Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Unexpected Blessings

Our God is amazing. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And I love how he blesses us in ways that he knows we will appreciate–even when we haven’t asked for a specific blessing.

DH and I are in the process of selling our house. That is, we have our house on the market and are waiting for God to send the right people, the ones he wants in our neighborhood, to come and buy it. We’re sad to be leaving our house, because, frankly, we really love it. But the location just doesn’t work with seminary night classes and a baby on the way. We need a place closer to school and closer to DH’s office so he will be able to come home in time to watch our little blessing before I need to head to class.

We don’t need to move now, but we’ll need to move by this time next year–or else we’ll be tracking down babysitters for short time frames to cover the gap.

We received our first offer on the house on Friday. It’s exciting and a little overwhelming to think this move might actually be happening. If the perspective buyers accept our counteroffer, we need to find a place to live. Quickly! And although there are not any houses we’re interested in buying in the neighborhood we’re looking at, I feel completely at peace about the possibility that when we move, we may be moving into something temporary, instead of buying a new house.

Or, God may provide a perfect house for us at the perfect moment (I hear his timing is perfect). Either way, I’m not worried. Which is, in itself, a clear gift from God that I didn’t specifically pray for.

And it’s still possible these folks will decide this isn’t the house for them. They could reject our counter and walk away. They will have a 10 day option period, from which they could walk away. They could run into financial issues that prevent them from closing and leave us back where we started. And maybe no one else will come to make an offer on the house before we take it off the market at the end of September (I’d prefer to move pre-baby, sure. But not particularly close to my due date). But I know it’s in God’s hands.

Orchid on my bathroom counter

Oddly, I was reminded that God is taking care of this by an orchid I purchased for our master bathroom counter. It’s a really pretty plant, with two flowering spikes adorned by pale pink flowers that almost look vintage. I’ve been enjoying it since we put our house on the market about a month ago. But one of the spikes is starting to lose its flowers. And I was reminded, when we heard news of the offer on Friday, that when I had purchased the orchid I had thought to myself that it would be nice not to need another one before we got this place sold.

And, it looks like we may not. Again, contingent on whether we actually get under contract or not–but still: another blessing I didn’t specifically request.

I think it’s great to be very clear with the Lord and let him know what you’re wanting. And sometimes he says yes, and sometimes he says wait, and sometimes he says actually, I have something else, something better in mind.

But I love that the Lord chooses to bless us sometimes when we haven’t asked for anything. These little unexpected blessings can be easily overlooked or brushed aside. Or we can see them, recognize them, and then thank the Lord for his good provision and good gifts that we didn’t even articulate.

As I’m starting seminary today–my first class begins tonight at 6 p.m.–I’m glad to have the reminder that God is looking out for me even in ways I don’t think I need or don’t think to mention. And I trust he is looking out for you, too. I pray this school year will be an excellent one for all who are heading to class or watching loved ones go back to school. And that we will better notice those blessings from the Lord we never expected.

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Hope in 2014

Sixty-five years ago today, DH’s grandparents said “I do.” We celebrated Grandpa’s 90th birthday just after Thanksgiving. He and Grandma have been through a lot. They’ve traveled the world, they’ve buried a daughter. Grandma walks some four miles a day and Grandpa had no qualms about standing with one foot on a ladder and one on a bookshelf as he held nail-gun aloft to help install shelving in our study in November. But we are so grateful for the example they have given us about marriage. I don’t know that they are always happy, but they have built a marriage that lasts and I hope we can follow their example.

Thirty-one years ago today, DH’s parents said “I do.” It was kind of an accident that DH’s mom and dad wed on the same day as Grandpa and Grandma. They wanted to get married over the Christmas holidays, and DH’s dad, who really pays no attention to tradition, had apparently never realized December 31 was his parents’ anniversary. When my mother-in-law picked the date, Grandma made no complaint. I’m not really sure when my MIL found out she was going to share an anniversary with her in-laws, but I think it was too late to change the day when she did. I’m so glad to have my in-laws in my life. They have been supportive and kind, and I know I won the in-law lottery. And I’m grateful for their example of what a marriage should be. They honor and love and support one another and treat each other with respect. I hope we will be like that when we’ve been through 31 years together!

Grandpa was named after his father; DH’s dad is the third, and DH is the fourth. While my father-in-law isn’t big on tradition, my husband really is. And so I knew the date we’d get married before DH had even proposed. Six years ago today, we said “I do.” And it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

My husband is my best friend. He has proven that he will do everything in his power for me. He has not left me to deal with infertility on my own, but has stood beside me, sometimes even googling right along with me. He’s supported my writing and celebrated with me when I’ve hit blogging milestones. He even gave me a day at the spa when I published my 100th post a few weeks ago. He’s cried with me at our loss and looked forward with me in the hope that we will someday–we hope soon–have children in our home. He goes with me in our nursery each night to pray and lift our requests and our hurt and our cries for understanding to God. He has strengthened me in my faith walk and he helps me be my best self. I don’t know where I would be without him.

And I look at him and hope, oh how I hope, that God will bless us with a child. With a child to carry on the heritage that we have received from his grandparents and from his parents. Maybe even with a son to carry on his name. What a gift that would be for this man who loves tradition. It’s not a gift I can give him, but I keep praying.

I had hoped last year that it would be our last anniversary as two. It wasn’t. But you know what? It’s okay that it wasn’t. God will bless us in his time. We do head into this new year with hope that maybe this will be our last anniversary as a family of two. But maybe it won’t be. But if I’m going to be in a family of two, I am so very glad to be in this one. Thanks be to God.

The traditional gift for the sixth anniversary is iron. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” I have no doubt that DH has sharpened me in the years we’ve been together. And I believe he will continue to strengthen me and make me a better person for the years we have to come. May there be many.

God bless you all as we wave goodbye to 2013. Here’s to a 2014 of blessings and joy for all.


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Asking, and Still Asking

Do you ever feel a little bit phony?

I’ve been riding a bit of an infertility roller coaster lately. I guess it’s been for the past few weeks, maybe even over a month. I am just so ready to be on the other side of this. So ready.

I think I’ve also reached a place where I think I’ve learned my lessons. Yes, I’ve been blessed in a number of ways by infertility, not least of which is getting connected to some absolutely wonderful men and women who are sitting in this boat with me–or who have been. I’ve grown closer to God and to my husband. I’ve seen intimacy increase in both relationships in ways I never expected. I know I’ve gained a new appreciation for what I’m missing, that I’ll be more joyful and slower to complain when things are tough in pregnancy or after. And I’ve benefited in some tangible ways: I eat better (or at least know better and try to), I’ve eliminated some potentially and actually harmful substances from my skin care routine. I’ve begun some new habits that will hopefully help my house run a bit smoother once I get them all down. And these are all things that will be good for my coming children.

I wouldn’t take it all back. Really I wouldn’t. I’m grateful, honest-to-goodness grateful for the journey that has led me here. But have I learned enough yet? Because I really, really am so ready to move on.

And the phoniness? It comes out on here sometimes, when I want to look like I have things more together than I really do. Mea culpa. Seriously. And I feel it when I’m with the people who don’t know. The ones who ask me, at my Bible study, “How are you?” with that look that says, “I know there’s something hurting you” or “Are you really okay?” or “No really, tell me, how are you?”

And I’m so grateful to have these women who ask me with depth. They know. I know some of them know. I’m 29, I’ve been married almost six years, I live in Texas, and I’m a stay at home wife. They know. But they don’t pry, they just keep asking, “How are you?” and meaning it.

And I keep deflecting. Like today, when I told a dear friend that, well, I have to get my house cleaned for DH’s grandparents who are coming to visit. I do need to do that, by the way. My house is a complete disaster. And I’m not exaggerating (though I really wish I was!). And I know why I’m not telling them, why I’m not exposing myself in that way and why we’re waiting. And I think we have some valid reasons not to tell, beyond just protecting ourselves. So I’m not actually rethinking that decision. Just, I guess, coming to terms with the feeling of phoniness that likes to sneak in.

And then, there’s God’s word. And I read it and I so want some of these things to be true for me specifically, but I don’t know how to take the promises specific to one person, or to one tribe, or to one time and place, and call them mine. I don’t know if they’re mine. And truthfully, the only thing that makes me want to say they are mine is because they line up so well with my will. But in my head I know that God’s will is best.*

And I’ll keep asking. And keep seeking. But I’m not yet claiming. I don’t know if I can, or should. So here I am, God, still waiting. Waiting to hear what your promises are to me. Hoping that, like infertility, having a child is a good gift you have in store for me. And waiting for this trial to end. Please let it end.

Sigh.

Keep on asking and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened.

Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking him!
(Matthew 7:7-11, AMP)

With family in town from now through Thanksgiving, I’m not sure how consistent I’ll be (they are staying with DH’s parents, or I know I wouldn’t be able to do much blogging). I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed lately–not by the blog, but by other things–and I am striving to find balance. So, if I’m quiet for oddly long periods, please don’t worry. I’ll be back. I might be back tomorrow. But I appreciate your patience.


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Modern Miracles?

I’ve been a negligent blogger lately. I guess if I want to over-analyze, it’s probably not a bad thing. I started the blog because I needed a space to write and air my grievances, a space to heal. And I needed to know I wasn’t the only person out here on this messed up ride called infertility. So the fact that I haven’t felt as compelled lately to post–well, I think it may indicate that my attitude has improved. And it has. The peace I mentioned in my last post apparently wasn’t just a momentary fluke, because I’m still feeling it.

My circumstances haven’t changed. We’re still waiting. And honestly, hoping and praying we’ll end up avoiding actually doing inferitlity treatments. It’s a long shot, for sure, but wouldn’t that be amazing? And I know nothing is too difficult for the LORD.

All this has had me thinking lately about miracles and answered prayers. How many miracles do we ignore completely? How many answers to prayer do we miss because we’re too caught up in the day to day? This season of infertility has called our attention more and more toward how God is moving in our lives all the time, in ways we maybe wouldn’t have called out or mentioned before.

It has been amazing to grow through this difficulty with my best friend. I’ve watched his faith deepen throughout the past several months. He’s thanking God for things I don’t think he would have seen God’s hand in even six months ago. He’s taking more leadership for our family as the spiritual head of our household. I have a tendency to step in and take over, infringing on his leadership, but I’ve been praying that would change, and that DH would really be the spiritual leader of our house. Another answer to prayer?

And little tiny things–like how DH’s car passed its inspection this weekend despite having an indicator light on that best estimates suggest will require a $1000 fix we just can’t afford right now. And how our first two rounds of medicine were free because the insurance company and/or the pharmacy messed up and told us they were covered 100 percent, and they actually went by what they told us despite the fact that it should have cost $500+ each time. And how they billed our most recent round of meds as a $20 copay (by the grace of God!).

There are everyday little things that may seem insignificant, but it is so nice to be reminded that God has not forgotten us. He hears us and he cares about us. He’s in it with us and he knows how he will resolve things for us. What an incredible relief!

Ultimately, it’s a reminder that I’m a benefactor of the ultimate miracle: that God loved me enough to find a way to pay the cost of my sin. Forgiveness: What a miracle.

Miracles really do happen all the time. I pray that I won’t be blind to them in my life. And that seeing miracles–both those that affect me directly and others’ answers to prayer–will strengthen my faith that God is, absolutely, beyond any doubt, able to work the miracle of children in my life should he choose. And if not, it’s not because of any lack on his part. It’s because he has something better planned.

Praise God. The God who heals and hears and IS.