About Me

My photo
Hi. Welcome to my "taboo" blog. My name is Steph, and when I first started this, I was still in my thirties. In 2017, I switch decades! I am a Christian, so underlying everything I do and say is the Word of God, and the foundational truths I have learnt over the years. This doesn't mean I'm perfect - I am human. It just means I recognise I need God's help to live this life and try to live out His way, as best I can. So that's me in a nutshell. Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog, I hope you draw strength, hope or encouragement from what you read.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Apart From You

We have to be so careful with how we speak to one another, especially when we don't fully know what people are going through. What seems like a simple statement to us could crush your hearer unintentionally.

I was at a meeting about a new ministry which was starting in the Church. I know the woman who was talking to the group of nine had no malice behind what she said - to her it was just a statement of fact. To me, it was a loaded, weighty reminder of the fact that I am different.

"Apart from **my name**,we all have children."
Her point was that when praying with someone, we need to treat them as "sons and daughters", and making the point that apart from me, everyone else in the room knew how to relate to that from experience with their own children.

I may not have children of my own, physical children, I still know how to treat others as if they were my own child. Having been a Youth Leader, this hopeful Mumma knows how to "mother" young men and women in the Kingdom of God.

For a moment, I zoned out of the meeting to talk to God, and compose myself.It wouldn't do to burst into tears! Then continued in the meeting with what she was saying. After the meeting, I had the opportunity to speak to her in private and put things right in my spirit, by confronting how I had felt by what she'd said head on, instead of allowing it to take root and fester inside me.

When we are hurt by something someone has said to us, because they genuinely don't know what we are going through, don't realise the enormity of what we are going through or are that handful of people who are just ignorant about other peoples feelings, it's important for us to set down our offering at the altar of the Lord, and to be reconciled with our brother or sister (Matthew 5:23-25). The enemy would love nothing better than to alienate you from the very people who could support you, and what easier way than through words... for "death and life are in the power of the tongue" (Proverbs 18:21). Especially unintentional words.

This is not about becoming confrontational, or blaming others for our Journeys of Infertility - It's about building and maintaining the relationships with the people God has placed in our lives - especially in our local Church family- remember the torments Hannah endured from her "rival" wife. Within the Church family we have been placed in, no one is there to be our "rival" or our "tormentor", (if you feel that this is genuinely occurring, you may have to deal with it directly, by speaking with your Church Leader). It's also about not allowing anger, frustration or bitterness to take over our minds or emotions... this journey is tough enough with adding to it.

Romans 12:18, As far as is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with one another.

Encouraged by Hannah's Story

Over the weekend, I have heard a number of speakers at a Conference I attended and in my local Church, and RANDOMLY - I say randomly because there was no hint they would be bringing it up, it seemed to pop-up from nowhere within their sermons - the story of Hannah was used to exhort the speakers listeners.

As someone who is on the tough journey TTC, Hannah is one of those women in the Bible who is a huge source of inspiration and encouragement to me. In many ways, I am similar to her. In many ways, I am walking a very different path. Our main similarities is of being a Jewish woman struggling to conceive a child naturally. We both have "step-children" though unlike Hannah, Hubby's ex is not on the scene and can in no way torment me with her fruitfulness against my barrenness - probably helped by the fact that I don't know her, having only met her one time, and that she lives 40 miles away from us, not in the same house as me, as Hannah had to contend with!

I also share, with Hannah, the desire to take my requests to God. I might not live in Jerusalem, in the time of the Temple, but as a living Temple of the Lord, I strive to lay at His feet my hopes, my desires, my dreams, the deepest longings of my heart. Unlike Hannah - there is no High Priest watching over me accusing me of being a drunkard. But the Great High Priest Himself - Jesus - He watches over me, and intercedes with me for the child I long to hold. He wraps His arms around me in those moments when it is too much of a burden to bear, and supports me, leaning me against Him as we walk through this Journey for Bubba.

Faith is  funny thing. There are times when I have masses of faith - usually near the start of the cycle, or around the time of ovulation! But there are also times when my faith seems so weak, so small, I'm not even sure if it resembles a mustard seed even. Usually around the time of the the end of the cycle, when another egg silently spills away, the promise of new life fades with the departure of Aunt Flow. In those moments I, like Hannah, cry bitter tears of sorrow and hope lost, wondering what God is doing in this Journey for Bubba. In those moments, when faith is so small it's on the verge of fading away, I cry out to God, "I can't do this on my own, I want to believe - Lord, help my unbelief!"

And you know what - it's OK to do that. Jesus knows how hard this is for me - and maybe for you too. He totally gets it that there are times when we do need Him to help our unbelief for the monthly battle we face for the desire of our heart, the desire to be Mumma to our very own Bubba.

So if you are in that moment when you feel hope fading - don't let the monthly disappointment displace your hope for the future child you long for. Don't let our monthly disappointment overwhelm you to the point of turning your back on God. When faith seems at it's lowest, it is OK to say to God - Lord, I don't have faith at this moment, but I want to have faith in what You can do Lord - Give me faith, help my unbelief. In that small act alone, we are still demonstrating faith to God... that's why faith is a funny thing! And God is faithful. He will not only answer your prayer - He will bring an increase!! That's what He does!!! That's the funny thing about God. He always answers beyond our thoughts or imaginations. I know, because He is doing it for me too.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Encouraged By My Church

I have been really encouraged recently by the support of my local Church. As a speaker at the Women's Conference last year, my talk included the current story of my struggle to conceive. God had challenged me at the time to be open about what I was going through, which was so fresh for me... the week before the conference I'd had to have the HSG xray and the week after I'd had to have another blood test! But when I decided to submit wholeheartedly to the Lord, that means submit (Annoyingly!), even when I'd rather hide away!

As a result, I have found out that there are at least two other women on a similar journey. One for twelve years. One for eight years. One of these ladies has become a fantastic source of strength, encouragement and support for me.

Another outcome of sharing my story is a huge amount of prayer support I have received from the Church. At the beginning of the year we joined together on a period of prayer and fasting; on the list of prayer points was "healing for couples who are struggling to conceive". This was a huge blessing, as there are so many women who are struggling in their silent battle, alone. The Church isn't always great at dealing with some of the issues which may not affect the majority - eg singleness and infertility. The fact that my Church leaders had recognised that the issue is a big one for the women in our Church, is a huge encouragement.

The biggest source of encouragement came recently, when out of the blue, one of the Pastors phoned me to say that a couple of women in the Prayer Team had gone into the Church one morning, having felt a burden to pray for the women in the congregation who were struggling to conceive a baby. Random act of kindness on their part. Reassurance from God that He is working on all our cases.

If you can, pray for women in your own congregation who have to face this issue month-after-month. You may not necessarily know who they are, but God does. Maybe He will find a way to let that woman know she has been covered in prayer - I can promise you it will make her feel less alone on this journey, and encouraged by the silent support you offer her.

Father God, thank You for stirring the spirits of those women to pray for me and the others in our congregation who are TTC. Thank You for seeing into our silent cries and the prayers of our own hearts, and joining other voices to ours. Thank You for prompting others to cover us in prayer - bless them Lord for their faithful obedience to You. I ask that you would stir other women to pray and cover our sisters who are TTC - whether we know the story of their journey or not. In Jesus name I pray.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Dealing With Disappointment

There's no easy way to deal with disappointment, regardless of whether it's related to TTC or another area of life. Disappointment has caused many a great man or woman to the end of life. But for a woman who is so in tune with her body, she knows the ins and outs of her cycle because of the journey of fertility she has been placed on, disappointment has the opportunity to rear its ugly head regularly.

It's all well and good trying to tell a woman who is TTC not to 'get her hopes up each month' when she is ever watchful of every change in her cycle. Most of us, after the initial excitement at the start of our journey for a baby learn after a few failed attempts to control the hope which fades with each month that passes. But the anticipation which comes from the late arrival of aunt flow, no matter how hard she tries not to get her hopes up, with each day, fear begins to slowly merge into hope.

A woman who is TTC knows her cycle intimately. One or two days late... Ahh that's normal. Three days late... Well that was the longest late start since we started. Four days... This is new territory. Five days... Could this be. When something goes beyond a woman's 'normal' she can't help but wonder what it means. Can't help but wonder if maybe this is the time. She may not verbalize it, but hope grows inside her.

So when that hope is broken, with the arrival of aunt flow, her heart is broken with it and another hard lesson is to be learnt if she is going to survive the next time.

I have three wonderful women in my life who share this journey with me, walking with me hand-in-hand through every twist, every drop in terrain. They are a shoulder to cry on. An ear to listen. A word of encouragement when confusion, frustration, fear or anguish attempts to set in. But most of all, they're my prayer support. Upholding me each time I grieve, praying in hope that one day my womb will no longer be empty. Without these wonderful women of God by my side, this difficult journey would be so much harder. Hubby is fantastic, but there's only so much he understands. These women are mothers with their own stories, who understand me and the path I'm on in a way Hubby can't.

My way of dealing with disappointment starts with one or all of these three women upholding me; in the middle somewhere is chocolate, wine and a good cry; and it ends with God. He knows what it is to want to be a Father, He calls out to His creation every day, longing for us to enter into the relationship we're designed to be in with Him, like a child adopted by the best patent he or she could ever wish for. It ends with God because only He can really comfort and heal the deep brokenness of my empty womb, my heart which yearns for motherhood. Only God knows what it takes each time to build me up again and make me stronger.

Dealing with disappointment is a fact of life. I pray you find a way which works for you, no matter what your journey looks like.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Bubble of Time

When you're as acutely aware of time cycle as a woman who is TTC, that moment when you're waiting for one cycle to end is excruciatingly slow - especially if it's late.

Waiting to find out if this cycle will end to mark the beginning of the next cycle, or to mark the beginning of new life is one of the hardest things about TTC I think. But it's even more-so when there is an unexpected delay. It's like suddenly, you're in a bubble, alone. Life carries on around you, but you're hidden away inside this moment of waiting which is heavily dependent on time, yet totally irrespective of it.

Everyone can see you, interact with you, as you go through the motions of each day: work, eat, socialise, whatever the day calls for; but deep down, you're not really there. Deep down you know you're locked in your bubble, thinking about your cycle, thinking about the delay, wondering if you're late for a reason and counting down the hours till you can do a pregnancy test. Wondering if anything you've done since ovulation, could have had a negative impact.

The bubble.
Waiting with a pounding heart to find out what the outcome will be.
In your bubble.
Alone, because Hubby can't relate to this aspect of the cycle.
It's your body.
Your mind.
Your bubble.

Father God, I pray for every woman who is waiting, that You would grant her peace. May she find rest in You and draw strength from You in her wait. In Jesus's name I pray.