A Long Awaited Spring

Spring is going to arrive here in Wisconsin soon and it’s the longest awaited spring I can remember. For years I’ve prayed that with spring would come hope. That one day Mother’s Day wouldn’t break me. That on Easter morning all of the sweet kiddos with their Easter dresses and excitement wouldn’t make me tear up. That one of those spring baby showers would be mine. And God has answered my prayers and I feel as though I’ve almost been stunned into silence over here. Most of my prayer sessions used to revolve around asking God to grow our family, healing my heart, setting me free from bitterness, and embracing whatever plans He had for me. And now I know that His plans were always good. There was a time I used to be afraid to ask for healing, because what if God didn’t heal me. Not because He couldn’t, but because He might choose not to. I believed He could, but knew that sometimes that’s not what happened. Here is what God taught me through that: We can always continue to ask our Heavenly Father for anything. He will always hear us. He will always answer us. Sometimes those answers don’t look like what we planned. Sometimes the answer is “wait”. Sometimes the answer is “trust me”. But whether He gives us the things we so desperately ache for or not, He is still carrying us and still writing beautiful life stories for us. I thought this day of healing would never come and I had accepted that God could heal me in other ways. But I couldn’t see the whole picture clearly. I didn’t have His vantage point. I only saw the up close muddled mess of everything. As long as you cling to Him your story will be redemptive, healing, life giving, and grace filled. Living out a testimony in the making is hard. But getting to glorify God for what He has done at the end of it, is incredibly worth it. I’m praying for your stories and all of your yet to be answered prayers. God is at work. Trust Him and fight for your Joy. Keep praying. Don’t lose hope. Stand firm in faith. Believe in His miracles.


Grace in Transition

My days have been slow and long over here since finding out we are expecting. Stepping into new roles and slower paced life has me wondering how I should spend my time in these next couple of months before long awaited motherhood arrives. While we were going through infertility God had shown to me that He wanted my life to be intentional, even in the waiting and in the in between moments. I believe He is calling me to live intentionally now as well, as we wait for our lives to change yet again. No moment, or time frame, or period of waiting is too small or too big to be used by God. How are you intentionally living out your in between moments? I used to spend my time wishing away those moments that I thought were meaningless, those moments in which I felt nothing was happening or I was stuck in between transitions. But every moment is a gift from Him. Every moment can be lived with Grace. Even the slow and quiet moments have significant purpose.

The Certainty of Grace in Serving Jesus Only

The last four years I’ve been in constant wonder of what lays ahead for us. It’s been a fog of uncertainty, and even now with huge things finally being revealed to us after so much time spent in prayer, there are even more unknowns we still will face. But one thing is certain: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” It is surreal to be on the receiving end of an answered prayer, a prayer you knew full well only God could answer. I believed in Him before, and I saw the wonders of His hand many times. But this most recent miracle for us, finally carrying a child we never thought we could, has me held captive in certainty that my God Lives and that He Loves and that He is for us. I believe my faith would have remained firm in Him even without this, but my understanding of how He truly listens to our every word and How He genuinely loves us so deeply is now engraved and cemented in my heart. Maybe you don’t know what comes next in your life. Maybe you feel wrapped up in uncertainties and you’re wondering if God can even hear you. I assure you that He does hear you and that He is loving you and moving for you in ways that may feel completely invisible but are actually world changing and life altering. Trust His timing. Know His heart. Serve Him always and only.


Grace in Every Season

At the beginning of every new season here in Wisconsin, I declare that it’s my favorite. I seem to fall in love every time the trees start to bud, and the sun shines hot, and the leaves begin to turn to gold, and again when the first snowflakes begin to fall. But about half way through each season I discover that I’m ready for it to be over. There are simultaneously both beautiful and ugly moments in every change in life. There are bittersweet goodbyes and joyful new beginnings. I keep reflecting over our life these last four years and all the heartbreak they brought, but also the closeness that came of it. The nights I cried myself to sleep because they were hard endings to hard days and yet I found myself wrapped up in the strong steady arms of my husband who never left my side and in the heart of my Father God who was holding my heart close the whole time. I will forever remember those moments, both for their hardness and also their gentleness. I can choose to look back at those days with bitterness and resentment or I can see the truth that even in my darkest seasons God still allowed the light to shine in. We are walking into a new season over here filled with joy and reflection but I’m not naive to the difficulties which will also lay ahead for us as we navigate new parenthood and probably new challenges. But I won’t forget that there is beauty in both, and that every moment in this life is laced with God’s grace. Every single moment. Even the hardest ones. I’m praying that your life be filled with more Joyful seasons than Dark seasons, but I’m also praying that even in your hardest seasons God’s beauty, grace, and light give you moments to be incredibly thankful for.


Grace in Frozen Seasons

It’s the last day of February and the sun is still miraculously shining warm and bright here in Wisconsin. Tomorrow the snow returns and we will be reminded that it’s not quite spring yet in the Midwest and that these last few days have just been a brief moment of grace in a frozen season. They have been just enough warmth to remind us that soon the sun will return again and that winter won’t last forever. I find myself reveling in that last statement. In my season of infertility I most definitely felt frozen and often times without hope. But I also had bright and shining days even in the midst of all of that, where I felt God speaking purpose into my life that I never would have found otherwise. I felt the closeness of God on days when I told Him I felt all alone. I heard His voice clearer because I found myself pressing into Him deeper. Maybe you’re in a frozen season right now too. Just because those days feel long and hard doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for a little bit of light. Infertility brought many of my hardest days, days I never want to relive. But if I’m being honest, they also brought some of my most beautiful moments of faith in my Father God. He shows up for us. He brings light when all we see is darkness. This last year when we weren’t doing any fertility treatments and we were focused on adopting, I felt God often challenging me to see beauty in the small moments, in those moments when it seemed nothing was happening and none of my dreams were coming true. It was hard. God knew the deep desires of my heart for a family. He knew so much about me and my heart, yet I found that I had often neglected the deep and beautiful desires of His heart because I couldn’t look away from my hurt. There were moments of beauty and warmth I know I missed out on because of that. I know there are still unknowns up ahead for me, even now that God has answered my deepest prayers for a child. I still want to know Him better. I’ve spent so much time pouring my heart out to Him, and I’m finding that I have a desire to be more deeply connected to how He has always been pouring His heart out for me. Whatever darkness you find yourself in, look for His light.


Hope Fulfilled: A Miracle

In October I threw open my Bible and closed my eyes and stuck my finger down on any verse it would land on. I do that sometimes, in moments of desperation when I don’t know what the right thing to do is. I landed on Luke 2:10 “and the angel said to them: Do not be afraid! I bring you good tidings of great joy!” The truth was that I was very afraid. We had just said yes to being matched with an expectant Mom at our agency and the uncertainties of what would happen over the next 4 months terrified me. But there it was, “Do not be afraid.” So I decided I wouldn’t be, but I didn’t know what that would mean. I didn’t know that two weeks ago our adoption would fall through…and I didn’t know that God would finally answer our prayers and allow me to become pregnant with our first child. For over 4 years I have prayed that my husband would be a daddy before he turned 30…our baby’s due date is exactly on his 30th Birthday, September 6th! I have been quiet here because I’ve been trying to process everything God has called us to, including being part of a failed adoption. But the truth is, it was a blessing to love on that expectant mama and pray for her sweet baby and to watch their story end in the arms of each other. God is Good. He still does the miraculous. We stopped infertility treatments over a year ago and yet here we are. Only God. I know many of you are still in the waiting. Please know that my heart will always ache because I have known infertility so deeply. I had accepted my future as never having a baby. The truth is, I know God can and wants to heal us. I have felt His heart for us firsthand. I will always be in prayer for you, and I will always hope for your miracle. These nights I find myself remembering every night I cried myself to sleep thinking God had forgotten me, and knowing now that He held me the whole time. He was in my corner. He was fighting for me. And He is fighting for you too. Miracles still happen every single day, I can hardly believe that I have become part of one firsthand. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.


Grace In a Season of Delay: A Gospel Meant for Hard Places

Snow has finally fallen here in Wisconsin. The blanket of frozen white has seemingly settled in for the long haul over  the still coming winter months, and I admit that it all feels like relief for me. It has been an unusual winter here in our small town. As we hung our Christmas lights and brought home our trees, the farmers fields remained an ever dulling brown and our yard seemed just a swirl of old leaves from an autumn which refused to end and pine needles fallen from tall trees not yet frozen. We experience a delayed season, which mirrored a similar delayed season in my own life.

Last year, I wrote quite often about my struggle with infertility and our emerging new adoption journey. I wrote how God was redeeming my story, and how He was working strength into my days. I watched as God took me from a shattered state into a state of hope. And then the last month of the year, December, I seemed to unravel. Our plans weren’t happening the way I had hoped. Uncertainties and familiar feelings of failure, remnants from our infertility journey no doubt, were seeping deeper into my bones. The delay in winter weather spoke deeply to me, like nature was portraying the physical representation of what my heart felt: stuck.

We were with my family at my childhood home when the snow finally started to fall on Christmas Eve. There has been a steady blanket of white covering the ground ever since. If I had been more open to it, maybe I would have realized that the inevitable end to the season could be symbolic for me too. Maybe if I wasn’t becoming bitter, I would have known that God doesn’t leave us stuck forever. But I felt stuck. Coming so close to four years in our struggle to grow our family, the uncertainty of our future was beginning to hold me back from the certainty that I once knew so deep in my heart: that God is Good.

Having survived the many extended family Christmas get togethers, complete with their fresh new babies and age old celebrations of heritage, I stepped into January with a deep realization. All year long, all of 2017, I thought I had surrendered everything in my life to Christ. I thought I gave Him all of my struggles, all of my pain from infertility, all of my anxious worrying about our adoption process. I thought that I was almost completely healed of the deep wounds infertility had branded into my heart because God was moving me forward, into a new path, into a new story. But what December revealed to me was that I hadn’t let go of the hurt at all. I had just buried it. I had hid it away so deep that I was certain not even God could find it.

Infertility wasn’t going to destroy me. It wasn’t going to destroy my faith. I wasn’t going to let it. And that’s where I went wrong.

We can’t declare victory over our battles. Only Jesus declares the victory. And for that victory to take place, we must be willing to keep treading out deeper into the oceans of surrender. There is always more to give to Him. There is always more healing that needs to take place. As long as we live on this side of Heaven, there is a constant pursuit that takes place between our brokenness and our need for a Savior. Whether our battles be physical or spiritual or emotional, there is still more Healing in His wells.

Relationship with Jesus isn’t a surface kind of friendship. It goes down deeper, “dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12) Real relationship with Jesus results in a continual pulling back of the layers of our hearts, revealing more and more of what it is that we are holding onto more than Him, and loosening our grip on those things with Grace.

You know what I missed out on this Christmas when I built up my walls instead of entering into the stable where Jesus came for me? Him. I put my story ahead of His story, and I lost out on Joy.

I don’t know what it is you are holding onto into this new year, but don’t hold on to it tighter than you are holding onto Jesus. Don’t lose sight of how He loves you.

Jesus warned us that in this world we would have trouble. I think sometimes when we read that passage we read it only in regards to trouble spreading His Gospel. But the Gospel isn’t just a message we proclaim. It’s a message we live. How does the Gospel change our illnesses? How does the Gospel reach our marriages? How does the Gospel grow our families? What does loving Jesus look like when we’re mad or bitter or angry? What does surrendering to our Savior mean to us when we’re walking down unexpected roads with unforeseeable outcomes?

The Gospel is meant for hard places. We often get to hear its words from pretty pulpits and dreamlike representations of Christmas stables, but Jesus didn’t come to be remembered as the sweet baby laying in that manger forever. No. Jesus came to Heal us.

So maybe you had a hard Christmas. That’s why Jesus came. To rescue and save you from all the places you find yourself stuck. He is the Light in the Darkness. He is the Joy of the Lord. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And He came here for you.


Imperishable Beauty Contributing Post: Infertility, Adoption, and the Resiliency of Faith 

I document Grace and as I wait on the Lord, in infertility and now through adoption, I watch as God creates in me a type of resilient faith I was never capable of possessing before. I watch as He stretches my faith. I stand without breaking, stronger after each hard day is met with each grace filled day. My contributing post, which I wrote a couple of months ago, on resilient faith and the waiting during adoption was published over at @imperishable.beauty this morning. If you’re needing some encouragement, please head on over to Imperishable Beauty to read. God is Good. All the time. 


Autumn of Hope: Grace after Pain

I’ve been quiet here on the blog for quite awhile now. I’ve been learning this new balancing act between hopeful expectation and hope deferred. For the first autumn since  2014 we are hopeful that our family might grow soon, through adoption. Infertility feels like a ghost, constantly haunting my memories and sometimes stirring up fear and sadness in my heart, but mostly it holds a more numbed and dull effect on my heart these days. Adoption has my attention at the moment. The hope that someday, somewhere, out of all of this pain and all of this waiting, God will cause our hearts to come together with the heart of a Birth Mama and out of both of our hard places will come grace and hope for the new child that God has ushered into this world.

The leaves have almost fully changed at our house and right now I’m sitting by the open window listening to the crumpled and colored leftover remnants of summer rustling their way down the street. And things just feel different. I’m excited for this new season. I’m hopeful for what each new season will bring. I know that with every season that passes we are that much closer to meeting the one that God created us to embrace into our family. Instead of feeling despair, as in years past, that each new season meant one more season behind us in our infertility.

Adoption is not a cure for infertility. Every book on adoption will tell you that. It won’t fill those holes in your heart that were torn open wide by the scraping edges of infertility treatments or tear filled nights or near breakdowns over the sight of yet another negative pregnancy test. It’s just that at this point I know what can undo me. Just this past week I had the flu which was suspiciously timed and so I took one of those cursed tests because I knew the doctor’s office would ask if I had, and even though I knew deep down in my heart it wouldn’t turn positive, I was still reduced to tears and heartbreak when I saw it lying there negative. And yet. I still have hope that even though motherhood isn’t coming to me in the way I thought it would, it will still come to me in the way that God always knew it would.

I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. Genesis 9:15-16

He has written my name on the palms of His hands. He has seen my story. He has designed my testimony. And not only mine, but also my husband’s and our someday Birth Mama and our future child’s. He knows all of us. And He is at work intertwining it all, using what hurt us to become what frees us. Turning the flood gate of our tears into the washing waters of new life.

He doesn’t hurt us. That’s not what God does. God heals us. So many times I had forgotten that. I had believed deep in my soul that God had planned for me to go through infertility, but what I hadn’t realized was that infertility was never part of His plan. He loves us too much for that. Infertility wasn’t part of His plan, but He did plan how He would love us through it. He did plan how He would heal our hearts. He did plan how He would turn our stories around. He offered us opportunities for Grace and then He opened the doors wide open so that we could step through them and receive that Grace. Pain isn’t part of the plan, but His healing is.

This autumn, with its golden fallen leaves and its deep ripe harvest, once again has me looking up to my Father God. Last autumn I felt Him calling me to look up too, but then I think it was so that I could find the air to breathe and rest in Him from all that was taking place. This year, the looking up feels more like joyful anticipation and peace. Peace that God reigns. Peace that God can heal broken hearts, and that He has begun the healing in mine. Peace that even if this difficult adoption process shatters my heart all over again, that He can restore it. Just like He did last time.

And looking up to Heaven, He sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha”, that is, “Be opened.” Mark 7:34

Our God is Good. His plans for us are Good. I’ve found that in every way this broken world has tried to break me, God has instead reshaped me. Perhaps it’s just that I’m older now then when we began this journey, perhaps it’s as my good friend said today that I’ve simply seen more of the world at this point. Either way, God has continuously shown Himself faithful to me. In every pain, He has brought Grace. He has shown me that there is no pain too deep that He cannot take our hands and cause us to rise above. He keeps opening my heart wider and He keeps raising the stakes higher. He calls us to lay down our dreams and the ways we think things should be, and He opens us up to things greater than we could have possibly imagined: faith, hope, love, grace, and restoration. He opens us up to more of Heaven, to more of Him.

He is not a God of sinking ships. He is a God who causes us to continuously look up toward Him, because that is where the beauty is at. We feel it as we look to the tops of church steeples and to the tip tops of towering autumn trees. We feel it as we lift our hands to Heaven in worship and praise. The beauty and the Joy and the Hope and the Peace, it’s all with Him who causes us to rise above, who causes us to Rise up closer to Him.

No pain can take Him away from us.




40 Days of Prayer: Conversations With The King Days 34 & 35 

Dear Reader, 

Lately when I pray God has been speaking to me about trust. What does it mean to let go and let God? I often think I’ve surrendered to His will, but then God keeps working on my heart and peeling away at more and more layers that I didn’t even realize existed, and with each layer He pulls away I find that my grip is still fixed tight on things I thought I had let go of. God knows me better than I know myself. That’s a new realization for me, but I used to think I always knew that. God not only knows what’s best, but He knows me best. How beautiful is it that our Father God cares and loves us so much that He has made it His business to know us better than we know ourselves. How beautiful is it that throughout time He continues to grow us and continues to reveal more to us not only about His heart but also our own? He makes beautiful things. Can we trust Him with that tonight? Maybe as we walk through these last five days of continuous prayer, continuous real conversation with the king of Heaven, we can learn to trust Him more and to trust more about what He has revealed about us through our time with Him. We can let Him mold us, even if it’s hard and it hurts because we can trust His intentions for us and we can trust that He is wholly Good. His Goodness is directed at us. We’re the ones He came to save. We’re the ones who can walk this life Brave because of what He has done and what He will always and forever create for us and in us. God is beautiful, and so is everything He so lovingly molds by His hand and breathes to Life with His breath. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer