Faith, family, beauty…we’ve got it all going on here!
Author: Jesus and Coffee
Hello and thank you so much for stopping by!! I am so excited to share my journey into my 30's and share some big parts of my life like faith, family, food, and (in)fertility! Hope you enjoy and God Bless!!
Each year for the last six years I’ve dreaded this day because of my infertility. This is the 6th Mother’s Day I’ve spent praying that no one tells me happy Mother’s day because I haven’t been blessed with that title. I hated Mother’s Day services at church. I was bitter about the fact that when all the mothers got to stand up, I sat there looking at the floor trying my best not to break down. I took for granted the fact that I had an amazing mother to celebrate. I took for granted the time I should have spent praising God for choosing her to be my mother, and spent the day bitter and sad because of something I didn’t have. I took for granted what I did have. An amazing mother who I no longer have here to celebrate. This is the third year that Mother’s Day has had a whole other meaning. I just thought Mother’s Day hurt before, but I had no idea what true pain was then. I can no longer go out to eat or shopping with her. I can’t bring her peanut m&m’s and flowers. I can’t shop for the perfect funny Mother’s Day card. To spend Mother’s Day with my sweet Mama, I now have to visit her at the cemetery and look at her name on that headstone.
I say all this not for pity, or to make you sad, but as a reminder to those who still have their mothers on this day. Don’t take time for granted. Don’t let things you don’t have take precedence over what you do have. Savor each and every moment you can spend with her. One day, when you no longer have her, you’ll wish you had. Hug her a little tighter this year. Make memories that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Take pictures. One day, those pictures and memories are all you will have.
God knows the desires of your heart. He’s heard every prayer for a child whether through words or broken hearted tears. Don’t let this day be full of sadness. Know God has you, and He knows the perfect plan for your life. Enjoy the moments with people you have. Think happy thoughts. Make happy memories. Laugh. Hug. Love. Be present.
If you don’t have your mother on this Mother’s Day, remember the good things. Remember her laugh and beautiful smile. Remember the way she said your name, or the way she hugged you so tight. Remember the good things. She may not be here now, but great grief comes because of great love. Celebrate the one who meant so much to you. If your mother was anything like mine, you were blessed to have her for any amount of time, even if it doesn’t seem like it was long enough. If you need to cry, cry. If you need some time alone, take it. Just remember, whether here or in Heaven, if you miss her that much, she’s worth celebrating still. I see you. I feel you. I love you.
This post is going to be a two parter (is that a word?). Mother’s day is a happy holiday for most all. We get the chance to show our appreciation to those wonderful women who raised us. It may not have even been your own mother, but there was some woman in your life that you probably considered “like a mother” to be celebrated. I was blessed with lots of amazing women in my life that always treated me like their own. My grandmothers, aunts, Mama’s best friends. Of course, there is my sweet Mama. My angel. I can’t celebrate with her on this Mother’s day like i’d like to. I can’t hug her or bring her flowers or chocolates (her favorite thing in the world). I took so many opportunities for granted with my Mama thinking i’d have forever to make it up, or finally pull off that great idea for a gift, or even spending as much time as I could with her. Days like Mother’s day make you think of those things. All the memories you missed because you took life for granted. All the things, you shoulda, coulda, woulda done if you knew what was coming, or just had one more opportunity. Losing a mother is like losing a part of you. I felt like I now had to be both child and parent. It’s the first hard thing you go through without your mother, and unfortunately also the hardest thing you might’ve been through. I didn’t have her here last Mother’s day either. She passed just a few weeks before. I was in no place to give anything but a bitter opinion on the unfairness of it at that point, but here now, a year later, I feel a little differently about it. I still miss her like crazy, and I will cry on Mother’s day because she isn’t here. It can feel like your an orphan when you lose your mother. I won’t say time has changed my perspective in a year, it’s been nothing but God’s healing grace. They won’t be bitter tears this year. They’ll be tears of a daughter who just misses her Mama because she was absolutely amazing. Tears of a daughter who just wants to hug her one more time. Tears of a daughter who is thankful to have had the amazing mother she did, even if it wasn’t for anywhere near long enough. If you don’t have your mother on this day, try your best to think some thankful thoughts for having the mother that you did. I know it’s hard, I promise, I do. I’m just asking you to do the same thing i’m asking myself to do to hopefully make this day a little easier. If you had a mother that you loved enough that you still grieve her no matter how long its been, you had a good Mama. Be thankful for that. Think of good memories, and things she’d want for you and from you on this day if she were here. She’d want time with you, some good hugs, and happiness. As hard as it may be, i’m going to try and spend this Mother’s day the way she’d want me to, and with the people she’d want and that she would be with if she were here. If you do still have your mother or mother figure, don’t take time for granted. Make the drive, make the phone call, buy the present, bake the cake, or whatever it is that you know she loves. Just be present. That’s all most mother’s want, just your presence. I miss you, sweet Mama, and I love you more than all the sand in all the oceans.
Now, for the second part of this two parter (i’ve used it twice, it’s a word now). HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY (that’s me shouting it at you) to all those mama’s in waiting, and mama’s with precious angel babies. If your heart’s desire is to be a mother, and it hasn’t happened yet for whatever reason, Happy Mother’s day to you for having the heart of a mother, whether it’s your official title or not. If I was a betting woman, i’d be willing to bet you’re a Mama to every kid you’re around. That’s a mother’s heart, right there. Keep trying, keep praying, and don’t lose faith. God knows your heart, honey, and if we are praying His will, we’ll get exactly what we are supposed to have. Whether that baby is carried in your womb, or someone else’s, God’s plan for you is perfect, even when we can’t see it for all the tears in our eyes. I see you, I feel you (been trying for a baby for 5 years), and I LOVE YOU! Cry if you need to, stay home if you need to, but get up Monday morning ready to start a new fresh day with tons of possibilities. Your story isn’t finished yet.
Sweet Mama’s with angel babies, Happy Mother’s day to you! You may not be holding that baby in your arms, but you hold it in your heart, and held it in your womb. You’re a Mama. A mama who’s little one had some other purpose for God that we may not ever understand, but you’re a mama all the same, and YOU were chosen for a reason to carry that little one to fulfill God’s plan for it and you. You were chosen for a reason. You are strong enough that He chose to use you for whatever miracle or message He needed someone to see or hear through your struggle. I commend you, I pray for you, and I know there are special things waiting for you in Heaven for what you’ve been through, including a big hug from your little one who has only known paradise and not the things of this cruel world.
Mother’s day is a good day. There may be bad times in it, don’t let moments ruin a whole day. Hug your loved ones tighter (but don’t tell anyone, because you know, Corona), and appreciate who we do have or did have for the wonderful memories we made with them. If you’ve lost your mother, lost a child, or haven’t been able to have your own children yet, don’t let that hurt be wasted. Be a comfort to someone else going through the same thing. We don’t have to hurt alone. I’m here, I love you, and I pray that you have a wonderful Mother’s Day, even through the tough moments.
Yes, that’s what happened today. Rotel made me cry. Not because it was spicy, or got in my eye, or any other thing my clumsy self could accomplish, but because of a random memory that it brought crashing to the forefront of my mind.
My Mama was a great cook. I try, but i’m no comparison to her, even when using her recipes (kinda makes me mad, but what can I do). She made this Chicken Spaghetti that was DIVINE. Whenever I wanted to make it, I would always call her while standing in the store, staring at the different spiced Rotels, and ask which one she used that was always just the perfect amount of heat. Literally. Every. Time. I could never for the life of me remember. This morning, I was thinking about making some chicken spaghetti tonight, running through the ingredients in my mind, and making a list of what I didn’t have. I didn’t have Rotel. No stinkin’ Rotel. Then, I thought, “Well, i’ll just call Mama real quick (for the 100th time) to see what she uses”, and remembered that I couldn’t. I can’t call my Mama. I can’t ever call Mama to ask about which Rotel she used again. I broke, y’all. I broke down over a can of Rotel. It’s embarrassing to admit, and as we’ve established, I’m an emotional hot mess, but crying over Rotel. Really?! There are pictures of her everywhere. I think about her constantly, but this, THIS is going to get me today. It was just one of those things that hit me out of nowhere, and y’all, I folded like a lawn chair.
I’m sharing this random, slightly embarrassing story with you to say this, if you’ve lost someone, you’re going to have a “Rotel moment”. You’ll have those days where its all normal and you’re just going along with your day, and something will slam into you like a truck. It’s okay. It’s not crazy. You’re not too emotional, or being a baby. You’re being human. You’re being reminded of a piece of your life that’s missing, even by something as simple as a can of Rotel. Have your moment. Talk to someone about it. Talk to me about it if you have no one else. Lord knows I have no room to judge anyone’s breakdown moments. Then keep going. Do the next thing. Think of that next ingredient you need for your recipe and move forward. As I’ve said before, I have an awesome support system, and the piece of advice I got today while sharing my crazy that helped the most was, “You are not crazy. One day, buying Rotel will make you smile because it will remind you of the conversations you had when you had to call her over what kind to get. Today is not that day, but it will come.”
One day, whatever your Rotel is will be a happy memory. One day we’ll smile over things that still make us cry right now. One day, we’ll be a little more okay than we are today. Don’t rush yourself. Grief is an emotion, that while shared by all at some point in our lives, is totally unique to each individual. Cry over your Rotel today, and remember one day, you’ll smile about it. Don’t lose hope. Don’t feel bad about yourself, and always remember, it’s okay to not be okay, just don’t stay there.
So, we get our own week to celebrate being infertile, right!! Just kidding. This week is all about AWARENESS. So many women suffer from infertility for so many different reasons. Some choose to keep it quiet, while others are more open and vocal about their struggles. I respect both choices immensely. It’s up to you how to deal with what you are going through. I just thought I’d share some facts about some of the reasons i’ve dealt with personally, or seen loved ones go through, some thoughts with you about why i’m so open about it, how it’s affected my family and friends, and hopefully some tips for you and those you love who don’t know as much about what living the infertile life is like.
Here are some basic facts about infertility, just to give you an overall glimpse of how many women are actually affected by this: Infertility means after one year of trying, women are still unable to get pregnant. If the woman is over 35, it’s reduced to 6 months. About 10% of women ages 15-44 have difficulty getting or staying pregnant. That is 6.1 million women, y’all. I didn’t just make these stats up. Go to https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/infertility for some more interesting facts.
PCOS: The reasons behind infertility are also vast. 1 in 10 women, like me, suffer from PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Some, like me, have cysts covering their ovaries. I’ve seen my ultrasounds, and it literally looks like a string of pearls lining both ovaries. While it is a “treatable disease” just like anything else, treatments don’t always work. It calls for medicines, shots, more medicines, and total life overhauls. We have been treating and trying for 5 years now. I don’t ovulate. I’ve tried medicines to make me ovulate, which according to my bloodwork, one actually worked, but after 8 months we still hadn’t gotten pregnant. Not to mention all the other lovely things that come with a PCOS diagnosis. Here are just a few: Irregular menstrual cycle (I average about 6-8 a year), too much hair in places that normally only men grow hair because of the testosterone given off by all the cysts on our ovaries, acne (i’m 32 and STILL suffering with acne), some have thinning hair and male pattern baldness, weight gain and difficulty losing weight (raising both hands here), diabetes, high blood pressure (check), unhealthy cholesterol (check), sleep apnea (check), depression and anxiety (double check with both hands raised which also means, you guessed it, more meds), migraines and headaches from the hormonal imbalances (raising both hands and feet here, and again, more meds), and can even lead to endometrial cancer. These aren’t even all of them, on top of being infertile. It’s not easy, y’all, and 1 out of 10 women suffer from this.
Endometriosis: It’s a common health problem in women, affecting more than 11% of women of childbearing age. Endometriosis happens when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of your uterus and on other areas in your body where it doesn’t belong. Some symptoms include immense pain during cycles, pain during and after intercourse, intestinal pain, pain during bowel movements, and intestinal problems. In short, it causes lots and lots of pain in a lot of different ways. Pain, y’all. Plus, it can make getting pregnant extremely difficult. I’ve seen first hand with a loved one what it can do to you, and it’s not something to write off and dismiss. It has real and lasting effects, and can lead to multiple surgeries to remove it, because it keeps coming back.
These are just two of so so many reasons, people. Two that i’ve dealt with personally either by having it myself, or watching one of the closest people in my life deal with. I’ve also had dear friends that have or are dealing with Secondary Infertility. Just because, by the grace of God, you had one child, does not mean you can easily have another. People have such misconceptions about this and it is so hurtful for those dealing with secondary infertility. First of all, you don’t know what they might have gone through to have the first child, and secondly, don’t make rude comments like, “Well you had one, why haven’t you, can’t you, don’t you, or why wait so long to have another?” Nobody needs to hear that mess. You don’t know everyone’s story. That goes for all women who may seem like they’ve waited a long time to conceive, or haven’t done it fast enough for society’s standards, or have miscarried and not gotten pregnant again yet. You. Have. No. Idea. So, just don’t make comments like that to people, it’s just rude. Some men deal with infertility too, not just their wives, but they may be part or all of the reason a baby hasn’t happened yet, so just keep that in mind. OK, i’ll get off that soapbox 🙂
Infertility affects a lot of women, as I’ve said many times so far. People you know may be dealing with it, and they just aren’t open about it. I chose to be. That was based on decisions made by me and the Hubs because we hope that our story can help someone not feel so alone, or lacking because they can’t, or just seeing that the range of emotions are not abnormal. We all feel them. I have a wonderful support system in my Hubs, family, and friends. They know what we have and are going through. They respect us and are sensitive to how it feels. I’ve mentioned in posts before, I may be considered slightly emotional/dramatic, but just slightly :), so hiding my feeling about certain situations was difficult for me. It just made things easier for us both to be open with those we love about it, not only so I wouldn’t have to feel like I was holding so much in at times (you can only hide so much crazy), but because we now have the specific prayers and support we need from those that love us most. They know they don’t have to tiptoe. They know a hug, or and I love you on certain days are just what I need, and we know we aren’t in this alone.
Personally, we decided to come off meds for a while and just live without the pressure of tracking ovulation and worrying about all the doctor visits, test, and you guessed it, medications. Since my sweet Mama passed a year ago, we really felt I needed time to process and get myself in order before we added the extra stress back in to the mix. People may not understand. I’m 32, 33 in November, and yes I know I’m not getting any younger, but we felt this was just right for us right now, and I don’t regret it. It’s been good for us to just getting back to life and finding my new normal without my biggest supporter by my side. Honestly, we have prayed and questioned whether we are meant to have kids at all, and if we still want to go back to trying soon. God, hears our prayers, and we have no doubt he’ll lead us to that answer when the time is right. Until then, i’m going to be the best, coolest, favorite aunt and godmother to my babies that I love like my own.
People don’t realize the emotional, physical, and mental stress this puts on people dealing with infertility. Sometimes, I see a pregnancy announcement, and it’s a literal kick in my stupid cyst covered ovaries before I can feel happy for them, and other times, I can scroll right past and feel just happiness for them. Sometimes I feel like I still have plenty of time, and other times I think i’m going to be the team grandma when my kids grow up because most of the mothers will probably be in their early twenties, or younger, and i’ll be in my late thirties by that point. Sometimes, I see these precious babies out and about and want it so bad it hurts, and then I go down the next aisle in the store and see a kid laying on the ground pitching a big one because they want the chocolate cereal, and i’m secretly relieved that isn’t me. It’s a crazy, messed up, whirlwind y’all. Please don’t judge me. I just want others dealing with this to know they aren’t bad people or crazy for having mixed emotions and feelings about what they’re dealing with.
If you know someone who is dealing with infertility, or even if you don’t know they are, just be mindful of what you say to women in general about pregnancy. Don’t remind them they aren’t getting any younger. Don’t tell them to relax and it’ll happen (you might get throat punched, just warning you). Don’t tell them some people just aren’t meant to be parents (yes, i’ve been told that). Don’t ask every week at church if they’re pregnant yet, or what they are waiting on. Don’t expect that everytime they show up unannounced or call you out of the blue that it’s because they’re pregnant. It could be other great news for them that they want to share, and you just blew their happiness about it out of the water by saying what you thought it was. Just be mindful, be respectful, and be loving.
Some do’s for all those who truly want to support their loved ones: Give them a hug on hard days. Tell them you’re praying for them. Tell them you love them. Give them a little extra support through text or calls when you know they’re down. You don’t even have to mention or know exactly what’s wrong or why you’re doing it. They’ll know, and appreciate your thoughtfulness. If they open up to you about how they’re feeling, they’re not expecting you to have all the answers or great advice, they probably just need you to listen and empathize with their struggle. Just be there for them.
Since it is National Infertility Awareness week, i’d love to get video or written testimonials from any of you who are dealing with infertility, in whatever form, and share them this week. Just message me on my facebook page, and we’ll come up with a plan. I’m going to go deeper into my story one day this week, either by video on my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/jesusandcoffee30/, or another post. I’m typically better at writing than speaking, but we’ll see what I feel led to do. Let’s make this not such a secret or embarrassing thing for women to deal with. Let’s spread awareness, and hopefully, love for those who are dealing. If you need someone to talk to privately, don’t hesitate to message me. I’m no expert, i’m just along for the ride myself, but i’d love nothing more than to be there for you.
It’s crazy to think how time can pass so quickly and so very slowly at the same time. It happens with many things in our lives. Marriages that seem like yesterday are suddenly celebrating seven year anniversays (while at the same time it seems like you’ve been putting up with them for 70 years, love you Hubs). Christmas as a kid seems forever away, but as an adult it comes and suddenly six days later its like its Christmas again. Trying to start a family and feeling like a month is so long to wait to take that test, and suddenly when its time your freaking out because how has it been a month already. Grief and loss have seemed to work this way for me as well. It’s been one entire year since I lost my sweet Mama. One whole year since I saw her gorgeous smile in person, heard her say Cody Jill, had her hug me and tell me how much she loves me, been able to hug her back, touch her, talk to her. This has been the longest year of my life, but at the same time, somehow its gone by. I don’t know if it seems faster because it honestly feels like life can’t really keep going without someone so important to you in it, but it still does. Life keeps going, even with the big void you feel with someone missing from everyday things. It took months before I stopped picking up my phone every morning to text her and check on her. I still to this day hear things or have things happen and my first thought it is, “I’ve gotta tell mama about this!”, only to remember I can’t, and it breaks my heart all over again. This is a year I honest to goodness did not know, and for a time, did not care if I survived. I did though. If I can say one thing about the past year, its honestly that I survived. It wasnt, and still isn’t easy. I still cry most days. I still try to call her most days. I still send her messages on FB messenger just to feel like i’m talking to her. I still spend lots of time at her grave and talk to her just because it was the last place I saw her physical body.
This year has taught me a lot. I called mama for her opinion on everything, once I couldn’t, I became more independent and decisive out of necessity. I learned that somethings I thought I wasn’t really paying attention to or wouldn’t remember, I do. How to handle some things on my own, because she and I had to a lot with dad working out of town. I do or say things and think, that sounds just like my mama. I love those moments. I can remember her voice so clearly in those moments, and what she looked like when she would say or do them. Her life is a legacy that lives on through me and others. She touched so many, and so very many people love and miss her. It’s hard to believe i’ve survived a year without my very best friend in the entire world, but sometimes I can still feel her in things I do. I still hear her opinions on things. I remember her everytime I see a hibiscus or a hummingbird. I take peace and comfort in knowing how much better off she is now than she was when she was so sick. She is happy and whole. She kept a prayer box by her bed where she would write her prayers and then write when they were answered. In this box, I found where she had written about her cancer coming back. I wrote the answer for her, and that picture is included in this post. I pray she is happy and whole. I pray she can’t see how much we have suffered without her. I pray she is nothing but laughter and light as she worships our Savior face to face. I pray when I get there, the first thing she does is give me a huge hug and say, “I’ve been waiting for you, Cody Jill.” Cancer may have taken her earthly body, but she lost no battle. She’s with Jesus and that’s not losing any battles. Her verse through all this was Matthew 9:22 “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” Her faith made her whole, and even though we are still feeling the huge loss, she wasn’t whole here with us anymore.
Mama, I love you more than all the sand in all the oceans, and I know that I’ll see you again one day. Happy first anniversary of your home going. I know its been more amazing than we can even imagine.
Y’all…just bare with me a minute before you high tail it out of here just because of the title. Yes, it is negative. No, it is not the least bit encouraging. You know what is though? The answer to those two very dramatic, (Hi, my name is Cody, and I’m dramatic) questions. If we are being honest with ourselves, at some point, a version of one or both of those questions has gone through our minds, or if you’re like me (again…I’m a teensy bit dramatic) even come out of your mouth. At the time, in that awful place we seem to be stuck in like the rice I can’t get out of my Instant Pot (don’t ask), these questions seem completely valid. Sometimes, things are difficult. Sometimes, things go beyond what we think we can take. Sometimes, things just suck. Sometimes, they seem to stay that way. I get it. Like I get it on a deep deep level. This past year, it totally and completely sucked. Just being honest, or in my Hubs words during some of his sermons, let me be transparent with you. This has been, by far, the worst and most difficult year of my entire life. I didn’t know what pain was until this year. I didn’t truly know what being at the very end of my rope was until this year. In fact, it’s taken me a year to even be able to write this post, and i’m still afraid of how it’s going to come out, but I know it needs to. I feel it in my soul that it can be used for His greater good, even if it’s only one person that is helped. You, whoever you are, I see you, I feel you, and I love you.
If you’ve read some of my earlier posts, my sweet Super Mom was battling cancer for the second time. This time last year, she had lost over 70 pounds. This time last year, she couldn’t get up and down without help. This time last year, she couldn’t walk without a walker. She couldn’t eat. She had episodes of manic confusion, and amounts of time she had no memory of. I stayed with her a whole day and decorated her Christmas tree for her, and then the next time she saw it, she had no idea how it had gotten put up and decorated. Witnessing a loved ones suffering, and not being able to fix it, is like a thousand razor blades tearing through your body. This time last year, on April 4th, the day before her 57th birthday, we got the news that she had very little time left. A couple of months, if we were lucky. The cancer had spread like wildfire, and the radiation and chemo weren’t touching it. Twelve days after we got the bomb of how little time she had left, she passed away. She went to Heaven with her loved ones gathered around her, and the very last thing she did on this earth was throw both hands straight up in the air, reaching for the Lord she loved who was calling her home. Then, just like that, she was gone.
Lots of you reading this knew her before she was sick, knew the woman that she was my whole life. My Mama had always been a force to be reckoned with. She was kind, giving, independent, and the only thing she loved more than her family was her Savior. Praise God for that. She lived her testimony throughout her life, and especially throughout this whole battle, right up to the end. She trusted Him. I wish I could say I was as strong as her. I wish I could say I handled myself in ways that would have made her proud, but I can’t honestly say that. Somehow, life seemed to move on for others, and I was sitting there watching it, wondering how everyone could be so ok, when I was dead inside. I’ve dealt with chronic anxiety, depression, and migraines for almost twenty years. It was nothing compared to the pit I fell in to after my Mama was gone. It was so many overwhelming emotions, that I became numb. Completely and totally numb. I never knew pain and depression until it was mixed with the grief of losing my best friend for my whole life. The depression and migraines got worse, the bitterness at God was overwhelming. I didn’t understand how so many of us had prayed, begged, and pleaded for her healing for so long for her to still die. I didn’t want to do anything. Living life and being happy seemed like it would be an insult to the beautiful life that was now gone. Nine months after we lost Mama, my precious Paw Paw, her daddy, passed as well. In less than a year, i’d lost the two people who’d instilled everything I am in me. The whole time, throughtout those nine months after Mama, the questions kept circling. Is this crap storm of my life ever going to end? Is this feeling of emptiness, and bitterness, and complete lack of understanding going to be my life now? How do I keep going, when I know that there is now a huge void in everything I do where my Mama should be? How do you enjoy big moments, when the one person who’d been my biggest supporter in every single one was now missing. Then, her birthday came on April 5th of this year. Her first one in Heaven. She’d have been 58, and up until she got sick, she didn’t look a day over 40. Most people thought we were sisters. The day after her birthday was a lot like what it felt like about a week after she died. Lots of kinds words, well wishes, happy heavenly birthdays, a few wishing her many more birthdays, but we won’t get in to how THAT made me feel. Then, the day after, it was back to that feeling again. Reliving her death. Everyone living their life and going about their day like my world hadn’t just exploded with pain all over again. I know no one understands the pain unless they’ve dealt with loss, and i’m not throwing myself a pity party, but its just hard you know. It’s hard to think of life just moving on as normal, when it will never be normal again. I’m blessed with friends that let me vent and helped me through both her birthday and the day after. Today is better. I can think of more happy memories today. Anyway, back to the dramatic questions we were talking about before. We have to go back in time a little for this.
I recieved my answers to the title questions in two different ways. I was lying in bed, sick with a migraine and completely depressed and uncaring if I ever left my bed again. However, even through my running away and bitterness, God gave me this thought, “How would she feel about you wasting your life because she’s in paradise now? You are still here, and you’re wasting life and time after a precious one was taken home. Live for her. She showed her strength, and you have it too. Show it. Live it.” Talk about a wake up call. A literal slap in the face, kick in the teeth wake up call. She’d be furious with me. She’d tell me she raised me better than this. She’d tell me she didn’t stay strong and faithful to the end for that strength to end with her. That was not long before my Precious Paw Paw passed, and it helped me to deal with his passing with a little more grace than I had before. He too was a devoted servant of God. He had lived through more than most of us ever could, and if you asked him on his worst days how he was, he’d grin and say, “I’m doing good.” He knew, and often told us, he was a winner either way.
My second answer to those questions came just a few days ago. It was getting closer to April 5, her birthday, and April 16, the day she passed a year ago. I have been super emotional, and letting my thoughts get the best of me again. I have an old wooden ammo box that I bought (Trade Day for the win) and painted blue that I have lots of her things in in my living room. Its my treasure chest of her. For the first time in almost a year, I felt the ability and the need to go through it. Her bible is in there, and as I flipped through, reading her notes, I saw four different time where she had written, “God never wastes a hurt.” Four times. In her own handwriting in her bible, God let HER tell me what I needed to hear. This pain is not wasted. This pain is not to end me, or make me run angrily away from Him. This hurt is not wasted, because it can be used to help others in the same situations. It can be even more of a testimony to the strength she instilled in me that I can keep going forward faithfully. I can’t waste this hurt, because it would make her death be in vain. If I can come through this hurt with Him, it’s not wasted, because she lives on through me being able to help others.
So yes, sometimes things are more than you can handle, and yes, sometimes the crap storm feels neverending, but everything ends at some point. There will be more bad days. Refer back to what I said about her birthday and the day after. I’m not perfect, none of us are, but there is a greater purpose to whatever you are going through. He never wastes a hurt. Don’t let the hurt you have be in vain. Lean on Him, and use it for something greater, if not for you, then for others who need you. Whatever your hurt may be, someone out there needs to know they aren’t alone, and when they aren’t turning to God for help, you can be the one to help them and set them back in the right direction with your story. Don’t waste your hurt.
Soooo, it’s been a hot minute. I realize that, and I apologize. Life has totally run us over, slung it in reverse, and then come back for more in the last few months. However, I don’t really want to get in to the negative things that have happened. Those details are not important. They’ve been talked about, prayed over, and ultimately either dealt with or let go at this point. What is important is how my gracious Father has worked throughout these hard times (even when I was being a total brat and did not deserve it).
We tend to have tunnel vision when things are going wrong in our lives. All we can see is the immediate future and how the next action will affect us in that moment. We don’t take time to see the bigger picture, or how God may be at work during these struggles. Believe me, I am so guilty. My tunnel vision is 20/20. I felt so swept up in the bad and what had and could go wrong, that I was missing the only thing that would make any of it better. I was upset with God. I didn’t, and still don’t always, understand why things always had to be so difficult! (Can I get an amen?!) Then one morning, I was at home sick. Hubs was at work, and my Supermom was sick. I was so very overwhelmed by life and felt the walls literally closing in on me. I had been so stubborn. I could fix it. I could handle it. No one needs to know. I don’t want to talk about it. STUBBORN. I knew in my spirit that God was tired of me running, and being so stubborn headed, and had let me get to a point in my life that I had nowhere else to turn.
So, that is what I did. I cried and I prayed, and I cried some more. I couldn’t tell you 1/4 of what I actually said, but He heard it. He heard my cry to him, and He answered. (Probably with an eyeroll and a, “Finally!” Thats what I would have done.) He gave me peace. Peace I had not felt in what felt like forever. You know what else came after peace? Clarity. Being at peace let me see things without my tunnel vision and realize it was not as terrible as I had thought. Then, He gave me guidance to His will. He let me finally see ways to help and put things in my path that I would have ignored before with my drama goggles on. I thank God, wholeheartedly, now that I have seen all this with some clarity. I had wandered away, trying to survive in the lion’s den on my own. God let me get to where I needed to be to see Him for what He is. The author of my story. Had I let myself trust in him, and not been the stubborn woman I am, I could have saved myself a lot of unneeded worry, stress, and grief.
I know that New Year is a time for resolutions and new beginnings, but I have never been very good at sticking to resolutions. I just want this year to be a year of growth. I want to see the good before I get so lost in the negative that I feel like i’m drowning. I want to be in a place all the time to feel God’s peace and guidance, preferably without the nervous breakdown beforehand. I want to walk so closely to Him, that I never have the chance to doubt that He has the best in mind for me, even when I don’t understand how we are going to get there. I pray all of you had a fantastic Christmas and New Year, and may we all be in a place to rest in His perfect peace! I will also be writing more, so be on the lookout! Oh, and, try not to be so stubborn! 😘
Let me start by saying that Mother’s Day is not a terrible and bitter day. While those of us who have waited countless Mother’s Days to earn that title, we have those feelings and those moments throughout the day, but we still appreciate it for what it is and the fact that some of us, like me, are blessed with mother’s more incredible than we could have imagined. For those of you who don’t have your mom on Mother’s day, I cannot even begin to speak to what that level of pain must be like, but know that I love you and pray so hard that you are able to have a happy Mother’s day regardless of the pain you feel. With that said, I want to start by saying how much I freaking LOVE my Supermom and how grateful I am to have her for another Mother’s Day. She is a cancer fighting warrior, and the strongest woman I know. I have no doubt that all the strength I gained from her is one of the main reasons I have the strength to get through another Mother’s day.Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!! I love you more than all the sand in all the oceans!!!
This will by my fourth Mother’s day since we started trying to grow our family. While I assumed it would get better with time, it never seems to hurt any less. Thankfully, I am blessed with my amazing Hubs, Supermom, BFFLouise, a wonderful family, and dear friends who make my life so much better. Not to mention my two gorgeous and perfect God-Daughter’s and loads of family & friends kiddos that I love with all my heart!!If you don’t have a strong backbone of family and friends to help you through days like Mother’s day, or any other days that are just tough days, please please please reach out to me. I would love to be able to be that for you and help you through things that no one should have to face alone!! Know that you are loved by me!!
I just wanted to offer some advice today to those who are dealing with infertility that maybe you’d like to share with those around you that may not know exactly what to do to help you through tough days like Mother’s day. So, to those who have a loved one dealing with infertility or miscarriage or whatever else may make this Mother’s day a difficult one, here a few do’s & don’ts to remember on this day…
As well-meaning as it may be…don’t offer advice.While we appreciate the thought of you wanting to help us by telling us what might help or what to try or how it’ll happen in the right time or if we “just relax” (by the way, we seriously want to throat punch the next person who tells us to relax and let it happen…just being honest). On days like Mother’s day, it really doesn’t make us feel any better. It can make us feel like we are really the cause because we aren’t doing something right or are doing something wrong. We have doctors who give us advice, and well-meaning strangers who have no idea what it is to deal with infertility on a daily basis, so from our loved ones on this day, advice is not necessary. While nothing you can say will take away what we are feeling, just telling those struggling how much you love them helps. Tell them how you are praying earnestly for them. Tell them that you don’t understand either, and that you know it’s difficult and unfair. Validate their feelings, because Lord knows we all feel like jerks when it’s hard to be happy on a day that should be a happy one for most people.
Don’t ignore the tears you see us trying to hide or the pain we are struggling to conceal. While those of us struggling are not trying to gain attention or take away attention from the mothers being celebrated, we also don’t want to be treated like others are afraid to come near us because of the struggle. Give those ladies a hug, squeeze their shoulder as you walk by, grab their hand and tell them you love them. Give their husbands a big pat on the back and let them know you love them and know they struggle too. A little touch and some love goes a long way when you feel all alone on a battlefield.
Don’t assume we want to avoid you on Mother’s day…or that we don’t mean it when we tell you happy mother’s day and that we love you. Those who know me should know that I personally wouldn’t tell you if I didn’t mean it. Don’t think just because we are sad or upset that we don’t see what a happy day this is for others, or that we can’t appreciate the wonderful mother’s of kids they allow us to love as our own. I have several wonderful friends and family members with amazing kiddos that I love unconditionally. When I tell you that I love you and wish you a Happy Mother’s day, please know that I mean it. That I adore you and your babies that you share with the Hubs and I. That without you being a great mommy and sharing your babies with us, we would miss out completely on happy moments with kids since we don’t have our own.
Don’t be afraid to wish us happy mother’s day or feel bad if you do without thinking. While we may not yet be mother’s officially, we know today is a day where every woman in the country will be told happy mother’s day, regardless of their mother status. It’s ok. Don’t feel bad or apologize. I feel like a mother to my 30 kiddos I am blessed to love on everyday at school. I feel like a mother to my precious babies of friends and family members that share their babies with the Hubs and I. It’s just a phrase that all say to women on this day, so don’t freak out or feel bad or start apologizing if you say that to a woman struggling with infertility. We understand, and it’s ok.
This last don’t is for those ladies who haven’t been privileged to receive the “mommy” title yet…don’t feel like less if you are not ok today. I have said if before, and I will say it again. It is ok to not be ok. Days like Mother’s day are hard, and those that love you will understand and appreciate the pain you feel. It’s ok to not know exactly how to feel, or to have bitter moments. It’s ok to be so happy for others while feeling like your own happiness is so far out of reach. It’s ok to not want to put yourself in positions to cause you more pain…church, family gatherings, going out to eat where all mother’s will be out being celebrated. It is ok to not be ok. Just don’t live there. Have your moment, moments, hours, breakdowns, tears, hurt, questions, whatever you need to have, and then go on to the next thing. Just remember that whether you are ready for it or not, the sun is going to come up tomorrow for a new day, and while it may not be a day with leaps and bounds of progress for you, or the day you finally get what you have been hoping for, it is a new day. A day you can decide to be ok for. A day with a new set of challenges, but also new opportunities for love, hope, and growth.
Know, sweet mama, (because regardless of whether or not you have birthed or adopted a child, the love you feel for something you don’t even have yet makes you a mama) that you are loved by me, and you are prayed for by me, and that whatever you are feeling is and has been felt by me also. You are not alone, and you are not less because of something you don’t have yet. I hope and pray you find some happiness and joy on this Mother’s day, and that you remember that regardless of whether or not you have a child who calls you mom, you have the heart of a mother, or this would not be as difficult as it is for you. So, Happy Mother’s Day, sweet mama, and remember you are loved!
I got caught majorly off guard today. Scrolling through Facebook, looking at some videos and one pops up of dads that let their daughters make them princesses. I clicked on it because it looked like it would be funny and super cute. I was immediately socked in the chest with what I was missing, what we were missing. Those hilarious little everyday moments with daddies and their kids that my infertility issues were depriving him of. I know without a doubt he would be wrapped around our little girls finger, and if she wanted to give daddy a princess makeover, daddy would get a princess makeover. It shook me to my core y’all. Something so simple, that I was totally unprepared for just rocked my world for me. Then, sometimes all it takes is a best friend as sassy as you to knock your world right back on its axis with, “I love you to pieces, but stop it now. Do not do this to yourself.” Thanks, Louise.
We all have those thoughts and feelings that, as much as you’ve tried to block them off by reading, praying, studying, cleaning, whatever you can to keep busy and your mind on something else, anything else, they won’t go away. Sometimes you can’t even really pray about it because, if we’re being honest, you know with all that’s in your head, you can’t pray it sincerely from your heart. It’s been that way lately, and all I can do is just keep digging, clawing, or in Dory’s terms, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”. That is what we have to do. Keep swimming, and find a few good friends to swim with us and keep us on track. This world is going to turn regardless of how we feel about it. Things will happen that catch us off guard. We will have those moments of grief for things we miss or haven’t even been given the privilege of having yet. Morning is going to come, the day will pass, and then we start all over again.
The bible says in Psalm 30:5, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joycomes in the morning.” Not that you’ll be ok. Not that He is going to give you whatever it is you think you need to be happy. Not that tomorrow is coming, so you might as well enjoy it. It says JOY comes in the morning. But you know how you can have joy in the morning, when the night was wrought with pain, tears, whatever it is that maybe plaguing you? You have to believe that His book, His mighty word says that joy comes in the morning. Then, you have to make sure you are in a place to receive His joy that He is offering. Our only true joy is in Him. Not our wants or needs. Not material things. Not even the things we have that we just knew would be a life changer. Our only joy is from Him.
Whatever it is that may have caught you off guard recently, or turned your world upside down, just remind yourself that JOY comes in the morning, and you have to be ready to receive it for it to do any good for you. Don’t live in the pit, climb out on the ladder He drops for you and have JOY!
Hey y’all! Hope everyone is having a great week! We have a women’s bible study once a week at church. I love the fellowship we have and I have learned so much! Right now, we are going through the women of the bible in chronological order. It’s great because we are talking about the popular and known, as well as the lesser known women.
This week was all about Deborah from the book of Judges. Y’all, this woman was a beast among women of the Bible!! I had heard of her, but never really studied her out like I have Ruth or Esther. She was really a huge player in some of the first stories of women in leadership in the Bible. She is found in Judges 4 & 5. The time of the Judges came about during the time of the children of Israel and their refusal, most of the time, to live the life God had asked of them. Instead of taking the cities they were told, they intermingled with some of the Canaanites in the different cities and began going along with their traditions and even worshiping their Gods.
“11 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim: 12 And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people who were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the Lord to anger. 13 And they forsook the Lord, and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he delivered them into the hands of spoilers that spoiled them, and he sold them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could not any longer stand before their enemies. 15 Whithersoever they went out, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had said, and as the Lord had sworn unto them: and they were greatly distressed. 16 Nevertheless the Lord raised up judges, which delivered them out of the hand of those that spoiled them. 17 And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the Lord; but they did not so.” Judges 2:11-17
The judges came along one at a time to restore peace and some semblance of Godliness back to the people of Israel (this is a very condensed version of Judges 1-3. It’s a great read when you can go through it). Deborah was one of those judges, and the only female judge God brought up. She was also a prophetess. She was literally the only person of her time that God would speak to and show things to come. What a huge deal that is for anyone, but especially a woman in the Old Testament!! Deborah broke through the norms of her time because of the love she had for God. Deborah waited under a palm tree for the children of Israel to come to her for judgment. Deborah called upon Barak who led the army of Israel and said,
“6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. 8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. 9 And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.” Judges 4:6-9
She told this man, who the Lord of Israel commanded, that he was to go and take a huge army to Canaan and take Sisera, the commander of the Canaanite army. She said he would be delivered into his hands. God commanded! He had predestined this and was telling them it was time to go. Deborah gave the message as it was given, but Barak needed more assurance. I don’t know if he was scared, or if he thought it wouldn’t be a blessed mission if she didn’t go, but he said he would only go if she went also. Deborah, the ever faithful prophetess agreed to go, but not before telling Barak that this would not be to his honor but that the Lord would sell Sisera into the hands of a woman. Oh goodness was she right!
“14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. 15 And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. 16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.” Judges 4:14-16
Deborah said, “is the Lord not gone before thee?”. She knew He had because she believed what He had told her. Because of Deborah’s firm belief in God, and her courage to break through the social norms of her time, she helped lead an army to the battlefield and win! Even though she did not fight in the physical warfare, she fought in spiritual warfare when others feared or did not trust that God had gone before them. Sisera also literally ended up falling to the hands of a woman. Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite (there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite) told him to come into her tent and hide. She went out and got a hammer and a tent-peg and drove it through his temple. When Barak came looking for him, Jael handed him over.
It just amazes me the responsibility Deborah was given. Then I began thinking about why she was the one God chose, the one He spoke to…because she LISTENED! She listened to God and had her spiritual life in a place where she was able to hear Him. We spend so much of our prayer time talking, asking, pleading, questioning…but how often do we actually stop to listen to what He may have to tell us? We have the power of the Holy Spirit in us if we have given our hearts to God. That amount of untapped power and potential is unfathomable! Think of the change that we could bring about in the world if we took the time to LISTEN and take the leadership of God seriously! I pray we can all stop and listen to Him! You know He has amazing things to tell us if we are willing to listen!