Friday, December 27, 2013

My Lesson from Marley & Me

Anthony & I went to see the movie Marley & Me when it came out in theaters.  Only months before, my husband had finally gotten me my dog, Dublin, that I had been wanting for about 3 years.  Anthony isn't much of a dog person.  He didn't want the responsibility of having a dog, and he thought it was just another phase of mine.  I understood Anthony’s feelings.  I grow tired of things, usually, very quickly. 

After 3 years of asking, Anthony gave me Dublin as a birthday present.  I was sooo excited.  Dublin is absolutely one of the sweetest dogs.  He can drive us crazy at times, but over all he's very obedient  & even more loving.  Only 9 months later, when God blessed us with our daughter, Dublin received her with open paws.  He only had a couple episodes where he acted out in jealousy (tearing holes in the carpet).  Dublin loves our daughter, and puts up with a lot from her.  Almost daily, Dublin, is subjected to wearing tutus, and having tea parties...we know deep down he loves his sister.  (Our daughter refers to Dublin as her "brother".) 
After, Anthony and I saw the movie Marley & Me, we were on are way home, and I was very emotional.  I told Anthony, "I wish we had never gotten Dublin.  He's going to die one day, and I'm going to lose him."  Anthony said, with love and compassion for my upset, "Loss is apart of life.  If we based our lives on never wanting to lose people, or even animals, we'll never have anyone.  We'll never really know what love is."  

How true are Anthony's statements.  You see, only a few years before getting Dublin, I had walked away from Anthony for fear of loving him, and him loving me…even more than that, for fear of losing him.  I had been in some very rocky relationships that left me hard hearted, and scared to love again.  Even though, I wanted to be in love, I refused to be hurt again.  I was NOT going to let someone break my heart, or my spirit.  But, instead of protecting myself, I ended up hurting Anthony.  I would let Anthony in just enough, until fear took over, and then, I would push him away.  This went on for months.  I was protecting myself, but I was breaking his heart in the process.  The very thing I was keeping from happening to me, I was doing to him.  

After ending our relationship for good (or, so I thought), and hurting him once again; Anthony & I didn't speak for months.  I was absolutely sure I had made the right decision.  I had even started seeing another guy, and Anthony was going on dates too. We were done.

After about a month of seeing someone else, I had the same feelings of fear rise up again.  I decided I needed to take a week to myself, and get alone with the Lord.  During that time, I read a book called Deal With It by Paula White.  Paula White said in her book, "You can not conquer what you do not confront."

Was Anthony, or this other guy really the problem?  Or, was the problem actually, me, not wanting to deal with my fears?  When I grabbed on to that realization, I also realized I was in love with Anthony.  But, I had hurt him, so I thought I would never have another chance.  However, during that time, the Lord was also showing Anthony that I never meant to reject him, I was dealing with fear.

When Anthony and I finally talked, Anthony told me he was still in love with me, and was waiting for me.  I was shocked, and very happy.  We were so sure of our love for each other that a month later Anthony proposed, and 18 days later we were married.  Anthony swept me off my feet.  Anthony showed me how Christ truly loves His Church.  

God sent His only Son to be born, love and die for matter our matter our matter our sins.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for us.  God knew we would reject His Son, hurt His Son, and kill His Son; but His love was so much greater than our sin that God sent Jesus anyway.  “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy, I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

Anthony, unselfishly, looked past my rejection, and saw what I was really dealing with, fear.  Fear, is really only False Evidence Appearing Real.  Anthony never gave up on me, or that the Lord could break down my walls of fear, and allow him to love me, and me to love him.  I want to make one thing clear, Anthony never acted as a door mat…he never let me walk all over him.  What Anthony did, was show me, that if I was willing to let him, Anthony wanted to help me get past my hurt, and my fear.  Anthony was willing to love me for exactly who I was when he met me, and believed in me, and the Lord, that I could over come.

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” Roman 8:37

Friday, December 6, 2013

Contentment is a Choice

I told my BFF that I was going to start a blog about 3-4 months ago.  Immediately after I told her, I had several ideas on what I wanted to write & share.  But, as I usually do, I questioned myself on every little detail on how I should start & what my "grand entrance"should be.  So without further goes.

I find it fitting to start my first post on talking about contentment...seeing is how contentment is probably the thing I struggle with the most.  This is, also, the very issue God has been dealing with me on for months.  Ok, ok...for years.  However, I've just recently started listening.  And, it's the very thing my pastor has been speaking about.  Coincidence??? I think not.

The very same BFF I told I wanted to start a blog, is the same BFF this same time last year, I told I was "content with my life".  I almost didn't even say it,  I worried if I spoke it out the enemy of my soul would come wreak havoc on my life.

So, there I was "totally" content right?  And, then I had, what I now know is, Adrenal Fatigue.  Adrenal Fatigue doesn't happen over night.  I didn't realize that the last two years of, excuse me for saying, hell we had gone through, was just catching up with me, and sending me into a total nose dive.

My husband that I had been waiting my whole life for, I felt as though I hated him.  My daughter, the child I had cried and begged God for, was getting on my every last nerve.  I felt everyday as if I wanted my life to end.  I didn't want to commit suicide, I just didn't want to be the terrible wife, awful mother, and the ungodly woman I was becoming anymore.

How did this happen?  I just felt, and said I was content not even a few months ago.  I do believe the enemy of my soul used my break down against me.  But, I also believe the Lord used my break down to clean some things out, and still is...

My husband and I will be married this month for 9 years.  Anthony is my soulmate.  I totally believe God created me for him, and that he was created to lead me.  Before we married, we agreed we'd wait 2 years, or more, to have children.  But, on the way down the aisle, I got struck with baby fever.  I'd love to say I made a quick recovery, and enjoyed the next 5 years of my marriage before our blessed daughter came into our lives, but... that would be a lie.

We, technically started trying to have a baby after being married for a year. Or, should I say, I started trying.  Anthony shared with me on our 1 year anniversary that he wasn't ready for children yet.  And, I'd love to say I respected his decision, but, I didn't.

I became so engrossed with getting pregnant that it became an obsession.  I began to get angry with my husband that he didn't want a child as badly as I did, angry with myself that I couldn't make it happen, and angry with God that He wasn't making it happen.

After almost two years of trying, a family member of mine got pregnant.  Talk about anger.  "She is too young...she isn't married...she doesn't even want a child...this isn't fair"  Those we the thoughts, and feelings I had raging around me.  In my anger, I almost ruined our relationship.  Instead of being there for her, I made the situation all about me. (I'm sure you will learn thru more blogs I do that a lot.)

Time pressed on, and as I let getting pregnant be my # 1 goal, I was letting my marriage suffer because of it.  Anthony was trying to be supportive to me, and my heartache, but all the while he was feeling inadequate, because he couldn't give me the one thing I wanted most in life.  Did you read what I wrote earlier?  I was created for him, my husband, my soulmate; but all I could do was think about myself.

For three years, every time I found out a friend was pregnant, saw a magazine ad that another star was pregnant, or that lady from,  however many Kids and Counting, got pregnant; I felt despair and anger all over me.  It seemed so easy for everyone else.  After all we had tried to go thru DSS, but our windows were to small.  We looked into adoption agencies, but they were to expensive.  We even tried Artificial Insemination twice, but it didn't take.  I felt like a failure as a woman.

I had just come home from a cruise when Anthony I got into a long discussion about trying to get pregnant.  He asked me to "step back".  Anthony said, "You don't have to give up, but just please stop obsessing over it."  The Lord had been laying on my heart to totally give it to Him, so when Anthony asked me to do this, I knew it was time to "walk away."  And, do know a month later we got the amazing call about our daughter.

I couldn't believe it.  I was sick at home, when Anthony came home one night, and told me about a newborn baby girl.  Our daughter's birthmother didn't feel she was fit to raise our daughter.  We met the birthmother, and our daughter the next night; and we brought our daughter home two nights later.

There you have it folks.  I had given my "problem" to the Lord, and He had given me my hearts desire. I could be content.  (I'm laughing as I type this.)

Ok, fast forward to the last two years.  I was ready to get pregnant.  And, surly, I had learned my lesson about waiting and patience.  The reason I hadn't gotten pregnant was so we would be in the place to adopt our daughter, and I was totally cool with that.  I had arrived...

Guess what happened?  Nothing.

It was happening all over again.  I was starting to obsess.  Once again, all my friends we getting pregnant.  And, the anger was welling up.  Then I had the crash.

God helped me find my amazing naturopathic doctor.  Dr. Michelle is amazing.  She's an amazing Doctor & Christian; she helped me dig out of one of the darkest times of my life.

Jody, what does all this have to do with contentment?  I'm so glad you asked.  You see, I found myself at a cross roads.  I can continue to let having more children consume me, or I can live for right now and use my gifts, and my talents, right now, that God has given me, and truly let God have control over our family, and the size of it.

This has not been an easy road to walk down... I'm still walking on it.  I haven't given up on having more children, I'm just allowing myself to rest.  Dr. Michelle has run some different tests that show I have some hormonal imbalances, and once fixed, I could quite possibly get pregnant.  But, here is what I've come to.

I've got to start living right now.  I can't wait until I think my family is complete, and then start enjoying them; I've got to enjoy my family now.  I have to truly mean it when I tell God my husband, and my daughter are enough.  I can't waist my desire to speak life into young women, I've got to start now.  I can't wait to let other women speak life into me, I've got to start now.  I can't wait to share my story of infertility until I get pregnant, I've got to share it now.

You see, I believe discontentment started along time ago among women when Even took a bite of the fruit.  She thought she was missing out...she didn't think what she had was enough...she believed Satan when he said, God was keeping something from her...she thought the grass was greener on the other side.

I don't want to live my life, and look back only to realize, I never really lived it.  I don't have the best and biggest house, I don't have expensive designer clothes, and I don't have the 6 children I had originally planned on...with 6 kids I'd probably never have the 1st two anyway (wink, wink).

What I do have is an awesomely imperfect husband, who loves his awesomely imperfect wife.  We have our daughter, who, I don't want to take for granted for a second that she came straight from God.  I have gotten involved with a women's ministry, and even thought it's out of my comfort zone, I'm making friends, and being vulnerable.  I've started leading a young woman's ministry, that is totally out of my comfort zone, but I'm making friendships there as well there too.  I'm learning that less is more in life, and I'm starting to strengthen my God given talents.

I hope I didn't ramble on, but this has been weighing on my heart to share for months.  And, I hope that my journey thus far can help someone in there journey.

In His Grip,

"But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  Matthew 19:26