"when can we have a baby, Mommy?"


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"Mommy, I'm going to be the BEST big sister." She said these words, out of the blue, as we were driving one day and the road ahead instantly became blurry because of the tears that filled my eyes. "Yes, sweetheart. Yes, you will be," being the words I could force out with decent control.

And I believe those words with every piece of my heart. This tender, brave, strong, beautiful little soul that made me a mommy will be the BEST big sister a baby could know, if the Lord chooses that. That "if" is the hard part; the piece that makes these conversations we have with AK some of the most painful we've faced these past 3.5 years. These are the conversations where my heart sinks to its deepest and the tears flow the heaviest, because if I could, I would move heaven and earth to make that big sister dream a reality for her.

When we wander through the baby section at Gap or Target to buy a gift and she says, "We should get one of these for our baby!" When I watch her sit in awe as I hold a friend's newborn baby and she gently strokes baby's head or tiny hands. When she pretends she's playing with her "little brother and sister." When she asks me, "When can we have a baby, Mommy?" When those imploring blue eyes search my face for answers. When she asks if I have a baby in my tummy, too, and I have to say "no" and her little eager clasped hands drop to her side. Whenever I see the painful side of our reality right now touch her heart in really tender ways, that is when I especially wish that I could tap into some secret formula that makes all the pain go away and place in her hands a snuggly pink or blue bundle that's all her own.

But as much as my mothering instincts want to put up a 10 foot high fence and hire some Jedi-like warrior to guard and protect her from any sort of pain or sorrow, I know that isn't actually the best thing for her. She's been given to me, to us, to train and teach, to mold and guide, and one of the hardest parts of that is letting her come face to face with the truth that "all is not right in the world." We have to let her see the tears run down. We have to say the actual words. Obviously, in a way that is right and good for her 5 year old heart and mind to digest, but we still have to look into those imploring eyes, pull her on our laps, hold her dimpled hands, and say, "we don't know."

As hard as it was the first time to explain to her the little pieces of "why" that we can and as much as the gut-wrenching feeling never goes away when we have to explain it again, those moments sit apart in my mind because those are moments where we get to plant little seeds of glorious truth. We don't have to leave it at, "we don't know", kiss her forehead, and set her down with a despairing heart. We get to add, "but He knows and He's going to right this world one day," kiss her forehead, and set her down with a hopeful heart. We get to use this longing that all of us have, a longing that aches until we feel our hearts might break in two, to teach her about the character of our sweet Savior, His perfect love, His gentle presence, and the beauty that He spreads across even the hardest pages of suffering. We get to tell her about what we've learned, about what we are still learning. We get to be real with her about the struggles we face and tell her about how the Lord has met us there and refueled our hearts and minds with all the truths of Scripture He's planted there. Goodness gracious, we get to tell her about HER, the most beautiful answer to longings and prayers that He allowed to be placed in our arms 5.5 years ago. We get to say, "look in the mirror. you are one of the best, dearest pieces of God's grace." We get to tell her about hope, hope that does not disappoint, that will bring complete satisfaction and fullness of joy when Jesus is our Savior. 

We have been given the sweetest task to guide this little one, to take her hand and not just walk ahead of her a step or two, but let her walk right alongside us, being real about how much the pain hurts, yet pointing her to the One who gives us a multitude of reasons to smile and laugh and find beauty among the ashes. Most of all and more than anything, we pray that she knows Him as that good good Father. So, we must let pages of her story be marked up by our present reality, the hard and the beautiful, entrust those to His wise hands, and watch to see all the ways He chooses to use them. 

"You know, Little, like we always talk about, we can stop and pray to God anytime about how we want to have a baby," J told her at dinner a couple nights ago. "Yeah! Why don't we pray right now?" That was her reply, with the biggest smile spread across her face.

because of infertility....

"Be still and know that I am God."

If I had to pick one verse to sum up the past year, and my desire for this new year, it would be this one. 

All last year, this verse sat at the back of my head, particularly as the theme song to our infertility struggle. It was an answer, one of many that are both known and not known, as to why He still had us waiting. I needed to know Him more.

His timetable for each one of us is different. The circumstances that He has penned for us long before we even took our first breath will not ever be the exact same as anyone else's. Even when we find those who understand, who have walked before us, who are walking with us, who will come behind us, no one else's will match up to be formed just like ours. Even for J and I, husband and wife, the particular pieces of why God has orchestrated our days the way He has will look different. He has taught J vastly different things through infertility than He has taught me. He has revealed fears in my heart that are not at all the fears J has in his. And the way He chooses to reveal Himself to each one of us is different, done in different ways, and taking place at different times.

For me, for my story, for the chapter entitled 2016-present, He has used that verse up there to help me see what I've needed to do. To be still. To know. To know that He is God. And I firmly believe that one reason He has allowed us to be where we are in this infertility journey is this:

because of infertility I know Him better.

Infertility has, hands-down, been one of the most powerful and compelling instruments He has used in my life to help me know more of who He is. And in knowing Him more I have come to love Him all the more, even when I don't understand Him.

I know more of what it means that He is my Father. I know more of how He is the only One who is fully and always present. I know more of His faithfulness, of how He shows Himself to me, and when He seems very silent. I know more of His goodness, of the beauty that He has so generously speckled my life with. I know more of His friendship and more of His kindness through community. I know more of His patience, with all the questions I've asked, the times of asking "why" and the times of asking that it end. I know more of His forgiveness, when I am angry or accusing or assuming. I know more of His grace, that unending well of grace. I know more of His wisdom, for all the reasons that He has wrapped up so perfectly as to why He designs and leads and allows the way He does. I know more of His perfect love and His perfect peace. I know more of His steadfast promises and His gentle, shepherding hand. 

Because of infertility I know Him better and the being still part has become a place of greater rest, rather than a place where I plop down resigned to the "have to" of it. It has become the place I eagerly go to, the place I long to be, and the place I'm all the more thankful I get to go because it is there I remember that God is God and I am not.

Only a God like the One I've come to know all the more through His hard and incredible Word and His mysterious ways could use such a tender struggle as infertility to bring me to a place of rest. Only a God like that could help me say I'm thankful for the very struggle that I long to see end.

infertility || where we're at

Hello friends,

I hope that you are all enjoying a delightful day. I like to start my posts to you in letter format sometimes. It makes it feel more personal, like I really am sitting down at my desk and writing a letter out to each one of you individually, updating you on ins and outs of life, sharing my heart with you. 

Thank you for being on the other side of the letter. I'm so grateful.

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There's no real new news in this road we are walking of secondary infertility. It's a road of waiting, of being sifted. It's a road littered with painful moments and beautiful ones. It's a road of learning. It's a road of coming to know the character of God and His love for us in a very tender way. It's the road He has put us on to walk, for reasons we've seen and reasons that only He knows. It's the hardest and the best road I've ever walked.

Some of you may have seen that I posted back in August about having my yearly exam and, as it has always been, everything was normal. The only thing my doctor is fairly assured of is that I probably ovulate 6-8 times a year, rather than the normal 12, because my hormones are so easily swayed by any emotion/stress/change in life and so my cycle is never consistent. That isn't something she can track unless I were to constantly use an ovulation kit or take pregnancy tests frequently and neither J or I have any desire to put our emotions through that. For us, that would just easily become all-consuming and painful.

Many of you have asked whether we would like to pursue adoption. Adoption has always been something that has been on our hearts as a path we could see ourselves pursuing one day and, obviously, with what these last years have held it has come to the forefront of our minds many times. At this point, though, we truly do not see the Lord leading us that way just yet. He has been bringing us through so much, chipping away at the places of our hearts that have desperately needed His truth during these past 3 years. And there is more He is doing in us as we wait for His next step for us.

In all of this there are still questions that ring in our minds, still wonderings. There's that dull ache that just sits in my chest, the heart-aching feeling that comes every time our Little says, "when do we get to have my baby sister and brother?" (she wants one of each ;)), the tears that fall when the longing hits hard. It's painful. It just is.

But in all of this I do not doubt the goodness of our Lord and how worthy He is to be trusted, and that is only by His grace. The words on the pages of Scripture have grown in their reality and their comfort for me. I have come to know facets of our Father in such a personal way, such a way that has only strengthened my trust as I see more of who He is and the way He views me. My eyes have been opened to better understand the suffering of others, the tendency we can all have to battle alone, and He has fueled my heart with a desire to encourage those around me, and myself, to be raw, vulnerable, allowing others to walk these painful roads with us. He has helped me to pick out the buds among the thorns, the good in the painful, the present in the waiting. My desire to know Him more deeply, to be saturated in His Word more fully, to be laying things at His feet more constantly, has increased to such a depth as I've never known before. There is so much He has done in these days that have filled the months of the last 3 years. He's brought beauty from ashes. And tomorrow He will continue to do that. 

"I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken."

There's so much more to come and He holds it all.

Thank you, friends, always for your prayers for us and your encouragement to us. I count it one of the biggest buds among the thorns.

Love, Jenny