Welcoming 2016

Happy New Year! And here we are, already a month in. One of my favorite things my husband and I do at the beginning of each year is reflect on what we wish we did less of, what we wish we did more of, and what we really enjoyed about the past year. Using those reflections, we try to outline a few goals for ourselves. One of the things that I enjoyed most about 2015 was starting this site, which encouraged (or forced?) me to write, and I realized that it is something that I actually enjoy. It has been such a life-giving experience to connect with so many of you – to read your stories, receive your emails, and pray for you.

Many of you reached out after my update last fall to let me know you were praying for me. I am so thankful for your prayers and thoughtful words! And I recognize it has been a bit of radio silence around here on that front since, but I’m going to start the new year off with sharing some more of my story.

We are expecting our first baby and are due in June! Can you believe it?! I still can’t. In fact, I think I look like I just ate too many Christmas cookies, but the bump is coming along, which is starting to make it feel more real.

In the weeks before our embryo transfer but after we returned home from our trip to Paris, I was catching up with my sister, telling her all about our travels. We were on FaceTime so I could tell she was anxious or nervous about something once I stopped jabbering and she blurted it out, “I’m pregnant!” I had just thrown some ground turkey in a pot on the stove to make tacos for dinner and remember my stomach plummeting to the floor. I managed to get out a very pathetic, “Congratulations! I’m so happy for you!” before I said, “I’m sorry, I have to go” and hung up on her. (Yep - I hung up on her). I stared at my turkey in complete disbelief, watching it burn on the stove and keeled over in a heaving sob. After a few moments, I picked up my phone again and called my mom who was in the middle of teaching a piano lesson and had already received a call from my sister crying, saying, “It didn’t go well!” My. Poor. Mother. Lord, have mercy!

Even though there was a part of me that was so happy for her, that joy was completely overshadowed by my own self-pity and frustration, so the following days were tough. And that is a total understatement. I cried until I had no tears left. I replayed the conversation in my head over and over again, identifying all of the ways that my sister was ‘insensitive’ and ‘unloving’. I even wrote and sent her this terrible email trying to justify my response and explain why I thought her delivery was 'hurtful' and 'inappropriate'. How dare she tell me on FaceTime! I couldn’t disguise my emotions and felt so exposed! How dare she not preface it with a million apologetic introductions that go something like this: “Mer, I am the worst and this is so tough and I am so sorry that I have to tell you this!” How dare she not just wait to even try to have a baby until I finally get pregnant! Yep. Super rational, I know.

Over the next few days, the direction of my anger shifted from her to God. I couldn’t believe that he would put me through this. I mean, she practically blinked and she was pregnant. How is that even possible?! We have the same genes! It just didn’t make any sense. Why did God pick her and not me? 

The next day at work a song popped up on the Spotify radio station I was listening to called Good to Me by Audrey Assad. That afternoon I played the song over and over again as I wrestled with the hurt and frustration I felt.

By the time I got home from work that night I could feel myself emerging from the fog. I cozied up on the couch, listened to the song (again) and let the tears that I had choked back all day at work finally fall down my cheeks. I closed my eyes and listened again. This time, my eyes still closed, I had this vision of me rubbing my swollen belly, singing to the Lord about how good He is to me. I listened to it yet again, eyes still closed, and this time I had a vision of me cradling a baby in my arms, tears rolling down my cheeks, singing about how good our God really is. I opened my eyes and was overcome with the strongest sense of peace. It sounds so trite, but every ounce of bitterness, every bit of anger was lifted.

I called my sister and apologized profusely before squealing like sisters should when you find out one of you is having a baby. We realized that we both had expectations about how a situation like this would play out, but they were very different from each other. (I thought she should be super sensitive with me, and she thought it was best to not treat me differently just because I couldn't get pregnant, because that could be insulting to me. See? Complete misses in that department). Never-the-less, the Lord truly redeemed us (okay, me) from what was initially a crazy painful situation.

A few weeks later was our embryo transfer, and a few weeks after that we found out that we were pregnant. So my sister is due exactly 4 weeks before me. How cool is that?! It is such a special thing to share with her - bump pictures, books we're reading, cribs we're considering. Now it is difficult to imagine not going through it together.

God may have answered my sister's prayer more quickly than mine, but building this community and getting to know some of you would have never happened were that not the case. I am so thankful for the friendships that I have formed as a result of my vulnerability. I've gotten to connect with so many of you -- online, offline, over email, over coffee. Looking back, my biggest regrets are the days that I spent wallowing in my frustration and sadness instead of pressing deeper into Him. Because If I had the option of having a 2 year old or being right where I am today, I would not change a single thing. 

Yes, God eventually answered my prayer in the way that I wanted him to, and I realize that is not always true for everyone, but that doesn't change that He is God and that alone makes him good. He is good to me, and he is good to you.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:9