Be Brave in the WHY by Meredith

Hi there, friends! I’m Meredith, and I started the website, The Baby Wait. I live in Chicago with my Engagement Headshotsweet and loving husband. We both work quite a bit, but love to spend our free time traveling, working on house projects in our condo, getting in a good workout, and most of all; having friends around our table. Our church family is extremely important to us and we feel so blessed to have such great friends walking alongside us in life, especially in difficult seasons such as this. The Baby Wait was born out of our own infertility journey, and while I obviously wish that I had a baby in my arms, I am so thankful and honored that God put this ministry on my heart and trusted me to do this good work for Him. I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for the world, and wait in hopeful expectation for the day that our home is filled with children.

 

The Baby Wait

It was a cold snowy January morning. I clutched the cup of steaming hot coffee that my loving husband prepared for me, propped the pillow up behind me, and snuggled with the covers. I inhaled deeply and let out a big sigh before resting my thoughts and the quick pacing of my heart.

Lord, help me understand, I prayed.

You are always right and always good, even when I do not see and understand. In time, your reasons and your plans are always revealed and they never disappoint. Help me to see your ways, God.

WHY can I not get pregnant? What did I do? What is it that you want from me? I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life – the chance to be a mother – and I do not understand why you keep saying no.

Why do I have to suffer through another time of waiting? I waited so long for my husband, and yes, it was worth it, but why does it have to be me again? Can’t you pick on someone else for a change??

If all of this is for your good, then help me understand. What is your purpose for my pain? Show me how to serve you through this trial, God. If it means I don’t get pregnant for a while, FINE. I will make that sacrifice. I just want to understand WHY, to know that you never intended for this difficult season to be wasted. Tune my ears to your whisper so that I might hear what it is you are calling me to.

About a week later, I opened up to a few close friends about our infertility struggles. One of them shared that they were going through the same thing and I had no idea. How could that be? How did I not know? Another shared the incredible story of a woman from our church that they knew that had tried to get pregnant for a decade (a DECADE!), then decided to adopt, then realized that the siblings they were planning to adopt were not actual orphans (say what?!), then unexpectedly got pregnant, decided to move to Rwanda after feeling called by the Lord, helped write an amazing book called, “In Defense of the Fatherless: Redeeming International Adoption and Orphan Care”, then got pregnant again, and is still living in Africa, now as a family of 4. I mean, WHOA! I couldn’t believe it. What a story! Easy for me to say from the outside looking in, but, “Only God!”

A few days later I sat on my computer after work, browsing through a TTC message board. I was in the two-week-wait after our first IUI and I was desperate to figure out whether I was pregnant. I hated looking at the message boards. They never helped – only made me more ‘crazy’ – and I couldn’t relate to a single person. Baby dust? Really? Oh, how my heart breaks that you are clinging to ‘baby dust’ during this trying time in your life because you don’t know about my Savior?!

That night I thought more about my prayer from the week before and the wheels in my head started spinning. I started to feel a nudge from the Lord and I shared with my husband what I was thinking. What if I started a website for women struggling with infertility, miscarriage, and adoption that shared stories of God’s faithfulness? I would much rather browse through story after story of God’s perfect timing and provision than a message board!

So, cue excitement and relief – God DID have a plan and I was going to bring people to Jesus through this mess! I needed a name for the site, and I wanted to get a shell of a website up so that people knew I was for real. So I am a) not creative. At all (I’m an accountant), and b) I know nothing about web design or blogs or websites other than I read some. But I started asking for stories, asking friends to ask for stories, and I waited. And waited. Doubt started to creep in, work started to get busier, and the winter dragged on.

Then one day in March I got my first story! {Happy dance!} And I was re-inspired. I started following up with people that I had asked (which was SO difficult for me). I hate being pushy and I felt pushy. Who was I to expect everyone else to be willing to share such a personal part of their lives? I decided that I needed a decent story base to get things started. I had dreams of posting a story every day, devotions too, but knew that had to be down the road. For now, I just needed more than ONE story (because let’s not be silly here!).

March turned to April and I knew God still wanted me to do something with this idea, but I didn’t know how. One night my husband prompted me to share the idea with my cousin and his fiancé. Their excitement about the site resulted in me knee deep in prayer again as I pleaded with the Lord to help me make this happen if this was what he wanted from me.

“Just do it!” he said.

“But I only have one story!” I said.

“Don’t you trust me?” he said. “I will provide.”

“But if I’m really going to do this, then everybody will know,” I said. “Everybody will know that I’m trying to have a baby. And that I can’t. And that’s embarrassing. And awkward.”

“Yup,” he said. “But it will be okay. Just trust me. I’ve got this under control. This is WHY, my dear child. Go tell people about me. Do not be afraid. BE BRAVE.”

On Friday, May 8th, 2015, the Friday before Mother’s Day weekend, I posted my first story on The Baby Wait. I shared the site on Facebook and Instagram, revealing this scary secret I had been carrying to my extended family, friends, acquaintances and former co-workers. I shared with them how common the infertility struggle really is, and how often times the person fighting this same battle is right in front of you. I asked them to share the site with their friends knowing that the upcoming weekend would be far from ‘a walk in the park’ for any woman trying to conceive, mourning the loss of a child, or yearning to be united with their adopted son or daughter. People liked, people shared, people encouraged. I received SO MANY messages that day – notes from people that had gone through the same thing and I had no idea. Isn’t that crazy?! That something so painful is often a burden we try to bear on our own?

So I posted my first story without a plan. I wasn’t sure if there would ever be a second story, but I made myself vulnerable and trusted that the Lord would provide, and let me tell you, HE HAS! This past Friday I posted the 12th story. Yep, that’s right – twelve. Praise God!

I still have moments where I freak out because everybody knows – EVERYBODY KNOWS!!! But it is good, and it is right. And I know it’s for Him, which makes it all worth it.

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The Baby Wait is always in need of more stories! You can share your story by emailing: shareyourstory@the-baby-wait.com

Website: www.the-baby-wait.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/storiesofthebabywait

Instagram: @thebabywait

Twitter: @the_baby_wait

Goodness in Bravery by Whitney

Hello friends! My name is Whitney Van Matre. I am enjoying the last year in my twenties with much joy IMG_3103and excitement. I look forward to facing my thirties with courage and brevity. My life forever changed for the good when I met my husband Jordan in 2008. We both attended Liberty University and quickly fell in love. In August of 2010 we were married and will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary this August. My husband is an attorney in the Atlanta area and I have the privilege to work at the Chick-fil-A corporate office in the training department.

We love our sweet community here in the metro-Atlanta area and value the depth and candor that it brings. The Lord has used this community to show us His character in a very real and tangible way. A special thank you to my friend and sister Kailey for leveraging this blog to encourage women across the globe to be brave even when the path is uncertain.

When I think about the Lord’s work in my life, one word rings true: goodness. The Lord is good even when He orchestrates our life differently than we planned.

At the young age of five, I lost my mother suddenly after a routine hysterectomy leaving behind her husband, my brother, my sister, and me. This was the first strike of tragedy to hit our family. As a young child, I can remember feeling sadness and seeing the mourning in the eyes of my mom’s friends, siblings, mom, aunt, etc. As a 29 year old, I experience her loss more today than ever before. Following her death, my family experienced turmoil that resulted in the separation of my siblings and me from my father.

Again – tragedy struck our family.

When I think about those dark, scary days, I remember the hand of the Lord navigating us {in His goodness} through those harsh realities. But God interceded allowed me to be a victor through Him rather than a victim. It was at the age of ten, that my aunt and uncle took full custody of me and began investing in me spiritually. It was under their care that I accepted the Lord as my personal Lord and Savior. His goodness saved me – rescued me – from the despair that life was telling me I had to accept.

Long after graduating high school, college, and marrying my very best friend, I was faced with another opportunity to experienced God’s goodness through tragedy – this time in the deepest parts of who I am as woman – my journey to motherhood.

Two years into blissful marriage, WE determined that it was time WE needed to have children. Is that not how we operate? We want to define for God His plans for us. It was then that the Lord began to teach me about surrender…..beautiful, ugly, painful surrender. After 2.5 years pursuing parenthood naturally {and with the help of physicians}, I realized that MY journey to parenthood was robbing us from living. It was robbing us from experiencing the goodness of the Lord. It was robbing us from experiencing one of the greatest gifts: adoption.

As someone who was adopted by family members, who has adopted nephews, and who had a deep desire to “one day” adopt, I felt the Lord’s prompting about a year into trying to conceive. However, the Lord had to, in His perfect time prepare our hearts for our baby boy who was being conceived in his mommy’s womb while being conceived in our hearts.

Friends – the Lord is good. He is good even when we can’t see His goodness. He is good even when our circumstances demand otherwise. He is good.

In November, we experienced joy unspeakable when we accepted the Lord’s prompting to pursue adoption. We raised the majority of our funds in just four short months. This expedited timeline was because our son would be in our arms within six months! Through the fundraising, we were reminder over and over again that His ways are higher than our ways. He revealed His goodness in the waiting.

On April 12th we made initial connection with our birth mom through a third party. On April 20th, we were told the magical words we waited months to hear – YOU ARE GOING TO BE PARENTS! The joy was overwhelming and we did not have to wait long. Baby girl would make her grand entrance on May 3rd! I love how God works. As you can imagine, we went crazy buying lots of pink, bows, and monogrammed outfits as we prepared for our daughter.

On May 14th, our SON – yes you heard right – our son was born. I {again} rushed to the store to load up on baby blue and off we went to meet our sweet baby boy. Jordan Kennedy entered the world weighing 8lbs 5ozs and 21 inches long. Kennedy officially became our son on May 15th. Our hearts are so overwhelmed with love, gratitude, praise, and humility. When we look into the eyes of our son, we see God’s goodness.

Be brave! We are victors through Him!

Be Brave by Chelsea

Hi new friends! I’m Chelsea and I blog over at Trials Bring Joy. I love blogging about turning the pain of C_Ritchie1infertility into a purpose, joy-filled life. I became a Mrs. to Josh in 2005 and we have a furbaby named Cali who is an incredible joy to us! I love to read, try new foods, embrace the sunshine, visit coffee shops around town and spend time in the bathtub. I have been learning a LOT about waiting over the last 6 years as we have tried to expand our family and still have yet to perfect the art of patience. In it all though, I have experienced a God who is close, present, faithful and ultimately so good. I was honored when Kailey asked me if I wanted to talk about being brave on her blog today! Kailey has been an amazing God-given friend to me over the last few years and it fills me with excitement to be a part of her story as well. Thanks Kailey!!!

 

bebrave-2Be brave.

No thank you.

That seems to be the first thing that comes to my mind when I think about being brave. Every ounce of me wants to push that word away because with it comes the assumption that you have a reason to need to be brave. And in my experience, those reasons usually have nothing to do with anything I want. Sometimes I think life would be easier if there was no need to be courageous or to have to conquer a mountain that seems unclimbable.  At least I initially think that way. But then I look back over my life, at the moments where I have had to choose to be brave and pick myself off the floor and keep climbing, that I realize that I wouldn’t trade those climbs for anything. It’s been in those climbs where my muscles have become developed, where I have felt the Lord most closely, and where I have had to turn to Him every step of the way in order to keep going.

But still, I don’t want to have to be brave.

I don’t want to experience another miscarriage. I don’t want to be forced with another failed monthly cycle or hear the words “negative” one more time. I don’t want to open the doors to a path I never imagined walking. I don’t want to step out in faith, I would really rather stay in my cozy spot here, on the couch, and just let the blessings and good things roll in.

Let’s be honest, it rarely happens like that, does it? Most days I have no other option than to turn to God, allow Him to help me pick myself up and put one more foot in front of the other. I have investigated this word, brave, over and over again, defining what it means for me in my story. In the end I have learned that for us, it means to trust in the Lord, no matter what, when I understand and when I don’t; to submit to Him when I don’t feel like His plan is very “good” and to have faith, blind faith, that His hand is large enough to carry me and all my messy emotions and plans. (Proverbs 3:5-6 is a great go-to verse!)

It’s so hard. Being brave, or trying to at least, when you keep getting knocked down is tough but I have never regretted standing back up. I am humbled to even linger in the same sentence as the word “brave” because it seems like such a big, mighty word. But as I continue to comb through it, I am realizing that being brave means you spend a lot of time on your knees, crying out to Him and leaning on His strength.

We are going to survive this life – we are going to get through the toughest of battles and if you are a fellow follower of Christ like me, then we are going to spend eternity with the bravest of them all. I have so much to learn about being brave but I am learning it face down, my heart laid before Him, asking Him to help me stand back up so that I can see where He is in this larger-than-me story. And you know what friends? He is so good and faithful in providing the strength to be brave.

I once thought practice made bravery more possible but I have learned that our attitude and willingness to trust God is what makes bravery more possible. So today, instead of pushing off that word, I am going to embrace it, along with the opportunities to be brave, regardless of what that looks like and regardless of my will, because in the end, He is good and His glory will shine throughout the world.

I’d love to connect with you more on Instagram (@chels819).

Brave in Foster Care by Emily

Hi, sweet friends! I’m Emily and I own a little handlettered shop called Joyful Papery, which was born from doodles in my journal to the Lord. I create pretty pieces deeply rooted in God’s goodness. I’m so excited to be joining you today alongside my friend, Kailey. 

Kailey and I became fast friends thanks to the internet + our Lord and realized quickly that we both have hearts that beat fast for encouraging women to be brave through infertility, miscarriage, and adoption. Your story may be different from the one God’s writing for me, but I pray that you would be encouraged through my words here today.

 

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God is writing our story, and He chose to write foster care into that story. I say that because it wasn’t something we looked at and said “Oh! That looks like so much fun and we should totally sign up for that!” It wasn’t a decision we made in our premarital counseling and it wasn’t something I had dreamt all my life to take part in.

Because, if I had it my way? I’d have a crew of little Benjamins running around my feet (guys, my husband is handsome and I want my kids to look just like him!). But if I had it my way, I might not have ever had the privilege to love those little faces… and that would be unfortunate.

Foster care is hard and beautiful and heartbreaking and redemptive all in the same scary breath. They tell you in the classes before certification that nothing you do in the classes will prepare you for what you’re about to walk into (Am I making you want to go sign the papers?)… And they’re totally right.

After we finished our classes, but before we were officially “certified”, we decided it was time to speak to our church about this story God was writing for us. We spoke to our loving church family during a Sunday morning message and they showed incredible grace to us as we said the words “infertility” and “foster care” out loud for a few of the first times in our marriage. We asked them to love the children we would bring into our home and into our church just as if they had been born to us. We kindly requested for them not to use the F-word (foster) in front of them, by referring to them as our “foster kid” or anything that would communicate that they were different from their friends and neighbors. We wholeheartedly believe that they are just children, not foster children. And they didn’t deserve to walk around with any more baggage than their little lives had already handed them. Our church family was sincere in their standing applause, not towards Ben and I or our words spoken, but in unity with us, and that our church family would be change-agents in these children’s lives.

A couple weeks later through sad but somehow beautiful circumstances, we were approached and asked if we would pray about caring for not one, not two, but three beautiful children. The details, though they can’t be discussed, were God-ordained, perfectly laid out for us all to witness a glimpse of the beautiful mosaic He was creating. Bits of pain and hurt were turning into a larger redemption story for His Name’s glory.

We said yes, and in two days, we were a family of five. Not all are blessed with seamless transitions, but thanks to consistent family support and unbelievable church family, these children felt at home in our four-walls quickly.

We were privileged to care for and love these three children for just over a year. I wish I could tell y’all every beautiful detail, but I can’t. That’s one of the hardest things about foster care, is that much of what we (foster parents) walk through can’t be discussed publicly. But we can tell you all that God orchestrated the arrival, raising, and departing of our children just as if it was His plan all along. But I don’t believe it was…

Foster care is unnatural. Just as God did not desire for sin to be alive within us, He did not create family to be torn from each other. He did not intend for mothers to be separated from their own flesh. Foster care is tragic and traumatic.

BUT (don’t you love a good “but” stuck in a sad sentence telling you “the story gets better!”?) because of God’s grace, He doesn’t ever let the story end in tragedy. God has a Master’s Degree in transfiguring hurt into glory. It’s unbelievable really. In our 13 month care, we saw a multitude of lives changed, including our own.

This is the really beautiful thing about foster care – though there is so many faults in the system, foster care was designed for redemption. Foster care is a breeding ground for second chances, forgiveness, and growth.

Ben and I went into the foster care program knowing it was God’s will, that this was yet another opportunity to show our Lord’s grace and love to the lives of those we serve – the children, the parent’s, and the social workers. We believed with all our heart that God had chosen to close the door on biological children for us at the time in order to be used as vessels to show grace to others through foster care.

I don’t want you to read all these words about “grace” and “love” and “redemption” and assume it’s all rainbows and butterflies. There were lives in the pits, deep dark pits. There were wounds made and scars left behind. In foster care, there are hurts, aches, and pain laid open for all to see. But when you look pain in the face and choose to push through, believing there is goodness on the other side, that’s what brave is.

Brave is believing with all your heart in something, and trusting God enough to let your feet start walking, your lips say ‘yes’, or your fingers to push ‘publish’. Whatever it might be for you, brave is you trusting God enough to do it.

And just like we see throughout the Bible, we can see that bravery is contagious. Hear me on this, sweet friend – our story is one of two broken people, offered the free gift of love and grace, and choosing to be brave in saying ‘yes’ to pour out that free gift to a bunch of other broken people. That’s what foster care was for us. God wrote a story of pain through infertility, but He gave us a gift through it, too. We were able to share the gift with our church, with the families involved, and with the social workers that worked with us. And God does something wonderful when His children turn to him, humbled and broken, with hands stretched out to Him… He turns our ‘yes’ into a countless stream of subsequent ‘yes’s’.

Be brave enough to utter that beautiful word to Him, and God will be faithful with your ‘yes’ – you can count on that.

Be Brave by Caroline

Presentation1I’m Caroline and I blog over at In Due Time, which I started back in April of 2012. In 2011 my life changed for the better when I got married to my sweet husband, Colby. Besides working as a financial analyst, I enjoy spending time with him, friends, watching football, and attending various small groups and bible studies. I’m a health nut, who enjoys working out and eating healthy and I take every chance I can get to travel with my husband. I have a passion for those who are going through trials, especially those who feel like they are waiting on God to answer their prayers. I was overjoyed when Kailey asked me to post for her new series. Thanks Kailey for the opportunity to share about how the Lord makes me brave while waiting for His promises to manifest. Blog Facebook Instagram Pinterest Bloglovin

The Lord has been so gracious to us on our journey to becoming parents. We are at the three year mark since we decided we were ready to expand our family. While most people decide to pursue adoption or doctors appointments and fertility treatments, we have taken a different route.

We have felt called to wait naturally. That means we aren’t pursuing anything that could aid in ‘helping’ us get pregnant, besides Jesus. While we do try and take care of our bodies and get them healthy for conception and pregnancy, we are trusting the Lord 100% that he will perform a miracle for us and we will conceive naturally.

For someone who is type A like me, it’s very hard to sit back and ‘wait’. Most of us feel better when we are doing something proactive. When it comes down to it, the Lord made the decision very clear for us and we have been given the same two choices that anyone faces when making a decision: submission and obedience or rebellion and disobedience. For us personally, we can obey the Lord while waiting on Him and receive our Isaac or take our own route and receive our Ishmael.

The lyrics from the song by Bethel called, “You Make Us Brave”, describe so closely how we feel. He has called us out onto the waves. But, he hasn’t left us there. He meets us out in the ocean. He gives us the strength on the weary days, patience on the long days, and courage on the hard days.

Because of how He blesses us, we can withstand any trial we face. The Lord makes us brave by giving us courage. I’m reminded of Joshua 1, where Joshua was in charge of leading 2 million people into the promised land. I can’t even imagine the battle that he faced, especially knowing he was in charge of so many. I do know that our battle of infertility looks much different than Joshua’s, but the bottom line is the same – Bravery won’t come from us, but it will come from the Lord. Whatever you are facing today, put your confidence in Him. Ask Him to make you brave. Trust that He is with you no matter how hard the trial or waiting period is. He won’t put you in a situation unless He is going to bless you with the bravery to endure the situation.

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon. Psalm 31:24

Blessings,
Caroline

be brave.

“And…I am back in the game!” {Name that movie.}

Being back means I need to say thanks to a few fabulous and beautiful women. The super talented and super kind Danielle Burkleo designed the new blog and the equally talented and super kind, Mary Hess made it all work correctly and put everything in it’s spot. Bless her sweet heart. At one point, Mary and I had an email thread going that had over one hundred conversations. She’s a good woman.

This place means so much to me. I feel overwhelmed with joy to be able to write here. God has placed so many things on my heart and I *hope* to share to encourage you, challenge you, but ultimately point you to Him.

I wanted to start fresh and what better way to do that than start a fab new *blog series*. Some of you might be wondering what in the world that is… let me explain. First, after much prayer and thought, the series will be called, Be Brave. I will ask a friend to share about how they are being brave with the story God has written for them. It might be infertility or adoption related, or something else. I plan to share a story at the beginning of each month, so this MONDAY you will hear from a precious friend of mine. You do not want to miss hearing her heart, believe me. You can find the posts by clicking on the ‘Be Brave’ tab or the ‘Be Brave’ graphic like the one below.

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As always, much love and thank you so much for reading!

KB