Updates

A few updates/thoughts, since it’s been almost a year since I’ve written here:

-Luke (my rainbow baby) will be 2 in August. Time has flown. He is PRECIOUS. He has such a personality, is so much fun. He has my sense of humor too, which of course I find hilarious and darling. Anyway…I’m always so fearful that something will happen to him, even when I’m right there. That I can’t truly protect him from harm. I think some of that stems from loss. Has anyone else experienced that in parenting after loss? I feel like I am so overprotective sometimes and need to back off. I feel a strong urge to control everything. It drives J crazy.

LUKE

 

My dad was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s this past January. He is 62. I am still reeling from the news. I come from a big, close family (family of 7) and it’s just weird to think that this is happening to us. I can tell with some things that he’s just not himself anymore (for example, he used to be a penny pincher — big time, now he wants to throw money at stuff…SO not like him). Knowing that the disease gets worse and that I’ll slowly lose more of my dad over time, and that Luke may not remember much about him when he’s older, I can’t think about that. It’s too hard. He’s now retired and on disability, but he’s so bored during the day, now that he’s not working. He must have all kinds of fears and confusing thoughts in his head. I just want to rescue him.

-We have family drama going on right now. My sister-in-law, who has had narcissistic and toxic behaviors for years, physically pushed my mom to the point where she almost fell down…in front of my dad and my brother. All because my mom dared to show up at their house and say hello. (This just scratches the surface of what my sister-in-law does in her life, and to our family.) When this happened, my dad was scared and ran away (he actually turned around and ran), and my brother didn’t do anything. Actually, my brother defended my sister-in-law and to this day they both don’t think there was anything wrong with it (this happened about 6 weeks ago). Needless to say all the siblings know, none of us are happy about it, and the family is in an awkward state right now with my brother and sister-in-law. And the way my brother treats my mom (before this, because of this, after this…because of his loyalty to his crazy wife) really hurts her, and that makes us all incredibly angry at them. As if my mom doesn’t have enough to deal with, with my dad’s diagnosis.

-I’m having a crisis of faith. Not because of anything in particular… but just because. It started when Luke was an infant, so it’s been going on over a year now — mostly because I haven’t addressed it in a committed, focused way. I’m so confused about what’s real and what’s not, and I wonder if the emotions we feel about God and things we say about him are real, or just made up in our heads/just what we say. I start to think about galaxies and space, people and life, suffering, and what makes people the way they are, and just wonder what all this is, and why God doesn’t show himself, or that God should show himself to me. Major intellectual blockage here. Working on it. I know where I want to get (back to Him, absolutely and undeniably), but I feel the urge to find undebatable proof. Don’t I have my life experiences and His follow-through/provision/rescues as proof? Where did this come from? Why am I stuck? I feel so silly. But, it feels necessary for God to get me to a more real place with Him. I think a lot of contemporary Christians (especially in Western culture) just spout off things that sound right and good, and don’t examine their faith. Why do we believe what we believe, and what does that mean for the world? It is true? Because if it is, the stakes are truly high…so what are we doing with our lives? I think there is power in that. I think I’m grateful for this, as weird and unsettling as it is right now.

-We are not trying to get pregnant again right now, but decided we will start trying by the end of the year. I’m more excited than anything else. Maybe it’s the wistful nostalgia of trying to get pregnant, and being pregnant — I’m forgetting how scary both of those things were to me. I’m feeling butterflies about getting to initiate the whole process again. But isn’t the process hard? Scary? Why am I so excited? Maybe things going right with Luke gave me hope. Maybe only having one miscarriage makes it seem not so scary… I mean, I know so many people that have multiple losses (my friend had 4 miscarriages last year…and she’s the one who had 2 before with IVF). My successful pregnancy record is 50-50, and I don’t need medical intervention (that I know of yet)… so I have it pretty good, I know. Maybe I’ll feel different when December rolls around…more scared. Guess we’ll see.

-J got a job last May that he really likes. It is private sector (he used to be in non-profits like me), so the pay is better, and he is respected and appreciated, which is such a contrast from his last two jobs. We are so grateful. His commute is longer but he is so happy with everything else about this job that he doesn’t let that get to him. We know what it feels like to have a job you hate, and we are just so grateful for this one. He’s been there a year now!

-My long-time BFF (who I mentioned before was pregnant with me the first time and had her baby in October 2013) had a miscarriage earlier this year, around 7 weeks. It took them a few months but now she’s pregnant again, she’s around 8 weeks right now. She’s nervous but handling pregnancy after loss much better than I did. At least as far as I can tell. She did say she cried when she heard the heartbeat at the first scan last week, which I was touched by, because I remember doing the same thing in my 12w scan with Luke. (And she is not a crier.) Is there anyone who doesn’t experience miscarriage?? It is so prevalent.

I think that’s it for now. Got to get back to work. Or shower… I’ve got to shower. Haha 🙂

Happy 2014

2014I couldn’t be happier that 2013 is SO OVER. I know I’m not the only one! I love that a new year brings new hope, flutters of wonder for what may be, the promise of potentially putting the failures, devastations, and even just the rough spots of the previous year behind you. Regardless of where you are on January 1st, there is hope and things can always turn around. I love that. Call me idealist, a dreamer, or whatever, but I’ve always been that way. I have to believe things can be better.

With that in mind I refuse to let the fact that J got more bad news today get the best of me. The third job that he’s been up for in the last 8 months — each of which he was perfect for, interviewed well for, and had him pretty much believing it would work out — crumbled today. He interviewed before Thanksgiving and they drug it out, just today telling him it was a no. We really thought this was how God was fixing the first two no’s. This job made so much sense, and we really had a good feeling about it. We even counted down the hours, then minutes, to 2014 on New Year’s Eve. We were so glad to put 2013 behind us and so eager to see how 2014 could be different.

J told me this morning and I had to fight the anger at God. How can I yell at God after what he’s done for us? I’m 8 weeks today, and every day I’m grateful for how He’s leading us and blessing us. No, I won’t yell. I love Him too much. But I sat there in disbelief, just looking up and thinking, “Really? Again??” I started to feel the frustration and impatience seeping in to my heart, and was wondering how God is going to use this. How He’s going to make J believe that this is for his ultimate good. In my heart I believe that, but can I be sure J believes it after what he’s been through in the past year? I worry this is going to drive him away from God, not towards Him. Worried that he’ll think God is letting him down over and over again. His job has gotten so bad, his boss talks down to him everyday and treats him like crap. He works hard and all they ever do is make him feel like it’s not enough. It’s a joke. Just like his last job was that he tried for a year to get out of. Oh and let’s not forget the year he looked for a job after he got laid off. These are consecutive years. This keeps happening to him.

After a few minutes of silence God jumped in and spoke softly to me. It was so simple, and really all it came down to is that I need to trust Him. Trust that God knows what J needs (more than I do), that He wouldn’t be doing this to him if it was going to drive him completely away from Him, that this will strengthen his resolve and make him the man of faith I long for him to be — not tear him down and beat him to a pulp (which is what it feels like sometimes). Not that J doesn’t have faith, but he doesn’t talk about it as openly as I do, and I can’t know his thoughts. I want to be assured that he really communicates with God, that his faith isn’t stagnant or dull, and that God is using things in his life to draw J near to Him, and not to make him angry at Him.

And basically, God showed me that I can’t know that. And that that’s okay. This is between Him and J, and I can’t get in the way of it. He’s going to work out His purpose for Him, and I need to stand back. All I can do is pray. I just wish I were better at cheering him up. But I see now that just like my heart is in TTC/having a baby and God is using that to strengthen me, J’s fixation is to finally find a fulfilling job, and God is using this to strengthen him. God tugs at us where it matters to us, to get us to pay attention.

punch

Anyway, as I said earlier I’m not going to let this pull me down. I’m literally sick and TIRED of feeling like crap, and now that 2013 is behind us, I’m done with feeling sad. I refuse to think that nothing good can come out of this. God says it can, and it will — so I’m going to take Him at His word. I’m SO done with feeling vulnerable, lowly, and defeated. This is 2014. That was chapter 6, this is chapter 7.  I’m going to punch today — this year — in the face and refuse to let this knock me down. (I encourage you to download and watch Priscilla Shirer’s Gideon session #3 about chapter 6 vs. chapter 7. It’s $4.99 but it’s amazing and so worth it. Priscilla works with Beth Moore ministries.)

On that note I’m celebrating something else. Today is my first day going part-time at work. I’ve been working since I was 15, had 2 jobs in college most of the time (along with a full-time school schedule), and have been working full-time “real” jobs for almost 9 years now, so I cannot wait to see what this feels like! My goals are to get more cleaned/organized around the house, cook more (J does most of the cooking because I stink and he’s awesome at it, haha), volunteer more at the pregnancy center, and get together for lunch with some friends here and there. I don’t take it lightly that God has blessed me to be able to go part-time, and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.

With that, I’m off to try and get something done. After I watch Boy Meets World. I want to leave with an encouraging thought:

courage

That might be my word for the year. Courage. Courage to punch each day in the face. And this is my corresponding verse:

She is clothed with strength and dignity,
and she laughs without fear of the future.
Proverbs 31:25

Another Door Slammed

J just heard back from a job he interviewed for over a month ago — a Big. Fat. NO.

I remember him coming home after the interview, he was SO excited. He basically said he’d never had an interview go so well. He told me every detail, and it did sound like it went really, really well.

UGH. So much for that.

J’s had such a bad experience with jobs the last five years (see earlier post), and my heart just breaks for him. He’s one of those people who seeks out a lot of purpose in his work, really works his butt off… and the jobs he has been in have essentially cut him off at the knees and never really allowed him to grow. They make him feel suffocated and completely disheartened, day in and day out.

To put it in perspective, the level of personal torture this has put him through is up to par with the level of torture I put myself through in TTC — but mine has only lasted 10 months. Multiply that by 4+ years.

How long will this go on, God?!!

Trying to be still...

Trying to remind myself that He’s fighting for us…

Two very good jobs, jobs he was perfect for, were just within his grasp — and both fell to pieces. We were completely blind-sighted by the first. Sounds all too familiar.

I don’t know how to encourage him. I try, but what can you really say when your husband is hurting? All I can really do is hug him and tell him how much I love him. I can’t say this will end soon, because we don’t know that. I like to be comforted, for people to talk my struggles through with me; it’s in my nature. But he’s very different. He may open up about it with me, but he doesn’t necessarily want to talk it out. That just makes him feel worse, makes him feel defeated. I can’t talk about God’s bigger plan right now, because I know I wouldn’t want that shoved in my face the day I got a crushing blow. That’s the kind of thing you may see for yourself, down the road, but not for someone to point out when you come home broken.

It’s just frustrating that we’re fervently praying about this, have been for years, and door after door just gets slammed in his face. I’m sure it’s for the best but right now I just can’t see it. Like I said before, I know God is up to something big, I just don’t know what. We have faith. We have hope. We’re just so tired. 

This year has been one of the worst for him, with two huge let downs. Compound that with our miscarriage and TTC again, and 2013 has just been ugly. The year to endure. The year of holding our breath.

I guess all I can do is keep praying…keep trusting. I’m sure one day we’ll look back on this and see God’s hand in it, see that it was worth it. His Word promises that He makes everything beautiful in its time.

Clinging to that…

Just found this letter I wrote to J in January

Little did I know what this year would actually bring…

My darling J, 

I love you so much. Today marks the end of January, and already I feel 2013 has so much in store for us. I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do in our life and in our marriage this year. I started out by charging ahead, thinking I knew what was best for me (and us) and trying to control everything, thinking I could fix anything, and worrying about little things that didn’t matter. But just in the past couple of weeks God has really shown me that He is in complete control. So I’m going to let Him be. And I’m going to truly step back, seek Him, rest in Him, and be the best I can be in the important roles He’s given me for now — your wife, and His servant. 

Thank you for being a virtuous and God-fearing husband. For constantly considering and doing what’s best for our family, but at the same time really trying to pay attention to my needs and my heart. For truly hearing me when I have something to communicate, for trying new things with me, for encouraging and challenging me when I begin to self-destruct or unravel, for always believing that I’m strong and smart, and for not accepting it when I say I’m not. For laughing out loud with me (and finding the same things funny), and reminding me of how much I cherish that! Sometimes that just makes my day. God teaches me so much through you. I know without a shadow of a doubt — I’ve always known — that you are my perfect match.  

I want to encourage you in the ways you need it most, and I’m going to continue working to figure out what that means each day. Anything you ultimately decide or feel is right to do — I’m behind you 100%. I believe God is going to do some unbelievably amazing things in your life, and with your job — and jobs down the road. Live in the present, but don’t stop thinking about what God can do, and WILL do, in your life, in His timing. You are so far beyond other men around you, you always have been. Yet, you are humble, you are committed, and you work hard. God will reward that. He is just waiting to surprise you and bless you. Keep at it. I’m so proud of you. And don’t think about the grind, years down the road. Take one day at a time, and keep trying to find things that enrich your life and give you joy outside of work. We will make time for that, and I will help you make time for it, and figure it out, as much as I can, or as much as you want me to. Just don’t lose sight of that, regardless of how busy work keeps you right now. Your personal well-being is way more important than a job, and we can always figure out a better situation for you, and for us, if we feel we need to. 

I can tell that you are trying to meet my out-of-the-blue needs, especially lately — even when they change by the minute and it completely throws you off! Thank you for hanging in there. You don’t always have to have the answer or the perfect words to say, but I so appreciate you trying. That’s all I really need. And most of all, thank you for already being the man you already are. I love the character, strength, warmth, sincerity, ambition, and fortitude of the man I married. I waited for you, and everyday I’m thankful for you. If I don’t say it enough — I’m so grateful to you for all that you do. The little around the house things, and the big I-can’t-believe-he-married-ME-because-he’s-so-incredible things. To say I’m so lucky is an understatement! 

It’s been 1,793 days now that we’ve had each other, and I think I knew on day 1 that I couldn’t live without you! 

All my love,
S

Two weeks after I wrote this, we got pregnant. And, well, the rest is history. 2013 certainly has had a lot in store for us, none of it we expected… and it’s not over yet. But I thank God for giving me an amazing husband, a husband who continues to floor me with how much support and love he pours on me. And I’m grateful to have a marriage that God is strengthening so early on. Yes, it’s tough — very tough — but I would rather have a marriage like this than one that coasted in the early years only to be hit with something traumatic 15-20 years in. So in the midst of everything we’re facing right now, I am so incredibly grateful to have a supportive, loving, perfectly matched partner.

I remember a time in my early/mid 20s when I wondered if God was ever going to bring me someone. When I was worried that all my friends were going to get married and I still wouldn’t have a boyfriend. When I thought that no man would be what I wanted him to be, and I would just end up going on awkward dates forever (I didn’t even date often — I was picky). It’s funny how God works. Just when you think it’s not happening and you are about to give up, He pulls back the curtain. One month before I turned 25, J and I began dating. Yes, that was young. I thought it was old… but I don’t think that anymore. (I thought I’d meet my husband in college because I just thought that was what was supposed to happen.) This year has altered my perspective and allowed me to see (reminded me) that God does work. He IS working. All the time. We just don’t see it. Years from now we’ll look back and see that curtain pulled back. But we’re not exactly going to see it now, and if we did — bear with me here — we wouldn’t see it the same way. The experience has to change us first. Turn us up on our heads. We will be different. For the better, although not without a few bruises. But ultimately different…stronger…with a different perspective.

I’m counting on it. I’m already in the middle of this experience, I might as well allow myself to change from it. (It’s too late for me to allow it, honestly. I’ve already changed.)

J’s Job

J is having a really hard time right now. He just got passed up for a job opportunity he was really excited about — and to be honest, pretty desperate for. He’s really sad today, and it just makes me sad for him.

He has a job right now, it’s not that he’s unemployed or there is a real threat of him losing his current job. We do realize that we are blessed, and are grateful beyond measure for God’s provision. It’s just a really hard time for him.

J’s the kind of person that puts all of himself into his work. He works really hard, and wants to do a good job, not just get by. He finds real purpose in his work, and he wants to give everything he can to making sure a job is done well. I don’t think I’ve met a lot of people like him, and I’m not just saying that because I’m his wife. He’s honest, sincere, and commits to things. You can count on him. He looks for ways to make things better, doesn’t always just accept them as they are. He even teaches himself new skills and reads up on the industry in his spare time (who does that?). And to top it all off, he’s smart. So he’s a real asset to any employer.

The trouble is, most of his employers and co-workers have seriously underminded and undervalued him, not to mention disrespected him. He has ended up in the types of jobs that have very low employee morale, because of the way the companies are managed and the people there. And ironically, I have had some of the best jobs — with people who value me, truly listen to me, give me opportunities to shine, and are understanding. The people I have worked for are amazing — and I keep trying to tell him that they are out there!

He’s been in two jobs back to back that have slowly crushed his spirit everyday. And he was unemployed for a full year prior to these jobs, being laid off from his first (great) job unexpectedly. He spent hours every weekday that year committing to his search like it was his actual job, with nothing coming from it for a long time. The job he got coming out of that was supposed to be great, and he was excited. It turned out to be awful. He was in it for two years. The job he got after that (after he had been looking for a year — again), the one he has currently, looked to be great, and he was excited. It’s far from great. Everyday they seem to put him in his place. He works so hard for them and all they do is tell him what he can be doing better, and he is asked to work overtime a lot and he does it (early mornings, nights, weekends, you name it. It seems like once a week on average he’s working extra for them.) He’s dying to get out of there.

And having been passed up for this exciting opportunity, after he thought he had it in the bag, my heart just aches for him.

Watching him suffer but not being able to do anything about it really wears on me. He has this strong outer exterior and I’ve never really seen him get sad, but the look on his face when he’s going through this stuff is just too much to bear sometimes.

I have to admit we don’t pray a lot together, but after he got a rough review that got him down on Friday I told him I wanted to be more purposeful about us praying together about his job situation. So last night I asked if he would let me pray for him before we went to bed. He’s usually shy about it; he feels awkward praying together, as do I in a way, so that’s why we haven’t much before. Last night he was pretty open to it, he held my hand, we laid facing each other, and I prayed. I prayed for God to open doors for him, for God to show us clearly what He wants us to do, for God to give him strength to endure this job for as long as God wants him in it. And I thanked God for giving us both jobs and blessing us financially.

Then this morning, he got the bad news.

God is showing us — very clearly. This job was not meant for him.

So as much as I want to cry for him today, I’m trying to hold back. For one, he needs me to be strong. I can’t fall apart when he needs someone to lean on. But also, I don’t believe that the timing of our first real prayer together for his job and this news today were coincidental. I know God has His hand on this. And I think God timed it this way so He could show me how much providence He has over this. I just wish I could know what God has in mind, I wish I could tell J that this very rough patch will be over soon after 5 long years, but just like with our miscarriage and trying for a baby, all we can do is give it to God and know that He is working on it. And pray.

I’m praying for an extra dose of faith and strength today — for me and for J.

I love my husband so much.

Therefore we do not lose heart,
Though our outer self is wasting away,
Our inner self is being renewed day by day.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory
far beyond all comparison,
while we look not at the things which are seen,
but at the things which are unseen;
for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are unseen are eternal.

– 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
– Isaiah 41:10

Shall we accept good from God,
and not trouble?
– Job 2:10

Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension,
shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD,
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.

– Jeremiah 29:11-13

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD
And whose trust is the LORD.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought,
Nor cease to yield fruit.

– Jeremiah 17:7-8