Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Invitation

This morning marked a first for our church community. It is the first Sunday that there are worship services at the two satellite campus as well as our original at Green lake. Jeremy and I have been praying throughout this summer asking God if we are to be a part of the new location meeting in North Seattle, or if we should stay put. I feel a strong pull to move, but Jeremy is more hesitant, so we continue to wait on the Lord. In the mean time, we decided to support this new venture by attending the first North campus service this morning.

I confess that it is unusual for us to be awake before 11am on Sundays and going to church at 5pm only enabled our sloth. The North Campus meets at 10.30am, so even leaving it to the last minute we needed the alarm to go off at about 9.30am to be out the door, clean, dressed and fed by 10.15am. This will be a change of pace for us if we commit to this new service, but getting home just after noon with the whole day ahead of us felt really good, so I think we could get used to it - it will just mean we are a little more protective of our Saturday morning sleeping in!!

It was so great to see our community come together to make this service happen, the fruit of something which has been in the works for a couple of years. When we showed up we were met with coffee (much appreciated not to mention necessary!) muffins and fruit, name tags, some familiar faces, and others which will become familiar in time, laughter, conversation, kids playing and a general buzz of anticipation, it felt right and good that we were there.

We found seats and began to worship. It was the first time we had been in church since our most recent miscarriage, and this time of worship was powerful and healing. As we sang out "How marvelous, how wonderful is my Saviors love for me." Tears streaming quietly down my face, Jeremy firmly holding my hand, I knew in my heart that the words I was singing were true, even though it has been hard to 'feel' it in recent events.

The message of the sermon was about listening for and accepting the invitations Jesus presents to join in with the story he is writing here on earth. This satellite campus feels like a piece of that message for us corporately but I see that we are in the midst of accepting one personally too.

We have no real control over our ability to have a baby. Yes, with medical intervention there is some busy work we could do to increase our chances but in reality the gift of life is just that, a gift, and we don't choose when or if it happens. I think this is one invitation God has put before us. Will we accept to walk this journey in humility with hearts open and willing to trust in God's plan, or will we try and cling to some sense of control?

I am sure our resolve will come in waves, but our true desire is to submit to God's plan. In all this I try to remember that God is worthy of all of my praise, my whole heart. In the midst of our fear about what's to come and the anxiety about the path we walk if we accept this invitation, God remains constant. He is faithful, he is good and as we walk in obedience we begin to transform and see the fruit of our own transformation.

What a special gift to cry on the shoulders of friends and church family today, to be met with such compassion. This in itself feels transforming as we tip-toe through our sadness and allow others to join us. It is uncomfortable when your true self is exposed; sorrow and disappointment can be hard pills to swallow especially when others are watching. As Christians it can sometime feel as though we are supposed to smile and use phrases like 'Let go and let God," that isn't where we're at right now. We want to journey this with authenticity; we have faith but we are hurting. We won't always feel God is close, but sometimes His presence will be heavy and tangible . We accept the invitation to walk this path and strive to be honest along the way. We truly thank you for walking with us.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beautiful blend of emotions

This afternoon my parents and my brother began their journey back to England. Their visit was a special time to share life and our time away in La Conner and then in Friday Harbor was a much needed respite and time to relax and reflect on recent events. We had the most amazing fall weather on San Juan Island and spent many hours discovering some fun places to eat, beautiful scenery, playing games and enjoying the luxury of our rental house.

After they headed to the airport, Jeremy and I headed to the hospital to visit some friends who had just had a baby. We became friends with Dave and Marie earlier this year, and have watched her belly grow over the months! In early conversations, we found out that their baby was due just a few days before our baby's due date would have been had our first pregnancy gone to term. It was a strange feeling to watch them prepare their house and their lives as they awaited the arrival of this little guy, as it reminded us that we no longer needed to prepare for our baby.

So little Thomas decided to show up a couple of weeks early and arrived last night! Our hospital visit ended up being a beautiful blending of emotions. This little guy is the cutest thing ever and as I held him, drinking in the wonderful grunts and noises he was making, marveling in his tiny perfect fingernails and long feet, I felt so blessed to even be a part of the moment. To share in this excitement and joy and to celebrate the gift that he is.

I also felt tears sting my eyes as I thought about the babies we had lost. The little people we will never get to hold and watch grow up. The sorrow and loss feels strong, but it was met and eased by the hope and wonder of the gift of life we do get to experience.

I don't think any situation before our miscarriages has made me more aware that I am not in control of my life. I feel blessed to have a relationship with Christ, that allows me to trust that the person who is in control is someone who knows and loves me more deeply than I will ever understand. Jeremy and I have no idea of the life that lies ahead of us. Good or bad, easy or hard we are in this together, me, Jeremy and Jesus!

Our miscarriages give us a gift. They allow us to more fully enter into life with those around us. We can share pain and joy and see that in a mysterious and holy way they co-exist in our world.

As we shared the joy of our friends today, we sat with our own pain. What a crazy life moment, but I saw that in it I was content and my spirit was still. I hope I can hold onto that feeling in the midst of sadness and be mindful of it in joy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

obnoxious facebook parent

This journey of trying to have a baby has only been a short one for us. We have only been trying for a couple of months. I know many, many people try for much longer without success and with more heartache. We have only just started out, and are full of hope and excited anticipation for what's to come.

We don't know that God will bless us with a child of our on genetics, but whether through adoption or pregnancy we trust that God will add to our family and we know he has already got the little ones in mind for us. We are willing to wait for just the right little people to come along, in whatever form they come to us. We continue to fall into God's arms letting him sustain and comfort us in our sadness and keep the hope alive in our hearts, not letting the turn hard.

We look forward to sharing our story with our children, and with others and letting it be a beacon of hope to others in the midst of darker times. We understand that even in the midst of all of our tears we can know God is good all the time, and in all things. We don't have our happy ending baby just yet. But we have today. And the lessons we learn today, the tears we cry and the fear we find comforted will be the places that reveal more of God's glory when we do become parents.

We continue to grow stronger together as a couple and I continue to fall more in love with my husband. He is the best thing ever and has blown me away with his tender care and love throughout these experiences.

The deeper spiritual pondering does lift for some more human thoughts which make me smile. I look forward to being an obnoxious Facebook parent, and will gladly assume everyone wants to see every milestone our babies reach. I will happily step into that role but let God take all the credit. I would say 'we' but Jeremy's aversion to Facebook prevents this being a joint obnoxious venture!! I have no doubt that his office walls will suddenly not be so bare, that pics of smiling little faces will fill it, he can be the obnoxious office parent! Ha ha.

Right now this is a time of reflection for us, but we will move forward. We do not want this loss to prevent us embracing what we have in our lives today, the lessons we are learning and the transformations that are happening. My friend sent me a note which sent me digging back into 1 Samuel and Hannah's story. I have read this, and cried over this before but today I just wanted to share it; for us and for our friends who are also walking this painful journey. Here is her story.

10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD. 11 And she made a vow, saying, "O LORD Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the LORD for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head." 12 As she kept on praying to the LORD, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."15 "Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief." 17 Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."

18 She said, "May your servant find favor in your eyes." Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. 19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the LORD and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, a]">[a] saying, "Because I asked the LORD for him."

1 Samuel 1:10-20

We know that God hear our prayer, and knows every tear we cry. He knows our hearts and we trust his perfect timing. We are in prayer today for all those who are struggling to know Gods peace and love in the midst of this struggle or loss. We pray for hope and strength for ourselves and for you, and look forward to joining with you in celebrating as God answers our prayers x

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not the answer we wanted, but relief still flows.

I still don't have the test results but we began to miscarry in the early hours of this morning. We are so thankful for your prayers, messages and support it has held us together in the uncertainty of the past few days. Miscarriage can be very painful physically, not just emotionally, so please pray for strength and comfort for the coming hours and days.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The gift of a smile

I am not writing this with any news but just a renewed sense of God's care. This afternoon I went to my doctors appointment and could not have been more apprehensive about how it would go. Not just any kind of results I may have got, but about if I would be able to make myself understood, or if I leave feeling frustrated and not heard.

I didn't know it but I was meeting with the nurse practitioner, not the doctor. When she walked into the room and introduced myself, I burst into tears. Simply out of relief. She was the sweetest lady, and instantly put my mind at ease. We sat across from each other and she listened to every question and answered it until she made sure I understood. She smiled a lot, this reassuring smile, and I know she was the answer to all the prayers surrounding this appointment. She said we should take more blood today, and again on Friday to check my levels. If they are going down, they want to make sure they continue to drop and clear out naturally, but if they are rising, then they want to make sure everything is normal.

She was very gentle with me, and careful to explain that blood tests would give useful information for this pregnancy if it goes on to be healthy, but also they would give information that could be helpful if it ends in miscarriage. She said that after 3 miscarriages they would do another round of tests to look for hidden problems. I managed to get me an appointment with my doctor in 2 weeks - when there wasn't a space for a month! This visit will be our first pre-natal visit or our first 'trying to figure out what's going on, and see if we can have a healthy pregnancy next time' visit. Either way I will be looking forward to it. She smiled a lot, and I know she was the answer to all the prayers surrounding this appointment.

My low progesterone will be addressed more after we know results tomorrow. If levels are rising, they can see if a supplement would be helpful.

I have no more answers but truly have a peace that I know is from the Lord. Thank you for your continued prayers. Honestly, I am not expecting 'good' results from tomorrow and am resigned to this ending sooner rather than later but I have peace about the next steps even if that was to happen. I feel heard and rooted in my life again. I just came home and pigged out on chocolate which I have not even thought about in a week or so - God IS good!!

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The reason it was hard to celebrate

Right now we are waiting to find out if the cramping and spotting I have been having the past few days is the start of another miscarriage or not.
We have another Doctors appointment tomorrow and a blood test which should tell us either way, assuming the bleeding doesn't get worse in the mean time which would be an answer in itself.

My Doctor had told us to just keep trying, reassuring us that early miscarriages did not mean we would have a problem conceiving again, well the conceiving part we have down, it's the keeping pregnant that sees to be more of a challenge.

Since we found out a few days ago that we were pregnant I have had some pretty severe cramping which eased, to be followed by slight spotting, which then stopped for a day only to return the next day heavier this time. Today I am starting to to feel more pressure not necessarily cramping and have more bleeding too.

I feel like I am on a roller-coaster. Hopeful some moments, discouraged the next...for days. Jeremy and I have not really attached ourselves to the idea of being pregnant this time. With our previous experience we have lost our pregnancy innocence. Of course we will be sad if, (and at this moment I feel like the loss is imminent) we lose this pregnancy but honestly I having something confirmed will be a huge relief. Just to know, one way or the other.

I am not 'feeling' pregnant anymore, just a few lingering symptoms but most of them lessening now. I just want to fall asleep and wake up in a week when this uncertainty is all over.

Please pray for us. I am not even sure exactly what to ask for. I guess however God leads you. For a miracle, or for a safe, easy and painless miscarriage. Please just pray for us to know one way or another as soon as possible.

It was my birthday yesterday and my family is here for a holiday so there is a lot going on but honestly, I feel numb to most of it because it is hard to get distracted from something that is happening inside your body. Every moment I am aware that something feels wrong.

This journey feels like a hazy dream. Jeremy and I started this year as newly weds, who were just hoping and dreaming about starting a family. Now, 9 months later, we stand strong together under the looming shadow of 2 miscarriages and another threatened one. I am not sure where we go from here. It has taken a toll on me. Physically but more emotionally. I think I just need a break for a while.

I know God can do miracles, but I am not feeling very much hope that he has one in store for this.

I always wish I could tell each one of you news like this in person, over a good cup of tea but with friends spread far and wide this has become the second best way to share.

This experience is not breaking me. It's making me cling to Jesus. While a friend prayed for me a few days ago I kept thinking about the story in the Bible of the woman who had so much faith, she just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus' robe confident it could heal her from bleeding. I tried to dig in too, trying to figure out what it meant for me to reach out for the hem of Jesus robe today. Is my faith strong enough to believe my healing is possible?

I do not feel alone. I am so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful friends and family who are caring for me, for both of us. And Jeremy and I have truly come together in this. I continue to be in awe of the way Jesus is working in him and feel honored to receive the love, and support of such a wonderful man as my husband. He has become more than I could ever dreamed of in a partner.

This is how Jesus is loving me right now, through other people, but sadly I feel like God is silent in my life right now.

Thank you for reading friends, and thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes. I think we'll have a do-over birthday celebration at a later date because I was not really in the party mood as you can imagine. But your love and wishes made me smile. x

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Greater things are yet to be done in this city

Last weekend at church, we sang a song that just gave me chills. I felt the holy spirit moving deeply within me as I sang the words, "greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city."

My love of singing is is sort of an in-joke between God and I. In the shower, or while I cook or clean I blare the Hillsong station on Pandora and have a beautiful noise to God's ears. If others, including my husband hear it, they do not understand just how beautiful off a noise it is to our Lord. But I just smile. God knew that music would be the tool he would use to turn my heart and eyes back to him and to the truths of scripture. I love to sing for him.

When I first come to the city of Seattle, across the water on the ferry, I stepped onto the streets and felt like I was home. Something so familiar took over me. I had no idea at the time the role this city would play in my life but I felt certain God was on the move in my heart in a powerful way from that first moment. Almost 8 years later to the day, I am still here. Married. Home owner. Firmly planted in this city.

Working with YWAM provided many opportunities to serve in the city in a very practical way. I worked with the homeless and with refugees. I could see God using me very clearly in the lives of these people in very practical ways as well as trusting Him to be moving in much deeper ways.

Every city has strongholds that the enemy has really established. Seattle is no exception. We have a high population of homeless youth, broken children who have been abused. There is a lot of racial tension in parts of our city and this brings violence and fear. There are many other things that are heavy burdens for Seattle, but this song reminded me that God is the God of every person in Seattle and he is not done here yet.

When Jesus returns, a new earth will begin. I don't believe we will be rushed off to a place full of clouds and sparkles, I believe this new earth will be this earth restored to glory. Relationships will be restored, depression will lift, addiction will be no more and we will see the beauty of God everywhere. Until that day, as believers it is our responsibility to serve and love this city. We must not separate ourselves but love our city, build relationships with the values of Christ. Being examples of Christ to a city that needs Him so badly.

This is not a new idea. In the Bible, Jeremiah gave this message to Israel during their captivity in Babylon championing them to truly be a part of the city that they has found themselves for this season.

"Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food you produce . Marry, and have children...[And] work, for the peace and prosperity of Babylon. Pray to the Lord for the city where you are held captive, for if Babylon has peace, so will you."
Jeremiah 29:5-7

I love this verse and the reminder to pray for my city, the place I call home. I know that God is moving here and I long to be a part of what he is doing. O Lord let me have eyes and ears open to what part I am to play and give me a heart willing to be obedient.

What a great reminder, and may this song stir your heart to prayer today for the city you love.


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