Thursday, May 13, 2010

the journey to harper--Rachel's Story.

I have had several requests from my friends and readers to hear 'Rachel's story.' Rachel is my best friend, a kindred spirit, strong woman of God and has a powerful testimony of how God has worked in her and through her during a time of challenge, frustrations and sometimes deep despair. Her story is of trying to conceive a child.

I believe her story will touch so many of you and cannot wait to hear how it encourages your own journey!

A HUGE thanks to Rachel for being willing to tell your story in such a vulnerable way. You'll look back and be so glad you did! I love you.

Take it away, love....


Right now, in front of me, is a slanty-eyed, brown haired beauty swinging her life away in a comfy pink swing. She usually sneezes 3 times in a row, and constantly has lint between her fingers and toes from being swaddled. She has burst into my life like thunder, and I love her without boundaries or limitations. But before I get ahead of myself, allow me to rewind my life pre-baby.

My husband and I have always wanted children. It was a given. However, he was in the Marine Corps for the bulk of our marriage, and we had always vowed to "wait" until we were back home and surrounded by our family before we had a baby, let alone even try. You know, I would just stop taking birth control and a few months later.. bam, baby in utero! Right?
My husband and I started trying to get pregnant March 10th, 2009. I have last year's calendar saved to remind us of our journey. A large dot represented when I got my period and when it ended. A "T" represented the days we "tried," and "X" represented the days we didn't. I had it all planned out! How exciting this was going to be! Month number 1 went by, and the results were in...negative. Well, surely that month was a fluke. We had just started this whole process, so surely it was operator error or something like that. Month 2 rolled around with the same results, as well as month 3 and 4. Okay.. what was happening? I kicked into full blown "crazy trying to conceive woman" --if you think you might be one of them, you are. You know the kind. I was charting. I was timing intercourse. I was taking a break from intercourse. I was taking my temperature. I had every book. I was eating pineapple and drinking Robitussin everyday. I was trying to control my life, and "trust God" at the same time. (It doesn't work that way, fyi)
Amos(my husband) has always been a better truster, a better relaxer, and to be honest.. a better believer than myself. I struggle very deeply with anxiety, fear, and doubt. I also don't think I've ever publicly admitted those things until this very moment. However, it is the truth and these struggles are very prevalent in my life, they are daily battles. So you can imagine the obstacles and lies the enemy told me the entire time we were trying to conceive. Isn't it funny how God seems to quiet at times, and the enemy seems so loud?

you're broken
this is never going to happen
God isn't rewarding your marriage for a reason I would love to say that I constantly stood firm on my faith and clung to the promises of God, but I didn't; not always. I had days that I was so high on faith, and I believed God so hard for a baby. I also had days that were so low and painful that I wasn't sure where God even was, if He even knew we wanted a baby. Amos believed all along, and simply trusted. Faith and "waiting on the Lord" come so easy to him. However, I also believe part of that was that he was a man and the yearning for a child wasn't the same for him. As a woman I couldn't explain to him the emptiness I felt within myself(literally), and the title of "failure" that would slap me in the face month after month when I would get my period. I wanted to be a mother. I wanted to make him a father.
We continued to try, all while everyone around us was either getting pregnant, having babies, or asking us what we were waiting for. You want to explain, but yet you don't want the pity. You want to talk about it, but yet the reality of the words coming out of your mouth burn and hurt something awful. You're sick of hearing "when it's right, you'll have a baby," "maybe now's just not your time" - all you want is a baby. Nothing else, just a baby. As the months lingered on, I found myself desperate. I continued to pray and wait on whatever God was doing. I remember purchasing a little sign with Psalm 37:4 on it-"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" - I even hung it in the bathroom, conveniently enough, for those monthly pregnancy tests. It is still there, and it is still a reminder. I ended up at a birthing center where my sister in law goes to talk with a midwife about what could be going wrong, and what we could do next. I took her my calendar and she suggested we weren't "trying" on the right days, and she also sent me home with a book(that was so helpful to me!). I felt encouraged when I left, but didn't want to allow myself to be too hopeful. Sad, right?
Mother's Day, Father's Day, and even our anniversary all came and went and we were still childless. Those sort of holidays make it especially hard, and in my case, especially bitter. As you can see, God clearly has had to work on me with my attitude. I desperately don't want to be a"conditionally" happy Christian, instead, I want to be "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. It's the "in all circumstances" part that I battled while we were trying for pregnancy, and it is still "in all circumstances" that I struggle with today. Anyway, I actually began looking into how much our insurance would cover in the way of fertility treatments, I even called and talked to them about it. I figured if that was the road we were preparing to walk down, I might as well be as informed as possible. Maybe God would give us a family that way? Little did I know, our breakthrough was coming.

I realize there are others out there who have tried for much longer. I realize in the grand scheme of things our 6 months of trying pales in comparison to others, but the struggle is still the same and it is one that bonds like women together in such a unique way. We feel a pain and we feel a longing in our hearts that can only be filled eternally by the peace of God, but here on earth, by a baby. There is a song, and part of the song says "but the enemy of my soul says you're holding out on me"- and I remember thinking that is exactly how I feel. I feel like you know what I want God, and you're not showing up-you're not listening-you're not caring-you could make this happen-you're keeping this from me! What I can tell you, what I can offer you, is that those things are lies. They are lies and they are straight from the enemy himself. Late at night when everything is quiet, those whispers seem oh so very true. Of course he wants us to think Christ is holding out. Of course he wants to see us turn our backs on the giver of life. God has a plan, but so does satan and it is up to us to choose which plan we will serve.

The end of August rolled around and I felt nothing. I didn't feel pregnant, I didn't feel much of anything. Except, I can say that I didn't feel like I was going to get my period like I did every other month. It felt like it was going to actually stay away! Amos kept telling me I was, but then again, he had told me that before and I didn't want to put stock in anything that could possibly be false. So, he went off to the gym that morning and I made my way into the bathroom to take a dollar tree pregnancy test-what the heck, right? Might as well give it a go. Nothing. I went back later to the test, and saw a faint line. Must be that evaporation line they talk about. I called Ramee and proceeded to try and explain to her what I was looking at. She insisted "two lines is two lines, what evaporation line?!" The excitement and nerves began to build but I still thought maybe I was reading it wrong! I called the gym where Amos was and told him he needed to come home right away, and stop to get tests while he was at it. Sure enough, he came through the door, WalMart bag in hand and I went to pee.

August 27th, God gave us the desire of our heart! Inside of me was our beautiful baby, perfectly woven, and perfectly on time. I cried and we hugged and the glorious presence of God was all over me. I remember pressing my face into my husband's shoulder and just saying thank you Lord, thank you Lord. Sometimes I can't help but think that God looks down at us and pats us on the head lovingly and says, See, I told you baby girl. I told you to just wait, now wasn't it worth it? Regardless of what we try to do, be it, drinking Robitussin or timing intercourse, God is ultimately in control of even those very things. Proverbs 16:9 says it perfectly-In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. I had my course planned, buddy. But the Lord determined my steps.

Our story is one of many, that I know. It is also not as grand or spectacular as some, but nevertheless, it is ours. I pray it can be one of hope and surrender, above anything else. Free yourself from the burden of guilt, the burden of embarrassment, the burden of feeling broken, and the burden of not feeling like a "woman." Abandon yourself and crash into the arms of God. I promise you that it is so much easier on the other side to say all these things, but they are from a heart who has learned these lessons, and is still being refined in them daily.

Today, our baby girl Harper is 2 weeks old. She is our entire world and she is living proof that God does desire what we desire-so long as it is His will! I told myself when I found out I was pregnant I would never forget how long those months felt, and how disappointing one little line can be. To this day, I remember the pain and although it feels distant and short-lived at times, I know it is the very reality for so many women out there. I pray with you and for you. Sometimes it IS a sacrifice to praise Him and it hurts to even mutter a prayer. Know that you never stand alone and that God is in the midst of even your darkest days. Praise Him even in that darkness and know that it is worth it, and it is never in vain when we offer up sacrifices of praise to Him. Your day is coming, somehow and someway!


Tiffany said...

Oh, what a beautiful story. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing. Although I have never gone through this, I can relate in a lot of ways - to the fear, to the surrender of control, to the anxiousness, the bitterness, etc.

Firecracker said...

Thank you so much, I have so much on my mind right now, I don't know how else to comment.
I appreciate you sharing such a personal experience for everyone out there like us that is struggling.
AMEN! Praise God for Harper--AMEN!