Riding Out Rough Seas

July 31, 2012 at 7:17 pm (More than Mediocre) (, , , , , , )

Things have changed quite a bit since my last post as we’ve hit some “rough seas” in my smooth-sailing pregnancy.  I guess there’s a first time for everything.

At exactly 6 weeks and 1 day everything changed.  The moment my feet hit the floor upon waking, my perfect pregnancy world was shattered.  I was SICK.  I could not MOVE without experiencing extreme nausea.  Since I never experienced morning sickness with any of my own pregnancies, I thought it would be just that.  MORNING sickness.  I’d eat some breakfast, the nausea would subside, and I’d go on living normal life.  NOT!  I was quite surprised to find that the intense nausea stayed with me throughout the entire day and into the night.  Day in, day out, I could not eat.  I could not drink.  I could not move without getting sick.  I hate to say it, but I was pretty miserable.

In addition to the nausea, I somehow developed a supersonic sense of smell.  When the kids or BJ would approach me for a hug or a kiss, I would panic inside, desperately needing precious fresh air!  All smells became overwhelming!  Good ones.  Bad ones.  Ones that never even seemed to exist before I was pregnant.  Just one whiff and the nausea would set back in!  (If it had faded any)  It got so bad that I began to sleep as much as possible to minimize the hours in the day that I had to deal with it.  And when I was awake, I’d lay as still as possible, hoping that I could somehow trick the sickness into passing over me for the day.  Most of you guys know that I hate to show weakness.  I didn’t want to complain… after all, I did CHOOSE to do this.  And I didn’t want Erin and Jesse to think I wasn’t excited about the baby or anything like that.  (Because I still totally am!)  But I finally set down my pride and gathered up enough nerve to ask the fertility nurse if it’s normal to be this sick in a surrogacy.  The nurse shared that my issues were probably due to a mixture of the meds and hormones in my body and the fact that the pregnancy tissue is not my own.

7 more days passed, each as difficult as the one before.  I lived off of apples, bananas, crackers, carrots, and sips of decaf tea.  The next day was Sunday.  Church day.  A day I could not sleep away.  I got up, showered, and went to church like normal.  Attempted lunch.  Not too successful.  While sitting at the table visiting with my family, I felt some aching in my lower abdomen.  None of my jeans will easily button these days, but I HAD to button them for church, so I figured that my tight jeans might be causing the problem.  I unbuttoned them under the table where no one would notice and whispered to BJ, “Something is happening that has never happened before.”  He said, “What’s wrong?”  And I responded, “I don’t know but I think I might have just started bleeding.”  We both looked down and there was already blood leaking through my jeans.  It had just been a minute, possibly two minutes, since the cramping had started.  Something was VERY wrong.  We immediately paged the nurse on call at Houston IVF.  She responded to the page a while later and by that time, the bleeding had slowed down considerably.  She said they would see me in the morning for an ultrasound and to stay in bed for the meantime.

About an hour later, the heavy bleeding started again.  Very scary!  There was just so much of it that I couldn’t imagine how things could possibly be okay.  We called the doctor’s nurse again but she said the only thing we could do was go to an emergency room and have them confirm/or not confirm a miscarriage.  I was terrified.  Erin and Jesse were out of state (celebrating the pregnancy of all things) and didn’t have a clue that it could possibly be ending.  The weight of disappointing them was so very tremendous that I felt like it might crush me.

Never in a million years would I have expected to have complications during this pregnancy.  Once we found out that it was only one baby, I knew from past experience that we were home free.  I was expecting smooth sailing from here on out until delivery day.  But our all-knowing God knew different.  He knew exactly what I was about to experience and He took the time to prepare me in advance.  I just hadn’t realized it yet!

The fate of Erin and Jesse’s precious baby was actually depending on a lot more than me being off of my feet that night.  It rested in a choice that I would have to make.  In order for me to explain, we need to have a quick History lesson.

We’re obviously in the month of July on the Western calendar, but on the Biblical calendar, we’re actually in the month of Av.  (Av corresponds with part of our July and part of our August)  In the Bible, the month of Av was intended to be the month that God’s people entered the Promised Land that was overflowing with blessings.  God’s plan was that every year Av would be a month in which His goodness would be remembered and celebrated.  If you recall from the Bible story, the Israelites were in the desert.  They had recently experienced the miraculous Exodus from Egypt, and were in position to enter the Promised Land of Canaan.  But first, they dispatched a “reconnaissance mission” to check out the new land God had given them.  Overwhelmed with the large fortified cities and strong and courageous men that possessed the land, their spies returned on the eighth day of Av, and reported that the land was unconquerable.  Along with the many fearful reports of “giants in the land” came the faith-filled words of Caleb.  Numbers 13:30 states that Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once and possess it; we are WELL ABLE to conquer it.  Later, when the people continued to despair, he said in Numbers 14:7-9, “The land through which we passed as scouts is an exceedingly good land.  8 If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land flowing with milk and honey.  9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, neither fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us.  Their defense and the shadow [of protection] is removed from over them, but the Lord is with us.  Fear them not.”

That night, the 9th of Av, the people chose NOT to agree with Caleb in faith.  God’s people wept and insisted that they’d rather go back to Egypt than to be slaughtered by the Canaanites.  They chose to believe the voices of FEAR and UNBELIEF rather than the voice of FAITH.

God was highly displeased by their distrust in His power and abilities, especially after all the miracles He had already done for them.  Consequently, that generation of God’s people was never allowed to enter the Promised Land.

But the story doesn’t end there.  If you study the history of God’s people, the 9th of Av has continued to be a disastrous day for them.  Every year a window of destruction opens over them because of the lack of faith they displayed so many years before.  Note the tragic events that have occurred over the years.

Av 9 – 587 BC – The armies of Babylon destroyed Solomon’s Temple

Av 9 – AD 70 – The Romans destroyed the 2nd temple

Av 9 – AD 135 – The final defeat of Jews by Rome

Av 9 – AD 1095 – The 1st Crusade was launched, which killed thousands of Jews

Av 9 – AD 1290 – The Jews were expelled from England

Av 9 – AD 1492 – The Jews were expelled from Spain

Av 9 – AD 1942 – The Jews were deported from the Warsaw ghetto to the death camps

Av 9 – AD 2005 – The expulsion of the Jews from Gaza began

Why does this “cycle” of destruction continue to happen?  In the words of my pastor, “On the 9th of Av Israel chose to listen to the voice of UNBELIEF!  Instead of believing God, the people agreed with unbelief and gave a negative confession.  They said:  “The enemy is too strong for us.  We will all die!”  They tasted the FRUIT of the land but refused to enter.  They held back in unbelief and by doing that, they put themselves under a curse.  So every year on the 9th of Av, Israel finds that their enemies are too strong for them and they die.  As Hebrews 4:1-2 paraphrased says, “They refused to mix the promise with faith.”  At the end of 40 years when all of the adults who made that decision died, God in His grace gave a second chance – He is the God of Second Chances!  They never truly repented of the sin, however, so every year the cycle comes back around, and the window of destruction opens again.  When you don’t repent of the sins of the past, Satan is free to bring the curse of that sin back around on you, and the door of destruction remains open.  You know you have truly repented when you don’t repeat the sin again.  Israel repeated it when Jesus came:  they tasted the good fruit of the age to come:  they heard His words and saw His miracles, but they turned back in unbelief and refused to enter the promise of their Messiah.  But the Bible assures us that one day Israel will turn and believe in Jesus as Messiah.  Then the curse of Av 9th for them will be finally broken.  We should learn the lessons – repent and believe!  God still wants Av to be a month of blessing and celebration of His goodness.  Av is a month that presents us with a choice.  We can choose to receive a curse.  We can choose to break a curse.  We can choose to believe God’s promises.  We can choose to enter God’s blessing.”

WOW!

And here I was, one of God’s people, ON THE 9TH DAY OF AV, having received a promise from the Lord but also staring a big, scary “giant” right in the face!  Just 2-3 hours earlier, I was comfortably sitting in church, oblivious to what my future would soon hold.  My pastor was gracious enough to give me his power point notes to share with you all the exact words God used to prepare me to face my giant.  So I’ll just list them here.

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The Lord is faithful to give us great promises of His blessings

Our receiving the blessings involves acting in faith.  We don’t earn or deserve them.  BUT we do have to receive them.

His promises always come with a test

We can choose to focus on the difficulties and obstacles fearing to act on His word to secure the promise. 

This is what the Israelites did.  See the consequences:  Numbers 14:36-37

We can choose to believe the Lord in spite of the difficulties and obstacles and act on His word to secure the promise.

See what happened to those who followed this path:

Joshua – Joshua 1:1-6

Caleb – Numbers 14:24-38, Josh 14:6-8

Fear or faith?  What is your choice?

You will be given a choice this week.  You CAN have God’s promised blessing – you may have to fight a giant to receive it though.  What will you do?????

Some of you are struggling with issues too difficult for you

Some of you are struggling with temptations/sins you cannot seem to overcome

Some of you see mountains in your future you cannot climb

Some of you see giants in your future you cannot defeat

Some of you see a past you cannot overcome

Some of you are weary from the struggle and you are ready to “throw in the towel”

Some of you are about to give up on your dream/your calling/ your destiny and settle for the devil’s lies and counterfeits

Before you do, I have a word for you! 

NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT for the Lord!

Genesis 18:14 Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord?

Jeremiah 32:17-18 There is nothing too hard or too wonderful for You

Jeremiah 32:26-27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for Me?

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

Mark 9:23 And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything?  [Why,] all things are possible to him who believes!

Mark 10:27 Jesus glanced around at them and said, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.

Mark 14:36 And He was saying, Abba, [which means] Father, everything is possible for You.

Never underestimate the power or the love of the Lord 

  1. Never leave the Lord out of your evaluations.  What He can or will do!
  2. We tend to work, figure, plan, plot, strategize, et al and forget about the LORD.  We do not count Him as a resource.

Never give up unless or until the Lord tells you to do so and gives you other instructions

Matthew 24:7-13, Hebrews 6:11-12, James 1:2-4

So many times we give up or give in right before victory is about to arrive.  The LORD often tests our faith, courage, stick-to-it-ability!  That is why He tells us to persevere

James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

James 1:3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

James 1:4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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Well, my “test” arrived shortly after the pastor’s lesson.  I knew that my response to the “giant” that suddenly showed up in my life would either bring about a blessing or a curse.  I knew that I could choose not to trust God and let go of the promise of the baby’s life, or I could choose to trust that He was still in control no matter WHAT I was seeing.  No matter how much blood kept flowing.  No matter how much cramping and pain I was experiencing.  Not matter how bad things were looking from my limited human perspective.  And I won’t lie.  It wasn’t easy.  I was so terrified that I was literally trembling.  I would get control of my emotions and then “lose it” again and again.  But all the while, I was surrounded with family and friends who had heard this same message that morning and who were encouraging me to stand up and believe God’s voice of truth.  A dear friend of mine felt the Lord prodding her to call and encourage me.  That call, along with emails from others and the prayers of many, gave me the added strength I needed to declare this prayer. (copied from the baby’s prayer journal)

July 29, 2012

Tonight I pray for LIFE.  I pray for the mighty breath of the living God to flow through this baby.  I choose not to fear the “giant” that we are facing but to trust in the faithfulness of the God I serve.  I choose faith instead of fear and I declare that I (and Erin and Jesse) will walk in the promise God has already given us and the hope He has already stirred in all of our hearts.  I boldly resist giving in to the fear that circumstances have provoked and I trust that God is greater than ANY thing we could EVER encounter in this pregnancy.  I refuse to take on any curse brought about by failing to trust God.  I choose to pass this test of faith and reap blessings beyond measure (for Erin and Jesse) because of that choice.

And immediately I was at peace that everything was going to be okay.  The heavy bleeding began to taper off and had completely stopped by morning.

The baby is doing GREAT!  Its little heartbeat is stronger and faster than ever!  The cause of the bleeding is a subchorionic bleed in my uterus.  If it continues, it will claim the life of the baby, so I was put on full bed rest for the time being.  It’s fairly common with IVF and most women recover just fine and go on to have completely normal pregnancies.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Lord moved on our behalf on the 9th of Av 2012.  And from 2012 forward, our family will celebrate this day the way God originally intended it –a day in which His goodness, His faithfulness, and His blessings will always be remembered!

If it hasn’t already struck a chord in your own heart, hang on to my pastor’s message above.  If God hasn’t already put someone in your life that needs it, you WILL encounter someone who needs to know that NOTHING is too big for God!  And their choice to or not to believe that…will make all the difference in the world!

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