Monday, 8 December 2008

Quick Explanation

Thanks for all the e-mails wondering if I am ok due to the silence!

Back at the end of October my husband and I were in a car accident - our car was written off and I suffered a neck injury - it meant that for over a month I wasn't really functioning and at last I am back in the swing of things but now needing to catch up so blogging has kind of been low on my list!

Dear Christonette reminded me in her e-mail that 'It's hard to keep going on, when all hope is lost, but God is the only One who stays always the same!' The truth of that needs some absorbing but really is astounding when you take a moment to consider that God will not alter, shift or change - when the days are tough and dark and all you want to do is cry - the awesome God is still the same loving, compassionate, caring Father who knows the heartache, the silent tears, the lone moments, the questions and the uncertainty, the pain - He knows it all and He still loves you just the same!

I hope to get back to blogging after my madly busy week is over.......

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The unseen stories

On Saturday night I was at the CLC bookshop in Holborn, central London. It was a night to celebrate my father-in-laws 75th birthday. It was a great evening.
A couple of times during the evening I talked to several people who wanted to talk to me specifically about the book 'It's ok to Cry' - one shared with me how it had really helped her daughter through a tough time, but now she has a child so everything is ok. Another shared with me that she wanted to buy the book for someone else and she asked me to write something in the front cover to the person. There was another older couple who read the book and shared how it had helped them even in their senior years after going through life without having any children of their own - they are now blessed by adopting some grandchildren in the church they are a part of.

The more I have thought about it the more I realise day by day there are so many unseen stories so many people struggling, some stories ending with joy and delight, others still waiting and then there are others who never see the answer to their longings, to their hearts desire. I wonder as I type this where you are on the pathway of your life - are you in the midst of the overwhelming struggles, are you near to tears, are you desperate for life to hold something more precious - well whatever pathway you are on, whatever 'giant' faces you - keep looking to the Lord, keep praising, keep holding on - even if it is by the tips of your fingers - hold on and then start looking up to the Lord and think on Him. Just about Him - lay down the questions for a moment, the 'why's?', the 'what-ifs' and dare to take a fresh look up at the Lord..............even a glimpse will transform your day!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Disappointment, stress and daily living!

Over the last couple of weeks I have felt really overwhelmed - in so many different ways. A few weeks ago I was in one of those 'limbo' times when everything seems to be pointing to a 'might be.' It is the sort of time when there are many signs that perhaps, just perhaps you might be pregnant - several signs that this is the case but the wondering should I take a test or should I just wait and see a few more days. I hate limbo times like this - thankfully I don't experience them all that often may be once a year or so. My husband and I sat on our bed talking through some of the signs and wondering dare I, just dare I, even allow myself a slither of hope. As I told him this almost fear of daring to hope a tear escaped from my eye. I decided that I wasn't going to let this month crush me or this limbo to affect my emotions but for that moment nothing would stop the tears from running down my cheeks. I buried my head in a handkerchief, took a deep breath and resolved that this would be the end of the conversation and the end of these tears. I gulped and changed the subject. Conversation over. Date set in our minds to take the test if nothing happened and so I would just carry on. In the midst of this inner emotional battle came a really stressful time at work - I felt like I was juggling 3 million ping pong balls - people, e-mails, phonecalls, meetings, appointments, dealing with booking various things for various people, passing ships with my husband, builders in the house at home, maintaining a look of 'I am alright thank you.' For a week and a half I battled trying to manage all by myself and then a friend said to me 'it will help if you talk about it.'

The constant being on the edge of tears for nearly two weeks -the first week a constant battle with hope and with possible disappointment and the second week of crushing disappointment had driven me to a point of feeling crazy! Then as I came to this point of just breaking point my husband sat me down and told me that I had to rest, to just be still, to actually give myself a chance. I had spent more time keeping myself busy so that I would not have to think and therefore not have to hurt and therefore not have to cry - the end result I was stressed, I was battling to keep going and the more and more I kept trying the more disheartened I was getting.

The unseen story of infertility is that battle with hope as you check dates as you monitor temperature as you perceive physical changes, the unseen story of infertility is that lone hour, that moment when everything seems void and hollow, when to even think about the future without a child drives a stake of dread through your core. The unseen experience of so many couples is the unanswerable question of 'why' or 'how long' or 'when' - the unseen moments when you have to tell your husband that any hope that was there for this month has evaporated and so should his. The unseen story of infertility is the getting up and leaving the house for work with the mask of all is well. The unseen story of infertility is when the people closest to you, that you love in the Lord cannot help, can't even be told what you are going through - there are no words for 'limbo time' there are no words for that time of the month when disappointment knocks on your door and invites himself in with no invitation.

But the unseen story is seen by a loving Heavenly Father and even that doesn't equate! Scripture says that He knows how to give good gifts to His children. Scripture says if we ask and agree then He will do it. If God loves me this much then why does He withhold in such a manner? My questions are without an answer because one day I will ask Him face to face but in all my pain, in all my questions, in all my hurt I have to say that knowing Jesus is the only solid thing. The same yesterday, today and forever, the Lord God, the Great I AM, the One whose reign will never ever cease, there is no shadow of turning with Him, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, the God who spoke and light was created, the One who formed man and woman, the One who could at His choice speak life.........................I have to trust Him, I may not understand Him or His ways but I know without Him I simply would not survive!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Not alone after all

Thank you so much for the positive e-mails that I have had in recent days over the new blog and some of the things that you have all shared. I am sorry that I haven't had the time to reply to you all yet - I will but currently my inbox is fuller than the time I have to reply! We are going away for our wedding anniversary so things will be quiet for a few days on the blogs.

This last week or so I have found myself more and more tearful - it hasn't taken a lot to set me off! I have almost prayed that people wouldn't speak to me at Church just in case I would crumple! Crazy huh! But the e-mails that folks have sent in respect of the blog have been really encouraging and many of you have said that I seem to be sharing how you feel as well. We are not alone - although infertility, childlessness and miscarriage are all very personal and private situations that are close to the heart and the pain is so often only shared in a marriage or with trusted friends there is a degree where pain in the pathway can be shared. It helps to know that I am not alone on this pathway - there are others even reading this right now who feel drained, shattered and broken by the longing of a little one. The depth of anguish can sometimes just overwhelm and I know that at times my heart has felt ripped out, my core totally smashed and I can't seem to even cry - sometimes it feels like the pain will never ever be bearable - then a friend makes me laugh and somehow I pull myself together! It isn't easy I know - it hurts I know, the tears sometimes feel queued up ready for the call up and it doesn't take a lot to trigger them to flow................. but in the darkest hour, in those times when everything else seems to be falling apart I have to take a look up and to realise again that God knows, Jesus feels my pain and weakness and He sits on the throne being worshipped by the elders and the throng of Heaven and while this outstanding display of worship is going on around Him - He is sitting there interceding on my behalf - what an awesome thought!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

What crying doesn't mean?

I woke early this morning, very early. I laid in bed reading my Bible while my husband was still sleeping - it was a 'normal' morning in many senses but even as I read deep inside I was hurting. I turned over, Bible in hand and Malcolm looked at me - "You ok?" came the question that I have so often bypassed. I told him that I felt that I had to make a decision - like I was on the brink of something - recently I have felt God stirring things in my heart and a greater desire and longing to move deeper with Him. But at the same time there was a lump in my throat and I just needed to cry.
Malcolm put his arm around me and I lay there with him weeping - I hurt so much again. I don't want to go back to the road of depression where I constantly struggle to find God in the battle and then this afternoon it hit me! I have always felt that crying means failure, crying means weakness, not being necessarily right with God (these are all wrong assumptions).
Yes I have cried today - weeping for the child I lost and aching for the child I long for but it doesn't mean that I am no longer hungry for God - indeed I need Him more than ever, I need Him just so much................... I pray that God would help me to weep honestly before Him.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The 'what ifs.....'

I am a shocker for certain dates - I seem to hang on to them and when they come around let things overwhelm me. I seem to have 'anniversaries' for all kind of things and here we are at the start of a week where another one will come around. This week sees the 'anniversary' of the due date of Abigail. She would have been 4 if she had survived...... this is the time when all the 'what ifs...' come in and my imagination seems to do hours of unpaid overtime! I have been talking to the Lord much recently on handling the 'what ifs' and on a recent visit to a zoo with some family I sat looking at all the kids at the elephant display and was shocked to see how many of them where 4 or under. My husband and I looked around and felt quite overwhelmed seeing these lives that have been birthed since we lost our precious baby. At moments like that the 'what ifs' give you a lump in your throat and you almost feel like lying on the floor and bawling your eyes out, other times the 'what ifs' almost conger up anger, at other times the 'what ifs' just leave a raw kind of numbness - perhaps you know what I mean.

The question comes "What do I do with the 'what ifs?'" Well I don't have all the answers but I can tell you how I am going to try and handle this week and the heart ache that goes with a two person household when you know it should at least be a three! The gap is not filled at all and I do not make light of that ever real person that is missing from this home and from our lives, but I do realise that in recent days I have been longing more and more for the presence of God. I need Him so very much. I could not face all the emotions that this week brings without Him, I could not manage the grief without His arms around me. I don't want to come across as being dismissive - God has already challenged me on trying to bury how I feel and to mask it over with a false-ness, simply dismissing how I really felt. I do cry! Sometimes it doesn't take a lot for tears to fall but even this morning as I hunger for His presence more and more - I come to God with that desperation for His presence hand in hand with my grief.

There used to be an old song that we would sing often as kids called 'Jesus take me as I am' - it goes on to say 'I can come no other way.' So this week as I embark on another milestone in the pain of miscarriage I come to Jesus as I am, 'pain and all' and say 'I long for that closer walk with my Lord and yes to know His compassionate touch on this aching heart, but without Him, without His felt presence it would be hard to go on..........'

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Broken Hearts

The more I think about infertility and childlessness and miscarriage, the more I realise that for everyone that experiences it or walks this pathway there is much heartache. Most of the heartache, most of the tears are behind closed doors, are in those moments when the ad comes on the TV for nappies, pregnancy tests or those adverts asking for donations to stop child abuse and the most beautiful baby is on the TV, those images of children in a hurting world and all I want to do is to take every single child and give them a home! There are so many times when words don't work, they fail and tears flow.

One of my all time favourite quotes is that

'God will heal your broken heart if all the pieces are given to Him.'
It is hard when everything seems dark and difficult when everything seems to point you down and discourages you, when a 'helpful comment' actually hurts, when you feel 'left on the shelf' because so many around you seem to be being blessed. It is difficult when you feel empty and alone. It is in those moments that you need to have the courage and praise Him even in the pain, to love Him even in the disappointment, to worship even though it hurts.

I must confess that I still take my temperature every morning, hoping that this month we will spot the right time and that another miracle will happen. But I realise more and more that I am getting used to disappointment! My husband and I started trying for a baby a year after we were married it has been many years - let's see - it must be in the region of 140 disappointments since we got married - then there are those times when treatments have failed, perhaps those times when I was just plucking up courage to take a pregnancy test because I was a bit late - yes sometimes I feel like my life is characterised by disappointment - and then I realise something! My hope is in God! My hope is in a God who will not fail me, He knows the plans that He has for me (even if I find them tough to accept!), my hope is in a God who cannot be ousted from His throne, my hope is in a God who is not moody - He is the same yesterday, today and forever, my hope is in a God who IS love, not just a God that loves but IS love. Then I take a breathe and realise that my God is the same God who knows the name of every star, every constellation, every planet - and how does He know - becuase my God is the one who flung stars into space, He is the One who said 'Let there be light' and it was created, He is the God who spoke the World into existence, He is the God who owns a cattle on a thousand hills, who is an awesome God.

My hope is not in a fertility nurse specialist or a consultant, my hope is not in an adoption agency, my hope is not in myself, my hope is in God - firmly rooted in Him, when the enemy comes in and throws all kinds of things at me, I am going to remind Him where my hope is, when I feel overwhelmed with life, with despair, with the 'what ifs' then I am going to look to God and I am going to praise Him even when the tears fall, even when disappointment comes again, even when I feel like I can't go on - it won't be easy - but I am really challenged today to get my eyes off of myself, off of my situation, off of my dreams, off of me and to look to Him - to realise afresh that I do have an awesome God who is 'as worthy on my worst day as He is on my best day!'

I can't say it any better than that awesome song by Tim Hughes:-

Sunday, 17 August 2008

New Blog

It is the early hours of a Sunday morning and I haven't been able to sleep. I have talked long and hard with my husband, Malcolm, and still can't sleep and the more I have thought the more I have realised that I need to set up a blog relating more to my walk with God through infertility and childlessness. This is a tough decision because although I have written a book about the subject there are many things that I haven't shared and don't share! I guess that the aim of this blog is that I can put fingers to keyboard on my journey and link it to the website Hope When It Hurts so that folks contacting me can see an up to date story rather than a 4 year old story!
Well we shall see how it goes anyway.......
The most frequently asked question I get on e-mail is whether or not we now have children or whether we have adopted so I need to say at the outset that no we don't have any children and we have not pursued adoption.

Since writing the book life has been a rollercoaster but we continue to look to God and every day is a fresh challenge to trust Him! For those on Facebook there is a group called 'Christians & Infertility' which although I don't check particularly regularly did highlight a book called 'Infertility Hurts' - I have only just got hold of a copy so will let you know what it is like once I have read it! The author is a member of that group on Facebook.

I have watched with interest much of the coverage from the Lakeland Revival on God TV and time and time again I have watched as people have recounted their stories of healing and how God touched them and healed them. Time and time again I have heard stories of people touching their screen and feeling the power of God and being healed in their living room. God is awesome - He is not bound by anything! But during these broadcasts I have found myself watching realising that God does still heal today and sat with tears streaming down my face that the healing has not visited this living room, in this house on this street. I do not know why God hasn't answered my prayer and it is a battle that I have in my mind on a regular basis but I do know that God is still God!

Over the last year so many folks that I have talked about my book and infertility have been touched by God and the miracle of conception has happened. I think that this is now nearing double figures! On every occassion I have been so pleased for the couples concerned - God has been very good to them. But I have to admit it does hurt and the enemy does tend to whisper the lie of 'left on the shelf,' 'not good enough,' 'failure,' and 'God has forgotten you.' It is a constant battle to make sure that the thoughts are in line with what God says and what Scripture says. I addressed this in a blog yesterday on the
'Voice of Truth' - the song by Casting Crowns. It is vital that we listen to God over the enemy. I am learning this day by day - all the thoughts that the enemy sows destroy, rob and pull down yet to have the courage in the midst of the battle to stand on the Word of God and the truth that it contains certainly points to God!

So as I start this new blog which scares me to be honest I pray that it will be a blessing to those that find it and read it...............