#miscarriage

My belly is just a little swollen. My stomach is much more adamant in its demand for food. And boy am I tired.

My body has yet to discover what I already know – there will be no baby in a few months. I’m not feeding a second human with the food I consume (unless you count James, whom I can’t seem to wean). My tiredness due to “growing a human” is….false. That little human has stopped growing. It has already met the face of Jesus.

So I wait. I pray counterintuitively that God would cause this little one to leave my body naturally. And if not? I take a pill to do the opposite of keeping my child safe within my womb.

God, in His deep deep graciousness, prepared me for this. I was hesitant to be too excited, and going into the ultrasound, I wasn’t really expecting good things. I don’t know why. Maybe it was God, maybe it was fear. I couldn’t tell you. But it helped ease the blow you hear when the doctor says, “nonviable pregnancy.”

I praise Him that I know what to expect in the next couple of weeks. How heart wrenching must it be for the thousands of women who suddenly and unexpectedly start to push their baby out way too soon. Again, in His extreme graciousness to me, I’m given time to prepare. Time to mourn. Time to pray.

He’s also given me peace. I don’t have “what if” guilt: What if I hadn’t had so much coffee? What if I hadn’t let James play on my stomach? What if I hadn’t slept on my back? What if I hadn’t eaten that cookie dough or deli meat?  Was my shower water too hot?  There is nothing I could have done, I feel assured of.  This is the result of sin and death.

This is miscarriage. Thousands and thousands of women on this earth right now have suffered some form of this loss. Many, multiple times. I can’t imagine.

I’m not looking forward to “birthing” my little 8-week old womb-baby. How can one really be ready? It’ll pass through like blood, then its tiny self will be gone. That’s not how it is supposed to happen. Sin has brought death into the world, and for that we pay the price.

I am simply thankful for a God who still gives me hope; whose hand is still all over this situation; who will never leave me or forsake me; who knows exactly what I need and what I can handle (with His help, of course).

It’s been years since I’ve written. 2 wonderful years of chasing around a little boy who lights up our home, and who will someday make the BEST big brother. I’ve not known what direction to take my writing, since I find myself to be a novice at most things.

But writing is my outlet. Very very rarely do I hear stories of miscarriage early in pregnancy. It’s almost like it doesn’t count.  It’s not as hard – physically or emotionally – as suffering a later loss, that is absolutely true. But it still counts. We can still mourn, we can still call it a loss. We can still talk about it. And that’s why I had to write this post, even if it’s not read by a single solitary soul.

And now I try to be strong. I try to look toward the future. I cry. I hope. I wait. I look to Jesus, who truly is the only answer. To everything.

The birth story

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Well, he was due in July…

Today is my son’s due date, but our lucky faces have been able to stare at him for a whole week now.  After trying for so long to have a baby, I’m trying my best to savor every moment, and I can’t believe a whole week has passed since he entered the world. I get it now – I need lots of time at home, not because I’m incapable of doing things and going places, but because I don’t want to. New moms (and dads!) need to soak up every precious moment with their newborn rather than just jumping back into busy life.  I get it now.

So while my sweet boy sleeps next to me, I’m going to take a moment to tell you about his arrival into our lives last week.

Sunday night during church, I started having contractions, though I honestly wasn’t sure if they were real or not.  But they stuck around, and were enough to keep me up that night.  I kept hoping they would get closer together, but they stayed about 8 minutes apart all night and into the morning.

Thankfully, I had a doctor appointment scheduled for that evening, so I called the clinic to see if they wanted me to come in earlier.  “Not unless your contractions are 5 minutes apart.”  Well darn.  They say in early labor, you’re supposed to distract yourself; well, I must have a pretty low pain tolerance, because there was no way I was gonna go to a movie, read a book, or take a walk around the neighborhood.  Heck, I wasn’t gonna actually get dressed unless I had to. 😉

My appointment time came, and Mick grabbed the keys to take me.  “Did you grab the hospital bag?” I asked. “No, should I?”  “Yeah, grab it just in case.”  Thankfully this ultra-procrastinator had somewhat of a hospital bag packed.

When we got there, they took us back (though not soon enough – I definitely wasn’t hiding my contractions in that waiting room!) and hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor.  And my doctor got concerned.  “His heart rate is pretty flat.  We like to see more movement, so I’m pretty concerned.”  She decided to send us straight to the hospital so they could hook me up to an IV, get some fluid in me (I hadn’t been eating, and hadn’t been drinking enough), and monitor his heart.  I was only dilated to a 3.

I should say, even though she was worried, I really wasn’t. It may have been the pain, or it may have been the Lord, but I knew this baby would be alright.

Once I got there, they got the IV going, as well as a fetal monitor and contraction monitor.  His heart looked great!  So either we caught it at a down time earlier, or the fluids made a big difference.  My contractions stayed 8ish minutes apart, so we were basically just waiting for my doctor to get off work so she could come over and see how things were looking.

About 3 hours later, she came in to check on me and to figure out what we were going to do next. The options she had given us earlier were:
1) If I wasn’t dilating any more, but his heart looked good, we’d be going home.
2) If his heart didn’t get more active, they’d be doing a C-section.
3) If I was dilating and his heart was good, they’d call this real labor and keep                       us overnight to monitor the progress.

Praise God, option number three was the winner! His little heartbeat was good, and I had dilated to a 4/5. “We’re having this baby tomorrow!” she told me.  I minorly freaked out, but was also real happy that I wouldn’t have to labor at home for another couple days.

Because I wasn’t progressing very fast, they offered me something to help me sleep through some of the night and get some rest before the show.  Yes, Hallelujah, Amen, I WILL take some morphine and fentanyl!  And I slept like a baby until 4am.

4am came, and I woke up from the contractions.  I also may have semi-purposely been loud enough to try to wake Mick up also 😉 I’m not doing this alone, buddy!  My contractions weren’t that close together still, so the nurses just helped me power through them.  And my parents came, which helped distract me a little bit (though we’ve already established that ignoring pain is not my forte).

My doctor came in around 6:30 to see how I had progressed – “We’re having a baby this morning!” *cue me still minorly freaking out that this is actually happening*

She broke my water (“Nooooo! That will make things progress, aka hurt more!”), and we waited.

Then labor.  Real labor.  Things happened the way they’re supposed to, I guess.  I asked for fentanyl again, but felt no relief from it at all.  You mean I can’t just sleep through active labor also? 😉  And by the time I decided to give in and ask for an epidural, it was too late.  They did give me an oxygen mask for the baby, which was annoying, but yay for taking care of the baby.  After pushing for about an hour and thinking he was gonna pop out any second, a sweet, perfect baby boy was placed on my chest at 8:36am ❤ ❤ ❤

Turned out he did have his cord wrapped pretty decently around his neck, and there wasn’t much amniotic fluid, but he’s perfectly healthy.  Dad was even talked into cutting the cord, haha – sucker!

Speaking of daddy – I’m so thankful my husband can read my mind. *Hand out* either means I need to squeeze your hand or I want ice. FIGURE IT OUT. And he almost got 100% 😉

James was born 7lbs 10oz, and is 20in long.  He’s such a good baby, and he’s making the challenge of figuring out parenthood as easy as possible.  We are so thankful for such a smooth pregnancy and delivery, and so thankful for the sweet boy God has blessed us with ❤

And that’s the story!

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Musings of a Pregnant Lady

Wow. Hello, third trimester! I say this like it’s a great feat, but really this pregnancy has been pretty easy compared to what many other women go through physically 🙂

Emotionally, though, man has it been a journey. Constantly trying not to fear the worst, trying to be excited when I mostly felt disbelief, and just going through the normal pregnancy emotions…it’s definitely been a journey.

This whole thing has been quite the journey, though.  While we were trying to have a baby, I learned so much about trusting God, asking for prayer, and learning how to be okay with being “behind” all my friends. That was a big one, and I’ve written about it before – I have a better grasp of what it feels like when “everyone else” is married or “everyone else” has kids, and you’re the seemingly lone ranger trying to live it up, but feeling like you’re not where you should be, or want to be.  I get that so much.

But what I’ve learned recently is how quick I was to judge people who had what I wanted.  Not in a mean-spirited or negative way necessarily, but I very vividly remember assuming that every pregnant woman I saw came about it easily.  I assumed I was the only one struggling.  If they were my age or older, I would assume they had other children, probably as many as they wanted. Oh the assumptions I made. And I was genuinely happy for them, but I also didn’t appreciate that perhaps they had gone through a journey similar to mine.

At this point in time, I know of at least 3 women who are expecting a child this year that they had to fight for. They had to journey like I did. Some for not as long, and some for longer, but honestly, less time doesn’t mean less pain. I see people look at me and smile, and I want to tell them, “You don’t know what I had to do for this! It was not easy!” I don’t want them to assume, like I did.

So now when I walk around and see a little belly growing another life, I remember that I don’t know the story, the journey. We all have one, and they’re all different. If you don’t know me well, all you’d see is that I have a job, a house, a rockstar husband, a baby growing inside me, a great family, and adventures to California and Seattle. An idyllic life. And I do! But let’s all remember that there is more than what meets the eye. I suppose this has been talked about a lot because of Instagram, but I think we can all use the reminder. Behind every seemingly perfect life, there is maybe, possibly, probably a deeper story, and we are all people just navigating our way through it all.

2.5 months until we get to meet the little man God planned for us!Maker:S,Date:2017-10-17,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Our Miracle Baby: the story

Ever since we found out that having a baby wouldn’t come easily for us, I knew God was going to use this to show His power. Some of you may have heard me call this child our “miracle baby,” and I’m sure you just assumed it’s because it took us 5 years to get pregnant.  But there’s more to it than that.

First of all, let’s just be real here – EVERY baby is a miracle.  Natural conception, IUI, IVF, whatever it may be, it takes a lot of things falling into place, and that in and of itself is just miraculous to me.

So what’s our story? 🙂

Well, during this whole process, I struggled a little with intervention vs. trusting God.  Because I had this feeling that God wanted to show His hand in it, I was uncertain about how much physical intervention I wanted to do.  I fully believe in using doctors, but also felt like our story would be more than that.  Thankfully, He gave me so much peace about going to Oregon Reproductive (they’re awesome!). Pills and shots became the norm, but still only once in a year were we able to make it all the way to an IUI.  My doctor asked if we wanted to put everything on hold and start saving for IVF because it’s so expensive, but when I talked with Mick, he and I agreed that we didn’t think that was right for us at this time.

In September, I took the pills to help my follicles grow (monthly routine).  Thankfully, two started growing, but the bigger one was on my left side – the side where my tube is probably blocked.  Ugh.  Because the risk would be high for a ectopic pregnancy (where the baby starts to grow in your fallopian tube instead of your uterus), they can’t do an IUI when the egg is near a blocked tube.

This had obviously happened to me before.  I had three options: a) do nothing and hope that I got my period the following month, b) still give myself the trigger shot to make me ovulate and keep me on schedule for next month, but avoid intercourse in order to prevent a likely tubal pregnancy, or c) give myself the shot, have intercourse, and hope that nothing bad happens.  We wanted a baby, so obviously we chose C 😉

And you know what happened.  8 weeks later, I figured I should have had my period by then, and I was STARVING all the time, so I put two and two together.  Hesitatingly.

Once we confirmed I was pregnant via drugstore test, ORM confirmed it once again via blood draw (side story: they actually called me to tell me the results that I was very pregnant while I was at my birthday breakfast with my sisters.  And I still kept the secret!).  They said that at this point, if it was ectopic, my tube likely would have burst by now, or at least be super painful, but we still had to confirm. I spent the rest of the weekend completely paranoid about every pain I felt in my abdomen. Go to the ER immediately if you have pain in your side, they had told me. I was also worried about it being a nonviable pregnancy.

However, Monday came, and everything in the ultrasound was perfectly normal – there was a baby, and it was in my uterus 🙂

And that’s why it’s our miracle.  It was honestly the most perfect combination of medical advances and God’s gracious hand – just what I had felt would be the case.  I knew God wanted the glory, but I also felt confident about using the medical knowledge available. And I’m so glad we did. Win-win!

That’s our story. I still get nervous. I still have a hard time believing this is real. And I still am emotionally adjusting from 5 years of waiting and trusting to my current situation of thankfulness. But I’m getting there 🙂

I have more I could say, but for now, I’ll leave this story as-is.  It’s just a story I thought needed to be told. ❤

What they don’t tell you when you get a puppy

You bring home a cute little fluff-ball, only 8 weeks old, and he smells like puppy breath.  You snuggle him on the car ride home, and you watch with a smile as he timidly explores his new home.  You post cute pictures on Instagram, and let him nibble on your fingers.  You show him the cute food bowl you bought, and play with the little Puppies-R-Us rope toy you bought at the pet store.  You’re living the actual DREAM – the one full of cute little puppies like on the best YouTube and Snapchat videos.

And then nighttime comes. He’s sad and uncertain. He cries.  Puppy cries are not cute, fyi.  They keep you up.  But, really, it’s okay, because you’re potty training, which means you have to get up every hour, pull on some sweats and Uggs and a rain coat (because obviously it’s raining), and take that little guy out of his kennel.  You take him outside and tell him to “Go potty!” in a voice that hopefully conveys that going potty is the best thing in the world.  You wait.  In the rain.  Finally he pees, and you congratulate him like he just recited the Hebrew alphabet, and you go back to bed for another 45 minutes.

If you’re lucky, your pup will potty train quickly like this.  Our first one did.  Our second one….not so much.  Which means going through a ton of Simple Green and paper towels.  And stepping in pee that you didn’t see happen because you were doing dishes or some such nonsense instead of watching that pup like a hawk.  Maybe “hawk” isn’t the best word choice here.

You take a week off work so you can potty train him.  It wasn’t long enough.  His bladder is too small to hold it until he realizes what’s happening.

People just don’t tell you these things!  They show you the cutest puppy in the world that they brought home and snuggle, and he looks so unsure and innocent. They just don’t show you all the things that come after that –

  • Puppy teeth. Why did God give those cute things RAZORS for teeth?!  There just aren’t enough bandaids in the world.
  • Torn up everything. Shoes, maybe, but more likely papers, money, boxes, sticks, blankets….
  • The guilty feeling that you’re not giving it enough attention.  Or you’re giving it too much attention.  Is it worse to have a sad dog or a needy dog?

But he’s only 8…10…12 weeks old.  He’s just a baby. A newborn, really.  With legs.  Four of them.  And fangs.  And claws.  So he’s a newborn with the ability to move around like a toddler.  Well, crap.

Move around, he sure does.  Like a freaking tornado.  Who knew there were so many sticks in your backyard, but there are 23 fewer now.  Instead, they’ve been shredded to bits all over your house while you were at work.  After all, you have to give your little guy access to the outdoor toilet….where all his favorite stick toys happen to also be. Or, were, rather.

Let’s move this story along, shall we? My little Anchor is just over a year, and Rose is 5 months old. Anchor is 80lbs.

Here’s my little collage for you — a wake up call, we’ll call it, shall we?

  1. You think you got a cute, innocent puppy.  But really, you got a digger.

2. You think you got a couple of best friends. But really, you just got less space on your bed.

3. You think you got a windows-down, car-loving pup. But really she pukes every time. (this is just after the smiling one let it all out).

4. Sometimes he’s in the bedroom sleeping peacefully.  Sometimes he’s not.

5. And sometimes he plays with toys. But mostly he plays with your body.

6. They’re adorable when they’re sleeping. But they’re tired for a reason.

7. You never really know when they’re potty trained…

 

All in all, puppies may be a bit…trying…at times, but they’ll steal your heart, and while we look forward to dropping them off at the grandparents’ while we steal away for a week, we’re always excited to see them when we come back ❤  Happy puppying!

 

The “Trusting God” Season

Wow, I so rarely write anymore.  Oftentimes I wish that I could be one of those people who daily finds space at a coffee shop or living room nook or back patio to write.  To put thoughts in order and to process.  But I’m not one of those people.  Apparently not everything can be a top priority, and apparently there is this thing called life and time that restricts the number of things you can actually do in a day.  But I like returning to this blog every so often.

So I’m currently learning this really cool lesson called, “trusting God.”  It’s a fun one – you know it is if you’ve been through it.  It’s basically about your life either falling apart or feeling out of control, so you have to trust Jesus to handle it and bring it all together.

I think it began when I started leading worship again. (Yay!)  I’ve always been the one to desperately cry out to God before the service, knowing that only He can make worship happen.  But when you’re out of practice for something, diving back in requires even more trust.  And a little bit of remembering what it was like to live in desperation.

There were other things here and there, but what really sealed the deal was the phone call last week: our monthly doctor payments haven’t been enough, and now we can’t schedule any more appointments until the balance is payed off.  A balance that will take us at least 4 months.  That’s 4 months of putting our dream on hold.  Again.  4 times when a baby could have been made.

And we were just making progress.

But that’s what this lesson is all about, and in a way (maybe a very small way right now ;-)), I’m thankful.  Because these lessons remind me of Jesus.  It’s not my skill or gift alone, but Jesus that creates worship.  It’s not my ability, but God’s grace, that sustains my job.  It’s not doctors alone that will help us have a child, but God’s faithful provision.  Everything could fall apart in an instant, and where would I be then?

I am inadequate in so many ways, but in that I can choose to either wallow in my failings, or look to Jesus to be faithful in everything.  We get a choice, and I don’t want to choose the easy route of shutting down or backing away.  I want to instead choose Jesus.  I want to trust God, even when it feels hard or painful or even just challenging.  And I only do this because I know that what He has is good.  It’s the fulfilled hope at the end that makes everything worth it.  Because He is a good God, and He is worthy of our trust.  And if my world comes crashing down, He is the Anchor that will keep me grounded until the waves cease. Only Him.

 

(thanks for reading my rantings again.  I swear my life doesn’t completely revolve around having a baby – it’s just that the experience has taught me more than almost anything else I can think of 🙂  I think we all have one of those at some point.)

 

Why I’m glad I shared my story

When I started this journey through infertility, I thought maybe I’d get pregnant in a year or two.  I read stories of women who spent 5+ years trying to conceive, and thought there would be no way I could last that long.  There was no way God would make me go through this struggle for years.  I can’t handle it.

But He has.  It’s been 4 years so far, and it’s gotten – let’s be real – harder.  Way harder.  Harder, because it’s easier to lose hope, and it’s easier to throw in the towel.  It’s easier to think of all the negatives, like how I’m getting older, or things that we’re trying aren’t working, or how the timing just doesn’t work with our schedule and we have to wait at least another month.

Another week.

Another month.

Another year.

And so it goes.

But one of the amazing, eye-opening things that I’ve learned in all of this is that nobody is alone.  I’ve encountered so many women who have gone through issues of infertility, and I’ve also been made aware of the many issues that people go through where they feel alone, but shouldn’t be.  It’s hard to go through something like this when everyone around you is having babies.  Everyone is pregnant, everyone is growing their family.  But while that might be the majority, it’s not true for everyone.

Another example?  Not being married when “everyone else” is.  Or struggling with depression when “everyone else” is happy.  Or having physical ailments when “everyone else” is healthfully doing whatever they want.  I know so many people struggling in these areas, and I definitely can better identify with them (to an extent) because of my journey.  It’s so hard when it appears that everyone around you has what you want.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have ever started blogging about my journey, because I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining or entitled to having children; but when you put your story out there, you find that you’re not alone, and that’s so reassuring.

Don’t be afraid to be honest.  Sometimes social media, or the internet in general, isn’t the right avenue, but I can almost guarantee that talking to people will help you feel supported in whatever you’re going through.  And they can help you find someone who has a similar story.  You’re not the only one who can’t have kids, or isn’t married, or is struggling with money, or is having marital issues, or is fighting depression.

You’re not alone.  Keep the faith, and reach out to your community, because that’s what friends are for.

Inspired Toward Thankfulness

Tonight I watched the recent episode of one of the new and very popular show This is Us.  My husband calls it a soap opera.  I don’t care – it’s great.  At the end of the episode, the mother character gets a basket of laundry and begins to reminisce about the days gone by.  Days when the washer broke down, days before she even had a washing machine, and the day her husband surprised her with the fancy new-now-old washer and dryer set.  She was appreciating life, in all its little ways.

So I turned off the TV and headed to the kitchen.  I pulled out meat and cheese from the fridge to make my husband sandwiches.  Opening the new loaf of bread, I smelled that yummy fresh bread smell and immediately was thankful that Mick and I got to grocery shop together today.  And as I made the sandwiches, I became thankful that I even had the time to make them.  The appreciation and thanks rolled through my mind so fast I could barely keep up.

Banana bread sitting on the counter reminding me of good friends who helped me make it.  Dishes in the sink reminding me that I had time today to tackle most of them.  A mug left out reminding me of my tea-drinking kind of morning.

After sealing up the bags, I wrote a note on them as I thanked God for my husband.  I put everything back in the fridge and went to close the sliding door (kept open for Anchor, of course :)).  As I closed it, I saw the back patio that my parents had swept off.  Thank You.  I turned off lights and went to rouse my sleeping puppy.  Thank You.  I looked around at the home I get to live in.  Thank You.

Ann Voskamp calls it Eucharisteo – thanksgiving with the understanding of grace.  It’s the little things, sometimes.  The warm blankets on your bed, the evening quiet, a day off from work.  But we have to take the time to see them.  Let your heart be filled with thanks, especially during this season.  I, for one, am going to practice seeing these things.  It feels good, and it nourishes the soul, quite honestly making you a healthier person all around.  And you, dear friend, should watch This is Us.

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Notes make me happy

Seasons: when you just want one

When I was growing up, Summer was hands-down my favorite season – the sun seemingly never set, school was not anywhere on my mind, and I could be outside (#PNWrain).   It was never long enough, and it just screamed freedom.

Now as I’ve gotten older, most everyone appears to be in love with Fall (I get it guys – Pumpkin Spice Lattes and whatnot, though this year I decided I’m not a fan).   So I set out on a quest to determine once and for all what my personal favorite season truly is.  Is it Fall, like the rest of the world?  Or still Summer?  If you know me, you probably know my answer: I love them all!  I just simply couldn’t do without each of them.

I love the beautiful leaves of Autumn, and the crisp air that begs for scarves and boots and hot drinks; I love the chilly Winter days that turn my nose red, and nothing beats snow falling fresh, if we’re lucky.  Spring flowers fill me with anticipation of more blooms, and I love seeing the rain and sun begin to turn things green; and I could not survive without the blazing warmth of the Summer sun that welcomes flip-flops and shorts and tanks, and overall freedom from the rain that for months prevented beach trips and gorge hikes.

I simply decided that each season holds something unique that I look forward to every year, and I would miss it if I lived in just my “favorite” season.

But let’s be real, guys – I’m not always so great at enjoying each season of my life.  Truth be told, I’m not terrible at it.  My rose colored glasses are pretty good at helping me find the joy in life.  However, fully appreciating each season takes more work, and I’m slowly learning that although I’m longing for, and looking forward to, new seasons, loving where I’m at is an art form to be acquired.

Some seasons of life are hard.  Actually, to be honest, most seasons of life are hard.  If it’s not school, it’s work; if it’s not work, it’s kids; if it’s not kids, it’s something else.  If it’s not physically difficult, it’s difficult emotionally.  Life just isn’t easy.  For anyone.

Thankfully, we have a good and gracious and loving God who brings beautiful and stunning moments to our lives all the time.  Sin may have marred much of what He created, but it did not take away the Autumn leaves, the Winter snow, the Spring buds, or the Summer sun.  We just have to remember to enjoy those things, to look for them when they’re not easily seen.  We have to embrace what the season holds, and learn from what it gives.

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we get rain.  In every season, rain.  It rains in the Summer, it rains in the Fall.  Rain is the overarching theme of our seasonal life.  And as much as I hate to admit it, the dreary rain is what makes the highlight to every season so wonderful – it’s exciting when it doesn’t rain, and sometimes it’s exciting when it does.  We all know that it won’t rain forever, but oftentimes it feels like it will.  “It’s never going to stop raining, EVER!”

And that’s how life is.  Sometimes I feel like my situation is never going to change, no matter how many bright blips I get throughout it.  It’s been 2+ years since my life was thrown in a direction I didn’t want, and I still struggle to see the beauty in it.  But just because it’s a long season, that doesn’t mean it won’t end, or change, rather.  God is working, seeds are being planted, there is a plan.  I need to embrace and love the season I am in, and seek God daily to know where to go, what to do.  Not to escape this time, but to actually live it.

My birthday is next week, and I was certain God was going to give me a child during my 30th year of life.  But that wasn’t the plan, and that’s okay.  I fully enjoyed my life of freedom when it was just Mick and me, and now I’m *mostly* enjoying this time of adding a puppy to our world (can we all just agree that having a puppy is sometimes like having a newborn/toddler combo?  It’s trying!).

Whatever season you are in, I pray you are seeing the beauty in it, are aware that things will change (for better or for worse, right?), and that each moment holds a purpose that can positively shape you, if you choose to let it do so.  That’s my goal, after all 🙂

 

Let’s Get Real – my current pursuit of joy

A few weeks ago, I was ready to walk out of church and be done with it.  Not be done with my faith, mind you, just church.  And it wasn’t because I was “burned by the Church” or some such thing like people say when they typically abandon a place of worship.  It’s because refining hurts.  A whole heck of a lot.  So I’d rather just attempt to run or hide from the pain.

For those of you who know me even a little bit, you know I have a deep passion and love for worship services.  I love to enter into celebration with my church family, and I love learning more about God.  I love singing, and I love being spurred on.  I think Church is one of the most underrated and unappreciated things that we as Christians have.  It’s a beautiful place of divine encounters.

But God is stripping me to the core right now, and that makes Church less of a celebratory encounter and more of a “I’m going to break down into a thousand pieces again tonight, and I just don’t want to face it.”  When I walk into the church building every Sunday, all I see is what God has – for this season – taken away.  I see people leading worship on stage with such joy – joy that used to light up my spirit every Sunday.  I was BORN to lead worship.  Nothing has brought me greater joy in my life.  But for the last year, it has been stripped away.  Then I see all the happy moms conversing and planning play dates and connecting on that level, and all I can think about is how we’ve been trying to have kids for 3 years, and the only glimmer of hope is the small flame left in the heart of my heart.  God has given me a strong desire to be a mom, to raise up and pour into the coming generation; yet in His unexplainable wisdom, He has held that back for us right now.

So it would be easier to just hide.  Hide from the fact that the two greatest desires of my heart have been taken from me.  Hide from the smiling faces.  Hide from the music that breaks me down to tears nearly every week.  Hide from the presence of God I think we can only find in community.  Hide from the fact that I don’t recognize who I am right now.  But we all know that’s never a good idea.

I stay, then.  I face the emotions head-on.  I face God head-on.  Blessings are counted and recounted.  Joy is found  – sometimes easily, sometimes not as easily – in every small detail of life, serving as a reminder that my current life truly is beautiful.  And I get stripped to the core of my identity.  Again. (Mainly because I’m an emotion-driven person).  But I take steps.  Because surely, although God is fully in control, we can’t just sit and wait.  I tried that, and it doesn’t make anything better.  My daily flow of podcasts has been exchanged for worship music – a reminder of who I am, and Who HE is.  Neither Church nor Community Group have been abandoned, and God has used both to speak words of affirmation and encouragement to me that He still cares.

It’s odd to be in a state of deep heartbreak and complete joy.  Really, it shouldn’t be possible.  But it is, because it is HIS joy.  Only that kind of joy makes this kind of pain worth it.  And, like Mick constantly has to tell me, this won’t last forever.  Let me tell ya, this sorrow that lasts for the night is incredibly painful, but God is teaching me to find my identity completely in Him – not in being a worship leader or any sort of leader, really, and not in who I thought I was going to be at age 30, but solely in the One whose hand holds me firm, whose full Joy will burst through like the morning sun one day.  For now, I take itty bitty baby steps toward that sunrise that only hope and faith assure me is coming.  Because HE is faithful.  Everytime.

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My most recent impulse buy ❤

Click here to listen to an awesome sermon on Joy – just scroll down to the Easter message ❤

Click here to listen to an equally awesome sermon on the importance of community – just scroll to “Created for Community” ❤

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