Our Infertility Journey

road

by Lindsey Herndon

“Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after 12 months of trying to conceive.” Our infertility journey began 6 years ago, however we only began to share our struggles 2 years ago. Many of you have prayed for us and some have supported financially. In our last update we announced that we had found the medication combination that I respond well to. The part that we left out was the reason we know I respond well. In June 2013 we, for the first time in 5 years, saw the beautiful word “pregnant” on a pregnancy test. We were so elated! We knew that with my diagnosis I was at a higher risk of miscarriage, so we only shared with a couple people. Unfortunately our excitement only lasted a few weeks, as we miscarried the end of June. We were devastated. We had finally had our dream of getting pregnant and so quickly it was taken away.

We chose to take a break from doctor appointments and medications until October. We now knew what worked so we started back up in hopes that we would get pregnant again right away. October, November, December, January and then finally in February it happened! We saw the wonderful word “pregnant” again. This time we were even more hesitant to get excited, but the weeks went by and all was good. Little by little we started planning…thinking of names, reading the daily email updates on how our baby was growing, dreaming of our future family of 6. Our first ultrasound was scheduled for March 31 2014, our 7th anniversary, and 6 years since we began this journey. But things went horribly wrong once again. The week we moved back to Medford I felt as something was not quite right with the pregnancy. I went to the doctor and was monitored for the next week where it was determined that I had an ectopic pregnancy. On March 31, I miscarried. The day that was supposed to be filled with overwhelming happiness turned into a day of overwhelming grief. We now have two babies in heaven.

I share this not to receive well intentioned “I’m so sorry” or “God must have needed them for a special purpose” or “At least you’ve been able to adopt” or “Third times the charm!”. Infertility is not just an inability to GET pregnant. It is also an inability to STAY pregnant and deliver a full term baby. I share this to inform others what it is like to deal with infertility. I share this as part of my own grieving process. I share this for others who have had a miscarriage and feel as if they were/are alone. I share this for those who never want to forget those babies they have lost. And I share this for those that have followed our story and were wondering what has been going on with us.

We have a choice to make now. Our next option is to see the reproductive endocrinologist in Eugene that we have been referred to. (Eugene is the closest doctor in this specialty area). We have heard wonderful things about him and even know personally a success story from his office. Unfortunately insurance will not cover a dime so we will be saving before moving forward.

My husband shared a post on facebook today that stated God WILL give you more than you can handle. And he posted the other day that you CAN be angry with God, he can take it. Those two posts sum up my own feelings right now. BUT…I still have faith that God will allow us to conceive again and deliver a happy healthy little bundle of joy!  Please continue to pray. Please ask me how treatments are going. Please be understanding if I only give a short brief answer or if I ramble on about treatments for a half hour! Please be understanding if I don’t want to go to another baby shower for awhile. Please know that I’m still grieving.

During this week of National Infertility Awareness Week please pray for those in your life you know are struggling with infertility and pray for the ones who are lonely right now in their struggle who haven’t told anyone. Pray for those who have never been pregnant, those who have miscarried and those who have a biological child or children but are having trouble getting pregnant again. It is all infertility. It is all real. It all hurts.

Thank you.

Community

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24-25

Loneliness… that is the number one problem among teens today. The most connected generation in history feels a sense of disconnection like no generation before it. Jesus Christ and his church is the only remedy for this! Not only does one need Jesus but he gave us each other in the church. This can not be understated.

A christian without community is like a soldier without a unit it belongs to. He’s still a soldier but has no one around him to keep him from falling! We need each other and when we don’t connect with one another we see once strong believers fall away to the likes of unhealthy romantic relationships, drunkenness, drug abuse, sex, pornography and anything else that will take away the loneliness, if just for a minute.

We need each other, let us not forget that. We are made for community, in the image of God (as he exists in the perfect community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
Christian…

Beloved…

Christ follower…

You are not alone!!!

Blogging 101

Over the past few years I have used my blog for many a purpose.  For a time I wrote my feelings. By that I mean I just used it as an outlet to vent my frustrations. But my grammar and typing were bad and no one wanted to hear about the angst of a 24 year old college drop out.

As time went on (and I started school again) my blog became very political and I had a tendency  to ruffle a few feathers with my political views!

As of late it has kind of been a catch all. Blogging about life, frustrations, ministry, school, books, music and trying to stay away from the political. Now, my blog is about to take a new turn. A pastor once told me “Don’t blog unless it has missional value”. By that he meant don’t just blog to blog, blog to enhance your ministry.

I’ve noticed as of late that many of my youth have asked me some really good questions concerning life, theology, relationships and so on. I began to think of a way to address these questions on an ongoing bases without interrupting my teaching schedule on Sunday Nights.  I can’t think of anything better than my blog.

The word disillusionment meant to be freed from illusion or false truths. I’ve called this blog “Grateful Disillusionment” as I am grateful for those times when God opened my eyes to illusions that I was holding onto and showed me truth. Even when those times challenged me and forced me to question.

This is a forum to be honest and vulnerable. Ask your questions about God, Life, relationships etc. There is no judgment here and no condemnation. So feel free to read, comment and ask!

My Youth Pastor

So I’ve been at this youth ministry thing for a few years now. As many of you know I took on my first full time youth pastor position this past July at Smith River Baptist Church in Smith River, CA ( the last town on the Cali coast before you hit Oregon.) I have loved every minute of being a youth pastor. But as I have begun to do ministry I think back to my youth pastor and how he invested in me.

You see if any of you knew me in High School you knew I was a jerk. I truly was. I thought I knew it all and that included what our youth group in Las Vegas should be doing. But if you also knew me in high school you knew that my family life was, well horrible and I was dealing with a lot of issues. Then Pastor Henry comes along in the beginning of my junior year of high school. Henry was saved at my church when he was a youth and had lead a high school/ college Bible study where I also lead worship before our previous youth pastor moved on.

I had known Henry for a few years before he became my youth pastor and considered him a friend. Henry was young, 23 I think, a few months from being married and had a passion for Jesus like I had never seen before. People gravitated to him, including myself. In the year and a half as my youth pastor he had such a great impact on me and helped to point me to Jesus! I’ve never thanked him for what he did, so this is my attempt to do so!

We butted head…

A lot! I’m going to be honest. We were both strong willed individuals and as a 17 and 18 year old I thought I knew it all!

I remember one time I had forgot my guitar strap for leading worship one Wednesday night. So I grabbed a stool and was going to lead from there.

Henry said: “ …if you’re leading and we ask everyone else to stand you need to be standing too.”

I said: “How?

Henry said: “Make it work”.

I said: “ That’s stupid and legalistic, I’m not playing!”

He said: “yes you are”.

That back and forth continued for about 20 minutes. I had my work shoes in my bag with me so finally after being a jerk to him and getting worked up and threatening to quit the youth worship band I took the shoe laces off of my work shoes and with an old sound cord fashioned a guitar strap for the evening.

I say all that because despite how many times we clashed (and it was a lot… I won’t talk about the time I threw rocks underneath a bathroom stall while he was in it on the way to camp and he then proceeded to make me sleep on the floor that first night at camp…lol ) I never once doubted that he cared for me and wanted me to fall more in love with Jesus.

He communicated truth unconventionally…

Whether it was lighting off firecrackers ( and I don’t think they were the legal kind) in youth group to display the foolishness of the big bang theory or wearing a Trojan Condom T-Shirt in a talk to a bunch of guys about abstinence, he communicated truth! I’ve since stolen many of his ideas ( some successfully and others not so much) but he was never afraid to push the limits to communicate the Gospel.

Time…

Henry spent a lot of time with me. And I just don’t mean at church. He went out of his way to connect with me outside of church. Every Wednesday my senior year of High School after youth group we would go to the restaurant in Vegas called Charlie’s and get chicken fingers and fries with two other guys and his wife Mary. EVERY WEEK for a YEAR! He just spent time with me. He was like a father to me in a lot of ways. I will never forget the time he spent with me and how he was just there. I knew if I had a problem he would be there. If I needed to talk he would be there. If I just wanted to hang out he would be there. He taught me the importance of “being there” in youth ministry. Henry was my friend!

He pushed me to be better and follow Christ harder…

His teaching, time and exampled pushed me to know Christ more! His example is who I follow now as a youth pastor.

Henry, Thank you for what you did and what you do. If I turn out to be half the youth pastor you were to me I would be happy. I still strive to have that “Christ Like Style” and ten years later am so thankful for you being in my life and you being my youth pastor! You were there for me and pointed me to Jesus. As I minister to these High Schoolers and JH’ers in my church I strive to do the same! Thank you so much!
(I promised myself I wouldn’t cry)

In His Grip!

Andy

Thinking Back…

I’m sitting in my hotel room this morning is disbelief of what is about to happen. I’m graduating form college.
This is happening by the grace of God. It causes me to think back to what God has done.

I’m thinking back to being a 19 year old youth pastor right out of high school thinking I knew it all and playing the music too loud and letting the youth be too crazy and all while having no respect for the older members of that church.

I think back to long drives through the state of Nevada; through small towns as a summer missionary being asked to preach in small rural churches but having no idea how to handle the word of God or take on leadership.

I think back to a season in Reno, Nevada where God had to get me alone, break me, mold me, and get me to be still and listen for a bit. It is also in Reno where I first came into contact with Multnomah Bible College as they were (in 2003) looking to start an extension campus there and I was able to audit a class from Dr. Brad Harper, a man who God used to shape my thinking and who I had the privilege of sitting under his teaching again in 2010 at Multnomah.

I think back to a church plant in Las Vegas called Life and the many many friends I made there. They took me under their wing, saw the potential of what God could do, and made me a part of a community of believers that I will always treasure. ( 23/24)

I think back to 2 trips to Poland, where God opened my eyes to His awesome beauty and caused me to trust in his provision, radically changing my view of ministry.

I think back to Life Baptist in Las Vegas and how Pastor Paul brought me on staff as the children’s pastor. God would confirm my calling into full time vocational ministry.

I think back to that day I meet a cute curly haired girl from Oregon and to the day I would get down on one knee and ask her to be my wife. I think back to that day where we became one in marriage, the second happiest day of my life (the first being when I surrendered my life to Jesus).

I think back to a move to Oregon I knew God wanted us to make but was hard for me to leave Las Vegas.

I think back to Pacific Bible College in Medford and how there I realized the importance of formal Biblical education.

I think back to 9 years on and off with Starbucks and how that company always gave me the flexibility to do ministry and school.

I think back to the day where I realized I needed to go to school full time and finally finish my degree and formal Biblical education.

I think back to Community Bible Church and how that loving community allowed Lindsey and I to minister and grow, bringing me on staff, which gave me the flexibility I needed to continue with school. A pastor and staff who taught me so much!

I think back to our 6 foster children who have been in our home over the past 2 years and especially Little T and how God has used that little boy to teach me about unconditional love and I now understand more than ever the love of a father for his children.

I think back to 65 plus trips to and from Portland, professors, papers, getting my mind blown away by what I was learning in God’s word.

I think back to a bunch of 5th and 6th graders who made me realize the one thing in ministry I was avoiding was the one thing that God was truly calling me to.

I think back to my patient wife, who love and respects me unconditionally, but who would also kick my butt to get my homework done and not just get by in college. I love you more than you will ever know Lins!

I think back to friends who prayed for me faithfully.

I think of a God who loves me and gave himself up for me!

Today I am walking across a stage and receiving a diploma ten years after I graduated from High School. God has done so much and I am so grateful. But all this is for not if through it I have not fallen more in Love with Jesus! And through the hard times over these past 10 years I am more in love with Jesus then ever and look forward to what He will be doing in the next ten year!

A Look at Marriage…Not to say I have it all figured out…

Marriage in the Bible is one of the most important institutions that we find. The union between a man and a woman for life is a picture of Christ and the church. Just as Christ has loved the church and has given himself for it  the husband is to do the same and likewise as the church is to submit to Christ the wife ( I don’t mean this in a derogatory way) is to submit to her husband. So it is safe to assume that marriage is important to God. The Apostle Paul  twice writes about marriage, once in 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 and again in Ephesians 5:22-33. These passages are very familiar to any Christian couple who goes through premarital counseling.

First let us look at Ephesians 5:22-33. Paul starts off in verse 22: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. [1] This is very controversial in our day. People think this means that the woman is the slave to the man, but that is not what is going on here. Paul then in verse 23 and 24 explains the roles of the man. The man is the head of the marriage. This does not mean he lord it over her or that he is any better than the woman. This is just the role that God has placed.  The Bible Exposition Commentary puts it best when it says: When the Christian wife submits herself to Christ and lets Him be the Lord of her life, she will have no difficulty submitting to her husband. This does not mean that she becomes a slave, for the husband is also to submit to Christ. And if both are living under the lordship of Christ, there can be only harmony. Headship is not dictatorship.[2]

Next Paul gives charge to the man: Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.[3] Husbands are to put theirs wives first in everything. They must be willing to give his very life for his wife. Christ gave us an excellent example when he died on the cross in our place for our sins.

The compassion between Christ’s perfect sacrifice for the church and how a husband is to treat his wife, shows us the seriousness of the situation we call marriage. To compare marriage to the atoning work of Christ is a really big deal . This shows us the importance of marriage. Verse 28 and 29 let us know that in marriage the two are one and to hate your spouse is to hate yourself.

Paul closes out this section on marriage with the following: Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. [4] I love verse 31 that says a man is to leave his home and go to his wife. In premarital counseling they called this” leave and cleave”. I often refer to this as the “get out of your parents basement and get a job” command. Paul is telling  the man to take responsibility. He says that the two become one flesh and that this is a mystery. But this is a beautiful mystery!

The next passage we will tackle comes from the same Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:1-16. This passage is very different from the Ephesians passage. For one it is not as romantic sounding. Paul is writing one of 4 letter to the messed up church at Corinth so needless to he is a little more direct. This passage is basically dealing with issues of singleness, sex,  and marriages between believers and unbelievers. Paul starts out in verse 16 and 17 saying that if a man can not control his sexual urges it would behoove him to find a wife. Within that he continues to say that if you are married you need to be sexual intimate with one another frequently and not withhold sex from one another. Unless, as it says in verse 5 it is for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again.[5] Paul in verses 6 and 7 talks about the benefits to being single. The following verses (8-16) Paul gives instructions about divorce and being married to non Christians.

The passage about marriage in I Corinthians is vastly different form that of Ephesians. It looks as if Paul in his letter to the Corinthians is having to address very specific problems. We know from reading  the letter that Corinth was a pretty messed up church and they had some messed up sexual/marital relations taking place. As such Paul addresses then specifically. He is trying to correct a problems that are taking place. A commentator writes: Paul had spoken in chapter 6 on the dangers of sexuality outside of marriage. Then he turned to the duty of sexuality within marriage. Probably abandonment of marital duties on the part of some in Corinth had contributed to the immorality he had just described.[6]

In the Ephesians passage on marriage Paul is very poetic in a way and is very general. Whereas in the Corinthians passage on marriage is VERY specific. It looks as if there are very specific problems within the church at Corith that Paul must address because of the skewed views of the people in Corith. Does this mean that one passage is more important or has more to say than the other. No! they are both Scripture, the inspired Word of God, and they are both giving instructions to believers. We then need to obey both when it come to issues of marriage. One passage is not more important than the other, nor less for that matter. Marriage is a beautiful institution that was created by God and His word has a lot to say about it. As such we must regard marriage as holy having love and respect.


[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Eph 5:22

[2]Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Eph 5:21

[3] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Eph 5:25-28

[4] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. Eph 5:31-33

[5] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton : Standard Bible Society, 2001, S. 1 Co 7:5

[6]Walvoord, John F. ; Zuck, Roy B. ; Dallas Theological Seminary: The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1983-c1985, S. 2:517

I Love Rob Bell!(Just not his book)

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,  to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,  until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,  so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:14-16

I love Rob Bell! I do! I really do! He is an amazing man! I want to make that clear upfront! I am not going to bash Rob Bell…again… forgive me for my past Tweets bashing Bell himself!

Many of you have heard of the controversy surrounding the new book by Pastor/ Author/ Speaker Rob Bell of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids Michigan (not to be confused with Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. The two are in no way affiliated in any way). I have read the book and am currently working on a comprehensive review (which honestly is looking more and more like a term paper. It will probably not be done till May 1). But there is something I wanted to quickly address…

Rob Bell, in this book, is claiming Universalism and denies a literal Hell! Period. Read the book and that becomes apparent. He says the following in his book.

“… there is only one mountain, but it has many paths. This inclusivity assumes that as long as your heart is fine or your actions measure up, you’ll be okay.” Love Wins, page 154

What Jesus has does, is declare that he, and he alone, is saving everybody.” Love Wins, page 155

It was brought to my attention today that on March 27 Rob Bell in his church said the following:

“I am not a universalist! I believe in heaven. I believe in Hell! I believe in the death and resurrection! I Believe Jesus is the way!”.

Listen to it for yourself.( http://marshill.org/teaching/2011/03/27/letters-to-the-seven-churches-%E2%80%93-rev-2-the-agony-of-explanation/ )

A very passionate plea from Bell indeed… The problem that is not what he says in his book. The issue is semantics. What does Bell Define as Hell or Universalism?

In a statement put out by Mars Hill Bible Church regarding the book, the church says:

Rob isn’t suggesting Universalism [all will be saved, regardless of their faith]. He is proposing that God’s love is so big that the invitation to God’s grace may extend into the next life so that all could be saved. Love Wins clearly points to the centrality of Jesus and the work of his life, death, and resurrection and the hope                   that Christ’s work will bring restoration to all. Jesus is the only way to God.God’s love does not force anyone and there may be those who continue to reject the invitation extended to them.

It also states…

Love Wins recognizes heaven and hell to be realities all around us. We see hell everyday through the atrocities of war, famine, human trafficking, broken relationships, and abuse. We also see heaven all around us through acts of love, kindness, and compassion. (http://marshill.org/files/2011/03/LoveWinsFAQs2.pdf)

That speaks for itself! What does Bell say a Universalist is? What does he call Hell? How are we really saved? If I can be saved in the afterlife (as the LDS church believes) then why do I need to bother with Jesus now?

He says:

“The love of God will melt every hard heart, and even the most ‘depraved sinners’ will eventually give up their resistance and turn to God. And so, beginning with the early church, there is a long tradition of Christians who believe that God will ultimately restore everything and everybody” Love Wins, Kindle location 1339-1365).

That is universalism!

I want to be clear here. I love Rob Bell. I don’t want to bash on him or his church. I think if we are going to say anything about his writings we need to read the book for ourselves.

But…

What Bell is saying in this book is dangerous! From a scholarship standpoint it is irresponsible. Historically it is inaccurate! Hermeneutically (Biblically) it’s a drive through a ditch.

But…

I want to be clear!

LOVE ROB BELL!!!

LOVE HIM WITH THE LOVE OF JESUS!

But…

Understand, from someone who has read the book, that his book is tragically and dangerously flawed!

God Dependence

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

God dependence is tough. Over the past few weeks I have been forced to take several situations to the Father in prayer. I look back on what God has done in the past and I know He will provide. But it is still tough. Tough to look at things that seem insurmountable and have faith that God has a plan and will work his plan.

When have you had to depend on God?

Why is it so hard for us to do so?

Why are we so forgetful of what God has done before?

 

When will I realize my identity in Christ? That being I am His Child and He cares for His Children!

God is bigger than all of the things I have to depend on him. His Grace is sufficient for me. His Power is made perfect in my weakness!

…Therefore I tell you,do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Matthew 6:25-34