Occupation Hope

Ah Pinterest, you are a fountain of good things. Today I happened across a few quotes that resonated hope within me so I thought I’d share them with you.

Whatever is going on,
whatever obstacles you’re facing, whatever dreams you’re chasing,
may you be full of hope today.

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Trial and Error

I had a conversation with the nurses yesterday and its become abundantly clear that clomiphene just isn’t working. My body is completely not interested in responding to it in anyway at all. We now have a meeting with the doctor in August where we will have a chance to talk about further options and check our validity for getting some public funding.

I know some of the options are:
1. Metformin – I’m really reluctant to start taking this as I’ve heard it has some nasty side effects including nausea. It also makes people lose a lot of weight and I really don’t need to at all. I don’t think my doctor is too keen to put me on this anyway.

2. Another option is some form of medication that is injected into me on a daily basis for x amount of days. I really don’t know much about this option other than it requires poking needles into myself at home. Really not keen for that. If I lived in the same city as my mum I would get her to do it as she’s a nurse. Unfortunately she’s five hours drive from here.

3. IVF. If we don’t get public funding for this there is no way this is an option for us as we just can’t afford it.

I’m looking forward to the meeting as we will get a whole lot more information and be able to really discuss the options before us.

In the mean time I’m trying the herbal natural approach. I’m semi self medicating as I don’t want to pay a naturalist/nutritionist. However I’ve done heaps of research online and went around a lot of stores talking to a lot of people.

So, I am taking:
1x vitex tablet (made up of 500mg of vitex, 700mg of paeonia lactiflora, 670mg of matricaria recutita and 170mg of zingiber officinale)
1x 1,000mg primrose oil.

I’m taking this every morning and every night.

I also looked for spearmint tea but I haven’t been able to find it just yet. If I happen to find it I think I’ll take it once a day before bed as it can aid sleep.

I’m really hoping the vitex help shorten my crazy unpredictable cycles and encourages ovulation. I’m hoping to give it at least three months to work before we try injections/ivf/whatever the doctor recommends. However, this isn’t set in stone and we are going into the doctors meeting with open minds.

I’m disappointed that this last round didn’t work but I’m still clinging to my faith and that God is good, all the time.

Even in Lamentation

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Even in Lamentations there is hope.

We were trying again this month. I had a blood test Tuesday which seemed promising. The scan however showed nothing. It’s very clear that the medication just isn’t working.

They want me to have another blood test tomorrow, just to be sure my hormone levels don’t decide to rise. I’m not expecting them to rise at all.

It’s frustrating that the doctors don’t understand why it’s not working as it should.

Now we will have a review meeting with the doctor and specialist to see what our next options are, one of which is ivf. I’m not sure that is a path I want to go down but we haven’t written it off yet.

I’m not sure how much longer we can keep trying for. I know I haven’t got it in me to still be hoping and expecting years from now but I’m willing to keep our options open for now.

But maybe we just aren’t meant to have kids.

Hope is…

I was sorting through some papers and came across a collection of notes, scribbles, quotes and musings on hope. Past Anna didn’t reference the ones taken from other people’s wisdom so I can’t give credit where it’s due unfortunately. But I thought I’d post them anyway. May you be encouraged to keep hoping and believing.

Job talks of hope – that he will be honest with God in how he feels but will continue to hope that God will respond, answer and move on his behalf.

Hopelessness is a burden that is empty.

Hope is vision and direction.

Hope doesn’t change the situation, it changes us. Hope doesn’t promise an instant solution but rather the possibility of an eventual one.

The Lord’s love never ends, his mercies never stop. They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great. I say to myself, the Lord is mine, so I hope in him. The Lord is good to those who hope in him, to those who seek him. Lamentations 3:22-25

Romans 15:13 God will help you overflow with hope in him through the Holy Spirit’s power within you.

Hope isn’t wishing for something to come about as if Jesus is some kind of magic genie that if we rub him/bottle we will get our hearts desires – no matter how extravagant or outlandish, or selfish. This genie mentality is based on the granting of the wish because of some great law/rule that stipulates that we get it, not because we deserve it or worked for it [which is the same in the kingdom of heaven – we don’t get what we deserve, thankfully] but because we found the magic genie and rubbed it. This hope is based on what we can get for ourselves. A hope that once delivered is gone, replaced by what we have wished for. It is temporary.
Rather we hope in God above all else, in spite of everything that is going on, because of everything that is going on. And in doing so, we gain an eternal hope that isn’t reliant on things and what they can do for us.

But what is hope? What are we hoping, in God, for? Are something’s that we hope for ridiculous, selfish, extravagant? Are something’s that I am hoping for, in God, never going to happen? How do we know the difference? Should we waste our time wishing for desires that are never going to come to pass? Are we setting ourselves up to be heart sick? (Proverbs 13:12)

Hope is looking forward to the future, dreaming, believing for greater things than what we can presently see (Hebrews 11:1).

God gives hope. God plans hope for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11) God is hope (Romans 15:3)

Other words for hope – confidence, trust, belief, faith, desire, dream, promise, wish, to have ambition, expectancy, anticipation, to aspire.

Hope is something you can feel, entertain, foster, feed, nourish, give, hold out [to someone else], promise, encourage, inspire, harbour, cherish, live in, rest assured in, rest in, be secure in, be, rely on, trust in, lean upon, cling to, and raise.

Hope is bright, cheering, unsuspecting, fearless, free from fear, free from suspicion, free from distrust, free from despair, exempt from fear, exempt from suspicion, exempt from distrust, exempt from despair;

You can have a beam, glimmer, flash of, dawn of, ray of or mirage of hope.

Hope is an olive leaf – evidence of dry land after a flood. Proof to the dreamer that dreaming is worth the risk.

Mighty Is the Lord Is My Battle Cry

I’ve been reading about David in the Bible. He is easily one of my favourites. David, a man who is anointed to be King while Saul is still reigning. Instead of taking over control he honours Saul and Jonathan. Even when he is attacked, driven out, on the run, hunted down, he still honours those in leadership and he still praises God. David is a man who is flawed, he’s a liar; a musician; a lover; a leader; a friend; an adulterer; a less-than-perfect father; a dancer; a fighter; he knows pain and loss; and he has some family issues. And still God wants to use him. And still David chooses to have faith in God. I love that David is a fierce warrior and a passionate worshiper.

2 Samuel 23:8 – 39 is about Davids mighty men.
The elite men of his army, trained to use both left and right hands. Men who are not afraid of battle, of fighting for David and what they believe in.

This passage of scripture talks about the battles three of the ‘mightier’ elite men fought.
Jashobeam alone killed 800 men with a sword in one battle.
Eleazar and David stood and fought the Philistines when the rest of their army fled. The two of them stood and fought until their arms were weary. Needless to say, they won and their army didn’t return until the battle was over.
Shammah fought in the middle of a field, alone after the rest of the army fled again. He beat back the Philistines and won the victory.

Another time David once remarked how he missed the taste of the water from the well by the gate at Bethlehem so the mighty three (from the elite army of thirty) broke through the Philistine lines, got the water and brought it back for David. These men were looking for any excuse to defy the Philistines and to take victory.

This particular passage of scripture tells some other heroic battles by the thirty elite men but Benaiah’s story is one of my favourite, because its just so badass. On a snowy day, he chased a lion down into a pit and killed it.
On a snowy day, when its cold, wet, and hard to move he chases a lion. He goes into a pit and kills it. Bad. Ass. I think this is also notable because David also killed lions, back in 1 Samuel 17 David talks about how he protected his sheep from lions and bears by killing them. Its interesting to note, that as a leader, you can only take people where you have been. Now, I definitely don’t condone violence or cruelty to animals, (but I can understand hunting) but the reason why I like this story is because Benaiah has no fear. He knows what he wants, he knows what he is fighting for and he doesn’t let anything stop him. All of the mighty men stand up and fight when everyone else has run away. They suit up and go into battle. Even when its just them against a multitude they still fight. Even when the statistics, the facts scream failure, loss, and death they still boldly go into battle.

And when they win, God gets the glory and the victory.

I believe that my God is into statistics. The bigger the statistics, the bigger the glory that goes to God. David and David’s mighty men see the statistics but then they see God and know that God is bigger than any statistic. Just as David fought to protect his sheep, we too need to fight in order to protect that in which God has given us to protect. I believe that we need to fight for the promises and callings God has in-store for us. Because when we do fight and claim victory then God gets the glory. Its easy to be overwhelmed when the rest of the army, or your support network, your friends and family flee. Its easy to listen to them and turn around and walk away. But then what glory is found in giving up? We must believe that we can fight because God is on our side, even when the stats are against us. Who would you put your money on – Benaiah or the lion? The one man, who has God on his side, or the army of 800?

Right now the statistics aren’t looking good for Grant and I and my infertility. Eating healthy has not worked. Acupuncture has not worked. Medication has not worked. Exercise has not worked. All of these things together have not worked. I am not pregnant. Right now the facts scream failure, loss and emptiness. Yet I will trust in God. I will trust that my battle is not over yet. Although I may feel weary I will still rise with prayer and praise until I get my answer. And then all the glory and victory will go to Him. I am not ready to walk away yet. I am not ready to give up the fight for my miracle just yet.

Abraham’s Promise

Lately I have been reading from Genesis (NLT version). I love this book, a tale of beginnings, promises, hopes and waiting. This book establishes our relationship with God as creator.

The story of Abraham and Sarah (or Abram and Sarai, before the name change) is obviously a story I’m interested in, because its about promises, infertility and legacies.

It starts in Genesis 11:27
This is the account of Terah’s family. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot. 28 But Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, the land of his birth, while his father, Terah, was still living. 29 Meanwhile, Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. (Milcah and her sister Iscah were daughters of Nahor’s brother Haran.) 30 But Sarai was unable to become pregnant and had no children. 31 One day Terah took his son Abram, his daughter-in-law Sarai (his son Abram’s wife), and his grandson Lot (his son Haran’s child) and moved away from Ur of the Chaldeans. He was headed for the land of Canaan, but they stopped at Haran and settled there. 32 Terah lived for 205 years and died while still in Haran.

Ur of the Chaldeans means ‘reducer’. In other words it means, diminish, recede, ruin, weaken. A great place to live right!
Haran means ‘dry up’ or a better translation may be ‘depression’. It is halfway, in the middle of the journey to where they were intending on going. It was an average place, neither great nor bad and so they settled.

But Abraham refuses to settle like his father. He hears God calling him out of Haran, where they all settled as a family and takes upon the promise land of Canaan, which was originally promised to his father. This makes me wonder, is it possible to take up other peoples promises because they choose to settle? Is it possible that someone else takes my promises because I settle for less than what was intended for me? Abraham packs up his family, lifestock and leaves his country, family, security and goes where God leads, with the promise that he will be the father of a nation. He is 75 years old.

They wander around for a quite a while. They stay at a number of places including:
Moreh – possibly meaning ‘sacred tree’
Negev – meaning ‘dry’
Hebron – meaning ‘unite’ (incidentally this place is where King David becomes anointed and Caleb ends up owning it)
Gerar – meaning ‘lodging place’

During this wandering time God reiterates His promises to Abraham again and again. Both Abraham and God are developing their relationship, Abraham continually gives God the glory for what is going on around him, and God continues to repeat the promises in different ways.

My favourite, and the most well known, has to be the conversation under the stars. God and Abraham are having a conversation about the promises being made and Abraham is having a hard time getting his head around it (who can blame him) and God pretty much says, “get out of the tent and look up.”

So many times I can become enclosed in my little tent, its hard to focus on anything else but the walls surrounding me. Thinking becomes small, narrow and confined. “Get out and look up” is a directive to change position physically, mentally, and emotionally. Its a request to change what I’m looking at and an invitation to be in awe of God. Once you’re in awe of God and His creation you can’t help but change. I like how God draws Abraham out to be in wonder of his creation, when they are talking about creating life. God made Sarah and is well aware of her barrenness. He created her. He is talking about creating a life in her. He is talking about creating a healing within her. He is saying to Abraham that he wants to create a miracle. All the while Abraham is looking at his creation of the night sky. I love how God understands that sometimes we just don’t get it. And that sometimes we need tangible, physical things to help wrap our heads around what He is saying. The stars are an awesome metaphor for the promise He is giving.

But 11 years later, Abraham gets impatient with God and tries to bring about the promise his own way. He sleeps with his wife’s servant and has a son. The first born son has much favour and blessing and Ishmael is indeed blessed, princes come from his lineage and many descendants came from his line, but it’s not how God intended it to happen.

13 years later, God reminds Abraham and Sarah of the promise He has made many times. Again and again He tells them of the great plans He has for them. I think at this point I would be feeling a bit fed up. And I can understand Sarah’s laughter (Genesis 18:13) at being told that she will have a baby. If it was me I would think it was starting to get a bit beyond ridiculous. I like Sarah, I would be feeling just as cynical and impatient as her.

I like the kind of relationship that Abraham and God have established. God reveals some plans that He has for Sodom, that – to me – He really didn’t have too or need too. I think He wanted Abraham to have a say and allowed him to change his plan (Genesis 19:29 But God listened to Abraham’s request and kept Lot safe…). To me this shows trust in Abraham and further develops the relationship they have with each other, as well as revealing more of Gods character to Abraham.

Then, 25 years after the command to leave the place of Haran and the promise was made to Abraham that he would be the father of a nation that would become God’s chosen people, Isaac is born!

Genesis 21:2 She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, Gods timing is perfect. But He’s missed some awesome opportunities to be early. I mean really God, 25 years for a promise? I’m so glad that I can trust that God is working things out for the right time, and I’m continually developing this trust. Although it may seem, to little ol’ me, that God isn’t working at the speed I would like I can trust that He knows best. I’m beginning to understand that His timing is perfect, my understanding is not.

Abraham got impatient with God, and tried to create the promise through his own means, yet Abraham is still listed among the great men of the Bible, a man of great faith and obedience and he has a song, father Abraham had many sons. Had many sons had father Abraham… (Ah. Childhood memories.) But best of all, Abraham wasn’t perfect and God understands that, He created us, He knows our hearts and in His mercy and grace He forgives us.

Abraham did not see the promise of the multitude of nations nor the possession of the land promised to him by God, yet he faithfully believed that despite the odds, the facts, the statistics, the situation that it was possible. He believed in God enough to obey Him, no matter what. Even when God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham was obedient to God, and knew God enough to know that he had heard from God in the first place! It’s more than a story, it’s about a man who refused to settle, who had a relationship with God that enabled him to live a life of obedience and faithfulness.

Here I am, on this journey of infertility and finding myself also wandering around, visiting different places. Not physical habitats like Abraham mind, but places of sorrow, pain, hurt, joy, hope, dryness, faith, and doubts. Maybe visiting these places are part of my journey with God and along the way we shall develop a relationship and God will reveal more of His character to me. Maybe, at the end of this journey, God and I will find ourselves occupying a whole new place. Along this journey I, like Abraham, will have to fight for something, I will have some land to claim, some wells to dig and I will have to spend some time out of the tent. By the end of this particular journey, whether it be months or 25 years away, I hope that it can be said that I walked with obedience and faithfulness and have left a legacy worth following.