prayer request for little girl ritchie.

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Hi friends! I am coming to you this afternoon with a prayer request for our little girl twin. I believe so strongly in the power of prayer and know that even just one small prayer from each of you would make major ripples in heaven.

At our 20 week ultrasound, we learned that our little girl had a velamentous cord insertion, which happens in about 3-5% of pregnancies. What this means is that instead of her umbilical cord inserting into the middle of the placenta as it develops, it is inserted into the fetal membranes. Typically this is something they just monitor more closely, as it can result in a smaller baby, but rarely causes issues. She said we are more likely to run into an issue due to the fact that we are having twins versus a complication from this condition.

Well, on Friday we learned that our little girl is one of the few that is having a complication as a result of this misplaced cord insertion. She has always been on the smaller size and that has been something they have been closely monitoring. Her brother typically has been in the 40-50th percentile, while she started in the 20’s, then dropped to the teens, and then as of Friday, is now only at the 5th percentile. (The 5th percentile means that only 5% of the babies in this gestational age are smaller than her and 95% are larger.) She is measuring that closer of a 25 week baby than a 27 week baby, weighing only 1 lb. 14 oz. and desperately needs to start gaining weight. Right now her placenta isn’t providing her the nutrients and oxygen that she needs to keep up with growth and development and that obviously isn’t something we want to hear!

We need your prayers for our little girl. She simply just needs to have a growth spurt to bring her above the 5th percentile. As a result of being so small, she was diagnosed with “intrauterine growth restriction” (IUGR). (If she drops even a percentile, she then becomes diagnosed with “severe intrauterine growth restriction” aka SIUGR, which becomes pretty risky and compliated.) There are a handful of risks with IUGR that come with this, including  early delivery, underdevelopment of her internal organs, and increased risk for motor and neurological disabilities. I won’t go into many risks because we believe that our little girl is being created perfect in Her Father’s image. But there are so many unknowns that make this set of parents feel a bit out of control.

We are incredibly grateful we have been monitored so much, and that this was caught relatively early. We are going to begin weekly BPP/NST testing, likely moving to twice a week testing, and regular growth monitoring. They will be working to determine if her small size is causing stress to her. The BPP (biophysical profile) is a test that uses an ultrasound to evaluate her well-being for a set amount of time, and the NST (non-stress test) will be a second test that watched her heart rate for increases with fetal movements. I will start these two tests weekly beginning this Thursday and we have been told they take about 2 hours for twins.

We need your prayers that she passes both of these tests each week. If she passes, that signifies she is still remaining healthy and getting enough of what she needs to continue growth. If she fails, mama heads to the hospital. We will likely begin steroids soon to strength their lungs in case we need to deliver early. A goal with a baby with IUGR is to make it to 34 weeks, anything past that is wonderful.

Now for those wondering, there is nothing that I can do differently to help her – which is so hard! It really is just her placenta causing the problem, but we are able to pray to our God who is much bigger than a placenta or umbilical cord! We KNOW that He can provide her with the nourishment and oxygen that she needs to flourish!

If you are wondering about her brother, he is doing great! He is measuring accurately to his week gestation and weight. He dropped a bit in his percentile this last appointment to the 35th percentile too, so we are praying that he continues to develop well. They typically wouldn’t be monitoring him as closely as our little girl will be, but because they are twins and we are in for the tests each week anyways, they will run him through the same set. It will be nice to check in and make sure he is continuing to flourish.

Our next set of appointment dates are as follows, just in case you want to plug them in your calendar to be praying:

Thursday, March 23 – BBP and NST

Friday, March 31 – BBP and NST

Thursday, April 6 – Growth Scan, BBP and NST

(I will update more dates as we know more – right now we have weekly’s scheduled out through May, unsure when and if it will transition to bi-weekly’s.)

This means they are going to be making sure she isn’t under stress the next two weeks, but we won’t check in again on her percentile until April 6th. The high risk doctor wants to give her a chance for a growth spurt – which means more time for us to be praying for her!

I want to keep this all in perspective – we are expecting a beautiful little girl (and boy!). Her heart is beating, she is continuing to develop, even if it’s slowly, and there are no other health concerns with her. These are wonderful things to rejoice over! No, delivering her at 27, 28, 29 weeks wouldn’t be optimal, but we are being blessed with the family we have been praying for – this is a small road bump in this journey, and one that we know He is walking with us on.

Thank you in advance for your prayers. I would be lying if I didn’t say that there are moments when worrying starts to get the best of us, but as we keep repeating, there’s nothing we can do but trust God and continue to pray for her growth. Two verses that have been in my head and heart are Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” and Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” We know that He is walking with us, and again, we are celebrating and rejoicing over 2 healthy 27 week + 5 day babies! Sure, they may be a little tiny, but after all we have been through, we can handle tiny with Him by our side!

Thank you friends for lifting up our babies in prayer – it means more than we could ever express.

With love,

Josh, Chelsea, and big sis Cali (bow-wow!)

 

10 ways to keep your relationship thriving.

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/ritchieminisession2015

When EmpowHer reached out to me to see if I was interested in writing a piece about how to keep your relationship thriving through infertility struggles, the answer was a resounding YES! Because I have seen time and time again how the stresses of infertility can impact a relationship. Add together all of the elements of the struggle, the emotional, financial, hormonal, physical, and spiritual stressors, and if you aren’t careful, you have so many ingredients for conflict.

So, I happily dove into writing a list, 10 ways to make your relationship thrive, which you can read by clicking this link below:

Trying For a Baby? 10 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Thriving

(And by clicking and reading, it always is a great way of letting them know you enjoy reading what I am writing, hence continued gigs, so thank you!)

But continue reading here… because there is a #1 that I wasn’t able to include in this list and it shouldn’t surprise you … the best way to make your relationship thrive through infertility or ANY struggle, is to make sure that it’s rooted in Christ.

Without Jesus as the center of your marriage, conflict will give the devil a foothold to sneak in and cause so much distress. We have to keep in mind who created marriage – God! Which means your relationship is a spiritual relationship that works best when the two of you are connected with Jesus, taking time to walk with Him, read His Word, pray together, and seeking His will for your lives. When we ignore putting Him first, we ultimately are ignoring the one who created marriage and knows how to best make it work.

So, as you go through and read my list, keep in mind that yes, all of those things will help you create a thriving relationship, but nothing will help you THRIVE and SURVIVE more than Jesus.

Josh and I find it crucial to get to church together every weekend, taking time to talk about the message and engage in worship together. We love serving together, volunteering in our church cafe and giving back to the church. We know how important small groups are and throughout our years, have participated in ones separately and together. Right now we are both in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), him doing the men’s only class and me in the women’s only class – both doing the same study, so we have a chance to talk about what we are learning. At night we take time to pray together. We certainly aren’t perfect by any means, but we truly try to make it a priority to keep Christ at the center of our relationship and in our choices. When you take the time to put God in the daily parts of your lives, it becomes easier to bring Him into the big stuff. It changes the way we talk to one another, the level of love and respect that we show each other, and keeps our goals in check with what we feel He wants for our family.

Not there with your spouse today? That’s okay! It’s as simple as a daily prayer, asking God to help become the center of your marriage. One book I have loved is Power of a Praying Wife, which has helped equip me on how to be praying for Josh daily. But there are so many great books out there for couples to read together! Like this one, this one, or this one.

Happy reading!


Photo taken by Gina Zeidler

baby shower #1.

This past Sunday, we got to celebrate a day that I never thought would arrive … my BABY SHOWER! *Cue all the tears, feels, emotions, and mush* I prayed for this day for so long. Like many of you, I’ve spent time in the bathroom at many baby showers collecting myself and wiping away a few tears, wondering if it would ever be my turn. Years passed and then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, last Sunday it was my turn and it was just as magical and special and miraculous as I ever imagined. It made the wait so worth it – the celebration on this end felt so rich and meaningful.

This first shower of ours was hosted and planned by my sister-in-law Monica, who did an amazing job from start to finish! (And I know she had a special helper in my mother-in-law Lori and my nieces!) I loved that I was able to be surprised with the details and felt so special and loved knowing how excited she was to plan this event. This shower was mainly Josh’s side of the family and family friends. It was so great to celebrate with those who have prayed for us for so long!

Here’s a peek at our invitations! The theme was “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

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The morning started off with so many nerves! I didn’t anticipate to wake up with so many butterflies in my stomach. Was this real life? I struggled to anticipate what my emotions would be, as well as manage what I thought others would be expecting my emotions to be. I was nervous to be the center of attention for an event that was waited on for years. Thankfully after some prayers and deep breathing, the butterflies went away and the excitement was full-on!

One of my best friends Julie came by in the morning to curl my hair for me, which was so fun. It loved being able to process through my thoughts with her and seriously, she does the best job with my hair. It felt a little like a school dance moment, as I slipped on my dress, her and her family oohed and ahhed. It was so sweet and I am thankful for her offering to come celebrate with me the morning of!

Here’s a running-out-the-door bathroom selfie of my shower look! The dress is from Pink Blush Maternity and was so incredibly comfortable! The navy and pink colors were of course an ode to baby boy and boy girl. (PS – If you haven’t already shopped Pink Blush or Pink Blush Maternity, what are you waiting for!? They are my favorite online boutique!)

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Josh drove me to the shower and got to see all the fun festivities before sneaking off to play pickleball with his brother and dad. We got to walk in to a house full of gorgeous decorations and very eager family ready to celebrate! Here are some of the gorgeous touches!

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The shower was over the lunch hour and we ate an amazing spread of soups (tomato basil, beef barley, and duck wild rice) and sandwiches (ham, roast beef, and turkey with delicious condiments and gourmet cheeses). The spread was completed with homemade potato chips and a lovely fruit spread. It was catered by Lake Elmo Inn and SO DELICIOUS! Desserts were yummy cupcakes, turtle bar bites, and coconut macaroons. SWOON.

In the invitations, Monica invited guests to participate in a diaper raffle and we were so blessed to get so many boxes of diaper to start off our unending need! Guest began to arrive and were invited to fill out “I Wish…” cards for babies and also, grab a Bingo card to begin filling it out for the gift opening. Everyone was visiting, laughing, eating and talking about different gifts that could be included on the bingo card. I still couldn’t believe this day was about US!

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When we transitioned to the gift opening, Monica and my mother-in-law started with a little game where they asked me questions and saw how my answer compared to Josh’s. Monica asked me all the questions first and then surprised me by popping in a DVD to see how Josh responded. It’s so special to now have these answers on film! Here’s the questions and how we both answered them (edited versions):

  1. What is Chelsea’s favorite pregnancy food craving?

C: buffalo wild wings (parmesan garlic)

J: buffalo wild wings (parmesan garlic with blue cheese dressing)

  1. What is one word that would describe Chelsea’s mood while being pregnant?

C: happy

J: appreciative

  1. Do you think your baby girl will be born with a full head of hair? And your boy?

C: yes / yes

J: yes / yes

  1. How many diapers do you think the babies will go through in their first year?

C: 7,000

J: 7,300

  1. How many hours do newborns sleep each day?

C: 15 hours

J: I think they just sleep and eat, so I will say sleeping 18 hours a day.

  1. Which baby items have you registered for that you believe will be most helpful?

C: Some sort of rocker/swing, like a Rock’N’Play or a Mama Roo.

J: I’ve heard the Mama Roo is pretty awesome.

  1. What aspects of motherhood do you think Chelsea is most looking forward to?

C: EVERYTHING.

J: Just being able to cuddle with the babies.

  1. What traits of Chelsea do you hope the babies inherit and don’t inherit?

C: My empathy or compassion. Don’t inherit my stubbornness to admit when I am wrong.

J: Her love of other people and caring about other people. I hope they don’t inherit her habit of not putting lids back on any jars or containers.

  1. What traits of Josh do you hope the babies inherit and don’t inherit?

C: I hope they inherit his sense of humor and positivity. (forgot to reply to the don’t inherit part)

J: I hope they inherit the same work ethic that I inherited from my dad. I hope they don’t inherit my webbed toes.

  1. Which memory from growing up do you hope to recreate with your babies?

C: Making the little things an adventure, like going to the grocery store or cleaning up toys. My mom always made normal things extra special.

J:  Rough housing and playing with my dad. It was so fun to team up on dad and mess around with him.

  1. What are you most looking forward to about being a dad to a girl?

C: Having daddy/daughter moments.

J: Having daddy daughter times and making sure she knows how loved she is. I want to show her how loved she is and what it looks like for a man to care for her in her life.

  1. What are you most looking forward to about being a dad to a boy?

C: Having a little buddy to rough house with and hunt with.

J: Instill in him a solid faith and a strong work ethic, and what it means to be a real man. Not in the worlds definition, but what it means to be a man of God. And bow hunting. For both of them. And loving pizza.

  1. What aspect of being a parent are you most excited about in general?

C: Having the opportunity to raise kiddos to love Jesus.

J: It’s another way to experience love and to be able to love even deeper. It’s a different kind of love and I can’t wait to experience that.

As you can imagine, it was so special to hear Josh’s answers! I can’t wait to see him as a daddy to our human kiddos! (He’s such a great dad already to Cali!)

Next I opened gifts, and was so incredibly blessed with such special goodies! Monica asked guests to bring a book instead of a card, and I loved that we are able to get our kiddos library started off strong! (If you know me well, you know I LOVE books. Top  favorite things of all time. So these books are so treasured!). Our babies got such special practical and fun items. A huge thank you to everyone who blessed us so richly!

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Before I knew it, we were giving out hugs and saying our goodbyes! The afternoon flew by! Monica handed out lavender chamomile sugar scrubs stars as a parting favor, which is one of my favorite scents ever! It was such a lovely parting gift!

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It truly was such a wonderful day from start to finish! Josh came to pick me up and helped pack up the car. I smiled the rest of the night, so gratitude that we were able to celebrate this day, a day of God’s faithfulness! It was a dream come true in more ways than one.

When we got home, I finally remembered that I wanted a non-selfie picture of myself in my dress with my 25+4 baby bump, and of course by then, my hair had fallen, the sun went away, and I looked as tired as I felt, but still …. we had to capture the day and moment!

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Now, to my friends who are still waiting, hang in there. It’s h-a-r-d, I understand, but I’m believing that you’ll be the center of the party in the future and praying for that day to come soon for each of you. Keep the faith that your waiting will not be in vain. The wait will make the celebration even richer than you could ever imagine! And God will get so much glory!

Thank you to all who came out to celebrate. Our hearts are SO FULL. Thank you Jesus for the chance to celebrate these little lives!

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(left to right bottom) Colleen, Jeannie, Nancy, Meghan, Grandma Jones, Denise, Aunt Donna, Pam, Alicia, Emily, Katie, Gena, Diane, Lori, Kinsely, Scarlett, and Gabby. (left to right top) Patti Jo, Rachel, Lynn, Monica, Courtney, me, Mom, and Jeannie

 

fears.

Fear is a tricky thing. It sneaks in and causes us to begin to doubt, worry, and become uncertain about our future. The “what if’s” grow so great and before we know it, our eyes are down, our stomachs are achy and our hearts are racing. We worry that the worst will come true and reckon that God will never come through because our circumstances seem too great. We have all been there – that helpless feeling of heaviness. It will never change .. get better … be easy for me … 

Last weekend in church we sang the words “Fear is losing ground to our hope in You…” and it reminded me that the ONLY way we can beat fear is by turning our eyes off our circumstances and placing them on God. We know He did not give us a spirit of fear!!! (2 Timothy 1:7) That means that all those worries, doubts and fears aren’t coming from Him but are coming from the devil with hopes to snatch our peace, our hope, and our trust. We HAVE to place our eyes on God. We have to dig into the Bible, fill our ears with worship music, and scribble down verses and characteristics of our Father because otherwise, our hope will lose ground to fear. And it HAS to be the other way around. Because hope isn’t an emotion – it’s a given promise to God’s children. We can trust Him to pull through in His timing. We don’t have to live life afraid of the outcomes of our circumstances because we can trust that He wants the best for us.

What fears are holding your heart captive today? Is it a fear that you’ll never get the chance to be a mother? Or perhaps, that you’ll never get ahead of your financial struggles, or your health will never be what you want it to be? Maybe you worry that you will never truly be happy or filled with joy, or be able to form the type of relationship with Jesus that others talk about. Perhaps it’s your marriage – will it ever feel like you hit the sweet spot? Or will you ever recover from your divorce emotionally? Will your child/children be able to process life with only 1 parent in the picture?


Friends, I’m right there with you. Sometimes I lay in bed at night worrying about whether I can make it to full-term with these babies, or wondering if we will be able to parents these twins and raise them as Christ-followers. I worry I will not be able to handle a lack of sleep, or if I will be able to transition well from my lifestyle of independence and be able to ask for help easier. Will one of our children have a learning disability? A physical handicap that will make their life more challenging? Will they be stubborn and rebel against us? Will I be able to handle with kindness all of the ADVICE everyone seems to want to share? The list goes on and on. And the fear sets in. The worries we often wonder about are legit, possible fears (and sometimes they aren’t), but the truth is, there’s enough for us all to worry about all night.

Let’s be intentional not to let fear take root in ours hearts. We have to intentionally turn it over to the One who never wanted our minds filled with these worries to begin with. Trust Him to refill our hope and allow fear to lose ground because us+ Jesus together are stronger than any worry we may face. 

(This post from a few years ago reminded me how easy it is to just pray about our fears.)

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24 weeks.

Happy Wednesday friends!

I share this little update on Instagram the other day and thought it would be helpful to share it here too:

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Hey y’all! Chelsea here! Okay, so real talk: you guys all know my story… 9+ years of infertility, 3 miscarriages, a PCOS diagnosis, Factor V Leiden, tons of medicated cycles and IUI’s and 5 IVF cycles. And then you see me above, and you know that we are expecting boy / girl twins this May, a true miracle and something we are so thankful for!


So here’s the thing … I’ve been a bit convicted lately that I’ve allowed the whole “infertility” thing to mask this true pregnancy joy out of sensitivity to so many of you who are still waiting. And while I absolutely still want to remain sensitive and loving, I feel sad knowing you could easily glance at my feed and not even realize I am pregnant with two miracles, when for the last 5 years, so much of my feed was about infertility. And while I want to shout my love for these little ones from the mountains and celebrate every baby step, I tend to hold back and I think in doing so, it’s holds my story back a bit … tucking away the glory that God deserves to be getting every week we check off the list.


So here’s my resolution – I want to do a little better at balancing it all out. Celebrating this miracle, remaining sensitive to those still waiting for theirs, sharing my every day life and cute pup, and giving encouragement whenever and wherever I can. This pregnancy doesn’t define me, just as infertility didn’t define me! As a daughter of Christ, that’s the only title I really bear.
That said, I probably will be posting a *few* more celebratory baby pics, so if that gets too hard for you, I GET IT! You are under no obligation to follow me just because you’ve been a part of our story thus far. However, I care about each of you so dearly, read all your comments multiple times, and savor the relationships we’ve formed. Thank you for inviting me into your stories and lives!
All that said, here’s me and babies at 23+2 days pregnant. I have an aversion to eggs and pizza sauce and am savoring and treasuring every single stinking moment of this blessing, because it’s not taken for granted and I’ve waited far too long for these stretch marks and sleepless nights! Thank you for loving me so well.

I wanted to share here as well because I do want to start incorporating a little more “baby stuff” here, only because I have very little paper trail of this miracle! I hope to share pregnancy updates every 2-3 weeks, especially as we creep closer to our due date. I COMPLETELY understand if you need to take a massive time out from the blog!

But, with that said, we are now 98 days from our babies-will-come-no-later-than-this-no-matter-what due date! 98 DAYS! Considering I have been pregnant for 169 days, this seems like a tiny number! YAHOO!

How far along? 24 weeks – also known as “viability week”, meaning even though a baby born at this point would still require a lot of intervention, a baby is considered viable to survive outside of the womb. Every day here on out is a wonderful bonus!

Gender: Boy / Girl

Weight Gain? 7-8 pounds

Maternity Clothes?  Basically only now. I am starting to struggle to find tops that are long enough to cover my chest, longer torso, and bump! Eeeeek! But seriously, slip on pants are wonderful.

Stretch Marks? A couple new ones higher up – not that I am complaining! Stretch marks = BABIES!

Belly button in or out?  Stretching out but still in.

Sleep:  I typically have one rougher night a week, but have been getting a good 7-8 hours a night with about 2 bathroom breaks. I have been told this is a sweet spot of sleep in a pregnancy and I am savoring it! I took my first heavy, solid, felt-like-I-was-drugged nap this past Monday and don’t think I will be doing that again. I was so groggy all day!

Best moment this week: We had a great doctor’s appointment at our high-risk clinic last Friday and got to spend nearly two hours looking at our babes in detail. Baby boy was described as “slightly chaotic” (he is always moving!) and baby girl was said to be “calm”. I am feeling baby boy almost hourly, and little girl moves less often but usually more dramatically. I LOVE that I am feeling them more regularly.

Symptoms:  Back pain. Don’t take this as complaining! I am grateful to be couch-bound if needed. Some days are better than others, but my muscular skeletal frame is struggling a bit to the point of debilitating pain. But you know what, massages, heating pads, Tylenol and laying down helps, so on bad days, that’s what I’ll do! Otherwise no symptoms and I am so grateful!

Miss Anything?  Nothing comes to mind!

Cravings?  No specific cravings. Although my mom’s homemade French fries sound good right about now … J

Food aversions? Eggs and pizza sauce. No changes there!

Queasy or sick?  Nope!

Looking forward to?  Josh being able to feel the babies moving from the outside. We are allegedly getting closer to that being able to happen. I think he is going to get a kick out of it. Ohhh and our first baby shower is on Sunday the 5th and I am so excited! I am unsure if I will be completely dazed the whole time, or a hot crying mess. Either way, it will be incredibly surreal! God is good!

Prayer Requests? Nothing major! 1) Baby girl has a placenta that is connected to the membrane, meaning she is growing a little smaller rate than her brother. It’s nothing concerning (yet) and she’s in the 15th percentile and a few days behind. They are monitoring her closely to make sure the gap doesn’t increase and that she continues to still get the nourishments she needs. We were told this happens in about 1-3% of pregnancies, but of those pregnancies, most of the time it is a non-issue. We are pray that’s the case! And 2) for comfort for my back pain. I have had to pull over on the side of the road at times when it hits quickly and painfully, and it’s a helpless feeling.

Nursery Update: AH! The room has been painted, the cribs and dresser are set up and in there and Josh is finishing up the final pieces! Mama still have a lot of decorating to do, but we are making significant progress! YAHOOOOO! I will share pictures at the very end when it’s all done.

That’s all! Have a great rest of your week!

in the wait 2017.

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Did you know twice a year we offer an online Bible study community to journey through In the Wait together with women all over the world? And spots are open for our Spring 2017 group! In fact, the group is kicking off THIS SUNDAY, February 26th! Whoohooo!

The purpose of this group is to build community, help create accountability, encourage you right where you’re at today, and provide you with a safe place to process through what God is teaching you. All women, in all different seasons of waiting, of all ages, who have the book, are invited to join! And the timing of this study is perfect. It will usher in some daily quiet time prior to advent and what always becomes a busy holiday season. I truly believe God is going to move and stir in your heart as you continue to press forward into His.

If this is the first time you’re reading about the In the Wait devotional, check out this page on my blog to learn more, check out study details here, or look us up on Amazon. Between these three spots, you’ll a great idea of what this study is all about!

Our goal for this study is to show that we can take these seasons of waiting – exciting, easy, hard and painful ones – and grow closer to God in them. It is possible to live life FULLY while being in an unknown season.

There’s some awesome features to this online study, including:

– Each week will be author-led, full of videos and unique engagement on the stories and words shared that week;
– Tons of NEW downloads, lock screens, prints, resources and SNAIL MAIL;
– A members directory will be available immediately, giving you the chance to connect with people in a similar season and build on the friendships that begin;
– New daily questions, polls, community-building interactions and a solid, strong prayer group;
– And that’s just to name a few!

Membership is $5 (less than $1 a week!) and will give us the chance to provide you lots of extras.

***To purchase access to the online small group and learn more, click here: http://www.hollyholtdesign.com/shop/online-bible-study-access***

Our purpose for this online small group is threefold:
1) to build a safe community with others who are also in a season of waiting;
2) to create accountability to have daily quiet time; and
3) to encourage each of us, right where we are, to process what God is teaching us all.

So maybe you have a friend that comes to mind that may want to join you … INVITE THEM! Or maybe you’d love to help act as God’s hands + feet and share a little about your journey with ‘In the Wait’ on social media … we’d adore that! Tag us on Instagram at @IntheWaitStudy and #IntheWaitStudy!!

Can’t wait to see what God has in store for this next group of women!

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the power of a song.

Click here for the full lyrics 

We sung this song at church a few weeks ago and the lyrics were still as powerful as the time I first heard it. Yet, it was so interesting to see how God can take a song we have heard time and time again, and breathe fresh life into it. Let me explain:

While we were knee-deep in our battle with infertility, the phrases that stuck out to me were these: 

  • From this darkness, you will lead us: Waiting seasons feel so dark. They surround you. They feel like they will never break, like the light will never come in. Because you are waiting, you don’t know what the future holds. You can’t see ahead – what will the next 6 months look like? Wait, 6 months? I mean 6 weeks…6 days … 6 hours … The lack of vision of what’s ahead is blindingly dark. And so because of that darkness, the promise of God leading us is so encouraging. The prayers laced into this became “Lord, lead us.”
  • Our provision through the desert: Waiting seasons feel like one big desert. You are thirsty for answers, you are uncomfortable, you are aching and you feel like you just keep roaming. When will the break come? Will there be shade or water ahead? Will the desert ever make way to a place of rest, relaxation? Or are we destined to just keep wandering around aimlessly forever? Yet, as we wonder, He is our provision. He provides our hearts with peace, our aching bodies with rest, our wandering minds with His Word, filled with words of reassurance that we aren’t alone.
  • In the silence, in the waiting, still we can know you are good: Waiting seasons can feel like silent seasons. Sometimes, they are truly silent. And other times God is speaking to us, but it’s not what we want to hear, so we assume there is silence. All we want is direction, but sometimes it doesn’t come. Not on our timetables anyways. Where are my answers to prayers God? Where are we supposed to go next? But even when our heads scream “there’s no direction!”, His word reminds us of who God is. He is good. He has NEVER let His people down. He is not going to start with you. What does that mean? It means we can trust Him.

These lines brought my heart hope, comfort, and reassurance. The feelings I was experiencing – darkness, desert-like confusion, silence – they were normal. I wasn’t a “bad” Christian because I had these questions. And it reminded me to go back to the truth of who God is. Our feelings can’t be trusted simply because we are human and He is God.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT)

Now, as I sat back and listened to it again, feeling the little thumping legs of our baby girl and boy inside me, new phrases popped out and caused my heart to sigh in His goodness. Words like:

  • The Lord our God is ever faithful: the word faithful means loyal, continual, long-dedicated, firm and not changing. The God who stood with me in the hardest days of my life is the same God who is standing with me on this side. He brings the same peace, hope, comfort, and goodness as He did when my heart ached. He did not give up on me, even when my anger and frustration seemed toxic. And because of His faithfulness, we got to experience a miracle with Him by our sides.
  • Promise maker, promise keeper, You finish what You begin … You see it through ‘til the end: Years and years ago, He started a fire in us to become parents and by continual prayer, we asked Him to either change our hearts, close doors, or allow the promise that we would become parents to grow and continue. And when our hearts didn’t change, we took His promise at face value and believed that one day, He would bring His stirrings into fruition. 9 years was a long time to wait on a promise. I felt silly at times, like others were talking behind my back about that naive girl who still believed her God would come through. And yet, here we are – 9 years later – experiencing the fulfillment of the promise that we would become parents. He truly does see His promises through to the end. We just have to be faithful in the waiting and believe that His timing is better than ours. (Hard stuff!)
  • All Your plans are for Your glory: When things go “easy”, and there is no hardship, it’s so easy for our human minds to assume it was coincidence, or chance, or just what was supposed to happen. Yet, when there are obstacles to overcome, significant obstacles, obstacles so great that no one really believes it will ever happen, and then it DOES, well, what a beautiful platform to show the Lord’s hand at work! To know that our miracle has brought Him praise, fills my heart SO much and makes every single day in our 9 year wait worth it. My prayer has always been Psalm 115:1 – “Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” and I believe that He answered both our prayers for a family and our prayers for His name to be glorified with these two miracles.

Here’s the point – and it’s not to say in a belittling way “just wait till you get to the other side and then you will understand …”, because man, there are still days I wonder if He could have taken a shortcut and had the same results – no, the point is that God will always meet you and encourage you where you are at. If for you right now, it’s the silence, the waiting, the darkness and the desert – He is right beside you. He is walking WITH you. He is waiting WITH you. He is weeping WITH you. He is urging you to allow Him to be your provision, your leader and to believe He is good. He is asking you to turn your eyes and heart to Him daily and to trust that He is still in this waiting season of yours. WHATEVER the waiting season is.

Perhaps today you want a child so bad your heart breaks. Or perhaps you wonder when you will ever get to a place of thriving with your household finances. Maybe you desire for the city you live in to feel like home, or the homesickness to go away, or to find a friend who truly just gets you. Perhaps you wonder if you will ever regain a healthy weight or lifestyle, or meet a spouse, or be freed from the work stresses that plague you every single day. Or maybe, you just want to be freed from the NICU life, to be able to hold your child without fear of the wires getting in the way or perhaps you are wondering if you will ever sleep through the night again, if the crying will end, if the colic will subside. Or it could be the wondering if your daughter, the one you loved and raised, who turned her back on your family in devastating way, will ever come home again. Regardless of your waiting season, your desert, He is there. He’ll see it through to the end. Don’t believe your current state is your ending until He says it is. 

Or perhaps you are on the other side of a painful waiting season, and you can now see how God’s fingerprints were all over your story the whole time. You have experienced His faithfulness, you have seen Him glorified, you have felt the richness of answered prayers. You, friend, have a beautiful platform to share your experience. Allow Him to use you and your story for GOOD. Don’t turn your back on the experiences that brought you here. Turn back and reach out a hand to someone still struggling and let them know they are not alone. Use this time to pen out notes to your future self, who will inevitably go through another waiting season, with your exact feelings and emotions right now. Allow God to work with your future self!

Don’t give up hope. Keep trusting the One who has been faithful through all the ages. He loves you so much.

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