Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Still Home, Sweet Home–For Now

Do you know anyone in Katy looking for a really nice house?

You’d think I wouldn’t be surprised when God does the unexpected. But I always am.

So, we’re not moving. Not yet, anyway. The day after I wrote my last post, the buyers decided to back out of the contract. They didn’t give any concrete reasons, and they didn’t have to. I figure it’s because God knew that we wouldn’t be able to get it together to move by the end of the month, so he took that pressure away.

At first, it was quite a shock to us. And I was so worried DH would be mad at me! It’s his commute, after all, that won’t be getting cut by 2/3 at the end of September. He texted me Friday morning and said, “Well, your prayers were answered. The buyers backed out.”

I thought he was joking.

I didn’t technically pray that this would happen. But I guess I made it pretty clear to God that I was hoping it would; shoot, I made that clear to anyone who reads my little blog.

The sudden change in our circumstances was unexpected. And now our house is back on the market–which brings its own little set of joys to our daily routine (like hiding our toothbrushes every morning and constantly mopping after the dogs come in the house, and impromptu study sessions at Starbucks because I have to leave my house on short notice). But once the shock of their decision wore off, both DH and I were feeling really at peace about what had happened.

And he isn’t mad at me.

Current plan: The house will stay on the market through the end of September. At that point, we’ll pull it off for the rest of the year and try again early in the spring after the baby is born. I don’t want to move 7-plus months pregnant while also trying to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas. That said, I don’t actually want to move with an infant either.

I know God’s timing is perfect and he’s got this. And I am praying that he will bring the right people to our neighborhood at the right time. I hope whoever he brings will love this house and our neighbors and be a positive influence in the community. And I hope that when he brings people, there will be a house for us in the right place, too. In the meantime, maybe we’ll be here when the pomegranites ripen and the limes are ready to be picked from our baby fruit garden. There’s something to look forward to!

Pomegranites, Limes, Blackberries and Blueberries . . . oh my

And I get another chance to trust him and wait on him, which is good, because I was clearly botching that last opportunity.

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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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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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Waiting and Waiting and Why?

What’s it all about anyway?

Waiting. And waiting. And maybe some more waiting.

I don’t have an answer. But . . .

I trust the wait is not in vain.

God is using this difficulty in my life to shape me, to turn my heart to him, to transform me into the woman he wants me to be. And this shaping is an answer to prayer. Years ago, we sang the song “Holiness” in church, and I remember praying the chorus on so many occasions:

Take my heart and mold it
Take my mind; transform it
Take my will: conform it
To yours, to yours, O Lord

I believe God is doing these things through the circumstances of my life. Sometimes it’s a painful process, but I need to remember it’s an answer to prayer.

I trust that God knows what’s best (and I do not).

We’ve all heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20. I’m not convinced this is true for humans–but we can look back when we’ve seen how a situation played out and maybe see ways we could have acted or thought differently. God has the luxury of knowing what is going to happen, where we’re going,  and how we’re going to get there. God is outside of time. I think about that and try to picture what it means, and I can’t wrap my mind around it. But I find it comforting to know. I wonder if to God we are a movie he’s seen before. A good movie that he chooses to watch again. Like the celestial equivalent of Pride and Prejudice. Or Sliding Doors.

Either way, God is there, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand and I will accomplish all my purpose.'” (Isaiah 46:10)

He knows. He knows where I’m going and why I’m going this way. And he allowed this trial because he knew how he would use it for his glory and my good.

I trust that God’s timing is perfect (and mine is not).

If it were up to me, I’d have a near-two-year-old right now. But I don’t. If it were up to me, I would have gotten pregnant last month. Or the month before that. Or before that. But I didn’t.

And man, the timing just made so much sense to me last month. It meant I’d get to share with my family in person at the trip we have scheduled to visit them in mid-April. I had the anouncement all planned out. But it wasn’t God’s timing, It was my timing. And what do I know about timing?

How can I even presume to know that one month is the right month? How can I even think for one moment that I should be in a position to determine such an important thing? That I should have any say in when a precious–nay, invaluable–human life should begin?

God’s shown us through his word that his timing is indeed perfect. What might have happened to the Israelites, for example, if Joseph hadn’t been in the perfect place at the perfect time to sustain the known world–including his own family–through severe famine? I’m sure each day that went by in prison had Joseph asking, “Is today the day?” As the years went by and he kept waiting, how did he not grow weary? How did he not lose faith? But he didn’t. And God’s timing was perfect.

I trust that God is good.

We can see the end of Joseph’s story. And since we know the ending, we see that God even used Joseph’s slavery for good.

We may not all have the opportunity to see how God has used the bad things in our lives for our good. Or we may allow bitterness to creep in and hide this truth from us. We can ignore the blessings of God–especially when they come in the midst of affliction. Or we can recognize them and give him the glory as  Joseph did.

Joseph’s second son is Ephraim, “for the Lord has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.” (Genesis 41:52b). Do we see how the Lord is making us fruitful in the land of our affliction? Are we allowing the Lord to make us fruitful in the land of our affliction?

When Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, he also reveals his faith in God’s goodness.

“As for you [my brothers], you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20)

Can we look at our affliction and trust that God is good?

I trust that God is bigger. And that his ways are better.

He knows. Everything. The number of hairs on my head. The number of children I’ll have–and when I’ll have them. The location of the end of the rainbow.

And because he knows everything, I can trust that he knows the best possible outcome in any given circumstance. And even the best circumstance for any given person in any given moment. The depths of his wisdom and knowledge are infathomable.

And he is sovereign and just asking us to give our foolish attempts at control over to him, because he’s really in control anyway.

And why shouldn’t we, when we know that his ways are better?

I’m not saying it’s easy to surrender. But it is necessary. Painful, even. Yet absolutely necessary for the well-lived life.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

I trust that God loves me.

This is the key. Because if I don’t believe God loves me, then the fact that he is sovereign, all-knowing, and in control is terrifying. A capricious or unloving god would be an all-powerful super-villan. How could we trust such a god? How could we commit our lives or surrender our desires to such a god? Such a god–an unloving god–would perhaps be worth struggling against.

But praise God, he IS love. He doesn’t just love us, his being defines the term! He loves us. He weeps with us, as Jesus did at Lazarus’s tomb. He struggles with us. He hurts for us. He triumphs and rejoices with us. Our God is not a sadist–he takes no pleasure in suffering. He is a father who loves us. Truly loves us.

And this love he has for us? This love we could never even almost hope to approximate? It’s a game changer.

Oh, thank you, Father, for revealing this love to me through infertility. Because it is this love that makes me sure. This love that lets me know that you are trustworthy. And that this waiting is not in vain.


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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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Five-Minute Friday: Last

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 “Last.” Here goes . . .

~~~

Last sometimes feels like left out.

Infertile and longing for children while everyone else is moving forward, moving on to seconds or thirds, toddlers or preschool. Left out of–or lost–in the conversations mothers have about what they feed their babies and what items are a must and which things aren’t worth the money. Left out of the conversations about how hard it is to leave the little one at the church’s daycare for a few hours the first time. How hard it is to send her to kindergarten.

And it’s tough. Especially when you thought you’d be there with them. Not running lap two of four when everyone else is finishing their mile run.

But, maybe last isn’t going to be so bad after all.

While I’m waiting, I can choose to be included in their families. I can watch with joy at the wonder on a child’s face when she sees that butterfly or the excitement when he pets one of my dogs.

My Sweet Puppies

While I’m waiting, I can take time to learn the things I want to know before I have children. I can learn how to efficiently keep my house. How to eat better. What nutrition theories I think make sense.

While I’m waiting I can finish projects. Read more. Write more.

And when my turn comes, I’ll know more. And my friends will have so much wisdom to impart. And I’ll be the beneficiary of their experiences, their trials, and their joys.

Maybe last is right where I need to be.

TIME

Five Minute Friday


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God’s Timing

Our church offers a mentorship program for women. It’s a six-month deal. You fill out a little card and they pray over you and match you with someone for six months of weekly meetings.

My mentor is wonderful. She’s been through infertility–though her experience was different. And she tells me I’m supposed to talk and she will listen. And she gives me advice. Godly advice.

We meet on Tuesdays at Starbucks near my house. I get a green tea latte. She gets green tea.

Recently, she said something that has changed my perspective.

She said, “You know this already, but this story isn’t just about you and [DH]. It’s about your future children and their spouses. And their children, and the circumstances that need to fit together.”

I didn’t know that already. That thought hadn’t crossed my mind.

And I thought about Sarah and Abraham waiting decades for the fulfillment of a promise. And who knows if they weren’t waiting until Rebecca was about to be born?

She is so right. There are millions of different things that need to come together for our baby to meet up with the right people, to be in the right place, to do the right things.

And what feels like ages is really just the slow ticking by of months. Of weeks. But one week might be the difference between meeting the love of his life and not. One month might be the difference between graduating high school at the right time or not. Who can know but God?

So now we pray a little differently. We pray “in Your timing” and mean it. And we are praying for the circumstances to come together, too.

Such peace for us from one little thought.