First procedure DONE

On Monday, after about 6 hours at the doctor’s office, our first fertility procedure was completed.  The procedure was actually a minor surgery, so Josh and I are both at home this week for recovery, getting much needed rest, as well as lots of time to take care of things that need to get done (like laundry & homework).

As for the results of the procedure, the doctor said that the surgery went well and all looks good.  But the actual effectiveness cannot be determined for many months (usually 9).  We’ll continue to return for testing every 3 months or so to watch for progress.  Until then, there’s no more steps we can take.  If, in 9 months, the doc says the surgery worked, then we’ll move on with more fertility treatments; if the surgery did not work, then there will be no need to move forward except in adopting a child.

Thank you, everyone, for your prayers and words of encouragement.

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Beyond the Testing

I believe that transparency and sharing life experiences helps ease the journey, especially when the road we’re on is bumpy and painful.  In writing about my experiences, I am not trying to solicit sympathy or attention.  Rather, writing can be therapeutic, and as one journalist notes in his article on “Writing for therapy”

beasts … always seem tamer on paper than in the mind

However, I do always appreciate your comments and have no problem answering your questions.

With that said, I will now share with you an experience that Josh and I are encountering in our life journey.

In May, Josh and I will be married for 10 years.  For the majority of those years we have not taken preventative measures to having children…the children just never came along.  Each year my doctor kindly discussed fertility testing; and each year I kindly refused.  I was just not ready to be labeled the dreaded “I” word.  Not that I couldn’t handle the label, but more because I believe in a really big God who has the perfect timing for all things.   In having “Infertile” on my files, I felt it added a bit of distrust to the plans God has for me.  (I understand this is hard to comprehend; I’ve not done a good job of explaining.  Perhaps I’ll try to explain better in a different post later on).

Finally, last year, Josh and I came to the decision that it was time to do some testing.  I had finally come to peace with the label “Infertile”…because no matter what humanity labels me, my God is still Big & still has His perfect plan for me.   The testing began last January and it was just as the doctors expected.   INFERTILE.

If it was completely up to me, I would share with you every minute detail of our situation.  But, Josh is not yet so willing to just lay everything out at our doorstep for the world to read, so I am being sensitive to keep some details private.  Infertility is not just a man or woman thing, but an experience that both husband and wife go through together, and I have to keep Josh’s feelings in mind when I write about our experiences.

Tomorrow, we move beyond the testing and actually start infertility treatment.  (Again, no specific details of what we’re doing…that may come later).  But, it will be painful, exhausting, and full of hope.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear    ~Psalm 41:1-2a

Out to save their souls

Last Wednesday morning on the radio, I heard a clip of a man witnessing to another man on the street.  His conversation starter stems from “The Way of the Master” program by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron.  Basically, the idea is to get the person you’re witnessing to to admit he/she is a sinner.  There are different ways of doing this, but one of the most popular is to ask him if he thinks he’s a good person; he’ll almost always say yes.  Then, have him name the 10 Commandments and ask him if he’s ever lied, stolen, or dishonored father or mother;  he’ll almost always say yes.  

“AHA.  So you’re a lying, thieving, dishonoring/disrespectful person!  I’ll ask you again…are you a good person?”

From there the one witnessing can go into how we all are sinners…and then proceed into Jesus’s Salvation message. (There are many aspects to this way of witnessing that I like and some things I don’t; but I don’t want to get into that today).

Now, to the point…in the radio clip, the one being witnessed to was not interested in anything about God.  He basically said that he didn’t really care about his eternal state, that if he goes to hell, then he goes to hell.  Why? (here’s the kicker for me)…because since he’s been “broke“, he doesn’t care about what happens after he dies (my words, same idea).  He repeatedly used that phrase “since I’ve been broke” in a very literal sense…he is having money issues.

I was screaming at the radio, “DO YOU HEAR HIM?  STOP THINKING ABOUT YOUR NEXT QUESTION AND LISTEN!”  It was obvious that the man was going through some very difficult life situations, and his physical needs hardened him from anything spiritual.

Most often there is a deeper reason why people are turned off from accepting of Christ as their savior.  We, as Christians, need to LISTEN to people.  ASK QUESTIONS to get to the heart of the matter.  And SHOW TRUE CONCERN & COMPASSION about their life circumstances.  It is then, once someone knows you really care, that they’ll be open to listening to what you have to share.

That’s how people work…often they won’t listen to spiritual issues until they believe you sincerely care about them in the present, in the physical, and in relationship.

Jesus cares about the whole person…not just his eternal salvation(even though that is the most important).   Throughout scripture, Jesus consistently takes care of the physical and emotional needs of the people around him – He listened to them…and then the Spiritual needs were addressed.

Since the conversation was confined to radio timelines, the entire interview was not aired, so I don’t really know what happened once the audio recorder was shut off.  I truly hope and pray that the man witnessing reached out more.

But it was a good reminder of James 1:19, My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

When I taught Middle School, my eyes were opened to the extremely difficult lives that many of my students lived.   The majority of them had family members who were active in gangs, violence, and drugs.  Although all their stories were difficult to hear, one particular story horrified me more than the rest.  A young girl of 13 had been repeatedly prostituted out by her mother…all for a few extra bucks.  The good news in this case was that the horrible acts were discovered and the girl was rescued.

But for thousands upon thousands of other girls – and boys, men, and women – rescue never comes.   They are held captive by Human Trafficking… Modern Day Slavery.  Wikipedia defines Human Trafficking as “the practice of people being tricked,lured, coerced or otherwise removed from their home or country, and then compelled to work with no or low payment or on terms which are highly exploitative.”  It can include (but is not limited to) prostitution, child pornography, domestice servitude, juvenile soldiers, and forced labor.

It is the fastest growing crime, not just worldwide, but in the USA.   An estimated 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked annually in the U.S alone and the number of US citizens trafficked within the country is even higher. Not including the estimated 200,000 American children at high risk for trafficking into the sex industry each year. (facts taken from www.polarisproject.org)

Just as Christians are called by Jesus take care of the orphans, the hungry, and the widowed, we are also to fight for those enslaved by human trafficking.  But how? 

  1. Pray for them.  God knows where they are, but we need to intercede on their behalf.
  2. Get involved.  Just type in “Human Trafficking organizations” into google and you’ll get over 6,250,000 websites that can help you get involved.  If you want to keep it faith-based, there are many Christian organizations fighting to stop these crimes.
  3. Make others aware.  Talk about it.  Blog about it.  Speak for those who can’t speak…

A Doctor’s Praise

It all started a few years ago.  At first it was just an occasional tummy ache after eating.  But the pain began to increase and occur more often.  There were times, such as Christmas Day 2007, when, after eating the scrumptious steak, potato, and veggie dinner I was in such excrutiating pain that I spent the Christmas afternoon curled in a fetal position on the couch.  Despite my friends and family’s pleas, I refused to go to the doctor, perhaps out of fear or hope that it would just go away.

However, I could no longer ignore my ailment after what happened May 21, 2009.  Josh and I had just celebrated our 9th anniversary with dinner at Abuelos, a little shopping, and ice cream – all frequent staples in our life.  Just as I flopped into bed, it hit me…actually it was more like a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the gut.  The grueling pain filled my entire body.  Heartbeats sped up, breathing became difficult, and naseau ensued.  Even the sound of my sweet husband (who was a bit panicky and scared)  caused pain.  It was scary.  Very scary.  And although I still refused to be taken to the hospital that night, I did promise to finally go to the doctor. (I vaguely wrote about this in a few previous blogs that you read by clicking HERE and HERE.)

Over the last 6 months I’ve been poked, prodded, anesthetized, examined, and cross-examined by one of the best GI doctors in Dallas.  His diagnosis:  (drum roll please) “I DON’T KNOW.”  Every test and theory came back negative…there was no physical reason for my ailments.  So, he put me on an OTC drug just to see how my body would react…and then would determine how to proceed.

Here’s where “Hallelujah” comes into the story.  Today I had the follow-up appointment.  After friendly greetings, Dr. Rogoff tenderly asked, “How are you feeling?”  In his voice I sensed a genuine concern, but his eyes seemed almost sad, as if he expected a bad prognosis.  But, I smiled and said, “I feel GREAT!  Since being on the medicine my symptoms have practically disappeared.”

Dr. Rogoff, after his initial response of “really?”, began to laugh.  Then He said something that I did not expect to hear from my doctor… “HALLELUJAH”.  Dr. Rogoff’s first impulse was not to put focus on his wise medicine recommendation or on the wonders of the medicine itself, but to put focus on GOD!

Hallelujah!  Praise ye Jehovah!  Praise ye the LORD!

It was God, wasn’t it?  It was God who gave me strength to endure the pain for years.  It was God who walked with me through the dark times.  It was God who guided me to Dr. Rogoff, and God who gave him the intelligence and wisdom to treat my sickness.  It was God who protected me from worse diseases.  It was God…and still is God who deserves my praise FIRST.

1Praise the LORD. (Hallelujah)
I will extol the LORD with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

2 Great are the works of the LORD;
they are pondered by all who delight in them
.

3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.

4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and compassionate.

5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.

6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.

7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.

8 They are steadfast for ever and ever,
done in faithfulness and uprightness.

9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.

~Psalm 111 (emphasis mine)

Here I go again

As many people do at the beginning of each year, i’ve set New Year’s resolutions goals.  One of them you’re looking at…this blog.  It has been neglected for quite a while; but it’s time to jump back on the writing treadmill, get my mind in shape and sweat out all the thoughts that swish around in my brain.

One of the biggest reasons for not writing is that I had lost my focus/purpose of the blog.  I originally started this site as a way to share my mission experience (which you can still read by going back into the archives).    When Josh and I came back from Ukraine, I found it difficult to write because 1) I felt my life was now boring and uneventful, especially compared to all my experiences as a missionary and 2) the amount of suffering that I felt upon my return to Texas was too much to bear.  Writing on this blog, a blog meant for mission stories, did nothing but remind me of my “failures”.  My entries lost their flavor and my motivation disappeared.

But I’m back…with a changed heart, renewed motivation, and different goals.

As for the blog, my goal is to share my life journey … the good and the bad…all from the perspective as a woman trying to serve the Lord.  Every situation I encounter is from God; a chance to experience Him more or to learn wisdom from Him. God is still working in me; I’ve yet to figure it all out, but I do believe that God continually stretches, encourages, teaches, and disciplines me every day.  By writing my stories, it forces me to really take a step back, think through my encounters, and try to see what exactly it is that God is doing.  And, I hope, that somewhere along the way, my stories can encourage and challenge others in their own relationship with Christ.

So, get ready…Journey 2010 has begun.