Well much has happened since my last blog post so I thought I would go ahead and write a wee update 🙂
So, as I mentioned in my last update, back from September through March we were pursuing fostering and adoption with our local council. Things were looking really hopeful when we spoke to social workers, but for some reason there was delay after delay. In March, when it looked like things were finally progressing, we had a home visit with our social worker and that night it was like everything changed. She was not optimistic about us being adoptive parents or foster-carers because of certain life circumstances. This was incredibly discouraging as we had been investing a great deal of time, thought and prayer into the whole process and all of a sudden, in one evening, it looked as though it was going to all fall through 😦 Yet, in the midst of it, I could sense that God was telling me that His hand was in it and He had closed this door for a reason. Even still, our hearts broke, we so desperately wanted to be parents, we wanted so badly to care for and raise children. This closed door was a stark reminder that we didn’t know if or when those desires would ever be fulfilled. I just felt the opportunity to be a mother was being pushed further and further away. We kept praying, and God kept reminding us that He cares for us, that He has a plan, and that it is good. He reminded me of these verses and my heart was encouraged:
“How great is Your GOODNESS that You have stored up for those who fear You and accomplished in the sight of everyone for those who take refuge in You.” Psalm 31:19
“I will take delight in them to what is GOOD for them, and with all my heart and mind I will faithfully plant them in this land.” Jeremiah 32:41
As this door closed we began to revive our prayers for God to bring us a child through our own bodies. I was constantly reminded in the Bible about Sarah’s faith in God, and how essential it was in order for her to receive His promise of a son, “By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the One who had promised was FAITHFUL.” Hebrews 11:11. Believing God is a big deal! I knew I needed to keep my trust in God.
God was also gently urging me to let go of my plans (like usual), and to put my trust in His. This was the hardest bit of all. I didn’t realise it but I had so many plans! I always wanted to have at least a couple of kids before I turned 30 and then maybe a couple more after. I wanted to stay at home with them and raise them up. But as it turned out, I was approaching 30, no kids, no sign of kids, and was working 😦 Nothing was turning out the way I had planned. God kept showing me through the Bible and through prayer that it is good to trust His plans and He’d remind me that they are much, much better and higher and more glorious.
During this time Alisdair and I also discussed the possibility of being referred for investigations to see if there was anything physically wrong which was preventing us from conceiving. There was something in me that just felt so hesitant to go forward with this. I just felt that God was going to answer our prayers and it would not be through any human intervention so why even find out if there was something physically wrong? God would overcome anyway, this I knew! But Ali really felt that it was a good idea to move forward with this so I got a referral from my doctor. A few days after the referral, as I was praying to God about how I was feeling regarding going for investigations, I believe He said to me that I won’t even need to go because we would get pregnant before! I was amazed, but also hesitant and decided that I would just wait on this one and test it to see if it was indeed from God.
God was also using this time of waiting to build in me perseverance in prayer. He kept bringing to my mind the time when Jacob was wrestling with God. They were wrestling all through the night, then God told Jacob to let him go because the morning light was approaching and I love Jacob’s response, “I will not let You go until you bless me.” I just felt like my prayer was the same toward God during this time, I was not going to let God go until He blessed us. It was during this time that God began to give me promises of joy through songs that were written based on the Bible. Phrases like “those who sow in tears will reap in joyful shouting” (Psalm 126) and “so I will lock eyes with the One who’s ransomed me, the One who gave me joy for mourning” (Jeremiah 31:12-14). These words just kept playing over and over again in my head, sticking with me for days. God was giving me hope that there will be joy and He wanted me to fix my eyes on it.
As God continued to speak to me about the purpose of the closed door with the adoption and fostering stuff He reminded of me of something that I had (surprisingly) forgotten. About a year and a half earlier we were listening to a sermon about adoption and felt really moved to go and get prayer and direction about this from God. So we prayed with a couple who we knew well and trusted much as this couple prayed with us often regarding baby stuff. We asked God whether or not we should pursue adoption first or wait on God for a baby from our own bodies. What came out of that prayer time was them feeling like God was saying to wait on Him for babies first. We waited…for a year. There were no babies, so we began to pursue adoption and fostering. God reminded me of this and one day when I was reading Genesis 16 He showed me that I, like Sarah, got tired of waiting on God so sought to take the matter into my own hands and build a family my own way. This verse in Genesis 16:2 hit me so hard; “Since the Lord has prevented me from bearing children, go to __________, perhaps through ________ I can build a family” (I too could easily fill in those blanks with SO many things). Whew, this was a big one and I spent a lot of time confessing and repenting of all the ways that I had sought to build a family on my own (practically and spiritually):
- trying to conceive by having sex more
- trying to conceive by tracking ovulation
- trying to conceive through prayer and fasting
God used Psalm 127 to remind me that unless the Lord builds a house, the builders labour in vain, unless the Lord watches over a city, the watchmen stay alert in vain. It goes on to say that children are a gift from the Lord. They are a gift. One can’t force a gift from the Giver’s hand. I finally resolved to give up trying to build a family through my own means and entered into a season of resting in God. Unless God gives us children, we will try to make it happen in vain. I didn’t want to do this any longer; I was finally leaving it with God.
That’s probably when things began to change 🙂
Now, when I say that things began to change, I mean that things started to happen, and I knew God was moving. I was filled with what I can only describe as a supernatural rush of faith and what happened next took place over the course of two short months.
Several mums who were in a group together at another church decided to take a day to fast and pray on behalf of a whole list of women who had been trying for babies but still couldn’t conceive. I was one of the women on that list and was amazed about this. I joined them that day just pleading with God that He would hear their prayers and move, that He would bring life out of barrenness. I know He loves to do this. Looking back now, we realised that we conceived just 3 weeks later!
Next a friend of mine encouraged me to believe God and seek Him for full physical healing. Now, healing is not an unusual thing for God, in fact Jesus spent a large majority of His ministry on earth performing great and wonderful acts of miraculous healing. This encouragement came at the same time we were reading about the life of Jesus in the Bible and God was teaching me that He is good, He is mighty and He is powerful to heal. He led me to Matthew 8:17 which says that part of what Jesus died on the cross for was our sickness. He also died for our sin and our shame, but the sickness bit was always something I missed. God has spent the last two years revealing to me that I don’t believe this, and my prayer coming out of it has been, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief! May I never take away any part of what You have died for on that cross.” So I went along to a place in Glasgow that puts on what’s called “Healing Rooms”. Basically Christians from different churches all over the city volunteer there to pray for healing for those in need. It’s a wonderful ministry that sees God do a lot of amazing things. I went on my lunch one day but was SO nervous, and felt really resistant to going, however, my feet kept me walking there 🙂 I went in and these two lovely old ladies prayed for me. They prayed for all of my diseases (as I have many), but a big area we focused on was the inability to conceive. They prayed for a wee while and there were no powerful words, no bright lights or supernatural signs. These women, I could tell were full of faith and joy in the Lord and had a quiet confidence about them. One woman did see two pictures. One which signified that there would be joy for us and another that signified that we were clothed in God’s favour. So I left and was glad I went. But I wasn’t sure anything had happened. Later we found out I got pregnant that same week!
Each day I felt so heartbroken that we still had no babies and each day I was taking my broken heart to God and leaving it with Him. I was requesting an answer to this prayer from Him every day. I distinctly remember one morning God asking me, “Erica, what have I said?” And I answered Him, “That You are going to bless us with babies.” And He said, “Trust Me.” Amazing stuff.
One Sunday we visited our old church and were only able to go for a wee bit because our church was putting on a picnic in the afternoon. So we went along for worship and the moment the music began I could feel the presence of God and I just started crying. I say crying, but really, I was weeping. I couldn’t stop the tears coming! I was just so sad, so deeply upset over not having babies and I was just pouring it all out before God. We were singing a song that says “You’re a good, good Father, it’s who You are, who You are, and I’m loved by You, it’s who I am, who I am…You are perfect in all of your ways, perfect in all of Your ways to us.” Even though I was broken hearted, I knew He was a good Father, that He loved me and that He was perfect in all of His ways, even in my barrenness. As I stretched out my weak hands to Him in worship, I could hear His words to me, “Daughter I am coming to you, I am coming to give you the desires of your heart.” I was amazed and left with all that weight completely lifted and full of peace. Little did we know that I was actually with child!
Shortly after this, I came home from work to find that we had received our appointments through for the infertility investigations. I was so upset when I got them as they were scheduled in just a couple of weeks. I remembered what God had said to me and prayed that if it was indeed from God, then I believe Him, and asked that He would confirm His words to me.
The next day as I was travelling into work I was worshipping and praying, rather, begging God to move and to grant us children. I felt an increased amount of strength and faith needed to pray and believe God. So much so that it was as if I could see into the heavens and saw Jesus turn and look at me as if to say that He is taking notice of me, that He was attentive to my prayer. I just kept praying that He would grant us to be with child before we went for investigations. He commands with a word and it happens, so I was praying that He would do just that 🙂
The next night we had our Bible study on and during the prayer time I asked my friend to pray for us to be able to have babies and that God would heal any part of my body that needed healing. After she prayed, she said her hands were hot and tingly from praying and during the prayer I could feel chills going up and down the whole right side of my body (which is where my only existing fallopian tube is). We were so encouraged that God had moved in healing during that time. This one is amazing because I believe it was during this time that the baby will have been travelling through my right fallopian tube. There was such a high risk that this tube would also have been blocked resulting in another ectopic, so I truly believe God was moving to heal my body during this time.
As our investigation appointment was approaching, one night as I was going to bed, I was praying and asking God that if I was pregnant, that He would confirm it through a dream to Ali. I didn’t tell Ali about the prayer and that following morning, by the time I asked Ali if he had had any dreams he had forgotten. So that night I prayed the same prayer to God and asked Him again to confirm either way through a dream to Ali. The next morning when I woke up, it was the first thing on my mind, so as soon as he turned on the light I asked him if he had had any dreams. He sleepily said, “yes, I dreamt that you were telling me that you are pregnant.” I could NOT believe it but was totally amazed by God and kept thinking, what could this mean?! I just felt like God was telling me to wait and pray and look to Him.
After all of this I was so conflicted about taking a test. I just felt as though I couldn’t actually bear the thought of seeing another “not pregnant” outcome so kept putting it off. But our investigation appointment was coming up in a matter of days and we needed to know whether or not to go. We decided that I would take a test first thing on the morning of the appointment and face the result whatever it may be. A few nights before I was randomly reading through some psalms and was in 111, then 112, then finished in 113. I was amazed as my eyes landed on Psalm 113:9, “He gives the childless woman a household, making her the joyful mother of children. Hallelujah!” Hallelujah indeed! I just felt like God was continuing to help me put my faith in who He is and what He’s always done 🙂 But doubt was creeping in with each day leading up to taking a test. However, Jesus drew near to me and said, “Don’t doubt, just believe” and “nothing shall be impossible to the one who believes.”
The night before the big test I was so fearful and basically put together a case before God of all the reasons why He should answer this prayer. I was encouraged that other godly people had done this in prayer (not in order to manipulate God, but in order to strongly plead with Him), and so I thought now is as good a time as any for me to do the same! My reasoning’s were as follows:
- To show Himself faithful. That He has said He would bless us with children and He keeps His words to us.
- To prove beyond a doubt that this is Him. That God is real, that He’s alive, that He’s active and working in our lives. To show that everything that has happened is not by coincidence but is from His hand.
- To show His goodness to us which we don’t deserve.
- Because we have persisted in prayer and God rewards those who seek Him. To confirm that He still answers prayer.
- To show that God also still takes special notice of those who are barren and He brings life.
- To uphold His justice and destroy the works of the enemy. That He would redeem all that was lost.
So that night I went to bed in peace 🙂 The next morning I woke up and the first thing I did was take a test to of course find the word “pregnant” displayed. We were amazed but not surprised. Who would be with a lead up like that?! We have been in total wonder every step of the way to see that this child is still living, growing and flourishing as I have just passed 13 weeks. There has continued to be much fear and doubt along the way that we continue to pray through, but God is calling us to trust Him for that which we cannot see. That’s what faith is after all isn’t it? There were actually SO many more things which happened that couldn’t be written here, but this is a wee snapshot to show God’s glory and goodness to us. Here is a pic of the precious life that God is knitting together 🙂
“Come and listen, all who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for me. I cried out to Him with my mouth, and praise was on my tongue. If I had been aware of malice in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. However, God has listened; He has paid attention to the sound of my prayer. May God be praised! He has not turned away my prayer Or turned His faithful love from me.” Psalm 66:16-20
We will of course update further as things progress. Until then!