In May, I had my 30th birthday and we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary here at home in Nairobi! Then, at the end of May, Ruco and I traveled to Cape Town so that I could have my second laparoscopy surgery. The doctor that I had found in Cape Town was amazing (Dr. Dawie Slabbert). I can't say enough good about him. He is a strong believer, and I really felt that God had led me to find this doctor. He was able to successfully remove most of the endometriosis (stage 4) and "restore natural anatomy."
|Right after surgery in Cape Town|
|A winery we visited with my VDM family|
Afterwards, when our VDM family went back to Namibia (and we remained in Cape Town), Ruco and I got a little cabin in Hout Bay. It was freezing cold, but it was magical. We had a rental car and would drive up and down those mountains, through state parks, to Ruco's favorite restaurant when he was a kid, and to eclectic coffee shops that reminded us of living in the Bay Area. I absolutely fell in love with Cape Town and loved the time Ruco and I got to spend there together.
|our cabin in Hout Bay|
After our South Africa trip, we headed to Juba, South Sudan where I accepted a short-term work assignment for the summer. We had a blast! We met so many amazing people and loved getting to know more of South Sudan. All summer, I thought incessantly of all things baby. I was just so hopeful after the surgery! We had tried to conceive for the prior 2 years, but now we knew what the problem was, and it was all fixed! Surely, it would happen soon! So, each month when my period would come (post surgery), it was absolutely devastating. I questioned God's purpose in all of this. It was crushing when someone would mention that children are a "blessing from the Lord." I know that this is true, but this fact makes it apparent that God is withholding this blessing from us. Additionally, because I can wrongly be so works oriented, I would conclude that God is punishing me or that we aren't doing enough for Him. If we were, God would desire to bless us with a baby! Friends quoted this verse from Psalm 84:11: "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." So, automatically my mind would think, "well, then, we need to walk more uprightly!" My understanding of God and his infinite love and grace was so muddled through my pain and hurt.
When we went back to Nairobi, I was extremely sad. What we had envisioned for our life just wasn't panning out. I felt crushed and defeated. Infertility, or longing for something to this degree, is extremely painful. As Proverbs 13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick..." My heart was extremely sick, and I was so easily swayed emotionally by our circumstances.
Then, in September, Ruco and I received our "home leave" vacation, as we had celebrated one year in Kenya. Instead of going to the US though, we knew we needed time together (just the two of us). My trip planner extraordinaire created a trip itinerary that took us through South East Asia again (Malaysia and Cambodia this time), and then the Maldives and Turkey. This trip was exactly what I needed. I can't even put into words how good it was for my soul. I cried out to God daily, expressing my hurt and pain. And while we didn't fall pregnant on our trip, what I did receive was a new and deeper understanding of the love of Christ. The more I would cry out to God, the more I understood that He is the one that provides true and everlasting joy to my heart, and He is GOOD and loves me so much. And I understood this verse so differently: "For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." Because God is good and gives good things to his children, this withholding is good. He is infinitely wise, and if he is withholding a pregnancy from us, it is the best thing for us right now. Because He says, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11.
|Angkor Wat sunrise|
|We rode tuk-tuks everywhere in Cambodia!|
|Malaysia-snorkeling with reef sharks and sea turtles...so cool!|
|Visiting the Angkor temples in Cambodia!|
|The BEST travel buddy!!|
In this season of sorrow, I am resting in the knowledge that His grace is sufficient for me, and His power is made perfect in my weakness! I will boast all the more GLADLY of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me! (2 Cor. 12:9). I am broken. But through my brokenness, he is restoring my relationship with Him. And through that restoration, He is making me whole again (with or without a baby).
I am so excited to see His GOOD plans for us unfold, whatever they might bring. But in the mean time, I am attempting to be content in any and every situation (Phillipians 4:12). :)