Today and tomorrow’s posts are Anna’s journal exactly as she wrote them. Hence they are slightly longer than normal, but as part of our openness in our journey we wanted to share them with you.
Monday 6th December
On Friday we found out I was pregnant – we were overjoyed – God had answered our prayers and was fulfilling our dreams. The Body of Christ, our Christian family, have rejoiced with us after having faithfully prayed for us. But today I have some bleeding and I must confess I feel afraid. But we continue to cry out to God to hear our pleas and answer our prayers. He’s brought us this far, please, please, we pray, do not let it end now. Earlier, before this started, I was planning to document the words, scriptures and pictures that we and others have had and that have encouraged us to believe God will answer our prayers. I still want to document this and ask God to make them come true for us at this time.
On 13th July 2009 a man at our church had a word he believed to be from God: “You can not begin to conceive the plans I have for Anna and Nick”. At the same prayer time our pastor prayed for us to “receive the desires of our hearts”.
On the day I began the cycle in which we were to have IVF I was sad because we’d shared with many that week to pray that I would be pregnant and not require IVF but that morning I discovered I was not pregnant. I sat down to read God’s word as laid out in my bible notes for that day and the reading was from Isaiah 54: ‘”Sing O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy you who were never in labour, because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord. “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left”‘.
A few days later the reading was from Isaiah 60: ‘”Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of theLord rises upon you…Lift up your eyes and look about you. All assemble and come to you, your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the arm. Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy”‘.
Two days later from Isaiah 62: “No longer will they call you Deserted or name your land Desolate”.
The song ‘The Desert Song’ spoke to me. Lyrics such as: ‘God is my victory’. ‘I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ so firm on his promise I’ll stand’. ‘This is my prayer in the harvest. When favour and providence flow. I know I’m filled to be emptied again. The seed I’ve received I will sow’.
A lady at church shared a picture of me standing in the congregation praising God with a pregnant bump. Our pastor shared a picture of me holding a baby in my arms.
When she heard we had a positive pregnancy test a friend who lives away contacted us to say – though she had no knowledge that we were having IVF she had in the last few weeks felt compelled to pray that we would become pregnant.
However, whatever happens we know that God’s will and way is always best and he promises that “All things work together for good for those who love God and act according to his will”.
I feel we’ve learnt many lessons through our experiences so far. “Seek first the kingdom of God then all these other things will be given you”. We thought the timing was great when at Christmas 2006 we decided the time had come to start a family. Nick had recently joined the police and I had been working as an Occupational Therapist since qualifying 18 months earlier. We both had secure jobs earning a reasonable wage. We had bought our own home and it had space for a family. We had been married over 3 years. I was 28 – I always said I wanted to have our first child, or at least be pregnant by the time I was 30! It was a good while before we really had concerns and took them to the doctor: 18 months. But BAM! It was bad news and we were considered infertile and the only way we would conceive was with IVF which our local NHS did not fund. We had the option of going private and generous offers of financial help for this. But as we prayed God seemed silent. So we waited. Nick had a hard time spiritually and his work shifts meant he was at church only occasionally. We had to wonder if God knew the timing was not right for us. 18 months after the original diagnosis God started to speak. But it wasn’t about starting a family it was about us significantly changing our circumstances as God was calling us to a new ministry. We had to really trust God as taking this step meant totally giving up Nick’s wage not knowing how we would the bills and me leaving the worship ministry which I loved and had been involved with for years. We chose to obey God and “seek first his kingdom”. And how he then blessed us! The church easily raised a wage for Nick. As soon as he left his job the NHS decided to fund the IVF. It was available immediately AND the treatment was successful first time resulting in a pregnancy! Not only that, but the funding ceased again right after we had benefitted from it.
I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe God is good even when circumstances are not. I believe whatever this life throws at us, we will continue to trust in his unfailing love for it is he who holds us in the storms of life and gives us hope for the future. Even if all dreams in this life were unfulfilled I would still cling to the assurance of a new, eternal life in which all God’s promises are fulfilled and in which his creation is restored and perfected, when :He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more dearth or mourning our crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation).