My Journey to Joy

September 18, 2013

Songs from Granny’s Funeral

Filed under: Songs for the Journey — aunthoddy @ 6:08 PM
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My Granny always loved to hear us sing.  As children, she made us sing for her friends, bribing us with a nickel per performance!  My dad asked if we would sing at her funeral.  We didn’t see how we (her three grandchildren) could, but wanted to try.  God blessed us, and we were able to sing without tears.  We sang to the glory of God, for her and our dad.  We know she would have loved it.





July 31, 2013

Becky Keep on Healing

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“…I rejoice to know, with certainty, that God is a God of healing power.  This power is especially seen in those situations when things aren’t “fixed” but rather when we are fixed- when our focus is changed from anger or even sad resignation, to true acceptance, joy and anticipation for the future, a future which includes the very thing we once viewed as incompatible with happiness.”  Becky Keep, Eyes to See: Glimpses of God in the Dark

February 13, 2013

God, Why Won’t You Heal? by Steve Bundy

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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January 19, 2013

Dietrich Bonhoeffer on Joy

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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“The joy of God has gone through the poverty of the manger and the agony of the cross; that is why it is invincible, irrefutable. It does not deny the anguish, when it is there, but finds God in the midst of it, in fact precisely there…

What matters is this joy that has overcome.  It alone is credible; it alone helps and heals.”  ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

October 17, 2012

Kim on Pain & Perfectionism

Filed under: Shared Findings — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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April 26, 2012


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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People often tell me that I seem confident and self-assured.  In fact, I often have a pretty low view of myself.  Infertility hasn’t helped.  When we initially told people that we were unable to have children, some of the responses were thoughtless.  “Maybe God knew you wouldn’t be able to raise a child to serve Him” and “Maybe something is going to happen to you…”  We heard: You’re not good enough.  Those statements were nothing when compared to my own mental torment.

Then we began the adoption process.  Our home, our jobs, our marriage, our spiritual lives-everything was intensely scrutinized, with what we perceived to be a critical eye.  It was uncomfortable and painful.  After that, we began being shown to birthmothers.  Each time, they either chose to parent, or selected another family.  “Not chosen” feels a whole lot like “rejected.”  (Again: not good enough)

I began to hesitate if someone asked how many times we’ve been shown.  It’s not pleasant to say that someone else appeared “better” than we did- 15 times!  My brain knows the statistics (so many parents are being shown each time).  I know that just because someone senses a connection, it doesn’t make one family superior to another.  Still, for a girl who really likes her gold stars, it’s been rough.  (And another reminder that it is vital that I get my worth from God-not what people think of me!)

The silver lining is that during this process, so many people have said kind things.  I hold onto those like life preservers.  Last night I explained to a friend who had inquired that we’d been shown 15x, but never chosen.  “They don’t know what they’re missing,” she said.  Have them call me, and I’ll tell them!”  And it was like medicine on a wound.  These people who don’t know us obviously aren’t impressed, but to hear that from someone who does and is…  She’ll never know what those words have meant to me.  And the other words of encouragement, telling us they don’t understand why it is taking so long, why we haven’t been picked…  The ones who say we’ll be great parents.  The ones who have even spoken on our behalf.  I treasure the words, and the love behind them.  I read the cards, again and again.  I cry over the e-mails.  And I remember what’s been said.  It’s how I keep going.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  Ephesians  4:29

January 11, 2012

When Holidays Hurt

Filed under: Shared Findings,Uncategorized — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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This was written for Christmas, but it applies to any “special” day.  Each holiday can serve as a landmark: “I thought we’d have a child by 2012…another Mother’s Day without a baby…if ______ had chosen us, we’d have been parents by Valentine’s Day…”  For some people, it marks their first time to experience it without someone: “Our baby would have turned 2 this year…Thanksgiving just won’t be the same without Mom…this is the first Father’s Day after the divorce…”  I thought this article had some good advice for how to handle those hurtful times in a healthy and positive way.  ~Holly

 “We’ll soon celebrate Christmas once again. For many, it’s a time of appreciation and joy. For others, it can be one of the most difficult days of the year. This is often true for women facing infertility, families who have recently experienced the loss of a mother, and many other painful situations.

I’ve learned what it’s like for the holidays to be hard through my work as a writer for DaySpring, a counselor and in my personal life too. And, thankfully, I’ve learned a little about what can help too.

Embrace Your Emotions
First, if Christmas is difficult for you then give yourself permission to grieve. When holidays come, we often put expectations on ourselves to feel a certain way. We may think, “This is a special occasion. I have to put on a happy face and make the best of it.” But it’s okay to feel sad and even cry. As the authors of The Empty Chair: Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions say simply and powerfully, “We grieve because we loved.”

It’s also helpful to realize that emotions are not good or bad. They are just messengers that tell us about what’s going on in our lives. Sadness tells us, “You’ve lost something or someone important to you.” It’s not a sin to feel sad. Jesus often experienced sadness and the Bible says he was “a man of sorrows, and familiar with grief” (ISAIAH 53:3 NIV).

Seek Support
Sometimes we need to be alone to experience our emotions, but usually it is wise to seek support. From the very beginning of creation, God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. This is especially true when we are grieving. Jesus modeled this when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He brought several of his disciples with him and said, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (MATTHEW 26:38 NIV).

Support can take many different forms. Hopefully, you have close friends and family members who can walk through this time with you. It’s important not to assume they know you need their comfort. Unless they have experienced a similar loss, they don’t know what it’s like. So don’t be afraid to call them or tell them what you need. You won’t be imposing. They probably want to help but don’t know what to do.

Do Something Special
While doing something special when you are sad may feel a bit overwhelming, it’s important because it will help you be proactive rather than reactive in addressing your loss. Many people think that it’s better to avoid or bury their grief. But the opposite is actually true. Healing only comes when we acknowledge and embrace our losses. As Dr. Gary Oliver says, “If you bury an emotion, it’s always buried alive.”

The kind of action you take depends on your personality and the nature of your loss. For example, if you lost your mother then you might write her a letter. If you lost an unborn child, you might donate to a crisis pregnancy center in his or her honor. You and your spouse might look at photos of the sister you lost to breast cancer or visit a place where you used to go together. You may think, “But that will make me sad!” That’s okay. Experiencing grief is part of healing.

You can also simply do something nice for yourself. If you enjoy going to restaurants, then have a special meal with a friend or spouse. If you like taking long walks or bubble baths, make time in the day for that activity. Part of getting through grief is taking care of you. As long as it isn’t something harmful or numbing, doing something special for yourself can help you through a difficult day.

Hold Onto Hope
At one point in my journey it seemed as if I couldn’t take another step. I felt as if I were in a dark cave. But then I sensed the Lord gently and lovingly speak to my heart, “You may be in a cave, but you still have a choice. You can sit in despair or you can diamond-mine your difficulties.” I decided I was not leaving that time in my life empty-handed. I was taking every hidden blessing I could find. Of course, I still had difficult days. But choosing hope made a difference.

I don’t know how my journey will end and you probably don’t know how yours will either. I also don’t know how many of you will be silently grieving your losses as we sit in church together this Sunday. But I do know that God sees each one of us. He knows how many hairs are on our heads and how many cares our in our hearts. Whatever you’re going through this holiday season, you’re not facing it alone. As King David, a man who experienced many losses in his life, expressed in Psalm 34:18 NIV, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Praying God surrounds you with love, fills you with hope, and gives you strength for each moment—especially this Christmas.”

~Holley Gerth

December 3, 2011

Filed under: Notable Quotables — aunthoddy @ 5:00 AM
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It’s true that with adoption, there are losses to be mourned — for adoptive parents, child, and birthmother. But it’s so worth it.

… it’s been such an honor to be her parents and to help her heal.  She certainly wouldn’t have less problems if we’d never adopted her.  The adoption didn’t cause the problems — the adoption began the healing.   ~Terry

November 24, 2010


Filed under: Contemplations — aunthoddy @ 9:09 AM
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“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I Thessalonians 5:18

Each day, I check this blog for comments.  And I wonder:

Does anyone care?

Do they understand?

Are you listening?

And there is a comment.  Some brave, loving person who has chosen to say:

I am with you.

I care about you.

You are not alone.

And it means so much.  So very, very much.

To my knowledge, only one of you has ever experienced infertility.

But we’ve all experienced pain.

We all know Christ.

And we all love.

I’ve tried to imagine how you feel, reading these thoughts, this pounding out of hurts on a keyboard.  I’ve worried that I’ll put a dent in the happiness of your lives.  But I guess that’s part of friendship.

I’ve wondered how you feel, commenting, responding to what I’ve expressed.  I know that I always feel awkward, inadequate, and tongue-tied when I’m confronted with someone who’s hurting.  As if nothing I can say would matter, or I might make things worse!  Now that I’ve been on the other side of things, I don’t worry so much.

Each time you respond,

It helps.

It heals.

It dispels the myth that I’m alone in this battle.

And so, I am thankful.  Thankful for friends who take the risk of loving me enough.  Friends who care enough to be involved, even when it isn’t pleasant.  Friends with busy lives, who stop to read, and send along a prayer, a song, an encouragement, your love.

I’m thankful for a good marriage to a wonderful spouse, that has been strengthened when it could have been torn apart.

I’m thankful for the blessing of children in my life, and their love and affection.  Thank you, Krista & Lisa, for sharing them with me.

I’m thankful for a God who has my best in His heart…and walks beside me through my pain.

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