Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hannah's Hope

Sometime in 2006 I really started to feel infertile.  My  husband and I had been married since 2002 and trying to conceive since about 2003.  But in 2006, it really hit me.   I started searching for any guidance on infertility in the bible and first read the story of Hannah.   Shortly after that I went into the local Christian Bookstore to purchase completely unrelated study materials for another project I was working on.  As I made my way out the door, on a rack of seemingly random placed miscellaneous books there was one with a beautiful cover that caught my eye.   Hannah's Hope.

I had already paid for my other purchases but having just recently read  about Hannah, I stopped to pick up the book, curious.  It was the lone copy.   I read the tag line:  Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage and Adoption Loss.  

I started crying and bought the book.

I felt like God had placed that book right in my path, at that time, on that day for me to pick up and read.  He knew what I needed before I did. I never dreamed going into that bookstore that I would leave with a book on infertility and God's provision during it.

The book helped me so much during the height of my infertility years.  I've been sharing it with others ever since.

GracefulWait Ministry will be starting a new book discussion of Hannah's Hope this month.  I'm very excited to once again dig into this book and be reminded of what God has to say to us through the story of Hannah.  If you or anyone you know is struggling with infertility, miscarriage, infant loss or a failed adoption attempt I recommend it.

Jennifer Saake discusses many of the emotions, sins, questions and issues we face as women trying to grow our families in the midst of infertility and loss.  Chapters include discussions on Envy, Jealousy, Bitterness, Anger, Fertility Treatments, Marital Strains, Faith, Waiting and Worshiping among others.  Also included at the end of each chapter are relevant scriptures and a section directed to the support givers for those with infertility, offering practical advise for helping loved ones through various emotional struggles and real world situations which can trigger pain and sadness.

You can read more reviews, a sample from the book and purchase your own copy from Amazon here.

If you are in the Columbia, Missouri area and would like to join GracefulWait for this book discussion, please contact Kelly.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Divine Love

In September 2010, during the inception phase of GracefulWait I heard a young woman from my church speak and share her testimony.  By God's grace she had struggled with and beaten Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.   She shared this quote:
"Unerring wisdom ordained your lot, and selected for you the safest and best condition. Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. You are placed by God in the most suitable circumstances. Be content with such things as you have, since the Lord has ordered all things for your good."
- Charles Spurgeon
I would first say that I don't consider myself a theologian.  I'm a regular girl.  I can't say I'm a follower of Charles Spurgeon because I've never read anything he's written other than this quote.  But I can say that this quote IMPACTED me.   Then, when I first heard it, and I was preparing for one of our first GracefulWait meetings.  But again now, as I revisit, while preparing for our next meeting over 2 years later.  Knowing my own story, but also having had the priviledge of meeting so many other women in the last two years and now knowing theirs.  
I've read and re-read it. 
I've dissected it. 
I've digested it. 
I've been brought to tears by it. 
I think about those long six years.
The Uncertainty. 
The Sadness. 
The IVF. 
The Bedrest. 
The Fear.
The Premature Births. 
The FET's. 
The Miscarriage.
The Pain. 
The Birth of my Final Child. 
All circumstances that divine love not only placed me in, but deemed suitable.  Even as a woman who is fortunate enough to write this on the far side of infertility and to say that my family is now complete, I'm still brought to tears by it.   
I now have three living children who bless my life.  But I still remember what it felt like.
It hurt.  A lot.
Unerring wisdom ordained my lot.  
Selected for me the safest and best condition.  
Divine Love placed me in the most suitable circumstances for my good.  
These are hard concepts to swallow.  Particularly when you don't feel like your story has a happy ending.  How can the death of my child possibly be for my good?  How can living a life without children possibly be for my good?   In earthly terms it's so very difficult to answer these questions.  I can't even begin to. 
But time has helped me see with clarity more of God's plan. I am not the same person I once was. My faith is stronger. I understand the beauty of God's grace and mercy more thoroughly. I will struggle with sin until the day I die, but I like to think I'm a little more like Jesus today than I was 10 years ago. I'm more confident in the Heaven of which the bible tells, and that Jesus is my Savior, and by His wounds we are healed. I know its about what He did for me, not what I am or am not doing. I am more convinced that the bible is truth.  

The Lord makes no mistakes.

The Lord works all things for my good.
The Lord loves me.

Would my faith be the same had my story taken a different turn?   Had my premies not survived?  Had I never have been able to conceive at all?  I can't answer that.   My children are here with me now but I'm acutely aware of the fragility of tomorrow.  I write this not because I live in dread of some trial that is surely around the corner.  I don't.  I write just to say that this awareness makes me more thankful for my faith, today.  Everyday, is another day I can strengthen myself with God's promises, to face any uncertainty that lies ahead.  
In times of fear, doubt, anger, sadness, dissatisfaction...I can only pray and turn my thoughts back to an eternal perspective.  Where the ultimate good does not necessarily mean happiness and healing on this earth.  We were created to yearn for Heaven.   Remembering that helps me to understand a bit more why sometimes the most suitable circumstances for my good are those that bring me to my knees and draw me nearer to the divine love of Jesus.