Time changes things

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In a little over 11 weeks, this guy and I will hit the little milestone of 5 years of marriage. In no more than 13, we’ll become parents for the first time.

It’s mind blowing the exciting and wonderful things that have happened in five short years, the scary and difficult that have made those same years quite long.

I’m sure it’s the fact that life will soon change, again, for us that is causing this early nostalgia….. But, either way, I’m looking forward to the goodness I believe God has for us in both our roles as parents and becoming better spouses suited for each other within the next year.

Life can change so quickly. Sometimes by choices of our own (like when we say “Yes!”) and other times we have no control over. It’s scary for sure because whether we choose a life change or one is forced upon us, we can never know what’s coming around the corner. We can’t plan all things out. We don’t always “get what we deserve” (which is insanely good… Can we say ‘grace upon grace upon grace’?)…. Life can beat us down and wear us out. These are the moments, the bursts of time that can grow us the most, mature us, and prepare us for what’s next.

But, it can also surprise us with the sweetest, most valued experiences and circumstances ever imagined. These are the moments we dream of, we work hard for, that make life feel life a fairytale. We sit back and bask in the goodness of life, of God enjoying the fruits of our labor, the benefits we’ve worked hard to attain.

I’m sure this is kind of a weird post…. I’m just can’t imagine adjusting and possibly fearing such a huge forever life change. A life change that will be full of the hard and challenging and blissful and more than enjoyable.

You just never know how things will shake out, ya know??

We just have to be brave, trust God with our fears, hopes, and dreams believing that His plans and ways for our lives are greater than our own. Roll with what comes, be flexible, and willing to do what’s hard & uncomfortable. It all works out well in the end, we just have to be patient enough to get there.

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it’s all a dream….

IMG_3359(photo credit: Christin Armstrong)

It’s easy to take this belly for granted or to complain about the daily nuances of a baby belly… It’s easy to get so used to it that you begin to believe that it is deserved.  That it’s just “normal”, a “regular” thing. It’s easy to feel far removed from a past that was still very much a part of who you are. Although, the evidence of this pregnancy has become my norm and is the very beginnings of being defined as a mother, I make sure to keep at the forefront of my mind how spectacular a blessing it is.

The saddest part of this experience is that I don’t feel as if my heart has completely softened or slowed yet… I don’t feel as if I’ve caught my breathe or truly grasped the reality or heaviness of this pregnancy – which is insane. And, truly heartbreaking for me.

But, infertility will do that to you. It has a way of changing your heart and the very essence of who you are, how you relate to others, and deal with life. Some lessons of this journey are definitely beneficial, others I can definitely do without. Like, the numbness that results from constant disappointments. The roller coaster rides. The ups and downs of medications. The never ending poking, examining, and prodding. The adoption paperwork, meetings, and packets. The anxiety, fear, and difficulty in trusting what actually is or your gut feelings. Never knowing what’s coming next. The heartbreak of every failed attempt to just breathe. The empty desire to live each day without the worry or stress or chaos… because you know that that’s just not a part of infertility-trying to conceive-trying to adopt journey.

While an upside of being on this journey lends itself to the possibility of growth; in the moment, that reality doesn’t seem to matter in the moment. But, if you keep moving forward you realize that it’s the growth that has kept you going.  You don’t immediately see how you’re torn down while simultaneously built up, reinforced, and strengthened. You are stripped of everything you “knew”or “wanted” and given (without permission.. rude) completely new perspectives and desires. And, that’s frustrating. On many days I was angered and frustrated at how these past four years of infertility have negatively impacted my life. Bitter towards the seemingly most insignificant and most glaring ways it has impacted my marriage and my relationship with my husband. The wasted money, the wasted hours at doctor’s appointments, pointless injections and medications. The guilt of the twinge of jealously and sadness felt when you’re out and about and it seems that every other woman on the planet is expecting; it forces you to reckon with your inabilities and circumstances. And, dealing with it is hard. Balancing the thin line between the unmistakable joy you have for friends and family who are expanding their families and the unmistakable pain you feel when the next cycle begins or you’re in purgatory wanting to just give up but still wanting to soothe that ache in your heart. Or, issues with an adoption agency slow progress or things just aren’t going the way you feel they should. It all seems purposefulness.

The disappointment, guilt, fear, sadness, and pain colors and consumes so much of your life…. It’s easy to lose hope, to accept that it’s “never” going to happen, and to begin to believe that “expansion projects” just weren’t for you. Easy to succumb to this inner defeat that you truly don’t want to give in to but seems to be swallowing you whole.

So, you let it go. You move forward and begin to revamp your life plan. You begin to hope for new things and believe that there’s more than one way to live this life with purpose and experience fulfillment in ways that didn’t include a house full of children, noise, and sleepless nights.

And, then…..IMG_3310-Edit(photo credit: Christin Armstrong)

…. you realize that every single moment you thought was wasted is redeemed…. the humiliation, let downs, and devastations of every experience are being traded for crowns of beauty and you see with your own eyes that God really does make everything beautiful in his own time. That all things truly work tougher for good, that our Father in Heaven truly is the giver of really good and incredibly perfect gifts.

…. you learn by experience (which they say is the best teacher!) that God’s plan for your life truly is much greater than anything you could ever consider. You’re able to look back and see the struggles you’ve gone though and it pales in comparison to what is coming.

…. you are grateful for every experience meant to hurt you and break you because they drove you to the cross and positioned you to be vulnerable and open to the people put in your life to support and love you.

…. you learn that God can restore. That He gives you the desires of your heart. That your soul truly can trust in the Lord and rest in his goodness.

…. most of all, you recognize that these experiences, these years were not wasted, the circumstances not created to break you, but rather to point to someone much greater than ourselves.

This dream…. these girls…. didn’t happen because we finally “stopped trying” or because I “did things God’s way”….. This happened in spite of us  with the purpose of glorifying God alone. Our story happened the way that it did because God planned it that way. The worst of it shows God’s goodness and faithfulness, the best his grace and love for us.

Infertility isn’t the easiest life experience to walk through. Treatments and adoption aren’t either. While neither brought us children, I know how difficult they both can be. The most comforting part of walking any road is that you aren’t the first nor will you be the last to walk that same path. You aren’t alone. Finding, building, and engaging with women who have and are experiencing what you have is a blessing. Being able to walk along side other women who know that struggle is the most encouraging and comforting opportunity.

Share your story in your own way, in your own time. Other women and couples need to hear your voice…. even if it’s a whisper.

 

These little girls truly are a dream come true and I’m so thankful for all of you who have come along side of us, who have stood with us, prayed with us, cried with us, and who are finally rejoicing with us. This is a big deal. I am absolutely looking forward to celebrating our children (whoa.) with our closest friends and family this weekend. It’s going to be so special.

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four-teen!!

First of all, although I’ve been stocking up on maternity clothes, for some reason I don’t wear them. UNTIL, well, tomorrow. Today was the last day I will squeeeeeeeeeze into a non-maternity dress or skirt. Unless of course it is maxi-like. I had to pull this skirt over my bump….. I have never been happier to get into comfy clothes ever! 😛20140803-194640-71200114.jpg

How are we feeling??!?!?!
Still doing great! And, e a t i n g which I’m super excited about! No more guilt about not feeling up to eating at all!!

What’s going on with the bump?!?!
It’s growing!!! Others notice the growth more than I do, which is encouraging!! Pictures make me smile because I can see what I actually look like. LOL.

So, how are you feeling?!
Very good. Honored. Amazed at the development of life. I love seeing how big they’ve gotten every month and how they’ve changed. I’m trying to pinpoint their personalities already (I know it’s early!) but it’s fun to see one “always” doing this or “always” doing that!

Anything else?
I’m randomly into sketching and picked up a legit sketching pad and Crayola Colored Water Color Colored pencils that I’m pretty pumped about trying out. I’m DYING to see how they work and what they look like paper! lol.

From mommy….
You little people bring mama so much joy! I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for undeniable movement. Again, I feel as if I’ve felt you but maybe I’m actually in denial or not quite sure what to “feel”, but I’m anxious for that moment when I gasp and say, “THAT was them!!” lol. Waiting, waiting, waiting to see what you “are”!!!
Oh yes, your dad says I can’t eat candy so that you guys won’t be “hyper”……. lol. Isn’t that funny?! ME not eat candy? lol. He’s so protective of you, I’ve noticed he give you little rubs more and more each day!! We are so excited about you!
– mommy

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