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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

That I Have Erred...

When reading a prayer entitled "Desires" in The Valley of Vision (page 106), these lines captured my eyes and heart...

"...that I have erred both on the side of my hopes and also of my fears, that I am unfit to choose for myself, for it is not in me to direct my steps..."


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"God Moves"

Back in 2005, I purchased the "Worship God Live" CD from Sovereign Grace Music. "God Moves" was one of the two songs that I least listened to on the CD. I listened to the other songs numerous times as they drew my heart closer to the Savior, but at the time, I wasn't intensely suffering (life is always throwing curve balls, but I wasn't in the valley, like I am today). Five years later, I am listening to this song over and over again. Each word describes my heart so perfectly. I especially love the line that says "Behind a frowning providence, He (God) hides a smiling face." The song has been updated by Sovereign Grace from an old hymn written by William Cowper.

I'm not returning to my "normal" blogging anytime soon, but will post some of what God is teaching and doing in my life right now as I feel led to post. I can most definitely say, that in spite of the pain, He is doing a great work in my heart and I'm slowly gaining renewed hope...not so much about our 3rd transfer, but just about filling our home with children in some amazing way that He already has planned. I'm not clinging to this 3rd transfer resulting in a pregnancy and birth. Yes, I believe God can do that. But of course, He will have His perfect way no matter the outcome. I'm not dwelling on it. In fact, whenever I think about the upcoming transfer, I'm intentional about refocusing my thoughts on Jesus and not the transfer. The reason for this is because, HE alone is my HOPE - not embryo adoption.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Please Bear With Me For Awhile...

I hate and love when the Holy Spirit convicts my heart of sin. I hate it because I'm reminded once again how wicked my heart truly is and how wretched I am apart from Christ. I love it because I'm forced to run to the Cross of Christ and am pushed deeper into the glories of Calvary - where I realize how amazing His grace truly is for a sinner such as myself!

All this to say that He has convicted me of sin lately. The first sin is idolatry. While we believe God called us to EA, I have made the hope of holding children in my arms an idol. I have felt "hopeless" a lot recently, which revealed to me that I have an idol. Since JESUS is my HOPE, I should never feel hopeless. When I do feel hopeless, I have replaced God with a "god" of my own desires. The second sin is jealousy. When God hasn't given me my desires yet, but I see others becoming pregnant and birthing babies thru EA, I'm jealous. A year ago, I was encouraged and excited when EA mommies were posting pregnancy updates, because I would think "This works and will hopefully be me soon!" However, after 1 negative beta and 1 very early miscarriage, I am no longer as excited, but rather jealous. I want to want what God in His kindness and sovereignty has chosen not to give me at this point. Both idolatry and envy are sins that nailed my Savior to the cross - I cannot take these sins lightly. By His grace, I must repent and do everything I can to flee temptation.

Thus, I am thinking that I may be a little more quiet with the blogging world for awhile. I may or may not post many details about our 3rd embryo transfer. I want to focus on Jesus and His will for Aaron and me. His plan will unfold beautifully in His time. Also, I may not read or comment on other blogs as much right now. Please know that I love and am continuing to pray for you guys. However, my greatest priority is Jesus and if I find that my heart is tempted to dishonor Him thru jealousy some days more than others, I may choose not to read your posts. But, on days when I more feel His grace empowering me to fight sin, I will choose to read and comment. Please bear with me for awhile. :)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." - Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thoughts Regarding Our 3rd Transfer...

We have chosen our new embryos to adopt next month. We only have 1 profile this time, no back-ups because this profile has 12 blastocysts! In fact, I later found out from the patient coordinator that this donor had even more embryos so they split them into two separate profiles. Someone out there already has the other half...I wonder if they're pregnant right now???

Am I feeling any better? Yes and no. God's grace is indeed sufficient, but we are still hurting. Even though we are still grieving, we have chosen to jump right back into the November cycle for several reasons:

1) Even though our insurance doesn't pay for the actual embryo transfer, it does cover a portion of my ultrasounds and lab work. Since I have already met my deductible for 2010, it seems foolish to pay more in 2011.

2) Even if we wait until a later transfer cycle, I know we will still feel the's hard not to to be guarded and scared after having 2 embryo transfers result with shattered hope.

3) After pursuing embryo adoption for the past year and a half, we want to close out our NEDC journey in 2010. We don't want to drag it into 2011 (happy or sad news). If our final transfer doesn't result in a continued pregnancy, then we want to start the new year with a different chapter.

4) God called us to embryo adoption and He never said it would be easy. Rather, it is necessary to save frozen lives. For example, God calls a missionary overseas and he really doesn't want to leave home. He is scared and overwhelmed at the task set before him. Yet, he knows God has called him to go, so he is obedient. That's where Aaron and I are right now. We don't know what God will choose to do this 3rd time around, but even when we don't completely want to try again, we are choosing to obey. We have 100% belief that God can continue these babies' lives, but we don't presume to know His will for them or for us.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Moving Forward

We were prepared for the news today and it came...our baby is completely gone from earth and is now in Heaven. We now have 6 children in Heaven and we've never gotten to meet any of them on earth. It hurts. It's a pain like none other. I hate feeling this. I don't understand. We are trusting that God has a greater plan even though we cannot understand it right now. We will choose to bring Him glory through our pain even when living life is difficult and when we are tempted to feel that our hope of ever holding children in our arms is almost gone.

What are we doing now? Since the NEDC allows a maximum of 3 transfers per couple in their program, we will return next month for one last time. Honestly, we don't want to go back - it feels like we are setting ourselves up for heartbreak once again. After our negative beta in July, we were extremely sad but also excited about our 2nd transfer - not this time. At the moment, I'm actually dreading it. We are going back simply because we believe that God called us to embryo adoption back in 2006 to save lives (before our infertility diagnosis in 2009) and we are committed to saving frozen lives until the very end. We don't want to walk away until God has completely closed the door and has made it clear for us to enter a new chapter in our lives. Our efforts have not been in vain because all 6 of our frozen embryos are now out of the freezer and with the Lord - and the same will be true with our final transfer - either continued life on earth or an eternal life in Heaven. We have spent the past year and a half pursuing embryo adoption, so we need to push through no matter how painful our journey has been - for the babies' sake. Whatever the outcome is for this last attempt, we will begin pursuing children with a new chapter in 2011.

Since we haven't found a church home here yet (we just moved in last week and have just been attending church in Columbia with our family for the past 2 months), we don't have a pastor here yet. Our pastor in Greensboro was kind enough to meet with us today for counsel and prayer. We are seeking God as to what our next step should be after our final NEDC transfer next month. Perhaps, we won't need to have a new plan, but we are preparing ourselves for that should God want us to pursue another avenue.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Grieving to God's Glory

Although Jenn usually does the updating for this blog, I (Aaron)felt that I needed to share my heart right now. For those who haven't read Jennifer's most recent post, we just received word from the NEDC that Jenn's beta number was a 6. A 5 is considered non-pregnant. We had two positive home pregnancy tests on Wednesday and Thursday and were hoping for a strong number today. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

We took another home pregnancy test this afternoon and it came back negative. HCG levels don't go down and then back up, they go one direction or the other indicating a continued pregnancy or a miscarriage. Although we have to have another blood test done on Monday and continue the shots through then, we are accepting from God that our baby or babies have miscarried. I have total confidence that God can do all things. He has brought people back from the dead. However, we feel that God is clearly showing us that the babies are gone. We feel a peace in going ahead and accepting this.

I'm struggling on many levels right now. I don't know how to view the power of prayer in light of praying without doubting yet praying that God's will be done and not presuming upon anything.

I'm struggling in knowing how to love and relate to my wife. Amidst wonderful blessings, the greatest of which is our common salvation, we have been through a long season where many of our most shared emotions are those of shattered hope and sorrow instead of joy. After receiving our first ever two positive home pregnancy tests, we spent a day and a half sharing a joy that was precious. I saw a look in Jennifer's eyes that I thought I was getting ready to see each day for the rest of my life. We spent time in the mall and for the first time, were able to smile as we saw strollers and baby carriers go past. We felt for the first time that we belonged in the "normal" crowd and could relate to our friends the same age. We envisioned each corner of our new house through the eyes of a little one. That has been taken away and we are back to the too-common bond of sorrow and empty-hearts. All this grows us closer together, but we want to grow our marriage in joy, not in pain.

I'm struggling in feeling like a good husband and provider to my wife. I want to give my wife the joy of continued motherhood but am powerless to do this. It is so hard to want to give a gift to the person you love most and not be able to. It is hard keep seeing your best efforts at giving that gift fall short.

I struggle with jealousy. It frustrates me to see fathers and husbands who have no problem experiencing the privilege of raising children in this world.

And in all of these things, I struggle with learning how to glorify God and live all of life to make much of Him. I know the answers to all of the struggles that I just listed and could counsel any person on the proper theological responses to them. Living that out is hard though. In that sense, I wanted to write this post to say that I know the following truths and want to live my life proclaiming them:

1) God is all powerful.
2) God is good.
3) God is sovereign.
4) God, through the display of His Gospel, is the answer to all of our struggles.
5) We can grieve to His glory.
6) God died and rose again to take all sorrow away and reverse the curse forever.
7) Our greatest hope is in a world awaiting us.

I am struggling, but I am comforted. I am crying, but I am held. We long to love born children, but know that we are loved born-again children. We feel empty, but we believe in Him. That is the work of the child of God, to believe in the One whom the Father sent and cling to Him at all times. Father, we are believing and clinging to You right now. Please make much of Yourself through our lives!


Sad News

Sadly, my beta number was a 6 today. A 5 or less is considered negative so we were only 1 point into the positive range. The nurse told me that it did not look hopeful, but it was still considered positive. I told her that I took 2 HPTs on Wednesday and Thursday and they were positive. The nurse said that a HPT should not even read a HCG of 6. Most likely what has happened is that my hormones were higher earlier this week but the baby is starting to miscarry. Since it is technically positive they want me to retest on Monday to see if the numbers increase. So pray for a miracle (because God can do anything), but it's not looking good.