Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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From Fall to 2015: So Many Blessings. So Much Joy.

I’m sitting at the table in our new kitchen, surrounded by boxes that need to be unpacked and papers to organize. It’s been a busy–often overwhelming–fall and winter, and as we get ready to start a new year, I’m feeling a little bit out of my league and simultaneously overjoyed.

God has been so good to us this year. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little one at the end of January (though not early, I hope, because there is still so much to do to prepare). I finished my first semester of seminary (which, I’m sorry to say, is what has kept me away from blogging these past months). We enjoyed season tickets to watch an awesome TCU season, with the great finale versus Ole Miss that ended just moments ago. (We had hoped to be in the playoffs, of course. But I’m glad we went out with a bang anyway). And we moved. We still have our other house and are hoping and praying it will sell quickly, but we are getting settled into our new house and already very much enjoying DH’s new commute; he’s spending about one-third as much time on the road to and from work now.

My pregnancy has been textbook, and I’m so grateful for that. I have no complaints about it–only joy. And I am hoping and wishing the same joy for all of you still waiting.

I took a break from blogging during the semester because I quickly came to the realization that I was taking too many classes (though not quickly enough to be able to drop any!). My dear husband has spent the past few months doing almost all the house maintenance, cooking, and generally supporting me and my many hours of study each week. I don’t know that I would have survived the semester without his help. I know I wouldn’t have eaten enough. Lesson learned, though: I won’t be taking so many hours again.

Despite the worklload, I enjoyed my first semester of seminary. I learned so much and have made some new friends. I love Greek. Which is good, because that’s why I chose the program I’m in. I’m grateful that God has led me to this school and program and I’m excited to see how he will use that in my life! I’m sure I’ll have more to write about seminary, and especially about some of the things I’ve learned in class, in the next few weeks.

I’ll post about our new house separately, too. It’s a tiny little 1950 house; a big difference from our brand new house in Katy, but so worth it for the improvement in our lifestyle!

And today is our seventh wedding anniversary. It’s the last one we’ll spend as a family of two. I’ve wanted that and hoped for that for the past few years, but looking back and knowng that this year really is the last one–I’m grateful. Grateful for the time DH and I have had together even while we were waiting. We’ve grown so much together, and grown closer to God together, and I am so grateful for this man who agreed to marry me and still loves me after these seven years. I am excited to have a partner to share my life with and hope we will happily grow old together! And I’m excited to see him as a daddy. I know he’ll shine in that new position!

It’s also DH’s parents’ anniversary, and tonight we’re going to have a meal together with them. It should be nice to share that time together.

I don’t know if I’ll make it to the ball drop. I’ve been getting tired early lately. There’s some chance I’ll get to the live NYC ball drop–since that’s at 11 my time.

As we get ready to begin our new year, I want to wish you all a very blessed 2015, a year for answered prayers and great joys. I have missed blogging. But I hope to be back and more consistent.

They had these signs on the door at Starbucks last spring. I took this picture a few days before we found out we were expecting. I have a thing for hot air balloons, and I liked the message; I think I saw in it some hope that there would be something new and unexpected and wonderful to say “yes” to. And there was. I hope the same is true for you and for us in 2015.

Say Yes to What's Next

Sending love and joy to all. Happy New Year.

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Finding Words

I’ve been trying to find the perfect words for this post, but I give up. The fact is, I’m pregnant. And, I’m over-the-moon excited that we’re going to have a little one in our home sometime in January.

But that’s not the full story. The full story includes that I’m still heartbroken for those of you dear ones still waiting. I’m praying for you. I’m waiting with you. I’m eager for you to experience your little miracles and your daily joys and your resolution in this trial.

The full story includes that it’s weird being infertile and pregnant. Like I don’t have any more street cred. Like the journey’s over (for now). Like I can’t know anymore what it’s like to be in the waiting room or going through treatments. And some of that is true. I know–barring a miracle–we’ll be going through treatments again someday, but that isn’t going to keep me from enjoying this pregnancy, this baby, this miracle growing inside me. I know what we’ve been through thus far was anything but trivial, and that the experiences we’ve had are not going to leave me. I know what it’s like to spend month after month hoping and finding those hopes dashed–but I also know that it’s worth it. That we’ve gotten there. That we’re making it through.

And I know what it feels like to be waiting. And waiting. I pray you’ll be on the other end of that soon.

As slow as all the waiting drags by, I thought I’d have time to enjoy pregnancy. To be happy and gloriously pregnant. But time switched to fast forward. And the first trimester is over before you’ve had a chance to fully realize that it’s started. And as you stare at 14 weeks–wasn’t it just 13 weeks yesterday?– you realize, you’re never going to get everything done. And a human being is coming. And that human will need things and time and love and–wow. I thought I had learned a lot in the waiting. Yet I find myself feeling completely unprepared. Inadequate. Unready as this miracle I want nothing more than to relish keeps speeding by.

Wishing a little fast-forwarding to all of you waiting. And that you’ll be here with me, soon, holding our babies and praising God for yet another everyday–or extraordinary–miracle.


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Blessed

So Mother’s Day happened. And I survived. Actually, it was much better than last year’s. DH got me some lovely flowers and a card signed with four paw prints from our fur-babies. And we’re going to see Jesus Christ Superstar in about a month–which was, I suppose, an easing the blow/maybe soon gift to take the edge off.

I seriously love  Jesus Christ Superstar. I know it doesn’t tell the whole story, but I grew up listening to the records–yes records–every year over Easter weekend. This year, DH and I spent Easter in Colorado on a mountaintop at sunrise. And it was magnificent. But I didn’t get to listen to the music. I am so touched at the thought he put into this gift on what can be such a very difficult day.

I think things were much improved this year because we have so much hope that our time is coming soon. It’s either that, or I’ve become really detached from our infertility. Or maybe a little bit of both.

Our infertility isn’t causing the stress, the emotional duress, or the feelings of disappointment lately. Maybe I’m in the “acceptance” stage of grief. Or maybe I’m back in denial–espeically since we are actively pursuing treatments right now and any month could be the month. Either way, I’m grateful for the stability, for the peace, and for not feeling particularly distraught on Sunday. It all feels like a few enormous steps forward for me. Sigh. Happy, peaceful sigh.

And, I’ve been a negligent blogger lately. Well, I could make excuses. I seem to be neglecting the blog more and more lately, and sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have anything worth saying again. I’m sure I will. Today’s post might not be it, but maybe the next one will. And if I keep posting I know two things to be true: 1. I’ll get back in the rhythm of the life I want to have and 2. the writing (and messages) will improve. And I so want that.

I also want to take some time this summer to make some improvements to this blog. This will involve posting more regularly, of course. And doing some research on interneting. And stay tuned for a new name and new look–hopefully soon.

I’m officially starting seminary this fall. It’s exciting and overwhelming and wonderful. I’m so looking forward to it–and I need to do a few things to get myself fit to return to school. That’s an aside. Because it’s an exciting anouncement and I make it on the heels of having done a serious amount of work to submit my application. But it feels weird to dedicate a post to it. So here. A little, tiny bit of Internet space.

I am feeling truly, completely, magnificenty blessed today. And I’m amazed to be able to feel this way in light of everything else. And so very, very grateful.

I hope this week is a joy-filled week for you. And I hope, also, that it marks my return to regular posting. Though I suppose only time will tell on that account.


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Rejoicing with Those Who Rejoice

Joseph, favorite son of Jacob, was sold into slavery by his own brothers. The motive? That boy was daddy’s favorite, and they were jealous. Murderously jealous. In fact, if a tribe of Ishmaelites hadn’t shown up at just the right time, the original plan was to kill the boy, their brother, the favorite son of their father.

It’s really a sad story. I can’t imagine being so totally rejected by my own brothers and sister. It would be heartbreaking.

But this story has a truly remarkable ending. Joseph is raised up among the Egyptians. He becomes the number two guy in all of Egypt and prevents the people from starving during a severe, seven-year famine.

He also finds himself in a position to make an important choice.

When Joseph’s brothers who sold him into slavery appear before him wanting to purchase food for their families, he could have repaid their evil with evil. He could have sent them away empty-handed, or sold them as slaves, or even had them killed. But he doesn’t.

Joseph forgives his brothers. Yes, he makes them jump through a couple of hoops and pass a few well-designed “tests” before he reconciles with them, but we don’t see him taking vengence or holding any kind of grudge against the men who kept him from his beloved father and baby brother for over twenty years.

***

So, one of the tests Joseph gives his brothers is to see if they continue in their jealousy. He has a feast prepared for his brothers, and he feeds them all more than enough food, but he gives to Benjamin–his full  brother, the baby of the family, and his father’s new favorite–portions five times bigger than he gives all the other brothers.

And the brothers don’t complain. If they are jealous or begredging Benjamin this bonus serving, they keep it to themselves this time. The difference in treatment brings out no apparent ill-will. Instead, the Bible says, the brothers drank and were merry.

***

As we discussed this story this morning at my Bible study, someone mentioned Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” And I found it so very intereting when she said, “It seems easy to find people who weep with us when we’re weeping–but how often do we actually rejoice with others who are rejoicing?”

There’s a funny thing with infertility and the infertility community that’s been bothering meI don’t want to be insensitive, but I feel this needs to be said. As people dealing with infertility–people who want to be pregnant or have children more than most–we have a tendency to complain about other people’s pregnancies. We whine and mope about seeing pregnant bellies while we’re in the grocery store or out to dinner. We cry about pregnancy announcements and pictures of babies and bumps on facebook. We talk about how hard it is to be around people who have what we want the most.

I wish I could claim innocence here, but I know I’ve been guilty too.

And we can sugar coat it all we want. One book I read said pregnant bellies were “grief triggers.” This book–with a Christian perspective–was arguing that it is perfectly fine to foster those feelings of disappointment and sadness when we see pregnant women or new babies.

But I think we go beyond “grief trigger” and quickly end up at jealousy. And it’s not fine. We shouldn’t be okay with those emotional responses.

Maybe we can’t help it. Our emotions sneak up on us and we aren’t really ever in control, right?

But maybe we should try.

Because you know what? I’m going to be one excited lady when I’m pregnant. I’m going to be praising God and smiling and joyful–even if I’m sick and tired and feeling bloated. And I’m going to hope that people will want to rejoice with me.

And I’m not a fan of double standards.

So I’m rejoicing with you while you rejoice, dear mama-to-be.

And I’m weeping with you while you weep, dear friend still waiting.

And I’m starting now.


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Dreaming of Superheroes

I’ll attach a superhero cape with his initials on it to his favorite t-shirt. Wrap it up in colorful paper and give it to him for his third birthday. When he wears it, he’ll know he can fly. He’ll know that stars aren’t out of reach for a superhero on a mission.

And we’ll giggle and play and laugh. And maybe sometimes put underwear on our heads or wear cowboy boots and tight pants. Maybe he’ll need a sidekick. A dog. Or a cat. Or a silly mom.

A girl can dream, right?

And the heroes that children want to be, and the things they think about, and the damsels that will need saving and the villains to vanquish. Maybe the day will come when that will be part of our days, when those stories and that imagining will fill our hours.

It’s not yet. And that’s okay. And it may not be soon. And that’s okay too. And maybe instead of superheroes, we’ll have princesses. And that’s definitely okay.

But today is a day for optimism and dreaming. A day to think about the joy that’s coming, and a day to sing about the joy I have already. I’m enjoying this day, but looking forward to what tomorrow might bring anyway.

TIME

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Hero.”

Five Minute Friday


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Existing in Real Life

I feel like this is the first day in over a week that I’ve been able to just be still.

I don’t know how I get so busy. I felt like I had so much time over the summer, and then as school started my schedule got more filled and, well, I think I had been taking the margins in my life this summer for granted.

But busyness isn’t all bad. I’m busy with fun things and fulfilling things. And if I hadn’t also been recuperating from a cold last week, I think I would have had more free time to write and do more of the things I love to do and feel called to do. (And maybe my floors would have a little less dog fur on them.)

I really wanted to write last week about getting to meet another blogger. I actually do exist in real life (though, full disclosure, Ria is just my blog name), and so does Caroline, an amazing and beautiful spirit-filled woman. I loved getting to share actual physical space with her and her lovely husband in their living room just over a week ago. If you haven’t seen her blog, I’d recommend stopping by In Due Time to see how God is moving in her life.

In-Due-Time

She and her husband were so welcoming! The boys mostly watched football while we talked about a lot of things, but mostly about what God is doing and teaching us in the midst of our trials. And we prayed together. Can I tell you? There are no words to describe how I felt God moving during that prayer.

And I’m so grateful that DH, who hasn’t really ever talked to anyone about this IF stuff in person outside of our parents, had the opportunity to be there with us.

It is amazing to see this couple’s faith in practice as they wait on God for an expected miracle. I just can’t wait to meet their baby (or babies!) whenever God brings them! What joy that day will be!

It was such an honor to be able to share a little real life with them. And it made me want more of it!

I’d like to extend the invitation to anyone who reads this little blog of mine, if you’re in the Houston area and craving a little “in real life” time, please feel free to e-mail me (fillmynest (at) gmail (dot) com) and we’ll see if we can’t set something up! I’d love to pray with you or just to talk. And if you’re not in Houston but want someone to talk to, e-mail me anyway!

And I am just reminded how very blessed I am to be living today and to have the ability to connect with so many beautiful people through the Internet. It’s hard to imagine going through this without the blog world and all the people who have blessed me through their posts and comments. Thank you all.

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus.
(I Corinthians 1:4)

To share these difficulties, and to one day share each other’s joys when our babies finally do come, is such a gift. And I am so very thankful.


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Don’t Call Me Infertile

I’m not an infertile anymore.

My circumstances have not changed. What’s changed is my emphasis. From the day of our diagnosis to a few months ago, my life revolved around and centered on infertility. If you asked me how I was doing, my first thought was about infertility and how it was ruining my life. My smiles were fake and plastered on when that was an appropriate response, but on the inside I couldn’t overcome my pain. I stopped wearing mascara to church because the praise and worship songs we sang would bring tears to my eyes–often out of despair and a feeling that God wasn’t extending his might and power and wonder to my situation.

More than anything, I wanted God to take this burden of infertility. I meant, of course, that I wanted him to reach down into our lives, heal us, make me pregnant. I wanted it to all go away. I still want our infertility to end, but God did take the burden. He took the burden of infertility and gave me peace in my circumstances. He let me know, in my gut, that he is in control and that his plan is better. He answered that prayer.

And that peace has been life-changing and life-giving. I wasn’t really living when I kept myself trapped in this negative, despairing world of infertility. Infertile isn’t exactly an inaccurate word to describe me, but it’s also not the word to describe me. And knowing that? It has made a huge difference in my feeling of self-worth, in my experience of true joy, and in my ability to give of myself to others. Praise God for this new freedom from the negative words I was using to keep myself down.

And I’m able to see that there have been ways infertility has blessed my life. Infertility has challenged me to deepen my trust in God and to give up on fear and worry. Because of infertility, my relationship with my husband has grown deeper. He has become a stronger spiritual leader, and I have learned to lean on him more. We have made (and are making) lifestyle changes that will make our home a better, healthier environment for us and any future children. We’ve learned a lot about how we handle extreme stress. And we’ve put our priorities in order. We have become more empathetic and compassionate for others. We still have a long way to go, and I still hope we will have biological children–even without needing ART–but there is no question we have grown from infertility.

When you ask me now how I am, infertility might not be the first thing that comes to mind. When you tell me that you’re pregnant, I can smile and feel genuinely happy about the new life growing inside you. (Okay, full disclosure: when you complain about your pregnancy–well, I’m still working on an appropriate response to that.) And when I’m singing worship songs I may still tear up–but it’s more likely out of joy and awe of my great God than despair.

So who am I? I’m a Christ-follower. I’m a woman. I’m a wife. I’m {hopefully} a future mom. I’m a blogger and a copyeditor. I’m a small group leader. I’m a child of the one true King.

And I love this song by Matthew West that reminds me of what’s true.