Monday, September 9, 2013

Take Two

It's been almost 3 years since I sat down at my computer and wrote this post:

On Monday, January 3rd of 2011 I found out I was pregnant. I remember a feeling of relief rush over me. Since I was 15, when I was diagnosed with PCOS, I had this sickening feeling that I would never be pregnant. God is good. On Monday, August 29th of 2011 I gave birth to Lindley Belle, the sweetest pea pod. God is good. Yesterday, we received the news that our 4th round of fertility treatment for our second child had failed. God is good.

Last week, I was with a small group of friends. We were sharing prayer requests. I shared that we were most likely about to get news that the 4th round didn't work. I was asked how I wanted to be prayed for. I was so grateful she asked. I know it's easy to assume that someone who is battling infertility wants you to pray for patience & God's will. And yes, those are right, but here's the thing: Everyday I am searching for God's will and begging for patience. Those things are easy to pray for, because I want them.

What I'm not praying about is my anger, disappointment and extreme sensitivity to what others say. Those things are hard to pray about. To pray for those means I have to do some admitting. Ouch. By this friend asking specifically how she could pray, it softened my heart and gave me an opportunity to admit & share, in a safe place, and be prayed for for the things I struggle praying for for myself.

I know several people who have battled infertility, or currently battling it for the first time, or battling it for the second time, like me. I have friends who's infertility journey looks like mine, and others who's journey has been much longer with deeper pains and disappointment. But, in talking to these ladies, there is 1 thing that we all have in common: our sensitivity to what others say when they're trying to help. We know without any doubt that people are trying to help. We know without any doubt that people care about us and deeply want to say the right thing. And we are so thankful for these people. Truly we are!

The painful truth is this: if you have not been thru a journey of infertility, the less you say, the better.

I have a few close friends who have been so wonderful in their support and encouragement. I have learned that it's because they don't tell me how they think I should feel...they validate my hurt, they tell me how sorry they are, they hug me, they ask for me to keep them updated so they can pray. They are aware that they have not experienced it themselves and so they don't try to act like they have.

Yesterday I received this text:

"I'm so sorry to hear your news today. I have not experienced that but I do 
know pain and disappointment. I will pray for you".

3 very short and to the point sentences. But it was perfect. It's OK to tell someone that you have not been thru what they're going thru. If anything, that frees you up from the pressure to "say the right thing". I am very grateful to that friend for her text.

I have another sweet friend who occasionally will send me scripture and song lyrics. Perfect for my soul. So thankful for her too.

* I know that by putting my infertility struggles "out there", I am making it hard to deal with my sensitivity to what others say. If no one knew, no one would say the wrong thing, right? Probably very true. But that's not how I function. I have felt a calling from the Lord to be open and honest about my struggles. It's great therapy for me personally, but more importantly, I pray that I can offer other women a place of comfort. I want us to know we are not in this alone. And that there is no shame or embarrassment here. I want to hurt when you hurt, and be happy when you're happy.

Friday, September 6, 2013

1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry or beautiful clothes.You should clothe yourself instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

Everyday I do Lindley Belle's hair (usually the cutest little puppy dog ear pig tails). The very moment I tighten the last little piggy she twirls around and exclaims "pretty!" Then we find the perfect bow that matches her outfit. She says "show daddy!" and just that fast she goes running down the hall and into her daddy's office to show off her hair and outfit. From down the hall I can hear her squealing as her daddy tells her she is beautiful and tells her that her dress is so pretty. And of course, some sweet kisses and tight hugs are included.

Where did Lindley Belle learn to know her hair was pretty after I fixed it?
Where did she learn that she could run to her daddy for approval?
Who taught her that praise would follow putting on a pretty dress & fixing her hair?

Me. I taught her. I feel so proud.

From the moment I put a bow on her head (errr...when she was only 30 min old) and dressed her in a pretty pink outfit (the day we took her home from the hospital), I have added a little something "extra" to my voice when I tell her how pretty she is. As soon as she could walk, I began encouraging her to "show off" her outfit/hair/bow to her daddy because I knew he would add to how beautiful she was feeling. 

Like any mother, I tell my little chunky monkey how beautiful she is as often as I can. No matter what she is wearing or how her hair looks. As does her daddy - a sweet gift for me to see in action. 

Lindley Belle doesn't exclaim "pretty!" and twirl around and want to run to gain praise from her daddy when she is in her pajamas. Or when she first wakes in the morning and her hair looks like those precious babies from the pampers commercial. No, she has learned that hollering "pretty" and praising her beauty really only happens when we have fixed her hair and put on a pretty outfit.

Recently this thought has come over me: I am teaching my daughter the opposite of the gospel.

One of the most beautiful things about my salvation in Christ is that it has nothing to do with how pretty my life is or all the things I try to do to appear worthy of Him. It's actually quite the opposite. When I watch my daughter get so excited and run to show her daddy how pretty she is, I think "how great is it that this is not our relationship with the Lord".Can you imagine it? If everyday we had to go into another room, fix ourselves up until we feel worthy of His praise, and then run to the throne for his approval and acceptance. I know I would not be strong enough to keep that going. Daily I bask in the security I find in that my God sees me worthy of his Kingdom...thru Christ, NOT thru anything I have done or will do. I love this quote:

"You cannot do anything to make God love you less...but you also cannot do 
anything to make God love you more."

Unfortunately, in this broken world, unconditional love is most likely something she will never experience, separate from a relationship with the Lord. Even as her mommy, there will be times (tear) that I will disappoint her and cause her to have insecurities about my love for her. There will be times she feels like she has to perform a certain way in order to gain "more love" from me. It breaks my heart to even think of a day she feels that way. But I know that day will come.

My heart aches for her to bask in the security of feeling beautiful in Christ, whether she's in a new Belle princess gown or early in the morning when her hair is a hot mess. Oh how I yearn for my sweet Lindley Belle to know the unconditional love of God.

P.S. Don't worry - I will still continue to let Lindley Belle find joy in running to her daddy to show off her hair and outfit. Because I know from personal experience that 29 years from now, Lindley Belle will be stronger and more confident in herself because of her daddy telling her that she is beautiful. I would never take that away from her. A father's love for his daughter is a sacred don't mess with it! :)