Infertility: Part 1

Making this latest post was uncomfortable for me. First, the camera intimidated me. Second, I am exposing a part of my life that only a few friends and family know about. But my comfort and complacency must take a back seat if I want to engage with people on a real, authentic level about important topics affecting us all.

Infertility. Along with me and Reece and Rachel and Tyler, infertility touches 1 in 8 couples in the United States according to the CDC. That number is growing. I’m not a doctor or a scientist, so I’m not going to speculate about why. Even if I don’t know why, I do know people are hurting. And I believe anything that hurts people and therefore God, must also hurt the people of God. We all need to sit around our fellowship tables and our supper tables and have these conversations. We need to tell these stories so we can better serve the people suffering through this who need help and support. If we can’t find an answer to why, we can find an answer to how. How we show love and compassion matters.

Thank you so much to my sweet friend Rachel for doing the hard work of being open and honest. Thank you for having me on your channel!

Here’s Part 1:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ut4mifpdFsE&t=25s

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

Bouquet or Not

Daddy walked around the rented, vintage car and opened the door. As he helped me out, I wrapped my arm around his and we turned to face the parted sea of people. As we began to walk, I saw our wedding planner walk up to my side, “you forgot your bouquet,” she whispered. This normally regrettable fact didn’t cause me to miss a step. My mind and heart were focused squarely ahead of me. There was nothing worth stopping for, no worry worth dwelling on. As much as I dislike being in front of people, my steps were sure, steady, and maybe even hurried, as I walked to the front of the close to four hundred people in attendance. My usual inevitable shakiness was not present in my hands as I reached the front and he took them in his own. After eight years, we were finally standing in front of the preacher.

Reece and Bond, have you come..

//

Have you come here freely and without reservation to give yourselves to each other in marriage?

That question seemed more like routine than reality at that moment. Of course we were. Almost three years later, we see that every day we answer this question again in our actions. It is routine and reality now as I chose to stay freely and without reservation, because he does, too.

Will you honor each other as man and wife for the rest of your lives?

We thought this was the easy part. Always was part of our relationship from the beginning. But times, places, and people changed. We changed, too. We forgot about always and focused on our own wants and needs, until we realized again that always isn’t possible apart, only together.

Will you accept children lovingly from God, and bring them up according to the law of and his Church?

He hesitantly said “yes” to the entirety of that question. Trusting God, loving me, naively believing we would certainly be rocking a baby to sleep roughly nine months from the moment that question was posed. But biology interfered with our certainty when we received devastating news a year later. Biology didn’t have the last say, however. And despite the doctor’s opinion, one of those tests ended up being positive.

The beautiful picture of my forgotten bouquet was taken by Rachel Wells Photography.

No Doors

As I sat in the back row in the church listening to stories about my dear friend, the word “hospitality” kept coming to my mind. Hospitality used to invoke images of a plate of freshly baked cookies, an immaculately organized home, and a hostess wearing an apron and always smiling in welcome. True hospitality, though, can’t be measured in terms of cleanliness, quantity or quality of food, or who can smile the longest without their face hurting. My friend exuded hospitality. And it was expressed in the dried tears on her shirt of people who struggled with addiction, serving meals to the homeless, and letting dirty, less than groomed people enter into what potentially could have been a neat and tidy life.

Hospitality is always having room in my life for the next person God sends my way, regardless of whether he or she can offer me something in return, or whether they hate me or love me. Being truly hospitable means my heart is a revolving door, and everyone gets in. Because if anybody is welcome in, surely God will enter in, too.

“I really only love God as much as the person I love the least.”

Dorothy Day

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She entered through the gate and was momentarily blinded by the brilliance of the road before her. So, it really is paved with gold, she thought. She slowly put one foot in front of the other as her eyes adjusted. When she could see clearly, she saw lush gardens around her and a row of houses made of marble-like stones and rich woods. Something besides the material of these houses was different  than those on earth. These houses, she was startled to realize, had no doors. She could see straight into the heart of every home to the people inside. She could see people dancing in the house to her left, and sharing a meal in the house to her right. As she passed by each house she heard laughing, singing, and lively conversation. And as she passed each house, all the inhabitants would shout through the opening, “Come join us, and welcome to heaven, sister!”

I don’t believe there will be doors there. What will there be to keep out? Love, joy, and peace will flow from the King’s throne down every street, circulating through every building, and live in the hearts of all inhabitants. People will come and go from place to place without calling first, without knocking, without warning, because no one feels shame or has anything to hide. There will be no evil to seek shelter from or lock out.

There, God’s hospitality will reign.

“Thou Shalt Not” vs. Love

If you were to ask non christians in our country what Christians stand for, these are the answers you would get:
Pro-life
Against gay marriage
No sex before marriage
No lying
No cheating
No stealing
No alcohol
No cussing
Whatever the Bible says.

The list goes on.

Rarely will someone say:
They believe in Jesus Christ
In unconditional love
In compassion
In mercy
In kindness
In helping the poor, widows, and orphans

Why is it this way?
It breaks my heart when people at school ask me if I’m a Christian and when I say yes the first thing they say starts with “so, you believe I can’t..” We, as Christians, have represented ourselves in a way that only shows people rules, regulations, and restrictions. Instead, we should be exhibiting love, joy, and freedom. If we aren’t bound by sin anymore, why do we insist on making Christianity all about rules?

Of course, we live by certain commandments, but they should not define us. Love should. “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39 NIV

My entire life I have heard the saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Well, it’s not loving the sinner if all you do is point out their sin. It’s not our job to point out other people’s sin and when we do, we ultimately judge them. If we love them, it’s our job to point them to Jesus.