Expanding

I find it interesting that when people find out you’re about to become a mother for the very first time, they will often say things like, “Get ready to never sleep again!” or “Life as you know it is over! It’s all about the baby now!”

While it may be true that every mom sleeps less and that so much of their life revolves around the baby, I find these statements to be untrue and misleading. They always sounds so foreboding and ominous. It is a fact that I sleep MUCH LESS than I did before, and some friends of mine who are mothers sleep even less than I do since our little guy has always been an abnormally great sleeper. I also think about Travis and his well being every second of my day.

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For instance, the past couple of weeks Travis has had a cough that has kept the both of us awake off and on throughout the night. After such erratic sleep, I still have to wake up around 5am, nurse him, get myself ready for work, pack the gazillion bags I now tote everywhere, commute 45 minutes to work, work for 8 hours or so while taking 2 breaks at work to pump, commute back, pick up Travis from daycare, nurse him again, make a healthy dinner since Chad and I are trying to be healthier, do dishes/wash bottles, throw a load of laundry in, get Travis ready for bed, nurse him again, and lay him down to sleep while I read homework for my graduate class while trying to keep my eyes open. (Disclaimer: Chad helps SO much in all of this busyness with the exception of nursing!)

What message wasn’t portrayed to me leading towards becoming a mother for the first time was how very joyous these things, among others, would be. When my boy wakes up from a coughing fit, he wants ME. He snuggles sweetly into my chest and immediately calms down. His breathing softens and deepens until we’re both back to sleep…at least until the next coughing fit. When I wake him up in the morning to nurse, he gives me the biggest sweetest smiles that remove all the exhaustion from my mind. I smile back with a soft, but enthusiastic, “Good morning, handsome!” When I pick him up from daycare, his eyes light up again. Someday soon he will reach his arms towards me and say, “Mama!” because we belong to each other. When I am giving Travis a bath, or reading him a book, or putting lotion on his dry winter skin before placing him in a clean pair of soft jammies, he wraps his chubby little fingers around my thumb and ‘talks’ to me about his day. He is my boy.

These things are incredibly exhausting, but – as everyone says – absolutely worth it. What has been the most unexpected thing is feeling as if who I am has expanded. I have not been replaced with a new version of myself; I have expanded to become something more than I once was. It is difficult to explain, but I still feel so much like myself and like someone else new on top of that. I am still a wife, a friend, a sister, a student, etc. I am just now also a mother on top of those things. I was tired before and I am tired now, but I am somehow now able to function better than I could have imagined on very little sleep. I am not just Travis’ mother; I am Tasha. Adding mother to the growing list of things that make up who I am has only expanded what I am capable of and it’s so much more than I thought was possible.

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It’s true that I hold more tightly onto my free time than before because I have less of it and that my priorities have understandably shifted, but that is mainly a dual combination of motherhood and graduate school – neither are for the weak! It used to bother me so much when people would say that being a mother is the greatest calling God could ever ask a woman to do. What an isolating and discouraging statement for those women who cannot have children of their own or who choose not to.

As many of you know, for the past 4 years I wasn’t sure if I would ever have my own children. The women in my life who haven’t or who have chosen not to are extraordinary women! They are passionate and ambitious and contributing so much to the world. Being a mother shouldn’t be this glorified status symbol that graduates someone to being a ‘real woman.’ Being a mother is just another role that some people get to add to the ever growing aspect of who they are. If I had never gotten pregnant, I would still be me and capable of doing extraordinary things for God and this world. I am still me; I am just also joyously responsible for loving and raising a chubby little 20lb version of myself (and Chad!) to be the best young man he can possibly be.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I am surprised that I am still me. People made it seem like I would lose myself in motherhood, but I feel as if the opposite has happened and I feel more like myself than ever before. I still love to read. I still love to create and to write. I still love cats and to travel. I still struggle with all the same flaws I had before and I still value the same things I have always valued. I don’t just want to sit and talk about my baby all the time and nothing else – I’ve never wanted to be that person… But you can bet that the best part of my day now is getting off of work and picking up my sweet little boy and kissing his face.

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The journey to motherhood has made me stronger and becoming a mother has expanded who I am and what I am capable of….. It is certainly one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it is also one of the best things to have ever happened to me. It is a joyous gift, but not something I can place on a pedestal as some kind of ultimate achievement of identity or success. The only thing I can glorify is who I am in Christ. He is everything. I can’t be a mother without Him. I can’t be anything without Him. All that is mine – including Travis – belongs to Him and I don’t want to glorify what He has given me, but rather I want to glorify who He is through these things. He has expanded me to be and do more.

Travis is my gift, but Christ is my treasure.

 

Joy Comes in the Morning

We just bought a crib and dresser for our son.

It has been a long time since I have written and so much has changed. My last post ironically was about my new tattoo and the meaning behind it to remind my heart to have courage in fearful times because once I am out of the darkness I will realize that with God holding me there was never anything be afraid of at all. What a beautiful thought, right?

Excerpt from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which was in my last post:

“In a few moments the darkness turned into a greyness ahead, and then, almost before they dared to begin hoping, they had shot out into the sunlight and were in the warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been. They blinked their eyes and looked about them. The brightness of the ship herself astonished them: they had half expected to find that the darkness would cling to the white and the green and the gold in the form of some grime or scum. And then first one, and then another, began laughing.”

And that is exactly how I feel right now…. as I feel this sweet baby boy doing flips in my belly.

We cannot see in the darkness. We cannot know for sure where we are going or what is going to happen. We fear the worst and try to hold onto hope with weak and shaking hands. It is only once we have left the darkness and step into a new season of life and hope that we’re able to look back on the dark times and see every single breathtaking second that God was with us. Eventually the darkness dissipates and we can see more clearly.

Joy comes in the morning indeed.

There are a lot of songs on Christian radio right now that make me change the station because they don’t have a ton of depth or they’re just plain annoying. To be honest, most of the annoying songs are by Mandisa (which I know a lot of people like??), but there was a song on the radio a few days ago by her that captured my heart…..  it said:

“When the waves are taking you under, hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger… stronger.
The pain ain’t gonna last forever and things can only get better
Believe me, this is gonna make you stronger”

I have heard this song before, but it really hit me this time. I have been held in the arms of my Savior while going through one of the hardest times in my life thus far and I can look back now and see how it made me stronger. I am a stronger person and I will be a stronger mom for having experienced the grief of infertility.

Hard times are inevitable and I will probably experience hard times again in my lifetime. Suffering does not discriminate and pain continually finds everyone…but hope and peace and deep, unshakable joy can only come from Christ. Everything else used to pacify pain and suffering is temporary and shallow.

The only way to get through suffering and find purpose in it, is to experience your pain while leaning into the arms of the One who can wipe away every single tear…. a mere glimpse into the life to come.

– – –

“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ….”
Romans 5:3-6
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“Courage, Dear Heart…”

When Chad asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I don’t think he thought I was serious when I said I wanted a new tattoo. 🙂

I got my last tattoo nearly 10 years ago in March of 2005, but I have been thinking about getting a 2nd one for the past 2 years or so.

I don’t tend to get things permanently affixed to my body unless they’re thoroughly thought out and have significant meaning to me. I spent a while trying to think of a great way to not only reflect on the growth I have experienced over the past 3 years, but to also reflect the positive change in my heart as I look ahead to the future.

I stumbled upon this quote on Pintrest by one of my favorite authors: C.S. Lewis and realized how perfect it was.
(I also used it in a blog post not too long ago!)

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This quote is from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which is my favorite book in the Chronicles of Narnia series.

The context is this:

Lucy and the others are on a ship heading into dark, unknown waters. Everyone is scared and worried that Aslan had led them in the wrong direction. (Oh, wow! How many times I have had this very thought!)

At one point in the midst of some turmoil, Lucy whispers, “Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now.”

After she whispers this, C.S. Lewis so perfectly writes:

“The darkness did not grow any less, but she began to feel a little—a very, very little—better.
‘After all, nothing has really happened to us yet,’ she thought.” 

Then Lucy hears a whisper in reply: “Courage, dear heart” and she knew it was Aslan whispering to her.

I just love this part of the book so much because so often in my life, and probably in yours too, life seems dark and full of turmoil. How many times have we questioned where God was in the midst of our confusion, our fear, and our pain?

Those that don’t know the voice of God shake their fists to the heavens and cry out – demanding a reply and a rescue! What I have come to learn slowly, but surely over the past several years is that God is so very near to the broken-hearted. He is a breath away and has not abandoned us. Sometimes the darkness remains around us, but his gentle whisper calms our fears and comes to us in our pain.

The call to have courage is a steep one.

Courage is not easily grasped.
Courage means that when your circumstances don’t change at all that you still trust, you still hope, and you still believe.
Courage waits for that quiet voice to whisper and calm our hearts when our world spins out of control.
Courage knows that a brighter day is coming and that our response should just be to take our Father’s hand as he leads us through and eventually out of the darkness.

After Lucy hears Aslan whisper to her to have courage, Lewis goes on to write:

“In a few moments the darkness turned into a greyness ahead, and then, almost before they dared to begin hoping, they had shot out into the sunlight and were in the warm, blue world again. And all at once everybody realized that there was nothing to be afraid of and never had been. They blinked their eyes and looked about them. The brightness of the ship herself astonished them: they had half expected to find that the darkness would cling to the white and the green and the gold in the form of some grime or scum. And then first one, and then another, began laughing.”

This is exactly the hope that I cling to…That after all this darkness has passed me, that I will find myself in a place more beautiful and more bright than I could have ever dreamed possible. I am not there yet, but I know that day is getting closer…

It takes courage for me to keep hoping.
It takes courage for me to keep dreaming and believing.
It takes courage for me to undergo a procedure or stick myself in a needle for medicine to help me ovulate.
It takes courage to try again and again.
It takes courage for me to fight the bitterness that so often threatens to rear it’s ugly head.
It takes courage for me to tune out the voices of those who speak against the hope my heart clings to.
It takes courage for me to trust that He knows why I am here and He knows where I am going even when I cannot see.

My first tattoo was meant to be a reminder to me that love is difficult, selfless, and requires sacrifice. It was a reminder not only of Christ’s loving sacrifice for me, but the loving sacrifice he calls me to show others.

In the past few years, with all that I have gone through and all that still lies before me, I want the reminder of this difficult season, the reminder of the strength I’ve found in Him, and the reminder of the hope He gives me to be permanent:

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Click here to read the full excerpt from Chap. 12 of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

The Rain

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The Lord is doing something in me that is difficult, painful, and more precious and beautiful than I deserve.
I know He is because for the past several weeks I have felt on edge and highly unsettled.

I have been anxious and sensitive.
Not that the struggles of the past 3 years hasn’t made me more sensitive already, but this is a little more than that.
The slightest things that I would have easily shaken off in the past have sent me running to my car on a lunch break to choke back tears, lecture myself on the art of getting it together, and reapply my make up.

One misinterpreted look or the lack of acknowledgement altogether.
One single word unknowingly misplaced and insensitively delivered.
One minute too long to sit and dwell and gradually begin to hear the not-so-subtle whispering lies to my heart that strike cords with my deepest fears and insecurities.

The past several weeks I have felt shaken and I haven’t really been able to pinpoint the moment or circumstance that started this process. I just know that because of it, I haven’t felt like myself lately. I sometimes feel like I don’t even know who I am anymore.

Maybe it is because I started a new job and I am still trying to figure out where I fit/belong and where I can find some consistent intrinsic purpose in my work as a lowly admin.
Maybe it is the fact that my sweet Granny isn’t here anymore and any time I think of Christmas, hear an Elvis song, or walk into a craft/fabric store my eyes instantly well up with tears.
Maybe it is because I am navigating the waters of a new friendship and those waters are both simultaneously joyous and murky.dancing-in-the-rain (1)

Or maybe… perhaps a big part of it… it is just because ever since I found out that it would most likely be a long and difficult journey until my achingly empty arms would be filled only by God’s faithful gracious mercy, I have struggled every single day of that journey to feel like I belonged somewhere….. anywhere.

Yet, this is the tender place where I find my heart and my thoughts with God. When I come to Him in these moments of restlessness and insecurity….I am realizing once again that my sense of belonging shouldn’t be in tied to these roles I identify with.
I may be a wife, sister, daughter, or friend, but when it comes down to it:  I am HIS. I am my Beloved’s and He is mine.

The roles I identify with are not the true me. They are only the costumes I will wear for a short time in this life. The type of wife, sister, daughter, and friend I am to others matters, but only because other people matter.
Love matters.
These roles do not define me and should not determine my happiness.
Jesus and who He is determines that.
He determines everything.

It will take a significant amount of rain to wash away all of my expectations, my perceptions, my needs, my wants, my entitlements, and my identity.

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” – John Updike

The struggle over the past several years has been to let go of my identity as a mother. Not giving up on the dream, but not letting the lack of this role define me.
I have wanted to be a mother since I was 3 and carried around more baby dolls than I ever did Barbie dolls.

Every single day I battle an onslaught of reminders that reinforce the fact that I am not a mother.

The onslaught on my heart includes things like not being invited to a friend’s house to hang out because it is more of a ‘play date’ and I am not a mother. You have nothing to contribute or offer.
It includes people at church wondering why I volunteer in children’s ministry if I don’t have children. What could you possibly know about children?
It includes Facebook photos and updates for everything child-related under the sun. Look! I am living the life you can only dream of.

And so much more.download

But I hear my Beloved whispering over the sound of the storm…You are mine.

I am His.

I spent most of my 20’s trying to discover who I was and why I am the way I am. I spent many nights journaling every single heartache, confusion, and question in my soul. I spent hours talking with counselors and mentors, trying to navigate from the rocky waters of my childhood, so I could discover who I was and how to successfully join society. I learned so much about who I was, my personality (INFP!), how to love others well, and where I fit in. I felt confident and whole for the first time in my life.

Now that I am working my way through my 30’s and battling infertility, all of that confidence and self-identification is being stripped down off of me. Not that I am back to where I was in my early 20’s necessarily, but more so that Jesus is lovingly – yet painfully – peeling back the layers of who I am so as to make room for more of Him.

As backwards as it may seem, I can see God using even something as broken and ugly as infertility to birth peace, wholeness, and life in me. Infertility has made me realize (slowly!) more and more that this life does not matter as much as we act like it does.

I am learning little by little that I do not love people because I have learned how to be a good friend.
I love people because Christ loves them: passionately, vulnerably, whole-heartedly – no matter what it costs.
(And You know what? Loving people is not for sissies! Loving people is raw and real and requires so much of you with the expectation of so very little in return. The truth is…. people don’t owe you their time, their gifts, their support, or their love. But love gives and gives anyway and Jesus fills those spaces in us that we have given away, so that we can give more.)

I am learning that being a friend/sister/daughter/cousin/niece/etc may be much different and more difficult than what I wish it was, but my Savior wants me to be His hands and feet to others no matter what I receive in return.  So if that means lonely weekends, chronic family conflict that never seems to heal, and never feeling quite like I belong, then so be it. I belong to Jesus. Starting to learn this doesn’t fix the issues, but it makes the burden a little bit lighter.dancing-in-the-rain

I am learning that being a mother is so much more than physically birthing a child. Maybe in this life that is what defines it. Maybe in this life people will say, “You can never understand what it is like until you have had your own.” Well, maybe that is true and maybe it isn’t. But I do know that Jesus created the heart of a mother and He can create one in me. I may have babies of my own one day and I may not. I may adopt as many kids as our budget can handle and I may not. What I can do right now is wait and trust and hold onto hope with fists clenched tightly while I am a mother to the kids in our church nursery, our AWANA ministry, my friend’s kids, my nephews and niece, and any other child in need of a hug, a laugh, or a listening ear.

I am learning that none of the things we view as important that have so much to do with us, us, and US even matter.

I still don’t know how my life is going to pan out.
I don’t know how or when or if I will ever see my dreams come to fruition.
I don’t know how long God will continue to strip me of myself and replace the broken pieces of me with the sustaining pieces of Him.
I don’t even know how much I have left to give sometimes.
I have never cried so much in my life.

But…. I know He is faithful.
I know He is mine.
I am His.

So Jesus, wipe away my tears when life is just too much and people don’t seem to notice or have time to care.
Hold me when I have gone too many days without a decent hug.
Remind me that I have worth and a purpose and that I belong when those things seem to elude me too often.
Give me courage to face whatever you have in Your plans for me.

And let the rain continue to fall relentlessly and wash away every broken piece of my heart and my identity until you have it all….until all I desire is You.

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New Beginnings

The last post I wrote was about saying goodbye to something I was comfortable and familiar with. It took me a while to even want to update because aside from some extraordinary vacation trips, I just didn’t feel like on a deeper level I had anything I wanted to say. You readers who have been keeping up with me on this blog know where I’ve been for the past 3+ years with feeling like I was in limbo. Longing for a change. Longing to feel inspired. Longing to be a mother and have some direction for my life. So when things feel the same as they did months ago…. what is there to update? As it turns out…. “nothing” is the answer.

Well now things have changed! No, I am still not pregnant and I am tackling that particular longing and heartache one day at a time… But things have definitely changed for the better and – although I didn’t know it at the time – it all began to change when I decided to leave my last job at Park University.

The problem never was my job in particular or my infertility or the fact that I felt like I was waiting for my life to begin. All of those things were certainly bothering me, but the real problem underlying all of it was my environment – the atmosphere around me – was significantly affecting my perspective about my life and about my identity. The day I chose to leave Park and open myself up to whatever God had for me was incredibly scary. I second guessed it, cried the whole drive home the day I turned in my leave form, and had to find a quiet place to just sit and breathe for a while as I came to terms with the bold move I had just made. Fast forward to me finishing my time there and having my last day and saying my goodbyes…. I drove away from Park’s campus and all I could feel was refreshing, wonderful peace. It LITERALLY washed over me. I know people say that as a metaphor all the time to imply that peace came upon them suddenly, but I literally felt the tension, the stress, and the unnamed negativity leave my body and my mind starting at the top of my head and all the way down to my toes. Peace WASHED over me like a gentle, but constant waterfall and I knew that whatever was coming next was going to be good.

Now it is nearly 3 months later and I am in my 5th day of work in my new job at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

 

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Getting this job was a lengthy process, but I felt God’s hand of reassurance on me the entire way. When other jobs I had applied for didn’t work out, I didn’t stress because I just felt like I was going to get THIS job and I was right! I can’t express enough how entirely and wonderfully different this job is compared to my last one and the difference that has made on my personal life and identity as well. It took me less than a few hours in my 1st day at Park University to realize that there were office bullies, lots of drama, lots of gossip, and only a handful of people you could trust. It’s been 5 days now at the FRB and I am amazed at the positive energy and connectedness around me. People don’t just like each other – they trust each other. They help each other and value each other. They joke with each other and laugh together and encourage each other to shine.

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The result is that I feel part of something bigger and more important than myself. At Park, it was a constant effort to just manage the difficult people and failing policies around you. It was a reactive effort that took a ton of energy and yielded very little results. I felt like I had some coworkers who appreciated me and my managers certainly did…. but Park as a whole neglects it’s talent and fosters a negative culture within it’s departments.
My new job at the FRB couldn’t be any more different. It is dynamic and moving forward. I am a vital and appreciated piece within a strong working culture. Aside from being compensated fairly for what I bring to the table (also a new feeling!), I am amazed at how many little things the FRB does that reflect this overarching message to every employee: you are important to us and the mission.

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

(Seriously, if you can get a job at any Reserve Bank, you should!)

You see….

I may not get pregnant for a long time.
I may not ever get pregnant actually.
I may or may not end up going to grad school, at least not anytime soon.
I may not get everything I hope and dream for or think I at least deserve….

But while I am waiting….while I am trusting God with His timing for the plans and purposes of my life…. while I am full of longing…. while I am just filling the passing days with productivity… while I am finding purpose in other things….

I am feeling a lot better about this waiting process and God’s timing now that I am able to move and work with purpose and value.
Now that I am working for a company that appreciates each member of it’s staff for their role within the team.

Only God could have ordained such an extraordinary and gracious transition in my life so quickly.
He is good.

2013 sucked (Part 3)

Alright, folks.
Here it is.
Part 3 of this “2013 sucked” series and I am writing it a whole 1 1/2 months after Part 2. I would say I am sorry it has taken me so long since my last post, but I am not. haha. So much LIFE has happened since then. So much change settling in the air around me like a dense fog so that finding my way to actually sit and write in this blog was easier said than done.

Quick recap:
In Part 1 of this series, I explained that 2013 sucked because it was a year of so much unending struggle for me. Aside from struggles at work, struggles with coworkers, struggles with finances, and struggles with family – my primary struggle to get pregnant left me feeling like less of a woman, less of an adult, less of a contributing member of society, and less of a person overall.
Something in me is broken and 2013 was the year I felt every single ounce of that brokenness (and not the “good” kind of Christian-ese brokenness that is desired, but the genuine I-no-longer-know-what-to-do-with-myself-and-I-seem-to-have-forgotten-how-to-breathe kind of brokenness.) I truly felt by the end of 2013 that I was clinically depressed and I allowed very few people to see it. I pasted on a smile and cheerful demeanor each day and later would often break down crying when I was finally alone.

 

 

 

 

 

Then everything I discussed in my last post (Part 2) happened.

 

So where does that leave me now in Part 3 of this journey into the new year?

Well….

It is still a struggle every day to cope with the fickleness of my body, the unasked-for opinions of others on how I should be pursuing starting our family, and the relentless bombardment of people around me getting pregnant, talking about being pregnant, buying baby things, discussing baby names, PREGNANCY, PREGNANCY, PREGNANCY, PARENTING, PARENTING, BABIES, BABIES, BABIES, BABIES…!! (etc.)

My circumstances have not changed, but something inside me has.

I’ve struggled these past few months to put into words the difference in myself that I feel. It is a combination of still feeling broken, but at the same time more whole than before. It is a realization that with as much sadness as I have had in my life, I’ve also had so much joy. That realization has left me feeling incredibly thankful and it is hard to feel sorry for yourself when you’re feeling thankful. (I credit this epiphany to Melody Morgan and Ann Voskamp.)

There are two very specific songs that came out recently that have been the best expression of how I feel now compared to last year. The lyrics of these songs can change your life; they contain the ability to move your heart into a new and deeper place with God.
When I listen to or sing these songs (in the car at the top of my lungs when no one else can hear me, but myself), I feel my heart settle into a beautiful place of peace, surrender, and trust.

I am at the place in this new season of my life where I truly desire to be led out deeper onto the waters.
The place where all I have left to look at is His face to keep from drowning.
There place where all I have left to offer is a broken hallelujah.
The place where I can raise empty hands up to Him and receive something beautiful from my ashes.
The place where my trust doesn’t come with boundaries that keep everything comfortable and within my control.
The place where I trust Him and nothing else to uphold me.

 

THIS SONG:

 

 

AND THIS SONG:


2013 sucked (Part 1)

I had a good friend ask me recently where my heart and mind towards God has been in our struggle my infertility. I don’t remember ever fully answering his question and realized that since he reads my blog I must not have addressed it here either. So here goes…

Honestly last year was a hellish year for me.
I am sure that was clear to most of you reading this.

When you are wanting something so desperately and your emotions have been through the gauntlet, you can easily forget things that came so normally to you before. Simple every day things like remembering that God is good and loves you because now He feels so far away. Remembering to reach out to others for comfort and encouragement because now reaching out itself requires so much more energy than you feel capable of. Remembering what it is like to listen to music or chat on the phone on your drive home from work because now you just start sobbing now that you’re finally alone and you were just reminded once again of the emptiness you feel inside.

Infertility makes you feel like less. Period.
Less of a woman. Less of a person. Lesser than those around you.

People make comments to me all the time like, “Oh you will understand [insert anything here] when you have kids” without realizing how painful these comments can be. I even had one friend tell me to “Hurry up and get pregnant.”
I don’t need anyone to remind me that I cannot and have not done the one thing that women are designed to do. I don’t need to be reminded of all the free time I have because I don’t have kids. I don’t need to be told constantly that I don’t understand what it is like to be a parent.

I get it.

I don’t have kids.

I think about this every single day.

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All of last year was a constant struggle. I was being constantly poked & prodded, adjusting to new meds, dealing with a grapefruit-sized cyst on my right ovary, and cycling through chronic disappointment every single freaking 30 days after another failed attempt to conceive. We spent roughly $8,000 in out of pocket expenses for fertility treatments and have nothing to show for it. On top of all of this, I was adjusting to a new job and a dose of work place harassment on top of all of this. (what fun that was!)

2013 sucked.

So where was my heart and mind towards God in all of this?
Well, it was all over the place.

I started out in the beginning of 2013 feeling ready to tackle whatever God brought before me only to quickly dissolve into a heaping pile of painfully raw emotions. It is hard to feel like God is your Healer when your body is riddled with brokenness. It is hard to maintain a strong faith when you build it up every cycle only to have it come crashing down with the negative results of your efforts. I soon began a negotiating process without even realizing it – worshiping God in my pain and subconsciously thinking, “See! See, God! I am worshiping you! My heart must be in a good place. Now, please grant me my heart’s desires!” and feeling incredibly let down when nothing changed.

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Denial and negotiation led quickly into cynicism and a deeply underlying numbness.
I felt like everything was hard. Having fun became hard. Talking on the phone was a chore. I didn’t want to be on Facebook seeing everyone so happy with their families and announcing a bazillion pregnancies and living the life I have wanted for so long. I didn’t want to answer emails from friends or text them or even cook a decent dinner for Chad and I. I lost my appetite most of the time and felt like nothing could pull me out of the pit I had been slowly sinking into.
I was unhappy and exhausted.I believe fully that I had become clinically depressed. Nothing made me happy anymore and every single moment I was alone I was wiping tears from my eyes and clenching my teeth to prevent the too-common onslaught of tears. I kept telling myself I was okay and I wasn’t, but I pasted on a smile.

I also wasn’t a good friend, wife, daughter, sister, co-worker or anything in 2013. I already know this because I’ve lost touch with some people and have already been “gently chastised” by another good friend of mine for not keeping her the loop. If I wasn’t myself with you or if I seemed distant, I am so sorry…

I tried my best to keep myself glued together while I was shattering in a million pieces every day and I didn’t have any energy left for anything or anyone else.

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Stayed tuned for Part 2…