When Infertility Still Stings

There were four yesterday. FOUR.

Sweet black and white pictures of little nuggets (that mostly look like aliens) fill my newsfeed.

And all these years later, it still hurts. Not nearly as bad, but it does.

I still get baby shower invitations in the mail, and it still stings as I hang them on my fridge. I rest my hand on an empty womb and I'm reminded, again, that my body was created to produce children. But unlike most every other woman in the world, mine doesn't.

I still ache. I still grieve. I still tell my husband when he asks me what's wrong. He still hugs me tight, and tells me how sorry he is. And I still run to Jesus, every single time. I still cry out to Him in the shower. I still run to Him in that pain.

And He's still there.

He still reminds me, 

for now

, that is not my story.

This is... and it's much better.

Almost two November's ago, we got "The Call."

Well, I got a text.

"We're getting a baby," my husband TEXTS me. WHO DOES THAT?!!!!

So I do what any

waiting mother

does, I run out of my classroom, and call him immediately. "Yeah. The case worker called me because she knew you were in school. You're going to be a mama! A birth mom chose us. It's a baby girl. She's due in January." I believe he was in shock. The rest I didn't hear. I heard a few sniffles on his end, and he heard loud sobs on mine. I was dancing around in the teacher's bathroom in the elementary school where I teach. Our math coach heard my hollering, she came in to hug and dance with me. Pretty soon, the teachers on my grade level started peeking their heads out into the hall to see the ruckus. My principal was there within seconds and wrapped me in a huge hug. I quickly texted our families to let them know before they found out from anyone else.

The rest of the day was a blur. Pink, bows, monograms, dresses, and dreaming of HER face filled the rest of my day and all of the days to come.

That was the day. That was my positive pregnancy test. I'll never forget it.

The days followed were filled with anxiety, excitement, and all of the emotions in between

. You can't possibly understand the extremes unless you've been there. Waiting. Yet again, but in a different way. This time in hopes that a baby just might call you mama.

We met the strongest woman I know

. We immediately connected and it felt as if we had always been family. She allowed me AND my husband the amazing privilege, to watch her child, our child, come into this world. I cut the cord binding them to one another, she was placed in my arms, and the weight of the miracle in that tiny baby's body crushed me.

The nurse asked who should wear the "mommy bracelet" and her birth mom looked at me and said, "Jessica is her mommy. She should wear the bracelet." In that second, she gave me permission to be Selah's mom.

After all of the waiting. After all of the negative pregnancy tests. After all of the gallons of tears I had cried over the years, longing to be a mama, in that second, every single tear and moment spent waiting, was worth it.

She's almost two now. That six pound, itty bitty baby, who made me a mama, is almost two.

And I can barely deal.

And the

story of how her little brother came home to us

, just makes me cry. His birth mom chose life for him. She made the brave choice. The hard choice. He is a miracle, and a little fighter. He has

overcome so much already

, and although our days are still hard, they are beautiful. He is our miracle.

I fell into the bed last night, dog tired. Like the kind of tired where you lay in the bed and your feet are still pulsing. I was rushing through the "before I go to bed list," remembered a few things I forgot to do, and then thought of the next day only a few hours away. I started feeling overwhelmed. Micah's Gotcha Day party is this weekend, he also gets dedicated on Sunday, and we have lots of therapy and doctor appointments to still make this week.

Selah wanted me to hold her from the moment I walked in the door yesterday. She would hold up her little hands and say, "Hold you, mommy. Hold you." So instead of washing the dishes that towered over the sink, or sweeping the cookies she threw in the floor, or making 24 calorie formula for my little guy, or priming his feeding tube, or packing my lunch for the next day, I picked up that little girl. I took her in the living room with that sweet baby boy, and I enjoyed those tiny hands wrapped around my neck.

I snuggled my nose in her neck and kissed her squishy cheeks over and over. I made baby noises and silly faces with her brother. We all laughed at one another. And I was there. Right in the moment with them.

When my feet were aching in the bed after a long day, and I started my "overwhelmed, you picked the wrong girl" speech with Jesus, His Spirit reminded me of MY story.

He reminded me of the hurt I felt when I saw those black and white pictures in my newsfeed. He reminded me of the sting I felt as I hung up that baby shower invitation on the fridge today. And He reminded me of how much better I know Him now because of all of those years of waiting, still with a barren womb.

He also reminded me of my story. The story He has written in my life. The story that is so much greater than me, but one that tells of His Kingdom. Not the story I expected, but better than anything I could have ever dreamed. He reminded me how tired I was because

I worked a full time job

that day, came home, and was a mama to TWO babies.

Infertility still stings. Some days worse than others. But I still run to Him, He is still there, and He still reminds me of the beauty He has made from my brokenness.

The story He has written, the way I know Him now, and the two brown babies sleeping upstairs, have made every.single.second, worth it.

So when infertility still stings, remember He's writing a story greater than you. A story that tells of Him and His Kingdom. Nestle up close to Him, and remember all He has done.

It's worth every.single.second.

*Photos by my friend,

Rachel Ackerman

.*

Be Brave. Smile At The Future.

I don’t know if it’s the crisp wind, the smell of burning leaves, pulling out those leggings and boots, or the warmth in my hands left over from my pumpkin spice coffee, but there is something about fall that I just love.

It almost beckons an invitation.

The wind blows and a few bright colored leaves fall to the ground, inviting me to cozy up on my couch with a blanket, coffee, and crackling fire. The busyness and freedom of summer is met with schedule and routine, things I so desperately need. But with the cool, crisp mornings, fall also brings to me fear.

Every fall, since I was in the seventh grade, something traumatic has happened in my life. It sounds silly for me to even write, but it’s the honest truth. Around Labor Day of each year, it starts calling out to me...

Fear.

My spirit is unsettled. I have trouble sleeping. I tell my husband a thousand times to be careful going to and from work. I feel terrified when he leaves and make sure to kiss him and tell him how much I love him. Because what if something happens to him? I text my babysitter throughout the day, checking on my children. Are they safe? Do they seem sick? I ask for protection every time I get in the car. I fear tomorrow. Because what if that’s the trauma this fall brings?

It sounds silly, doesn’t it? Um, those things could totally happen in any season of the year. So why do fall winds bring with them such fear to my spirit? Those traumatic events that have previously happened do mark my memory and senses associating them with the fall. But each year, fall also beckons an invitation.

Fall invites me to be brave.

Because I know, I struggle with fear in the fall, around August, I ask the Spirit to prepare my heart. I ask Him to guard my mind, to cover me, armor me with Truth. And each year it gets better. Each year, I feel more victorious.

This fall, the Lord has brought to my heart the woman in Proverbs 31.

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.” Proverbs 31:25 ESV

I looked up several different translations and they each express how she doesn’t fear the future.

She even laughs, thinking of tomorrow…

“…smiles at the future.” NASB

“…laughs at the days to come.” NIV

“…full of joy about the future.” NLV

So how can I become brave and not fear the future?

First of all, my fear is sin. It is a huge sin issue in which I constantly struggle. If the opposite of fear, is faith, then faith is what I’m lacking. If I truly believe that in all things God works together for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28), or that He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (Col. 1:17), or He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hew. 13:8), if I truly believe Him and what His Word says about Him, there is absolutely no ground in my heart for fear to claim.

But even more, let’s just say those terrible fears happen. Does He change? Does that mean He is no longer good? Does that mean He leaves me alone? As hard as those days would be to walk through, it doesn’t change Who He is. My Dad. My Lover. My Best Friend.

Each season that passes in my life, I have been able to look back from where I journeyed and see a very faithful, very beautiful God. By the time I am able to start the trek back up the mountain; the valley below has delivered to me a new side of Him. A side I would never want to trade for easy.

Are valley seasons fun? Um. Never. Do they hurt? More than anything. Are they scary? Absolutely.

But that’s where I have found Him to be the most good. There. In the hard. In the scary.

Like that time I was told after a lifetime of wanting to be a mommy, that I can never carry biological children. That was my worst ever fear. And it happened.

And I can never be more thankful. Because I know Jesus in a way I would have never known Him had I become pregnant. And I have been given the gift of two, beautiful brown babies that call me, “mommy” through adoption.

So, ha ha ha, Future!

He was good yesterday, He’s still good today, and He’ll be good tomorrow! So whatever that means for me and you, let’s curl up on the couch, with our coffee, crackling fire, and pumpkins perfectly positioned on the front porch.

And let’s be brave.

Because whatever happens tomorrow, we’ll have Him. And, dear sister, He is always enough.

*Photo by my fav,

Rachel Ackerman Photography

*