Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Grace in Weakness

I've thought a lot about how to write a post about this. I've literally started it and stopped 3 different times in 3 completely different ways. Then I felt a bit stupid for seemingly making it such a big deal. That's when I realized that's exactly how I needed to write this. I have become weak in my sadness over the death of my sweet dog Gracie and I have finally realized that that is ok. I have Grace in my weakness. (And yes that's supposed to purposely tie together) :) 

I know that many of you have told me just that. You've let me know I'm not stupid for my sadness, that it's normal, it just takes time and to let my grieving happen in my own time - but I'm stubborn. And that is how I grieve - stubbornly. I've also realized I guess that's ok too, because that's how it's going to happen. I will fight it, and then give in a little, and then fight it, and then give in a little, and then fight it, and then give in a lot and have a nice melt down. That apparently is my grieving style. 

I hate feeling weak or not in control, and grief is very good at making me feel both of those simultaneously and dramatically. Obviously no one likes to feel grief but I wonder how many people fight it and argue with themselves about how they handle it like I have been? Maybe a lot, maybe a little, I don't know. As I read over the many failed attempts at writing this post I'm so thankful I have stopped fighting myself and have begun to feel better because at one point I felt like I never would. Here's a paragraph I started but wasn't able to finish a month ago because I became too hysterical and stopped writing:

     "Part of the struggle that is maddening for me is that I’ve realized I am not patient with myself. I hate feeling down or basically anything less than wonderful. I despise it. And I try as hard as I can to get out of a funk when I’m in one. I don’t know how to get out of this one. I will just start weeping at the most random times. Sometimes first thing in the morning when I wake my eyes start leaking and it’s aggravating me. I’m so tired of feeling sad and in the dumps and want to see the light at the end of the tunnel when I can reflect on my amazing dog baby and not go into hysterics. I’m trusting God is molding me somehow even though I can’t see it or feel it. All it feels like is sadness and pathetic-ness. Two things I am not a fan of. Maybe I’m just learning that everyone goes through seasons of those 2 things and hopefully I can be more compassionate and understanding to the next person who feels sad or pathetic through whatever avenue that may be."

However, thanks to the support, love, and prayers of so many I have been able to open up, accept my weakness, and grieve over the past 2 1/2 months (how has it been that long already!?!?). It's been difficult to say the least but I've become ok with telling people I can't talk about it too much in public or I will melt down in tears, and when that inevitably happens anyways - I'm ok now with that too. I've become ok having a meltdown in front of my bible study girls and finally letting them know the real turmoil going on inside (thank you for accepting me in my weakness). I'm ok with having a full on balling fest on the night of my goddaughters baptism to her mother and grandmother (thank you Tif and Lisa for accepting me in my weakness). I'm ok with the fact that this has brought me to my knees and made me weak. I've realized I can't shove it away or even deal with it on my own and I'm so thankful I don't have to. 

I'm also so thankful to be able to see a positive in all this finally as well. Through this weakness and grief I have learned to become more sympathetic to others in their struggles no matter what they may be, and in turn not fear what other people think about mine. It doesn't matter what others think about my grief or struggle because it's mine. And when others are weak or grieving, even if I don't completely relate, I can understand their difficulty in being weak and grieving. Because grieving is hard work.

This statement of grieving is hard work is so ironic because it's one I used to absolutely cherish when I was dealing with the grief of infertility. I remember one of our pastors, Barb, saying you have to do the HARD WORK of grieving to get through it and allow God to work in you. I remember thinking that was so mind blowing and so amazing that YES grieving IS hard work!! I did have to grieve the loss of my dream of becoming a mother, of being pregnant, of so many things that infertility brought into my reality. So how I could forget this gem of information upon the loss of my sweet Gracie dog / first born / daily companion / best friend / guardian / love / comforter? Because of all those reasons and more. The loss of all of those descriptions made me weak and I wasn't able to do the hard work of grieving for a little while….and that is OKAY.

I'm not done grieving or healing from my loss yet but I am thankfully much farther than I was. I now know it's a process that will continue for a very long time. There will be ups and downs, but the biggest thing I've learned is that no matter how weak or strong I am about it in any given day - it is okay and God is still in control, and even more so, when I am not. 

'Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it [a thorn in my flesh] away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ -2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Monday, August 12, 2013


Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the Lord in the land of the living. Psalm 116:7-9

I read this verse the other day when I was feeling a little down about nothing in particular and it made me think so many different thoughts. It made me think how in times of amazing highs and seeing God work it's so easy to feel at rest and blessed. It's so crazy to me then how easily negative feelings and thoughts can creep back in days or even hours later if we allow them. Thoughts of doubt, insecurity, unsettledness, discontentment, sadness, lack of energy or joy, and a million other negativities. How is it that we can be so easily dragged back into feeling like we are lacking something in our lives. Sometimes the smallest thing can set me off to feeling like the world is out to get me. Bad drivers, slow grocery lines when I'm in a hurry, a broken dryer, burning dinner, having to wait for (fill in the blank)..... There are so many little small things in life that if we allow them to can puff themselves into much larger looking versions of themselves, when really they are but a drop in the pond of this life. Nothing to get worked up over. If we allow them though, they can snowball in our lives until we feel full blown overwhelmed, upset, distraught, or irritated and we can't even remember what is the actual root of the problem.

I love how this verse speaks to oneself, "return to your rest, O my soul." It sounds like such a sweet reminder and makes me think of God gently patting me on the head reminding me not to get so worked up over this life. This verse is such a great reminder to focus on how bountifully we truly have been blessed by God in so many areas of our lives. He truly has rescued me from so many tears, stumbling, and times that did feel as though I could die in my sorrow. There were many times it didn't feel like I was walking in the land of the living because I was barely aware of anything or anyone around me because I was too self focused on my own problems or heart aches. Thankfully I am not in that place anymore and that is a true miracle preformed by God. I need to remember to not be so dramatic in my thoughts and feelings and remember that He really has brought me through so many things and will continue to do so. We just need to return to our rest in trusting Him and live our lives while walking around this world and being aware of others and how God wants us to treat them. Not how we think we need to be treated.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Real Purpose

One of the biggest struggles I’ve had throughout my life has been figuring out what my purpose is. I used to think purpose loosely translated meant career and struggled for years dabbling in all sorts of different jobs and training classes trying to figure out what career purpose I was meant to have.

I used to think my purpose was to be a teacher. Then I started taking teaching classes my senior year of college while working in a classroom, and realized that this was NOT my purpose nor would it be my career either. I tried making crafts, I went back to school to be a preschool teacher, I managed a beauty supply, I looked into photography, writing children’s literature, worked in a dental office, worked at Starbucks, was a care taker, was a nanny, and finally decided that my purpose wasn’t a career but that it was to be a stay at home mom.

I struggled in the waiting to start trying for children so I could finally pursue my purpose. Then I struggled in the waiting of trying to get pregnant, adopt, etc. so I could begin living my purpose. During this time I really tried hard to find my purpose in Christ knowing in my head that was the correct answer. I did feel that was true at moments in time, albeit brief, they were relieving. However, in the back of my head I always thought my true purpose and fulfillment would be to become a mother.

It’s so fitting and crazy to me to realize that only after finally really letting go of the idea of me being a mother, and embracing my identity in not being a mother, that I have finally found purpose in my life. Only in listening to God that that’s not His will for me right now, and admitting it to myself and others am I finally free to know and truly believe my purpose is in Christ and in any small or big thing He calls me to do. Everything big or small has meaning and purpose in my life because it’s ALL God’s will. My purpose is to listen and do it. Finally I truly feel and know my purpose and it’s the most amazing and fulfilling feeling in the world. It’s like I wasn’t truly and completely living until now.

It’s also so interesting to me that the one thing I thought I wanted the most in this life was the one thing that kept me from hearing God clearly because my own desires interfered with it. I wanted to believe for the longest time that it was just my own thoughts, and not God’s, telling me we weren’t going to have kids. I tried to cover up and ignore the tugging on my heart that I knew was His prodding and play it off as my own. That confused my ability to hear God in other things because I held on so tightly to trying to believe my own voice was God’s.

Now letting go of that allows me to hear Him more clearly in other areas as well. Some small and some large, but all are so much more important now that I truly realize that EVERY action, EVERY conversation, EVERY friendship, EVERY relationship, and EVERY moment is a gift from God and that there is so much more to them than randomness. God works special moments, miracles, and so much more through all of those when I allow myself to be more conscious of the fact that it ALL means something more than just going through the motions. God has a plan for EVERY moment, and there is PURPOSE in every moment. I don’t want to let one miracle, blessing, or plan from God slip by because I’m not paying attention and acknowledging how much more is constantly going on than meets the eye.

I’ll be honest that sometimes I still grieve the loss of my plan and desire for children, but I’m also so thankful that I have been able to realize what my true purpose is through this loss. It’s ironically the most fulfilling feeling ever. My purpose is not one thing, but to constantly be aware of God and every minute that He blesses me with, as well as all the things He wants me to invest in and have purpose through. 

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalm 30:11-12

Sunday, June 23, 2013

New Identity

We attended Derek’s neurology graduation banquet last night and it was a surreal moment remembering the last time we came to this was 3 years ago. I remember it so vividly because I passed on the wine served that night because I was hoping I was pregnant and one of the very pregnant residents there asked if I was. I remember chatting her up about her pregnancy and gushing about the fact that I was hoping I was too. The excitement of talking about it and imagining our kids together was so fresh. Even though we had already been trying for years it still felt so imminent and certain.

If you would have told me 3 years ago at this banquet that maybe having children wasn’t in God’s plan for us, I would have laughed at you. And then probably cried a little…or more accurately, a lot. And if you would have then told me that though there would be MANY ups and downs (many many downs), that I would eventually feel an unsurpassed peace and confidence in that plan, and even feel contently joyful in my life without children I would 100% not have believed you, not even a little bit. However, that statement is now true in my life and I do accept it with more peace and actual joy than I ever dreamed possible.  And that is a true miracle.

I know that you are probably thinking….don’t give up!...there’s always a way!...or some other form of this. Well, yes I know that and I do truly thank you for the support and encouragement. We have thought that for years as well, but we are now coming to terms with the knowledge that not having children may be in fact exactly what God HAS planned for us rather than the opposite. It has taken us years to get to this place of peace in actually accepting that this might be our identity rather than the identity of being parents. This identity issue has been one of the most difficult, revolutionizing, and most freeing realizations for me. Thankfully I can honestly say that lately I have truly come to terms with my identity as a woman without children of my own. Now, whether God changes that in the future or not is up to Him, but for today we are not parents and are relishing in the peace He has given us regarding our identity as not-parents and the awesome things He has blessed us with as well as the other responsibilities in life He has given us.

I understand that this is a difficult thing for you to be reading and to come to peace about because I know how much you also want the desire of our hearts for children for us as well. And as odd as this may sound, I’m praying for you to have peace with us. We have gone through this journey on a daily basis and I know we’ve had more time to process and come to peace about it and I pray the same for you. I understand it’s difficult letting go of something you want so badly for someone else, but in this case it’s not actually letting go of our dreams, but realizing new and different dreams God is giving us. He is opening us up to desires of our hearts we never even knew existed. We have only begun to realize these by accepting our situation and identity in the present as not being parents, and we would have never gotten to where we are in life without going through this difficult journey and all the experiences God has allowed us to have through this.

The most amazing part about the graduation banquet last night was hanging out and chatting with some very pregnant residents and some very pregnant resident’s wives about their pregnancies and children, and being completely interested and not upset by it at all. I felt the similar excitement, interest, and joy I felt 3 years ago with the pregnant resident then, but with what feels like a lifetime of growth in between. I have grieved through years of waiting and wanting. I have mourned the loss of the identity I thought was mine as though it were death. I have learned to live, love, and trust in the God I know and the amazing life and identity He has blessed me with. I am so thankful for that and ultimately for my identity in Him.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; 
the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 
2 Corinthians 5:17

Monday, April 8, 2013

Silent Auction Fundraiser

This year I am helping plan, set up, and run the Bethany Christian Services annual Silent Auction and Banquet Fundraiser. I've helped the past 2 years but mostly in procuring donations for them and attending a meeting here or there. Last year was the first year I was able to attend the auction and it was SO much fun! It made me even more excited for this year...which is a good thing it did...because it has become largely planned by only a few of us volunteers. The whole process has been fun, overwhelming, exciting, and heartwarming. I am truly so excited for this event and to help out an organization that is so near and dear to my heart.

For those of you that don't know, Derek and I have been trying to have children for many years without success. We've gone through some fertility testing with basically no reasons for us not being able to get pregnant. A little over 2 years ago we decided to pursue adoption through Bethany Christian Services and prayed God would close the door if this wasn't His plan for us. I wanted so badly to become a mother but wanted it to be in God's timing and plan and we weren't sure what that was so we decided to move forward with adoption and pray God would make His plan clear for us. Well the day before we turned in our non-refundable deposit and paperwork to adopt, Ethiopia (where we were looking to adopt from) closed their adoptions. A month later they did open them back up but it was clear to us that this was not in the plans for us at that point in time. God gave us a clear answer. Since then we have prayed for what direction to take and He has made it abundantly clear that what we are supposed to do is to wait. Waiting is probably the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, especially when you don't even know what you're waiting for. But I do know that God is good and has given me a peace that I am right where I am supposed to be today doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing and that is an amazing feeling.

One of the many things God has brought into my life to fill my time and purpose is helping out with this fundraising event and I am so thankful for that. I have really enjoyed pouring my time and energy into it and have loved watching God work in it.

I would love for you to be a part of this event with me whether it is through attending the event, donating items, donating finances, or most importantly praying alongside with me that this event goes smoothly and is a great success! To purchase tickets for the event, donate, or simply read more about it please visit our event site at:

Thank you for your support!! I greatly appreciate it!!

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you." John 14:18 

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27

Here are a few links to past blogs about our journey through infertility, adoption, and waiting: