I feel it in my bones. the darkness and sadness and hopelessness that can so easily creep in. I know what it’s like for after almost 5 years, and dozens of pregnancy tests later, to finally see a positive. I know what it’s like for that happiest-day-of-my-life news to turn to heartbreak and loss. It’s not something that’s all butterflies and roses, but it’s life. and this morning, I’m feeling that oh so frequent nudge to finally put it all out there, and share this story with you, my story. I pray as you read the words if you’ve been in this place too, you will feel comfort. I pray if you are still in this place [ like me], we can together feel hope. I have been praying for humility [thanks Haverlee] because this isn’t about me – it isn’t about me feeling known, but it’s hopefully for your freedom and restoration, and mine. Writing like this, in the middle of the mess, does indeed make me free. I’m scared to death as I type this, but I know that I’m called to be a bearer of light and to “charge the darkness” as Gary Haugen said in my She Reads Truth study this morning. This world of infertility can so easily be kept in the dark, so many of us can feel so alone and hopeless in it, but I am here today to tell you there is hope. Even in the pain, even in the middle of the mess, even when we aren’t “on the other side” yet.
Because there is ALWAYS HOPE.
here we go.
I”m not sure how or why, but one of the greatest days of my life was also met by one of the deepest pains and sorrow of my life. A moment, a day I had been dreaming of for 4+ years, getting pregnant. Well it happened! We were on our first try for IUI with our fertility doctor in Austin. This was after a few months of doing clomid, and after a laproscopic surgery in May. Anyway, the weekend we were going to get blood work done to see if I was in deed pregnant, we were spending the weekend at the lake with our best friends. We left the group that morning to go into town for our nieces birthday party, and had snuck off to get the blood work done there. After almost a full day of no word from the doctors office with the results, I did what any woman would do… I took it into my own hands.[oops] We were at the lake with all our kids, so it was easy enough for me to sneak out while everyone was cooking dinner to go into town to get a home pregnancy test. I hadn’t started my period yet + I had no symptoms. It had to be it! My adventure took me first to Walgreens, then to the convient store to wait the painful 3 minutes to see what that digital test said. Yes, I dipped that test into a baby bottle cap I had in my car and waited in the stall….“PREGNANT”!!!!
I had never in my life, in over probably 100 tests, seen a positive! It was a miracle! I took pictures, [yes selfies in the convenient store bathroom], and was freaking out!! It didn’t seem real. but the test was staring me in the face. pregnant. the moment I had dreamed up in my head for a looooong time was really happening! If you’ve been down the infertility road, you know very well that you dream of the day you find out. how you are going to tell your husband, your family + you dream of fun creative ways to share the exciting news. Well, a week or so before this weekend I was brushing my teeth in Stephen’s bathroom and it came to me: if we find out at the lake, I’ll go to the store and get a bottle of sparkling grape juice and a bottle of champagne, and propose a toast/tell our friends we have another reason to celebrate [we were celebrating Curtis 30 birthday!]! It was going to be perfect in my head, and now it was coming to fruition. I went straight to HEB, got the goods, and headed back to the house.
I snuck back in, helped put the babies down, and sat down for dinner with the adults. After a long dinner and birthday singing + dessert it was finally time for the toast! My sweet husband couldn’t hold it in, and he was the one that announced to our friends the news that after 5 years of trying to get pregnant, we were in fact preggo! There were cheers, excessive hugging and jumping up and down, laughter, tears, joy. It was everything I imagined. Alison was newly pregnant with the twins, and Shannon was about to pop with sweet Adalynn, and Laura is my “fertility counselor” so the girls spent the the rest of the night huddled around the kitchen talking baby names, nurseries, pregnancy apps, cravings, breast feeding, and the like. I was already dreaming and planning and loving the fact that I was pregnant. I might have even felt the next day like my tummy was pooching out a little and I loved every second of it.
As an adoptive mom, I struggled [and sometimes still do] with the lies that because I didn’t birth my kids, I wasn’t a “real mom”. That couldn’t be anything further from the truth, but it is sometimes hard when you are sitting around with the girls talking about pregnancy, birth stories, breast feeding, etc and I have not one thing to add to the conversation. That night, I finally felt like a part of the mama club. [side note: those of us who only have adopted kiddos, I think we have so many stories that while they are not similar, they are similar. we went through the "paper pregnancy", and all the trimesters of waiting for approval, court, embassy, and then finally the celebration of coming home! That's why I think it's so important to have friends who have also adopted, so we can share those stories! and I'm trying to be more brave to just hop in there and share my "birth" stories] I digress….
as you can imagine, we couldn’t keep this news to ourselves, especially since we just told our best friends. the ones who had walked through 4+ years of this journey with us. we made the 3 hour detour to drive to Waco to tell my parents. I tried to sneak around babies r us and HEB to get pink + blue balloons and goodies to surprise them with at their door. They were taking a Sunday afternoon nap when we knocked on the door with balloons clipped to Camp + Asher’s shirts. They were thrilled to say the least. My mom might have cried a little, and we not soon after called the aunties to tell them the news. My family has been through everything with me, they are my people, my tribe, my village. It was an amazing day of sharing such long awaited news with them! then of coarse, we had to drive to San Angelo to tell Stephen’s mom and there were more tears, hugs, and excitement.
there is a part 2 to this post. the part I told you about before that includes loss and heartbreak. while this post took me awhile to make myself write [it was very painful, but necessary for my healing], the next post only took a few sessions with my laptop and bible. I hope you come back and read it, because although it’s hard, it’s about what the sweet Lord is teaching me about grieving, healing, and hope. and as always, if you want to talk, please email me: email@example.com I want you to know there is a small army of other women who are walking this road that want to pray for you, stand with you, and love you. reach out, we are here.
let me just start by saying this…
I never thought, nor did I ever dream, of being “the infertility girl”.
I don’t think any of us who are suffering through infertility, and openly sharing our hearts and stories online, or in ministry ever did.
but alas, here I am. and honestly, it’s an honor.
to share my life, my struggles, and joy, my hopes and disappointments all in the middle of the journey.
I read on Haverlee’s blog this weekend, her open up and share her struggles about being separated with her husband in a post called, “trial by fire”.
I’ve found that people can fairly easily talk about those rough patches once they’re back on smooth ground. But I don’t hear people talking about it when they’re stuck in the middle; at least not outside their trusted circle of family and friends. But you know what’s even harder than walking through the toughest time in my life? Pretending I’m not. I can’t and I won’t. I will not put on a mask of perfection when my heart is aching on the best days and feels like it’s being ripped in two on the worst days. I sometimes want to hang a sign around my neck that says, “Tread lightly. Broken heart inside.”
People often tell me I’m brave for sharing my story. I don’t feel brave. I feel free. I’m free of guilt and shame. I’m free of worrying about any sort of reputation that I may or may not have. Freedom in Christ is so very real in my life. And the more I talk, the more my story is in the light and able to be used for His glory. I want others to experience that same freedom. The sin in my past is ugly. But God is already redeeming it and I think I’ve only seen a fraction of the redemption to come.
even though we are going through different struggles, I want to say a big YES and AMEN to her words.
I feel also, like God has asked me to share “in the middle” of this yucky journey of infertility. it’s not pretty, y’all, but I do believe that God can use it for His glory. for redemption.
so head over to Francies blog
to read my guest post on her “marriage monday”, and then come back here later this week. tomorrow is my hubby’s birthday, but after that I plan to share more about the journey that’s led us to where we are.
it’s scary, but like Haverlee, it makes me FREE
. and I hope that my freedom brings YOU freedom. we don’t have to be ashamed here, sisters. see you soon.
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set my free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me” Psalm 118:5-7
Facts are facts until there is a face, name and story to them. I’ve experienced this first hand the past few years as God has opened our eyes to see hurting people all over the world. There are hurting people in our neighborhood, in our churches, and in the third world country I’m currently visiting. We all have a story to tell, and everyone’s story is important. It doesn’t matter if we were born in Waco, Texas or Kigali, Rwanda. You matter, we matter. Your story and your life matters and your story is just waiting to be told. I’ve seen so much brokenness and pain the past few days, but I’ve also seen the other side of that pain – I’ve seen hope! Getting to know our Noonday seamstresses and IJM clients, I’ve seen restoration in progress, and I’ve seen the broken parts of peoples lives being turned into something beautiful. It’s my prayer that this week, you can see too. Even if you never get the opportunity to visit beautiful Rwanda, that you could see it through my lens.
This week, my heart has been stirred towards eradicating the everyday violence that is relentlessly threatening the poor. Everyday violence can mean anything from rape, trafficking, to police violence. As Gary Haugen writes in his latest book, The Locust Effect, “everyday violence is devastating the developing world and and undermining our efforts to end poverty.” This is a new concept that I am just starting to understand, and it’s blowing my mind y’all. Y’all know how passionate Stephen and I have become to bring clean water to people who have no access all over the world, and our desire to see every child who has no opportunity to get the education they deserve. But everyday violence is threatening those efforts! Education for girls is so important, but sexual assault in schools and as they walk on the way to school is one of the main barriers keeping girls from getting an education. If we give widows a micro loan to grow crops, but stronger people can take her land by force, that micro loan investment is made useless. Ending everyday violence is foundational to supporting other good investments like water, education and micro loans.
IJM‘s vision is to rescue thousands, protect millions, and prove that justice for the poor is possible. They are not only transforming lives (which they are!), but transforming entire justice systems. Their staff on the ground is 95% local leaders–leaders in their own countries making the justice system work for the weak and vulnerable around them (and they are amazing, yall!). My friend Jen did such a fabulous job explaining why these developing countries need a group like International Justice Mission and I’ld love it if you read her words here: http://jenhatmaker.com/blog/2014/07/17/are-you-taking-my-message
This week we had the opportunity to meet with a client of IJM, we’ll call her Jamie. Jamie’s story is one of great pain but truly she has risen from the ashes with the help of IJM. As she spoke of her after care workers at IJM around the lunch table, she said she “loved Bridgett and Barakka like she loves her parents”. Their work was not in vain. All in the same night, Jamie was sexually assaulted, locked in a house that was caught on fire, and in return lost both of her legs, and was outcasted from her community. NOW she is walking in freedom in her new prosthetic legs and has been received back into her family. The counseling she’s received from IJM, and personal relationships she’s formed with her after care workers have changed the trajectory of her life.
We don’t share Jamie’s story with you to exploit her, we share it so the work of IJM can continue. After a traditional Rwandan meal with Jamie, she wanted to make sure we are going to spread her message. It’s a joy and honor to share her message of raising from the ashes of everyday violence into a life of hope and freedom! Her message to you? She sends greetings, she wants you to know she is praying for you, and she is proud to be doing well in school and walking. This young girl now has hope of a bright future. She’s not a fact. She’s a real person, with a face, a name and a story. I tell you this story so you can see firsthand what the work of IJM is doing in Rwanda and in their 20 communities they work in across the world.
This is where I get excited, are you ready? Maybe because I’m a former non-profit fundraiser, but I love knowing ways that we can TANGIBLY get involved and help. Quite honestly, I thought because I don’t have thousands of dollars to give each month, I wouldn’t be of much support to IJM, but yesterday I learned about the easiest most amazing way for me and my family to get involved for the fight of justice. For a month gift of $24, IJM can show up 24 hours a day to bring rescue where it’s most urgently needed. Twenty four dollars, for the twenty four hours in a day. The exciting thing is, there is a conversation happening to bring good in the developing world through child sponsorship, medic an care and clean water efforts. The scary thing is, everyday violence is undermining all of these efforts. The good news is, justice can become a part of this global conversation – and it starts with becoming a freedom partner.
Our family personally, is on fire with the idea and grateful to have a way to be a part of the groundbreaking work of IJM all over the world. $24 might not sound like much, but IJM needs the investment to keep making change. It says to the millions of people suffering from everyday violence in developing countries across the world, “you matter! I see you. I care about you. YOU are not forgotten.”
what the heck are you waiting for?
thanks to Laura, for this guest post. I personally needed to hear this…enjoy!
I’m realizing that maybe the most precious part of my day, my mama-daily-grind, is wrapped up in 30 minutes.
30 minutes of intentionality.
30 minutes of out-of-sight iphone.
30 minutes of presence.
Life is hectic, too hectic frequently, am I right?
Some days I’m not sure whether I’m coming or going. In a whirlwind that is my life: sticky-snack messes, laundry, cooking, ministry, exercising, emails…the important things can get lost.
Misplaced in the shuffle.
I am a task-oriented person. And as much as I adore people and relationships, the task is my default.
What can I do, accomplish, conquer? How?awesome can be today?
And while productivity can be a good thing, it can often leave myself and my family in a sad, lonely state.
I mean, if an extra load of laundry is separating me from memories made and tighter bonds formed with my 4 loves, it’s all for nothing.
So, in my recovering rules-bent/legalistic self, I am reminding myself to live out a guideline, a goal if-you-will.
Spend 10 intentional, glorious minutes fully-focused, fully-present on each child, everyday.
And yes, I know what you might be thinking. 10 minutes isn’t really that long of a time frame, Laura. I get it. And I totally agree.
But if I can aim for that 10 minutes, it is my starting point, my recovering addict-of-merit beginning.
I remember when Landon (our oldest) was a baby and toddler. I would spent hours upon hours with him. Gushing at his cuteness, peering over his crib. Stacking blocks and knocking them down with ensuing precious baby giggles in his room. We’d go for walks, read books…nearly all of my time was for him and with him.
Now that sweet boy is nearly 5, Charlotte is 3 and Aiden turned 1 at the end of March. I’m a busy mama.
Landon loves playing Lego’s or Playmobile guys right now. His creativity and desire to engage in conversation and the “big boy” world just blesses my heart.
Charlotte prefers her princess castle. Ariel and Sleeping Beauty often have lunch, discussing what pie to bake or their latest princess dress. She is my girlie-girl?to the core.
Aiden, as a typical 1-year-old, is a wildcard. We can read books (okay, one book at time), build a block tower or play peek-a-boo. He’s my easy-going love.
I try to engage with the kids where they’re at, in whatever activity they want Mama to play.
Life has it’s ebbs and flows, and this season is a bit nutty. Beautiful, but nutty.
We all have to start somewhere. And after taking inventory, this is my somewhere.
In what areas of your life are you sensing the need to be more intentional?
Through Unspeakable Joy,
you can find Laura on her blog, Facebook, twitter, and instagram.
was it all a dream?
It’s Sunday morning and I’m sitting in the corner leather chair of our local Starbucks, trying to wrap my mind around all I just experienced last week in Rwanda. For some reason, the re-entry this time has been really hard. Maybe because I’ve highly anticipated this surprise dream trip since the very beginning of 2014? Maybe because it’s summer, and coming home meant being thrown back into full time mom mode? Maybe because unlike the last few trips I’ve taken, I don’t have another one on the calendar just yet? Maybe because that trip was unlike any trip I’ll probably ever take….
I don’t know what it is, but it’s hard. I’ve been re-reading my posts, and instagrams, and reading through all of your comments this morning. trying to take it all in…
I loved getting to share on the blog about Grace and how she has empowered me and given me purpose in my work as a Noonday ambassador.
I loved getting to share about Baraka and the work that IJM is doing in the field and how like her, we can all be advocates. We can all sing a song of empowerment and justice together – think of what could happen when we all just play our note? Together we make a beautiful song.
I have another post I can’t wait to share with you this week about International Justice Mission and how we can all join hands and be part of their work of bringing justice to the poor. I am fired up about this organization, y’all – they are the real deal. and I can’t wait to share that passion with you.
Are you doing the She Reads Truth justice plan right now? it’s not too late to start – I’ve loved studying and learning more about biblical justice and what we, as believers, are called to. Download their new app for free on the app store, or follow along on their website here.
this feels more like a public service announcement. but y’all, I still don’t have the words. I pray that as I get a little bit of time here and there alone to process, that I’ll continue to share stories with you here. As my bestie Brynn told me before the trip, “I don’t feel like you will fully process what this trip means until long after you’ve returned”. So true, Brynn. I’m diving into an ocean here, and there’s a lot to swim through.
finally, I’m clearing out some samples to make room for my fall Noonday samples – and having an AUCTION style 36 hour shin dig over on my personal Facebook page starting Monday morning at 8am CST. Starting tomorrow at 8am CST, even if we aren’t Facebook friends you should be able to access the album. You can find it here.
well friends, that’s about all I can muster today. I just had to pop in and tell you a little bit about where my heart is. I would appreciate any prayers you want to offer up on my behalf. Enjoy your Sunday.
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