Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Baby Steps 2016 | Team Believable | November 12, 2016

For the past three years, Brad & I have participated in an event that raises money for Sarah's Laughter, spreads infertility awareness, and awards prizes such as a free IVF cycle & a $10k family building grant. For those who don't know, for every person who joins our team, we get an extra ticket in the IVF/$10k grant drawing. The more people on our team, the more chances we have of winning! Since insurance covers no part of fertility treatments, winning would obviously be a tremendous blessing! It isn't just about winning, though. I have never felt more supported than I have felt on Baby Steps day. It is truly an amazing feeling to have family & friends show up to support you, your husband, and your dream to be parents!

US at Baby Steps 2014
We are hoping to have an even bigger team this year! I wanted to post about it on the blog to have a reference point to send people if they have questions about the race!

When: Saturday, November 12th, 2016 in the morning
Where: The Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, Louisiana
How: Join our team OR make a donation to Sarah's Laughter on behalf of our team!

Our Team - Baby Steps 2015
We are going with the same team name as last year, because "believe" is my word, y'all!

"For we know whom we have BELIEVED & we are sure that He is ABLE!" 2 Timothy 1:12

My favorite pic from Baby Steps 2014. Nothing like having supportive girlfriends in your life!

A few differences from last year + answers to frequently asked questions:
-It is a 1 mile fun run, not a 5k this year.
-No, you do NOT have to run. You can walk it (with me)! 
-It is at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, LA this year. This is so if we have a monsoon (like last year) we can move it indoors!
-You do not have to attend for us to get our chance to win! (Although we would LOVE to see you there!)
-Your kids can come & they do not have to be registered.

To join our team, go here! Make sure at the bottom, under "choose your events" it has Team Believable selected!

If you are unable to attend, but want to help, you can either join our team as above, or simply donate to Sarah's Laughter on behalf of our team. For every $250 donated, we get 10 extra tickets in the drawing. To do that, go here!

With our tickets for the drawing in 2014!
Thanks so much for considering coming! If you are unable to be a part of it, of course we understand. We love and appreciate all of the love, prayers & support we have received for the past 5 years. 

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Broken Truster, My Due Date & the Faithfulness of God

Hard to believe, but it's true. Most of this post was written on what would have been my due date, October 23, 2014. Nearly two years ago. When I wrote it, I wasn't in a very good place. I was hurting. I felt completely broken and devastated. I kept it how it is because it's raw and real, and changing it to past tense takes away from that, I think. Thankfully, today I find myself in a much better place, a place of renewed hope and even excitement. I can't wait to share with you what God has been doing in my life.

Today, however, I wanted to share this old post with you. I wanted to add an intro, finish it up, and hit publish. So as you read these words, just remember that a lot of this is my voice two years back. Doesn't mean things aren't still hard, but there are a lot more smiles than tears here lately. I mainly want to share this for the testimony at the end. I hope it speaks to your heart.

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February 17, 2014. The day I found out we were actually, finally pregnant. After 3 years of trying, after countless doctor appointments, needles, & tests, and after 3 procedures, I was pregnant. It was all worth it now. The dream I'd had since childhood would finally be realized: I would be a mom in just 9 months.

I remember the absolute shock, disbelief, and then overwhelming JOY. I remember calling my sister. I remember running to Brad's parent's house and then mine to tell them the news. I remember telling the friends who had supported me most through my infertility journey. I remember downloading the pregnancy apps - yes, three of them. I remember writing my due date in my calendar. October 23. I would have a baby before Christmas!

I remember going in for our first ultrasound, only to find out that I was possibly having an ectopic pregnancy, and that all we could do was wait and see. I remember the nurse telling me to call them immediately if I had any pain or bleeding over the weekend, even if it was the middle of the night.

I remember the sick feeling I got. I remember being terrified. I remember the doctor leaving the room for a minute, and me looking at Brad and saying, "I cannot lose this baby. PLEASE do not tell me I am going to lose this baby!" I remember the panic.

I remember the weekend, and the peace that came in, like a wave washing over my fearful heart. I remember realizing that it was probably just too early, that I would go back in on Monday and everything would be fine. I remember going out for my birthday on Sunday, and being able to relax a little and enjoy the day, knowing everything was going to be okay. This had to be a mistake.

I remember waking up very early Monday morning with extremely painful cramping...and bleeding. I called my doctor. It was surreal. It felt like it was happening to someone else, and I was just watching it all unfold. He had me explain the kind of cramps I was having, and he said it sounded like a miscarriage, not an ectopic pregnancy. He told me to come in at 7 in the morning instead of my 8 o'clock appointment. I went in and it was confirmed. I was miscarrying.

I spent three days at home. I slept, I cried, I prayed, and I screamed. I was in so much pain, physically and emotionally. How could this have happened? Why? Why me?

I remember knowing some days would be harder than others ... days like Mother's Day. Days like my due date.

October 23, 2014. Today is my due date. I woke up and had a card from Brad. So sweet. I had a few texts from friends before I even got to work, to let me know they were praying for me. The workday was very busy, so it passed by quickly and I didn't really have to think too much about it being my due date. I also got some cards in the mail. After work, I went to support group, which I so desperately needed. I spilled my heart there. I spilled it all - everything I have been feeling about this path I am on. I left feeling like a weight had been lifted. Some of what I shared there I'm going to share with you.

I had a major breakdown on Monday. I had just left work, and nothing bad happened at work or anything, but the second I got in my car to leave, I felt such a heaviness. I cried the whole way home. I came home and cried myself to sleep. So broken. Tuesday and Wednesday were fine, and Thursday - my due date - went okay, too. This song was on in my car on my way to work & these lyrics speak to me so much right now. I posted this as my status on Facebook. I hesitated at first, but decided to go ahead and post it.

Lord over all
You will be my rescue
You will never fail
Lord, through it all
I will choose to trust You
You will never fail

--Kari Jobe 

My due date was today. And as much as I wish things had gone differently, and as much as my heart still feels completely shattered much of the time, I am choosing to believe in His word and His faithfulness. Prayers appreciated today.

My truster is broken. I said before that Kari Jobe talked at her concert about sometimes our truster is broken - we cannot trust God - and that is a tough place to be as a Christian. And she's right, it's tough. It is where I am right now. I feel like I can be open and honest here, so you might want to run if you don't want to know how I really feel. But I feel like He let me down. I feel like He gave me a baby only to snatch it away. I feel hurt by Him. Don't worry or freak out. It's okay for me to say this, He isn't going to strike me dead. Don't you think He knows how I feel anyway? He does. He knows, and He understands.

And don't worry. I can say all I want that He let me down, that I don't trust Him right now, and even while I say it, I know He is good. I know He is faithful. It's just that trust is earned and when you feel like someone broke your trust (even if you're wrong), you have to work on being able to trust again. So yeah, I am choosing to trust Him, no matter what. This isn't a blind faith... this isn't me trusting in something that isn't true. I already know it's true. I've already seen Him at work. I already know He is writing my story, and He is the best storyteller. I am just telling you where I am right now in that story. Right now, I feel He has let me down. Right now, I'm not angry at Him, just disappointed. Let down. And you know, brokenhearted. Devastated. I wasn't exaggerating in my facebook status when I said my heart feels shattered most of the time. If you ask me how I'm doing, I'll probably say fine, because what am i supposed to say? "My heart is breaking"? This is too hard.

Seeing pregnancy updates from people also due in October has been hard for me. Because I know that's where I should be. Oh, I would be finding out the baby's gender now, oh we would be having our baby shower about now, oh, we would probably be doing maternity photos now too. But October 23: We should be having our baby right about now. 

I try not to think about it too often. Infertility, my miscarriage - those things are never off of my mind, but I can't let myself think too long about What Could Have Been/What Should Have Been. I try not to think about the fact that if things had been different, I would have a baby right now. If I think about it too long, I get sad. I get resentful. I get angry.

This is the most difficult thing I have ever walked through! It is devastation. It is grief. It is uncertainty. It is PAIN, so much pain, pain that chokes you, that overwhelms you. Some days, the pain feels like something really heavy is sitting on my chest. Some days I see someone's status of happy mommy/baby things & it makes me smile. Other days it makes me weep.

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But there is something else. My testimony. You see, I never had the story that some former "rebels" have. I never had that testimony of  "I committed all these terrible sins and then I met Jesus and I never turned back". I met Jesus when I was 5. I loved Him then. I started following Him then. And I FULLY surrendered (knowing what that meant) around age 16. So I never had what people would call an earth-shaking, incredible testimony. Nothing wrong with those, those are awesome, but at times I felt like mine was nothing in comparison. Thankfully, I came to understand that I did have a pretty awesome testimony. It goes like this: For many many years, throughout my teens and early twenties, I was unhappy. Not just unhappy, though. I was broken. I was hurting. I had low self-esteem, I hated myself, I was afraid of everything. But GOD suddenly came in & rescued me, He set me free, He turned my sorrow into complete & utter JOY. He filled my heart with joy, and I was never the same. And He showed me this verse, which became my testimony verse:

"For you turned my wailing into dancing
You removed my sackcloth & covered me with joy
That my heart may sing to You and not be silent.
Oh, Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever."
-Psalm 30:11-12

That was MY verse. It was my testimony. I shared it, I believed in it passionately. THIS is what God can do for you - give you SO MUCH JOY! It was my story.

And then God did it for me again. I was single for all of my twenties. It was just fine for me, in fact, I had kind of a soapbox about how much better it was to be single anyway...until i reached about 26...and then I was over it. I wanted a husband. Give me a husband already!!!! I would say to God. He didn't. I spent my twenties a single woman, and in my late twenties all i wanted was a husband. Around 28, I was so frustrated with this. I begged God to bring me a husband. I felt so alone and I felt that I needed that person in my life. I remember when Brad came back into my life after 11 years. I was 29, so of course it crossed my mind that maybe God was bringing him back into my life for a reason. I remember when, after the third date after all those years, walking away realizing it was not going to happen. Good of him to see if there was something there, but we were clearly headed down two different paths and it wasn't going to work. I remember being upset about it, and frustrated with God. I mean, it's one thing for me to still be single, but to wait until I am really just crying out for a partner in life, and then bring back my first boyfriend, my first and only love? Only to take him away again? Not to sound ridiculous, but I truly felt like the dog who has someone dangling a treat in front of his face only to yank it away. Like I was being teased and not in a funny way. Why bring Brad into my life if it isn't going to work anyway? Just to take him away again? Why would you do that to me, God? Why would you hurt my heart that way? On purpose!

Well, you know what happened? I remember telling my roommate how I felt, but then just a few weeks later, she came home from a date and peeked in my bedroom where I was sitting on my bed with my laptop. I had just read an email from Brad, the third in a series of back and forth emails. She asked how my night was, and I looked away from the computer screen and up at my roommate in shock, because I had just realized that God was answering my prayer. I said, "Aimie. I'm going to marry this man. He's the one." She probably thought I was crazy, since I had just recently told her it wasn't happening! Ha! What followed that night was such complete joy, a beautiful love story that only God could write, and a marriage that has been far more than I had ever dreamed of or imagined.

So after all of this... after our years of infertility but before my miscarriage...one day I was listening to a song that reminded me of the scripture verses above. For you turned my mourning into dancing... I remembered these situations in my life where God turned my sorrow into joy. And I very strongly felt that God spoke to my heart right then by saying, "What I did before, I will do again. What I was faithful to do before, I will be faithful to do for you again." That was it. But it was clear. In that moment He gave me the strength to continue believing and a peace in knowing that He is going to answer our prayers. And I know He is. That was more than two years ago, but I am reminded of it every time I want to give up. And if you have ever wondered why we don't just give up, thinking obviously parenthood isn't in the cards for us, here's your answer. I'm not giving up any time soon. He is going to give me my miracle. Faithful He has been. Faithful He will be.

I don't write these things for me. I hope people read them and whether it is infertility or something else, I hope they can see the goodness of God at work, and believe Him for miracles in their own stories and in their own situations. He is faithful.