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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on Wednesdays, we worship

20140528-131622-47782128.jpgDon’t know if we could ever truly become strong, brave, believers, faithful, or wise without hardships, heartbreak, and tragedy. We would never learn to thrive in the valleys and raging storms of life. We’d never know what we could accomplish, create, or become.

Life can truly be a bitch to us. I mean a real life, never ease up, angry for no reason a**hole to us. Ya know? Like a ‘why are you so rude?’ type of behavior. Buuuut, I’ve come to learn to not be bothered by such foolishness & people such as these. You can learn so much from them. They grow you up, they mature you. They teach you life lessons that would never be taught if your feathers weren’t ever ruffled and your abilities relentlessly challenged.

Life can make us feel as if we have been uprooted and in the eye of a tornado, like we’re being tossed on the waves by winds of hurricanes, and scorched by the unforgiving sun…. there are days that will make you feel as if you will never experience God-good…. And, the amazing that does come seems to only be for a brief moment, lasting long enough for you begin to enjoy it before it’s taken away.

But, then…..

Like beginnings of love, out of nowhere you’re overwhelmed with a realization that can’t easily be put into words. The rain slows, the clouds begin to part and light appears. A rainbow is seen. Puddles begin to dry, you hear the songs of the birds; it’s almost as if life begins all over again.

Receding waters and drenched gardens remind us of what we went through, that we were always kept, & that there will be a tomorrow filled with grace & reason to worship. New life, rainbows, & light testify to the facts that God is always true to his promises, that he sees us, and has a REAL plan to redeem everything we’ve lost.

To witness the darkness give way to light is an act of God that is incomparable. It’s inspiring. It’s beauty in it’s purest, most natural form.

I feel as if I’m walking outside after the worst of storms. Assessing damage, picking through the aftermath in the light & warmth of the sun. Slowly piecing life back together again. Grateful for the new beginning.
The chaos is over. The old is torn down, and foundation for rebuilding something seriously glorious and new has been set. Realizing that that foundation is the sum total of everything we’ve been through, that it is literally the “all” that has been worked together for our good.

God’s grace is more than sufficient, His mercies are unbelievably real.

We have been completely broken, but God has redeemed every piece of our past. He has rebuilt us. He has been with us the whole way comforting us, binding our wounds, wiping our tears, and holding our hands. He has been giving us glimpses of his power and ability, not teasing us, not pulling at our heart strings for his own pleasure; but He has taught us that when we allow Him to lead us, whether through hell & high water or fields of beautifully clothed lilies, He is taking personal care of us. He has never left us.

I realize this post is kind of everywhere, for that I apologize; it’s because my mind and heart are unable to process much right now but at the same time there is an unreal peace and calmness that has settled and left me in a place of disbelief, humility, & amazement.

On Wednesdays we worship because it’s because the faithfulness of our God that new life has begun.

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incomprehensible gratitude

20140526-170156-61316749.jpgHave you ever dreamt of something, say an event or experience, and thought you’d have one, specific response but when reality greets you, your response is completely different than what you expected?

That’s where I am.

Stuck somewhere between “no way” and “is this real” … It’s difficult to settle into the realness of a situation so unexpected and GOD sized.

I’m unbelievably grateful and thankful. Just amazed at the absolute kindness, grace, and generosity of our God.

I can’t wait to share with you what God has done and is doing in our lives; I can’t wait to worship & glorify Him with you. I can’t wait for you to see even more of God’s awesomeness alllll in and through our story.

God has truly answered our prayers, he has done more than we could ask or think – in the things we know/see now & in what’s to come.

I hope that in reading our story and walking with us as we’ve experienced the things that we have, you will be able to trust in God a bit more, that you see the benefiting in believing in Him. I hope you feel and see the power, unity, & blessing of having a village/community who stands with you, who prays for you, and encourages you.

God is faithful and his plans are far greater than ours ever could be.

Please pray for us and we go through this process, pray that we are given peace. Pray for our strength and complete faith in the unseen work of God!

You guys are everything! Thank you!!!

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