count the stars

23 02 2010

One of the Scripture passages for this coming Sunday is Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18. In it, God’s word came to Abraham (Abram) in a vision, and told him not to fear, because God was his shield..

Monday, Feb. 22nd

Abraham questioned God… God seemed to say that Abraham would have an heir, which Abraham found hard to believe, since he and Sarah seemed to be infertile. Then God took Abraham outside and told him, “‘Look at the sky. Count the stars. Can you do it? Count your descendants! You’re going to have a big family, Abram!'”(from The Message, Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of The Bible).

Of course I struggle with this passage, because not everyone’s dreams of having children–biological or adopted–come true. Not everyone’s hopes and hearts’ desires come true. And not all of us have the faith Abraham often showed. Often, and in some pretty serious situations.

Count the stars… count them? I can’t even create a nice-looking star from Tinker Toys… thus the mess, in this photo. The mess of trying to create a star. And, of course, I can’t count the stars–neither could Abraham. Yet Abraham trusted, believed, hoped.

How do I believe in the God of the stars-I-can’t-count? How do I place my hope in this same God, even when my dreams, my hearts’ desires, those of my friends and family aren’t fulfilled? I give thanks for the blessings I do have. Like Kajsa… obviously an incredible answer to prayer, and incredible blessing… despite the heartache that preceded our meeting her. I give thanks for the people in my life who are like stars in a dark sky at various times. And I keep acknowledging that I can neither count the stars, nor create the stars… that’s part of God’s job description.

But I can appreciate them. And give thanks for them.

2 Year LID Annniversary

12 01 2008

2 years of waiting, after more than 3 years of already waiting.

1 more visit to Milwaukee’s Immigration Office to re-do our fingerprints. (and one more to come, probably, since our re-fingerprints expire in June ’08).

24 email updates from our agency, each one with worst news than the last one.

Many delayed plans, but 2 vacations because of the delays…

Countless days and nights of tears.

Approximately 600 times I tried to give up hope, then tried to hope, then tried to give it up again.

“Happy”-2-Year-LID-Anniversary to Us.”



13 12 2007

Advent is about waiting…

I waited for a long time to get this photo. (I tried to post it here, but had problems…) It was active waiting. The icicle dripped constantly. And I took many photos. Of the same shot. And only caught the cool drip twice. This is one of the photos I got.

If only everything else about life… having a baby (and no, waiting for 9 months is not the same as more than 5 years…), adopting, work, having an uncluttered home, being fibro-free and able to go through a day without wanting to take a nap… and many other things… if only the waiting for these other things only took about 6 minutes and 50+ photography shots.

At least I got an icicle drip.

Two years ago…

12 11 2007

we were getting ready for our embryo transfer, finally. After months of waiting, months of delays, months of injection after injection… it was finally happening.

Yesterday in church I met the daughter of a church member, who was going through infertility treatments when we were going through the embryo transfer. Only, their treatments were successful, and they have a beautiful baby boy to prove it. Meeting them was good, as I had prayed for them back then… and she said she continues to pray for us, now. Meeting them was good, because they are the daughter/son-in-law/grand-son of members. But meeting them was also difficult, as it reminded me that we could have a beautiful baby (over a year) now… but don’t.

So in this prolonged season (do “seasons” actually last more than two/three years?) of waiting, I am sometimes sad. I have been able, recently, to put my feelings about childlessness in a box on the shelf until I have time to deal with them again. Been able, or had no choice, not sure which. In order to keep moving forward with life, while waiting for this endless adoption process to come to a joyful end, I’ve had to put my feelings away for the time-being. But last night the box fell off the shelf, and the feelings came tumbling out, making a huge mess. And I’m feeling sad today. Sad, and pressed, and crushed.

How long, O God? How long?

“Baby Sunday”

23 08 2007

That’s someone else’s term, coined about this past Sunday. God was gracious in helping me preach with confidence, and not with anger and frustration as I looked out into the congregation and saw two beautiful babies and one woman recently pregnant with her fourth child. Baby Sunday. I preached, and I said hi afterwards, and I was pastoral, except a little avoidance –ok, maybe a lot of avoidance–of the mass of people surrounding the visitors (former members) with their new baby. Mass of people. Wonderful, yet hard. I talked at length about this issue with the visitor–both before her visit (via email) and on Baby Sunday. We had a great discussion, both with tears, because we love each other, we are friends, but also acknowledge how hard this baby/no-baby issue is for relationships.

Except for needing to avoid the mass-surrounding-babies after church, I did pretty well. I actually thought I did quite well, all things considered… But it hit me later. When I was watching a movie Sunday night, I found myself crying more than necessary for the movie I had already seen three times.. I realized, “A-ha.. this is about Baby Sunday.” It hit me that yes, as well as I did, I still need to have a good cry sometimes. It hit me that this wait for China is harder than I’m letting myself acknowledge day-to-day, as I move forward with the rest of life. It hit me that I’m still quite angry at God for giving Jim and me this curse of barrenness. And yet I’m grateful that God is also helping me get through these times. I don’t know how..

My friend expressed concern about church growth… if I have a hard time with babies, then how could our church have lots of young families? Could we? Yes, I said. We do, and we can. I love babies, I love children. (Which is the problem. If I didn’t love babies so much this wouldn’t be so difficult.) I am able to be pastoral. It’s just hard, mostly with babies. If she had seen me last week at Vacation Bible School, I told her, she would have seen me holding kids, carrying kids, letting kids crawl all over me. And enjoying it. And if a family with a new baby or pregnant lady enters our church, I will welcome them as I would any other new family. So I’m not concerned about church growth from that perspective. But it doesn’t mean it’s not hard for us, for me… and it doesn’t mean that we still don’t want our baby. But still, I am also a wounded healer. The pastor with the achy breaky heart. The pastor who loves babies so much that it literally hurts to look at them now because it’s too painful that God hasn’t granted her this desire in her life.

Baby Sunday. It makes me think what other types of Sundays/church events clergy have endured over the years that are painful. Obviously, things like church conflict (Been there, done that..).. but I’m talking more about stuff like single clergy officiating at weddings, pastors who have lost loved ones to cancer giving thanks in a prayer service for a parishioner being healed of cancer… My mind’s drawing a blank right now on more possible situations, but I’m sure they happen.

I pray that God continues to give us the grace to be present, to be faithful, to be real, and to be loving… despite our own aching hearts.