Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Brief Extolment of Memory Verses...

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:6-7

I have a friend who can spout this (and many other scriptures) by memory at the drop of a hat. She regurgitates it frequently and with such speed that you almost don’t understand what she has said. I have never really understood why she does that. Seriously – how much time in her life has she spent memorizing scripture? Probably more time than I have spent shopping for shoes and handbags...speaking of, I got new shoes last week. So fab! But I digress...

I never really gave her scriptures much thought – until this week. It’s been a rough week around here. Let me try to give you the short version:

Matt is currently 50-some days away from graduation. That’s right – our time here at Asbury is coming to a close. After 4 years of butt-busting, exhausting, sometimes-tedious, often-wonderful work, Matt is graduating. We have spent the last few years thinking that, around this time, we would get a call from our District Superintendent telling us what church we would be appointed to.* Simple, right? Wrong.

Because of a bunch of bureaucratic stuff, Matt is not getting commissioned at this year’s Annual Conference. He was assured, though, that he would have no problem obtaining a full-time appointment as a Licensed Local Pastor, and that he would be up for commissioning at the 2008 Annual Conference. Fine. We were a little perturbed at the time, but we soon got used to the idea. No biggie.

A couple weeks ago Matt received an e-mail from our District Superintendent saying that it was “highly unlikely” that there would be a full-time placement available for us this year. WHAT?

Oh my goodness. I freaked out. Literally. FREAKED OUT! For the past few weeks, we have been in a serious state of uncertainty about our very near future. Cabinet meetings were held this week, and we were promised a call from our DS about our placement options. It is Sunday, and we still have not received such a call. I have not felt this stressed out in a very long time! I’m so anxious about all that might happen. I have been driving Matt crazy! We’re both a little on-edge lately – especially these last few days. We don’t go anywhere without our phone!

We have quite a few options available to us. Two of those options involve the conference. Our DS could very well call us in the next few days to tell us that we have a full-time or part-time appointment. I think either one of those would be preferred, since Matt really needs to get in the conference and get his career started there. The DS could also tell us that there is no placement available for us, and that we are on our own for a year. We know of a few ministry jobs that are available in the conference that we could apply for, but then again, those aren’t certain either. Another option would be to not worry about getting a ministry position this year. We would move back to the south-side of Indianapolis and live and work for a year. The scary part about that option is that it’s a lot more expensive to live in Indy than it is to live in Wilmore! Besides the higher cost-of-living, we’re also going to be coming out of deferment for student loans, and will have to start paying those this summer. I really feel crazy right now. We have been looking online for apartments in Indy that we can afford, jobs that would pay us enough to sustain us, etc. I’m grasping for any control I can get over my life!

Today I finally became exhausted from anxiety. My stomach has been a wreck this week, I haven’t been sleeping well, I’ve been easily agitated, etc. A few moments ago I took some time to put new music on my MP3 player, and listened to some Jason Upton as I was doing it. This guy’s music really ministers to my spirit. There’s a song on this album (Faith) called I Will Wait that I just love. It has been the song on my MySpace profile once in the past, and has taken that spot once again today. I won’t put the lyrics here. Just go to my profile ( ) and have a listen.

As I sat and took in this song again, I heard my friend’s voice rattling off that Philippians passage in my mind. Now I understand why she spent so much time committing those words to memory. Between that scripture and Jason Upton’s music, I have been so convicted this evening. I really need to have faith that God has a place for us – that He will continue to provide for us. He has never given me a reason to doubt Him.

*For those who aren’t familiar with the United Methodist system, I’ll give you my “I don’t know much, but my husband is going to be a pastor” version. The UM church is split up into conferences, and we are members of the South Indiana Conference. Our conference is split up into 9 different districts – our home church is in the Indy West district. Elders in the UM church are appointed, which means they don’t get to pick where they serve. They are at the mercy of the system. To get into this system, it has been a harrowing series of red-tape requirements including, but not limited to, psychological exams, physical exams, meetings with different boards, paperwork, etc. Once you are approved by the Board of Ordained Ministry, you are commissioned in the Conference and you become a probationary member of the Conference. Your probationary period lasts for three years, then you can be a full member. It sounds like it sucks, but the UM church really takes care of its pastors, so I’m hoping it’s worth it. I hope I got that all right. Don’t tell me if I’m wrong.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Mary or Martha?

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’

‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”

-Luke 10:38-42

I am a Martha.

I want to say I am a Mary, but if I’m honest with myself, I realize I am a Martha – 100%.

Martha worries about cleaning the house when there’s company coming over.
Mary looks forward to the visit.

Martha spends all day cooking her best recipes for her guests.
Mary enjoys the meal with the holiest host.

Martha feels as though it’s her duty to tend to the dishes after the bellies are full.
Mary sits at the Lord’s feet and partakes in after-dinner conversation.

Martha thinks Mary is a flake – and a little lazy.
Mary thinks Martha is missing out on the best that life has to offer.

I am totally a Martha.

I love to have people over, but spend way too much time picking out the most impressive recipes, setting the mood with fantastic music and cleaning my house until I can’t stand anymore. When the guests arrive, I constantly wonder, “Are they enjoying themselves? Do I need to get refills? Is the music too loud? Does Joe really like that dish? Probably not – surely he’s just being polite. I’ll really have to try harder next time. Is the pie ready?”

If I were a Mary, I would stress less about what I cooked for dinner or played on the stereo and would worry more about whether I am soaking up every little bit of time with my guests that I could.

It took a couple really great friends to point this out to me.

My small group (and I do mean small – there’s only three of us!) met last night, and I began talking to them about life. Matt and I have a lot going on right now: infertility issues, job issues, ministry issues, life issues! I asked their opinion on something, and Mary Kathryn’s reply was, “What does God say when you pray about this?” I sheepishly answered, “Well, I haven’t really prayed about it so much.” WHAT? Why not? Seriously – when I stop and think about it, why haven’t I prayed about all of this? I want God to be the center of my life, right? Why wouldn’t I pray about HUGE life decisions?

I have been playing Martha for far too long. I make sure that we have all the resources we’ll need when we’re in ministry. I have some great quick and easy recipes in case we ever have church members stop in for dinner on a whim. I have spent a lot of time researching infertility and popping pills to help me ovulate. I spend every minute of every day running – trying to get everything in order. If I knew where we were moving in a few months, I’m sure I would have started scoping out what grocery stores to shop at, restaurants to try and hair salons to go to.

Not once have I taken time to just sit at my Lord’s feet and talk to Him about all that’s going on. I say that He’s the Lord of my life, but I have no idea what He wants my next steps to be. I know that this isn’t what He had in mind for our relationship!

Tonight I am going to take a little time just to be still and consult God on a few things. I pray that He forgives my Martha-ness…

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Eggs, Sperm, and lots and lots of pills...

I’m not really sure where to start this blog. It’s been a rough couple days for me, but I’m so sick of talking about it, that I’d almost rather not say anything at all. I don’t think that now is the time to blog about everything that’s been going on, but I did want to write a bit this evening before bed. Maybe blogging about this will help me process it. Then again, maybe it will just stir up more emotions than I’m already feeling! (*CAUTION: this blog contains a few personal details that might make some a little uncomfy (especially the men). It’s not too graphic or anything, but I wanted to warn you…just in case!)

Matt and I have been trying for just over a year to get pregnant. Yup. That’s right. The biological clock has been ticking for a while now, and we decided to give in and go for it last January. Well, obviously since I’m not pregnant, we figured it would be best to chat with our doctor about it. I went in for my annual exam (ick) in January, and talked with my doctor then. The verdict is that I haven’t been ovulating. What?

*Lesson time: for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a brief lesson. For conception to occur, the man’s sperm has to fertilize the woman’s egg. The egg is released from either one (or both) of the woman’s ovaries once every cycle. This is called ovulation. If I’m not ovulating, the sperm has nothing to fertilize, thus making the miracle of life impossible. My doctor put it eloquently when he said, “It doesn’t matter how much time the rooster spends in the hen house, if you’re not ovulating, you’re not going to get pregnant!” Let’s move on…

So, apparently he thinks I’m not ovulating. Because of this I have been thrust into the wackiest month of my life so far. Here is what it has looked like: The day after I went to the doctor, I started taking pre-natal vitamins every day. Apparently you can never be too healthy. I also started taking progesterone pills, and took those twice a day for 5 days. (Progesterone apparently made me have my period, which was about 16 days late when it finally happened.) After my period I started taking Clomid, a fertility drug, and took that for 5 days. Since then, Matt and I have been having sex every other day (come hell or high water) to try and make a freaking baby. (FYI: it’s not always as fun as you might think! There are nights when we’re just too tired, but we’re troopers, so we do it anyway.) Tomorrow I get to go back to the doctor to have blood drawn, and next week sometime I get to go to the doctor again to talk about my blood work. After all this, if I don’t start my period in a certain amount of time I am supposed to take a pregnancy test. If it is positive, I’ll let you know, so you can all start buying stuff for my baby. If it is negative, well, I get to do this all again next month. We’ll do this for three months, and if we’re still not pregnant, then we’re going to more drastic measures. Matt will be checked out, they will do an ultrasound on me to see if my tubes are open, etc.

Let me say this: it feels really good to have a plan. After 13 months of trying (and failing) to get pregnant, it’s really nice to have my doctor involved and to have the odds on our side for conception. I’m so blessed to have a great doctor and to live in a place where this is possible and to have a job that gives me great insurance to cover all this.

That being said: it sucks.

After all this time, money and effort, what if we don’t get pregnant? If I thought I was upset every month before, I can only imagine how disappointed I’m going to be if this doesn’t work. These artificial hormones have made me tired and really emotional (and I’m already pretty emotional already). I have said for a long time that I never wanted to be one of those couples that had sex just to have a baby. Sex is too much fun to turn it into work! Well, that’s exactly what we’ve done. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still fun, but sometimes it’s work. I have always thought it would be neat to know that we conceived our children in fits of passion and love for each other, not on a time clock.

I know that God works in crazy ways, but this is just wild to me! No one (to my knowledge) has ever had fertility issues in my family (unless you consider having too many children a fertility issue…arguments could be made I suppose!). My sister got pregnant in what seemed like a matter of minutes. Why can’t it be that easy for me??? (Meanwhile, I LOVE that kid! Kamryn is the cutest baby I have ever seen…)

Top this all off with the fact that there have been a lot of stories on the news lately about child abuse, baby killers, etc., and I’m just plain PISSED! Time magazine did a story on abortion a couple weeks ago too, and I can’t stand thinking about the fact that every day there are women out there killing the very thing that I want so badly. It literally feels as though my heart is breaking just a little every time I think about it.

Matt is very encouraging. He’s so supportive and loving…I don’t know what I’d do without him. I’m always amazed at how much God has blessed me with him as a husband. He’s the best, and I couldn’t have picked anyone better. I wonder sometimes if he’s more concerned than he lets on though. He’s really good about playing it cool just to make me feel better.

There are so many people in this world who have it worse off than me. I need to remember that every day. I also need to remember that I serve a God who loves me more than I can imagine, and who has my best in mind.

So friends, with that, I’m going to bed. I’ll keep you all posted on how things go. I covet your prayers. Love to all…