I began this blog when I was 23 years old and my husband, Jesse was only 21. That was in December of 2007 when we decided that we wanted to bring a baby into our family. We had no idea all that decision entailed. Back then I had a false assumption that I was super-fertile and would get pregnant even while on birth control. Well, I was off of birth control for over a year, went through all of the fertility testing, and then was diagnosed with "unexplained infertility".

This past year has been one of the most difficult I have ever been through. I ran the emotional gauntlet on this issue, ranging from intense sadness and heartache to anger towards God to total peace about what He is doing. God began to show me how He was using my infertility as a ministry. It is my hope to share my testimony with others so that they may either be encouraged as they face their own infertility or educated as they learn what infertility entails. More than that, though, I hope that the things I share point others to God regardless of what they are going through.

When I first began this blog, the entries were kept private. But I have decided to open everything up in order to let people see the raw truth of the struggle. I strive to find the fine line between sharing the truth and sharing too much information. However, it is my desire to share my heart, regardless. And I have learned that there is never "too much information" in the world of infertility.

After being diagnosed with unexplained infertility on November 17, 2008, I was put on a round of 50mg of Clomid to strengthen the quality and quantity of my eggs. I suppose it was how God chose to work because I became pregnant that very cycle.

In order to be sensitive to those who are still going through infertility, I have opened up a new blog about my pregnancy. I am maintaining this one, though, hoping that it serves as a testimony to anyone who may be going through infertility at the time they come across my site. If you want to follow my life's journey, check out my other blogs. And if you would like, please don't hesitate to email me:
mrs_peterson07@yahoo.com

Monday, December 8, 2008

Enemies

I love how God speaks to us right when we need Him to. All weekend I’ve been struggling with the conflict I have with my brother-in-law’s wife. Since I last wrote on here, she emailed me and confronted me about not being there to support her. She wanted to know why I hadn’t emailed or called her. She said this forgetting that I did email her as soon as she told me that they were divorcing and told her that I’d be there for her if she needed me. She responded saying that Michael needed his brother and family. So we chose to be there for him and then she got mad about it. She also is forgetting that I emailed her the same day another mutual friend of our’s had who said pretty much the same thing I did. Neither of us have talked to her since, but I’m the one not being supportive while the other friend is one of her only truly loyal friends. She said that regardless of whose side I was on, I had been her maid of honor and her sister-in-law and she thought we had been close, hadn’t we? Upon reading this, I immediately wanted to remind her that she had already told me that she regretted having me as her maid of honor just a couple of months ago. She continued, quoting me as saying that I didn’t know what I would do if Jesse did to me what Michael did to her. Again, I wanted to defend myself because what I said was that I didn’t know if I would stay with him or not if he ever tried to leave me for another girl or cheated on me. I didn’t say that I would slander him all over myspace or tell everyone the awful details of his sins. When Jesse broke my heart a few years ago, I didn’t respond this way and I don’t think that it is a Christ-like response to do so, regardless of how legitimately hurt you are. From there, she said that I should understand since I have witnessed a lot of the torrid details of their marriage and saw how her “husband drug her all the way to another state and left her 2 weeks later.” UGH! I think I’m about ready to scream! From there, she said that she was thankful for all of the good times we had and sorry that I have made the decision I have (to not be her friend). And she basically told me that I was missing out on her wonderful friendship because of my decision.

I wanted so badly to write her back right then and there and tell her EXACTLY what I thought of her. However, that is my flesh screaming out in sin, and my spirit told it to shut up and wait. I didn’t want anything that I said to further fuel an argument, creating lots of drama. So, I waited, considering every possible way to respond to the situation including:
* Telling her what I truly thought
* Telling her the edited, nicer version of what I truly thought
* Not telling her at all what I thought of her, but saying that it had been difficult for me to know how to approach her at all as I am caught between the two people and have been a long-time friend of the person she is in conflict with. Furthermore, telling her that I did not believe that it was the appropriate Christian response to publicly bash someone’s character regardless of how badly they hurt you and, therefore, was unsure how to respond.
* Not answering her at all and letting what happens happen
* Not answering and then choosing to break all connections with her, including deleting her off of my friend’s list.

The conflict was plaguing me. I found it to often be the center of my conversations and it even seeped into my dreams. I wanted to make sure that nothing I did created more drama for me or Michael (as he still keeps in touch with her). I also wanted to make sure that I responded (or didn’t respond) the way God wanted me to, and that any truth I spoke was done in love. Whichever one I wanted more depended on the moment.

Before I made a decision about emailing her, one way or another, she deleted my mom, my brother, and myself off of her friend list and then posted a comment to everyone telling them that I was fake and thought I was better than everyone else. I was at an utter loss of how to respond.

I realized that my emotions were so strong concerning this issue that it was difficult for me to step aside and listen to God. So, I removed myself from everyone else in the house, from the computer, from the tv, and from my cell phone. I crawled into the warm bathtub and closed the curtain, shutting myself off from any distracting stimuli. And as I soaked in the bathtub, I prayed for God to reveal to me the way that He wanted me to respond Within a matter of hours, He emailed me.

Ok. It wasn’t God that emailed me, but He did speak to me through it. You see, Max Lucado is my favorite author and I regularly receive devotional excerpts of his books. I don’t always get time to read every single one, but always save them in my email folders. However, the subject line of this email caught my attention, “Leave Your Enemies in God’s Hands.”

So, I opened it up and here are the words I read:
Leave Your Enemies in God's Hands
by Max Lucado
From “Facing Your Giants"


Some years ago a rottweiler attacked our golden retriever puppy at a kennel. The worthless animal climbed out of its run and into Molly’s and nearly killed her. He left her with dozens of gashes and a dangling ear. I wrote a letter to the dog’s owner, urging him to put the dog to sleep.

But when I showed the letter to the kennel owner, she begged me to reconsider. “What that dog did was horrible, but I’m still training him. I’m not finished with him yet.”

God would say the same about the rottweiler who attacked you. “What he did was unthinkable, unacceptable, inexcusable, but I’m not finished yet.”

Your enemies still figure into God’s plan. Their pulse is proof: God hasn’t given up on them. They may be out of God’s will, but not out of his reach. You honor God when you see them, not as his failures, but as his projects.


God occupies the only seat on the supreme court of heaven. He wears the robe and refuses to share the gavel. For this reason Paul wrote, “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. ‘I’ll do the judging,’ says God. ‘I’ll take care of it’ ” (Rom. 12:19 MSG).

Revenge removes God from the equation. Vigilantes displace and replace God. “I’m not sure you can handle this one, Lord. You may punish too little or too slowly. I’ll take this matter into my hands, thank you.”

Is this what you want to say? Jesus didn’t. No one had a clearer sense of right and wrong than the perfect Son of God. Yet, “when he suffered, he didn’t make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly” (1 Pet. 2:23 GOD’S WORD).

Only God assesses accurate judgments. We impose punishments too slight or severe. God dispenses perfect justice. Vengeance is his job. Leave your enemies in God’s hands. You’re not endorsing their misbehavior when you do. You can hate what someone did without letting hatred consume you. Forgiveness is not excusing.

Nor is forgiveness pretending. David didn’t gloss over or sidestep Saul’s sin. He addressed it directly. He didn’t avoid the issue, but he did avoid Saul.

Do the same. Give grace, but, if need be, keep your distance. You can forgive the abusive husband without living with him. Be quick to give mercy to the immoral pastor, but be slow to give him a pulpit. Society can dispense grace and prison terms at the same time. Offer the child molester a second chance, but keep him off the playgrounds.

Forgiveness is not foolishness.

Forgiveness is, at its core, choosing to see your offender with different eyes. You don’t excuse him, endorse her, or embrace them. You just route thoughts about them through heaven. You see your enemy as God’s child and revenge as God’s job.

By the way, how can we grace-recipients do anything less? Dare we ask God for grace when we refuse to give it? This is a huge issue in Scripture. Jesus was tough on sinners who refused to forgive other sinners. In the final sum, we give grace because we’ve been given grace.


That should be enough said, right? Well, then God decided to make sure I was really getting the message. So when I opened up my blogger dashboard today, I came across the daily sermon of Pete Wilson . He pastors a church in Tennessee and I found his blog through Angie Smith. He was talking about the recent sentencing of OJ Simpson and the way we seem to love to hate this man. Sometimes, this hate stems from revenge. Sometimes it makes me feel better about myself. Sometimes focusing on their immorality allows me to ignore my own. However, Pete continues saying that the Bible is full of people who screwed up royally and yet we would be so quick to judge them if they lived today. Then he said something that hit straight to my heart.

He asked,
“Do you believe God can redeem OJ’s life? Let me ask a more probing question. Do you really WANT God to redeem OJ’s life?”

My problem isn’t really with OJ Simpson, but it was easy to take this question and insert my sister-in-law’s name instead. And my heart sunk when I admitted the true answer to myself. For some reason, I have always felt like she deserved anything she got. In my head, I determined that she had sex outside of marriage and deserved to get pregnant to show the whole world her sinfulness. I felt like she earned her difficult marriage sentence for not going into the union in a Godly manner. In fact, it gave me pleasure to know that I had saved myself for marriage and was, therefore, obviously better than her. I was proud of my perfect marriage and told myself that I deserved it because I had done things the right way. I don’t think this about ANYONE else who had sex outside of marriage or struggles through a difficult marriage for any reason. I don’t even think these thoughts about Michael when he played the counterpart in all of these deeds. Yet, I somehow justify thinking these things about Kaela because of the continuous wrongs I record her doing. I tried really hard to love her despite all of these things. I genuinely put everything aside and made every effort to be her friend unconditionally. But, when things got worse, I reclaimed my old feelings towards her and added all of her recent transgressions to the list. When the conflicts between us began, I bit my tongue not as much out of love, but out of self-righteousness, knowing that I had been called to a higher state of being by God (true), but also knowing that as long as I stayed quiet, her actions would show the world her own sin and she would only end up making herself look bad while I remained untainted.

Oh, it hurts to even put those words on paper. I want to quickly delete them before I publish this post so that I maintain my reputation. But, the truth is that it’s important to be transparent. Keeping these thoughts to myself allows me to brush them under the rug and walk away. Exposing them forces me to clean up the mess.

This is going to take awhile to clean up, though, because everything within me wants to continue to justify my feelings and claim innocence. I realize, though, that my pride is only going to fuel this fire.

After reading these two articles, I thought again of Kaela, this time in a different light. I thought of how alone she must really feel. Yeah, she chose to move to a different state and yes she does live with her parents there and even has her co-workers. But she has isolated herself from so many of her friends and family members, even pushing away the ones who could support her the most. Regardless of whether it’s her fault or not, she must feel like her world is crumbling and she has nothing to hold on to. More than that, she obviously is not seeking God or leaning on Him for support. Last time I knew, she was angry at God because she had prayed that He would make Michael a Godly husband and felt like God had not answered her prayers. Add this to a weak foundation of faith and a perspective that views everything in her world as negative, and it’s no wonder that she’d find herself questioning God’s existence, love, or will for her life. I can just see Satan whispering into her ear, feeding her lies about the people around her, about me, about Michael, mostly about God. That last one brings me nearly to tears. I only say nearly because I’m at work at have to maintain a professional demeanor. But to think of how God must look at Kaela as His daughter; how His heart must break to see her turn her back on Him as she believes that He has ignored her cries. Yet He holds out His arms just waiting for her to return.

I still don’t want to have any friendship with Kaela right now, but I don’t want her to stay where she is. I do believe that God has the ability to redeem her life and I should be praying for her in exactly that way. In fact, the Bible commands me to (Matthew 5:44). To help me do this, I am considering making it a point for Michael, Jesse, and I to pray together every time we sit down for dinner. We need to pray more in our house and dinner-time gives us an appointed time to do so. Also, since the three of us are usually together, it’ll allow us to lift up Kaela as a family. I think praying for her will keep each one of our attitudes in check so that no bitter roots build up amongst us towards her.

I know this isn’t infertility-related. In fact, I intended it to be only one aspect of everything I shared with you today. However, the extent of my writing shows the impact this is having on my heart. And, while I considered moving this to my other blog, I figured that I shared my heart with you guys first and I hope that anything I’ve said will speak to you in any place where you are also experiencing conflict.

More to come soon, I promise.



[EDIT] Pete Wilson read my blog! And he emailed me and told me that he loved it! And he wants to add me to his blogroll! WOW! Check out his blog on my blogroll @ "Without Wax".

4 comments:

I Believe in Miracles said...

I'm sorry your dealing with such conflict, but I'm glad that God is giving you a sense of peace on how to respond.
~~HUGS~~

Anonymous said...

Wow Mandy,
That's powerful and I wonder how God's going to use this, in all our lives. It makes me think about myself and the people that I feel are getting what they "deserve". I'll have to spend some time seeking God on this one, repenting.
Thank you for seeking the Lord and sharing what He shows you. You are such a blessing to me.
Love you,
Mom

Kara said...

God speaks to us in such powerful ways sometimes. At times it is so much easier to be gas to those flames instead of being water to the flames. Especially when we feel we have a right to "stoke the fire". I pray that God will continue to show you daily how to be life changing water to this fire!

kcmarie122 said...

Hey There! Thanks for leaving such a sweet comment on my blog yesterday! It really picked up my spirits!

I'm sorry you are in such an awful position with your SIL. That is really cool that you got a special message from God though. He does that to me often and it still amazes me everytime.

I think when I've been in situations where someone is being hateful or mean, that just keeping calm and having a loving attitude does wonders. Maybe not for the other person, but for me. Whenever I try and get back at the person (even if I'm completely justified), I always feel worse. When I can muster the strength (God willing) to respond in love I feel so much more at peace.

You definitely seem on the right track to that so I hope you are able to find some peace in the situation soon! I'm so sorry it is difficult though!

((Hugs))