Friday, August 11, 2017

August 11

August 11. The due date of our first baby. A day that's come to be a hard one these past three years. If I can be real honest, it's a day I always find myself wishing I could have given birth to the little love we called “Baby B.” & upset because I didn't -- that's something I wrestle with from time to time. I felt robbed of that experience, of meeting him face to face, for so long. & sometimes still do. I would like to share with you a letter I wrote to Baby B  in grief counseling. I have lately forgotten just how healing writing can be.

"Lord, life can be hard, we are so fragile...all of us one breathe away from eternity.  We forget until tragedy comes and we are reminded how we are all like flowers of the field.  And yet you love us, you value us.  You gave your life for us, but you also allow us to be broken.  How do we make sense of that?  Where is the beauty in the shattered pieces?  We want you to make something lovely of our lives, but more often, it is more like a mosaic beauty out of a million broken pieces than the flawless work of art we imagine.  So help us Lord.  Give us strength in our brokenness.  Let us say with Job 'though he slay me, yet will I trust him.'  Is there a harder prayer to pray?  I do not know one.  Come to us, take our pieces, use them for your purposes until we see, as you do, the beauty in the brokenness."

In the 16 weeks I got to carry you in my tummy and even since then, my love for you has grown beyond my wildest dreams.  I had never known a love of this kind, the love of being ones’ mommy.  On Thanksgiving morning of 2013, I learned of you.  My sweet baby that I had prayed for since I myself was a little girl. 

Thanksgiving Day seemed like the most perfect of days to find out I was expecting you.  Your daddy and I laughed and we cried, we held one another on the bathroom floor giving thanks for you.  Our hearts felt so full.  We have loved you from the beginning, sweet Baby B. 

And though we never got to hold you in our arms, you have blessed us so.  Not a day goes by that we don’t think of you.  You have changed our lives.  And I believe the lives of others, too.  Several weeks after you left this earth, I began writing about you.  Our story of joy and of pain, of thanksgiving and heartache, of hope.  

It was my prayer in sharing the story of you, and of your siblings that have since followed, that another mommy and daddy grieving the loss of their little one would be reminded of the hope we have in Christ.  To know that they are not alone.  That God knows their hurt and that He cares.  I truly believe that.  And it is what gets me through.  That and knowing that one day, we will be together again. 

My mailbox and inbox have filled with letters of praise for your life.  When I first allowed others to read my journal of you, I had no idea how God was going to use your story.  I just felt lead to share.  It breaks your mommy’s heart to know of other families who hurt and long for their baby(ies) like your daddy and I do.  But the ways in which your story has encouraged others makes me so proud.  You are so special.

The happiness you have brought me is unlike any other.  And the pain I have felt since I miscarried you is also unlike any other.  There are moments I really struggle.  Though I know I’ll be seeing you, I also feel robbed of getting to spend today with you.  And yesterday.  And the day before that.  I feel robbed of getting to experience giving birth to you.  I never had that chance.  Of kissing you and holding you.  Of your first cry, your first bath, your first smile, your first coo.  And the cries, baths, smiles, and coos that would have followed.  Of singing to you and tucking you in your bed.  Of watching you crawl and walk and play.  There are many special moments I feel I am missing out on.  Big moments and little ones. 

I think, too, about what you look like.  I feel almost certain you are a handsome boy like your daddy with his dark curly hair and big brown eyes.  He likes to say you probably look like me.

Losing you and your two little siblings has been difficult.  It’s frustrating.  It makes us sad and sometimes angry.  We don’t want to be in this situation.  We wish we didn’t have to mourn your loss.  To miss you.  Yet we trust in God’s plan.  And are thankful for time we had with you here.

Not a day goes by that we don’t think about you.  That we don’t wonder what you would have been and done in this life.

Thought we sadly never got to see you outside of the womb, we know we’ll get to meet you face to face one day.  In eternity.

So while I long for you, I know you’re in the greatest place.  When my heart feels heavy, I try to remind myself of this. 

You get to spend your every moment with Jesus.

I cannot think of anything sweeter.

I love you, Baby B.


It was laid on my heart after our first loss to share my story. I haven't logged a post since 2015 though, when we announced our pregnancy with Evie. The words just haven't flowed. I haven't felt creative for some time. I haven't felt led to write. 

But today I was received a phone call asking me to write for a women's ministry twice a month (more on that to come). & of all days (totally a God thing), I feel inspired. & I have been reminded that the good Lord has a purpose in all of this. A plan. That His will WILL be done.  I'm not sure where this blog is headed, but I promise to write more frequently.  You all have been such a big part of my story!  My praying friends.  Friends that have shared stories of hope.  Friends that have blessed me by asking that I pray along side them on their own journeys -- navigating loss, heartache, infertility, ivf.

Despite the sadness, the longing, the "what ifs," I've sought to rest in my Savior's arms today. To trust & believe. He has carried me SO FAR. & so when my heart is aching or when worry for the future creeps in, I will remind myself that He has a plan. & I will sing to myself "Thy will be done." 

Thy will be done.

As we pulled up to the memorial garden where our Baby B's ashes are buried this day a year ago, those very words played over the radio. Hillary Scott (of Lady A) wrote "Thy Will" several years ago after she & her husband suffered a miscarriage. 

"I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store
So, thy will be done."

Talk about a much needed reminder. Then & today.

His plans are FOR US. Even when we don't understand, when we struggle to make sense of it.

He hears us. He knows of our hurts. He sees us on the difficult days. & He cares. The Lord has a big, beautiful plan for each of us, sweet friends. Hope you can rest in that truth today.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Journey to Baby: JOY and PEACE

'Twas the first night of December, when all thro' the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
Gifts were placed neatly, but one wasn't there.
This gift exists, though it's still quite small;
But to our family, it is the most precious of all.

Inside one body, beats two hearts;
It will be a little while before they part.
We're trading our silent nights for a bundle of joy!
And are thankful to the Lord above for this baby girl or boy.
We can't wait to meet our sweet little one arriving in June,
The answer to many prayers, who we already love beyond the moon.

My heart could burst!  What a joy it is to announce our pregnancy.  A big, fulfilling, wholehearted joy.  To share with so many who have prayed for this very gift.  Who have lifted us up and encouraged us along on our journey.  It's truly humbling to sit where I sit today.  To see just how many readers my blog posts have reached.  To have a collection of letters and notes that have lifted us up in some of our darkest hours.  And now to be able to share this good news with each of you. There are moments when I just can't quite crying.  Happy tears.  He is good, y'all.  And He has blessed us tremendously with family and friends that have loved us so well through all of it.  Thank you for that.  You mean so very much to us.

To the girl reading this who has experienced the loss of a baby or is longing for one this very minute, my heart is with you.  Though no story is just alike, I know of the aching you feel.  Of the tears that fall.  Of the disappointment and anger and frustration and hurt.  Of the prayers you pray.  Of the hope you hang on to.  I like how Melanie Fisher worded it when she said, "We may not know the sleepless nights of the newborn stage or the messy days of the toddler years like so many of our friends right now, but we do know what it's like to love someone who is a part of each of us more than we ever thought possible.  And we do know the sometimes sleepless, sometimes messy ache of not being able to watch that child live and grow."

I've also read and reread this from Emily Ley time and time again: "The heartache of infertility is one I know all too well.  And the hope and the joy that's on the other side of it is indescribable.  I'm a big believer that God puts a baby shaped hole in our hearts with the full intention to fill that hole in one way or another.  I've seen it happen in so many different ways time and time again.  But waiting on His plan to unfold is hard.  Over the past five years, I've walked this road and held the hands of dear friends who've walked it also.  The most beautiful part is even though I walked it, I never walked it alone."

Yes, it hurts down deep to the core when your greatest desire and most fervent prayer seems so far away.  And the waiting is hard.  It's one of the hardest parts.  But sweet girl, God has a plan for you.  A BIG plan.  Seek Him first always.  Trust Him, even when you don't understand.  He is right there with you.  "The pain that you've been feeling can't compare to the joy that's coming!" (Romans 8:18)

I'm better off when I begin to remember
How You have met me in my deepest pain.
So give me glimpses now of how You have covered
All of my heart ache, oh with all Your grace.
Remind me now that you can make a way.
That Your love will never change,
That there's healing in your name,
That You can take broken things and make them beautiful.
You took my shame 
And You walked out of the grave,
So Your love can take broken things and make them beautiful
You say that you'll turn my weeping into dancing,
Remove my sadness and cover me with joy!
You say your scars are the evidence of healing
That You can make the broken beautiful. 
-Ellie Holcomb, The Broken Beautiful

The story of this baby began on Easter Sunday.  It marked the start of our in vitro journey.  Thirteen days later, on Saturday, April 18, after two full weeks of injections, ultrasounds, and bloodwork, the teeny tiny egg that formed this baby was retrieved from my body.  Five days after that, on April 24, I got a call from a nurse at RBA to let me know that this baby had grown into a beautiful five day old embryo (called a "blastocyst").  It was graded "A" based on appearance (tight cells) and after genetic testing showed no known chromosomal abnormalities.

Because we were doing IVF with a "freeze all" (to avoid hyperstimulation), it was June before we transferred our first embryo (also coming from this IVF cycle).  Sadly, that transfer resulted in a tubal pregnancy (talked about here).  We were in a season of grieving and waiting.  Our hearts were sadden by another loss (I preciously suffered a miscarriage at sixteen weeks early in 2014 and a chemical pregnancy later that year).  I was treated with methotrexate, a form of chemotherapy, two separate times for the ectopic pregnancy that meant we could not try to get pregnant again for at least three months.

With the first anniversary of our first baby's due date, the due date of our second baby, and what we had hoped would be a healthy pregnancy with baby three all falling during this time, we looked for a way to honor and remember our little loves in heaven and found it in the Lancaster Garden of Hope in Pennsylvania.  The garden was created as a place to remember precious lives lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and early infant death with a memorial wall of plaques and those babies names.  The focal point of the garden features a beautiful life size sculpture of Jesus, sitting beside a mother as He cradles her baby safely in His arms.  We had a plaque made for our three and look forward to visiting the garden in a few months.

My prayer was a prayer for peace.  For a peace that would pass all understanding.  Peace for whatever would happen next on our journey.  For peace when we tried to get pregnant again.  For peace if we did get pregnant again.

I began to sense that peace all around me.  I felt a peace about moving forward.  I felt renewed.  Excited.  Hopeful.  Following a consultation with Dr. Slayden, I began prepping my body for pregnancy with a protocol that included Lupron injections, Estrace, Crinone, Baby Asprin, Doxycycline, Medrol, and Folate.

On October 8 we transfered our precious itty bitty one.  Much like our first transfer, I count it as one of the greatest days of my life.  It was magical when they displayed our embryo's photo on the television screen.  Happy tears!  Love at first sight!  Adornment!  The embryologist came in to talk with us and Dr. Robert Straub, who was on call this day, transferred the embryo to my uterus via a catheter, which we were able to watch on the ultrasound machine.  An incredible experience.

Sam began praying over my belly (one of my most favorite things ever!) and singing songs to our little one.  Peace continued in the days that followed.  We rested well and were well taken care of by family and friends that knew of our transfer.

On Monday, October 19, we went in for our beta hCG check.  Results came back with a good, strong number for which our doctor and nurses were very pleased and we were so grateful!  We toasted with 9 Months Love sparkling grape juice ;) and had dinner with some dear friends.

A more than doubling hCG level the next few blood draws were a good sign.  And we have since had three great ultrasounds with a quickly growing baby measuring right on track and a strong fetal heart rate!  Yesterday, Monday, November 30, we had our last appointment with Dr. Slayden and the sweet ladies who have taken such good care of us at RBA.  We "graduated" from our Reproductive Endocrinologist and have been released back to our OB/GYN.  It was a bittersweet afternoon saying "see you later" to the doctor, nurses, and staff we have come to love, but is also a super exciting step forward!

At 10 weeks, 3 days pregnant, God still surrounds me with His peace.  And I have been able to celebrate joyfully this pregnancy.  I'm human, and there have been moments, times occasionally, when I've allowed my wondering heart to stray with worry about things that have happened in the past happening again.  But those thoughts have NOT consumed me.  And through prayer, spending time being still in His presence, clinging to scripture, and encouraging words from family and friends, I've been able to focus on Him.  His peace.  And this sweet, sweet gift He has given us.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Your love and support have made us better.  You've prayed for, encouraged, lifted us up,  held our hands, cried along with us, and cheered us on.  For all of this and more, thank you.  From the bottom of our hearts.

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."
Joy and Peace,
Sarah, Sam, and Baby Ball

Special thank you to Paige Knudsen for a fun photo shoot to celebrate our news!!
{Noteven A. Mouse stuffed animal: Beaufort Bonnet Company}
{fun confetti popper from our friends The Copelands}

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Journey to Baby : Ectopic Pregnancy, Trusting HIM, Prayer, Joy, & Remembrance

I want to be a woman who trusts that God has a plan, even when I don't understand. -Renee Swope

I concluded my most recent blog post with those words, and they've been heavy on my heart since.  It's so easy for me to trust God when things are going the way I had planned.  It's easy to trust when I receive an answer to a prayer, when I feel hopeful and renewed, when I’m seeking joy, when I can see light at the end of the tunnel I’m in.

IT'S SO DARN HARD to trust though when I don't understand.  When my heart breaks.  And then it breaks again.  And again.  And I feel sad and mad, broken and tired, frustrated and angry, when I question "why me?" and "why us?"  When I dabble in self-pity.  When I look around me and see how easy it seems for some people.  When the greatest desire of my heart and my most fervent prayer seems so. far. away.

This season is proving to be one of the most challenging yet as I pick up the pieces of an unsuccessful frozen embryo transfer, as I am in the midst of the two year mark of when we first began trying to grow our family, what would have been our first baby's first birthday, our second baby's due date, or when we would have "graduated" from our Reproductive Endocrinologist and been released to our OB/GYN (at the end of the first trimester) with our third baby - all if things had gone my wayour way.  But sweet friends, God has a different plan.  And I'm determined to TRUST HIM, EVEN WHEN I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

Asking God 'what can I learn?' instead of 'why me?' is a much better place to park our minds. -Lysa TerKeurst

Of course, the hours spent in the doctors office, the many panels of blood work and testing, the ultrasounds, the poking and prodding, the protocols, the medications and self-administered shots multiple times a day, egg retrieval and the days that followed that procedure, and changing hormone levels are a LOT to handle, but there's nothing like the "two week wait."  The T.W.W. (yes, that's a real thing) - the time between embryo transfer and your first beta hCG test.  Nothing.  So many emotions!  Such anticipation!  There are day dreams and dreams while you sleep.  It's difficult to think of anything else.  Fortunately, I didn't air on the side of worry and doubt that some women experience during the two week wait.  I felt things were finally looking up for us, that maybe, just maybe, this journey was coming full circle.  I felt so led to Reproductive Biology Associates.  Our in vitro cycle and transfer had gone so smoothly.  I thought this. was. it.  During my wait, I pictured carrying and giving birth to our baby - the first one we may get to have here on earth with us.

Even before I met Sam, I prayed for our future children.  I remember starting to do so in middle school.  I prayed for their daddy, my future husband.  I prayed for them.  I prayed that they would come to know and love the Lord.  I prayed for the people they would be and for their spouses.  Never for a second have I doubted that I want to be a mama.  I've known so for a long time.  I just didn't realize the journey we would travel down to get there!  But God is teaching me something.  He's working in me again.  He ALWAYS is.  And through it all, I want to glorify His name.  I WANT TO BE A WOMAN WHO TRUSTS THAT GOD HAS A PLAN, EVEN WHEN I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

"However distant your dreams may seem, God is working things out, and today is an important process." -Lysa TerKeurst

Nine days after embryo transfer, on Friday June 12, we went in to get our beta hCG level.  Several hours later, Dr. Slayden called with concerning news, that my hCG level was extremely, extremely low, that we had likely had implantation problems (another chemical pregnancy).  Our hearts were so broken and we struggled to make since of the news, having a difficult time wrapping our minds around what went wrong, why we were having to grieve another loss.  Per our doctor's request, I took an at-home pregnancy test the following morning that came back negative.  I stopped my medications (Estrace, Crinone, and Baby Asprin, that support pregnancy) and began bleeding.

Several days later, we realized my hCG level was rising.  It was rising slowly, not doubling every few days as would be ideal.  It was likely that I had residual tissue left or possibly an ectopic pregnancy, though they only occur in 1-5% of conceptions.  My hCG level was not yet high enough for growth to be visible on an ultrasound.  Sam and I had plans to spend the following week on Hilton Head Island vacationing with my family, so Dr. Slayden requested I have another blood draw to check my hCG level mid-week of our trip.

Tuesday morning, June 23, my mom, little sister, and I set out for a diagnostic center.  (I am so grateful for our supportive family who walks every step of this journey with us!)  Once we got to the lab, we learned I would not be able to get a STAT hCG level, so we ended up at the hospital on Hilton Head for quicker results.  On Thursday, Dr. Slayden asked that Sam and I make the drive home that evening for an early appointment at RBA Friday morning.  I would have an ultrasound and another blood draw.  My hCG level had continued to rise.

Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what. Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day. Nothing takes Me by surprise. I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me. I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents. Collaborating with Me brings blessings that far outweigh your troubles. Awareness of My Presence contains Joy that can endure all eventualities. -Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, June 26

The ultrasound Friday morning did not show much – but gave us some very valuable information.  There was no sign of growth in my uterus nor concentrated area of blood flow and my uterine lining was also very thin.  Ectopic pregnancy became the probable diagnosis.  We had to wait several hours after the ultrasound for bloodwork to come back – and when it did, our doctor sent us to Northside Hospital that night for me to be treated with methotrexate injections.  Methotrexate is a form of chemotherapy that’s proven to be useful in ectopic pregnancies.  

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are acheiving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. -2 Corinthians 4:16-17

Rest with me a while. You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days. The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty. Look neither behind you nor before you. Instead, focus your attention on Me, your constant Companion. Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on this journey.
I designed time to be a protection for you. You couldn't bear to see all your life at once. Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you. Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence. The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment. I am with you, watching over you wherever you go. -Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, June 27

Monday morning, June 29, I returned to RBA for more bloodwork.  Results came back showing an elevated hCG level. 

I. lost. it.  I had tried to trust (or so I thought).  I had tried to keep my head up.  To remain hopeful.  To know that “this too shall pass.”  But I was tired of having bumps in the road to get through.  I was tired of being in the valley.  I took a hammer and nails and hung a few pieces of art that had not yet made their way up on walls.  (Hey, it was better than throwing dishes.)  All while screaming and crying and shaking my fists.  I sobbed on my husband’s shoulder.  I cussed on the phone with my mama.  A few of my girlfriends showed up, sat with me and listened to me pour out all of my frustrations.  (Bless their hearts.)  It was not pretty.  AT ALL.  I felt so defeated. 

I had not savored and truly taken in the beauty of the words written in my daily devotional from a couple of days before (July 27).  If only I had, I might have reacted differently to the phone call I received just two days later on July 29. 

I began praying hard that night.  For forgiveness.  I had not trusted.  I had not trusted that He would fully equip me for what would happen next on this journey.  I had not focused my attention on Him.  I had not invited Him to meet me in the present moment.  I had let my emotions get the best of me.  I lost sight of Him and I lost myself.

We’re bound to have bad days.  And some really bad days.  But I’m learning that it’s what we do with those tough times that matters.  I began really praying for a peace that would pass all understanding.  That God would bless my mess.  That I would trust like never before.  That I would desire God more than I desired to have a baby.

I was hesitant to share the realness (and ugliness!) of that afternoon.  But in choosing to open up about our journey, I felt I simply could not omit it.  No, I do not always choose the high road.  I struggle and I stray.  But I am TRYING.  I am trying to do better today than I did yesterday.  I am trying to bring honor to the ways in which He is working in my life.  I want the girl who is struggling with infertility and/or recurrent pregnancy loss to know that she is not forgotten.  That she is loved.  And that even on her baddest of bad days, He is still there.  That He hears her prayers.  That He’s got her.  He’s got this.

But He [Jesus] said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am STRONG. -2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Sam Ball is my rock.  He encourages me and makes me want to do better, to be better.  His faithfulness through all of this inspires me daily.  Sam is almost always right there beside me at appointments, especially appointments where we may receive news of any sort.  But my friend Brighton offered to take me to my Wednesday, July 1 follow-up appointment so that Sam could get some work done.

Whatever this day had in store for us, I was at peace with it.  I was okay with it.  I knew that He who created the universe had me in the palm of His hand.

My hCG level continued to rise, so I was admitted to Northside that afternoon for a second dose of methotrexate shots.  Brighton Patrick is one of those friends who has shown us the true meaning of Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.  She’s such a trooper, too – leaving town at 6 a.m. and driving me home at 9 p.m., after two visits to RBA and hours at the hospital.  I will forever be grateful for her presence that day and in this season.

Following my second dose of methotrexate, we took a little getaway to Cumberland for the holiday (with an emergency plan for getting off the island in case I started having any pain, which fortunately, I did not!).

Several days later, Monday, July 6, I went back in to Dr. Slayden’s for bloodwork.  Results showed a slight rise in hCG level.  My level had not risen nearly as quickly as it had been though. 

That Thursday, July 9, I went in for an ultrasound and another hCG check.  The ectopic pregnancy was now large enough to be visible in my left tube, located outside the uterine cavity in the part of the fallopian tube that penetrates the muscular layer of the uterus.  It’s called an interstitial (tubal) pregnancy.  Dr. Slayden went ahead and scheduled surgery for the following day.  Surgery was contingent on hCG level – rise in level we would move forward, drop in level we would wait and monitor.  The plan was to remove my entire left tube to try and prevent complications and another tubal in the future.

Before going through it myself, I had no idea tubal pregnancies were even possible in IVF patients because in my mind, the embryo doesn’t “travel down” that path.  Dr. Slayden explained that the uterus is a muscle and contracts – it’s possible in our case that my uterus contracted and “bounced” our embryo upward to the tube, where it stuck and implanted. 

We got a call that afternoon that my hCG level had DROPPED.  Surgery was canceled.  It seemed the second dose of methotrexate was working.

In the weeks that followed, I continued to go in for bloodwork until my hCG level reached “below 5,” which clinically means “not pregnant.”  Dr. Slayden has proven to be so incredibly attentive and informative and supportive throughout this whole process – from our first sit-down appointment in January to now.  We love him and the staff at RBA!

God can do anything, you know – far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. –Ephesians 3:20, The Message Bible

My job is obedience.  God's job is results. -Lysa TerKeurst

Though physically my body is returning back to its normal following a frozen embryo transfer that resulted in a tubal pregnancy, the spiritual and mental aspect and reality of what we’ve been through in our 24 month long baby journey is in full force.  I’m realizing more and more on this particular leg of the journey that prayer, clinging to the Word, and surrounding myself with people who lift us up is so, so important. 

It can be difficult to pray through a hard situation and feel like you’re not seeing answers.  I love this from Lysa TerKeurst’s blog post, 3Ways to Press Through Unanswered Prayers:
1. Know with confidence God hears your prayers.
1 John 5:14 reminds us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (NIV).
2. Trust that prayer makes a difference, even when you don’t see the difference.
It may take a while for you to see God answer your prayers. But don’t miss an “in the meantime answer” you can receive right away. Philippians 4: 6-7 reminds us of the immediate answer to every prayer:“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
Did you catch it? It’s the peace of God that will guard your heart and mind in the process while you’re waiting for God to reveal His answer to your request. When you pray, you can trust you are doing your part and God will certainly do His part.
3. Tell fear it has no place in this conversation.
These prayers are your gateway to feel an assurance you don’t see yet. But fear will beg you to focus on the problem more than God’s promises. Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (NIV).

This summer, Sam and I’s small group has been doing a book study on Tommy Newberry’s The 4:8 Principle.  Centered around the verse from Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things. – Newberry has written an inspiring little book about living a joy-filled life.  Here are a few take-aways that I hope will encourage your hearts tonight as much as they’ve encouraged mine:

Being joy filled does not mean that your life is perfect. Who could claim that? It doesn’t even mean that your life is great. What it does mean is that you emphatically trust God and believe that He has great plans for your life, regardless of what is happening right now.

Think the thoughts you would think if you trusted God’s promises completely.

Where you have been, what you have done, and where you are now matters far less than where you are headed.

Speak as if you believe in your prayers.

Anyone can be happy when circumstances are wonderful, but joy is different. Joy is proactive happiness. It is the learned capacity to display your faith ahead of time by means of your daily mental attitude. The bible gives us many examples of people who believed God’s promises and let that shape their attitude – even when they couldn’t yet see how God would act. Abraham and Sarah were elderly before God gave them a child, yet “by faith Abraham, even though he was past age – and Sarah herself was barren – was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise” (Hebrews 11:11).

I have underlined nearly every single word on every single page in this joyful book.  It’s good stuff.  Despite the tough moments, hours, and days, I have a choice, and I want to choose joy.

If you dig in and fight the changes, they will smash you to bits. They’ll hold you under, drag you across the sand, scare and confuse you. But if you can, in the wildest of seasons, just for a moment, trust in the goodness of God, who made it all and holds it all together, you’ll find yourself drawn along to a whole new place, and there’s truly nothing sweeter. Unclench your fists, unlock your knees and the door to your heart, take a deep breath, and begin to swim. Begin to let the waves do their work. In all our lives, there are waves. They threaten to take us under, but we’re always protected by a God who loves us so deeply. –Shauna Niequist, Savor, August 9, “Riding the Waves”

Today, August 11, we remember what would have been our first baby’s first birthday, his “due date,” a year later. 

Several weeks ago, it was around the time our second baby was to be due, if I had carried to term.

And last week, I could have entered the second trimester with baby three.

Not a day goes by that we don’t think about and miss our sweet loves in Heaven.  The babes we prayed for and dreamed about.  The babes we sadly never got to hold in our arms.

But the babes we’ll meet face to face one day.  In eternity.

The babes who get to spend their every moment with Jesus.

Is there anything sweeter? 

Though I long for you, I know you’re in the greatest place. <3

Two years ago we began trying to grow our family.  Because of the chemo drug I took as treatment for my ectopic pregnancy, we’ll have to wait several months before moving forward.  

Yes, this is my wildest season yet.  There have been difficult days, and I know there will be difficult days to come.  I don’t understand.  I don’t need to understand. 

I just need to TRUST HIM.

And I'm aiming to.

Whatever you’re facing today, will you join me?

<3 Sarah