Saturday, May 11, 2013

Here's my permission for you to skip church tomorrow!

Mother's Day is a complicated holiday!  While I'm forever thankful to God for my own mother and I'm overwhelmed to have the opportunity to be a mother, I will never ever EVER forget what Mother's Day used to feel like!

I am an infertility survivor.  I distinctly remember Mother's Days when, as the pastor's wife, I had to attend church and pretend that it wasn't hard.  I suffered through about 5 years of infertility treatments, 1 miscarriage, several seasons of waiting to adopt, and 1 failed adoption.  Mother's Day used to be the worst day of the year for me! 

It's no one's fault.  No one wanted to make me feel like a failure.  No one intended to rub it in that I was barren.  I never expected the entire world to forego Mother's Day just because I was miserable, but it was just flat out excruciating every year.  Please don't hear me say that God was unfaithful to me!  He was sweet and patient and gracious and tender toward me all the time, but I was mad and hurt and depressed and hormonal.  I cried and screamed and lashed out at almost every friend or relative who had the misfortune of being around me.  It was not pretty.

So why am I writing this?

Here's the deal.  As a pastor's wife, women's minister, and infertility survivor I want to say that it's okay if you skip church tomorrow.  There, I said it.  Skip away, sleep in, go to the lake, stay home and watch a movie, do whatever you need to in order to maintain your sanity. 

BUT, press into Jesus while you are skipping.  Cry to Him!  Scream at Him!  Ask Him hard questions!  He loves you so much.  He really does cry with you.  He really does want to be your everything.  He has not forgotten you, and He knows the plan.

I call myself an infertility survivor, but please know that no matter the outcome you can be an infertility survivor.  You don't survive this horrific circumstance by adopting or finally getting pregnant.  You survive by clinging to Jesus Christ with whatever strength you can muster.  It becomes a part of your story no matter what happens.  He won't let go of you!

And on behalf of every church in the United States, let me apologize that tomorrow we will highlight something that is so hard for you.  We don't mean to hurt you.  My prayer will be that you can sense God's unimaginable comfort and peace in the midst of what may be a difficult day.  His mercies are new every morning, and tomorrow morning I will be remembering you too.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What my kindergartener taught me today!

Five years ago today I was indoor skydiving with my oldest son on a field trip!  I had no idea at that time that I was 6 1/2 months pregnant!  On Mother's Day 2008 I discovered that Sarah Grace McKinney was coming into this world, and life hasn't been the same since! Today she went to preschool for the last time.  What a whirlwind these five years have been!

As was the case every school day, I reminded her that the first thing we needed to do in the van was pray for her teachers.  I even said through tears, "Sarah, today is the last day we will get to pray for Mrs. Lisa and your Sonshine Preschool friends."

She was mortified! "Why can't we pray for them even when I go to kindergarten?" she wanted to know.

What a lesson for me, straight from God Himself! So often I pray for a specific request or person for a finite time, but when the winds change or I become frustrated with the amount of time it's taking to see an answer I give up.  Sometimes I even pray until I see an answer but then forget to say thank you to Him.

Simply put, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, "...pray continually."  That's what Sarah reminded me to do today.  There are no expiration dates on prayers, thankfully. 

You see, Sarah reminded us of that even five years ago.  We'd prayed for a baby so many years before she came, but honestly we had stopped praying long before she was a reality to us.  Truthfully we'd stopped because we were content and felt that God had already answered our prayers with the wonderful sons He'd given us through adoption.  But just as we are told to pray continually, I've become convinced that God is answering continually.  His idea of time is so far above our human ideas that I believe He's answered long before we've even prayed usually.  It kind of hurts my finite brain to contemplate how He works, but I'm a fan of it even when I can't totally understand it. 

Pray continually.  Don't stop seeking His answers.  Don't stop seeking Him.

Incidentally, right after Sarah Grace prayed for her preschool teachers and friends, she added, "And thank you for my kindergarten teacher, God!  Please help her to be ready for me!"

Amen to that!  Only God could prepare that teacher we have yet to know for this child!