Category Archives: 31 Day Challenge

Table Talk: A Pep Talk to My Infertile Self

Infertility. It’s feels kinda like strep throat of the soul.

Things can look fine on the outside, and inside, deep pain that surfaces almost every one of the 600 times a day you subconsciously swallow.

The school bus makes you sob.

An innocent trip to a fast food restaurant with a playplace of preciousheads sends your heart spinning out of control.

Your newsfeed feels like a death trap.

As do holidays.

And baby showers.

And church. Especially church. “Oh no you didn’t” just ask us to work the nursery. Again.

And don’t forget the genuinely valid parenting complaints from all the well-meaning mom friends to whom you internally scream “at LEAST you have kids to complain about” followed by you irrationally wanting to give all your best friends a high five. In the face. With a chair. But then you’re afraid that since it has legs and you will have touched it, then it too will get pregnant. (Mostly joking. Mostly. Wink wink. #blogpostsneedemojis )

I feel like I have felt all.the.emotions. Especially the dark ugly ones. Lots of them have turned me into a depressed victim with a pet pain to stroke. Others have brought me to the heart of hope in God, because, HE TOO, EVEN HE, ESPECIALLY HE has children He longs to have as His own.

Two priceless children later, so many of my desires have been fulfilled. He has gently anointed, bandaged and healed so many of my wounds with His sovereign hand. We can even take care of the nursery with joy at this point! Yet there are quiet aches.walking

Less like strep, more like a low-grade fever that you can easily push through. So easily that you can grow distant from feeling those emotions because you’re too weary to do the work of walking through the pain. Yet pushing away the emotions also means pushing away the places where God wants to meet us most deeply.

Thankfully, He will still meet us and deal tenderly with our hearts because He’s bigger than our pain. He’s better than our pain (even the pain that almost feels good?) and he’s got beautiful plans for our pain.

So, if you find yourself at a table caring for a friend whose hope is still deferred and who’s struggling to see the goodness of God in the land of the living, just seeing them and honoring their pain will be a gift. Listen. Be present. Ask them what they need from you today and if they need to hear the gentle truth, remind them of God’s character like I have to remind myself…

You may not ever feel the swell of life or the flutter of that first movement, but your God will supply all your needs according to His riches and glory. 

You may not have the fun of that family photo of when, right before the timer snaps the picture you say, “Everyone say ‘We are having a baby!'” and you capture the family’s reaction on film (because you still think that’s the coolest way to share the news) but as for God, His way is perfect: the Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him. And He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

You may quietly opt out of all the horrific birthing stories and lactation talk that fills every one of your social gatherings.

You will from time to time still park in the “Expectant Mother’s” parking spot at Target, because, well, there’s an inkling of you that’s still expectant. Because those who wait on the Lord will 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…and sue me, they shall also get a closer parking spot.

You may not have need for that jogging stroller that STILL brings you to tears, but you will have lessons learned at the school of hard-knocks where you gain greater compassion and sensitive awareness of people’s unmet longings. Little by little you will judge less and love more.  

You may never change a diaper, but you’ll still get to change a life. Or two. 

Take heart. He is good even when and especially when He doesn’t feel good.lam

If you would find it helpful to read more about our journey with infertility, here are some additional posts:

chair1

Breaking Radio Silence 

Feeling Understood

Following Him Through Infertility

Following Him & Loving Them When You Feel Blah

I Pressed the Restart Button

***Also, in November, I will be hosting an online book club for women walking through any stage of infertility. If you or a friend would be interested in this type of support, hit the little envelope button in the upper right-hand corner of my sidebar or email me at kitty(dot)hurdle(at)cru(dot)org for details. Feel free to sensitively pass this along.***

Table Talk: State of the Union

Everyone says that year 7 is the hardest.

For some reason I’ve always bristled at the thought that something has to be a certain way. Sure, marriage is hard; but why all the cryptic sentiments about year 7?

Now that Joel and I have celebrated this seemingly unlucky anniversary, I’ve started to piece together the premise for all the hype.

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I think the presumption is that by the time you’ve exchanged paper, cotton, leather, fruit, wood, and candy and now wool, you’ve probably also exchanged a couple “looks”, a few harsh words, and possibly the honeymoon for a package (or 19) of Huggies.

We are in the thick of year 7 and both of us have the dark under eye circles  to prove it.

Loving little ones and leading a ministry has appropriately taken priority to the sole pursuit of each other. And while this time-tested covenant feels like the most comfortable corner of Heaven on earth, there are lots of ways we’ve fallen short of Romans 12, and the other ideals we had when our vows were freshly made.

Even just this week we’ve had hard conversations that have produced baby steps toward holiness. Those wounds and disappointments have forced the release of unrealistic expectations and the gracious acceptance of each other. It’s been hard, really hard, but the good kind of hard. (The kind described in this sermon from our church on Sunday…clearly Pastor JD was eavesdropping on our conversations!)

Wedded bliss comes on the heels of repentance and faith.

So here we are in all our “we are going to have to count getting new tires put on the car as a date this week” glory.

We’ve definitely been seen on more field trips than date nights and the state of this union is tired, but the knot is still tight.

Because we’ve gone to a few marriage conferences? Because we are in full-time ministry? Because the personalities of an engineer and a journalist are so similar and we basically see eye-to-eye on everything? (Humor me.)

Nope.

Rather because of who tied the knot and who is (literally!) holding us together.

It’s all Him.

Now to him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever . Amen. Jude 24-25

 

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Our culture (and oftentimes, my heart) says if you’re marriage is challenging you should withdraw, self-protect and self-medicate, but I love the contrast a friend who has ridden the waves of marriage recently shared with me, 

“It took about 7-9 years for things in our lives that had gone undealt with to come to a head. Trends that have affected us are not really communicating about hard things. Not dating each other & taking each other for granted. We have been the most connected when we are regularly intimate. That has been the biggest difference. When we connect intimately, we communicate better, are more patient & understanding with each other. It all falls into place.” 

Our culture says that people are lucky to even make it 7 years, but I love the contrast my friend Bri offers, 

“I think the year 7 mark is where you decide to let go of unrealistic expectations of your spouse and choose to love the many way. It’s where you stop trying to change the other person and you start working to change yourself instead. The other spouse starts to do the same and you both are more free to offer grace.” 

(Guys, the nuptial norms that my she and her husband practice are so FREAKING GENIUS!!! Oh ehem, I mean practical and helpful–1. A weekly at home date night, 2. A monthly “fancy” date out with a sitter 3. Twice annual out of town trips for a change of scenery and kid-free time.)

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So for Table Talk today, try out the weekly “State of the Union” practice our premarital counselor helped us begin 7 years ago. Though a bit rusty at the moment, simply asking the question “In your opinion, how are we?” has been a helpful tool for true table talk in the Hurdle household. This open-ended question has surfaced great places of great encouragement and honest areas of significant needed development. 

Another couple I know meet on Sunday nights to talk through their top 5 questions:

1. How did you feel loved this past week?
2. What does your upcoming week look like?
3. How would you feel most loved & encouraged in the days ahead?
4. How would you best feel pursued in sex / intimacy this week?
5. How can I pray for you this week?

What questions do you come back to in times of marital bliss or marital blah? Do tell! I’d love to hear more of your story.

How can we pray for the marriages represented here? Years 1-6 have been filled with ups and down and we can surely relate. I know the Hurdle fam would love any and all of your prayers!060

Also, I want you to know that if you are single, or single again, I’ve set aside time to pray for you today. You are on my heart and you are not overlooked by the only wise God.

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