Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Yep, I'm going THERE (shudder, gasp)

I'm about to do something I probably swore I would never do.  I'm going to talk politics.  I have been cringing every time I check facebook because there are so many truly degrading status updates and just plain meanness on BOTH sides!  I literally hate watching TV because of the political ads and every time someone says something mean I almost automatically want to vote for the other person.  I think it's important to remember that all politicians of whatever party are human and humans are sinful so neither party is perfect by any stretch.  I wish that Christians would stop looking at their party (whichever one it is!) like the Savior - and judging those who vote differently!  Our Pastor on politics and told a story about a man who was wanting to becoming of Christian but in tears said he just couldn't accept Christ because he couldn't vote Republican.  How tragic that we are Christians have allowed politics to become so divisive that people feel they can't accept Christ if they can't accept the Republican party!  And in our day there are definately groups of Christians who camp in either the Democratic or Republical party - and judge those who vote differently.  Shame on us! 

So, how do I vote?  I have started to read a lot more about different issues, and in particular look at the voting record of those running for office.  Unfortunately - you can't always (or maybe never?) trust what comes out of the mouths of many politicians - and looking at specifically what has been voted for or against can give a bit more light to the standards and what that person thinks is important.  But, the most important research I do is look at what the Bible says on various topics.  There are many extremely touchy topics in this year's election that will could a lot of the direction of our country - and often it isn't popular to side with what the Bible clearly says about these issues.  What does the Bible say about the environment?  Life inside the womb?  Caring for the poor?  Caring for the elderly?  Respect for authority?  Finances and debt?  Marriage?  Child raising? ...  If we say that we follow Christ but then make up our own standards for living when He has set out how His followers should live there is a disconnect somewhere.  And that includes politics.  Should we vote the way someone else says we should or according to which candidate, what initiative etc. stands closer to Biblical values?

It is very hard when we see things that match with Biblical standards in both choices, or things that definitely don't - and sometimes it honestly feels like it comes down to choosing the better of two evils.  But we need to come before God and ask His direction and then vote as Biblically as we can - no matter what popular opinion says we should do.

So get out there and do your civic duty!  If you don't take the time to vote you really shouldn't complain about our government.  Be informed and be involved.  But DON'T settle for name calling and below the belt blows.  Yes engage in civil political discussions - learn all you can!  Act in a way that reflects the love of all mankind (yes even your opposing political party! gasp) as Jesus displayed - not that we can't disagree or call evil evil (Jesus certainly did!) but we should always be careful of what kind of witness we are giving to the world - and that includes in election year!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Why adoption is not our last choice.

I often hear people talk about adoption like it's only the option after every other option has been exhausted.  Many go through painful rounds of infertility treatments only to be left with no possibility of every having biological children.  And then they begin thinking about adoption.

Having biological children is not impossible for us.  We would have to use a surrogate, but my one lonely little ovary is as fertile as they come (I find myself apologizing to it because it really tries so darn hard!).  But we decided before we were even married, that we would not pursue surrogacy even though we literally had people lining up volunteering their healthy uterus' to carry our baby.  (And I am incredibly humbled and touched by how people I love would be willing to do something like that for us!)  Our decision to adopt rather than try for biological babies was personal, and does not in any way judge those who have chosen to use extraordinary means to have biological children.  Families need to decide what to do in cases of challenged fertility and no one else should judge a couple's right to decide on how they will pursue a family. 

That said, this is why we are choosing adoption: there are too many children already out there who need us.  I am 100% sure that if getting pregnant was a natural option for us we would go that route.  The more research I do on adoption the more depressing it sounds.  Attachment issues, drug addiction, medical problems, behavioral problems, learning disabilities ... all of these are very often part of adoption - local or overseas.  I want our babies to trust us and be able to function well in life, I don't want them to be born addicted to drugs or malnourished or to have been abused or neglected early in life.  It crushes my heart to think of the trauma that they may have to recover from - when all babies should begin life in a safe womb welcomed by loving and trustworthy parents.  But no matter what type of adoption we end up pursuing our children will come to us from a painful circumstance.  I know that God can do amazing things and can heal and restore - but I hate to think of the pain they may endure.

Not only will our parenting be affected and probably more difficult in some ways, but the sheer amount of paperwork and invasive application process is daunting.  In reading over applications (we have put in a very preliminary application just to see where we might want to pursue) It's crummy how much information they need.  It feels like someone prying so deeply into our personal lives that it makes me want to scream.  Tax records, medical records, details on assets we have, details on where we live, what kind of discipline we will use, what schools we will send our children to ... details about our relatives.  It's all super invasive and annoying (I do know they are just trying to be careful because they want the children to go to good homes).  Over and over I keep thinking that NO ONE needs to have even the most simple interview to get pregnant.  It's a bummer and it feels unfair. And of course there is that feeling in the back of my mind that what if after all the paperwork they say we can't have the "job" - we could be turned down as parents.  So yes, if we could have children naturally we would probably do that instead.  NOT at all that we feel we could love biological children better - but just because adoption is such a roller coaster and so scary.  Not to mention expensive!   But adoption is not our last choice.  I have wanted to adopt since I was a child.  I hated the thought of children needing families and not having them.  But adoption is very hard, and that is probably why more people don't do it. 

Would I love to have a baby that looks like my sweet Farmer boy?  Definitely.  Sometimes when he doesn't know I'm watching him I imagine what a little boy with his hair and his hands and eyes would look like.  I think about how much fun a newborn would be - and the more I look into adoption the less likely I feel that I'll ever get a newborn.  And I hate that.  I want to be the first one to see my baby smile.  I want to nurse our babies.  I want to talk to them before they are born.  But even though all of these things could be part of our lives if we choose surrogacy, I just cannot go that route knowing that there are so many who need us.  God could have stepped in and stopped the destructive disease that took away my chance to naturally have children.  But He didn't.  And I can only believe that He didn't for a reason and that someday we'll see the beautiful redemption of the brokenness of our family.  He is the God who makes beautiful things from the dust of our lives and I trust Him with our Someday babies.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Of Autumn Leave and the Beauty in Disappointment

Everyone else was sound alseep as I crept around the house getting dressed and quietly snuck out to my car.  I would have loved to sleep in on this chilly Sunday morning (well ok, I did sleep in by many standards but since we don't get to bed til about 2 every morning it's all relative), but I knew it was my only chance to get out on my own to do a long needed grocery shopping trip. 

The sun was shinning as I pulled out of the driveway (trying to ignore the yard work that desperately needs to be done) and headed to the store.  There is something so freeing about driving all alone and enjoying the quiet alone time with God.  It's a rare time that I get to be out of the house on my own and I am trying to just enjoy the blessed little moments when God reminds me that even in this "waiting room" season of our lives there is beauty and joy and that even in the less than perfect life, He remains good.

Yesterday my Grammie and I took a drive to look at the leaves turning.  I remembered that last fall we had "accidentally" stumbled across the most enchanting road where the autumn leaves were completely covering the road like a brilliant tunnel of light.  Even though they hadn't all turned yet both Grammie and I were overcome by the beauty of this season and the reds, colds, oranges of the leaves against the blue and sunny sky took our breath away.  The season of Autumn is one of the most beautiful ones out there (well, in my opinion they are all beautiful in different ways) - but I can't help notice that the beauty of the Autumn leaves is the beauty of death.  The vibrant green of spring and summer is over and this year's leaves are dying and falling to the earth where they will rot and be forgotten.  And even that process is beautiful.  We wouldn't see the colors of fall if the leaves never died.  And that's kind of how I feel about this part of our lives.  I feel like every day I am dying to what I want - what I feel like I can't live without.  I am forced by our circumstances to not be in the place of life I wanted, that I expected and felt like I deserved.  I don't honestly know that everything will work out and we'll be parents ever.  I don't know that my husband will get a good job when he is done with school (we sent our letter of interest many weeks ago to a school we really wanted and have not heard back).  I don't know that we will ever be able to fulfil dreams we have of working overseas with orphans, or having a place to call our own - a little farm with a cute old fashioned house.  I don't know for sure what will happen with my health.  I don't know. And every day those questions make me feel a "little death" which is what disappointment feels like.  We're in this waiting room season of life when all our hopes and dreams hang in the balance and we cannot do one thing to make it go faster.  Is this season easy?  Nope.  Do we long for our Someday Babies with an aching desire every day?  Yep.  Can we wait for the day when we're both out of school?  Hardly - but we're working on it.  Is God good?  Always.  And in this time of waiting in our lives, when our dreams feel like they are dying more every day, there is great beauty that we would never see if it wasn't for this season of Autumn.  And we see His goodness even more because of the falling leaves.

The last 3 or so weeks have been a real challenge for me.  Since the battery died in one of my nerve simulators my pain level has sky rocketed.  I had secretly wondered if when it died I would be just fine - maybe the condition healed itself over these years - but when the pain came back I knew that this burden has not been lifted from me and it's a disappointment.  It's funny how I could forget within the last 5 years how much pain I used to live with every day that I don't have now.  It's at least double from what I experience on a regular basis.  It's been a shocker to wake up almost every night with searing pain again, and to have to breath through pain many times a day.  If any of you used to read back when I started the blog - my focus 3 years ago was to learn to live well with chronic pain - over the past few months I've started talking more about adoption and that process but chronic pain is (and probably always will be on some level) part of my experience.  And even though I would love to say that I never have pain that scares me with it's intensity, no matter how much I would love to be completely free from any physical weakness - I do, and I am not.  I'm super super happy for treatments like diet modification, vitamins, the nerve simulators etc.  I'm so glad that God has given me good tools that make living with this easier and allow me to be fully functioning (I mean I'm working 16 plus hours and on call all night every day of the week with an occasional break . AND completing my degree, AND owning my own floral business!!)!  Having the extreme pain again makes me so much more grateful that I don't have this every day anymore, but I sure would love to be free completely.   I would love to not need to have surgery every couple years.  Is God still good?  Always. 


I am so thankful for moments like yesterday and moments like this morning when I feel an almost tangible hug from my God and I know that He is forever good.  I'd not mind getting up while the world sleeps every day to be reminded of this truth.  And I'll never look at the falling leaves the same.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Timing and Sunsets

Timing in life is sometimes annoying.  For example - over five years ago I had two nerve simulators implanted into my low back to help treat the symptoms of Interstitial Cystitis.  It's been GREAT and so helpful for me over these five years.  So in October I am really busy with lots of events happening in the family - and of course one of my batteries died and needs to be replaced as soon as possible. 

So it feels like all I am doing is going back and forth trying to figure out how to get time off work and manage getting everything else done that needs doing - oh and did I mention that I am taking college classes too?  There have been plenty of months that have been pretty low key - and it is frustrating that the time I need to have surgery is one of the most busy months of the year!

I was feeling so overwhelmed this evening when I remembered that I promised my Husband that I would water the yard (we've had a very dry late summer and fall so far).  So after serving dinner I went out to try and water quickly before it got dark so it would be done when he gets home later tonight.  As I looked around at the lawn that needs mowing (a job I have taken over lately and enjoy for the exercise!)  and dodging mole hills (by the way if anyone knows how to get rid of moles let me know!) when I happened to glance up at the sky.  We live in a valley so don't usually have much view of the sunset - but tonight when I looked up I saw the most beautiful sky.  A bright teal blue with little fluffy wisps of pink cotton candy clouds.  It literally took my breath away.  And suddenly I knew that everything is going to be ok.  This surgery will work out in God's timing.  My days for recovery will work out, all the events we have will work themselves out and I will make it through this month.   If I hadn't HAD to water the plants - and if I hadn't been so busy all day that I forgot until 7 pm - I would have missed that beauty!  Thank God for HIS timing - when my timing feels so impossible.  Thank God that He brings beauty out of even a crazy day!  HE is good!

It can be so difficult when life gets messy and crazy and since I don't like stress it can make me get so focused on just getting through that I loose sight of the beauty and peace that is available to me if I just slow down enough to see.  There is no situation that is too much for God and if I stop trying to manage my fear, my responsibilities, and the craziness that is all around I can partake of the peace and joy that is offered.