The Harder The Battle The Sweeter The Victory

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You are reading the final post tying everything together  by our guest blogger and speaker Karmen Smith from Blessings Beyond the Barnyard.  In her two previous posts which I encourage you to read in case you have not, Karmen discusses how God was everpresent in the midst of her infertility and two traumatic miscarriages.  In this last post, we see her journey come full circle and are blessed to see the miracles that God performs in her and her husband Jason’s lives.   What is so amazing to me is how we see God shape her into a more beautiful bride of Christ and mature her walk with him through all that she has been through and see a beautiful reflection of him in her as a result.  That is what it means to be shaped and molded by God in the midst of our life circumstances.   Thanks for stopping by to visit The Potter’s Plan! Love in Christ, Dawn

The Sweet Victory by Karmen Smith

“The harder the battle the sweeter the victory” was my senior quote.  I found it while flipping through on old hymnal at church.  I surely didn’t know then how very profound that quote would be in the years that followed. 

 I was recently asked, “what if God had answered no and you were the mom to 1 or 10 adopted children?” Before I answer that I would like to add one more: What if God had said, “No, period.” to my plea for children?

 My answer to my friend and to the additional question: I’d follow Him anyway

 You say well that’s easy for you to say-He answered your plea for children. 

 Yes, He did. But before He did I chose to follow Him come what may

 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t believe in accidents.   In Samuel’s death God birthed a passion in me to share Christ.  It was during that time the Lord began to stir my heart for greater things.   At the time, I had no idea what greater things would look like or what on earth they would be but my spiritual discontent began the very moment Samuel passed from life to death.

Karson’s death spurred my love for the Lord.  I couldn’t get close enough to the Him.  In my emptiness He began to fill me.  On days I was so sad I was determined not to let the pain go in vain.  I began to beg God to use me for greater things. 

 While we were mourning our baby girl a dear, dear friend left a note in my mailbox.  The note contained the testimony of a woman who had endured eleven losses.  Do you hear me?  Eleven babies she never got to mother.  Her words pierced and forever changed my soul,  “If the Lord wants to use my body to create little worshippers to come and sit at His feet-so be it.  Use me Lord.  I am yours.”

That prayer became my own.  By His grace I decided in that moment that if the Lord chose to never again answer one of my prayers I would serve and follow Him anyways.  My stake was in the ground.  “Use me Lord.  I am yours.”

 This was not easy but it’s what I had to do.  I had to believe that God knew best.  I had to believe He is Sovereign and that He was working all things together for good.  I had to believe lest I drown in my sorrows. 

 In the months that followed my prayers continued.  “Lord if it be your will bless us with a child and if not Lord may we be found faithful.”  I spent lots and lots of time with my niece.  Time with her was like soothing serum to my aching soul. 

 It was a Sunday morning in the fall of 05’ while sharing my testimony with our church family;  “Weeping may go on all through the night but joy cometh in the morning. We are joyful and delighted to share with you that we are expecting again.”  It was with fear and trembling that I shared those words with the congregation.  Seriously, shaking in my shoes and yet knowing God all the while had my back. 

The war and peace of my soul did not delay.  I knew if I were going to win the battle within me a daily quality, quiet time would have to become a necessity.  Truthfully I had been a hit or miss until then.  More hits than misses through our season of loss but still lots of days I wouldn’t really sit down to listen for the voice of God. 

 We made it passed 17 weeks and were nearing week 22 when my doctor noticed signs of premature labor.  He sent me to a more advance hospital an hour south of home.  I was admitted and closely monitored for a week.  It was a long, lonely, frustrating week.  I prayed and cried a lot!  My hometown doctor and the high-risk doctors partnered and decided it best to perform a procedure known as a cervical cerclage.  Following the procedure I would be on strict bed rest allowed only to be up to shower, use the restroom as needed and visit my local doctor once a week until term.   

 Life as I had known it was no more following that week in the hospital.  God’s fingerprints were everywhere.  The teachers I worked with organized meals, a lady from church ran my errands once a week, family and friends cleaned often.  We were encouraged and sustained through the kindness of others every. single. day.  It was humbling and AMAZING.

 Jason was self-employed.  If he didn’t work there would be no pay.  We were completely dependant on God and others to meet our daily needs.   The battle for peace of mind raged.  Lots of days in our tiny little bedroom with no windows I was tormented with anxiety and depression.   I had several “poor-pitiful me” parties.  And yet God never left me.  I spent lots of time reading the book of Psalms.  King David and I became best friends forever.  I read of his woes and his victories and found myself in both.  I prayed every day.   Some days I prayed all day.  It was during my time at home in the bed waiting on our sweet baby boy that I went from a woman who knew OF God to a woman in love with God.  He became my everything. 

 By His grace and for His glory we carried our baby boy 38 weeks and one day.  Tucker Wayne, our blue eyed, dimple chin, cotton top angel baby was born on April 14, 2006 weighing seven pounds and seven ounces.  We wept tears of joy we had never known.  It was surreal.  I had celebrated others, loved on others, changed and cared for other people’s babies’ lots and lots of times but this one was ours.   After years of aching through infertility and loss I finally felt my soul exhale. 

 A day or two after coming home from the hospital while lying on the bed watching Tucker sleep I remember thinking, “ I love this lil’ fella so much it hurts!”   It wasn’t long after that my mom came for a visit and said, “You need to go ahead and try for another one because this one won’t be worth a dime if you don’t.”  I couldn’t believe she’d said that so soon and yet she couldn’t have been more right. 

 By fall we had begun to talk of trying again and yet the mere mention of trying again exhausted me.  Spring came and then summer.  Tucker was an e-a-s-y baby.  Happy and healthy and we praised the Lord daily for hearing an answering our prayers.  Early fall came and I’d decided to take another round of Clomid hoping for the best, expecting anything.  No luck.  No cycle.  No response to the meds or so I thought.  Determined I was pre-menopausal at the ripe age of thirty-two I went to see the Doc.  The nurse politely asked if I had taken a pregnancy test.  I said no because there was no need because I hadn’t had a cycle and had taken no Clomid (assuming she knew as well as anybody that I had never gotten pregnant without taking medicine) 

 “Let’s just take one to be sure,” she said.  Almost sarcastic, “Okay, it’s your test we’re wasting.”  Before I could return to my seat she proclaimed, “Well you’re as pregnant as anybody I’ve seen today!”  Absolutely convinced there must be a mistake I declared, “You must have stuck that in the wrong cup.  I am not pregnant.  I have not taken any medicine.  I cannot get pregnant without medicine.  We must do another.”  She appeased me and for a second time assured me I WAS PREGNANT!! 

I was without words.  She said, “Doc’s running behind.  Do you want to wait or do you want to reschedule?”  “Oh, I’ll wait.  It’s gonna take me a lil’ while to catch my breath.”  For an hour and a half I sat alone in a room talking and laughing out loud with the Lord.  I did not call a soul.  I was still trying to catch my breath.  

“Nine and a half weeks.” Doc said.  “At twelve weeks we’ll stitch you back up and put you back to bed.”  Deep breath everybody.  And another.  Our lil’ Tucker was just over 16 months and I’d just been given orders of bed rest for the next six months.  “Be near me Lord Jesus.”  He was.  I had a student teacher.  She took the reigns at school.  Teacher friends planned meals, friends ran errands, and family cleaned our house and cared for our baby boy.   The hands and feet of Jesus nurtured us.  I prayed a lot.  THANKED GOD every single day and drew closer to Him than ever before.  He sustained us, loved us and blessed us beyond measure with SURPRISE baby boy number two, Jake Russell.   A blue eyed, look-just-like-his daddy, spicy like his momma handsome rascal born at 38 weeks one day weighing 8 pounds 3 ounces on June 6, 2008.  

Praise God from whom all blessing flow.  We did and still do praise Him.  God has been so very, very gracious to us and we are eternally grateful.  I tell the boys often that God has BIG plans for their lives.  I pray so.  We also teach them when they pray, sometimes God says no, sometimes God says yes and sometimes God says wait.  We are thanking Him in it and through it all.  



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