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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Thankfulness and Mercy

I sure do find myself saying "thank you" a lot lately. I love that. Every day it seems there is someone to thank for something, whether it is a sweet gift for Lily, an encouraging word, or a reminder that someone is praying for us.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I always have the desire to thank YOU as well, those of you who still read these words that I write and who have shared in our joy as we prepare for this baby. I want you to know that I don't take this blogging community lightly. Once I've spent weeks, months, and years reading your blogs and praying my heart out for you in your specific situations and struggles, I no longer just think of you as acquaintances. Sure, it's different; there are some of you whose faces I've never even seen in pictures and whose real names I don't know. But I still feel a connection and a shared bond with many of you.

More than a year ago I started keeping a list. It's just a simple Word document on my computer that I began when the list of blogs that I follow kept growing. I've admitted to you before that I like lists. Okay, not only do I like them, but I'm a bit obsessed with them. They help me keep things in order, which is always a good thing! This list of names and blog titles served to help me remember who went with what blog and what the specific situation was. It also became a way of keeping up with my prayer requests for you. I was able to easily look it over and see who might be struggling with a loss, who was heartbroken over infertility, who was celebrating a pregnancy, who was waiting to adopt, and so on.

That list has grown to about 80 individual names and situations. I keep them updated with new information, or when a baby that I've been praying for is born or adopted, listing the baby's name (if given) and birth date in orange. I don't know why I picked orange, but that's what it is. Having the list brings me a lot of joy, partly because there is a lot more orange on it than there used to be! Each one is an answered prayer. Unfortunately, I know that not everyone's story will end with bringing home a baby. The purpose of the list is not to ultimately put down a baby's name by each one. Instead, it reminds me how many friends I've met along the way and how many different people's lives have in some way been connected with mine as we've shared our stories. I'm thankful for this list and each name that it represents. I'm thankful for the support and prayers we've received over the past couple of years from people who started out as strangers, as well as from my sweet real-life friends who follow along with my blog (I pray for you guys, too, of course!).

So, that's the long way of telling you how much I appreciate you for reading and responding to this little blog. It is sweet to be able to share some good experiences with you lately, after enduring what felt like a lifetime of disappointment and loss. I know that it's not always easy to follow someone when you are struggling. I'm always moved when I receive a comment from someone who I know is having a bad day (or year), and I'm very touched to get e-mails from new readers who are in the beginning or the middle of their own battles with infertility or recurrent miscarriage, who tell me that reading my story has given them hope. That alone is what keeps me writing about this experience I've been through. It wasn't easy, but with the Lord's help I've survived through multiple miscarriages and many years of heartbreak and despair. Thank you for finding hope in my story and encouraging me to keep sharing it!

There is a whole lot of thankfulness to go around! And now I've come to the part about mercy. I'm going to share with you very briefly but honestly that there have been some times that have stung in recent months. While I recognize the hurt and the struggle, it is still a sobering thought when you realize that your answered prayer, your miracle baby who finally survived in your womb, is the very thing that will cause some to stop following your story. That is the only thing I will say about it, and I don't plan on revisiting the subject in the future. I've felt some sadness over it and I've spent some time dwelling on it. Then I was at church this past Sunday and we had a guest speaker who talked about showing mercy, and the message went right to my core. I've made up my mind to let go of whatever hurt feelings I may have had and just continue to handle it with love and with mercy. I'll continue to follow and I'll continue to pray even if the sentiments are not returned.

I have for a long time resisted the tendency to lean towards an "us versus them" mentality, both when I was waiting to have a baby and especially now. A woman with a heart that aches over the sadness of infertility and the despair of pregnancy loss is not someone I used to be. It's someone I still am and will always be. A successful pregnancy hasn't caused me to "change sides." I'm the same woman... whose heart is also thankful to God for the grace and mercy that He has shown by giving us this child after we've entrusted six others to His eternal care. That wasn't a small sacrifice, but through it all we've learned to trust Him. This experience continues to teach me new things and grow me in ways that I never imagined. Sometimes the growing pains are not easy, but I'm grateful for the lessons learned.

Let me say again, thank you for walking with me and for sticking around for as long as you have, through the bad times and the good ones. It means so much to me!

14 comments:

Birdie said...

What a beautiful post, as always, Stacey. How wonderful that you have a list & pray so faithfully for your friends who are hoping and longing for children. You're truly an inspiration! I often recommend your blog to others.

Surely said...

Thank you! Thank you for your faithful prayers and encouragements!!! You were one of the first blogs I found when I stepped foot into the world of RPL and have continued to be encouraged by you. I'm excited for you and your little one and hopeful that I will soon join the ranks of motherhood too. =)

Connie said...

Be encouraged, Dear Sister! You are an amazing, compassionate, inspiring person and I love you!

Kathryn said...

I've come to love you, dear, & am so very happy for you. Wish we were close enough i could be an "unofficial aunt" or something. ;)

I'm very honored that you come to visit & comment on my blog. I'm so touched that you take the time & so impressed with your list.

I'm a bit sad that i'll never have orange by my name on that list, but when i come to really care about someone, following their joys with baby are a blessing.

As you are in my life.

(My word for verification is "blesenti." Do you think that is a Latin form of blessed, or something? LOL)

Von said...

Loss is always painful and difficult whether is is through infertility, miscarriage or adoption.

twondra said...

Thank YOU girl! You're the absolute best. Thank you for giving the Lord so much in this journey and reminding us that the Lord does perform miracles.

I'm so blessed to know you sweetie and doubly blessed to have met you. (((HUGS)))

Rebekah said...

Beautiful.

Renovation Girl said...

When I had my most recent pregnancy loss, all I could think of was, "I want Stacey to know." I know you are one of the few people I "know" who truly understands the pain and heartache of it all. I am overwhelmed with joy for you and will never stop reading!

And so it goes said...

Sometimes I think you are reading my mind and my spirit.

When ever I see a lily or read about a Lily, I smile and think of your sweet lil' miracle.

Sharon said...

I LOVE this post. You have such a beautiful spirit Stacey, I think there are a lot of us who can take a page out of your book. Your section on mercy really touched me because I've been grappling with feeling hurt by members of my community, both online and IRL who have turned away from me since we were blessed through the miracle of adoption and I have not reacted with the same level of humility, compassion and mercy that you have.
Love u beautiful girl!
xx

Katie said...

Yes, you will lose some readers once Lily is here and you will gain some, too! I always hated when I saw someone drop off of my reader list. . . I worried about what I had done that had made them stop reading!! :)

But after awhile, I remembered the Friend Poem. . . Friend for a reason and season. . . I hoped that perhaps I had given that person what they needed in our season together and that they moved on hopefully better for it.

beth ewing said...

beautiful...that's all i can say

Miss Ruby said...

I lost your blog link a long time ago (think it was when I did a blog change over - I've had a few).

Glad to read that you've been blessed with Lily and I'm sure Motherhood will be everything you believe it to be.

Unfortunately you will lose readers when you cross to the "other" side, for some it's just too painful to keep following, most can't help feeling that way - I couldn't, it was hard for me for a long time. 11 years ttc and 8 miscarriages had/has jaded my view and while I'm not proud of it, it cannot be helped - when your heart hurts, sometimes you have no control over it or you have too much control and try to protect it at all costs.

x

Rebekah said...

Thank you for lifting us all in prayer!!!