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Saturday, January 14, 2017

By the Numbers

8 - months since our miscarriage.
7 - anniversary we will celebrate later this year.
6 - months ago that we started trying to get pregnant again, post-miscarriage.
5 - years ago that we started intentionally trying to get pregnant.
4 - blood tests to make sure my body realized I wasn't pregnant anymore last year.
3 - failed rounds of Clomid in as many months to end 2016.
2 - lifetime pregnancies.
1 - one live birth; one miscarriage; one enduring deep desire.

More than one...

Before Dan and I got married, before we were even engaged, we had many of the typical conversations for a couple at that stage. We even had what we called "Awkward Questions Weekend" where we could ask any question on our mind, no matter the subject. Of course, one of those topics included our number of desired children.

At the time, I probably said two or three. After talking about it though, the ultimate answer we arrived at, what we would tell people for months and years to come, was "more than one". We made the choice at that time to not limit what God might do in our lives, but to simply express our desire for multiple children.

All these years later, that desire has not faded. In fact, if anything, it has grown stronger. After the loss of our baby last Mother's Day, we feel even more keenly how incomplete our family is.

That pregnancy was unexpected and, in some ways, miraculous considering some of the variables. However, the circumstances almost make it harder to process what has followed. 6 more months of trying, 3 of those with the aid of fertility medication, but with no positive results.

The desire gnaws.

It is something I carry every day, a part of me I cannot quiet or satiate no matter how much I want to. It tugs at my heart every time I see my son interact with a baby. It screams with every new pregnancy or birth announcement. Others may never see it, but it is still there.

My Munchkin visiting a friend who was 11 days new!
I do not know why God has seen fit to tarry in blessing us with more children. I wish I could see what His plan was. But I do know that to Him, He is not tarrying a single second.
"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
2 Peter 3:8‭-‬9 ESV
http://bible.com/59/2pe.3.8-9.ESV
So in this time of waiting with unfulfilled desires, I have adopted the motto of a dear friend of mine: "Until God tells me no, I will pray, try, and hope." So that is exactly what we will continue to do. We hope the testing this month brings answers. We hope the month off Clomid will help us reset. We hope that God chooses to bless us with another child sooner rather than later. And maybe, someday, my deferred hope will become a fulfilled hope.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12 ESV
http://bible.com/59/pro.13.12.ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Doppelganger

So apparently I have a doppelganger...

Not in the sense of looks necessarily, but in several aspects of our lives.

Meet Meg (not kidding, her name really is Megan). She writes a column called "Right, Meg?" for the local newspaper where my parents live.This photo is just a sample of the columns my mom has sent me with her notes on them. They include topics like how much she loves her Crock Pot (I hugged mine when it came out of storage 6 years ago), how her son was shy on ultrasound (we never saw our Munchkin's face before he was born), and two different columns about two different moves in her life. There have been many more columns over the years about her love of books, planning her wedding, moving, and preparing for the birth of her son who was due almost exactly a year after mine (he ended up coming early).

I really enjoy reading the clippings my mom sends me of Meg's writing. It's uncanny sometimes how similar the situations are that we find ourselves dealing with in life. I almost wish we could sit down together with some pumpkin spice lattes (something else we both enjoy) and compare notes. I don't know if we'd be friends, but I enjoy the articles my mom sends me that exemplify the similarities between our lives.

Have you ever met someone you've clicked with immediately? The kind that embodies the C.S. Lewis quote "Friendship ... is born at the moment when one man says to another 'What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .'"? I've had a couple of friends like that and they are truly treasures. Of course, sometimes you have that moment with friends you've been growing closer to over the course of years and they are just as precious.

So grab one of those friends this week and take them for a cup of coffee. Let them know how much you appreciate them and their friendship. :) And follow Meg on Twitter @rightmeg! :)

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Better When I'm Dancing

I started going to Zumba regularly in January as part of my new year's goals. I absolutely love it and hate when I have to miss a class. Our instructor is awesome and a great leader for people new to Zumba. She instantly made me feel comfortable in the class and I've formed some fun friendships with some of the other regulars. Earlier this year, our instructor had this song in our cool down set and I loved it!



The first time she played it, I ran up after class to ask who it was. Since then, I've played it several times around the house. The Munchkin and I love dancing to it. We'll either spin around, which always induces giggles, or he'll spin himself or run around the kitchen island giggling all the way. It's fun to see him enjoy it so much and truly show that we can feel better when we're dancing :)

Enjoy some dancing of your own today!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Friday, September 2, 2016

Six

Six years.
72 months.
2,192 days.
A lifetime ago and a lifetime to go. :)

On September 4, 2010, Dan and I said "I do" to a lifetime together.
Credit: Jason Weil Photography


1st Anniversary (anniversary trip to Mackinac Island)


2nd Anniversary (Midland Balloon Festival balloon glow during our drive to Nebraska)


3rd Anniversary (pregnant with our Munchkin, but hadn't announced it yet)

Credit: Myra Lutz Photography

4th Anniversary (our Munchkin was just about 3 months old, my mom let us escape for a night away and a visit to the Sunken Garden)


5th Anniversary (my parents let us get away to Kansas City, MO for a luxurious extended weekend away)


6th Anniversary
Credit: Myra Lutz again :)

The past six years have been filled with mountaintops, valleys, and many adventures. Here's to the adventures that still lay ahead of us. I am so thankful that God brought this wonderful man into my life and sustains us in our marriage.

Happy 6th Anniversary, My Love! Here's to a lifetime more!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Meghan

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Power of Story - Truth in Parable



The Power of Story – Truth in Parable
I love stories. 

More specifically, I love the way that the background and depth required of good storytelling often unconsciously showcases truth, even truth that the author may not intend to be the focus of the story. Often, when reading or watching a good story, a moment will display truth so forcefully to me that I am startled. Like a lightning flash in a dark night, the truth, once hidden, is now suddenly brightly lit and obvious.

Meghan and I went to see Pixar’s Finding Dory earlier in the summer. Pixar films are always on our list to see in theater since they have such high quality stories. We are such fans that we used a musical theme from a Pixar movie in our wedding! Since we did not see the film on it’s opening weekend, I was aware that the film would deal with issues related to parenting a child with memory problems. I thought this would not be very impactful to me. Yet, as I watched the parents diligently work to help their child (Dory) develop skills that would enable her to function in spite of her handicap in the world, I was unsettled. Something about this seemed familiar. I brushed it off, and went back to enjoying the adventure Dory and the other fish were in.  The moment when Dory is swept away and loses contact with her parents was a dark moment, but it didn’t resonate beyond the movie for me. 

At the end of the film, Dory is once again separated from everyone she knows (a call back to the beginning of the film) and she has no other support…no friends to remind her who she is and where she is trying to go. At that moment, she goes back to the reflexive skills taught to her by her parents, so long ago…and those skills lead her to a line of shells on the sea floor, which she follows, as her parents encouraged Dory to do as a baby. That line of shells turns out to be one of a multitude of shell lines painstakingly laid over the years Dory has been lost.

The storyteller shows, in a simple image of shell lines spiraling out from their home, the depth of the effort Dory’s parents spent for her. They dedicated their lives to instilling reflexes in her that would lead her home…and when she was swept away, they spent the rest of their lives building paths home from every direction. 

Lightning flash.

I suddenly understood the connection. Meghan and I have spent the last two years building into our wonderful little boy. Worrying about his safety, making sure he has the right skills, hoping that we would do the right things to help him be healthy, smart, wise, and that the evil and darkness in this world wouldn’t take him from us. Building paths in his mind that will bring him home to where he is called to go. Just like Dory’s parents, we deal with the fear of the consequences of our actions as parents every day. The effects of ‘failure’ may not be as dramatic as in the film, but they are no less real or painful even to parents of children without the challenges Dory faced. Yet I willingly embrace this responsibility because I love that wonderful bundle of toddler joy. Being his parent fills me with so much joy that I WANT to subject myself to that fear.

This spring, we found out that we were having a second child. We were excited since we have already experienced the amazing experience of welcoming new life into the world and watching him grow. We began planning for the new arrival, and dreaming of who our child might become. We went to our first ultrasound eager to get our first glimpse of this new life. The technician warmed up the equipment and started listening for the baby. If you’ve ever had the privilege of being present for an ultrasound, you know that the event is often full of noise. The technician chatters away, and your wife chatters back, eager to share her joy at the new life growing inside her. Our appointment though, was different. It was quiet, almost silent.

No chatter. No heartbeat. Just the slow, crushing realization of just how terrible silence can be. Our child was no longer alive. We buried our child on Mothers Day.

When a loved one dies, we often grieve by remembering them in life. Their mannerisms, the good times we spent with them, the way they laughed. When your child dies before birth, there is only silence. An emptiness that is suddenly oppressive. There are no memories, nothing to latch onto but the dashed hopes of what might have been.

I have been carrying that emptiness with me from that moment until seeing Finding Dory. When I saw those shell paths, I realized that while my son will require those paths to be built in his mind and in his world…my other child no longer needs them. She is already home. It is no longer my burden to serve her in that way. I can let her go, just as I will have to let my son go as he grows. I may not be able to share the joy of seeing her grow, but I will also not have to live in the constant worry that often accompanies parenting.

Of course, I would prefer the worry and joy of raising the child. How could it be fair or right that my child would die in such a way, before I could even meet her? How can I respond with joy and excitement when friends announce the imminent arrival of their own baby, when all that seems to do is remind me of my own loss?

This inner conflict within reminds me of another story, told long ago by Jesus.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity? ’So the last will be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:1-16 – emphasis mine)

I agreed with God that he could have my life, and he would give me what was right. There was no contract specifying number of children, or a life free from pain or struggle, or anything like that. I trusted when I gave my life to Him that he would be just, good, righteous. How can I compare what God gives me with the other laborers in his vineyard? He is doing me no wrong. Children are his gift, and he can give or withhold or take as he chooses.

What remains is that I must live and tell my story. I cannot possibly try to live anyone else’s story as well as mine. Perhaps the darkness of parts of my story will allow the lightning flash of truth to be all the brighter to the soul who needs to see it. My response to this darkness must be to take it to Jesus (who is no stranger to tears). He is the only one who knows my full story, and can give what is necessary to live it well. I am resolved, then, to wait and hope that he will grant me the strength to fulfill the full measure of the story he is writing with me.