Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Out of My Head, into My Heart

I’m not a very emotional person–at least compared to other women I know. I live my life through my head. It’s hard–so hard–for me to get things into my heart.

I think sometimes this means I’m not a very compassionate person. I struggle with sympathy, not to mention empathy.

People talk about feeling someone’s pain so deep that it feels like it’s their pain. Or seeing something beautiful and just feeling this little twinge of emotion that flows up like something real and tangible.

Not me.

Like a white-washed tomb–my heart felt empty and unmoved inside this body.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires

One of the biggest struggles I’ve had through infertility is convincing my heart that what I believe in my head is true. I’ve called this the head knowledge-gut faith disconnect.

And one of the biggest blessings of infertility is that my heart seems to be working better. Like infertility is the hammer that has broken my heart open and at the same time knocked down the walls I’d built around it. The feeling is coming back, empathy and compassion are slowly seeping in. Not perfect, but gradually coming to life within me.

Outside Recoleta Cemetery,  Buenos Aires

That opening up makes me hurt more. Opening up lets in the good with the bad, the pain with the joy, the heartache with the peace. And it is what enables me to trust that what God says is true, that God is who he says he is. That God is everything to me. These weren’t possible with my hardened, sealed up heart.

So today, my heart is aching. Aching for one of my only “real life” friends who is dealing with this infertility mess. Her embryo didn’t make it in her first IVF transfer.

And she says she is struggling with this same head knowledge-gut faith disconnect right now.

Praying for her today. For her faith and trust in God. For peace and strength. And for beauty in the pain of death.

And thanking God that he has used infertility for my good and his glory. That I can be there for my friend because of where I’ve been and where I’m going.

I may have picked a different road in life. But God knew where I needed to be today and how to get me here.

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Learning to Know God Intimately

God is really doing a work in me. While I have been neglecting my relationship with God, he is slowly, sweetly wooing me to an intimacy with him beyond my imagination.

Pelicans

When God wants to get a message across, I love how he does it over and over and over. Apparently he knows subtlety doesn’t work with me–or that this message is too important for subtlety.

And I can’t help but feel that I should be the one striving to have a relationship with God–not the other way around.  He does not need my friendship, there is nothing I can offer him, yet I am convinced there is nothing the Father would not do to woo me to himself.

From today’s reading in my One Year Bible (NLT), God repeated this relationship theme three times. These verses reinforce both how I need that relationship with God and why I am so very blessed to have the opportunity to be in a right and restored relationship with him!

As David is passing the kingdom to Solomon he gives this advice I needed to hear:

“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever” (I Chronicles 28:9).

And we have the privilege of having this relationship, as Paul writes:

“So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” (Romans 5:11).

And finally:

“Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone” (Romans 5:18)

What a beautiful reminder of the lengths God has gone to get to us. As blessed as I am by my friendships on this earth, how much more of a blessing it is to have the God of the Universe as a dear and intimate friend.


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Say Something–Even If It’s the ‘Wrong’ Thing

One of the most difficult things about infertility is the sense of isolation that goes with it. As much as I truly appreciate having this blog and the blogs I follow to remind me that I’m not alone, I find myself wishing I could open up more with people I know well and trust. So, the to-tell-or-not dilemma keeps popping up.

As I wrote here, I still don’t feel I know anyone here in Houston well enough to share this part of our life. Prior to last week, we had told my bridesmaids, our parents, and DH’s grandparents (I wrote about that one here).

Before we came to Houston, DH and I had a really amazing group of friends in DC. When we met, none of us had children. Now we’re the only ones who don’t. I miss them terribly. And I’ve been feeling lonely and isolated, I think in large part because I miss the community we left behind. And while I’ve tried to keep in touch, I feel like it’s hard to have a genuine conversation without telling close friends what we’re going through (even vaguely). I am tired of faking it and pretending everything is so great in our lives when there are many days that I struggle with the burden of infertility.

DH and I talked and decided it was time to tell our closest friends in DC. He sent an email to a selective group of people last week to ask for their prayers. He wrote that we are hoping to be able to do infertility treatments in the spring. And (I learned later) my dear husband, who loves me and wants me to be happy, specifically asked the ladies if they would email or call me to help lift my spirits. It was a wonderful gesture and I was excited to hear from my friends, who I miss anyway, and to know they were supporting us through this.

Well, there is a positive side to telling people. One of my dear friends in DC called immediately after she got the email. She just listened. She didn’t offer any platitudes and she agreed that it sucked. She really said all the right things and made me so happy that we told our friends. Another friend, who lives abroad now, emailed to set up a time that she could call me to talk. What a huge gesture!

And there’s a negative side to telling people. We got the expected, “you can just adopt,” from one friend. I’m okay with that. It’s a well-meaning response even if it isn’t particularly well informed or helpful. But a lot of my friends haven’t even responded. It makes me feel like maybe I was overvaluing those friendships.

I talked to my MIL about this, and she pointed out that perhaps they just don’t know what to say. I can understand that. If you’re reading this and you know someone who is grieving or sick or in pain in some way and you care about that person, it’s okay if you don’t know what to say. Say you are thinking of them. Say it sucks that they are going through this. Tell them you’ll pray for them or that you’re sorry this is happening. Shoot, tell them you don’t know what to say. But I would encourage you to say something. Even if it is the “wrong” thing, saying something will let your friend know that you acknowledge her hurt. That you care about her well-being.

I’ve heard it said before that in times of crisis you find out who your real friends are. I’m not sure I wanted to know.

PS I realize this post makes it sound like I’ve been really down lately. And, well, I have and I haven’t. I can say honestly that I’ve been feeling so grateful for the many blessings in my life, that this journey has helped bring me closer to God than I’ve been in years, and that I’ve learned a lot. I can also say that IF hasn’t been as all consuming lately as it was at first. I think the loneliness would be an issue even if we weren’t dealing with IF. And I think maybe I need to spend more time in the sunlight (literally). But on balance, I’m really doing okay.