Faith · Life

When God answers prayers

OVERWHELMED. Today I finally found it in myself to tell a part of our story. I remember when I was single and struggling with the idea of never having this chance. It was when endometriosis started to appear on the list of illnesses I have, the surgeries became more regular, and the wounds healed on top of each other, the scars being a painful reminder. I was repeatedly told I could never get pregnant. Fearing that you may be infertile is different from knowing and being diagnosed with it. So I never thought this time would come. After 6 years. Our story is long, the details numerous, but the journey has been longer. And yet this will be one of those rare times I will write without a lot of words (and not in a blogpost). Because for now, no words can express how overwhelmed we are everyday.

HOPEFUL. I know and have met a lot of women (and couples) who have gone through, and are still going through this struggle called infertility. We’ve formed some sort of a community, and in it, we have found much love, encouragement, support, and prayer. I am not leaving our community though, because honestly, I am finding it hard to. I will continue to pray with you. Because for anyone, infertility is never, never easy. It is especially harder to go through it feeling alone. And for every treatment failure, for every negative test, for every loss, I will continue to mourn with you because I, too, have been there and I will never forget how it feels like. However, it is my prayer that our story be a story of hope so that those who are fighting and praying continue to do so. It is my prayer that you continue to hope, and hope in the Lord, for those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

GRATEFUL AND REJOICING. God, you have been immensely amazing. Truly, Your goodness, Your mercy, and Your faithfulness have no bounds. We are grateful, more than words can ever express. And we rejoice. We rejoice together with our families, with the people who have prayed with us, the people who have encouraged us, and the people who have supported us. And we will glorify the Lord, for He has finally heard our cries. Because just when we were at peace with a lifetime of just the two of us, God gives us this little miracle.

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 1 Samuel 1:27

 

*This was a facebook post 😉14066394_10207415656415088_6937086220880629619_o

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Faith

What if you told God you would do anything… and He took you up on it?

I just came across this question in one of the devotionals that was forwarded to me by a friend and it hit me hard, so hard that I suddenly remembered everything I uttered to God in prayer at a specific time of need—What if you told God you would do anything….and He took you up on it?

Alaska wasn’t exactly what we planned. We initially didn’t want to leave the Philippines as Sam and I had other plans but it seemed as though God was leading us away and towards the US, and so we started praying for a job for him. While waiting for papers to be filed and higher decisions to be made, during those times of uncertainty, I now recall specifically praying this way— “Lord, if the US is really our destination, please bless my husband with a job, even if I don’t know what I’m going to do there, even if I’m going to have to quit being a doctor for now, even if I would have to wait for my next step. Please don’t have Sam wait too long, please bless him and make him succeed, make him fulfilled, I CAN WAIT for my turn.” And there you have it. That was when I told God I could do it, that I could wait— for a time when I would be a doctor to patients again; for that bundle of joy; for complete healing from my rheumatoid arthritis and endometriosis; for fulfillment of goals; for my turn.    

And guess what, He took me up on it. I told Him I could wait, but the truth is, I can’t. Who likes to wait, anyway? In this day and age, nobody does. But then, I really don’t have a choice, do I? So I wait, begrudgingly. And then Sam steps in— it is not a question of “if” you wait, rather it is “how” you wait. Boy did that hit me right in the heart, and the head. And then I realized, I’ve been waiting for at least 3 years now, I can wait after all, just not with the right attitude. Waiting without grumbling and throwing tantrums is easier said than done, at least for me. And this just had to change. 

Believe me, I didn’t expect the waiting to be this long (and hard), I don’t even know what I’m waiting for anymore. But then again, there’s this whole list of people from the Bible who have waited for years before they successfully fulfilled what God called them to do, and their waiting period wasn’t easy either. Bad decisions were made in between, and there was a lot of kicking and screaming and pouting and tantrums too, (well not exactly that way because that’s more me, but yes, the waiting struggle WAS real for them too) and some of them didn’t even have it all figured out until the last minute! One could never really appreciate how comforting it is to know these stories, until you actually experience what these men and women of the Bible went through. I am saying this to remind and encourage myself and maybe some of you out there that waiting on God has never been easy for anyone. It’s especially harder when you remember that you were the one who told Him you could wait in the first place. It reminds me of being in front of the counter at KFC in the Philippines, ordering a chicken meal, and then being asked, “Ma’am, we ran out of fried chicken, are you willing to wait 20 minutes for the next batch?” And even if I’m not sure my stomach could, I go ahead and answer, “Sure.” Although God didn’t ask me if I could wait, I actually told Him I could even before He could ask. Sure, waiting is hard. But I know that it’s during the wait that God molds us to be ready for what He has in store. It may not be what we had in mind, but it will be the best for us, for sure. And so, I will choose to look at this waiting period as a blessing. I will wait, not begrudgingly, but hopefully, expectantly. The process may not come easy, I may slip back into the kicking and screaming stage, but I will try and remind myself everyday that this is an answer to my prayer after all. And it is for this and a lot of other answered prayers that I will be grateful.

Psalm 27:13-14   

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!”

Isaiah 40:31   

“but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

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Faith · Life

Officially a Mother-in-waiting

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When you’ve gone through a lot of physical pain in your life, you eventually become numb to it, even without painkillers and such. Yet the pain of infertility is not just physical, it’s largely emotional as well. Did you know that roughly 40 % of women with endometriosis are infertile? That makes endometriosis one of the top three causes of infertility, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, there are ongoing researches about the relationship of endometriosis and infertility, and this is a good thing.

I have been aware of this to some extent ever since med school, and I think I prepared myself to accept the probable consequences of my multiple surgeries due to endometriosis. Sam, also, had already been carefully briefed even before we got married. The very first time I was told that I was highly probable to have difficulty getting pregnant, I was 25 years old and just fresh out of medical school. You can imagine how I panicked. I will not go into the details of panicky emotional moments, wrong and hasty decisions, and how many people I’ve hurt in the process, but it did cause a lot of commotion in my life, that was for sure.

When Sam and I got married, contraception was never an option. Fast forward to last year, when Sam and I officially started getting help fertility-wise after my third pelvic surgery. After the 4th cycle, I was drained, both physically and emotionally, and it was only the most basic step in the reproductive treatment plan! So after trips to the specialist, injections, pills- I never did get those two pink lines on the test kit. And kneeling on the bathroom floor in front of the test kit, each time, didn’t help either. The word, “horrible” couldn’t even describe the feeling of waiting for a whole month, for 4 successive months, to get some urine on that stick, only to get a negative test result. “Devastating” would be close, but not quite.

We gave up on the injections and the meds temporarily, well I did. And as a consequence, I had to go through severe pains and bleeding again. As the doctor said, it’s either I get pregnant or stay on medications. Right now, I’m on medication in the meantime, as they’ve found new growths again on my remaining ovary. There are a lot of other options and solutions, I know, we know. We have studied every medical solution to our problem, and by “we” I mean Sam and I have been reading together about it. Sam probably knows more about endometriosis than I do now. And yes, we have considered adoption too. We have taken a lot of fertility advice, even some weird ones. And yes, we followed each instruction to the tee (weird as it may be). We have prayed about it for as long as we have been married and even before we were.

We love kids. I love kids, I really do. I taught preschool in the year after I graduated from college and before I went to med school. I wanted to become a pediatrician. I worked with kids in the slums during my social work days. I dote on my bestfriends’ kids. So, why is this happening to me? I’ve asked that question a million times.

 I never got an answer to that question. I’ve formulated possible answers in my head, but that’s just me. And you know what, in this life, maybe I will never get an answer for all the ‘whys” I’ve asked. But by God’s grace, I’ve learned to accept that and be at peace, at least for now. Here’s what I learned in this endless cycle of physical and emotional pain and negative pregnancy tests- I may never know why God intended for it to be this way for me, and for Sam as well; I will never know at this point if we will ever get pregnant sometime in the future, or at least how- like if we would need further medical help in conceiving or something; one thing we know for sure is that GOD’S HAD OUR BEST IN MIND EVERY TIME HE’S SAID “NO” FOR THE PAST 4 YEARS. He is too wise to be mistaken. Maybe He’s reserved us for something different other than raising kids at this time; maybe the kids will come sometime in the near future; or maybe we were never really meant to become parents; or He may still be preparing us, because we simply may not be ready yet.  We have come up with a lot of possible explanations, believe me. But we’ve concluded that the best thing to do now, still, is to wait, even if we have to wait forever. I trust that God’s timing and purpose is always perfect. And so I’m waiting for this day to be my day too someday, and I’ve officially called myself a mother-in-waiting. So to us, who are still waiting for that bundle of joy to arrive- Happy Mother-in-waiting Day!

 Oh, and you might want to watch this tearjerker of a video too: