Happy Birthday To ME!

Hey guys, like my title? LOL.  I really love to tell everyone that it’s my birthday, because I really believe it’s a reason to celebrate.  In the very worst of my grief after having 3 miscarriages and losing my beloved dog, Sweetpea, I used to pray that God would end my life because I was in so much pain.  In fact, just a month before my birthday last year, I actually started to lose my faith in God (though I still believed He was real – I just didn’t want anything to do with Him) and I started to actually think about ending my own life.  It was a horrible, horrible time, and I’m so thankful to God for restoring my faith and for breathing life back into my wounded soul.

Jesus can make beauty from the ashes, and I believe that’s exactly what he has been at work in my life doing.

Last year, just a few days before my birthday, I finally loosened my grip on my desire for a baby, and surrendered it to God, saying, “You are enough for me God.  I know that now.  If you never give me a baby, I will still love and serve you anyways.” And wouldn’t you know, the last year He has filled me with incredible peace and some amazing memories.  My relationship with God has been restored and because of it, this last year has been one of the most peaceful and enjoyable years – even though, I still suffered through more loss.  Only God can make you smile through the heartache!

And now I don’t pray for God to end my life anymore, and instead, I believe that He’s going to be with me through all the hard times, and He’s even going to bring me good times along the way too.  Now I look to the future with hopeful expectation and joy knowing that my Daddy God in Heaven is looking out for me every step of the way.

One of the biggest struggles during this journey was believing the truth that God was for me and that He loved me.  I would often base His love for me on my circumstances, but now He has restored my faith to show me that He has been faithful all along and there is nothing, NOTHING, that will ever separate me from His love.

I can’t wait for this next year of life and I’m excited to see the plans that God has for me.  Thank you my Savior and my King for another year of life, and for an abundant life lived in fellowship with you.  I have all I need in you, and I’m eternally thankful for my salvation through Christ Jesus.

Love and prayers to you all,

Amber

HE GOT THE DAY OFF!!!!!

Praise God! Jonathan put in his vacation request for Mother’s Day and it usually takes up to a week to hear anything back and we assumed that it would be highly unlikely for him to get the day off since his squad is short several officers.  But I prayed my little heart out and I know that all of you were praying for me, and guess what!

He got the day off!!!!

I will not be alone for Mother’s Day.  So no matter what happens – positive pregnancy test, negative pregnancy test, period, whatever, I’m going to have my love bear there with me to hug me and support me.

I’m so thankful to God for helping us get this day off of work so that I don’t have to be alone during this time and I’m also thankful that He let us find out so early that Jon will have the day off so that I can relax and rest easy.  It’s a huge burden lifted off of my shoulders and the day doesn’t seem as scary as it did yesterday.

Thank you to all of you wonderful ladies for your lovely comments, love, and prayers.  I appreciate you all so much :-) You are a blessing to me!

-Amber

As if I needed a confirmation that this was God answering my prayer and hearing my cry: I was looking for my colored note cards to tear off a piece to write about this answered prayer in my 2014 memory jar, and as I was searching, I saw sitting together from Mother’s Day last year on top of my keepsakes folder:

DSC06158 DSC06159

Last year right before Mother’s Day, I attended my Grandpa Dreiling’s funeral.  He died last year shortly after my birthday and I was able to see him and pray the Lord’s prayer with him before saying goodbye.  I have so many more things to say about this special time of saying goodbye to my grandfather, but it will have to wait for another post.  Just know, that my Grandpa has played a really big role in the promise God gave me to have a child.  The two small pictures are from my Grandpa’s funeral.

The card, is a Mother’s day card from my husband Jonathan.  He gets me one every year.

Last year’s card read:

“Happy Mother’s Day to the woman I feel so lucky to be walking through life with – the friend who laughs and dreams with me, the partner who stays beside me, even when the path isn’t easy…The one who can still thrill me just by reaching for my hand. Happy Mother’s Day to the wonderful woman I love.”

And on the inside of the card Jonathan wrote to me:

“Boo Bunny,

Happy Mother’s Day to the woman I love! To the woman who makes everyday great just because you smile and laugh.  To the woman who is so passionate about love that it sometimes hurts.  You are the mother of our three children in heaven, Sweetpea and Pebbles.  I know Abiygale, Matthew, Hope, and Sweetpea are all looking down and playing together waiting for the day Mommy comes to see them.  I know Pebbles loves you and is so excited to have you home today that she demands your love both aggressively and passionately.  I love you boo, you’re the mother of my children and the keeper of my heart.  Have a good Mother’s Day and snuggle with our kitty!”  Love, Abiygale, Matthew, Hope, Sweetpea, Pebbles, and your Boo Bear.”

He writes me a Mother’s Day card every single year and always squeezes my hand and gives me that look when he has to leave for work that says, “I’m so sorry I can’t be with you today. I love you.”  He is the reason this answered prayer brings me so much joy.  To have this man that loves me so much more than I deserve and who loves our babies in Heaven along with me for Mother’s Day – just makes the day feel more like Heaven to me.

Sick…

So in my last few posts I was talking about this current cycle that started cycle day 1 on my husband’s birthday, when I will be ovulating around my birthday (this Wednesday) and ending with either a period of positive pregnancy test on Mother’s Day weekend.  Based on the first day of my last period (the husband’s birthday), April 11, if I were to get pregnant this cycle, my due date would be January 16, 2015.

On January 16 of this year, God gave me a promise for a child.

When I put all of these dates together, I thought, wouldn’t that be special if God gave us our rainbow baby that was linked to Jonathan’s birthday, my birthday, Mother’s Day weekend, and the day that God gave me a promise.

But at the same time I had these hopeful thoughts, I also remembered that you can’t place your hopes in special dates or circumstances, but in God, trusting that His timing, whatever that will be, is perfect.

I was debating back and forth in my mind on whether we should even try to conceive this cycle.  I had made a commitment to worship God for Mother’s Day service and I didn’t want my hopefulness or disappointment about pregnancy to take my focus away from this special time with God.  I talked to my husband about it, and I said, “Let’s just see if it happens organically.  We won’t plan on being together, but we’ll just see if it happens.”

But when you know that ovulation is going to be occurring right around your birthday, it is kind of hard not to think about it.

I usually don’t even think about my ovulation at all, but in my mind, I couldn’t help to get excited about the possibility.  For the last several years, my period has started on my birthday.  I’m not sure how this happened year after year, but this year, is the first year in a long time, that I won’t be miserable on my birthday.  And even better, I might be able to make a baby on my birthday! So of course, it’s only natural that I would get excited and hopeful about the possibilities for this cycle.

But again, I didn’t want my focus to be on a baby.  I wanted to get focused on God instead.  Even though a baby is a beautiful gift, a baby will never, ever be able to fill the void, that only Christ can fill.

Because of these conflicting thoughts, I’ve been feeling a little anxious about this cycle and wondering what I should do.

And then I started feeling sick Friday evening, and woke up Saturday miserable with a really bad cold.  And I still feel sick.  Now I don’t even know if I’ll be feeling better on my birthday or if I’ll even be ovulating.  I’m not sure if I’m correct in my thinking, but I think I heard before that getting sick can affect ovulation.

I feel pretty bummed about it, not going to lie.

That’s what I was worried about happening during Mother’s day weekend, when I wanted my focus to be on God.  I guess it’s good that this happened now so that I can take some time to feel sad that this probably isn’t our cycle, and get ready to put my focus on God for what could be a pretty difficult weekend.

I’m praying that Jonathan will be able to take off Mother’s Day from work.  He works weekends in May and his squad has been short for several months now, so it’s not likely that he’ll be able to take the day off, but I’m just praying that his sgt. will have compassion and let him take the day off.  He doesn’t go to work until 2 pm, so he will be able to go to church with me, but I just don’t want to be alone the rest of the day.  Last year I was just so miserable on Mother’s Day being totally alone.With Jonathan being a police officer, it seems like I’m always alone on holidays.  While the rest of the world is posting cute family pictures on Facebook and talking about what an awesome day they are having, I’m sitting at home alone for hours.  It’s just really hard to think about being alone year after year and wondering when God will make everything better.  When will I have children to bake with and play games with and make special memories together?

I think the reality of this time of the year is just really starting to sink in.  This is the 3 year marker for when this journey started.  And my church is talking about volunteers signing up to teach Vacation Bible School, which is a difficult yearly reminder of my very first miscarriage.  If you haven’t read my first miscarriage story or watched the video where I talk about it, my first ever positive pregnancy test was on June 10, 2011. On June 13, 2011, the very first day of VBS, I started to miscarry, and had to spend the week dealing with teaching and having a miscarriage.  When I got pregnant with my 2nd baby, Matthew, I found out that my due date was June 10, 2012 which would have been the year anniversary of finding out I was pregnant with my first baby.  On June 10, 2012, with empty arms and a heavy heart, I was walking door to door in neighborhoods in my community handing out flyers for VBS that would be started the very next day.  On June 13, 2012, the year anniversary of my first miscarriage, I was having an ultrasound done at my doctor’s office for recurrent miscarriage testing after having 3 miscarriages within one year.  VBS in 2013 was the first year that the event didn’t fall on these painful anniversaries and was instead held at the end of June, but it was still a painful reminder of everything that had happened, and also a reminder, that we still had empty arms.

Every year I sign up to teach Missions and I think, “Oh it will be great!” And every year, I have an emotional break down, crying and remembering the babies that I lost and thinking about how empty my arms feel.  This year, is the first year that I’m actually thinking about not signing up to teach. I really, really want to be strong and do this, but I just don’t have a desire at all to go through the emotions that accompany VBS.

My heart is just really starting to feel heavy right now and I could definitely use your prayers.  I don’t really know how to pray for this cycle.  I’m not really praying for a baby, just praying that God will calm my heart and give me the grace I need to make it through this time of year.

Love and prayers to you all,

Amber

 

 

Today we Remember

Today we remember, the greatest tragedy of all time, the death of our Savior Jesus Christ, who was crucified on the cross for our sins.  He took our place on the cross, a perfect, spotless lamb, as an offering so that all who believe may be forgiven and receive eternal life.

It was the greatest tragedy of all time, and yet, the most beautiful victory of all time.  Today is Friday, but Sunday is coming!!!

A few months ago, after my 5th miscarriage with baby Grayson, I shared that God had been teaching me to focus on the unseen.  In the same way, that all hope seemed lost when our Savior was crucified and died on Friday, He reminded me, that Sunday is coming and Jesus rose from the grave victorious over sin and death.

Although I can’t fully grasp the weight of this beautiful sacrifice, I am thankful that my 5 babies taught me these beautiful lessons about my Savior, Jesus.  Each child and each death, taught me an important lesson and increased my faith in God.

When baby Abiygale died, the verse John 3:16 came alive to me in a way it had never before: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  Instead of questioning if God loved me when he was allowing this miscarriage to happen, I started to understand more clearly the depth of His great love for me (and for the world).

When baby Mathew died, He taught me to cry out to Him and take every emotion before Him, just as we read the many different emotions in the Psalms.

When baby Hope died, I was able to, in a small way, relate to Jesus crying out to God, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  I thought of the pain I was feeling when I cried out to God to let baby Hope live, but with tears pouring down my face, said, “But I trust you God.  Let your will be done.”  And I thought, if I feel this way, what must Jesus have felt, knowing of the wrath that was about to come upon Him? How great is His love for me, that He would be willing to say, “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

When baby Faith died, God reminded me to walk out to the water to Him, like Peter, and have faith in Him.  I learned to have faith even when everything else around me is in darkness.  To believe and trust in Him, even when I can’t see.

And finally, with baby Grayson, I learned to focus on what is unseen, that which is eternal.  God reminded me that in the same way the disciples had hopes that Jesus would restore the world, God had His focus on the future, on what is eternal, and what is being done for the saving of many lives.

And so it is with a thankful heart, that I was given these 5 beautiful gifts from God.  I may only hold them in my heart for now, but it is with this great hope through Jesus Christ, that I will hold them in Heaven.  Their short lives and deaths have challenged my faith in ever which way, and all along the way, God has been faithful, even when I was faithless.  When I was ready to give up on God, He carried me, lifted me up out of the pit, and restored my faith.

It is because of Him that I am living today and living with joy, peace, and hope, all of these, not based on circumstances, but based on Christ and the redeeming work He has done.

Thank you God for the greatest sacrifice and gift of all time, my precious Savior, Jesus Christ.  I fail to find words to express how thankful I am for this gift I’ve been given, so I will simply say, “Thank you.”

-Amber

 

 

So I noticed something…

I was looking back at my story that I wrote about where I found the name Madison, and I was looking at the wall art decal from Pinterest:

madison

I love butterflies, so it doesn’t surprise me that I was attracted to this nursery decal.  When I was in the doctor’s office during my pregnancies with baby Matthew and baby Hope, the ceiling above me had butterfly art (I’ll have to take a picture of it for you guys one day), and when I found out that I lost my babies, I just remembering looking up at the butterflies and thinking that my babies are now free to fly in Heaven, just like the butterflies.

As I was looking back at this name art today, just dreaming and hoping that our little Madison will be coming to us soon, I noticed there are 5 butterflies in the picture.

FIVE!

I have 5 babies in Heaven: Matthew, Hope, Faith, Abiygale, and baby Grayson.

Just a coincidence? Maybe. Significant – I believe it could be!

I am really, really hopeful for our next pregnancy.  I really believe with all of my heart that God is getting ready to give us this gift.  I’m sorry if my being positive about this is annoying to anyone, but God has lifted me up from out of the pit.  A year ago, I was a wreck.  I was so depressed that I hated life.  And now, I’m living again, all glory to God, and I just believe with everything in me, that He is working all things out for my good.

I have this part of me that says, “Don’t get your hopes up for this cycle.” But another part of me says, forget that! Have hope, get excited, and have faith like a little child that believes in the awesome power of God!

Maybe we won’t get pregnant this cycle in time for Mother’s Day, but who cares.  I’m still going to be hopeful because I know that our gift is coming, and if God is not ready to give us our baby at that time, well, I just believe that He will have a better time picked out.  His will is “good, pleasing, and perfect.”

And so, I’m hopeful.  That I will not miscarry again and more than that, that we will have a very healthy child – a strong fighter.

Love and prayers to you all,

Amber

 

 

 

Busy, busy, busy!

Hi friends! I’ve been keeping up with blogs, but haven’t been very good about commenting here lately and I definitely haven’t had time to form a logical thought and put it to paper.  But I think I’m back, and hopefully things will slow down a bit.

Last week, we had a family crisis on Jonathan’s side of the family.  I’m not going to go into details because it is not my business to share, on a public blog, but it was a rough week.  All I can say is, we ended up having to take in Jonathan’s Aunt Shirley for the week, who is mentally handicapped, and it was a chore taking care of her.  She is in her 50′s so it’s basically like taking care of a very large child – I’m not trying to be harsh, she really does have the mind of a 5-year-old.  On top of her mental disability, she also has a rod in her back and can’t see very well, so bath time was interesting without a handicapped bath.  Jonathan’s parents have a full-handicap bath, but since she had to stay with us for the week, we had to be extra careful.

I did a pretty good job caring for all week-long, and then yesterday, she pooped in her depends underwear (which is like a diaper for adults).  Not once, but twice.  I was trying so hard not to vomit all over the place cleaning her up.  It was HORRIBLE! Hands down, worst experience of my life.  The second time she was sitting on my couch and it went through her underwear.  I can’t even tell you how many times I have tried to clean it up – I think it worked, but it will just never be the same to me again.

I was just praying, “Jesus, help me to stay calm.” I was pretty upset with my husband’s family at this point in time.  Again, I can’t explain the situation, but, let’s just say, my in-laws are pretty much on my list of people to move FAR, FAR away from.  More on that later in another blog!

Friday was also my husband’s 27th birthday! Sadly, I started my period that day, 2 days late.  I knew I wasn’t pregnant though because I had negative tests, but one of the first things I said to Jonathan was, “I’m sorry I’m not pregnant for your birthday!” He laughed at me for being silly.  It was pretty annoying dealing with Shirley on his birthday and my period.  Not going to lie, this entire situation definitely brought out some ugly sides to me and I’m going to need to pray over it because clearly I still need some work done in my heart.

Speaking of my husband’s birthday, I’ve been thinking a lot about the big upcoming day in May, the most dreaded day of the year, Mother’s Day.  Last year, I had a horrible, horrible day and all I could think about after that day was, “Next year, I’m going to hold my head high and go to church to worship God on Mother’s Day.”  I wanted so badly to attend in 2013, but I had just come home from my Grandfather’s funeral and had ended up eating gluten while out of town and felt too sick to make it.  Jonathan bought me a beautiful Mother’s Day card, but no one else in my life contacted me to see how I was doing and I felt alone and depressed.  I spent the entire day thinking about me and how sad I felt and alone I felt, and afterwards I realized, even if no one else would care, I know that God cares for me.  He deserves my worship and praise, even on the worst days of my life.  I might not have a child to hold in my arms, but I have salvation through Jesus Christ, and He is everything I need.

“Do not be afraid, Abram.  I am your shield, your very great reward.” Genesis 15:1

Jesus, is my very great reward.

Since that day last year, I have made the commitment in my heart and mind that I am going to worship the Lord in my church home on Mother’s Day for 2014.  Part of me is anxious for how difficult the day might be, but another part of me is excited and knows that God is going to show up big time to make me feel special and loved.  If I have learned anything at all in the last three years of dealing with miscarriage and infertility, it is that God is ALWAYS faithful.

As the day starts to get closer, I’m becoming more and more filled with minor anxiety over the day and also a hope of wondering what will transpire on that day.

As I was looking at the calendar and wondering when my period would start for next month, based on the late period right in time for Jon’s birthday, I realized that my period is due to start two days before Mother’s Day.  Meaning, I will either be on my period for Mother’s Day, or it could show up late, or I could be pregnant.

I get pretty emotional around the time of my period, probably just from a combination of hormones and also disappointment that I’m not pregnant for that month.  The thought of being extra emotional for Mother’s Day really makes me nervous.  What if I’m just a sobbing mess and everyone starts to look at me? What if I can’t do it?

And then I also have this fear, that I’m going to get too hopeful for this month.  I made a big mistake last night when I calculated my next period.  I decided, just for “fun” to look up what my due date would be based on the first day of my last period (Jon’s birthday).  I thought, it would be pretty cool, to know that our baby’s life essentially started on Jon’s birthday, ovulation occurred right around my birthday (April 23), and I’d find out in time for Mother’s Day the big news.

When I looked up what my due date would be if we were to get pregnant this next cycle, it showed up: January 16, 2015. 

January 16 is the day, that this year, 2014, God gave me the promise for a child.  You can read that story by clicking here if you are interested.

As soon as I saw that, I turned to Jonathan and said, “I know I’m going to get super hopeful now this month.”  Everything would just work out “too perfectly”.

Also, right after Mother’s Day, I’ll be dealing with my upcoming due date for my 4th baby, Faith.  I really haven’t thought too much about it, but I’m sure I’ll feel emotional when I make it closer to the day.

Mother’s Day is also the 3 year marker for this journey of infertility.  The last time I attended Mother’s Day service was in 2011, just a few days before the cycle began that led to my very first pregnancy and miscarriage.  My last hair cut was also in May 2011, and I feel like my hair has been symbolic of this journey.  It’s getting long and messy, and I just really need to cut it all off and start fresh.  I just have never got around to getting my hair cut and taking care of myself.  I really just think it goes to show how difficult the journey of recurrent miscarriage is.  Even something like a simple hair cut becomes an emotional event.  A reminder of what life was like, before loss.  Am I making any sense?

As beautiful as I think that story could be if I was to get pregnant with our baby this month, and what a great ending it could be to this very long and sad journey, I think that I need to be careful not to put my hopes in a date, in circumstances, or into any other thing.  I need to put my hope in God!

With Easter coming up next week, it will be really easy to focus on God.  Even today for Palm Sunday, I was thinking of how thankful I am for my Savior Jesus and how excited I am to finally meet Him someday.  I don’t think that anything else can overwhelm me, quite like this beautiful time of remembrance for what Jesus did for me on the cross.  My heart is just overflowing with wonder at this amazing gift He gave to me and the excitement of knowing, He’s coming again!

But after Easter, comes the preparation for Mother’s Day.  I know that Satan will be at work to try to stop me from worshiping God.  The fact that I’ve made this commitment to worship God, is going to mean that a warfare is going to begin if I’m not careful to put on the full armor of God and protect myself completely.  In preparation for this, I’m going to have to be on top of my game, being intentional in focusing on praying with thankfulness and joy, and abiding totally in Jesus to walk with me through this time.

God has been faithful to walk me through worse times.  Spending Mother’s Day among believers in my home church, is not a bad thing.  I know that I can have a large group of sisters-in-Christ praying on my behalf for the day.  I know that if I break down and cry, someone will be there to hug me and hand me a tissue.  And I am a mother.  I will rest on the promise of the joyful hope that I WILL see my babies in Heaven.

And no matter what happens, I’m going to be there, with my hands lifted high in praise to the One True King, who is ever faithful to His promises.  He will not forget me, and dear sisters, He will not forget you.

Leave me a comment and let me know what your plans are for Mother’s Day.  Is it just another day to you, or do you also struggle with the holiday? If there is anyway I can pray for you, please let me know.

Love and hugs to all of you,

Amber

 

 

Pinterest Dreams

A few posts ago, I talked about my struggle with a stronghold to a food addiction and how I’m just praying and believing that God will help me to overcome this so that I can be the healthy Amber He desires me to be.

I started a new bible study at church today over the book of Philippians (which I am SO excited for) and we each went around saying a praise for the week and prayer request for the week.  Each lady would write down the name of each girl, and her prayer and praise, and then we went around in a circle praying for the woman to our left.  It was the coolest thing! I’ve never been a part of something like that before.  Anyways, I requested prayer to eat healthier.

And I just left the study feeling excited like, Yes! In Jesus name, with His power and authority, I am going to overcome this.  And I have 10 girls praying for me and that will be praying for me all week-long.

Tonight, I was feeling incredibly excited because I thought, “If I just remain faithful, if I work hard and do not give up, God is going to restore my health, help me lose weight, and then give me a baby in His perfect timing.”  With that excitement, I jumped on Pinterest to pin ideas for nursery inspiration, thinking that I need to start planning for this baby I believe God is going to give me (I know, I’m pretty silly! Hey, life is more fun when you’re crazy.)

I was having so much fun looking at all of the ideas and dreaming of what kind of art I would display in my future babe’s room when I saw a star-themed crib mobile.  I pinned it, because I love stars.  And then…. I remembered.

When I was pregnant with my 2nd baby, Matthew, my husband was working the AM shift at work and I would be up early, early in the morning (like 4 am) to take my dog Sweetpea potty.  It was September and October during this time and the stars outside were just gorgeous.  I believe it was the day that I found out I was pregnant with Matthew, that I saw 5 stars forming the shape of the letter M in the sky, and I wondered if God was telling me that this baby was a boy.  I had a very strong desire to name our first boy, Matthew.  Because I spent so much time walking outside at night looking up at the stars and dreaming of meeting baby Matthew, who we nicknamed baby M during the pregnancy (for baby Mueller, or Matthew if it ended up being a boy), I decided he would have a star-themed nursery.

My heart hurt after remembering that and I was about ready to get off of Pinterest because my fun had been ruined with that painful memory.

And then I saw a cute wall art décor with the name Madison and I thought, “I think I kind of like that name. I wonder why?” (I had never been a big fan of the name when I was going through names during previous pregnancies)

madison

Source

I decided to look up the meaning of the name, and wouldn’t you know, this definition popped up on my google:

The name Madison is an English baby name. In English the meaning of the name Madison is: Surname derived from Matthew ‘gift of God’ or from Matilda ‘strong fighter.

Of course I liked the name Madison!!!! Beautiful!

I wonder if God is going to give us a baby girl, and maybe, just maybe, we will name her Madison, after her big brother in Heaven, Matthew.

God is good! I’m excited, excited, excited for the future :-)

Love to you all,

Amber