Sunday, October 21, 2012

Peace that passes understanding

We've all probably sang the song "I've got the peace that passes understanding down in my heart" and that's what I want to talk about today. Before I share my story, I'd like to share the details of this week's Stampin Sisters in Christ Challenge!
 My great friend and uber talented sister in Christ, PeggySue
 John 16:33 (NIV) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
 Make a card that to you represents peace or calm; with an image, color scheme, CAS layout or verse, something that speaks peace to you, but peace symbols themselves are excluded. The card has to speak peace through your own style.
 Daydream Designs - one participant will win a $20 voucher for the store!
You're going to want to win this one! Daydream Designs has the most wonderful creations!
Here is the card I made for this week's challenge:
I've used Bitty Baby Sentiments by our wonderful sponsor Daydream Designs
Paper is by Simple Stories.

The story behind my card...
When I was 21 I gave birth to a healthy, very happy baby boy. He was awesome! I was young. I raised him as a single mother for almost 10 years. I did my best, but I certainly didn't give him as much understanding as I could have. I loved the little guy beyond anyone I've loved before, but I wasn't able to enjoy all the little things about him growing. I didn't understand that I needed to enjoy those things. Sometimes he just got in my way and made things difficult for me. My mom and my friend's mom babysat, a lot, so I could enjoy "adult time" My friends were always at our house and I never quite was able to give him undivided attention as a mother should from time to time. We did have a lot of fun, though! But someone was always with us when we were having fun. He loved the times when I didn't go out and I stayed home with him. We rented movies and ate pizza and chips and dip and soda and ice cream. This is something we still enjoy together once in a while and yes, not long ago my 17 year old son laid in my room watching Mary Poppins with me on a Sunday afternoon, at his request! lol I wasn't feeling well and it was a sweet moment with him. Anyway, fast forward through his little life to 9 when mommy met someone she loved and decided to get married. My husband and I married in April 2005 (right year husband? lol) and in October he adopted my son to be his own. October 6th to be exact. It's now called "Phelps Family Day" and we always celebrate that day in some way. This year it was just a nice dinner with our now 18 year old with an attitude, and his grandparents of 7 years, but we still celebrated, because it was important to us.
Now is the next chapter of the story-our quest for another child. When we got married we started trying to have a baby right away. Neither of us was very young anymore! (remember when 30 used to be old? ha!) We had failed attempt after failed attempt, precancerous cells to deal with and medicine to regulate and all that fun stuff. It's really not fun. It puts a lot of pressure on a relationship when dealing with infertility. It was as much my body's issues as it is possibly my husband's (he's never been officially checked, because if my body isn't working right there is no need to test him, yet) So, needless to say, our relationships have suffered some. Not just my husband's and mine, but with our son and families and with our friends. I became very bitter and jealous about every pregnancy around me. It's kind of hard to throw yourself into a friend's baby shower when you wish so bad that it was you. There were many tears shed and lots of make up used before these showers. Of course it's hard to look happy when you're dying inside! For the last several years I've been very sad and felt not worthy since it wasn't happening for us. I've even been regretting the way I raised my son, missing all the times when he was little and I could have been a better mom. Times I wish I could go back and enjoy him. Earlier this year someone called us telling us there was a baby in need and wanted to know if we'd be interested. We were floored that someone would think of us in this situation. Once the shock wore off and prayers were said and talking done with mentors, we decided that, "yes, we WOULD be interested in caring for this little one and becoming her parents." After about 2 weeks of talking to the "go-between" and waiting and planning and getting the "run around" I finally said, "look, if this isn't going to happen, I need to know, my heart is too involved" and they finally came clean and said that the person with the little one only wanted money and not really to give the child. I was devastated. That is when I really became bitter. I was so hurt. I thought God had REALLY let me down this time and that He must think I was so unworthy of a child that He would allow people who abuse children to have them, but not me. I must have really screwed up with raising my son that He wouldn't trust me with another one. Or that He was punishing me for my previous lifestyle. Let's fast forward to just last month. A friend of my husband's has a rough life. She is an alcoholic and disabled and tends to become involved with real winners of guys. She's the mother of 3 lovely children, whom she doesn't even have living with her because she can barely take care of herself, let alone 3 kids, too! There is more to her situation that I will not go into, but if you're a prayer warrior, please remember this lady in your prayers. She can use them! Anyway, she became pregnant. She didn't know what she was going to do, so she asked my husband if he and I would consider adopting her baby (which was really babies!) because her boyfriend wanted her to get an abortion and she didn't want to. So, after much prayer and discussion, we decided that it would be best for the babies if we would take care of them after they were born. We had apprehension about this, we knew there would likely be issues with the little ones but wanted something for her children that she could not give them - a loving, stable home. Well, needless to say, her boyfriend got to her and those little babies are with the best Father they could ever ask for and they are in Jesus' loving arms. Heartbreak for us - again! I began asking questions about why we couldn't do this, what was so wrong with us and why God didn't want us to have children! Once I "got over" that issue, for that day anyway, we began to talk about what our life was really going to look like. We still want a baby, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. In my mind, we needed to make a decision - Are we going to keep waiting and hoping for it to happen or are we finally going to move on with our lives and live as if we're done with our child rearing years? My husband, who has been a rock for us during these times, says we need to pray about it. My long do we pray about it? When do we make a decision to live our lives? I won't go into the rest of the discussion we had, but we were still in a quandary about the situation but knew we had to make a decision and I was quite frustrated, even angry about it all. We were planning on visiting with the Pastor soon to try to get some answers. In Sunday School the following morning, we were discussing Nehemiah and his decision to rebuild Jerusalem. One thing they were asking is "how long do we pray" the answer came to them just as simply as it came to us that day "pray until you have peace" Wow. We almost lost it right then, but the Pastor kept teaching as Chris and I were struggling to keep our emotions under control. I don't remember the rest of the lesson, but other questions I had asked the day before were answered, just as simply as the one about praying. I left church after SS and my husband and son stayed. I cried all the way home and talked to God. IT WAS AN AMAZING TIME! After lunch, Chris and I talked and prayed A LOT. We came to a decision and we had the most peace we've ever had! We know the desire of our heart is to have a baby and we're not going to keep our lives on hold waiting for it to happen. We're going to "pray for rain and build our ark" lol I don't think and I can convey the perfect peace I have about our decision. My friend, Jennifer, says "you can see it" on my face when I talk about it. I truly believe that God is going to give us our baby and I believe this is going to happen through a private adoption. I also believe that if His plan is something else for me, I am at peace with that, too. I am at peace because I'm ready for HIS will to be done in my life and not mine. I also have faith that He will give me the desires of my heart because I'm His. I have a "peace that passes understanding" I can feel it from my head to my toes and I can feel it as well as see it in my eyes and my smile. There's no longer a sad little smile, it's filled with joy and overcoming. Now, there are still going to be trials, of this I am sure and there already have been, but I have faith like I've never had before and a God that loves me more than I'll ever know. I am worthy to be a mother and my dreams and desires are important. THIS, my friends, is what peace looks like to me, finally. With or without another child, I have the peace that passes understanding down in my heart.
Oh, BTW, we are "building our ark" by redoing one of our offices to make a guest room that will be easily converted into a nursery with a simple change of a bed (we're putting a twin size bed in there so my mom can enjoy the room until it's needed for the nursery). We're also planning and preparing a list of things we know we'll need and we're planning the purchase of those things. We've started a savings plan and will be doing some fundraisers to raise money for the adoption fees.
I believe if you truly have faith, you must take action as though it IS going to happen.
Please join us in prayer for our baby.
I will post updates as we have them.
May God bless you today and may you find peace that passes all understanding in your life.


Lisa Hjulberg said...

Beautifully said, Helen! I'm so glad you found PEACE. That is what it's all about! I will pray for you.


Cat said...

Praying that all goes well for your family. It is normal to feel that you were not the "best" mother you could be. No one is perfect, and speaking from experience, I know that I could have done many things differently while raising my four children, but there were many things that were definitely "right" that I did that I still cherish to this day. Think about all the things you did for your son that were "right". God does have a plan for your life, and it will be done in HIS time. Hugs and blessings!

Glimpses of My Heart said...

Helen - Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I have been praying for you and I will continue to pray. Coming to the point of being willing to allow His will above all else can be difficult but the peace it brings is something you can't explain. You have to feel it. I am so glad for the time you and Chris have spent praying together. It is the best thing for any situation.
Your card is beautiful. I love the DP and the simplicity of the sentiment and single button.
Many blessings dear friend,

Miesje said...

Goodness Helen - love the way you told the tale! My journey was similar - we now have 8 adopted children. We applied through our local Catholic Social Services and received 2 wonderful little boys within 18 months of each other. They are still close. The rest of them we never really applied for - they found us. God had to hit us over the head a few times for us to see it but see it we did because we have always walked with Him. I will be praying for you. Oh - great card too. ;-)

Karen Letchworth said...

Thanks for sharing this post, Helen. You're always such a blessing and encouragement to me. I also want you to know how very much I appreciate your participation at Word Art Wednesday, and I'm SO glad you linked up. I LOVE this Simple Stories line.
I didn't realize we weren't "following" one another, and I just became your follower. I hope you will stop by and become my follower. I'd love to have you visit.
Many blessings to you,
Karen L, Word Art Wednesday - my blog

Debbie said...

This is a beautiful baby card that shows just how the Lord has given you peace!! Thank you for sharing your heart and your story! Yes, I needed some tissue, but this really blessed my heart! I am a pastor's wife and I have bookmarked this post and I have a few ladies that I plan to share this with and I know it will be an encouragement to them!
I will most certainly be praying for you!!

Diane said...

Helen, my heart goes out to you and I've continued to pray over your heart's desire. So many times when we pray, God waits until our hearts are fully submitted to His will in the matter before He acts. Coming to a point of peace regardless of the circumstances is an amazing place of joy. I'm so grateful you are there. I will not forget to pray steadfastly for the blessing of a child in your life, but I'm grateful you sought and found His peace first. You bless me, Helen, and I'm so grateful for your friendship!

Jo Ann said...

What a great card. That DP is fabulous and I say "Amen" to that sentiment. Thanks for blessing us with your artwork at Word Art Wednesday.

Hugs always,

Peggysue Turner said...

Helen I pray that God gives you the desire of your hearts, you and your husband's. Also though I am more than glad that you have found peace through this longing and this trial. What a great gift! My heart broke when I heard about the babies that are now with the Lord who could have grown up in a loving family! What a rollercoaster. I do look forward to hearing the continuing story of your journey. Love the card too.

MariLynn said...

Helen, thank you for sharing your heart. Your words truly express peace. I am praying along side with you that God will give you the desires of your heart! You have such a sweet loving heart. Hugs and Blessings!

Vicki said...

Wow Helen. What a beautiful story! I'm glad we have met in person and I hope you can feel my arms around you in this journey. I believe it will happen too. You are such a wonderful person.