Waiting For Dogot

“Wait for the Lord;

be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord.”

Psalm 27:14

My life seems to constantly made up of waiting for things to happen.  When I got pregnant in February there was a great deal of waiting until the first doctor’s appointment at the very end of March where we discovered we had another blighted ovum and needed a DNC.  We were advised by the doctor to wait to get pregnant again for at least two months, since this was the second failed pregnancy within a year.  Once we no longer had to wait, we are still waiting for a new pregnancy to occur.

I decided I was tired of the cycle of waiting and decided to focus on something else, so my family decided to look for a second dog on whom to lavish affection.  We had assumed that we would get a dog closer in age to our first dog who is about six because we didn’t want her alienated and figured a young puppy would be too much work.  I prayed the traditional dog finding prayer that had been passed onto me from my Mom: “Lord, provide us with a dog that needs us and also the dog that we need.” Then I felt secure in going forward.

I surfed the adoption sites of area pounds and rescue organizations, examined numerous breeds and types of dogs.  Every time we were interested in a dog and contacted the specific organization that sponsored the dog, however, we either were not called back or we were informed that the dog we had been interested in was no longer available.  We even had gone so far once that we arrived at the pound and found out that the dog we had wanted had been adopted that morning shortly before we had gotten there.

A month later and we still seemed to be no closer to getting a dog.

Then, one Saturday morning I hopped on the Hartford Pound website to see if there was a dog that would fit our needs.  My eyes caught site of a little brown, black and white beagle.  The website said she was roughly ten months, which was far younger than I had been looking for and she would require more training than I would have anticipated AND she was a beagle, which I knew had a reputation to be very noisy barkers…..butthere was something about her.  I called the pound and inquired about her and the animal control officer invited me to come and meet her along with my husband, my four year old son and my dog.  We all piled into the car and headed ten minutes up the road to see the little, flop-eared pup.

Yup, this is the picture.

Polly was stand-offish and upset to be near the pound where she could hear the dogs barking with distress.  She examined the pup from a safe distance.  When the pup tried to play with Polly, our old girl was confused and didn’t know how to respond, getting slightly agitated because she wasn’t accustomed to it.  Toby was also slightly distant, unsure of how to act around the new dog  She was very excited, smelling everything.

Toby looked at her white paws and noticed that they had brown spots.  He pointed them out to me and I said, “They’re like little freckles.”

“That’s what we’ll call her!” my son enthused, “Freckles!”

She was pleasant, sweet and very excited.  She seemed to be a good choice.  I asked for my husband’s opinion and he agreed, so we put in to adopt her.  Three days later, on the official day of adoption, we brought her home.

Freckles turned out to be a very good dog for us. Polly seems mildly annoyed with her at times, but at times she agrees to play with the young upstart rival for affection.  Polly has had fewer problems and accidents since the puppy came.

I had been discouraged when we couldn’t seem to find the right dog immediately, but we got the dog that we were meant to have in God’s time.

Now I find myself waiting again: I am waiting to hear back about an application to foster another dog.

I had come across an urgent listing for a group of puppies that were in danger of being euthanized if they were not either adopted or fostered as soon as possible.  I had gotten the foster application in on Saturday night and had not heard back from them since.  My heart is anxious for those puppies if people do not come forward.  I am alright if they do not take my application, I just want news that all will be well for them.

I came across the Bible verse from above and realized I am experiencing the same issues I was while waiting to become pregnant or discover if a pregnancy is viable.  I do not like waiting, but God has a plan in place.  I have done all I can do, now it is out of my hands and I have to trust in Him.

Jesus later said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me…Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14: 1, 27

If we went by the world’s standards, we expect to get everything immediately, but that is self-centered thinking and not God-centered thinking.  God wants what is best and sometimes that requires time.

We are admonished TWICE within the Psalm verse and for good reason.  Waiting has been and will always be hard…particularly for me.  In my heart, however, I trust God and believe he will resolve all that worries me.  So I will wait on the Lord!

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The Blessing of the Zits!

Monday, February 21st, 2012

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

thou anointest my head with oil;

my cup runneth over.”

– Psalm 23:5

Before I was pregnant this time around, I had always liked the twenty-third Psalm, but now it has a whole new meaning for me.

I have zits!

They are sprouting everywhere: the back of my shoulders, around my hairline, at my temples, at the corner of my jawline just under my earlobe, my chin.  They are adding a whole new texture to my skin, even if they are not visibly red the little bubbles are lurking under the surface.

Apparently, this is a normal pregnancy symptom, but my skin has been one of my few vanities since I was a teenager.  For most of my life, my skin has been fairly clear since I wore very little make-up and kept my skin clean.  Even when I was on a huge exercise kick in college, with all the sweating, I did not have bad breakouts.

While the extra oil on my skin is a nuisance, I can’t help but smile when looking at the Psalm.  My vanities feel so small compared to the blessing.

If anyone asks, I was anointed!

I’ll worry about the cups running over next month and I am determined to smile about that too.

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Eight Months Later

February 20, 2012

I have not felt like myself for over a week.

Oddly enough, I allowed myself to consider that I might be pregnant.

As such, I stopped and got a pregnancy test on the way home from a long day of work on Friday evening.

The little pink cross on the pregnancy test probably surprised me more than it should have.

I told my husband, who looked a little startled – though not unhappy.

Then I spent a half-hour panicking profusely, considering how upsetting it would be if I were to become invested only to have the doctor tell me a month from now that this is not a viable pregnancy.  I was upset because I wanted to be happy, but I was afraid to become happy for fear of the disappointment.

I know I am not the only woman who has been in this place…but having company does not always make it easier…particularly when you are slightly hormonal.

I went up to my room, had a good cry and opened my devotional.  I had not had my daily reflections yet and I figured that was going to be as good a time as any.

Scripture for the day:”He went into a ship with his disciples…And they launched forth…and he said unto them, `Where is your faith?'”  Luke 8:22,25

At that point, I was torn somewhere between laughing and crying.

Sometimes I hear God in such interesting ways and it feels like the message gets garbled (not because He has problems speaking, but because I have problems listening.)  This message seemed pretty clear:

“Why are you getting so bent out of shape over something you have no control over?  I can handle this.  Where is your faith?”

It is at times like these that I remember the father who says, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  Mark 9:24

This path of my fertility and parenthood has been such a faith walk for me.  It is not that I do not trust God, it is just that I feel so unworthy of his time.  I know this is in His hands, but I feel so insignificant.

God loves me!  God loves my unborn child!  Why is this so hard for me?  I know He is capable, but I am not worried about His ability, I worry about my worthiness.

I feel like breaking into a rendition of, “On the Road Again.”  The trip has not ended, but I feel like I’ve been in this place before.

Interestingly enough, today’s Guidepost entry involved a woman reflecting on the birth of her son on President’s Day.  The key scripture was, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way; Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.” Psalm 37:23 KJV

I forgot for a little while who I was walking with and that He brought the road map.  Hopefully I won’t trip on the way too often, but if I do, He will help to lift me up.

Isn’t that reassuring?

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Waiting by the Road

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I have been considering over the last couple of hours John
Milton’s poem, When I Consider How My Light is Spent:

When I consider how my light is spent,

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,

   And that one talent which is death to hide

Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He returning chide;

“Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?”

I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need

Either man’s work or His own gifts. Who best

Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state

Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,

And post o’er land and ocean without rest;

They also serve who only stand and wait.”

John Milton did not have an easy road.  He burried two wives who died in childbirth and, at the time this poem was written, he had lost his eyesight.  He ended up having to rely on his family to care for him and, since he could not see, he was not able to even write without receiving help from his daughters.  He ended up dictating Paradise Lost to them, which in the end was considered his finest achievement and displayed his faith in the goodness of God.  I wonder how long he had to wait in order to discover God’s direction for his life after he had lost his sight.  It really could not have been easy, but he was able to serve God even though he was blind.

In today’s world it is the concept of serving God by waiting that is at times difficult.  We desperately want answers and we want them immediately.  It may partially be due to living in a society that demands instant gratification and therefore it is very difficult to wait for things.

We went back to the obgyn today for confirmation on what we thought to be a blighted ovum.  When the technician did the ultrasound, however, it revealed that some progress has occurred since last week.  The picture revealed that there was a yolk sack and a fetal stem that had not been there on the monitor previously.  There was no perceivable heartbeat, but that could mean that it is too early to be seen.  So it is still unclear if this is a viable pregnancy.  Add to that the fact that I am having mild bleeding/spotting that has been happening for the last three days and the worry grows.  So we are now torn between hope and worry.

The technician and the nurse waited to meet with the doctor and try to decide what should be done with me.  It was decided that I should return again next week for a third ultrasound to see if any more progress is present or a heartbeat.

The waiting is difficult.  The pregnancy may still not be viable.  There may be no baby.  We just don’t know.  It is in God’s hands and we have to trust that He will enable what is best.

Sometimes it is easier dealing with God saying, “yes” or “no.”  When He answers, “wait” we struggle more.

It says in the Bible: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  Isaiah 40:31 KJB

God makes us stronger when we wait.  It is a time to rest in order to prepare us for what lies ahead in the journey.

So I am going to be sitting by the road for a little while and wait for God to send me some directions.  At least I’ll be less likely to get lost.

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Here we are again…

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Yesterday I went to the OBGYN with my husband to check on the pregnancy.  We had been nervous and I had not slept well the night before.  We dropped my son off at my Mom’s and I drove because driving is soothing for me.

After turning in all the paper work that I had filled out in advance, I had to give them my insurance card for them to copy again and they had to take an electronic picture of me for their records.  Then we sat and waited.

Once in the room with the ultrasound technician, she had me take off my pants and drape a pink sheet over my lap so she could perform the work.  First she took pictures of my ovaries and then she zoomed in to the gestational sack.  No heart beat.  It appeared to be a five week old sack, which is almost three weeks behind where it was supposed to be.  In short we have what can be assumed is a blighted ovum.

I cried, my husband cried and the poor technician could not do anything for us but find tissues.  She cannot have an easy job when things like this happen: dealing with two weepy people, having to take the pictures and then report to the doctor/midwife what has transpired.  The midwife came in, apologized and agreed with what we had already concluded, this was probably not a viable pregnancy.

We had to make another appointment for next week in order to confirm, because the doctors do not want to be hasty in the event that there was a miscalculation and it is a viable pregnancy and the baby is only five weeks along.  I can appreciate the care and the concern to not make a serious mistake under these circumstances.

Interestingly enough, last night when I thought I had grabbed my current daily devotional and opened it to June 23rd, the Bible verse that lay before me was, “Jesus wept.” John 11:35.  In my mind I pictured Jesus in that room with my husband and I and crying with us over this painful turn of events.

This verse is often quoted as the shortest verse in the Bible, but it is so profound.  Jesus, who has the power of life and death in his hands, feels empathy for people suffering loss and He weeps with them.  He too feels sorrow, which makes him so much more accessible than if he were merely an all powerful being.  To many, this seems ridiculous because people wonder how can an all powerful God allow bad things to happen that necessitate weeping.  Why doesn’t He just make things perfect or intervene when He knows believers are in crisis?  Where are the miracles?

It is not that I do not believe in miracles.  I wholly believe in them.  I know my husband and I could go to the doctor next week and find out that there is a healthy baby in my womb.  What appears to be dead could be brought back to life and flourish with one word from God, much like how he raised Lazarus during the same chapter of John in which Jesus wept.

Would I like a miracle?  Yes.  Do I believe such a thing is possible?  Yes.  Do I need that miracle to sustain my faith?  No.

Sometimes we do not need the miracle to understand the goodness of God.  Experiencing the sadness in human existence helps us to be more compassionate people.  Knowing that Jesus weeps with us during these sad times allows us a fellowship that we cannot experience otherwise.

The miracle is not necessarily getting what you want.  Sometimes the miracle is what happens within and how you learn to appreciate what you do have.  I am in a very different place than I was in 2005 when I experienced the last blighted ovum.  That experience seemed to crush the light out of me and I had a hard time recovering from it.  This experience still hurts, but it will not crush me.  We will move on.  Perhaps God will bestow on us another healthy child, perhaps that is not in His plan.  I do not presume to know God’s will, but I will trust in it.

In the meantime, pray for us.   This is going to be a hard journey.  I am just comforted in knowing that I do not walk it alone.

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Raskaussiunaus

It occurs to me that this title might be confusing to some who see it.  It came so naturally to me when I was trying to give a title to my blog, that it did not occur to me that it was odd.

I created the term out of the Finnish words: “raskaus” which means “pregnancy” and “siunaus” which means “blessing.”  The two words together to form one word sounded lyrical.  I liked the sound and I felt so happy to be pregnant after so long waiting that the concept of a “blessing” made sense to me.

Why Finnish?

My grandfather’s parents came to the United States from Finland.  Finnish was my grandfather’s first language.  I always liked the sound of it when I heard him speak it.  There is a richness to the language.  (I’m not the only one – Tolkien thought it was pretty awesome sounding too and used much of it as the basis for the Elvish language he created for The Lord of the Rings.)

When I was pregnant with my son, we had decided that we would wait to find out the sex of the baby until he was born.  While I was pregnant, we nicknamed the baby “Pikku” which means “little.”  It was such a lovely way to refer to the baby before he was born.

At some point, I want to take classes to formally learn Finnish.  I’ve travelled to Finland once already with my siblings, my Mom, my grandfather and my cousins.  We got a chance to travel the country and meet many of our relatives that we rarely have a chance to see.

Sneaking Finnish language into my life in small ways makes me feel closer to my grandfather and my roots.  I’m hoping to extend this appreciation to my children.

Now – what to nickname the new baby…

Hmmm.

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Reflecting on Joplin, Missouri and Job

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It has been funny looking back over the past week with all the devastation in Joplin, Missouri and yet people are managing to push forward.  The question always comes up as to whether a God can exist if bad things happen and if God does exist then catastrophic events must be a punishment for things we have done wrong.  Right?

Reading the book of Job, I am starting to see other possibilities than the two extreme reactions most humans face during times of tragedy.

In the beginning of that book, it states: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.” (Job 1:1, NKJV)

So we start off with a man who is a good man and has done no wrong.  He fears God and avoids doing evil.

Then the setting changes to Heaven, `Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them….Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

`So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing?”

“Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?  You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

“But now stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presences of the Lord.’ (Job 1:6, 8-12 NKJV)

Now, God recognizes that Job is upright, He is not angry with Job and He does not stretch out His hand against him.  Satan sees this as a challenge and God allows Satan to attack all of Job’s possessions.  There is even a “great wind” that comes and destroys the house of Job’s son, killing all of Job’s children.  (Job 1:19)

What does Job do in the face of all this devastation?

`Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:

  • “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
  • And naked shall I return there.
  • The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
  • Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.’ (Job 1:21-22 NKJV)

So Job, a good and righteous man, suffers devastating loss at the hands of Satan and not as punishment from God.  Rather than blame God, Job accepts his loss and worships God, putting all his posessions and children in God’s hands.

Even when Satan smote Job’s health and Job’s wife is pestering him, Job answers, `”…Shall we indeed accept good from  God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.’ (Job 2:10 NKJV)

However, three friends of Job came to him, people who supposedly knew Job better than anyone else, and they came to “mourn with him, and to comfort him.” (Job 2:11)  While they are all sitting together, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar start insisting that Job must have committed some horrible sin against God and demand that Job confess.

examples:

Eliphaz: “Remember now, who ever perished being innocent?/  Or where were the upright ever cut off? / Even as I have seen, / Those who plow iniquity / And sow trouble reap the same. / By the blast of God they perish, / And by the breath of His anger they are consumed.” (Job 4:7-8)

Bildad: “Does God subvert judgment? / Or does the Almight pervert justice? / If your sons have sinned against Him, / He has cast them away for their transgression.  / If you would earnestly seek God / And make your supplication to the Almighty, / If you were pure and upright, / Surely now He would awake for you, / And prosper your rightful dwelling place.” (Job 8: 3-6)

Zophar: “Should not the multitude of words be answered? / And should a man full of talk be vindicated? / Should your empty talk make men hold their peace? / And when you mock, should no one rebuke you? / For you have said, `My doctrine is pure, / And I am clean in your eyes.’ / But oh, that God would speak, / And open His lips against you, / That He would show you the secrets of wisdom! … If He passes by, imprisons, and gathers to judgment, / Then who can hinder Him? / For He knows deceitful men; / He sees wickedness also. / Will He not then consider it?” (Job 11: 2-6, 10-11)

These were people who were supposed to be Job’s friends and they tell Job that all the hardship he has suffered is the result of his sin.  Job reaches the point where he cries out to God and demands, “How many are my iniquities and sins? / Make me know my transgression and my sin.” (Job 13:23)  He later turns to his friends and says, “Miserable comforters are  you all! … I also could speak as you do, / If your soul were in my soul’s place. / I could heap up words against you, / And shake my head at you; / But I would strengthen you with my mouth, / And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief.” (Job 16:2, 4-5)

In the end, it is a young man, Elihu, that speaks out against Job’s friends and even chastized Job for Job’s claims that God does not care for him and that God was purposely hiding information from him to prevent him from understanding.

“For God may speak in one way, or in another, / Yet man does not perceive it.” (Job 33:14)

God does not prevent men from understanding, it is just that men cannot completely grasp something they have not themselves experienced.  God does not hide from us, we simply have problems perceiving Him where He stands.

“Behold, God is mighty, but despises no one; / He is mighty in strength of understanding … Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him; / Nor can the number of His years be discovered.” (Job 36:5, 26)

Ultimately, no human being can presume to know God’s purpose.  No human being can claim that another’s misfortune is a punishment from God, for no human being can completely understand the mind of God.  Also, no other human being can claim the righteousness of God and rejoice in another’s suffering, claiming that the suffering is a result of divine retribution.  What man is arrogant enough to claim that they know and can see God’s design?  What man is arrogant enough to put words of judgment in the mouth of God?

God then speaks to Job and questions if Job has ever been in His position.  Is Job even capable of experiencing all that God has experienced?  No.  Job acknowledges this and apologizes for his presumptions.

What I find most interesting in this whole situation is that God turns to Job’s first friend and says, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” (Job 42:7)  In their eager self-righteousness and quckness to assume that God was punishing Job, they spoke of God’s judgment without truly knowing God at all.

So what should people in Joplin, Missouri do when they are confronted by the self-righteous ones, quick to claim that the catastrophy is a result of punishmen.”t for sin?

Interestingly enough: pray for those misguided individuals.

“…go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you.  For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly; because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.” (Job 42:8)

“…And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.  Indeed the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.” (Job 42:10)

As great as your losses are, those individuals have so much less and are not even aware of their separation from God.  By praying for them, you enable God to restore what has been destroyed and open yourselves for blessings.

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