Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day. A day that is beautiful and meaningful to many, but also a day that resurrects hopes unfulfilled and unthinkable loss. It is a day that looks different for us all. For just a minute though I want us all to close our eyes and imagine God as our Mother. I know that seems weird to some because we are used to calling God our Father, and he is, but He is also our mother. You see, God is so much more than a man, God is all things – He is love. He is the I AM. He is strength and power and gentleness and nurturing and love. So today join me. Close your eyes. Uncross your legs. Lay your hands in your lap palm up if you feel comfortable and welcome God into this space. 

I have a place where God speaks to me. Not in loud voices, but in quiet whispers of hope. Silent washes of peace and understanding. Still moments filled with understanding that I am whole and seen and wonderfully made. Sometimes there are voices of booming joy and confidence in this life that I am living but mostly it is a small calm, a gentle peak into the canvas of my life that shows me that all will be made right. Even when all feels rough and my brain is scattered with the “to-dos” that never end. Even when all I want to do is sleep and hide from the responsibilities of today. Even when all I want is to be numb from the reality of war and pain and suffering. Even when I am drowning in the fears of never being enough to all those around me. Even in the exhaustion of remembering all of the things for all of my people and carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. Even still, She finds me – mother God – just waiting to gather me up yet again. She finds me in my chair. My pink chair in the corner with my warm fuzzy blanket. She lets me lean my head on her shoulders and just be. That being is all that she requires. That is enough for her to see me and know me. Then she fills me with the promise of peace, a peace that passes understanding, a peace that will guard my heart and my mind. So today I sit. Before any of the accomplishing of today can be done, first I must sit. Not even to say eloquent words of supplication and thanksgiving, but simply to sit. Anne Lamott says that there are 2 great prayers, “Help me. Help me. Help me.” And “Thank you. Thank you. Thank.”May we find you here Dear Lord. When sorrows like sea billows roll and when silver white winters burst into spring – may we find you here. It’s never too late. It’s never been too long. We dont have to wait until we have become or wait until we have finished. We cant wait until we have time. We must sit at the table. We must find the stillness. We find it in the passing moment of quiet before we close our eyes and the moment after we turn off the alarm. We find it in the grocery store line and in the elevator music when we are on hold. We find it in the in between. But we have to look for it. We have to see it. We have to let our minds find the stillness and simply be there. When my mind wanders as it will, I just breath the word wandering and simply move past it. There is no shame in this space. Only being. Here we find Him. Here he finds us. Hello dear one, oh how you are loved. Oh how I love that you are mine – perfectly imperfect. No expectations or demands. I see your hurt and your pain. I see your beauty and dreams. Just as you are. So come. Come to the table. Come to the cross. Let yourself be found. Again and again. 

El Roi – The God who sees me

I’ve said it before, but I will say it again – Derek Wilson is amazing. I am sitting alone at starbucks on a Saturday morning getting ready for a women’s conference at church while he takes the kids most of the weekend. AND for my birthday, I’m getting another Saturday off duty too!!! He sure loves me and loves our kids. Last night at the conference the question that kept hitting me in the face is “What is your biggest fear?” And the answer that kept running around in my head was “Am I seen? Am I known?” Which seems silly considering most days all SLO want to see is me. They want to see me and touch me and tug on me and have me hold them and yell at me and laugh at me.




It’s cute and sweet and they love me so much, but man I am touched out. Beyond that though is this fear that the “me” that I used to be has been forgotten and buried beneath a heavy layer of spit up, then another layer of poop, and then some snot and baby food piled on top. I feel like I may never be “me” again. Or is this the new me? If it is, I’m actually pretty good at it with the help of our amazing village. In fact Derek and I have been compiling a list of weird skills that we have acquired as a triplet parent:
I can pour off exactly 10ml of a bottle every time.

I know exactly how much is left in a bottle in the dark.

I can pull up exactly the right dose of medicine (1.6ml zantac, 1.875ml of motrin, and 3.75ml of tylenol, 5ml of amoxicillin) in one quick pull without looking.

I can remove 3 babies from any room in one try. Let me tell you that this is much harder than it sounds. You have to take the first baby fairly far away and put them in a safe place. Then the second baby can’t go as far because baby #1 will be crawling back to said room and will make it if you take baby #2 to where you left baby #1. Then you have to sprint back and place baby #3 just right outside the door and quickly pull it closed. I have this down to a science.

I know how to ultra baby proof a house and can tell you exactly what SLO will get into upon entering any house that is not ours.

During nap time I can hear the first faint cry and know who it is and if I should go get them or let them figure it out.

I can hold baby #1 while changing a dirty diaper on baby #2 with baby #3 pulling my hair.

I can rock one baby to sleep while feeding 2 others a snack.

I can bottle feed 3 babies at one time.

I can make dinner with 3 babies screaming and pulling on me.

I can change a diaper in the dark at lightning speed.

I can change crib sheets and one baby’s pajamas in the dark without waking up the other 2 babies.

I can split a banana into thirds without a knife. It’s actually pretty amazing and totally not messy.

I can open a door and pull a triplet stroller through it. (Automatic doors should be a thing. Everywhere. Or at least at the doctor’s office.)

I have so many schedules and numbers memorized in my head to keep up with who is taking what and eating what and doing what at any given time.

I can mediate a fight between 3 babies that don’t know how to communicate yet.

I can get 3 babies dressed – 3 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 6 socks, 6 shoes, 3 coats and load them all in the car in record timing all by myself.

The list goes on…

Being a mom in general requires skills. I mean mad skills. Being a triplet mom well it’s taken a lot of me. And I like this version of me. I really do. I adore my kids, and I love my life. I love that I get to stay at home (see last post). I love that I’m not just surviving but really living and enjoying life even though it’s crazy. BUT I miss me. I will forever wear the badge of Shepherd, Lucy, and Oliver’s mom with pride. I will shout from a mountain top that I go with them because I am so stinking honored and proud and excited to be their mom. But is that me now? Is that all that I am? When I was teaching, day in and day out, a lot of people saw me. In a lot of ways I got immediate appreciation. I of course had some haters, but overall I felt very validated as a teacher.  Now here I am in motherhood, one of the most under-appreciated jobs. My kids do not tell me how great of a job I did changing that 8th dirty diaper of the day. I don’t get told how impressive it was that I only lost my cool once today while three 1 year olds screamed hysterically for hours on end. Sometimes they really do appreciate me with the cutest smiles and hugs – it’s the best. BUT that is rare.

So I was sitting at this conference pondering how I can be seen and known again, and it hit me!!! God sees me. He always sees me. And He KNOWS me. There is a story in Genesis 16 about a woman named Hagar. She was an Egyptian slave of Abram and Sarai (before they were Abraham and Sarah). God had promised Abram that he would be the father of many nations, but Sarai couldn’t get pregnant. She was struggling with infertility (I feel you girl.) So they both decided to take matters into their own hands and use their slave, Hagar, to start this massive new generation. This sounds weird but it wasn’t that weird back in the day. Picture a creepier, more awkward version of fertility clinics. So faithful Hagar does as she is told and gets pregnant with Ishmael. But of course Sarai gets jealous and sends her away and Abram mistreats her and flat out forgets about her especially after Isaac is born. Hagar is forgotten. She was faithful and then just thrown out with the trash. She is a mother that no one saw and no one knew. So one day she is praying to God (verse 13) and He answers. He heard her and knew her. This is the only place in the Bible where God is called El Roi (the God who sees me). Hagar said,  “You are the God who sees me, I have now seen the One who sees me.” God is El Roi. He sees me. This is huge!! God sees me. Even on the days when I feel most alone and most overwhelmed, God sees me. On the days when all I want to do is walk to the mailbox, God sees me. On the days where my body physically aches from holding babies and cleaning. God sees me. On the days when life is just hard, God sees me.

I have always struggled with an approval addiction. I desperately want people to like me. Here is the thing though, If I truly believe that God is who He says He is, then why am I spending all of this time wondering if people see me, when I should be spending time helping others see and know HIM! This has to be a daily, no hourly, prayer. So today, this morning, I pray, God, El Roi, the God who sees me, be the breathe in my lungs. Use me to make your name known.

Triplet Pregnancy reflections

Looking back I wish that I had taken more pictures of me, massive me, pregnant. I was trying to find a picture the other day that showed just how massive I was, but honestly I didn’t take many. Infertility took such a toll on me emotionally that I didn’t really want pictures of me pregnant. I had spent the last couple of years aching every time I saw a picture of a pregnant woman. I was really mindful about posting pregnant pictures because it hurt knowing that I was pregnant but so many others still weren’t. I also don’t know how to fully explain the dangers and risks involved while carrying 3 babies. Each week was hard, and each week brought new risks and questions. Derek especially carried a lot of this uncertainty. I tried not to think about what could go wrong and to stay as calm as possible. I stayed off of google and refused to look up “what if” stories. The TV show “This is Us” became a big hit, but we had to stay far away from it because the reality of something going wrong with 1 or all 3 of our babies was so real. I had dreams about something happening to them and even dreamt about the 3rd blastocyst splitting into a 4th.

Derek felt really isolated because he didn’t want to stress me out, and he couldn’t talk about the real possibilities of losing one baby (or all) to many people. While for most couples doctors’ visits are fun and exciting, for us each time we went we were sick to our stomachs wondering what might possibly happen. Now don’t get me wrong, we rejoiced and were thankful everyday for our blessing of 3 babies, but we were also all to familiar with the pain of knowing that sometimes things don’t go the way you want them to go. Infertility and my ectopic pregnancy and a failed IVF created this predisposition that something could and probably would go wrong at any moment. For this same reason, we decided not to do a maternity photo shoot. We didn’t do a gender reveal. We didn’t post monthly bump pictures. When we did post our birth announcement, it was with carefully chosen words that spoke about the pain of infertility. We were just so nervous and broken. Thankfully we had a wonderful community and support through this experience. We had so many people speaking and praying truth and hope when we were unable to. I really think though that Derek was skipped over a lot with how much of a weight he had to carry. I got asked how I was doing regularly, but Derek rarely got asked. I got to feel the reassurance of the babies moving because I was carrying them, so I felt confident that we were doing everything we could physically do to take care of them. Derek just had to watch. He watched and worried and encouraged. He fed me so much food!! But it was really hard on him to watch me in pain and know that there was little to nothing that he could do. Thankfully, everything that could have gone right did. We are very lucky. Yes, God had his hand all over this pregnancy, but He also has his hand on the many babies that are born too early and in the lives of those that lose their little ones.

Now looking back, I’m realizing that in those months of scary pregnancy, in those months of so many unknowns, in the months of feeling alone, I was still very angry at God for our infertility (even though I was pregnant). Ok, real truth, Im still angry at God sometimes. I am angry at God for what we went through with infertility and also angry that even when we did get pregnant it was different and hard and terrifying the whole time. I was and am afraid to pray because I didn’t see how it would help. I figured whatever was going to happen, was just going to happen, so why ask God to fix it.

After processing, I have realized that it’s not prayer in general that I’m struggling with. I still love thanksgiving and praise in prayer. Even in the darkest days, I did have things to prayerfully be thankful for. I understand and find purpose in meditative prayer and centering prayer. I think prayer is good when seeking forgiveness and confession. I even see the beauty in praying for gifts of the spirit to come more fully (give me peace and kindness, etc). The place that I am struggling is in intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer is when I ask God to heal, fix, save, change, take away, etc. Often when asking people for prayer requests, this is the type of prayer that is being used. Heal my sick Grandma. Help me to get this job. Take away this pain that I am suffering through. Heal a relationship. These are all forms of intercessory prayer. I know now that I had believed the purpose of this type of prayer to be straightforward – God do these things for me. I wanted Him to take away my pain. That was the point. But if that is the point of intercessory prayer then at some point in your life, if it hasn’t happened already, God will say No and the pain will remain. The person will die or you will still lose the job. So if the point of intercessory prayer is for God to fix things, then He isn’t doing a very good job. I know that God is good and keeps His promises so He must not promise to do what we ask. There must be a different and better purpose. These verses messed me up. Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose.” Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

But here’s the deal…I was not getting the desires of my heart met. Whatever I was asking for in prayer, wasn’t mine. Things did not look like they were being worked for good. And yes there is an argument to be made for the fact that my beautiful triplets are here and amazing and healthy, and I love them so much, BUT what about the thousands of children dying in Africa from diarrhea because they don’t have clean water? What about the family that is homeless after countless efforts to find shelter and a job? What about the refugees that are dying every day as they are doing everything in their power to find safety? What about the triplets that I see everyday on my Facebook group that lose one or all of them or even just have major complications? I could go on and on. As a white American these verses seem to mean, pray and you will get what you want because most of the time, we get what we want. But if you look beyond yourself and look into the pain of someone that is suffering, someone that is doing everything “right” but the situation is not working for good, you have to question. Is there more to intercessory prayer than a genie granting wishes? What do these verses really mean?

Now don’t get me wrong, I do think that sometimes God says YES and he does fix, heal, save, and change. God is so powerful and we should rejoice when healing comes! But if that is our only goal in intercessory prayer than we are missing something HUGE. We are missing the main point. The point is not for God to give us what we want, but for him to know our hearts and for us to know his. As Shepherd, Lucy, and Oliver grow up, I hope that they tell me about the bully at school. I hope that they tell me about the huge chemistry test that they are scared about and the teacher that makes them nervous. I hope that they share their fears. I hope that they tell me when they struggle with lust or with self worth. I hope that they ask me to take care of them when they get hurt. I hope that they call me when they are in uncomfortable situations. I hope that they ask me to be a part of their problems. BUT I won’t be able to fix or heal or change everything, and I don’t want to. I hope that they learn that my job is not to bulldoze away their problems. My job is not to make all of their pain disappear. But I still want them to tell me. I still want them to lay their head on my shoulder, to cry, and to share their deepest fears, even if I can’t make them go away. Because in sharing, in voicing the pain and the fear, there is comfort. I know that there is a difference between me as a mom and God the Father. God has the power to fix anything while I do not, but the question still remains, should He? A lot of this falls into the topic of theodicy which is a whole other post that either Derek or I will write sometime. My conclusion today though is that the beauty of prayer is not in the answer but in the conversation. Sometimes I will jump up in action when my kids ask me to do something, but other times I will just sit and listen and talk with them and hold them. One of those is not greater than the other. The desire of my heart cannot be for God to take away my pain. The desire of my heart should be for God to sit with me in the highs and lows and let me rest on his shoulder. My burden is heavy, and I’m ready to find rest for my soul.

I strongly believe that my babies are not healthy because I deserve it or did something right, but it is a beautiful part of this crazy wonderful story. I am very thankful for all the people that carried Derek and I through those 32 weeks and 5 days. I am the most thankful for Derek who went above and beyond to help me feel comfortable and loved and at peace every step of the way. God is good. All the time.

sidenote: I did take a few pictures of my belly because both my mom and Derek’s mom begged us for them which I am now thankful for.


Transfer day came and again Derek got to be in the room as the doctor placed both blastocysts inside my uterus. Then the 10 day wait came. We waited to see if one or both of them would attach. (sidenote: while we waited, we went to the lake and Derek was tubing and broke his jaw…It is never a dull moment around our house). Day 10 came, and I went in for blood work that morning. We went home and tried to stay as distracted as possible while we waited for the doctor to call and let us know if my numbers were high enough for the possibility of a pregnancy. I will never forget that moment. We had just pulled our car into the carport and Derek was walking to get the mail. I yelled for him and we sat on the driveway and listened to the doctor tell us that my numbers were really high. He mentioned that twins were even a possibility since the numbers were so high. We sat on the driveway and cried and prayed and cautiously guarded our hearts for the possibility that this news was too good to be true. After experiencing an ectopic, miscarriage was very much on our minds. We waited 2 weeks before we got to have an ultrasound. At that point I was 6 weeks pregnant. We found out at this ultrasound that is was in fact twins. We were overjoyed. We went back one week later for one more ultrasound with the fertility doctor and this time he paused in the ultrasound and acted like something was wrong. Our hearts sank thinking that we had lost one or both of them. Thankfully the pause was because we had actually gained a baby instead of losing one!! haha We never even considered the possibility of triplets. It was less than a 1% chance. I mean we only put in 2 blastocysts so the idea of getting out 3 babies hadn’t crossed my mind. I have since learned that identical twins are not genetic. Identical twins are created when one embryo or blastocyst splits into 2. Our twins were mono/di twins. This means that they shared a placenta but had separate sacs in the uterus. In order for this to happen, the blastocyst must have split before day 7. We inserted them on day 6, so it happened pretty much instantly. When they split after day 7, they become mo/mo twins and share a sac, or they become siamese twins. Both of these options are much more dangerous. It is amazing that ours split at just the right time. So we had one set of identical twins and a third fraternal baby. I was immediately terrified. I was scared for the babies because I knew that carrying 3 babies must be incredibly dangerous. I was scared for me and my body and scared for how Derek and I would physically take care of them. I was scared of skipping straight to zone defense from the beginning with 2 parents and 3 babies. How would we hold them or feed them or comfort them with only 2 of us?!? My mind was spinning. Derek promises he almost passed out, but all I remember was him grabbing my hand and gently whispering, this is great! We can do this! These are our babies. We can do this together. He was and remains to this day such a rock in our whirlwind days. I love the way he balances me. The doctor immediately jumped into explaining that I would most likely be on bed rest for several weeks or months. He explained the dangers but also encouraged us that this was very doable. Honestly though, I don’t really remember much of what he said. I was in a complete haze. If you have ever watched Parks and Rec, we are Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt. *Spoiler Alert* Go back and watch the scene where they find out that they are having triplets. That is very similar to how it went down. We were terrified and excited and confused and so many more emotions all at one time. And just so you know, zone defense is very doable and so much fun. Now I can’t begin to imagine life without one or all of my 3 very different babies.

While this was and will always remain a beautiful moment in our story, it still took me 15 weeks before I could actually say the words “I am pregnant” or “I’m going to be a mom” out loud. I would get seriously mad at Derek when he would make me say it. I’m tearing up as I type this because of how scary and emotional those first few weeks were for me. I had been in so many doctor’s offices when bad news was presented. I had believed that “I’m pregnant” moment to be real so many times only to be disappointed. Why would this time be any different? Surely the shoe was going to drop at any moment, and I would wake up to discover that again something was wrong and this was not going to happen. I felt like saying it out loud would jinx it. I thought it was too good to be true. I was so scared and so numb at the same time. It’s hard to explain what shape my head was in after 3 years of hearing “No” from God over and over. Those heartaches didn’t just disappear. The pain didn’t magically turn into rainbows. It was hard. It still is hard sometimes. In the few weeks after we found out, I actually spoke at our school retreat. The topic was about seeing God in the midst of pain. I looked at almost every story in the Bible that summer in order to gain insight into why God says no and what happens later after He says no. As I examined scripture for my talk, I came up with 3 main reasons that God says no. The least common reason was for punishment. It was actually very rare. The second reason God said no was so that He could say yes to something else, or He just waited for a while to say yes. The third and most common reason that God said no was just because this world is broken and bad things happen (message me if you want more info on scripture references). My talk centered around how I believe that God does not make the pain and suffering happen in this world, but that He is so good at taking the ugly and broken and turning it into something beautiful ( I feel like that is a recurring theme in this blog). In fact, He is so good at this that it often looks as though He planned it all along. I could have ended my talk by saying, “I’m pregnant!” But I didn’t. I didn’t want the people in the audience that are still hearing “No” to think that something is wrong with them. We didn’t get pregnant because we prayed hard enough. We didn’t get pregnant because we pleased God or did something to deserve it. We didn’t get pregnant because we waited long enough. I don’t think that God planned on my fallopian tubes being messed up. But I do know that even in the darkest days, even when all feels lost and you feel incredibly broken, God is there, and if you allow Him to, He will use your brokenness to create something beautiful. So many of our friends and people we know, still don’t have their babies. Many people try IVF 1, 2, 3, 4, …10 times and it never works. Some people are still waiting. I hurt with you. I don’t understand why God says No still, but I do believe that even when He does, He is still good. A good Father does not clear a path of perfection for their child.  A good parent lets their child fall and hurt and while the good parent comforts them in the pain, they don’t take it away because life has good and bad. I could go on and on about my thoughts on this issue. I could go into my thoughts on Jeremiah 29:11. I could go off on why I think suffering exists. I could go off on story after story of God turning ashes into something beautiful, but instead just know that I am not blessed because I got pregnant. I am not whole because I got pregnant. God is not good because I got pregnant. God is good, I am blessed, and I am whole because I serve a God that transcends the pain and loves the broken, the lonely, and “the other.” God was good before I got pregnant. My story didn’t begin or end with our pregnancy. It is just part of our story, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Waiting Through IVF Again

We decided to wait a couple months before our second round of IVF. We went on a trip to China with our school and loved getting to pour out on our students and also on the kids at the orphanage that we went to work at. It hurt so much to leave the orphanage knowing that there were so many children there that needed parents and knowing that Derek and I wanted a child so badly. Again, I hated that I wasn’t old enough. I was 29 (You have to be 30 in China to adopt). So close, but not old enough. It really put such an ache in our hearts for adoption though. I really hope that one day we can be a part of a child finding a forever family. When we got back from China, we jumped right into round 2 of IVF. The fertility doctors suggested that we again only put one of our remaining 2 blastocysts in. IVF is a hard and long process. It’s expensive and is not usually covered by insurance. It’s painful physically and draining emotionally. Derek and I couldn’t be out past 8pm during the whole process because we had to be home for me to get my shot, or even more awkwardly…we carried the needle to strange places to give the shot while out. It never got easier or less painful to get my shot. I didn’t cry, but it wasn’t fun. However, in a weird way, it brought Derek and I closer together. There is nothing like having your husband stab you with a needle every night to create bonding time (ok no matter how I type that it sounds twisted…Im just going to leave it). Derek and I really did become such a team through IVF. We had our roles and we sat together every night allowing ourselves to keep dreaming about our family and encouraging each other on nights when it was tough. But we knew that no matter how long the day was, we would have this time together at night. Derek would tell me something he loved about me or was proud of me for each night he had to give me a shot. Again, I know this sounds weird, but I look back on those months with a happy feeling even though the shots freakin hurt. The second round was a little different than the first. We had our 2 frozen blastocysts so we didn’t have to do the retrieval part. I did have to take estrogen pills again. I had a lot more blood work (seriously I looked like a drug addict). And we started the big progesterone shots again. We talked at length about those 2 remaining blastocysts. We talked about only putting 1 in versus putting in both. The chances of getting twins was higher but the chances of it failing again with both was much lower. We were emotionally, physically, and financially pretty done at that point. We both decided that this was it for us. This was our last chance. If this round of IVF didn’t work, then we would focus on adoption only. We could have just put in one of the blastocysts and donated the other one for adoption to couples that want to carry a child but have problems with their eggs and/or sperm. We could have frozen one of them and come back to it later in the future. We could have even donated the other one to science. Contrary to some beliefs, fertility clinics never just dispose of blastocysts unless the couple directly asks them to. And we had to sign a mountain of paperwork designating exactly what we wanted to happen in case x,y, or z happened (Derek explained this in more detail in his ethical questions post). After a lot of discussion, we both felt very confident about putting in our 2 remaining blastocysts at the same time. Again, both of us had been through the ringer at this point and were completely on board with the possibility of twins. The emotional roller coster of infertility and of IVF is really really exhausting. And even though it is much cheaper to just transfer and not have to do the retrieval for the 2nd round of IVF, its still not cheap by any means. And finally, my body was physically tired of shots and drugs and tests.  We really wanted a biological child and this definitely increased our chances of having just that. So, in went 2 blastocysts. We called them our blastosaurs (Charmander and Squirtel to be exact – Pokemon Go was a thing at the time). And then we waited.

We waited…again. Life is made up of many seasons, but a lot of them contain waiting and longing. I waited to be a teenager. I waited to go to college. I longed to start dating. I longed to find a husband. I waited as I searched for the right job. I waited to not be so busy. I longed to have kids. In between all of the waiting and tugging of the heart, there are brief periods of time when we think we have everything that our hearts could ever want. But then, we find something else to wait for. We find something else that tugs on our heart and draws us into longing for the next thing. It’s so hard to just sit in the waiting and be still. It’s so hard to let my mind rest in contentedness and invest in the season that I am planted. This is especially true when the thing you long for is a good and Godly thing. Waiting hurts. Having God say no hurts. Trusting and releasing control is way easier said than done. But there is something beautiful about the forming of the heart that takes place in a season of waiting. If we allow the darkness and the emptiness to be used by God to transform us into a better us, it brings purpose to the pain.

I read a book the summer of our 2nd round of IVF called Learning to Walk in the Darkness. In it the author explains that darkness, brokenness, and emptiness provide a new perspective on life in a way that normalcy never will. I am more aware of my pain and my joy while in the midst of brokenness. I am more aware of words and thoughts, more aware of my strengths and weaknesses in a season of pain. In fact, it frees me from my attachments to benefits promised for by believing in God.  It forces me to really stop believing in a health and wealth Gospel, a Gospel where believing in God always brings physical and worldly blessings. I have stopped believing in God solely for the purpose of Him fixing my problems. It allowed me to understand God more deeply. It freed me from my devotion to spiritual practices and instead moved that devotion to a more real savior. It helped me stop speaking in Christianese (Jesus language that sounds really good but deep down doesn’t really mean anything) and learned to speak truth and be real and angry and honest. It has freed me from thinking that I already believed all of the right things about God. I will never fully understand Him, and I like it that way. It’s much more exciting to follow a God that is wiser and more powerful and mysterious then me. It freed me from trying to fix my doubt because it turns out that doubting is a really good thing if you use it to learn more about God and ask good questions and really figure out what you believe about God and who He really is. It freed me, but I am still daily in need of this freedom.

The IVF process (round 1)

Once we decided to try IVF, everything started happening fairly quickly. We went to a special pharmacy and picked up tons of needles, syringes, medicine, alcohol swabs, gauze, and even a sharp’s box. It’s very intimidating and kind of crazy that they just hand all of this medicine and all of these needles over to people that have no medical training. I feel like you have to be fairly intelligent to do IVF because you have to mix each shot to the correct mL and measure it out with saline and then you actually have to give/get all of these hundreds of shots and put them in the correct spot. Thankfully, my husband is brilliant and an amazing partner. He took complete charge of the meds. He mixed and organized and gave me every shot that I had to have. First though, I had to take birth control pills to regulate my cycle, and I had to start having blood work taken regularly to check on my levels of all kinds of things. I had to plan my blood work appointments around my classes and even had to miss some school. The office was 30 minutes away, and I had to drive down there every time too, which ended up being a lot of driving. By the end, my arms where so bruised it looked like I had been shooting up drugs from all the times I had blood drawn. Then, I had to have some tests run to check and make sure my uterus looked ok. The HSC and trial transfer were actually pretty painful. I drove myself to this procedure and did not know that it would be so difficult. They found a polyp, and I had to have a small surgery to remove it a few days later. It didn’t affect my cycle thankfully, but was one more thing we had to deal with.  I think I only missed one day of teaching through all of this too, so I was still teaching and pretending like everything was normal at school. When it finally came time to start the shots, both Derek and I were so nervous. Derek always talks about how weird of a feeling it is to stab your wife with an inch long needle in the stomach. I’m glad that didn’t come naturally for him. haha Anyway, I started out with shots of Gonal F and menapur in the belly. Then we added centrocide and monostat the day before the trigger shot. This whole first batch of shots was so that my body would start and stop ovulating in order to produce multiple eggs at one time. On the night of the trigger shot, you have to give it at midnight and it is very precise. Derek accidentally drew out the wrong amount of the trigger shot and some shot out the needle so it was a few mL short. We were freaking out! Derek was so upset, he had to walk outside for a few minutes to calm down. Then, it ended up being a little bit late and the trigger shot is supposed to be right at midnight. It was such a stressful night. Again, it’s crazy that non medical people do this every day. Thankfully, it ended up not being a big deal at all that the trigger was a little late. The trigger shot made my body ready to actually take out the eggs. Two days after the trigger shot, I had a minor surgery to remove the eggs. I had 18 eggs taken out of my ovaries in the retrieval. This process made my ovaries so sore, but the surgery itself didn’t hurt. Next, I took a pill to get my body ready for pregnancy while we waited a couple weeks. We were so excited to find out that 11 out of my 18 eggs were fertilized. I then started taking estrogen (pill form) and progesterone (big shot) to further prepare my body for pregnancy. When you get pregnant your body naturally makes progesterone, but since we bypassed a couple steps (or did them in a different way) I had to have progesterone shots until my body realized it was pregnant. The progesterone shots were not small. haha They had to go in my hip (kind of in my butt). They hurt!!! They had to go in such a specific part of my hip that we drew big circles on my hip with a sharpie marker so that we knew exactly where it needed to go. I wore a bathing suit once in this time period, and it was really funny that I had these big sharpie circles showing. Then, just 5 days after the retrieval, they picked one of the 11 fertilized eggs to transfer into my uterus. At that point, the fertilized egg is called a blastocyst. Derek got to go back into the operating room with me and watched on the screen as they placed the blastocyst in my uterus. It did not hurt at all and was a really special moment. Out of the 10 blastocysts left, only 2 survived to be frozen for later. The other ones just stopped growing and would never be able to grow into a baby. I was really thankful that 2 had made it. Sometimes you only end up with 1 viable embryo even after pulling out 18 eggs. I continued with the progesterone shots and waited to see if the blastocyst would attach to my uterine lining. You have to wait 10 days and it was the longest 10 days ever. Sadly, we found out that our first round failed. I know that the blastocyst was not yet an embryo and that it is even different than a miscarriage. But it was so incredibly painful and felt like we had lost another child. We had lost the opportunity for that little one and it was very emotional. I still remember that I was sitting on the steps at our house when the doctor called. Derek was at work, and I immediately called him and just sat on the steps crying till he came home.

Even now as I sit here holding one baby with 2 more asleep in their cribs, it still makes my heart ache thinking about how hard that moment and this whole process has been. I’m just now able to process that I fully believe that God disappointed me. I still feel angry at God and don’t understand how His timing works. I don’t think that He caused the bad things, but He let them happen. Sometimes He intervenes and sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He heals, and sometimes the person you are praying for still dies. Sometimes the baby you pray for never comes. Sometimes bad things still happen after lots and lots of prayer over them. It makes me question prayer and how God listens and answers. It makes me not want to trust God because I trusted Him and He let me down. ya ya I know, I have my babies and they are seriously a miracle and beautiful, BUT I didn’t do anything to deserve them. I just cant believe that my prayers or faithfulness are the reason that they are so healthy and happy and wonderful. I want to trust God again and then as soon as I make peace with Him and peace with not understanding WHY, something else tragic in my life or in the world happens again, and I’m thrown all over again.

I need a new framework because the one that I keep trying to fit God into just doesn’t fit. I need to redefine prayer. I need to redefine answering prayer. I need to redefine success. I need to redefine what it looks like for God to be with me and what it looks like for him to fulfill His promises. Maybe, just maybe, He never really did let me down. Maybe, just maybe, He never left. Maybe prayer isn’t about me at all. Maybe Jesus isn’t as concerned about me as much as He is concerned about the world and His Kingdom coming more fully here. Maybe Jesus is more concerned about the Kingdom coming on Earth and in my life than about the things I want. And maybe I need to quit being selfish and start looking up and around. That may seem harsh, and I know that God does care about the details of our life and sometimes He answers with a big fat YES that makes everyone jump for joy, but sometimes He says No. The NO doesn’t mean that I have less faith or that I did something wrong. It doesn’t mean that God let me down or isn’t good. Life is full of messy, painful things. I don’t follow God because He makes my life full of good things. I don’t trust Him because I think He will make my life successful by the world’s standards. I don’t love God because I think He will take away my pain. I am a believer in Jesus Christ because in the most painful times, He promises that I will have the strength and the peace to carry on. I don’t want to be afraid of darkness and brokenness. Yes, it is going to hurt. Yes, it may last a long time. Yes, I will probably doubt and be angry and be sad and ask questions. But that’s ok!! If Jesus can be angry through the pain and beg God to take it away, then so can I, and maybe He will. But the real struggle comes from believing that even if He doesn’t, He is still good. He is still a God to trust and love even in the moments when I wish He had said Yes. His goodness is shown in the truth that love always wins and that Sunday (the Resurrection) is always coming. The pain is never the ending place. This is so much easier said than done. But If I keep speaking it over myself, then it eventually becomes truth.

Ethical questions about IVF

This is Derek. I’m trying to write some too for the blog as we talk about our story. For this post, I’m going to discuss some of the ethical issues within IVF and infertility. I’ve put this into a question/answer format to answer questions that either people have asked us, we’ve asked ourselves, or our friends who have gone through IVF were asked by other people. I hope this makes it a little easier to see various objections to the process ethically, and kind of walks you through how we arrived at the decision we did.

IVF is incredibly expensive, so why don’t you just spend the money on adoption? Why don’t you just adopt?

I put this first because, honestly, we wrestled over this question more than any other. It hits close to home because Megan and I are passionate about adoption. We actively support and work with a special needs orphanage in China, and we think adoption is something Christians in the world should be more active in. IVF is also incredibly expensive and costs about the same amount as a new car. Is it justifiable for us to spend so much money on something unnecessary when there are plenty of other kids in the world that need parents? Should we spend money on something medically unnecessary when that money could be spent on adoption? First off, it’s absurd to think that only infertile couples should be asked this question. We rarely think about adoption before buying a car, or buying a new house, or getting the kitchen remodeled. Infertile couples do not solely carry the burden of adoption or the weight of financial decisions in lieu of adoption. “Why don’t you just adopt?” is a question that can be asked before any major purchase. Many object to the cost of IVF while failing to look at their own finances. It’s an easy way to pass the buck onto someone who we don’t understand. This is something we often do to the “other.” Any question that begins with “Why don’t you…” is often a failure to empathize or understand a person’s background. Secondly, I can’t explain how much infertility hurts, and how strong the desire for biological children is. We really wanted to explore all of our options, and after three years of trying, we needed to take this path to its end whether that was biological children or not. While we were working with the fertility clinic, we also were actively pursuing adoption through various programs in the Atlanta area. However, we decided we really wanted to explore our options for biological children until we ran out of them. We decided we would give one round of IVF, and then stop. But at least then we could have closure, and wouldn’t have to play the what if game.

Doesn’t IVF create a lot of embryos which in turn causes the death of many unborn babies?

I get this concern, however it’s primarily based out of a misunderstanding of biology. In “normal” pregnancies, women regularly miscarry around 20% of the time. On top of that, it is estimated that around 30 to 50% of the time eggs which are fertilized naturally miscarry before even implanting in the woman’s uterus. This is why even fertile couples don’t get pregnant the first time a woman ovulates and has sex. This is why no doctor will consider you infertile until a year of actively trying (which is incredibly). Sometimes (obviously not all the time) when a woman’s period is late it’s because an egg was fertilized but didn’t make it past the first couple of days. There’s a natural dying off of fertilized eggs because of natural factors at play. We see a lot of the same tendencies and percentages at play in fertilizing eggs during IVF. Also, I find it interesting that the same people that would like to decry IVF creating life through embryos dying do not hold funerals for miscarriages. We obviously see a difference between a baby and an embryo in the way we as a society treat losing each. Miscarriage is incredibly painful, losing a child more so. While all life is sacred (embryonic or not) and should be treated with incredible dignity and respect, there is also a difference in our treatment of these two and should be.

Is IVF playing God?

The rationale goes that we should accept what God gives us and that IVF is taking life into our own hands and trying to replace God. I would push back against this. We regularly do not accept the hand given to us. I reject the fact that I am near blind without corrective lenses, so I wear glasses. Oliver was sick last week, and we gave him antibiotics. We play God every time we treat a disease or have life saving surgery. We give prosthetics to people who were born without the legs or arms. Aren’t we playing God every time we heal a disease or correct a birth deformity? IVF is simply curing the disease of infertility. IVF brings life to this world and undoes the damage of inferility in people’s live. It’s a beautiful thing and participating in the work of God restoring creation.

What about the left over embryos?

Before you sign up for IVF there is a enormous packet to fill out with what to do with the embryos. You can destroy them, give them to research, or anonymously donate them to another couple. We chose to adopt them out to another couple if we didn’t use all of ours. I was actually really excited about the option of donating unwanted embryos to couples who were struggling with infertility. Part of me was excited to help other couples in need, but the other part of me was excited to imagine every little ginger I see from now on as possibly my kid. Sounds weirder as I type it than it is in my head. However, many object to IVF but don’t realize adoption is an option. There is no need to discard any viable embryos created during the IVF process.

Is implanting so many embryos dangerous and does it cause multiple pregnancies? Will the doctors need to abort one for the others to survive?

You can always implant one embryo and in fact our fertility doctor demanded it for our first attempt. For the second attempt our doctor did not want us to do two embryos, but he understood and eventually after signing a waiver allowed us to implant both of them. Implanting 3 – 4 embryos at a time is something that is highly discouraged today, and was something more common when the percentage of success was much lower. The rates are so much better now that doctors want most couples to do one and at max two. At no point did any fertility doctor suggest we should abort one. Our high risk OB did offer that as a possibility, but we declined and she seemed pleased about that. She wasn’t pushy, and it was definitely not expected or encouraged just simply offered as a medical option, and after that day it was never mentioned again.

There are numerous other issues surrounding infertility such as suffering and the why behind painful issues like it. There’s even more advanced issues such as Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). Hopefully I can write on here about some of those in the future. I think Christians need to start having conversations about reproductive technologies and bioethics.  The world is changing and creating questions that the Church is ill-equipped to handle currently. I believe we as a Church must move past the stigma of infertility in order to be able to grapple with these bio-ethical dilemmas that both this generation and the next will be forced to answer.

Finding answers (IVF)

After about 2 years of trying to get pregnant, we finally went to a fertility clinic. We really wrestled with the ethics of IVF and what was best for us. We went to multiple adoption agencies and looked into fostering. We really still want to adopt and have always seen it as a wonderful option for us, but also wanted biological kids. We wanted to see this out, but kept also pursing the options of adoption at the same time. After much prayer and research, we knew that our hearts were with Chinese adoption. Derek lived in China for a year and both of us have worked at an orphanage there for several years. However, we learned that you have to be 30 in order to adopt a child from China. I longed to be 30. While we waited, we decided we could at least go to the fertility clinic and see what they had to say. Our preconceived notions of IVF were so different than what we were told on our first visit to the fertility doctor. First of all, for the first time in 2 years we got an answer from the doctors as to what could be wrong. He said that he was 90% sure that the cilia lining my fallopian tubes were not working. The only way to test this to know 100% is to put radiation into my ovaries which would in turn sterilize me…which wasn’t an ideal option. haha. Since we had been trying for 2 years and the only successful pregnancy ended up ectopic, there is evidence that I do ovulate, but that the egg can’t be carried into my uterus because the cilia that carry the egg were not functioning properly. Because of this diagnosis, IUI was not a probable solution for us. Essentially, we were told that IVF was our only option if we wanted a biological child. Honestly, even though this was really hard to hear, having someone give me an answer and a reason other than “you stress too much,” was freeing.  It allowed us to really start moving forward. For so long we had just been in limbo. We thought there was something wrong and we just kept waiting and waiting  and finally we could make a plan. haha Sorry, it’s funny now looking back that I still thought I could make a “plan” even after everything we went through. I definitely did not plan on triplets. People ask me all the time if I planned on having triplets. Does anyone “plan” to have triplets??? Anyway, I honestly believe that even if the doctor had said that even IVF wouldn’t work for us, having an answer and a direction (direction is much better than plan, lets stick with that) having a direction for what was next was a breath of fresh air. If you are still in the middle of waiting and wondering and questioning – whether it’s with infertility or not – just know that waiting is a season. It’s a season that isn’t fun, but it’s a season and hopefully in that season, God will make you a better you. God definitely molded me and shaped me in our waiting. He taught me to be still and to enjoy the stillness which is a huge feat. He taught me to listen better and to not be afraid of doubt or unanswered questions. He taught me to have compassion for the broken. He reminded me that I have incredible cheerleaders all around me. Life is full of waiting seasons. This wasn’t my first and it won’t be my last one. So, Im learning to let myself mourn and be sad but also to allow myself to be shaped in the waiting.

Anyway, back to IVF…For most of our infertility journey, both Derek and I were against IVF. We thought the chances of it working were low, it was way to expensive, and we both love adoption. So, when the doctor told us that IVF was our only option, it was weird that both of us didn’t immediately shut him out. We listened as he explained that the odds of us getting pregnant through IVF were incredibly high. Science has come so far now and my uterus and eggs were in great shape. So we listened to him explain the process and so many of our fears and preconceived ideas seemed to fall away. The cost was still getting me though. I thought it just seemed so crazy to pay all this money and not know for sure if it would work, when I could pay money to an adoption agency and guarantee that it would work. I did lots of research and realized that the chance of it working was really high for me. On the day that I finally decided that I wanted to try IVF, a friend got into a car wreck and totaled her car. She was fine, but she had to buy a whole new car. We don’t think twice about spending $20,000 on a new car. And if our kids need a surgery or a special tutor or private tuition or really anything, we would pay it in a heartbeat. It made me realize that my reasoning for not doing IVF should not be based solely on money. I spend money on things all the time, so why was it hard to spend money in order to have a chance at a biological baby. I really do understand that some people have ethical issues with IVF, and I understand that it is not the right journey for others. Derek and I still really want to adopt, but for me, choosing to do IVF was the same as other people choosing to have a biological child the “normal” way. It just cost a little more money. People choose everyday to have biological children instead of or in addition to adopting and we don’t think twice if someone gets pregnant the “normal” way. My biological children just cost a little more and took a little longer to get here. Science rocks by the way. I love that I was able to have this opportunity thanks to amazing scientists that figured out how to bypass my non working fallopian tubes and place a baby straight into my uterus. It’s actually pretty incredible. Later this week, Derek will post answers to common about the ethics of IVF and questions that we have been asked or had ourselves in this process. So, be on the lookout for that soon. Next week, I will detail our first round of IVF so if you are curious what that looks like, stay tuned!

Infertility hurts

The year after our ectopic pregnancy was spent mourning and healing and waiting only to find more pain. Honestly, the pain of infertility was just as deep as the pain of losing our baby. I watched more friends than I can count get pregnant. I went to so many baby showers and was genuinely happy for them and celebrated with real joy, but at the same time, it hurt. I would get in my car and cry after every baby shower. It’s a weird cycle, infertility. The start of the month is always a fresh start. I would think, this is it, this is the month it happens. Then comes the exhaustion that is figuring out ovulation day(s) and taking my temperature and sticking to a schedule. Then I would wait. At the end of each month, I would start dreaming about when the due date would be and what it would be like if it happens this month. And then, with each passing month, it got harder and harder to be positive. I don’t know how to explain it except that every month it felt like we were losing a baby or at least losing the dream of one. I know that I wasn’t losing a baby, and I know that the pain is no where near what someone experiences when losing a child, but that’s the best way I can explain it to someone that has never experienced infertility. Everyone around us was moving on in life and we were stuck in this merry-go-round of being let down and not being able to start our family. Not only was infertility physically and emotionally painful, but it really made us angry. We were mad at God for letting us be in pain. I was mad at my body for not doing what it’s supposed to do. I was exhausted trying to figure out what to do next and how to act like everything was normal when everyday I felt like I had this giant thing wrong and missing that couldn’t be fixed. It was also incredibly isolating. Infertility is not something that people can see on the outside so most people don’t know that something is wrong. It’s awkward when someone asks how you are doing and all you want to say is, “actually terrible because everyone around me seems to be getting pregnant without trying, and I am apparently infertile, but how are you today? The weather looks nice.” Church was probably the hardest place to be. We love our church and our community, but we sing a lot of happy songs at church which is great when you are happy. However, when you are sad or angry, happy songs are really really hard to sing. I would just sit and cry often in church. Looking back, I am glad that we kept going to church and kept trying to sing the songs. I still can’t sing the song Good Good Father without crying, but there is something to be said for letting others speak joy and hope into your life when you are incapable of speaking it over yourself (my wise husband told me this). Community is a beautiful thing. Our friends and family never stopped asking and listening and waiting with us. They understood that the pain was real and constant but gave us space when we needed that too. And let me tell you something…being married to your best friend and someone that loves you unconditionally and is a good listener, its the best. Derek would pray for me every night because for months, I just didn’t know how. For months, I just didn’t know what to say. I could pray for other people, and I could pray in a big group or with students, but not for myself. Because praying just opened myself up for more disappointment, and I couldn’t handle any more of that. I’ll write a post later about how Derek taught me how to pray again. Remind me if I forget – prayer beads, they were the key. Or better yet, maybe I’ll get Derek to write it. No matter what you are struggling with though, and if it is infertility, know that you are not alone. And also know that it does get better. Sometimes it takes a long while, but remember that God is a God of redemption and loves taking the broken pieces and making something beautiful. I truly believe that God didn’t make me infertile just so we could have triplets. I don’t even believe that He planned for us to go through infertility. Life is just broken and unfair and hard. I do however, fully believe that He took this terrible thing that we went through and is using it to shape us into better people and hopefully He is using it to help someone else see the love of Jesus. The pain is not the end.

ok, rant over. Back to infertility…We started testing at the end of that year. My OBGYN was great and so helpful in starting the process. I first tried 3 rounds of clomid which about destroyed me. Clomid made me C-R-A-Z-Y. I mean, I was a complete basket case (poor Derek). He was reading over this and said, “crazy doesn’t do justice to how illogical and emotional it made you”. haha I would take offense to that if I didn’t 100% know he was right. Plus, it didn’t work. Then we tried letrozole. It did not have near the side affects on me as clomid, but it still didn’t work. Then Derek had to get tested which is not fun to say the least. Every time we tried something new, Doctors would just say, “everything looks normal. We don’t know why you aren’t getting pregnant. Just stay calm and keep trying.” We got so sick and tired of having no answers. People told me all the time (literally at least once a month), “Oh just stop stressing. As soon as you quit trying, thats when it will happen. Just wait.” Please, for the love of all things chocolate, don’t ever say that to someone struggling with infertility. It made me feel like it was all my fault. I thought that my stress was keeping us from getting pregnant. Turns out, that’s not true. We learned so much in these years about how to mourn well with others and gained compassion for “the other” (That’s what we call people who are different from the norm). “The other” can be the person who looks different, has a different culture, or just seems to stand on the outside. Infertility is very isolating and makes a lot of people uncomfortable. People say a lot of wrong things, but also many many people loved us very well. Learning how to love “the other” well is a skill that all people and especially all Jesus loving people should learn how to do. We tend to be good at loving those like us but forget how important it was to Jesus that the sinners, tax collectors, lame, sick, Samaritans, Gentiles, etc. be well taken care of and loved. Next week I’ll post some lists that I wrote in the midst of infertility. First I wrote a list of things that you can do when you find yourself feeling angry at life and at God (both of these were true during infertility). And the second list is how you can help a loved one in this situation. So stay tuned and come back and read next week.

The Beginning

Derek and I got married 5 years ago, and we have had so many fun adventures together. A little over 3 years ago we started learning about what it meant to be in pain and to suffer together. We have grown so close to each other, and I think that we make the best team. However, this period of time and this part of our story together is something that I really want others to know. In the church and in our society, often pain gets covered up or patched up too quickly. We want everything to be ok too fast. Derek and I pray that our openness and honesty with our pain and questions through infertility and also our joy and celebration with the triplets will help others find hope and comfort. We also pray that it will help bring understanding to those that have never experienced these things before.

On January 26, 2015, Derek and I lost a baby. We had been trying to get pregnant for several months and were ecstatic when that pink line finally appeared. We immediately started dreaming of what he/she would look like and let our minds run wild with how wonderful it was going to be. We honestly did not know anyone at the time that had suffered through a miscarriage, and it just isn’t very socially acceptable to discuss (I’m hoping that is slowly changing), but at the time the thought of losing the baby had NEVER crossed my mind. Then, weird things started happening. At 8ish weeks, I started bleeding and thought I had miscarried the baby but my numbers were still high so they just monitored my progress. Finally, it was discovered that I had an ectopic pregnancy. This is when the baby starts growing in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. If we hadn’t figured out the problem, in just a few days or hours it could have ruptured and been extremely dangerous for me. I had surgery to take the baby out which was overwhelming in so many ways. I had a miscarriage in a sense, but it was different. They had to physical go in and take the baby out which really messed me up. That’s something that we have been through this whole journey…different. But I know that I am not alone. I want to speak out and tell our story in hopes that other people feeling the same way can find comfort in my openness and honesty. Here is something I wrote 7 months after losing our first baby:

It is almost September 4, 2015. The day our little baby was supposed to be due.  After 8 months of trying, Derek and I finally got pregnant and in January found out that it was an ectopic pregnancy.  After losing the baby, we were broken but surrounded by so many people that love us. My dreams of names and nurseries and even sleepless nights were crushed. However, we still had hope though that after a couple months, it will all happen as we had dreamed. Surely if God is a good father then He will allow us to have a family and raise a child up in the name of the Lord. That’s all we wanted to do. Now here we are 7 months later, still broken and with hope all but lost. Hope is too hard. Hope means that every month I open myself up for more brokenness. Every month as I sit in pain, I feel as though I have lost yet another child. It never gets easier. For the last couple months I have given up hope. I don’t dream about names any more or due dates. I don’t pray for a baby anymore because I just don’t want to be disappointed again. I’m tired of being in pain. So is forgetting hope the answer? Or is there a way to live in hope that keeps me from getting crushed. Romans 12:12 says to rejoice in hope. How in the world is that possible? If you have hope it means that you have something to hope for which means you don’t have what you hoped for. It means you are empty but waiting for something to happen. What does it look like to rejoice in hope? Should I be happy that my dreams of becoming a mother seem so far out of reach? Should I be joyful in the fact that instead of staying home this year and learning how to raise a child, I am taking fertility treatments and making my mind and body crazy with tests and medicine. I sure don’t feel joyful. I feel tired and angry and sad. There are things in my life that bring me joy – my amazing husband, our supportive families and friends, our jobs and ministry…so I can be joyful, but I don’t want to be joyful IN hope. I want to be joyful despite my hope.  The message translation says to be “Cheerfully expectant.” That sounds like an oxymoron to me. All I really want to do is stop caring, stop dreaming, and stop hurting.  Maybe the problem isn’t whether or not I hope, but what I hope for. I have always laughed when my students read Psalm 37:4 to mean that God will give them whatever they ask for, but that’s kind of what Im doing.  I’ve lost hope because my life doesn’t look like what I think it should. I also laugh at all of the parents of my students that want to plow all of the problems our of their child’s way. As a teacher, it makes me cringe when parents fight the battles for their children and the student never learns anything. If God is a good father then I know that He shouldn’t take all of my problems away but shouldn’t He give me the strength to not feel broken or the peace that passes understanding. Why don’t I feel that? How am I supposed to act like everything is normal and happy only to be crushed every month again and again? How am I supposed to go to school on September 4th and pretend like nothing happened?  The answer: ????

Hope – 

noun: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

Verb: to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence; to feel that something desired may happen.

This way of thinking is not possible if the thing that I want is to have a baby. Because right now, in all reality, that may not happen, well at least for a long time. We have already decided that we will happily adopt and I am so glad that God gave us that calling through all of this but it will be 3 years before we will have a child through adoption. So, if the thing that I want or look forward to is to be a mom then I will be setting myself up for more heartache. There has to be another option. I have to transfer my hope from things turning out the way they should in my own personal world and focus on the goal of Gods Kingdom being known. If I put my hope in the fact that God is shaping me and molding me and forming me to be a better disciple and better leader for His Kingdom, then no matter what happens at the end of this month, I am not left alone and shattered. It gives my hope and my pain purpose. I have HOPE that God will redeem this crap. I have HOPE that God will transform my broken pieces into something that can be used to bring hope to others. My HOPE is NOT that one day I will be a mom, even though that’s true. I know that one day – maybe far in the future –one day I will be a mom. But that’s still not what I HOPE in. I need to put my HOPE in something that wont let me down. 

So here I stand, or have fallen, with nothing to offer but the broken pieces of me, begging to be transformed into something more beautiful, something more like Jesus. I have HOPE that one day I will be whole again.  

(back to Sept 2017) Now looking  back, its crazy that it did in fact take 3 years for us to have our baby(ies). I never would have pictured it turning out the way it did. People tell me all the time that it was all part of God’s plan, and maybe it is, but really I believe that God took a terrible thing and redeemed it and turned it into something beautiful. That’s what He is best at doing. I serve a God that doesn’t create the ugly, the broken, the pain, but takes those things and makes them new. Our journey in meeting our triplets was a long and hard one, but God sure did shape my heart in the process. He made me a new person. Even though we have our beautiful babies, I still struggle sometimes. That pain of infertility did not just disappear. I still sometimes ache when I think about that baby we lost or the failed round of IVF or the months and months of negative pregnancy tests. It was and still is painful. I still often feel angry that God allowed it to happen. I also see many friends that are still waiting and still don’t have a baby in their arms. I don’t have my babies because I prayed harder or because God loves me more or even because I deserved them. God redeems in all sorts of different ways. So if you are still in the middle of infertility or mourning a miscarriage or lost child, this is not where your story ends. I don’t know how it will be used, but have hope that your pain will be transformed into something beautiful.

Over the next few weeks I will post a new part of our story and slowly build up to the present. Along the way I will reflect on how God was working or the questions and frustrations that I had and am having at God. I believe that God is a God of beautiful redemption and that my story is just beginning. I would love for you to follow along with me in this journey. Let me know if you have questions or comments too. I would love to hear from you.