- Bubba's Hopeful Mumma
- 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.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Today he spoke on nothing being impossible for God, and he used the example of Abraham and Sarah. When he was 99, Abraham had a visit from God to say, "Hey, Abraham, you're going to be a dad, even though Sara is 90 and you've not been able to have kids yet." Now as someone who has been TTC for a while, this is one of those "fall back" stories I like to go to... that if God can make it possible for Sarah in her 90's to have a baby, then it's not impossible for Him to create life in my 30-something body! Like seriously, I have 60 years on her!
But I know there are times in our journey when it doesn't seem like nothing is impossible, and I'm sure Sarah would have prayed and prayed and pleaded over those 90 years, to have reached the point where she thought, "This is just too difficult, even for God to do."
John said something like, "God always hears our prayers" and my internal dialogue replied to him, "Except when He doesn't" because let's be real there are times when anyone of us can feel that not quite everything is possible for God. It seems like we have flummoxed God with what we are asking Him for.... or maybe that our voice has become lost in the bigger problems of the world we live in. I can understand why Sarah laughed when she heard she was going to have a baby. Especially if she had gone through menopause and had forgotten about wanting to be a mother after all those years.... How long did women remain fertile for back in the day??? Especially as women married much younger then than we do today.
But, as I reflect on this, and it ties in significantly with the Woman to Woman conference I attended last weekend (read more here), I have to find peace in the conclusion, that in spite of how I feel about not having a Baby yet, in spite of how things look, in spite of how many times I pray, God is the only One I can really trust with my life and the road He has me on. I'm not dead yet, which means He still has a plan for my life. And although I feel as though He has forgotten about me, or isn't listening to me, or I have suddenly created this impossible scenario (for God?? Really?? Do I think I am THAT grandiose??? To create an impossibility for the Creator of the world, and of my little life???), that somewhere in it all, I can find peace that God is working things out around me.
I love to ask questions, and one of the "silly" questions which often gets put "out there" is, "What superpower would you most like to have. I would love to travel through time. I would love to go back in time to the newly-wed Sarah who was watching her friends and sisters having children, and wrestling with why she wasn't having the baby she should be able to conceive, and reassure her, "Hey, Sarah, it's OK.... when you're 90, you're going to be a mum." But it probably wouldn't have been much comfort to the young 20 year old girl. She might have laughed then.... a woman in her nineties becoming a mother..... That's a tabloid headline!! In the same way, I'd also like to travel forward in my own life and find out what happens five years from now, ten years from now. Do I have children? Does God have something else planned?? Does it get any easier to handle???
But I can't travel through time, so I have to keep focussed on the One Who is above and beyond time, and know that whatever happens, He is right with me, reassuring me, and speaking His words of life into my heart. So maybe.... nothing is impossible for God, even changing my heart to line up with His plan for me.
Father God, I'm sorry for when I doubt You, or doubt what You say in Your Word. It's hard to believe when I sometimes expect You to answer my prayers in my way at my time. I don't mean to try to lead You, I need to allow You to lead me. Help me when I start to try to walk in front of You, but Lord.... help me when I am afraid to lean on You and know You are by my side, even if things don't seem to be going my way. In Jesus' name.
Friday, November 21, 2014
But the situation I read about this week shows that this does happen. A woman and her husband had been trying to conceive for seven years. He died, and the day before the funeral, his widow, Kirsty, found out that she was pregnant! You can read her story here.
It is a heartbreaking story, that the one thing they had longed for together, was a baby. Conceived in love and at a time in their lives when they could enjoy being parents, together. Now, she has the hope of new life growing within her, and although she has friends and family around her to share the joy, her husband won't see his beautiful child growing up. A child will never know their father.
The flip side of this is another article in today's paper, where a woman sued anti-abortionist protesters in Belfast because they added to her distress at an already difficult day... the day she went to the clinic to abort her unborn baby. Hmmm.... The world really is NOT fair!
Father God, I thank You for the gift of new life You have granted to this woman and her husband, even though her husband was taken from them. Lord, it is hard to comprehend, but You were well aware of the situation before it even happened. I pray You would bring hope and strength to Kirsty as the baby grows within her, and may You give her wisdom and encouragement every day of their lives, that the child would grow and come to know You - the one who has given him or her an unique start in life. I pray that if Kirsty doesn't know You, that Your comfort and love would shine through the darkness, so she would find You, that she would learn to lean on You and be all she can be in You. In Jesus name.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
I'm not going to try and condense what he says into my own version of his talk, I would recommend you have a listen for yourself, because God may give you something different to focus on. Click here for the link on the CRE podcast site. But here are a couple of things Sheridan says which really struck me:
"If life carries on as normal, I don't think I can handle it... something has to change. [Sheridan's wife] Merryn had had one dream for her life, to become a mother, and after 10 years of going through a broken dream, that dream was over."
I have also wondered how I can cope with life, if nothing was to ever change. How can I reassess where my life is going, if I never become a mum?
"Who are you if you don't become a mum? If you take away all those secondary identities, when all the dreams are gone... who are you?" What's left is you are a child of God... when you go through the wilderness, you discover who you really are."
I am learning this. When God literally strips away your whole support network, so you have no choice but to trust Him, rely on Him, and lean on Him. This is not an easy place to be - but it's made a LITTLE BIT easier when I realise I am not the only one God is challenging in this way.
Monday, November 17, 2014
At one point during the weekend, someone asked me, "How do you handle not being able to handle a baby? Is it a bit like, you know when you're single and you're longing to be married, and you're crying out to God to bring you a husband... that kind of thing?"
I loved this question! It meant my friends were genuinely trying to understand what it is like to live with infertility.
And so it opened up an opportunity to share with them the reality of what it's like.
It's not really like the "singleness issue", because when you're trying for a baby and not able to have one, your body is not behaving in the way it naturally should be as a woman, that it creates a huge empty ache within your heart which matches the emptiness of the arms which so want to hold a baby of your own. It's something which underpins every aspect of your life, challenging your very faith in God and in the plans He has for your life. Whenever you see a pregnant woman, a newborn, a family, even if they are close friends or family you love, it smacks you in the face with the reminder of what you don't have. Hanging out with friends can be incredibly lonely, especially if you are the only one who doesn't have children, because it is so natural for women to discuss their families and challenges of being a mother. No matter how much you try to not think about what your body is failing to do, every single month you are reminded of what you're failing at, because you are so aware of your body's cycle, you know when you might have caught it in any given month, and a quiet hope slowly builds within you each and every month that happens, thinking, hoping, praying, believing, trusting that THIS MONTH might be the one you have conceived... and as the day of your period draws closer, you become more stressed, more anxious, more watchful for any sign you might be pregnant, and when your period starts, your hope comes crashing to the floor, and you literally don't feel as though you can face that day, don't feel that you can face the next cycle, don't feel that you will ever have your own baby, that you begin to question whether God really does have a plan for your life, or if He has forgotten where you live - because it seems that even that girl down the road who isn't married and doesn't have a partner can manage to get pregnant. And yet, the cycle has already started again, and takes you on another roller-coaster journey, whether you are ready for the ride or not.
Then there are the emotions... The guilt that you can't give your husband what you both want, the guilt that you maybe don't have enough faith, the guilt that you're doubting God even cares about you or your future, the fear of the future, the fear of never having your own child, the fear that you'll die a lonely old woman without family, the anxiety, the stress, the heartache, the isolation, the emptiness, the frustration, the anger, the torment, the hurting, the longing, the deep overwhelming sadness, the grief at another egg wasted - another potential life that could have been a beautiful son or daughter, and with it the hope for the future... and soooo much more!
And the spiritual impact as a Christian woman who has been in the Church since the day I was born... how much this has affected my relationship with God, and the foundation I had built upon Him: About how you can read passages from the Bible and it hits you about what you are missing, that if God blesses people through children, why is He not blessing me, why does He bless someone who is preparing to abort their baby, but withholding the blessing from people like me who desperately want our own child, that maybe I have done something wrong, and this is His punishment, that if God blesses to the generations beyond... does that mean His plans and blessings for my family stops with me because there will be no generations to come??
And then there's the stuff people say!!! Oh those wonderful, well-meaning Christians who glibly proclaim to have all the answers... Just relax it'll happen, God will bring you a huuuuge family in one go when the time is right, God is building your character, you could adopt, at least you have your nephews close-by, at least you are a step-mum, you could get a pet, go on holiday together and let God make it happen in His timing...! And sooooo much more!!
So yes, I really did appreciate these friends actually stepping into my world, in an attempt to understand what it is like. And I hope that God opens the dialogue more and more for those of us walking the infertility journey, that more people will take the time to step onto the path with us, because there are times when it is so overwhelming, to know someone is silently walking beside you, supporting you, without pretending they have the answers, without being so super-spiritual they miss your pain, is a comfort.
Father God, Your word says, "When one part suffers, we all suffer" as well as "when one part rejoices, we all rejoice". I pray that we would take the time to really step into each others worlds, so that when someone you have placed in our life is suffering, we can walk alongside them, as well as allow others to walk alongside us. I pray that somehow, we would learn to be more authentic, and take the time to really understand what people are going through, instead of glibly giving them our understanding of their problem. In Jesus name.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
One of the main points which I received from the day was the fact that we are all going through STUFF! I think the reason the event was fully booked is because every one of us is desperate to see God move in our lives, and to really see #allthingsarepossible! We all face situations which are not easy, and when we struggle to see God in the middle of it all, and I know this from my own Journey for Bubba (as well as other stuff that's been going on recently) it can be difficult to actually see God at work in our lives. One of the speakers, Danielle Strickland, had a bit of catchphrase in her talk, in relation to "All things are possible"... "What? In real life, God?" When you are struggling to deal with life on a daily basis, it can be hard to believe, "ALL THINGS" are possible.
As those of us walking through our own Journey of infertility are all too aware!
An important revelation moment came through the personal story of Katharine Welby-Roberts (daughter of the current Archbishop of Canterbury), who spoke about her very real, very present, very difficult journey with God and the depression she suffers from (you can read what she said here). The impact her testimony had was so powerful she received a spontaneous standing ovation when she finished. It wasn't so much about what she said (although she gave us some brilliant pearls of wisdom in her honesty about her journey!) as much as it was about her vulnerability and openness: The reality that actually, life is flipping difficult, it isn't fair, and it does cause us to question God and our faith in Him, "how do we reconcile belief with the world in which we live?". It's the sense that in spite of living with the types of illnesses the Church finds difficult to deal with, God accepts us and loves us - the Bible is filled with accounts of people who struggled with depression, even down to those who had suicidal thoughts! So that is why Katharine can say firmly, "When I am in my blackest and darkest place, I can find a sense of peace... God is sitting in the darkness with me."
I know there are people in the Church who struggle with the same thing I do, and yes.... there are times when we do feel depressed because of the infertility. Too many of us in the Church are fixing a mask each week, and pretending we're OK, when actually there are times we feel so distant from what is happening around us, it's like we're trapped in a huge, lonely void of isolation, hopelessness and despair...pushing our faith in God, and our experience of His love, to the very limit!
Jesus Himself said, "I didn't come for those who are whole, but for the sick"... How come then, the Church is full of sick people walking around hiding their reality and pretending we are whole. When did the Church become so fixated on "being fixed" that we forgot to let God know we need His healing and restoration in our lives? When did we hold back from allowing God to fix us, in pretending everything is OK? When did we inadvertently start to condemn those who are struggling for not having enough faith?? What message are we giving the hurting around us, if we walk around like nothing is wrong - ever? Why is it that some of the big issues people are dealing with, like depression, like infertility, are stuff the Bible talks about... but Church shies away from?? Why do we accept the Bible "greats" like, Hannah, David, Sarah, Elijah, but seem to shun the people around us who are exactly like them, with the same issues?
In asking these questions, I'm also aware that I too add to this, by hiding from people who know me the deepest issues of my heart which affect my daily walk with God. There are many people I know, who have no idea about my struggle to conceive. I have never posted anything from this blog on my Facebook page... because it worries me how some people will respond, because I don't want some people to know "this" about me, because there's a sense of pride that I should be OK, that because I'm a child of God I shouldn't have any problems, that God will make a way where there seems to be no way so if I speak out against that I am doubting him, because there is a sense of being judged by others, because the Church is better at condemning than we are at demonstrating graciousness!
But in holding back, am I actually stopping God from using my story, and my very real struggle; to witness to another woman (or man) who is struggling to hold it all together in their own Journey through infertility? Sure... there has to be a level of wisdom... But in taking off the mask, and being real, open and vulnerable... would we make space for God to comfort us through others, and use us to comfort people in the same situations... The Bible says, when one part suffers, we all suffer.... But how can we walk alongside someone in their darkness, or allow someone to walk alongside us through ours, if we're all walking around hiding the deep scars, struggles, and soul-cries?!!?
The question then becomes, who's going to make the first move and how do they do it???
Father God, I believe You are trying to strip away our pride and cause us to lay our souls bare, so that we can be a clear witness about the work You are doing in our lives EACH DAY! I believe You want people to be more authentic in how we relate to You, and in how we relate to each other. I pray You would give me the courage to be real about what I'm going through when You need me to be, in the hope that You will provide someone the comfort they need through their own struggle - whatever they are walking with. And when I am vulnerable, I pray You would protect me from the harm. In Jesus name.
Friday, November 14, 2014
You know, I've actually had people telling me that if I speak out aloud the fear within me, that I negate the faith which could cause something to happen "this time". If my being real and honest about what I'm feeling inside can negate the faith on which I stand, in my God who can make possible what is seemingly impossible, then what does that actually say about faith?!!??!
I know my God is big enough to handle my fear. He is more than able to work through those times when I doubt... shock horror!!! A Christian who doubts!!! God doesn't need me to pretend to not be afraid, when He knows the very depths of my heart cry. So if I don't allow myself the freedom to drop the mask when it's just me and Him and say exactly what I'm feeling....then I think this is more dangerous than daring to speak out about the fears which rise up each month.
Faith is not about hiding what you feel. Faith is about acknowledging the fear, but choosing to stand firm that God is able, in spite of what doctors say, or in spite of the way the body seems to fight against what should be a natural process. Faith is the active hope of what we long for, and recognition of the wait we are journeying through. Faith keeps us standing each month, and champions over fear every time.
We are who we are. We can't hide that. Well....We think we can. We try to hide it. We try to hide it even from ourselves. It doesn't negate the faith God's Spirit has placed within you...and speaking out what you really feel will not negate the work of God in your body or in your life.
There is power in our words. And we can speak life into the journey for Bubba. We can speak life to our hope. We can speak life to our wombs. But honesty trumps negate every time! That's what I think. I don't believe I caused Aunt Flo's arrival by speaking out my fear. But I can keep my faith strong by speaking out the promises of God and His word.
Father God I thank You that You are above my fears and anxieties. I pray that Your Word will keep me strong in faith...Firstly in who You are. Secondly, in Your promises. Thirdly in Your plans for my life. In Jesus name.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Three days till Aunt Flo is due, and I actually tried to communicate with Hubby what I'm thinking. Not sure he really quite gets it though, as his immediate response was, "You can't keep torturing yourself each month". But at least I put it out there in the verbal stratosphere between Hubby and I.
I guess there is an element of truth in what he said though. Torture. What we mentally put ourselves through each month. It's not like a targeted torture, where we intend to hurt ourselves to the point of giving up information we want....or in the Journey for Bubba, forcing our bodies to give us the end result we want. But nevertheless there is an element of torture in what we try to push out of our consciousness, or try to ignore, or we literally focus all our attention on what we know we want but don't have.
I wonder how long the torture will continue for?
Hubby's other comment was, "You can't go on like this for the rest of your life"; but what if it never happens? What if Bubba never arrives... I will HAVE to "carry" this major failing of my body, for the rest of my life. And then, I guess, the torture takes on a different form? Doesn't it? As middle age gives way to old age, and dreams of motherhood die taking with them, dreams of grandmotherhood... then I will forever be tortured in the deepest solitude of my heart, perpetually reminded of what is missing.
No one ever told me about that when they (very rarely) told me about infertility.
Father God...You promised me a hope and a future. I can't see it right now. I can't see how it can happen if I never have Bubba. But I know You see the end and You know the plans you have for my life. When I feel afraid, when I feel tortured, please whisper to my heart how You see things, so even when I lose hope...I never lose faith. In Jesus name.