John 8:11 Jesus Doesn’t Condemn Me So I Need To Stop Condemning Myself

download-1I stopped praying to conceive.  I removed my name from my own prayer list (which is pretty pathetic). The sense of urgency left as soon as I gave away all of my baby items. With the exception of maternity clothes, crib (which has been broken down and out of sight for a two years now), and a few homemade blankets and crib set, every baby item I had is gone.

It wasn’t that I stopped believing that God would do but I stopped hanging my daydreams on it because the longing distracted me from the present.

There is something else also.  I mentioned in a blog post some time ago that I struggled with a particular sin. At one point towards the end of last year I became what is termed “sin sick”.  I was willingly and actively sinning and it was destroying me. I felt horrible but didn’t think stopping would help since I have stopped before only to end up right back at it again. The time between my boughts with this particular sin has increased which is a good thing but it only makes the fall into it again that much worse; like a dog returning to his vomit  (Proverbs 26:11).

The shame and condemtation that I felt was so great, I didn’t know how to fully come out from under it.  I repented and turned away from it (again) but the nagging thought that I would only end up back where I started from again ate away at any strength I gained when I turned away from that sin and back to Christ.

All of this was happening when I was trying to figure out why I wasn’t conceiving. Then, I remembered something from Beth Moore’s book Believing God.  She spoke of sanctifying yourself. A group of ladies she did the study with wore something blue on their wrists as a reminder to obstain from whatever their particular struggle was in order to sanctify themselves. I attached myself to that hoping that as I obstained from this sin and became sanctified that I would conceive. I did well for the first 30 days. I was so determined to conceive that I kept that in the forefront of my mind and turning away from sin wasn’t difficult but it did not result in a baby.  The second month was harder and I fell. I just knew my punishment was that I would not conceive that month because I fell to that same sin again. I did not conceive. The same cycle happened again the following month.

I dispared.

I repented again.

I felt so hopeless. I cried out to God in my spirit and asked Him for help.  He said, clear as day, to read John 8. The first part of this chapter is the story of the woman caught in adultery. I read up to verse 11.  Verse 11 stopped me in my tracks.

10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her,[i] “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?[j] Has no one condemned you?”

11 She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and[k] sin no more.”

Jesus doesn’t condemn me?  Jesus doesn’t condemn me?!? Jesus doesn’t condemn me! Jesus doesn’t condemn me!!!

God’s word got ahold of me and as I let it sink in into the marrow of my bones, I felt the weight of sin being removed from me. Jesus doesn’t condemn me and He has given me the freedom not to sin. Jesus doesn’t condemn me so I need to stop condemning myself.

(Originally penned 2013)

 

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And Sometimes It Knocks The Wind Out Of Your Sails

I was in a good place.

I deleted the menstrual cycle apps from my iPod. I stopped mentally logging the first date of my last period. I began day dreaming of the future with no other child but Jazmine in my minds eye.
I was in a good place!

I had accepted things such as they are.

Only to prove people wrong did I keep a pillow under my hips to try to improve my chances of conception, so people wouldn’t ask me if I had tried it. Only in obedience to God did I walk up in church for prayer, yet again, to ask God for a child because believe you me, I was done requesting. I had already accepted things as they are, but In the last few days I found myself trying to remember the first day of my last period. I started to believe that this month might be the month. I started to run through how and when we would tell everyone we were finally going to have a baby and how God did it in His time. Every PMS symptom was looked at with a critical eye. Every food craving was understood. Every bit of fatigue was a gentle reminder that this might be it…
….until today.

Just left the bathroom.

The presence of Flow removes all hope.

I had a list of things to do today. I was actually on my way out the door. I ate a little something and went to the bathroom.  Disappointment meant me in the bathroom. Disappointment I had not planned on nor did I think it would matter this month. Remember? I was in a good place.

The wind has been knocked from my sails. My get up and go left. I am on the couch eating cheese crackers and drinking water, about to watch a movie, grateful that my mother-in-law took Jazmine out for a while and my husband is on a call because I need a little time to digest it all…again.

A Prayer To Conceive

About two Sunday’s ago, I could feel the Holy Spirit telling me to go up from prayer about conceiving during altar call.  I kindly refused. Last Sunday, I could sense Him telling me the same thing again.  This time, I acted confused first before I kindly refused.

The two selections at church yesterday were Yes Lord and I Surrender All. As Yes Lord was being sung, and I singing along as well, I became convicted of the words I was singing.  When you sing a song to God, it is like making a covenant with Him. I was singing that I say yes Lord to His will and His way but I have to be willing to do it.  At the time, I had no idea what I was saying yes to specifically.  I was just agreeing to say, and mean, yes to the Lord.

The next song, I Surrender All, was equally convicting. I have several requests in to the Lord for change to happen in our family.  As I made covenant with the Lord with that song, I surrendered my will to his.  Not that I no longer want for Him to do but I have surrendered my will for His.

I could sense then that the Lord wanted me to go to the altar for prayer about me conceiving. I was mortified at the thought. I did not want the looks of pity.  I did not want the nosey looks.  I did not want people coming up to me afterwards with conversation as if my altar prayer request was permission to speak to me like we are homegirls. I did not want any of that but I did want God to move on our behalf so I went to the alter and asked our pastor to pray that God would open my womb again. I was afraid to go up alone so I motioned to my husband (who sits in the pulpit mind you) to come down to me. He did willingly and stood in agreement with me to ask for prayer.

I wait in expectation to receive from God. I will take the shame from men to receive gifts from God.

No More Counting

There is a lovely little (nuisance) app called Period Plus. It’s free, unless you get the ad free one.  I have had it for five years now.  It is a great way to keep track of when my next menstrual period is due.  Ever since I was a teenager, I have always hated having to keep track (inconspicuously) of my period on a visible calendar or having to be ever ready for it to come on while I was out (school, summer camp, work). That app was a lifesaver!  It predicts when my period is due and projects them out for the entire year.  I can look on the calendar to see if my period will be on when we are scheduled to be on vacation. It’s great!

Ever since we started to try to conceive however, I also used that app to help predict ovulation and tally the days we had sex. That once freeing app became a ball and chain.

The month I conceived last year, I did not track anything and BOOM BFP*!  When we tried again, I went back to marking everything.  I told myself in June that I was not going to track anything for July.  That didn’t happen.  I tracked and still nothing.  Keeping tabs on your body adds stress to an already uncomfortable situation. Instead of enjoying my husband and our marriage bed, I started calculating as soon as the deed was done.

No more.

I am unchained. I won’t know when I conceive.  I won’t have the slightest clue as to when I ovulate. I will stockpile pads and tampons in my purse so I will be ready for my period whenever it is scheduled to come.  My life of trusting God cannot be controlled with charts.

 

*BFP – big fat positive (pregnancy test)

I Know How Sarah Felt

Sarah gets a bad rep.

She is often called stupid.

I have never heard of her portrayed in a good light when attending woman’s conferences. We get hung up on her telling her husband to sleep with another woman, and don’t dig in any deeper to understanding why she made that choice.

I know how Sarah felt.

Having tried to conceive for over a year since losing our last child in utero, desperation has sent out several invitations for me to search for other methods of speeding things up.  If Sarah’s choice was made today, the masses would accept it.  She wouldn’t tell her husband to sleep with another woman but she would go get some donor sperm and be on her merry little way.  Let us not judge Sarah too harshly.

I feel barren. Sarah felt barren.  Yes, she was barren but her barrenness was lifted once God declared that she would conceive and bring forth a child.  It was 25 years before the promise was fulfilled but she stopped being barren once the word went out that she would conceive.

I feel hopeless.  Sarah felt hopeless. Why else would she offer up another woman to her husband of many years? Hopelessness can drive you to places you never thought you would find yourself . I want so badly for my husband to have a son to raise in his own home, full-time, without hinderance.  I want it to happen now.  I thought it would have happened by now.  Something to learn from Sarah is that we can’t be led by our yearning. We have to walk by faith even if it feels like this particular leg of the faith walk has us walking over broken glass.

Xara, Brian, And Jasmine

(Please note.  This post is riddled with conception terms).

So, last month, I thought there was a good chance that I was pregnant.  I have been using the Period Plus App to chart my periods for years now.  Since we removed the goalie two years ago, I have been using it to chart ovulation based on the you-ovulaet-14-days-after-the-first-day-of-your-period theory.  I gave up on that a month ago. I even considered  purchasing a basal thermometer to chart my temperatures so I could pinpoint when I ovulate.

But then I decided to take the natural route by checking my cervical mucus to see if that would work to tell me when I ovulate. That is what I did last month. I was surprised to see early I ovulated!  No wonder I wasn’t conceiving before. With Jazmine, my body was like clockwork; ovulating 14 days after the first day of my period but it hasn’t been right since 🙂

Turns out I ovulated three days after my period ended. My CM was egg whitish and I told hubby it was time.  We worked hard y’all 😉

About two days after my fertile period ended, I cramped really bad for about an hour.  It felt just like it had when I had the ectopic last year. I still hoped against hope that I was pregnant since I did everything right to get pregnant in the first place. But alas, I was not. The cramping was what it was and my period arrived on time this month.

When I began to bleed, I decided enough was enough. I am tired of carrying around these extra pounds I have labeled as “pre-conception weight”. I am tired of falling for every breast soreness, fatigue, or increased appetite as a symptom for a pregnancy that does not exist. I have had enough.  Since I truly believe that this is in God’s hands and that our family is complete even if Jazmine is our only child, then I am going to live like it.

I began to take my weight lose supplements again.  I vigilantly watch what I eat.  I make sure I meet the minimum exercise requirements I have placed on myself. I do not allow myself to daydream about being pregnant or nursing a newborn. I do not allow myself to daydream about a future with more children in it than Jazmine.  It is just me, my husband, and my daughter. Period.