Guest Blogger: Olivia Ryan!

Hey y’all!!!
Can you believe it’s September? School has started, football is here…. pretty soon the leaves will be changing colors and there will be a chill in the air.
Unless you’re in Texas…… we’ll likely be able to wear (though we would NEVER!) open toed sandals clear through December! lol..
Nevertheless, a new season is coming and with the changing of seasons comes a newness and an opportunity to step forward and start all over again.

I’ve got a girlfriend, Olivia,  who wants to share a bit of her heart about hard seasons and how the Lord redeems the hard times….
It definitely resonated with me in quite a few ways and I hope you enjoy her story!
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I picture the hardest years of my life like I was in the desert. It was bleak. It was dry as all get out and I was yearning down to my bones for a way out. The end was nowhere in sight.girl3

My husband and I cried out to God every single day for three years for a child.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
Psalm 56:8, ESV

I’m certain the Lord has a gallon size bottles of my tears from all those grief-filled nights. Tears of longing. Tears of joy and then loss, over and over. Tears of sanctification. So. Many. Tears.

It started over six years ago when I got the most earth-shattering news I could have imagined. My pregnancy was over. Our baby’s perfect little body was right in front of me on the ultrasound screen, but there was no beating heart.

I was broken. I was lost. I had longed to be a mommy since my baby doll days. But in one little moment, it was stripped away.

We would continue to lose, six times. Six tiny humans who were conceived inside of me, departed from this earth before we could hold them and rock them and whisper into their baby ears, “I love you.”

I was quite familiar with my floor and seeing a swollen, red face in the mirror. It was a dark and lonely time, but it was also a time that God used mightily and drew so near.gods-presence-was-real-final-2He started a major renovation in my heart and birthing hope there that had nothing to do with children. A hope and a thirst for heaven. I began longing for the place where tears will be no more, for the day when all of my strivings will cease. I started to see the idolatry that ran rampant in my heart.

Babies. My plan. My timing. My way.

When a birthmommy chose us and we started preparing the nursery for our future son, we had no idea that she would change her mind a week before her due date.

On any given day in that desert, I had no idea how much hurt and waiting was ahead, thank you Jesus. He graciously only let us see one day at a time.

We also had no idea how sweet the days would be on which we would become parents to living children here on earth.

One through the blessed gift of adoption.
Two more miraculously through my womb.
Boom boom boom.
THREE CHILDREN!

The oatmeal-flinging-peanut-butter-handed blessings who live under my roof are such a reminder to me of God’s faithfulness. But they’re also so challenging that I am constantly on my knees, begging for strength to get through each day.

You see, Three kids in three-and-a-half years turned me into a shell-shocked mommy who quickly realized that satisfaction cannot and will not ever be found in children, or for that matter, anything outside of Christ.

Jesus is the only true hope fulfilled.

“He never grows weak or weary. His understanding is unsearchable.”
Isaiah 40:28

If you’re wandering through the hot desert right now, I pray that you will find the strength to lean into the Lord. To look up when all you want to do is curl up in the fetal position. I pray that you will seek sisterfriends to walk this road beside you, and dig deep for the courage to tell your story. Because you are a warrior, my sister, the Lord of Hosts is near, and whether or not you ever bear a child, you can still bear hope.whether-or-not-you-everIf you need some hope, don’t worry, I have plenty to share.

olivia_print-1Liv is a Midwest gal who loves to inspire women to bear hope into the world. She is a writer, speaker, wifey, mommy, and lover of all things coffee. Hands down her favorite activity is Tuesday night date night, but tickling her three miracle babies is a close second. She heavily relies on her people, the written Word, deep breaths, and foodie food to keep her sane. She survived the desert of waiting once upon a thirsty time, and lives to tell you that you will too!

Her new book “Bearing Hope: Navigating the Desert of Waiting for a Child” was JUST released August 1st, 2016! It’s an inspirational companion, a “Desert Sherpa” of sorts that will make you smile, lend you courage and hope, and give you practical ways to survive (and thrive) through infertility and loss. You can get your hands on one of the first copies here or start with a free chapter!bearinghope-2

You can see more hope-y stuff at livryan.com

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