Joy V. Happiness in Marriage, Pregnancy, and Daily Life

Joy v. happiness in an unknown pregnancy with a subchorionic hematoma with AuthenticVirtue.com

It’s happening again, the waters are rushing over our heads and I’m struggling to keep up. Being pregnant with our first has been one of the most delightful and trying experiences of our lives. Having a subchorionic hematoma is commonly low risk but tell that to the momma who’s bleeding, making ER trips, and being told the area her placenta needs to implant is filling with blood.

Then, suddenly, it doesn’t feel low risk any more.

But that’s the nature of a blood pocket in your womb. You never know what it’s up to, what it means, and what it could lead to. You simply wait. Monitoring helps (sometimes) unless you get news that it’s grown larger (as is my case). Then, waiting becomes more dreadful and more difficult to accept.

If you can tell life isn’t very happy right now but it is still very full of joy.

Dalton and I have been meaning to collaborate and write a post on the differences between joy and happiness. (As in I should have written it 5 months ago). But now is the perfect time to write because I’m experiencing it tenfold.

Happiness is temporary. It’s bliss. It’s me resting in bed on rainy afternoon with a cinnamon pecan candle burning in the light finishing a long book. Happiness is my husband bringing me dinner and then washing the dishes afterwards. Happiness is the fleeting feeling I experience after finding a good subchorionic hematoma story.

But happiness, however sweet and nice, eventually leaves.

And after the emotion leaves I’m still left with unanswered, scary questions. Will I have this baby? Will baby be hurt? When will I know? If I lose baby will I ever have more children?

Reality sinks in and the weight of it pushes the temporary feelings yummy candles, good meals, and a rainy afternoon brought.

 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22,23

This is where Jesus and my Heavenly Father changes things. This is where joy take over. God’s Word promises the fruit of the Spirit includes joy and that I as a Christian can have it. I cannot create this fruit; I can prohibit it but I cannot force it in my life. It’s God working in me. It’s similar to real life planting; I could place vile and damage the root system around an apple tree and expect its growth to be affected. But I could never actually create an apple — I can only enjoy that it was made, given, and satisfying.

That’s joy — it’s present in the lack of happiness. It’s God given. It’s there when I’m dreading our future; it’s present when it’s 3 am and I’m having blood drawn and being wheeled away from my husband to an ultrasound room by a tech who isn’t happy to be working.

When I’m not feeling happy joy remains.

I do get overwhelmed with the unknowns of our pregnancy. I get tempted to fall headlong into fear and the sickness of dread. Happiness sometimes eludes me. (Which is scary for a sunny-disposition person as myself).

But during those moments when the sickening questions fill my head I’m reminded of God’s promises,

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

If I lose baby God is still good. If I am in limbo from now until week 40 God’s thoughts toward me are still good. If I have to live with unknowns until I deliver this baby God’s ways are still for Dalton and I (and baby). If my next pregnancy resembles this one I am still in God’s vision and His plan is good.

And that is joy. God’s Word and promises are joy. God’s loving will is joy. Living life open-handed, as much as it hurts and as hard as it is, is joy.

Joy is peace, God’s presence, and the knowledge that despite the outcome of our lives God is still good.

Love, blessings, and coffee,

Frannie

Pregnancy Tests and Baby Blues

Edit: Almost one year later and I’m resharing this post because I’ve met so many couples who can relate! Since I wrote this I’ve grown in so much peace, contentment and joy. Baby blues are a real thing and some days it is hard wondering if we’ll ever be parents; however, there are so many more moments where I am filled with overflowing joy. I know everything is in God’s hands and He is SO good! Blessings! 12/4/2015

It can be a very personal subject and one I haven’t known how to discuss. Pregnancy troubles. Or, more specifically, struggling to get pregnant.It’s been a hard journey to be on and one I hesitate to share with others; I’ve only been married for ten months, have not dedicated myself to certain timing methods, and am very healthy and well. I’ve been afraid to share because we haven’t visited a doctor or even bought prenatal vitamins — but when you’re as newly married, healthy and young as we are sometimes doctor visits don’t seem appropriate yet.

But, regardless of the circumstances, it has been hard.

And I want to talk about it because I think it will help.

This past week I had been hope-filled and dreamy-eyed. I thought I was pregnant. Nearly every classic symptom of pregnancy appeared to be taking its course so, with a hop and a skip and a merry heart, I bought two pregnancy tests.

The boxes tell you not to read the test after ten minutes but my sister, who has a beautiful 5 month bouncing, baby boy, read a positive only after the set time limit. So I assumed it was okay. Ten minutes after the timeline, a faint positive became visible in the tiny, plastic circle and with the visibility my heart leapt. I had thought I was pregnant at 3 different times within our short marriage so I was used to disappointment. But this time was different. I had a teeny-tiny-faint positive.

And my heart secretly soared.

I waited till the end of the week to try the second test. Like the first, it came out negative; in an effort to move on from my sadness I busied myself with prayer and tidying our house. Twenty minutes later I returned to find that a huge, big blue positive line had appeared. I began to plan how I was going to tell my husband the special news and began to put baby names together.

And then the bleeding began. I told myself it was simply the implantation phase; the natural process of the fertilized egg nestling into its new home. Natural. Good. Expected.

After waking up to the beginning of a normal period, I spoiled the surprise, nervously dressed, held hands with my steady man while picking out three tests and headed home.

The reading?

Negative.

I felt so stupid. How could I convince myself that I was pregnant after two originally negative tests and traditional pms symptoms? How could I be crying over my naivety? How could God have let me believe that I was pregnant? With the sweetness and goodness of a true man, Dalton held me, encouraged me, blessed me, and reminded me that birth is in God’s capable, good hands. Of course, I knew that; I had faith in God and His timing.

But then I realized something very important.

Faith isn’t faith unless it can withstand the valleys, mountains, and struggles.

Remember the Israelites and their journey through the desert? Very few of their company could be called men of faith; men of faith journeyed knowing that they would get to the Promised Land even when the food bags were sagging with emptiness and the last watering holes were three days backwards. Men of faith knew that the God Who had parted the sea would also keep His word. Men of faith didn’t lose heart. And today, this very faith in God is demanded of us.

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; ” Hebrews 3

Doubt is a very natural response to life’s struggles and I am thankful to know that even our Lord Jesus was tempted with it and understands us. There is no condemnation in struggling with unbelief; but, for me, I wasn’t doubting God’s ability or timing in giving us a baby. I was doubting His goodness and His love. My inner man cried out saying, “Why, when I am living a life following Him would He deny me my heart’s desire?” And that is where I want to encourage you, sweet one, if you are in the same boat.

Remember that God is good. O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him — words the psalmist wrote long ago still ring true today. God is good even when life has disappointments and the way is long and the road full of pot-holes and steep ditches. He is good even when your pregnancy tests say positive but the science says negative and He is good even though your week-long dream becomes another example of your vivid imagination.

So yes, it has been a long journey.

A long, marvelous, God-filled journey.

And I am okay … at least I will be.

I don’t mean for this to be a sad tale or turn into a pity party; there are so many sisters in Christ who are struggling with this issue (and in much more painful ways). I also don’t want to be accused of being foolish for not visiting a doctor. Like I said before, I am healthy and well and at this time I am more than okay with letting time take its course. I may change my mind but for now I am happy and content with that.

I just want to be able to talk about it and not feel silly. Because this pain I feel? It’s real. And it affects both Dalton and I.

More than anything, I want it to be a growing experience. I want to walk away from these difficulties and be able to say that my faith grew, my heart expanded, and my love multiplied.

With love, blessings, and coffee,

p.s.

Sometimes learning to talk out your feelings can be embarrassing and really, really hard. Thankfully, I have an amazing husband ready to encourage my heart and dry my eyes, family who love no matter what, and friends like you … who bring authentic sunshine into my life. 🙂 Blessings to you!

Summer To-Do’s

After a week away from my beloved and our cozy, little home I am ~so~ thankful to be back in my recliner sipping water and munching on homemade goodies. Last week my family and I crowded into two cars and drove cross country twenty-one hours to Tucson, Arizona. Whew! What an adventure. 🙂 We made the grand trek in order to celebrate my younger sister’s wedding! Allie and Wade were soon engaged after Dalton and I and it was so special celebrating their union with them.

But now that I’m back home I’ve begun writing my to-do lists with fervor. After browsing through Angel’s Summer Bucket List I’ve decided to scratch up my own wish list of summer activities.

Lately, I have been feeling lost; before marriage I was busy with two jobs (off and on), school full time, helping at home, and being a Sunday school teacher. Since our wedding day I’ve released many of those roles and have felt that because I wasn’t “busy” I was being lazy or neglectful. Feeling this way has led to many ridiculous rendezvous; take yesterday for example–I spent two hours nervously chewing my finger nails to the bone because I had asked for an application at a crowded, small Thai restaurant which badly needed a cook. As soon as the scrawny, eager waiter requested for me to come back within two hours I knew I was making a mistake. I didn’t want to fill my schedule for the sake of filling it; and for heaven’s sake! I just quite a five year long job working as a cook and was rather enjoying not spending every moment chopping, dicing, and steaming my hair with boiling pasta water.

So I am going to calm down or as my dear husband says, “Wait. God will bring you something; just wait for it.”

(Isn’t he so smart?)

So, without further ado, here is my summer bucket list

 
 
Clean/wipe down the Sunroom
 
Start and Complete One Rag Garland
 
Develop and Hang Pictures Throughout the House
 
Make (and Take!) Cookies to Neighbors on both Sides of House
 
Complete and Send Out Thank-you Letters
 
Finish Application for College
 
Begin and Maintain Regular Bible Reading
 
Stick to Weekly/Monthly Cleaning Schedule
 
Visit a Zoo 🙂
 
Visit (two!) of Jeff City’s Many Lakes
 
Take D out for Steak One of These Days 🙂
 
Mop Basement Floor
 
Create and Make “Emergency Basket”
 
Apply for Substitute Teacher Allowance
 
Finish Bringing Items from Mom and Dad’s House 😉
 
 
And I do hope to blog about some of these endeavors; what do you have on your summer to-do list?
 
God bless you!!
Frannie
 
 
 
 


 

Purposed and Good

All
I know is that waiting is hard—waiting in a purposeful, fruitful way. Yet, this
is exactly how I hope he waits: a time period used for others, God, and growing
in maturity and wisdom. What I insist for him I insist for myself. So, let me
wait and use this time for others, God, and catch hold of the opportunities
given to grow in maturity and wisdom. Let me catch the vision of purposeful,
wonderful waiting and blossom in the meantime.

Illustration by Edmund G. Fuller, published by
Henry Graves & Company, London

What’s a Girl to Do? Part II

            Alas! It does not take one long
before he or she discovers a massive, destructive black hole within their heart. It’s like there’s missing a
piece and so, naturally, we begin to fill it. Personally, I’ve tried to jam
this hole with simple, harmless pleasures like food, friendships, boys, and
entertainment; however, after all my jamming and cramming, I discovered
that I was being poisoned. Discontentment, desperation, and disappointment led
to depression and a frantic, harmful searching.

            I’ve learned a few things since
then. I’ve found the secret puzzle piece which had been missing for all those
years; sweet friends, it’s Jesus. He is able to fill every crevice, every hole
within my heart and best of all, He
wants to
. No matter how black and filthy it is—I know, because He filled
mine.

            Sadly, however, I’ve failed many a
time; somehow it is so easy to take my eyes off my Lord and place them upon wonderful
but unsatisfying things. And then I begin the cycle once again: Discontentment,
desperation, and disappointment leading to a harmful depression and vain
search.

            I think we ladies tend to do that
with relationships. Especially we Christian ladies; we’ve made it a science—practicing
godly character traits (especially when around other spiritual giants!) while
keeping one doe-like eye on the local handsome bachelor; he had better catch wind
of our visiting the poor and lovingly serving in the nursery. (C’mon! let’s be
honest!) Sadly, we waste our time, our emotions, and our love on a boy who does
not belong to us. We stop looking to Christ for our joy and fulfillment. I know because I do the same thing.

            So, I ask the question again: What’s
a girl to do?

            Let’s
get a vision
. According to God’s word, “Where there is no vision, the
people perish:” (Proverbs 29:18a) The word perish
does not only mean to die; it also means
to cast off restraint, live like savages,
fall away
, to grow lax. Oi. How
true this is in my life! When I do not have a vision of what God wants, I do cast of restraint, I do fall away from holiness, I do grow lax. I give into
temptations I would have never considered if I would have had a vision.  The end result: Shame.

            Oh sisters! Let us gain a vision of holiness,
of purity! Let us be willing to ask God to put a vision, a dream, an aspiration
into our hearts and souls! His dreams. His aspirations. Let us not be afraid to
ask God to open the eyes of our heart, to enlarge our visions.

            Sweet one, I promise, when we allow
God to open our eyes and to give us good, lovely dreams we will be able to walk
in this world filled with purpose and certainty. We will be able to stop
wasting emotions and will be able to live in practical, beautiful purity.  Just like Abraham, once we catch God’s
vision, we will begin to live a life of obedience. We will begin to walk in the
way of God.

            Lord willing, I hope to spend the
next few posts on these visions. I’d love it if you would share any dream God
has given you or a vision you believe He would want us daughters of the King to
have.

            “Now unto him that is able to do
exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power
that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout
all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20, 21

            Beginning to dream dreams of good
things,

                        Frannie

*This
post was majorly influenced by an excellent set of messages by Brother Denny
Kenaston. Please visit this link to catch some wonderful wisdom for yourself.