He Is with Me + He Is Trustworthy {Guest Post}

I'm honored to share my little space here today with Natalie Brenner, a fellow sister in the infertility struggle, victorious through Jesus. I asked her how her journey of infertility and loss shaped her faith and her understanding of who God is, and I know you'll love her thoughts just as much as I do. 

infertility motherhood after infertility and miscarriage adoption what infertility teaches us about God

I’ve always been a Jesus girl.

In middle school I had a crush on Ethan Souers and he wrote me a little note saying I was the most Christian-girl he’d ever known. My heart swooned and I was sure I’d marry him.

I didn’t marry him but I did carry around his flattering compliment. I carried it with me as a reminder that people notice when we have great faith, people see when we genuinely love Jesus, even when we aren’t trying to put on a show. I simply loved Jesus and wanted to love other people like Him, even in my flawed, awkward, middle school stage of life.

He was with me when my parents yelled and fought, I knew He’d be with me forever. He deemed Himself trustworthy to me at a young age.

When I found myself married and living cycle by cycle, I also found myself crying into the carpet fibers of our small apartment quite often. I knew conceiving would be difficult, but I wasn’t prepared for the weight to dig out parts of me during our wait. We knew we wanted to adopt, but at the time we felt infant adoption was our only route and our bank account told us not to. Our hope was to begin the process around year five of marriage, after biological babies.

So we continued trying and testing, purchasing and pitching negative pregnancy tests. I trusted He was with me, even when I felt alone. Because even when I felt alone, I noticed His presence, right there with me. I didn't know how our story would unfold but knew I trusted Him with my heart: His heart had never failed me.

These were dark and lonely months. But not entirely; we were also youth pastors and I had the privilege of spending countless hours with students and young adults. I kept the painful ache of waiting to grow by two feet to myself, sure He would come through eventually. Who was I to complain about the loss of fertility? He was with me and I wanted that to be enough. I wanted Him to be enough.

When we finally decided to pursue adoption, the next day I woke up and my pregnancy test was positive. We paused the start of our adoption process, careful to “spread the babies out.” I was confused by His timing, but everyone always says “His timing is perfect,” so we celebrated and danced.

I trusted He knew what He was doing as He always did, even if it was confusing.

The red clumps gripped me tight, my lungs clenched, knocking the air right out of me, and I felt my world close in on itself. There was my baby, clearly dead and without life. My body rejected the life it helped create.

The tunnel following the days of our miscarriage was dark. I was sure there would be light at the end, but during those early days and months, I needed to just be honest about where I was at: in the darkness of the tunnel.

I felt heavy and empty all at once. At times I wept through gritted teeth, but mostly I laid limply wondering how I would go on. The darkness was thick as I prepared to wade through the tragedy of miscarriage, but He sat with me in the darkness. He was trustworthy with my pain.

I had a few really good friends who knew just what to do: sit with me, bring me food, and give me permission to grieve the loss of the little life that changed ours. But too many others weren't trustworthy and didn't know how to respond to such loss: they responded with “fix-it” and “feel better” phrases only making me feel worse.

Every time someone told me my miscarriage was “part of God's plan,” I ran into His arms asking if that were true. Is your plan really death, God?

Time and time again, He responded tenderly and without hesitation: no. No, His plan is ever death nor loss, but He is with me. He isn't controlling us or our brokenness, but He is with us in it.

We brought home our firstborn son via adoption when I was 20 weeks pregnant. Two rainbow babies in one year?

Countless nights turned weeks were spent in the hospital. Diagnoses thrown around, tests, and procedures. We had reason to panic and worry and grow frantic. But He was with us, steady and true, certainly holding me in His stillness.

Motherhood has given me so many more reasons to grow frantic and panicked. Raising a son of color in a world that doesn't often value men of color, raising two boys so close in age and far too often asked about the “realness” of their brotherhood, specialists and diagnoses and all the reasons to grow anxious… He continues to show up and bring me peace.

He continues to be trustworthy and right there with me, in whatever is handed. Even when what is handed is hard and seemingly impossible.

The weight of the wait, the darkness of miscarriage, the challenges and sanctification of motherhood...each of these seasons have taught me He is with me. And He is trustworthy.

NATALIE BRENNER is wife to Loren and mom to two under two. She authored This Undeserved Life: Uncovering the gifts of grief and fullness of life which will be released September 18. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable.

Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. You can love Jesus or not, go to church or not: she'd love to have coffee with you. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a wanna-be runner. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her popular email list.

Preorder her book, email her “I preordered,” and receive pretty prints: This Undeserved Life
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What Surprised Me Most about Motherhood {Guest Post}

Lisa Newton has been a great support to me, and to a lot of other sisters in the infertility struggle, I'm sure. Her blog and her friendship have been mainstays in my journey through infertility for years, and I'm honored to have her here today to share with us! I asked Lisa to tell me about what surprised her most about becoming a mother, and I'm sure you'll enjoy what she had to say. 

parenting pregnancy infants surprises in the first year


Blessings this Week: 08.11.2017

This week has been absolutely gorgeous- and the weather has just mirrored all the many God-given blessings from this busy, but wonderful week.

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My morning view- I never get tired of it.


Blessings this Week: 08.04.2017

And just like that, it's August.

My landscaping is showcasing an impressive weed jungle, there are buildings to be roofed and vacations to be taken and babies to plan for... and I'm feeling a little overrun and a lot rushed.

Because it's August already.

But I'm trying to slow down, to look at the small things, and to give thanks in this moment instead of focusing on the moments to come.


My Favorite (Non-Maternity) Second Trimester Clothes

six months pregnant clothes fashion wardrobe maternity clothes you can wear while pregnant best non-maternity outfits

Disclaimer: I am not a fashion blogger. I am not a fashionable person in general (just ask my sister...), and most of my wardrobe consists of camp t-shirts and flannel.

But being pregnant this summer has necessitated a bit of a clothing update. I still wear lots of camp t-shirts, though.

Because of the whole "not a fashionable person" thing, shopping for clothes is not my favorite- especially shopping for clothes that I'll only wear for a few more months. It also isn't very financially practical to spend a lot of money on a maternity wardrobe, and I'm cheap. I wanted to use what I've got as much as possible, buy things that helped the stuff in my closet stretch for a while longer, and purchase clothes that can be worn when I'm not pregnant, too.

Here's what I came up with:


Blessings this Week: 07.28.2017

This week flew right by with to do lists and activities and a whole lot of preparing for the next couple months... and in the middle of the busy, finding the blessings slows life down a bit.

And I need that, this summer!

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Blessings this Week: 07.21.2017

Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize, in the span of just a moment, how very blessed you are?

I have those more often... and not usually at profound moments or in big sun-rays-through-the-clouds type situations, but in small things.

Like, this week? Breakfast pizza on a Wednesday.