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Archive for March, 2010

I have been thinking about a specific message of Joyce Meyer a lot lately (I first heard about it about 2 years ago).  It has changed my life a lot and I have seen some big differences in my life since then.  Last night when I watched Joyce’s program “Enjoying everyday life”, she was talking about change and she used the same scripture again.  I thought I share it with you and tell you how it’s impacted my life:

Luke 18:27 (NIV):  27 Jesus replied: What is impossible with men is possible with God.”

Joyce says that one day when she was meditating on this verse she was suddenly struck with the realization that the reverse is also true:  It is time to do what I can do, and just leave the part that I cannot do up to God.  God has no obligation to do what we can do ourselves. 

The first time I saw that message it was applied to health.  Joyce said that if you have health problems you should take care of your body – we cannot expect God to heal us if we are not doing our part.  You should start eating healthily and exercise regularly.  She said that we should stop complaining about what we can’t do and at least start doing what we can do.   God does not bless laziness, procrastination or passivity.  This message is of course not only applicable to health, but is applicable to anything in your life that needs change or anywhere where you feel you need a miracle.

The first thing that came to mind was my fertility problems.   I decided that I was going to watch what I was putting into my mouth and I joined a gym.  I cut out sugar almost completely, I stopped drinking all fizzy drinks (that was hard – I’m sure I was addicted), I started reading labels and tried to avoid any food with any artificial additives in it, I tried to avoid greasy foods as much as possible and I started to eat more natural and fresh foods and increased especially vegetables in our diet.  It was also spurred on by the fact that my DH has had IBS (or that’s the official diagnosis due to the fact that the doctors and a professor cannot find anything else) for the past +/-15 years.  We even went gluten free and lactose free for a while – but that was only to help DH.  I started to exercise 3-5 times a week, starting at first with 30 minutes per day and increasing it to 45 minutes and now recently I’m trying to do 60 minutes.  In the mean time I have also cut out coffee and I am drinking a lot more water.

At that stage the only other health problem I was really aware of was a sciatic nerve pinching, and causing (I must say extreme) pain in my lower back and down my right leg.  I was unable to sit for longer than 10 minutes, standing was a little better but not much and lying down was the best position to be in, but off course it’s impossible from day to day, especially if you take into account that I was in pain for about 11 months.  I went to see a chiropractor and the combination of her treatments, together with the stretches she gave me and the exercise I was getting helped to get rid of the pain.  But it was a slow process, and one day many months later I realised I was pain free.  Please note that I still have to do my stretches regularly otherwise the sciatica is aggravated again – but the last time I had treatment for it was 9 months ago.

I reflected back and suddenly I noticed that other problems I’ve regularly had, have also been sorted out.  I used to get vaginal infections about 12 times a year (almost every cycle, sometimes twice in one cycle),  I also got UTI infections regularly but about 4-5 times per year, I lived with a headache almost every day and I was almost always very constipated (TMI I know, sorry!).  I realized that I haven’t had a cold or flu in a very long time and that I’ve been really healthy since I changed my lifestyle. 

The last time I saw my FS (about 3 weeks ago) I was not expecting good news… We had just heard that our FET did not work and to be honest the embryo’s did not look good on ET day.  The doctor did not say it in so many words, but I could see it in his and the sister’s eyes.  I had nine frozen embryo’s of which almost all were at 8 cells on day 3 when they were frozen.  When they defrosted them only 2 survived the thaw, both were 3 cells and one was very fragmented.  Later I was told they lost too many cells, and that was not good.  I was convinced that we should give up hope and stop with treatments altogether.  I was only there to get closure, but then my FS dropped a bomb I did not expect:

He said that he does not think I should give up with IVF.  He said that my body’s response to the medication and our embryo’s do not look like a 39 year old women’s usually look like, and that physically I’m much younger than my actual years.  Our embryos did not freeze well, so he suggested a low dose IVF in future (also due to the fact that I very easily get polyps from the estrogen in the medication).  He said that he can definitely see a baby in my future, he just cannot see when.  He is sure that I will get pregnant!  He even said I can afford to take some time off and think about it.  Can you believe that?  At 39?  I believe my physical health had a lot to do with it, two years of eating and drinking healthily and exercising regularly.  I believe I got a miracle after all!

The closing point that Joyce made was that if you bring your side and do what you can do, then God will do what you cannot do and He might bring that miracle in your live.  God might just give you double for your trouble!  Isaiah 61:7 (NIV):   7Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.”  Just look at Job – he lost everything, his family, all his possessions and his health, but in the end God gave him double of what he had before.  Job 42:10 (NIV):   10 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before.”

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Have you ever wondered whether you are being punished for something and that that is the reason you are infertile?  For many years I thought I was being punished and I wracked my brain to find out what sin could have caused it.  I was constantly begging for forgiveness for my sins, but still no pregnancy, no baby…..

There is nothing wrong with confessing sins, and sometimes bad things can happen as a result of sin.   I am also certainly not without sin either, but what I’m trying to say is that I am very conscious of sin in my life and I try to confess it as soon as I realize I am doing it.  I also realized that we all have sin in our lives, yet not everyone is infertile.  It was just obvious that even though I confess my sins regularly and I try not to sin at all (but I must confess I’m not too successful in that area), I was still not pregnant.  Sin was also not the only aspect in my life that I tried to rectify simultaneously, but I’ll get into the other areas in the other blog entries that I’m planning to write.

John 9:1-3(NIV):  “1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth.    2 His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?    3 Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.

I must have read this before, but one morning while I was doing Bible study I suddenly saw the words: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus”.  Suddenly I realized that I might not be infertile due to something I, or one of my forefathers did wrong.  Maybe God also wants to display His Power and Might through my life? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Luke 1:5-7 (NIV):  5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.    6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.    7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well on in years.

It’s the same with the story of Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth.  It says that they were both “upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly”.  That means that their infertility was not due to sin in their lives.  It was surely a miracle for Elizabeth to get pregnant at her advanced age, and God had an awesome plan for their child:

Luke 1:14-17 (NIV):  14 He will be a joy and delight to you and many will rejoice because of his birth,    15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth.     16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God.    17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous— to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

So I guess the lesson I have learnt from this is that:  it might not be due to sin that I haven’t been able to get pregnant yet.    Maybe He also wants to show what a miracle it would be for me to get pregnant, to such an extent that nobody would be able to dispute it.

I must just trust in Him and keep my eyes on Jesus….

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Peter walks on water:

I would like to continue with the theme of “Keeping my eyes on Jesus” today.

Matt 14: 29-31(NIV): 29 Come, he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus.    30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me!    31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith, he said, why did you doubt?

My reference Bible says:  “Peter was not trying to test Jesus by climbing out of the boat; he was acting in true faith.  God revealed his might in an unusual way due to Peter’s impulsive request.  Peter started to sink when he was more worried about the wind and the big waves than to trust Jesus.  He realised what he was doing and his faith waivered.   We might not physically walk on water, but we all have similar situations in our life.  If we focus on the big waves and problems in our life, when we stop looking to Jesus and stop trusting in Him, then we will also get despondent and sink.  Keep your eyes on Jesus at all times, let Him give you strength and do not focus on your own weaknesses or problems.  God will then fortify and purify your faith, in the midst of the difficult circumstances.

Even though we start off with good intentions, our faith can still waiver.  It does not necessary mean that we have failed.  When Peter’s faith waivered He grabbed on to Jesus, the only One who was able to save him.  He cried for help, even though he was scared. When we are worried about the problems in our life, and we sometimes wonder whether Christ is near and able to help, we must remember that He is the only one that can help us. “

At the moment I’m in the boat wondering whether I should get out in faith and do another IVF.  We have about a week to decide whether we are going ahead with it next month.  From my previous cycles I know that I always started out in faith that it’s going to work, but somewhere along the process my faith also waivered like Peter’s.  I also cried out to the Lord to help me – and He did help me, but unfortunately not the way I hoped (a BFP).  He helped me by consoling me in my grief, He gave me the strength to get up again and He gave me the courage to try again.

I think I need to study faith more.  I did find a scripture that to me is the definition of faith:  Hebrews 11:1 (NIV): 1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

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Introduction:

Lately I have noticed that I seem to come across the same messages again and again and from different sources.  They have been such a great comfort to me that I want to share them with anyone who is also in need of comfort. I’ll also share some stories of my life, and our problems with infertility. They will not be in any specific order of importance.  Please note that almost none of these messages are my own personal thoughts – it had to be explained to me by someone else.  I’ll mention the source of the messages where possible.  

I’ll start with the inspiration for my Blog title:

Hebrews 11:35- 12:1-3 (NIV): 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.    36 Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison.    37 They were stoned; they were sawn in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and ill-treated—     38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”

 “1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.    2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.    3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

I heard this message for the first time about 9 months ago.  Our preacher at church was preaching about it and used some of the kids to bring home the point of the message.  She gave each child a dowel stick and asked them to try and balance it vertically on their hands.  First they had to keep their eyes on their hands.  They weren’t able to balance it for longer than a second.  Then they had to balance it vertically again, but this time they had to keep their eyes on the top of the stick.  They were much more successful – they were able to balance it for much longer. 

The rest of the day I kept thinking about the message I heard earlier, but I was feeling very despondent.  I was questioning whether we were wasting our time and money on fertility treatments.  I had a lot of questions like:  Why me?  Will I ever have children, and if so – when?  Must I just give up hope and try to accept my life as it is? Haven’t I waited long enough already? Am I punished for something I did? I certainly felt like I was not ever going to get pregnant on my own, and seriously doubted that my fertility specialist would be able to help me. 

I have learnt by then that if I am despondent or depressed I must seek out messages from God, by either listening to Gospel music, teaching CD’s, watching gospel messages on TV or DVD’s or even searching the internet.  I came across a Christian support site for infertility and I got the same message again, for the second time that day.  I looked up the scriptures in my reference Bible (Die Bybel in Praktyk) and it was explained so well. 

I’ll try to translate it:  “There are people who think that trials and tribulations are the exception in a Christian’s life.  When they have trouble in their life they suddenly want to know why them and not somebody else.  They will feel that God has abandoned them, that He doesn’t care about them, or that He is not as reliable as they thought.  Believers must never forget that we live in a broken and evil world, one where there is suffering and even Christians have to suffer.  In the midst of all of this, God is still in control.  He allows some Christians to be martyred for their faith, and some will survive in spite of their prosecution.  You must not ask:  “Why is it happening to me?”, but rather be surprised when you are not suffering.    Not everyone share the same values, and therefore they might not understand why you act the way you act.  The big comfort here is that Jesus also suffered.  He understands your worries, your weaknesses and disappointments. He promised to never abandon you (Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV): 18 Then Jesus came to them and said: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,    20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”)  He is the One who will intercede for us (Hebrews 7:24-25 (NIV): 24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.    25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”) So if you should suffer or have trouble, trust in God, continue to do what He wants you to do in spite of all your problems.”

I learnt that if I keep my eyes on Jesus, the questions don’t matter.  He will help me according to His original plan for me, and that is all that matters.  He loves me; He will always be by my side but especially in the difficult times.  He knows my needs so much better than I know them myself.  He will comfort me and give me strength to go on, should I never have any children, but not only then – also when I face all the other challenges that I will have to face throughout the rest of my life. 

I must just keep my eyes on Jesus and trust in Him….

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