june giveaway.

You know what I love? Reading something that makes you feel a little less crazy, a whole lot understood and helps you through the messy journey of infertility. A few months ago I shared a book during a Q & A series that did all of that for me while also encouraging my faith and validating the fact that you can be a Christian and still wonder “why”. The book is called Every Drunken Cheerleader … Why Not Me: Wit, Wisdom & Warmth from Your Fertility Challenged Friend by Kristine Ireland Waits. First of all, can we just giggle at the title? I think it just goes to show you the humor she has, which is laced throughout the pages. Anyways, I am sharing this with you because Kristine has graciously offered a signed copy of her book to the readers of this blog in a giveaway that I am so excited to host! If it was possible to place this book in each of your hands I would, but at least I can make one lucky person’s dream come true!

To enter, all you have to do is leave your name and email (so I can contact you if you win) through Rafflecopter. You can earn more entries by sharing or following, but if you simply just want to throw you name in the hat, it’s super easy! Oh and because reading also requires a good cup of coffee or tea, I am throwing in a $5 Starbucks gift card for the winner too! A free signed book + Starbucks? What’s not to love!?

Enter now by clicking this link: a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will be drawing the winner and announcing on Tuesday, June 9th so don’t miss out! This contest is limited to those in the USA mailing area however for those who are interested in purchasing this book directly, head over to her websiteBarnes and Nobles,or Amazon  to order a copy (it’s print to order so don’t let the “temporarily out” scare you off) or download it on your Kindle today. If you enjoy reading my blog, you’ll click immediately with Kristine! Good luck and happy reading! :)

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costco lessons.

A few weeks ago I went to Costco. On a Sunday. At 11:30 am. Yes, I see my mistake here, especially after driving around the crowded parking lot for 10 minutes trying to find a spot that wouldn’t require me to pull out my walking shoes. (Ha, kidding, I don’t own walking shoes.) But I was in a good mood and ready to handle the crowds so I could grab a few things.

Well, the place was a zoo, like, even zoo-ier than normal. (I was reminded quickly of my brilliant idea to suggest a ‘sample lane’ for those who wanted to snack and linger and a FAST PASS lane for those who didn’t. Great idea isn’t it?!) But as I bumped carts and grabbed my items, I was amused watching the chaos go on around me.

And so, with my 5-6 items, I headed to the checkout, where it appears that on this particular Sunday, Costco was attempting to compete with Black Friday lines. After glancing at lines 10+ people deep, I picked my lane and got ready to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

It was clear there was an issue with the registers on all the lanes. The beeping and error messages were ringing loudly and the people around me were getting exasperated. I putzed on my phone, determined to wait this out. (After all, organic eggs and a lifetime supply of cottage cheese can’t be purchased anywhere, ha.) I started to eavesdrop on the conversation behind me. It was a dad with his two daughters, likely about 7 and 4. The youngest daughter was nestled in the cart half asleep, while the older daughter gabbed away.

Daughter: Hey dad, guess what?

Dad: What?

Daughter: I love you

Dad: I love you too.

Daughter: Let’s play the armpit game.

Dad: Okay.

Giggling, squeals, I got bumped. (I did look behind me to see what this game entailed. It appeared to be her raising her arms as he would try to sneak his hands under them in order to lift her up before she could put them back down. It was cute.)

A few minutes passed.

Daughter: Ugh, this is taking forever.

Dad: It sure is taking longer than we expected isn’t it? What a good time to practice our patience!

Daughter: Well, I have been really patient Dad.

Dad: I know you have, you’re doing a great job. It looks like it’s going to be a little bit longer but that’s okay. There’s nothing we can do about it, is there?

Daughter: We could tell them to get some more registers and then maybe it would go faster.

Dad: That’s a great idea, we could tell them that. But how would we want to say it?

Daughter: In a nice voice.

Dad: You’re right. I am sure that the people who are working right now are feeling really tired because they are so busy. But when we leave, if you feel like it still, you could make a suggestion to them.

Daughter: (pause) They probably already thought of that idea.

Dad: Sometimes there is nothing that we can do to fix things and so we just have to be patient, huh? We can make a suggestion if we say it nicely, but sometimes the suggestion doesn’t fix things right away. So then we just have to wait, knowing it’s out of our control.

Daughter: (longer pause) We will get there eventually.

Dad: Exactly. I’m really proud of you for waiting calmly. Let’s just focus on having a fun time in line, okay?

Daughter: Okay! Let’s play the arm pit game!

And just like that, the moment was over and the arm pit game began again. We all went back to waiting and I wish I could tell you the line picked up. (It probably took about 45 minutes) But the conversation between that dad and daughter has stuck with me.

Sometimes we have to wait. Situations are out of control and there is nothing we can do to fix it. Those are the times when it’s really easy to whine, complain, make irritated comments and melt down. But that dad reminded me that sometimes all we can do is stay patient.

I wish I would have turned to that dad and told him thank you and also complimented the way he patiently and lovingly parented his daughters. It would have been really easy for him to let out exasperated sighs and spout off less-than-kind comments to the workers. But instead, he used it to teach his kids (and me) the importance of waiting things out, simply because we can’t do anything else, understanding that we will eventually “get there”.

Galatians 6:9 says it so well – “So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we will reap the harvest.”

My encouragement to you today dear friend, is don’t give up. I am preaching this to myself today too. Let’s not tire of being patient, of doing good, of monitoring our attitude and continue to push on. We will reap a harvest when God’s timing is perfect. His Word is reliable and so we strive on, we push forward, we practice patience and we trust Him to come through for us. He will, I know He will.

To the dad in that Costco line, thank you.

PS – I am incredibly behind on comment replies and email correspondence. The embarrassment of being so behind has kept me offline for too many days now and I am SO sorry. I am finishing up a few exciting projects and wrapping up a work contract and then have BIG goals to get back to you. Please know I read every comment, email and pray for you often, even if my typed replies are lacking. It means NOTHING about my deeply grateful heart! XO!

siri.

Driving in an unknown neighborhood can be a tricky thing. None of the street names are familiar and the thought of getting from here to there not only seems impossible, but likely won’t happen. While we were in Hawaii, we were completely reliant on Siri, our phone map guide. We let her know where our destination was and then she politely and calmly told us exactly where to go. There was a time or two we got distracted, talking over her and would respond too late, driving round and round the round-abouts trying to figure out which one was the “third turn, but when we listened, we headed in the right direction.

I wish God was a little more like Siri. Wouldn’t it be nice to plug in a life destination and then have Him calmly spouting out directions?

In 3 years, marry the man sitting in front of you in your college calculus class.

In 2 years, start your family by trying to conceive on the 3rd day of April.

In 2018, when a new job opportunity crosses your path, decline it, as that company will close 4 months after.

Unfortunately it’s not always that easy. I’ve been part of some great conversations diving into the concept of figuring out what God’s will is. Isn’t it easy to wonder if we are about to take a wrong turn, if we are responding too late, or if we are right on track to our destination? If you are anything like me, it can be a little overwhelming at times trying to figure out exactly what is THE right direction. God, how do I get THERE from HERE?

So God isn’t exactly like Siri, but I do see some correlation with a few take away lessons here.

The first is that we have to stop and take time to listen before acting. When I rush through my route, assuming I know what she’s going to say, I tend to go the wrong way. Same goes with God. When I start to veer off and do my own thing assuming I know what His direction is, I tend to miss key things.

We can’t always plan the unexpected detours. Sometimes we think we have the plan, but then something comes up. A road might be closed, the lights might be out, or that McDonald’s on the wrong side of the road is calling. (Mcfluuuurrryyyyy). There are always those detours in life too where no planning would have ever prevented the delay. That’s when we just go with it. Follow the rerouting direction, even if it seems like it’s not right. It may take us a few minutes longer to arrive, but even if it’s a few extra minutes, a couple more stop lights and the detour seemed ridiculously out of the way, we will still arrive. We need to trust that God, our ultimate Siri, is going to have our backs in all of this. We don’t have to worry about HOW we are going to get from point A to B because He goes with us.

Sometimes when Josh and I are heading out somewhere, we both have different routes in mind. We get to the first stop light and he puts on his left turn signal while I shout “Go right!”. Both routes will take us to the same place, and have their pro’s and con’s. Maybe we would pick one way or the other if we knew about the accident that was about to happen or the power outage that would send the lanes into a snail paced mess, but neither of us are wrong. We would arrive either way.

Then there are the times when we don’t know where we are going and plug the new address in. Siri will offer us 3 different ways to get there and we evaluate our options, look at the traffic and travel times and go with what seems best. Isn’t that what happens in life too? Should we adopt, continue treatments or settle into a child-free life? Should I take that job, stay at this job or apply elsewhere? Should we move to that neighborhood or stay in one?  In all things, let’s pray about it, evaluate our options, and then trust Him.

God honors our intentions to choose the right, God-honoring path in life. Regardless of whether they are the “best” long term, He works with it, rerouting as needed. Is our stress over making the “wrong decision” overtaking our decision to simply please God with what we do? And where is the stress rooted – in not being immediately blessed with an answered prayer or displeasing God with our decision? What’s taking over your heart today and how can you trust that when you turn to Him, He will guide you?

We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 GNT) God’s going to reroute you accordingly if needed, direct your steps and guide your lives. It’s up to us to trust Him, allow Him to guide us, and stop talking long enough to hear His voice. Sound good?

And now a little Hawaii treat …

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(Seriously, can you imagine us trying to shut up long enough to hear Siri? The struggle is real. I get it. But when we did, it was so worth it. Except that one time she took us to the wrong address, which just goes to show you that technology fails, God doesn’t.)

THE weekend.

Happy weekend friends! I feel like I should acknowledge that Mother’s Day weekend is here, however this year, am just not feeling the need to write a long post. I have read so many phenomenal posts this year that I feel like great words have already been spoken. I am in a good place this Mother’s Day. I heard a message in the car by Chip Ingrim that really changed my attitude.

Chip said: “And He wants you and me to remember when you have unjust suffering, when you’re a child of God, you may be going through a rough time, but you are not a victim. You’re not a victim. You’re His son, you’re His daughter….. Let’s say “I’m going to get up today and I’m going to refuse to be a victim.” Sometimes these difficult times are this window where God could mold your heart, and allow you to hear His voice, and to build character and endurance, and create a capacity that could never happen otherwise.”

It’s so easy to allow ourselves to get sucked into the victim mentality, but for me, not this year. This year I am resting on the reminder that while this day has the potential to make me sad and wish reality was otherwise, it also has the potential to remind me that this day in my life hasn’t escaped God’s eyes. This Mother’s Day, instead of allowing myself to feel bad, I am going to fight the pity party, acknowledging still that the feelings of sadness are real, but that my faith and trust in His plan are greater, and claim victory in the story He is writing. (I also plan on protecting my heart and not participating in things that will trigger my emotions. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to skip church on Mother’s Day, avoid social media and still claim BOGO at local coffee shops for Mom’s. We gotta do what it takes!)

If you want to read some other posts about dealing with infertility on Mother’s Day, I’d love to suggest some other blogs and articles! All of these ladies wrote posts that just made me say “Amen!” (If you have a post you would like to share leave it behind in the comments!):

1. Waiting for Baby Bird – I Know You Hurt This Mother’s Day: A Message to the One Desiring to Be Called Mommy

2. In Due Time – A Victorious Mother’s Day

3. For the Love of Mom Genes – An Open Letter To All Those with Mom Genes

Also, my post last year ‘happy mother’s day‘ is similar to what I would write this year if I did a full post, so feel free to click back, read and relate.

So friends, those with kiddos on earth, in heaven, or still simply in their hearts, I wish you a happy weekend. To those still waiting, let’s wait with faith and expectancy. Our arms won’t always be empty. Let’s celebrate the journey we are on and the moms we know we are. Here’s to a weekend filled with joy, love, laughter and the promise of what’s to come

Happy Mother’s Day!

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wish lists.

This post was written en route to Hawaii – I am now back home but just getting to posting it. Also, an updated fertility note and prayer request is at the end. Enjoy!

As I type this, I am sitting a trillion miles about the ground. Okay, not really a trillion but the clouds make me feel pretty high off the ground. It’s 11:18 pm and the outside world is pitch black. The inside of the plane glows with a few lights but the majority of the people are sleeping. Me on the other hand, well, I’m not sleeping. I just read a great quote in Finding Faith in the Dark and it got me thinking.

It said: “In the happiest days and in the hardest days, (we) learn that the present is where God lives and He doesn’t want to be anywhere else.”

If you are anything like me, I seem to love to live in the future, especially more recently. Perhaps it’s because the last few months have been tougher or perhaps it’s because I so badly want the future to hold miracles, sparkles, baby bumps and miraculous celebrations, but this statement made me freeze in my 26C seat.  Reality is that there’s a complete lack of control over the future so truthfully, where else can I be living, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t try. I feel like I have spent a significant amount of the last 6 years doing everything last minute, “Well I can’t commit to this visit because I don’t know where I will be in my cycle.” “Well, I would love to say I will be at this wedding but who knows, I could be pregnant and on bed rest.” “Well, I would love to buy a plane ticket to visit you in November, but who knows what that will look like if we do IVF again.” In fact, the only reason my Hawaii trip worked out was because it was SO last minute and I knew with my post-miscarriage cycle that I would be on birth control with no options. But let me tell you, that rarely happens.

So where does that lead me? It leads me to end up living in this half present-half future world. And I lose so much of ME as a result.

In the book, Laurie Short continues by saying “Our response to our circumstances encourage us to be present in our own lives, even when we face sorrow. And we should never stop looking for joy.”

I was floored by her ability to talk about great sorrow and searching for joy in the same sentence but as I unpacked those words, I realized how true and valid it is.Why is it so easy as Christians and as humans that we can get caught up in living in a world where our emotions, joy, happiness and contentment are so linked to our circumstances? I get it. We are humans, many of us reading women, people directed by emotions and powerful reactions to what is going on around us.

I think Jeremiah 29:11 is a common verse for many of us. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Those going through struggles, whatever they are – infertility, financial worries, difficult children, depression, loneliness, painful circumstances – are encouraged by these words. He plans to give us a future and a hope! We can do this! But today in processing these words, I read all of the verses surrounding this powerful this verse.

I connected immediately with the Message translation, even though all of the translations speak the verses beautifully, and I think you will appreciate the powerful words in whatever you are going through as well: “I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and will bring you back home. I know what I am doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for me, you’ll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you aren’t disappointed. God’s Decree: I’ll turn things around for you …. You can count on it.”

There are SO many powerful promises packed in these verses and the one that struck me the most was “Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else…”

How many of you, like me, have been tempted to turn to God in prayer because you really want something? Something so deeply and passionately that you turn to what you hope is the magic genie of answered prayers to ask for it. Well, He said that when we pray, He will listen, which should automatically mean that my prayer request gets answered immediately. But man, how convicting is it that we need to come looking for Him and want Him more than ANYTHING ELSE?

Guys, there are many times I pray and think that I want Him more than anything else, but the selfish immature part of me wants Him more than anything else because if that happens, then for sure it means He will listen and answer my prayers. But this verse stuck me because it reminded me that I need to search for Him with all my heart with absolutely NO strings attached to the expectations of how He may (or may not) answer me. Yikes. Separating my really selfish heart between my wants for a child and my desire for Him is realllllllly hard.

So what does all of this mean? Well friends, I think it means that we need to start shaking off our ‘want list’ a bit and focus more on our true “Want List”, which simply is wanting Him more. More than our baby, more than the job promotion, more than the friends we hope to attain or the health that we hope to build back towards. Let me clarify, none of those things are wrong as long as we truly want Him more than any of those things. Because I promise you, nothing at all, ever, will be greater than the peace and serenity that Jesus Christ offers to us.

And what’s the end promise when our motives are pure and our heart is focused on the right things? God comes though. He turns things around. He doesn’t disappoint us. In fact, in His own words, “You can count on it.”

I think that deserves a big gigantic “amen”!

{Fertility Update/Prayer Request: I will be having an endometrial scratch done on Thursday morning. This is the first time I will be having one done and while I know they aren’t done often, feel confident that this is a positive step for us. The procedure itself is done by the doctor, in which he will go up into my uterus and gently “scratch” the lining with a thin catheter. Painful, yes, but I am certain that it will be short-felt.  The reason we are doing this is that there is research and evidence suggesting that scratching the uterine lining causes a ‘repair reaction’. This reaction is associated with increasing embryo implantation rates since there will be a little groove for the embryo to embed deeper into and the bodies healing process does increase blood flow and other positive side effects. While some clinics do this while the patient is sedated, my doctor doesn’t so if you could pray that it goes smoothly and is as pain-free as possible, that would be great. This procedure will usher in what we anticipate being our last IUI cycle which will begin in the next 2-ish weeks. I have been told to anticipate discomfort, cramps, and spotting in the days following so continued prayers for recovery would be great as well. If you have had any experience with an endometrial scratch, I’d love to hear it! Thanks friends!}

guest post: be brave.

Aloha from Hawaii! I am having the time of my life here with my girlfriends (although I miss and am not sure how I will even be able to find the words to share it with you all! What a refreshing trip this has been …. and it’s not over yet! I am just checking in today to share with you a guest post that I wrote over on my friend Kailey’s blog Cheers to Plan A about learning to be brave. This one was an eye opener for me to write and I am so excited to invite you over to read it.

Would you do me a favor and stop on over to Kailey’s blog today, read the post I wrote there, and leave her some love!? I LOVE sharing my blogging friends with others because you are the BEST, EVER!!!!

{{ C L I C K   H E R E   T O   R E A D }}

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(Print by Holly Holt Design)

Alright, that’s all for me! We are heading down to hit up May Day Lei Day celebrations on the beach! I will leave you with a couple pictures of our first day’s hike along the Na Pali Coast. I need to sort through the other 700 pictures so stay tuned. :)

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friday favorites – april 24.

So today is Friday, which means TOMORROW I board a plane and head off to Hawaii with 2 of my close girlfriends and one of their hubby’s. AHHHH! This trip snuck up so fast, granted I know we only booked it 2 weeks ago. All of that being said, I have a suitcase that still needs packing, toes that need painting, and a whole lot of planning that needs to happen in 24 hours, so this Friday Favorites will be a little different! Today I want to ask YOU to share with ME your Friday Favorites! I have had a list going for too long of things that I would love to hear that other’s love, so please, take this week to go through this list and pick an item or two (or all!!) and comment below with what your favorite is! (Or as always, you are welcome to email me at trialsbringjoy (at) gmail (dot) com.) I can’t wait to hear what you have to share!

  • Favorite Mascara – I feeling like I can never find something that doesn’t flake too quickly but still adds volume. Whatcha got!?
  • Favorite Book (fiction) – What’s a great book that you have read recently? I need some new authors!
  • Favorite Book (non-fiction) – What are you reading that is teaching you a lot? I love Christian growth books and am starting to wind down on my to-read list. Build it back up!
  • Favorite TV Show to Netflix – I am planning on starting on season 1 of Scandal on the plane tomorrow, as I have heard so many things about how good this show is. That being said, I know there have to be other network tv shows that I have completely missed out on. Share what’s good! (And nothing too racy or profane please!)
  • Favorite Grilling Recipe – We just pulled our grill out for the season and I can’t WAIT to cook on it every night! What’s a favorite recipe you have where you just need the grill? A side? A main dish? Send anything over!
  • Favorite Essential Oil Combo – I know there are a lot of you out there who use Young Living Oils (or another brand). I adore diffusing mine and am always looking for a great, refreshing mix. I have been mixing orange + peppermint all week and am crushing on that big time. What do you like to mix!?
  • Favorite Meme – I am always looking for new funnies to include! Be sure to email me hilarious ones you come across!
  • Favorite Game – Josh and I like to play games at night and we are a little Yam-Slammed, Phase 10, and Golf-ed out. What’s another easy and fun card game we could learn?

SOOOO excited to hear what you guys come up with and share!

On a celebratory note …. guess who turned NINE on Monday!? Our sweet little Cali girl! NINE! I know. *faints*. I was feeling nervous as that number continues to creep up and took her in to the vet this week for an annual check-up, just to make sure things are looking good. GREAT NEWS! She’s a rock star and beyond healthy, so this Mama (and Dad!) are feeling super relieved to know she’s “in her prime” and has a long long life ahead of her still.

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Okay and I can’t leave you without some funnies!!

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Other than a Guest Blog post next week, I won’t be around too much on here which on vacation, however, I can’t wait to check back with you when I return! Until then, this girl is about to get her beach on in the gorgeous island of Kauai.

Me ka aloha pumehana! (Yeah, no I have no clue what this means, Google just told me it’s appropriate for a goodbye statement.)

broken bones.

Last night I was lying in bed, wired from way too many iced teas and coming off an invigorating fellowship with my Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) small group. I watched the clock pass by, minute after minute, quietly listening to the breathy snores of Josh and Cali next to me. They were sighing in unison, sounding so similar I couldn’t tell which one was a person and which one was an 8 pound dog. I replayed the events of the day and evening, of which I decided that I definitely talked too much and used up about 4 days worth of words. I tend not to realize how chatty I am until I am laying in bed and thinking “Oh my gosh, I said that didn’t I? And that? And that. Oh boy.”

(The thing about being a chatty extrovert is that I typically forget very quickly all of the “oh my gosh”’ moments but unfortunately then it doesn’t stop me from much next time. Which is why I am doing a Bible Study now called Keep It Shut. For real.)

Anyways, I digress.

The nighttime hour seemed like the perfect time to clean out the Notes section on my iPhone so I began clicking through grocery lists and meal plans, dating back to 2010. (Hey, that’s one way to make a girl sleepy!).  Then in one of my most recent notes, this quote was typed out:

There’s no glory in easy. No one remembers easy. They remember the blood and the broken bones and the long agonizing fight to the top. And that, that is how you become legendary.

That’s all my note said. I put my overactive brain to work, trying to figure out where this was from and why I wrote it down. A sermon? A podcast? Something on the radio? A song? A quote by one of those really deep authors? Well, my brain was shutting down quickly so I turned to Google and guess who it credited this quote to?

(5 points if you know …)

Dr. Amelia Shepard from Grey’s Anatomy.

Oh goodness. So it wasn’t from a deeply spiritual source, no, instead God was using a fictional brain surgeons script line who works at a fake hospital with a imaginary board of directors. Eh, whatever it takes right?

But in thinking about that quote, I realized how true it is when we live out the story that God has called us to. Isn’t it the broken bones we tend to remember the most? The hard times in our life sort of act as defining time frames, chapters for the seasons. I don’t remember all of the easy, no-drama car oil changes but I sure do remember the ones when they tell me something is wrong with my car and needs a big repair. I don’t remember the doctor check-up’s where everything looks great, thanks for coming in! I remember the ones where they sit down next to you and say I am so sorry ….. We remember the fight, we are familiar with the scars, we hate the pain of dealing with the broken bones, but it’s the broken bones that give us a chance to do something.

What if we start using these broken bones we all have and start wearing them out loud a little more? What if instead of hating the broken bones with disgust, we start to respect them, viewing them as God’s fingerprint on our lives and knowing that we have a few beautiful, unwanted, but still present, life tattoos. What if we stop hiding these scars – no one needs to know we are struggling with money, with in-laws, with our marriage, with the kids, with a past mistake – and start to use them to create a story that gives Him glory and allows others to see His work as legendary? Because we can sure create a life where things look easy. We can sweep everything under the rug and post the Facebook pictures with smiles and empty sinks and vacuumed floors. We certainly can make it all look effortless, but why? People don’t remember easy and if people don’t remember easy, it’s a lot harder to allow Him to use your story to touch others.

I have had so many beautiful and unique stories shared with me over the years. And each time, I just want to hug the person (okay, I do) and tell them you aren’t alone. Others have broken those bones too. Others struggle. I struggle! Like, all the time! Yes, my struggles in my childfree season may look different than your struggles but I get the premise of struggling.

There a quote, which many attribute to Henry David Thoreau, but I just learned recently is misquoted (meaning I have no clue where it truly comes from) that says “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song (of life) still in them.” Gut punch. I don’t want to go to the grave with my story still in me.

I think far too often we are tempted to hide the broken bones and as a result, we lose us. We lose our story and our potential impact. No, I am not talking about you needing to write a book or start a blog or walk around Target shouting “I SHOULDN’T BE HERE! I AM IN SERIOUS DEBT!” No, I just am posing the question on what would it look like if we started having less of a filter between the broken bones and the relationships we are in.

Victor Frankl says “God did not create us to live in reaction, but to be co-creators of a meaningful life.” Yes, there are going to be amazing moments of easy in our life and they will include special, special memories. But none of us are exempt from the broken bones season either, so instead of negatively reacting to it, what if we ask God how He wants to use this injury to make it more meaningful?

I’m starting to ramble now, but I love where this quote got my mind going and am anxious to see what He does to sprout more thoughts from it. I just don’t want to lose years of my life living in crisis mode. I want to push forward when it hurts, I want the bones to heal correctly so that I can be functional again. I want to redefine hard seasons as opportunity seasons. I know, it’s easier said than done, but I know we can do it.

impact.

Every time we cycle I think “God, you have the platform to show everyone Your power!”. I wait expectantly for Him to show up, for Him to show that prayer does pay off, that He does hear us, that my faith isn’t resting in someone incapable. I often get discouraged afterwards, thinking “God!! You aren’t looking too good here! This was Your moment!” It isn’t a pride thing, I just genuinely want each and every person reading this to see the power of God at play, as well as the tender heart that He has.

That being said, with each failed cycle and with every miscarriage I wonder how it’s going to impact the people surrounding us. Is this going to cause someone to lose faith? Is this going to cause someone to doubt Him? I struggle with this battle of feeling pain from our own sadness but then also feeling like God is letting you down, those investing and trusting with us. I continue to pray that despite the failures and the pain that we are feeling, that you would still be comforted in whatever you are going through, that you stay hopeful that God can intercede in whatever your struggle is.

A week after we found out our March pregnancy wasn’t viable, I was doing some hardcore searching for how He was going to use this to impact others positively. That’s when I ran across a quote in a book that said “Looking back, my disappointment may have been the best gift I could have given (you). (You) need a God who is not just equated with blessings. (You) need a God who can walk with you in your pain.”

Reading that was like a healthy slap in the face. It was God’s way of saying Chelsea, the people around you don’t just need to see a God that always gives blessings, even though I can and do. These people around you right now need to see that I am also a God that walks with His children when they are hurting.

Friends, I ache for the day our prayers are answered and we can stand here and celebrate His incredible goodness, blessings and answered prayers. But I also am gripped to convey to you that until that day comes, and even if it never does, that our God is so much bigger than our unanswered prayer request. God is so faithful to meet us in our pain, our sorrow and our tears. I know how your heart is strangled with anxiety, with wondering if your time with ever come, if this painful season you are dealing with will ever go away. I understand that the thoughts that keep you up at night, whether they are about illness, finances, relationship struggles or job concerns, make you wonder why God is not stepping in. Why doesn’t He just make this all better? We are praying, aren’t we? We are doing everything we can to move in a positive direction and yet nothing is happening.

This doesn’t mean He isn’t in it. As hard as that is to believe, as hard as it is to understand, it doesn’t mean that He has abandoned you, me, us. Even when God isn’t doing exactly what we want Him to do, He is still God! It seems unfair, He seems silent, it feels hopeless. As I was driving away from the doctor’s office yesterday, I felt like an old truck with rusty, flat, crooked tires.

Kacha, kacha, thud, kacha. Rust falling off, age showing, no air to be found, thudding over and over and over again.

But it was then I realized that in order to see God sometimes, instead of just looking in the same place, we have to zoom out. We may feel worn, but then we have to pull back, widen our gaze, look for Him in the unexpected places, which is exactly where He was hidden to remind me that He is in this, if not simply for you. Maybe today He wants to remind YOU that He is in the hard moments and that while He can be a God of miracles, He also meets you in your pain, questions and sorrows.

In Finding Faith in the Dark, author Laurie Short writes “God not only shouts to us in our pain; He often shouts to others through it. In some mysterious way, pain moves through our lives to touch others.” 

This last week I have changed my prayer from that of “Let them see Your miraculous hand!” to one that prays “Let them find You in their pain.” I don’t want to be so focused on where I want God to be and how I want Him to act that I miss where He actually is. Today, this month, this week, He is waiting for me with arms of comfort, with a lap of peace and crawling next to me and reminding me to breathe.

He is faithful, even when He seems so unfaithful. I pray that our story, even in its hardships, refills your heart with the recognition that He is good, present, faithful and comforts us when we turn to Him. We can truly keep going, knowing that He has our backs.

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friday favorites – april 3.

FRIDAY FAVORITES! Oh goodness, it seems like it’s been ages since I have done this! Let’s not wait, here we go!

Favorite Devotional Reminder: Today is Good Friday, a day that overwhelms me with its meaning and reminds me deeply of my need for Him. Last year I wrote this post and can’t try to do today justice with words, but I do want to share this one reminder that I read this week. Proverbs 31 Ministries had a special devotional this week called ‘Moving from Grief to Grace’ and reading it just tore through my heart is such a good way. This part in particular was that major ah-ha moment:

At one of my lowest moments, realization and remembrance flooded my heart and mind: God lost His Son too, His only Son. The Father knew my loss, pain and brokenness oh so well.

That revelation was like supernatural glue applied to bind my wounded soul. The lost, dark, broken part receded as God proceeded to heal my broken heart with His love and light.

How about your lost plans, hopes and dreams? Are you bitter? Do you want to be better?

Are you ready to lay your heavy cares at the foot of the cross … and leave that burden there, so you can step into God’s plans for you? Jesus promised, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light,” (Matthew 11:30, NKJV).

God’s plan for His Son was not what the people hoped for and expected as they celebrated the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday, then experienced His death on the cross by week’s end. They did not know Easter Sunday — His Son’s day — was coming.

Remember, friend … Sunday’s coming! Jesus arose from the grave by the grace of God to save and redeem us. He has plans for us that include a hope and a future, even when our plans are dashed and we can’t see beyond the overwhelming loss of now.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).

When I ache for my babies, this week especially, I will cling to the fact that God lost His Son too. God understands what grief feels like, what brokenness looks like, the intense feeling of agony. He also knows that Sunday comes … and I believe that Sunday WILL come for each of us in its own way. It may be how we think it will look or perhaps so much more than we could imagine.

This Easter let’s be comforted by the fact that He is in control and that His burden is light. Oh thank you Jesus.

Favorite Robe: I know this seems like a silly one, but I have always searched for the perfect robe. Not too long, not too short, not to bulky, not to thin. And, sound the alarm, I found it! I actually bought it several months ago at the Gap Outlet and tucked it away and completely forgot about it until a few weeks ago. Now that I have pulled it out, I am completely attached. If it was appropriate and acceptable to wear a robe in public, I would. The fabric is SO soft, it’s the perfect length and a great get-ready robe.

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Favorite Surprise: Remember how I told you guys about my Shoulders on Wednesday? Well, my amazing instagram friends put together the best surprise package for me that arrived yesterday and totally blew my socks off. It was filled with notes and spring goodies, insanely generous gift cards and so many treats for Cali (which she adored!!!), candies and things I love. They even thought of including some fun things for me to do with my nieces. I mean seriously, how amazing are they!? Gestures like this BLOW ME AWAY. I am so humbled to be a recipient of goodness and feel so much love. I just want to burst.

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Favorite Ministry: My friend Lynn from Sweet Birdie Blessings sent me this gorgeous necklace a month or two ago from her Etsy store and not only do I love the message it says, I love the ministry she has created! Her mission is supporting mom’s who have lost their baby due to miscarriage or stillbirth. She sends them a comfort package that contains tangible items to help them in the grieving processing as well as items to honor the loss of their child. She is in the beginning stages of creating these and sends them out as fast as she gets the items in. If you have any interest in donating any items, I know she would love it. (Items like Kleenex packs/travel tissues, lidded glass candles, pens, journals, ornaments, etc.). If you are interested in learning more, you can contact her at georgiaoates4 (at) gmail (dot) com. Her goal is to stock local OB offices with a container of these packages since many women learn about their loss at the doctor’s office. How wonderful is she!? Plus, this necklace is just such a blessing.

Favorite Night Out: My girlfriends Julie, Jana and myself checked out a new local restaurant, Bricks, this week and it was DELICIOUS! One thing I loved – everything on the menu can be made gluten free at no additional charge. Winning! Also, the fries are heavenly. Of course the best part was the conversation and the laughs that arose. So thankful for my girlfriends!

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Favorite Bracelet: My friend Abby sent me the sweetest gift this week – this Alex and Ani ‘scared dove’ bracelet (along with the softest pair of socks ever!!!). I absolutely love these bracelets and never justify buying them myself, so this blessed me in a big way! Thanks so much Abby for your thoughtfulness. I will always think of you when I see it, as well as the reminders of peace and faith.

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Favorite Thing I am Looking Forward to: My grandparents are coming up to Minnesota from Illinois next week and we are excited to spend some time with them! We will get the chance to celebrate my Nana’s birthday and play games, watch the Masters (okay, I might inadvertently nap) and enjoy their company. Watch out Minnesota, Nana and Grandpa Tedd are coming soon! :)

Favorite Devotional: I know I have shared this already on my Facebook and Instagram accounts but if you are looking for a new devotional, you have to check out Savor by Shauna Niequist. It’s a small page a day and offers a verse and portions of her previous books + new material. Worth checking out if you are looking for a quick daily read!

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Favorite Funnies:

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Oh and guess what else came this week!?! My #TTCLuckySocks exchange! My amazing partner Nikol went above and beyond and showered me with such amazing goodies! She blogs over at www.notjustabeautyblogger.com and just went through her 2nd failed IVF cycle. If you could, send some thoughts and prayers her way. She’s such a positive gal and gearing up for a SUCCESSFUL 3rd cycle. I know it’ll happen! She has been a total blast to get to know through this exchange and I just adore this whole box. Thanks new friend!

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I hope you all have a wonderful and BLESSED Easter! We are excited to celebrate with two brunches this year (wish our bellies luck!) and enjoy time with both of our families. I will see you next week for another post! XO!