You surround me with angels on assignment- Amanda Cook // You Don’t Miss A Thing”
A BIG, and I mean takes my breath away, gives me that lump in my throat, exciting event has taken place in the background of our lives throughout the month of February. I wanted to wait until all of the thank you’s had been directly emailed and mailed out before posting anything. And I wanted to make sure I had the most perfect words to string together. You wouldn’t believe this but I actually started typing this 24 days ago! I came back tonight to finish it and bravely press that “publish” button because there are not enough beautiful words to be able to perfectly describe how our lives have been blessed. I have whipped my phone out numerous times throughout this past month to write down little thoughts on everything I need to share with you! Let’s all take a second to thank God for the notes section in our phones, I don’t know what I would do without it! Thank you God for the notes app! So here it goes, a perfectly imperfect post : )
You remember how I told you about the 5K in November? And how our team said, we will find another way? Well, they found another way friends. In less than two weeks our financial prayers have been answered and IVF is REALLY happening! It is overwhelming to look at one large figure that you are told is needed to give you the best chance for a baby. A baby we have tried hard for, prayed for, cried for, and had on our hearts for over two years and think, “how are we going to do this?” God sent us angels in the form of Margo, Lindsey, Lisa, Cindy, Rebecca, Lauren, Camille, Emily S., Laura, and Emily J. Who fought hard for us, and for this baby, fundraising for us to be given the chance at IVF. It was my dream that in 2015 we financially prepared ourselves for IVF, hoping to have close to half saved by the end of the year and figuring out the rest. We found ourselves settled into the second month of the new year with the question of “how?” no longer a major part of the equation and the question of “when?” taking its place. The financial burden has been take off of our shoulders completely, 100%. I still cannot believe it even typing this. The course of our lives has changed overnight. I catch myself being completely and utterly overwhelmed when I stop to tell an infertility friend what people have done for us. Their face says it all. They get how HUGE this is, how life changing this is for us. And then there’s that lump in my throat because I feel that first “OMG” reaction washing all over me again seeing their face. There is no way you can look at this and not see God’s hand. To not believe there is a God. A God that loves to take the broken and restore it.
The day of the 5K, after the IVF drawing, a few of our team members approached us about their desire to fund raise for us for IVF. I will admit, this was something I had to think about. Will wasn’t hesitant like me, although he did get a little case of cold feet closer to the start. I was scared to completely open ourselves, and the deepest desires of our hearts, up to everyone. We felt a sense of protection with those we had surrounded ourselves with for Baby Steps 5K. This would be far more reaching than my one little email asking people to support us in the 5k. A voice kept whispering, “these people just want to love on you both. Let them love on you.” It’s a hard thing for me, to let people love me. And maybe it’s just me, but I’m more comfortable loving on someone than allowing myself to need love from others. Throughout the weeks of the fundraiser I continued to hear and read, “you deserve this.” This was something I had been wrestling with. Do I really? Do I deserve to be loved like this? Treated with such kindness when I am so imperfect? When I mess up and make mistakes all of the time? When I have problems in my life, one of them a Goliath called infertility? I can make a list of girls I know who are struggling that deserve to be given this chance, am I really worthy enough to be included in this list? After talking with Margo some more about my reservations, she said the exact words that had been placed on my heart, “people just want to love you Maris, so let them love you.” I knew I couldn’t let my own insecurities get in the way of what God was trying to do. I couldn’t rob this group of people from the blessing they were trying to give. God put these people in our lives at the right place and time for a divine purpose. I had to remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect to deserve this. God often uses the unlikely, and like my pastor has said before, “it’s not your ability but your availability that counts.” So I decided to let people love us, and accept the love from others. To anchor my security in God rather than in my insecurities. To allow God to show up and show off.
Our Chance For Baby Stickle Committee (as they named themselves…aren’t they precious? Can you believe we have a committee?) created a Go Fund Me Page that allowed people to donate towards an IVF cycle for us. They sent out letters through email & snail mail and posted it across their social media pages. They were champions in spreading the word! The original goal was $7000, which was quickly raised to $12,000. And that goal was exceeded even more, when in two weeks we hit $14K. Through other direct donations, $20K was raised in a matter of weeks. I am constantly brought back to the verse, Ephesians 3:20. This event was no different. It was such a neat experience to be able to check the page (which I checked every second I could!) and see the donations pouring in, along with words of encouragement. Some from people we have not seen or spoken with in years. Some from people who did not even know us. I also loved it for Will. Throughout the days leading up to the 5K last November, I received notifications when someone joined our team which uplifted me throughout my day. Will wasn’t really involved in this. I told him the night before the Go Fund Me page went “live” but I don’t think he fully comprehended how big this could get until he logged onto Facebook the next day and saw our story pop up, front & center, on his News Feed, shared by various friends with the sweetest comments. I do not have Facebook so I was completely blind to it spreading like wildfire. He, however, could see it. He could feel that feeling of being loved on, like I had felt since the 5K. I think he may have checked the Go Fund Me page more than me even. He was the first person to tell me the goal was raised to 12K. This truly touched his heart and I was so happy to know that he felt just as cared for by loved ones as me. Every single donation meant something, whether it was $5, $50, or $500. Each made a difference in our lives. Infertility is something that nobody can fix, but everyone wants to help fix. I believe that fundraising brought forward a tangible way for people who want to help, to actually help. It was an answer to the question, “how can we help?” I am here to tell you that this has truly HELPED us! I have thanked God for every single person who found it in their hearts to contribute. We will forever be thankful for these donations that have projected us on the path of IVF. We would not be in the position we are in today, if it were not for you!
We also received two anonymous checks, one for $1000 and one for $500, in the mail and someone anonymously donated their leftover IVF medications to us through our Dr. I hope that you stumble across this post and know how thankful we are for your generosity
I asked Beth, what words can I even say to describe how thankful I am for the committee of people that did this fundraiser? She told me to start at Philippians 1:3. See, that’s one thing I love about her, and it’s been so important to me to have wise spiritual counsel in my life. God entrusted her with infertility and she has used it to minister to countless. She has helped me realize and discover parts of my faith that I did not even know existed, all while pointing me back to Scripture. I know my life is just one of many that she has tremendously touched. Everyone needs a Beth in their life! If you’re infertile, I’ll be happy to share my Beth with you. So I checked it out, and read Paul’s Thanksgiving and Prayer. And this, my committee, is how I feel about you. Each one of you will hold a special place in our hearts, forever. You responded to our need with compassion and in doing so, allowed God to use you through this platform of fundraising for any person who checked the Go Fund Me page and read our story to see His work. I pray that God continues to bless your sweet, kind hearts and the lives of your families. You are each incredible to us. There are not enough thank you’s in this world.
So here we are, beginning IVF this Spring. A few months shy of struggling with infertility for three years. We are stepping into this time of our lives with an attitude of expectancy,”casting out our nets,” believing that God will fill them because He is able. As supported as we have felt, we have encountered slight discouragement. We have each been told separately by people we love dearly, “it might not work,” and believe me we know the statistics probably better than any person who will say this to us. There is a chance in any situation, in general, for failure. For us, that is not a good enough reason to not try at all. And these comments are hurtful. We are not letting the fear of failure get in the way of God’s best work. A former Gymboree mom stopped by the site to personally donate and to share her story of infertility that resulted in two precious, perfect miracles from one IVF transfer. I needed to hear her story that day. Will’s aunt also reminded us, on a day that we needed reminding, that not everyone will understand our journey, but it isn’t their journey to understand. Just know that your words mean something to us, and I ask that our journey is respected even if it isn’t understood. I leave you with a heart full of overwhelming gratitude, thankful that we have been given our chance, the chance that we desperately prayed for. I ask that you pray for peace over us in the next steps that we take. I’ll continue to keep the blog updated and share with you along the way : )