niaw: listen up.

 

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April 23-29 marks an important week in the infertility world, as it is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). I know there’s a lot of months and weeks out there for so many great causes, and this one is near and dear to my heart, as it’s a wonderful time for people to start talking, begin uniting, work towards educating others about what infertility is, all it entails, and who it effects. I am a blessed one – as our story has been public for many years and we have an amazing community around us following along, asking great questions, listening when we need it, and walking through the highs and lows with us.

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Let’s get real about infertility for a minute: Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. Now, we throw numbers and stats out a lot in today’s society that they can begin to lose their power. But think about it. If you are sitting in a room with 16 of your girlfriends, there are 2 of them who are likely personally affected by infertility or secondary infertility. This reality doesn’t care what job you have, how much you want to be a parent, your income, race, or social status. It breaks the hearts of all parties involved and leaves many left wondering why me? Why can everyone else around me have 1, 2, 3, 4 kids and we can’t? Infertility may be woven into female diagnosis, male factors, or simply unknown reasons. It weaves in emotions like fear, shame, confusion, depression, heartache, physical and emotion ailments, jealously, brokenness, sorrow, anger, and immense grief.

When you are struggling with infertility, it isn’t a part-time battle. It wrecks your world, day in and day out. You are constantly caught off guard with triggers, whether it’s observing a mother and child at the store, watching tv and catching a precious, but heartbreaking Pampers commercial, passing a pregnant women in the parking lot, or receiving (yet another) baby shower invitation. Some couples choose to share their stories and other couples keep their battles private, suffering silently and feeling the immense need to constantly put on the “happy face”.

Now back to NIAW. RESOLVE is the association that manages this week ahead and the theme this year is “Listen Up”. (You can read all about their intentions for the theme in this link.) When I first heard the theme though, my mind didn’t jump to the need for legislature to listen up (although that is important). It didn’t jump to the idea that insurance companies or fertility specialists need to listen up, although again, important factors. My brain immediately recognized the importance of those around us – our intimate community – needing to listen up.

In a battle as tough as infertility, it is critical that we have the support of those around us – those who support us and those who are struggling themselves. Isolation will create only that, feelings of being alone. And with a statistic as staggering as 15% of couples struggling, you are anything but alone.

If you are reading this today as someone who has never been touched by the struggles of infertility personally, thank you for taking the time to increase your knowledge. As you go through life, it’s inevitable that you will cross paths with someone who is struggling with infertility and your desire to build your awareness is critical. Be willing to listen to them. Don’t force them to talk, but don’t minimize their emotions and feelings if they do choose to share. Do not use your time to offer advice. Telling someone that this is part of God’s plan, or that they need to relax and take a vacation, or that if they tried this herb/supplement/doctor/exercise/adoption agency, is NOT helpful. What this does is cause them to feel more blame, like they have caused their infertility, or are being punished for something, and despite your best intentions to offer them hope, will push them back into desiring to put up a wall and stop talking. JUST LISTEN.  Validate how hard this must be. Be interested, not uncomfortable, with what they have to say. Check in on them. Ask what you can do to help. Pray for them. Without your willingness to enter into the mess with us, we feel abandoned by those we care about.

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If you are reading this today and are newly diagnosed with infertility or are quietly struggling without sharing your story with anyone, know how truly sorry I am for you. Your heart is breaking and I wish there was something I could do to make it easier. Take the time you need to grieve. It’s okay to be scared and unsure of what’s ahead. Find a good doctor and be open with them. Sadly 91% of couples struggling with infertility wish they would have talked to a doctor sooner. Don’t be afraid to reach out – it’s your doctor’s job to listen and help. I encourage you to find someone to talk to – in real life or through social media (like instagram – it’s the best community out there!).  It’s a painful journey and without someone that can process with you and listen, the suffering will become unbearably heavy. I wish I could come wrap you in a blanket, offer you a cup of tea, sit across from you on a cozy couch and just listen. You deserve the right to share your emotions without judgment or opinions.

And lastly, to those of you who are public, who share your story loudly and ensure that others know about infertility, thank you. Thank you for advocating and being the voice of many. Thank you for bravely sharing your story. Thank you for putting yourself out there and opening yourself up to stupid comments, statements and stories. Don’t give up hope – keep up the good work! Because of people like you, there are others listening in who may not have otherwise. You matter and you are valuable no matter what your family looks like. Take care of yourself, offer yourself grace, and don’t allow yourself to become defined by your diagnosis. Try not to personalize the well intended “help” someone offers. Use it as a chance to help them hear what you are trying to say.

If you are reading this today, I challenge you to take a moment to pray for someone you know who is struggling. Perhaps there is no one that you know – in which case, can I offer up some of my friends to you to be prayed for? There are so many, but this week my heart is praying for C, E, J, C, C, K, S, J, K, C, N, G, A, and A. Pick a letter – God knows who they are, and pray for them. Each letter represents a couple still struggling, big time, with infertility and bringing a little one into their family. Your prayers matter. Pray for a healthy pregnancy to come their way, pray for healing of their bodies from diagnosis’s and illnesses, pray for wisdom for them as they navigate their treatment options, pray for peace to flood their hearts, pray for their spirits and their joy to be refilled, pray for their faith to be strengthened, pray for their marriage to withhold the stress of this struggle, pray for the medical team working with them and pray for those in their life that support them.

Ironically this year, Josh and I are celebrating NIAW with new lives coming into our family in the next 5-6 weeks, yet the reality remains that because of my diagnosis of PCOS, we will always be a part of the 1 in 8. My heart lies closely with those who are in this “club” with us and yet still, we know a number will never define us. We are not alone in the fight that we face, or the celebrations we have ahead. We are grateful for our Lord who stands with us in it all and fights for us, and for the most amazing community around us who have gone through so many ups and downs with us. You all make the difference, you matter, and you are a gift.

 

fur mama giveaway.

Oh I am SO excited for this one friends! If you know me at alllllll, you know that my fur baby, Cali, is insanely precious to me (bordering obsessive) and that I love being her fur mama. Another thing I love is mail and encouragement. So imagine my DELIGHT when I saw that Fertile Box’s October TTC Care Package was made SPECIFICALLY with Fur Mama’s in mind! ALL THE FEELS. (And it can be made for a cat or dog mom too!)

Crystal sent me and Cali this AMAZING Fur Mama Care Package and we couldn’t love it more! So, I couldn’t let the day pass without sharing this awesome box with you AND of course, inviting you to win one for FREE! (More details on that later!)

(Side note: If you aren’t trying to conceive and still want this box, you can! When you order it, simply add a note that you aren’t trying to conceive and she will omit the TTC-related items, as well as allow you to add an extra quote print of your choosing. HURRAY!)

Let me walk you through this awesome box. Gah, you’re going to love it!

My box arrived and was packaged so cute and carefully. Take a peek!
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Cali was immediately interested and of course came over to help open it! First we opened the Fur Mama Survival Kit.

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Inside was: 2 flower and bow collar attachments, a package of homemade dog treats (which has been Cali-approved!), an adorable Snoopy halloween toy (with a squeaker, which we have been hearing all weekend in the most adorable way), and some fall doggy bags.This bag was a home run!!!!!

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Next we opened this box:

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Inside was this PRECIOUS paw print necklace in silver. I’m swooning!

Next we opened this Trick or Treat bag.

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Inside was some special treats for me – a face mask, a KIND bar (my favorite kind too!), some Kettle Pop gourmet gum, and of course, you can’t do fall without some pumpkin spice! I can’t wait to try this Tazo Chai tea!

 

Next up, unwrapping this:

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It held this ADORABLE Fur Mama tee shirt! The shirt is so soft! They offer sizes S – 2XL. I can’t wait to iron mine and rock it! You can count on seeing a selfie on Instagram this week for sure. (Just realized this image is a little blurry but you get the picture!)

Next up – this 5 x 7 quote print out. I love how she adhered it to the box so that it shipped safely. Just love it!

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Last up was the TTC part of the package, which again, can be omitted if you aren’t TTC and replaced with an extra quote print out:

The front of the package looks like this:

And it’s filled with 5 ovulation tests, 2 pregnancy tests, and of course, baby dust!

Seriously – you guys. This will put a smile on ANY Fur Mama’s face! The card in the box says it all: “For many of us … the only thing keeping us sane on this difficult journey to parenthood is the unconditional love of our fur babies….We may not be human mommies yet, but we’re wonderful loving Fur Mama’s!”

If you are supporting someone who is struggling to start a family and know that they would love this Fur Mama package, order them one. Seriously. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about someone going out of their way to acknowledge how much of a mom you can be to a pet.

Every month has a different theme for the Monthly TTC Care Packages and this is the only month to order the Fur Mama collection and they will sell out, so don’t delay! Head over to http://www.myfertilebox.com to place an order! There are two versions of the box, this FULL version ($36) which includes everything pictured, and the MINI version ($26) which has everything except the t-shirt. Seriously, for everything inside, it’s a DEAL!

BUT WAIT! Because I love you guys so much, and Crystal over at Fertile Box is so amazing, we are offering my readers a special promotional code for a FREE “Refuse to Sink” silver cuff! All you have to do is enter the Promo Code FALLBONUS when checking out.

Every month there is a different theme to the packages so if you aren’t a fur mama, or if you want to spread some love next month or over the holidays, keep checking out http://www.myfertilebox.com for updates. There is always something new and it makes this journey so much more bearable.

Now, the GIVEAWAY!!!!!

This giveaway is being conducted entirely through Instagram, so head on over to my account @chels819 to enter. Rules to enter:

  1. Follow @FertileBox and @Chels819
  2. Like the Giveaway Picture
  3. Tag 3 friends that you think might be interested!

That’s it! But for an extra 3 entries, repost the Instagram picture (pictured below for an easy save and repost) and use the hashtags #fertilebox #FurMamaGiveaway. (if you are set to private, direct message me a screenshot of the post.)

So easy! We are drawing the winner at the end of the day FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9TH so don’t let time get away from you! This honestly is the funnest giveaway EVER and I can’t wait to spoil a special fur mama with this package. (By the way, we are giving away the FULL version! Whoop whoop!).

Okay, what are you waiting for? Go enter and/order! Before they are all gone!

Use this Image on Instagram to repost

Use this Image on Instagram to repost

(Also, congratulations to Amy L. who won the In Due Time book giveaway! It’s not too late to buy a copy for yourself – head on over HERE to purchase one for yourself in paperback or for your Kindle! Thanks again Jen for sponsoring that giveaway!

watering.

Cali and I just came in from our small garden, a basket full of tomatoes and lettuce and onions and herbs. When Josh and I planted, eerrrrrrr, when Josh planted everything at the beginning of the summer, it was hard to see how the tiny plants would ever produce anything.The sprinkler waters them, Josh trims them back and pulls off fruitless branches, in fact, he even installed a special gutter ledge to prevent the rain from pounding their tender leaves. (We can see who has the green thumb here, don’t we?) We wait. And we wait. And nothing seems to happen. But now, here I stand today gathering ripe tomatoes and lush lettuce and bundles of herbs. We can barely keep up with it!

“What do we have here today Mom?”

Then we have my actual flowers – the potted kind. I am the one that’s more responsible for these than Josh. And, shrug, they are nearly all dead. Watering with the hose seems like so much work. The water can takes forever to fill up. (Ridiculous I know.) Every time it rains, I pray that there are large gusts of wind that will blow the rain water to every plant, covered by the porch or not. I get lazy and then, well, the plant dies.

When we water ....

When i water ….

when we don't.

… when i don’t.

Josh will point out that my flowers are dead and remind me that I should water them. I begrudgingly get the hose and watering can out the next day and drown them, praying that this watering brings them back to life. Luckily, it usually works until about 2 weeks later when Josh reminds me again that my plants all look dead. I have great intentions at the start of the summer to water regularly and rip off their heads when they die, (I believe the technical term is deadheading), but then I get so lazy, certain they can sustain on their own.

As I harvested the tomatoes today, the thought flashed through my mind of how often life feels like a plant. One day we are looking at a circumstance and it feels so small and empty, impossible. We see no progress being made and our efforts to make it grow seem meaningless. But we stay persistent and then, suddenly, it happens. That first tiny flower, a sign of what’s to come. Then another. And another. And before you know it, that circumstance feel like a lush garden, fruit coming off the plant every day. But that fruit doesn’t just appear. It comes as a result of patience, watering, intentional grooming, and the routine of putting into it when you don’t yet see an outcome. Are you waiting for fruit today? That promotion to come or perhaps your walk with God to grow closer? Maybe it’s a new diet or fitness routine or trying to break a bad habit. Keep putting in. Keep working hard, even when it doesn’t seem like it’s paying off. Stay focused to the end goal – the harvest. Water your skills, your body, your mind, your spirit each day and wait. It will come!

Likewise, don’t be like me, never watering the plant or taking care of it and expecting flowers to bloom. Don’t expect an outcome when you don’t put in the work. Yes, it may be hard. Yes, you may feel lazy. I am right there with you!

I go through days where I expect the watering of my soul from last week’s devotions to carry me over to today. But then when a sharp word comes out of my mouth or my spirit would rather turn on secular music than worship music, I realize how dry my “soil” has become. My patience for people starts to wilt and only God can refresh my decaying mess. The reward of being rewatered and cared for feel so good, but wouldn’t it just be easier to keep the plant alive in the first place? For me, YES!

Think about it today friends. In what area of your life do you need to be reminded to keep your watering up? Your work isn’t in vain, your patience hasn’t been dismissed. You will reap a harvest. And also, in what area of your life do you need to start taking better care of your plant? Start watering it. Begin investing in it and then keep it alive with daily care.

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”  Galatians 6:9 (NASB)

Now, I’m off to figure out what to do with all these tomatoes! If only mozzarella grew on a bush …..

guest post – secondary infertility.

I am privileged today to share with you a guest post by one of my dearest friends, a post that has touched my heart in a profound way. I often get questions from readers about secondary infertility and while there is a similar word shared – infertility – I am unfamiliar with how to relate to the complexity of emotions that arrive when a family wants to grow just a little more. Jana has been willing to open up her heart and story in a vulnerable and real way and I am blessed to breathe the same air as this woman. Please join me in reading Jana’s journey below, both with secondary infertility and as a newly diagnosed “cyster”, while celebrating the beautiful workings of our God who is always involved. I adore her and after reading this, I know you will too. Enjoy!


Ignorance is bliss. Or is it?

When Chelsea asked me to write a guest post on secondary infertility I told her that I felt completely incompetent because our struggle to conceive has been shorter in comparison than most other infertility stories out there in the blogosphere. We haven’t experienced several years of infertility. We haven’t experienced the immense heartache of a miscarriage. We haven’t even been through a failed IUI or IVF cycle. And yet, the deceiving chatter in my head that I sometimes believe is that I shouldn’t be so discouraged with our struggles to conceive since we already have been so immeasurably blessed with two lovely children. This then only makes me feel horribly greedy and ungrateful for wanting another. And so the cycle continues… Desire. Discouragement. Guilt. Desire. Discouragement. Guilt.

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Then I realized (with the help of a gracious reminder from Chelsea) that the chatter in my head was keeping me from telling our story. My hope is that in sharing it with you, you will be encouraged to know you’re not alone. I also want to share with you what we have learned throughout this journey and why we have peace even among the setbacks.

There is nothing to be ashamed of for desiring another baby – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Those of us whom struggle with secondary infertility have our own unique set of ignorant comments from well-wishers. Along with the “you just need to relax” comments, we often get “just be happy you have one <or in my case two> child(ren). Do you know how many infertile couples would love to have just one child!?”, implying as if our desires for wanting another child isn’t valid. And we’re constantly reminded at preschool that practically all of the other mommies around us are either pregnant or toting around a new little bundle of joy and telling us how lucky we are that we get to have a quiet moment to ourselves for a few hours while our kid is at school. (I won’t disagree that the break is nice but oh, what I wouldn’t give to have another baby instead of alone time at Target.) And how can I forget that wonderful question of “So when are you going to have another baby!?”.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been trying to conceive for 3 months, 1 year, or 10+ years… the loss of an envisioned dream is still loss. And the struggle of infertility is both physically and emotionally painful. But I’m a believer that pain can often bring purpose… if we allow it to.

A couple of years ago, I was at a conference where Beth Moore spoke to us about “Birthing Purpose”. She so beautifully and intricately wove in how our painful experiences birth PURPOSE in our lives. I could go on and on about the significance of this weekend in my life and how it prepared my heart (that is another blog post all together)… but, little did I know that just a few months after hearing this powerful message, we would be at the beginning of our infertility journey.

(Here are the highlight notes from Beth Moore’s message that weekend – so powerful!)

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Today I want to share with you why I wouldn’t change our infertility story and that there has been a purpose revealed to me through this trial.

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I never thought infertility would be a part of our story. When my husband and I decided to start trying for our first baby, I remember being so ignorantly over-confident that it would happen just perfectly according to our plan, honestly speaking, during the first month of trying. Oh how quickly my confidence changed after my first experience of peeing on that stick and getting a negative result. I was crushed but found hope in trying again that following month, however another failed cycle absolutely devastated my spirits. My husband traveled for work quite a bit during our season of trying and I actually demanded he return home for “prime time” baby-making one weekend (he didn’t complain…ha!). The 3rd time must have been the charm and we welcomed our beautiful daughter, Chloe, into the world on Easter Sunday in 2009. Her birthday was the most beautiful day of my life and I immediately experienced euphoria in my new role of being a mom.

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Fast forward a year and a half later and it was time to start trying for #2. WHAM. 1st month trying and we were pregnant. We were blessed with our son, Clayton (Clay), in June of 2011. We fell madly in love with this flawless little boy and I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect life than the one we were living. Life was good, and as cheesy as it sounds, I felt like all my dreams were coming true.

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Shortly after Clay’s birth, we went through a couple of big life changes. I stopped working and became a full-time SAHM. We also sold our house and moved in with my parents for 5 months while building a new home. Despite all the joyous blessings going on around me, I was rapidly gaining weight and found myself crying all the time for no reason. I was diagnosed with post-partum depression 9 months after Clay’s birth. I began taking depression medicine and started an intense workout regime 6 days a week trying to attain my pre-pregnancy body (which honestly wasn’t anything perfect before kids either… I have always been a yo-yo dieter battling the same 20-30 lbs.) For the first time in my life I loved working out and felt amazing on the inside, but my physical results were lacking despite my best efforts, resulting in a total weight loss of 1 measly pound after 10 intense weeks. Shortly thereafter, I stopped working out and quickly put on an additional 20 pounds (likely due to poor sleep habits, mental/physical stress and exhaustion.) Little did I know that my body was working against me and I was experiencing insulin resistance and hormone imbalances due to an unknown PCOS condition.

I was so discouraged with my weight and overall health so we put off trying for baby #3 until I could get back down to what I thought would be a healthy starting weight. Despite making extreme changes to my diet, (a whole foods approach with balancing proteins, fats & healthy carbohydrates, as well as drastically reducing my sugar intake) combined with trying too many home workout videos to count, it felt like it was impossible for me to lose weight. I beat myself up multiple times daily feeling like a big fat failure. This wasn’t an issue of willpower as I was trying harder than I had ever tried. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t figure out what. My husband was soooo supportive and validated my efforts, but I still felt so alone in the battle. (At this time I still was unaware of my PCOS condition.)

Although my health wasn’t where I wanted it, we decided it was time to start trying for baby #3 to complete our perfect family planning timeline. I had always responded very well to pregnancy and actually felt (& looked) my best during those 9 months. I was that annoyingly cheerful “I love being pregnant” woman that most pregnant women love to hate. When it came to trying again, I was ignorant to believe that since we had no problem getting pregnant with Chloe & Clay, we would have the same luck the 3rd time around.

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The first few months of trying again were the toughest… there were lots of tears and too many dollars spent on name brand pregnancy tests. We were 9 months into trying when I had my annual exam with my OBGYN. I had informed her that my cycles were regular but ranging from every 24-32 days. I asked for blood tests to be done but she said we should try with an ovulation kit and to come back in a couple months. She assured me in her flighty tone of voice that I would be pregnant next time I saw her. I left that appointment in tears and feeling defeated.

After 2 more months of getting positive results on ovulation predictor kits (OPK) and perfectly timed sexcapades, I returned to my OBGYN’s office still not pregnant. (I didn’t know at the time that I was actually getting false positives on the OPK’s which is common with PCOS.) My doctor finally agreed to order FSH & Estradiol blood work samples and do an Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). My results all came back normal and we were given our options for going forward. Given our diagnosis of  “unexplained infertility” and the fact that I’m approaching 35 years of age, the doctor highly recommended that I see a fertility specialist. I walked out of that appointment completely dumbfounded.

“Fertility specialist!?” I questioned. I thought she was going to give me the magic Clomid pill and we’d be on our merry little way to having our perfectly planned little family in just a few short months. “How did we even get here!?” I kept asking myself.

I made our appointment with the fertility clinic and we were able to get in just one week later. My husband and I sat with the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) as he began to thoroughly explain in detail what happens in the body of a woman with PCOS. I was aware of what PCOS was but didn’t think I had the typical symptoms, so it took me quite a few minutes to realize that he was politely informing me of my destiny. Within minutes I was in the exam room having an ultrasound and blood work drawn to confirm that his diagnosis of PCOS was, in fact, correct.

I was in shock but mysteriously felt peaceful and free. I felt like I finally had an answer to so many health related questions that I’ve had for over 15 years. (digestive issues, unexplained weight struggles, bouts of depression, etc…) Since being on the proper medication since my diagnosis (Metformin for insulin resistance & birth control pills to help regulate hormones), along with my continued healthy diet & regular exercise regimen, it has already significantly helped me with weight loss and my overall health. My body is FINALLY working with me and I feel the best I’ve felt in years! Praise God!

(Note: If you are struggling with infertility or secondary infertility (even if it hasn’t been a year yet), I strongly urge you to schedule an appointment with an RE. I regret not going in sooner. I learned that OBGYN’s can help you once you get pregnant but a fertility doctor’s main mission is to help you GET pregnant.)

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Most significantly, I have been overwhelmed with gratitude when I think of what a true miracle Chloe & Clay are. Most people are diagnosed with PCOS in their teens or early twenties. Most are able to conceive but rarely without the help of fertility medicine and interventions. The only reason I found out that I have PCOS is due to our struggle trying to conceive baby #3.

I know this might sound crazy, but I feel like God has answered my prayers with this diagnosis – prayers that I didn’t even know I was praying. If it weren’t for infertility, I don’t believe I would have ever known about my PCOS and I would have continued to battle the health and weight concerns that have held me in physical & emotional bondage for too many years of my life. While the weight struggle is far from gone post-diagnosis, I now have an answer to the “why!?” and that answer is such a gift to me.

I have come to the conclusion that ignorance is NOT bliss.

The ignorance of not knowing I had PCOS all these years has been hard not only for me, but for my family & friends too. They have watched me beat myself up emotionally every single day over the last 15 years wondering “what is wrong with me!?” (I don’t have the typical PCOS symptoms so I believe that is why it went undiagnosed all these years.) Though I would never ever choose PCOS (it totally SUCKS– can I get an amen soul cysters!?), I am grateful for the answer I have going forward and what it means for our family and for my health. I am finally free to be the best version of me and that will greatly impact the type of wife, mom, daughter, sister & friend that I can be to my loved ones. This unwanted diagnosis may have saved my life and certainly saved my heart from being broken any longer. I am living today with a grateful heart and a clear vision of my purpose… to bring Glory to God in everything He has called me to do.

Two birthdays ago, I began a new tradition of meditating on a key Bible verse for the entire year. I wanted the verse to correlate with the age I was turning. When I turned 33, I selected Matthew 6:33 as my year verse.

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When I turned 34, I selected Psalm 34 because I couldn’t choose just 1 verse from this entire passage of His promises. Meditating on these powerful Words from God these past 2 years has been such a blessing to me. To quote the title of Chelsea’s blog, I do believe trials bring joy if we seek God’s kingdom first and praise Him even in the valleys of our broken hearts.

I will end with this prayer that I prayed almost 1 year ago when I was pleading with God to help me fully give this area of my heart to Him. I wanted to start living a life full of His intended purpose for me. I vowed to not let another year of my life be in vain and prayed that I would bring Glory to Him in everything I say and do going forward.

Lord, I’m ready to give birth to PURPOSE for this painful struggle that has held me in bondage and taken away my attention from you. God, help me, guide me, lead me, and speak through me that I may birth something that means something. That I will be obedient and I will submit to you so that I may bear fruit. Lord, help me be disciplined and open to the calling which you have given me. I pray that the right people will come along side of me to encourage me as I go through this journey and Lord, I ask that I will be a person that mutually encourages them to fulfill the purpose you have for their lives also. God — You are STRONG. You are MIGHTY. You have OVERCOME the oppressor. I have no fear for YOU are with me and holding my hand as I give birth to Your purpose for me. Amen. (March 7, 2014)

What a humbling experience these last couple of years have been. I want to explain that my prayers to lose weight all these years have never been in vain but rather that I would come to peace to accept my body just the way God made me. I believe that accepting my PCOS diagnosis and infertility struggle is all a part of this journey to acceptance. I’m not “broken”… I am fearfully and wonderfully made for a clear PURPOSE destined by God. How comforting it is to know that He is the one guiding us in each and every step and that He has never failed us. We feel led to go forward with our first IUI in just a few weeks. Prayers are appreciated as we continue on our journey! :)