forgiveness.

The sweet aroma of doing nothing is quite nice. I am not counting cycle days, not on any medications, not running to Minneapolis for tests. This month ….. there is silence. It’s lovely. So what that means is …

Josh and I are officially moving forward with IVF.

(Still can’t believe I am actually typing that – feels a bit surreal.)

Because of this, and our timeline, we get to have the entire month of September “off”.  We are excited and hopeful as this next season approaches us. When the nurse called me to go over the plan, I felt nothing but excitement and adrenaline. It of course is far more complicated than I can put into a blog, at least right now. The future holds a lot of “stuff” as we work our way through the stages of prep. Classes on the process, sessions on how to give shots, prescriptions to be ordered, money to put down, blood to be drawn…but at the end, God willing, we will be able to celebrate a new life.

October will bring for us a mild stage of preparation, 2 different prescriptions, both I have already been on at some point. November is when the fun begins, mid month, when the ovary suppression meds start. Early December is when the process is at its most intense as the stimulation process takes place. We are looking at an egg retrieval surgery mid December, followed by an embryo transfer 3-5 days later. All in all, we will have an answer by the end of the year.

As I pray on all of this, these verses from Philippians 3 keep jumping into my mind: “…but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” For me right now, the verse has two takeaways – the first, I believe is God’s gentle reminder to let go of the failed cycles behind us and look forward to what lies ahead of us. I feel encouragement to continue to press on with no regrets to reach the end of this race. While I know this verse speaks more about the eternal race, I am grateful that God has used this verse to give me that adrenaline boost I need.

The second takeaway is that of the spiritual context of eternity. When I think about how much “pressing on” we have been doing with TTC, it makes me stop and question how much “pressing on” we as believers do in our daily lives. Am I as committed to pressing on to what God has called me to do as I am with having a child? It’s a convicting thought. One of the things I love about this is, though, is how it starts: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. I love this gentle reminder to Forget the past. Let go of it. Move forward.

In all of the books on infertility that I read, there always are a few chapters dedicated specifically to the question  of “Am I being punished?” I think that many women TTC struggle with this, searching for a reason of “why” when the doctors are telling us there is no reason we shouldn’t be getting pregnant. We cycle through everything we have every done, was it this? Was it that?  Even throughout the Bible we see women anguishing and wondering if God was using barrenness as a punishment. I think that question is extremely common. While I am not going to drag this into a big theological debate, I do want to say this, especially to those TTC and having the “Am I being punished?” questions – Take God at His word. If you have confessed to Him, asked for forgiveness, then take the forgiveness He has offered you. I mean it. Don’t think that God’s grace comes with a spiritual formula that may or may not include a clause for that sin. Abortions. Or drug use. Or emotional or physical affairs outside of marriage. A wild past. Carelessness in relationships. Lies that have been spoken. Images that have been looked at. Whatever it is – take Him at His word. His grace extends to you. Don’t let your past imprison you and cause you to carry burdens on your heart. This journey is difficult enough! If you are questioning whether infertility is a punishment, I plead with you to take some quiet time and accept the forgiveness and let it go.

In a devotional this week, this verse was shared from a song (by Morgan Cryar) and I love it:

The heaviest thing you’ll carry
Is a load of guilt and shame.
You were never meant to bear them
So let them go in Jesus’ name.
Our God is slow to anger
Quick to forgive our sin
So let Him put them under the blood.
Don’t bring them up again.

Closing out that topic, I read a great paragraph from Hannah’s Hope that I wanted to share: “While I cannot find a theological basis to say that God is punishing you through infertility, I cannot discount the possibility that, as He did in my own life, He may desire to use your time of testing to reveal heart issues that still need to be addressed before Him. God often uses trials to get our attention when we need to draw closer to Him…Do not become so caught up in an ongoing quest to discover “hidden sin” that this pursuit becomes an end in itself.” Hang in there ladies – receive that forgiveness and enjoy your fellowship with God. It’s certainly a journey of my own I have had to walk through. Forgiving yourself and putting down guilt and shame – not easy stuff! But possible. And more freeing that you can imagine.

Alright, it’s all a lot – it really is. When I think about how intense the end of the year will be, I feel like a sports player going into the last quarter of a big game. (Ok, let’s be honest, I don’t do sports, so I am not really sure what that feels like. A better example would be feeling like a book-worm getting amped up for the last Harry Potter book to be released at midnight.)

I am BLESSED that work has agreed to allow me a personal leave of absence for this entire process beginning mid-November. The freedom of not having to worry about coordinating doctor’s appointments, side effects, hormone surges, shots, mood swings, etc around a busy work life is one of the biggest blessings. My gratitude goes out to my company and my co-workers who will be doing all they can to make sure that this process is smooth for me.

At this point, I am switching my mind towards self-care and mental, emotion, spiritual, and physical prep. (Which will all be highlights of upcoming blog posts). We appreciate all the continued prayers, support, encouragement, and hopeful stories you are all sharing with us! We hope they continue throughout this next stages as we will need them more than ever.

Lastly – if you want to follow my blog and receive email updates when new postings are made, look to the bottom right hand side of the screen (if you are reading on a desktop.) Click “+Follow” and sign up to be on the email list. (I don’t think you can do this on the iPhone). Or, if you have a story to share yourself or are requesting prayers, I would love to hear from you! Since not everyone has Facebook or my email, please feel free to send me a message trialsbringjoy@gmail.com. I would love to talk to you!

Hope you all have a blessed, safe, and FUN Labor Day weekend!

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