Friday, 13 October 2017

Baby and infant loss awareness week




This week is officially baby and infant loss awareness week and through Facebook I have seen many interesting ariticles, posts and videos suggesting how we can support the many people around us who have been affected by the tragic loss of a baby or infant.





Through my journey of infertility I have walked alongside many women who have had the joy of pregnancy followed by the tragedy of loss. I have seen how many have suffered in silence, afraid of what people may think and unable to deal with the awkward conversations that may ensue. I have seen the pain on anniversaries and important dates and the fear that further pregnancies may be opening their heart to further loss.

Grief causes many emotions and I know this week many precious women are remembering times of great darkness. This week, as I have prayed for those women in my life who have experienced the

 great pain of grief that comes from losing a baby I have been reminded of how much more God cares. You see the bible talks a lot about grief, and there are some beautiful verses that show how, even when we feel completely alone in our grief, God is there alongside us. 




The bible is also really good at showing how lament can help us deal with the emotions of grief and see that there is hope in God. It reminds us of what God has done and  helps us to look to the promise of the bible. Psalm 77 is a wonderful psalm of lament as the psalmist battles to cling to hope in the midst of great grief and loneliness. As I have meditated on this scripture I have prayed hope on every parent who, this week, feels the pain of grief and thinks of what might have been.

On Sunday 15th October I will be lighting a candle in a wave of light, standing in solidarity with those parents who have lost a precious miracle of a baby. I will  be lighting a candle as a sign of hope that God cares and will be close to the broken hearted. 

This year, however, I will also be lighting a candle for me. You see I have never had a positive pregnancy test, so I have technically never lost a baby. But for me, every month comes with a wave of grief. Grief for the baby that I long to hold in my arms, Grief for the life that never was and grief for what could have been. My candle will also bring hope to me that God has it all in control, that regardless of the grief in my heart, it is also a song of lament that reminds me of all the great  thing God has done in my life, and gives me hope for the adventure to come.

So today I ask, will you join the wave of light on Sunday, let’s stand together in hope and remember those who are grieving 





Thursday, 5 October 2017

Keeping Dreams alive in Captivity





One of my absolute favourite verses of scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. It was the first verse spoken over me when I became a Christian and has been one I have clung to in many seasons of my life.


In July this year. It started to crop up everywhere. Every book I read, every sermon I listened to and every word spoken over me pointed at this verse. After a while I got the God-hint, started to study around the verse and God started to really speak to me.

At the time Jeremiah wrote the famous verse, people had been exiled to Babylon. They had been deported against their will and were living in a foreign land amongst foreign Gods. In the letter her sent to the elders who were living in in Babylon, he instructs them to set up home where they were. He told them to marry, multiply and to pray for the well being of their captor. Jeremiah 29:7 says this:

‘Pursue the well being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf; for when it thrives, you will thrive!’

Jeremiah tells them that they will remain in Babylon for seventy years, then they will be restored to Jerusalem. IT was then that the beautiful verse was spoken. God had a plan for hope and a future for the people, but it would only happen after their time thriving in captivity.

God really spoke to me through this passage. I felt him say to me that at this moment, in parts of my life, I am living in Babylon. It is not a place I have chosen to be in and at times it can look pretty hostile, but I must make use of my time there. He told me to pray into the situation and make the most of it so that I might thrive, especially in the ‘Babylon of infertility.’

Only after thriving in Babylon would the people see God’s good plans come to fruition, and the same is true for my life. As I realised this and submitted to God my Babylon life, I found proverbs 16:3 to be true.


Not long after this, God placed a pretty exciting dream in my heart. One that would help me make sure my time in exile would be a fruitful one in which Gods name would be praised and people’s lives transformed.

However day to day life can so easily take over our God-given dreams, and I soon started to doubt that I had really heard correctly. The dream would take time and commitment and I really didn’t feel I have the time to spare. It would also take strength and tenacity to push the dream forward and I didn’t have that strength.

A short while later, as I was speaking at a local ladies conference, one of the other speakers, who I has never met before, prophesied the same dream over me. I was blown away! I had also recently had my diary drastically emptied after breaking my ankle, so I had an awful lot of time on my hand. Sometimes our dreams seem too big when we look through our own lenses. We forget that:

‘God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!’ Ephesians 3:20

God has given each of us a dream and if we commit to God he will bring it to fruition. In order to explore God’s dreams for our lives we need to listen carefully to the voice of God. We need to respond to God with the cry – “Here I am – Send ME!”

We need to ensure that trust is at the centre of our journey. We must trust God and his unfailing love for us. We must trust in his word that we find in scripture and draw strength from it. We must also trust that God wants to use us because we are good enough. Above all we must trust in God’s grace.

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’


So today, in those areas of life in which you feel you have been exiled, commit to praying that both it and you will thrive. Trust in the dreams that God has given you and remember you are are good enough.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Alone

Over the past five weeks, as I have been recovering from my broken ankle, I have Spent an awful lot of time on my own. My husband has taken over the running of the house and the running of the church along as caring for his sometimes grumpy wife, so in reality he has very little time to entertain me!! 


Through my recovery there have been times of bliss as God has drawn close to me and I have got to know him better. 

There have been times of great excitement as God has birthed dreams in me to bless many.


However

There has been time of frustration when I just can’t get up and do something simple like make a cup of coffee.

There has been times when I have felt Completely and utterly alone. 

If I’m really honest there have been times when I have battled with feeling of unworthiness and misery. Psalm 13 1-2 seems to sum up what I have felt at my worst! 

 “How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
 How long will you hide your face from me?
 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? 
How long will my enemy triumph over me?”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭13:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Sometimes in our lives we can really struggle with issues of loneliness and as a woman struggling with infertility it, in some ways, become a part of my life. Infertility often means we are excluded from the ‘club of motherhood’ and often the shame and intimacy of the issues means we can feel alone and forgotten. 




The bible is full of people battling with loneliness and  longing for a connection with someone . In fact Jesus was no stranger to the feelings of loneliness and misunderstanding that we feel. When Jesus came to earth many people didn’t understand him, in fact they despised him. His disciples (his closest friends) often didn’t ‘get’ him and he was often frustrated that he was misunderstood. 

When he was hanging on the cross, dying, he was well and truly alone. Even God had abandoned him. At the moment he cried, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He understood a loneliness beyond what we can comprehend. 

When I feel as if I am in a pit of loneliness, I try to remember that Jesus completely understands me. He has felt exactly as I feel. 

Another amazing thing about Jesus (there are so many amazing things about Jesus!) is that when he came to earth, he came as Emmanuel – meaning God with us. He came, died and rose again so that we would never be alone. 

On the days when we feel alone and at the moments we feel incredibly isolated and forgotten, we must remember that God is always with us. 





If you are struggling with loneliness in infertility or childlessness I would love to pray for you. Please contact me and share your story and I will commit to praying for you on your journey.

Also I would love to direct you to some groups of people who have made me feel understood and part of a sisterhood. Below are a number of links to groups and organisations for you to connect with. 


Moms in the making – an amazing faith based page, group and blog, full of encouragement and hope. They have an awesome Prayer partner system too! 
http://in-due-time.com

 Sarah’s laughter – a Christian based organisation that has amazing podcasts that will touch your soul.  They also have support groups across America and an amazing online group I am a part of.
http://www.sarahs-laughter.com/


Gateway women – a lovely online community where you can discuss all sorts of issues relating to childlessness. They also have local meet ups to find a sisterhood of women in the same boat. 
http://gateway-women.com/

Saltwater and honey - a beautiful blog about faith and infertility. They have recently run a retreat which was amazing. 
http://saltwaterandhoney.org/