Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Break Every Chain

Have you ever heard the worship song “Break Every Chain”? If not you really need to pull it up and listen to it… go ahead I’ll wait!

Ok, now that you have heard the song I want to share with you my journey of breaking a chain that held me captive for many years. I apologize because it is a long story, but God has been pressing it on my heart that I need to share my story in its entirety. So here it is:

When I was in high school and still had not started my menstrual cycle at the age of 17 my mom took me to the doctor. The doctor told us not to worry about it until I was 18, and that some girls bodies just took longer to “kick start” the process. Well, 18 came and no menstrual cycle… honestly I didn’t mind too much at the time. Shortly before my 19th birthday I finally was “blessed” with my cycle. I had it one month then it skipped a few months, the next time it skipped a few more months until it got to the point that I would have maybe one cycle every year to eighteen months.

Due to a sprained knee from a skiing accident I went to a new doctor because I had moved cities. I was there for my knee but the doctor took a look at my chart and asked about my menstrual cycles. I informed him that my childhood doctor had told me not to be too concerned until I was at least 18, but that since turning 18 I had not really gone to the doctor. He referred me to have blood work done and an internal ultrasound, because he was concerned about possible ovarian cancer. My mind heard “possible cancer” and went running the other direction… I did NOT go in for the tests. Yes, I see looking back what a bad decision that was!

During this time I met an amazing man of God and we began a relationship just after I turned 20. When we first began having feelings for each other I told him about my irregular cycles, all the while screaming in my head “why are you telling him this?” I told him that it may be difficult for me to have children because of the irregularities in my cycle. He didn’t run from the relationship, in fact three months down the road we were engaged, and six months after that we stood at the altar and committed our lives to each other.

I was so happy and felt so blessed that God had entrusted me with such an amazing man. My husband always made me feel like I was a priority. We used birth control for the first two weeks of our marriage and then decided to leave the birth control up to God and stopped using everything.

A year and eight months after our wedding we moved an hour north of where we had been living, and I finally decided it was time to go to the doctor. My grandma recommended her doctor and I went. She like my previous doctor concerned about the lack of menstrual cycles and referred me to a fertility specialist.

After running test the specialist confirmed my new doctors’ diagnosis of Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS. He told me that my testosterone levels were three and a half times higher than what they should be, and due to that my body was not creating eggs. He sent me for an internal ultrasound… I actually went this time! The results came back favorable, I had no cysts. The specialist explained that before advances in medicine PCOS was never diagnosed until women had multiple cysts in their ovaries.

This specialist job was to help my husband and I conceive, and he had many success stories of other woman with PCOS that he had helped, so I was hopeful! I spent two years working with this specialist trying to conceive. I had however drawn a line in the sand, a boundary if you will… I would take any fertility medication but I would not do invetro. I do not have anything against invetro, and I do not look down on those who have chosen that path. However for my husband and I it was a black and white subject. Still after two years no fruit had come of our efforts.

I kept praying for our children to come, but nothing. I prayed about adoption, but felt “wait” being whispered back to me each time. I talked to my husband about adoption and we both agreed that for us to adopt at this point would be giving up God’s best for us. In our private prayer time God gave us both the same answer about adoption; if we were to adopt it would be just like Sara’s story in the Bible where she gives her maidservant to Abraham to conceive a child, and it caused great stress and discord in their household. Neither of us wanted that, so we waited.

I was struggling at this point emotionally, I just could not figure out why four years into our marriage God had not blessed us with a child yet. I cried myself to sleep countless nights. I felt broken and defective. Every time I would read a story of child abuse in the paper, I would cry out in anger that there were people abusing children that they never should have been blessed with in the first place while my womb remained empty.

The church my husband and I had been going to at the time had a woman’s conference every October, and every year I went. At the conference on the last night they always prayed for woman that wanted to conceive a child. So every year like clockwork I would go forward for prayer and beg God to heal me and allow me to have a child.

On my sixth year at the conference there was a special speaker that was never able to have children, and they did a special prayer for women that needed to allow God to open them up to adoption. I went forward for prayer ready for God to release me and allow me to adopt. Still the answer remained the same “wait”. I cried so hard that night. I kept asking God WHEN, when will I be able to hold my children in my arms? “Wait” that gentle whisper continued.

One night while I was laying face down on my living room floor crying out to God I had a thought… I know it was a “God Thought” because there is no way I came up with it myself. I felt the need to get the attention and focus off of myself! I started praying for anyone I knew that wanted a child, was currently pregnant or recently had a child. It was probably one of the most helpful things I had done and it really got me on the right path to healing for my emotions.

One year later I had traded my nights of crying for nights of fervent prayer for the mothers around me and I felt less suffocated. At the conference my seventh year that same special speaker was back, and again they offered prayer for woman to conceive as well as women to be released to adoption. This year I stayed at my seat and prayed for those women instead of going forward for prayer myself… and my life was changed!

While they prayed for the woman, I prayed for the women. I thanked God for the change in my life over the last year. I thanked him for the healing he had given me. I still felt weighed down but freer at the same time. One of the other special speakers at the conference this particular year said she only prayed for something once. She knew that if she had prayed for it God heard her and that it was done. While I don’t see this being an every day kind of practice it was exactly what I needed at that moment. I prayed to God, “Daddy, I have prayed for a child for so many years. You have heard my prayers and my cries and I know it is done. I want your best and I know that no matter what happens you are still God. If I never conceive you are still God!”

The worship team began playing the song “Break Every Chain” I kept my focus on God, and while the song was playing I felt God asking me to give him what I had been holding onto… my children. My husband and I had picked out names for the children we wanted before we were even married, and often during my prayer time I would use those names to pray for them. I had a moment of pause, and then I felt reminded of my words, “if I never conceive, you are still God.”

There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus

I lifted my hands and I prayed, “God I give my children to you! Abigail Eden, I give her to you. Malachi Robert, I give him to you. Noah Samuel, I give him to you.” As soon as I spoke the last word of my prayer I saw a vision of myself in a jail cell on my knees with shackles on my wrists. The song kept playing:

To break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

I saw myself stand to my feet and lift my hands up in worship, and I watched as the chains fell off of my wrists.

All sufficient sacrifice
So freely given
Such a price
Bought our redemption
Heaven's gates swing wide

I was standing in the jail cell no longer shackled to my pain but free. Then there was a bright light that burst into the cell and the door flew open. Immediately I felt a heavy weight lift off of me and peace came rushing into my spirit. It was an amazing feeling!

For a couple of months I had the most amazing peace I had felt in a long time. I knew that no matter what God was still God. I had left those chains on the floor in that jail cell, and I was NOT going to pick them back up!

About three months after the conference I was talking to my husband about adoption because I felt like all the pieces were falling into place and I felt like the door was opening for us to finally walk down that path; and he informed me that he never wanted to adopt. I was crushed! There is no way to describe how hurt I was. I had always wanted to adopt at least one child even if I had biological children, and I had communicated that to my husband before we got married. I remember telling him “I will never be ok with that!”

I am ashamed to say that I allowed this to build a wall between us. I was angry and hurt, and I defiantly took it out on him. It was not my intention to make him suffer, or to build this wall; but unfortunately that is what happens when we are hurting. On one particularly difficult day when I was struggling I went to the women’s Bible study at church, and I swallowed my pride and let the ladies know what I was going through.

They prayed for me and afterwards one of the ladies came to me and told me her story. Her and her husband had agreed not to have children; however she had started longing to have a child. In her prayer time she cried out to God, and she said God had revealed to her that if she was to become pregnant she would have to give 200% to the child because her husband’s heart would not be in it. If that were to happen she would begin to resent her husband for his lack and many problems would arise.

I thanked her for her story even though I didn’t think it applied to me and my husband; after all we both wanted children! For two weeks I could think of nothing other than her story. I realized that it really was the same thing; I would have to give 200% because even though my husband wanted children he had specifically told me he did not want to adopt. I prayed to God and asked for his forgiveness of my selfishness, and I asked him to help me bring down the walls between my husband and I. Then I had to go to my husband and ask for his forgiveness.

A few days later I was talking to one of the women at church about everything and asking for her prayers to help me get past this and give it to God. She told me that my senior pastor’s wife had written a book called “Inconceivable” that told her story of not being able to conceive. She said it was a great book and she thought it would be good for me to read. I honestly brushed it off thinking I had already received my healing for no being able to conceive; since the women’s conference I had felt so free I didn’t “need” the book.

About a month later she caught me at church and handed me a copy of the book. I went home that day and decided… its short enough I may as well read it. I have never cried over a book so hard in my life! It took my two weeks to read the book, not because it is a long book, but because it was that emotional to read. She went through all the nitty gritty bits, all the painful thoughts, everything that I had been facing for the last eight and a half years of infertility.

Then the book dove into the aspects of adoption. She spoke about her husbands reservations about adoption and her battle emotionally with that. The book touched every part of me, even those hidden things that I didn’t realize hurt so much. I finished the book on a Friday night, and as I read the last word I took a deep breath and just said “Thank you God.”

Sunday morning I was so excited to go to church, I felt changed and could not wait to lift my hands in worship with my new freedom. I was praying and thanking God for all he had done in me, and the song “Break Every Chain” started to play. Since the women’s conference anytime I heard this song my mind would take me back to that moment when I had decided that God was still God no matter what.

This day was no exception, in fact on this day I felt that same determination and freedom I had while at the conference. I raised my hands and just kept thanking God. I began to pray the same prayer I had the day of the conference.  “God I give my children to you! Abigail Eden, I give her to you. Malachi Robert, I give him to you. Noah Samuel, I give him to you.”

I felt the gentle whisper of God saying to me, “that’s not it, that’s not all…”

“NO, I can’t give you that. I don’t want to give you that.”

“Am I not still God no matter what?” I couldn’t breath, I knew what he wanted but it was my safety net. I had given God my biological children, but now he wanted my adoptive child as well?

I fought with my emotions for what felt like an eternity, but was only seconds in actuality. I then took a deep breath and surrendered, “God that fourth child that I have always wanted to adopt, I give them to you.”

Instantly I saw the same vision from the conference. I saw myself in a jail cell on my knees with shackles on my wrists. I saw myself stand to my feet and lift my hands up in worship, and I watched as the chains fell off of my wrists. I was standing in the jail cell no longer shackled to my pain and then there was a bright light that burst into the cell and the door flew open, but this time I saw myself walk out of the jail cell!

Now here I am a year and seven months later… do I have any children? No, but this has been the most amazing and happy time in my life! I have had so much peace, that God given peace that surpasses all understanding! God has opened doors for me to be able to talk to other women struggling with infertility. I was even blessed by a conversation with a young girl who asked about my story and when I told her she began to cry. I asked why she was crying and she said that I would hate her if she told me. I let her know that nothing she said could make me hate her. She explained her shame over an abortion she had and the impact it has had on her life. I was able to share God’s amazing love and grace with her.

Each time I have an encounter with another woman where I get to share my story I thank God. And each time I think “if it was just for this moment, just for her healing I would go through it all over again!” I can look back over the last ten years of my journey and see God’s hand all over my life. The Bible tells us that God’s timing is not our timing, I can truly attest to that! My journey was very painful, but I would not change a thing about it. Not only has it made me who I am, but God is using my journey for his glory and he amazes me at every turn!

I am not sure who needed to read this, but I want you to know that God sees you! He cares about you! He loves you beyond measure, and he will use your journey for his glory if you allow him to! Surrendering our pain is not easy, but it is necessary! I pray that you allow God to break those chains off of you!

When I look back over my vision I can see that God offered me freedom when I was at the women’s conference by breaking the chains off of me and opening the cell’s door. But I was still clinging to my chains and wouldn’t leave them behind. It wasn’t until I fully surrendered that I was truly free and walked out of the cell.

Allow God to break the chains, and take the next step and leave them behind. Walk out of that jail cell and allow your journey to bless you!

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