shoulders.

Oh hello April, when did you arrive?

It feels a little foreign sitting down to write a post again, although I have already written a million of them in my head over the last few weeks. How do I compact some of the toughest, yet most comforting 2 weeks of my life in one blog post? Well, I don’t. I don’t know that I am ready to write and share all I have been learning quite yet and want to allow the scabs to heal a bit more before opening them back up. That being said, I do imagine starting to peel back these lessons and emotions with you, slowly, like a stinky layered onion, because I know many of you can and will relate.

We spent the last week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We had a spring break trip planned with Josh’s family for a while and it hung out there as a tentative trip as we went through our IUI, got pregnant, lost the pregnancy and then waited to see what my beta numbers would do and if our doctor would clear me to go. Thankfully 2 days before take off, we got the okay to pack our bags and boy, was it a perfectly timed and needed trip.

Airport Starbucks ... Check!

Airport Starbucks … Check!

Two cute travel nieces ... check!

Two cute travel nieces … check!

Delicious ceviche!

Delicious ceviche!

Gorgeous sunsets.

Gorgeous sunsets.

A fun adventure parasailing.

A fun adventure parasailing.

A beautiful ocean hut we occupied daily.

A beautiful ocean hut we occupied daily.

Lots and lots of sunglasses and smiles. <3

Lots and lots of sunglasses and smiles. <3

Date nights.

Date nights.

Celebrating my MIL's birthday.

Celebrating my MIL’s birthday.

Boardwalk nights with my man.

Boardwalk nights with my man.

I spent most of my days floating in the pool, reading books and observing the world going on around me. One afternoon, two young boys, likely about 10 or 11, joined me by the island where I was lazily resting my legs by the wall as I floated. They were about 4 feet to my left, swimming back and forth from under the waterfall to the island, when they decided their next activity would be diving.

The one boy, we can call him Brad for the sake of the story, swam up to the side of the pool and using his arms to pull himself up, shot out of the pool and up onto the cement. His friend Kyle behind him, a little less athletic looking, casually attempted to do the same, without much success. Brad called to him as he stood above him –

B: Just use your arms, pull yourself up!

K: I’m trying.

B: Duck back under the water and then kick up against the wall, then pull yourself up!

K: attempts to do such, very unsuccessfully. It was almost painful to watch.

B: jumps back into the pool Watch, like this. Effortlessly rockets himself up onto the top of the pool.

K: an embarrassed tenth attempt Um, I just can’t.

Sidenote: I was empathizing so much with Kyle at this point. I am the kid that can’t get out of the pool without a ladder, my arm muscles failing me and I never can seem to do the athletic things other kids can do so easily. I’m certain the look on my face reflected the pain I felt for him.

Then, without another hesitation, Brad jumps back into the pool while Kyle tries to unsnag his t-shirt from the rocky pool wall. I floated a little closer as I listened to what Brad was telling Kyle.

B: Hey, okay, now I will go down and just stand on my shoulders and pull yourself up.

And just like that, Brad ducked under the water and his friend Kyle clumsily stood on his shoulders and as Brad stood up, Kyle had just enough height and momentum to lift him up over that pool lip and allow him to roll onto the cement. By the time he uprighted himself, Brad was back up on the island and giving the diving contest instructions.

Whoooooosh.

Both boys dived in next to me, Brad with a grace that made me wonder if he is on a swim team somewhere and Kyle with the kind of un-athleticism I tend to show. And then the two boys swam back to the wall.

B: Ready? Ducks under the water, again, allowing Kyle to stand on his shoulders and hurdles him up and out of the pool.

This happened over and over again. Brad quietly and without hesitation, helping his friend out of the water, even though his friend was a little embarrassed that he needed the help and even though it maybe seemed like Kyle shouldn’t need the help. But Brad just did it, like it was second nature.

Eventually the boys moved on to a new activity and I didn’t see them for the rest of the trip, but as they swam away, my sunglass covered eyes filled with tears because I realized that you guys have been my Brad these last few weeks.

I’ve been stuck in the pool and I am clawing my way up the wall, unsuccessfully attempting to do everything I know to get out of the sadness, the grief, the wonderment. And like its second nature, so many of you have dove into the pool with me and simply said Stand on my shoulders, I will help you out. And you have – you’ve sent texts, emails, cards, gift cards, packages filled with goodies to make me smile like pens, Starbucks mugs, massage gift cards, flowers. You have listened to me verbally vomit while sitting in a restaurant or while driving. You haven’t gotten exasperated, expecting me to get your instructions faster, you simply have jumped in and offered me your shoulders, over and over and over again.

Thank you.

Thank you for everything. Thank you for the grace you have extended as I clumsily try to climb onboard. Thank you for the patience as I repeat myself days in a row and the understanding that writing back to an email might just be overwhelming at the moment. I couldn’t do it without you.

Here’s the thing, we all need someone to offer us their shoulders and we also have times in our lives when we get to offer someone our shoulders. Choose your people wisely. There’s no way that Brad could have lifted up everyone in the pool, but his friend, his friend was a no-brainer, worth investing his energy in.

Over the last week, I have been reading a fantastic book called Finding Faith in the Dark: When the Story of Your Life Takes a Turn You Didn’t Plan (by Laurie Short) and I know that I will be referring to it often throughout the next several posts of mine. There’s one quote that has stuck with me. “Pain came into my life as an uninvited guest, and after trying to wish it away, I followed it. It turns out God was in the darkness of my pain. It didn’t change my circumstances. But it changed me.” I am continuing to learn that when these really yucky, crappy, sucky seasons of pain come into our life, we can get bitter or we can follow it and find God in it. I love how Jesus Calling said it yesterday, “The more intimately you experience Me, the more convinced you become of my goodness.”

God has surrounded me intimately in my pain and as a result, I have been able to see His hand of goodness even in the midst of this tough battle. I still have questions, I still wonder a lot of things and I still feel angry and sad at times, but I am learning to widen my gaze so that I can find Him in this.

So with that, I’m back. It might take a few days or weeks to regather my momentum, but I’m back and I am so thankful for you.

40 thoughts on “shoulders.

  1. mrsbrooks09 says:

    Tears of joy and pain, friend. I’ve been thinking (and praying) about you constantly. I love seeing your contagious smiles on your trip to Mexico! I hope it was restful and I’m so glad it came at a much needed time. So glad HE has been present in your sorrow and I’m praying His nearness is felt even more as you heal. XOXO

    • chels819 says:

      Thanks friend! It feels good to be back. He really has been so present in the sorrows and I am glad you liked seeing our Mexico pictures too!! Love you!

  2. My Perfect Breakdown says:

    This is beautiful! I think we can all use more Brad’s in our life, and I think you are right, my blogging friends are also the ones who give me a helping hand and a shoulder to cry on when I need one most. You understand, you love unconditionally and I am grateful everyday for you and everyone in the blogging world.
    P.S. Your trip looked amazing!

    • chels819 says:

      Right? We could all use more Brad’s – and also look for the Kyle’s! Thanks for being a Brad to me and being prayerfully supportive and so understanding! Hugs!

  3. ashleykimble924 says:

    I am so glad you were able to go on your trip! Sunshine always helps. I sat here reading your post at work on my lunch and had tears fill my eyes. I guess for a number of reasons. Grief and heartache for you and Josh, thoughts about my own infertility bubbling in my head with a big week coming up, and quite honestly, because your words always seem to resonate with me. I bet I can speak for a lot of us reading your blog, that it is like you are in all of our minds and even though you’re going through something very painful, you just have this ability to communicate your feelings in a graceful and God-driven way. As always, thanks for sharing. Glad you’re back, but take your time. :)

    • chels819 says:

      Thank you! I am so glad we were able to go too! I appreciate your empathetic heart as well – reading your comment made me emotional! Thank you for being an encouragement to me in many ways. XO!

  4. pikachu4you says:

    What a beautiful story. We could all learn a little from K and B. thanks for sharing.
    Love the pictures. It looks like you ha a wonderful time on your vacation. I just wanted to break out my sun screen and prop myself up on that beautiful beach.

  5. Jojo says:

    Welcome back! Glad u had a getaway trip plan at the right moment. Puerto Vallarta was so much fun when we went that I hope it helped u heal in some form.

    “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!”
    (Isaiah 43:2, TLB)

    • chels819 says:

      Love that verse and translation!!! Thank you for sharing that with me!! We really did have it planned at the right time, so glad it worked out. Thanks for the welcome back! :) XO!

  6. Kaity says:

    Chelsea, even more than usual you leave me inspired, in tears, and smiling.

    What a beautiful scene you witnessed on your vacation. Thank you for sharing it with us. It would be easy to tuck a little God-incidence (read: coincidence) in your heart for safe keeping. Instead, you shared it with us so we might share in the message too. Thank you!

    • chels819 says:

      It was one of those moments where I sat back and just saw so much parallel to my life in this tender moment between two friends! Thanks for reading and visiting! :) Happy Easter weekend!

  7. Lisa says:

    Thank you for your honesty. I just ordered that book, I can’t wait to read it. I recently decided to stop trying for #2 after my husband said no to IUI and Adoption. I’m angry and confused with the Lord, but I’m hoping to get through those feelings. Bless you.

    • chels819 says:

      I am so glad you decided to order this book! You will have to let me know what you think. I have found it to be so helpful and comforting. I am sorry for this difficult season you are in and am praying for direction and comfort to fill your hearts. It can be healthy to ask these tough questions and bring them before God – I pray you find the process of navigating these emotions to push you forward. Big hugs.

  8. Amie says:

    Wow I have tears reading this! I just love how you noticed those boys and the meaning you took from it. That was just an every day event that had a ton of meaning :)

  9. Caroline says:

    So glad you got a getaway. It’s by no accident that the Lord planned it right when you needed. I love the analogy/example he blessed you with as well. So sweet of the Spirit to give you that moment.

    I will definitely have to check out that book!!!! That quote you shared is so powerful! Have you read “When God Weeps”? It’s SO good too! All about suffering!

    Y’all are adorable!!!

    • chels819 says:

      It was no accident indeed! His timing was perfect and I am convinced it pulled me out of a deep potential down slide. Isn’t this analogy so special? I love how He gives us these moments and continues to prove His presence in our lives. And you will have to check out this book, as I am the one you suggested too! Thanks friend! XO!

    • chels819 says:

      I think you would enjoy this book Justine! Thanks for reading and being part of my shoulders too! Thank you for those prayers and all the encouragement. Hugs!

  10. Elisha says:

    This is such a beautiful story that you have so wonderfully written! I am glad you are back! I have been thinking and praying for you lots over the last few weeks. Hugs!! xo

    • chels819 says:

      Thank you sweet friend! It feels good to be back! I have so much catching up to do (like reading your blog posts – they are always soooo good and touch me so much!). Thanks for thinking of me and sending me that card and prayer. It meant SO much and touched me deeply. Keep shining, you are doing GREAT thing for Him!

  11. Polly says:

    I’ve been wanting to comment (for the first time) on your last few posts but questioned if the time was right. However, you mentioning a trip to PV (where I lived for 9 months teaching Kindergarten English) felt like a sign, so here goes: we have so many similar “issues” – I, too, struggle with infertility and had three back-to-back losses (spread over 26 months) and was told (at age 34) that donor eggs were my only option. However, I didn’t believe it, switched fertility clinics, and my very next IVF attempt was successful (I am now 21w6d pregnant with a healthy baby girl). I know you’re working with fertility experts and I doubt there is much knowledge I can offer you; however, I hope my story CAN give you hope. If you’d ever like to chat, I’d love to connect…

    • chels819 says:

      Oh Polly! Hello! I am so glad that you decided to leave a comment – it always makes my heart happy to hear from readers and this timing was perfect. Thank you for sharing our story of hope and for sharing what you have learned as well. I will absolutely take your experiencing into consideration when looking for our final IVF clinic. Congratulations on your pregnancy – how special and sweet! I am encouraged by your eventual success and thank you for connecting! Hugs!

    • chels819 says:

      Community is such a gift and blessing and I think far too often its what ends up getting prioritized the least in our lives. I am so thankful for what and who we have been given to help each other out in the needed times. Love that verse too – thank you!!! xo!

  12. mandaevey says:

    So glad that you are back and thanks for your post. We all need that boost when we can’t do it alone. Been praying for you and am continuing to pray.

  13. Laura @ Making Baby Provence says:

    You may have heard it, but Craig Groeschel did a sermon last year about being there for people in their times of need. He talked about how we are a society that sends texts, now. Seldom do people really go out of their way to show-up. It sounds like your friends did that for you…perfectly. They showed up. And you know why, Chelsea? Because you do that for them. You’re the type of person that shows up. You deserve the shoulders you received during this, and you continue to deserve them forever.

    I don’t often comment on your blog, but I read it without fail…even if I am a couple of weeks late. Oops! I admire you. You’re a strong woman, and I love learning from you. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and many others. I am sorry for your loss, and I hope that the pain subsides a little more each day. *Hugs*

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