Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


Time Flies

He’s one. Almost thirteen months. And the time has soared by. And he’s nursing less and less and needing nourishment and cuddling from me physically. And I know that special relationship we have is coming to an end. And I am okay with that mentally, but emotionally I’m a wreck.

And the demands of school are sometimes overwhelming. I can’t finish my homework. It’s always hanging over me like a dark cloud or a nagging parent. And I sit and read and study and look up Greek words and puzzle over Hebrew verbs while my son keeps growing, changing, and wanting more attention.

And today was his first day at a “preschool” (which is really just daycare, right?) and I got a lot of homework done, but it will be a while before I’m caught up. I got to see him for about two hours today: getting ready in the moring and driving to his school and then after school to drop him off with his daddy so I could go to class. I missed that little guy so much today.

And it’s weird how time flies by these days, when the days before we were expecting, when we were still yearning, sometimes seemed to simply drag on for weeks and weeks. Why is time seemingly so out of balance? Why are the moments we want to hold on to the most the ones that seem most fleeting?

And it’s weird, having your heart beat in someone else’s chest.

And especially weird when that heartbeating is happening in some other place than where you are.

And he’ll go back to preschool on Thursday. A school full of love, where they are speaking Spanish and playing and doing interesting art projects and eating healthy food. But I don’t like sharing him all that much–so far.

The hope is that two days a week for me to do my homework will be enough so that I can focus on him on the other days. And in that way, the time we do have together should be quality time, right?

I won’t be caught up after Thursday, so it may take a little while to see the fruits of the plan. In the meantime, well, I suppose life goes this way sometimes.


And for some reason it’s no surprise to me that I haven’t written since August. I haven’t really felt motivated to write–except in my baby journal, which I can hardly keep up with. And I haven’t felt I have the time for it.

And tonight I’m thinking about all my friends out there who are so longing to have that heartbeat in someone else, that one they’ll grow and love on and give everything for. The one that will hurt so much to be apart from for a day. And I am sending some sweet thoughts and prayers your way tonight.

And remembering that I am so very blessed. In the mess and in the emotional roller coaster and in the husband who puts up with me and my crazy and in especially my little boy who likes to play in the dirt.


Who’s Serving Whom?

A few days ago I watched an episode of the remade Upstairs, Downstairs. It’s really just a poor girl’s Downton Abbey–something to fill the time while I’m working on knitted and crocheted gifts for the baby shower I’m going to next weekend. But this morning as I was laying in bed, half-waking, half-praying, I suddenly had this picture in my mind like I was the lady of the house and I was speaking to the people I’ve hired to do my beck and call–my servants.

This picture came as an overlay to my prayer. And I suddenly realized that I wasn’t praying, I was listing a litany of requests that I wanted to have filled.

The next thought  came swiftly on the first: Do I treat God as though he is my servant?

Of course, the relationship should go the other way. I should be striving in everything to serve God, my Master–which is a synonym for Lord–my leader, my guide. I am not the boss. God is the boss. I don’t even know where I’m going this afternoon; God knows every step I’ll ever take.

Yesterday afternoon, I was listening to the radio and the broadcaster was talking about sheep that live in his town. These sheep are apparenty moved from pasture to pasture around the town on a regular basis. And he said that as he was driving by the sheep he was thinking about how the Bible often compares us to sheep and Jesus or God to our shepherd. And he said, you never see one of these sheep stand up on its hind legs and tell the other sheep, “Hey, I’ve figured it all out. Follow me!” No. Instead, the sheep just sit there, mindlessly really, grazing on the good grass their shepherd took them to. They don’t even know where they are–all they know is that food has been provided for them.

If we think of ourselves as sheep under an all-loving and all-knowing shepherd, our prayer requests may come across as almost foolish. Imagine the sheep trying to tell the shepherd where it wants to go, how to get to the best pasture, the source of the water it wants to drink. The sheep doesn’t know these things. Instead, he relies fully on the shepherd to lead him and meet all his needs.

Now, this could be scary. In theory, the shepherd could be a wicked shepherd. He coud be leading the sheep to certain death just to satisfy his own evil desires. But a good shepherd would never do such a thing. Even in situations that a sheep might find confusing or frightening–like being sheared, perhaps–the shepherd knows exactly what he’s doing and why.

Praise God that he is the good shepherd. There is no wickedness or evil intent ever in the steps he lays out for us. We may stray, but he only loves us, only wants what’s truly best for us.

How much better would it be to unite myself more fully with the Father as my shepherd instead of viewing him as my equal–or worse, my servant? Why should I bother with a list of “please this” and “please that” when all I should be saying is, “thank you.” Thank you because God is the good shepherd. Thank you because even when the road seems a little rocky or the shears come close, he is leading me the right way. The good way. Thank you, because he is God, and I am not.


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.


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


When God Says No

Do you know, we prayed a specific prayer. And it didn’t happen.

God said No.

It’s not the first time God has answered my prayers with a no.

I’ve heard before that God doesn’t say no. That the answer from God is always yes or not yet. But sometimes the not yets run out. Sometimes death claims a life. Sometimes sickness gets worse, not better. Sometimes you don’t get into a Ph.D. program. Sometimes that monthly reminder that I’m not pregnant shows up even when I’ve prayed it won’t.

So instead of wondering if God says no, I’ve started asking why he does.

From God’s word, we know that he knows what is best for us and that he gives us only good gifts. And we have this:

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 7:9-11, AMP)

Here’s the thing–sometimes the loving Father knows that when you ask for the serpent what you really need is a fish. And when you ask for a stone, what you really need is bread.

God knows better than I do what is right for me and for my life. It’s hard to surrender that. It’s hard to admit that I’m not the best person to determine what I need–because it seems like I should be. But God, who is outside of time, who declared the end from the beginning, who knows all things: he knows. And he knows when it is best to say no.

I don’t understand. I don’t know if I ever will. But when God says no? I need to trust him. Because he knows what I don’t know. And his ways are not my ways–they are better ways. And because, if I’m honest, I know that it will be better in the end to have what God wants for me than to get exactly what I think I want.

Then Jesus went with them [the disciples] to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray.’ And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even unto death; remain here and watch with me.’ And going a little farther, he fell on his face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.‘” (Matthew 26:36-39)

That cup? It didn’t pass from Jesus. And we praise God it didn’t.

So we trust. And we keep praying. And we include in our prayers, “not my will but yours, Father.” Because we trust. And because he knows better.

And we say thank you. Because even though it seemed better to us that things should go a particular way, we know, from God’s no, that the plan we had in mind was not the right one. And we say thanks that God would protect us from ourselves and from our own desires and instead give us what is best and prepare us for what we need. And we keep on praying.


Thanks and Thanks Again

Are the holidays really upon us already?

I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week. And Thanksgiving is late this year–so I should be ready for it, right?

I feel like this year Thanksgiving is more important, more meaningful to me than it’s been in the past. I say that because gratitude has never been a strength of mine. Oddly, seeing so very clearly what I want but don’t yet have has helped me put words of thankfulness to so many blessings. Including the disguised blessings–like infertility itself.

As God has been revealing more and more of his character to me this year (and by that I mean that he has opened my eyes to himself, not that any of his character was ever hidden or anything), I feel so thankful for all that he has given. I am so thankful that he loves me and that he knows me and has an appointed time for everything. For everything in my life and for everything in the lives of everyone. How enormous is the power of our God? How far reaching his strength? How phenomenal his sovereignty? And how great his love?

I was struck recently by this verse, and I am so awed by the Father’s love for me!

In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.” (Jesus speaking, John 16:26-27)

I can’t put words to it. All I can say is thank you. Thank you. Thank you, over and over.

It’s a hectic time for me right now. DH’s grandparents are visiting and we’re working diligently with his grandfather to transform our office into a library (we’re building shelves!). I spent the better part of yesterday staining the counter tops we made for cabinets that we installed last week. It’s so exciting to be working on this project and I can’t wait to have it finished.

And since DH’s grandfather is overseeing and helping with the work, we are so blessed to have this time to spend with just him. They live in South Carolina, so most of the time with Grandpa is also with Grandma and the aunts and uncles. It’s such a wonderful blessing to have time with just him (not to take away at all from the blessing of time spent with the whole family…). In the past few days we’ve heard stories we’d never heard him tell, and we’re getting to know him better. We are so blessed! (Did I say that already? It’s true though!)

Grandpa and my father-in-law are coming to our house again this evening and will be staying through the rest of the week. And next week is Thanksgiving. Please forgive my sporadic posting habits! I have so many things I want to write about. Things God has been teaching me lately and some things I need to dig into and do some self-reflection on. Things like whether I’ve really made 2013 a year of fruitfulness–and trees. Things about the overwhelming power of the Holy Spirit within me that I can and must access to ward off the devil’s attacks. Things about God’s perfect timing and what he’s teaching me about his promises. Friends, I have so many things to write about, and so little time. But I know that God has given me the exact amount of time to do what he has called me to do each day. So I will trust that God has already ordained when the words are supposed to flow from me, when I am supposed to publish these things for his greatest glory.

I also really appreciate your prayers. I felt you all praying for us last week.

Thanks. Thanks to God for this day, for my amazing and wonderful husband, for the many blessings I can’t put into words and the many that I am repeating and writing down. And for this little moment to write something. I relish these moments.


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.


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.


Our Nursery

Confession: We have a nursery in our house.

When we moved into the house, we set aside one of the three bedrooms as a nursery. I didn’t want anything to go in it. I was so sure that we would be decorating it soon for a baby and I didn’t want to end up putting a bunch of junk in there that we would need to find new places for when a baby was on the way.

When we received our infertility diagnosis, our view of things changed. The “nursery” became the spare bedroom. We let some things get piled up in there–but it mostly just has books lining the walls. The books are waiting for shelving we plan to build in our office, a project that will almost surely be completed before we have a baby.

Then we read a book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. My mom gave it to me in February when she and my dad came for a visit. And DH and I read a chapter each night together until we finished the book. The book is all about prayer–powerful prayer. It’s not about getting what you want from God. It’s more about getting what God wants for you by dedicating yourself to praying more consistently and with more intention and focus.

I don’t really know how to explain it, but after reading that book we decided to rechristen the room as the nursery. DH and I have made a habit of going in there every night to pray specifically about our hope for a child, asking God to mold our desires to his, and telling God that we have planned this room as a nursery and that we will keep asking for his blessing in that room until he directs us in a different way. We read prayers or Bible verses and we add our own prayers. Sometimes we stay in there for just a few minutes. Sometimes much longer. We say we are using the nursery as a prayer circle.

Before I only ventured in there if I was looking for a book. Now we go in every day. It used to feel haunted, and there is no baby there–yet. But I have come to enjoy having a place that helps us focus our prayers.

And perhaps one day the nursery will be used for a baby of ours. Or perhaps God has another plan. We’ll have to wait and see what he intends for us. In the meantime, I am so grateful to have a God who hears our prayers and who cares about our desires. And I trust that his will is best for our life, even if things turn out differently than I think I want.

Is there something you want to pray more intentionally about? What do you do to focus your prayers? Is there something I can pray for you? I’d be honored to join you in praying for God’s direction and peace in your life.



Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

I am really bad at this.

And until this week, I didn’t really think about it being a command. But maybe it is. As Paul is writing from a dark place (house arrest in Rome) all about joy in his letter to the Philippians, I don’t think I can excuse my failures to rejoice as a result of my circumstances. I’ve got nothing on Paul.

As I read these words I was struck by how similar it sounds to I Thessalonians 5:17:

“Pray without ceasing.”

I struggle with that one, too.

And the next verse (I Thess. 5:18):

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

We just finished Philippians in my Bible study. Actually, tomorrow is our last meeting for the year. And the commentary on Philippians 3 had some lovely words that struck me about rejoicing.

Rejoicing in the Lord fixes the mind on the only real source of joy and comfort–Jesus Christ. This gives perspective to life. We must resist the tendency to rely too much on God’s good gifts of health, financial security, the love of family and friends. To set affections on the gifts of God rather than on God Himself is to court disaster, for the gifts are temporal and subject to change. When believers rejoice in the Lord, they can thank Him for all His goodness and appreciate all He has given without basing happiness on the gifts.

I can’t remember the last time I rejoiced in the Lord simply because he is the Lord.

 I find that when I need to learn something God likes to show it to me in a cascade of ways all at one time. So it was no surprise that that evening (April 29) I read the following from Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling (written as though Jesus is speaking):

Let Me teach you thankfulness. Begin by acknowledging that everything–all your possessions and all that you are–belongs to Me. The dawning of each new day is a gift from Me, not to be taken for granted. The earth is vibrantly alive with my blessings, giving vivid testimony to My Presence. If you slow down your pace of life, you can find Me anywhere. . . . The secret of being thankful is learning to see everything from My perspective. My world is your classroom. My Word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path.

I’ve been reading Ann Voskamp’s blog, A Holy Experience, for several months now. She is the author of the book “1000 Gifts,” and she recommends daily giving thanks to God for what we have and who he is and what he is doing in our life (even things that hurt). I’ve been thinking for a while that I should really do that, but I haven’t been motivated to actually start. So I started a twitter account just to note my thanks. I’ll try to put in three things a day that I am thankful for; they’ll show up on the side of my blog and hopefully help keep me accountable. Anyway, I’m putting them there so I will have a record I can refer to and because I don’t blog consistently enough to put them in my posts.

Maybe making a conscious note of thanksgiving will help me to better rejoice in the Lord, to grow in my faith, and to see beyond my circumstances (which so often feel dark and painful). Maybe thankfulness and rejoicing will help me truly lay my pain and burden at the foot of the cross.

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Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving. I have so much to be thankful for. It takes effort to remember that today while cramps pulse through my body, a constant physical reminder this day of what I don’t have.

I am trying to praise. To praise the God who is outside of time, the God who sees the whole story, the God who knows where we are going and how we will serve him. The God who satisfies the longing soul.

And part of me wants to beg and plead for immediate answer to our prayers, to complain about the road we’re on, to demand that if he loved me, he would do what I want him to do.

What a petulant child. Who am I to question the God whose plan is perfect and whose ways are not my ways?

I do not know the why. I do not have the answers. But my God surely does. And he promises that all things work for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).

So today, while I am thinking about Thanksgiving and feeling the physical pain and the emotional heartache of what I don’t have, today I am thankful. I am thankful for infertility.

Not because I feel like it has made me better in any way.

Not because I would ever have chosen this for myself.

Not because I can even fathom how this could possibly be for good.

I am thankful for infertility because I choose to believe what God has said. I believe this is for my good. I am thankful because it is God’s best for me. Because God is using it for good and for his glory, albeit in some way I cannot now understand.

Thanks be to the God who sees, the God who provides, the God who heals. Thanks be to God.


He Satisfies the Longing Soul

I’ve been in a good place lately. We’re still infertile (as far as we know), but I’m either really in denial or beginning to come to terms with things. I guess we’ll find out which when a. I have my next breakdown, b. we start fertility treatments full force in the new year, or c. I find myself peeing on a stick if my period is late. (NOTE: both a. and c. would indicate denial; b. could really go either way.)

At any rate, I figure I should be thankful for the peace I have and not squander it. I’m glad I’ve been able to spend many of the past few days thinking about and doing things that are not related to infertility. I know some of what I say (especially “if we have kids,” instead of when) and some of what I do (like mentally preparing myself for dealing with baby stuff) is done through a filter of infertility, but it hasn’t been as all-consuming or tragic as it was a few months ago.

I also feel like going through infertility and the questions and pain it raises has helped me dig deeper in my faith. I’ve been communicating with God on a deeper level, in large part because I’ve been able to be honest with him and I’ve had something deep and meaningful to be honest about. 

A few days ago, I came across Psalm 107: 8-9:

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

My soul has been longing. For children. But I think that longing has been misplaced. I should be longing for God and trusting him that what we are going through is for our good and for his glory. That what he wills is better than what I will. And that his ways are not my ways.

At my Bible study the other day a woman talked about how we need to lay our wills on God’s altar with cheerfulness and thanksgiving; we should gladly take on the will of God, believing it to be better for us than our own desires.


I have been struggling to do this, but I am trying. And I think it’s in the trying to obey–even when I fail–that I am blessed with peace.

Thanks be to God, the God who satisfies the longing soul.