A Victory in spite of Adversity

Over the last month, I have laid low.  I have been very careful about my blogging.  Prior to my trip to Europe, I found fertility consuming my everything thought, my waking breath, my entire world.  It left me feeling drained and depleted.  Only in slumber could I escape its devouring grip on my life.  I knew something needed to change.  For months, I have longed to figure out how I could transform the pattern of my thoughts and the dwelling place of my heart.  As we departed for France, our burdens momentarily eased, the rains cleared for the first time in months and I realized that the answer for me was simple.  If I hoped to change the environment of my being, then I had to change those things that both stimulate and nurture (for better or worse) these fertile (or perhaps infertile more like it) soils of mine.  What is that answer?  Scripture memorization!  For me it was as simple as that.  God says it works.  I have heard countless testimonies of the power of scripture to transforms lives.  I have heard these truths for years.  Yet, I have been reluctant to do it myself.  It started in Europe.  My husband and I picked out a few verses from our reading of the Bible.

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance that we should do.” Ephesians 2:10

It has slowly evolved from there.  Over the past month, I have walked in VICTORY!  For the first time in the last year and a half, I am not holding the reigns.  Let me clarify, I have released the reigns of this journey to my Maker.  He has a plan for this.  There is beauty in the ashes.

Somehow over the last few months, I began to allow my blogging world to have a little too much control over me.  I began taking on others stories and projecting them into my own life.  Their miscarriages, their misfortunes, their failed IVF cycles, their complications of pregnancy became future ones of my own.  A month prior to even starting our first IVF cycle, I had already disqualified our upcoming cycle certain of miscarriage or a canceled cycle due to a cyst or SOMETHING.  I weep with those who weep.  I am quick to carry the burdens of friends and family and care deeply for them.  But owning their troubles as my own is a whole different story.  I am called to love others, to pray for others…and yes, to even carry their burdens.  But their burdens are not for me to own, they are not for me to give over power to. There are lessons to be learned from others, but their lessons cannot own our own.  I realized that I had yet again failed to confront my own journey, failed to look it square in the face and embrace it for what it was…MY STORY!  The redemptive story of God moving in my life for His glory.  I have been careful to write, careful to read.  Instead, I am learning to dwell on my Jesus.  Dwell on the fact that he has a plan for me through all of this.  I don’t want to miss what he is up to and what he is doing because I am so busy looking all around me that I forget to look up.

I offer him my life.  I am thankful for what infertility has accomplished through me.  I am thankful for its testimony in my life.  I am thankful for the hardships and the heartache along the way.  I am thankful for the woman it is making me.  I am thankful to have the opportunity to learn such rich life lessons.  AND and I am SO thankful for all of those that I have met along the way.  There will be more challenges ahead and much more adversity in my life.  Hardships that will break me, journeys that will further define me and test my spirit.  My only prayer is that He will help me to live with reckless abandonment for HIM alone.

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Paradise.

My idea of paradise has changed just about as much as I have over the years. As a little girl it was ponytails and the Barbie Dream house. When I began to study the 50 states, I fell in love with the idea of palm trees and sand between my toes. As I grew into adolescence, I soon began to crush on boys. Paradise became about being with my crush and the emotional rush I would receive when he would one day place his Letterman’s jacket around my shoulders and tell me for the first time that he loved me. Dreaming of a fulfilling career, being with a tender husband, and a house filled with a loving family have all made my paradise list in the past.

But dreams gave way to heartache. Heartache gave way to discontentment. Slowly, over the years, I have grown hardened and jaded by the many pains I have endured. With disillusionment has come a loss of vision, a loss of my ability to believe in my own paradise. Lately, I have been so afraid to dream. So afraid of opening my heart up to more hurt and failure. Life has been so “heavy”, the “wheel has broken” this “butterfly’s back” (reference to Coldplay’s Paradise).

Though I have relinquished the innocence with which I once dreamt, in return I have gained perspective, experience, and a deepening of my soul through so many heart wrenching years. I have loved and lost. I have been broken. At times, I have laid in the streets, wounded and bleeding…for years, sometimes. But nonetheless, deep within, I have found the strength to hold on to my dreams and pursue my own vision of paradise for my life. I have found it in my faith and in the love I share with my dear husband. Paradise. I have learned that the “sun must set to rise”** “…and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:4).”

A promise…at the end of the day, should I find the God-given courage within myself to endure, I will be refined and lack NOTHING of which my Lord desires for me.

Thus, paradise doesn’t equate to perfection but rather is a place where contentment and dreams unite, forming a rare bond this side of heaven.

There will be many more fallen dreams and broken wings, but always, at the end of the day, I will rise and find the strength to keep the vision of my own paradise alive.

** – reference to Coldplay’s song Paradise

Paradise. Redemption. Stories.

3 words. 3 words that I have pondered over the past month. 3 words with multiple applications. 3 words with tremendous significance for my life. 3 words I hope to reflect on over coming posts.

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PARADISE. Thanks to Coldplay, I have began to really re-ponder this. What is MY paradise? WHERE is my paradise? When did I first lose sight of what paradise looks like to me?

REDEMPTION. Why don’t I have it? As far as I am concerned, Infertility is a pretty CRAPPY redeemer. Why have I allowed it to set the terms of my life? Why have I allowed it to hem me in? I have access to the ONE and ONLY REDEEMER. I want to see REDEMPTION in my story and I want to start seeing it NOW.

STORIES. Brandy Carisle. The Story. Part of the first verse…

All of these lines across my face

tell you the story of who I am

so many stories of where I have been

My life is a story. Each crease, each scar, each expression…so many stories of who I am.

***

My vacation did amazing things for me. We are already deep into our IVF cycle, yet (by God’s grace alone) it does not reign over me. Trust me, I have been clinging onto this feeling for dear life recognizing that it could be ever so fleeting if I am not careful. As a result, it has been difficult for me to write about it lately. I am afraid to give it more power in my life. It has already tried to take so much of me. Thus, I have been trying to keep my beloved friend, infertility, at bay and on the back burner. She has been all too pushy and demanding. Quite frankly, I am TIRED of it. So, she’s taking the back seat for a bit. She needs a reality check of her own. She’s gotta realize she doesn’t own THIS girl. Try as she may to take over my life, it just AIN’T going to happen. Check ya later, infertility. *smile*

More to come.

(Picture taken in the gardens of the Chateau Cheverny in France).