My heart is so full. This last week in Chicago was so wonderful. The time spent with friends and family was so special and the Storyline Conference gave me an opportunity to explore what’s inside of me. I never would have labeled myself a creative person but after sitting in a room with some amazing people, I realized how much I have inside me that I want to get out and share. Sometimes I have these ideas, thoughts, stories, and emotions trapped inside my chest, churning to get out and trying to find the right words to express what I am feeling. Sometimes they escape and other times they remain bottled up inside, waiting for the right time to spring forth.
I don’t know where to start or if I will ever all get it all out. Truthfully, I battle with wondering if anyone even cares – not in a pessimistic “wah, no one cares about me” way because I feel quite the opposite – super loved and cared for. No, I mean it more in a “why would people want to read the random babblings of my brain?” And questioning, am I too out there? Are people just being nosey or do they actually care about what I am learning or this journey we are on?
Writing is one of the most vulnerable things I have ever done. Or as Shauna Niequist eloquently puts it, “Writing for me feels like getting naked in public.” It rips me open and often times I press “pubish” and have immediate regret. Do they understand what I was trying to say? Did I share too much? Did I offend someone? Will people look at me differently? Are people going to understand …. me?
What do I want? I don’t know truthfully. I have so many dreams flying around my head and this conference has only made it more real to me that I have a story that needs to be told – that I want to tell. The story isn’t important because of what we have gone through with infertility, the story is important because stories are what connects us to one another. The highs and lows that we share as a community are beautiful things and I pray that in the end, my story brings Him immense glory. Sharing our stories with one another, as muddled and beautiful as they are, is what creates a presence in one another’s lives. Life isn’t meant to be lived alone. Goodness, it would be far too painful and lonely.
There is something sacred when vulnerable words are shared but there is a fear as well. When I share my story with you, I try to be as authentic and unedited as possible. But then there are these tiny things that sneak up and whisper to me that it’s not enough. That this post isn’t good. That my stories don’t make sense. That people are whispering behind my back. How do I cope with that reality? I think the only way to do that is to keep writing. To keep stretching myself and to keep putting my heart out on this page. My blog isn’t fancy. It doesn’t have a web designer and there aren’t fancy visuals to click on. There are no sponsors, but it has you – my readers. People who jump in and share their hearts with me. Who read my writing and somehow, in the strings of words I have to offer, understand me.
This conference is helping me flush out what I want. “What do you want to do with your story?” And as I process this, and again it’s still very new, the thing that rests so heavily on my heart is the word encouragement. And I don’t quite know what to do with that yet. I know that I personally love to encourage others and am deeply touched by words of encouragement. Words have a richness that can fill you up. After sitting down with many wonderful friends this past week and sharing real life, encouraging talks, I’m walking around feeling full to my brim. My heart feels like it’s literally pushing against the skin of my chest and my fingertips feel tight and heavy and beautiful. Words, friendships, encouragement, questions, messiness, resolutions to be made, forgiveness that needs to be accomplished and the grace needed to keep pushing forward is beautiful.
So where does that leave me? What do I do with this word encouragement that’s on my heart? Part of me wants to run around and encourage everyone to embrace where they are at right now. To help others find the beauty that’s in the present moment. I want to help others sift through the tears, the sorrow, the frustration, the anger, the bitterness, and to somehow find the goodness, richness and beauty that is in the now. We can’t live a life trying to get from here to there, because when you get there, you are just simply in your new here. I truly don’t believe that any one thing in life will ever truly fulfill us because I don’t know that our humanness is capable of contentment outside of Him. Nothing we obtain will change your heart to value how special being here is.
We have a special gift where we can turn our sorrow and pain into pieces of our puzzle that come together to make something full, complete and rich with detail. I believe that somehow my story, my messiness, my longing for a family, the children we have lost, the endurance I have had to put forth, is all molding me and crafting me to be a better person here in this moment right now.
I am so grateful that we have woken up this morning and are given a chance to even try to make a difference. That we are able to be in our here. I don’t know what my life will look like in 2, 3, 5, 10 years. But what I do know is that I want to be a person who didn’t waste these days of waiting. I wholeheartedly ache to comfort every reader with His love. I wish so badly that you all could take a piece of my fullness right now. I am thankful for the friends I got to visit with while in Chicago, grateful for the words that God used from their mouths to touch my heart and fill me. The value of community and friendships should never go unrecognized.
Thank you all for your prayers as I attended this conference. Now I get to wrestle with what’s next. I think beautiful things are ahead, even if they are smudged with dirt and ashes and have broken edges at times. I pray that God’s richness falls over our lives, a richness that doesn’t come with answered prayers or things, but that comes with His presence in our lives, His peace, His comfort and the ability to rest in that.
(And of course, we can’t end without a few photo’s from the week!)
(Katie — how did we not get a picture together? Apparently closing down a restaurant omits photo time. Boo! Auntie Pammy, Uncle Jimmy, James and Nick, thanks for opening up your home to me. I love spending time with you all and love you guys so much more than words can say! And thanks for sharing your neighborhood squirrel with me too.)
PS – Did you miss my previous post on the lessons to be learned from beanie babies? Click here to check it out!
PPS – Coming on Sunday …. an update to our infertility story including a new plan of action and exciting way for you to get involved!
10 thoughts on “the aftermath.”
I am so glad you had a great time! I can’t wait to see how God is going to use your (His) story. xo
Thanks dear! I know He is using YOURS each day! XO!
I love that you don’t use smoke and mirrors to attract readership. Over stylized blogs only hide what a writer lacks in content. Your writing is vulnerable and truthful. Please continue to tell your story with confidence. I am so looking forward to hear about your new plan!
Wait, I think if I could use actual smoke and mirrors, that might be pretty cool. HA! :) I really appreciate your kind words and feedback Nina. I respect your writing so much and love reading your stuff, so that is a great compliment! XOXO! Love ya and the bambino!
I can feel your fullness and I even borrowed a bit for myself! :) I remember that feeling of fullness so well, last time I felt it was 5 years ago before my daughter came into my life. Then… life happened.. You are so right about embracing the HERE! My dreams came true and I am still a work in progress in that department! I loved your beanie babies post and miraculously I found one in my daughter’s toy box that day! See pic in my IG :) I now keep it as a reminder to look for goodness in life. Thank you for your posts and I cannot wait for the Sunday update!
I love that you said you could feel my fullness – that makes me happy! I am so thankful for you and that beanie baby picture just made me smile so big! I am so glad our paths have crossed in this world! :)
Hi Chelsea! I found you via #StorylineConf on Instagram. Sad we didn’t get to meet in person, but will definitely be following your story :)
I 100% agree with the sentiment that “I’m walking around feeling full to my brim.” Storyline was such an uplifting, commissioning experience. I don’t think I’ve ever walked away from a conference feeling so encouraged and equipped.
Yay! Hi Erika! I am so glad you connected with me! It would have been so fun to meet each other at the conference. Wasn’t it so good!? Hard to believe it was only a week ago. It was the first time I have gone and I am so interested to go again. Equipped and encouraged are 2 great words to describe the takeaway!!! <3 Thanks for connecting!! XO!
I love the sentiment that good things are coming, even if they they do have rough edges at times. I am so happy you had a beautiful time in Chicago and at this conference. You are already making a difference in this world in my humble opinion!
Thank you so much my dear! Hard to believe this was only last week! Time flies! <3 Your words mean a lot, so glad you checked in!