Blog: Thrive

Only God Can Create Life: Infertility

God is funny. In April of 2018, we were not planning to start our family, but when the Infertility-300x200condom broke and the thought that we could be pregnant came to mind, we decided to build our family.  Well months went by with no pregnancy. I went to my doctor and she suggested that I go to an infertility specialist. The doctor we chose to see was an hour away from us. We picked that center because it was known for excellent service and staff that care.

For anyone who has not experienced this journey, it is a lot. A lot of doctor visits, a lot of blood being drawn, a lot of medicine, a lot of tests, and a lot of money. We decided to do IUI (artificial insemination). Robby and I did pray and talked about IVF (in vitro fertilization), but we did not have peace with that or was comfortable with that procedure.

After about two weeks of daily injections, the doctor told me to take the trigger shot and two days after that I would have the procedure. February 5th was the day. I remember being so hopeful.  After the procedure, all I could do was wait and hope. Well on February 15th I found out that I was not pregnant. When I realized this, all I could do was say over and over in my head “It is well with my soul.” It was like I was wishing into existence that feeling of it being well, but I was not. The other thought that came to mind was, I have to tell my husband. This broke my heart. It was going to hurt and be hard to give him the news. When I saw him I told him I got my period. So many emotions flooded us after saying and hearing those words. Needless to say we cried; we cried a lot. We mourned the lost of hope we had. We decided to do only one cycle of treatment. We didn’t want to go through this again.

It has been some time since the news and we are well. We know God has children for us. I have always had a deep desire to adopt and we are going through the process for foster care adoption. It is God’s will, in His control of how we are to create our family.

This journey, this trial and test, has taught me something that if I am honest I did not really know. I had the head knowledge, but not the heart knowledge that shows up in everyday life. I learned that He is God and I am not. Yes, I learned that I am not God and that I can’t create life or will it; only God can. I struggle with leaning on my own knowledge and understanding. As an educator and researcher coupled with my desire to control (or as I think of it at times: keeping things in order) it is humbling to know that I cannot fix anything. I can’t create things as I wish. Things happen only under the control of God and as He wills. There is nothing I can do to have one of my desires manifest. This experience has humbled me and has brought me closer to God. To a place where I know who I am and understand that in everything I long for and in everything in life, it is only Him that can create and provide.

I find myself in a freeing place of trust with my Lord, in a place of hopeful peace. There is so much more to this story, that I will share another time. This is not the end to my story. God has and is working this for my good. Looking forward to sharing the next chapter after the Lord writes it.

 

Love & Forgiveness

1 Corinthians 13:4-6 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” The other day I was thinking about love and what it is. As Christians, we have a biblical understanding of love and with that said we turn to 1 Corinthians 13 where it gives us a clear definition and states what love is and what love is not. Verse 5 says that love keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not hold grudges or condemns; it forgives.

Forgiveness is the action or process of forgiving. To forgive means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. Forgiveness is a verb which means it is an action. Forgiveness is intentional and of free will where we change our heart and feelings towards the person who offended us and the hurtful emotions that developed during the offense. When one forgives, the offense no longer blocks connection, community, or intimacy in the relationship. This is why the Bible states: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you” (Matthew 6:14).

Because of God’s great love, He forgave us through Jesus Christ. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And because of this we are able to be in an intimate relationship with Him.

IMG_1376Forgiveness and keeping no records of wrongs is a struggle. There are relationships in my life that has not grown because I am holding on to the offense, the pain, and fear. Who convicts me most of this sin in my heart, is my cute adorable blessing; my puppy Hannanese. She is a small toy dog. If I am not careful and mindful of where she is, I can step on her and sad to say I have stepped on her by accident a couple of times. My heart hurts so much when I hear her squeal in pain. When this happens I find myself dropping to the floor, saying sorry, and checking her out to make sure she is OK. The humbling thing is that right after I hurt her, Hannanese doesn’t hold it against me. She immediately turns on her belly asking for belly rubs, then jumps up and runs around wanting me to play with her. After hurting her, she still wants to be with me, she still  wants to play with me, and she still wants to give me kisses. Hannanese keeps no record of my wrongs, no record of the pain I caused her. Her forgiveness allows us to still connect, to build a relationship, and have fun.

Needless to say, God is using my little one to remind me to forgive quickly, to model forgiveness, and to convict me to love like Christ. Who do you need to forgive and love? Pray that God heals the hurt and fear you are holding on to that hinders your forgiveness.

Being Let Go

So about a year ago in November, I was laid off from my job. I worked at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation treatment center. I worked as their outreach and ministry coordinator. In that role I would represent the center at different events, on community task forces, and at conferences. Losing my job at the time was not a positive thing. I remember the emotions I had at that fact I would have to tell my husband. However, when my supervisor told me that I was being let go, it was well with my soul.  Honestly I knew that God will provide and that there was purpose in this. I didn’t know what it was or the blessing it led me to.

On November 1st, the blessing was revealed and I am thankful that I was let go from that center because it allowed and positioned me to support more my husband’s dream, his vision to help people Walk It Out in recovery and sobriety through Walk It Out Recovery Services. November 1st was the Council on Chemical Abuse Annual Conference. Last year I represented the treatment center I was working for. This year I was able to represent my husband’s business. My husband and I was able to talk to so many people to let them know about the recovery support services we provide. If I was still working at that treatment center I would have been at the conference representing and promoting them, instead of Walk It Out Recovery Services.

Sometimes we are moved out of places so we can move into something better.

Click here to see some pictures of my husband and I at the conference.

The Company You Keep

IMG_0501Proverbs 12:26 “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.”

How do we identify someone who is a friend? A friend will love you. Proverbs 17:17 says “a friend loveth at all times…” So what does it mean to love? Well 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 states: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

A friend will encourage you to and walk with you in the Way of the Lord. Proverbs 27:17 “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” A friend adds to your life, does not tear you down, or distracts you from the purpose and call God has given you.

Every so often, I pause and take time to think about who I am friends with, who I am connecting with, who I am allowing to invest in my life. I take this time to evaluate if certain people should be active in my life. There are times when we need to let people go or at least lay them aside for a time. This can be a hard thing to do, but Proverbs 12:20 says “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” Satan wants to kill, steal, and destroy. John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Your enemy want to kill your hope, steal your dreams, and destroy your life and he will use people on earth to do it. I want to encourage your to be wise, take courage, and let go of toxic people who call themselves your friends, but are not. Jesus comes to give you a full life, so take care of the life He gave you and connect with those who love you.

There Is Hope for The Hopeless

Hello Everyone! It’s been a while since I last wrote. You haven’t heard from me because I have been struggling. I was feeling hopeless about the situation I am in. My Pastor would always say “don’t entertain the enemy.” Satan and his demons are always on the attack to get you away from focusing on and staying strong in the Lord. When disappointment hit, I failed to view my circumstances from God’s point of view. Instead of standing firm on God’s Word, I began to dwell on negative doubtful thoughts. These words of discouragement became a meditation in my heart, which led to so many emotions like anger and depression.  Those thoughts led me to feeling hopeless.

What got me out if this negative space, is what prevents one from getting into that mess; that is the Word of God. I became so hopeless, so tired, that I couldn’t move. This emotional exhaustion put me in the perfect place to be still, in a place where all I could do is just listen to The Word from God. The Word was there the whole time. I was so caught up in my own feelings and my own understanding of how to deal with the problem I didn’t have ears to hear. God spoke The Truth about what is going on and reminded me that I need to keep my armor on (Read Ephesians 6:10-18).

I am still in the same situation, the same place of testing. I am still going through this trial. Yet what I clearly see, know, and understand is the purpose of this process before I get my breakthrough. Lord thank you for reminding me that during this journey I need to stay focused and not lose hope or heart. Your Word and promises are true and to not let my current circumstances cause me to think otherwise.

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Family Life Lessons

I am so excited!!! Next week my husband and I will be going to our 4th Weekend To Remember. This is a marriage conference hosted by Family Life. Here is the link for more information (https://www.familylife.com/weekend-to-remember).

I am excited because every year God has given me revelation for my marriage. Below is what I learned at Weekend To Remember.

Year 1: Everything I say or do will bring us closer to each other in oneness or push us towards isolation. Satan wants us to feel alone so we can’t be one. When isolation happens we are divided. Never forget that you a Team.

Year 2: Intimacy in marriage is spelled IN-TO-ME-YOU-SEE. Intimacy is so much deeper; more than physical. Do not allow fear to prevent you from being honest and sharing what is on your heart. The avoidance of conflict hinders true in-to-me-you-see. Working through the conflict will draw us closer in oneness.

Year 3: Practice constantly grace and be very quick to forgive so negativity and hopeless doesn’t set in, because when that happens isolation takes place.

Can’t wait to see what I learn this year!

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Don’t Be Fooled

Today is April Fool’s Day. “April Fools’ Day (sometimes called All Fools’ Day) is an annual celebration in some European and Western countries commemorated on April 1 by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. The jokes and their victims are called April Fools. People playing April Fool jokes often expose their prank by shouting ‘April Fool’ at the unfortunate victim(s).” – Wikipedia

A prayer and meditation that is always on my mind is “Lord, let me not be deceived by this world. Let my mind and heart, rest and stand on Your Truth alone. Let me not be fooled.” There is so much information that is constantly put in front of us. Fake news consumes our media outlets and screens. How are we able to recognize what is true and what are lies? We do that by keeping ourselves rooted in The Word, that is the Holy Bible. We are not led astray when we walk in The Spirit, the Holy Spirit as our only guide. 

The Word is so important for us to know to avoid deception. Review these scriptures and let them fill your mind and heart. Remember to always reject foolishness and focus on The Lord. 

A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:5-7

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. – Proverbs 12:15

A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. – Proverbs 18:2

The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. – Psalms 53:1