Grace in the Infertility Community: When God Activates His Church In Ways We Don’t Normally See

At the beginning of my journey with infertility, I immediately felt alone. I looked around at our church and the women of God in my life, all with their children in tow, and I felt different. Sometimes, when you first enter into a hard season, you aren’t aware of what you’re walking into. At first you feel as if things are just a little off. But as time wears on, soon our hard seasons become just that…hard. We receive the diagnosis after years of testing, or we get the bad news we hoped we would never hear, or on the flip side we find that we might not ever receive answers for why things are the way they are and we feel all of the uncertainties of life come flooding over us.

I didn’t know I was going through infertility when our journey first started. I didn’t know what that meant. I knew things weren’t happening as quickly as I wanted them to. I knew that things were different for the other women in my church. But it wasn’t until over two years in that it was suggested that I was in fact experiencing infertility and it wasn’t until then that one of my doctor’s finally began to take it seriously.

But by then, the isolation had already set in. I felt alone not only in my circles of friends, but most heart breakingly within the walls of my church. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It’s not as if I was singled out as infertile and was purposely left out. It was more so a natural reaction to being surrounded by so many women living out the purpose of motherhood which our pastor preached on almost weekly. Maybe I removed myself. I know my heart was growing more and more bitter, but it didn’t necessarily have anything to do with the direct actions of anyone around me. It had to do with how my heart was facing God.

I couldn’t understand why infertility wasn’t addressed in the church. I couldn’t understand why such a devastating situation didn’t have a form of community in the very place I thought all community should stem from. Instead there was awkwardness. There was silence. There was unspoken blame. There was silent judgment.

“Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard.” 1 Samuel 1:13

If I could have seen then what I know now, it’s that God’s church is bigger than the walls we meet between on Sunday mornings. God activates parts of His church that we otherwise don’t see when we are in the midst of our deepest trials. For years, I was upset about how the church handled issues of infertility, how it seemed to forget the women who experienced it. But now I know, that I was simply unaware that God was in fact moving within in His church. His movement was just happening in places I didn’t know to look.

About two years into our journey, we switched churches. Within the walls of our new church I was connected with a couple who had gone through infertility and who grew their family through the beautiful gift of adoption…and I realized for the the first time that I wasn’t alone. Soon after, I began to open up about our journey through this blog and also over on Instagram. What I found in response was an entire community of believers who were walking this road too. They felt just as I did. They knew the isolation, the bitterness, the brokenness…and they also knew the God of Heaven who continued to hold them in the palm of His hand. They were the living, breathing, walking, members of God’s church that moved outside the walls that I knew.

The relationships I have made with the women in the infertility community and in the adoption community are deeper than I ever could have imagined. God had not forgotten me or left me alone in His church. No. Instead, He made sure that none of us who “were going it alone” were ever really alone. He activated and moved a part of the church for me, for us, that I would have never known existed if I had never walked this journey of infertility.

I am 21 weeks pregnant with our miracle baby this week. After four years, God opened my womb and He chose to do it in the single year we stepped away from infertility treatments and dedicated our hearts to adoption. I can’t explain the way or the timing in which God moves. I only know that He does, and that He does so with purpose and with Grace. I look around now at my sisters in the infertility community and I realize that they are the church. They are who God is using to build each other up and to pull from the depths of isolation.

I will always believe that infertility is one of the strongest tools the devil uses against women. He wields it so skillfully that it threatens to crush us. But it’s an illusion. Because God desires to bring community, where the devil sees he can isolate. God desires to heal, what the devil says is incurable. God desires to bring beauty, where the devil lies and tells us only ashes can be found.

So in light of National Infertility Awareness Week, I just want to bring to light the powerhouses which are the women in the infertility community who spend their days lifting each other up, encouraging each other in the Lord, and speaking boldly into the dark with the Light of their words and of the God who loves them.

God’s church doesn’t always look the way we think it does. It turns out there are these underground movements of people we don’t normally see up front at the pulpit. Instead, we find these incredibly strong factions of God’s church when we are deep in our hurt. It’s then that we find God opening doors and relationships and communities that we would never see otherwise.

The women I have battled infertility alongside are some of the strongest and faith filled women I know. God is using this community for great and mighty things. It is true that what we might first see as weakness, God sees as strength. And that’s what He is doing in the infertility community. He is raising up faith filled prayer warriors, who have hurt and been healed. Who have cried but seek His joy. Who have wanted to give up in defeat, but instead God is daily bringing their victory.

To the women who are just entering into this incredibly difficult season of life, I just want you to know that God has not left you alone. You are loved and valued and seen and heard. I encourage you to fight back against the isolation that wants to destroy you, and to find a way to connect with the incredibly healing community of believers that God has prepared to surround you and cry with you and pray over you…and understand you. God is good. He has not left you. And neither has His church.

If you are feeling alone in your journey with infertility, I’ve included a list of communities below who can lift you up. Find your girls, and go with God. I can say with all honesty that it was the women inside the infertility community who were able to give me the strength to daily fight this battle. God is using this community. I pray you will find His healing and power and strength within this beautifully woven together part of God’s church as well. Please follow any of the links below or look up the Instagram accounts I’ve listed. They will rock and heal your world.

Websites, Blogs, Events

Click on the links above each photo to get to each site. For example, below click the small heading which reads Love Multiplies:

Love Multiplies 




Faith Like Hannah




Its Positive



The Adventures of Baby K




Sarah’s Laughter




Choose Joy Event








Instagram Communities:




































There are so many more sites and pages I could direct you to as well! These are just a handful of communities and pages that have really stood out for me.






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.

The Return of Autumnal Grace: A Season of Home

Come, thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace; streams of mercy never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise. – Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson

Last autumn I felt like everything was slowing down. It was as if for a brief moment time was standing still and I was caught up in the autumnal beauty of it all. Life felt hard, but standing beneath the towering trees with their aged wisdom and their twirling crowns of golden leaves swirling to the ground felt like peace.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

I feel God the strongest in these autumn months, and each year as September comes to a close I hear the refrain of Come Thou Fount reverberating in my head. Thanksgiving is coming, and the golden hue of the changing physical world around me reminds me of that.

October brings with it pumpkins, and cider, and cooler weather, and memories. I think it’s true that if you search the dorm rooms and the apartments and the houses of my sisters and me you will find warmth and a reflection of what our Mama used to create for us every fall, a safe home even when the world outside was crumbling.

And so when my kitchen suddenly begins to turn out pies and pumpkin seasoned everything, and the flannel sheets make their way to our beds, and the candles that smell like cinnamon and leaves begin to appear on our tables…it’s not so much a reflection of our consumerism as it is a reflection of what we know…a reflection of when we most felt at home.

When I stand beneath the towering trees of autumn, with their limbs spread out as strong arms carrying gifts of red and gold, I feel like I do in my Mama’s kitchen, at home. Except the home that I feel beneath those trees is something more spiritual. It’s where I can hear God’s voice again and it’s where all the hymns of Thanksgiving from my youth begin to pour from my heart.

For most, I think maybe January or maybe the spring season brings that feeling of starting over, but for me it always begins again in October. I grew up in a liturgical church and I often wonder if I feel this way because it is when the church calendar really begins to start up after the long break of summer. Our hearts are beginning to prepare for the season of Reformation, and then Thanksgiving, and then Advent. These are the seasons which breathe life into my bones, and when I think it feels most like Heaven will to me, my Spiritual Home.

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5: 1

I tell you this today because for me October means the chance to refocus myself on the presence of God, to be renewed in thankfulness, and to be reminded of His deep Grace for us and His overwhelming desire to be with us.

Every hard thing in our life is like a season, some lasting longer than others. Each of these seasons bring change, but each one also carries its own unique kind of beauty. By the end of this autumn you can be sure that I will feel anxious for those first flakes of snow to fall, to move on from what I thought I wanted to dwell in forever.

Oh to Grace, how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above. – Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson

Soak in what you can, what beauty and grace and what remnants of home each season in life offers. They will only last a little while, and if we’re not careful to slow down and see the moments of Grace we might miss them.




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 Day 17


Dear Reader,

The other evening my husband and I were sitting out on our deck. While we were out there two monarch butterflies came flying right up to us, and fluttered around us almost as if they were happy we were there. They weren’t in anyway afraid of us, though we were a hundred times their size. It was a really amazing moment. I don’t understand their lack of fear or really why they were drawn to us. After a while they flew off below the pines and were on their way together. Sometimes God enters our life this way too. Suddenly we find ourselves receiving undeserved Grace in His presence, and we are bewildered at why such a wonderful and perfect God would desire to be in our presence. We can’t understand why such a Good God would love us so deeply. Prayer ushers us into those moments. We may begin speaking to Him, and suddenly feel a connection with Him, a peace, or an understanding that takes us completely by surprise and leaves us breathless. What can I say about this powerful loving God who desires to be with us so much? How can my words ever sum up His Goodness towards us? Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes just resting silently in the Goodness of the presence of God is more than enough. His words are enough. His Goodness is enough. I pray you will experience moments like these in your own prayer life with Him. Chances are you already have. Because when God comes down to be with us, He really comes down to dwell among us.The Holy Spirit of God is so real and is often so tangible. The old hymn tells it best: “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean. How marvelous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be. How wonderful, how marvelous, is my Savior’s love for me.” Jesus gave this gift to us. He gave us the ability to once again stand in the presence of our Father God. He stands with us and for us and He tells us to come boldly as dearly loved children and sit at His Father’s feet and be wrapped in His Father’s love. This is what prayer is all about. It’s about being able to experience home with God for a few moments while we still walk this earth.

In Him,

A Fellow Grace Wanderer

A Burning Bush: Why Adoption Sits on the Far Side of the Wilderness

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” Genesis 3 1-3

The story of the burning bush in Genesis has taken on new symbolic meaning for me. God placed this event in scripture on my heart late last week, and for days I could not figure out what it meant. But now He has begun revealing this to me through it: My dreams in life have often become my burning bushes. I have wandered to the far side of the wilderness, as Moses did, to pursue things I could not understand instead of the things I had planned for myself. I walked up to these bushes with this burning thought: “How can this be?”
How is it possible that my heart has found peace as we have entered into the adoption process…something that is certainly not for the faint of heart or weak in spirit? My dream was to be a mother, the natural way. It seemed like a simple request. It seemed normal and something that God was likely to do for me. And yet…God placed this burning bush, adoption, in the far side of the wilderness of my heart and called me to this place with His fire. His power is made perfect in my weakness.

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”  Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. Genesis 3:4-6

I am learning that adoption is holy ground. It was placed in our hearts only by the fire of God. Our weakness led us to this place…and yet God’s strength shines so beautifully in it. I feel as if I could simply insert my name into the passage “when the Lord saw that he had gone to look”…as if it could be read, “when the Lord saw that I had gone over to look, He called to me from within the bush.” It is as if He wanted me to look at adoption all along, and as soon as I was ready, as soon I would hear His voice and wonder about His fire, He would call out my name…and His power would be made evident to me in it.God has asked me to take off my sandals, and He has reiterated who He is to me…Jehovah, Father, Provider, and King.

And like Moses, I have felt the need to hide my face. Because this journey to motherhood is no longer about me. It’s no longer about what I can do. It’s about how God weaves together lives and writes our life stories and sews together the beauty of the universe. It is about God, and only Him. He has called us all into His family through the spirit of adoption. And suddenly I have realized…that my prayer can still be answered. Because this is how God has chosen to build His own family…and I believe so strongly that in this most beautiful way of sacrifice, and love, and surrender, He can build mine too.

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” Genesis 3: 11-12

Moses didn’t set His people free…God did. And I won’t set anyone free either. Adoption is about love, all the way around. The love of a birth mother who loves her baby so much that she sacrifices her heart. The love of an adopted mama who has felt the bondage of her own Egypt, infertility, and has felt God redeem parts of her heart she thought could never live again. The love of birth fathers and adoptive fathers who have become witnesses and partakers in the miracle of life. And the love of our Father God…whose over arching Love has set all of us free.

I hear my doubts and fears echoed in Moses’ own thoughts: “Who am I that I should go?” Who am I that could be chosen to forever and always carry a child in my arms that I did not carry in my womb? Who am I to think that I could hold such a sacred place in the heart of a child and a birth mother? And to all of this God answers: ” I will be with you. And I will give you signs so that you know it is I who have sent you, and you will worship God on this mountain.” This mountain I have built so high with my pain and grief and worry through infertility, this mountain that I have still added to as I have begun the paperwork and anxious worrying and waiting in adoption, this mountain that God has stood on top of with me the entire time…on this mountain I will worship God.

There are no guarantees in adoption. No guarantee we will be matched or placed or chosen. But God has made it clear, that this is His holy ground.

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Genesis 3:14

I believe that God sends people to each other at exactly the right time. I believe that an entire adoption story can point back to my God who tells us, “I AM has sent me to you.” I have heard it argued that adoption should not be viewed as a calling, or as mission. We shouldn’t view ourselves as the Moses of this story, because we aren’t heroes. And I wholeheartedly agree. But I do believe that my Father God is so invested in each of His children that He makes a way for them. I believe that He is the one who opens adoptive parents hearts to adoption in the first place. I believe that He is the one who speaks “choose life” in birth mama’s ear. I believe that He is absolutely involved.

Adoption is most definitely a burning bush like the one God spoke to Moses through. In a perfect story, no mother would have to choose to place her child into it and adoptive mothers simply wouldn’t exist. And yet, because our world is broken and our dreams don’t always come true, He places this beautiful promise at the far end of the wilderness…He allows adoption to catch our eye, to cause us to wonder and to hope, to humble us deeply, and to place our lives and hearts into His powerful hands where they belong and where they are most treasured.

So this coming Mother’s Day, I will be here marveling at how the God of Genesis,  and of Moses, and of burning bushes, chooses to also be my God and to speak into my heart in the most miraculous ways. He has taken my weaknesses, and used them for His glory. I trust that though I am weak and unworthy as Moses was, that my God is strong and powerful.

We will be scheduling our homestudy in the next couple of months, and though I am anxious, I know that God will lead us to where we need to be. My goals and outcomes are now subject to His love and mercy. Wherever He chooses to lead us in this, I pray we will bravely follow. But for now, I am simply taking off my sandals, and patiently standing on God’s holy ground. It’s not just about me, it’s about how God will wield His beautiful power in this story.

I AM who I Am has brought me to this place. And that is everything that I need to know.



A Grace Note: When Fear met Grace

Dear Reader, 

Sometimes Grace falls subtle and soft on our lives and sometimes it comes suddenly and roaring forth. The snow has returned to Wisconsin today after a week or so of temperatures warm enough to melt the ice away and allow us to air out our homes through open windows. This morning as I was driving my husband to work I uttered a quick prayer as I usually do before we go out on the road for protection. I usually drive scared, but I’ve never once been in an accident. This morning after making it through the slick and winding back country roads we were merging onto the highway when I lost control. The car slid out back and forth into the lanes of traffic and just as a semi came plowing by, control of the wheel was regained and I slid back to my lane before any damage was done. It happened so fast. My heart was racing and I kept thinking, that could have been it. Right there. I prayed for protection this morning and God answered, as I’m sure He does everyday but I just don’t realize it. God’s Grace over our humble and fragile lives becomes gloriously evident when He saves us from our lack of control. If you want to feel steady and sturdy in this life then you have to place your fragile hand into His and trust Him. He is our safety, our future, our strength. This one was definitely a prayer for the prayer journal. It’s been documented and I’m hoping to remember this moment when fear met Grace and when God answered a prayer I wasn’t even sure was needed when I uttered it. Prayer is powerful, and our God’s attention on our life is so incredibly life changing.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer

Day 1 of Advent Joy 

Dear Reader, 

You have probably read my post about my childhood upright piano, the one I learned to play all of the Christmas hymns on, the one that arrived free to us with its broken bridge and its well worn keys. The piano in today’s photograph has a similar story. We purchased our first home a year and a half ago. I had prayed for months that God would lead us to exactly the house He wanted for us. We had been touring this particular house for maybe ten minutes when our realtor led us downstairs and informed us that the seller would be leaving this piano here. It was in the basement and would be too hard to move and was quite old and beaten up so she had no desire to keep it. My heart leapt with joy at her words. Surely God was well aware of my love for old worn in and slightly out of tune upright pianos…and this one was sitting there in front of me like it was just waiting for us to find it. The house was exactly the price we were looking for. It is exactly the right size for two people hoping to one day raise a little family. We had been married four years at that point and had moved four times in those four years, from apartment to apartment. It had been so long since I had a real piano, and finding out this one was ours was like the puzzle piece that made me so sure this was meant to be our home. I’ve been playing through Debussy, one of my favorite composers, and all my unhappy thoughts seem to melt away here. God has provided so much joy through this instrument, I don’t think I will ever be able to find the right words to express how happy my heart feels when I see it, and how loved by God I feel when I remember how He gave it to us. God is so incredibly aware of even the smallest details of our lives. He knows our hearts so well. Today I’m finding joy in the provision He has already given to us, and hope that He has laid Good things in the plans for our future as well. This was a moment when I knew how clearly God saw me. I pray that today you find joy in a similar moment, in a moment when you knew for sure that God really saw you. Christmas is coming, and all of God’s gifts from the entire year are coming to light. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

Autumnal Grace: A Moment of Rest

My husband is out at his life group tonight for church, and I’m in bed recovering from a slight bout of sickness which tried to take me down today and won. You won’t read this post until morning, but I couldn’t help but sit here and think how maybe you would like to hear about the beauty of my evening in, the beauty of an evening just spent in rest.

I probably could have willed myself out of this bed and tried to get more housework done. Or maybe I could have continued my search for some work-from-home writing jobs, (if you hear of any let me know!). But instead I sat here with windows open and heart at rest. And I could hear the kids playing down the street. The little boys who are still too young for school but who ride their little tricycles by my kitchen window each day and whose voices I hear rising high above the fence of their backyard and spilling out across the neighborhood. It’s this sound I hear tonight, combined with the crackling of a neighbor’s fire, burning leaves that he raked from the yard earlier this afternoon, and the scent of an autumn crackling burn pile wafts right in here next to me. And I keep thinking how almost everything I write to you these days has been heavy. Just really heavy stuff. Because honestly that has been what is on my heart, and that has been what is filling my days.

But there is lighter stuff mixed in there too. I was thinking tonight about how maybe the lighter stuff is just as important as the heavy, because maybe it reminds us that God is full of peace and that nights like this one are His gifts to us. Perhaps it is important for me to remind you and remind myself that it’s these lighter days, no matter how rare, that give us the strength to greet the harder ones.

And I just want to remind you that our God is full of so much peace. That our Jesus is a soft spoken, grace-filled, power-house whose joy is in our resting in Him. It’s a message that I heard preached at my church a few weeks ago, how we need His rest, and it’s a message I hadn’t fully grasped until right now. Did I want rest? Of course I did, but maybe it just wasn’t my time to rest yet.

There are times when it is necessary to pursue God’s Kingdom in hard places, times when we feel the need to fight against the breaking waters of this world just to see His Grace fill us again. And then there comes the calm in the storm, the moments when Jesus himself went out in a boat across the sea just to rest, just to be alone with God. My moment for this happened tonight.

Maybe tomorrow I will wake up with a new battle set before me. Maybe tomorrow I will forget that today I was brave in the pursuing of new dreams. Maybe tomorrow I will fall into doubt. But for today, for right now, I’m caught up in His peace.

Friends, I’m praying you have peace like this in your life. I’m praying that every now and then a glimmer of Heaven will peak in through your windows and that you will summon up the grace enough to sit down and dwell in it. That maybe for just a moment we could set down our baggage and feel what it is to arrive at home, feel what it is to know that our home is in the arms of Jesus and these quiet nights and quiet mornings are all just a gift from Him as we are passing by.

Psalm 23: 1-3 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”

The Strength of the Weak: Grace to Live a Powerful Life

Sharing your struggles with the world is hard. It makes you vulnerable. It makes you second guess your decisions. It places a sort of magnifying glass over your life, and suddenly, everybody knows about the pain. But do they also see the strength? Because I’m guessing your pain has also ignited something inside of you.

Isaiah 40: 27-31 “Why do you say, Israel,“My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah is giving a prophecy of the life that is to come, but maybe it’s possible that a sliver of that new life, that new strength, can be found in you now. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Are you weary? Have the struggles in your life caused you to grow faint? There is hope, friend. Maybe you feel broken by struggles with things like infertility, relationships, health issues, loneliness, or pain. But I bet you have had glimpses of light shine through. I’ve bet you have contemplated what God could do with this, how you could be refined through this. What does it mean that when we are weak, then we are strong? What does it mean to be more than conquerors?

For me it has meant that God is the light at the end of my dark tunnel, at the end of my dark days, at the end and in the midst of my hard battles. I’ve discovered that this world has created a veil with words like pain, suffering, struggles, addiction, and unfulfillment. That veil covers our eyes to the possibility that we can overcome. It is impressed upon our minds that there are battles which are too hard, that there is pain that will overtake us, that we will be broken and can’t be fixed.

Matthew 19:26 “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I have found strength in Jesus. Only He can heal the blinding pain and replace it with fulfillment. Don’t you know that God works for our good? Don’t you know that Christ came to redeem us from the things that hurt us? Jesus didn’t just die to save you from the big church words, sin and death and imperfection. He died to save you from the things that hurt. He can heal you physically and spiritually and emotionally. He has changed the entire trajectory of our lives. We are no longer bound by the things which were once set out to break us. The bondage has been lifted. He has replaced the idea of destruction by the these things with the reality of refinement. One of the biggest defeats over the devil is possibly that Christ turned absolutely everything about sin and death and pain on its head. Sin? He washed us clean from it. Death? The entrance to Heaven, no longer a sentence but now a rest. Pain? Only temporary, not meant to destroy us but to remake us. Pain is not something Jesus has allowed to enter into His kingdom, it can not pass through the gates of Heaven. It is now only a residue of sin which will one day be totally and completely removed by Him.

Want to know why I no longer feel defined by my infertility? Why I no longer feel that my life can’t be whole? Because Jesus has made all things new. Not just eternal things, but present things. I prayed for peace, and friend, Jesus can provide it. I prayed that God would use my life for good, that He wouldn’t let me be destroyed by a desire I can’t shake. And you know what He gave me instead? A mission field. A new life. A new purpose. A rebirthing of my soul.

Do not put your life on hold because of the trouble of this world. Do not let your heart stop pounding for the passions God has placed there. Do not stop pursuing fulfillment in the great and mighty things God has set forth for your life. The biggest lie of the devil is that you won’t be able to find joy outside of the plans you have set for yourself. But the biggest truth of God is that in Him is life. New life.

Cultural, Emotional, and Physical expectations do not define us and they can not contain us. We are citizens of Heavens. A home far from here, but an eternal identity that has left the mark of a courageous spirit, rooted in the love of the Father. Live this life with power, with the authority of Jesus, and with the undeniable joy of the Spirit. Laugh at the days to come.

I refuse to wake up 80 years old one day with the realization that I never lived the life God had created me for because I was too busy mourning for the things that never came. I refuse to say that infertility beat me. I refuse to stop loving and to stop serving. Maybe you’re not there yet…but you can be, friend. A prayer for peace and for fulfillment in Christ is never a prayer gone unheard, it’s never a prayer that will go unanswered. Take a second look at those glimpses of light that keep trying to shine in. Keep looking up. Keep following Him.

It’s the beginning of a new week, friend. And I woke up this morning with a determination to pursue a new dream. I didn’t get there on my own and I didn’t get there quickly. Instead I pressed my hands hard in prayer and leaned in close to the comfort and the courage of my Savior. You can press hard too. And you can live a beautiful and powerful life. Don’t be afraid to set down your pain. Don’t be afraid to allow growth from your struggle. And don’t be afraid to take the hand of Jesus and walk into something completely new.

Acts 5:20 “Go, stand in the temple courts,” he said, “and tell the people all about this new life.”