house for sale.

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I was stirring my coffee when my friend asked the question: “So how are you really right now?”

With the buzz of steaming milk and brewing espresso around me, I admitted my heart’s been a little weary. I touched on how 7 pregnancy announcements from good friends in 3 days drained me a bit. I tried to explain that while my heart was overjoyed for them, it made me a bit reflective of my own journey, which can be a hard, emotional path for me to walk down sometimes.

I could see in her eyes, as someone who doesn’t struggle with infertility, that she couldn’t quite grasp how someone could be happy for someone else but sad for themselves.

And that’s when this example hit me.

Let’s pretend that you and your spouse have decided it’s time to move from your small apartment. It’s time to expand! It’s not necessarily that you don’t like your current place, but you feel ready to embark into a new neighborhood, have the chance to mow a lawn, use a driveway, and have a little more space.

So you celebrate this big decision! You are going to sell your house! You tell your friends, you have a celebratory glass of champagne and list it. It’s time to sell!

Hmmmm. A few days, weeks, months pass. Why isn’t your house selling? You try to stay positive. Oh it takes time! You just have to wait for the perfect buyer! It can take couples almost a year before their house sells! Take a vacation – then it might sell!

In the meantime, friends around you decide they too want to sell their house and move. And you watch and celebrate as they immediately find buyers. It was our first showing! We hadn’t even listed it yet! A friend of a friend asked to buy our house! In fact, some of your friends who didn’t even take care of their apartment sell it right away. Huh?

What is going on, you asked yourselves. You paint the walls, freshen up the tile, and replace the old floors. And yet, months pass by and still, no buyers. Multiple showings, the promise of hope with each one, but a firm and audible NO after every one.

In the meantime, you’re invited to house warming party after house warming party to celebrate your friend’s new home. You are thrilled for them! What a beautiful new kitchen! Lawn! Bathroom! Is that a walk-in closet?? And you wonder what is wrong with our apartment??? You bring the wine, send the congratulations card, help move the boxes, all while dusting off your “for sale” sign. You pack away the towels you bought for a new bathroom. It hurts too much to look at them each day.

Do we try to get used to staying here forever? You begin to ask yourselves how you should approach this limbo. What does the future look like? Do you apply for that new position knowing it would be across town, near the city you want to move to? Do you redecorate the space and plan to stay there? Oh how your hearts yearn to be in a new place – and yet still, all the showings result in nothing. No. No. No. No. No. No.

So you hire a new realtor. The one who sold your friends house in just 1 day! And your heart breaks as he tells you that you may never sell your home. You see, because there’s this one part of the inside of a wall that is damaged. It’s not really your fault, but it’s your home and because of it, it may be a little harder to sell it.

How did I not know? What can we do to improve our chances?! He provides you with a list of things to do and you eagerly dive into them. You replace the trim, sweat over refinishing your floors; exhaust yourself with tearing out the old carpet. Still – nothing.

Meanwhile, you get the calls from your friends, We’re moving! We sold our house! It’s our 4th home in 3 years! And your feelings get hurt as some of your friends pull back from you as they are afraid to tell you they sold their house too. You find out when you get their Christmas card in the mailing with a preprinted announcement. Why didn’t they tell us? And yet still, you celebrate their new adventure, move the boxes, ‘like’ the Facebook announcement and wonder if you should take your house off the market. After all, it’s been 3 years.

Then 4 years. More announcements, more moves.

Then it’s been 5 years. You find some friends who too have a hard time selling their house, are stuck in limbo desiring a neighborhood, a closet, a stove with more than 2 burners, a chance to feel at home where they feel called. You relate to one another’s questions and empathize when yet another potential buyer decides to pass. Another lost chance, I am so sorry.

Then those friends who once understood, begin to sell their houses. More celebrations! And the conversations shift from questioning why your house can’t sell, to the frustrations of picking out paint colors for the new living room or the cost of the movers. They forgot what it’s like, you think. Then you no longer get together. I am sorry, I have a house now. There’s so much to do! More dusting, a garden to tend to, bathrooms to clean. Maybe when the house gets a little older.

And still every single morning you wake up, make your bed, clean the house, waiting for the moment you get a call about a showing. You can’t escape the fact that your house is for sale. It’s part of your daily life, reminders everywhere. The lockbox, the sign, the calls. Every day you are faced with the desires to hear the words “you’ve sold your house!”.

6 years pass. You switch realtors again, are given a dash of hope that this is the one! In fact, by this point you’ve had 7 offers on your home, but all of them have fallen through. It’s just been bad luck. This happens to many couples. There must have been a bank loan defect. Unpack your boxes, not this time. Don’t lose the faith!

More moving announcements from friends. We weren’t even thinking about moving but someone came to our door and offered us over market price for our house. And then we got an amazing deal on a new house – in the last lot of the neighborhood you were looking at! What are the chances? We were so surprised!

Housewarming party. Wine. Feelings of defeat. Questions. Did we misunderstand our calling to move? Everyone else thinks we are crazy, yet we continue to feel led is to sell this house. What do we do?

And now here you sit – with 7 more offers sitting on your home and you think this could be it and you are terrified. Everyone around is asking you aren’t you so excited? And while, yes, you are, the truth is you’ve been here before. You’ve had the offers and they’ve all fallen through. You’re hesitant to get your hopes up based on these new offers, knowing what happened last time. And so you smile, nod, and pray harder than ever that one of these offers takes. Because you don’t know if your heart can handle any more. Most days you want to rip down the ‘For Sale’ sign, ignore the aches in your heart, and chuck the lockbox in a volcano. You are now known as the couple who has always had their house up for sale.

Just be thankful you have a house to live in! Everyone around you, many who just sold their house, says to you, as if you aren’t thankful for your apartment. You want shout back that you are thankful, you just hate living in limbo, are struggling to figure out what your future looks like, and that you can’t ignore that nagging longing to become new-home owners.

And still you wait, feeling foolish about the day you drank champagne and told everyone you were going to sell your house. You never expected this.

You get the picture. And while this example may seem silly, can you only imagine having your house for sale for YEARS? I get exhausted just thinking about it. And, oh friends, if only infertility were this kind of exhausting.

With infertility, you take these exhausted, confused emotions and add in the immense deep rooted desire to be parents – moms and dads– and combine it with mind altering hormones, emotions, surgeries, and real life dollars. Every month offers hope that everything might change and when it doesn’t, you have to reprocess what you’re going to do next. Did you hear God right? Why isn’t He moving?

So while your heart is so thrilled for the others in your life who move onto the next stage – first, second, third pregnancies – it’s still very real there will be emotional struggles involved. With every announcement, pregnancy related conversation, baby shower and tiny babies around, it reminds you of the current state of limbo you are in. And with God-given strength, you celebrate the answered prayers, clinging to the hope that next time it might be you, and rejoice that God gave them a miracle. And it’s okay if you still wonder why not me?

Friends, I don’t know why your baby hasn’t come yet. I don’t understand why a 15-year old accidentally becomes pregnant and you can’t get a positive test to save your life. I wish I understood all the specifics. But here’s what I do know – God knows why. And while that can be hard to understand most days, it offers reassurance that we don’t have to be the ones understanding the ‘whys’. We just have to continue to trust the One who does.

I wrote these words in In the Wait and needed to be reminded of them today: “God is not early or late with His timing. Instead, He is right on cue, creating “Ah-ha!” moments when the answers prayers finally come. Yes, it may look different than we expect it to, but we know He will pull through. Scripture reminds us that we can trust Him to stay true to His Word, character and promises. His love is always present. Breathe out a deep sigh with me today and rest assured knowing He is at work, even when we don’t see it.”

I know it’s tiring my sweet friend. But make that bed one more day, accept one more showing, and continue to communicate with the Lord. You never know when you are going to wake up and have your whole life change in one moment. That day of answered prayer is worth the fight.

Lord, I pray for each woman reading this today who understand what it’s like to be stuck waiting. I pray that you renew our strength, our minds, and replenish our weary souls as we wait. We trust that you have the perfect plan for our lives and we ask that you would help strengthen us to continue to celebrate the victories and answers to prayer that you are providing to those around us. Jesus, we simply need more of you to help lead us into the perfect path for our lives. Amen

*photo from weheartit.com

june crushes.

Somehow it’s the middle of June. Can you believe that? Gasp? I can’t! This has been a tough month with lots of circulated sadness and horror. It’s made me pause and reflect on how precious life is and how truly blessed I am in so many ways. Our church service this weekend reminded us to take the time we have in life to encourage those around us because we don’t want to live a life of “If I only …”. Don’t wait until it’s too late to speak life into a loved one, share encouraging words, give hugs. Spread joy, kindness, and lavish words of blessings to people today. Give a compliment, forgive quickly, love deeply.

With that said, it’s time for June Crushes! Here we go!

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1 – Chef’s Table on Netflix. Ohhhh, guys, this is a good one! If you enjoy food and documentaries, then you have to tune into Chef’s Table (available only on Netflix).  It’s an American documentary series and each episode of the series profiles a single world-renowned chef from all over the world. Josh and I have learned about food, cultures, and lives of those in Italy, New York, Argentina, Australia, Sweden, Brazil, Thailand … just to name a few!

Our favorite episode by far was Episode 1 of Season 2, Grant Achatz of Allinea in Chicago, IL. Fascinating.

(Warning: the episodes are rated TV:14 because there is minimal, but occasional strong language or themes in some of the stories.)

Season 2 was just released this month and rumor is that Seasons 3 and 4 have been approved. Enjoy!

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2 – Joyful Devotion. I was recently introduced to this awesome devotional-subscription company called Joyful Devotion. SO GOOD! This monthly box sends you the latest books and trends in the Christian community and delivers them right to your door the first week of the month. Not only do you get a current devotional, but you also get some fun lifestyle products too! (Plus access to their Private Facebook Group, which offers a place to talk about the reading, share great resources and grow in Faith together!)

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Check out my June box!

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  • Fervent by Priscilla Shirer, which I have been hearing SO much about. (Winner of Christian Family & ECPA 2016 Book of the Year award!)
  • An awesome Illustrated Prayer Journal which pair perfectly with the book, which encourages us to write out our prayers with focus. With scriptures on each page, it’s not only resourceful, but beautiful!
  • A “Trust” coin purse with wristlet attachment. Love the teal color, especially for the summer!
  • A Bible verse keychain.
  • An new bookmark, perfect for my new book!

This July box features Wild and Free and tons of other goodies. In fact, it’s not too late to snag a July box, while supplies last! You can head over to Joyful Devotion and grab one today. Use “SIGN10” for 10% off too!

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In fact, I am teaming up with Joyful Devotion to give away a July’Freedom’ box to one lucky winner! Head on over to my Instagram page to enter now through Wednesday! If you comment on there that you signed up for her newsletter too (pop up on her main page), you will get 5 extra entries! Whoooo hooo! Good luck!

3 – Starbuck’s Pink Drink. I literally can’t even. After seeing a Buzzfeed article about a “secret pink drink” at Starbucks, I had to try it. And my friends, it. is. everything.

The summery drink is simple: just order a Strawberry Acai Refresher and ask them to make it with coconut milk instead of water. The end result is refreshing and fruity and makes me feel like I’m on a magical beach. And there’s gotta be unicorns floating around somewhere too. Maybe even endless rainbows and sparkly skies.

Add this to your summer bucket list of things to try, then let me know what you think. I have to limit myself to one a month because otherwise, I would be there every stinking day drinking the “pink drink”.

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4 – This Quote. Have you guys found this summer to be exceptionally full already? I don’t know if it’s just me, but between going back to work briefly this summer, working on a garage sale, celebrating all sorts of occasions, engaging with friends and family, volunteering, writing, coffee-ing, bringing meals to friends, (the list goes on and on), the days have just flown by.

(Side note: I LOVE everyone who has reached out to get together this summer. People who are intentional about making time together happen and getting a day on the calendar are my jam. Thank you friends.)

Anyways, I was on a walk with Cali one morning, processing through my week ahead while listening to a podcast, when this quote realigned me.

“Jesus was never so rushed that He couldn’t be interrupted. He always had time for those in need.”  (Steven Furtick)

It was such a great reminder to me that even when things are busy, we don’t need to live rushed lives! We need to be cautious in planning our days so that we don’t unintentionally eliminate opportunities to slow down, smile at the cashier, say hello to barista, make small talk with the elderly man in the line behind you, or help a stressed mom load her bags in the car. Busy, in the right season and with the right balance, isn’t bad, but rushed can be. It made me really opened my eyes to ensure that my day, no matter what it holds, always has time to help those in need. So yes, loved that reminder.

5 – In the Wait Spotify Playlist. During both of our Facebook community groups for ‘In the Wait‘, we asked participants to share some of their favorite worship songs for getting them through a waiting season, or simply, songs that brought them encouragement. What’s unfolded is this playlist that houses over 5 hours of praise and worship songs that will make your soul sing and your hearts encouraged. Feel free to follow or play when you need a little mood boost!

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Hope you all have a great rest of the month! My summer time blogging schedule is always a little more sporadic but I love the grace y’all give me. A small fertility update – it looks like our transfer will be on/around the first week of October. It feels so close, yet so far away! Keep those prayers coming! All of the prep for that will begin in August and of course we will keep you posted!

XO!

Chelsea

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Happy belated Father’s Day to all the dads out there today – the ones who have been blessed with kiddos, the fur dads, the step dads, the dads that hold their babies in their hearts instead of their arms and the dads that are to be. We love you all and celebrate you and the roles that you play in the lives of those around you today and every day!

We are so blessed with two fantastic dads, but we know that’s not always the case for many. Or perhaps your own dad isn’t on earth anymore and my heart breaks for you. We recognize your aches today as well and are thankful there’s another Father who loves you so!

brokeness.

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There’s been a lot of grief and sorrow in the world recently and as a result, on social media. With it has come heightened emotions, spitting words, domineering opinions and confusion. It’s left me speechless, unsure of what to say, not wanting to fill the world with more words without action.

Sin sucks. Satan, it really seems like you’re winning most days, doesn’t it? I can only imagine the glee on your face when you see people, made after God’s own image, self destructing all by themselves. It breaks my heart because we’ve been given peace and freedom and victory, and yet, when not taken, we get tangled in the snarls of brokenness and sin and the consequences are devastating. And I hate it. I’m in the snarls too. And I want out.

Lord, I feel like the waves of fear and grief just keep striking. Lives are lost and those are lives of children You’ve loved, children You’ve died for. Oh how Your heart must be breaking too as a Father.

I don’t get it. I don’t know what’s next. I can’t keep reading the rage, the hate, the bitterness. Lord, we simply need more of You. We need You, Jesus, to redirect our hearts, our hope, and our minds. Lord, thank you for being there for us, even when we aren’t even close to understanding. Thank you for knowing about these tragedies so far in advance that You came to offer us something to maintain our hope and promise us ultimate victory in this broken world. That is what I cling to.

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lordbe strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:13-14 – ESV)