My Response to the Response

The past few days I’ve been overwhelmed with the response to a blog post I wrote back in June of this year.  From what I can tell, the post titled Dear Parent of a Sick Child, was found via a Google search.  It was shared on Facebook, then shared again, and again. Since Wednesday, my blog has received over 34,000 views.  In particular, the post has been shared on Facebook over 10,000 times.

I’m completely overwhelmed and humbled by this response.  Some bloggers get this high of numbers of views on a constant basis, but not me.  I’m a pretty simple blogger who enjoys writing and sharing about my struggle with barrenness, my joy of being an adoptive parent, and my walk in the Lord.

I’ve been moved to tears by the messages from parents sitting by their terminally ill children, parents who have lost children to illness, or ones celebrating their children’s recovery.  I don’t even know what to say in response, and at times, I can barely find the words.

The funny thing is that I do not believe it is my most well-written post.  I have read it many times since, and still see flaws, and areas I would like to tweak a bit.  When discussing this with a friend, she pointed out that perhaps it is even more evident that God is moving on this one.  I cannot help but agree with her.

Back in June, I was moved to write the open letter partly in honor of my mom and dad, and the love they showed me during my illness.  I also wrote it to give voice to things I wished I would have been able to say during that fateful time in my life.  My hope was to encourage parents caring for sick children.

Ultimately though, I wanted to give a glimpse of what it is like to be cared for as an ill child.  I wanted people to know that when I think about the time spent in the hospital, I remember some moments of sadness during it all, but mostly, I remember the presence of my mom and dad.  Sure, I sensed the heaviness of what was going on, but I still felt the never-ceasing support, and genuine love given to me.

I remember the presence of love over my pain.

With all of this being said, I feel the need to share what has been on my heart this week.  Here is my response to the response thus far:

  • Nothing we do is insignificant.  Nothing.
  • Moments in time, regardless of how long ago, have the potential to come back full circle, and in ways we could not ever comprehend.
  • There are many hurting people in the world.  Tell your life story.  You never know the kind of impact it will have on someone who needs to hear it.
  • There are a tremendous amount of seriously ill children, and exhausted parents.  Please pray for those families who have read my post, and the many more who have not.
  • Please do not take your life and your little ones for granted.
  • When the Lord prompts you to do something, then do it.
  • The Lord, through His mercy of sparing my life back in 1983 and through current events in my life, has proved Himself time and again.

I especially want to thank the parents who have read my post, or commented on it by sharing a little bit about their struggle.  You all have thanked me over and over again, but I say, “Thank you.”  Thank you for sharing your stories with me.  Thank you for fighting for your babies.  Thank you for not giving up hope.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You have touched my heart more than you will ever know.

Throughout my early years, I often wondered why I dealt with illnesses that were difficult.  I especially anguished over having a hysterectomy at such a young age.  I cannot tell you enough how truly remarkable it is to be able to share my story with the hope that it comforts others.

This was my path that the Lord laid out for me, and for that, I give thanks.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

-1 Thessalonians 5:18

One Year Ago

bridge-photo-2.jpgOne year ago, I pushed the publish button and my very first blog post went off into the world.  One year ago, I was up until 3:00 a.m. fretting over what I had just done.  One year ago, I started this little adventure called blogging.

Just about a year before starting this blog, I shared my testimony at a conference on infertility.  Afterward, women and men were coming up to me thanking me, and letting me know that my story touched them.  On the drive home, I was filled with the kind of elation that only comes from the joy of knowing the Lord’s calling and presence.  The peace of this experience, despite my nerves, and the realization that I could use my story not only to comfort others, but to shed His light into the darkness of infertility, left me nearly speechless and in awe of a mighty God’s penmanship of our lives.  I knew that I was not meant to keep my testimony to myself anymore.

For about a month or two before starting this blog, I had this nagging feeling that would not go away.  I felt led to start a blog, but was wrought with the worry of not having anything to say.  My fear was that once I shared my personal story of infertility, I would not be able to write about anything else.  I have learned through the year to not force topics just because I need to fill the space.  I have learned to listen and look for those moments that are filled with nuggets of wisdom, joy, sadness, and clarity.

From behind the computer screen, we all get peaks into the lives of others.  We get to visit other countries, share in special moments, revel in celebrations, deliberate in political issues, and shed tears; all of which reminds us of our humanity.  Sharing in the human experience reveals that we are all basically the same. We want freedom, love, companionship, health, family, and to attain our dreams.  We want to be comforted through our pain, and to shout with glee in our successes.  People do care, people are interested in each other, and life stories can be used in a way to build someone else up.

Since I started this blog a year ago, I have also welcomed a third child into our home.  Through heartbreak and tough decisions, I became a mother to a baby whose mother I carried around and watched grow up through the years.  At times I am completely overwhelmed by the Lord and His provision in my life, and yet, I know His heart must break for the mothers of the children I so love.

My story continues to unfold as the years go by, and with age, it seems that I am always being refined and renewed.  I really can’t complain at all about the life the Lord has given me.  I’ve been a daughter, sister, friend, aunt, granddaughter, wife, and mother.  I’ve felt the wrath of a devastating illness.  I’ve had to regain my strength physically and emotionally step-by-step.  I’ve had to let go of what would have been.  I’ve embraced what has been, and choose to embrace what will be.

I think I’m more in love with writing than I’ve ever been.  I do not want to write, I need to write.  That is one of the blessings that has come out of this blog.  I have learned to worry less about who reads it, and instead, focus on writing life experiences that will spread a little hope, give encouragement, embrace humility, and speak of grace.  If only one person reads my blog, but that one person is comforted, then that is all that matters.

Thank you for reading my blog.  Thank you for sharing your wisdom, and your encouragement.  Thank you for getting to know me a little through my words.

In case you missed them. I’ve linked my first few posts written one year ago:

Hello World!

I thought of you today birth mother

Mother’s Resilience

Glass Door

The Wonder of You

 Here’s to another year of discovering new people, places, and purpose!  I woke up with this Scripture on my heart today:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

God bless you!

Featured Post – Inspire a Fire website!

Recently, I wrote a submission to the Inspire a Fire website editor in hopes of it being accepted for publication.  I want to share my story in many ways in hopes of inspiring people who are struggling with infertility, and also to bring glory to God.  My submission was accepted, and you can read it by going to the website: www.inspireafire.com or by clicking on this link:  My heartbreak, His expression

Thanks to all who read and I hope you feel inspired today!

Blessings!

Caroline

New Year’s Road

Taken with my iphone as I rode my bike in a 150 mile ride.

This past year was one full of discovery for me.  Through blogging, I have been reminded that everyone truly has a story to tell.  We are all story-tellers in our own ways.  Art, in its purest form, also speaks volumes of insight and revelations about the world we are living in.  Some speak through poetic ramblings and short-stories.  For others, the lens of a camera captures images that their eyes first took notice of.  Each photograph tells a story.  Writing really has become my therapeutic release, my story-teller, my window to the world, my humbling remembrance of how blessed I am, and an extension of the yearning to live out my faith in Christ.

I continue to learn that  parenting is an art form.  Like most artists, parents don’t just figure it out with one stroke of a brush.  Mistakes are made, and often, we are our own worst critics,  Parenting is also something that love and passion is poured into.  I have yet to meet an artist who is not passionate about his or her masterpieces.  Children are the masterpiece that we are always working on, and for that, I am grateful for “do-overs”, grace, and the simplistic forgiveness of children.

Throughout this year,I have been made keenly aware of the tightrope we all walk when it comes to protecting children in our own backyards, and around the world.  Not to sound cliché, but they really are our greatest resource for the future.  Through this blog, I have been able to express my deepest desires for my children, and for others as well.  I have also been able to connect to the child I once was.

I began this road of writing because I felt I had a story to tell.  I felt I needed to speak of infertility.  I knew there were others out there suffering from the sadness that comes when the desire for children is not fulfilled.  I also felt that my story of barrenness includes the incredible journey that is adoptive parenting.  I may stray from time to time from the topic of infertility with the posts I write, but it is never too far from my thoughts and my heart.  I am deeply compassionate about others who continue to search for answers, and who live daily with the unfulfilled longing for children.  I hope my words will encourage each of them to believe in joyful beginnings and happy endings.

I am not sure what the Lord has in store for the road I will walk in 2013.  Will I be inspired to venture into other areas of writing?  Will there be heartbreak and heart-joy in this next year?  Will some doors open while others shut?  There is no way to tell what is destined to happen, but my faith in the Script-Writer of our lives is greater than the unknowns of the future.

May this New Year’s Road lead you all to delightful discoveries, faith-building experiences, and life-affirming moments that bless your sojourn in the world.

Give You the World – (re-posted with relevance)

The post I wrote earlier titled Yearning for Change was out of anger and anguish over what happened this past weekend in Connecticut.  It was also out of frustration as a professional in the field of social work who knows that those most often affected by cuts in budget are children and families.  After writing it, I was gently reminded that true change really does start at home.  Fathers and Mothers need to love their children.  Grandparents should, if possible, wrap their love around their families and provide support.  Parents should be building their children up, instead of tearing them down.  Parents just need to be parents.

I decided to re-post a piece I wrote for my children back in June.  Children are always on my mind – not just my children, but children of the world.  No child should ever go to bed wondering if he or she matters to this world.  Earlier in the week, I prayed to the Lord and cried out, “What are we doing to Your children, Father?!?”  I realized, though, that He who holds the stars, also holds our children.

This piece I wrote about in the post linked below is not just for my children, but for yours as well.  After this week, my desire penned months ago seems to have even more relevance.  If you wish, click on the link and read it.  Blessings to you and yours!

GIVE YOU THE WORLD

Food For Thought Award

the-food-for-thought-award

Thank you to Teresa at http://catholibertarian.com for nominating me for the Food For Thought Award a few weeks ago.  I’m sorry that I missed the 8:00 pm deadline for passing it on though…

Here are the seven Scripture verses that seem to speak to me the most:

  1. Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  This verse is one that I believe all Christians should cling on to.  We know our only hope is in the Lord.  We know His will for our lives far outweighs what the world desires for us.
  2. Isaiah 54:10 – Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.  I just love how this verse declares that the Lord will NEVER forsake us.  There is nothing that will take away His love for us.  I also love that it speaks of His love being full of compassion and never-failing.
  3. Romans 5:2-5 – Through him we have also obtained  access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the  glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that  suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character  produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been  poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to  us.  This verse is what I have on my About Me page.  Years ago I may not have rejoiced in my suffering of being barren.  I see now though that the endurance, character, and hope built by suffering are all part of who I am in the Lord.
  4. Psalm 23- The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  I sang this Psalm just a year after my near-death illness when I was eleven.  The words are ones that have been seared into my memory since that time.  I even wrote a post about it – valley of death, Mercy of Life
  5. Psalm 139:13-16 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  I actually favor the entire Psalm 139!  This part though speaks to me of the incredible and brilliant design that the Lord has for all of us.
  6. Luke 12:7- Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  The very God who created the Universe loves us. Our worth to Him is far greater than we will ever comprehend.  
  7. John 3:16-  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  If one does not believe this verse to be true, then one does not believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

As part of the award, I am to link seven blogs that I enjoy!  Here they are!

  1. Greenlightlady
  2. Wordsmith’s Desk
  3. Infertility Awakening
  4. Simplicity Lane
  5. trbcCoffee Break
  6. Wayne Augden
  7. Unshakable Hope

Here are the instructions if you choose to participate!

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Thank the one who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Share seven of your favorite Bible passages. For extra points (Perhaps our Father in heaven will award them.), explain why each these seven passages is a favorite. Done
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers you admire and enjoy! Why seven? In the Bible, seven symbolizes completeness.
  5. Inform each person that you have nominated them.  Will pass on by tomorrow at 8pm.

Thanks again to Teresa for the nomination!  It is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to Andrew for writing a post about me, my adoption story, and my blog.  You can check it out here.

While you are at it, take a stroll around his blog!  

Barren to Blessed (meaning behind the name)

The first night I started this blog, I had no idea really what the heck I was doing.  I just felt the urge to write.  It started when I began to journal about my hysterectomy a few years ago.  I guess I held so much in over the past 25+ years that once I started writing, there was not an end in sight.  I do not want to stop.  Writing is therapeutic, and each time I write, I learn from it.  I am pretty sure most bloggers can relate to this.

I know I am not the best writer and often make grammatical mistakes, but writing is not about perfection anyway (at least in my opinion).  Writing, like life, has moments of grit, sorrow, heroism, and laughter.  Writing has given voice to the imperfections of my life and to the yearning to be understood in the world.  Writing releases the words my heart wants to say.

I have to be honest, I really did not spend a lot of time coming up with my blog name.  Growing up knowing I would not be able to have biological children caused me to think of my barren self as being cursed.  I do not mean cursed in the witch-crafty, voodoo kind of way necessarily; although I wondered that from time to time soon after it happened. For whatever reason I felt that I was intentionally blocked from having a “normal” life.  Of course, now that I am an adult, I do not know of anyone who has had a “normal” life.

Adding children to my life has given me a taste of living a life outside of my own.  Parenting children continues to bring meaning and sense to life and the things that have happened.  But, the meaning behind my blog name is more than just about the children.  I walked a long and difficult road to see the Lord for who He is in my life.  I was void (barren) of listening to His will, reading His word, and leaning on His hope.  I did not see a purpose for what happened.  I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel…until I saw the Light that is Him.

The Lord was calling me back to Him long before I even gave a thought about becoming a foster/adoptive parent.  My blog name obviously represents the blessings that come from children.  If my life ended up without children, there would have been sadness of course.  I know that.  However, I also know that life in Christ is a life worth living and for that I am truly blessed.

Thank You

I just wanted to give a quick shout out to Learning My Path Towards God for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I appreciate it very much!  The blog is an honest and insightful portrayal of one’s walk towards God.  It is a great blog and I highly recommend that you check it out.  Thank you again for acknowledging my blog!

I am going to skip out on nominating blogs (I know…I’m not playing by the rules).  Instead I want to say that it is an encouragement to see so many people sharing their lives through the written word.  I have been amused by the stories of parents trying to navigate the world of toddlers and/or teenagers.  I have been reminded of my own blessed life when reading stories of those who are literally starving.  I have been challenged to do more when reading blogs from missionaries who are across the world or in their own backyards.  My eyes have been delighted by amazing works of photography.  I have shared in the pain when reading how infertility is affecting so many.  I have been presented with issues to ponder and refine in my own walk with the Lord.  I have also been reminded of the greatness of our Heavenly Father.

Thank you to all who write their lives out and share their talents.

May God bless each of you!

Two Blog Awards

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you so much to Steve at Words to Love By for nominating my blog for the Traffic Raiser Blog Award and the Super Sweet Blogging Award.  The “nod” is very nice and I really do appreciate it!  The name of his blog basically says it all.  We could all use many words to LOVE by!  I encourage each of you to check it out.

I’m going to cheat a little though…hope that is okay.  Instead of nominating what would be a total of 28 blogs for these two awards, I just want to say thank you for taking a little bit of time out of your days to read my blog posts.  I also want to encourage fellow bloggers to keep up the great work of writing.  I’ve read so many wonderful blogs and continue to be inspired by people, their lives, their stories, their missions, their grief, their creativity, and their faith.

Just this week during a conversation with a co-worker, I reported that it has been really good to see how many people are “out there” in the blog world sharing their stories, encouraging each other in their faith, reaching out to the least of these, and walking towards a life that is closer to God and gratitude.  I am also amused by the wonder of creativity and ability as evidenced by the incredible writing, drawing, and photography that has crossed my path through these past few months of blogging.

Thanks again to Words to Love By for nominating me for two awards.  I sincerely appreciate it!

Blessings to all!