About Me

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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.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Becoming Defensive

The thing is with hopelessness, is that it causes you to become defense. Well, that's what I have been finding, anyway.

Since learning that I am not able to have any kind of treatment to help me conceive, there's been a sense of denial within me. Not that I would ever verbalise what I think, but I can't help but become defensive. Like when someone said to me a few weeks ago, "You'd make a great mum", my thoughts were like, "No I wouldn't, I'd be terrible - I'm too selfish and hate mornings. No wonder I haven't been able to conceive." Or like when I was holding a friend's new born, and her step-dad said, "suits you", I was thinking, "Only because I can give her back, I couldn't do this all the time." Or when I see the stories on Jeremy Kyle where there are mothers who put themselves first, and don't like to make sacrifices for their children, I start to think, "I'd probably be exactly the same, which is why I've not been allowed to have a baby yet." Or when I'm out with friends who have to curtail their outing to get back to pick up the kids from school/relieve the babysitter/look after a poorly child, I start to think, "I'm so glad I haven't got to do that, I can just relax, maybe get another coffee. My life is at my pace, no one else's".

Maybe I'm the only one who thinks like this. Maybe I'm not.
I'm just gonna be real about how I feel! And as I've said before, this is not an easy journey.

Deep down, I know that none of the above is true, but it seems that my emotions have taken on this tack in order to try and make some sense of the situation. Or lack of a situation. Having studied Psychology up to a degree level, I know that these thoughts and reactions are actually just defense mechanisms my psyche has kicked in.

I don't like it, really.

But it's harder to go around pretending everything is OK when it isn't, and masking over my emotions altogether.

I don't want to beat myself up, or dismiss some of the kind things people say, but then I also can't linger in sadness and depression at the unfairness of this journey either! It's hard to know how to handle things, like the guy who said "suits you". He has no idea of the journey I'm on, so his remark to him was just a throw away comment, but in the past, when that has been said to me, it has caused me to break down and run to the toilet sobbing. I can understand, therefore, why my brain has worked out this defense mechanism in order to handle things like that.

I don't know if it's 'right' in God's eyes. I'm not sure what these thoughts 'say' to God, or how they affect my level of faith in this journey. I honestly don't. But can I beat myself up about that too?? For now, this is what has been decided on a subconscious level, and I hope that somehow, through it all, the Holy Spirit will move into the defensive thinking, and pour out His oil of comfort on the hurt and sadness I know has been building up inside over the last couple of years. If the defense system is destroying TRUE FAITH, then I pray that God will teach me a new way of handling things, from the subconscious level out.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Above The Doctor's Report

While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.” But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.” Mark 5:35-36

Ahhh... the voices of doom and gloom! The messengers of discouragement, who tell you what you really didn't want to hear! No one wants to know that what you are hoping for has died, especially in the battle of fertility! 

I'll be honest, when the doctors dismissed me with a handshake and a courteous "good luck", it actually felt like the hope for Bubba had died. It was like in that moment, as the Consultant's office door closed, all I heard was, "There are no other avenues, no further options, we are writing you off and don't hold out much hope for you chances."

The messenger had declared to me, "Your desire for a son or daughter is useless, your chance of becoming a Mumma is dead."

But as I was reading this passage in Mark, it was like the Spirit of God was actually speaking over me, "Don't be afraid. Just have faith." He was combating the thoughts of death and hopelessness with His truth, giving me back a sense of hope, of reassurance and keeping the dream for Bubba alive. 

It isn't an easy process. It has taken me, what, six months to hear Him say, "Don't be afraid. Just have faith." And now I have to begin to implement that in my Journey - the first stage involves me to stop being afraid that I won't ever know the joy of becoming a mum. The second involves me once again having faith that it will happen. 

Whatever doctor's report has been spoken over your life, hold onto the Word of God... "Don't be afraid, just have faith." 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lord, If You Are Willing...?

I am reading through the Gospels in preparation for a teaching I will be giving on "The Attitude of Christ" at the end of the week. Even when we think we are reading the Bible with one purpose in mind, the Holy Spirit can speak to us about something we weren't expecting, which is what has happened! In case you can relate, let me share what has been whispered into my spirit.

Matthew 8:2
...a leper came and worshipped Him, saying, "Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean."

I'm not likening my situation with leprosy, but the attitude of the one who approaches Jesus. When I come to Jesus and ask Him for healing, I know He can, "You can make me clean". This is the faith element which urges me to pray for my body to be healed so I can conceive a healthy Bubba, carry the baby to full term and receive the gift of a child. I know that I know God can heal my body. I have no doubt in this regard. After-all, He is Creator of life itself!

And I'm sure many of you would agree with this.

But, what I have just realised, is that like the leper who approaches Jesus, I am not sure if Jesus is willing to heal me: "Lord, if you are willing..."

There have been times when I pray for this one specific desire of my heart for Bubba, that I have become hesitant in my expectation that Jesus might be even willing to reach into my situation and touch my body with His hand of healing. This is different from doubt, doubt is the unbelief in Jesus' ability to heal. This is something else. I'm not sure what it is, but I know it's different.

Maybe this has arisen over the years of my unfulfilled dream for motherhood? Maybe it stems from how I perceive God sees me - after-all, we have all sinned and fallen short of His standard, from the beginning of creation? Maybe it stems from a sense of unworthiness and lack of confidence that I would be worthy of God being willing to answer this one particular prayer?

The leper would have received the message from society that he wasn't worth being a part of society. He was an outcast. He was unclean. He had to ring a bell to warn people if he was walking by. This may have caused him to approach Jesus with the sense of uncertainty that He was worth being touched by the Messiah. Not that I have received this same message.

But the fact remains... "Lord, if You are willing, I know You can heal me; but what I don't know, is if you actually want to."

Monday, January 6, 2014

Working Through Unanswered Prayer

It can be easy to think that if God isn't answering our prayers that He isn't listening… and if He isn't listening, then there’s no point in praying. But what is the purpose of prayer? Is it to get God to conform and do what we want Him to do, or is there something more to it?

The fact that 2013 drew to an unsuccessful close and 2014 has kind-of limped into it's place, one could argue that in this respect God has switched off to my voice. 

It's easy to read Hannah's story at the beginning of 1 Samuel and think that God was really tuned into her cries and stepped in quickly to answer her request for a child; it's easy to compare ourselves to her, and to think we must be doing something drastically wrong to have reached the end of another year and STILL not have the emptiness of our womb filled with the hope and joy of a successful pregnancy. To think that maybe we have not cried hard enough, pleaded hard enough or become so despondent in our hopelessness that we are mistaken for a drunkard. But what we are not privy to, in Hannah's story, are the years prior to that one moment in the Temple. The years she, like you and me, spent crying out to God to take away the reproach of her barrenness, and to grant her the opportunity to bear a child of her own. 

It is hard to understand how to pray at times, when it seems like this one simple request is being unmet - it can have huge impact on our overall opinion of what prayer is all about. How often have I heard it said, or even said it myself, “prayer doesn't work”. In what sense is prayer “not working”? Well surely that depends on your theology of what prayer actually is. It's easy to come out with the Christian jargon, "Prayer is our way of connecting with God", or "Prayer is about laying our hopes and dreams before God in submission to His plan for our life", or "Prayer is about listening to God, as well as presenting what is on our hearts". How easily these appear to roll off the tongue, and yet how many women (and men) in the long drawn-out, no guarantee, Journey for Bubba actually feel connected to God in prayer? In the beginning, sure, we are full of hope and excited anticipation of what God is going to do in our "little family", but as the years roll by, hope diminishes and hearts become hardened.

If we were going to "keep it real", many of us can quote the verses like "Ask and you shall receive" or, "the fervent prayers of a righteous man avails much"! So when we struggle to pray we feel the added guilt of obviously not being "righteous" enough, or of not "asking in the right way" because we also know the Bible says, "You have not because you ask not, and when you do ask you ask amiss"!

I don't believe these verses are in the Bible to condemn people like us whose prayers seem to go unheard from one year to the next. I don't believe God means for us to feel that we are not righteous enough, or not holy enough, or not praying right, or any of these things, because through Jesus we are made righteous, we are made holy and a way is offered where we can approach our heavenly Father about anything at any time. The enemy would love to make us feel worthless and condemned, and he uses unanswered prayers to trick us into thinking God doesn't care. Especially in long-term struggles like trying to conceive.

Maybe the start of 2014 is the perfect opportunity for us to truly understand what prayer really is about, rather than to mistakenly start to accept the lie that "prayer doesn't work". Otherwise we might as well start to believe that conversation, in general, is pointless. 

We know that conversation "works" in the sense that it allows us to share ideas, share hopes, plans, dreams, thoughts, opinions etc... but if someone doesn't start to do what we think they should be doing, we don't suddenly decide that person doesn't listen to us, or doesn't care, because they aren't doing what we told them to do, when we have told them to do it! Yet we do this of God. Prayer should be like our conversation with God, and this involves going to Him with the disappointments and hurts, as well as with the other stuff. He cares enough to listen.... ALWAYS. Whether we recognise it, feel it, sense it, hear it or not, God always listens. To stop praying because we aren't being given the answer we desperately seek causes resentment and bitterness to spring up between us and our Heavenly Father - causing us to feel isolated, distant and alone - as if this journey isn't isolating and lonely enough!

I wish I had the answers to give you, as to why this area of your life appears to be beyond God's hand, I wish I had the answer to my own questions too. And my understanding of prayer may be being challenged, but this is all in God's plan and I have entrusted my life into His hands. He promised to hear me, to listen when I call on Him, and He has promised He is is faithful, so as I bid farewell to a difficult 2013, I choose to hold onto God, in the hope that through 2014, whether my prayer for Bubba is answered or not, I will gain a deeper understanding of God and His conversation with me. Even if this means small steps back into His arms.