Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Not quite sure what or how to update... NIAW.

It's been a few days since my last update or real post, but Jack and I have been going through a lot of pretty huge and heavy things lately. That is one of the things that we deal with almost daily that isn't part of normal every day life.

Last week, I went to the doctor again to try to control my bleeding. (TMI, if you don't want to hear about all the gory details about reproduction and infertility, you, my friend, are reading the wrong blog!) I have had a lot of bleeding problems in the past that started about a year after we got married. Very odd timing. We had been not using birth control for about 8 or 9 months at the time and had only used birth control for 3 short months before that. I was not on birth control before we were married, so my body didn't have to wean off of long term use of birth control at all.

My first bleeding problems came in October of 2008, where I had my period and it just sort of never stopped. I bled for over 3 weeks and finally made it to the doctor and the doctor literally patted me on the head and told me to not worry because I was young and go on home. Well, yes, I was young, 22 years old... but isn't that all the MORE reason why I shouldn't be concerned with excessive bleeding? Especially because I wasn't dealing with any affects from long term birth control use? I didn't like this doctor immediately.

I still had issues over the next few years with this on and off. And recently, after almost a year with no issues, my bleeding issues arose again. One of the first things that they look for when you are bleeding out of control is miscarriage. It's obviously a possibility because we are not preventing pregnancy in any way.

Over the last month or so Jack and I have been on a rollercoaster ride trying to figure out the cause of my bleeding problems. Do we need to see a specialist? Is this our worst nightmare confirmed? Is this even worse than what we could have ever possibly imagined? What does this mean for the rest of our life? Why are we going through this? How do we go through this? And why are we going through all of this again and again? This was the absolute last thing that we could have expected. Is this a miracle that we have been praying for?

Those are a lot of the main questions that we have been asking ourselves in the last week or so. This is Resolve's National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) and I've been trying to come up with some way to gain awareness about infertility and the different facets of it. What I have really experienced is that most people do not want to hear about it. They don't want to know the horrible details, they only want the Guilianna and Bill version, or the John and Kate plus 8 version, something very simplified, something very glamorized and not 100% real.

I have always had a heart for other people who are hurting, and my dad pointed something out a long time ago that has always stuck with me... "You never know what someone else is going through." How true. How completely true is that. I am a walking example of this situation. No one in my life besides my husband, and sometimes not even that if I can hide it for a few hours while he's at work, knows what goes on every day in my head or in our life. Some things can't even begin to be imagined. Jack and I are the only ones who know what has been going on in the last few weeks of our life, and, for the most part, that's how we are going to keep it. Some parts of life just really don't need to be shared.

So think about it next time you are at the grocery store, and the cashier doesn't smile or even make eye contact with you the entire time she is scanning your items and taking your money and you get offended and angry... You don't know if her sister just passed away the day before and she couldn't get the day off work to go to her funeral... You don't know if her Dad is sick and is past the point of hope and waiting to die. You don't know if she has a sick baby at home. You don't know if her husband just left her. You don't know if she just peed on a pregnancy test that morning for the 48th month in a row with the exact same negative result. You. Have. No. Idea. What. That. Person. Is. Going. Through. You really don't.

Infertility awareness to me isn't just about infertility. To me it's about learning to have compassion for your fellow humans. There are an infinite number of ways that you will suffer in your lifetime. The human condition, since the fall of Sin, is about suffering and includes suffering. Our Earthly life will NO QUESTION and with NO EXCEPTIONS will include suffering and pain of some sort. To me infertility awareness is about learning to have compassion towards other humans who are going through pain. Not just infertility, any kind of heart ache.

Call this a calling to my fellow humans. How can you just look the other way when so many are calling out and are hurting? How do you just drive by the guy holding the sign asking for food? How are we so conditioned to only care about #1 and only worry about #1?? How do you fall asleep at night knowing that you were presented an opportunity to show that you care and that you have been moved by someone else's suffering and you let that moment pass you by? You just flat out ignored it. You don't want to be embarrassed or you don't want to say the wrong thing, or you just don't know them well enough to say something.

Matthew 22: 36-40 says:
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

After loving God, you are to LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF. Look out for #1, sure. But if you treat EVERYONE as #1, think of how the world would be different.

I know people get annoyed with infertility awareness stuff. I know that infertility and people talking about infertility sometimes makes people who have never experienced it really angry. I don't know why, but I have experienced this anger and the lash outs that follow it first hand. Infertility sucks, there's no way to sugar coat it. Infertility changes every aspect of your life; it changes your marriage, sometimes making it stronger, sometimes tearing it apart completely; what's supposed to be the happiest time in your life and the most hopeful time in your life as you and your spouse start trying to make the family of your dreams... turns into the most painful and biggest nightmare of your life. Infertility changes your friendships. Some friends get angry with you about the choices that you make on your journey. I have lost friends that I have had for most of my life over them getting upset and angry over what choices Jack and I have made on our infertility journey. Some people don't understand seeking treatment. Others don't understand not seeking treatment. Everyone has an opinion, and while the majority are uneducated opinions, they share them none-the-less.

Infertility can pull apart your extended family also. One of the biggest heartaches that Jack and I have gone through as a side effect of infertility is family members not agreeing with or understanding what is going on, or what we feel called to do. I have been told that I should understand if Jack wants to go out and find a fertile wife. This of course was before we found out that we had BOTH female factor and male factor infertility. We have been argued with about what avenues of treatment we have sought. We have been condemned for not seeking additional treatments. Some family members refuse to accept our situation and refuse to accept that infertility is something that is between Jack and I and that decisions regarding it are ours and only ours to make. Some family members refuse to accept no for an answer, and in their own hurting about not gaining new family members through us, through blood, they shove every "fertility" related tid-bit that they can find down our throats and then get angry when we explain to them how they are not factual or do not apply to us. Infertility affects everything.

Many people take their fertility for granted. Many people don't understand what a miracle conception is. Many people don't understand that every life is a gift from God. Many people complain constantly about their gifts, and while I'm not saying that I can't appreciate that parenthood is very difficult, I think there is a difference between having a hard time and really and truly not being grateful for the gifts that some take for granted.

National Infertility Awareness Week has been made a mockery of by PETA. The millions of couples dealing with daily heartbreak are minimized and forgotten about.

So take some time out of your busy life and think about the things that you are struggling with and try to imagine if you could feel the compassion of your fellow humans and imagine how much easier it would be to put one foot in front of the other, or roll out of bed in the morning knowing that you aren't being targeted for your situation. Knowing that you have support from your fellow humankind.

We are all in this together... Let's try to show some true LOVE to one another. Remember, you have no idea what is going on in someone's life... So try to show some humanity and for once, put someone else in the #1 in your life. Take some time to show someone in your life who is struggling, whether it be with infertility, or with anything else, that you care. Don't be shy or embarrassed or lazy... Actually DO something instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Has Risen!

Jesus Christ has Risen from the grave!! Today we rejoice that our Lord and Savior loved us so much that He died for us and conquered sin, death, hell and the grave to pave a way for us to go to Heaven. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Matthew 28:6

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sometimes in the most unlikely circumstances...

This morning, church was slightly more full than usual. We've begun to get used to that, as our congregation seems to grow almost weekly! (Glory be to God!) But today, Palm Sunday, sure seemed to have a little more bustle than usual. We sat in our usual seats, second row back in the center near the aisle. Smiled at Steve who didn't make it quite as early as we did, chatted with the people who always sit near us. Then we stand to begin the worship time, just like normal. As Jeff begins to play the second song on the guitar, in streams a band of small children. I continue singing Hosanna with the rest of the congregation.

As I'm watching the small children all waving their palm branches, parents begin streaming towards the front taking pictures of their children. My heart begins to get heavy and I try to keep singing. Flashes are going off and children are waving at their parents and smiling and forgetting all together that they are supposed to be waving the palm branches in time with the music. My heart completely breaks and I'm overwhelmed. Everyone is happy and singing their heart out and my heart is breaking as I'm crying watching these small children.

I'm not overwhelmed with grief, but it's hard to describe the heartache that can come out of no where, where you least expect it, when you least expect it. I have been preparing my heart for weeks to deal with mother's day that is coming up. I was not prepared for small children traipsing through, looking as precious and adorable as could be, singing and happy. I don't know how to describe what it feels like to have your heart break over infertility. It's hard to put into words what it feels like to be watching these smiling parents as they photograph their children up in front of the congregation. It's hard to watch parents wishing that one day that could be you, or more like you wish it was you right then.

In moments like that, your life sort of flashes before your eyes. How you pictured your life turning out, all the things you believed you would experience, and that meets with the present of all of the things you didn't experience. You picture yourself as one of the parents leaning down and trying to take candid pictures of your child dressed up in a frilly dress, and then the cold reality of the fact that your child is not up there. You have no one to photograph. No small hand is waving at you and no small face is looking for you in the crowd.

I know it's very commonplace for people who have never experienced infertility to say things like, "one day that will be you." Or even if you aren't as bold as to claim to know the future like a lot of people that I have come into contact with, you might even be thinking it. Let me make one thing clear: YOU do NOT know what God has planned. Not for your own life and certainly not for OUR life. So if that's what you're thinking, or if that is what you feel like you need to reply to this post or email me... please think for a minute about the boldness of your statement. "I know this will happen for you." There is no way for you to know. Please, for the sake of Jack and I, and for the sake of anyone out there who knows the pain and hurt that I am describing... Don't ever say this to someone. You are not helping, and again, you can't begin to IMAGINE what specific plans God has for anyone, let alone us. I know you think you are trying to be helpful, but please trust me here, that is not even remotely helpful.

I do need to point out, however, what is great about our lot in life is that no matter how many times I bawl in church, God counts every tear. We are not going through this alone and while Jack and I hold on to each other and cry, we have our Heavenly Father to cry out to. So we may not experience these things in our lifetime, but we are not alone. God DOES have plans for us, that we know not of, but we know there are plans nonetheless. AND from scripture, we know that God works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him. And that He has plans to prosper and not to harm, and to give us hope and a future. Well that, THAT is what I will accept. YES God has plans for us. Does that mean that they will absolutely include becoming parents? No.

The service today, as it always does on days where I feel like I would rather be anywhere else in the world, spoke directly to my heart. Why do we have this blog? Why are we so transparent and open about what infertility is like in the real world? Not the world of celebrities who have endless money to spend on doctors who are literally on call to them 24 hours a day. The real world. What life is really like. What REAL life is like to a couple with infertility.

Pastor Jim preached from John. John 12 starts the day before passover. Jesus is in Bethany with Lazarus, Martha and Mary. They are hanging out and a bunch of Jews hear that Jesus is in Bethany so they start flocking to Bethany. Not only to see Jesus, but to see Lazarus. They all had heard the stories, but wanted to see for themselves if God really did raise Lazarus from the dead as all these Christians had claimed. Well they see Lazarus alive and well, and believe in Jesus. The priests who were plotting to kill Jesus also decided that they need to also kill Lazarus because these Jews are started to believe in Jesus and who He is and that just won't do!

The message was about how the world is watching us as Christians to see if God really DOES work in our lives. We Christians can talk the talk, but are we walking the walk? It felt like the Holy Spirit was talking to my heart about our blog... why on earth would we want the WORLD to know what we are going through? Why would we want the world to be inside our heads and have this picture of our messy and painful situation? And why does the world want to read this? Why do we have nearly 3,500 views after only starting this blog a short while ago? Because the world wants to see if we mean what we say. We sure do talk the talk... but how do we as Christians handle our situations in life differently? Or do we even handle it any differently? Shouldn't we handle it differently?? If our God really is who we say He is... and does what we say He does... We should live our life differently. We should look at our lot in life differently.

So, this long winded post was all to say, we share what we are going through and make it as honest and transparent as possible to show others the Love of our Savior. I hope that by showing the real side of infertility, not the hollywood glitz and glam version, that we can truly portray how our life is lived out and what it's like for us, as followers of Jesus, to struggle with infertility.

Basement bedroom almost finished

I say that all matter-of-factly, as though I actually contributed to the project myself. In fact, it was my darling husband who has done the work. I did my part by staying out of the basement while he worked. I have to admit, I'm a horrible back seat driver. And, when it comes to projects, I "help" in exactly the same way. Jack appreciates it when I help from upstairs, so this time, I did.

Anyway, the walls are completely framed in as well as the closet and now all that space needs is some good old fashioned dry wall and mud and sand. Then it will be time for paint and trim and then flooring. I think my mom will be very pleased with her space :) I am anxious to see the finished product!

This morning we are up early getting ready for church. I'm excited to get there early. For several months now, this man who comes forward to collect the offering has decided that he likes to sit where we sit. At first when he discovered how nice the seats were he commented to us, "Wow, you must get here early to get those seats!" And I told him that as a matter of fact, you do have to get there early for them!! They are in the 2nd row, right in the center, right behind the small monitor on the floor that has the lyrics for the band members on them and the scripture that they put up on the big screens above so that the people speaking can see it too. Because the little screen is there, there are no chairs there which means no one sits there... which means it is the perfect spot for a short person like all 5'2" of me to sit! This man, whose name I believe is Steve, has recently begun to find it amusing to get there before us and sit in our seats!! So every week it is a race to see who gets there first. Both of us graciously concede to the other person if they get them before us :P

Tomorrow is the big Women of the Word event that I have been looking forward to for months. This Christian author is coming to our church to speak about her book. I wanted to see this speaker before I even knew who she was or what her book was about, but once I read the book, there was no way I could miss it. This speaker struggled with infertility for almost a decade and then eventually God led her and her husband to adoption and back to the Lord. Her testimony is woven with so many things that I have experienced myself and I am so excited to go and see this and maybe get her to autograph my copy of her book!

Anyway, time to go brush my teeth and run out the door to church. We have to beat Steve and his wife Deb to get the good spots ;) I hope you all are finding time to spend with your families and the ones you love today and are joining me and the fellow believers in Worship of the King of Kings! Especially the week before Easter!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mrs. Allison Homemaker

I need to come clean about something... Something that very few of you probably know about me.

I was born a slob. I'm talking big time, never put anything away, everything always ended up just dumped in my room, kind of slob.

I remember going to bed thinking one Easter that I would wake up and the "Easter Bunny" would have cleaned a path in my room so that I could know where to find my Easter basket. Yes, I just said clear a path. Please try to imagine that. Literally, my bedroom during childhood was always about (child size) knee height full of junk. Toys, clothes, anything and everything all over the floor.

Since I've been married, the only thing that I have really struggled with is laundry to this day. But I have a HUGE fear of having a messy/cluttered/dirty house. Dirty to me probably doesn't equal dirty to others. I wonder what my parents think of my house now? I bet that they were probably terrified that I would turn into one of those crazy hoarders (no offense) that they have on that one TV show. Well, Mom and Dad, are you surprised about how I turned out?

The other day I was lacking motivation to get things done. I know all too well what happens when you lose motivation and things start spiraling out of control and before you know it... ::cue dramatic and scary music::

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Seriously... that is a pretty close to accurate depiction of what I remember my childhood bedrooms looking like... up until I moved out and into my own apartment.

I'm thinking it would be fun to do a photo tour of my house to show how much I've changed in my housekeeping skills since I was a child :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book # 27 / 100

I really slowed down on my book reading the last month or two for some reason. I have read 2 books in the last 3 days though so that's good. I'm still working through the Bible as well. Almost done with Isaiah and then on to Jeremiah.

Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury

Jack and Molly Campbell are right where they want to be, enjoying an idyllic life with their four-year-old son Joey, and the close family and friends who live in their small hometown just outside Atlanta. Then the phone call comes from the social worker the Campbells never expected to hear from again. Three states away in Ohio, Joey's biological father has just been released from prison. He is ready to start life over, but not without his son.
A judge's quick decision deals a devastating blow to the Campbell family: Joey must be returned to his biological parents. The day after the ruling, in the silent haze of grief and utter disbelief, they watch their son pick a dandelion and blow the feathery seeds into the wind. (from Amazon)

This one was a tear jerker... I don't know if it's because of the road that Jack and I are currently on now, but this one was hard to read. It was basically about an adoptive family's worst fears... an adoption being reversed after almost 5 years!! It was a good book though :)

Mother's Day

It's amazing how horrifying those two words together are in the world of infertility. They are two simple words, but when you put them together... they create such an unbelievable level of anxiety, terror, pain, heartache and sorrow.

At our church, when you walk in the front doors, you immediately walk through a hallway where people stand on either side and greet and welcome you and shake your hand. Also, there are people standing on the sides of the hallway passing out fliers to those they believe will be interested. A few weeks ago, I got the flier for the month of April's calendar for the Women's ministries. On Sunday, there was a woman with a table set up with happy colors and all sorts of fliers... and then all of a sudden, I see that it's for the Mother's Day brunch. Queue panic.

Without even thinking, I literally turned my head away from her and looked at the other wall, then turned my entire body away from her so that my back was to her and walked sideways down this hallway. I probably looked ridiculous. I didn't care. The last thing on Earth that I wanted to happen was for her to smile and try to hand me that brochure. How do you smile and reply, "Nope, that doesn't apply to me."

I know there are cynics out there who will think my actions are ridiculous and unnecessary. I am sure there are people out there with hearts so hardened to others' pain and struggles that will think of me as rude for not even acknowledging this person. I know, because I have dealt with these people in years past around this "holiday." Even family members are so self involved that they will literally say, "Well I'm a mother, you should get over yourself for one minute and celebrate other people." In telling me that I'm being selfish, they spew out some ridiculous selfish statement about how they need to be celebrated themselves. Really, so the other 364 days this year, you're going to be celebrating me? You're going to be praying for me? I don't and didn't think so.

This day is hard by itself, but people challenging and berating people struggling with infertility is what makes it so hard.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Loss and Grief Foster Parenting Class

Last night's class really wasn't my favorite that we had to go to. It was about Loss.

Loss is defined by two categories, those that are an expected part of the human life experience, and those that are unexpected, that we hope won't happen to us. Unexpected losses are often more painful because they are not seen as a normal part of life.

Expected loss is things like the loss of a parent due to age, loss of a child going away to school. Things that almost every human has to deal with at some point, they are common and easily understood and there is generally a lot of knowledge and support about such losses.

Unexpected losses are things like the death of a parent at an early age, the loss of a child, infertility. Things that not very many people have gone through and most don't know how to handle. Therefore people don't know how to relate to people going through unexpected losses. There is not very much knowledge and not very much support.

According to our paperwork and the class, loss can be further divided into three types:
First, there's loss of health, both physical and mental.
Second, there's the loss of a loved one, whether through death, or divorce, or infertility because of the baby one could never have.
Third, there's the loss of self-esteem, when we feel shame or hurt.

Children coming into Foster Care are experiencing unexpected loss. They weren't expecting to be taken out of their home in the middle of the night by the cops. They weren't expecting to switch schools, and see their family once a week or even less than that. They weren't expecting to have to learn a whole new set of life situations... and all of this can affect their self-esteem. They blame themselves for the circumstances that they find themselves in.

Not only do these children experience loss, they also experience the grieving process.

It was a shorter class, for some reason it only lasted 2 hours instead of three... but that was fine by us.

It was a complex class really, it's just sad that these children along with dealing with abuse and neglect of some sort, they are also dealing with losses and grieving. It's a really sad situation all around.

Our next exercise that we have to do for homework is to go through all of the losses that we have experienced in our life, expected and unexpected and explain how we dealt with them. Should be an interesting exercise. Who doesn't love going through all of their losses and re living them all over again right?

I do think it's valuable though to be able to manage your losses and grieving in order to help others through the grieving process. I think that a lot of what Jack and I deal with infertility and how we have coped and how we have grieved or how we do grieve has enabled and empowered us to be able to help others through the same loss. At least we hope that to be true!

I don't feel like the class last night gave either of us any new perspectives on the foster children, but it definitely made us think a little deeper about the people in our lives and how they deal with loss. Especially those who have tried to compare their losses with ours, we have a better understanding of what kinds of losses we have experienced. And understanding that, we can see how it affects our view of the world also and how we learn and associate with others. All of which is significant in dealing with foster children.

So that was our class. I think we really like the classes where they give us real life examples instead of general information. This class about loss was more of a general information class. Hopefully soon we will be getting a licensing worker!

Monday, April 4, 2011


There has been three weeks since our last PRIDE class for our Foster Parent licensing. Three weeks during which we had ample time to complete our "homework" for the week. The first week, we spent reading the lengthy packet every night over dinner. The second week we spent thinking about doing our homework. Now, the class is on Thursday and Jack won't be home from work for another half hour to forty five minutes.... And we need to do the homework.

I wonder what this next class will be about. I hope that it's more specific information, but it seems as though the classes are very general for a reason. Like I said before, we are the only couple that doesn't have children of our own currently in the Thursday night classes. The other people in the classes have either been legally adopting a grandchild or nephew/niece, or adopting an older child.

The only thing left on our list of to-do's before we get assigned a caseworker is Jack's physical. I think I'm going to need to plan one for this week or early next week. Probably something by his work. It makes it difficult when he works 8am to 6pm but works an hour away and has to leave the house at 7am and doesn't get home until 7pm.

I think I'll go ahead and finish the homework today, and I will run out and get my own physical form signed while I'm out running my errands and going to my appointments. One more thing done!

It is kind of overwhelming to think of doing domestic infant adoption and having to pay for every single one of these classes and fingerprinting and the whole homestudy process! That would be an incredible amount of money! Although, I'm sure that if that was what God called us to do, he would provide the means by which to do it.

I'm very much looking forward to the homestudy process though!! With it being so close, we very quickly need to be setting up the bedroom which means that pretty soon we will need to buy the children's beds.

We have been very blessed so far to have such generous friends who have begun to offer us things and give us things. Jocelyn and her mom, Sandra, were so incredibly generous to us and gave us two huge containers filled with kids movies!! It's a huge blessing because we don't have tv or cable of any kind and normally if Jack and I sit down to watch something, it's a movie that we got from Netflix or that we own. This way, the kids will have their own age appropriate movie library to pick from!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sing O Barren Woman!

This morning Jack and I discussed whether or not we would go to church with our pastor out of town to Israel. (I know, I know... horrible of us.) In the end, we decided to go, especially because there were a handful of people meeting us there that have just recently started going to the church.

We got there and there was a guest speaker (obviously, as our 2 main pastors are around the world) that had a very different approach than our charismatic pastor. He opened his Bible and began to read, and even someone who has recently read the chapter he read aloud, I had no idea what he was reading. I guessed it was scripture, I didn't know what translation, I didn't know what chapter or even what book he was reading from because he didn't say. He read an entire chapter. Normally if our pastor reads, he will tell us which book to flip to, give us time to open our Bibles and they also put the verses up on the screen. This guy just opened some book up behind the pulpit and read an entire chapter.

Tooootally not what we're used to... which is cool too... but unfortunately we started to just zone out. The teenagers that came with us who sat behind us were talking amongst themselves quietly and trying to amuse themselves because this was just not what normally happens at our church. You never have to force yourself to pay attention or to not yawn or to follow along, at our church normally you are captivated and hang on every word and when it's over you have no idea how the time passed so quickly.

Anyhow... after probably 15 minutes of reading aloud and talking about what he read, he then tells us he read Isaiah chapter 53. Oh, okay. So I open my Bible to that. (It was kind of funny because in my Bible reading just last night I read Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon and was about to dive into Isaiah, so my bookmark was already at Isaiah 1.) I have to be honest, I was only half heartedly listening and wishing for Pastor Jim to have a safe and speedy trip home.... and then this man started to read the first few verses of Chapter 54. Now, know that this was not the focus of his sermon. His sermon was on Chapter 53.

Isaiah 53 (King James Version)

1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
(Oh just read it, it's not that long and it certainly won't kill you.)

This guy was reading the chapter where they prophesied the life of Christ over 600 years before Christ walked the Earth and how He would be viewed and eventually how he would die for our salvation.

The very next verse was what the Holy Spirit spoke to both Jack and I about. Now remember, just picture us sitting in church, in the second row in the center of the church, barely paying attention and thinking about other things.

Isaiah 54:
1Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
Um excuse me? Say that again?

SING Oh barren, oh barren who? The one who did not bear. Bear what? The one who didn't travail with child. What does travail mean? Travail is the pain of childbirth. So who is this talking to? The barren woman who did not bear a child through childbirth. For more are the children of the desolate... who are the desolate? Those broken and lost and hurting and used up. The desolate are the people who will be having their children removed by CPS, the people whose children we will foster. For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife. Who is the married wife? I am. Saith the Lord. From the mouth of God Himself.
I looked over at Jack, tears in my eyes and he just nodded because the exact same insight had just been presented to him as well. And remember, this guy was preaching about how Christ truly was percieved and how he was broken and killed for all of our sins.... he wasn't giving a sermon on foster kids... but this is how God has continually spoken to us.

He might as well have said, "Jack and Allison, you should be singing in your heartache... sing through this trail of barrenness and infertility. Sing because you have been given a more precious task... for in my eyes, more important and more valuable and more precious are the children of the desolate, the lost and the broken than ones you could have bore yourselves right now. Love God. "
But Isaiah 54 goes on...
5For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.
6For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.
7For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
8In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer.

The Lord is my husband... I am the bride and He is my bridegroom. My Redeemer! He has called me (and US) as a woman forsaken (or a husband and wife forsaken) and grieved in spirit. A wife of youth. When we were refused... we have been refused for over 3 years!

For a small moment He has forsaken us, but with great mercies He promises to gather us. For a small moment... our LIFE on Earth is a small moment. We might live to be 90 years old... I'm almost 1/3 of the way there, Jack IS 1/3 of the way there. 1/3 of the way through this life. This life IS but a vapor... it is so short and is over before we even know what's happening. So for this small moment in our lives He has forsaken us with barrenness. And hidden His face (and this blessing) from us for this moment. How long will this moment last? Well even if it lasted our whole 90 years on this Earth... this moment is an inconceivably small amount of time in comparison with eternity. Everlasting kindness and mercy He promises He will have for us. For eternity.
It was just unbelievable that through what we thought was a mistake of even coming to church... Here God was speaking to us about our very situation... yet again. God is always speaking to us about Foster Parenting. Here we go again, God is saying and commanding us to MOVE in our lives. Better it is for us to not mope around and sulk and suffer through this, He has great things planned for our life. Great blessings will come to us if we follow in His will for our lives. If only we would stop dragging our feet even for a moment and pay attention as He speaks to us.

So SING, this barren woman will SING about the JOY of the Lord. I will SING of His amazing blessings He has given to Jack and I in our marriage and even our marriage itself. I will SING about what an amazing God we serve and love who loves us enough to send a Savior to die for our sins so that we will know and have an eternity with Him in Heaven. I will SING His praises and SING for His glory! We will SING our testimony through this situation and praise His name through it all!