Tag Archives: infertility

The Journey of Your Birth

Toddler And Mom FeetOn this day five years ago, you came into our world.

You came, your birth much like that of the brother before you. In fact, you even looked much like the brother before you. But the moments that led up to your birth were special. Unique. Refining.

Your journey– my journey– was littered with frustration, heartache, and tears.

You see, my son, you were not easily conceived.

God made me– us– wait for you.

As much as my heart longed to see you, my body longed to carry you, my arms longed to hold you, we had to wait.

So many medical questions, so many fears, so many unanswered prayers. So much misunderstanding. So much longing.

That longing became my focus. That longing became my reason for living. The longing consumed me.

But the longing was only the tool. That longing was changing me, shaping me, refining me.

I had a choice in that longing– let it destroy me or let it push me to the One who destroys all fear.

In that longing I sought God’s face in a way I never had before in my life. I sought to know the One who would send his own child to die for me, when all I wanted was another child of my own.

In that longing I looked for his beauty. In that longing I wanted to know Him, to understand him in a way I never had before. I wanted to truly see His face for the first time in my life.

That longing became desire, not only for a child to fill my arms and make your brother a sibling, but to seek a God who reigns– a God worthy of being glorified.

And I found Him. Oh yes, precious boy, I found Him. Bible Verse Nursery Print 1 Samuel 1:27. $10.00, via Etsy.

I found Him in the frustration. I found him in the pain. I found him in the longing. I found him in the doctor’s negative news and in my own hopes.

I found Him. I found the God I had always known but never experienced. And then He gave us you.

On this day five years ago I celebrated the desires of my heart. I celebrated your birth, your beautiful entrance into this world.

I celebrated a relationship with a God more loving than I could have ever imagined. I celebrated not just because he had answered my prayer, but because on the long path to the answer, he revealed himself to me. Because for the first time in my life, I truly felt His presence.

And five years later I celebrate still. For in bringing you to our family God almighty has given me a glimpse of heaven. He has given me a glimpse of the eternal and made me yearn for it in a way I never had before.

You, the boy before you and the boy after you are the greatest gifts I could have ever been given. God knew I wanted you, but that I needed HIM.

You are a gift, my beautiful son. A gift from a God who yearns to know us, to take our pain and replace it with joy, to be glorified in our journey. You are a gift from a God who wants to be known and experienced.

In the five years since you came into this world my prayer has been that my life, your life, the lives of your father and your brothers, would be pleasing to God. That we would glorify Him.

You will face trails of many kinds. You will face joys and heartaches, many expected, many an unwelcome surprise.

But know this, my precious one, your very life is proof that the journeys He allows, the ones with the twists and turns, with moments we can use to refine us, with moments where we must choose between leaning on our own understanding or praying for the divine inspiration of the Eternal; those journeys reveal the perfection of Christ. In those moments he reveals his very character. And in those revelations, we see His glory. And once we’ve seen it, it is all we will long for.

I would not trade one moment of my journey. For bringing me to that moment of your birth brought me a greater understanding of The One who loves me most and the sacrifice he made for me.

And he loves you.

He loves you enough to refine your parents through the journey that brought you here.

Happy Birthday, my courageous, spontaneous, mischievous, loving, snuggly little man. My love for you knows no bounds and I thank God for you.

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Filed under Infertility, The Christian Walk

How To Survive a Season of Waiting

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Remember when you were little and all you wanted was to get older?

Maybe you couldn’t wait to drive. Or go to college. Or vote. Or get your first “real” job. Or get married.

When I was little I couldn’t wait to turn thirteen. It wasn’t until I turned thirteen that I would be allowed to get my ears pierced. For years I anticipated that day–I waited on it like it was going to be the greatest day of my life.

I was not patient, either. I begged my parents to allow me to get my ears pierced long before my thirteenth birthday. I pleaded. I offered to do extra chores or never do anything wrong again for the rest of my life (that was a mighty offer when I was ten). I. could. not. wait.

My ears were pierced on my thirteenth birthday, just as my parents had promised, and I was overjoyed. I also immediately found a new “something” to have to wait on. Life is a series of waiting games.

My seasons of waiting are now centered around more serious issues, and the periods of waiting are much, much longer and seem more difficult to manage.

waiting_roomWe wait on things daily. We buck against the system of waiting, whether it be in a doctor’s office, at an airport, or even receiving a piece of snail-mail.

In our society of instant gratification, we’ve become accustomed to getting what we want with speed. We shave time off of waiting in every possible way we can find.

But there are some seasons in our life where shortening our waiting time is impossible. The season of waiting is, in itself, out of our control.

Have you faced a season of waiting? I certainly have.

I’m waiting now. Some things I’m waiting for seem trivial while others are life-changing.

I’m waiting for this baby weight to come off.

I’m waiting for my first publishing contract.

I’m waiting for God to answer several prayers about very important life issues.

My husband has recently gone through a season of waiting–one that has been really trying.

The most difficult season of waiting that I’ve ever experienced was certainly when I went through my struggles with infertility. There is nothing–and I mean nothing— that is as difficult as having ZERO control over a situation and it’s outcome.

But this isn’t a post about control.

So what shouldphotographer we do in a season of waiting? Pray for more patience? You know what they say about praying for patience…

Seasons of waiting can be made more bearable when we change our focus.

1. Forget about passive patience and focus on active perseverance.

We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never let us down. Romans 5: 3-4 (NIrV)

“…the strength to go on.”  In a season of waiting, the best thing we can do is keep moving. Instead of sitting around, putting our lives on hold until we receive the answers we seek, we must forge ahead and live, enjoying each precious day as it comes. Seeking the joy that comes in the little moments of each day will encourage hope. So keep going, friends. Instead of putting your life on hold, get out there and do. You won’t regret the memories, relationships, and experiences you’ll have while you wait.

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:36

2. Focus on the lesson. Seasons of waiting don’t come upon us simply to teach us patience alone. 99.9% of the time there is another lesson imbedded in the wait– we must identify it and learn from it. As our bodies grow and change over time, so must our hearts.

I have no doubt that my seasons of infertility and all the trials and anguish that came with them were meant to teach me about control. (Mostly that I have none.) The soul-searching that I did, seeking answers as to why I couldn’t get pregnant and when God might answer my prayers about adding to our family, led me to the blinding realization that although I was a follower of Jesus Christ, I had never truly given him complete control over my life. I’m a different person now than I was just five short years ago– like the potter molding the clay, he changed me through that season of waiting. I thank God for it now.

 3. Thank God for this season. That’s right, I said it. Be thankful. I’m sure you are stressed. I’m sure you’re exhausted. I’m sure you’re frustrated and annoyed and tired and maybe even ready to give up. You should also be thankful. A thankful heart is a happy heart (sorry to quote the Veggie Tales here, but it’s appropriate) and a happy heart is an open heart. An open heart is one ready to receive the blessings of the Lord however they may come.

4. Put the focus on helping others. When time moves like a John Deere tractor on a freeway, the best way to survive is to focus our energies on helping others. Something happens when put our effort into doing for others. Not only are we active, but our emotions are no longer solely trained on our own problems. Helping others not only passes the time, it lifts our spirits and develops an attitude of outward concern instead of inward frustration.

5. Focus on praying. Make your prayer life not only about whatever issue has caused your season of waiting, but about how you can pray for others. The same with doing things for others, pray for others. Develop an attitude of seeking God’s response in your prayer life, not just listing all the issues you might have. Pray not for patience, but for perseverance and strength of character (Romans 5:3-4). Pray not just for an answer, but for what lessons you can learn during your season of waiting.

6. Focus on the promise. The promise is that no matter what your issue or how long your season of waiting, God will answer (Hebrews 10:36). Whether or not you receive the answer you seek is up to Him, but he will respond. Until then, you need to prepare.

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

When we give ourselves over to the Lord, completely focusing on Him, when we seek him with our whole hearts and yearn to understand his word, our will conforms to his will— he will give us the desires of our hearts because our hearts will seek only him. It’s an amazing, beautiful thing.

7. Focus on preparation. Be mentally prepared– get in The Word. Seek God’s truth and his answers. The Bible is the only book that’s got everything we’ll ever need.

Be physically prepared– exercise is good for you, not just because of what it does for your body, but what it does for your mind and spirit. I’m sure you’ve heard that exercise releases endorphins, and those endorphins will help you feel better. Exercise has tons of benefits, and taking care of our bodies honors the gift of life God gave us.

Be emotionally prepared– God has three answers to our prayers– yes, no, and maybe (or in this case, keep waiting). No matter what answer we get, when we do the things listed above, focusing our attentions on things other than our own season of waiting, we can prepare our minds and hearts to receive his answer.

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Waiting is difficult. Waiting can destroy our faith, if we allow it. But shifting our focus during that season of waiting can change us into the person God wants us to be– which might be the reason for the whole season of waiting to begin with.

Share with me: What truths did God reveal to you during a season of waiting?

Real Signature

Love this song from John Waller– sums up waiting perfectly. (Video from the movie Fireproof.)

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Filed under Infertility, The Christian Walk, Uncategorized

Building a Family the Non-Traditional Way– A Guest Post from Katie Ganshert

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I don’t remember the exact details of how Jennifer and I met, I just know that writing brought us together. We started emailing back and forth and soon discovered we had many things in common.

One being that we both struggled with secondary infertility.

Like Jenny, I was able to get pregnant with our son, who is now four, without any problems. My husband and I took for granted that we’d be able to have another. But after a year and a half of trying, we started to realize that maybe it wasn’t going to happen.

With every negative pregnancy test and every day Brogan got older and every time well-intentioned people asked, “When are you going to give that son or yours a little brother or sister?”, the vision I had for our family began to fade. I won’t lie. The fading was painful.

At the time, I didn’t understand why we couldn’t conceive. There was no medical explanation for it. On paper, we should have been able to get pregnant. So why wasn’t it happening?

Here’s what I’m learning about God:

He doesn’t just close a door to close a door. He closes a door in order to open another.

For us, that other was adoption.

It wasn’t a coincidence that as we struggled with infertility, God kept bringing people into our lives who were adopting. It wasn’t a coincidence that eight years before, for no apparent reason, I wanted to move to Africa so I could love on kids in orphanages all day. It wasn’t a coincidence that God gave me a husband with a tender, tender heart for the helpless and the hurting.

He’d been preparing me to say Yes long before I ever knew adoption was on the table.

So we did. We said yes.

I’ve been paper pregnant for 17 months now, with at least six months left to go.

It hasn’t been easy. In fact, it’s been incredibly hard.

But I’ve experienced first-hand how very much God meets us in the hard. He’s present through it and He has a purpose for it.

He has used the agonizing waits and the endless paperwork and the strain of finances and the ups and downs that inevitably come with adoption to bring forth a fierce, uncompromising love for a child who’s not even mine yet.

He has used this crazy journey to infuse an emotional intimacy in my marriage that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.

He has used the heartache and the unknown to draw me closer and closer to Him.

And I can honestly say, no matter how hard it’s been, that there is no other path I’d rather be on than this one.

If you’d like to join us on this path, you can! We are in the process of raising the rest of the funds we need to bring this precious child home from DR Congo. All that’s involved is a puzzle, a sharpie, and 500 willing hearts. 385 have stepped up so far. Might you considering being one of the 115 remaining? For $10, you can sponsor a piece of our little one’s adoption puzzle (see photo above!!). We will write your name on the back and when the puzzle is complete, we will frame it in double-sided glass and hang it in our child’s room—a beautiful testimony to just how loved and wanted this little one was.

We have 115 pieces left to go! All donations are tax-deductible.

Please shoot me an email (ganshertadoption@gmail.com) if you’d like to donate!

Let’s Talk: What unexpected doors has God opened in your life?

headshot-1-e1332716813182Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the Midwest, where she writes stories about finding faith and falling in love. When she’s not busy plotting her next novel, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels. She and her husband are in the process of adopting from the Congo. You can find her online at her blog and on Facebook.

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Filed under Family, Infertility