Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Custom Built

We are beyond grateful to be in the process of building our dream home on family land. Obtaining the construction loan felt like a beautiful mess at times. It still feels like I could pinch myself and wake up from a dream! 




As the foundation was laid and the walls are being placed, my heart is full of excitement. I cannot help but ponder how the build of our home compares to what Christ is building in all of us through our own journeys.




A solid foundation is key to building a home. Our foundation must be built upon Jesus Christ in order to withstand the storms of life. James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

Over the past three years, one thing God was building inside of me is the life lesson that I am not in control. Truly learning that has brought about a new kind of joy...a joy likened to the sureness of sunshine after a storm.



God is the master builder. He has the master plans. Although He does not show us the blueprints for our lives, nor does He always give us answers for why, He does give us a promise. 



We were elated the day we officially closed on our construction loan. We promised the bank we would pay them back for the loan and our builder made promises as well. We all trusted each other to keep our promise. 

God gives us promises throughout the Bible. One of His promises is to love us unconditionally.

2 Peter 3:9 declares, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 

Building a dream home takes time. What our God is building inside of us takes time too. What is He building inside of you? 

I can tell you He is building something beautiful. He is building something sturdy and precious...something that won't fall apart over time. He is etching into your soul the heart of a warrior. He is fighting for you and working from the inside out. He is guiding you too.



For us, and most people I would assume, getting to the place of being able to begin the building process was somewhat of a battle. All the saving, paperwork, phone calls, and meetings took determination. 

Jesus is determined to build His dream inside of you. Ask Him for patience. Ask Him for joy. And you know what? If patience and joy doesn't come right away it's okay. He is patient with us. He loves us unconditionally. 

Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up during the building process. After all, God loves us unconditionally. Ask God to fight for you. In the end, you will look back and say, "What a beautiful mess."  


After all, YOU are custom built...

In Him,
Candace 


Friday, June 9, 2017

No More Sorrow

 


"No more sorrow" was the title of the filter in this picture.


Jesus has taken away my sorrow! There was a physical downpour during most of our vacation, and I believe a spiritual one too! Jesus welcomes our questions about life and He holds us just as a child squeezes their favorite toys. Thank you Jesus for showering me with your presence through our miracle child whose gaze at life encourages me to gaze upon you! Five years ago, I was six weeks pregnant with this little miracle. Little did I know, at five and half years old, this little miracle would take me on a journey of finding true satisfaction in Jesus alone.


Little I did I know that all my efforts of having another child (fertility treatments and adoption) would fail. Little did I know the blessing that was in store through the questioning, the silence, and the downpour of depression. Little did I know those long eyelashes I noticed when I first gazed upon his face would be a constant reminder of God's long lasting faithfulness. I always thought he needed a sibling to journey through life with. Now, I am realizing he has everything he needs with Jesus by his side. So when our son questions the complexities of life, we can tell him to ask Jesus, and we will know he will be held tightly. Jesus has heard my prayer and He hears your too! He is still the God of miracles! I believe all babies are miracles. However, when you go through any form of infertility or pregnancy loss, I believe the miracle of a baby becomes more meaningful. I also believe finding satisfaction in Jesus is a miracle too. 


    "Help me, O Lord my God. Save me according to   your steadfast love!
27 Let them know that this is your hand..." 

Psalm 109:26-27

 

 

Thank you Jesus for rescuing us from sin and sorrow. You are our lifeboat! 


Monday, May 22, 2017

Fall Apart, Start Again

I thought I would share some research about secondary infertility in case anyone reading this is going through it, (scroll to the end to read excerpts from articles I found online). 

 

"Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24

I am thankful for the gracious words of so many  and oh how truly sweet to the soul they are! 

Our five year old son, Oliver, loves honey bees! He even has a "Brother Bee" that lives in our backyard. Just as bees seek honey, my soul has been searching...even questioning everything in the core of my being. 


Through questioning everything in my core, one question remains, "Is my desire to have another child an idol in my heart?"

 

Psalm 19:14 is my Mawmaw's favorite Bible verse. She actually helped Pawpaw write some of his sermons that I share on Instagram. 

What a joy that Oliver knows her...

 

"...the meditation of my heart be acceptable..." Is this yearning in my heart pleasing to the Lord? 

On Mother's Day, I sat at Mawmaw's feet as she encouraged me to trust in the Lord, even when we do not understand what He is doing. She said, "How can this not be God's will?" (referring to the little girl who lived with us), then went on to add, "We think something is God's will when it seems obvious, but when it isn't, we just have to trust Him." I cannot word it as eloquently as Mawmaw did, 

but what she said is in my heart. I must trust God when He doesn't make sense. 

This is part of a message I received from a dear friend after reaching out for support:

"I believe that while our passions and aches of heart can get out of hand, they are God driven and part of our calling. They can become idols, yes, but they are good at their core. I think it is just up to us to prayerfully consider how to engage those passions and how to feed our hearts. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be a mom and to raise up Godly little creatures... It doesn't mean you are being sinful for feeling that your calling is not yet fulfilled. I think it means to more prayerfully consider what does motherhood look like for you."

When I prayfully consider what motherhood looks like for me, I am consumed. Am I consumed with Jesus or consumed with the desire to fulfill what I believe my calling is? At the core of my being, I realize I have been consumed with the desire to fulfill my calling. Oh Jesus, help me. 

 

10 
"I am losing all hope;
    I am paralyzed with fear.
 I remember the days of old.
    I ponder all your great works
    and think about what you have done.
 I lift my hands to you in prayer.
    I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain. 
 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
    for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
    or I will die.
 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
    for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
    for I give myself to you.
 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
    I run to you to hide me.
Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
    on a firm footing.
For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
    Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies
    and destroy all my foes,
    for I am your servant." 
Psalm 143:4-12

From Resolve.com:

"The emotional side of secondary infertility

The emotional experience of secondary infertility often is a compilation of the distressing feelings of anger, grief, depression, isolation, guilt, jealousy, self-blame, and being out of control. You may feel guilty for experiencing normal grief and worry about how your current emotional state will affect your existing child. The powerlessness to produce a sibling for the existing child often produces feelings of sorrow, as does the inability to perpetuate the parenting role. You may feel distant from friends as those who were a great source of support when parenting the first child are now linked to sensations of pain and jealously.

Sadly, couples with secondary infertility tend to receive less social support from others than couples who have primary infertility because the infertility is unacknowledged, the pain associated with infertility is invisible as the couple has a child, and there is no concrete loss in the family. In addition, couples experiencing secondary infertility may be recipients of criticism by others who think they should be grateful for one child and that it is foolish to go to extremes to increase family size. Of course, a couple can be extraordinarily thankful for their existing child and still long for more children.

I’m still a parent. How do I cope?

Unlike in primary infertility, couples who experience secondary infertility already have a child's needs and welfare to consider. It is important for parents to demonstrate to their child that problems are dealt with and not buried. It is na├»ve to think that a child will remain unaware of her parents' grief just because the parents do not talk about it or address it directly. In fact, if there is an absence of information, children resort to egocentricism and magical thinking to interpret events. For example, the child may be worried seeing the mother go to the doctor, getting shots etc. or the child may think her parents are dissatisfied with her if they are upset and anxious. The young child does not have the cognitive capability to understand her parents' actions and feelings as separate from herself, and, therefore, needs an explanation for her parents' melancholy. In addition to helping the existing child appreciate the parents' emotions, parents must help the child identify his own experiences and 
feelings.

Guilt about not providing the existing child with a sibling is a common experience of couples suffering from secondary infertility, as they feel they are failing their childMany couples idealize the sibling relationship by believing the siblings would be emotionally close. Of course, there is no guarantee about any sibling relationship, and the existing child should not be burdened by the loss of this idealized relationship. It is crucial for parents to acknowledge and mourn the loss and then to legitimize the existing family. Families come in all shapes and sizes, even size three.

It is a cruel irony that the more positively parents feel about parenting, the more painful is their experience of secondary infertilityMany parents have expressed ambivalent feelings about their child growing up because they fear they will never re-experience the pleasure of the early years. In addition, parents may become overly protective and attentive to their existing child. In the face of loss, parents want to hang on to what they have and love. Of course, these parental feelings must be kept in balance with the growing child's needs for separation and independence.

Finding Resolution

The resolution of secondary infertility brings many variables into the decision making process. The couple must focus on the desire to parent a second child and the time, energy, and finances involved in pursuing medical treatment or alternatives such as adoption. These conditions must be weighed with the needs of the existing child in mind. Couples often are concerned whether or not they will continue to be good parents in light of the emotional and financial stresses associated with treatment. Sometimes, in grieving the loss, couples find there are advantages, such as more time and more resources, associated with having one child.

Couples often need assistance from professionals and/or support groups as they struggle with the turmoil of secondary infertility. Grieving what might have been is not an easy task, and couples often benefit from the contributions and support of others grappling with the same circumstances. If the grieving process extends for a long period of time, and symptoms of depression exist for more than six months, the help of a mental health professional with experience in reproductive medicine should be sought. With respect to secondary infertility the ultimate goal is to grieve the loss of a child, decide to pursue medical treatment or alternative family building options, or to embrace the established family as it exists. With resolution comes the reclamation of life." ~ http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/medical-conditions/secondary-infertility.html

From Seleni.org:
Coping With Secondary Infertility

How to manage very normal emotions that few people understand

by Anne Machalinski
"What makes secondary infertility different
'Many women going through secondary infertility have a vision of what their family is going to look like,' says Leslee Murphy, LCSW, a psychotherapist who specializes in women's health and is a consultant for Houston IVF. When that doesn't happen, they go through all sorts of complicated and conflicting emotions tied to this loss of control... 'While they want to be in the moment and enjoy the child that they have, there's also this pull to continue their quest of having that second child,' says Murphy.
Talk to your child in an age-appropriate way. If they're old enough, your child has probably noticed that you're away a lot and can see that you're upset, says Murphy. Rather than worry about them feeling that they're not enough, which can add onto your guilt, address what's going on in an age-appropriate way. 'Kids need reassurance,' Murphy says. 'Be open and honest. Say that you want another child because you love [him] so much, and that sometimes doctors can help with this.'" ~https://www.seleni.org/advice-support/article/coping-with-secondary-infertility
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 This  blog started out as a documentary of Oliver's precious life. Once Instagram came about (and especially Chatbooks), I began documenting everything here: 
 

Love,
Candace