BLOG site of Amy R. Maxwell

I am the wife of B.J. Maxwell (married August of 1997) and mother of our four adopted children.
I am blessed with the awesome privilege to care for & love my husband, invest in & love our children, and keep our home.
May I steward these gifts well, for the glory and praise of Christ Jesus our precious Lord & Savior!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus . . . sweetest name I know!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

God IS Sufficient!

For the past 9+ years I have been struggling with endometriosis. This disease causes a lot of pain and sickness, and it also contributes to infertility. We have tried both hormonal and surgical therapy, but the endometriosis keeps coming back. Our last treatment option is having a hysterectomy.

We have struggled and prayed for many years on what we should do. The endometriosis has not attacked my body in any way that would threaten my life, but it has certainly affected my physical and mental health. We have always believed that if God wants to take this disease away, He can. And if He intends for us to become pregnant, He will do the work of opening my womb. This is such a small matter for our BIG God . . . So, we have tried to be patient and long-suffering, seeking and searching to know His will for our family and what He may be doing through this trial as He continues to perfect us into the image of Christ Jesus.

This past month has been an especially difficult month in dealing with the pain of my endometriosis. (Some months, or days, are better than others, so I praise God for those times that I do feel good!) We had seen my GYN doctor last July and knew that our treatment options were getting fewer and fewer; which meant that we were clearing the forest of practical helps and solutions, and the inevitable was just ahead – a hysterectomy. After leaving the doctor’s office last week, we were left to make the hardest decision of our life.

In my mind, having a hysterectomy seemed like the faith-less thing to do. After all, my life is not in any danger, it is just a matter of how much pain I can tolerate. I know without a doubt that God CAN heal me. I know without a doubt that God can open my womb and make us fertile (which is why we have not pursued fertility treatments.) So surely I can tolerate the pain until then. It just seemed that I would be throwing in the towel if I opted to have the hysterectomy. I have prayed for so many years for God to show His faithfulness by healing me. And especially as I have read His Word on how He opened so many closed wombs of godly women, I was encouraged to keep persevering and placing my hope in God (and not in medical “remedies”). But God has proven Himself greater than any of my thoughts and presumptions about Him this week. He has humbled me and brought me to a most important question . . . Is God sufficient for me?

I had always thought that God was sufficient for me. For 9+ years I had trusted that He would heal me and that He would be the one to open my womb. Isn’t that enough? But I realized this week that I have been focusing more on “the blessing” (the hope that God would open my womb) than the “Blesser”. Perhaps I can better explain it with this analogy:

It is like being stranded on a deserted island. You have hope that one day you will surely be rescued. However, since there seems to be no way off the island, you strive to find contentment there. But, there is always the lingering hope of being rescued. That hope then becomes your end goal and ultimate satisfaction – nothing would be greater than getting off that island. So, I guess in the back of my mind I always thought that God would surely heal me and open my womb one day. My hope had become the idea that someday God would bless us with a pregnancy, instead of my hope being that God is all I need. He is my end all, be all. God is sufficient for ALL my needs.

I can choose to rejoice in what He is doing in me now (to make me more like Christ) - or I can sit around feeling sorry for myself because I think my life should have turned out differently. The trial of infertility has tested my pride, my selfishness, my trust in the Lord, and where I place my treasures and my heart. Is God sufficient for me? Or do I need babies, cars, homes, good health, and a large bank account to find fulfillment in this life?

This also comes down to another question: Is God sovereign over all things? Yes! God is sovereign over sickness, infertility, AND hysterectomies. If we believe God’s Word to be true, than we can believe that we CAN count trials as joy, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance and that endurance perfects and matures us so that we are not lacking in anything (Js 1:2-4).

Is pursuing a hysterectomy faith-less, as I once believed? No. Is God sovereign over my endometriosis? Yes! Does He answer the prayers of the upright and direct their paths? Yes! He has not abandoned me, leaving me without hope. Nor is He punishing me for bad behavior. But rather, He is leading me, as He has done all along, down the path of His GLORIOUS will for our family. So, we pursue a hysterectomy in FAITH, believing that God is sufficient for us. Praise God that He has brought us out of the darkness of fear and uncertainty and into the light of JOY and PEACE!!

My hysterectomy is schedule for Monday, July 2. It will be a great blessing to no longer, Lord willing, be in pain from the endometriosis. However, the thought of never being able to bear children is a hard truth to wrap your heart and mind around. Indeed, this has been the most difficult decision that BJ and I have ever made. But, we are trusting in God to be our ultimate fulfillment and satisfaction. Our end goal and hope is not having my womb opened (or even adopting more children), but our end goal is giving up all earthly gains and counting them loss - so that we may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering . . . (Phil 3:10)

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.


Glenna Marshall said...

Christ has been much glorified in your life, dear sister! I am humbled by your words and yet greatly encouraged.

Much love to you! You know I will be praying for you often!


(I sent you an email with a longer response!) :)

Amy R. Maxwell said...

Thank you, dear sister! You are an encouragement to my soul and I praise God for the MANY ways He is using you for His kingdom work.

Connie said...

I found your blog by way of Glenna's.

I too have battled endo. (surgeries, medicine/hormone treatments, etc.) and understand all that you are pondering in light of God's sovereign plan for you.

Although my greatest desire was to bare children, after 19 years of marriage God blessed us with two beautiful daughters through international adoption.

It has not been the path I would have chosen, but it is definitely the path He designed and used to teach me more about Him and grow to love Him more because He causes all things to work together for good!

Praying for His continued grace and mercy to you and your family as you humbly follow and serve Him.

Amy R. Maxwell said...

Thank you, Connie, for your Christ-centered encouragement! God indeed has wonderful plans for each of us - even if it seems so very different than what we expected. I praise Him that HE is the one in control! We, too, have been blessed with a beautiful adopted daughter - something God pursued us with. I am so grateful - and humbled that God blessed us with this precious child. Blessings to you, dear sister!