It’s a gray day here in Calgary – very foggy and misty and unlike typical Calgary weather. It feels more like a day on the coast, like my beloved San Francisco Bay days, and is perfect for this Halloween time of year. But it brings with it pressure changes in the weather and therefore slight headaches for me as I’m one of the many who are affected by the frequent barometric pressure changes that Calgary experiences, especially in the winter months. This weather has me feeling a little down and a bit groggy with my headache, and that coupled with some emotional ups and downs of life has me feeling discouraged today. To be less cryptic and more specific, Mikey and I have been trying to start a family for over a year now, with (clearly) no success. This has not been a secret from friends or family, but I haven’t really thought about blogging or sharing about it because it’s something that comes up every month, and what would it do to share it? I could tell you how much it’s on my mind and how there are reminders every month of what’s NOT working, and I do know that many of you would resonate with this same struggle. Many of our friends in Calgary got pregnant on their first try (and some when they weren’t even trying), zeroing in on a set time when they wanted to conceive and did. So at times it can be discouraging when your heart is so set on something that simply is out of your ultimate control! So we’ve been carrying on, waiting on God’s time for something we aren’t sure is his desired plan or not.
Despite knowing and trusting God’s bigger picture, I still struggle with the emotional roller coaster of this journey; one minute I’m fine, keeping this larger focus of my life and purpose in mind and realizing how intensely GOOD my life is, and other times I weep because I’m disappointed it hasn’t happened for us (yet?). I’ve embraced those ups and downs and found people to share the downs with who understand, but I’m continually brought back to a place of hope because of my faith in Christ and the promise of his love.
Someone at the gym asked me the other day, “Do you ever NOT have a smile on your face?” To which I replied, with a smile, “I guess I have a lot of reasons to be joyful.” – and I do! Despite my circumstances (which are hard for me in this phase of life, yet small in comparison to harsh realities around the world), I recognize that my joy depends on something that is steady, consistent, and doesn’t change with the weather or the experiences of my life. I am still surrounded by lavish love from God and so many gifts, and I wanted to share a short, sweet way that I stay reminded of this truth even when my heart is discouraged.
It’s simple, really.
I re-read these verses that I’ve read so many times in 1 Thessalonians this week, and they hit me in such a fresh way that I decided to make them my new life verses. I can ask if it’s God’s will if we have a family, or pray about work situations or family relationships, all seeking God’s plan in difficult, searching moments. But you know what? God’s will for me is laid out right there in those verses – I am to be joyful always (regardless of how I’m feeling), to pray continually (not just when I need God) and to give thanks in all circumstances (how’s that for a challenge today?)! This is how I change my attitude – I focus on these three things.
You guys know not to read into these verses the wrong way – I’m certainly not advocating for “all positivity, all the time,” because that’s just not realistic (or that fun to be around). Look at Jesus as our example – he wept! He cried out to God! He wasn’t just full of “happiness,” but was real in his emotions. However, his purpose was bigger; his reality was based in God and not in his current circumstances. Mikey talks about the “tyranny of positivity” in the health care system, specifically in cancer care, when people are encouraged to “just be positive” which often hurts more than helps them through their experience. Why? Because that black and white thinking leads them to stuff down the truth of how they’re really feeling in an effort to be happy and they don’t end up dealing with real issues or hardships. And you know what? Those hardships (be they cancer-, fertility- , or money-related issues), are all part of life.
We’ve learned from our own cancer journey and specifically our friendship with Brock, a friend of ours whose life we followed with a camera for almost 3 years,** that life isn’t good OR bad, it’s good AND bad.
It’s both things at once, and we can hold them at the same time and be doing okay in life. But a big part of how I come back to a solid foundation and place of contentment despite hard circumstances or gray, foggy days is being reminded that I am God’s beloved child and that I’m here to live for him – not to be a mother, not to amass wealth, not to become a celebrity trainer, not even to be the best daughter or wife or friend I can be. All those things are important and parts of life, but I’m here to love God and love people, and in so doing bring him glory.
I’m not asking for advice on what to do for fertility or planning on going into much detail there, but I just wanted to share some of the behind-the-scenes of life lately and also why there is hope, hope, always hope. You are loved! And have so much to live for with great joy. Live well & be well, friends!
** Survive & Thrive is very excited to announce that on November 7th, you’ll be able to stream our latest film “How to Win a Tickle Fight” right on our website! Watch the trailer: http://ow.ly/1lZe305uZvW