We're approaching one year since my first surgery, and that initial report Brent and I will never forget. The idea that having biological children would be difficult at best seemed unreal to us from the beginning, but also gave me this very real sinking feeling that one of my greatest dreams might not turn out the way I imagined.
That moment, waking up from anesthesia and facing what seemed to be the harshest reality, that was my stake in the ground- the beginning of a crazy faith journey the Lord continues to carry me on. I had no idea then that what felt like the devastating end of a waiting and wanting season, was just the beginning of something totally new.
A lesson in redefining miracles.
I've shared it before, but from day one after my first procedure I spent hours researching techniques, doctors, insurance stipulations (shout out to my mom for that one) and trying to decide what our next steps should be. At this stage in the game, if you had asked me how I'd like the Lord to handle this situation I would have told you heal the endometriosis and give me babies while probably having little faith that either of those things could happen. These would be my miracles.
In this past year, I have gone through multiple surgeries, but each one has produced continued healing and positive results. Brent and I have experienced the depths of hope and sanctity of life, and we have two more precious babies in heaven. We've prepared our home, and our nursery is ready for foster care.
These are the things I couldn't see coming one year ago. These are the miracles God has given me.
And while it's incredibly easy to enter the dark places in my mind ("But I've experienced greater loss, gone through more pain, am still here waiting with nothing to show for it"), I am moved by the thought that one year ago I was told these things could not happen. Healing was not a likely option, pregnancy felt far far away, and foster care was something we knew little about.
These are the miracles I prayed for, and while they may have been delivered differently than I planned, they have continued to grow me in ways I didn't even know how to ask for.
Like I said before, this is the most intense journey of faith I have ever experienced. The ups and downs are INSANE. One day I'm all like "I trust you God, I'm so thankful and you are good all the time." Then the next I'm like "I hate you God, you're so mean and you never give me what I want." (Can I blame hormones for some of that?). There have been all kinds of this can't be happening moments, and to be honest I will be perfectly OK if I never talk about my low hCG levels or hear the words "we can't find a heartbeat" one more time for the rest of my life. I hope I'm not making this journey sound one bit easy, because it is not, but I do want you to know how I have learned that, if we choose to allow them, the hardest things are those that transform us. Never in my life have I dug deeper to understand the Lord's heart. It challenges me day in and day out on what I believe about life, my faith, and His goodness. Is my belief in the goodness of the Lord reliant on Him fulfilling my desires? Or can I believe in the fact that He is good just because He is.
I have been having the best time reading the Bible lately (something I would not have said even six months ago if I'm honest). These are the two verses I recite daily in this season.
It didn't take much for me to realize that throughout all of this that I have a choice; to press into the Lord and figure out what He has for me, or to lean out and become bitter because things just aren't going my way. While I like to think I made the first choice, I definitely have days where I feel like I'm not following through. It was a day like that when one of my best friends delivered a note with these words. And really, I feel like they sum up my life better than I even can right now-
So to my friends that are with me in the challenging seasons, whatever they may be- join me in allowing these times to do that thing we've named them. Let's embrace these challenging times as a challenge to us. If storms make trees take deeper roots, can we be so bold as to thank Jesus for our storms? Growing deeper isn't easy, but I'm believing that it's worth it.
A Few of the Best Things I've Been Reading Lately:
Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist
Treasures of Darkness by Jane Johnson (So I just started this and I am being so challenged already! The structure is more devotional/prayer journal/bible study but it really helps me focus in on specific biblical principles.)
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequiest (Can you tell who my favorite author is?)
Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner
Bearing Hope by Liv Ryan