And if not, He is still good.

Well, this blog post has been in the works in my brain for almost two years. And even now as I start to actually type it out, my heart is racing and I’m starting to sweat a little bit. I’m putting myself out there. I’m letting you know what’s been going on. And it’s scary. Because I know that this is making myself vulnerable. But I also feel that God has placed it on my heart to finally let you know how He has been working in our lives. So, here goes!

Back in March 2015, Josh and I decided that we would start trying to have children. We were ecstatic! We just knew that it would happen right away for us! I had all the “symptoms” all the time, a few late night runs to RiteAid to buy pregnancy tests, and all the usual “baby-name-planning” and “nursery-decor-dreaming-up” (for me, at least ;)).

Well, a little time went by, and nothing seemed to be happening. I was following my calendar so closely, and every time that “time of the month” came, it was heartbreak all over again. So, after some time, we decided to go see our doctors.

We’ve been told that our chances of conceiving naturally are less than 1 in 1 million. That was hard to hear. Lots of tears. Lots of prayers. Lots of bitter, angry thoughts counteracted by reminding ourselves that God is good ALL THE TIME. 

My doctor recommended that we go to the Infertility Clinic at Penn Med in Philadelphia. So we did. Those doctor visits were cruel days, because it seemed that every pregnant woman in Philly was sitting in the waiting room with us. And then there was me. Little old barren me.

We had several tests done and consultations with doctors. One false hope after another. During one of our last doctor appointments we were told that this would happen, no problem. But then when they started explaining the IVF process to us, the “discarding of the embryos you don’t want” sounded an awful lot like abortion. As Christ followers, we were looking at things from a different perspective than the doctors. Not to mention, the price for the IVF process is ridiculously expensive.

So…here we are. Waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And unsure of what the future holds for us. This has been the hardest thing we have ever had to go through. But also the best time of growth in our walks with the Lord and with each other. It’s this crazy emotional roller coaster. One minute I’m screaming that this doesn’t make any sense and I can’t bear this pain any longer, and the next minute I’m reminded that my God is in control and I’m thankful that He has given us this burden to bear. Because He is showing us more of Who He is. As He draws us closer in His embrace while walking through this with us.

Infertility is like grief. We sorrow for the children that we will never be able to know and love and hold. We sorrow that we will never know how many there would have been or what their names would have been or what their genders would have been. Would they have had my green eyes or his blue?

I will never feel those sweet kicks in my tummy that every fertile woman talks about. I will never be able to tuck a sweet little blonde head into bed after nursing them and laying them down for the night. And this is hard. And so painful.

But I’m also learning that this is good. Because it is the path God has chosen for us and His plan is always, always, always, better than my own. I may not understand what He is doing, but I know that anything that draws me closer to Himself and conforms me more into His image is the best thing. And so that is what I want. And that is what Josh wants. Even though many days that is not what we feel like we want or need.

This past summer, Josh and I both started a study through the Psalms. We were struggling to see that “God is for us” and needed to remind ourselves of the truth that He is for us. David’s emotional roller coasters have been such an encouragement to my own “up-and-down” heart.

God reminds me throughout the Psalms that He is my Refuge, He is for me because I am His child, He makes me wait and trust sometimes, He is my loving Father, He is the Lifter of my head (my Encourager), He hears my prayers, He is my sustainer, He is my Joy and my Peace. (And these truths are found in just the first five chapters!)

These have been the loneliest, darkest days, in which I cry on a daily basis, want to shield myself from all the precious baby pictures and pregnancy announcements everywhere I turn, and all the innocent comments of “Don’t you want one of these?” (while cradling her sweet baby in her arms) and the questions of, “When are you going to have children? I mean, you are almost thirty years old and have been married for five and a half years. What’s the hold up?” I have my days where I just want to barricade myself in the house and never have to face another human, because interaction with other human beings is potential for getting asked a painful question. But I can’t live like that anymore. I need to tell my family and friends what is going on. And I know, even though sometimes it seems that I am all alone in this, that I am not. There are other girls out there in the same boat. And I don’t want them to feel that they are walking alone.

Josh and I could have never known when we received our degrees in Biblical Counseling, the painful road that lie ahead. But, I have witnessed time and time again that the people who God uses are usually the ones who have walked a hard road. Of pain and tears and heartache, but have been able to proclaim through it all, “My God is always good and loving and gracious.” That is our prayer through this journey. That God would use us to be an encouragement to others.

We may still try IVF one day. The kind where you don’t freeze any embryos. Which makes our chances of it actually working very, very slim. So we are trying not to get our hopes up. I also dream of having a house full of adopted children from every race. But I don’t know what God has in store. My prayer is that God will give me grace to accept the life that He has given me. Even if that means I never hear the words, “Mommy, I love you”.

Through this infertility journey, God is teaching us more than ever, that He is the ONLY source of true joy and satisfaction. Psalm 16:11 has been one of my favorite verses for a long time: “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” I cannot seek my joy in anything other than Christ. Being a mommy, as much as that feels like my calling as a woman, will not bring me the joy of the Lord. He alone can provide that.

So we are resting in that truth. Seeking to embrace this life that He has chosen for us. On our little chalkboard hanging in our kitchen, I have written these words from Corrie Ten Boom:

“There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Some days are harder than others, but we have found this to be true. Thank you for reading my rambling, jumbled thoughts. Please pray for us. But don’t pray for healing for our bodies. Pray that God will use this in our lives to allow us to know Him in the deepest, sweetest way. And know that if you are walking this road of infertility also, that I am praying the same thing for you.

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On Periscope and Book Recommendations

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So, I tried making my second Periscope video today, and I still feel super uncomfortable broadcasting myself live. I think I had been broadcasting for about 30 seconds when I decided I couldn’t do it and deleted the recast video. 😉 But, it gave me a great idea for my next blog post! 🙂 Blogclarity.com’s Periscope challenge for yesterday was to broadcast a live video talking about books that I have read. I’m very new to it, but I have enjoyed watching some of my favorite bloggers and authors.

So, here is a list of the books that I talked about in my video (that you’ll never see):

Fiction:

  • Anything by Karen Kingsbury. She is my favorite Christian Fiction author. I have read about 45 of her books, and my goal is to read them all! My favorite is The Baxter Family series. It’s one of those series where the characters come so alive to you that you miss them when you finish the books.
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. A Hosea and Gomer story set in the 1800s. A beautiful picture of the Lord’s love for me. I bawled.

Health:

  • French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. I lost 30 pounds after reading this book in 2010 and have maintained my goal weigh ever since. It’s not a diet book. It’s a book that teaches you to make tiny lifestyle changes in a cute, funny, and charming style.
  • Marathon! You Can Do It! by Jeff Galloway. This book was a lifesaver as I was injured in the middle of marathon training and not sure I’d be able to run the race. I read it cover to cover while taking a few weeks off from running and I believe it is one of the main reasons I was able to continue on with training and was able to run the marathon. Jeff Galloway is the man.

Christian Living:

  • The Barbarian Way by Erwin Raphael McManus. A call to step away from the comfortable American Christianity that we have become so accustomed to and embrace the dangerous adventure that is the Christian life.
  • Stand by John Goetsch. I’ll just quote the subtitle: “Commit to Fighting Your Spiritual Battle.”
  • Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. And anything else by C. S. Lewis. He’s another of my favorite authors.
  • War of Words by Paul David Tripp. A fantastic help in learning to be Spirit-filled in our communication with others, especially our spouses.
  • Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. We are all busy women, running around like little overwhelmed Martha’s. In this book, Joanna shows us how we can find “intimacy with God in the busyness of life”.
  • Letters to Pastors’ Wives edited by Catherine J. Stewart. This is a compilation of letters from ministry wives to ministry wives, but I believe it is an excellent resource for any Christian wife who wants to be supportive to her husband in whatever God has called him to do . This book is such an encouragement!
  • Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. “Is the gratitude that flows out of your life as abundant as the grace that flows into your life?” This book is a life changer. It gave me a whole new perspective and served as a reminder that I can always be grateful, no matter the circumstance, because God has saved me. When my focus is on Him, everything else dims in comparison to my great Savior.
  • Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMossThis is such an excellent resource. Every chapter lists lies that we tend to believe about God, ourselves, our marriages, our children, etc. and counteracts the lies with tons of Scripture so that we can train our minds to focus on “the truth that sets [us] free”.

A good book is an event in my life. -Stendhal

The Unhealthy Truth

I promise not all of my posts are going to be about books, but I wanted to share some of the research materials that got me started in all this before I go on to other things. One night very early on in my food research, I came across a video of Robyn O’Brien speaking about the food industry in the United States. It was scary! I picked up a copy of her book shortly after and read about how our food has been genetically engineered and all sorts of artificial things were lurking in it. When I thought about it, I did remember reading “naturally and artificially flavored” on a number of packaged foods that I’d eaten, but had never dwelled on what that meant I was putting into my body. Artificial…that means fake. When I ate foods with artificial ingredients, not everything I was eating was real!? What in the world!?

The next time I went to the grocery store, I read the ingredients on everything I picked up. But at this point, I didn’t know what was good and what was bad, so it was all a little terrifying. I think on that shopping trip I picked up a lot of things from the produce section. But I knew I couldn’t live off fruits and vegetables for the rest of my life. So I had to continue researching to know what to look for and what to avoid. I hope with this blog I’ll be able to break down and explain what some of the ingredients are in our foods, both good and bad, and that you’ll be more prone to look at ingredient lists on your next trip to the grocery store.

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The following information about this book is taken from Robyn O’Brien’s website: http://www.robynobrien.com/books.html

The Unhealthy Truth:
How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It

In a first-person story as shocking as it is inspirational, The Unhealthy Truth published in May 2009 by Random House, reveals the alarming relationship between the manipulation of our food and both the increase in dangerous allergies in our children as well as the increase in cancers in our families—and offers a road map to healthy living.

Robyn O’Brien is an unlikely candidate for a crusade. A Houston native from a conservative family, this MBA and married mother of four was not someone who gave much thought to what went on inside government agencies or about the additives and chemicals in our food. Until the day her youngest daughter had a violent allergic reaction to eggs, and everything changed.

The Unhealthy Truth is both the story of how one brave woman chose to take on the system and a call to action that shows how each of us can do our part and keep our own families safe. O’Brien turns to accredited research conducted in Europe that confirms the toxicity of America’s food supply, and investigates the relationship between Big Food and Big Money that has ensured that the United States is one of the only developed countries in the world to allow hidden toxins in our food—toxins that are increasingly being blamed for the alarming recent increases in allergies, A.D.H.D., cancer, and asthma among our children.

“The information that Robyn has uncovered in this book is so astonishing and has such powerful implications on the health of our nation’s children, I almost don’t want to believe it.  THE UNHEALTHY TRUTH is a call to action.  The information you are about to read will change your life.” —Dr. Bob Sears, leading pediatrician and author of THE VACCINE BOOK

Featuring recipes and an action plan for weaning your family off of these dangerous ingredients one step at a time The Unhealthy Truth is a must-read for every parent—and for every concerned citizen—in America today.

Robyn O’Brien is the founder of AllergyKids. She has been featured in the New York Times and has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, and the CBS Early Show and Evening News, most recently in Labels Matter by Robert Kenner who directed Food Inc. She lives with her family in Boulder, Colorado.

My First Post: A Little Background

I began this journey into the world of healthy food a few years ago when I read French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano. I was a recent college graduate who wasn’t happy with her body and had tried so many diets I’d lost count. Calorie counting, starving myself, Weight Watchers, etcetera: they all worked for awhile, but then I’d blow it and decide to have an “eat everything in sight because you’ll get back on it tomorrow” day. Those days happened way too often, hence the yo-yoing that kept occurring for me. It seemed that everyday was a battle: Megan vs. Food. I thought this was just how it was going to be forever, because I was a woman.

Then I found Mireille Guiliano’s book, and the subtitle intrigued me. French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure. I had always associated eating foods that brought me pleasure with guilt, so this had my attention. I decided to read it, and every page had me riveted. It was about a lifestyle change, not a quick-fix fad diet. She talked about eating with all five senses, savoring every bite. She described the difference in our American always-on-the-go society, and the French way of making every meal an event, sitting to enjoy food and life. It wasn’t about depriving me of the foods that I loved to eat, but teaching myself to be satisfied with a few bites of quality food, rather than a bigger quantity that I devoured without paying much attention.

I finished the book, and before I knew it, I’d lost 30 pounds. For the first time, I was happy with my body, with how I looked and how I felt. There was no more calorie counting, guilt, or shame after every bite I took. I now ate what I enjoyed, but I was finding that my taste was changing slowly overtime. Whereas I used to wake up craving a Venti Starbucks Mocha, as my lifestyle changed a little every day, I would wake up wanting a piece of fruit instead. And when I did have a Starbucks craving, I could go and be satisfied with a short. And this was just the beginning, but I’ll save that for another post.

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(Please visit: www.frenchwomendontgetfat.com)