Believing in God’s Will

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” Philippians 4:6

Last Christmas season was spent in agony. I was a mess. I never understood depression until I experienced what I experienced last year during the holiday season. Self doubt? You got it. Unworthy? Yep! That is me! Broken? 100%! Believe it or not, these are the emotions I was feeling. I felt so out of balance with my body. I felt shattered from the impact of this burden weighing heavily on my heart. At this point in time I had been on this journey for a year and six months. I spent a lot of days in a quiet pain and a silent suffering that even my closest family members knew very little about. My husband was a wonderful support throughout this journey, yet I was still missing something that would bring my heart peace. I actually spent a lot of days upset and angry at God for allowing this bareness to come into my life. I was angry, sad, confused, and depressed, most of the time sitting in pity and self doubt. Then quietly, and over time, I began to feel a peace make its way into my heart. The Lord was speaking to me in many small ways, most of which I barely even realized or in any way could have understood in those dark moments.

But why was I have it those constant thoughts of self doubt and negativity? It was because I hadn’t accepted the path that the Lord had set for my life. Ever since I was a little girl, I always had a vision of what my life was supposed to be like. As a rule follower and perfectionist, I always thought that if I did things a certain way or acted in a certain way then my life wold work out the way I wanted it to. God however had a different plan for my life and this realization, this shift in my thought process, saved me.

As I spent time contemplating God’s design for my life, I knew that I needed to seek ways to understand his plan. This came in the form of constant prayer, contemplation, and surrender to His undeniable power and love. The Bible urges us to be prayerful, steadfast, and willing. Philippians 4:6 reminds us to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” and Matthew 6:25-32 urges us to not be anxious as well “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life…your heavenly Father knows what you need.” Who was I to doubt a God who gave his only Son for my life? This shift in my mindset did not happen overnight. It took time that only I could know how to take. I needed to find myself wallowing in self doubt and pain. I had to surrender myself to God’s will and allow his grace to work through me.

As time went on, I would find myself slowly finding peace in my sorrow. I began to be thankful for everything in my life. Others joy became my joy as well, as I realized what God was telling me! He was showing me the beauty of life that surrounds me each and every day. He taught me how to be still in the wait, showing me patience with each passing moment. The Bible urges us to wait in Him throughout our days. Lamentations 3:25 tells us “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” The Bible is filled with verses filling us with the hope of Jesus Christ. Psalm 37:4-5 tells us trust in the Lord . . .delight yourself in the Lord . . .commit your way to the Lord . . .be still before the Lord. This is how God asks us to wait in the life of faith. We are called to trust God with our whole heart, soul and mind. We are to believe that he will do good in His timing and fully trust in his plan for our life.

So this Christmas season, even though I am still waiting without a baby in my arms, I am grateful, hopeful, and delightful for God’s plan for my life. I no longer wait in agony or cry tears of sorrow. I understand His will for me and trust in His infinitely beautiful timing.

God’s love for you is far beyond any suffering you may face. He has a plan for your life and a reason for your hurt. As you wait for the Lord’s plan to reveal itself to you, take heart in his joy for you. Hold on to the hope that only He can give. Know that you are not alone in this journey and that your life’s plan will work out just the way it should. For it is in Him that you can move beyond the frustration of self doubt, suffering, and pain to a world of joy, love, and contentment as you wait for God to reveal the plan he has for your life.

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A Season of Waiting

Psalm 27:13 I remain confident of this: I see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart . Wait for the Lord.

This summer my husband found a barely used rocking chair for sale online and we thought it would be the perfect fit for our nursery for future Baby Cournia. Ever since our purchase we have set it in the babies room where we will one day spend precious moments with our little one. From time to time I go in that empty room and sit with empty arms rocking in that chair, waiting for the day when the room will be filled with other nursery items: a crib, a changing table, books, baby clothes and the list goes on and on. We have bought very few baby related items, but the ones we have serve as constant reminders that the room sits empty however, I AM GRATEFUL FOR THIS! It might sound crazy, but I am so grateful for this wait and that empty room. I remain hopeful. Every time I take the time to spend some time in this empty room, I wait patiently for the day that it will be filled with the sweet sounds of a little one and no longer empty in silence.

The Lord promises great blessings to those who wait on him. The command to wait on Christ is present in the Old and New Testament and something God asks of us daily. Right now we wait eagerly and with confidence that the Lord’s character and goodness with prevail in our lives. Waiting is not always easy and it is about holding on to hope with great expectation and a strong conviction that the Lord will bless us with a baby. Trusting that the Lord will come at the most perfect moment, not too soon or too late is where our faith prevails. We will enjoy our time in waiting because we know that our greatest fear is so little compared to His biggest blessing. Trusting that the Lord will bless us abundantly has two key components. One is a complete reliance on God and the second is a readiness to allow Him to decide the terms, including the timing of His beautiful design. We must trust in this and wait patiently, even if our arms are empty and the rocking chair sits without much use. Waiting on the Lord requires this precious passage of time, which in itself is a gracious gift from God.

The word wait in the Bible conveys the impression of an assured anticipation and hope. Psalm 62:1-5 reminds us to wait in silence, “For God alone my soul waits in silence . . . my hope is from him.” How beautiful is this! God asks us to wait in silence, and to keep that faith, knowing our true hope is in Him. This revelation is so beautiful when you think of the waiting and the silence that we have experienced over the past two years. The Lord also promises that those who wait in Him, and while loving Him, will not be led astray. When we wait confidently for the Lord’s promises we know that He will always be there with a true defense. When I begin to doubt that a baby will come into our lives or that the nursery will sit empty forever, I must ask the Lord for his grace, to set aside my human tendencies and wait upon Him to show me His control, His fortitude, and His deliverance. When our fear tries to get the better of us, we must continually trust in His plan for our lives. Now this is not always easy to do, and trust me I have been tempted, but I am always made to believe that He is in power and I trust His promises for my life.

Our faith in Him helps us to know that God is not one who fails to accomplish what He has assured us. His promises cannot be undone and we will not be broken. He will prevail in His timing. As we choose to wait on God we are confident that what we are waiting for will surely emanate. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that our faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. So for now, I will choose to be grateful for that empty room, the empty rocking chair, and my empty arms. I will choose to depend on Him and wait for His promises to prevail; letting Him work according to His will in my life.

Lord, cover me in your faithfulness. When my doubts and fears try to take over my faith in you, wrap me in your never ending grace. Show me the path to your righteousness and grant in me a faithful spirit. Give me the courage to trust in your timing and believe in your blessings for my life. Amen.

 

Changing Seasons

Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our reward, if we do not give up. So then, while we have the opportunity, let us do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10. 

Autumn is upon us and we are reminded of a new season This time of year is meant for warmer clothes, and cooler weather, shorter days, and longer nights. Here in the north, the sky changes too. We see less sun and more open skies, as the days fade into winter. 

During this time of year I am always reminded of my current “season” of life. I remember when I first received my fertility diagnosis and it felt as if I was living in my own “autumn.” I began to see my future in a different light, it felt as if everything around me was changing as I adjusted to a new season of life. I suppose there was even a time where I felt as though I was living in a winter of sorts, adjusting to my new reality. As the days went on and I began to understand, in a sense, the path that God has brought me to. Spring came and it was as if I saw things in a renewed light. Just as we look forward to the beauty of a new season, I begin to feel joyful for the new season of summer in my life. Things became vibrant again, I began to accept my path and the new season that God has brought me to. 

We all have “autumns” in our lives, where we need to adjust to a new reality. Whether that be a new job or career, children going off to college, loss of a loved one, a health diagnosis, the list goes on and on. Our lives are constantly changing and we must adjust to our new seasons. 

Why am I telling you all of this? Because  God’s grace is abundant and freeing! Once I began to understand His path and accept His understanding, I was opened to a new world where everything seemed to make sense again. It may not be the plan I had for my life, but I believe his plan is more beautiful than I could have ever imagined! I have learned to embrace my “autumn” and enjoy this season for what it is. I sincerely hope you can do the same. 

Lord, help me to be grateful for this season of life. Help me to understand your plans in this new season and help me to not grow weary, so I soon can reap a reward. Amen 

Be Joyful in Hope

“Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.”
(Romans 12:12)

I was recently asked by a friend going through a difficult situation, what should I pray for? How can I seek to find patience and understanding in my life?

After our conversation, I began to think about what God is doing in my life every single day. I had to chuckle at this thought because I know I am naïve to think that God is doing things in my life. He IS my life! He knows my ways, before I even have even a thought of them. I know I have written about this before, but I need to keep reminding myself of it, especially when I grow weary in this wait.

Choosing joy in times of trial is not always easy. I certainly know that I struggle staying hopeful at times.  Thankfully the Lord’s power is far greater than my biggest fear! Every time I stress about the timing of our placement, or if we are going to be a chosen family anytime soon, I remind myself that I have no reason to fret. My ways are already His and even though I may think I have a say in the matter, I really don’t. I think that this is the beauty of it. How lucky am I that God is moving mountains in my life?!

Even in the mist of my suffering and anguish over this wait, I am so joyful! I have a hope of a child coming into our lives at any given moment. I am hopeful of our future and what it may hold for our journey. Even when I think my patience has been tested to the end, I know I need to ground myself in the fact that God is already the guider of my ways.

What should you pray for? How can you seek to find patience and understanding in your life? The answer is simple and once again rooted in scripture: TRUST in his ways! “…Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your trouble and pray at all times.”

Lord, help me to trust in you and know your ways are just! Help me to hold on to the hope that only you can give. Let me be honest in my prayers and always remember that you guide my ways! Amen.

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Find Your Purpose

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”- Romans 8:28

What marks our time here? What is the purpose of our days? Why are we placed on this earth?

This weekend I had the privilege, along with Jay’s extended family, to lie to rest his grandfather who, at 85 years old, lived a life so beautiful that I was brought to tears countless times, by just witnessing the legacy he built within his community and most importantly through his family. I am so blessed to have married into a family that shares such a deep love for one another. I did not know Jay’s grandfather for very long, but it was throughout my time with his family that I began to see how much of an impact one man can make. I spent a lot time throughout the weekend leading to his funeral thinking of the three grandparents I have lost and the beautiful legacy that they have left behind within their own communities and families. This brought me to reflect on the purpose of our life here on this earth.

As Christians, we know that in death (even though our bodies may still be intact) that our soul is brought forth by God the Father to the heaven’s, bringing it home to the place where we ultimately belong. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that every spiritual soul “is immortal: It does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection” (CCC 366). Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ. (CCC 1022). This judgment is something we all will face. As Christians, we have the faith to understand the beauty of this concept. It is something that is waiting for all of us. Our lives, every action, and every choice we make will be set forth at the judgment.

(For scriptural evidence of this, see Luke 16:22; 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23.)

Jay and I have spent the better part of a year, walking tediously though the adoption process, filling out countless forms, sharing our lives with our social worker for hours, praying and just waiting for that phone call that an expectant mama has chosen us to be parents. We have spent countless hours wishing and focusing on our own prayers for our lives that it seems we may have forgotten why God has chosen this trial for our life. Asking him what is our purpose? What is the point of this suffering, questioning, and wondering? This weekend this was all put into perspective.

Romans 8:28 promises us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” So, indeed, God has a purpose and we have been created as part of that purpose and for a purpose. And Jesus tells us what that purpose is – to love and serve God, and to love and serve others – and it’s repeated three times in the Scriptures (Matt 22:36, Mark 12:29, Luke 10:25). The purpose of life is so very simple. When we fulfill the purpose that God has set forth for our life, we will be filled with harmony and contentment.

This weekend I was sure that Jay’s grandfather had fulfilled his purpose. He spent his days living for others and living for Christ. When I think over our grandparents lives, I know that they had fulfilled their purpose. They followed the Lord’s plan, sharing in the beauty of it with their families and within their communities. Their legacy is a testament to their faith and the fulfillment of God’s purpose.

Why have I decided to spend a blog post talking about death? The answer is simple, we must start living out the Lord’s purpose NOW! Our souls depend on it. Jesus’ one wish was to save us from eternal damnation and we have a way to grant this wish, by living for the Lord and others. As Jay and I wait for our little one to come into our lives, we will spend our days fulfilling God’s purpose.

All of us have the ability to spend the rest of our days living for others, sharing in Christ’s love, and holding on to His hope of what is yet to come. For it is in our living for Him, that our purpose for this life might be realized.

Lord, help us to know your ways, hold onto your truth, your word, and your promises for us. Help us to be patient in the waiting and hopeful for your purpose to reveal itself. Let us be calm in the face of our trials and grateful for our blessings in life. We ask that you may be understanding of our shortcomings as we work to become more faithful to you. Help us oh Lord to be faithful to your purpose. Amen.

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Praising God

“I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever. I will praise You every day. I will honor Your name forever and ever…. I will speak of Your splendor and glorious majestyand Your wonderful works.” Psalm 145

Over the years I have read countless social media posts of my friends and family praising God for the blessings in their life, whether that be pregnancy announcements, graduations, a promotion at work, marriages, a new home etc. As I was driving the other day, I thought to myself, “When will I be able to praise God?” As soon as I thought it, a smile came to my face because in my heart I know that this is a naïve thought and very selfish. I KNOW that God has bestowed blessings upon me, as I am very fortunate to have a wonderful life filled with family, friends, and many accomplishments. Even though I felt this pity on my soul for a short instance, and know it isn’t true, I began to wonder what the Word teaches.

After I arrived home I quickly went to my bible as the last few weeks I have been recently reflecting on the Psalms. (Refer back to my previous blog post for another reflection of the psalms). I read through them until my searching led me to this, “I exalt You, my God the King, and praise Your name forever and ever. I will praise You every day. I will honor Your name forever and ever…. I will speak of Your splendor and glorious majesty and Your wonderful works.” It was in these words that I realized, instead of being upset about the blessings yet to come, I should be honoring Him and his words, giving praise for his promises and exalt Him. The bible makes it pretty clear, we don’t have to read between the lines.

As I thought about this more and more, I realized that even though I am facing this trial in my life, I still have many praises to give God. I have said this before, but He knows our wants, our fears, and our longings. He sees us. He feels our pain and our sorrows when we feel weak. He has the power to restore us and make us feel whole again.

So when will I be able to praise God? TODAY! Right Now! I encourage you to stop what you are doing, think back on the blessings in your life and THANK GOD for being present! Admire Him, Exalt with Him! Bask in his Gloriousness, Praise his wonderful works!

If we choose to, we could spend our days swamped in pity and self-loathing, or we can cling to the teachings of Jesus and “Praise his name forever and ever!”

“Lord, I thank you for all of the blessings in my life. Help me to always praise your Word and your teachings. When I am feeling lonely or unworthy, bestow your grace on me. Help me to know and trust the timing of your unending blessings in my life. Amen.

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Acceptance, Understanding, Thanks

image.png“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works and my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:13-14

Of all the years I have asked God for a baby, I have done just that asked God to bring me a baby. It recently occurred to me that this particular prayer might be feeble and a little bit weak. Ever since I was little, I knew that I was meant to be a Mom. I spent countless hours playing “house” as a child and even as my younger siblings grew up and I was much too old to be playing with babies, I would do whatever I could to convince my two younger siblings that we needed to play “house.” We would spend a lot of time setting up the “nursery,” filling bottles, changing pretend diapers, or even fastening the play Graco car seat into my parents SUV to pretend we were going to the park. My brother and sister were great playmates, and I can bet they would tell you that they absolutely LOVED my persistence in pretending to play house. You see, even as a young child I fostered a love for mothering. In my teenage years, I would much rather have spent my evenings babysitting for family friends, than be out with my own friends. Even my vocation as an educator, fosters my love for children. You see, I always knew I wanted to BE A MOM. It is in my blood, it is my calling. When my husband and I were ready to start a family, I just assumed that my own path to motherhood would be quick. However God’s plans were and are much different.

I began to pray for my own children long before I knew the path that God has set out for me. I prayed for them to be born healthy and of course for them to grow up happy. As time went on throughout our fertility journey, my prayers began to change. Instead of praying for health and happiness, I began to insist that God bring me a baby. After many days of being fearful that I may never become a mother, I began to realize that my prayers to be given a baby were all wrong. I realize now that what I should be praying for is acceptance, understanding, and thanks for the path that God has laid out for me. As I became more faithful in my prayer life I realized that the prayers to be given a baby are feeble because of the promises that come through Jesus. Psalm 139:13-14 reminds us that God’s love for us began before we were even a speck on this earth. He knew who we were before our own parents began to dream of us, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works and my soul knows it very well.” The words in the psalm itself read “I will give thanks to you!” You see God knows our path and guides our every step. I don’t need to be asking God for anything. I need to give thanks to God because He already knows who my child is. He knows that I will become a mother someday. I do not need to be fearful because I myself am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Throughout this whole journey He has guided my path and my “soul knows it very well!”

God’s promises are plentiful and what I have realized now is that my prayers for understanding and acceptance will help to grow my prayer life and of course increase my thankfulness for His plan in my life.

Lord, grant that I may be accepting of the path you have set before me, understanding of your will, and thankful for the promises of your presence in my life. Amen.