Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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.  


Couldn’t We at Least Have a Good Football Season?

I had a bad day. I’m not going to lie–I was having a pretty good day until TCU lost to Oklahoma State. We played terribly. I know that shouldn’t affect me on such an emotional level. And maybe the fact that it does means I should quit watching football. But then I’d miss out on the good games, too.

I guess losing the game was just another ugly reminder that, no, things aren’t going the way I’d planned in this life. And, yes, I find that devastating.

I want to be positive and upbeat and trusting and patient and joyful. But I’m not right now. I’m on this mad crazy roller coaster and sometimes it drops suddenly.

When it drops I have a strong urge to punch a hole in the wall. I haven’t done it yet. I keep telling DH I want to do it. This is the conversation we had a few hours ago:

Me: I just want to punch a wall.

DH: Don’t. Punch a pillow.

Me: No. I want to put a hole in the wall.

DH: You won’t. You’ll just break your hand.

Me: Well, that would be nice. It would be nice to have something that could be fixed.

Pathetic, I know. But true.

This whole stepping away and recognizing I don’t have the ability to control even one tiny facet of what’s going to happen with our ability to have kids is so hard. I didn’t know I was so attached to the illusion that I could be in control of my life until that illusion was shattered so dramatically. I wish it had been shattered over something else. Almost anything else.

Praying for trust. And peace. Praying for joy. And, always, for healing. For us, and for you.

And, next time I post, I’ll try to post something a little more upbeat. I promise I’ll try.

PS I know joy is supposed to be unaffected by emotion and that I should be joyful even when I am sad. I’m having trouble with that in practice. I’m working on it.

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For Such a Time as This

I haven’t talked much about anything but infertility and how that’s affecting us here, but here’s a little backstory about how life doesn’t go according to our plans–with a little admission that sometimes those deviations from our plans for ourselves turn out to be better than we expect.

DH and I met in college. We were both economics majors. And his goal was to be an economics professor. He didn’t feel that his BS had prepared him sufficiently for the PhD, so we headed to DC where DH got an amazing job at the Federal Reserve Board–about the best possible place to work if you want to go to graduate school in economics.

He took one to two math classes at night each semester until he had the equivalent of a bachelor’s in math, too.

Last fall, he sent out applications. And we waited.

Believe me when I tell you that DH is an incredibly intelligent, hardworking, and dedicated person. His resume for grad school was top-notch and his recommendations were from some wonderful people in his field. I’m sure his recommendations were stellar, too. The only person I’ve ever known not to like my husband is a girl at his office who has complained that their boss shows him favoritism. What she calls favoritism most people would call respect for a job well done. 

By all accounts, DH should have been accepted into a great program with funding.

That didn’t happen.

With the wisdom that comes with time, we’d both tell you right now that the way our lives got rerouted was for the best. DH will tell you it’s a miracle he didn’t get into grad school. God brought us to Texas (where we’d both said we’d never choose to live), and DH went to school to study math full-time at A&M for a semester before he ended up getting his current job here in Houston. The job pretty much fell into his lap, and he loves it.

I guess all that should be helping us trust God in our current situation. I think it is helping, when I think about it. God hasn’t taken us on any wrong turns yet; He’s never let us down. But how easily I forget that he is in control, that he is guiding us and has been guiding us all along.

The whole grad school thing was hard for us, and it was hard for DH’s parents. It was hard for them (as it was for me) to see their boy deal with all those rejection letters. When it came time for us to go to A&M, DH and I had a lot of peace about it. After months of anxiety about what we were going to do, the day DH sent his application in to A&M the anxiety was lifted. I don’t think his parents had that same peace at the time. It took them a few months–maybe until DH got the unexpected job offer–to really come to terms with the new direction our life was going.

When we told his parents about our infertility struggles, I know they were wondering why God would put us through something so devastating so soon after the last difficult test. We were wondering too, honestly.

Yesterday I got this e-mail from my MIL. I’m glad she’s feeling better about things, and I found her words encouraging. Her e-mail is a good reminder that God is sovereign and he’ll see us through this.

I have just got to tell you guys that my whole thinking on the [infertility] matter has taken a turn. . . . Now, instead of questioning God, I am thanking him for orchestrating the moments and details of your lives to get you here into Houston for this time in your lives. The whole time we were wondering WHY? about the grad school business and the econ professor path . . . He knew that you needed to be here; in Houston; . . . a location that is monetarily beneficial, in a good-paying job. God didn’t wish this [infertility] stuff on you, but knew about it (since he knew all about you before you were born), and he has orchestrated your life with perfect precision to get you right where you need to be . . . for such a time as this!

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 (I know this was so she could free her people, but I do think it applies here too).

Lately I’ve been feeling better about our infertility. I’m glad DH’s mom is feeling better, too. I tend to forget that this IF thing affects our families, too. It’s such a deep personal issue that it’s hard to see how other people we care about are also hurting and questioning why we’re going through this.

I still have some really terrible days, but on the whole I feel more at peace with what we’re dealing with. I’d still like that miracle healing, and I am so hopeful that we will be able ot have biological kids. But I’m okay with where we are right now. Ask me tomorrow and I might scream and yell and cry, but today I’m doing well.

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What Is God’s Will? (A Gloomy Post)

I’m feeling down today. I am thankful that I have had a few days (weeks?) of feeling pretty peaceful about everything, but today I feel gloomy. I guess that’s your fair warning–it’s a gloomy and fussy post and you don’t have to read it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s will and answers to prayers and trying to understand why anyone has to go through this.

In my Bible study, we’re studying I John. This week I was struck by I John 5:14-15

And this is the confidence we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

So is it simply God’s will that we cannot have children naturally?

A couple of weeks ago, the verses that stuck out to me were
I John 3:21-22

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.

The commandments are straight forward enough (and I know I do not keep them perfectly, but I do try), but how do we know “what pleases him”? Could it be that what pleases him is for me to be childless?

I have always been a big believer in prayer, and I still am. As a child I saw prayers answered in ways I never expected and for things that seem trivial to me now. And I suppose our prayers for healing could have been answered already, but we have no immediate way of knowing. That probably sounds like a silly thing to some people, but I do believe that if God wants to enable us to get pregnant naturally, he has the power to make that happen.

In all this, I’m starting to wonder if he even wants us to have children.

The desire of my heart for as long as I can remember was to be a mom. I am really struggling to understand why I should have such a strong desire if it is in conflict with God’s will for my life. I want to do God’s will, but I also am guilty of wanting God’s will to involve having children naturally.

I guess I know intellectually that God wants what is best for me and that he still may decide to grant this desire of my heart, whether naturally or through ART or something else. But there’s this tiny nagging voice in my head saying the reason we can’t get pregnant is because we wouldn’t be suitable parents, because God doesn’t trust us to raise one of his precious children.

And I can’t decide if this is a test of perseverance–I just need to keep hoping and trying and doing what I can–or a message from God that I need to get over it and move on with my life, that being a parent is not what he had in mind for me. I guess it could be something in between. And it could be just that it’s my turn to face a little bit more adversity.

I’ve probably gone off the deep end a little here, and for that I apologize, but what good is this blog if I can’t think out loud in this place?

UPDATE: I found this really lovely article that is helping me process some of the things I’ve blogged about in this post. It’s here. I’m also reminded again of Job 13:15: “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.” I guess what I take from that is that I am going to keep asking. I don’t know what God’s will is, but I will keep asking him for healing.

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Praise Him in This Storm

There’s a song I’ve sung along with countless times on the Christian station and in church. It’s “Praise You in This Storm,” by Casting Crowns. As you might have guessed, a major theme of the song is praising God even when everything in life seems to be going wrong. Before we were officially infertile, I sang this song and I believed I meant it. I thought, you know, I haven’t had many storms in this life, but I would absolutely praise God through any difficulty and hardship. No question.

Well, turns out theory isn’t always carried out in practice.

When we first found out what our issue was, we were (of course) devastated. But we thought surely it was fixable. When we found out it wasn’t fixable, I got angry. And I was angry with God. I’ve been faithful, haven’t I? I mean, intellectually, I know I don’t deserve anything, I’m not owed anything, but why would God do this to us?

Did God not say, “Be fruitful and multiply”? Did he not create man and woman in such a way as to be able to bear children? And did not God give me the desire to be a mother–give us the desire to be parents? Infertility feels like such a cruel punishment because it is like we are less than. We have been deprived of something that naturally belongs to each person. It is a dysfunction in the body that by all accounts should not happen.

And so when we pray for this miracle, for the healing we need to conceive naturally, I have a tendency to think: we are standing on firm ground here. We don’t deserve special treatment, but surely we do deserve to be whole in body, right? Like I am making my case to God.  (There is a precedent for this: Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.”)

But here I find I have no ground to stand on at all. I can’t argue that I deserve anything from a God who already has given me something I absolutely did not deserve and never could earn. And if he has decided that we should deal with infertility, than I hope we will survive it in a way that glorifies him. That’s intellectual, though. I’m not sure I’ve internalized it.

I teach a Bible study to home-schooled elementary students, and I have the blessing of working with several other godly women in that venture. One of them, Ann, lost her husband four years ago. We were talking (I don’t remember the context) and she said, “I never asked God for the gift of widowhood. In fact, I didn’t want it. But it is a gift from God.” I can’t really wrap my mind around it, but I know it applies here. I know that infertility is, in some way yet unknown to me, a gift from God. I don’t want it. I’d like him to take it back today.

I do hope for a miracle. DH and I pray every night for complete healing–supernaturally or by the scientific advancements with which God has blessed us. We pray that we would be able to conceive naturally. But I also pray for contentment. I pray that infertility is something that came into our lives for a reason. I pray our infertility will glorify God.

I pray for the strength to praise him in this storm.