Friday, 15 February 2019

Marriage before Motherhood

It is rather apt that I have chosen to write this blog post now as Paul and I have just celebrated our six year wedding anniversary. I’m not ashamed to take this opportunity to share some of our gorgeous wedding photographs with you!

Although in the grander scheme of things six years married may not be a long time, through our marriage we have faced caring for my terminally ill mother-in-law and later seeing her pass away; navigating bringing up Paul’s three teenage daughters. We have lost jobs, friends, dreams and have also spent nearly all of our marriage trying to conceive children. 

Not only have we faced all these difficulties, but we have spent nearly four years working in partnership in ministry. So we not only live and socialise together, but we work together every day too and I am proud to say that it has never been stronger! I don’t say this to brag, but through some pretty big struggles we have learnt some really important truths. 

Throughout our marriage, our struggle with infertility has been one of the hardest things we have gone through and we have learnt so much. Our biggest lesson and one which we have tried to do from the very start is to put our marriage before our desire for our family…marriage before motherhood

 Ecclesiastes 4:12 says: ‘A rope made of three cords is hard to break’ we firmly believe this for our marriage and so when we started to realise that pregnancy wasn’t coming easily for us we agreed that it was in the Lord’s hands and we needed to focus on having a strong, God-centred marriage. We decided not to track cycles or any of those kind of things and just to make sure that we had a lot of fun trying to start our family!!! 

For us it took a lot of our stress away. We focused on enjoying our life together and the ministry God was calling us into. We have had so many adventures and have made the most of our time with just us two. This foundation has helped us to weather many storms and to rejoice even in the midst of deepest suffering.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been some really really dark times. I remember one time, just after someone I know had a baby, I refused to come out from under my duvets for a couple of days. Paul very patiently made me cups of tea and firmly but kindly told me when enough was enough!

I also remember once firmly believing I was pregnant but continually getting a negative test. I drove to my friends house for advice and a good cry and managed to crash my car into a wall. After my friend had put me back together and spoke wisdom into my life, I had to tell Paul about the huge scratch down the side of our car! Paul was very gracious and saw the bigger of why I was struggling, he barely even mentioned the battered car in the driveway!

Through good times and bad we have chosen to have faith and make the most of what we already have rather than concentrate on the things that we desire. 

At our wedding we like many others had the ‘love chapter’ (1 Corinthians 13) read. The words are awesome and it summed up what we wanted our love for each other to be. Recently I was reading this chapter in the passion translation and I was blown away by the way it expresses love. (if you haven’t read the passion translation, do it! And if you haven’t read this chapter, take a look at the end of the blog post!) A couple of lines really struck me and I think it perfectly reflects what I have learned through our decision to put marriage before motherhood.

If you are in the wait for children or not, every marriage has its challenges and troubles. Today I would encourage you to work on putting your God-centred marriage first. In seeking a strong God-centred marriage you simply need to seek the kind of love talked about in 1 Corinthians 13. The amazing thing is that love doesn’t really come from your significant other at all, it comes from the source of that love…God! So maybe take the time today to read about this love and seek God for your life, marriage and for every trial you may face.

“Love is large and incredibly patient. Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance. Love does not traffic in shame and disrespect, nor selfishly seek its own honour. Love is not easily irritated or quick to take offence. Love joyfully celebrates honesty and finds no delight in what is wrong. Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up.

Until then, there are three things that remain: faith, hope, and love—yet love surpasses them all. So above all else, let love be the beautiful prize for which you run.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-7, 13‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Sunday, 10 February 2019

5 things I have learnt through my 5+ years of infertility

A few months ago our lives were turned upside down (in an utterly gorgeous and beautifully fulfilling way) when finally, after over five years of praying, waiting and believing we brought our beautiful adopted daughter home to her forever family.

It has taken me  a while to get used to the title of ‘mum’ and to realise that those aisles in the supermarket that were once too painful to walk down are now the ones I frequent the most! 

Having now settled down with miracle I have begun to ponder some of the things that God has taught me through our journey to grow our family. They are lessons that I am still learning daily and there are burdens that are still very real. I am painfully aware that 
although I now have the most perfect little poppet to call me mum, I have never seen a positive pregnancy test, never given birth to a baby and I’m still know as someone with unexplained infertility. 

Over the next few week I would love to share 5 things that I have learnt through this time. There are things that could help many people in many different situations and I pray it will bless you in some way. It also helps me share my testimony of how God has worked powerfully in my life and  acknowledge some of the little miracles along the way. As psalm 66:16-17 says: 

"All you lovers of God who want to please him,
    come and listen, and I’ll tell you what he did for me.
 I cried aloud to him with all my heart and he answered me!
    Now my mouth overflows with the highest praise"

The five things I will be sharing over coming weeks is: 

1: Marriage before motherhood
2: Community brings courage
3: The Lord loves our lament
4: Flourishing in the wilderness
5: God is good…All the time!