Archive for April, 2013

April 29, 2013

What I Really Think About Hillsong Church

hcI grew up in north-west Sydney.  When I was born my parents lived in Seven Hills.  They moved when I was a toddler to Baulkham Hills, and then before I moved away from home we lived in Castle Hill.  So as far as the Hills District of Sydney is concerned, I know it intimately.  For many years there I would travel along Windsor Road and notice the sign in the industrial area that said “Hills Christian Life Centre”.  For years I wondered what it referred to.  I had no idea that it was a local church.

Hills Christian Life Centre started in 1983.  Just a few years later they started a creative arts conference which they decided to call Hillsong.  The annual conference was such a runaway success that it became what the church was known for.  So eventually they changed the name of the church to Hillsong Church.

Whilst I have never been a part of that church I did do 2 years of bible college there between July 1992 and June 1994.  So I think it is fair to say that I know what they are on about pretty well, having sat in their premises and listened to their leadership lecture me most days for 2 years.

That was all a long time ago now.  I went to Hillsong conference most years throughout the 1990’s, but hardly at all during the 00’s.  My church still sang a lot of their music.  Of course they have continued to grow at an amazing rate.  I can’t believe that a church from the Hills District has become the biggest church in Australia!  They now have numerous campuses around the country that have a total weekend attendance of almost 20,000.  The Hills District headquarters I think gets about 10,000 of those.  Amazing!  But Castle Hill is a remarkable suburb – a genuine bible belt.

It doesn’t end there either – the churches they have planted in other cities around the planet would have far more attendees than the Australian ones.

Their size has meant that they get attention that other churches don’t.  Just last year one of the tabloid TV shows in Australia gave them a thorough going over which I’m sure was not welcome.

During 2011 my church, of which I was on the eldership, engaged in discussions with Hillsong about the possibility of becoming a campus of theirs.  In the end it did not eventuate but it was interesting to spend more time with some of their key people.

What people tend to notice about Hillsong is the slickness of their production, the excellence of their music and the fact that they appear to be tremendously well resourced.  All of which is true, as far as I can tell.  But what are they like as people?  Is the reality as impressive as the music?

One of my fellow elders completely hit the nail on the head when he described what we liked about them.  He said, “it’s not what they do, it’s who they are.” At the root of that church is people who genuinely serve, genuinely love and genuinely ooze Christian character.  They are very impressive to meet – not because they have a large facility, large conferences, etc.  They are impressive to meet because they make the time for people, they care about people and they want to bring Jesus to people who don’t know him.

In my opinion Hillsong Church is church that the devil is terrified of.  It is a church that has made an enormous impression on its local community, on the rest of the body of Christ in Australia and increasingly around the world.  Long may it continue.

John

April 25, 2013

A Miracle called Poppy

Poppy

Part 8 in a series on Pregnancy Loss

Finally after 4 months in hospital I was allowed to go home at 28 weeks gestation. I had been on bed rest the entire time and I had no muscle left in my lower back or legs. I would get puffed out very easily. I remember being really freaked driving home as I hadn’t been in a car for 4 months. I kept losing my equilibrium and I held on to the door handle for dear life.

For the next seven weeks I started to buy my first baby stuff and prepare the nest. I would constantly head out to the shops and find I’d over done it. My head and heart were so excited and willing to walk a thousand miles but my body would give me a couple of hundred metres and shut down. I would tire so quickly and be stranded at Ikea, the supermarket or Pumpkin Patch. I would have to sit down and rest for an hour before I could get up and make my way home.

I was thrilled to be home with John and we loved being together again. I think the first night home I bawled my eyes out I was so happy. Two amazing women, who were professional painters, offered to paint our rented unit (for free) while I was hospitalised. Our tired little East Melbourne unit felt like a million dollars freshly painted. I was so grateful for their thoughtful and selfless act.

I would continue to go the hospital, sometimes twice a week for monitoring and ultrasounds but we were out of the danger zone and every day was a bonus. At 33 –  34 weeks I had some protein show up in my urine. After the results of a 24 hour urine collection were processed I was diagnosed with Pre eclampsia and a quick and decisive move was made by the Head of Obstetrics, Prof Permezel, and I was booked in for an emergency caesarean section. When a pregnancy is complicated by pre eclampsia, the baby may grow more slowly than normal in the womb or suffer a potentially harmful oxygen deficiency. Occasionally, pre eclampsia can lead to convulsions (fits), a serious complication known as eclampsia.

Little Poppy Lee was born safely on a beautiful day in November, 2006. Unfortunately the timing caused me to miss a very special day – my only brothers wedding. Sorry Bro – xo. Upon arrival Poppy was sent straight to the NICU (Neo natal Intensive Care Unit) as she was 5 weeks premature. She weighed 2 ½ kilos or 5.1 lbs. She was so tiny. She was to spend a further 3 weeks in hospital herself putting on weight and learning how to suck, breath and swallow. It was so hard to finally have a live baby and not be able to bring her home. I would phone the hospital constantly throughout the night as I got up to express milk. I would leave early in the morning for the hospital and John would come at lunch time and we would both go home somewhere between 7 -8 pm. One of the nurses used to remark how Poppy would sleep so soundly and not make a noise from the time I left in the evening until I arrived the next morning. Apparently as I made my way down the NICU to her bed she would hear my voice as I said hello to other mums and nurses and by time I reached her bedside she would be awake. Poppy had a nasal gastric tube which helped her to drink milk. She hated it and tried to pull it out constantly. I hated it too as you could see how much it annoyed her but she just couldn’t take in enough milk orally and we would have to feed her through her nose. They told us that when she could take enough milk through her mouth she could go home. I willed that little baby to drink more – I just wanted her home with me.

After 3 long weeks Poppy graduated the NICU and we took her home. I was so nervous to have the responsibility of her life in my hands. She adapted to her new world quickly and we bonded as a family. I thank God for my daughter all the time. I am so very grateful for her life and I will never forget the peace, comfort and promises that God gave me to this day. While we would love to have another baby the complications for me and that baby are too great. I underwent surgery to have my tubes tied but I stopped breathing and the surgery was abandoned. John took one for the team and had a vasectomy so another is not possible unless God does a miracle.

When I started this series on Pregnancy Loss I had no idea I would pen some 8,000 words. Some of the posts in this series have been amongst my most well read so thank you for coming on this sad but miraculous journey with me. Your comments strengthened and encouraged me to keep going and I certainly would not have written one post after the other without them. I feel there is a deep need for woman to share their pain, grief and hope as they lay some babies down to rest but give birth to some true miracles. I understand that this is very difficult and not for everyone but for those that can – please tell your story.

Over and Out.

Catherine xoxo

April 23, 2013

A Culture of Training

trainingOne of the least quoted and least understood things that Jesus said is this, “he who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” (Lk 6:40)  The context of the passage is Jesus making it clear that people should avoid bad teachers, such as the Pharisees, and embrace and become like a good teacher – himself.

One of the things that I am determined to develop when we plant our church is a culture of training.  At our church I want to ensure that every person who serves in any sort of leadership role will be properly trained for that role.  They will get ongoing feedback and support.  They will get the developmental opportunities.  They will get all that they need to realise their full potential.

Part of the desire that I have to implement this comes from my own experience.  I have done 3 and half years of bible college, I have worked on a church staff, I have been on a church eldership, I have sat in church services, small group meetings and various church programs for about 25 years.  I’ve seen plenty, I’ve done plenty and I’ve been taught plenty.  What it has brought home to me is that the most effective way to train someone is to mentor them through ongoing ministry supervision, feedback and teaching.   I had that for the period 1993 to 1996 inclusive from my youth pastor Tim Hawkins.  What Tim put into me in terms of relationship, supervision and feedback far exceeds all the lectures that I went to at bible college.

Take preaching, for example.  I actually went to 2 different bible colleges so I took homiletics twice (homiletics is the academic name for preaching).  Yet 90% of what I know about preaching comes from how Tim trained me.  Over those years he gave me feedback and on the job training that moulded me into the preacher that I am today.  I know about the different kinds of sermon not so much because a lecturer explained them to me but because Tim trained me.  He modelled preaching to me, he reviewed by draft messages, he worked on the things that I needed to improve.  He encouraged me, gave me a boost when I needed it and defended me when others criticised.  And he did it for several years in a row.

That sort of mentoring is powerful.  What a pity it is so rare.

Think about it – when Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost who do you think he preached like?  Who had he been watching for the previous 3 years?  Who had sent him out to preach?  Training is what Jesus did.  Jesus trained his 12 disciples.  He had mixed success – which I think that we can agree was due to the quality of the disciples and not the training.  But training his closest followers was the main focus of his ministry.

By the grace of God Catherine and I will fully train the people that God puts around us.  Can’t wait.

John

April 17, 2013

First Year Features

first-anniversary1Having felt called by God to plant a church since June last year I have read widely about church planting.  There are numerous books about church planting, and many of them are excellent.  They almost all talk about the principles of church planting – they don’t want to say “you have to do it like this…” but try to say, “this is the principle – apply it to your circumstances.”  I appreciate that approach, but at some point someone has to get practical.

I have found one and only one practical book about church planting.  It’s called Launch and is written by Nelson Searcy, a church planter in New York City 10 years ago.  We have found it very helpful.  One of the things that I have appreciated the most about it is his emphasis on not doing too much too soon – that is walking before you run.

Like any living thing, a church has various systems within it.  I can vaguely recall a high school teacher telling my class that the human body has a respiratory system, a reproductive system, a circulatory system, and so on.  Of course organisations also have systems within them – accounts, human resources, management, and so on.

Searcy says that there are some systems that need to be in place straight away, and some that can be developed later rather than sooner.  He gives 8 systems that you need to have in place by the end of your first year.  They are:

  1. Sunday services;
  2. Evangelism and assimilation;
  3. Website;
  4. Baptism;
  5. Church database and record keeping procedures;
  6. Accounting;
  7. Corporate / legal structure;
  8. Leadership Development.

Everything else can wait.  In fact if you try to do much more you run the risk of overextending yourself.  But those are the things that need to be done during year one.  When I read that it was such a relief to get an indication of what is highest priority and what is not.  I thought, “We can do that”.

I realised that there are even systems within systems.  So I broke “Sunday services” down into:

  • Bible teaching
  • Music
  • Children’s Church
  • Ushering
  • Communion
  • Salvation counselling
  • Prayer ministry
  • Set up and pack up

The idea is that focussing on making those systems excellent is much more fruitful than adding new systems and programs that the church might not be ready for.

So when Catherine and I start our new church our first year will be all about establishing these systems.  It will be about getting them working, and then getting them working well.  People will come to us and say things like, “We should have a (insert good idea) ministry.”  They will be right in the sense that there is probably merit in starting this or that ministry.  But the crucial issue is timing.  The last thing that you want to do is overextend the church by running too many programs too soon.

Then, just so I would not miss the message, I was having a look on Rick Warren’s blog the other day, and his most recent article was headed, “Church Planters: 5 Steps to Take but Take Them Slow”.   His conclusion is, “I can show you how to grow a great church – but I can’t show you how to do it quickly!  It takes time.  Your church won’t be built overnight.”

We are going to Halifax to build a great church.  Slowly.

John

April 16, 2013

Four Months in the Mercy Hospital

imagesCAVBU7DKPart 7 in a Series on Pregnancy Loss

We found out we were pregnant with our fourth child at the beginning of 2006. We had previously delivered three baby boys mid-term. None of them survived their premature arrival.  We had a significant break from having babies but after some very helpful counselling we ceased using contraception and I fell pregnant very quickly. The pregnancy test was performed in the public toilets in the Richmond Plaza just outside the supermarket. I had felt a bit queasy and could only have been about four weeks pregnant. John and I caught the tram down to the supermarket, bought the test and I quickly ducked into the public toilets right there.  I was very shocked to see two lines indicating I was pregnant. I shouted through the doors to John outside ‘I’m pregnant”. I had the weirdest feeling of complete joy but immense fear and trepidation.

As with the other three pregnancies I started vomiting violently at 6 weeks. One interesting difference came at about 10 weeks. One night I was in bed at about 8pm, tired and worn out already. I was praying that we would have a baby girl as Girls are stronger at birth than boys and I suspected the baby would come prematurely.  I was also praying for a girl’s name as John and I never agreed on one single girl’s name during the other three pregnancies. He liked Veronica and Victoria and I loved names ending in a ‘y’ like Ruby and Holly. As I prayed for a girl’s name God spoke to me so clearly. He said to me ‘her name will be Poppy’. So many thoughts went through my head at once. ‘I’m having a girl, I love that name and what does the name Poppy mean?’ I yelled from the bedroom to John – do you like the name Poppy? He yelled yes. I yelled  ‘Look up what it means on the computer.’ God spoke to me again. He said that his meaning for her name was ‘she’ll be a sweet fragrance to who ever she meets’. The name Poppy just means the flower. It’s fragrance is said to be very beautiful but so subtle they’ve never been able to perfume it.

At 12 weeks I was hospitalised to have my cervix sown shut. From the surgical ward I was transferred to the ante-natal ward where I was to live for the next four months. Life in hospital was routine, boring and testing. I must admit it wasn’t a place of rest. The doctors would do their rounds early in the morning. John would arrive about 7 am and then leave by 8 am to catch train into the city to work. I would see him again at about 5.45 pm. There were two beds in my room and I had a wide variety of  interesting roommates come and go but there were four of us that were long timers that ‘did life’ together in this little ante natal subculture. While we don’t catch up a lot now that time was very special because of them. We nicknamed our little quartet the Mercy Mum’s after the name of the hospital. I think for the most part we kept each other sane.

I had an ultrasound every week to make sure my cervix was staying closed. Every night I would put my hands on my belly and pray for the safe arrival of my daughter. At 18 weeks I had the ultrasound that determines the sex. The technician asked me if I would like to hazard a guess as to the sex. I said emphatically ‘I don’t need you to tell me as I know I am having a girl’. She said ‘I’m not even that sure’. I said ‘I know 100 percent that I am having a girl because God told me’. She was very annoyed and when she determined the sex she said through gritted teeth ‘there is a 70 percent chance that you’re having a girl’.

I was the longest of the all the ‘long-termers’ that came on to the ante-natal ward.  Being an extrovert I enjoyed the turnover of roommates but why did they always arrive in the room between 2 and 3 am? The nurses would turn on the massive overhead lights and they would make no attempt to speak quietly. Often the patient was scared and in distress. I never got used it. And sometimes I never even got to meet them. They would buzz for the nurse at around 6 am and when the nurse arrived they would have this whispered conversation and before I knew it they would be wheeled out of the room. I assumed they were going to have their baby but one day the head nurse came and told me the reason. I snored so loud that they couldn’t sleep! I warned my roommates to invest in some ear plugs and had a pair on hand for the late arrival.

The most difficult thing of all was the separation from John. From the moment I got pregnant I was so sick that sex was the last thing on my mind and after I had the surgery we were no longer allowed to be intimate. On the rare occasions that I didn’t have a roommate we would pull the curtain around the bed, shut the door to the room and have naked cuddles. It was difficult to relax and the bed was so narrow that we could hardly fit but we were so desperate for some intimacy we did this as often as we could.

One of the highlights of my hospital live in was when one of the Pastors from church came in and prayed with me. He brought the elements of communion with him and I was overwhelmed with emotion as we celebrated the love of God together.  At the time I had one of the ‘Mercy mums’ in the room who was also a Christian. It was such a thoughtful and touching gesture that really left a beautiful mark on me. I missed my church family greatly and even though there was a chapel in the hospital I was not allowed to sit on a chair for a long time.  I had to stay lying down for most of my day and I never attended a service. I did spend a lot of time talking to the hospital Chaplin as I still grappled with many residual emotions and fears from the former three pregnancies. She had a multi-denominational faith – as I understood it – and really didn’t have any underlying love for Jesus. Nevertheless I enjoyed her company and she always stimulated my thinking.

I was fascinated by the high-profile lesbian couple that were my roommates for a week. We were worlds apart in thought, ideology and theology but we both thoroughly enjoyed having these big chats that they always ended in a greater understanding of the other. The funniest thing was that she snored louder than me. She had been transferred into my room after receiving a snoring complaint from her former roommate. The hospital in its infinite wisdom decided to put us together. I can’t imagine what we both sounded like chain sawing logs at night. We laughed together at our mutual disability and came up with a plan so we could both get some sleep. Because I was a light sleeper I couldn’t get to sleep if she was snoring – so she would have nap in the afternoon and then in the evening I would go to bed first with ear plugs in. Being a heavy sleeper she could get to sleep even if I was snoring. We made it work – we had to!

The biggest ongoing issue was the hospital food. Toward the end I could barely stomach it. Having had 3 prior stints in hospital with the other babies I knew what I was in for. I organised a ‘food roster’ and had an army of people bringing in 2-3 outside meals a week into the hospital. They saved my taste buds! Thank you! I had a small fridge in my room which was always stuffed with yummy food. John would also do a little grocery shop on the weekends. I craved cheese and bacon rolls, chicken dim-sims from the cafeteria downstairs and cold juicy watermelon. Unfortunately I had to see the dietician every week who frowned on any weight gain. She even got upset when I had some birthday cake on my special day. I hated her visits and the dreaded the scales she bought with her.

The two biggest essentials to living in the hospital are  TV and visitors. Some people refuse to pay the $5.95 a day for TV. We never even considered it. I love TV and I watched hours of it every day. I never missed Dr Phil but since coming home I’ve never watched it again. It seems I got my ‘fill’ of “Dr Phil”. I loved visitors especially cheeky ones who would sneak pizza in or hide in my room well after visiting hours often pretending to be a family member. They made me laugh and cry and for the time they were there I felt like a normal person rather than a medical prisoner.  Thank you to everyone who came and visited – it was always appreciated.

Wow…I didn’t realise I had this much to write about my stay in the Mercy hospital  but then I remember I did live in this little subculture for four months of my life! #How did I do it?

Over and Out,

Catherine xoxo

Catherine

April 10, 2013

Our Next 12 Months

church plantingOver recent weeks we have shared about our call and our vision to plant a church in Halifax, West Yorkshire, in the UK.  You can read about our call in general here and about the name of our congregation, Northern Lights Church, here.  So practically, how do you go about planting a church?  In this post we will explain how our plans currently shape up.

Late July and August: 

We plan to leave Australia on 30 July.  After arriving in Halifax, we will find a place to live and look for part-time work.  Our thought with work is that we think it would be asking a baby church too much to be the only source of income for our family.  However if we have full time jobs then there simply won’t be enough hours available to give to the church.  So we plan to get part time jobs and also draw a part time wage from the church.  We imagine that the fund raising we do in Australia will allow us to accomplish that.  Also in August we will enrol Poppy at school, visit friends in Southport, UK, and hopefully find 2 weeks or so to go over to Canada for a holiday.

September: 

Poppy starts school.  We will begin searching for a suitable venue for the church to meet.  We will meet with as many people in and around the town as possible.  We will begin to raise awareness in the community of our presence, our name and what are going to be doing.  We will lodge our application for registration with the UK Charities Commission.

October: 

We will continue to raise awareness, and prepare for our first preview service.  A preview service is a dress rehearsal.  We plan to have three preview services each a month apart.  They will be in mid November, mid December and mid January.  In October we will also put time into the church website and getting a database in place, and finding some musicians who can help us in the early days.

November:

In mid November we will hold our first preview service.  Even though it is a dry run it works better with a crowd, so we will give it plenty of publicity and will collect the details of the people who attend.  In the days and weeks after the service we will make contact with the people who attended and see how many would like to be part of our launch team.  We will continue to raise our profile in the community.

December: 

In mid December we will hold our second preview service.  Afterwards we will continue to follow people up, build the launch team, and evaluate the service.

January 2014:

In mid January we will hold our third and final preview service.  As with the others we will follow people up, build the launch team, and evaluate the service.  We will increase our publicity efforts in the run in to the launch in February.

February 2014:

On February 9 or 16 we will have our official launch.  With as much publicity as is humanly possible we will commence weekly Sunday services.  We are aiming for a blaze of glory to begin with!  God has already given us the passage to preach from that day (1 John 1).  We will continue to evaluate everything that we do, and begin to identify some of the people that are already Christians who have leadership potential and put time into them to see what their gifts and callings are.

Remainder of 2014:

We will keep our focus on having consistently excellent Sunday services.  Other programs will be developed as the years go by, but they will not be the focus during 2014.  The priority will be the standard of the Sunday meetings and developing the other systems that are priority in our first year.  More about those systems in my next post!

Being a lawyer I will end with a disclaimer – there is plenty of scope for these plans to change!  We are going to a 2 day church planting course with the CRC on Friday 18 and Saturday 19 April.  We are hoping to get a lot of great ideas at that time, as well as meet other church planters so iron can sharpen iron!

John & Catherine

April 3, 2013

End Times Series #2 – The Millennium

imagesCA33A6SHEnd Times theology is controversial.  As a consequence many Christian churches shy away from teaching about it.  This is unfortunate, because many Christians are rightly interested in it.  They therefore get informed about it some other way, and that is very hit and miss.

In this series I’m addressing many of the main issues and giving a super brief overview of the standard reformed view of these doctrines.  You can read the series introduction here and Part 1 on the Rapture here.

One of the big ideas in End Times theology is the millennium.  This is really strange because there is only one bible passage that even mentions a millennium!  So let’s have a look at some of the highlights of Revelation 20:1-10:

And I saw an angel…He seized the dragon…or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.  He threw him into the Abyss…to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended…I saw…the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus…They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years…When the thousand years are over, Satan…will go out to deceive the nations…And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur…(to) be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

So let’s start with the obvious things that can be said about this passage:

Firstly, it is a very exciting picture of the end of Satan.  And his end is clear – he is destroyed.

Secondly, it is clear that God rewards those who give their life for Him.

Thirdly, it talks about a long period of time.  One thousand years.

So is this a literal 1000 years or not?  Revelation is a book full of symbols.  It is a style of literature that heavily uses symbols – that’s the whole point.  Oftentimes it even says what the symbols are (eg the seven lamp stands are the 7 churches – 1:20; the bowls of incense are the prayers of the saints – 5:8; the New Jerusalem is the church – 22:9-10).  I find it quite baffling that surrounded with symbols so many Christians would think that John is talking of an actual 1000 years.  I believe he is using 1000 years as a symbol of a long time.  It is not a literal 1000 years.

I believe that one of the main points that the author, John, is making is that people who lose their life for Christ are greatly rewarded for their sacrifice.  That would be a source of great consolation to John’s first readers who lived in a time of persecution.  One of the things that I strongly dislike about some views of this passage is that by placing all of these events far into the future (for John’s first readers) it offers no comfort for them.  I do not think that was John’s intention.  I think he wanted to offer his first century readers great hope for the future.  Verses 4 to 6 do this in a truly powerful way.

The upshot is that I think this passage speaks of a long period where those who have lost their life for Christ are with him, and where the truth goes forth and has an impact all over the world.  Which sounds a bit like what has been happening ever since the church started at Pentecost.  Indeed most Christians over the centuries have understood this passage to refer to right now – the current church age.

So let me make it clear – I believe that Revelation 20 is a picture of this church age.  John wrote it to encourage believers who were being persecuted and even killed for their faith in the first century.  That’s not a radical idea – it is actually what most Christians – Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox – have believed for most of church history.

John

April 3, 2013

Undoing a Psychological Knot

Untying a knotPart 6 in a Series on Pregnancy Loss

After we delivered our third dead baby, Drew John Warren, we just stopped trying to have babies. I went down to the local GP and got an injection for the contraception Deprovera which lasts for three months. We just couldn’t suffer  another loss. We had no emotional resources left. We discussed the possibility of stopping completely but we decided wisely that in our current state of mind we shouldn’t make any big decisions. We recognised how depleted we were and gave ourselves a break from pregnancy. My body couldn’t physically go through another so quickly again. My gag reflex was so overactive because of all the vomiting that when John was describing the smell of the local dump to me I almost vomited because of the thought rather than the actual smell.

We lived, we laughed and we loved but in many ways we were just going through the motions of life. We would have these stilted conversations about having another baby which would just peter off as soon as anything  that felt remotely like a decision was discussed. We considered some options such as surrogacy.  At the time it was illegal in all states of Australia. I just looked up Wikipedia and things have changed somewhat (legally) in this area but the issues with it are still complicated and we really didn’t want to go down that road.  I was 36 years old at the time and my clock my ticking very loudly so time felt like an issue. We seemed to just go back and forth. One week I’d been keen to ‘try again’ and John would be like ‘hold on a minute.’ And then a week  later John would be like ‘I wonder if we should give it one more go’ and I’d be like ‘hold your horses buddy’. After 8 months of futile conversation where we switched teams repeatedly we decided to get some professional help us undo the mess we had gotten ourselves into.

We saw a brilliant psychologist who helped us so much. Victoria was an older woman who was wise, understanding and knowledgeable. She listened to our long, pitiful story and had great insight into different issues.  We experienced great healing while seeing her and she was also able to help us come to a decision about whether to go again. She gave us some homework at the end of a session 3. She asked ‘What does having a child mean to you and your life?’ I remember John and I discussed the concept of children being ‘an inheritance’. Before I started losing babies I had been an avid scrap booker completing at least 6 albums but after I lost the babies I just stopped. Who would I give them to? I realised that ‘no one would want them when I died.’ Children are an inheritance. They physically carry your DNA, your history, your life and your spirit. Part of you is part of them. They are a living document that is left behind long after you’re gone. They are a voice that will remember who you were years after your death. We realised then that if we didn’t or couldn’t have a child we would have to create another type of inheritance. A ministry, a church – something that would last beyond our life and bless people for generations.

John and I are fairly decisive people and we asked Victoria about why we kept going back and forth both changing our mind a number of times. She said ‘it’s not safe’ for you to make a decision. No decision means no pregnancy and that feels safe to you both. She said ‘when one of you starts to move toward agreeing with the other there is an instinctive reaction that causes the other to take up the other position because you don’t feel safe coming into agreement because an agreement could mean another  pregnancy and you don’t feel safe or strong enough to go through another right now.’ That was so insightful and helpful.

When the time came she also helped us come to the realisation that we were willing to try one more time. She posed the question, “On a scale of 1-10 what number best represents your feelings about having another pregnancy?” I think I said 6 1/2 and John said 6. While they weren’t enthusiastic scores they were in the positive and that put us on the same page at the same time. So after a year long break we decided to have one more try. Either way we determined we only had one more pregnancy left in us.

Over and Out,

Catherine xoxo

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