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

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lemons, Burdens, and Fire. Oh My!

My apologies to Jen that it has taken me so long to respond to this award. She gave me The Lemon Award:


The Lemon Award is given to bloggers who "have an attitude of caring - of turning life’s lemons into lemonade. Jen says they "always have something encouraging to say and have a positive attitude in this unfair world we call infertility".

Jen awarded me for "staying positive with all that is going on in life", and for being "a great encourager" to her.

I really cannot tell you how much this award means to me. It's far greater than receiving a compliment or something nifty to post on my blog that shows that people like me. It is an affirmation to me that I am exactly where God wants me to be.

I cannot tell you guys how much I have struggled through my infertility. It only took a few months for me to begin to think that something was wrong with me. Of course, back then, I had nothing more to go on than a gut-intuition, which other people don't really take too seriously. I would spend hours curled up in my bed with my hands on my tummy, imagining it growing, thinking about wearing maternity clothes, coming up with names for each of our children, planning ways that I would reveal the good news to everyone, contemplating how I would decorate their nursery, and dreaming about our lives. I would calculate the best possible day to take a pregnancy test because I couldn't imagine waiting for my period to actually start. I would get my hopes up so high just before taking a pregnancy test that only made my heart sink. Often, I'd crawl back into bed and sob uncontrollably. More and more, these tears became filled with anger as I began to blame God for withholding such a wonderful gift for me. In the midst of it, I'd try to make myself feel better, telling myself that maybe I had tested too early or maybe I had miscalculated the date my period should start. So I'd test again a few days later or just wait. Every ounce of hope ALWAYS ending in extreme disappointment a few days later. I cried. I screamed. I withdrew. I asked questions. And I made up my own answers. Nothing could really express how much my heart was hurting, though. I felt that God had given me this desire to be a mother. I felt that He had inspired Jesse to be ready at that particular time as well. I felt that we had a fantastic marriage and were seeking God and I could not come up with a single reason as to why God was not answering our prayers. Being surrounded by more than 20 other people who were pregnant and having babies at the same time only compounded my pain.

Yet, God began to work in me. He first showed me how great and powerful He really is. Then He showed me the heartbreaking testimony of Angie Smith. And as my heart went out to her as she went through something I couldn't even imagine, He showed me the powerful witness her story was. How her pain was changing the world because He was working through it. And, I realized that no matter how difficult the situation was to go through, that if it meant being a testimony to others and bringing me into a closer relationship with Him, then it was worth it all. That was hard to say aloud. I didn't want to accept any amount of heartache. I didn't want any more heartache than what I was already feeling. But I had to accept that God knew what was best for me.


I came across this picture the other day and I realized that this perfectly describes where I am now. And then, just after I found that picture, I came across this one:

I think this is the most beautiful portrayal of Mary and Jesus that I have ever seen. I think it's partly because of how real the baby looks, emphasizing to me that Jesus really did step off of the throne of Heaven and into the form of a helpless, innocent infant. And then, I think the picture is even more beautiful when I look at Mary holding him close to her as a new mother. The picture has kind of a darker quality to it and Mary doesn't look overly thrilled. I think this reveals a bit of the difficult task that she was partaking in.

As I gazed at this picture, I thought about how Mary accepted this task from God, knowing full well that it could cost her her life. She knew that she could be divorced and, therefore, outcast from her society. She knew that she could be publicly stoned for her "sin" as everyone would believe that she had a pre-marital sex. And, I think that as her belly began to grow and she approached the time to give birth, she couldn't help but realize that she was bearing the Son of God. What a huge task to undertake! I can only imagine the questions that arose in her mind as she wondered how she could possibly raise this child in the way He should go. How would she possibly be able to teach Him what He needed to know when He had created Heaven and Earth? I'm sure she felt inadequate to the core.

And then I realized that just as God called Mary to bear this particular burden, so He also calls me to a carry my particular load. It just so happens that mine is the absolute, total opposite of her's, but it is a great task nonetheless.

I don't believe that God necessarily appoints barrenness on someone, but I do believe that when He allows us to go through it, it is because He is calling us to a bigger purpose. And, now I can see the ministry that God is opening up for me because of my infertility. Most of you I never would've met had I not been going through the same thing you are. And infertility would be something that I skimmed over and ignorantly passed by like most of the population does. Experiencing this myself has softened my heart to the pain that millions of people suffer through everyday. I am finding that not only do they help me to process my own emotions and questions, but provide opportunities for me to share my heart for God and grow with them through this process.

I received an email from a new friend the other day who is just a year older than me and has only been trying to conceive for 2 months more than I have. We actually began our cycles on the exact same day this month, both began Clomid the same day, are both originally Southern girls, and both have been diagnosed with "unexplained infertility". She asked me how I reconcile my fertility treatments with my faith in God, giving Him control over it all. After I answered her and explained how I've come to see God in this process, she shared with me how she has spent the past 15 months trying to do it on her own. She was so lost and confused, emotionally all over the place. And after I shared my testimony with her, she suddenly began to see it all very differently. She thanked me for sharing, saying that she believed God had brought her to me. I believe it too, and I was overwhelmed by God's grace to allow me to be part of changing someone's life. It was also at the same time in which I received this award from Jen. When I shared all of this with Jesse, he remarked how difficult the journey has been so far. But he added that if we had a baby by now, I wouldn't have been able to share with that girl or each of you each week- the ministry I'd be missing out on!

It's a refining fire. And fire burns. But just as a metal worker stirs his vat of silver, heating it up so that the impurities rise to the top, scooping them out, and knowing that he is done when he sees his own reflection, so God is working in me. And as the temperature rises, the bits of me that don't reflect Him are brought out and God works on removing them; each time allowing me to resemble Him a little bit more.

My heart still aches at times. Ask me how I feel in a week when I've found out if I'm pregnant or not. Fear still arises in me when I think about being in this same place of childlessness NEXT Christmas. I still want more than anything to hold my child in my arms and share that blessing with my husband who I love so dearly. But, when I recognize the calling that God is bringing me to, I know I can make it through one more day... and then one more after that.

~Mandy

5 comments:

Jim and April said...

thanks for that quote about God's best...i saved that to my computer! Hope you dont mind! thanks for showing us that pic of mary and jesus too...you know...i would love to sit down with her one day in eternity and ask how she felt and all that...because so many times I know at least I look at her and many of the people back then as different than I but they were humans just like me!

kcmarie122 said...

Really beautiful post! Thanks for writing it. I have felt this way many times too. I just wish I could STAY feeling that way all the time.

But thanks for being a light for me today too! It is definitely a ministry and you are definitely making a difference!

The Baker's said...

Thank you so much for your testimony and sharing your heart as you are using it as a way to ministry to others that are struggling.
But when you said that those of us that are going through infertility God has a bigger better plan for us, brought tears to my eyes when I read that. You have been a blessing to me with your encouraging words and I am glad that I have gotten to know you, I feel that it was in Gods plan for all of us to meet here in blogger world for a reason to encourage and witness to each other as we wait for Gods plan for us to be put into play as mommies.
You are so very welcome and desiring of the award.
Hugs.

RDgirl said...

Hi - I happened upon your blog today. What you wrote is absolutely beautiful and resonnates with me so much! Thank you for sharing and for being genuine and real in your faith.

Melody said...

*hugs* What a beautiful testimony of God's faithfullness.