The worship part of service is when I first experienced the presence of God.

Throughout my life I have always connected to music. There are home videos of me singing around the house and many recorded songs & dances with friends and cousins- thank you God that YouTube did not exist in those days! If you knew me back in my Hanson days, you can attest to my passion and obsession for music. If you knew me in high school and college, I’m sure you were given a mixed cd or two, compliments of me. When my cousin Margo got her license, we would drive around with no where to go, belting our lungs out to my aunt’s Celine Dion album. The best part of a road trip is the music right? There was also a brief stint of guitar lessons for a couple of years after college, unfortunately I did not inherit my Papa’s guitar skills. I work at a place where it is my job to sing (with a smile!) all day long. My point being, when I walked into my church for the very first time, it only made sense that I would connect to God through music. Worship music is an entirely new world for me. It is something I did not grow up knowing. I liked that the music was loud, that the stage was full of anointed singers & musicians, and that people were uninhibited, some more than others, in their worship- all of it accepted. I knew I wanted more of this. It might not resonate with everyone, but that’s the beauty of having so many different churches out there and available, this one was a good fit for us.

It was during the worship part of a service at my church that I first heard God’s whisper on my heart. My pastor was encouraging the congregation to tell people what God has done for you. I wondered to myself what I would tell people? I didn’t have a huge event in my life, or some amazing testimony like the ones I had heard since attending my church. And God answered, “everything.” This was way before He led me to my support group, or before anything that has happened over the past year. He whispered this word to me so I would know in advance. So that I would recognize his favor over these past years and call them the God moments that they are. Everything before infertility, everything during, and everything that will happen after infertility. He answered me so I can answer you. So I can sit here and type each post giving Him the credit. He wanted me to tell you, everything.

Our second failed IUI hit me the hardest. Will was working out of town. He was working out of town for the second and for the third, but the second was tough.  I felt like, okay God this is not how it is supposed to work. One little failed IUI out of the way and then the second one was supposed to work. This isn’t the plan. It hit me the hardest because it meant that the road was going to be longer, bumpier, than I thought or wanted. I felt alone. The kind of alone where you just want to be alone. The only person I really wanted was my husband. I cried out in my empty, quiet, childless house, “I’m so alone!” I pulled my phone out escaping into the black hole of social media and watched a YouTube video that popped up of Kari Jobe’s, “Let The Heavens Open,” and fell in love. Melissa and Beth had mentioned her to me before, but I didn’t know who she was. The song was from her album, Majestic. I immediately downloaded the entire album. And then listened to the song, “I Am Not Alone.” This was exactly what I needed to hear. God answered my cry through the form of a song that I could understand, that touched my heavy heart. I am not alone, he is present and fighting for me. I decided to get up off of the couch and get dressed to meet up with my support group buddies for dinner instead of isolating myself at home. If I had not gone to that dinner, I would not have sat across from my precious and fast talking friend, Heather, getting to know her a little better. I listened to Majestic the entire drive to dinner and the drive home. I even told Heather about it, and was glad to know she only had knowledge of one Kari Jobe song, at least I wasn’t the only one in the dark. I continued to listen to Majestic on repeat. This album speaks straight to my heart and has kept me connected to God during some of the darkest days of infertility. Days when I don’t even know what to say to God, I sing the words to these songs to him instead. Months and months later Heather, Melissa, and I attended a Kari Jobe concert together. And in my music fan obsessed fashion, I made sure to be one of the first in line to get in, snagged us third row seats, all while dragging Heather along with me.



No, not yet…
Dot. dot. dot.
There’s a lot that hangs on those three little dots. An ellipsis, I looked it up to refresh my grammar. I once carried so much anxiety about being asked if I had kids, wanted kids, or was trying to have kids. It is hard to explain why such questions are painful, but they just are. My answer used to be, “No, not yet…”  Those three little dots omitted something I was leaving out. A part of me that fell short. It created a slightly awkward pause between myself and the person asking. Which usually led to them filling that space with, “Oh so you are trying,” or something to that effect. Creating the exact situation I was anxious about. I realized that the best way to avoid these conversations, which I wanted to desperately avoid, was to answer with a simple and short, “No.” A no, followed by a period, put a full stop on the conversation. Period. The End. NO. (and in my head, please leave me alone about it)

One night leaving a basketball game with my in-laws, an old friend that was in town ran into them. As they were catching up, the question of kids came up. I went to my go-to, faithful, conversation stopper, “No.” And then my mother-in-law quickly and eagerly added, “not yet.” Hearing the hope that lingered on those two little words she spoke broke my heart. Hope for a grandchild that we couldn’t give her. I needed to remove myself from this. I tugged Will’s arm a little and we physically took a step down the bleachers away from the conversation. The lady responded with some comment along the lines of us not being able to catch up to them because they had so many grandchildren and we were already in our 30’s. I thought, “Done. We’re done.” We said our goodbyes. I don’t think I’ve ever left a place, dragging Will with me, any faster in my life. So fast that we exited the complete opposite side of the assembly center we entered and had parked. As we walked all the way around back to the car, Will got an earful about how upset that lady just made me and how sad I was for his mom.

I will never forget what he said:
“Babe, people are going to ask us if we have kids. People are going to make comments. People are going to get pregnant. They don’t know. It’s not on purpose. You’re going to have to get over it.”

Now, this man had just been dragged out of there. He had been on the receiving end of my crazy mood swings from all of the hormones in my body. I literally got so mad at him one day for using the word “supper” instead of “dinner” I wanted to punch him because it annoyed me so much. I’m not lying to you when I say I envisioned the punch. So maybe his delivery was a little harsh on this night, but he was right. And I needed to stop running away from it. I needed to stop avoiding it and trust that God’s got me. I needed to start giving people the benefit of the doubt. All of the hurtful comments were not intentionally said to hurt me. All of the suggestions and the “If you just___.” “At least___.” “I know someone who___.”  were people trying to take my pain away for a second. I need to give grace, the same grace that I am covered in daily. To extend forgiveness, just like it is extended to me.

A friend called me. She wanted to meet for lunch earlier in the week, but we missed each other. Instead, she settled for a phone call to tell me she was pregnant.
I was angry. I was hurt. I cried when the phone call ended. I hid these emotions during the call because I didn’t want to take away from her joy. But I was so mad about having to do that.
How could she? How could she have thought telling me face-to-face was a good idea? By giving her the benefit of the doubt though, that question is transformed. That question becomes, how could she have known? She didn’t. She didn’t know it hurt that I just sat on the phone for a good ten minutes talking about my not so perfect behind the scenes before she hit me with her highlight reel. She didn’t know it hurt to know I wouldn’t be the one to get pregnant first.  She didn’t know it hurt me to hear that it happened quicker than they thought. The answer is, she did not know. I am not proud of these feelings. They are real though, in all of their ugliness. I am being gut-openly honest with you. In that moment of anger and sadness, I received an email from an infertility friend checking up on me. Melissa texted me to say hi. That particular friend didn’t understand the pain she caused, but these friends did. God placed me in their thoughts at a time when I needed to confide in someone who got it. Someone who could respond and cover me with kindness for these bitter feelings. In that moment, God reminded me that one day he will redeem all of my tears. Friends, there is no good way to tell an infertile person that you are expecting, but tell them because finding out through a second hand source is just as hurtful. As impersonal as it sounds, the best way, in my experience, is through text.

I now answer the kid question with a confident, “No.” And know that if the conversation leads to more questions I am strong enough to answer them. Sometimes when I answer openly and honestly I am met with an unknowing hurtful comment. And this is when I am reminded of grace, of kindness, of forgiveness. A lot easier said than done, I know. There are days where I am not perfect, or don’t really feel like extending forgiveness but some days I get it right. Many times when I am open, a shared story of infertility is revealed, and I am connected to another heart that understands. One gift that I will never forget is a day when a grandmother at Gymboree asked if she could pray for me after I shared with her our infertility struggle. She took both of my hands and prayed the most beautiful prayer over me as I sat at my desk, with the kid music playing in the background, just the two of us. It had been one of those days and she blessed my life in the exact way I needed it. God’s got me, just as He has you friend. Those three little dots will one day become connected to form the bigger picture that He is currently painting in my heart…

I give grace because I so desperately need it- Lysa TerKeurst