Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Storm Tossed and Not Comforted

Well, my doctor's appointment today was a disappointment. I was hoping for a solution. Or at least a plan giving me steps towards a solution.

The doctor said that my pain is not being caused by endometriosis, but by adhesions (scar tissue) from my surgeries. He increased my pain meds and gave me a prescription for a pill that will make my period come once every 3 months, so I'll have to deal with the severest pain less often. But no long term plan. He said that if I got pregnant, that the adhesions would soften and disappear (?). I have never heard this before. But he acknowledged that it would be impossible for me to become pregnant naturally, so he recommended IVF. I was really crushed by this. I would love to have my own child, and we pursued the IVF path but abandoned it due to moral objections. He discounted this and tried to say that there was nothing wrong with IVF. Well, that is fine and dandy for him, but I believe it is wrong. Here is what I desperately want (a healthy pain-free life raising kids) being dangled in front of me, and I am barred by my belief in God's Word from taking it. It is another apple. I don't want to be another Eve.

The doctor said that a hysterectomy is not a good option for me because of my age and he said that he wouldn't do it. I don't really want one anyway. I just want to get better. But maybe this is what the Lord wants me to bear here in this life. I sure don't want it.

We have one option that is open to us for acheiving a pregnancy and that is Snowflakes, the embryo adoption agency. But they have very low sucess rates and if we work with them, we can't work with our current adoption agency. I really love them and I don't know if I want to stop our process with them. :( Especially for something that may never work. But the health factor adds a new element to the mix.

So Brian and I are trying to sort all this out. We have much to think about. Pray for us!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

This is My Father's World

This is my Father's world, O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.
This is my Father's world, the battle is not done;
Jesus who died shall be satisfied, and earth and heav'n be one.

My Good Friday was a day of death and mournfulness. Not only was it the somber remembrance of Christ's death on the cross bearing my sin and shame, but I spent the day with my husband outside an abortion clinic. (This was the second crazy idea that I mentioned in an earlier post. It wasn't as scary or crazy as it seemed to me at first.) We sat outside with two signs: "We're waiting to adopt" and "I sought the LORD and He answered me, he delivered me from all my fears." We saw more than a dozen girls go into that clinic and we prayed for them all. None of them stopped to talk with us, but they did see the signs. Our hearts were broken for those young ladies and the pain that they have in their lives and for the dreadful decision that they were making. While were out there, we couldn't help but discuss the Terry Schiavo case. There are so many parallels. It seems as though only people who are "aware of their own personhood" and completely independent of another to take care of them will be granted a right to live. Babies (even those that are born), the elderly, and the disabled do not fit into those two categories.

Sometimes it does seem that wickedness is more powerful than righteousness. I was feeling that way this afternoon, the Lord reminded me of the hymn I've quoted from above. This is His world. Praise the Lord. He is there and works according to His plan and His ways. I pray that He would extend a greater grace to the people around me, that they might come to know Him and serve Him more completely. I'm so saddened when I look at myself and the church of Christ. I pray that He would give us more boldness to speak the truth and more love and compassion for the lost and wounded.

When I thought about writing this entry, I thought I knew what title I would use: A Day of Death. But I think the one the LORD brought to my mind is infinitely more fitting. I pray that I would be of more use to Him in His kingdom, and that the church of Christ would be strengthened.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

A Merry Heart Doeth Like Good Medicine

I could use a little cheer today, so I thought I'd post some medical humor. Enjoy!

Doc tells a guy he has a bad heart. The guy says "I want another opinion." The doc says "OK, you're ugly too."

The CEO of a large HMO dies and goes to heaven. St. Peter shows him to a lovely villa, wonderful music, great views, full staff of servants, gourmet meals, etc.
The CEO says, "This is terrific!"
"Don't get too comfortable," says St. Peter. "You're only approved for a three-day stay."

Things You Don't Want to Hear During Surgery:
Better save that. We'll need it for the autopsy.
Someone call the janitor -- we're going to need a mop.
Bo! Bo! Come back with that! Bad Dog!
Wait a minute, if this is his spleen, then what's that?
Hand me that ... uh ... that uh ... thingie.
Oh no! I just lost my Rolex.
Oops! Hey, has anyone ever survived 500ml of this stuff before?
Darn, there go the lights again...
Ya know, there's big money in kidneys. Heck, the guy's got two of 'em.
Everybody stand back! I lost my contact lens!
Could you stop that thing from beating? It's throwing my concentration off.
What's this doing here?
I hate it when they're missing stuff in here.
That's cool! Now can you make his leg twitch?!
I wish I hadn't forgotten my glasses.
Well folks, this will be an experiment for us all.
Sterile, shcmerile. The floor's clean, right?
Anyone see where I left that scalpel?
Don't worry. I think it is sharp enough.
FIRE! FIRE! Everyone get out now!!
Darn! Page 47 of the manual is missing!

"Doctors at a hospital in Brooklyn, New York have gone on strike. Hospital officials say they will find out what the Doctors' demands are as soon as they can get a pharmacist over there to read the picket signs."

The patient awakened after the operation to find herself in a room with all the blinds drawn.
"Why are all the blinds closed?" she asked her doctor.
"Well," the surgeon responded, "They're fighting a huge fire across the street, and we didn't want you to wake up and think the operation had failed."

A man who had just undergone a very complicated operation kept complaining about a bump on his head and a terrible headache. Since his operation had been an intestinal one, there was no earthly reason why he should be complaining of a headache. Finally his nurse, fearing that the man might be suffering from some post-operative shock, spoke to the doctor about it. The doctor assured the nurse, "Don't worry about a thing. He really does have a bump on his head. About halfway through the operation we ran out of anesthetic."

What Doctors Really Mean:
"This should be taken care of right away."Translation: I'd planned a trip to Hawaii next month but this is so easy and profitable I want to fix it before it clears up on its own.

"Let me check your medical history." Translation: I want to see if you've paid your last bill before spending any more time with you.

"Why don't we make another appointment later in the week." Translation: I have a tee-time in fifteen minutes --or-- I need the bucks, so I'm charging you for another office visit.

"We have some good news and some bad news." Translation: The good news is, I'm going to buy that new BMW. The bad news is, you're going to pay for it.

"Let me schedule you for some tests." Translation: I have a forty percent interest in the lab.

"If it doesn't clear up in a week, give me a call." Translation: I don't know what it is. Maybe it will go away by itself.

"This may smart a little." Translation: Last week two patients bit off their tongues.

"Well, we're not feeling so well today, are we...?" Translation: I'm stalling for time. Who are you and why are you here?

"Do you suppose all this stress could be affecting your nerves?" Translation: You're as crazy as a loon. Now, if I can only find a shrink who'll split fees with me...

"I'd like to run some more tests." Translation: I have no clue what's wrong. I need time to go home and search WebMD.com.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Unexpected Blessings

Lately God has been softening my heart towards people who are hurting, particularly people who are outside of the saving knowledge of Christ. (This is a movement back to what I hope is a "godly mean" after being both an Arminian and a hyper-Calvinist!) I'm so thankful for this new tender shoot of compassion. I hope that it will grow into a strong, well-rooted tree! I'm praying and searching that God will give me an outlet to serve people in spiritual need. Right now I'm surrounded by believers (which is a tremendous blessing) and I am limited by my health. I never seem to know whether it will be a good day or a bad day until it arrives! But I do pray the Lord would open my eyes to opportunites to share the love of God with others. It is so overwhelming that I feel I must share it!

This has what has been running through my mind lately. And this morning in class, Dr. Gage spoke of the bride of Christ bearing children for Him through conversions. That may sound like a funny analogy, but it seems fitting to me. And just like the Ethiopian Eunach, I need not be spiritually barren. "'Shout for joy, O barren one, you have borne no child... for the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous than the sons of the married woman' says the Lord" Is. 54:1 That excites me very much. I really want to be of service to Christ, but I feel so useless! I was glad to read Stepping Heavenward recently, because although it is fiction, Elizabeth Prentiss encouraged me by having her main character minister to others for 7 years from her bed! I'm very thankful not to be bedridden!

So these thoughts have comforted and excited me. I've also had some wonderful opportunities to fellowship with other believers that have encouraged me very much. It is so good to spend time together discussing life and God.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Still Tender Healing Wound

I've been in a good bit of discomfort and pain lately which only serves as a poignant reminder that more surgery is coming. I'll be seeing my new doctor on March 29 and he'll tell me what he thinks then, but it will probably be a hysterectomy. Ouch. That still hurts to think about, even after this long road of grief and comfort I've traveled this past year. It will be the snuffing of that final bit of hope, small as it is and as much as I've tried to crush it myself. But the Lord is so faithful and he has taught me so much through this. Trials and trouble make us cling to Him, though we may fight it at the first. Last night I made it to church (which is becoming an event these days) and the worship time was so sweet. It may be an old hymn, but we sang It Is Well With My Soul and I just sang with my whole heart. Without pain, we could not understand or appreciate joy. So I thank God that He is working in my life through affliction. Those are not words that come easily, but they do come from a sincere heart.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Crazy Ideas

Where does this stuff come from?

I submitted an article about my infertility experience and hope in Christ to Family Reformation. It is extremely unlikely that they will publish it, but I just discovered this magazine and I really love it. It is written from a covenantal, reformed perspective and it is a magazine about the practicalities and spritualities of family life. As soon as we can scrape up some money, I'm going to subscribe to it. (We have everything we need, but we just don't have a lot left over after that.)

The other idea is too crazy to tell anyone about, but it is a unique form of outreach that struck me the other day and my husband and I are still thinking about it. It is something that only prospective adoptive parents could do, but we're not sure if it is something that we should do yet. I'm not trying to be mysterious, but we need prayer that we would have wisdom in making this decision.

This week has been difficult for me physically and emotionally. I wish 'godliness with contentment' was a little easier to attain. I guess that isn't a very content sentence! It is comforting to know that I'm learning some things through all this stuff. Several weeks ago a lady I know ended up in the hospital after having a high blood pressure episode. The attack left her eye damaged and now she can't see out of it. When I visited her in the hospital, my heart was moved to much greater compassion and sorrow for her because of the experience of pain in my life. I think of her more and pray for her more than I would have because I see in her pain a flash of recognition of myself. What she is going through is completely different, but like alumni from the same school, I feel a kinship with her. I hope that these lessons will serve me throughout my life to make me more compassionate, patient, and quick to pray. I know that I should be happy that God is still working on me through pain because I keep saying I want more of these things. Well, I'm not there yet, but maybe someday I will be. May the Lord guide your steps today in whatever you do, and mine too, that we may love and serve Him better.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Tragedy for One Family

Oh how my heart aches! I just received a phone call from a woman with two foster children whose birth mother is taking them back! They are both very small (I believe one is 14mos and I don't remember how old the other is) and she has raised them from day one. So these children that she has loved and raised and prayed for are going to be taken from her and put into an unhealthy, unsafe environment and will probably end up back in foster care, growing older and less 'adoptable', bouncing from home to home without any family. But we believe in a God of purpose and a God of love and I believe that God answers the prayers of His people. Please pray for this poor woman and her husband, that God would strengthen them and for these two precious little ones that God would be gracious and merciful to their souls and work out the best possible home for them to live in all the world.

In case you are wondering, the birth mother can take these children back because she still has her parental rights. Children in foster care often become available for adoption when the parents' rights are terminated, generally due to their inability to parent children safely. After an adoption is finalized no one can take the children away from the adoptive parents unless they prove that the adoption was done illegally. (That's why it is important to have a good agency that follows all the rules and never ever pressures a birth mother in any way.) At any rate, such challenges are very rare, though they do make the news.

Please keep this family in your prayers and she her husband grieve the loss of their two precious ones. What a sore trial and affliction!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

It's Not About You

Sometimes it is hard to remember that! But through the past several years in a multiplicity of ways, God seems to be telling me that over and over. Perhaps I should explain what I mean by "it's not about you". It means that when I go to church, I'm there to worship God, not make myself feel better. It means that my salvation isn't something that God is standing around, wringing His hands, begging me to take. It means that when things go wrong in life, it isn't the end of the world, but instead a lesson to teach me to say "not my will, but yours be done".

But the most amazing thing of all about all of this is that even though it isn't all about me, God loves me so powerfully and completely that it takes my breath away. When you begin to realize how small and lowly humans are, and how great and regal God is and then factor in that He calls us His sons and His bride! How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we might be called sons of God and allowed to be on intimate terms with Him. How often do I forget that and find more important things to do than pray or read Scripture? How often does He graciously forgive? How many blessings He has rained down on me! How foolish am I to get wrapped up in this life and the few things I don't have. Praise the Lord for His mercy, love, and power! He is great and greatly to be praised!