No one could’ve expected these crazy times, right? I’m sure you’re reading this while being home for quite some time. We’ve been staying home since baby Phoenix was born. He was born right before the nation closed due to COVID-19.
Being quarantined while having a newborn has been sweet. We’ve been able to savor every single moment and milestone. But I also have to be honest and admit that it has also been very difficult, as we’ve had to be away from our tribe.
The birth of Phoenix was supposed to be the culmination of a really long and difficult season. We were looking forward to being with family, friends, and enjoying life with our new baby. There’s a bit (actually a lot) of sadness in my heart. What we are living is far from what I had hoped for and envisioned for this season.
I know I’m not the only person who’s experiencing loss during this crisis. And I want to say that our loss is legit. And it’s totally ok to process it. There’s many dreams, plans, and expectations that have been put on hold. And all we hear about is death, stressful statistics, and the pressure to “flatten the curve”.
Despite the loss and pain that we are feeling during this time, we must lean into the voice of truth: God’s word and His promises. On Palm Sunday, as we had church from home, while holding onto our miracle baby, God reminded me of something.
A year ago during this time we were starting IVF. We had NO IDEA if it would work. It was a complete leap of faith. But we beat the odds and have a healthy baby boy in our arms. Even though this season doesn’t look and feel anything like what I hoped it would, I am literally HOLDING living proof of God’s faithfulness.
When I see Phoenix, I see God’s faithfulness. Every day I struggle with fear of what could happen to him. We waited so long, went through such physical and mental hardship, and endured lots of heartache to have him. Anxiety sometimes is inevitable for me. But I remember that he was an impossibility at one point. And somehow, God made a way. His faithfulness saw us through.
As we continue to move forward during these trying times, let’s remember to focus on God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.
What are you HOLDING in your life as living proof of God’s faithfulness today? During really hard moments, return to those and be encouraged that God’s faithfulness is always with you.
And on that note, I’d love to share some baby milestones we are celebrating as Phoenix turns two months.
Month Two of Baby Phoenix: • He loves music and singing with mommy • He is smiling more and has the cutest dimple by his chin • He is outgrowing some of his newborn clothes (bittersweet feeling) • He is starting to hold his bottle • He can get his arms out of his swaddle • He has a fiery personality and the name Phoenix fits him very well 😉
We have been to countless doctor appointments, lost count of all the injections I’ve had to take, cannot explain the discomfort of each pelvic ultrasound, and the ROLLERCOASTER of emotions we have experienced have been exhausting.
IVF is not easy or simple. I knew what I was getting myself into when I chose to go down this route. I knew my faith would be challenged. I knew my physical strength would be challenged. I knew my relationships would be challenged.
Sometimes I HATE that this is our story. Sometimes I CLEARLY see the blessing. And sometimes I doubt why God would choose us. Why he would think I can endure the pain, grief, happy, and elated moments, which you can experience from one moment to the next with just one simple phone call from a nurse.
I clearly remember a couple nights before our egg retrieval. I was so uncomfortable. My ovaries were so enlarged and I was in physical and emotional pain. I was waiting for results from an MRI and I was so so so scared that the results would be something that would hinder the cycle from moving forward.
That night all I could do was cry. So I got out of bed, went into my closet, put my headphones on, played some worship music and started singing to God. There was nothing else I could do. I had to remind myself that even in this process, God was still God. He was with me and was for me.
Moments like that have happened more than I’d like to admit. Fear, anxiety, worry, and just plain sadness are things I have wrestled with through this process. What I’ve learned through it all is that no matter how long you’ve known Jesus or how deep of a prayer life you have, there are somethings that will rock our faith. It’s battles like these that make you realize just how much you need Jesus. More than you ever thought. And you desperately seek Him because, truly, he’s the only person who can get it.
I believe God doesn’t expect us to have it all together. I believe that he knows when our faith needs to be elevated and expanded. Even though we are unaware of our need, he knows exactly how much we need him. He knows that at times, we will feel defeated. He knows that at times, our faith will need to be encouraged. He knows that at times, we’ll need a good cry. And he actually holds space for us to be exactly who we are in those difficult moments of life.
Do I regret making the choice of doing IVF? NEVER. There may be really bad days but the promise of life and hope is so much greater. God has used this to bless us in ways we thought would never be possible. He has shown us a grace that seems impossible for him to give. We have felt cared for and loved by Him through the people in our life. He has shown his great love and faithfulness for us.
If you’re going through a battle right now, I just want to say I’m sorry you’re facing this difficulty. I won’t say I understand exactly what you’re going through because I don’t. But can I encourage you today with something I’ve learned along my journey with infertility?
Fight your battle with an army of people who can pray for you, uplift you, and let you be yourself. Be sensitive to God’s voice as he tells you who that army of people will be. There are very few people who can get in the nitty gritty of tough battles, but God does provide those relationships if we are open to them. I know it’s hard to let people in when you’re at your weakest, but do it anyway. The right people will stick around and will be used by God to help you through it.
This is my closing encouragement to you and to me: KEEP FIGHTING, FIGHTER! Even on the darkest days, when your hope seems very weak and fragile, and your body and heart are faltering. Keep fighting the good fight of faith. Please don’t give up. God is for you. God is on your side. Let your fight be hinged on his grace, his promises, and his unending love for you.
We have been trying to get pregnant for over three years now. And the journey has been very difficult. I wish I could sugar coat it and say there have been pros to this but the honest truth is that it sucks. As I researched a little before starting to write this post, I found articles on how infertility has ruined marriages, women’s bodies, couples mental health, and how IVF (in vitro fertilization), is not recommended. In general, most articles were honest, which I appreciate, but so negative.
Side note: If you're going through infertility, don't google about it. It's freakin scary. Talk to someone you know has or is going through it, instead.
The reality is pretty heavy and painful and I’m going to be as honest and transparent as I can, but I will not allow my pain to dismiss that there is ALWAYS hope when you have God on your side. Infertility sucks. But God is good.
It has been a long journey so far. We started trying to get pregnant in 2016 while we were still living in a small apartment. We were anxious to move to a new place so we could have more space for our growing family. So we decided to move to a new city, buy a home we could afford, with enough room for the children we were hoping to have. Fast forward to 2019, we have a 4 bedroom home and no kids. Just me, my husband, and my mom who lives with us. And an empty room waiting to become a nursery.
In 2017, after trying for a year I decided to let my Gyno know and she recommended for us to do a bunch of tests. Blood work, ultrasounds, semen analysis, etc. After all the exams, we met with her again and my results came back normal. But my husband’s didn’t. And on the report, it read: IVF ONLY.
I was in shock. One minute we were trying naturally–just doing exams to check what was going on. And all of a sudden, we were being told IVF was the ONLY way we’d get pregnant. It was painful, scary, and I felt sad that my husband had to carry this burden.
I did not understand how or why God would let this happen to us. We had done everything in our ability to live in a way that was pleasing to Him. We had made purity when we dated and in marriage a top priority. And we served Him faithfully. I was so confused.
We decided we weren’t ready to take such a big step so we waited for a while. We knew that doing a procedure like IVF was financially, physically, and emotionally draining. It wasn’t until we felt the “ok” from God that we moved forward. In the summer of last year, I spoke to someone very dear to me who encouraged me to call my insurance to see if IVF was covered. She encouraged me to not let fear get in the way of a blessing. And I did just that. To our surprise, our insurance covers it! And that motivated us to look for a fertility clinic that we felt comfortable with. (Side note: our clinic doesn’t take insurance for some parts of the process so we will have to pay a few Gs out of pocket. As Jimmy Fallon would say, “EW”). After lots of research, we made an appointment.
Making an appointment was a big step for us. It meant that we were ready to face our fears. And it also meant that we were out of our denial. This was an issue. We are really struggling with infertility. And we were taking a step medically to address the issue.
When we met with our doctor, he had us do MORE test and exams. He suggested meeting with a urologist before we even decided our next steps. He explained what his predictions were but wanted to make sure we took every step necessary before we went down the IVF route. This made me feel at peace. I knew he had our best interest at heart. But it was also very frustrating because it meant more waiting and potentially more tests which means more money, too.
The latter part of 2018, was filled with lots of appointments with a urologist who is helping my husband improve the root cause of infertility. He’s been on medication for a while now. After a few months of being on the medication, we were told there wasn’t much improvement. Not enough to try for an IUI (Intrauterine insemination), which is a step before IVF. Another letdown.So we decided that we’d keep trying naturally while Edward took this medication to see if after a few months there was an improvement.
And that’s where we’re at right now. We are waiting. And our next appointment is coming up. To be honest, the weeks leading up to our appointments are hard for me. They remind me of what we’re dealing with. It puts focus on something that I wish so badly wasn’t true.
Throughout this process, I have wrestled with God. I have made my pain and my anguish known to him. And in return, He has comforted me and also admonished me. He has searched my heart. He has healed me from a lot of junk that I have carried for years. He has brought to light the fact that my relationship with Him has been a means to an end in many cases. He has helped me celebrate other women and their children in the midst of my pain. He has helped me cope with my pain as others became parents. And he has humbled my heart so that I don’t create an idol of this desire to become parents. Yes, even something as good as being or becoming a parent can become an idol.
There are so many articles that speak of infertility ruining marriages and ruining lives in general. I am thankful that even though it has taken a toll on our relationship, we are stronger than ever. It’s not because we are the most awesome couple in the world, it’s because we have clung to God for dear life. And we have not separated ourselves from our community.
One thing I told myself a few months ago is that I REFUSE to let this consume me. I REFUSE to let this ruin any part of my life. I want us to be parents but not at the expense of my sanity, my relationship with God, or my relationship with my husband. If I’m being real, it’s on ME to let anything ruin my life. I get to decide if I will truly believe God’s word or if I will accept the enemy’s lies.
We are choosing to believe God. We are choosing to trust Him. We are taking every step cautiously so that we can hear from Him. Even though we are on the route to IVF, we don’t know for sure if that’s what we’ll decide to do. And if we do, we don’t know for sure if that route will result in a baby. And we don’t know for sure if we will ever have our own kids. Which scares me and makes me incredibly sad. But we DO know that God is faithful. And that miracles happen in many ways. Not always the way we imaged or wanted, but they happen.
The last thing we ever want is for people to pity us. For people to see us and say “I feel so sorry for them. They don’t deserve this”. I am aware that sharing all this might bring pity. And that kinda makes me nervous. I share this because I truly believe that God wants to use our pain. God doesn’t cause us pain, He is our Father and only wants good stuff for us. But he does use our pain to help us understand and be there for others.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (2 Corinthians 1:3–5)
So, this is our story. It’s still being written. And I trust the hands that are writing it. I know His plans are bigger, better, and brighter than mine. I choose to humble myself before him and accept His will for our lives. I choose to celebrate in the middle of my pain. And I choose to allow him to use it for His glory.
If you’re currently going through an obstacle, loss, medical diagnosis, hard new season, whatever it is, know that you’re not alone. God is with you and wants to hear your heart. And I am here to say that your pain is valid and real and justified. I also want to say that no matter how deep the pain, there is hope. And that hope is Jesus. Cling to him. He will never let you down.
When Theresa asked me to write about being anchored in God, I immediately doubted myself. I felt intimated. I felt like I wasn’t worthy.
As my mind was drowning in negative thoughts, God reminded me of who I am IN Him!
I am a daughter of the Most High God.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am redeemed.
I am precious.
I am chosen.
I am loved!
This is why God is my anchor! When I doubt myself, when the raging waves surround me, and I am in the midst of a storm seeing no way out, I cling onto Him.
My Anchor holds me in place despite what surrounds me.
But in order to be anchored in God I need to know who He is and who I am IN Him.
When God created Adam and Eve, He walked with them daily. From the very beginning, God created humans to have an intimate relationship with Him. In order to know Him intimately, He provides us with:
His Word “Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17 (MSG)
Prayer “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace… This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” – Matthew 6:6,8 (MSG)
I encourage you to spend time reading His Word and in prayer! It takes a lot of discipline to become consistent, but you will see how God starts working in you as you learn more about who He is!
As a first year teacher, I constantly doubted every move I made. Due to my insecurity, I tried to mimic every teacher around me. I didn’t know who I was and because of that I became everyone else.
When we don’t know who we are, it’s so easy to be swayed by the waves of this world. Our family, society and the world are constantly telling us who we are. But when we are secure in our identity in Christ, in who He called us to be, we are no longer tossed back and forth by the waves. Instead, we stand firm in who God created us to be!
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14 MSG)
I pray that you will allow God to become your anchor! When the storms of life come, remember who He is and who you are IN Him!
For IN Him, we live and move and have our being. (Acts 17:28)
I’ll leave you with this:
Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him. (Psalm 62:5)
We have this hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19)