serpent) represents Satan.  I don't think it takes a gifted dream interpreter to figure out what these dreams mean, but I didn't think much of it until I came across this verse:

Mark 11:22-24

And Jesus answered saying to them, "Have faith in God. Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.  Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you..."

Did you catch that?  Whoever SAYS to this mountain.

Two years in, and I can say that infertility is the "mountain". But I don't think I've said anything to the "mountain" itself in all this time.

God didn't give me infertility.  He created us to be whole and fruitful.  The first thing He said to man was "Be fruitful and multiply" (Gen 1:28). He also said that no one would miscarry or be barren in His land (Ex 23:26).  All good gifts come from the Lord and THIS "MOUNTAIN" is not a good gift.  I'm getting hot just typing this because I'm JUST. SO. DONE. with this mountain.

I've done a LOT of talking with Jesus these last two years, but not a whole lot of exercising my authority over the enemy.

Instead of trampling the enemy (Luke 10:19) with my God given authority in Jesus, I've let him trample ME.  

What would I do to an actual person who steals my joy, hurts my family, and violates my body? Would I grab him by the neck and pop his head off?  (OK, maybe that's a little much, but you see where I'm going with this).  More importantly, what would Jesus do?  I have the four Gospels as my proof and my truth that Jesus would cast out the enemy, heal me, and restore what was lost.  But when Jesus died on the Cross, he took barrenness, sickness, disease, sorrow, and sin with Him and left an inheritance of fruitfulness, health, joy, and righteousness (Isa 53:5, Matthew 8:16-17).

Jesus already fought the enemy and won.  In my dream with the snakes, I believe He was showing me that it's up to me to use my God-given authority in Jesus Christ to send Satan and this mountain on their way.

How will I do that?  I have some ideas, but I'm going to let the Holy Spirit guide me.  This was His idea, spoken to me in that dream, and revealed to me in the Word.  I do plan on writing about it so that I can praise Him for what He has already done and give Him glory when He gives the good gift I am praying for!

But I want to make it clear that this isn't just "something else I'm trying to get pregnant and I hope it works".  The Holy Spirit has spoken via a dream and I am just being obedient and answering His call to write about it.

No matter what kind of sickness or infertility or diagnosis that you are facing right now, please know that it is NOT from God.  I hope you are now as angry as I am at the enemy and that it gives you the strength to fight him with your faith that Jesus has already defeated him.  


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