Topic: Faith & the Infertile’s Journey

Original Blog Post as a tour stop with Alaina Mayes and her original blog at Unashamed Growth.  Below is the content of that blog stop. I encourage you to subscribe to her blog directly if you get the chance. ____________________________

Hello there to Alaina’s blog readers.  My name is Heather D. Nelson and I’m the author of the book God Had Other Plans – Keeping faith thru pregnancy loss and infertility.  Today, October 2nd, is my 2nd pit-stop in my virtual blog tour and Alaina was kind enough to host me today!  This is just the SECOND stop of a multi-day blog tour discussing various aspects of infertility and the fall out it leaves behind so if you like what you read, you can check out my information below for the previous and following dates.

As an author and activist I like to think that my work is making a difference in raising awareness and spreading some much needed education on the topic of Infertility.  But that doesn’t JUST pertain to the physical aspects of infertility treatments themselves.  I was THRILLED when today’s host, Alaina Mayes of Unashamed Growth, asked that I cover a bit of the faith aspects and how God can use infertility as a tool in the life of the infertile couple.  So let’s dive right in shall we!!!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s article (posted here if you wish to go back and read that), thanks to the mainstream media…most of the general populas has a BASIC understanding of what infertility treatments are.  But once you start to really dive into the day to day life of a couple in the throngs of infertility treatments, you begin to really see the toll that a journey can take.  Money stress, marital stress, emotional stress, physical pain, exhaustion, and more.  And NONE of that even tips the iceburg of what lies under the surface of most couples.  But hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?!  eh…not so much.  But I am getting ahead of myself a bit so let me digress back to a more basic principle.

On my personal journey to becoming a mother, my infertility…my loss…my struggles, I often turned to the church for guidance and help as was my habit to do.  I would often lean on other women in the church for emotional support when things got tough, and often would ask a pastor to counsel my husband and I when a cross roads would appear.  At almost every turn, every fork in the road, there was always someone there to give me JUST that right word of encouragement I needed…but I didn’t always listen.  As is often the case when we struggle….we have in our mind what WE want the outcome to be, or even the road to look like, but we don’t always lift our eyes UP and ask God — WHAT IS YOUR WILL for me?  That one act, of taking our eye’s OFF the prize and raising them up to God is often so simple and yet SO easily overlooked and missed.  And when we finally do give in and give up that control and stop to listen to God, HE ALWAYS HEARS US and HE ALWAYS has an answer for us.

For me, it would always take hitting a breaking point of sorts.  Yet another failed cycle, another Big Fat Negative pregnancy test, or another stumbling block in the finances or the medicinal protocol.  I would break down and sob and THEN would raise my face up to God and in my crying would just ask – WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! It was always a sort of frustration release at the time but each and every time God would answer.  My husband would step in and lead us, or a good friend would just “happen” to have a word from prayer she received, or a pastor would have some perfectly timed scripture in a sermon that was often times prepared WEEKS in advance. But darn if God doesn’t usually work that way.  Gone are the days when someone asks for God to speak and shrubbery catches fire.  No, today God is more quiet…more subtle…but ever present and ready to jump in.

If. You. Let. Him.

Jeremiah 49: 11-14 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.t I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

The very act of trudging the road of infertility treatments is a conscious choice to give up control.  You are no longer master of your domain.  You now answer to doctors, nurses, sonogram appointments, labwork, drugs, needles, calendar dates, and more.  Your life, at it’s most intimate and personal, is handed over to a team of specialists in the hopes that one day they hand you back a baby.  But if you take that SAME choice with your FAITH during that time, God will bless you unendingly. Think about it as a dual approach.

  • Each day you visit a fertility clinic — visit a devotional.
  • Each blood draw — take a special communion.
  • Each time you have a sonogram – use that precious moment as an opportunity to exam the inside of your heart and put your motivations in check.
  • And at every setback, and believe me you will have setbacks – take that to God in prayer and pour your heart out to Him.

And trust me, it does NOT have to be pretty!  God doesn’t want you when you are only a peppy happy cheerleader in life…He wants your ugly.  He wants the emotional raw intensity that brews inside you.  He understands anger, He made you with passion and tears and He above all can HANDLE anything you can dish out!  And don’t even let those feelings of inequity set in that make you feel that your problems are too small for God, just take a look at ANYTHING in the book of Psalms and you will see each and every fear and despairing emotion you can imagine.

Psalm 88 1-3 1 Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you. 2 May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry. 3 I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death.

So, you may ask, I wait and pray and come to God during my time and what do I get?  Well for one, greater patience and peace.  God will use these times as opportunities for growth.  I can wholly admit that I did not always walk gracefully through this journey. My book documents MANY occasions of anger, frustration, shame, and outright hurtful and hateful thoughts. I am human, as we all are, and the pressure of it all would wear me down. Satan would use those low times to chime in with thoughts of guilt and hurt and shame. But by taking it ALL to God, ALL the time, even my lowest of lows had a silver lining. Does that mean He’s going to blindly give you what you think you want, no.  But will He bless your life unendingly if you open yourself to His will – absolutely.  Trials and tribulations of all kinds are listed throughout the bible and God always delivered on his promises.  What we often forget in times of struggle is how All-Seeing God is and how LIMITED our worldly eyes are.  When undergoing infertility treatments especially, when your life is broken down into cycle days and two week waits, it’s so EASY to put your head down and put your eye’s on the prize and just trudge forward.  But God sees ALL.  He sees your before, He knows your after.  This time in your life…of struggle and hardship, is just that — a TIME.  Not forever, just for now.  This road WILL come to an end and a new path will open up for you. The choice you have is whether or not you let this road end with your marriage and your faith intact and stronger than ever.

 

Psalm 146 5-6 5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. 6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever.

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So yesterday’s post was a basic overview of what Infertility is.  You can read that HERE if you missed it. Today we covered some of the ways that infertility can strengthen your faith if you let GOD be a part of it with you TOMORROW I’ll be right back here again with Alaina and we are going to cover some PRACTICAL TIPS on ways that a couple can survive infertility treatments and NOT lose their ever-loving minds in the process.  It should prove to be lighthearted, fun, and helpful.  SO KEEP READING!!!!

Special thanks, again, to Alaina and HER READERS for letting me come on here today and be a guest blogger. As my thanks for taking the time to read along, I invite you to like my facebook page or visit my book website . I have multiple other blog stops this coming week covering more topics and I am ALSO doing a virtual book signing of my book. If you click on the links you can see all the purchasing options. Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com are listed if you want to just flat purchase a copy online. If you would like a SIGNED COPY, there is a paypal option in the works, but for now you can just use the CONTACT THE AUTHOR form to request your own signed copy. I can ship anywhere and will send multiple copies out if requested.

Thank you again and may you all have a BLESSED day Heather D. Nelson Author: God Had Other Plans http://www.godhadotherplans.com https://www.facebook.com/#!/GodHadOtherPlans Contact the Author at http://www.godhadotherplans.com/contact-the-author/

 

Blog Stops So Far
Day 1 – October 1, 2012 – Jamie Allen at Infertility Is Real
Day 2 – October 2, 2012 – Alaina Mayes at Unashamed Growth

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… blog tour – we’re coming out!!

I started this blog a bit over a year ago with the goal of somehow tracking and chronicling our efforts to have a child…..

Unashamedgrowth has evolved, matured, and changed in more ways than I could have imagined. I have been introduced to so many amazing women, heard so many inspiring stories, and have enjoyed the paths it’s caused me to cross, and the women it brought me to.

The blog has done well. Thank God.

It has been my strong shoulder, my ever reliable blankie, my journal, my place of solace and hope.

About a month or so ago, I was approached by Heather Nelson, the author of a book called God Had Other Plans – Keeping Faith Thru Infertility and Pregnancy Loss, who asked me to join a virtual blog tour she is launching in October… She is an amazing writer, and a mother of two who’s experienced the struggles of infertility for years.

We, along with a group of other women, have joined forces to educate, inform, and raise awareness on the life of the infertile. Real life topics will be posted and discussed – you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and even purchase a signed copy of her book, God Had Other Plans…..

This is a wonderful opportunity to reach women who are in the different stages of their own journey. What’s even better is that we have a Biblical view on our lives’ course and are trusting God through it all. We want to be a little nook of knowledge and encouragement, a place you can go to be understood and to understand.

I do not believe that anyone else can understand the struggles of an infertile, like another infertile. Our husbands and significant others have their very own club, as well. It’s a lonely place to be.
I, am also encouraging my fertile sisters out there to check out Heather’s site and come along with us on the virtual blog tour, as well. I think it would be a great place for you to learn about our struggles and how you can be an even more amazing support to us during those seemingly awkward and painful moments.

I’m very humbled that Heather though enough of me to invite me along on her tour! I’m incredibly excited to read the blogs on each of her stops – I know my perspective about infertility will be broadened and injected with new information and points of views I may not have thought of. I’m praying that each stop on the virtual blog tour will reach the masses and touch at least one.

I will be posting more information about tour dates very soon!! Keep your eyes peeled!! And, in the meantime, peruse Heather’s website (www.Godhadotherplans.com) and read up on all she has going on!!!

…… She’s a Texas girl, y’all!!!!

…. Here’s to the amazing work and plan of Christ, the “more than I can ask for”, and the opportunity to share Him and His grace with the world.

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… a tiny fierceness

My current, most beloved, and longest lasting screen saver to date…….

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I really just realized how small I was. “Just realizing” meaning within the last year or so. After my 13 yr old sister and 11 year old niece continuing to inch past me, centimeter by centimeter. Along with the fact that I’m also the same size as some 2nd & 3rd graders. I literally can’t wrap my head around being the same size as (and, at times smaller than) prepubescent children. I look at them and I don’t see it.

I don’t typically have a “small” attitude/ personality but when I do, it’s an active choice to be more thoughtful of the other person’s feelings and perspectives than my own, slow to speak, and patient. Most days, I consider myself to be a strong person and I work very hard at getting physically stronger, as well as mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

But, there are times I feel small and frail. And, like most people, I typically equate small and frail to defenseless and not very advantageous … Most people step on and over what is small and are quick to try to take advantage of size.

There are the times I have to remind myself that even though I’m small, I’m quite strong and feisty.

One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from my infertility is how strong I am and have the potential to be. When I wonder if I am really strong enough to go through more rounds of treatment knowing what I’m getting myself into and what could happen – I know that I can. The only question is whether I want to or not.

I’m grateful for my infertility for many reasons but one is truly for the heartbreaks and soul aches it has caused. Because of it, I’ve learned so much about myself, I’ve realized that I have the potential and ABILITY to do so many different things… And, drives me to do more than I often don’t think I can. And the progress of those pains, efforts, and ultimately successes keep me going.

You learn to manage. And, I’m hoping, that the stronger I get, the less you I myself “managing” and the more I find myself moving on with much more ease and less effort because I’ve gotten stronger. The tough balance for me is between becoming callous and hard towards life and dealing with the emotions and lessons of life as it ebbs and flows with a mature perspective. I like managing because you are dealing with the emotional part but that logical part is there to give “sense” to the situation, it keeps you from jumping off the ledge. And, grows you up.

Obviously, the main thing that keeps me from standing so close to the ledge and gives me the desire to manage so I can go on with life when the craziest of things happen, is the fact that it’s all been planned and laid out for me. And, even when I veer off and cause myself pain, God is still there.

I’m quite sure I’ve posted the one you need video before…. But, I listened to it today and it got to me. I tend to/have to listen to it from a Heavenly Father/daughter perspective…. Listening to it from an Earthy father/daughter perspective kills me simply because I think of Thomas and how he could possibly miss out on such an amazing experience.

I appreciate knowing that no matter the heartaches I go though, no matter how small, fearful, or fearless I think or feel I am or perceived to be – He is there and makes it all better. Even when I’m the one who spilled the milk I’m crying over, He wipes it up with patience, love, and grace. Then, hands me another glass.

… Here’s to a fun sized, small-ish person like myself having everything needed to go through all life with a fierce strength built from managing and dealing with it all…. with a smile. 🙂
Oh! And, to music and quotes. They, too, make my heart beat!

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