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.

#hopingtoadopt #adoptmn #adoption #adoptionrocks #adopt #adoptusa #mnadopt #openadoption #outreachefforts #adoptionislove #hopefulparents #waitingfamily #expectantparents #journeytobabycournia

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.

Happy Mother’s Day

“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 31:25-30

Happy Mother’s Day!

I was recently attending the May Crowning Mass, which is the Churches crowning of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. When I was sitting at Mass, my eyes gazing on the blessed Mother, asking for her intercession in my heart and praying for a baby to come into our lives, a voice came to me and I heard the words “One is coming.” As I sat perplexed staring at our Mother, my heart skipped a beat and I knew that this was Mary speaking to me. I was taken aback by this revelation and knew that this was God’s way of calming my fears once again. It is no surprise that these words would come to me a few weeks before Mother’s Day, and from Mary the Mother of Jesus herself! God continues to work in our lives in beautiful ways!

On this Mother’s Day 2018, our hearts are so full! Jay and I have both been so blessed to have amazing female role models in our lives. We have seen the abundant joy that children can bring to their mothers, we know that God has placed women in our lives who are loving, nurturing, caring, selfless, beautiful, strong, courageous and just. We celebrate you today and every day!

We also know that this day can be hard for women, for those who still yearn for a child come into their lives. We know the pain and suffering that comes from this time of wait. We see your frustration and know your fears. This day can sometimes bring about all too familiar emotions that weigh heavy on your hearts. Today we also celebrate you! For you are also loving, nurturing, caring, selfless, beautiful, strong, courageous and just.

To all women, who are amazing role models for your children, we say Thank You! Thank you for showing your children the power of love and sacrifice. And to the women who still wait to become mothers someday…“One is coming!” We celebrate today, as God’s grace shines down on you, bringing you peace in the wait.

~Lord, we ask that you lay your hands on all of the mothers in the world: mothers who have children on this earth, mothers who have lost a child, mothers who still wait for a child to wrap in their arms and all of the expectant mothers who may be facing a difficult decision. We pray that they come to a place of peace in their decision. We ask your grace on them today and every day. Amen.

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A New Perspective

“He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD” Psalm 113:9

I sit with my husband on a sunny afternoon, in beautiful Clearwater Beach in a swimsuit for the third day in a row, this time though, as I look at myself in a swimsuit, I notice something a little bit different, something that hadn’t been visible to the world the last time we had vacationed here, four years before. This is a tiny scar on my belly button. My husband sees my gaze, watching as I look down at my body with a disappointed look on my face. He smiles and holds my hand saying “I am so proud of that scar.” I look up at him and see in his eyes that this is true. I look down at my body once more, noticing the small change on my skin. It doesn’t define me, I think to myself, but I realize that in reality, it actually does.

Now you may be thinking that I am referencing this definition in a negative way, but it actually means just the opposite. Let me share with you just a portion of our journey…

My husband and I were married in 2014, and soon after that begin talking about having children. 2016 comes around and the conversation starts to become more and more real. In March 2016 I find myself walking into the emergency room, with a pain in my stomach. I soon find out that this pain is a ruptured ovarian cyst. Little did I know that this ruptured cyst would start the journey of a lifetime. Fast forward to July 2017, after countless doctors visits and medical checkups and I am sent in for a small surgical procedure to check for possible endometriosis. I never thought I would wake up from that surgery and hear the words “stage 4” coming from my surgeons mouth. I left that clinic with a diagnosis of endometriosis and surprisingly more questions than answers.

I am 26 years old, still a young woman in my 20’s, overall healthy and in good shape. I really don’t “fit the bill,” for having any medical issues but who am I kidding, the word “infertility” doesn’t waste time for anyone.

Since that surgery I have learned to not be defined by the word “infertility” but really embrace the word “fertile.” I have experienced a support from family and friends that I never thought possible. I have joined a wonderful, community of loving and supportive women, some even within my own community. I have become more prayerful and purposeful in my own prayer life, seeing my faith in a different light. My husband and I grew into a greater union with one another. We have learned to grow together, loving each other in a more purposeful way. I am fairly certain that without this journey, without this diagnosis, our marriage wouldn’t be as strong as it is. We have learned to love in a quiet way, just enjoying each other for who we are.

So, if that diagnosis defines me as having more friends and loving support from those around me, so be it. If that diagnosis defines me as more prayerful, sign me up. And if that diagnosis brings my husband and I closer, well let’s just say that I am very blessed!

Now don’t get me wrong, there are ups and downs in our journey and days that I wish we wouldn’t have to go through this, but I know I am lucky because endometriosis is not a life threatening issue, however the pain associated with it can be very harsh. The cause behind endometriosis is still largely unknown within the medical community and very little is reported on a “cure,” though with some natural approaches endometriosis and the symptoms associated with it can be managed.

So as I sit on a beach with my husband, I look down at my scar once more and a small smile also comes to my face. I too am proud of this scar and all of the definitions associated with it.

Today I embrace the meaning behind this scar and my diagnosis, knowing full well that this scar really DOES define me and for that I am forever grateful!

#fertility #flipthescript #NIAW #iamfruitful #journeytobabycournia #miracles #speaktruth #mominthemaking #fruitfulmiracles

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A Beautiful Response

“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

I was recently texting with a family friend and she asked me to find the verse “For with God, nothing shall be impossible” in my bible and send her a picture of the exact words and its location. I pulled out my bible and did just that.

It should be of no surprise to anyone that this verse is found directly in Luke chapter 1, where the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son and her relative Elisabeth had also conceived a son in her old age. In Mary’s confusion, the angel’s response to her is that “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” The angel leaves Mary with the words “For with God, nothing shall be impossible.” Mary’s response to the angel’s announcement is so beautiful, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

After texting with my friend, I realized that her request of me was no coincidence. In where I am at right now in my life, I anxiously await to find out that we too may be expecting a child. I suppose in a way we are. We just recently submitted our home study paperwork. The home study paperwork consists of a large packet of questions relating to our family, health, finances, relationships, and even life style choices, something that took us about a month to complete. We now wait for our paperwork to be reviewed before moving on to the next step. Talk about expecting! So much of this journey is completely out of our control. We just anxiously wait to find out where our journey is leading next.

One of the hardest parts of our journey, besides the lack of control, is the wait. When your heart yearns so deeply for a child, the wait of only a few days can feel like an eternity, now imagine the wait of months or even years. I am lucky because our adoption journey has gone rather quickly. We are moving through it at a much quicker pace than I would have ever envisioned.

I can only imagine the questions running through Mary’s mind after her encounter with the Angel Gabriel. Was she fearful? Was she anxious? Was she nervous? Perhaps at ease? While I can’t speak of Mary’s inner thoughts, I know that I feel fearful, anxious, and nervous on a daily basis. However, in these fearful moments I know that God is near, walking us through this journey. How do I know this? Because he brings people into our life, in our greatest moments of need. He knew that my fears needed to be put at ease the day my friend text me her request. He knew I needed to feel his loving presence.

So for the time being, we will continue to wait, learning from Mary’s beautiful response to the Angels request, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to His word.”

 

With the Good

“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,to the one who seeks him” Lamentations 3:25

Definition of Good: having the qualities required for a particular role.

Not everything in life is good, but it is how you define good which tells how you should live your life. Yeah, life will hand you different situations, some you may never expect would be a part of your story, but I believe that when the bad happens, the good will follow.

How do you get to the good? You have to push yourself to BE good. If you let it, the bad can come easy, and almost always finds its way into your life. I believe we must fight through it. Anyone can be told that they are bad at something, but for someone to be told that they are good, it takes perseverance and determination.

We never thought that this would be our story… I now believe that this is the path God set us on from the beginning of our marriage. Waiting has been tough and our determination has been tested, but with the bad comes the good. And the good, well that is the opportunity to be able to adopt a child, someone to hold in your arms and call them your own!

-Jay.

An Anxious Hope

” Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” -Romans 12:12

As a teacher, I love all things school! So I thought I would open with this analogy.

Do you remember the feelings you had on the first day of a new school year? If you are a teacher, you may still experience some of these feelings every year… but just imagine yourself as a young student on the night before the first day of school. You may wonder, what is my teacher going to be like? Who will my friends be? Who will I sit by at lunch? What time will snack be? What time will my parents be picking me up from school at the end of the day?

Your fears run rampant until you finally see your parents at the end of school day, and you forget all the reasons why you were nervous in the first place. Your fears seem so silly now, because everything has all worked out.

My feelings today are some what like this… There are so many unknowns and so many questions to be answered, however, just as a child at the end of my first day at school, I feel a quiet peace in our journey. Among all of the questions and the unknowns of our adoption story, I still feel hopeful. Overwhelmed? Yes! But something is telling me to trust in the hope and know that it will all work out. We know that our patience will be tested and our hearts will be challenged, but the blessings we receive far outweigh any fear.

Just as the young child on their first day of school, I feel overwhelmed, nervous, and afraid, but I know at the end of our journey all of our questions will be answered, or fears gone, and our dreams fulfilled.

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Where Faith Leads

“For with God, nothing shall be impossible – Luke 1:37

I never wanted to share our story. After all, who wants to share their deepest pain with the whole world? Most of the time, the stories we tell are only what we feel exemplify the best part of ourselves and our lives. We shouldn’t blame ourselves for this. I think it is human nature. We want to show our accomplishments to our family and friends. We feel good when we can share the best parts of our lives with those around us.

So when I say that I was afraid to share our journey with the world, I really mean that. I never, in no way, wanted to share our story. It may not seem like that now, but six months ago our hearts were in a much different place. We spent a lot of time in silence, even refraining from telling our closest family members. For a long time we suffered quietly as we did not know where our journey would take us. Over time however, I have found that God was slowly opening our hearts to something even greater.

As we walked together in our journey, there would be small instances where we would see that God had a different plan for our lives. I didn’t realize them while they were happening but looking back now, I know that this was all a part of God’s plan. These instances would be small, such as a friend telling us about an adoption story, striking up a conversation with a stranger and a story of adoption would come up, or seeing an advertisement on Facebook for an adoption agency.

Now we want our journey to be told all over the world! We want to hopefully inspire a couple who may also be struggling to tell their own story. I believe that this was God’s plan all along! Isn’t He marvelous?! After all even in 1 short month we have already been blessed in so many different ways! We have close to 500 followers on our adoption page and a website to share our story. We also recently found out that our announcement was published in the February edition of “On the Minds of Moms” Magazine, alongside a spread of other photos taken by our amazing photographer! What a wonderful way to share our lives with the world.

What we realize now is that slowly, but surely God was always there. His plan was unfolding right before our very eyes. He was asking us to trust in him, to trust in his plan and most importantly, trust in his timing.

One thing we underestimated in sharing our journey is the support we would receive from our family, friends, and even complete strangers. The heavens have been completely stormed with prayers from our parents, siblings, grandparents, coworkers and everyone in between. We cannot thank you enough for following our story, for praying for our family, or for sharing our journey with your friends and family. We are so humbled by the support we have received over the last month and we continue to look toward to the day that we get to bring home our baby.

I never wanted to share our story, but I realize now that there is no way we could have ever kept silent. It is crazy to think that only a few short months ago we were afraid to tell others about our struggle. Now looking back, I know God was speaking to us, asking us to trust in Him, and to know that with Him all things are truly possible.

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Hearts Full of Joy

“You have filled my heart with a greater joy” –Psalm 4:7

What does it mean to feel joy? It should be no surprise that the meaning of joy is to rejoice! Our lives are filled with joy each and every day. We may find joy in our work, our families, or our faith. We may find joy in the things we already have or the things hope to accomplish. At this point in our lives, our joy comes from our child we hope to soon meet.

A little bit of background on our journey…

Months before we ever announced to our families that we would be adopting, Jay and I took a leap of faith and submitted our first application for infant adoption. Without telling anyone our plan, we submitted our application in July. A few short weeks later, our first application was accepted on July 24, 2017. We were officially on the list! What a sigh of relief and huge blessing this was to our little family. We felt so much joy in our decision! We wanted to keep it a secret, so that we could surprise our family with the amazing news. I first got the idea for an adoption announcement on Pinterest. I had been anxiously thinking of unique ways that we could share our announcement with friends and family. I finally found our beautifully painted wooden sign on Etsy and scheduled the photo shoot with our amazing photographer Renee Clasen from 10 Little Chickens Photography. If you live in the Fargo/Moorhead area, we highly encourage you to check out her beautiful work!

Each month since our first application was accepted, we are updated by our adoption agency of our placement on the registration hold list. We cannot move forward with application part two until we are off the hold list and invited into the program. In order to be invited to the program, we have to complete the required training classes and reach 0 on the wait list. We will be traveling to St. Paul in February for part of our training. Initially, we had started off on the wait list somewhere in the 50’s, and have now dwindled down to #7 on the list! What sweet joy! We are so excited to officially move forward in the program. However, if we are successful with our own outreach efforts, we can move forward with the application part two right away. Your prayers and support as we continue our journey are so appreciated.

As the months continue to pass, we have been holding on to specific bible verses with our specific # on the hold list, to keep our hearts on what is really important. We know that this process would be difficult without the support of our faith. We anxiously await our child’s arrival with each passing month and hold on to the hope that we find in our God.

Joy. After our announcement in December, this is the one feeling that has been lifting up our hearts! We are so joyful for your arrival, little one. Just the thought of you brings us unending joy. We have felt God speaking life to us of your existence. We do not know the day we will get to meet you and our timeline is unclear, but the joy we have for you is continually unending. As we continue in the wait, we will always remain joyful!