Fathers Day

Here in good ol’ New Zealand it’s Father’s Day today. At church there was a big celebration, songs and items, prayers and blessings for the fathers.

And that’s when it hit me. Again.
I should’ve prepared myself, but it honestly didn’t enter my head. All week at work we’ve been making and creating crafts with the kids and it didn’t enter my head once.

Grant may never be a father.

And I can’t help but feel like I’ve let him down. It’s my fault.

I know it’s not something I wanted to happen. No one chooses infertility. People choose to not have kids, but they have the choice.

We may have that choice taken from us. Decided for us.

And it’s all because of me.

I know that Grant doesn’t see it this way. He’s nothing but supportive, encouraging and kind. He doesn’t blame me or feel like its my fault. And I know deep down that its not. But sometimes that’s where my thoughts go. Somedays I’m not a happy bright ray of sunshine. Sometimes I have dark wandering thoughts.

So suddenly sitting in church became hard. It was hard to sit there and hear the prayers and stories and praise and encouragements for fathers. Because I know that my Grant will be an awesome dad, just like his dad and just like mine. And I hate that he may never get the chance to be one.

Our Pastor also spoke about plans and purposes today. And it was just what I needed to hear and be reminded of. I believe that God has a plan for Grant and I. I believe that this journey we are on has a purpose and that at the end, whether the end is parenthood or not, there will be something beautiful and good. Because that’s just who my God is.

One of the biggest things for me about infertility is if we don’t have kids what kind of legacy will we leave?

My thinking around legacies is changing. Just because we don’t have children doesn’t mean that we can’t leave a legacy. I just need to change my view of what our legacy can be. I don’t have any answers yet, maybe a few vague ideas at most, but I’m excited and hopeful about the prospect that God had a plan and a purpose for our lives. And right now it may not be what we thought it would be but I know that God is in control. And He is walking with us, beside us, before us, every step of the way along this journey.

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.

I Don’t Want To Talk About It

I don’t want to talk about it.
I. Just. Don’t.

And I’m wondering if maybe I should. If it would be healthier if I did so.
But I don’t want too.
Mainly because I think if I don’t talk about it then its easy to ignore what’s going on. And then I don’t have to make any decisions.

I’m worried about leaving a legacy. It’s been weighing on my mind.
All my life I have squirreled away special things in my ‘specials box’. Things that I’ve always imagined sharing with my children – “yes darling once upon a time your Mum was actually fun” or
“this is from the first date your Daddy and I had” and
“this represents a significant moment in my life because…” Things of significant importance to me that I’ve saved to share with my children. And. That. May. Never. Happen.

So what’s the point of keeping the box?
What’s the point of holding onto – what is essentially crap to anyone else – these treasures for them to be unceremoniously chucked out when I die?

What legacy will I leave if we don’t have children?
What is my purpose in life if I don’t have children?
What will I do with my life career wise if I don’t?

Part of me almost gleefully thinks of all the money I can save and how much we can travel the world if we don’t have children.

But what’s the point of seeing the world and having no legacy to leave beind in the end? What difference will I make? Is it silly of me to think that my (future) children could be my only legacy?

In the very core of my being I do believe that God has a plan for my life. I trust that God has a plan for me, regardless of whether I have children or not, that will bring Him glory. And this holy plan will have a legacy because His word is eternal, and its by His word that I live.

What Next?

Is it the beginning of the end?
At what point do we walk away?

At times I feel that I am preparing myself for walking away. Preparing myself for the conclusion that this is it. And then moments, yes mere moments later I can absolutely assured that there is no way this can be it. There has to be more. The best must be yet to come.

I feel so up and down. One minute I am perfectly fine with not having kids. Even slightly relieved. I think of all we will be able to do, the freedom we will have. And then
A moment later
I will be desperate. Utterly desperate for a baby. A deep longing. An intense longing that seems to be surely from God? Surely he gave me this desire for a reason?

I feel hopeless.
I feel caught. Do we go again? How long til we give up?

It’s getting harder and harder to hear of other people’s pregnancies. Some days its nearly unbearably harder. And on others I feel nothing but genuine excitement.

It’s getting harder and harder.

Occasionally I will think “I will never…” And I nearly lose it. In public.
But I don’t.

Now I fear I am suppressing how I am feeling. And that this cannot be good. But I cannot bring myself to talk about it. Even with Grant. For fear of loosing it. And I don’t want Grants faith to be knocked by my own lack.

If we do not have kids I don’t know what I will do with my life. I don’t know because I’ve always dreamt of being a stay at home mum, always surrounded by my kids and their friends. If this doesn’t happen I don’t know what I will do.

When Grant and I die, and we have no children, where will our legacy go?
If Grant dies first and we have no children would there be a point in me still living?

I just wish I knew now either way. I feel that if I knew that I would get pregnant then I would be able to endure this easier. My faith and hope would be strengthened in just the knowing that the promise is just around the corner. And alternatively, if I knew that I was not to have any children then I could start dealing with it now. We could start to move on and make plans. It is the not knowing that is the hardest.

Lord, help my unbelief. Strengthen my hope.

The other day I was thinking about the situation and couldn’t help but think of the song “you give love a bad name” I began to think this of God, but I couldn’t bring myself to finish the thought. Really, I know God is good and full of love for me. Even though it doesn’t make any sense to me. Even though it hurts bitterly and deeply. God is good. All the time. No matter the outcome. No matter the seemingly silent answers to our prayers and deep desires. I will choose to believe that God is good. Always. And forever. No matter what. And knowing this helps me endure for longer.

Leaving a Legacy

In the last few months I have had to attend two funerals. Two funerals of people who were larger than life. They were both people who impacted the lives of so, so many people. Regardless of age, gender, race – they just loved people. And they served them the best way they knew how. They served people just by being all that they were called to be. They didn’t try and be someone who they were not. They just did their thing and hundreds of people were impacted by it. Both funerals were packed out. Screens and TV’s had to be put up so the overflow rooms (yes rooms, not just one overflow room but many) could see and hear what was happening. They were both incredible, inspiring people.

Cancer is an evil b%^&@. I don’t understand it. And I probably never will. Its awful watching the one you love slowly slip away. Its hard to stand beside friends and family and try and support them as they watch their love ones fight for life.

Their funerals made me want to be a better person.

A person who is selfless
A person who lives to their full potential and encourages others to do the same
A person who uses their talents to help others
A person who encourages others
A person who loves others selflessly
A person who lives a full and happy life
A person who has an open home
A person who is generous
A person who leaves a legacy
A person who does mission work

Rest in peace, I look forward to seeing you again x