In my last post I shared about my new perspective on suffering. God gave me a new view into the world of suffering and disappointment. Today there has been another shift in my thinking/perspective I wanted to share.

There was more to our recently failed adoption that just the birth mom changing her mind. Sadly we were lied to and taken advantage of and a few hotel rooms were trashed. And without oversharing too much personal information I wanted to share honestly some of the thoughts and feelings I had the days and weeks following our sad news.

Here are some of the thoughts that went through my head

  • I want to call her and give her a piece of my mindA gentle, calm voice reminded me that I am a follower of Christ and to remember that she knows that and she is going to remember the way we treated her. Regardless of what she did or didn’t do. It doesn’t change the call on my life to love her. Yes I was upset but “in your anger do not sin”. I was sad, disappointed and hurt but what would telling her off accomplish? I loved her and thought we shared something incredibly special. I sound like a creepy ex there haha but I think you get what I am saying.
  • She should be ashamed of herself: Anyone heard or said that a time of two? I am guilty of saying it and thinking it also. Then as quickly as that thought/accusation came to me so did this question. Do I really want anyone to feel shame? No way!! I know what it’s like to feel shame and I wouldn’t wish that for anyone.
  • Why us? Why do we have to go through this?: If not us then who? Who should go through this? This one is tough but for now I am trusting God with all my “Why’s”. Now I’m sounding a lot like Lily 🙂 The “Why” stage has begun with her and everything is why right now. I wonder if God gets annoyed at me asking why all the time.
  • We have to spend so much money and go through so much just to have a baby!! Now this one I rolled around in for a while. Had a pity party and cried, honestly I will probably always wonder and question this. The new perspective didn’t come to me very quickly but when it did oh boy. All that changed in that statement was one word. Simply change “have” to “get”. We get to fight for a baby, we got to fight for this little boy, fight for his mom, fight for a family. Now we have a new little person to pray for. He may not be ours but he is still God’s.

Never in my life have I been given such valuable gifts. I can’t see them and it’s hard to explain them but they are there. They are in my soul and my mind. For me infertility and adoption have stretched my heart and mind into places of faith and trust that I didn’t know existed. For an emotional and anxious girl like me let me tell you it is a BIG DEAL.

This whole experience has been painful, hard, upsetting, confusing and the list goes on. But there is something else that means more than anything. It is what I am clinging to and finding hope in every single day. It was the fact that this was no surprise to God. He knew what was going to happen and he watched over us and protected us every step of the way.

Thank you to everyone who has walked this journey with us. You might have found yourself saying and thinking some of the things I did. Thank you for the protection you have over our family. You supported, prayed, encouraged and suffered right along side of us during this process. We felt your love and are better for it!

 

 

-Written January 2017 but never posted-

Lately I have felt exhausted, emotionally and physically. The holidays were wonderful but filled with a lot of new and exciting but challenging things for our family.

I shared awhile ago that we were ready to grow our family again through adoption. Well we decided it was time to find a lawyer and start the legal part so when we did find a birth mom we would be ready to go. A week before Christmas I received an unexpected phone call about a birth mom who wanted to place her child for adoption and we matched what she was looking for. This was a surprise to us since we hadn’t even made a profile or had been actively putting ourselves out there yet. We were planning on standing outside of an abortion clinic with a sign saying “Are you pregnant, freaking out? We can help, We are ready to adopt”. This is a whole other blog post…coming soon.

Within a week of the phone call we met the birth mom at Starbucks and each shared our stories. We told her about our desire to have lots of children and that adoption was the avenue God told us to take. We liked her, actually we loved her. Seeing her bravery and selflessness to choose adoption was amazing.  Matt and I both felt that this was our next child. She is due in February and we are preparing our hearts and our home for this little miracle.

 Going through the adoption process is such an unpredictable ride, you never know whats going to be around the next corner and I am praying with all my heart that she doesn’t change her mind. But she might…and I have to be OK with that. I am trying to stay positive and trust God with the growth of our family but let me tell you it isn’t easy. But we do have HOPE because we have seen what God has done in the past, how he brought Lily to us. I am standing firm on his promise of providing for us, loving us, wanting the best for us, and his desire to give his children good gifts.

But then there is the waiting…I’ve heard about it but haven’t experienced it until now. There were long painful years where we waited for God to open the doors for us to pursue parenthood. Once we started the process, Lily came to us just a month later. There was no meeting a birth mom and waiting. No nine months of feeling anxious that she could call it all off at any moment.

– March 2017 –

Above is a post I was writing while we waited for the birth of our son. We prayed and hoped he would be ours but in the end the birth mom changed her mind. Our hearts hurt when we found out and we are still trying to work through all of the emotions and feelings that come with it.

The night we found out we were shocked and disappointed because we had heard from someone else in her town that she was no longer pregnant. She hadn’t told us she had given birth but was still receiving help. Immediately Proverbs 3:5-6 came to me and I began repeating it over and over in my head and my heart. It’s no coincidence it’s on the sign I had made for his room. God’s grace and his promise of “trusting in him with all our hearts” was giving us hope and life as we faced a messy situation with lots of unknowns.

As the days unfolded after we got this sad news the Holy Spirit gave me a gift and a reminder of something I had not thought about in a long time. Several years ago I worked at a retreat for post abortive women and men. It was a weekend where they got to grieve the loss of their aborted babies. That doesn’t sound heavy at all right?! I mean it was amazing and full of healing but also very draining and hard to watch others relive such pain. I’m telling you all of this because there was an exercise that we do on the first night where we drink from a cup that symbolizes Christ’s suffering. This principal of suffering is found throughout scripture but here a few verses that stand out to me.

For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21

Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:13

Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing he is able to help us when we are being tested. Hebrews 2:18

Our suffering is nothing compared to what Jesus went through he was rejected, betrayed, and then killed. Although we didn’t go through rejection or betrayal to the degree that he did, we were suffering.

This was huge for me!! In all the years we were unable to have kids and suffering I never once had that perspective. I went through waves of emotion with God. I questioned him, argued with him, was mad at him and then I would see his purpose and plan through the waiting. Obviously I was all over the place in those years of waiting. But never once did I see what He was giving me in my suffering. This suffering has been a gift and I am so grateful for a Father who gives good gifts! It’s so weird to talk about suffering as a gift. Currently I am not sure how to put into words why I feel it is such a gift but I do. I know what scripture says about suffering and hardship and what it produces in our life. But I am trying to figure out what I feel about it. What does keep coming to me though is how God defies logic and what we think is a horrible situation and unfair or unjust he says no it’s actually a good thing.

For those of you who are struggling to grow your family and are confused, sad and upset, I am sorry and I know exactly how you feel. I’m sure everything I said is probably really annoying to you. I know when I was in the midst of our struggle to have kids I hated reading and hearing stuff like this. Allow yourself to grieve but don’t let bitterness take root in your heart. God is writing your story and it will be an AMAZING one!

 

family-117

Hey, Happy Friday! Well I’m 18 days into my Living With Less challenge and I thought I would give you an update on how things are going! Surprisingly things are going really well. I have had a few moments where I felt weak but I got through them, praise God. I have only been to target once in 18 days and I’m telling you it must be a record.

Unsubscribing to a lot of the stores I get emails from really helped. For the most part I haven’t gone into stores except the grocery store. Well maybe the Rack one time but I only gave Matt some ideas on what to get me for Christmas :). I was telling Matt the old me would have probably bought this amazing leopard jacket I saw on my Nordstrom card. But I don’t have the card anymore and so that wasn’t even an option. As silly as this sounds it was really hard for me to cut up that card. I feel great about it now but at the time it wasn’t easy. It weirds me out that it was that hard for me to do. I think it shows what power “stuff” had over me and what being current or trendy meant to me to. Don’t get me wrong I am all about being current and trendy because I love fashion but not at the price I was paying for it.

I have a feeling I’m not alone in this so I’m just going to say it because I try and be transparent but it’s still a little scary/sad to admit. But when I would buy something on that Nordstrom card I knew I shouldn’t and that it was wrong so I would hide it from Matt. I would leave it in my car or tuck it back in the closet. Well, there I said it. Hiding anything from your spouse is wrong but yet I did it. I’m happy to say I won’t be doing that anymore.

I recently read Rachel Cruz’s book Love Your Life Not Theirs and it really influenced my decision to cut up that card and stop all spending for a month. She has such great insight into the comparisons that are hard to face in this social media culture. Something she said in the comparison chapter really stuck with me.

“Comparisons will not only steal our joy but our paychecks as well. If we don’t get comparison living under control we will constantly spend money just trying to keep up.”

All I wanted to do was give an update on my Living With Less experiment and here I am oversharing and confessing. I hope this helps someone out there who might be stuck in the same situation I was, spending money I didn’t have so I could be relevant, cool or on trend.

Have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by.

family-85

Happy Thanksgiving month!! This is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it, the meaning, weather, food, fashion and decorations. In honor of Thanksgiving I am planning something exciting and a little nerve wracking. I have seen others do this through the years, I have always wanted to but never really committed to it. It’s similar to giving up something for Lent which is what I have done before, but this I have never done leading up to Thanksgiving.

I couldn’t think up a cool catchy name for it so I’m calling it “Living With Less”. I am not going to be buying anything for the whole month of November! Only necessities food, toiletries (sephora and ulta don’t count as necessities) Que Matt’s sigh of relief and Targets sigh of disgust ha. All those women out there understand what I’m talking about, us women keep target in business, that dollar section is everything, right?!

With the recent destruction of my Nordstrom card see my previous post Plastic Surgery. I thought this was a great next step in my faith walk in understanding that God is my provider. I have more than I could ever ask for, a beautiful family, clothes, shoes, home goods but I still buy things even though I don’t really need them. There is a satisfaction or a rush that comes with buying something. Does anyone else get that? I guess that’s our culture right, it is constantly trying to get us to buy the next best thing. I remember so clearly a story from a study we did once from Crown Financial Ministries. Here is the excerpt from Biblical Financial Study it’s in the debt section and is titled Be Content with What You Have:

“The advertising industry uses powerful methods to get consumers to buy. Frequently the message is intended to create discontentment with what we have. An example is the American company that opened a new plant in Central America because the labor was relatively inexpensive. Everything went well until the villagers received their first paycheck; afterward they did not return to work. Several days later, the manager went down to the village chief to determine the cause of this problem, and the chief responded, “Why should we work? We already have everything we need.” The plant stood idle for two months until someone came up with the idea of sending a mail-order catalog to every villager. There has not been an employment problem since!”

Isn’t this story amazing! I want to be as content as those villagers were after their first paycheck. I always think of this story when I’m looking in magazines or scrolling through Instagram and see all the “shop my feed” pictures. I find myself thinking “Well that’s adorable I need that!” The more TV we watch the more social media we are on the more stuff we buy. Because of this I have slowly began unsubscribing to all the stores I get emails from. I tell Matt I’m going to get a restraining order against Old Navy because it feels like they are stalking me, funny not funny. So far I have unsubscribed from Old Navy, Target, Ulta, Sephora and The Rack. I think this will really help me in this month of “Living With Less”. Even though this is probably the hardest month to do this I am so glad I am. I have felt my spending get a little out of control lately and I am hoping this resets my priorities. Has anyone else gone on a spending freeze? How has it worked for you? Tell me all about it?

family-117

unnamed

Anyone who knows Matt and I knows we love anything having to do with Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University. We have taken the class Uuuummm a few times and learned something new each time. We recently paid off all our debt and don’t have any credit cards…well accept one. For years now we have been trying our best to live out the principals we learned in Financial Peace but I can’t help but feel I have been a hypocrite. It’s kind of my dirty little secret. I have a Nordstrom card (Ahhh) glorious, wonderful Nordstrom. I’ve had it for 14 years that’s longer than I’ve been married people!! I have never had more than a $200.00 balance on it and always paid it off right away or pretty quickly (excuses, excuses). Seriously, I have gone years without using it. Now that we paid off our other debts Matt mentioned this Nordstrom card and how silly it is that I still have it. I have always justified why I should keep it. Here are a few of my desperate justifications, “What if I find something I can’t live without it and don’t have the cash”, “I don’t want to miss a deal, there’s only one”, “I like having it, I’ve had it for so long” and “I have self control, I don’t have to use it” and Matt’s personal favorite is “I want the points” (ha) we always go round and round with that one.

This little card has had a crazy hold on me but I’m finally ready to give it up. Something else has been pestering me about this card. It’s hard to put into words but basically for me having this card shows my lack of faith. That God isn’t always looking out for me, or that He won’t provide for me. He doesn’t want me borrowing money just to have the latest trend or some really adorable ankle boots. It shows that I am not trusting God. It’s like I have this security blanket (not really) to help get me things I want not that I need. Oh and not to mention I’m using money I don’t currently have to get it.

It’s easy to say all this to myself and then do nothing about it but it’s another thing to let all of you know my secret so it’s no longer a secret. For me this is a spiritual issue more than anything. As of today even though I feel silly saying it I’m trusting God to supply me with all of my fashion needs and wants with cash not credit.

Here it is all cut up in little pieces. And for those of you out there that know a cut up card isn’t all that needs to be done, I actually called and cancelled my account. For those newbs even if you don’t have your actual card on you they  can look up your account in the store so I have taken that temptation away all together.

img_0088

Is there anyone else out there that feels me? I mean am I the only one holding onto a somewhat harmless credit card? I guess it feels good that it’s finally out of my life. The idea of it feels good but we’ll see the next time I wander into the Rack how it feels. I guess I’ll just make sure to take my shopping envelope with me. 🙂