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Mamahood Series~A Still Waiting Mama

Welcome to the Mamahood Stories guest blogger series!!  I have asked several special mamas to write posts for this series and I really believe they are going to encourage you and build you up!  My wish is that as you read these posts leading up to Mother’s Day, you are encouraged and exhorted to love on other mamas, waiting mamas, and women longing to be mamas!

Today’s post comes from Latonya at www.abbainterpretstime.com.  Her faith in the Lord is inspiring!  I am sure her story of the journey she is on will encourage you today!! She is learning about God’s goodness and blessing in the season of waiting.  If you are waiting on something today, take heart, and give this Mamahood Story a read!!

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My husband and I married after 9 years of dating. We got married on December 1, 2007. The Lord told me to get off birth control in January 2008! Wait, what? We had plans to start our family after 2 years. Why do I have to get off now? So, after talking to my husband, I decided to go off in March 2008. Well, now I understand why the Lord told me to get off…..Let me tell you about my journey in waiting (for babies).

So, after a year of being off birth control for over a year, we realized that something just wasn’t right. In 2009, we decided to go to the fertility doctor to get tested. My tests came back normal, my eggs and entire reproductive system was fine. My husband’s test however, was a totally different story. The results revealed….Male Factor Infertility (MFI). MFI has many factors that can contribute to this form of infertility. This can be from low sperm count to abnormally shaped sperm. In humans, it accounts for 40-50% of infertility. This diagnosis shocked me and stung like nobody’s business. I just never thought this would be something we would have to deal with in our marriage. We were both hurt; however, we knew that God had a plan. Knowing this does not mean we didn’t cry or even question God, why. It just meant that He must have an amazing miracle He wants to birth through us! I never once blamed my husband or had thoughts of leaving him. I was more so sad for him, sad for us. I didn’t want him to go down this dark hole and not come back! Not sure what to do with this information, we decided to rest on it for a while, pray, and seek the Lord for direction. This was totally out of my control. From someone who likes some form of control, this was pretty hard to grasp. But deep down, I knew God was in control. His ways and thoughts are not like my own. His plans are better than anything I could ever imagine or even conjure up.

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About a year after the infertility diagnosis, in 2010, we decided to go and seek the fertility doctor’s help to try and get pregnant. I thank God for putting this in place to help grow families. Getting that help does not mean you don’t trust God. Because honestly, getting procedures like IUI and IVF is still God’s hand at work. We decided to do our first IUI on May 6, 2010. That fertility treatment failed! We decided to try another IUI procedure on July 22, 2011 at a different facility. Another FAILED attempt! After this IUI, our doctor advised us to move on to IVF because that would be the only way we would have a child. That lit a fire in me! I was determined that I would prove them wrong! The Lord confirmed it to me shortly after that we would not have to go this route to get pregnant.

I remember thinking at the beginning of each year that this would be the year we would get pregnant with our miracle baby (babies)! We have gotten countless confirmations, countless prophesies, countless advice, and plenty of “Just relax and let it just happen!” Let me give you a little nugget of wisdom. Please don’t say JUST RELAX to any couple trying to conceive! Please and thank you! I promise you will thank me later for that wisdom! We know we need to relax, ummmkkkay! Alright, off my soapbox and back to this post.

Year after year went by and no miracle baby! My excitement was wearing thin! “Lord, how long?!?!?!” You said You would do the miraculous! He answered me and said, “Tonya, I never told you WHEN. But will you still trust me?” Wow! When I thought about it and looked

back in my journal, He never DID say when! Ugh! Ok, God. It’s all about how I wait on this journey. Will I just sit here, feel sorry for myself, and die……. or will I get up, pursue Him, and actively wait!?!?! I chose to W.A.I.T. I chose to allow my Abba to Interpret Time for me. Now, I’m not saying I don’t get weary in waiting. Every day I wake up and say, “Lord, I thank You for waking me up to miracles today! I thank You for waking me up to revelations, wisdom, knowledge, etc. I decree great and positive things over my day, over my life on a daily basis. I look for the miracles every day! It may not come in the form of babies yet, but I see miracles! What’s changed? My perspective, my attitude about waiting. Waiting is not meant to be negative. It’s a time to truly focus on God and building yourself up in Him. This time is for laying up treasures, in Heaven. (Matthew 6:19-21) The treasures you will find are priceless and makes the waiting easier. I promise!

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Seeing so many of my family and friends celebrating their pregnancies are exciting for me, but it also reminds me that I’m still waiting for my promise. I’m not the person who won’t celebrate with others. I know it’s a miracle every time a life comes into the world. Certain holidays are hard as well. I’ve learned that it’s ok to grieve for the moment, but don’t stay in that grief. Worship, pray, and praise your way out! Call a friend or family member who has walked your journey with you.

So, where are we now on our journey? Glad you asked! We are still trusting and believing God for our children. He has given me two names, so I know we will have at least two kids. We haven’t gone to get anymore testing or fertility treatments in about 6+ years. God will do it when He sees fit! Until then, we actively wait! December of last year, He told me that 2018 will be my year of praise! I am praising God for what He has already done on our behalf and what He’s going to do! Whenever I’m down, I must get into a mode of praise!

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Whatever you’re waiting on, whether it’s children, whether it’s marriage, a dream job, or direction, please don’t give up on it! If you know God said it and has confirmed it, stand on it, and remind Him of His word to you. He always keeps His promises. Let me tell you, it takes some prayer equity and a lot of patience to truly rest in the promises of God. So, how do you plan to wait? After reading this, does it give you some hope that waiting can be a good thing? God is so amazing! He will surely take care of you in your season of waiting! He strengthens you when you don’t even think you have anything left to give! His strength allows you to FLY! So……SOAR!!

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Thank you for reading these Mamahood Stories!  If you missed the first the second postthe third postthe forth, or the fifth post in this series go give them a read!  It was my pleasure to share all these lovely stories with you! 

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Mamahood Stories~A Step Mama

Welcome to the Mamahood Stories guest blogger series!!  I have asked several special mamas to write posts for this series and I really believe they are going to encourage you and build you up!  My wish is that as you read these posts leading up to Mother’s Day, you are encouraged and exhorted to love on other mamas, waiting mamas, and women longing to be mamas!

Today’s post comes from Sweet Candace Sanner!!  Candace and I were pals when we were little girls and through marriage we became cousins!!  She is mama to three girls and one boy (two of the girls are step children) and she mamas them well!!  I’m so delighted to have Candace on here today sharing her beautiful thoughts and words on step parenting!

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Let’s be RAW, I mean REAL, let’s talk STEP-PARENTING!

Step-Parenting is HARD and surely not for the WEAK, there is no other way to say it, but it can be very rewarding! When I started out on this journey I was on a high, cloud 9. I had one biological child, two biological children in heaven from miscarriages and I was gaining two children that I did not birth. I thought no one and nothing could stop us from being one big, happy, loving family, boy was I in for a reality check. People do not tell you the many trials and hardships you will face in your marriage, your home and individually just by taking on this role of an *over-night new parent*.

Things I know now that I wish I knew then:

PROTECT your marriage relationship. You need to constantly invest in your marriage, read books, take classes, go to conferences together to strengthen your bond and continue to grow together. The most recent one we did was “The Art of Marriage. Do not wait until there is difficulty; guard your marriage right now. Because the devil is out seeking whom he may devour and without a constant investment and constantly choosing TOGETHER to bring God into your marriage, man will crumble. You have to be a united front and work together as a team there is no other way to be successful in this very challenging lifestyle.

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Ephesians 5:31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”

Never stop DATING each other. There will be times, chapters in this journey where everything around you may seem like it is falling apart and the moment it starts trickling over into your marriage is the moment your foundation starts to crack. It is so important to keep dating and setting time aside intentionally to just be happy, laugh and spend one on one time with each other kid free, detail free, no phones. Reminding you why you CHOSE this person to walk through this journey with.

Ephesians 5:28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

Be prepared to have this unexplainable love and willingness to take a bullet, climb mountains, take ridicule and be emotionally beat down for the sake of these children that you did not birth. You will grow to love them unconditionally and be willing to die for them in a moments notice, NO MATTER WHAT and you won’t be able to explain it or care what the reason is. But when your “kids” get attacked or become hurt at different times in their life you will have this passion and drive come over you that will make you stop at nothing to protect them from whoever may be causing them pain and sometimes, most times, it is their own family! People may even judge you for that kind of love and stance toward children that are “not yours” but it happens and when it does you have arrived; you have officially become more than a step-parent you are an “additional” parent. Those children may not know it yet, and there are times that can be the hardest part, but one day they will see just how fortunate they are to have more than just two parents who love them like no one else on this earth. Becoming a step-parent is so much deeper than just stepping into a child’s life, you take them on as your own and dna doesn’t come into play. There is no his or hers, or step, there is simply OUR” children.

Ephesians 6:4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

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No one will ever fully understand the sacrifice or your family dynamic unless they themselves have a blended family, so be careful who you confide in and befriend. Because there are times you will feel lost and alone and reach out to anyone that will lend an ear but unless they lived it or are living it, they will not get it. Those individuals though their heart may be right can guide you in a way that just doesn’t work for your family or your marriage. Look for trusting, morally sound, Godly individuals in similar situations or join a group because there will be times you will need some encouragement and someone who just “gets it” but doesn’t tear down.

Philippians 4:6-8 “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.”

Take time for YOU. I understand this is easier said than done. I for one thought for the longest time I could handle it ALL and people who went out, or did things alone or without their family were crazy. But in the end, what I found, is not taking some timeout time for myself was making ME crazy. Now everything in moderation folks but you need to have something that is a healthy, safe outlet for you and that brings you joy in that time alone. It could be soaking in a bath, working out, taking the dog for a walk, whatever it is that brings you a few minutes to catch your breath and be alone. It is so important that you take care of you so you can give your family the best version of yourself.

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Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”

Becoming/being a blended family is very challenging but it is a very precious and beautiful thing. There will be unique challenges that typical families do not face. There is no way to be prepared for them all but keep in mind you and your spouse are on the same team.

Joshua 1:9 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Stay tuned for more Mamahood Stories!  If you missed the first the second postthe third post, or the forth in this series go give them a read!  I am really excited to share all these lovely stories with you! 

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Mamahood Stories~A Persistent Mama

Welcome to the Mamahood Stories guest blogger series!!  I have asked several special mamas to write posts for this series and I really believe they are going to encourage you and build you up!  My wish is that as you read these posts leading up to Mother’s Day, you are encouraged and exhorted to love on other mamas, waiting mamas, and women longing to be mamas!

Today’s post comes from Karena Burgess from The Whole Body Baby Plan.  We met in a blogging Facebook group and I am so excited to have her here today!  Her story is inspirational and I hope you enjoy it!!  When your done reading here, head on over to her space and enjoy reading some more of her posts!12Q

“Mr and Mrs Burgess, we regret to inform you that your baby will no longer be coming home in 2-weeks as we had anticipated. Would you like to continue the adoption process? You see the mom….. blah, blah, blah…” I heard nothing else in that conversation. I was devastated in such a way I had never experience before and this time, this straw was the last one that literally broke the camel’s back in believing we would eve become parents.
This was not our first adoption, nor was it our second or third adoption attempt. But this was the closest we had come to bringing home a baby.
About 5 years into our waiting to be parents, the idea of adopting was constantly presented to us. At the time my husband and I were youth pastors and we also did free financial classes in our community to help others break free from the bondage of debt.
We encountered people from all walks of life and they all said the same thing, why don’t you adopt, you’d make perfect parents. We had kids who would sleep over at our home from time to time. We did 24 hours rock-a-thon and game nights, but at the end of the day, it was short lived and we were still childless.
In the background, we were doing all manner of treatments, diets, prayers, surgeries to conceive. Desperately hoping and praying that something would stick and we would be able to at least adopt one of the children that we had encountered who currently didn’t have a home.

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In 2012, I was sitting at my desk after I had finish teaching a group of college students how to   take care of themselves in the combat zone when it came to hygiene. These students were my “grown up” children. They relied on my judge and encouragement daily, and I poured into them like my own. But still on parents weekend, I was introduced to their parents as “mom away from home”. Parents loved that their children were being taken care of, but at the end of most work day, I would go home and cry.
Lord, I want a baby. God I’m desperate. What’s wrong with me? What did I do or didn’t do? What needs to change in me?
If I have found favor in your sight, please make us parents. My paraphrase of Exodus 33:13
After one of those desperate prayers, I got a phone call just after a class that there were a set of twins that needed a place to stay.  I was shocked. I was on the defensive too. I asked all the right questions: “Where are their parents (in jail for felony against them), where are the grandparents, (one sick and the other don’t want the babies), how did you hear about us (you guys are always helping people, can you help these babies out)….. The list of questions went on and on for about 15 minutes. I told the lady this is weird, but it all seems legit… however I need to speak with my husband and see what his opinion was on the matter.
I called my husband and his response was not what I had expected. And within 24hours, we were parents to two 10-month old boy/girl twin babies! ❤
Yay! 🙂 Praise the Lord!  I wished the story ended there.
Over the next several weeks, we met the grandmother who was looking for help with these twins. She didn’t want them separated and her health was failing quickly. She chose us from talking to a few people in the community. Before that time we had never met. At the time we were not even foster parents.
She was so happy we were going to take the babies, she suggested we adopt them permanently and we were all too happy to jump on the ball to get the process rolling. So we hired the best lawyer in town.
In the mean time, we took time off our day jobs to child proof our home, painted and renovated the extra bedroom that we had shut off because it was so painful to look at an empty room everyday.  Suddenly this room had two cribs, lots of diapers, toys, baby monitors, the works. In the process of the sudden drop off, we were still in the process of adopting other children and we didn’t stop the process, because at this point we had a firm date that baby was coming home.
We didn’t want to disappoint a child, so we continued. We made enough money to support a family of five and our home was big enough and family support was robust.
To keep this set of twins, we had to become foster parents for 3-months and we jumped in with both legs. Finished all the paperwork and all set for babies to change their last name when we received a letter in the mail saying that we have to appear in court because suddenly a family member has surfaced who wants the kids.
What the…..????
We spoke with our lawyer and the grandmother who was too busy and didn’t even come to visit the kids since birth suddenly wanted to be foster parents for her now 15 month old twins.
This was a serious difficult time of my life. Through court battles, we lost the babies and several years later, we still get phone calls on the medication that’s needed for them. Every year we celebrate their birthday. We cried, but we figured out how to move on slowly.
Several months after this failure, we got another dreaded phone call. We were so sure we were gonna have this baby in our home, that we went ahead and gave him a name “Samuel”.  Samuel was alive because his mom was raped and she didn’t take care of him. At 2 years old, he still wasn’t even crawling. But that was okay with us, cause we were going to love him into his destiny.  “Mr and Mrs Burgess, we regret to inform you that your baby will no longer be coming home in 2-weeks as we had anticipated. Would you like to continue the adoption process?”
I was devastated! There we were with two certain adoptions falling through right before our eyes. For no logical reason. Thousands of dollars gone, two empty bedrooms, and no babies. None!  I was numb. I couldn’t function. I took time off work. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I could no longer continue on with the adoption process. I just couldn’t.
We decided that we were going to trust the Lord in a whole new way. We were going to wait. No more surgeries. No more adoption paperwork. No more planning. We were just going to enjoy each other, travel more, visit more orphans, but as for ourselves, God would have to fight for us.
In 2016, about 4 years after that dread phone call, we gave birth to our miracle baby 6 days before our twins birthday. Yes, God has a sense of humor!
Today we still celebrate the twins. We still pray for baby Samuel and we are now biological parents to a baby girl who was sent to us from Heaven. Jesus Christ gets all the glory. He made a way. He opened the doors that no man could shut and shut the doors that no man could open.

I’m super grateful to be a mom. I pinch myself often and I continue to pray for others to have similar breakthroughs in their lives. If you are still waiting for a miracle, don’t quit! Don’t give up. You may need to press into your relationship with God a little more, but whatever you do, don’t stop praying and asking Him for His favor on your life.

View More: http://megansmart.pass.us/karena-burgessfall2017

Stay tuned for more Mamahood Stories!  If you missed the first the second post, or the third post in this series go give them a read!  I am really excited to share all these lovely stories with you! 

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Five Minute Friday no.5

I’m so excited to post a Five Minute Friday post today!  It is such a fun exercise for my writing brain and usually ends up being pretty meaningful!  I love how God works in mysterious ways…I have no clue what the word will be each week, but it usually ends up making me think about the Lord and what He is doing in my life!

I love this five minute writing prompt each week…every Friday there is a new word that we all write about for five minutes…then we share our posts in a linky party…then we get to read what we each thought about the same word…SO FUN!

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Today’s word is STUCK.  I had a GREAT night sleep last night, sprayed my bed down with my DIY linen spray (Young Living’s copaiba oil and frankincense), had lavender in my diffuser, and my precious girl slept like a dream (all that lavender on her little feetsies), so this mama feels awake and refreshed this morning!  I am ready to write!  I will set my timer here in a second to five minutes (cause I really don’t like to “cheat” although sometimes I do finish that last sentence or two after the buzzer sounds) and write.  When you are finished here, feel free to click on the picture above and head over to read some other Five Minute Friday posts!

Ready.

Set.

Write.

Stuck.

Have you ever felt stuck?  Have you ever really been stuck?  Like when your car gets stuck in the mud and you have to be pushed out or pulled out by another car.  I am thinking about this time that my Grampa drove into a deep mud puddle and got stuck when I was little…we were WAY UP NORTH in the middle of NOWHERE in the great state of Maine (my home land), driving around looking for moose.  It was early evening, but gradually getting darker and closer to true evening.

The roads we were on were all dirt and filled with bumps and holes and various things to avoid when driving, but my Grampa is a daring man and this puddle didn’t look “too bad” to him!  I was a real little Myriah then (maybe 7 or 8 years old) and I remember my Grampa was on crutches because he had recently had hip surgery.  My cousin was with us (15 or 16 at the time) and my mum and aunt…oh and Sweetie Pie, the tiny poodle dog!

Grampa drove right into the mud and the Izuzu Trooper was STUCK!  Like REALLY STUCK!  I think my dramatic tiny self immediately started bawling! HA!  My Grampa, on crutches, immediately started working, my cousin consoled me, and my mum and aunt went for help!

I was so scared that we would be stuck out in the middle of nowhere, without rescue, and eventually would be eaten by bears!  The drama of an 8 year old!  My daddy wasn’t with us, and folks this was before cell phones okay (not that they would have worked in that region of the woods anyway).

Grampa and Rachael calmed me down and we started to work…I can clear as day remember Grampa on his crutches assessing the situation and directing us girls to collect sticks.  I remember that I didn’t have shoes on, not because of extreme poverty, but because I was camping and in Summer mode of being barefoot!  Thinking about it now I can remember the gravel kind of hurting my feet as I ran to collect wood to throw in the mud under our stuck tires…but somehow the act of doing the job calmed me and dulled the pain…I was a girl on a mission.

Meanwhile my mum and aunt had walked off into the sunset (literally the sun was setting).  Thank God Grampa kept us collecting wood and sticks, so that my mind was taken off my mum and aunt being eaten by wolves and never coming back!

I remember Sweetie Pie yapping and barking from the truck!  This all sounds like it would be a traumatic memory, especially as I write it out now and see it in type, but you know what, it isn’t.  This memory of getting stuck in the mud with Grampa at the wheel has become a fond, fun memory, a story we end up telling when we are all together!  In case you are dying in suspense here, we worked with Grampa for what seemed like HOURS (I don’t know the real time, I was a kid okay, that part is fuzzy) and then we saw a pick up truck coming off in the distance…my mum and aunt were sitting on the tailgate of that pickup…like any good Mainer, they had a winch in their truck and helped us get unstuck!  All ended well, and the event has become a fond family memory!

Okay, at this point I’m just gonna tell you I have been writing for more than 5 minutes…but I gotta get it out!

A couple things we can all take away from this story:

  1. When we get stuck, we can’t just lay down and quit.  We gotta keep moving!  Picture my awesome Grampa hobbling around on crutches, working to get the truck unstuck.  He could have just sat in the truck and said “let’s just sit and wait girls”, but he didn’t, he kept moving and kept us moving!  I quickly went from bawling cause I was scared, to enjoying the task at hand!
  2. Pray and ask God for help, and then move forward.  My Grampa is a praying man and I am sure he prayed the whole time we were stuck…for our safety, for help, for his daughters to return safely, for his granddaughter to stop bawling…but we didn’t simply pray and just wait for a tow truck to drop from heaven….we used our resources around us!  Sometimes God has already given us answer to prayer or what we need, but we are too “busy” waiting for Him to drop it from the sky to actually look around us!  Did the sticks get us unstuck?  I’m not sure if they even helped at all, but they did occupy us and keep us sane during the wait for help!
  3. Ask others for help!  My Grampa is a proud and capable man, even on crutches, but he let my mum and aunt go look for help!  We needed help and that took seeking and asking!

 

Wow!  This has become the longest-winded Five Minute Friday post Ever!  Anyhow, to relate this to now, I felt stuck…not too long ago, I felt stuck in loneliness,  insecurities (that I didn’t even know I had), and isolation!  For awhile I laid down in it and thought about quitting, and I cried (much like the 7 or 8 old version of me) and I prayed but did nothing with what God had already given me.

God is doing something great guys!  He has hooked his winch to my truck and is pulling me out of the mud!  I totally believe God has done and is doing this work in me, but it took me making choices to get up and move, do something toward getting unstuck and asking for help!

I’m so excited about where God is going to “tow” me to as I get more and more unstuck!  Are you feeling stuck today?  Are you praying God will “tow” you out, but at the same time laying in your own pool of tears?  Get up, dry your eyes, and start moving sticks till you see that pickup truck coming off in the distance with help!  Seek the Lord with boldness, and stop acting in fear and ask others for help too (preaching to myself here), be a little vulnerable (like my Grampa on crutches and his two barefooted granddaughters) and put yourself out there!  You can’t expect that pickup truck to pull over and help tow you out, if you don’t wave them down and tell them you are stuck!!

Thanks for reading my five (hundred) minute Friday post today!  Happy weekend!

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Mamahood Series~Mama on the Missionfield

Welcome to the Mamahood Stories guest blogger series!!  I have asked several special mamas to write posts for this series and I really believe they are going to encourage you and build you up!  My wish is that as you read these posts leading up to Mother’s Day, you are encouraged and exhorted to love on other mamas, waiting mamas, and women longing to be mamas!

Today’s post comes from my friend Steph!  We know each other from the church we attended in the states before we moved to Budapest.  Steph and her husband moved onto the mission field in the Dominican Republic shortly after Tim and I left for Budapest, so we haven’t been in the same location for years!  Isn’t the body of Christ great though, we are living on different continents and serving in different ways, but still have Jesus in common and remain friends!!  Steph and her sweet little family are back in the states now, though big parts of their hearts remain in the DR with the work they were a part of there!  I just know you will enjoy reading this sweet mama’s story!

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Hola! I’m Eliana’s mami. Adults know me as Steph, our friends in the Dominican Republic call me Estefani. Our precious blessing from the Lord will turn two in July. I want to share with you the miracle of Eliana’s birth. We were missionaries in the Dominican Republic for five years and Eliana was born in Barahona, Dominican Republic. While pregnant with Eliana, I came down with symptoms indicative of the Zika Virus. I went immediately to the doctor and although they did not have the equipment necessary to test me, my doctor diagnosed me with Zika. There is no treatment, so we prayed. I was already in the second trimester so she was not at great risk of being affected. We had a trip to the States planned a month later to visit family and friends and so I went to the health department in Maryland to be tested and all the tests came back negative! Whether I was healed or whether I never had it, the Lord protected Eliana’s little life.

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Two weeks before her due date I was at my regular OB appointment and Eliana’s heart rate was low and the doctor was concerned. She did some other tests and decided she needed to do an emergency c-section that same afternoon. I started to panic a little as I wasn’t expecting that and they rushed me back to surgery before my husband could even get there with our belongings. While in surgery I was trying to remain calm, but was very nervous and a bit in shock. One of the nurses started to play Christian music on her cell phone and Océanos began to play. I’m sure you’ve heard the English version of this song, Oceans. So, I began to sing and immediately the peace of the Lord came over me.

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters

Wherever You would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

And my faith will be made stronger

In the presence of my Savior

The next day one of the nurses was talking about how Eliana had the smallest umbilical cord she had ever seen. That wasn’t the reason for the C-section but if I had gone into labor, it could have been a problem. The Lord directed every aspect of Eliana’s birth and He protected her. She is completely healthy with no signs of defect from the Zika Virus. She is an energetic little girl full of joy!

People have asked us if we were nervous about having our child in a third world country. The decision was easy for us. We were called to live and serve in Barahona. We were not afraid. It was not a question of where is the best health facility. We didn’t consider what the conditions were like or even where is the most comfortable place to be pregnant and give birth. We lived on a mountain with rocky bumpy unpaved dirt roads. We had no air conditioning. The climate was hot and humid. But we knew that the safest place to be is in the center of the Lord’s will.

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I’m not saying it was easy. It wasn’t easy to be far from family. It wasn’t easy to keep my body cooled down in 100% humidity. But we were in the Father’s hands and our God is so marvelous and His plans for us are good. I am so unworthy of His great love and the abundant blessings He endlessly pours out on me. I can agree with the words of Luke 17:10, “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’ ” When I consider the work He has done for me on the cross and the work He is doing in me, making me more like Him each day, the little sacrifices I have made for Him can not even compare.

I want to encourage you who are reading this. What is the Lord calling you to do? Step out in faith, keep your eyes on Jesus and trust He will keep your feet above the water. He wants to use you. He wants to do miracles before your eyes. He wants you to walk on the water with Him, but you have to step out of the boat. Press forward, dear sister.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12

 

Stay tuned for more Mamahood Stories!  If you missed the first one or the second post in this series go give them a read!  I am really excited to share all these lovely stories with you! 

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Mamahood Stories~A Waiting Mama

Welcome to the Mamahood Stories guest blogger series!!  I have asked several special mamas to write posts for this series and I really believe they are going to encourage you and build you up!  My wish is that as you read these posts leading up to Mother’s Day, you are encouraged and exhorted to love on other mamas, waiting mamas, and women longing to be mamas!

Today’s post comes from Marissa Mundell!  Marissa currently lives in Budapest with her husband of 17 years and 4 wonderful kids. She has lived on 3 continents over the years and has seen God grow her heart for orphans in each new place. She homeschools, loves being outside, and enjoys running! She is passionate about helping others consider adoption. If you want to connect or talk with someone about your journey, please feel free to email her at Marissanduriah@gmail.com.  Marissa and I became connected because of our mutual heart for adoption!  I am so excited for her and her family as they are waiting for their next kiddo through adoption here in Hungary!

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Waiting is HARD, really hard…

 The last two years our family has been on a journey. A long, unexpected, emotional journey of waiting upon the Lord. Perhaps, you too have been waiting for the Lord. Waiting for Him to act, for something to start, for something to end, for something to change. It seems that our lives, especially in motherhood, are full of waiting.
Two years ago, I clearly heard what I felt was God leading us back down the road of adoption. It was a clear call, so it was easy to move in faith down the road of adoption. Our initial inclination was to adopt through the same agency and country we adopted our fourth child. It seemed logical. We knew the process, the people, the cost. We have walked this road before and we can walk it again. However, several steps down the road, we realized how complicated it was now that we were living in Hungary rather than in China. Just to get someone to come do our home study (one of the first big hurdles in the adoption process) was going to be an extra $5000. Simply because a certified social worker had to be flown in from a different country. As we began to wrestle with the extra costs, knowing that God provided for our first adoption, we also faced the reality that this was now not the same road we had traveled two years earlier and many other costs and complications began to emerge. God surprised us!
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We found ourselves pregnant! Surprise! Shocked! Confused! “Oh!” I thought to myself, “You Lord, were just readying my heart for a new addition and you decided to bless us with another biological child.” Just as we began to wrap our hearts and heads around this miracle and looking forward with joy and dreaming what this meant for our family, we miscarried. Our first ultrasound revealed a beautiful 9 week old without a heartbeat. Devastated… Even more confused and a new layer of grief. “Lord, what do you want me to do?”
Several weeks after our miscarriage, I found myself in another conversation about adoption with a friend. I felt that all the roads to another child were closed. Adoption from China, closed. A biological child, closed. Was I confused about what God wanted us to do? Did I somehow miss the message? In some ways I could really relate to Abraham and Sarah. They were given the promise of a child and faced many impossibilities. And it was years before Isaac was born. At the same time, God says to Abram go to this land I will show you. By faith, he obeyed, not knowing where he was supposed to go. During this conversation, I was challenged to consider adopting locally through Hungary.
So by faith, we started investigating the adoption process as foreigners. There is no information on the internet. It is not a clear cut path. We have been obediently completing the next step as it comes. We are the first foreigners in our county to adopt this way, after a law change 4 years ago. So in may ways, it has been a new uncharted process. We have been blessed by the process, as it has been virtually “free” and uncomplicated. Similar to our adoption process in China, but a little bit more unclear as there is no checklist, no time frame, no clear communication. So, this is when the waiting has been even more magnified. We are now waiting to be matched with the child that God has for us. This is hard. It has been long two years, full of grief, loss and confusion.
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“I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.” (Psalm 69:3)  There are days and moments when I am done, tired, and think God has called me to take steps of faith without seeing the promise fulfilled. I don’t understand the last two years or why God has called me on this journey. Yes, I can see how it has changed me, grown me closer to the Lord, and enabled me to have deeper compassion and empathy for those that have lost children. in my own understanding, I struggle with how the plan is unfolding.
That is until I turn my eyes upon Jesus. Proverbs 8:34-35 states, ” Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.”  Those are words that are a salve to my weary heart. In my waiting for Him, I find Him and I obtain favor from Him. That is the true treasure. So, as Noah waited for rain, as Job waited for restoration, as Rachel waited for a son, as Simeon waited for his Savior and my Savior waits to put His enemies under his footstool, I too shall wait. My only hope in the waiting is explained so well in the book of Jude. When it gets tough and hopeless we must, “keep [our]selves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”  We must be brought back to the truth of the cross. The truth that God is sovereign, full of love and completely merciful. I will wait upon the Lord. Yes, I will wait upon Him who is able, who knows the perfect child, the perfect time and holds the perfect plan.
Stay tuned for more Mamahood Stories!  If you missed the first one go give it a read!  I am really excited to share all these lovely stories with you! 
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Mamahood Stories~A Hopeful Mama

Welcome to the Mamahood Stories guest blogger series!!  I have asked several special mamas to write posts for this series and I really believe they are going to encourage you and build you up!  My wish is that as you read these posts leading up to Mother’s Day, you are encouraged and exhorted to love on other mamas, waiting mamas, and women longing to be mamas!

Today’s post comes from the love Melissa Forster.  She beautifully shares her journey to becoming a mama over at her blog, Borderless.  I love how she finds God’s goodness in the pains and hards of infertility and miscarriage, and how she boldly shares her faith!  I’m sure her Mamahood Story will encourage you today!  If you know someone struggling with infertility share this with them too!  Make sure to go check out her little blog space as well!!

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have always wanted to be a Mama. For as long as I can remember, I always had favorite dolls and any pretend story always included me as the Mama. My husband, Dan, and I married in 2007. I was 21, still in college and fertility issues were the furthest thing from my mind.  I went on birth control a few months before the wedding, because as much as I wanted to be a Mama… we weren’t ready.

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In late 2009, I came off the pill because it was causing some awful side effects. At the time, we weren’t exactly ready for kids, but we knew I couldn’t stay on the pill. I will be honest, as much as I knew we weren’t ready, I thought we would be pregnant quickly. I had no clue that getting pregnant could be difficult. I thought simply having sex was all we would ever need to do.  I had no clue that there could be more to it.

In late 2011, at my yearly check-up, my OBGYN thought it was strange that we had been off the pill for two years and not gotten pregnant. I thought it was strange too. I had started “charting” a little but really had no clue what I was doing. My OBGYN ran some tests and diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS is a complicated hormonal disorder. Every woman’s story looks different. Basically, if hormones are involved – PCOS can screw it up. One of the biggest problems with PCOS is that it can cause infertility. My OBGYN gave me some pamphlets, told me to lose weight, put me on some medications and recommended I take Clomid (an “entry level” fertility drug) if we wanted to get pregnant.

I took her advice, read everything I could get my hands on related to PCOS and started my journey to a healthier lifestyle. Even though I was getting healthier by the day, I still couldn’t wrap my head around the word “infertile.” Sure, we hadn’t been preventing pregnancy for years, but I couldn’t possibly be infertile. We waited until my next annual checkup in 2012 to pursue clomid.

After several cycles on clomid, my OBGYN told us there was nothing more she could do, and she referred us to an Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). So off we went. That first appointment was terrifying. The doctor reviewed our history, discussed a million tests that we needed to consider, and then explained the options we would have based on the outcomes of our tests. It was overwhelming to say the very least.

After a month of uncomfortable testing (for both Dan and I), the RE felt it was best that I continue with clomid but add a “trigger shot” that would force my body to ovulate. The plan included going to the office for an ultrasound, taking clomid, going in for a second ultrasound, taking the trigger shot in my stomach, and timing intercourse on very specific days. Honestly, it was so little compared to what many endure, but it was a lot for us. Each “cycle” lasted about 35 days and if we were not pregnant, we started over again. There was something to do each day to ensure that we were “on track”.

 

In July 2013, after three months of this protocol, we got our first ever positive pregnancy test. I took the test on a Wednesday before work…and didn’t stop smiling all day. I spent most of the day looking for nursery décor and ways to tell our families. Our wait was over! We shared the news with our family on Thursday night, and my mother in law instantly started praying for “Trudy.” She didn’t know why, but it was just the name that kept coming to her mind.

Sadly, we learned one week later that our precious Trudy was an ectopic prengnacy. I was rushed into surgery to end my pregnancy and save my life. Thankfully, my RE was a very skilled surgeon, and he was able to save all my reproductive parts. I am told that is very rare when it comes to ectopic pregnancies. Although we lost our baby, I still believe that God worked in big ways. My life was saved, and my body was still whole after surgery.

In March 2014, we celebrated Trudy’s due date by going away for a weekend. I got my first tattoo to mark Trudy’s special life. A constant reminder of Genesis 50:20, “What you meant to harm me, God has used to change my life and the lives of many.

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In April 2014, we went back to the RE. He told us that we would most likely never get pregnant without the help of fertility drugs. In fact, he would recommend that we skip all other “steps” and move straight into In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) due to our history. We felt moving straight to IVF was extreme and decided to do one more cycle of the protocol we had been on previously. We felt if that protocol did not work, we would then look deeper into other options.

Things didn’t go as planned. I had a terrible reaction to the medication, which forced us to take a break. I spent most of the summer in and out of the hospital due to the side effects of that one month of drugs. During that time, we spent a lot of time asking God what our next steps where when it came to being parents. Both Dan and I felt God was saying “be still”. To us, that meant we were not only going to stop pursing treatment, but we weren’t going to worry about charting or really anything related to trying to have a baby. We were simply going to live our lives in a healthy way and allow God to do the rest.

The choice to not go back to the RE was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. I had gotten pregnant with fertility drugs… and I had a hard time accepting that God wouldn’t let me continue. But, I quickly learned, God wasn’t punishing me. He had so many good things in the wait. I would never say waiting is easy, but there is a lot to celebrate in waiting. We have been able to experience so much and grow so much in our wait.

Letting go of the constant need to count and chart and take medication has been so good for me. Medical science is an amazing thing. I am so thankful that God has given doctors the wisdom He has… but at the end of the day, babies are still miracles. No matter if they are conceived naturally or through medical intervention… each life is a miracle. Realizing that there is nothing I can to do (or can’t do) to make a baby has been incredibly freeing. This girl likes to control things and learning that God is bigger than what I can control has been a hard, but wonderful lesson. His way of doing things is always much better than mine!

In early 2016, after a year long struggle with PCOS systems that had gotten out of control, I found an OBGYN that specialized in hormone health. She understood our desire to “be still” when it came to trying to have a baby, but still working towards hormone health.

In March 2017, I got the surprise of my life… a positive pregnancy test. A miracle baby, we quickly started calling Lil Bit.

Dan and I were both so shocked when we got that positive test. We waited on God and believed He could do anything… but still couldn’t believe when He did! Ha, thankfully God worked even in my unbelief!

Carrying Lil Bit was a roller coaster. There were good days and bad days. Sadly, I only carried Lil Bit for 10.5 weeks. Although our story didn’t end the way we hoped, God was in every detail, taking care of us and providing for us. Lil Bit’s life defied medical odds. We got pregnant naturally. Something doctors told us would never happen.

I have always loved saying “But if not, He is still good”, but it feels different now.  I can relate so much to what Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said to the king in Daniel 3:18. Dan and I have begged God to change our situations, and then seen Him be good to us even when our situations didn’t change. We have been thrown into the fire and survived to tell the story. We didn’t survive because we are awesome. We survived because God is good.

The journey to motherhood has been hard, but God has been so very good to us. In a lot of ways, getting pregnant again is scary. However, we believe that God is bigger than fear. We believe God’s promise still stands. We will have children in our home. We believe God will do it again… soon!

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