Illusion of Control

It’s been awhile since I have written a post.  The holidays consumed so much of my time that it was a relief when January came so I could sit back and relax again.  Recently, I had enough energy to put together a new list of goals for this year in an attempt to try and gain some control back over all of the chaos the holidays brought.  Control is only just an illusion and was one of the most difficult things to try to let go of when I was struggling with not being able to conceive.  I realized that I didn’t have any control over a huge part of my life and I finally stopped trying to control everything.

Before I found myself at that point, I remember that if there was a whisper of a way that would miraculously help me to become pregnant, I’m pretty sure I did it aside from going to witch doctors or standing on my head after sex.  I remember giving up coffee for years, which was probably the hardest thing to do.  I gave up alcohol, I ate way more green types of foods than a normal person should, and I spent a lot of time seeing infertility doctors.  I needed to feel like I was in control of something which I learned, after a very long time, was completely out of my hands.

Then I just gave up.  I wish I could say that I leaned in and trusted in God even more and that’s why I become pregnant finally.  I would love to tell everyone about the miraculous potion I found.  Instead, after six long years of being on a roller coaster, that no one can understand unless they’ve struggled with infertility, I started drinking coffee again, I worked out at the gym harder than usual, I drank again (moderately, I don’t want to sound like I became a drunk), and I just lived my life normally again.  The point I’m getting at, is that there just wasn’t any reason to it.  I had given up trying to be in control of my fertility.  One could speculate that it was when I finally relaxed about everything that I was finally able to get pregnant.  But honestly, only God knows.

If you know someone going through infertility, please do me a favor and don’t tell them that I said they just need to relax!  I remember hating to hear that and it usually had the opposite effect.  Just give them a hug and tell them that you’re there for them.  If you end up getting pregnant and know that your friend is still waiting to have a baby, don’t be ashamed to tell them.  Just make sure not to mention how you weren’t even trying or how easy it was to get pregnant, they may never talk to you again.  I have been on both sides of this matter and I remember that it hurt more not to be asked to someone’s baby shower than to be asked, at least then I had the choice to politely turn it down or not.

Oh control, I wish I had it, but I don’t.  I had the illusion and that made me go bat crazy.  If you are someone whose trying to conceive, the best piece of advice I can give to you this new year is to keep hope alive that maybe this is your year, but don’t get caught up in Pinterest or cookbooks focused on eating to conceive or any of those things that you can end up making a grocery list out of just so you feel like you will finally get pregnant.  If there’s anything I learned from my experience, it’s that I just needed to keep living life as I had been before I started creating a lot of rigid rules that centered around baby making.  I’m sure it made my husband a lot happier too when I finally threw out the list.

The way I see things now, as my daughter just turned 16 months old, is that for some reason God wanted her to be born on a specific day and on a specific year.  I may not know why right now, but I believe there’s a reason she’s 16 months old right now and not six years old.  I don’t care if anyone doesn’t agree with me, but that is how I feel.  I’m good with that.  I’m good with God being in control because honestly, he can see the big picture much better than I can down here, typing away on my computer in my room, in this little apartment that we now live in because we decided to move back to Southern California.  That’s another story for another time of giving up control and trusting God to bring us back to be close to family again.

So for now, I have my calendar planned and goals set for this year because I have to feel a little in control of my days, but I’m treating them more like a rough draft instead of a final copy.  I’m beginning to realize what’s more important in life and I’m slowly getting my priorities in order.  My New Year goal this year is to keep God first in my life so I won’t be inclined to try to control everything that goes on this year, like when I start looking for a new job.  What’s your New Year goal?

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Faith Through Trials

There have been several times when I have doubted God’s word throughout my life.  Doubt would creep in and I would start to wonder if the Bible was true and if God really existed, which often times made the situation or circumstance that I was facing seem even more devastating.  The “what ifs” took over and I would spiral down into a deep pit of depression.  I would stay there for awhile until I thought about the times in my life when I was strongest in my faith versus the times I was the farthest away from it.
In the times when I was closest to God, I felt the most love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, the fruit of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.  Even more importantly, there was something more than what I got out of being in close relation to my creator.  I was more in tune with wanting to give God glory in praise and in worship.  There was such a sense of wholeness that all doubt disappeared.
I needed those reminders of how God had worked in my life to stay strong during the years my marriage struggled through my husband’s pornography addiction and through the years that followed during our struggle through infertility.  No matter what I had gone through, I came to realize that it was all right to doubt.  It made me stronger in my faith having wrestled through my disbelief to find that God has always been there for me, even in those times of doubting.
During our most recent struggle with infertility, I kept this Bible verse close by and read it more frequently than any other verse in the Bible.  “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  During those times when I kept asking why or doubted God’s love for me, this Bible verse would remind me that I may not ever understand why, but I should keep trusting in God and putting him first more than anything else, including my own baby.
This is an excerpt from my first blog that I had posted April 30, 2015.  It really wasn’t that long ago, but it feels like an eternity has gone by since that time.  I’ve condensed it for this blog’s purposes.
Believing For a Baby 

My husband and I have been trying for a baby for several years now.  It has been one of the most isolating and painful experiences of my life.  I tend to be introverted so I don’t like to share with my friends and family about our struggle with infertility, especially when I know they try to sympathize, but they don’t understand because they haven’t had this struggle before.  I’m so happy for them when I see them with their children or pregnant with their own baby, but inside I’m jealous and coveting what I don’t have.  I realized that even though I may not know anyone personally who is struggling with infertility, there may be someone online who can relate to what I’m going through.

After two years of trying, I found out I was pregnant.  It was the happiest six weeks of my life imagining all the things that newly pregnant women dream of.  Then  a few weeks later I started bleeding and went to the E.R.  The doctor did an ultrasound and told us that he would neither agree or deny if I was still pregnant because it was so early.  So for weeks I was on Google trying to find out if there was still a chance that I was pregnant.  I was miserable.  Eventually I had to accept that my baby had gone away.  Since that time it has been a roller coaster of highs and lows every month starting with hoping that I might be pregnant to being let down at the end of the month when I start my period again.

I had made an appointment with a fertility clinic last year, but later on cancelled because I was still hoping that I could get pregnant for free instead of paying extra costs for a fertility specialist.  I bought a book about trying to conceive and tried to do everything in the book including staying away from caffeine, counting my days, drinking enough water, and exercising at least three times a week.  I finally gave in this year after not seeing any results.  We went to see a fertility specialist yesterday.  There was another couple there and I couldn’t even look them in the eyes because I felt like I would see our pain reflected back at me through their eyes.  I realized that I’m probably not as alone as I have imagined myself to be.

Who knew it would take six years before we would be able to have our beautiful little baby girl.  I held onto that bible verse every week and every day if needed.  During those times when I struggled with doubt during infertility, I remembered the amazing change he had done in my husband’s heart, breaking him free from pornography.  While we struggled with pornography in our marriage, I remembered how God had helped me raise above my social anxiety and anxiety attacks.  While I struggled with anxiety attacks, I remembered how he had been there for me while I dealt with being bullied at school.  He has always been there for me and has helped me overcome so many obstacles.  I may have doubts again, but they won’t last long.
I would love to know what Bible verse you hold onto or have found to give you comfort during difficult times.  God bless.

Infertility Side Effects

I have a terrible habit of complaining.  Whenever something happens at work or at home, I immediately start to go off on a rant about how things should be, but whenever everything is going all right, I don’t have anything to say.  I don’t want to be that kind of person because that’s exactly the kind of person I never want to be around.

I don’t know when I started to think that it was better to obsess over every little thing that goes wrong in my day instead of seeing the positive.  I rationalized that I was bitter and had a right to complain because my husband was unfaithful or because I couldn’t become a mother like millions of women found it so easy to do.  I felt justified to be upset because my life was not turning out the way I wanted it to.  In that downward spiral of unhappiness, I formed this bad habit.

Then I would feel guilty about not being more positive.  I had this terrible track playing in circles in my head saying that I was not good enough for anyone or anything and the longer I let it play in my life, the harder it became to break.  I’m still struggling with trying to look at the positive side of things.  Even now that I have a husband who finally broke free from pornography and I have the beautiful child that we tried for six years to conceive.  I would really like to break myself out of this pity party that I’ve been hosting these last fifteen years.

I have so many things to be thankful for that if I found out that I only had a week to live, I should be joyous with everything that I have.  This is where I’ve wanted to be for so long that maybe I just don’t believe that it’s actually come true.  I don’t want to take anything for granted.  Life is just too short and I don’t want to live in my past hurts anymore.  Thank you to those of you that have been posting blogs about hope and how you are overcoming different obstacles in your lives because it gives me encouragement.  Here I am starting a blog to give others hope and instead I feel like I’ve gained way more than I’ve been able to give.

To be honest, I think I’m afraid to be happy.  I’m afraid that if I acknowledge how happy I am with how my dreams have finally come true that everything will be taken from me again.  Probably most bad habits are rooted in fear somehow.  I’ve waited for so many years to have my family be where we are right now and for my family to be all living in the same state now.  I’m afraid I will wake up and have to go through all of this again somehow.  Is there a way to break free from where I was, to accepting where I am now?  I’m hoping that I’ll finally accept that these things are real now and that I can feel joy without them being taken away from me.

For those of you who have had a miscarriage before, I think a lot of this is deeply rooted from that experience.  I was six weeks pregnant the first time I had a miscarriage and this was two years after we had been trying.  Then four years after trying I had two more miscarriages.  I remember falling down on my knees and just thanking God over and over again for my little baby and then a few weeks later falling down on my knees in the same spot asking God why he took my baby away from me.  Why even give, just to take it away?  I’m still struggling with those painful memories.  I’m very thankful for my precious daughter, but I truly believe I worry everything will be taken away from me again just like that, in a blink of an eye.  I’ve grown so much in my relationship with God through all of this, but this is where I’m a little stuck right now and can’t seem to get past.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media Zombies

I’m writing something a little different today in the spirit of the month of October.  I was thinking the other day of how ironic it is that I’m an online teacher.  Before entering this new world, I resisted using technology as much as I could.  Computers were overwhelming for me because I didn’t know very much about them and I knew there was so much I needed to learn.  Then I became very frustrated by my lack of understanding once I did start using the computer more often, than just for logging into Facebook.  One time I spent hours just trying to find a way to change my picture on WordPress.

When I decided that it was time to stop resisting the use of technology, I felt like I had gotten into step with the rest of the world.  I had stopped trying to resist the tech zombies and let myself get bit by this disease.  You can only resist something for so long until you realize that it’s just the way of the future.  I could either be one the few resisters of the upcoming technology apocalypse or finally join the crowd of the of social media zombies that seemed to be spreading everywhere.  I don’t normally like to fall into step with the crowd because I like to consider myself a unique individual!  I prided myself on being one the last few survivors of my generation that hadn’t stepped over into the endless crowd of tech zombies, who I thought had lost the ability to communicate socially with each other in person and placed their number one priority in devouring as much technology as possible.

But after I began my initiation into this dark world, I didn’t become a lost soul in the crowd after all.  Rather, I was able to show my individualism even more!  Through blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram I was able to sculpt my tone, style, and persona through these technology outlets as I wanted to.  I actually have been able to discover more about myself since I have seen what I can create online.  I no longer view social media as being composed of mindless tech zombies, but as creative and strategic individuals who are revolutionizing our world.  Using social media, I have been able to see my thoughts and creativity come alive.

I’ve also been able to actually teach again!  I no longer have to spend countless hours trying to put together and implement behavior plans or waste my breathe disciplining students in class.  I can turn off their microphone and chat box as needed and finally teach again.  On the flip side, students who just want to come to class and learn what they need to learn so they can do want they want the rest of the day, can do that to.  It’s a win/win.

So how do you overcome becoming a mindless tech zombie using social media?

First, move slowly.  Keep your eyes on the target and take small steps to get there.  Know that eventually you will learn the ropes, even if it feels like you’re dragging one leg behind you as you take each step.  As you gain more knowledge, you will be able to move a little faster to get to your targets quicker.

Second, take small bites or you might choke.  Start with one area before you move onto another.  Don’t try to engulf everything about social media at the same time.  You can check on statbrain.com to find out which websites generate the most traffic.  The more people who visit a website, the more traffic you have to infect, I mean effect.

Third, there is a strategy behind every bite.  Begin with Facebook or LinkedIn and apply what you have learned by looking at what other zombies, I mean people, have done.  Read blogs and look at other websites to get ideas to apply to your own.  Think about what the pictures you use say about your site.  Are you posting write ups that are easy for your followers to share on their page?  Are you finding pages related to yours so you can give them feedback?

Fourth, move on.  Once you have left your mark on social media, you can watch as your audience begins to spread the word.  You can sit back and watch how there used to be an empty space and now you have brought into creation a page that is uniquely yours and gaining attention.  It’s exciting to see the exponential growth begin to take effect.

Fifth, don’t isolate yourself.  Make sure to still talk to your friends and family face to face or using the telephone.  Even if it’s just one real quick conversation a week, there’s no need to place yourself into quarantine.

Have a safe Halloween!

Hope

Do you ever wish that you could somehow watch your life as it unfolds like watching a movie?  How marvelous would it be to reach into God’s video archives and just watch my life from the time I was born till now?  I could point to my husband and say “See, I didn’t throw away those papers you were looking for!”  Even more importantly, I believe I would be able to see who I am a little more clearly.  It would be amazing to be more of an objective viewer over my life so I could have a different perspective.  I could detach from my emotions long enough to see what God was doing in my life, behind the scenes, to know if the dreams I had were on their way to becoming true.

I suppose I’m glad that I’m not the director of my life.  If I had known if and when my struggles would be over, I may have thrown in the towel too soon thinking that what I wanted was too far away.  My husband and I were married for twelve years before he was completely free from the bondage of pornography and it took us six years and several miscarriages before we had our daughter.  I’m thankful that God is willing and able to carry me through all of the difficult scenes of my life.  I’m very sure that there has been multiple times that God has probably wanted to reach into the world’s stage and tell me to hang on to hope and he did.  Through my family, friends, messages from preachers, his word, and comfort during very difficult prayers.  He was doing a lot of behind the scenes moves sending me hope while orchestrating a way for my husband to finally reach out for help against his addiction.

His strength is revealed in our weakness. I don’t always know what God’s plans are, but  he can see the big picture.  His plans are for our good, not to harm us.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)  God can make this promise because he is the divine director over our lives, if we would trust in him.  Let me give  you some hope today for whatever you may be going through.  Remember the times that he has been faithful to you and helped you through difficult situations in the past and believe that he is still working on your behalf.  I know that I can lean and trust in him for whatever situations I face in the future because he has delivered my husband from pornography and has blessed us with a beautiful little girl.

Hold on to Hope That One Day You Will Get to Dress up Your Own Little Pumpkin

When we first married and Halloween came around the corner, my husband and I couldn’t wait to put up all of our Halloween decorations.  I would joke that the neighbors probably thought we weren’t Christian because we always decorated much more for Halloween than Christmas.  There just happened to be many more Halloween decorations at garage sales.  Decorating was much more fun when we first married and were still very much kids ourselves.  I carried on my family’s tradition of choosing our pumpkins from a pumpkin patch and carving them into all kinds of spooky shapes.  We had fun dressing up to give out candy or going to Halloween parties.  We enjoyed going to haunted houses and watching Halloween movies from our childhood like Beetle Juice, The Adams Family, and Hocus Pocus.  As the years went by and our friends had kids, the parties didn’t happen anymore and we didn’t get invited to any family activities.  After fourteen years of being just the two of us, Halloween had lost it’s fun.  Sure we still tried to put up decorations to make it fun for the neighborhood kids, but we wanted to put up decorations for our own children to see too.

I know what’s like when the beginning of the holidays come around and you want to get excited about all of the festivities to come, but there’s an emptiness that brings you down.  We struggled with infertility for six years before being able to get pregnant.  Before we started trying, it was still a little difficult around the holidays because I looked forward to being a mom one day and to be able to share the holidays with my little one.  Once we started trying to have a child, the holidays became increasingly unbearable.  I wanted to tell every parent I looked at who was holding a baby in their arms, “You don’t know how lucky you are.”  Every baby dressed as a pumpkin, every baby costume I looked at while in the store, every picture my friends and family posted of their little ones dressed up made me smile and want to cry at the same time.

I would like to offer you some hope today if you or someone you know is struggling with having a baby.  You never know when that day will come, but when it does, don’t ever take it for granted.  I’m not taking this year for granted with my daughter, which is why I am writing this blog today.  When I bought her costume for the first time this year, I remembered all the years I could only pick up a costume, but didn’t have a child to buy it for.  My thoughts go out to every woman and couple who doesn’t have a little one to buy a costume for and would like to, to those who are putting up decorations once again for only themselves to see, and who will get to see all of the cute kids dressed up Halloween night and wish they had a little pumpkin of their own.

Don’t lose hope.  It may not happen this year, but there is another year.  It’s not over until it’s over.  I don’t know the “why” behind someone not being able to get pregnant and maybe one day I will be able to look back and see why my daughter needed to wait to be born at the end of 2016.  In the meantime, it’s all right to be honest with God in your prayer life.  He is here for you and during those times of hurt, it gave me great comfort knowing no matter how honest I was with him about my feelings and thoughts, he never would leave my side and he will never leave yours.  Hold onto your hope and one day you will get to be the cheesy family that dresses up alike to a theme on Halloween night.