Tag Archives: infertility

To Our Child I Never Knew, Thank You…

Precious One,

Today, April 1st, is the 2nd anniversary of the day we lost you, the day that changed me from the inside out. As much as I struggle with facing this day each year, there is a strange sense of joy that comes, too, with this date creeping up on me. Though I think of you several times throughout each week, it is on this day that I feel complete freedom to bask in the tremendous beauty, and even the sorrow, that comes from being your mom.

I love you, Precious One. Had you stayed with us, you would have been around 16 months old, only 5 months younger than your cousin. You would have been walking by now and full of personality, I’m sure. You would have been so loved and cherished by so many people, Precious One. You still are by the two people who created you, your dad and mom.

The Lord and I often have conversations about why, in His sovereignty, He allowed you to leave this earth so quickly, before I even really allowed myself to fully acknowledge your presence, before we ever even got to see you through an ultrasound. The only moments you and I truly had “together” were when I was awoken from my sleep in a cold sweat and in piercing pain, yet you had not left me yet; it was only then, when I was sitting alone in tears that still stain my Bible, that I allowed myself to believe what I think the Lord had been trying to tell me for several days – I was indeed with child, that you weren’t a figment of my imagination but instead fully alive inside of me. It wasn’t 45 minutes later that you began to pass, and with you, a part of me died, too.

Over the past 2 years, I have often felt so incredibly vulnerable from, and lost in, my grief. As one who always easily expresses herself and is known as a very upbeat, positive person, it has been a very odd, humble journey for me to walk. There have been days that I wasn’t sure if I was going to get out of bed, let alone function like a normal human being. Part of that was from my already-taxed body’s reaction to your sudden disappearance, which left me in several months of hormonal havoc and most likely undiagnosed postpartum depression. Even when my body eventually healed, my spirit was often, and sometimes still is, slow to do the same. With each new pregnancy announcement my friends delivered, each new baby shower I participated in, each new opportunity to rejoice with our friends for how their family was growing, there was a very real, stinging pain that came (and still often comes) for your dad and me as we thought about you, your siblings, and the fact that we weren’t – and still aren’t – privy to having any of you in our lives. Who knows? Maybe we never will be parents. Only the Lord knows that. If there’s anything life has taught me, it’s that, as Christ-followers, we aren’t guaranteed anything but His presence, no matter our circumstances.

It shouldn’t surprise you that this isn’t the road I, or your dad, expected to take. In fact, this isn’t the road that we would have picked for our worst enemies. It is, however, the road that God has chosen for us for our good and, most importantly, His glory. Though the path has been long and steep, full of unexplainable hurt and so many detours I’ve lost count, I wouldn’t change, for even a moment, the fact that you exist. I wouldnt’ change the fact that, though we weren’t meaning to create you, in secret your dad and I glorified the Lord through the creation of you, Precious One. I can only pray that one day, when we are all glorified and together with the Lord, that you have somewhat of an understanding of just how much you have meant to both of us.

You will always be my child, and I will always be your mom. I will always love you. I will never forget you or forsake your existence. Besides your dad, you are who the Lord has used the most in my life to bring me closer to Him. Thank you for allowing Him to use you so powerfully in such a short amount of time.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I was pregnant with, and then miscarried you, around the Easter season. Thank you for allowing Him to show me that ultimately God cares far less about me being an earthly mother than He does about my sanctification, than He does about changing me into the likeness of His son, Jesus Christ. That is a fact that I admittedly don’t daily want to grasp, but in His goodness and through His grace, I am clinging to that Truth more and more.

Because of the work the Lord has done in my heart in light of your death, I am finding peace and freedom in the fact that my value and worth as a wife, and ultimately as a woman, is not found in whether or not I can successfully deliver children into this world. Again, I don’t believe that every day, but I’m getting better at looking at myself the way our Heavenly Father does, the way I would have wanted you to look at yourself, i.e. as whole and valuable not because of anything you have done but because of His finished work on the Cross, as enough.

Thank you for allowing Him to use you to soften my heart toward the thousands of fathers and mothers who, too, have lost precious children and/or are in the season of barrenness, a season that often is accompanied with such despair; this despair paralyzes so many and inhibits them to do Kingdom work because of the lies from Satan they, and often I, have believed. Though your life was but a vapor, you have left a Kingdom-impact, and for that, I am extremely proud.

So, until we meet again, I will continue to rejoice in the fact you are mine and safe with our Heavenly Father. I love you, much more than I even could ever say. Thank you.

Your Momma

 

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Filed under 2015, Adoption, Baby, Marriage, Miscarriage, Purpose, Redeeming Loss, Sanctification

Why I Try To No Longer Sit Around Waiting For Our Adoption To Happen…

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve written, I know.
I am here now, though, so take what you can get! 😉

Since the last time I wrote, not much in life has changed, except it’s now 2015. Also, as of the second day of the year, I am officially in the last year of my 20s. John and I are both settled into the jobs we began in early 2014 and, due to John especially finally being acclimated (for the most part) to his new career, our stress level here at home has thankfully significantly subsided.

Since I know you’re wondering, and thanks for doing so, let me go ahead and tell you: Despite us wishing it weren’t true, there really isn’t anything new to report regarding our adoption journey. Yes, you read that correctly — nothing new to report. I promise I’m not “hiding” anything. Believe me, had I news to report, I would be telling you! Alas, though, there is nothing new. We are not “expecting” a child in the immediate future and don’t even have any prospects on the horizon.

The birth mother due in December who did not pick us (the only one to whom we have been shown) should have had her baby by now. We pray that she and her child are both doing well and that the baby is happy and healthy with his/her new family. It’s strange thinking about how I very easily could have been an earthly mother by now, caring for my approximately two-week old child on my 29th birthday just a few days ago. That wasn’t God’s will for us, though; so instead of spending the day feeding and changing a newborn, we spent my birthday in another city just the two of us and then had dinner with a dear friend.

I wasn’t even fully aware of this shift in my thinking until just the other day when a close friend asked me how I was doing with the whole adoption thing. She mentioned she hadn’t asked in a while, and I hadn’t said anything, so she figured nothing was new, but she wanted me to know she cared. I did very much appreciate her inquiry, but as she expected, I had nothing new to share — except for one thing. I am starting to approach our adoption journey a bit differently, and until just a few days ago, I didn’t even know it.

As I told my friend how I had been feeling about how things were going, I found myself understanding what had been going on inside of me for the past several weeks. I used to literally wake up every morning and say to myself, “Today could be the day!” I would sometimes get up, go into our already-furnished nursery and spend several minutes praying on the nursery floor; at the very least, I would put a lot of emotional energy – almost every single day – into thinking and/or praying about our adoption all day long.

When we spent those few weeks this Fall praying and thinking through difficult circumstances that made us question even allowing our life book to be shown to the birth mother, just to in the end step out in faith and say “yes” on our end but not be picked and have no idea when we will have another chance to be shown, I couldn’t help but become very emotionally-vested in a child I will never see, let alone mother. I sincerely loved that child and, in some ways, still do. Because of that very surreal time in our lives, as well as watching close friends of ours walk through a devastating adoption-oriented situation, I think God began working in my life in ways I didn’t even realize at the time. He has been showing me grace and teaching me to demonstrate the same grace to myself.

Now, a few months later, I am still trying to learn how to truly leave our family’s future in His hands, not just in word but in tangible ways, as well. I am also, though, trying to learn how to keep my sanity, while I wait for someone (or more than one person) who seems at times like a figment of my imagination, while also displaying childlike faith that my dream of becoming a parent could happen tomorrow. It’s a delicate, sanctifying balancing act.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I always believed, and still believe, the Lord has His hand in our adoption plans. I have always wanted, and will always want, His will to be done and Him to be glorified, even if that means that I’ll never be an earthly mother, which is a possibility as harsh as that sounds to most. This process could take another year, or two, or three, or longer, or never even turn out the way we’d like…and if I truly want to be the happy, positive person that I have always been, I am going to lose steam fast if I keep operating the way I usually did the past year.

While I wait to see what He has for us, I am learning that every. single. day. I don’t have to – and can’t – emotionally submerse myself into anything and everything related to the fact we are not parents yet. I just can’t do it, if I want to stay sane and really be present in the present, instead of feeling guilty about the past and/or pining about the future.

I am learning I can’t wake up every morning and dwell on the fact that, “Today could be the day!” Could it? Sure. Of course I still believe that, but what if the “day” isn’t until 3 years from now? What do I do in the meantime? Pull myself off my nursery floor every day just to be filled with more disappointment when I am still waiting for the “day” to happen years from now, while most of my friends continue to be blessed with more children while I still wait to be able to be one’s mother and have nothing else to which I look forward?

No, instead I have changed my focus. Instead of daily sitting and thinking about my children for hours, I will be intentional in how and when I pray about my children, with some days devoted to more focused times of prayer than others. Some days I have, and will continue, to shut the nursery door when its emptiness is a little too much for my sensitive heart. I will still unashamedly ask for prayer for our adoption journey, and thankfully welcome concern from others regarding the process, but I will also be trying to celebrate the other things going on in our lives, too. I will do this even when those joys seem at the time to pale in comparison to the joy I’ll feel one day when I am, if the Lord allows, finally a mother here on earth – my deepest earthly desire not yet fulfilled. I will be a supportive, loving wife to my hard-working husband and believe that he truly loves me, despite my inability to provide him the biological children he always assumed he’d have and I, to this day, so desperately wish I could give him. I will do my job with excellence and continue to well serve the 300 or so authors left to my charge. I will serve the Lord in my church and be thankful for the responsibility and privilege to serve ladies of all ages within our Body, as well as the children we’ll both serve soon in the nursery. I will continue to love my friends and their children, while also supporting and caring for those who, too, are walking their own lonely journey of infertility and/or adoption. I will be thankful I am able to be an empathetic shoulder (tangibly or figuratively, depending on their location) on which they can cry, because I know better than anyone else, sometimes all you need is a good cry on a caring shoulder.

As I continue to wait, but try not to sit around waiting for our adoption to happen, most importantly I will daily allow the Lord to sanctify me to His truth and try to walk in the power of His Spirit, seeking Him above all else. I will continue to be honest about the struggle it is to strike a healthy balance between acknowledging my God-given desire for motherhood and saying “not my will but Yours be done,” because that is all I know how to do.


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Filed under 2015, Adoption, Baby, grace, Purpose, Sanctification

The Long & Hard Road

No one ever told me this season in life would be so hard.
More importantly, no one ever told me it would be so…lonely.
So very lonely, at times.

My husband and I both are experiencing very hard seasons in life. He is getting used to a new and exciting, yet stressful, job. Consequently, often (like tonight) the last month-and-a-half, because of the stress and/or lack of sleep the night before, he gets tucked into bed when there are still hours left of daylight. I, too, am getting used to a new job, and have experienced my share of long hours and work-related stress, though my job is thankfully slowing down and becoming much more life-giving. It also helps that I am now 2 months post- sinus surgery, so I am no longer heavily drugged or in pain; therefore, I can think straight, unlike when I first started. 🙂

For my Loves, his career, though he loves it, is his main source of stress and exhaustion right now.  For me, it is my empty arms and nursery, especially around Mother’s Day. For both of us, this is the hardest season of our marriage, and in some ways, our lives.

Last night, it was John’s turn to not sleep. He sat awake in the family room with his Bible,  sermons on his phone, and his nightlight while I snoozed away. I, on the other hand, had my turn the two nights before, when while he sawed logs, I slept no more than 2 hours in 48. I tried so, so hard to stay awake with him, as I usually do. The Lunesta I found in the cupboard from my surgery, though, beckoned my attention and wooed me into a deep, much-needed time of 12 hours of rest.

 To say that life is hard around the Payne’s right now is an understatement. We are exhausted, in all senses of the word. We are also closer than we have ever been. It’s funny how, if we are willing, the Lord refuses to waste our (and your) suffering, even the kind that involves the most stinging of pain.

 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Yesterday, for us, was in a way a living hell. We both didn’t make it through church without crying. John got close but broke down at the end. I never had a chance. We both cried some more later on in the day. To make matters worse, I had spent the last 2 nights up in the dark crying out to the Lord to please take this cup of sorrow from me.


He has chosen to call me to wait for earthly motherhood, and though I can quote you all the verses and know I am to be content, sometimes I am just not OK with that. I know that’s not the “Jesus” answer, or something of which I am proud, but that’s the truth. I can quote you all the verses (in context) and exegete the passages, but sometimes all I can manage to pray is, “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief!” To be honest, this road of barrenness has been much harder for me than it ever was to almost die at the age of 19. Can I say that without you judging me and calling me melodramatic? Maybe not, but I am going to say it, anyway.

Sometimes, the pain that is involved in not having our child who passed away, here or earth or any child at all, is just too much to bear for my weary soul.  With each passing announcement of another pending or new birth, I feel like part of my heart is being ripped from my chest, that I am slowly dying inside. I desperately long to be a mother, much more than I ever knew until I was asked to journey the road less traveled that involves not being able to have them. My husband struggles, too, though he tries to keep it together outwardly more than I do; for both of us, though we deal with it differently, it’s our Cross that we daily bear.

As I said on Facebook last night, though my journey is not normal (especially in my circle of friends), it is not unique. I know that. I know, even though Satan want me to feel like I’m the only one, there are millions of women who are either barren or who have miscarried; they understand my pain in a very tangible way. As I also said, though, we women need each other. We need each other, no matter if we are the mother of 8 kids or on our 8th year of painful infertility. We all have something to learn from, and more importantly to offer,each other.

We need to rejoice with those who rejoice just as easily as we mourn with those who mourn. There are a women on both sides of the coin, women who deserve to be loved and fully met in their current season, even if that season is the polar opposite of ours. Is that always easy? No. It is always necessary? Yes, for the benefit of all involved.

Why? Why force ourselves to enter someone’s joy when we are hurting or embrace their sorrow when our life is far from sorrowful?
Because that’s what Jesus would do and calls us to do, as well.
After all, we are to be His hands and feet.

Why? Because that’s how we learn to do live life – the good and the bad of it – together as the Body of Christ.
If you just focus on the good, you lose sight of our utter dependence on Him, of the perfect Redemption to come.
If you just focus on the bad, you lose sight of the beauty of grace and God’s constant hand in our lives.

So, even though my arms are still empty this Mother’s Day, and I just experienced 2 of the darkest days in my life, I publicly celebrate and honor those to whom I am close who are mothers. I love you all and think you are doing a great job. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Purpose, Sanctification

Joy Through Infertility – Another Perspective

Sorry it’s been a while.
I really wasn’t planning on being gone so long.
Then life – lots of it – happened.
One day here soon, we’ll get to (most) of that. Promise. 🙂
If you need to catch up on our journey, now is the time.
Things will move faster from here, Lord-willing.

For the time being while I sort out this new season of life, I wanted to share with you a powerful piece I read today by one of my favorite writers, Holley Gerth. Even though I’ve never met her (or honestly talked to her), I absolutely adore her transparency and was extremely blessed when I read this today.

Thank you for your heart, Holley. It is astonishingly beautiful.

I’ll be back soon to update you on where we are in our ever-changing journey to parenthood; exciting things are happening! God is faithful. 🙂

When God Changes Your Plans {An Infertility Update}

Nurture Bracelet by Lisa Leonard

Nurture Bracelet by Lisa Leonard

Friends, this post has been a long time coming. And I’m going to ask for your grace in advance. Because it makes me knocking-knees nervous to write it. Infertility is such a personal subject for many different reasons besides the obvious. But enough of you have asked and I’ve done enough praying that I just want to give you an update.

Before I start I want to include this disclaimer: If there’s one thing I’ve learned on this journey it’s that everyone’s story is different. What I’m sharing applies to my hubby and I alone.

When Mark and I married in 2000 we thought starting a family would be easy for us. Doesn’t everyone? When we officially began the process to become parents about five years later, we soon realized that wouldn’t be the case for us. Long story short, we went through years of grief, loss, doctor’s appointments and some serious wrestling with God. Out of that process came my first devotional book, Rain on Me {recently released in a new edition as Under God’s Umbrella}.

During that time, over seven people on separate occasions prayed over me that “God would bring new life through my words.” I tucked each of those statements away in my heart, not sure what they meant. God provided many other instances where he used people, even women I didn’t know, to speak into my life that I was not barren. And one day I looked at the Scripture passage about Eve who was called “the mother of all living” and I knew in my heart that every woman is a mama. Yep, every single one of us brings life into the world in some way.

And mine was not going to be through physical kiddos.

It took me years to even dare to whisper that to the closest people in my life. Our culture is so focused on physical family that it felt scandalous–and possibly unchristian–even to speak those words out loud. When I began to, the response was usually, “Have you ever thought about adoption?” The answer: Yes, of course we had. We had thought, prayed, wrestled with it. And yet we never felt like God was directing us that way. That was also an extremely difficult decision in a generation that is passionate about adoption {and rightly so!}.

From time to time I would ask God again, “Are you sure we’re on the path you want us on?” And inevitably within twenty-four hours someone would send me a note saying, “I’m not sure why I’m sending you this but I think God wants me to tell you you’re already a mother.” Truly. I wrote every single time that happened in my journal.

So I’m here, friends, almost ten years from the time we started this journey. And I want to tell you this: my heart is healed, my life is full, and I’m a word mama to the hearts of thousands of women around the world. I’m truly, deeply blessed.

We could have gone out and found a way to get a baby. We live in a culture where we can make that happen. And it would have done away with a lot of the hard questions we’ve had to answer the last few years. But if we had, it would not have been God’s best for us. I would have been like Sarah and whatever option I chose would have been my Hagar.

So I’m officially announcing that our infertility journey is done. We are in a new season–one of so much life, growth, and joy. One I wouldn’t have chosen but now wouldn’t trade because as David said in the Psalms “better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere.” In other words, I want to stay in the center of God’s will. I trust him to continue filling the mama-longing in my heart {Ps. 84:11}. I trust him to take care of me when I’m old {Is. 46:4}. I trust him to have a plan that is greater than mine {Rom. 8:28}.

And in that I can rest.

Even more than rest, I can rejoice.

It is well with my soul.

I am a mother. And it is good.

XOXO

Holley

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Filed under Adoption, grace, Miscarriage, Redeeming Loss, Sanctification