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Facing the Giants

It’s movie week over here in room A-5. With 8 ½ days left of school, everyone has pretty much given up. We have faced the giant TAKS test, the giant curriculum and the giant six weeks exams. WE are all tired at this point! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be enjoying my entire summer: 11 weeks, all 77 days to myself! I will not be working summer school this summer! My friend next door, my beloved teaching partner, lent me a movie, Facing the Giants. At first glance a football movie, but so much more! When she mentioned the writers of Fireproof and Courageous were the same as Facing the Giants, I was surprised! I had no idea that Sherwood Baptist Church had a movie prior to Fireproof. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. If you have, you know how powerful it is. As I sat behind my computer screen, I could feel my cheeks blushing with anxiety… class after class...feeling that all eyes were on me. You see, my students cannot comprehend why I don’t have children and when they realize it, they think about it. In their mind, it makes no sense. Children, to them, are things you have, not necessarily blessings you get from God. Every year starts off the same"

“Mrs. Castillo, how many kids you got?”


“Why? You’re like 30 something…how come?”

Those conversations usually turn into questions of

“Mrs. Castillo, how many kids you want?”

“As many as God blesses me with!”

A few weeks later the questions become, “When you want kids?”

“When ever God gives them to me but hopefully real soon…” is usually my answer!

They realize that I haven’t been able to have children and with some classes, I might tell them a bit of info, especially if they are persistent in asking. They are 16, so I think they are mature enough to understand. Few realize the gravity of the situation…they cannot possibly understand, they are children themselves. But towards the end of the year, the questions become statements of “Mrs. Castillo, I hope you have a baby- I want you to have a little girl! She would be so cute…etc” While we were watching the movie, in 4th period, I heard a whisper one day last week that I ignored ,"That's Mrs. Castillo." When they saw the pain and the struggle of the character on the movie, they got it. They could connect something. I ignored it but I was blushing. I felt a stare down as I put grades in at my computer.

As they mature, they realize that you don’t just have everything you want in life. Sometimes you don’t get what you think you have the right to have! Sometimes facing the giants in life means, that you end up stronger than you think you are… you end up fighting a battle that you didn’t think you were ever going to fight! You will always win when God is on your side. Winning does not mean that life ended up the way YOU wanted it to, but that you trust God enough to survive the storm. Over the last three days as I watched the movie six times in a row, I realized that I needed to hear it repetitively to understand that I am right where I need to be. Miracles will happen and maybe one will come my way. And if not, that is a miracle in itself because God has allowed me to suffer through my infertility--suffer for my friends, family, and loved ones. This movie, Facing the Giants has given me hope and most of all strength. Some might say that I wallow in my sorrow, but I say, until you are in my sorrow you cannot say what I do. I am a strong, faithful woman of God. I have more strength most days than I ever think I could have had. I am looking this giant straight in the face. I have been facing this giant for 2 1/2 years. Some have faced it longer. I am not backing down. I am not bending my sentences when people inquire about my marriage or "children." I am looking at those giants…I am telling them the truth. "I have an infertility problem" I will say. God will grant me the strength when I keep seeing those negative tests, when I keep writing those checks out to the doctor, or as I continue to give myself infertility medication, when I pray at the abortion clinic, or when someone else is pregnant and I am not. God has, and he will. Too many of my friends have had pregnancies when I dreamed of them, and I have survived and set aside my difficulty for their victory. Too many times I have put a smile on my face because that is how I wanted to feel.  I have written this prayer and find comfort in it. Hopefully, you or someone you know will too.

“God, guide me to my children and direct me to the path You want me to be on. Show me the way You want us to go about having children for You. Lead us to the doctors that will honor our decisions about fertility treatments and help them to heal me. Thank you for blessing us with the beautiful children we will have and the beautiful children you have placed in our life. Help us to raise them to have a fire for You."

One of the turning points in the movie is played with this song by Ana Laura. I am leaving it here for you in hopes that you  find comfort in it today.


What I've Learned

In my life, it seems that I have one experience or challenge after another. It seems that in the mire and the muck that I always to fall in I can’t understand how I will ever shine again. Miraculously there is a new me when I am washed off…a “brighter” me—figuratively and literally. So what have a learned?

I’ve learned that in some weird way, God puts the people we need right in front of our faces. There have been several times I have struggled with my infertility in the past 2 ½ years, and in that time God put people that struggled or are struggling in my face, it was just my job to be open enough to get to know them, because if I wouldn’t have, I would have never know they struggled too.

I’ve learned that sometimes people don’t understand you because they don’t want to change.

I’ve learned that a “good cry” and a “stomping of my feet” is okay, because God can handle it.

I’ve learned that when everyone else is too busy, my husband is always there, and he has a listening ear like no other.

I’ve learned that when I get frustrated at doing my job, to be thankful and say, “God, thank you for the job you have given me, and thank you for the job you will lead me to in the future.”

I’ve learned that is okay to not say everything that is inside of your heart, because when you open it up all of the way, you take too great of a chance with someone damaging your valuable, vulnerable, feelings. It’s okay to hold back a little, as long as you have a consistent healthy way of expression. One doesn’t need to put all of their trials on the clothes line.

I’ve learned that I shouldn’t ask God to be with me, but that I should be with God.

I’ve learned that I am smart enough to go back to school, and I really enjoy what I am pursuing.

I’ve learned that thanking God for our beautiful children, even before he blesses us, puts my total faith and trust in Him.

I’ve learned that nothing ever goes as planned for my life—and you know what, nothing goes as planned for anyone else’s, and that’s okay. God has something better planned.

I’ve learned that people who know me and love me will accept me and my husband, my family, our religion, and our life for what it is, and they are here to support us in our decisions and downfalls. If you aren’t present in my trials, don’t expect to be there in the triumphs.

I’ve learned that I am a pretty lucky person because I have two parents, that are still married and who raised me to be a conservative, young lady that makes good choices; parents that love me so much, they would just rather Cody and me live with them, instead of a 1.35 miles away.

I've learned that throwing the scale out of the window (literally) has allowed me to not be a slave to a number on the scale.

I’ve learned that no matter how many gymnastics moves I do, or medicines I take, or foods that I omit, I am not going to have a baby, until God wants me to. (Now, this doesn’t mean that I still don’t have days that I don’t get out of bed, but I know it to be true).

I’ve learned that eating is a temporary fix to my emotional holes.

I’ve learned that people will slander you, just to become friends with one of your friends, because they have no friends, and if that is what they want to build their relationship on, it’s okay. It speaks volumes about their character. If they want my friend that bad, and she believes their fallacies, they can have each other. I don’t need anyone to justify me as a person; I am strong enough with God and my husband. It still stings, but there are plenty of people in the word for me to pour my energy into, besides the drama type.

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how crazy my life gets, I am right where I need to be.