For 17 Years we prayed and believed that 1 day we’d conceive & GOD ANSWERED!


For 17 Years we prayed and believed that 1 day we’d conceive & GOD ANSWERED #MiraclesDoHappen 

As of Last Friday we are 18 Weeks pregnant!  

.                                           
.                                             

OUR JOURNEY TO CONCEIVE, CARRY & BARE A CHILD                                                                                                             

If you have follwed my blog or know me personally you know that I have always wanted to be a mom and to have a symbol of my husband and my love for God and each other displayed through our children.  However until now we have gone through a roller coaster of trials and tribulations and challenges to get us to the place we are to day.

In 2014, in a moment of desperation I cried out to the Lord and said l, “God I don’t want to continue to believe for something that isn’t going to ever happen. I need a sign that one day I will conceive, carry & and bare a child.” At that point, I had not had a menstrual cycle in 6 months, meaning I didn’t ovulate. 3 days later I got my period then for the next 4 years I had like clock work I’ve had it consistently on time like clockwork. That never happened in my entire life. So that began as my fleece and sign that I held on to as well as other confirmations along the way. #GodKisses
.                                           
.                                             
In October 2017, After 4 years had passed we decided to try IVF and thought maybe this is how God is going to make it finally happen for us. Then In December 2017, I was diagnosed with “endometrioid adenocarcinoma figo grade 1” - uterine cancer. 2 oncologist advised me to get a hysterectomy, due to my previous history with breast cancer in 2007. However, as you know doing so would have eliminated my deep desire and promise I had been standing on to ever conceiving a child. I found a doctor who was willing to try placing a IUD to treat the uterus directly. 
.                                             
.                                              
In the meantime, I also immediately started #innerhealing to try to get to the root of why cancer was attacking my womanhood.  I began a journey to seek total healing - mind, body, and spirit.  I never in a million years thought I would have SO MUCH BREAKTHROUGH as I have had in that short amount of time. When I first started personal therapy with Robin Perry Braun, I thought I had already dealt with past hurts, family issues, and traumas but I knew there were unresolved things that were linked to me getting repeated cancer diagnoses. Robin helped me work through those things as I pursued healing and forgiveness of all the unresolved things in my past. I realized in the process that there was a definite link between thoughts (conscience and subconscience) and my overall health. Then began to work on taking care of myself instead of always taking care of others and the paradigm shift began even as I was walking through one of the most difficult seasons of my life.
.                                             
.                                             
Because of the uterine cancer diagnosis and finances we had no idea how this was going to happen. Then our Fertility Doctor told us about a program through Livestrong & Heartbeat that offered scholarships to cancer patients to assist the fertility drugs with preserving their chances to conceive. So we before we began treating the uterus with an IUD, we did our first IVF in February 2018 and created an embryo. However, when the genetic test came came back the embryo had missing chromosomes and extra chromosomes, which would have resulted in a miscarriage. We were devastated I cried for a week. 
Then IUD was placed.  Then the IUD came out during the next menstrual cycle, because it was so heavy.  
.                                             
.                                             
Then May 6, 2018, I had another surgery for this time it was for my parathyroid, which had grown to the size of an plumb and was causing a myriad on Issues.



.                                             
.                                              
On May 30, 2018, I went in for my 4 month biopsy follow up and the results came back negative #noSignsofCancer. Our Doctor said to us, "Now Go get pregnant, the best treatment for this kind of uterine cancer is getting pregnant! Come see me in 4 months"  Here's a 5-minute video of our sharing the results with our friends and family!



.                                             
.                                              
Then in July we tried another round of IVF but that resulted in no embryos. Then in October 2018, I had another biopsy, which again resulted in "no Signs of Cancer". Then In November 2018, we tried for our last round of IVF that resulted in an egg.. but it stalled out on day 5  and did not fertilize, so again we had no embryos and the Doctor told Erik that it appeared I may be in the early stages of menopause!!!! 
.                                             
.                                              

We went home disappointed and disillusioned and we gave up. We were utterly distraught, broken, and thought we were done and had completely given up on the idea that we would ever have a child... but God.... He had other plans instead... our story of becoming parents is just beginning.




Little did we know, two weeks after our devastating news, we apparently created this baby! It truly is a Miracle, 17 years we have been trying to conceive and then God steps in our place of despair and disappointment and creates this beautiful life! If I could tell you the amount of fears and struggles I have had since 2017 with the diagnosis of uterine cancer then 3 failed ivf's then we get pregnant naturally...
.                                             
.                                              
So in February 2019, I realized that I hadn't had a period since December and noticed some things that weren't normal for like  a month. I was feeling extremely nauseated and getting motion sickness every time I was in the car!  I asked Erik to go get the test that said Pregnant/Not Pregnant.  After 17 years of negative test, I thought at the time if I was pregnant I didn't want there to be any question that the test was positive! So I woke up at 4am, took the Test and waited for 3 minutes.......

I couldn't believe what my eyes were seeing, I said, "Oh My God Erik, It says Im Pregnant!" 

He was in bed half asleep in bed, said, "WHAT!!!!" 

He then Jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom to see, He was Like, "REALLY??? How accurate is this test???"  

I was like it says "99.8% Accurate, Go get your phone and take a picture in case it goes away. 



in 17 years of taking at home pregnancy test we have NEVER EVER seen a POSITIVE test result. I couldn't wait till 8AM came around so I could call my OBGYN to get an appointment to confirm, but she was booked and couldn't see me for a week! So I called and made an appointment with my Internal Medicine Doctor, who back in November prayed for me the sweetest prayer.  She ordered a blood test and 2 days later I came back I was PREGNANT!!! We were Amazed and Shocked and just Blown away at God's Faithfulness. Then a week later we went into to see the OBGYN and I had an ultrasound and we saw Baby A , heard their heart beating and shared the news with our immediate family and inner circle of friends that I was indeed 6.5 weeks pregnant!
.                                             
.                                             
Thank you God....The testimony of healing, wholeness, and growth in so many areas of my life that speak to the Grace and Faithfulness of God to get me where I am right now, who He created me to be, and what is to come in my future for my marriage, family, work, ministry... Erik and I are, so Richly Blessed!!! We are so grateful for the opportunity to finally become parents and train this child up to know and Love God and serve Him all the Days of their lives.
                                      
We have soooooooooooo many friends and family that we want to thank for being with us on this journey, praying for us through our pain and devastation,  believing God for us when we felt we had no faith left to believe that this dream would ever come to fruition. The words of encouragement and support over the course of our marriage, EACH ONE OF YOU, are all part of this testimony and the story we will one day tell our child when she/he grows up, EACH OF YOU are part of this child's legacy. and For that we thank you and pray God blesses you exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond whatever you ask or think!




During our process I created this Spotify Playlist  called "This is How I Fight My Battles" in my times of pain and feeling numb i would listen to this playlist and it really helped me  get into a place of mental victory.  If you are needing encouragement, strength, hope, peace the best advice I could give anyone is to Seek God, Get in His Presence, and pour out your heart on the altar in a place of worship. He will meet you where you are and heal you from the inside out!

The Change Perspective



I absolutely love the fall. I love the cooler temperatures that's relief from the texas sweltering heat. I love the changing colors of the trees and the eye candy that brings. I love getting to wear scarfs and getting to cuddle up with my husband to warm my feet. I love going to bonfires and cookouts and hay rides that comes with fall festivals.

On the flipside the fall marks a time of change, the old dying off in this season so the new can come bursting forth in the spring. It's the changing of the seasons the things that can be a mess for a time - especially having to rake up the dead leaves, then bag them up for the trash collector to retrieve. Change can be a lot of work and overwhelming at times...

I think we all can admit...sometimes change can be hard. REALLY HARD.

But I have come to the conclusion that it really boils down to how you look at the change.. truly it is a matter of your perspective.

What I have found to be the most beneficial when change is on the horizon whether it be in my family, my life, my work, my friendships, my dreams, my ministry, my giftings, my limitations when I don't understand the who, what, where, why, and how come... Is that I need to only focus on what I do know not on what I don't.

Ask the Lord what is His perspective about this situation/relationship? < THIS IS WHAT YOU KNOW

Then ask the Lord how do I align my perspective with His perspective? < THIS IS HOW YOU KNOW



So What Do I Know?

Most of the time I come to the realization that He is in Control and I am not and I just need to lay it all down and Focus my thought on Truth. Because focusing on the truth of God's word is what sets me free from worrying about what is going to happen, how it's going to happen, when it's going to happen. The agony of trying to figure out stuff and the anxiety and stress that develops in every area of my life is a manifestation of my Lack of Trust in God, and his plans for my life... Misery the only fruit that comes from worry which is a symptom of having a lack of trust and lack of faith in God's process, timing, perspective.




After Years and Years of struggling, when things happen that are out of my control... understanding almost everything i am not directly responsible for is out of my control...


  • I don't control other people
  • I don't control time
  • I don't control circumstance


The only thing I am in control of is how I respond to the change. Do I come up higher and look above the fray or do i stay low in the muck and whine and moan and cry about how horrible things are. While I cannot control all of the other things I can control my will, my thoughts and emotions and align them with truth. (Phil 4)

Knowing what you are called to - being a worshiper of Jesus, following his precepts, and walking in the fruits of the spirit - is what will keep your eyes on Jesus and in the process. 

Remember there is a Process to the Progress. 

So if it feels like things are moving along at a snails pace don't grow weary... you will get to the other side

If things feel like it is smooth sailing and then all of a sudden it feels like your whole world is crashing down around you... Jesus is there to bring peace and hope.

And like that oldies song written by Pete Seeger, sung by the Byrds that is based on Ecclesiastes...


LYRICS to TURN TURN TURN
To everything, turn, turn, turn.There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep.
To everything, turn, turn, turn. There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to build up, a time to break down. A time to dance, a time to mourn. A time to cast away stones. A time to gather stones together.
To everything, turn, turn, turn. There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven. A time of love, a time of hate. A time of war, a time of peace. A time you may embrace. A time to refrain from embracing.
To everything, turn, turn, turn.There is a season, turn, turn, turn.
And a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to gain, a time to lose. A time to rend, a time to sew. A time for love, a time for hate. A time for peace, I swear it's not too late.


Remind yourself often that He has provided for your every need and He has put specific people in your life to help you get there. Those you have surrounded yourself with have helped your along the course to that Goal of getting to the other side of the shift.


  • Some have given me directions and resources
  • Some have taken time to show me what they have learned
  • Some have spoken truth when I needed to hear it
  • Some have prayed for me through what seemed was the darkest of hours and seasons of my life
  • Some have been there since day one
  • Some have come in and out at crucial times
  • Some have contributed for a short period of time and then never to be seen or heard from again


Value all of those people no matter if they were in my life for a minute, 5 days or 42 years. Everyone of them have contributed to make you into who you are today .

I know I am grateful all of those have contributed to who I am today.

Knowing that God works everything out in the end, I Promise!!! Does it ever look like I thought it would in the end... hardly... But most of the time it is so better than I could have ever imagined.

Don't keep dwelling on the shoulda, coulda, woulda's... Just lean into Jesus and press forward to your higher calling while declaring:


Crossing the Racial Divide Pt 1: The Pursuit of Racial Reconciliation



Since the Charlottesville attacks, at my church Upper Room Dallas our leadership has been discussing racial reconciliation and how we as followers of Christ should address the tensions in America inside and outside the church. It has been a powerful few weeks of teaching and getting the opportunity to hear candidly from our pastors as well as church leaders in the community and those in our congregation their perspectives, insights and life experiences as it relates to prejudices, bigotry, and racism.

I have grown up in Church my ENTIRE Life and I have NEVER EVER heard the topic of racial reconciliation spoken in Church. This is has been a prayer of my heart since my 20's and I am so blessed to be a part of a church who is willing to approach this topic with a desire to see healing, restoration and reconciliation in the body of Christ and in our community.

Growing up we attended predominantly caucasian churches with the exception of one when we lived in Fort Worth. My family was typically one of maybe 2 - 4 other families that were Hispanic in our tiny country town AG church. I am blessed to say that I have never experienced any prejudices and or bigoted attitudes towards me or my family because of our ethnicity in the churches i've attended.


In 1982, our family moved from Pennsylvania to Texas. I honestly had no clue I was different until I moved to Texas. I was bullied, made fun of, and treated horribly by other kids because i didnt look like them. 

I had never experienced such hatred and disdain and I was 7 years old. In Pennsylvania I wasnt treated any differently never received any type of bullying in school. I didn't understand why this was happening to me. I didnt understand why other kids were so mean to me. Then in the summer of 1983 we moved from the city to the country the bullying & teasing increased and was worse than in the city. I went home crying myself to sleep every night. 

It wasn't until I was in college that I realized most of this behavior was a result of systemic racism and prejudices towards Hispanics in the south.

In middle school I was made fun of and was told I was mexican, my mother is from central american country Honduras. In Texas, Mexicans were (an often still are) considered the lowest class of people. Maybe because of my name or because of my skin tone, I was being basically told that I don't matter or I am not valued because of my ethnicity. I tried to tell them I was white and I wasn't different then them, I even brought my baby pictures to school to prove to everyone I was Born White...They did not relent.





DISCOVERING MY OWN HIDDEN PREJUDICES

When I was sixteen I was volunteering as a candy striper at a local Ft Worth Hospital. I was informed, "You're still a wetback you family just swam further" after I told the 16 year old boy that I was not mexican because my family originated from Spain.

With the exception of that ignorant boy, the tone in which people would ask me, "Are you Mexican?" would quickly change when I inform them I was of Spanish descent.

This perpetual association built prejudices in me towards Mexicans and even my own Hispanic heritage.  I began to have a sense of superiority because my Great Grandparents were from Spain. I even decided I didn't like Mexican Food, as a form of protest.  I began to think since I wasn't Mexican I was better than them. In high school my friends gave me the nickname Estreitta "I'm Not A Mexican" Martin because of the continual question being asked of me and my response.

It took till I went to my Christian college in Minnesota for me to realized the prejudices I had towards Mexicans and my Hispanic Heritage. I repented for my mindset and began embracing who I was and my Hispanic roots. I even went from being called Es-tree-dah to Es-tray-ee-tah.

While most of the blatant prejudices have subsided in my adulthood.  After a ten year break from living in the midwest, I discovered there are more subtle forms of racism that I have seen since I moved back to Texas in 2004. Most of the ignorance is coupled with the fact that while many of the individual may be seemingly nice people, they have unfortunately been raised with a prejudice mindset and philosophy passed down generation after generation within a southern culture that perpetuates and degrades people of color.


DO YOU REMEMBER EVER SEEING THE DISNEY MOVIE "SONG OF THE SOUTH"?


There is a lot of controversy surrounding this movie because it:
  1. Downplays the tension around the reconstruction era
  2. Portrays former slaves as incoherent unintelligent buffoons
  3. It glorifies plantation life as something cheerful and pleasant 
This movie was released in 1946, 83 years after President Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation, 80 years after Jim Crow Laws were put in effect, and segregation was a way of life in the south.  It took about 20 more years afterwards till the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965 to become law of the Land that abolished the latter.

I actually have fond memories of this movie, I remember going to the movies to see as a 5 year old little girl when it was re-released in 1980. This movie is etched in my mind and when I recall it often and I see Uncle Remus walking down the cartoon path singing Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. We even bought a disney record that had this song on it and we would play all the time and sing along.

As a child you have no idea about any of these complex issues or the somewhat subliminal messaging that is being instilled and ingrained subtly.  (There are many other Disney movies that when you see them.)

I remember the first time I learned about Slavery was when we moved to Texas and I didn't understand why the kids were teasing me because I was a Yankee. I asked my mom why they were calling me that.  My mom told me about the civil war and how the Yankees defeated the Rebel forces that led to freedom of the slaves.

I was so heartbroken over this horrible history in our nation. Yet, I was proud to carry the label of a Yankee. Understanding fully at 7 years old that my being a Yankee meant that I was on the right side of history.  So when they teased me the next day I proudly declared, "Yes, I am a Yankee. At least, WE won the civil war! You are the losers."  They had no rebuttal.

TAKE THE FIRST STEP

This last Sunday at church two members with whom our pastor Michael Miller has been meeting and discussing the issue of racism regularly were asked to share their stories.  Very Eye Opening and once the message is made public I will add below.  At the end of the service there was a call for repentance and renouncing of mentalities that may have been unknowingly taught to us.

I encourage you to search your heart, mind and spirit. Seek the Lord for any roots of racism, bigotry, or prejudices towards a people group because of your upbringing, or the part of the country you grew up in or your parents and grandparents attitudes towards people of a different race or being a recipient of mistreatment from certain people groups because of your ethnicity. It is an eye opening experience, one that is terrifying and revealing but the outcome is totally worth it. 


Repentance & Renouncing Generational Racism, Bigotry & Prejudices is the first step to crossing the racial divide.


Here are some of the recent Messages that I HIGHLY Recommend:






A Different Warrior




I wrote this poem after taking a class at Northwestern College called Biblical Racial Reconciliation. I wrote it as part of my final paper for the class.My own experiences coupled with hearing stories of friends who experienced the same kind of injustices of racism and prejudices from all over the country branded me today with the desire to speak out and hold fast to pursue racial reconciliation in the communities i belong to inside and out side of the church:

A DIFFERENT WARRIOR

Written by I. Estreitta Martin (1999)


To change one's perspective
To know one's pain
To be a person that's differnt
Sometimes pay the price to feel a little bit the same

To sense what it was like, by walking in their shoes
For Family
To God
Their cries echoed
Through the night

The life they were allowed to live
There wasn't a lot of choices
They had no choice to make

All they knew was
One Day
Some Day
Even Any Day,
Freedom would be in sight

To hear their heart wailing for change
The barriers that seem to never Go AWAY
Knowing that this victory would not be done in vain

No matter if anyone else might try
Try to Stop
Stop the Truth they have to say

The warrior is crying within them to pursue this to the end
Something must be done
Something must stop this agony flowing through their veins
These issues are vital and but be made amend
Their Leader is the Almighty and His presence ultimately rules and reigns

No obstacle, nor distraction can hod back these warriors
Warriors ready to stand and fight
They do this in honor and acknowledgement for the One who is their Guide
To the One that empowers and and strengthens them
With Him before them, around them, and behind them
They will truly see and walk in his might
They will rise up against the enemy to fight
Suited up are these warriors of light
Their journey begins with roaring chants that God is on their side
Which will lead them to victory and the devil's final demise

They keep faith, and not loose hope
So God makes a way
Pulling out all the roots of bigotry, along with strife, hostility and shame
For they know that love, peace and joy will be the enemy's dismay

All dressed for battle holding the sword of righteousness
Cutting out all bondages of demonic strongholds that have plagued out society even to this day
Their mouths filled with truth to break the powers of darkness over the centuries of lies

Keeping the vision in their hearts and souls
Staying prepared
For the path that is rugged and steep
With the knowledge that there is much work ahead

This warrior of a different kind
To some may appear to be weak, inferior, insignicant
But this warrior is determined to pursue justice that he is called to defend
They have a Christ centered Message
With confidence
that ignorance, prejudice, and racism will finally come to an end

They keep moving forward
Pressing on til unity is positioned in it's rightful in place
Because when it does
Everyone will know
The Message will finally be heard of what needed to be said.






Close Encounters with A Smile



Check out the recent Talk Amongst Ourselves Podcast on this topic:

WHAT SMILING DOES FOR YOU


They say when you are having a stressful day to put a pen or pencil in you mouth horizontally because it makes your brain think you are smiling and alleviates stress.  I know it works because I have used this tactic during my college years when I would be studying for a test and I could feel a stress headache coming on.  

From what I understand, the messages a smile sends to the brain activates the pleasure & reward mechanisms and produces feelings of happiness, tranquility and comfort. Your body feels like it just won the lottery and ready to face what ever comes your way with positivity and focus.



WHAT SMILING DOES FOR OUR CULTURE


I have noticed over the course of my 41 years on this earth that the simplest kindest thing you could do for another person especially a stranger in passing is gaining eye contact with them then say hello (acknowledging their existence) with a smile (a gift with no expectations).



When I was in college at what is now known as University of Northwestern... This was part of the campus culture, an unspoken one, but whenever you'd pass by someone especially walking to and from class to the dorms you'd always say "Hey, how's it Going..." Or "Hello" with a smile, wether you knew that person or not. When I attended there we had under 2000 students attending so it was small enough to be close knit but yet as large as the small town in Texas I grew up in.

In the back roads of small country towns of Texas like I grew up in, there was a thing I noticed even at a 10 year old that was different from the east coast where I was born.  My father who grew up outside of Philadelphia, moved us to Texas so he could fulfill his life long dream of owning a farm in the southwest and become a cowboy.  seriously though.  My dad was the kind of guy that could talk to anyone anywhere at any time, there were no such things as strangers for Bill Martin.  I mean even wrong number calls my dad would engage with them and get to know them.

So as a little girl, my dad would take my mom, brother and I on Saturday drives and we would just drive drive drive all over the back roads between Azle, Decator, Weatherford, Peaster and Springtown just sightseeing listening to oldies music as we drove around in my Dad's pick up truck.  The thing I noticed is in Texas you would signal a driver that was coming from the opposite direction and you would raise your hand and wave with a smile.  When ever I go visit my family who still live in the area the drivers still do the same thing as they did 30 years ago.


WHAT SMILING DOES FOR OTHERS


A few weeks ago, I was walking inside a local QT to grab a drink and as an older black gentleman was walking out and I said, "Hello" and smiled at him. He immediately stopped dead in his tracks looked at me, Smiled and went back and grabbed the door.



It was a kewl moment where two strangers who will probably never cross paths again intersected for a moment and kindness was shared.  Smiles transcend cultural, religious, economic and racial differences and if more of us, Especially those who are believers in Jesus this should be part of the great commission. Smiling shares the Love of God, Smile offers compassion and understanding, Smiling offers Hope. A Smile doesn't judge it just lightens up a room.  And you really don't even need to say a word... Just Smile... The words will come as you step out in do it more.


The thing about smiling at a perfect stranger is that more often than not they will smile back at you.  I only once had someone give me a scowl when I smiled at him. It was an elderly man on a train in Germany. 



We were traveling to the airport with a huge group (36) of friends from church.  We Americans are a little more rambunctious than our German counter parts. We were singing and laughing and having a good time. 

Then I could feel these eyes staring at us and I looked at this Man right in the eyes and smiled.  You know this man who had a sour face just tightened up his scowl even more then when it was time for him to get off the train he got us shook his head and mumbled "Aüslander" which means foreigner and got off the train. 

So even if your smile gets rejected its still better to give one as you never know how that may impact on the person.  A Smile is the perfect gift we can give the world and it doesn't even cost us anything.  Yeah it might feel awkward at first, but just like with anything you have to step out and take the first step and the more you do it it becomes more natural and you don't even think about it.




Yesterday was World Smile Day, but I think everyday should be World Smile Day! Try to make an effort to smile at those you encounter you never know how profound that moment could be!