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.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Opening Up The Infertility Converstion In Church!

The end of November was National Infertility Awareness Week. 
I had the honour of writing a guest post for the Premier Christianity Magazine blog about infertility in the Church, which was really good for highlighting the fact that 1in 6 couples struggle to conceive a baby.

It astounds me how little we talk about it in Church, and yet statistically, if one in six couples struggle to conceive, how many couples a suffering in silence in our own friendship circles or Churches?

Isn't it time to talk about it??

Read the article I wrote here.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Sacrificial Lemonade

"When life hands you lemons, make lemonade"
You must have heard that quote. It's a way of saying that no matter what life throws at you, there is a way to overcome it and to make something sweet out of our most bitter experiences. 

I have had the honour of hearing Sheridan Voysey (author of Resurrection Year, his new book, Resilient, will be reviewed here soon) speak three times. Twice within the last month. Sheridan took this concept of "using lemons to make lemonade" in a new, insightful and theologically provocative way. Far from being a glib attitude to "deal with whatever life hands you", this has come from years of walking through the wilderness. And from years of being used by God to minister to people in their brokenness, inspite of his own pain.

When Jesus was on the cross, this was undoubtedly His darkest moment. The heaviness of the burden of our sin laid on His shoulders, as God, His own Father, looked away from the scene of abject pain and misery. There could be no more bitter a lemon handed to anyone. And yet, in His darkest hour, Jesus ministered in the midst of His pain: To His mother and John, He made provision for after He would be gone. To the thief on the cross, He ministered to His soul for the after life. To the Roman Soldier who realised they had crucified the Son of God, Jesus ministered. To those watching, who mocked Him and taunted Him, Jesus extended love, mercy and forgiveness as He ministered. To us, He ministers.

What this demonstrates is that even in the worst situation we can ever face, even there, God can use us to minister hope and healing into someone else's life. The comfort we receive from God we are able to pass on to others. The pain we share, can bring assurance to someone else. Our vulnerability can be the light through which Jesus shines in our brokenness. We create the sweetest lemonade, when we somehow allow the Holy Spirit to use us when we want to hide away the most. This is sacrificial love. This is the impact of a life adventure with God. This is the truth of Jesus' words "don't hide your light under a bushel, a city on a hill can't be hidden."

May you find a way to make lemonade with the Lord, a sweetness beyond the bitterness of this journey of infertility. In Jesus name.

Monday, November 9, 2015

DiaryDolls Pants for Endo-Periods!

Oh my days! Oh my days! Oh my days!
I have found THE most incredibly simple, but highly effective thing EVER to be created for women who suffer the monthly embarrassment of endometriosis!

If you're of a nervous disposition, get squeamish, or feel awkward about discussing a woman's monthly cycle..... Or you know me..... You might want to just click on the link below and then never, ever return to read the rest of this post!! Hahah!

So here is the link: DiaryDoll waterproof pants.

I have written in a previous blog post about special Snowball Undies for the men; so it's nice to know there is finally something specifically for the ladies.

Anyway, I meant what I said before the link...... This is your final warning to stop reading!

Ok... So that might sound a bit weird. But the DiaryDoll waterproof pants were designed by women who have suffered the shame and embarrassment of heavy periods, for women who suffer the shame and embarrassment of heavy periods.

Not just any old women..... Nope! 
Tennis player - Annabel Croft, and TV presenter - Carole Smilie.
Yep..... These wonderful women are the designers of these wonderful invention.

Endometriosis is the bane of all heavy and painful periods suffered since I was a teenager!
And NOW.... Someone has created the perfect way for women like me to protect clothing, bedding, chairs.... In fact... I comepletely understand why God set the "rules" for menstruation back in Leviticus, because of the way I soon learned the most awful lesson, that neither the heaviest tampon, nor longest pad COMBINED could ever compete with the endo-period. Oh my days, so undignified! The "quick check" whenever you stand up, carried out like a professionally-trained, stealth-ninja, whenever you're in public. If you have Endo, you will understand exactly what I mean. 

And so, you will understand my excitement at finding this secret weapon in the monthly battle against leakage.

The DiaryDoll pants have a waterproof layer right through the middle section, all the way round from the front to the back. This layer works with our normal protection (it's not THAT kind of a miracle that we'd never have to wear sanitary products ever again, let's not get silly!), and simply creates a barrier designed to not allow leakage to burst through.

I'm curious to know how successful they will really be, so have just ordered a pair, and will let you know what they are like, probably a little while after Aunt Flo's next visit (Not sure I'm ready to actually share when she arrives.....there is such a thing as over-sharing, you know!).

I really hope they are good as the hype! 
It'll save the embarrassment of having to walk out of a service, or a meeting, carrying my bag, every hour!!!

Please note: For the sake of oversharing....this is NOT my order! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Recommended Reading - Resurrection Year by Sheridan Voysey

One of the most important books I have read this year, is "Resurrection Year" by Sheridan Voysey. In fact, it has been so important, I bought a copy for a friend in the same situation and recommend it to anyone who wants to understand what we #1in6 are going through.

Sheridan shares the journey he and his wife, Merryn, have travelled as they started out: hopeful at the family they would raise together; until they found themselves trudging toward huge barriers to their dream. As with all of us, they tried "every trick in the book", so to speak. 

But this is not a fairy tale, it is real life. Gritty. Passionate. Heartfelt. There's no guarantee of a happy ending, and this is what I love about what Sheridan shares, as he opens up about  the trauma, the pain and the humour of their experience in trying IVF as an option, as well as the heartache when they started adoption processes. Nothing seemed to work. Nothing seemed to help. All the healing prayers with or without anointing oil, by one or a group of people seemed as unfulfilled as the medical treatments.

What I really value about Ressurection Year is that Sheridan doesn't try to jazz up the story. He is authentic about the burden he and his wife carried, and as I read through it, I found the pain of my journey meant I could, to an extent, feel the rawness of his and Merryn's anguish. To the extent that I found it very difficult to read, except in small bursts. A chapter here, a few pages there. I started it in January and finished it in September (just in time to start reading Sheirdan's new book "Resilient" which was launched in October!).

I think Resurrection Year, will always be my "go-to" book, when I feel like I am alone in this walk. And I will always recommend it as an excellent resource to understand infertility & sub fertility. Hearing the testimony from a husband's perspective adds a new dimension to what this journey is all about. So often we can focus on what the women go through, but husbands feel it too. Their dreams are just as broken as ours. Don't forget about them.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Braver Than You Believe...

This being the National (In)Fertility Awareness week has led to some interesting conversations and experiences for me. The latest one at lunch time today, involves someone who doesn't know about my situation, but has probably worked it out. I mean - it's not difficult to work out, is it. I'm married, in my late 30s and childless!

So this guy is one of an army of volunteers who comes into the office where I work in order to help us accomplish the daily work we need to carry out. He will often pray for the team and arrive at the office with a word or encouragement he believes God has laid on his heart for each member of staff. I'm not always sure about the words of prophecy he gives, but the encouragement he brings is nice. 

Today, when there was a quiet moment and the rest of my colleagues were in various parts of the building, he spoke to me and said that he wasn't sure how relevant this was, but he felt God saying to him that I "was pregnant, or was to become pregnant."

I'm not. 

As #1in6, endometriosis has made what should be easy, a flippin difficult path. 
And as hubby and I are having problems - like, serious problems - the path is lonely and not even close to being productive. 

So, it doesn't even look likely to be a "soon-time" thing.

I try not to allow my "heart to harden" when I hear people saying these kinds of prophecy over me, because it is very easy to do. I would like to be as light-hearted as I once was, to freely accept when people tell me this. But pain and the long, hard, slog of this path have led me to be cautious. 

It's not because I don't have faith. 
It's become a matter of self-preservation. 

At least it will give me something to speak to my counsellor about later, when I meet for prayer ministry. Depression has led me to that place where self-preservation and faith have to somehow work themselves out in some kind of weird, harmonious, balance as I tread this path deeper into the unknown. Infertility - the path without a clear, definable end in sight. well there is, I guess... menopause. But I am a long way from that point. So for now, I have to try and find my way as best I can. 

Such is the journey of sub-fertility, as a woman after God's own heart. 

And as two different friends have reminded me, in a card and a wall-plaque they bought separately for me:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Hope Deferred: Depression

One of the hardest things I find about this journey of infertility, is the depression.

It crept up on me.

I didn't even recognise it for what it was, I just kept plodding through life as best I could, till suddenly I couldn't plod any further.  

The understanding of depression, which is caused by our circumstances (as opposed to people who have a chemical imbalance which impacts every aspect of their life) is best described by the writer of Proverbs as:
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick" (13:12)
Depression which is as a result of infertility is most definitely the result of hope deferred. The hope for a baby. The hope for a family. The hope for a future family life. All those dreams of watching your children play, your daughter trying to walk in your shoes, the paintings on the fridge, the home-made cards and letters, and the joy you can share in days out, complete with the frustrations of the car journey. 

The dream which is so long in happening.
The dream which looks as though it will never happen.
The dream which has gripped your heart for so long, it's long bony fingers squeezing ever tighter, squeezing out hope, squeezing out the dream and slowly replacing it with the stone, cold dread that it will never be so. 

And so the heart becomes sick. 

Sickness of the heart. 
Sickness of the mind.
Leading to a sense of disconnect with the life that is happening around you as you wrestle with the desire which should have been so easy, so natural, but which has become so elusive. 

And so the grief of infertility swamps you. 
Grief overwhelms you. 
Depression takes hold of you. 
Till life takes on a different hue - a different tone. 
The vibrancy you once knew now has a subtle grey, dark overtone. 

Hope deferred.

The worst part is that there is no end in sight. 
No light at the end of the tunnel.
No sense of knowing when the "desire fulfilled" will become my "tree of life"
But holding on... believing... hoping... one day...

Father God, I praise You for upholding me on the darkest days, and holding my head up when I just want to hide away. I thank You for Your love and strength, and the promise You gave to never leave my side. I thank You because even though my heart grieves for what has not yet arrived, that I can trust You for my future life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

This Is One Reason Why Infertility Awareness Is Important

As I mentioned in my previous post, this week is National (In)Fertility Awareness Week. After my latest experience on Saturday night, it reminds me more and more, how much we need society to be aware of the #1in6 on this crappy #Infertility journey.

Saturday night I went to a farewell "do" for a couple who are making Aaliyah (they're Jewish and are finally making the move to live in Israel.....in their 60s!). On the way, I realised I needed to put fuel in the car, or I'd be spending my night sitting on the A38!

So after filling up my car, I went in to pay for my fuel, when the "nice, old lady" behind the counter decided to insult me AND break my heart, making sure I had the most awful Saturday night one could ever have wished for.... Highly ironic for "Halloween"!

"When are you due?"
"Your baby? When is it due?"
"Ermm it's not...I'm not...errr"
"Oh. Sorry. I just thought."

And then....THEN....I start making excuses in order to not cause her offence and to make her feel better!! Whaaat??!!?
"It's OK, it's the coat. There's a lot of space for winter jumpers."
"Ohh... Oh yeah. The coat."

I just wanted to pay for my fuel and enjoy an evening with friends before they leave the UK! I went to the dinner, but my mask had cracking and people noticed something wasn't right. I left early, after arriving late anyway, and sobbed all the way home, before collapsing on the stairs just inside my front door and wished life was very different. So so different.

Even watching Strictly when I'd calmed down didn't help.

People need to be aware of the high number of couple who struggle to conceive. 
1 in 6 couples!
Would you ask a single women paying for fuel when she was getting married? Awareness should hopefully lead to less ambushes on those of us walking the road of infertility whenever we choose to wear a big, baggy, warm coat on a cold autumn evening!

National (In)Fertility Awareness Week

The National Ferility Awareness Week started on Monday and runs until Sunday. This is an excellent campaign to try and raise awareness of the plight of #1in6 couples who struggle to conceive.

One of the things the organisers, Infertility Network are asking people who feel able to do it, is to take a selfie while holding something saying #1in6.

It's a brave step!
It's a vulnerable step!
It's a difficult step!
But I do see that it is an important step!

So here is mine.

If you are able, join the #nfawuk campaign by uploading your own picture with #1in6 on it. 

Obviously it is better if it's a picture of you as a couple journeying together, but this is not always possible. We don't have to feel ashamed of the journey we're on. It's just the particular train God led us to. Who know what we will enjoy on the way, or where our journey will take us, but God is right there with us, and He is in the driving seat.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Behind The Biblical Story of Ruth - Infertility Journey

The Church I attend in Derbyshire, is currently going through the book of Ruth, and this morning during worship it just dawned on me... Ruth didn't conceive during her first marriage. In fact, that first chapter is all about broken dreams and dashed hopes.

Elimelech took his wife and two sons away from their home in Bethlehem, because there was famine in Israel, during the time of the Judges, because God was dealing with His people for their sin. It was in moving to the "enemy" land of Moab that Elimelech and Naomi held on to new dreams and the hope of surviving the famine unscathed and possibly one day returning to Israel. 

But for Naomi, all her dreams, all her hopes, her very future, her life her everything fell apart. First her husband died - which as a woman in those days was not like today where she would get a widow's pension or something. God had made provision for His people to look after the widows and orphans, but we don't know what provision Naomi would have received as a single mother with two sons as foreigners... As the enemy... Of Moab. 

Her sons, when they were of age, married Moabite women. As a Jewish mother, this would have been challenging for Naomi. A Jewish momma only wants the best for her boys. A nice Jewish wife to bring Jewish Grandchildren for the family heritage to not die out. Oh vey! Moabite daughters-in-law!

Although we don't know how long each of Naomi's sons were married before they died..... It is interesting to note Ruth 1:4: "The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about 10 years later, both Mahlon and Kilion died." 

Can it be deduced that Ruth and Orpah had problems conceiving???

When her husband died, did Ruth, as a woman of child-bearing age realise her dreams of having a family were broken and over? Did she grieve not just the death of her husband, but the hope of her future family? Had they been trying? Had there been problems in conceiving? Had she suffered the shame of infertility before she suffered the burden of widowhood?

When Naomi returned to her home in Bethlehem, she had lost everything. She'd lost her husband, her sons, her hope for grandchildren, her hope as a Jewish mother. Broken. Beside her was Ruth, her daughter-in-law, who'd left behind her Moabite family, had lost her husband, had lost the hope she had as a mother. Broken.

Broken dreams. Broken lives. Hopelessness. 

Sums up some of the feelings of the infertility journey. 
And yet we know God turns everything around for both Ruth and Naomi, restoring them as mothers. Restoring them as women. Restoring the future and healing their past.

New dreams. New lives. Restored hope for a new future. 

This is our God.
This is part of the story of Ruth.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Baby Loss Awareness Week

This week is 'Baby Loss Awareness Week'.
Thank God!

Validating those mothers whose babies didn't survive this world and were called home too soon is such an important opportunity for each woman to know her motherhood cannot be taken away from her, even though her child was. 

There is an organisation called SAYING GOODBYE which organises services for those couples who lost a child, through miscarriage, through stillbirth, through early death, through sickness, through accident, through murder. These services are moment when parents can embrace the feelings of loss and grief felt at the loss of their baby, whether they held them or not. If this is something you have experienced, I have known women who attended and found it a moment of God's healing in their lives.

Your son or daughter may be gone, but will never be forgotten. 

I pray Father God's shalom to hold you in His embrace along with the truth that He has never let go of you, and He will never let go of you. He understands your heartache and pain.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Urge to Hug

One of the terms used to describe the feelings which accompany the infertility struggle, relates to our empty arms. The desire to hold someone, to hug and protect and cherish our own, is sometimes so strong, it is a physical representation of the ache in our hearts as a result of our empty womb.

Recently, the desire to hold my own baby has been so overwhelmingly strong, it's hard to explain, and even harder to tell anyone as the desire builds within. The fear of being told, "How do you know what you're missing, you've never had a baby." Or being told I'm just being silly, I think has silenced me on these occasions. The struggle of infertility just seems to be unrelenting and it is such a private emotional journey, to have someone try to diminish my feelings as foolish or silly would add to my sense of isolation on this path.

It feels like a huge drop in the depths of my stomach, my inner man, when I realise this is not going to happen. That I have no child to hold. No comfort to give. No reassurance to offer in the warmth of my arms. It is that sense of dread about the unmet desire which literally falls from my heart and buries itself in the depth of my spirit. 

Especially with all the glowing Facebook posts from proud parents photographing their child's first day at school/ big school etc.

This is part of the journey. A journey which has no light at the end...in fact, there doesn't even seem to be an end to it. And so, it's a case of hiding myself in my Heavenly Father's arms. Resting in the warmth if His embrace and allow Him to wipe away my tears. 

This is, of course, spiritually speaking. How nice it would be to find that comfort in reality too.

Father God, I thank You because You never belittle or minimise our feelings, or the way we allow the journey of infertility to affect us, even after all these years. Father, I pray that when the desire for a baby threatens to overwhelm, that You would overwhelm that sense of dread and hopelessness with Your shalom. In Jesus name I pray.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dedication Invitation

Most people who know me, know that I spend a fair amount of time in Starbucks coffee shop, using it as my writing base, and my "second office" for anyone who wants to meet me. So it would come as no surprise that I have befriended some of the staff who work there. I think they take pity on me because I can literally sit there for hours! 

Anyway, it came as a huge surprise when I received an invitation to the dedication of the baby of one of the women who worked there (before she left to have her baby, that is). The invitation started, "We would like to invite close friends and family to join us in celebrating our baby girl..." For about three weeks, I wrestled this and wasn't sure they didn't mean to invite a different "Steph". And I usually try to avoid baby related stuff, if I can, because it's just another reminder of what I am missing in my own life. 

The week before the dedication, I messaged my Starbucks friend, actually, I thought had the date wrong and believed it was the next day, but I was able to ask her, "Did you actually mean to invite me?" To which she replied, "Steph, your faith and your relationship with God is so evident and I really admire it. When I was thinking about who to invite, because I wanted my daughter to have a Christian dedication, it felt wrong to not invite you. I knew that I needed to have you with us." 

So from chatting to her when she worked in my second office, from which she added me as a friend on Facebook, God has been using me in ways I had absolutely no idea about, to inspire and encourage her. We will never know how God uses us in the lives of people around us! She continued the conversation by asking about the Church I attend and ended up saying she wanted to come along one day. I really pray she does. Especially as since the dedication things have ended with the baby's father. She is an incredibly strong woman, (she told me a bit of her story during the conversation) and I pray she will find strength in God, and I pray she will know Jesus is there with her, supporting her and befriending her. 

The dedication service was beautiful. Although I think only me and just other people knew the last song, "My Jesus My Saviour", which was funny, because everyone seemed to know, "Shine Jesus Shine"! I literally didn't know anyone else at the celebration, so my friend had arranged for her mum to look out for me. I ended up helping out in the kitchen and that was probably the safest option for me, that trying  to talk to people I don't know about why I don't have any children! 

I thank God that He is able to use me in this way, and to have been considered to be a necessary addition to the Baby Dedication celebration.

Father I pray that my Starbucks friend will find You for herself, and that she would find comfort and a hope in Your Son, Yeshua. I also pray that her baby daughter will also come to faith in You for herself, and that she will be a strong light for You in these dark days, may she inspire her two older brothers and may she draw many to You. In Jesus name. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

This Too Shall Pass

Sometimes it can feel like the current situation we face is all we will ever know, but God would say to you, 

"Look, I am doing a new thing. 
We are walking through a tunnel together, I am right by your side, and haven't just left you to find your own way. This tunnel is not your final destination, I AM taking you from where you were, to where I need you to be and this current situation is a necessary part of our journey. 

I AM taking you from one degree of glory to another. But know this: This is NOT ALL I HAVE FOR YOU. THIS IS NOT YOUR FINAL DESTINATION. 

You might not understand where we are right now, you might not even be able to see the light at the other end we are heading towards, but turn your eyes to look at me, I AM your light and I will shine directly on where I want you to place your feet. 

Don't be afraid, child. I AM with you. Don't be afraid of the strength of darkness, for I have made you stronger. And when you step out into the new thing I have for you, you will know that it has all been for a purpose. 

Trust Me. Hold on to Me. As a car doesn't just stop in a tunnel, DON'T STOP. DON'T GIVE UP. Keep walking beside Me and I promise....this too shall pass."

1 Peter 1:6 "You rejoice in this greatly, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.”

Monday, July 27, 2015

God Does Care....

There comes a point in every Christian woman's life when you realise you've being doing it alone for so long, you've actually been doing it alone.

Without God, I mean.

When circumstances: choices you made, choices made by other people, even the stuff we believe "God controls" which are beyond our comprehension, weighs heavily on our hearts, our minds, our basic understanding of life, I am convinced this can create a new kind of burn-out.

I have literally just finished watching a really cheesy 80's chick flick about Romy and Michelle's high school reunion. These two twenty-something women were so desperate for the old school "AGroup" to like them, they were prepared to hide who they really are, just to fit their perception of what the cool girls would see as "successful".

And yet, here I am, with my own idea of "success" so heavily damaged and on the precipice of never happening, that I have been trying to hide it from myself, and others, for so long, I have recently experienced emotional "crash and burn". Not because I was desperate for others to like me or anything.... But because the whole journey of infertility is not one I should be constantly "banging on about", I should just "deal with it" and carry on with whatever life God has set out for me. Oh this is the bit no one wants to talk about when we discuss the failure of the dream for children, for a family. The constantness of it. The fact that it never goes away. The fact that there are times it can still be so incredibly overwhelming, even after all this time. 

A couple of weekends ago it was the annual conference for work. On the last day, two women who are old enough to know better, made parting remarks to me like, "Hope it all goes well!" While smiling encouragingly, hand on their own bellies while looking across at mine. The curse of having problems like endometriosis and gluten intolerance creating a beautiful little balloon bump at the most inopportune moments, which falsifies the look you actually want and gives a very wrong impression!

That week, was the beginning of the crash. Not because of the things they said. No.... In a sad way within Church, this becomes the norm and one of the first things you learn to deal with. No, it was a culmination of the OTHER problems which rarely get discussed, including the toll infertility takes on your relationships. With yourself. With Hubby. With God.

And so now, two weeks later, while listening to Christy Nockles, I realise that I have been forced into carrying myself through this as a result of Hubby's withdrawal, and my subsequent withdrawal from God. By carrying myself, I actually mean dragging myself along the floor! 

Not only can infertility kill your dreams, it kills your sense of identity, your hope, your trust and faith in a God who genuinely cares, hears and has a future lined-up for you; and the relationship with a Hubby who has a son, and so can't relate to the pain of having no child of your own. And so the cycle spins round and round, loneliness, emptiness, broken dreams, broken promises, wondering what will be, wandering further away. 

And all this in secret!
No one must know! 

No one must see beyond the mask and appearance that we are doing ok, that we are trusting God, that our marriages are intact and our future is secure. 

The secret life we live in our heart and mind to which we stop inviting God to sit in with us, at least, we thought we had. There's only so much we can hide from God. There's only so much weight we can bear. There's only so much of a load we can carry in our own strength, until we break.

And then in His gentleness and mercy, He bends down His face to ours, wetting His cheek with our tears, scoops us up in His arms, and pours out His healing balm into the depths of our wounds, pouring His shalom into our anxious, troubled hearts, and lifts us out of the pit of despair, raising us up to stand once again in His strength, rather than our own, reminding us that we are not alone, He has never left us, and the battle is not ours to fight by ourselves. Even though it feels like it at times. Keep your eyes on Jesus.... He turns His face to yours, gazing into your pain and emptiness and will remain there with you for as long as it will take. He cares. He knows. He loves you. He is with you.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Swap Mornings

The other night, I was texting a friend of mine about a convenient time for us to call and speak to each other the next day about a project we are both involved in. When I say friend, he's not someone I know locally or meet up regularly, more as a result of Church projects we have both been involved in over the years; but he did buy a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and so was the start of our new beautiful friendship! 

So, the conversation went a bit like this:
Him: "You could call around 8:45am."
Me: "Hahahahaha!!! Seriously? No later slot??? #OffWork"
Him: "lightweight! I have 3 kids.... That's not early! 😅😅"
Me: " I don't have any excuses for losing out on a late start!!! Hahaha!!!"
Him: "So jealous!! ☺️"

I know he wouldn't change his situation just for the sake of a lie-in, he absolutely adores his kids, and even when he's doing stuff on stage, he will show off pictures and tell stories about them within his presentation. 

I, on the other-hand, would give up all the lie-ins for the joy of having a family....and I am, genuinely, "so jealous!!"

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

When Infertilty Gets Included!

I started reading a book by Carrie Lloyd who I could really identify with when she spoke recently at a youth workers conference I attended. I mean... This woman rocks! Anyone who wears heels to do her talk when everyone else is in trainers and flip flops is my kind of gal!

Her book, "The Virgin Monologues" is for women! Unashamedly so! And where most authors writing about the issues many women deal with can forget about those of us who can't have children, Carrie address it squarely among the rest of the "stuff" women deal with which can be thrown in our direction...allegedly to make us stronger!

Anyway, I want to share what she says with anyone and everyone!

"To the women who can't have children; to the women who've not yet met their Adam; to the women who 'had it all' and 'lost it all' too: please take your place in the world because we need you. There is something in you that no one else can do and you will be attacked by lies of inadequacy, lies of worthlessness to unremittingly ensure you don't go out and fight the good fight. Build up a fortress of love around yourself and towards others, stabbing the spirit of comparison as you walk upright.

Don't begrudge mothers of motherhood; and mothers, don't begrudge some who are destined for a purpose outside of children."

Carrie Lloyd, The Virgin Monologues; page 30-31

Encouragement In Random Places

A couple of months ago, I was invited to be interviewed for the Salvation Army's War Cry about my journey with infertility. I met with the girl conducting the interview and we had a good old chat.... I even somehow managed to not cry, although I think this is more to do the fact that I'd brought a packet of tissues with me. If I hadn't, guaranteed I would have burst into waterfalls while telling the story of my struggle.

Needless to say that once the article had been printed and sent to me, I completely forgot about it, kinda assuming that only Salvationists would read it... And I didn't think I knew any.

But then!
In my paid job, one of the roles I have is to organise the annual international conference. This year's event just finished on Sunday. So I was completely taken aback when a couple stopped me in my tracks, enroute to sorting out some minor crises, and told me that they had accidentally bought a copy of that ONE issue of War Cry which contained my interview....and they knew me because they happened to support and pray for the organisation I work with.

Small world!

They were really encouraging actually. She had married him late in life, after his first wife had died (they were in their 70s) and so she had never had children of her own. She could relate to an extent with what I had shared, and thought it was a brave thing to have done, but so necessary as there are too many people who are going through the stuff of infertility but it NEVER gets spoken about.

They left me with the assurance that they would be praying for me, and had been since reading the interview.

So yeah, you never know how God is going to use the most random of situations to impact, enourage or inspire any of us! :-)

Father God, I thank You and praise You because although I may never know how the interview was received, I know from the one conversations have had about it, that people who have read it are being challenged, encouraged and may gain some insight into the life of a friend or loved one who is struggling to conceive. Father, I pray that if it is Your will for me to speak out about this more, I would never shy away from the vulnerability of being so open, so You can comfort and help someone else. In Jesus name. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

More Expert Advice in The Media

So it seems that the baby making "experts" have a new round of advice designed to "help" us in our quest to get pregnant!! 

Their first wise recommendation.... You would never have thought of this yourselves without the experts expertise and experience.... For couples trying for a baby, ditching contraception and spending more time between the sheets at key times during the month is the first step

WOW! Genius!
How did people manage to have babies without this priceless bit of advice???

OK... So maybe I'm being a little bit sarcastic, but I think there comes a time when experts should just stop trying to offer their expert advice and we need to put our faith in God. Only because since the start of my own Journey for Bubba, there has been so-called "expert baby-making advice" literally every week. 

But God isn't limited by the opinion of experts, nor is He restricted by what we wrap our packed lunches in (apparently cling film is unacceptable), what we drink (Latte, this week, is highlighted as the WORST drink ever to indulge in), or how much we should be hanging out in the sun (Hmmmm. it looks like the UK is not viable for me to conceive (no sun)... so it's a move to Israel then- THANK YOU LORD!!!!).If you want to read the article for yourself, here is the link.

I know that this Journey for Bubba is a huge attack - is that the right word? - on my faith, and there are times when it is stronger than others, but if I serve a God who is a) Creator of life, and b) knows how we are knit together in our mother's wombs, then isn't He the source of my expert advice?? Why can't He cause me to fall pregnant in spite of all this?

So, my expert advice would be to take the expert advice with a pinch of salt and a bit of wisdom! We all know what we do need to do - more Folic Acid, reduce alcohol. This road is full of enough stress and pressure without adding to the load we bear by thinking we are doing something wrong which is stopping us from conceiving. Either God is the Creator of life or He isn't. Either He has it in His plan for me to conceive or He doesn't. That doesn't mean I can't plead and beg Him to make it happen, but it does take the pressure off me a little!

Father God, I pray that You would give me discernment and wisdom of what I need to be doing, or to avoid doing if I am to work with you and not against you. I know that ultimately, You are the author of life, and I know you have a plan for me, for my future... a plan to prosper me and not harm me. Though it is hard, and my faith is sometimes weak, I choose to put my trust in the plan you have created for me, and the steps you have set before me. May I somehow, even in the midst of this journey, bring you - the real expert - honour and glory. In Jesus name.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Praying For Friend

I received a text from a friend of mine who has been walking her own journey of infertility with her hubby for about seven years. She's been an encouragement and source of strength and God has enabled us to share on each other's path. About a month ago she called to say that finally, she was pregnant. After all the tests, the drugs, the intrusion and just before IVF was due to start, they fell pregnant naturally. We laughed together, we were excited at the news and couldn't wait to arrange to meet up during her pregnancy to celebrate.

This week.
She lost her baby.
Her 19 week old child.

There's is soo much in this life I will never understand. This being one of those things. But this is the time to uphold her in prayer and beg God to carry her through and ease the devastating ache this will create.

Please join me in lifting NN and her hubby JN in prayer at this horrible time. They are currently making preparations for a funeral with the hospital chaplain, which is so important. But she will need God's support and comfort through so many days to come...least of all, her due date in November.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Pressure Of Infertility On Relationships

If infertility is seldom spoken about among Christians, the impact of infertility on relationships even less so.

From my own experience I have noticed changes in all types of relationships in my own life... From  choices I have felt I needed to make, to the choices others may have subconsciously made. For example, there was one friend I had, and we used to share stories over a pot of tea and cake on many an afternoon. The problem for me was that no matter what time of day I would meet her, whether during school hours or not, she would always have at least one of her children in tow, often with the excuse, "I know he should be in school but he sooooo wanted to see you." Often I would purposely arrange to meet her during school hours to avoid the trauma of having a child in tow....this was around the time I was undergoing all the tests known to medicine, as the experts tried to tell me why I was struggling to conceive. So, in time, I made arrangements to meet her less and less, and now we hardly see each other. Self-preservation?

With my parents, I love them to bits, but as we live at opposite ends of the country it is difficult to have heart-to-heart conversations about stuff....especially as they have three other children, including two sons who are very attention-grabbing. As the sensible older child, it is assumed (as has been admitted to me by my mum) that I will always be ok because I am not so demanding of them. So the guilt I feel at not producing the longed-for grandchild (apparently it's different when a daughter gives birth than when the daughter-in-law does, or so I have been reliably informed!) is never spoken about, and the pain of my empty arms is noticed at family gatherings, but never mentioned.

There is also a strain on the relationship with my stepson. The pain of seeing a child who is the image of my hubby but has no part of me. The depth of the bond between father and son I can never share in, the secret jokes and conversations which don't involve me can be painful to watch, and a constant reminder of what I am missing. Yes, we women who long to be mothers know exactly what we are missing when we don't have our own child. Which adds to the grief of our broken dream. And so in order to help me cope, I distance myself. I want to see the relationship between hubby and his son develop and be strengthened, and wouldn't ever try to stick a wedge in, but for my own sanity and peace of mind, I have to sometimes not be part of their adventures, usually around the time Aunty Flo pays a visit.

And finally, there is the impact on the relationship with hubby himself. As I have mentioned previously, he has admitted he can't always understand my struggle and the pain; he can't always cope with the emotions I have as part of my journey...he has his child, it would be great to have another one, but it's not the same fear or frustration as it is for me. What should be a shared battle for most husbands and wives to support and encourage one another, can often be a lonely isolation for women like me who are stepmothers to another woman's child. Sure, we know you had a child before we married you, but we didn't know we would struggle to have our own. It was never supposed to be problematic. It was supposed to just happen when we were both ready.

I've been thinking a lot about relationships and friendships recently. And I don't want anyone's pity.... The purpose of writing this was to explore the real impact of infertility on relationships. It will be different for everyone walking on the Journey of infertility, and within each journey there will be moments when relationships are strong, and times when they appear to have broken.

But I thank God for the consistency of His relationship. If I've said it once, I've said it soooo many times, I don't know how I could walk this walk without Him. He is my comfort, my support, my shoulder to cry on, my encouraging word, my inspirational thought. Whatever your own experiences of infertility on your relationships, I pray you know the depth of the love God has for you, and a full understanding that no matter what, He won't leave you to work it out alone.....if you feel as though you are alone! He loves you enough to stand with you in the bad times as well as the good, and He will never throw your failings in your face, but will love you through your darkest days.

Father God, thank You for Your unfailing friendship which will never leave me just because I can't have children. You won't feel weird about what to say to me. You won't belittle me. You won't leave me. You will love and carry me through. I pray for all those women currently experiencing difficulties in thier relationships, especially with their husband, whether real or perceived. 

May You bring people into our lives who will stand with us and demonstrate true love and support through the Journey of infertility. Who will bring the comfort and strength we sometimes need in our physical battles. And may we in turn be the comfort for someone else who needs to be comforted. In Jesus name I pray.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Educate Girls About Infertility?

Reading the paper over the weekend, in my favourite chair with my favourite mug of latte, I was drawn to an article headline, "NHS chief warns women not to wait until 30 to have baby as country faces a fertility timebomb." (Click here to read the full article in the Mail on Sunday)

The story goes that Professor Geeta Nargund has written to the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan to demand fertility and infertility are included in sex education. She states that women over 30 who have waited and can't have children naturally, or easily, are putting a strain on NHS budget.

Part of the argument is that due to the decline in our bodies beyond the age of 30 (I swear that only a few years ago, this "magic age" was 35....I remember writing about it when I turned 35!), more and more women are struggling to conceive and amidst cries of "but nobody warned me!" are embarking on costly IVF treatments to fund their desire for motherhood. Of course, not all of us are doing that! 

I have two thoughts on this:
1) Are we in danger of penalising heterosexual women over 30 who are trying to live a life holy and pleasing to God, or who are not sleeping around, or who are trying to make the most of their lives while they are single and waiting for Mr Right to wake up and ask her to date/marry her? Ok, so the weekend's article is NOT saying that after this age women shouldn't be allowed to have IVF on the NHS...but will that become the next recommendation? "You were warned at school about how the body declines after 30 and yet still you chose to delay having a family...it's your choice to wait until you're 37, putting yourself and your career first. We will not pay for you to have it all...those days are gone lady. See if your God will help you instead!" How real is this threat? (Click here to read a previous blog about a debate on The Alan Tichmarsh as how, last year) And if that does happen, the chance would be that gay "couples" wouldn't be withheld the free treatment, regardless of their age! I personally wouldn't use IVF, but that doesn't mean I agree with women who want to try this route being told they can't, just because of their age.....although, wait..... It does happen already!

2) I agree. Education should include the reality about the decline of the woman's body from an early age. Not to coerce her into making bad choices just to have a baby..... That would be devastating. But to give her a full understanding of God's plan for the cycle of life. Until this generation, age restrictions on having a baby wasn't such a desperate emphasis, because people were marrying younger. It's only since the 1960s this has changed, since the whole, "Women's lib" thing came in. We have spent so much of our time trying to keep up with the men we were never designed to keep up with, emasculating them in the process, that we have lost sight of the purpose for which we were made. And before I get lynched, our sole purpose isn't for pro-creation.....but the way God made woman, we have to acknowledge and accept that pro-creation, bearing children and raising them etc....rather than be an old-fashioned set back, is actually part of God's design. We can't pretend otherwise any longer.

Should we be warning teenagers about the impact of infertility on our lives when we are older? I think we should definitely be educating them, this is a biblical principle (older women teach the younger women, Titus 2:3-5). But not to scare young women into having babies independently of a healthy marriage relationship (God's plan), or not so that the number of single mothers increases, but so the girls can make healthy choices with all the information they need. 

Would it have made a real difference to my life? I don't know..... I might have ended up marrying someone I didn't really want to be with sooner, just to fulfil my desire for motherhood (that's a whole other blog post about the naivety of church girls!!).

If we look back, in order to look forward, personally, I think Jewish women of old knew. And so I think we are being unfair by holding back the most basic of information due to some misguided notion that if we warn against the age restriction of fertility in women, we will somehow hold them back...... Motherhood, for those who desire it, will only propel our women and girls forward. There's nothing worse than reaching your late 30s and realising that the dream of raising your own children  may never become a reality. 

Father God, I pray you would grant us wisdom.... Especially when speaking to the younger generations. May we somehow be open and real with those younger than us, not to scare them into living out what we would have wanted, but so they can follow closely, the plans You have for their lives. In Jesus name I pray.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Countryfile Success with IVF

It's http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3097385/Julia-Bradbury-talks-candidly-having-gruelling-IVF-treatment-giving-birth-twins.html good to hear about those times when breakthrough happens. Not everyone who tries for a baby will conceive. Does this mean that we should give up, or should we go down one of the routes of medical development? That's the tough decision for many of us Christian women to make. I'm not here to direct anyone one way or another, I've made my thoughts on IVF clear in other posts. 

For those who are going through IVF, Countryfile presenter, Julia Bradbury has recently shared her story with the about her own journey with IVF. She conceived her first child naturally after being diagnosed with endometriosis. Then when they decided to try for a second child, the endomeriosis caused secondary infertility. But, praise God....who is always the Creator of life, the result of their decision for IVF lead to the birth of beautiful twins. 

If you are dealing with the struggle of IVF - the injections, the loss of dignity, the sickness it to mention the worry, read Julia's story here, and know that God is able to walk with you through every step.

Father, I pray you would be with every one of Your women who are currently engaged in the IVF process. I pray You would stay with them through every procedure, every injection, every pill.... Lord uphold and strengthen them for the heartaches as well as for the hope. Lord, You are ultimately the Creator of life, and I pray that if You choose to bring life through IVF that You would be honoured and glorified by those who put their faith in You for this procedure. Oh Lord, draw close to every couple who is walking this difficult road. In Jesus name I pray.

Article in War Cry Magazine

It is with a sense of fear, trembling and incredible honour I upload this. The Salvation Army's magazine War Cry conducted an interview with me on infertility in the Church...

Thank you Renee, for the chance to share my story.

Thank You Lord for using my story to bless, encourage and inspire others. In spite of the hard times, I pray Your light will shine. In Jesus.

Monday, May 25, 2015

If Only It Was That Easy!

Have you seen the C4 Citroën advert..? The one where the bloke bumps into the girl on a street corner and they produce an instantly perfect family?? Apparently the car tag line is about how the car can help you start your family.... guess what my new car is going to be?! Not a Citroën C4!


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Games God Seems to Play

Children are a heritage from the Lord. That's the message today at Church.

I know they are, and I know that they are a gift and a blessing, but I wish I could have hidden away from this morning's service and focus on babies.

Why this focus? A couple of babies being dedicated, that's why. I'd forgotten when the pastor had pre-warned me, and now I have to try to remember that for me... God has a different kind of heritage. A different kind of blessing. A different kind of future. I'd love to see what it is. I'd love to see what He has in store for me... but for now. It's a waiting game. A game of hide and seek. A game of blind man's bluff. So many games all rolled into one heart's desire unfulfilled. At least, that's how it feels sometimes!!

Father God, I do pray you would be with these young children would be found always in your presence and that You would lead their parents as they lead them.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The School Play

I went to my first ever school play last week... One of my nephews was rapping in his class end of term production and when I'd asked if aunties could come too, he said we could. So I joined his mum in one of the front rows, and grinned like an idiot, taking photos of my nephew as he starred in the show, so proud.

There was a brief moment, when I started to wonder what it would have been like to watch the class production of my own child, and had to hold it together. But I succeeded in not embarrassing my nephew in front of his class! What an achievement for both of us!! Although, he probably would have just rolled his eyes at me if I had started crying!

It was quite nice having him look out for me when I first arrived and took my place, I know children have a sense of security when they seek out familiar faces in the crowd, and it was good to make him smile when he was sitting waiting for his turn. After his rap, when I gave him two big thumbs up, he grinned like the Cheshire Cat!

As his mum had to leave early, and I was on nephew duty after the show til she finished her meeting, I did what I said I would always do for my own child, and treated the super-star nephew and his older brother to some kind of sickly dessert as a "well done" for a great show.

Not having my own Bubba, I reflected the next morning on how precious the opportunity to be an aunty was that previous night. It's only in the last five years or so, since I moved closed to my brother and his family, that I have been able to have more of a role in their lives, and not being a Mumma of my own child, I really relish these small opportunities. Last year, now that the boys ar old enough, I started to take them out on Aunty Date Nights, sometimes one on one, sometimes both together. I want to establish a good relationship with them while I can, so that if ever they need to turn to Aunty Stephy for advice, they know that they can always find me. 

I may not be a Mumma, but I am a very proud Aunty.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mother's Day Prayer, 2015

Today is about honouring those women who've walked beside me in the rain, and displayed those qualities God places within women - whether they are mothers or not. 

It's about praying for those women who grieve the loss of a son or a daughter,  whether they met their child, held their child, watched their child grow or not.

It's about praying for those people whose mothers are no longer physically beside them as they reflect on the love of the mother they have lost, whether it was recent or not.

Not as the world gives, 
but the true Shalom found in the arms and presence of Jesus.

Monday, March 2, 2015

It's Not Faith I Lack...

I posted the picture below on one of my social media pages which had been shared through infertility online, a page which had been set up to encourage women like me who are struggling with the battle for a baby. I removed the link to the name of the support group, because so many of the people I have links with have no idea of the battle I am in. Which is probably the same for many of us. There are only a select few friends who truly know what I and Hubby are dealing with.

It really hit home to me the fact that in life, some dreams will never come true. My dream of becoming a forensic psychologist as a young teenager amounted to nothing because I changed my mind as to what I wanted to be; and my dream to lead worship at Spring Harvest didn't happen when I moved churches, so stopped leading worship in my dad's Church.

But neither of these really cost anywhere near as much as the dream of motherhood. And the brokenness I feel at this particular heart desire which has not (yet??) been fulfilled. The idea of daring to dream a new dream seems as impossible to believe as my longing to be momma to my own bubba, maybe you can identify with this? And the closer I creep to 40 (the countdown to 2017 has started!) the further away my dream seems floats from me. 

So when I posted the image, a couple of friends who have no idea what I am going through, posted "encouraging" comments. Which I appreciate. I really do. 

But I had absolutely no idea how to respond when one of them posed the following question:
"...but don't you find the reward from God your father is much bigger n far better than you could of dreamt of?"

My immediate thought was, "No. Not always." But how can I put that without appearing to be lacking faith, or inviting lots of even more "encouraging" comments or Bible verses or whatever, which would be trying to combat my apparent lack of faith. Lack of faith is not what I suffer from. Grieving the dream of becoming a Mumma is what I suffer from. There is no simple, straightforward, catch-all verse or statement of faith and encouragement to help that because the pain of the emptiness and longing can't just be faithed away like that. 

So, I should just keep quiet, shouldn't I? Let others live peacefully in their "faith-bubble" where God seems to give better than they had originally dreamed, without my frustrations being allowed to waver their own hope and faith in God....Right???

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Learning from Childhood

In Church this morning, there was a seriously touching moment a couple of rows in front of me, which caused me to reflect, once again, on what could have been had things worked out as I thought they would have.

There are a couple of families in our Church whose young daughters are the best of friends, and as soon as they arrive, they seek each other out and sit next to each other so they can chatter about all kinds of things while the adults are in worship. At five and six, they have lots to catch up on.

This morning, the young friends were sitting side by side as we sang The Splendour of the King, and holding hands, they both lifted their free hand to join in the adoration and declaration of our Saviour. One of the girls' parents looked at his daughter and her friend and smiled with pride. Sitting a couple of seats away was another girl - I think she is new - with her mum, she looked about seven or eight years old, and she too lifted her hand as she was singing. She looked up at her mum who looked at her daughter and brought her hand to her heart with the joy of a mother seeing her child loving Jesus.

All three of the girls may have been imitating their parents, but I've not seen them engage in the worship before today. They may have genuinely been impacted by the simplicity of the truth of the song. They may have been encourage each other to lift their hands, but I believe this would have brought as much - if not more - joy and pride in the love and actions of the three children. Just as He delights in our own praise and adoration of Him. There is such a purity in watching the three of them joining in as we worshipped, "How great is our God".

My heart was full of wonder.

But with this was the stark reminder of one of my dreams, which has always been to witness my child in his or her own adoration of the God I had hoped to introduce them to. I have longed, since before I was even married, to see the children I bear to truly worship Yeshua in a way that would inspire and encourage me in my own worship. I believe children, with their "clean hands and pure heart" (Psalm 24:4), are able to experience the love and closeness with Abba in a way adults are unable to. I base this on the fact that I asked Yeshua to be my best friend when I was eight years old, and know how He was with me even at that age. And so I long to introduce my child to the One Who will also be their best friend.

My heart ached.

Father God, sometimes it hits me in the strangest of ways, what I am missing. Please help me to enjoy the wonder of moments like this, when You give me a glimpse of what could be. Even if it causes my heart to hurt. I pray for each of the girls, that You would truly be the best friend who will remain by their side throughout every day of every year of their lives. May they come to know You in such a real way, that they will know Your leading in their lives, and may they do amazing things with You as they fulfil the calling You place on their futures. In Jesus name.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

God Enabled...

There are times when I really struggle with trying to understand God. Not surprising when His thoughts and ways are far beyond my simple comprehension. But every now and again, I come across a verse which upsets and frustrates me. Today, one of the guest speakers was preaching from the life of Ruth. 

The verse which hit me wasn't even one of the verses he was focussed on during his preach, but that is sometimes the way God works - at least for me - in that He will draw my attention to something else. Ruth 4:13 TLV: "So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. When he went to her, Adonai enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son."

This is the Tree of Life version - a Messianic Family Bible developed with Messianic Jewish and Christian scholars. I like it because it includes some of the Jewish names of God.

The bit which struck me was "Adonai enabled her to conceive". Obviously, being brought up a Pastor's Kid, I've read the book of Ruth many times. But reading in a new or different version can shed a new light on an "old" story. I mean I know God is the Creator of life, and that we're given the gift of a child through Him, and He knits us together in our mother's wombs and all that, but this concept that God enables us to conceive.... why doesn't He enable all of us to conceive. Or rather, why hasn't God enabled me to conceive. 

And so, here I am again, back in that place of wondering if I have been soooo hideously bad that God is punishing me by not enabling me to conceive. Or maybe I'm just not cut out for motherhood, which is why He hasn't enabled me to conceive. Or maybe...!

I wish I knew. I wish I could work it out. I wish I could understand God, and why He enables some women to conceive and not others.... especially those women who don't actually want children. Or who mistreat them, abuse them or neglect them. I wish I knew how God chooses who will be blessed with children and who won't. Is it that simple???? 

Interesting that Stephen Fry has been in the conversation of many Christians for his attack on God earlier in the week. Maybe because he is such an outspoken, anti-God atheist it riled us and we didn't like the way Fry spoke about our God in that way. But one of the things it has highlighted is that even the most seasoned Christian is similar to the atheist in that one way.... we all have questions we would bring to God. I think I had hundreds when I was growing up my parents coudn't answer so they used to say, "You'll have to ask God." 

This question of why God hasn't enabled me to conceive, compared to some women, is one of my questions I would love to ask Him. The question of my faith, though, remains unchallenged. Even by this. Because whatever is happening, I know the only One Who can carry me through the good days and the bad ones, is the One Who knows my beginning from my end, and He knows the plans He has for my life. I can trust that when the time is right, God will enable me to conceive. And if the time is never right, He will give me the strength to get through every dark day I face, He will enable me to stand, even when I feel like falling on my knees and giving up.

Father God, I don't understand. But Father God, I trust You. Help me to stand.