Friends

Relating Well: Loving Your Friends Without Kids

Relating Well: Loving Your Friends Without Kids

Experiencing infertility heightens your awareness and sensitivity toward those facing the same struggle. This part of your life that hurts so deeply helps you connect with others at a deeper level because of your shared pain. Though it might be difficult to view infertility as a gift right now, you could think of it as a badge of honor…


-Waiting in HOPE- Relating Well: Loving Your Friends Without Kids

Remember as we are Remembered

Remember as we are Remembered

This is the day of Remembrance for so many as they acknowledge October 15th, National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. Today we stand with and hold hands with our sisters, brothers, friends and loved ones who grieve their babies gone too soon and dreams unmet with their absent.

-Waiting in HOPE- Remember as we are Remembered

BUT GOD... reflections on a dear friends pain

I have some dear friends who are right now about to make one of the the hardest, gut-wrenching, life-changing, heart-breaking, tearful decisions of their lives.

I don't understand why they are in this situation, nor why anyone has to ever be asking the toughest questions about life and choosing from impossible choices about what to do next. I'm not sure any of us will ever get those answers of why, when we need them.

In this time, watching their hearts be fully devoted to see His Name be made known and His Will to be carried out in their lives above all else. Even in a time of darkness, has made me so proud of them. The strength the Lord has given them is beyond evident to see.

It's a Powerful, Supernatural...Strength, that is only from GOD!

Those statements of "Your Will be Done, Your Glory be made known, above our wants/feelings" are not easy to choose, feel or say at any point, let alone when you feel the bomb of heartbrokenness dropped right on top of you. ("Why would you God" is more the typical response, right? well at least for me)

So, last week they were blindsided at their almost 20 week of pregnancy full body anatomy scan to be told that their baby was "not-compatible with life" and "the baby has too many major issues to survive." >>These are the life-shattering types of moments in our lives where you simply hang on for dear life and pray the Lord can carry you and hold you together as only HE CAN. For those who've never had these moments or anything hard...Praise God! But know one day you likely will. Our Pastor, Gregg Matte often says you are either in a struggle, coming out of one or about to enter into one.

BUT GOD...

{"But God" verses: Psalm 73:26, Psalm 49:14-15, Genesis 50:20, Romans 5:7-8, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10} 

"He can do something with this... I don't know why and I want to see His plans in this now, but maybe He wants to use this for others down the road," said my sweet friend who wisely and powerfully shared with Justin and I only a day after they received their devastating news.

As we talked and reflected that night on all God had been doing in their lives up until this point and the simple ways He has prepared them, protected them and drew them in close and intimately to Himself and each other the last few months, I was thankful. Thankful for a God who cares about us so tenderly and lovingly. They shared how months ago they had been faced with their first real life struggle/trial and had to choose Him and an eternal perspective over earthly possessions (that are meaningless - yet feel so important at the time). God used this trial in their lives as a time to prune and refine their hearts. God knew they would be able to handle "what was to come" with Him after facing this heartbreak first.

He Knows what we Need... so you can TRUST!

BUT GOD... Yes He allowed earthly (worldly) possessions to be taken from them but in the process gave them a stronger faith, marriage and perspective to want Him more.

So That...

When this current pain struck they would have Him as their solid foundation, only hope, purpose and protector to walk them through it.

I have no idea the pain they are facing or the struggle before them. I can only imagine, and it hurts in my gut. As badly as they want to choose life and hope for their baby and its future, they are being shown and told by numerous doctors, specialist, surgeons and hospitals that ultimately the baby is possibly only alive now because of the mother pumping life into it, especially since vital organs are missing or not functioning. Even being told - "If only there were enough surgeries to even make life or survival an option out of the womb then maybe things would be different".

Don't hear me wrong - listen - I am Pro-Life all the way and truly have seen and believe in a God who can do "immeasurably more than we think or imagine" and believe that "all things are possible for God"! Yet, there are those areas in life and faith that are "gray," hard choices do exist where "black and white" views aren't possible. The best way that Justin and I have been able to wrap our hearts and brains around this situation is thinking about how as a parent or loved one you Never want to be in these situations, but if you were, then how long and how much do you allow someone you love to be in pain and suffer? How long do you keep them attached to life-support? I know we all have different views and thoughts on this one, yet all of us will agree on one thing... we are not there and we really don't know what we would choose. It's that Simple. No judgment (that's not our place anyway). God directs each of us differently and sometimes that means choosing between 2 impossible situations/outcomes.

But I do know... their sweet 1st baby will be a precious gift to live on in our hearts for those that know and love them! Its life will matter because of the parents choosing to share, use it, embrace the hard, moral wall they had to face that no one can relate to unless they are in those shoes. Begging for God (just like Jesus at the Garden) to "Take this cup from me, but if it be your Will... I understand"

BUT GOD...

Will make Beauty from Ashes! I've seen it in my own life and my own losses. The Waiting in Hope ministry as it is today is a direct legacy of our sweet baby Hope, that we lost at 11/12 weeks back on December 5, 2014. Her life has mattered because we chose to be vulnerable, open and say Yes for Him to use our pain in Infertility for His ultimate plan to bring hope and peace to others. Even though it hurt.

I pray for this legacy and this hindsight for my dear friends! I pray that they see more of Jesus than ever before and that satan's nasty attacks and desires to use shame, guilt or conviction by others to defeat them would be banished from their story and lives, starting right now. In Jesus Name, Amen!

-Waiting in HOPE- BUT GOD... reflections on a dear friends pain

Trusting in the Lord... in the wait

Justin and I are both being refined and challenged in the area of trusting God. We want to fully and completely Trust God with our situation. Not just “saying” we are trusting, but instead a trust that leads you to rest everything on Him without watching or preparing yourself for what “could happen”. Far too often I think I am trusting God when I tell Him with my mouth “God I trust you” but it never reached my heart. I was falsely saying it in hope that the elusive trust would then be created in me. I may often say it when really I’m keeping a close watch on my emotions, feelings and plans to “guard my own heart.” But let’s be honest, neither of those options will bring real peace or comfort to our soul.

Only true and complete Trust in our Lord and Savior can do that.

This kind of trust starts with a confidence and faith in Christ, as you turn your mindset to be that of “God you are who you say you are and you can hold all things together. Therefore I Trust you with all my being, for you know the plans and you are able to do anything, even the impossible. But regardless of your plan, you will and are the only One who can hold me together whether good or bad!”

With this new approach in Truly Trusting…thus far we’ve experienced peace regardless of the circumstance. During the treatments, IUI procedure and even in the current waiting to know if we are pregnant.

Waiting is a whole blog post for another day… but anyone going through this knows that all you experience is WAITING. Constant, continual and reoccurring waiting. And who’s good at that?
But it seems that when you are fully trusting (with your whole weight, heart, expectations) the waiting becomes easier, crazy I know. But I’ve experienced that God can do that, He can turn your waiting into a pleasure (maybe not always that far… but an assured promise). When your focus is on Him and His plan, not you and your desperately needed plan, He moves in. BIG. And right now I am daily thankful for Him moving Big in my heart, because I desperately need that.

Here are a few examples of ways He has been moving… 
(keep your eyes open and looking, I promise He is speaking) 

Last week we realized that for a while now Justin & I were both praying and reading Psalms 33:20-23 daily over our current situations. (Read We feel so blessed… where I previously wrote about this scripture.)
And today during worship service, we sang “Waiting Here for You” (by Christy Nockels) and wow I couldn’t have picked a better song at that moment to bring before the Lord. Soon after the song ended a dear friend (passed me a note... so high school I know - I loved it) she shared a verse in her sweet note that of course began my tears. But the verse was actually one I had been writing in my journal and without realizing it praying through this week. Psalm 130:5-8 “I wait for Jehovah (Lord), my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchman wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemptive abundance. He himself will redeem Israel…”

Interestingly enough, while writing this Pandora was playing a song expressing my thoughts and words perfectly, I had to stop and add them. God’s Amazing that way. (See I told you...look for ways He is speaking, just ask for Him to show you - it helps in the waiting times)

Bethany Dillon “All That I Can Do”
Oh, all that I can do is hold onto You
And follow where You lead
Where You’re leading me.     
And all that I can do is hold onto You
And let You bring me through, oh

When the waves begin to rise
And all my hope fails
In confidence I’ll close my eyes
Trusting You’ll be there, be there

All that I can do is hold onto You
And let You bring me through
It’s all that I can do

In this dreaded 2 week wait, all I can do is hold onto the Lord, trust and let Him bring me through like the perfectly timed song reminds us. It is truly all that I (you) can do! Waiting isn't as hard even when the water rises and all our remaining hope fails when we choose Trust over our expectations and desires we instead surrender saying "thy will be done, Amen!" Lord, you've got this and "in confidence I'll close my eyes - trusting you'll be there."

Friends, are you or do you realize that all you can do is hold onto the Lord our God during your waiting? Or are you like so many out there more focused on holding on to your own ways and plans, like a selfish little child, shaking your fist "I know better" "where have you been?"

Is your waiting only about and for it ending? Is your waiting only about and for your desired answer? 

2 Corinthians 4:18 - So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (NIV) So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (NLT)

Or even in your waiting and unknowns, you are concerned more with the glory of God and His goodness to be known. Not merely to display your own efforts, resolutions, and deserved earthly blessings. This became my prayer in and for my heart. That I would become more concerned with His glory, His will, and His will to be done in and through my life and infertility journey. I pray this would become your prayer and focus in your waiting and trusting too. Amen.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (NIV) For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Hebrews 11:1 (MSG) It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead.
-Waiting in HOPE- Trusting in the Lord... in the wait

Dear Mommy-to-be Friend, Love your Infertile Friend

I was both honored and scared when a close friend of mine (the amazing Becky Kiser) asked me to write a guest post for her (personal & ministry) blog. She was asking for an open letter to moms-to-be and mothers from the side of the friend struggling with infertility (me). Needless to say, I didn't want to do it but knew I needed to, especially now desiring to be obedient and have a "let Him Use us" mentality. I said yes, even though my gifts are all wrong for what she was asking. But doesn't God always use the unequipped? There's something about us getting out of the way and Him truly speaking.

Dear Mommy-to-be Friend,
I love you so much! And I am truly over the moon for you and your husband’s news! What a miracle and blessing a pregnancy and baby are! I screamed, cried and jumped right along with you in your pure bliss. I am looking forward to watching your belly and that precious baby grow.

Yet if I am honest with you, after hearing your news, I sobbed.

I feel so double sided.

On one very pure, real side I am ecstatic and joyful for your news. Yet at the very same time it brings up my own personal hurt, longing, sadness and disappointment about my own empty womb and arms.

My sadness is not entirely because I am jealous, although that does creep up on me. But mainly because I so desperately and deeply want to be where you are, and going through this alongside you. We did start "trying" about the same time (or maybe I was ahead of you), yet my womb and arms are still empty. It is a very strange place I'm not use to, but God is working in me at this time. Please bare with me, I am working on not comparing myself to "what God has given you."

I would never want our current situations to change, hurt or divide our friendship. Because you mean the world to me! Sweet friend it is not your fault that God’s plan or timing is different than my own.

I’ve attempted to hide my fear that we won’t be able to relate as our “life phases” change, even though I know our friendship is stronger, deeper and more honest than that. Therefore, I may have to on occasion during this journey approach you with my hard yet vulnerable feelings. I pray you can listen and understand, and I will do the same for you. I only want our friendship to grow through our honesty, as we freely share in both laughter and tears without explaining or defending ourselves.

Please be patient with me as I personally battle between handling things with God’s grace and being a stubborn child. I am begging for you to please love me during this time. I know you have your own distractions with preparing for or taking care of a baby, which I promise to do my best to share in. That way our friendship is balanced and healthy. You may wonder during this time, what does it look like to love me? Ask me. Ask me questions, not necessarily or all the time about my treatments or where I am in the fertility process, although I like to share and it helps. Just don’t forget to ask to know my heart. For example: ask how i am feeling, how is my marriage, my hurts, struggles, frustrations, fears and joys (and if you ask please prepare yourself for real answers.) Most of the time I need a caring, listening ear or simply to know that people (besides my loving husband who gets sick of hearing about our infertility) are walking beside me, praying for us and supporting us. I need you on my team too.

I apologize now for how sensitive, irrational, hormonal, needy and an utter mess I may be right now or during this long journey. I don’t mean to be difficult. It can sometimes just be too much especially since everything seems heightened and affected right now - physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Can I be blunt with you dear friend? I am not writing this to be mean or hurtful, please see my Heart! But I would like to give you a little warning of what will instantly be “too much for me.” Even if I don’t show it at the time, I will feel the painful sting of it later. I know your intentions are pure and that you mean well. We know I sometimes (or often) say things I don’t mean or realize are bad, we all do. Which is why I want to prepare you.

Please don’t tell me you “completely understand what I am going through” unless you have actually been through it yourself. I feel like a guinea-pig most days or weeks; giving blood every other day, taking medicines, being probed, stuck with needles, self-inflicted nightly shots, cut open for surgical procedures, etc... Honestly unless you’ve been in my shoes of heartache and longing for a child you can’t seem to conceive, lost or will never have, you just can’t even begin to imagine the depth of all the emotions. Such a statement unintentionally belittles my pain.

Close friend, if you are in the process of attempting to conceive, I would be grateful if you asked me how I would like to receive your news once you become pregnant. If you’re already expecting please kindly and privately tell me before your joyful news becomes public. Otherwise it only hurts worse and/or forces me to cope in a very public situation.

Please let me know of resources that might help me like support groups, books, other godly women, or couples who may share this journey or would tenderly care and listen. But steer away from strong, unsolicited advice. Please don’t push your suggestions or opinions upon me but pray that God would prepare me for His timing.

I could never picture you saying these things, but I would be naive to not accept that they are said to infertile families every day from within the church. You need to just “trust God”, you must not have “enough faith.” Although there will be times I need your encouragement especially to keep my faith, we (families going through this) have enough blame and guilt without outside opinions. I’ve experienced this as we began seeking “specialized treatment for infertility.” It already feels like the un-natural way, especially since all my friends so easily got pregnant without help. Oh boy do I hate that word “natural” or the phrase “the natural way.” What is natural to you may not be what is natural for me. Obviously, my body isn’t functioning like yours which is hard enough for me to come to terms with.

If a miscarriage ever occurs, please refrain from the words “it was probably for the best.” I know you mean that the embryo was not developing properly and it is God’s way of creating the body to handle it. But mostly, I just need someone to hurt with me and validate my grief.

Also, I would encourage you if meeting someone new to try starting the conversation with open ended questions like “tell me a little about yourself.” Because the longer I wait in infertility the more tired I become of answering the question, “so, do you have kids (yet)?” You know I am an honest person but who wants to open that can of worms when first meeting. Oh how I wish that I could sometimes just freak them out by instantly initiating full blown tears.

P.S. I loved when you... thoughtfully sent me a special note with your baby shower invitation, letting me know that this might bring me pain and giving me the option to freely choose to come or not. You loved me so well, healing scars with such a simple gesture.

Or when you remembered and acknowledged that my baby died. I was taken back by your huge love when you gave me a present to my un-born child, even though I miscarried so early on. WOW!

I pray you see my torn heart in my love for you my dear sister. I do love you. I love your unborn child. I love your children. And I love that we are strong enough women to walk through some tough ground with God’s direction, and that together we will be better on the “other side.”

All My Love,
Kelley

**I am thankful to be able to write this due to the grace and love my Lord has shown me during my current infertility journey. And by the unending blessing of having amazing godly friends (most of which are pregnant or with small children) that gently, lovingly and earnestly walk beside me providing encouragement in my hard place. My thanks will never be enough, you know who you are. -Kel (And I pray this same blessing for all who read this and are walking a similar hilly journey.)

For further resources (and where a good bit of my topics came from) visit www.hannah.org/ resources/friends.htm

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-Waiting in HOPE- Dear Mommy-to-be Friend, Love your Infertile Friend