Honest Community and Real Relationships

It is nearly 2 am and I am wide awake. Hours ago I was drifting off to sleep on the couch, but somewhere between then and now I must have found a second wind or breathed in some kind of magical, caffeinated air or something.

Today was a hard day for me that eventually got better.

One of the benefits of living within community (not A community as in location, but community itself as a practice) is finding comfort in the support of those around you who clearly love you and pray for you and want the best for you.

Today was the day that I found out that my first cycle of fertility treatments did not result in the much desired pregnancy.
Starting over.

I was terribly disappointed, for obvious reasons.
We’ve now been officially trying to get pregnant for one year.
I used to be the girl that was trying for 3 months, 9 months, 11 months…. Now, it has been 1 year.
I cried a lot this morning.
It was hard not to feel overwhelmingly depressed and struggling to find a glimpse of hope once again.

I sent a few texts to a few people letting them know the disappointing news and that I wasn’t doing so great.
I began to receive words of support, encouragement, prayer, and hope.
I spent some time praying and the tears began to abate and the lump in my throat began to go down.
I heard God whisper tenderly and softly to me, “Do you trust Me?” and that was enough.
Of course I do.
He has never disappointed me before.
Hear me… I am disappointed that I am not pregnant already, but God has never disappointed me.
Every month is a month to struggle with disappointment.
Some people just really don’t understand just how overwhelming and difficult a struggle with fertility can be unless they’ve been there themselves or know someone close who has.
But each month you make the choice to keep hoping and, in my case, keep trusting God and waiting on Him.

In the past, I’ve received a few messages here and there about my willingness to be so open and vulnerable and honest about what is going on in my life.
Whether it is my struggle with infertility, my struggle with losing weight, my rantings about certain types of people, or just the various lessons I have had to learn the hard way – I don’t really feel the need to paste on a plastic, digital-smile through my words.
This blog isn’t supposed to look like me preaching to you all the things I have learned or accomplished or felt like God revealed to me as if they happened to me spontaneously without trial and pain.

This blog was always intended to do two things:

1. To act as an outlet for self-expression for my writing, my feelings, etc.
2. To portray the real me – 100%, warts and all, what-you-see-is-what-you-get me.

I don’t do it this way so that people think I am “so awesome” for being so honest.

That couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, to be honest about being honest – I don’t share everything with you.
I said it.

But here is where I am coming from in regards to the purpose of my blog:

What is the point of community if you’re not going to be real?
Is it beneficial to anyone to walk around acting like you have all of your crap together all of the time so people feel a certain way about you and around you?
Where does iron begin to sharpen iron?
How can you support me, comfort me, and pray for me if you think I am completely put together all the time?
How can you even get to know the real me if I’m not real in my writings and the words I speak?
How can we come together as a community if we’re not honest?

Sure, we can throw a lot of BBQs.
We can celebrate all the holidays together, make each other laugh with funny stories, and even talk about God together all day long.
All of these things are good, but what is the point if we’re not moving forward together?
What is the point if I don’t KNOW you and you don’t KNOW me?
Not just what music I like to listen to and how I take my coffee, but the true me complete with hopes, dreams, fears, and failings.

Controversial question: Does it even align with Scripture to portray yourself as invincible? Full of all the answers to life’s questions/difficulties? In need of no one but yourself and maybe God?

Community reaches so much further than the 50 mile radius around where you live.

Thanks to technology…. community can reach all the way around the world.

Writing is an outreach.
This blog is me reaching out to you and giving myself to you openly and honestly and exactly as I am.
Comments and messages in response are you reaching back to me saying you are praying for me, laughing alongside me, crying with me, indignant for me, supporting me, and (for some of you, sometimes) understanding exactly what I am going through when I need to know that the most.
It is up to you to respond.
You could just read my blog and that is fine, but it doesn’t become community and relationship until you respond and unless your response is honest and 100% truly YOU.

Writing brings people together.
This is exactly why I named my blog “Words are Avenues”

because words have a way of bringing people together in community to connect us all in this broken, fragmented world where we could otherwise so easily feel absolutely alone.

Hands, Feet, Mouth, Ears, etc.

This will be a quick post since my eyes are having a very hard time staying open at the moment and tomorrow is scheduled to be a busy (but fun!) day.

I just have felt so connected lately and it has made my heart happy.
I feel part of  a body with various moving parts.
I feel embraced by a community.
I was told today by a friend that they wanted to really, truly be my friend and hang out much more often because being “just friends” that see each other every now and then wasn’t cutting it.
To feel so wanted…accepted for who I am… appreciated….understood…. these are the things that are priceless.

This is what it means to be the hands and feet and mouth and ears (etc) of Christ.
To touch and go and speak and listen (etc) as He would – without prejudice, without rash judgments based on appearance or personality differences or differing beliefs in the minor things that don’t matter.
Christ loved unabashedly and unreservedly and I have been feeling that love in Kansas City and it moves me to tears and prayers of thankfulness to my Heavenly Father who has once again proven Himself incredibly faithful.

Disclaimer: I have unfortunately also seen the opposite in Kansas City by people who claim to know and love Christ and yet continue to portray a hand that is withholding, ears that do not listen, mouths that do not speak love, and feet that do not welcome wherever they go. It is sad, but true that there are “Christians” out there like this, but such is life and I can only be responsible for myself and my actions.

If you are this person, just stop.
If you are this person and you don’t know it yet, may God open your eyes and show you how to love as He loved.

Writing Again.

This may turn into a very long catching-you-all-up post – FYI.
It has been over 2 months since I last wrote.

For that, I am sorry.
But I honestly needed the break.
There has just been so much going on in my heart emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually –  I just didn’t have the words to make sense of much of it.
I wrote a lot in my journal.
I prayed a lot.
I cried a lot.
Eventually things got a little easier.
I’ve come to understand a little more.
And I’m beginning to see a purpose in pain and a light at the end of the tunnel.

The last post I wrote kind of left everything hanging on a despairing note.
So let me catch everyone up for the sake of clarity and closure.

The cycle I wrote about in the previous post ended up lasting 51 days.
That is 19 days late with tons of “pregnancy symtpoms” that eventually abated.
I went to my OBGYN who did not find any ovarian cysts and she referred me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. (R.E. or Fertility DR)

I put off going because I was approaching my last few weeks of what had become a very busy semester due primarily to my procrastination and partially due to one Professor in particular.
The next cycle lasted even longer – a whopping 56 day long cycle, but this time there were not any pregnancy symptoms except the missed period.
I am wondering now if I skipped a period altogether, since cycles are normally 28 days on average and 28 + 28 = 56.
Still with me?

My biggest frustration was simply not knowing why all this was happening.
Not in a “Why, GOD?!?!?” kind of way as much as a the-science-behind-it kind of way.
This may be hard for some men to grasp. I know it was for Chad. What’s the big deal?
As a woman you just become accustomed to being able to count on very few things.
Life is always changing, shifting, and surprising us.
So when you have consistently had the same thing happen to your body every 28-29 days since you were 12 years old like clockwork, it goes without saying that a major interruption in that comforting predictability creates a lot of unease, anxiety, and fear.

I recently saw my R.E. and finally got the answers I was craving.
He said he was 90% sure I had developed PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and did an ultrasound that confirmed his suspicions.
The good news is that now we finally knew what was causing my cycles to be so off!
The bad news is that PCOS causes infertility if untreated.
The other good news is that it is HIGHLY treatable!

He started me on some medications right away and gave me a lot of hope that things would only get better from here! 🙂

– –

Now for what God has been teaching me the past 2 months I struggled to understand the purpose and plan behind the pain I was feeling throughout all of this…

My issue with all of this has simply been learning that I really suck at waiting on God.
I learned that I don’t even know how.
I wanted answers. I wanted healing. I wanted the fulfillment of God’s promises in my life.
When they didn’t come initially, I threw a very toddler-like tantrum with God.
I didn’t understand why He this was happening to me. I mean, who really understands why anything bad happens to them until it becomes hindsight, but looking back I am ashamed with how I was acting. Like God owed me anything. Psft.

So there I was acting like God owed me something and every week that went by my anxiety increased.
I wanted to get pregnant so badly, but did I want to bring God glory more?
Was there a point to my sudden struggle with my cycles and fertility that I couldn’t see?
Did I love God more than I loved the idea of being a Mom?
All these questions ran through my head on a fairly constant basis while I plastered a smile on my face in public.
I was seriously struggling with my faith in God to fulfill His promises in my life and my commitment to Him and my trust in Him.

You see…. I’ve been burned before.
I won’t go into detail, but I heard God tell me to move forward on something very specific and that eventually resulted in massive amounts of hurt and pain.
The typical American attitude towards the Gospel is that God greatly desires our happiness, but this couldn’t be further from the Truth.
God desires our Joy, sure… but Joy is chosen despite of circumstances.
God desires our peace, but peace is found in Him alone – not circumstances.
God ultimately desires His glory to be displayed through his Creation, so it goes without saying that if painful circumstances and hard times are what is necessary to refine us into the image of Jesus then God will most definitely allow those seasons of pain to bring about His greater purpose.
The comfort we have is knowing that throughout the pain He will never leave us – we can still find peace and comfort in Him and He will always lead us out of those valleys and deserts for times of rest and restoration.

So these past few months have been just that – God challenging me with this lack of control and uncertainty about myself and the future.
God wanted to remind me that my heart is supposed to be His.
The desires I have to be a mother are God-given and not wrong in themselves, but they are not “God” and should never become the most important thing in my life.
Funny…. that other hard lesson I just mentioned?? That was because I placed my desire to find a husband above my desire to serve God. Ugh, when will I learn?!

Needless to say, God gently kept tugging on my heart reminding me to lean on Him during the hard times and reminding me that He is all I REALLY need. When I look at my life and everything I love and am amazingly blessed with, none of it would be in my life if it were not for God. I did nothing to deserve such a wonderful husband, community, family, friends….and I will do nothing to deserve becoming a mother one day.
If anything, God continually forgives my depravity and the countless times I forget His goodness and mercy and blesses me despite of myself.

I am still working on it, but my heart is in such a better place now.
I still want to be a mother REALLY badly, but if God chose to delay that further or not allow me to have it at all (as hard as that would be!) I feel at this moment that I could trust Him that He knows what is best for me and that He has a plan and purpose to everything that happens in my life.
For now, I will just continue to try my best to wait on Him, hope in Him, believe His promises for my life will come to fruition in His timing, and to find comfort and peace in His presence alone. ❤

– –

p.s. – Thank you to everyone who messaged me or commented your encouragement and support. You weren’t here to see the tears of gratitude as your words of love began the healing process in my heart. I am still working on responding to all of those messages, but just know your words meant the world to me during that time and now. I love you all. 🙂