seespeakhearmama : mothering with my senses

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Sunday Sermon

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surrender. that’s all. surrender

I am determined to experience the sermon on Sunday.  For our family,it is the one day of the week when there are no planned classes, no appointments, no place to be. Yet Sundays are hard.  My husband has been called to work weekends during this season so after a day of too many bus rides and pretty much non-stop solo parenting on Saturday…I am tired.  I am tired from the shenanigans of the previous week – the homeschooling, the grocery shopping, the meal planning and yes! the drama dispelling that 4 young children often need.  Sigh…..so Saturdays mayhem makes Sunday my sermon. My lesson day.  I try to intentionally hear Gods voice in everything.  I slow down and refuse to work the day around a schedule.  I let if flow. No pushing.  No resistance.  I surrender – because I so desperately need to receive His word.

so this is what happened today…

I served a gospel pancake brunch to my children while we watched an online church service. The kids insisted on partaking in the communion service – a sip of water and a pancake morsel standing in as communion elements. I let them do it and was blessed by their beautiful hearts, turned towards the things of God at such a young age.

I prepared a pretty fly lunch of coconut rice, sautéed broccoli and black beans.  Initially daunted by the usual “Just what are we going to have for lunch?” I encouraged myself to use whatever we had instead of going to the store or ordering takeout. My “waste not want not” meals can be surprisingly creative and yummy.

I took a delicious nap with my cute but contrary toddler.  Well before his usual nap time he scurried into the living room with cries of “Mommy. I want my mommy. Pick me up.” I stopped what I was doing, turned off the burners on the stove and gathered him in my arms.  I could barely collect all of his lovely 2-year-old exuberance before realizing he was already dozing.  I took him to my bed and we lay down.  Nap time was early and I let it flow.

I taught my eldest daughter how to stretch properly to improve  her leg extensions. Ila has a ridiculously flexible skating buddy and their friendly competition is helpful in pushing each of them to be their unique best.  Today she wanted to work on flexibility and I guess I needed to focus on being pliable.

I listened to my 12-year-old talk about Minecraft strategies – of which I know embarrassingly little.  On a surrendered Sunday afternoon, I  listened to him go on and on about the world of adventure this game provides. I even had a moment to throw in a little chore reinforcement without nagging.  Just the two of us talking. Both engaged. Nice.

We sat down for lunch followed by a bowl of frozen blueberries – a treat for Chailah, my 4-year-old fruit lover.  The juicy kisses of my girl were just what I needed to remind me how sweet the release can be.

the day is yet young – 2:48 p.m and its far from over  but I have walked with Him and I am grateful…

I even found time to write this post – (big WOW and praise dance interlude…)

I am called to be at home.  Ladies, you know it’s the most challenging of career choices and only His leading could make you consider it, but His grace is always there.  If we are mindful to let Him in –  He will restore everything we’ve poured out. We will often miss the mark – our humanity assures this. Life will happen and interruptions are promised – but we will hear Him during the Sunday sermon.

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If not in act, SURRENDER allows me to experience this type of stillness in my head and heart

How is your day going? Have you yet heard the sermon?  What is He saying to you?

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Does He Still Love Me? a woman wants to know…

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He wants to take this walk – with YOU

Does he still love me? Does he regret his decision to marry me?  Does he look at me differently? As flawed? broken?  I think these questions were at the forefront of my mind somewhere around the 3rd year of our travels in the land of infertility.  The first two years were the shock and grief years – the denial years even.  But as we settled into the brutal reality of our situation I wondered…does he still love me?

I asked him quite frankly and he answered in the affirmative.  “Yes. Ofcourse I do. My love for you must never be mistaken”, a term we coined while dating – a tribute to our love of period films.  But I wondered if he could or would tell the truth.  My husband was already a biological father when we met.  While slowly walking towards a future together, I learned to love his then six-year-old son.  So I wondered.  Did this fact somehow forever divide us?  How could he really love me and I, the woman he married, failed to give him a child.  The weight of being the person in our relationship with the fertility issues was getting to me – making me feel branded. The letter  “I” adorning every piece of clothing I owned.  My very own scarlet letter.  So I needed to know –  “In marriage, is infertility an automatic deal breaker?”

My answers to these questions came in time.  In action.  Not words.  Words would never do for such important questions.  He answered by simply loving me.  In the everyday things.  The seasons of our relationship evolved – spring to winter and back again.  His support and willingness to walk with me through this dark tunnel, proved to me, the depth of his love.   He kept time with my pace, matching my stride, footprint for footprint.  I asked. He answered.  In time. But I had to do some work on my inner woman to hear him. Thank God we live during a time when women can be expected to bring more than a uterus to the marriage table. Unfortunately, the challenge of infertility highlights dated perceptions and we fall prey to a type of thinking that goes against everything the Bible says about who we are.  Our ability to reproduce becomes inextricably tied to our sense of self-worth. And this – is wrong.  Your worth is unconditional and is offered to you only through grace.

Only God could help me crawl from under the grave infertility dug. I learned to love the only reflection of me that mattered – the one God’s word says shines through in everything I do.  His word sustains the flames of my spirit and illuminates the essence of His creation.  In Him I found…me.   My husband married my submission to Christ and desire to stand with him in faith as a partner. He married my wit and intelligence, my support and belief in him. Hopes for a family were always part of the plan but the baby dreams never over shadowed the dreams for our union. By the time we got around to my talents and abilities – all which extended well beyond my reproductive capabilities, well, he knew he’d found his good thing. But…I had to embrace my worth. As a daughter of the King I had to believe I was beautiful – not broken.

So we talked when it wasn’t easy, lived as purposefully as we could and cried when we needed to.  We refused to allow infertility to  result in the calcification of our emotions – a sure and steady death for any relationship. The constant flow of communication joined us in battle.  We would beat this thing together or not at all. Together we’d slay the dragon and prophesy our happy ending.  He’d told me before but eventually I believed.  When I finally claimed my unconditional worth as a  child of God I was able to accept that he was and is in love with the beautiful  possibility of our journey together.

Claim your worth beautiful one! Your husband loves YOU!  He loves the entire adventure of marriage – unified in Christ, the lovely… sometimes difficult, ecstatic, joy-filled but typical…walk… that he chose to take…with YOU.

“Does He Still Love Me?” copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved

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dance ministry
Sweden Fall 2000.

I’ve been challenged lately. Blogging about my journey through infertility has brought up lots of issues. Mostly thoughts on parenting after struggling to conceive, openness in adoption and how to keep a relationship  intact through the crazy, complex and intricately choreographed dance of infertility. Yet there’s more – a  layer of old, dead and dry skin is being spiritually shed and  I am having another one of those core shaking, life defining moments.  A month ago, when I opened my Twitter account, what I wanted to do was encourage others on their personal journeys..to help others get through infertility with a hopeful perspective.  I felt the Lords leading and continued with a Facebook page but was still not quite clear on how to project my voice in the world of social media. I have always been a dancer and God used my gifting in that area in ministry- so I always knew how to translate His word through movement but using my voice, my words..presented a  challenge.  My intention was/ is not to preach the gospel or profess to be a fertility guru possessing a particular path to pregnancy. I simply desire to uplift… to cry, laugh and rejoice with you as you make progress and find peace by creating your own definition of success.

But something happened.  In sharing my story I am consistently pointed back to the true foundation of my travels and that is this – Jesus.  This Jesus who died on the cross, rose again, the one who loves the unlovely, heals the broken and broken-hearted –  Him, the opener and closer of wombs (that’s a hard one, I know). This Jesus can be found at the center of it all. He radically rips and runs through every page of my story – so much so  that I can’t tell it – this story – without giving Him credit for it all.  In between tweeting, blogging and working on content for my face book page I find myself being pushed to go deeper in Him.  The work became more about Him and less about a book I hoped to release someday, more about you and less about a platform. Truly, nothing I can say would mean anything if I couldn’t also point my readers in the direction of the One who keeps His finger on me.

I am a modern woman with a culturally diverse lifestyle.  I love all things lovely, specifically as relates to literature, fashion, dance, art, music, history and nature. I celebrate the diaspora and am proud of my place in it.  I love headwraps and tunics, holistic nutrition and pilates.  I work hard to cultivate a lifestyle that celebrates all of this but at the core, the center…I am a girl with a heart for God and I can’t hide that in hopes of attracting and keeping more followers or being politically correct.  I found myself censoring and editing tweets and posts to make sure I hadn’t offended anyone. Authenticity is powerful and quite honestly I was convicted of coming up short.  This post is my very public repentance.   I spent my early twenties searching the I Ching, listening to fortune tellers and seeking enlightenment but when I first encountered Jesus my heart, mind, will and emotions came into alignment for the very first time.  I wrestled with God on many things over the years but have been seasoned in the development of a faith that is far from blind.  I’ve been taught to use and seek wisdom in all things.  My eyes have been,and remain – opened –  to His unfailing love and I am operating from a position of trust.  Trust because He has proven Himself. Over and over and over again.

The cry of my heart is  that something in what I have written will soften your heart, tug that place in you that is His and His alone –  encouraging you to believe and trust Him for yourself. Let Him love you through your season of infertility, holding fast to the promise of children and family as His plan. Set your heart to hope and allow Him to lead and guide you.

…a little love story

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our wedding day – June 1,1996
Began with a prayer….

He…stole my heart while loving and being a father to his then 6-year-old son

He…waited outside with a handful of balloons and a bag full of clothes from his designer collection on our very first date

He…was the man who not only made me laugh but made sure my spirit found reason to rejoice

He…shares his talents and creativity with me – training me in his craft and seeking my counsel in every decision

He….is New York City to me…our early courtship entangled in a maze of  unexpected diversions taken on sometimes cracked, sometimes smoothly paved sidewalks ultimately leading us to wedded bliss in Central Park

He…is the man my mother easily identified as the “one and only”, my eyes giving away when we were together, feelings I refused to express verbally

He..asked me to be his wife on a crazy, crowded NYC subway platform

He…experimented with  quinoa, kale and almond milk to indulge my inner “crunchy girl”

He.. held me, as my body trembled in his arms from the unspeakable loss of 2 pregnancies, whispering tearful goodbyes to our sweet angels as his hot tears mingled with mine

He…called me beautiful when I felt broken

He… challenged me to follow my dreams

He…opened his heart to encircle the souls of children not born of our bodies – not once but thrice…because I wanted them, because I needed them

He…loved me that much

He…is a devoted, imaginative and nurturing father

He…believed for me when I grew doubtful, tied his faith to mine when necessary and pulled me along while we waited on God’s promise

He…has lovingly embraced every version of me…my transition from girl to woman an obvious delight and unforseen bonus

He…placed his hands over my growing belly each night as we fought for our youngest in prayer against every denial and negative word concerning his birth

He..is a man of God – unafraid to cry out in worship to the One who loves him most

He…prayed for me then

He…prays for me now

We…are closer than ever

He…is my love

and I…am his

Our union is gorgeously ordinary but its the trials that have birthed a beautiful, show-stopping, one of a kind – FAITH -in God and in each other…How has your marriage grown and what challenges have birthed the beautiful  in your relationship?

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and sealed with a kiss

In case you were wondering….

seespeakhearmama : mothering with my senses

Is adoption different from biological parenting?  Only 1 person has openly asked me (her sister just adopted 3 children) but I suspect the question is on everyone’s mind.  Because of my deep committment and utter allegiance to the children who were born in my heart, even I don’t like to think about it.  I dismissed the subject whenever my mind chose to wander and when I talked about it with my children( all of whom know about their adoptions ) I assured them that there was no way I could love another child more…even when I didn’t know what the answer would be or if it would matter.

So….as my youngest begins cruising and babbling I find myself exploring this topic…really letting myself “go there” … no matter what answers I find.

Yes.  There is a difference.  Not in parenting them but in how we connected.  I met LiChai on a…

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Dual Citizenship

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Have I lost my infertility card?  After trying  to conceive for 14 years, my previously barren body jumped ship, deciding to take a dip in the waters of fertility.  I had a baby. A beautiful, healthy baby boy.  I lived the miracle,  but have I lost all memory of the pain, the tears, the ugly ducking, broken doll feeling that infertility is uniquely qualified at transferring on a woman.  No my friend, it is still with me and that is why I came back to get you.  The greatest gift of survival  is having  the honor of reaching back through the turbulence of my own ride to help you see the way through yours. I clearly recall all of it so that I can be in touch where you are – so that I can find – you. You, who have also been a source of encouragement for me.  You, who unknowingly,consistently contributes to the reconstruction of my healing heart. Blogging about this experience made me realize that although I have given birth and am now no longer infertile by definition, my heart, my still infertile heart is yet being healed. I am daily being strengthened to serve and would consider my experience a complete waste of time if I couldn’t find a way to allow God to turn what the enemy meant for my destruction into a helping hand for someone else’s healing.  A healing so powerful it ricochets back and forth in a state of perpetual grace. I am captivated by the beautiful reciprocity of this exchange.  It is what amazes me most.  I give, I get. I give, I get.

In my journals I always referred to infertility as being female.  She was one of those acquaintances that seemingly asked for my cool stares of distrust.  She would show up unannounced in the oddest of places and quite simply sucker punch me.  Some days, I was on the lookout but most days, I was making every effort to live my life without the spectre of her shadow casting its gloom over my supposed sunny days.  On those days, she left me doubled over in pain seeking relief in solitude because I thought no one understood.  I felt alone.  I wished to God I had someone to talk to about this thing that was ruining my life, who would walk this road with me…but would you really wish that on a friend?  The one person I connected with  was a source of unspoken comfort but we were so engrossed  in our own personal stories that we fell victim to that secret society of infertility phenomenon,  where even the members of this global organization won’t call upon each other for help.  I know this has changed and continues to – but 15 years ago ?  Yeah…crickets.  I was beyond thrilled to find so many women blogging and tweeting about their experiences online and am thrilled to add my voice to the ongoing dialogue.

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I am requesting dual citizenship.   I can’t choose.  My allegiance  to each side is multi-layered and complex.   This “fork in the road” presents a choice I cannot  make.  I was granted the opportunity to know intimately the precious womb-time a woman gets to experience when carrying a child.  I was also graciously given children by women, who have that sacred time alone, as memory of the babies they bore.  The largest part of my journey however,  has been spent in the trenches.  I’ve completed boot-camp, special ops training and have been promoted to general.  Infertility was made known to me and I have all the qualifications of a senior warrior.  My time spent in the fertile world was a test of faith to be sure, presenting its own battery of exams – all of which I felt I barely passed.  I spent a lot of time praying for a do-over. But I rest now, knowing in my heart, that the time spent on each side of the road had purpose. Thankfully, I know that a greater love is at work here and it keeps me focused, on my post and on course. I am here.  If you are going through infertility and need to pray, talk, cry, complain, or yell….I am here.

Dear Infertility,

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Having never considered that I would not have a baby when I wanted to, the word infertile was foreign to me.  Infertility is barren, is lacking in breath, stagnant, is not flowering or growing.  Infertility is dead.  And I was alive.  How could this word connect to me?  A woman, wife, sister, aunt, godmother, friend, dancer, lover of books, art, music,fashion, fairies and laughter.  I was alive. At 30, I was in my prime physically and growing every day – spiritually.  But this word would begin to describe me and seep its ugly, rotten roots into all the glory of the miraculous me that I was working so hard to be.

Self.  Infertility broke my vision of self, but ultimately, this was a good thing.  Infertility pulled me out of the Tiffany blue and bowed box that I’d wrapped myself in and exposed me for who and what I was.  A “me” girl living in a “me” world.  Infertility crept in with ninja-like precision… with one motive and one motive only –  to show me myself before killing me.  Thankfully, the researcher in me took notes while infertility did it’s dirty work.  So I learned a few things and as I look back over its temporal damage I see that what was left was the stuff of life that is eternal.   By the grace of God, grace was with me.  I shadowed her every movement sweeping up and quickly storing any and everything left behind that might prove beneficial on the next part of my journey. Grace gave me the opportunity to live.  Infertility wasn’t looking and in the midst of her seemingly obvious victory, grace covered a  little seedling growing in the corner of my ripped and worn heart.   Having assumed that the battle was over, infertility got lazy. But there was life.  That life was mine. Restored.

Infertility taught me a level of compassion I never would have known existed otherwise. I learned that everyone – everywhere –  is going through… something. I learned to claim my fertility in other areas of my life.  I learned to ski, I studied nutrition, made jewelry and opened a clothing store with my husband. I choreographed dances, something I was never inspired to do.   I got a passport and stood on a glacier in Iceland and in Sweden, witnessed the hearts of spiritually parched people, be drenched, in the word of life.  I saw places of the world that helped to shape the me that was slowly re-emerging.  A great deal stronger, a whole lot wiser.  All things I might have done, but probably would not have,  had my life taken a different course.

Infertility brought 3 spirit babies into my life and forced me to really be present in my step-sons.  I truly believe my souls longing for them led me to them.  Adoption was always part of our family building conversation but would we really have pursued it had we started giving birth to babies right away?   And finally, and I believe most importantly, infertility strengthened my miniscule, now mighty, faith muscles.  I  have the most precious ability to believe God for absolutely anything.  Dr. Tony Evans said it best -“He amazes you to get your attention” .  and He has certainly got mine.

So although I never thought I would say this…thank you infertility.  You came to destroy but you were defeated. #BAM!  #infertilitysmackdown

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Faith. Science. Fertility….

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photo: gregory colbert
I see myself dancing, sometimes wrestling with God as I wait on Him..Isaiah 40:31

Faith. Science. Fertility.  Three powerful words overflowing with shaded meanings – clouding your usually 20/20 vision when trying to conceive. Leaving  you  standing, alone – with a cartoon bubble full of question marks over your head.  How do you define them or even put them together to bring that still and quiet knowing called peace to your ever-searching heart?   I am tearful as I write this because these 3 words have perhaps brought me the most significant challenge of my life and I want to lay it out here in hopes of helping someone.  I pray that it is useful.

I gave my heart to God at 23.  The man I now call husband brought me to church as part of our courtship and my relationship with him developed as I got to know the greatest Him of all.  Up until that point in life I can say that I had never been acquainted with loss.  Having grown up surrounded by 2 parents, family and friends that supported and loved me, I was living the blessed life.  Certainly I had cried the crocodile tears of first love and even felt my share of betrayal but had never known the soul crushing pain that I would experience as a newly married woman.   A year and a half into our marriage I conceived and miscarried our first child.  14 weeks. no heartbeat. no life. gone. gone.  Devastated does not begin to remotely explain my state of mind.  Initially I martyred it off.  Professing my wholeness after what was seemingly God’s plan, I took 2 weeks off and returned to my life.  I didn’t know it at the time but the experience had changed me forever and slowly over a period of months and years I lost my faith and lived in unbelief.  All of this closeted because I still attended, sang in  and danced at church. I knew that God was love. I didn’t believe that He loved me.  How could He and allow me to lose my baby?  My faith was being tested and it didn’t matter to me because I didn’t know where it was and a part of me didn’t care.

This is where it gets tricky.  I love science and have always had a whimsical curiosity about the wonders of the universe.  I never doubted God as creator of it all.  I respect the medical field and stand firm in my belief that God gives His wisdom to doctors to create treatment protocols and uses them as instruments of healing.  Yes! I believe this. Then why was it that when it came to treatment for the disease of infertility I had somehow gotten the message that  if I sought the advice of a doctor – I wasn’t exercising my faith.  This is one of those misguided pieces of information that is subtly passed among the pews of too many churches with regard to barrenness, leaving a trail of confusion and guilt that God did not intend.   I vacillated on this one for a long time, ultimately praying and believing I was led to see a doctor.  I saw it as exercising my dust-mite sized faith with a corresponding action.  My journey down the path of medicine did not lead to a baby.  I travelled the road as long as it felt comfortable and got off just a few short exits from my starting point.  I was ok with it.  Emotionally and physically I was tired but I thank God I was able to get on and off the rollercoaster of treatment at my choosing and am so appreciative of the few doctors and nurses I met along the way that acknowledged the god factor in their efforts.

Time in and of itself is a healer and as the years went by I regained my faith.  I reached that crossroad in my walk with God where it was either put up or shut up.  I think everyone gets to this point, something happens that rocks your core and you have to either pick up your cross and keep it moving or walk away…empty handed and full of pride.   Why can’t I, why won’t you? No. Crack addicts have babies! Why not me?   These were conversations and questions I had with and for God.  I was angry with Him. I did not like Him.  Thought Him cruel and unkind.  I am sure somewhere in the heavens a door slammed every time I ran off to my room crying.  I was mad.  But as I said, time healed me and I grew up in the things of God.  I made my choice and decided that baby or no baby I was in this thing for good.  I began to listen for, hear and obey His voice.  He called me to the ministry of adoption and I answered yes. I became a mother and got a glimpse of the wonderfully delicious life He had planned and set aside just for me.

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photo: gregory colbert

By the time I conceived my only biological child I was 44 years old. Every thing that the doctors said had been a problem before, plagued me still.  But God said yes. I will say, that by the time he was conceived I had begun to want to believe for a miracle baby. Being under the teaching I was receiving, a fire was lit that made me want to have this thing that I had long since put on the shelf.  I sowed for him, I prayed for him but I really don’t remember the stress of all that.  I had found the peace I had searched for and whether or not  I ever achieved a full-term pregnancy and healthy baby had already been dealt with.  I had made peace with God.  I know intimately the pain of infertility and to this day wear the scars it left proudly because I know I survived and I know my God is using my experience to His glory.  However, I could never tell a fellow fertility warrior that she doesn’t have a baby because her faith isn’t strong enough. That is just not a call I am designated to make.  Only God knows and sees the heart of His creation.  I urge you to believe God. Regardless.  He is a miracle-working God and He can work a miracle in your situation. For me, the miracles began with the adoption of my first spirit baby.  At the time I thought I had reached the summit – reached the high note of my life…could go no higher and get no happier – but there was so much more.  So believe Him.  Not solely because you think there is a biological child at the end of the road but just because you believe Him – whatever the plan for your life may be – because that is what faith is.

Praise God for science and the changes and growth in reproductive medicine that have allowed hundreds of thousands of women to become mothers.   There is no condemnation in Christ and there should be no faith-bashing of women who are seeking treatment of a disease from a  medical doctor. He meets each of us where we are and there should be no judgement. Too many women have been fed this lie and are allowing the enemy to slowly kill their dream of parenthood.  There’s also an addendum to that dreadful memo about fertility and it pertains to adoption.  No one says it, but many believers feel that the adoption of a child would somehow nullify their faith walk. Let’s be clear – If God calls you to motherhood, has given you a passion and desire for it, then know that –  it is yours.  The details of how that will happen may not be clear but please know that seeing a doctor or adopting a child are not automatic faith busters.  I don’t know anyone who sees a doctor without tucking a little prayer card in their back pocket and I can’t begin to tell you about the faith required to even consider the adoption process.

faith.  science. fertility.  faith, science, fertility. faith. science. fertility ……

copyright 2013

The Broken Doll

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I fell in love with this doll the first time I laid eyes on her. I bought one for my daughter Ila and one for myself. So this is “my” doll. My very first “Barbie”. As far as I could tell, she was “perfect” when I bought her.

We’re in the doll aisle of the most famous toy store in the world – FAO Schwarz.  The choice is overwhelming.  From your basic Barbie to the most precious and life-like baby doll you’ve ever seen – she even comes with a birth certificate and a nurse will hand her to you if you’d like to hold her – this store has it all.  You’re not sure just which doll to buy today.  They are all so beautiful.  So perfect.  You continue to walk until one catches your eye.  You spot her on the top shelf, just before you exit the aisle.  This is the doll you’ve been looking for and no matter the cost, you plan to walk out of the store with her.  Today.  This is THE doll you were looking for and you didn’t even know it until you saw her.  You reach up on the tips of your toes to pull the box off the shelf and gaze at her.  She is gorgeous.  Gleaming skin, bright eyes and glistening hair styled just so.  Her dress, made from the finest of  fabrics is like nothing you’ve ever seen. She is perfect.

You protectively clench the sides of the box as you gaze at this wonder of creation. You want to open it to get a little closer to all this loveliness, so you gently pull her out to get a better look.  It takes you a full five minutes to find that something is off.  It’s her left eye.  1 of the perfectly placed eye lashes is missing.  She isn’t perfect after all. No one would notice this slight oddity.   Barely discernible, this lash thing,  but YOU know. Placing her back in the box and sealing it you return her to the shelf and choose another one because this doll….is broken.

Infertility can make a woman feel this way.  Broken.  The problem is something that is going on internally and to the eyes of her friends and family she is perfect.  Perfect until someone asks her when she and her husband will start trying to have a baby.  Perfect until she starts trying to get pregnant and finds out that something is wrong.  6 months , a year, 2 years, 5.  Her body is not performing a natural function for which it was designed and although it would seem that her day-to-day life is not affected, emotionally, she is operating on an empty tank.  The flaw of infertility has made its presence known.  She eats right, exercises, finds joy in her brilliant (or not so brilliant) career – is alive and seemingly well.   But she feels broken.   This thing that no one else can see has clouded her vision and she no longer knows who or whose she is.   She suffers in silence while her faith mutates into a cancerous combination of fear, doubt and unbelief.

If I could offer any encouragement it would be this…you are not broken, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Remind yourself  that infertility is only a season.  One of many. If you could find the strength within yourself to know that God has a plan designed specifically with you in mind you would smile quietly to yourself – content in His love for YOU.   You would get excited because you’d realize that the future is a magnificent mystery.  You really have no idea how big God is until you truly trust Him. I would never belittle the pain that you are going through.  It is real and I have been there.  I’ve refused to go to baby showers, cried silently over the phone when my best friend told me she was pregnant…again –  and felt as if my heart had literally crumbled on my living room floor as  I cried out to God after a second miscarriage.   Those were the hard days.  On the other days – and the other days far outweighed the hard ones – I confessed His word and believed what He said about my body and my life even if I sobbed throughout my barely audible prayers.  You can get through this.  You can change the way this season affects the rest of your life.  You can seek God and make decisions. You can listen and follow His instruction.  You can find a way to balance your desire for pregnancy so that it does not consume you.   Hopefully you will find that if you rely on Him you can turn this into  a season of rest.  You can relinquish control and hand it over to the only one who can fight this battle for you.  In doing so you will enter into your very own Sabbath and can be assured that the outcome – if you are truly seeking Him – will be His best.

So what happened to the doll?  Like your situation there are many options and outcomes. She will most likely be purchased by someone who won’t notice the slight imperfection. If it is noticed she may stay on the shelf and go on sale -flaws and all-  to be purchased by a fortunate girl who will love her like Lisa loved Corduroy.  In the end it won’t matter. If she is like any of the dolls in my house she won’t stay “perfect” for long. She will be loved almost to the point of destruction.  Mussed hair, no clothes, ink markers on her remaining limbs.  These are the dolls my girls love the most.  They are an important part of their playtime fantasies and are wrapped in their memories forever. They are the dolls with experience and value far beyond anything you will find “new and in a box”.  Real “dolls” live and living makes them beautiful.  The point is, she will be alright.  And you will too.  Stay encouraged dear friend.

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This is Ila’s doll. Aminata. Pretty as she was my doll never got out of that box. My doll was never named. 5 years later Aminata’s hair has fallen out at the crown. Her makeup a bit faded, jewelry – gone. I have no idea what happened to her original garments. She can usually be found naked – or close to it – in the doll house. Her left thumb is smashed. She is no longer perfect, but still quite beautiful. Maybe even more so.

What are you waiting for?

blogpostme2013

me today! short hair makes me feel like a super hero!

Each year that I journeyed on my faith walk with infertility I remember New Years Day. I would leave the previous year behind and enter the new with a sigh ” I didn’t get pregnant last year.  I wonder if this will be the year? ” I wish I could say that this sigh was filled with hope and great faith but often it was not.  I often sighed in sadness. Frustrated that another year had passed with my dream of biological motherhood yet to be fulfilled.  But even in my sadness there was always a glimmer of hope “maybe this will be the year!”  When you want desperately to be a mama and find the title eludes you, each year that goes by makes it harder to believe it will ever happen.  At 35 you are told that your eggs are too old and that you are selfishly putting a child at risk by even attempting a pregnancy.  The warnings and forebodings were daunting but I knew there was a mother in me so to maintain my sanity I put my tiny little faith card in my back pocket and kept moving.    By the age of 42, after yet another miscarriage, my chances at a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby were just about zip in the natural.  We had adopted our sweet fire bird Chailah earlier that year and her arrival brought the most beautiful and clarifying peace to my life.  I was no longer searching for a pregnancy every month. I was no longer feeling sorrow about my story or the path the Lord had placed me on. I began to feel blessed and realized that my life was unfolding according to His plan. Even if it didn’t look exactly the way I had dreamed it would.  I loved my beautiful babies to bits and decided to put infertility behind me with a life altering and transformative hair cut.

I had grown my locks for 12 years.  I loved them but felt that a brand new me was in store.  Cutting my hair would allow me to let go of the tears I had shed over my maybe babies.  Twelve years of trying to have a baby were tied and tangled up in the twists and turns of my locks and I needed to let it go.  I was inspired by 3 women in my life that had all shed their hair and I was ready to join them.   This most creative and expressive hairstyle was just that for me.  A hairstyle that celebrated my natural hair.  I had worn my hair naturally since my early twenties for the little girls in my life that I believe need to see women wear and enjoy their natural hair.   So I prayed about this transition before making my final decision.  On the day of my big chop I walked down Fulton Street with the greatest sense of impending freedom. The Lord had released me to move forward and  I could hardly wait to get home.  At midnight. when my home was free of the laughter of children and filled with the soundness of sleep I went into the bathroom with a pair of scissors and began.  There was no fear.  No second thoughts.  No worries.  Only me,  moving under divine inspiration….getting ready for the next chapter of my life.

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last pix with the hair!

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just after big chop- july 2009! absolutely giddy!

Great changes took place in me from that day forth.  I learned how to speak in faith.  I learned how to believe.  Whole-heartedly with no wavering.  What was I believing? I learned to believe in His goodness and that His goodness applied to me.   All this and the thought of “getting pregnant” never crossed my mind.  2010 was my year but it took so many “New Year sighs”  to get there.{ I don’t count the years I brought each of my lovelies home – those were my oasis’ in the midst of a dry season. I am so grateful for the times of joy and rest He gave me along the way}  So…14 years of growth, acceptance, tears, joy and change before I was ready to walk through the first chapter of the  book of Luke.  And what a journey its been.  During that time I opened my heart and the Lord fulfilled  my desire for motherhood by allowing me to spiritually birth children not born from my body.  One. Two. Three miracles in the center of my struggles. What undeniable grace! I realize now that I was always being prepared for the life that I now live.  Each step I took on the journey was a set up for my lifes’ ministry.

Since my first cut over 3 years ago I grew my hair out and wore an afro again but soon tired of the daily maintenance.  I think I am hooked on feeling like a super hero and may never grow it out again.  We’ll see.

I tell this story to point out how finally, truly putting my desire on the altar opened the flood gates of Heaven and set me up to receive another miracle. “This may be your year!” To do something different, take a leap of faith or finally find rest by letting go.  Be encouraged and expect good things to follow as the result of the steps of faith you take!

So what are you waiting for?

Believe God and stand on His word.  Your life is His gift to you.  If you are seeking and hearing from Him with obedience, know that everything Will work out.  Period.

Spence Chapin and other adoption agencies hold monthly meetings for prospective adoptive parents . Visit their website at spence-chapin.org  for a listing of information meetings and seminars pertaining to just about anything you may want to know about adoption.

Pray about visiting a reproductive endocrinologist or other fertility specialist.

Feel free to reach out to me – I would count it a privilege to assist anyone with dreams of becoming a parent.

Luke 1:45 – and blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.

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