Friday, February 26, 2016

A God Hug

Have you ever felt like you just got a hug from God? I have. 

The week before last was really hard. I have shared before that when it comes to infertility, there are good days and bad days. I have found that sometimes there is absolutely nothing that triggers the pain. One minute you're laughing with your coworkers, the next you are locking yourself in a bathroom stall so you can let out the tears. I often describe the pain of infertility as feeling like a person sitting on my chest. It just feels like a heavy weight is on top of my heart all of the time.

Two weeks ago on Tuesday, I had dinner with a friend, and told her that I didn't know how I would survive this, that I didn't think people knew just how devastating infertility really is, and that I felt like it has scarred me for life. That sounds a bit dramatic but it's true... I see everything differently now. In good ways and bad. That Wednesday I cried myself to sleep. That Thursday I had an old boss of mine ask me how my kids were doing. When I told her I didn't have any kids, she said she thought for sure I had told her I had one. When I said no, she asked how long I've been married. When I said "7 years", she replied, "It's time for kids." Conversations like these happen pretty regularly and they are painful, to say the least. I know they aren't intending to be hurtful, but it hurts anyway. Believe me, I know it's time for kids. This is beyond my control.

Also on last Thursday I started a blog post that went like this: 

I am hurting.
I am broken.
My heart feels shattered.
My heart is aching so bad that I can actually feel the pain. I can physically feel it. I guess that is hard to understand unless you have grieved a loss.
I am sometimes angry.  
I do not understand.
I am crying, a lot.
I am pretending to be okay a lot. Not because I like to pretend, but because I am pretty sure people don't want to hear about infertility anymore.
I am worried people think I talk about it too much.
I am worried people think I just need to relax. (Relaxing does not cure infertility.)
I know people think if I would just do this or that then I would conceive. 
I am failing at trusting God, and I am starting to struggle with believing Him.
I don't know why He is doing this.
I don't know why He is allowing me to go through this for so long.

Nice, right? I put all that here, not for sympathy, but just so you can see where my head has been. Mean whispers in my head that can't possibly be from the Lord. Is He punishing me for some reason? Does he think I would be a bad mom? What if He never answers? And then I have revisited the WHY question, even though I thought I was long past that. Why, God? Why? Why are you doing this to us? Why are you blessing everyone with children except for us? Why won't you answer our prayers? Why why WHY! These are thoughts that I used to have but overcame, but suddenly here they are again. Maybe it's because we are at almost 5 years of trying, and I am still going through this. Maybe it's because I am turning 38 in a few days. Or maybe it's because two years ago today, I was actually pregnant.

That Friday was a better day, and that Saturday was wonderful. I went to Woman's Hospital to take pictures of my husband's cousin's brand new baby girl. I didn't know how I would handle it after a week like that, but it was a wonderful session. The room was quiet, I had good lighting, I got to see some family, AND I got baby snuggles! Some people worry about babies making my heart hurt more, but I honestly feel a little bit of healing when I get some baby love. Saturday my heart felt full all day. Last Sunday was filled with some very painful cramps, thanks to that time of month, but thankfully, emotionally-speaking, I was okay.

Monday came and went, and then there was Tuesday. Tuesday was kind of crazy because schools were canceled due to the weather, and lots of businesses were closing early too. We weren't busy and I was bored, so I took a little break and went to the gift shop at work. I was just browsing when I heard, "Excuse me?" I turned around and another employee who I do not know but see in passing all the time was approaching me.

She put her hand out and introduced herself, saying she wanted to meet me. I was confused, but I shook her hand in return and gave her my name. Then she said, "You are going to think I'm crazy, but I just wanted to tell you: I was driving the other day, and I was just asking the Lord, "Who can I be a blessing to today? Who can I be praying for today?" And your face kept coming to my mind." We were both quiet for a minute, as I took that in. All I could do was stare at her, and try not to break down right there in the gift shop! She teared up a little and said, "And I mean, I know it's crazy, but I could cry right now. I don't even know what it is [that you're going through], but - "

I was struggling, because while I am pretty open about what we are going through, how do you just open up to a stranger about such a personal thing...and at work! I know nothing about this woman. What if she has kids? What if kids came easily to her? What if she doesn't have kids and never wanted them? And what if I do share but end up doing the ugly cry?! Ha. At the same time I wanted to tell her. This woman had listened to His voice, and I'm sure she wanted to know how she could pray for me. So I managed to respond by saying, "I can tell you what it is, but that's probably all I will be able to say, or I will cry...". She waited. "It's infertility, almost 5 years now." She nodded. And then she said, "Well, I just think God would want me to tell you that He loves you." I nodded and thanked her, and she gave me a hug. And then a few minutes later, as I was leaving the store, she said, "Nice to meet you, Melissa. Please let me know if I can do anything for you."

And that's it. And I don't really know what else to say, but I wanted to share that story, and I want to remember it. He knows what I am going through, and because He is a God of compassion, I believe He understands. I don't know why He won't give us our miracle right now, I really don't. And trust me, this hurts far more than you could possibly imagine, unless you have gone through it yourself. However, even in the midst of my pain, I am so thankful for moments like last Tuesday where God reminds me that I am not forgotten. I am so thankful for a God that sees the days where I am angry and frustrated. I am so thankful that I serve a God who He sees me when I am overcome with sadness. And I am so thankful that when He sees how weary I am, how absolutely tired of infertility I am, He is moved with compassion. I left the gift shop that day feeling like God had given me the strength to keep the faith a little longer. For that I am thankful. 

That isn't the first time God has done something like that for me. And I can't tell you what it does to my soul. I texted my friend afterwards, and her response was, "That was like a hug from the Lord!!!!" And that is exactly what it felt like. Not just when she hugged me, but the whole thing, felt like God was reaching down and giving me a big hug. Reminding me that He loves me and that He sees me. I am not forgotten. I am loved. 


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

52 Lists | Favorite Albums

List #8 - Favorite Albums

Kari Jobe - Majestic
Christy Nockels - Into the Glorious
Bethel Music - We Will Not Be Shaken
Taylor Swift - 1989
Crystal Lewis - Beauty for Ashes
Crystal Lewis - Hymns: My Life
Nichole Nordeman - Brave
Amy Grant - The Collection
Kelly Clarkson - Thankful
Michael Buble - It's Time
Mariah Carey - Merry Christmas

Honestly, there are probably so many more that I am forgetting! Haha! I haven't listened to a few of these in awhile, but I remember listening to them non-stop! The first three are on a constant rotation in my car. Lately I've been just buying songs I love on iTunes, though. Trying to get with the times!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

52 Lists | Things That Make Me Feel Healthy

List # 7 - Things that Make Me Feel Healthy

Eating well, consistently
Having treats only occasionally
Being in control with my eating
Drinking lots of water
That I haven't had a coke since 2014
That I haven't had sweet tea since 2015
weight training
Exercising, consistently
When I don't finish eating something just because it's there
Having balance
Not saying yes to everything
Not gossiping or participating in gossip
Getting enough sleep
Going to my weekly weight watcher meetings
Not giving up

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Girl's Getaway Weekend

This past fall, while hanging out with three of my girlfriends in Coffee Call, our friend Betsy said she wanted a girl's weekend getaway. The rest of us were quick to agree. I don't know if I had been home an hour that night when Betsy texted us that she found a spot for us in Mandeville, Louisiana at Fontainebleau Campground. We gave our thumbs ups, she booked it, we invited the rest of the young adult girls at our church, and the countdown was on!

It was here before we knew it, and it was such a wonderful much-needed weekend! We stayed at the lodge instead of the cabins, because 2 bathrooms! We had a great time.

I got off work at noon, then made the fatal mistake of stopping in Hobby Lobby just to get one thing real quick. This put us a little behind, as I still hadn't packed yet. Ha! Eventually I got home, packed quickly, and got back on the road. I picked up my friend Sarah at her work, then picked up Becca at her apartment, and then we were on our way.

We got to Mandeville a little after dark, but my goodness, it was pitch black on that campground! I misinterpreted Mandy's text to me and didn't realize I was to pass up the campground, not turn into it. The lady at the gate didn't correct us, so we went on a wild goose chase throughout the campground, looking for a lodge that wasn't there. My text to Mandy said, "Well, we've met an armadillo and a deer, but we can't find our friends!" She was guiding me towards the lodge and said, "If you passed a school, you went too far." I said, "We never saw a school." HA! That is when she decided this wasn't a text conversation, and called me! LOL. It was quite the adventure, but we eventually made it to the lodge.

Betsy had made dinner, and we were all starving! Chili with all the fixings, and chocolate chip cookies for dessert! It was delicious! We chatted for awhile, then watched Pitch Perfect 2. Eventually we went to bed. There were three bedrooms: Mandy & Brandie in one, me & Betsy in the next one, and Becca, Sarah & Jessica in the third one.

I was surprised to find I slept pretty well on the bottom of a set of bunk beds! Sarah made us a delicious breakfast, then we all got dressed and headed out for lunch and shopping!

We had lunch at Liz's Where Ya At diner, which was absolutely DELICIOUS! They have the best food! My sister met us out there since she lives nearby. I loved that she got to meet my friends, and that they got to meet her. So glad I got to see her, too!

After that, we went shopping. Me, Becca, Sarah & Jessica got separated from Betsy, Brandie & Mandy when we parked at a shopping center and guessed they went in Home Goods, when they had actually gone to the Dollar Tree and a bookstore. I LOVE Home Goods, so we spent awhile in there, before leaving and running into Starbucks. We kept heading to the next store the rest of our group was in, but kept missing them! Haha. However, we all ended up back in our cars at the same time, and when Mandy texted that they were heading back to the lodge, we decided we were happy with going back too.

We went back and there was girl talk and lazing around for a few hours! Mandy cooked an amazing dinner - pork tenderloin, rice & gravy, mixed veggies, rolls, and apple pie and ice cream for dessert!

A little while after dinner we had worship and a devotional, both led by Betsy. It was so good, y'all. Just the 7 of us worshiping in that lodge, and then a really good devotional that got a good heart to heart discussion going. As we all went to bed, my heart felt so full.

Sunday morning I provided a quick breakfast, as we had a lot of cleaning and packing to do. Then it was time to head home. Of course, I needed a couple of pics first, especially with all that sun flare! (Maybe too much sun flare, but who cares!)

Becca rode with Jessica so she would have some company (she came up by herself on Friday since she had to work until 7.), so it was just  me and Sarah for the ride home. I got home around 10:30 am, so it was nice to have the rest of the day to unpack, wash clothes, and do nothing. :)

Such a great much-needed weekend! We laughed until we cried, had delicious food, and even got to spend a little time in worship together. I have said it a million times: I am so blessed in friendship. I will never take it for granted.

And one of only two pictures I took with my Canon. :)

 Can't wait for another girl's getaway weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

52 Lists | (6) Ways I Which I Can Love Others

I liked this week's list. We talk a lot about loving others regardless of their beliefs, status, education, and past, but how? How can you love people who are so different than you, or who are going through something that you don't understand? I think there are plenty of ways that we can show love. Here are some that come to mind.

Week 6 - Ways in which I can Love Others

I can love others by...

Forgiving quickly & easily
Not holding a grudge against them
Praying for them & with them
Not gossiping about them when others do
Standing up for them
Encouraging them
Supporting them
Bringing them a meal
Spending time with them
Accepting them the way they are
Giving them space if needed
Sending them snail mail
Treating them to lunch
Sending a text to let them know I am thinking about them

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

What are ways you can love others?

Friday, February 5, 2016

52 Lists | (5) Things I Am Grateful For

Hi, friend! How are you? Aren't you so glad it's Friday?! I am! Today I only work half a day, and then am going with 6 girlfriends to a little weekend getaway! Can't wait!

Whew! Almost forgot about doing this week's list!

Week 5 - Things I Am Grateful For

(in no particular order!)

a loving family
a great marriage
a husband who loves me unconditionally
solid true friendships
praise & worship
a caring pastor & church family
nice coworkers
our home
the vacations & missions trips I've been able to take
the good cooks in my life (ie, my mom, my mother-in-law, & mandy!)
Sarah's Laughter support group
the ability to pay our bills and still have a little leftover
weight watchers
awesome mentors throughout my life
a God who understands, loves, heals, rescues