Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Book Review...Kind of

Sorry the blog has been kind of quiet since last week's "Not Me" Monday post.  I have been reading this book, and really wanted to do a post about it.  I finished it last Friday night at work and spent the weekend thinking about it.  I really felt like I needed to read it again, highlighter in hand, so I could learn what God wanted me to get out of it.  So, I decided to read it again on Monday and Tuesday nights at work.  I was able to get it finished early this morning, and wanted to share my thoughts about it.

Definitely read this book!  The main character in this book is Abraham, who I love!  His example is definitely something to look up to, even though he was far from perfect.  She starts when God calls him out of his homeland, covers the rest of his life, and ends with his death "at a good, old age." (Genesis 25:8)  Abraham made it His life's goal to follow this "Magnificent Obsession" that God planted on his heart.  He made mistakes along the way, but, when all was said and done, no one could doubt that Abraham was a "friend of God."  (James 2:23)

I love the intro Anne Graham Lotz gives:

If . . .
If you are a member of the younger generation who sometimes feels the
traditional church is irrelevant . . .
If you are a member of the older generation who sometimes feels
excluded by the contemporary church . . .
If you are a member of my generation who has been raised in the church
and has been burned by the hypocrisy within . . .
If you have been a seeker of God but have been hurt by those who call
themselves by His name . . .
If you consider yourself a Chris tian but are not actively involved in, or
even currently attending, a church . . .
If you attend a home church, seeking God outside the mainstream . . .
If you are a believer in exile . . .
If you are a liberal who is uncomfortable with the God of the religious
right . . .
If you are a conservative who is uncomfortable with the God of the
progressive left . . .
If you are a member of another religion but feel dissatisfied and
unfulfilled in your relationship with God . . .
If you just have a restlessness in your spirit, believing that there must be
something more to life than you are experiencing . . .
 this book is dedicated to you.
 That pretty much covers all believers, doesn't it?  A lot of us have been Christians since we were young children, but have never really lived out our faith in our everyday life.  Or, we were on fire during a certain season of our lives, but the fire fizzled.  Sometimes that happens when we have never fully given Christ every aspect of our lives.  When we do that, we're stifling God's blessing!  He wants to give us abundantly more than we could ever even think to ask! (Malachi 3:10)  So often, we want what we want and don't take the time to ask God if that's what He wants for us.  One of my favorite quotes from the book (which I actually wrote on a piece of paper and used as a bookmark) was this:

"If you insist on getting what you want, on what you have a right to have, watch out!  You may get it!  And you may then wind up with a lot less than God wants to give you!"

This got me to thinking what it is that I think I have a "right" to have, but haven't been given.  It occurred to me that, often, I think I have the "right" to have a biological baby.  (You knew it would come in to play, didn't you?)  While God calls children a blessing (Psalm 127:3-5), He never says we have a right to have them.  Where did I get this idea? Is it because most people have children?  Is it because I see children born into terrible family or world situations and I think to myself, "I could do so much better!  Why doesn't the Lord choose to bless me with a child that I have the right to have?!?"  Then, I begin a cycle where I get a little bitter.  I wonder why, when God has the ability to fix whatever is preventing us from conceiving, He chooses not to?  Then, Anne Graham Lotz comes along and slaps me in the face with that little gem!

Now, do I think this means that God will never give us a biological child?  No.  I don't get the idea that is the case (or maybe I just am trying to ignore that it's a possibility).  I think He's saying that it will happen when He wants it to happen, and not a second sooner.  No amount of temperature taking, cervix checking, intercourse timing, doctor visiting, or pill taking will make it happen any sooner than He wants it to.  (That's not to say that I plan to stop the fertility treatments.  God gave us doctors for a reason, and I don't think He has a problem with fertility assistance as long as He is being glorified and obeyed in the process.)  Also, He's pointing out, through Mrs.Lotz, that He is going to bless us more than we could ever imagine in the process.  We've already seen His blessings flow down on us as almost a direct result of our infertility.  I think of the people we wouldn't know (Asher! Internet friends!), activities we wouldn't be involved in (Foster care!  Infertility blogging!), and knowledge we wouldn't have (The intricate workings of the female reproductive system!) if we hadn't been given this infertility journey.  Our lives would be vastly different!  He has already surpassed our most lofty ideas for our lives, and He's promised to work even more magnificently in the future.  He may not ever bless us with a biological child, but He has still blessed us beyond our imaginations.

I loved the part of the book where she talks about Mary and Martha (Lazarus' sisters).  They had called for Jesus when Lazarus was sick, because they were friends with Him.  But, Jesus didn't come!  In fact, He waited until Lazarus had died to visit Mary and Martha.  One of the sisters confronts Him about it, and He states he is glad that Lazarus is dead!  He basically says, "If I'd come when he was still living, you would have been happy that I healed him, of course.  But you wouldn't get to see what I'm truly capable of!  However, now, you'll get to watch me really work!" (That's my paraphrase)  I came to the conclusion that if God hadn't given us infertility, we wouldn't know what it's like to truly have to depend on Him for the desires of our hearts.  We'd take it for granted.  We would be complacent.  However, through this journey, we have gotten to see--and will continue to see-- Him truly work His magic!  In addition, think of how thankful and full of praise we will be if He does choose to bless us with a child!  Sure, we'd be happy if we were able to conceive without any intervention, but to see 2 lines on a pregnancy test after years of seeing a single, lonely line, will leave little doubt that God has been working in our lives.  We will have no choice but to fall down and praise Him!

This book took me through various highs and lows as I came to important and long-overdue conclusions about my life.  Here comes one of the lows...

One area in which I have been really convicted as a result of this book is in my prayer and bible reading life.  Can I be completely honest?  I am terrible!  I can always think of a million other things to do (sleep! eat! play with Asher! check facebook! watch Ni Hao Kai Lan!), and, as a result, I rarely "find" the time to read my bible and pray.  I have decided to, with God's help, change that.  It may require missed sleep or less facebook time, but I know God will bless me for it.  As Anne's "friend Jill Briscoe has said, 'It's better to be sleep deprived than God deprived.'"

A whole section of one of her chapters is entitled "He Understands Your Secret Loneliness."  This section, although just a page in length, made me think.  While I don't struggle with loneliness a lot, I often feel a little alone in my struggle.  My awesome, loving husband is there for me and with me every step of the way, but he will probably be the first to tell you that women and men handle things differently.  As a result, I don't have many real life friends that I can share my struggles with who understand where I'm coming from.  This is where my online friends are of GREAT help to me.  Without them, I would often have no one at all to talk to who understands my feelings.   (Honey, I know you're reading this, and I hope you're not offended!  I love you more than I could ever express on paper...err...screen.)  It is great and comforting to know that, even though I may be feeling alone, God is always with me and can understand what I'm going through.

While many things hit me about this book, and I just want to hit the high points, I wanted to share one last thing with you.  Anne talks about the well-known section in Luke 7 about the sinful woman and her alabaster jar.  In case you're not familiar, you can read it here.  This passage has been brought to my attention multiple times this week  Once, I heard it from my husband's own mouth on Sunday as he was filling the pulpit for our pastor (since, I love my husband, and I think he's awesome, I suggest you listen to his sermon when you're done reading my blog!  You can listen to it here.)  The other time was in this book.  While most people focus on the fact that Jesus can save even the most sinful of people, that's not what hit me most when I read it in the book.

I remember hearing that the jar of perfume that she broke and poured onto Jesus was VERY expensive.  In fact, it was probably to be her dowry.  Since she poured it at His feet, she would have no hope for a husband, and, therefore, no hope for a comfortable future.  However, she didn't care!  She took her most prized possession and layed it at Jesus' feet!  I long for that kind of faith!  I ache to hand over my most prized possessions and have full faith that God will take care of them and bless me in the process.  I pray that God will work in my heart to get me to that point.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quick Announcement

I'm in middle of getting a new layout on here, so some things may not look right.  Feel free to come back later when everything is in place!  In the meantime, you can still read my blog posts...but that's about it.  haha

Also, special thanks to my awesome husband for being an awesome computer nerd!  I love ya, Baby!

UPDATE:  I think we're up and running now!  Thanks for the patience!

Monday, September 21, 2009

"Not Me" Monday

One of my favorite blogs to read is this one. I love her viewpoint on life. I love her unashamed love for the Lord. I love that she's HILARIOUS! I love her photography skills! Anyway, every Monday on her blog is "Not Me" Monday. Go ahead and check out today's post on her blog to see what I mean....I'll wait.

You're back? Okay! So, I'd like to give a try at participating this week. I don't guarantee that it will be as good as hers or as humorous, but I'll give it the old college try. Here goes...

I certainly did not let my child crawl around on his hands and knees on football bleachers on Friday night. I'm not one of those parents! Not me!

While we're at it, I most assuredly did not keep him up more than 2 hours past his bedtime so I could watch said football game! I would never do such a thing! Not me!

I also did not let him ride in his car seat in nothing but a diaper after said football game resulted in wet clothes. Nope! Not me!

I certainly would not upload a picture to Facebook where my 2 year old is accidentally flipping someone off while attempting to shove an entire handful of popcorn in his mouth. Not me!

In addition, I did not allow my child to eat raisins that were just licked by the cat. That would be disgusting, and I wouldn't allow it! Not me!

I would never choose to ignore my child's request to "potty" because I didn't want to read "Once Upon a Potty" for the millionth time that day and I was pretty sure all he wanted to do was wash his hands anyway! Nope! Not me!

Finally, I didn't arrive home from work early, and, in an attempt to surprise my husband, scare him half to death and laugh hysterically about it. Why would I do that? Not me!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Da Bears!

(Disclaimer: I'm not sure about who all reads my blog, so I'd like to issue a warning that this post involves my 2 year old son, in case you'd like to skip this installment.)

So, Sunday was the Chicago Bears season opener against the Green Bay Packers. Usually, we go to my dad's house in Orion to watch the games on the Sundays that I am off. However, this game started at 7:20, and Asher goes to bed at 8:45, so it wouldn't work to go up there. So, I made some snacks and we watched the game at home.

Nick and Asher both have Brian Urlacher jerseys, so Nick put his on, then put Asher's on him. Asher seemed to like it.

It was too cute to see them dressed alike. It choked me up a little. lol

Asher, of course, wasn't terribly into watching the game. In fact, he kind of impeded Nick's enjoyment of it. (Of course, it didn't help that I kept trying to take pictures!) Asher decided he wanted to be like Daddy, and put his Spiderman chair up on the couch.

Asher went to bed at his usual time, so Nick got to watch almost 3 quarters without interruption. Of course, the Bears lost at the last minute (Thanks, Jay Cutler!), and Brian Urlacher got an injury before halftime and is out for the whole season, but we had a great night anyway! (I figure I'll still make them wear their jerseys, even if he's out for the season.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Minor Rant...and Information

So, I promise to make this short, since I know you all (all 3 of probably tire of hearing me whine and complain. Over the last week or so, I've had a handful of people ask me, "So, are you still trying to get pregnant?!?" To which I respond with "Yeah...thanks for bringing it up!" in a very joking-but-not-really tone. What's worse, is that one person asked me this one week, then asked me again the next time I saw them! I said, "Dude, you asked me that last week, but thanks for bringing it up...again." (again, in the joking-but-not-really tone.)

Now, I know they're just trying to be helpful, be an active member in my life, be friendly...all that crap, but here's what gets me: they obviously don't take the time to think about how this question will feel to me. Case in point...1) If, for some reason, we had decided to put our trying to conceive on hold, them bringing it up will simply re-open scars that are not even close to being healed. 2) If we ARE still trying, them bringing it up only helps to remind me that it hasn't happened yet. These are really the only 2 outcomes. I'm not sure if they're hoping I'll confide in them and tell them I'm actually pregnant right that second, or what, but it's kind of irritating.

...don't even get me started on people accusing me of being pregnant whenever I'm tired, hungry, or whatever. (In case you were curious, my usual, intended-to-be-witty response to this one is "No! It's the wrong time in my cycle! Would you like to look at my chart?")

My rant is over...for awhile, anyway. haha

(Side Note: I don't mind when people ask questions about the actual process, or what steps we've taken, or whatever. For some reason, that doesn't bother me, just like it doesn't bother me if people comment on my blog about it, since, well, that's partially what my blog is about!)

In case you were all curious (again...all 3 of you) about what we're trying this cycle, I thought I'd let you know. This cycle, we're trying Femara, which studies have shown tends to work better to bring on ovulation in women with poly-cystic ovaries. This is our second attempt with it (after 5 rounds of clomid), and it's not looking promising. My temperatures are being really stupid. Maybe it's working nights, maybe my body is smoking crack and not telling me. I don't know. Anyway, this medication is entirely too expensive for my liking, which REALLY makes me wish it would work so I don't have to dole out almost $100 for 10 pills again...or have to move on to injections, which are CRAZY expensive.

The plan, as of the last time I trekked to Iowa City for my RE appointment, was to try 3 rounds of femara, then, if that didn't work, to try a procedure where they shoot dye up my fallopian tubes and do an x-ray type thing to make sure they're not blocked. I can't remember what it's called...ugh. (You may be curious why they didn't do that before I dropped $300 on medications. The answer is, evidently, that I don't have any of the risk factors for blocked tubes, so the doc didn't think we needed to do it immediately.) Once that was done, the doctor plans to move on to injections. Boy, oh, boy!

Well, if you've made it to the end of this post, you deserve a prize. Unfortunately, I don't have anything to give you. Go out and get yourself something nice...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

*This Could Get Depressing, You've Been Warned!*

I'm not feeling like myself. It's hard to explain. Between people I know getting pregnant, shelling out $400 for an unsuccessful cycle (infertility coverage, my behind!), realizing that said infertility is coming up on 3 years in length, I'm having a hard time being my usual, upbeat self.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for the people who are expecting, I really am! I don't think people should stop having kids until I can catch up, or anything. (Although...) However, it is hard when I realize that, while I'm still trying to attain my first viable pregnancy, some uber-fertile women are on their second or third. Add to that the fact that some of these women are having their babies in less-than-perfect situations, and I have a hard time not wallowing in my own self-pity.

However, in times like this, I am extra-thankful for Asher. While I realize that I may never be blessed with my own birth children, I am still blessed beyond words to have him in my life.

Have I reached the point where I can honestly say I'd be happy just having Nick and Asher in my little family? Not quite yet. I think about the scene toward the end of "Facing the Giants" (have you seen that? You should!) where the wife has just gotten done at the doctor and found out she's not pregnant. She's praying while getting into her truck and says she's realized that she CAN be happy without children. She's crying, and of course, the audience is crying. (I seriously start crying at the beginning of that movie and just never stop. It's terrible.) Anyway, my point is, I haven't reached that point. How do I get there? Does it just take a lot of time? I REALLY hope this doesn't go on long enough for me to have to think that way.

I get down-trodden thinking that I may never get the joy of buying Asher an "I'm the Big Brother" shirt. Or get to slip an ultrasound picture nonchalantly into a Christmas card to give to new grandparents. Or see the joy on the faces of my husband and son as they feel a baby kicking within my womb. Or that I may never get to see Nick hold a brand-new baby in his strong arms--a tiny baby we created together.

Unfortunately, these are the things I've been thinking about recently, and I wish I could make it stop.