Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our story is already written...but not our response

A few months ago I discovered a web site called Sarah's Laughter for Christian Support for Infertility & Child Loss. They send out a daily e-mail with encouraging words and inspiring thoughts for those on the journey of infertility.

Although my infertility journey SEEMS to have come to an end, the words often challenge and encourage me and I'm amazed at how the writers relate Scripture to current day. As a writer, I love to read well-written and thought-provoking material. The following is one of those e-mails and I wanted to share a portion of it. Whether infertility is your 'burden' or you have another issue or concern you are facing, these are powerful words:


Your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

"I love a good book, and have always loved to read. But no mushy love stories for me. I’m a sci-fi geek! Give me a book about time travel or spacial anomalies and I’m happy! I also love spy novels. I read the “Jason Bourne” series when I was just a teenager. It is still one of my favorite book series to this day. When I get into a good book, it’s hard to focus on anything else. I get completely caught up in the story and find myself wondering what will happen next. Will Capt. Kirk ever be brought back into temporal sync with the rest of his crew? Will Jason Bourne ever figure out who he really is? Part of the fun of reading is not knowing how the story will end.

Our lives are a book, and not knowing what will happen next can be pretty frightening. But, God has written our story before he even formed us. And like it or not, there is a chapter in our books called “Infertility”. There may be a chapter in your book called “Miscarriage”. Why would God write such chapters, especially in the books of men and women who love and serve Him? I can’t answer that. But we can take comfort in knowing that God is good and perfect, and if He wrote it, then He is working out these things for our good and His glory."

Before you were even formed in your mother's womb, every chapter of your life was already written. Your days, which make up your story and ultimately your 'book,' were written before your first day of life ever came to be.

Does it encourage you to know that your book is already written? Or is it frustrating? Does it remind you that you are not in control? Does it calm your heart to know that you are NOT the one writing your story?

The author goes on to say, "Although the chapters are written, I don’t think that our responses are."

Friends, you know from my blog postings that I believe that God is the one who is writing our story. How could I not believe that? I could have never written a story this crazy...this painful...this joyous...this full of lessons, love and laughter. Psalm 139 confirms that belief for me.

May it bring every one of us deep peace to give up control of our days, our chapters and our story. If you or someone you love is struggling with [insert any issue here], take heart in knowing that this chapter of life is already written.

But, your response to this chapter is completely open-ended. My hope and prayer is that faithfulness, trust and a steadfast mind are continual themes in my book of life.

We don't know the ending to this chapter, we don't know the ending to our book, but our response says much about our relationship with the author of our story.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dear Samuel

Dear Samuel,
Priceless. Absolutely priceless.

That's what I felt at approximately 11 p.m. last night.

Your dad got home from a work event at 10:45 p.m. and I think you may have heard him so you woke up. You cried and cried and wouldn't go back to sleep.

Your dad wanted to feed you but I thought you just needed some cuddling and love. You've had a cold so your stuffed up and having a hard time breathing.

Your dad tried to calm you down but it didn't work. I called to him from our bedroom and told him to bring you to me for some snuggling.

And it was so precious. You were in your navy fleece PJs with the green dinosaur. You looked so adorable. You snuggled immediately into my arms and I just held you. You sucked on your pacifier with your eyes wide open as you laid your head against my shoulder.

For the first time you felt really big in my arms. You are not a tiny infant anymore. You stretched from my neck down to my thigh. You felt so long and so big. I just wanted to freeze that moment when you snuggled in my arms.

I talked to you. And prayed for you. And sang to you. And told you how much your dad and I loved you.

After 15 minutes you were drowsy and I put you back in your crib. You went right to sleep and slept until 7 a.m. this morning.

You'll never remember those 15 priceless minutes but my arms will never forget them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How big is your mountain?

I wrote a post in January titled, Dear Friends, He is Able. You can read it here if you haven't already.

A few weeks ago, Greg, one of the pastors at our church gave a fantastic message. His message was from Matthew 17: "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

I encourage you to listen to this powerful and challenging message here. It's from 03-08-09: Mustard Seed Faith

Here are the points that stood out to me...

God wants to do the impossible thing in your life.

He wants to do miracles in your life so you can say, "This is something that only God can do."

Even the smallest amount of faith can accomplish impossible results.

He asked us these questions:
What are the immovable things in your life that you believe could never change?

What desperately needs movement in your life by God?
Is your heart broken by something that you need God to intervene in a mountain-moving fashion?

Greg challenged us to pray for 45 days asking God to move a mountain in our lives. He said that this wasn't a magic's the beginning of a discipline that can change our lives. He reminded us that there is no bargaining with God.

He suggested we pray that the mountain be moved, but not to tell God how to move the mountain. I think that point is key. As you can read from my January posting, I begged God to move the mountain of infertility in my life last summer.

And He did. He moved my mountain in a mighty way.

But he didn't move it in the way I expected. It came about in a different way through the miracle of Samuel and the gift of this new pregnancy. He moved it in His perfect timing and according to His eternal plan. I am so thankful I didn't tell God how to move it, I just asked Him to do so.

How big is your mountain? What mountain issue are you facing today? Finances, broken relationships, infertility, addictions, singleness?

Friends, we serve a God of the impossible. We serve a mustard-seed God. And that God wants to move your won't know how or when but just dig deep and find your mustard seed of faith today.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Laugh with me

Today I've been contemplating laughter. I can't get out of my mind a conversation I had with a friend about laughter so I decided to look up Sarah and Abraham and their story of laughter....

It goes something like this:

In Genesis 17 God tells Abraham that he will become the father of many nations and that God will bless Sarah with a son.

Abraham's response? Verse 17 says, "Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?"

In verse 18 Sarah overhears the Lord telling Abraham that when he returns next year Sarah will have given birth to a son. Her response? Verse 12 says, "Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?"

God's response? After God asks why Sarah laughed, he says, "Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."

These examples of laughter are one's of disbelief. They laughed as if mocking the Lord when they heard what He was promising them. Then Sarah lies and even denies laughing.

I love when God says, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

After Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah, Sarah's response in Chapter 21 verse 6 is: "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." This chapter shows us that their laughter was out of joyfulness and gratitude over God's blessing in their life.

During my season of infertility my friend told me that whenever she prayed for me she would end her prayer with laughter. She said she just couldn't help but laugh when she thought of Ryan and I and lifted our desire to be parents before the Lord.

Some might think that is a cruel thing to tell someone experiencing infertility, but I knew she was a woman walking with the Lord. She is someone who intercedes on others behalf. She was in tune to what the Holy Spirit was impressing on her heart.

If she laughed then I knew she had good reason to laugh.

And guess what?

Today I can confidently say what Sarah spoke in verse 6, "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me."

Are you laughing with me at how mind-boggling our God is? At how He works incredible miracles? At how His plans always come to fruition?

Let's laugh together because N O T H I N G is too hard for the Lord!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another chapter in our story...

Sometimes God say NO
"God always answers our prayers, but sometimes the answer is no." - Author Unknown

In April of 2006 Ryan and I were asked to share our story of waiting with our church family. The sermon that night was titled, "When God Says No." God had clearly said no to us the previous summer when we lost our first baby. Ten months later we were waiting on the Lord and His perfect timing for our next baby.

In the season that followed we learned that when God says no, there is nothing you can do to turn that no into a yes. You can beg, plead, petition and go before the throne of the Almighty. And He promises to listen. He always listens. But sometimes His answer is still no.

And when God says no it is painful. So heart-wrenchingly painful. Author Ginger Garrett says, "When the answer is no the Bible instructs us to praise him, pour out our hearts to him...and to wait." We learned God's answers weren't for us to try to understand. Our role was to walk in faith for that day...trusting, believing and hoping that in God's grand timing He would say "yes."

Sometimes God says YES
"When God saith, "I will," all the devils in hell cannot turn aside the blessing, and all the ages of eternity cannot change the King's Word." - Charles Spurgeon

When God says yes, there is nothing you nor I can do to stop it. That is a wonderful, yet scary truth. We are not in control. Our lives, our futures, our marriages, our families, our finances, our relationships...God says "yes" and God says "no" in HIS beautiful and perfect timing.

God said "yes" to us last fall when we were given the miraculous gift of Samuel.

And today, it is with a heart so overwhelmed with the goodness of God, that I tell you that He has once again said "Yes."

We were no longer praying, petitioning and asking the Lord for our miracle. We were celebrating the one given to us. But the Lord decided it was time for another "Yes."

I am pregnant. Yes, pregnant.

We are amazed.

We are shocked.

We are grateful.

Grateful for God's "No" that eventually led us to Samuel. And grateful that He has chosen to bless us with another "Yes."

After three ultrasounds, and much prayer, we believe that a healthy baby is growing in my womb. In September Samuel will be a big brother.

We are shaking our heads at God's timing...His plans...His humor.

God you continue to write a story so unbelievable, so amazing, and so perfect that we are in awe of you. 3 1/2 years ago I could not have imagined the journey you had in store for us. Nor would I have wanted to know. Your story is much better than mine. Your story is far more beautiful. Your story gives you all the glory. Your story is one of Hope. Your "no" is filled with hope and your "yes" is full of hope. Thank you for being a God of Hope through it all.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wait Poem Book

Thank you everyone for your comments on my waiting post!

My heart says that all of you who are waiting need this book and the encouragement it brings.

So I'll be sending you each a book....sometime in the next month.

E-mail me your full name and address at and I'll drop a book in the mail for each of you. I consider it a privilege to walk this journey of waiting alongside you and praise God that our times of waiting are never wasted.

We wait in Hope for the Lord. Psalm 33:20

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's all green at the May household

One guy turns 33 today. One boy celebrates with his dad. One gal tries to capture it all on camera.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Words on waiting: Has God forgotten you?

My husband and I are waiting to hear about some potential changes to his job and future career. There is a lot happening - or that could be happening soon - and it's the 'not knowing' that is the hardest!

Not too long ago a friend e-mailed me and she said that she felt like God had forgotten her. Oh, do I know how she feels! For a long time I felt like God was silent to my pleas and had forgotten about my desires and dreams.

Have you been there? Are you there now? When everyone else gets the blessing you long for...

They get the job while you or your spouse wait for the call.

They get the new home while yours sits on the market waiting for a buyer.

They get a spouse while you journey into a new year of waiting for someone to share your heart, life and dreams with.

They get the baby while you long for a little one to fill your arms and your home.

They get a raise while you work long hours with little recognition.

Where is God?

Has He forgotten?

I love this quote by Chuck Swindoll: “God never forgets anything He promises. That’s right…never. God’s agenda continues to unfold right on schedule, even when there is not a shred of evidence that He remembers. Even when the most extreme events transpire and “life just doesn’t seem fair,” God is there, carrying out His providential plan exactly as He pre-arranged it. He keeps His word.”

Sometimes God's timing seems delayed. Sometimes it seems God has forgotten.

But rest assured dear friends - He has not forgotten. The same God who knit you together, is with you today. Waiting. Watching. Letting His plan unfold one day at a time. While we want to know the entire picture, we want to know the ending, that is not for us to know today.

If we knew the ending of our story, if we knew when our waiting season would conclude, or our suffering would be over, we wouldn't be forced to kneel before the throne and pour out our hearts to God. We wouldn't be forced to desire the Lord above all else.

While my miscarriages were very difficult to endure, it was two years of waiting with no conception that was, by far, the most difficult for me. I begged God. I wept. I claimed His Word and prayed it fervently. And yet, still we waited. I felt no peace about proceeding with adoption or fertility treatment. I only felt that I was being called to wait. For 24 grueling months we waited on the Lord for direction as to what our next steps should be.

Yet it was in those 24 months that I grew more than I ever have before. I was stretched. I was refined. I was challenged in my faith. I saw others around me get the dream that I longed for and it forced me to to go to the One who was the giver of dreams.

It would have been so easy to run ahead and pursue an end to my waiting...but then I would have missed out on the most incredible miracle I've ever experienced.

My favorite poem - one that has spoke to my heart in ways no other poem ever has - is called Wait. For years I clung to this poem, the truth it spoke and the hope it brought me. You can read the poem online here. The words strive to demonstrate the depth of God's heart and his longing for us to know him better.

I also have two copies of the Wait poem in book format and would love to give them to two readers who are currently in a waiting season of life. E-mail me or leave a comment if you'd like to be included in the drawing. I'll draw two names next week and mail you each a copy.

I do believe with all my heart the greatest of gifts is to truly know God. And there is no time better to do that than when we are waiting...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Six months ago today...

Six months ago today Ryan and I walked into our clinic to discover that at 9 weeks our baby no longer had a heartbeat. It was 9.11.08 and it is a day we'll never forget.

This week I was going through stacks of papers on my desk - they had been piling up since September (miscarriage, surgery, Hawaii, Samuel...who had time to organize papers?!). I came across a stack of cards from our miscarriage.

I vividly recall returning from Hawaii and sitting together at our dining room table and opening a huge pile of mail. Card after card expressing support and love during our time of sadness and grief.

This week as I started re-reading some of the cards I couldn't help but cry.

I cried for two reasons:
1 - Because I am not sure I have fully grieved the loss of that baby due to the quick arrival of Samuel into our lives just weeks later. As I re-read the sentiments in the cards, my emotions overwhelmed me and I believe that continues to be part of the grieving process (as anyone who has suffered a personal loss knows, the tears can come at any time and the healing process can take months and years).

2 - I also cried because I was so grateful that God has blessed Ryan and I with such amazing friends and family to support us during our trials. While many believe miscarriage is a private thing to be grieved over personally, I needed others to know about the loss we had suffered and to grieve alongside us. And they did in ways I couldn't have even predicted.

These words written by friends and family in various cards touched my heart again this week and stand out to me as I think of Samuel and God's plan for us...

"God's ways are perfect and everything He does is worthy of our trust. Seemingly this wasn't perfect so we lift you up in prayer and ask God to reveal His plans to us. We never give up so know we are partnering with you in petitioning God."

"We are hoping and praying that the Lord will give you children."

'We are praying that as you serve Him He will give you your heart's desire."

"I look forward to celebrating your baby in the future. What a celebration it will be!"

"We are lifting you both up in prayer and will continue to do so until the Lord gives Aaron a cousin and gives you your baby."

"It is so far beyond out understanding what God is up to right now. We do know that, ultimately, God is working all things together for good for those who love Him. We know that even now He is at work."

"Lord I know that you will make beauty from these ashes..."

"Your story is not over yet. If you are still breathing God has a plan!! You do not know the plans that God has for you next week or next year. Keep hope and keep trusting that God has great things for you."

'When you're on the other side of this journey, may you very clearly see His hand and His purpose."

Oh friends, today we see His purpose. We see His plan. He truly did make beauty from our ashes. He worked all things together for good. He gave us our heart's desire. His ways are perfect and He is worthy of our trust.

Today I'm so thankful for these words and looking back I see how they offered truth. Showered us with love. Gave hope. And ultimately how their prayers were answered in a miraculous way!

Friday, March 6, 2009

"Jesus is alive!"

On Wednesday evening of this week I was sitting at a leadership meeting at church. We were offering up our praises to the Lord as we sat around a large, old wooden cross.

I was sitting just 5 feet from the cross. I am not sure I have ever sat so close to a cross.

I stared at it and stared at it. As I looked at the old, weathered cross, I began thinking about Jesus hanging there and the pain he endured.

I thought about how rarely I contemplate his sacrifice for me.

I thought about how he knew when he was hanging there that he would be on that cross for me.

I thought about how Easter is just weeks away - this year Easter takes place on Sunday, April 12.

I thought about how our society tries to make Easter about buying Easter outfits for kids, creating Easter baskets, buying them Easter toys, making Easter eggs and doing Easter egg hunts.

I recalled nearly a year ago when I was volunteering in our nursery at church one Sunday evening. It was the Sunday before Easter and the kids colored a lesson about the tomb being empty on Easter morning.

I vividly recall a sweet 3-year-old named Demi, running to her mom, waving her coloring sheet and saying, "Jesus is alive!"

My heart melted. Even though I wasn't a mom at the time, I could take joy in the fact that there was a little one who knew we serve a Living God.

I certainly plan to dress Samuel in something cute on Easter. I plan to take pictures of his first Easter. I might even make him a blessing basket (my version of an Easter basket).

But I was hit hard Wednesday night with the desire to teach Samuel much more about Easter than just bunnies, candy and eggs (real or chocolate!).

I desire to teach Samuel about a Jesus who loved him so much He went to the cross for him.

I desire to teach Samuel about a God whose love is so faithful and unending that He sent his only Son for me...and for him!

I desire to teach Samuel the true meaning of Easter. Because without Easter my faith is meaningless. Jesus was born at Christmas. He died on Good Friday. But what separates my faith and beliefs from others is that I believe that Jesus rose on Easter morn - he conquered death - and that is what we celebrate each year.

I believe God has given me the responsibility to teach my child more about Easter than just chocolate and bunnies and fun games.

And so, with much anticipation, I look forward to the day when I will hear the precious words of truth coming from Samuel's mouth: "Jesus is alive!"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I am glad

For those of you that don't know I travel a lot. Some would say too much. In the airport I have become accustom to visiting the World Club, where I can access e-mail and on occasion blog. Of course, to access my Internet I need a code. Northwest Airlines does a nice job of coming up with creative codes. Today's password "Glad."

I think it sums up my feelings pretty well. I am glad that I have a wife that supports me in the strangest of situations. I am glad that she laughs with me when I get stuck in airports around the country. I am glad that she cares enough about our son that she takes time everyday to pray for him. I am glad for the new opportunities this year has brought.

With opportunity comes challenge and I am glad for that too. In one of my wife's previous posts she made me seem super truth, I am far from super, but I am human. I am on the road again this week and next, but I am glad to have a job. I am glad to be able to support my family. I know in these economic times not everyone can say the same.

"Glad." Funny, it isn't the strongest word, but it is a good way to describe the feelings I have now.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lesson learned from a 5-month old

This past weekend as I was buckling Samuel into his car seat he fought me. He twisted and turned and cried out...he didn't want to be in there, he didn't like the straps and he was going to let me know it.

I immediately pictured myself with the Lord. At times God puts me in a place I don't like (for how long I don't ever know) and I fight. I flail my arms. I try to wiggle out. I might cry and plead and ask God to move me.

As Samuel's mom, I know the car seat straps are what is best for him. And God knows what is best for me - even when I don't like it. If we got in a car accident those straps are what would keep Samuel protected and safe. But he is young and doesn't understand.

I am so like him. For so long I didn't know what my future held, and I fought God about where He had me. IF ONLY I HAD KNOWN. Would I have flailed? Would I have fought? Would I have cried out? I didn't understand. I didn't like it. And I let God know it.

I hope Samuel grows to trust his mom. And I hope each day I grow to trust God a bit more....cuz chances are there will be times in my future when I am in a car-seat like place again. And it will be all up to me how I respond.