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Listen Live! CPKC Radio 1380 AM

Hi Friends!

Tonight is an exciting night for my husband and I.  We will be featured on a live call-in show :  Mini & Friends on CPKC Radio out of Brantford, Ontario 1380 AM on the dial.  It is in promotion of our story of coping with Infertility.  Our story was published in 2015, EMPTY HANDS TO OPEN ARMS:  From Infertility to Possibility.  Listen online at http://am1380.ca/  and click on Listen Live!  The Show is live tonight from 10:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. EST  Hope to hear you there!

Dario's pics ending July 9th 387Dario's pics ending July 9th 385

Finding Freedom in God’s Open Arms

prayer

 

These are excerpts from a hurting heart as I collected in my journal.  I have wondered if possibly, quite possibly there may be one person or more that may benefit from the encouragement God had given me in the year preceding my ultimate resolution of infertility for my husband and I.  This and other postings to come reveal my heart hunger to have God answer my struggle, not just to be free, but to find a peace for my life. As I look back on those pages I am amazed at what the Lord has done for me.  This is His story of healing a broken heart, one prayer at a time.

January 5

Dear Heavenly Father,

“Freedom.  I’m looking for it.  I’m certainly not going to try harder to find it.  I’ve come to a simple place where I’ve come between ‘try harder’ and ‘give up’.  In many ways I have given up.  A surrender, perhaps, I cannot do it or make freedom happen.  I’ve looked for it and made myself look really good in effort to have it.  In order to please You and to be a pleasure.  I’m finding that’s not working for me.  So I have stopped.  I am looking for you Lord.  Only You.  Not some answer to prayer or for a miracle child that I cannot produce.  Only You.”

The dark cloud of doubt fogs my heart.  I am doing a cognitive battle with how God answers our prayers.  Is it through sovereignty of God or moved by the prayer of faith? Prayers that go unanswered are the ones that go unasked.  I cannot judge God’s faithfulness based on my own presumption of time.  In God’s own wisdom He answers in the timing of His will as He sees all.

Barren Hannah of the Bible came yearly to the house of the Lord, wept often and did not eat due to her own infertility and the provocation of her sister, second wife to her husband.  We are not told how old she was or how many times Hannah wept and prayed. Perhaps this was Hannah’s first time praying to God.  I think not.  Perhaps God was simply waiting for this moment to intervene with encouragement from the Eli the High Priest that day.  We don’t know.

Scripture describes her journey in asking:

1 Samuel verse 10:  And she (Hannah) was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish.

1 Samuel verse 12:  …as she continued praying before the Lord, Eli watched her…

1 Samuel verse 17:  …Eli answered and said, “Go in peace and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.”

1 Samuel verse 20:  So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son and called his name Samuel (meaning heard by God), saying, “because I have asked for him from the Lord.”

Hannah was always in the hands of her sovereign God, who determined the status in the process of His own timing.  Hannah cooperated in that she prayed diligently with tears that God would answer.  Could it be a combination of both?  Or could it be that there is no correct formula for getting God to do anything.  I wonder if it is in simple trust.

“You oh Lord are so worthy and You bring all things that I need for life and Godliness.  I am praising You Lord for setting me free from a dark cloud of bitterness in my soul.”

“I have given you My peace, my daughter and I have forgiven and cleansed you, in a moment of all those things that you have been tormented by.  You are free!  Allow Me to change you, to work in You.  So precious are you to Me, my child.  Precious is your prayer to Me and precious is your rest in My arms.  How I have longed to gather you in My arms this way.  You have found your way into My heart. Never doubt My love for you.”

empty hand to open arms ebook (1) for Facebook, etc       www.emptyhandsopenarms.com  and available through Word Alive Press and wherever fine Christian books are sold.

Hopelessness and loss are common companions of infertility.  Paula describes the loss of a child she conceived only in her imagination.  She illuminates her struggle in persuading God to grant her greatest wish.  ISBN:  978-1-4866-1156-0

 

 

 

Its a bouncing baby…book!?

Book launch cake 2

Here it is!  My bouncing baby book!  Empty Hands to Open Arms has been conceived in the womb of my imagination and brought to life and knit lovingly together with every blog post and the jot notes of my scribble journal.  It’s my story, launched this past week.

One year ago, I had high hopes of entering the publishing world.  Now here at the end, I realize that publishing a book seems very much like a pregnancy term.  Ironically from the beginnings of putting material to print to its fresh-off-the-press date, this book was birthed after just nine months.

Allow me to explain,

The conception of the idea of actually putting a for-real manuscript together came through my husband.  Dario was on a shopping trip when he happened upon a contest information card for Word Alive Press.  He knew my desire to publish and encouraged me to enter the contest for free publishing which closed June 15, 2015.

Then I did nothing.  I really didn’t discover I was seriously pregnant with the desire to write my book until the beginning of April.  It was at that moment that inspiration, possibility and the challenge hit me all at once.  I was going to write a book!

In my first trimester: April, May and June, writing just seemed like a lot of work with not a lot to show for it.  There was the exception of mood swings and crazy cravings for endless snacks as I wrote page after page.  Soon my ‘baby’ began to take shape and form and on June 15th, I submitted my manuscript and synopsis of the story.

My second trimester: July, August and September, I surely showed signs of growth.  My manuscript was accepted and I discovered I had been shortlisted in the non-fiction category.  It was during this time that the book adventure was becoming more real as I completed preliminary editing and the short synopsis and author’s biography for the back of the book. I could feel a quickening as I realize the dream of publishing was going to actually happen.

The third trimester:  October, November, December seemed to take forever.  Will this book ever come out!  Back aches from all that computer time, and a tired feeling made me know that I was ready for the whole process to be completed. During this period the process of editing, rewriting, correcting and fine tuning of cover design, and the final typesetting of the book would determine what this creation would actually look like.

Finally, birth! The moment arrived by mid-December and the books were hot off the press.  The delivery was accomplished with a whole lot of labor.  Especially as we had to get the books up our steps and into our home!

Parenting our new bundle of books has been a joy.  At nearly two months, we have already seen “her” gain much attention.  Friends are congratulatory and others want to hold and admire.

Something is gnawing at me though.  There is a stirring inside of me – an idea, a thought, and a possibility.  Is it another dream?  I think there might be a sibling!

  • Today, together we launch Empty Hands to Open Arms, treat her kindly as she enters the world and help her to find her home in the empty hands that need her the most.

To order go to http://www.emtyhandsopenarms.com; amazon.com; wordalivepress.com; and Indigo as well as wherever Christian books are sold.

I Had Time.

time

Photo courtesy of Bing Images

Infertility does not define who I am.    It is a journey I have traveled through a large portion of my life, however it is not me.  

The bizarre thing is that living with IF is a process unto itself.  It’s not just about the discovery, diagnosis and then the medical process.  Or if you have chosen to engage in all the requirements of adoption, the paperwork, interviews and waiting involved.  Infertility has been a journey that has brought me full face to myself.

You see, in the past I have struggled with the full need to be in control.  I have needed to know the information in advance, (inquiring minds need to know).  I needed to understand how things work and why they do, or why they do not.  I needed to know the implication of every decision and then decide accordingly.  I need to control so I could change a deep unhappiness inside me.

When IF came into my world at nineteen, I still had a lot of wait left in me.  I had to wait to be married for at least 21 years so the frustration of my body not working properly seemed difficult, but I had time.  Yet as I aged I always felt as though I was running out of time.  Just before I was married I had looked at medical options and hoped for a healing.  When I actually married I thought surely I would get pregnant on my honeymoon.  I actually had maternity clothing and baby clothes.  Furnishings came later in my wait.

The longing for a child was insatiable.  In all my praying and waiting, and testing I didn’t find any peace.  I had time, I thought.  After all I was only 41, 42, 43, etc. The frustration mounted as I fought with the issues of being unable to control what my body wasn’t doing regardless of how much I’d command it to change.  I certainly knew I wasn’t in control.  One could almost hear the clock ticking softly.

My personal “clock” stopped ticking suddenly, the day I discovered I could not qualify for IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatments.  I had to be ushered into a side examination room in order to gain emotional control.  I had to stay in control.  When that avenue closed I threw myself into painful prayer.  If I prayed exactly right and prayed the right scriptures repeatedly, then God would ‘owe’ me a baby.  I would pace and pray, speak aloud to God EXACTLY what I expected Him to do.

After a  full year of this futility of unbelieving prayer, I called the adoption agency and we began what was an eight year process.  My renewed hope that surely this was the reason we couldn’t have children.  We were called to adopt!  The enthusiasm didn’t last long when after only a year of paperwork and meetings we were put on hold.  In a few years we would be called to begin the process of classes and Home Study, but there was time for that.  We waited.  More hoops and we waited again.

When spring came, a new announcement from the adoption agency brought me into a place of renewed strength and a determination that this time I could take control by surrender.   We could decide when enough was enough.

Keyboard and page cannot possibly put down all that my husband and I have invested and after years of this emotional and physical and pain-filled attempt to conceive or adopt a child.   I was exhausted and ready to let the dream completely go.  I was ready to surrender, not just the dream, but my need to control. I was ready to let God take over.

He did!  I have found in letting go, I have found a new sense of peace.  It has been an incredible relief to be free of the torment.  No I haven’t found a baby on my doorstep or snatched a toddler at the mall.  I am learning and living free.  Child-Friendly Free.  Knowing that I am already a mother in the lives of many little ones, I can rest in that knowing I am walking in God’s design for ‘a mother in place of another’.

From the time of diagnosis at age 19 to the day of surrender, I have been trading time and effort in a bargain with God.  He patiently waited and gave me the time to discover that He has always been in control.  This for me was a moment of release.

This journey may not be over, I do not know what tomorrow will bring or what the future will hold.  This is a journey I’ve traveled.  It’s not who I am.

In Memory of Cassia Part Two: Children Found

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

Photo Courtesy of Bing Images

 

Cassia was our dream child, conceived only in our imagination.  For my husband and me the qualities we valued in a child would not be claimed in our own offspring.

Unknown to me, God was unfolding a wonderful surprise in our lives.  An amazing thing began to happen when I said yes to a Nursery School Teaching position seven years ago.

I loved teaching little people.  I knew this very special little school had me hooked during my entrance interview.  I took a seat opposite the owner and main Teacher in the Montessori and Day Nursery.  I was pleasantly amused when after this husband and wife team were seated, their two year old son pulled up a chair!  His opinion mattered too!

I must have made an impression because this began a wonderful relationship with 2 year old Colton* and later his little sister Karen* whom I met when she was just three hours old.  She marked the occasion by pooping on me that first day.  Colton and Karen both made their way through my Nursery Class and parked permanently in my heart.  They attended my Summer Day Camp and enjoyed sleepovers together at our house.

Hugs and snuggles became our daily routine for hellos and goodbyes.  It was wonderful watching them grow and blossom into the school age and preteen children they are today.

Eva* was 2 1/2 when she tiptoed into my Nursery class and simultaneously crawled into my heart.  She had a quiet wisdom about her and loved to laugh.  She always encouraged me with her smile.  Her long blonde hair was fun to pull together into ponytail or pigtails.  They often fell apart due to a nervous habit of pulling strands of hair out.  Today she is a Kindergarten graduate and will soon welcome a little sibling into her and her parents’ lives.

Brothers Carter* and Walter* stepped into our school boisterous and unafraid.  First Carter then Walter, one year later enjoyed the environment of school and play.  Carter was loved immediately by all the girls in Senior Kindergarten while younger brother Walter’s quiet personality “morphed” into a comedic energetic kid.  Today Carter is the “bug” man, sharing fascinating facts about all six or eight legged creatures.  Walter today is the weather man for his family, sharing weather predictions and nature’s storms.  Both boys share the role of big brother for Little J, the child I am present day Nanny.

My husband and I didn’t realize that God had been answering our prayers all these years.  Though they are not our own, these three families are children found to us.  They all have come and have celebrated a special warm relationship with us.  As a couple we are focused on these children and are to them unofficial ‘God-parents’.  Birthdays, Christmas, play dates and celebrations are a part of our lives too!  We love them just as we would our own.  This is the best tribute we can give in memory of Cassia.

*Names Changed