My Journey to Joy

April 30, 2014

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“We stand on the edge of our cliff-like emotions looking into the deep cavern of our grief, and we’re sure that the jump will kill us.  For those of us who entrust our feeble selves to our faithful Creator, in way I can neither explain nor describe, it doesn’t.  In Jesus, when death of some kind comes and we are willing to take it to the cross, remain nearby, and suffer its grief, we will also experience the resurrection.
We say, ‘But part of me has died with it.’  And indeed it has.  Hear the words of Christ echo from the grave: ‘I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.’ (John 12:24)  As a child bearing the name of Christ, if a part of you has died, in time it was meant to produce many seeds…Oh, Beloved, don’t give up!”
The Beloved Disciple, Beth Moore

December 12, 2013

Comfort

Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I love the celebrations surrounding Christmas.  The lights, the songs, the glitz and glam and excitement.  I love the “over-the-topness” of trying to make everything extra-special.  I love the planning and preparation to make things “just right,” and the reward when someone’s face lights up.  This year is different.  Not bad, just different.

This year, I feel quiet.  I am drawn to the simple and low-key.  The joy of Christmas is present, but I’m clinging to the comfort of Christmas.   This isn’t my first hard Christmas, but I wasn’t as open before about what I was experiencing.  No, I don’t intend to go to holiday parties wearing a “I’m hurting” t-shirt, but I will be honest with the people who sincerely ask “how are you doing?”

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.”  Isaiah 40:1

There is both sweetness and sting to memories.  While putting up a nativity, I smile knowing Granny made it.  Then I cry, wishing she’d be here this year.  Scrapbooking memories, I see pictures of last year’s celebration, and realize it was her last year with us.  There will be no “Christmas 2013” pictures with her in them.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  2Corinthians 1:3-4

The God of all comfort.  My God.  Who cares so much for me that He left heaven.  Christmas.  Comfort.  I like what Adam Clarke had to say about these verses:

“…Who shows himself to be the God of tender mercy, by condescending to notice us, who have never deserved any good at his hand; and also the God of all consolation, by comforting us in all our tribulation-never leaving us a prey to anxiety, carking care, persecution, or temptation; but, by the comforts of his Spirit, bearing us up in, through, and above, all our trials and difficulties.”  (I had to look up “carking”; it means burdensome or annoying.)

“…for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.”  Jeremiah 31:13b

When I hear spots on the radio about “the real meaning of Christmas” being “time with friends and family” or “the laughter of children”, etc. I just shake my head.  I love those good things, but Christmas is, whether I’m alone or in a crowd, piled high with gifts or empty-handed, full of laughter or mourning.  Christmas is Emmanuel.  Only that can withstand the hard years, the unexpected tragedies, the unfulfilled hopes.  Knowing that God is with us, with me…that is my comfort.  

” Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”  2Corinthians 9:15

 

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, O tidings of comfort and joy.

August 10, 2013

Becky Keep on Peace

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“Although we weren’t granted a last-minute, miraculous healing for our Jesse, we were given something greater.  We were granted the peace to accept the path that was chosen for him and for us with the unwavering assurance that God’s glory would be revealed, even in what seemed unthinkable.  Therein lies the miracle.”  Becky Keep, Eyes to See: Glimpses of God in the Dark

http://www.amazon.com/Eyes-See-Glimpses-God-Dark/dp/1934447528/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374098551&sr=8-1&keywords=eyes+to+see+becky+keep

July 20, 2013

Becky on God’s Goodness

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“Why is it that we sometimes equate God’s goodness with the absence of personal pain?  Is not suffering God’s good gift to us too?  Isn’t it through pain that He reveals Himself in ways He could not in life’s joyful moments?”  Becky Keep, Eyes to See: Glimpses of God in the Dark

http://www.amazon.com/Eyes-See-Glimpses-God-Dark/dp/1934447528/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374098551&sr=8-1&keywords=eyes+to+see+becky+keep

June 20, 2013

A Letter from Dad

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Bg6Mmoer3rk

June 12, 2013

Esther on Being Real

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Being Real

Remember that post I wrote last year called The Ugly Truth?  The one where I shared how hard it is to be infertile year after year after year?  This is a similarly truthful post — although hopefully not quite as ugly — about how hard it is to be “pregnant,” but not really, month after month after month.
The truth is this:  I feel like a fraud.  For months I’ve been putting on a happy face trying to be strong, but in doing so I feel like I’m not being honest.  Most people see the smile on my face and think that I’m bouncing off the walls, overflowing with joy and excitement that we’re finally expecting a baby, when in reality I haven’t enjoyed much about this journey since it started.
Let me be clear.  
I am excited…  but it is not overflowing.  I am filled with joy…  but only because joy is a choice.  And I am thankful to be expecting this amazing, undeserved gift.  I don’t know that I would go so far as to say that I’m happy.  Why?
Because surrogacy is HARD.
Try to imagine for just a moment what it would be like to  know you’re “pregnant” but not get to feel or see any evidence of that.  Not a kick, not a flip, not a hiccup.
Now try to  imagine that you’re not only unable to experience anything yourself, but you  have very, very limited access to the person who is carrying your baby  because she lives over 300 miles away (which might as well be the moon since gas prices are so high!).  You can’t even touch the belly where your child is growing or even have the chance to feel a kick from the outside.
Next try imagining what it would be like if, due to the difficulty of coordinating busy schedules, your primary method of  communication with the woman carrying your child was text messaging  (where one’s “tone” can be so easily misread and misinterpreted).  You  rarely hear her voice on the phone, and seeing her in person is even  rarer still, which only accentuates how disconnected, isolated and uninvolved you feel.
Now imagine living like that day after day… week after week… and month after excruciating month.
Trust me.  It’s brutal.
I am emotionally exhausted, so forgive me if I don’t have any energy left for excitement.  I often feel as though everyone around me is more excited  than I am.  Which of course is ridiculous since I’m the one who will  have a baby in my arms at the end, Lord willing.  
The problem is that I’m on a road that doesn’t feel like it has an end.  Time doesn’t go fast.  It doesn’t fly by.  It’s not going to be here “before I know it” because Every. Single. Day. up to this point has been agonizing and there’s no reason for me to think that the next 80-something days will be any different.
Every surrogacy story is going to be unique and different because every surrogacy story has unique and different people in it.  The one thing every story has in common is hormones and emotions, and throwing those into the mix can make things oh-so-complex — especially when dealing with a first-time mom and a first-time surrogate at the same time.
Needless to say, our story is turning out way different than how I imagined it would.  And maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe I shouldn’t have gone into this with any expectations at all, but how could I not?  It’s human nature to paint a picture in our head of how a situation is “supposed” to play out.

The beginning was full of hopeful excitement,  and I know the ending will be amazing…  but this stuff in the middle?  Messy.  Uncomfortable.  Torture.
In the end all that will matter is the baby in my arms.  All the crazy emotions…  the anxiety attacks…  the sobbing meltdowns in the shower… they will all be a distant memory.  I don’t think I’ll ever completely forget the hell I’ve lived through these past several months, but the bad stuff will fade with time as all bad stuff does.
In the meantime I’ll just keep moving forward, making it through each day as best as I can.  And remember that even though time feels like it’s dragging, now is not forever.  

I will see the goodness of the Lord.  

Joy is coming.    

April 3, 2013

Emily Freeman on the Gift of Inability

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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Could it be possible we have it wrong? That the gift isn’t in believing we can do anything but in knowing we can do nothing?

Could it be possible that your limits – those things you curse and hate and wish were different about yourself – are not holding you back but pointing you forward?

It seems to me when I finally recognize my inability is when Christ shows up able within me.

But he doesn’t equip me to do every job possible, he equips me to do the job meant for me.

If you’re willing to face your inability, you might see something you desperately need to carry on – your limits can be a gift, showing you what is outside your circle of influence and responsibility so that you may embrace and focus on the small part that belongs to you and only to you.

March 31, 2012

Diane on Suffering

Filed under: Notable Quotables,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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I have to remind myself, though, that it is only through great suffering and pain that God has brought me to the point where I realize I cannot earn God’s blessings in this life and that God is good no matter what happens to me in the here and now.  ~Diane on HP Forum

March 10, 2012

Ann Voskamp on the Gift of Losing our Comfort

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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When God moves us out of our comfort zone —- into places that are way bigger than us, places that are difficult, hard, painful —- that even hurt — this is a gift.

We are being given a gift.

These hard places give us the gift of intimately knowing God — in ways that would never be possible in our comfort zones.”

That the greatest gift we can ever receive is the gift of losing our earthly security and comfort? So that we can unwrap the intimacy of the Savior and His Heavenly Comfort.  ~Ann Voskamp

February 1, 2012

Because She Chose Life…

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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http://www.focusonlinecommunities.com/blogs/Finding_Home/2012/01/23/because-she-chose-life

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