Where I’ve Been

I realize it’s been a while.


As much as I adore getting to do what I do, I tend to struggle with regular blogging when I am working in the publishing industry.
When you are working  as a Project Manager with dozens of others on their writing all day, at least for me, the thrill to write out my own thoughts tends to gone by the time it hits 5pm. Frankly, I seem to be more excited about my authors’ projects than my own writing these days. If you knew the whole back story of the last 2+ years and what drew me back into the industry I abruptly left, you would probably have a deeper understanding of why I feel such redemption through my work. Maybe one day, years from now, I will feel comfortable publicly sharing all of those details; today is just not that day.

In any case, as you have probably noticed, my public writing is fueled 99% by what I’m processing with the Lord; it’s emotional, it’s vulnerable, and rather intense — just like me.  :) I do want to start writing about some of the tangible parts of our adoption journey, as many have you have requested. To be honest, it just hasn’t been one of my top priorities. As I’ve written about before, the present is a very busy season for us. I’m having to be very intentional with my time or I don’t even get done the things that help our household run smoothly. Sadly, me sitting down on the couch after work and writing a blog post is not a way in which my over-stressed husband feels loved; he likes things like food, calming walks and eye-to-eye contact. To combat the constant busyness, though, I am going to sit down soon and try to get a blog “schedule” figured out, so stay tuned.

Before I go, thanks for all your prayers, private messages and support during this season of my life.  It means more than I could ever say to know that they are people, many I don’t even know all that well, are praying for us and are unborn children. As we tarry on, the Lord continually reminds me that He is enough and always has been.

A fear-driven question, “What if you are never a mom?” daily pops in my head. I’m training my heart and mind to automatically respond, “Then, Lord, You are still good.” Do I always want to say that? Of course not. I desperately long for motherhood. Even though it’s oh so difficult, I don’t want to waste this season of waiting. After all, it isn’t about what I want, anyway; it’s about how He wants to use my life for His glory and my good. In the end, when I put things in eternal perspective and take my emotions out of it, my ultimate desire is to know the Lord, with or without motherhood.

Have your way, Lord. Have Your way.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Blogging, Life, Purpose

The Long & Hard Road

No one ever told me this season in life would be so hard.
More importantly, no one ever told me it would be so…lonely.
So very lonely, at times.

My husband and I both are experiencing very hard seasons in life. He is getting used to a new and exciting, yet stressful, job. Consequently, often (like tonight) the last month-and-a-half, because of the stress and/or lack of sleep the night before, he gets tucked into bed when there are still hours left of daylight. I, too, am getting used to a new job, and have experienced my share of long hours and work-related stress, though my job is thankfully slowing down and becoming much more life-giving. It also helps that I am now 2 months post- sinus surgery, so I am no longer heavily drugged or in pain; therefore, I can think straight, unlike when I first started. :)

For my Loves, his career, though he loves it, is his main source of stress and exhaustion right now.  For me, it is my empty arms and nursery, especially around Mother’s Day. For both of us, this is the hardest season of our marriage, and in some ways, our lives.

Last night, it was John’s turn to not sleep. He sat awake in the family room with his Bible,  sermons on his phone, and his nightlight while I snoozed away. I, on the other hand, had my turn the two nights before, when while he sawed logs, I slept no more than 2 hours in 48. I tried so, so hard to stay awake with him, as I usually do. The Lunesta I found in the cupboard from my surgery, though, beckoned my attention and wooed me into a deep, much-needed time of 12 hours of rest.

 To say that life is hard around the Payne’s right now is an understatement. We are exhausted, in all senses of the word. We are also closer than we have ever been. It’s funny how, if we are willing, the Lord refuses to waste our (and your) suffering, even the kind that involves the most stinging of pain.

 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Yesterday, for us, was in a way a living hell. We both didn’t make it through church without crying. John got close but broke down at the end. I never had a chance. We both cried some more later on in the day. To make matters worse, I had spent the last 2 nights up in the dark crying out to the Lord to please take this cup of sorrow from me.


He has chosen to call me to wait for earthly motherhood, and though I can quote you all the verses and know I am to be content, sometimes I am just not OK with that. I know that’s not the “Jesus” answer, or something of which I am proud, but that’s the truth. I can quote you all the verses (in context) and exegete the passages, but sometimes all I can manage to pray is, “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief!” To be honest, this road of barrenness has been much harder for me than it ever was to almost die at the age of 19. Can I say that without you judging me and calling me melodramatic? Maybe not, but I am going to say it, anyway.

Sometimes, the pain that is involved in not having our child who passed away, here or earth or any child at all, is just too much to bear for my weary soul.  With each passing announcement of another pending or new birth, I feel like part of my heart is being ripped from my chest, that I am slowly dying inside. I desperately long to be a mother, much more than I ever knew until I was asked to journey the road less traveled that involves not being able to have them. My husband struggles, too, though he tries to keep it together outwardly more than I do; for both of us, though we deal with it differently, it’s our Cross that we daily bear.

As I said on Facebook last night, though my journey is not normal (especially in my circle of friends), it is not unique. I know that. I know, even though Satan want me to feel like I’m the only one, there are millions of women who are either barren or who have miscarried; they understand my pain in a very tangible way. As I also said, though, we women need each other. We need each other, no matter if we are the mother of 8 kids or on our 8th year of painful infertility. We all have something to learn from, and more importantly to offer,each other.

We need to rejoice with those who rejoice just as easily as we mourn with those who mourn. There are a women on both sides of the coin, women who deserve to be loved and fully met in their current season, even if that season is the polar opposite of ours. Is that always easy? No. It is always necessary? Yes, for the benefit of all involved.

Why? Why force ourselves to enter someone’s joy when we are hurting or embrace their sorrow when our life is far from sorrowful?
Because that’s what Jesus would do and calls us to do, as well.
After all, we are to be His hands and feet.

Why? Because that’s how we learn to do live life – the good and the bad of it – together as the Body of Christ.
If you just focus on the good, you lose sight of our utter dependence on Him, of the perfect Redemption to come.
If you just focus on the bad, you lose sight of the beauty of grace and God’s constant hand in our lives.

So, even though my arms are still empty this Mother’s Day, and I just experienced 2 of the darkest days in my life, I publicly celebrate and honor those to whom I am close who are mothers. I love you all and think you are doing a great job. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Purpose, Sanctification

Why I Still Love Our Empty Nursery

Like most young couples, there is a room in our home designated as a nursery. The only difference is, unlike most others, this room was meticulously prepared without even knowing when the baby is going to arrive.

Like the old hymn, Coming Again, I am reminded constantly that our baby’s coming “may be morning, may be noon, may be evening and may be soon”…or it may be years from now.

Yes, the room has all the trappings of what you would expect for a baby’s room, but there’s no child anywhere to be found. Instead, there are grey walls longing for a personalized tree decal to be put on them, an empty, white, sleigh-style crib with Pottery Barn Kids bedding that is used as a clothes rack, empty dresser drawers (minus the old computer currently residing in one of them), a comfy, custom color rocker no one rocks in, and a super awesome, owl lamp (thank you, HomeGoods) that no one turns on. There is a corner full of expensive gadgets (play mat, stroller, car seat, and a baby carrier) that have never been used; some haven’t even been put together.

Most of all, our nursery is filled with a lot of hopes and dreams, but also a lot of fears and worries. Some days I adore going in there. Other days, which are few and far between but still my reality, I have to shut the door and forget it exists.

Many friends warned me that putting the nursery together so soon may not have been the best idea. They cautioned me of how hard it would be to stare at an empty nursery, especially if we waited a long time to adopt our child(ren). They told me it was something they would never do. They encouraged me by saying they would help me whip up a nursery in no-time, once I knew that a baby we could call ours was on the way.

Though I knew my friends had the best of intentions and were just looking out for me, I didn’t listen. And you know what? I’m so glad I didn’t. Though sometimes dwelling on its uselessness (at least right now) can cause me pain and angst, I needed this nursery. I needed this nursery much more than my children ever will.

The Lord knew that, though, which is why He gave me such a clear vision for that small space. I’ve asked Him for a vision for every room of our house (call me weird), as I love decorating but also want Him and others to feel welcome in our home. The people (besides John) I most want to feel welcome into our home are our children, the ones for whom we have prayed for by name for so long.

I want Noah James or Hannah Grace to know (I realize they won’t really “know” but you get what I mean) from the moment they are brought home just how much we have longed for them, so much so that we had a room all ready for them even when we had no idea when they were getting here. No, my children will not be an idol. I want them to feel loved, anticipated, cherishes. Yes, my relationship with the Lord and my husband will always come first (a post in and of itself), but I absolutely adore my kids, and I don’t even know them. Other than praying for them daily, the only tangible way to show them that right now is by creating for them a safe haven that will one day, Lord-willing soon, be their very own.

Hopefully, they both like grey, white and chevron. :)

Yes, for now having a completed nursery and no child means I have to stare at a crib that is only used right now as a clothes rack for John’s many suit pants. It won’t be like that forever, though. I know that, though sometimes, like last night, the enemy does his best to whisper fears into my ear and tempts me to allow them to sink into my heart. Sometimes the fear and the worry grips me more than other times; usually when I am stressed (like now — both of us changing jobs in the past month has led to very hard-and-fast transition) it is the worst. During those times, the thought “it’s always something keeping us from being parents” or “sometimes I don’t think this is ever going to happen” creep in. Thankfully, though, by nature I am a positive, the-glass-is-always-overflowing type of person, so those times of utter desperation and deep sadness are really few and far between – not that I don’t have them. I am human, after all.


I won’t lie. Having a nursery when you don’t even have a “due” date is not easy. It’s not for everyone by any means. It is, however, for me.

More importantly, the Lord constantly uses that back room to remind me that He is the Creator and Sustainer of my children, that He is bringing them to us in His timing and His way. He is using it to remind me that my children do exist, at least to Him; they are not just some figment of my imagination, though the enemy would have me believe otherwise. My loving Father is reminding me through sitting on the floor of a room that used to look completely different that He truly does make all things new, either now or when we are glorified and with Him and reunited with our baby we never met. He is reminding me that there can be JOY in the waiting, if I just allow the Holy Spirit to fill me and sustain me. He is reminding me that our journey – all of it, griddy-ness and all – matters.

Thank you, Jesus, that our messy journey to parenthood matters to You.
Most of all, thank you that our kids do, too. Lord, I believe; please help my unbelief.

 

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Nursery, Prayer, Purpose, Sanctification

Until We Meet Again…

Beloved One,

I am writing you this letter just a few hours before the one year anniversary of when you left us that early April morning. In some ways, that painful, horrible day (and the day that followed) feels like it was just yesterday, and in others, it feels like a lifetime ago. A day hasn’t gone by, though, when I have not thought about you, about what my and your Dad’s life would look like had you survived, been born and been in our arms the past 4 months. You aren’t here, though, and no matter how much I wish otherwise, you are not coming back. No matter how much I wish otherwise, the part of me that went with you is not coming back, either, this side of Heaven. No, Little One, you have a piece of your Mommy’s heart, and I pray you can sense that as you sit safely at the feet of Jesus instead of snuggled in my arms.

Though He answered my prayer for a child in a way in which I was not imagining or planning, especially during that time when we were just starting the adoption process and working through the surrogacy option, I need you to know that just because you were not planned, that does not mean you were not loved nor wanted. Had He allowed you to stay, I would have risked, and even given, my life for yours, Beloved One, and I would have done it with great pride and without second thought. I would have done anything in my power to give you life here on Earth, but now I am forced to live with the fact that I am called to continue to live my life without you physically here with me.

Though I never had scientific evidence that you existed until after you were gone, and often doubted what the Holy Spirit told me and instead felt crazy and unstable for believing you were inside of me during the days before you were taken Home, I am thankful that I allowed the Lord to speak so powerfully to me during that time. I am thankful that His presence was shown so powerfully to me during that morning one year ago when I woke up at 5:15am in a cold sweat and with stabbing pain. For those minutes you were still with me, instead of waking your Daddy, I knew the LORD was asking me to go out to the family room and be with Him. I knew He was asking me to pray the same passage (I Sam. 1:1-19) that I had prayed so many hundreds of times over my children. I also knew that He was asking me to give you back to Him, when I was not even 100% sure you existed, to trust Him with my children’s future, just as He had asked of me hundreds of times. Furthermore, I knew He was asking me to put away my doubt and believe what He had told me, to embrace the fact that I was indeed with child, and then just as quickly, let you go. As I got on my knees and cried out to God, the last thing I wanted to do, Little One, was let you go. As I felt my body begin to reject you, I felt as if it was rejecting me, as well.

The days after a medical diagnosis finally told me what I had known all along (that you were gone) were dark and felt like an eternity. I had no idea the grief I would experience or how hard it would be to say goodbye to someone whose existence was never tangibly verified until they were long gone. Many people were very well-intentioned but few and far between had the right words to say, and even those who did, quickly moved on and were not comfortable with the months it took to process my multiple layers of sorrow. I had no idea the grief ran so deep until I began working through it myself, but it was a necessary evil for me to walk through all of it, even if hardly anyone understood or knew how to handle the hot mess I was for a very long time. I couldn’t stand the thought of planning for another child during the time you were supposed to be growing inside of me; it felt, at least at the time, like a betrayal. I was just so afraid of forgetting about you, of not giving your life tremendous value when our Creator knitted you in my womb and gave you personhood from the beginning, even when you weren’t known about. You, Beloved One, are a person who may not have ever had the opportunity to live on Earth but still has a God-ordained, Kingdom purpose far beyond what I could have ever conjured up on my own for my first child.

I have seen how you, as microscopic as you were, have been an encouragement to other women who have also lost their precious babies due to my willingness to speak about you, to not give into the temptation to feel shamed and therefore hide the imprint you made on my heart, on your Dad’s heart. I have seen how speaking about you has caused others to re-visit the memories of the children maybe they lost even several decades ago, after literally 30+ years of trying to convince themselves it was too “silly” to still miss them after all of this time.  The Lord has so graciously used you to heal not only your Mommy’s heart but also others’, as well. As much as I would love to have you here with me, Little One, knowing that God still had a plan for your short life brings me great joy and pride; it helps me to see the divine purpose for the horrific loss we have endured. It helps me to continue to understand God’s sovereignty and goodness amidst human suffering, which I know is my life calling and a concept that is a great privilege, yet very, very hard, to truly grasp.

There are still days when I think about how you are gone that my heart aches just as much as it did a year ago. There are days that I wonder like whom you would have looked, whose personality you would have had. There are days I look at my friends’ children, who would have consequently been your friends, and I imagine you playing with them. There are days I laugh and play with those precious children and long to laugh and play with you, to shower you with affection and look into your eyes and tell you just how much I love you. As time moves on, though, I am learning to celebrate the eternal difference you have made in my life and the lives of others’ more so than dwell on the natural desire I have to be the mother of an almost-four-month old, whom I get to tangibly love every day, instead of the mother of a child who is absent from the body but present with the Lord. His ways and thoughts truly are higher than ours, though, and I know He has answered my prayer and has used you for His glory. No matter how many children we welcome into our home, you will never be replaced; you will never be forgotten; you will always be loved, just as much as they are.

Until we meet again, I love you, Beloved One, and always will.

 

 

 

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When It’s Been Too Long

I have about 20 blog posts in my head that never got written.Oh well. What can you do? What can you do? I am here now. :)

Though extremely busy, 2014 has been exceptionally good to us thus far. This place of grace and happiness has been a welcomed change, indeed.

I will update everyone on the changes we have seen in our lives soon. In the meantime, I just wanted to publicly thank my Heavenly Father for all He has done, is doing, and will do on behalf of my family. As I bask in His grace, I am continually reminding myself of just how good and sovereign He will always be, no matter our circumstances.

After all, it is not just on the mountaintop that we are called to say, “Blessed be Your Name.” During this time of vast earthly blessing, I am trying to consciously remind myself of that every single day. I am no stranger to the fact that, with God’s permission, life can drastically change. I am aware of the fact that, within minutes, life can hurt, can wound in ways you could never imagine. He, though, thankfully always remains the same.

Right now, though, after seemingly being asked to stay so long in one valley or another, I am standing on the mountaintop and see nothing but blue skies around me. I know I owe it all to the One who is the Giver and Sustainer of life itself.  I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us next. :)

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generationforever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

 

 

 

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Filed under 2014, grace

2014’s “One Word”

As I have done in the past (read here and here), I have chosen a “word” for 2014. 2013 somehow didn’t get a “word” assigned to it at the beginning of the year, though I came close.

Out of all the years I have participated in the “one word”  movement, I would have to say that this year’s “word” came to me the easiest; it was also the first time I had my word picked before the new year even began.

This year’s “word” for me is undaunted.
I alluded to it in my last post on what 2013 taught me, which was much more than I was expecting.

In the aforementioned post, I wrote:

I read a quote on New Year’s Eve that really spoke to me:
“A new year is at hand,” the king said. “We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.”
King George VI

That is my prayer for 2014, that I remain undaunted in my commitment to the Lord and His sovereignty and goodness, no matter what befalls me this upcoming year. Whether it be another year of not having the opportunity to be a mother, another year of disappointments and confusion, or even death. By God’s grace, as long as I’m alive, I pray I remain undaunted in my commitment to Him.

Lord, let it be so.

Yes, Lord! Let it be so!

It is only January 16th, and I can already tell you that, as I experience life’s natural ebbs and flows, I am not always going to feel that it was a wise choice to pick the word “undaunted,” but I do know that it was the word the Lord has for me this year. I have no idea what He is going to allow throughout my 2014, but as I press on through my journey, I will daily ask for the grace to remain undaunted in my service to Him and others.

Not only will I ask for grace to remain undaunted in my commitment to His sovereignty and goodness – no matter what, I will also ask for the grace:

  • To remain undaunted in my commitment to loving others as Christ as loved me, especially my husband.
  • To remain undaunted in my belief that the Lord will give us a child(ren), even when the waiting seems long and harsh.
  • To remain undaunted in my commitment to never live without personal boundaries again, so I can be emotionally healthy for those in whom the Lord has asked me to invest more fully.
  • To remain undaunted, in whatever He asks of me this upcoming year.

Do you have a “word” for 2014?

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What 2013 Taught Me

I don’t know what yours was like, but my 2013 was quite the year.

2013 was a year I’ll certainly never forget and wouldn’t necessarily want to re-live. I won’t, though, go as far as to say I wish I could just re-do 2013 all over again. Though it was excruciatingly hard, the lessons I learned within the crazy that was my 2013 were well worth the pain and will never, ever be forgotten.

I’m not going to re-hash my entire year in this post, as there is plenty of posts already written (even whole series — read here and here) about much of what transpired in my life last year; others part of my life have remained more private, as they should.  If you haven’t been reading my blog the past year, just know I, even one with a wild imagination, could never have written the journey through which the Lord asked me to walk in 2013, especially the first 8 months of it.

As much as you’d like to think differently, you can’t change the past. You can only move forward. 2013 was what it was and it’s my job to learn from it, embrace the brokenness that came in many areas from it, and walk in 2014 full of joy and hope, just like I did when I walked unknowingly into the madness that was last year.

So, what did 2013 teach and/or remind me?
Well, lots of things.

Here’s some examples, in no particular order (except the 1st one):

  • God is still good and sovereign. Absolutely nothing can change that fact.

Though 2013 was my hardest yet, my steadfast belief in God’s sovereignty and goodness did not change. Were their moments I struggled with why God allowed me to become unexpectedly pregnant, let alone why He then allowed our child to die? Of course. I’m a human, after all. I am a human, though, who has seen the hand of God all over their life time and time again, even when things look the darkest from an earthly perspective.

  • My life is not about me.

After almost dying at 19, I am blessed to know from a young age that my life is not about me but instead the glory of God being displayed through how I respond to not only life’s highest highs but also its lowest lows. Though I know I didn’t do it perfectly, I hope that this year I brought Him glory through how I dealt with the circumstances He allowed into my life for my refining and His glory. I pray I do the same in 2014, no matter what happens.

  • My marriage is rock solid and can withstand anything that life throws its way.

I didn’t say my marriage is perfect, because it most certainly isn’t; it does involve two humans, after all. ;) It is, though, rock solid, and it just keeps getting better. 2013 was the hardest year yet for our four-year-marriage. I’m thankful to say, though, that everything we went through this year brought us even closer together, horrible miscarriage included. During this year, at times, we fought a lot. At times, we cried a lot. At times, to be honest, we struggled a lot…but we came out on the other side a stronger, more unified couple. We came out a better definition of two people living “one flesh.” We came out of the struggle closer to the Lord on an individual basis as well as a corporate one. As  a couple, we came out of 2013 changed, changed for good! I can’t imagine displaying God’s love for the Church through marriage with anyone else than my best friend.  He rocks my world. :)

  • I long to be a mother more than sometimes I even know.

This could, and eventually will, be the subject of a whole post. Stay tuned. :)

  • Adoption (at least our journey) is hard – really hard – but so worth it. We can’t wait to meet Noah and Hannah and pray they join our family at the same time. :)

The giant mountain of paperwork hasn’t even been the hardest part. Being married to a really detailed-oriented person, though, definitely helped in that area. :) No, the paperwork has been a breeze compared to other things, mostly emotional in nature, through which we’ve had to work; some of those things are just a part of the usual process (and will be written about in another series) and others are unique to our particular situation. No matter what comes up, though, the important thing is we’re committed to working through it; we’re committed to finding our children and bringing them home. No matter what, we Paynes don’t ever give up.

  • People like other people’s drama and shy away from public expressions of grief.

I learned this lesson back in the Spring/Early Summer. I had thousands of people (mostly strangers) suddenly flocking to my blog to read all 21 posts about our hard-to-believe adoption/surrogacy/pregnancy/miscarriage/adoption journey. Only an 1/8 of that audience read, though, after the 13th installment of the aforementioned series when I was heartbroken, and therefore devoted three blog posts to redeeming my miscarriage; most of the sharing of my posts stopped, too. Not surprisingly, most of that audience (and shares) returned once again when the other more-appealing series resumed for the last 7 posts.

Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely appreciated the concern (or curiosity) others showed (either through reading and/or contacting me) during my large series full of twists and turns. I just was rather shocked that my readership went down so much when I took a break from the other series (since I was initially hiding (even from my own parents) the fact I was sick post-miscarriage) to publicly deal with the intense grief that came with all that drama people loved to read. Though they were much, much fewer in nature, the private messages I did receive from that miscarriage series made the emotional exhaustion from writing them well worth it. It also reiterated to me just how important it is for me to obey His voice and live as transparently as possible, so that He can use me to encourage others who often feel alone in how they feel. I was amazed how alone so many women who have had miscarriages felt; it made me incredibly sad. It shouldn’t be this way, and as long as I’m alive, I will continue to be as real as possible (on that issue and others) so that others feel the freedom that comes with living without satanic shame.

Though I was humbled by my viewership this year, I don’t write for certain stat numbers. I write in order to be able to breathe, to connect with my Creator, to glorify His name and have Him do whatever with it He wants.  Your guess as to what He does with it in 2014 is as good as mine. No matter how many read, it’s all for Him!

  • Living “transparently” doesn’t have to mean giving anyone and everyone 24/7 access to your life, emotions, time, thoughtfulness, etc. without requiring anything from them; no, that would be toxic and will eventually leave you feeling burnt.  Having Christ-inspired, personal boundaries is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and others.

I wrote about this topic in my “mid-life crisis” series.

  • Though he came in contact with thousands, and was followed intensely by 12, even Jesus’ inner circle only consisted of 3 people. Yours will look about the same; don’t kid yourself into believing otherwise.

Not every friend sticks closer than a brother, and that’s OK. Life is full of relationships, each with their own level of closeness. Oftentimes, those in relationship aren’t even desiring the same level of closeness, but unless they’re willing to be honest with one another, one just assumes (and prays) the other will “get a clue”. Somewhere between sometimes and usually, the other party eventually does get a clue and is consequently left confused; that is, unless you’re like my former self, and then often you are left clueless for far longer than expected. In my case, for most of 2013, I also didn’t believe in personal boundaries, so my addiction to emotional harlotry didn’t help my case.

Some friendships are for a season, then fade, then come back again. Some never come back. Some evolve and change over time. You can be someone’s friend without giving them permission to know every single thing about you and vice/versa. You, unbeknownst to me until this year, can also do this while still upholding Christ’s call to love. In fact, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is let things change inside of, or even let go of, a relationship that is near and dear to you.

In rare cases, you will find those with whom your soul connects in a way that is, if I can say, not of this world. You will find people who just “get” you without you needing to explain yourself. They will give you the benefit of the doubt but be willing to confront you when needed. They will desire your good above their own, always without question. They will guard your heart as if it were their own. In your divinely-inspired friendship, you will give and take in a natural, beautiful exchange of wills. Cherish those people. Protect those people with a fierce and loyal love this world does not know.

  • With God’s help, you really can survive anything. Better yet, you can not only survive but thrive while in the midst of the deepest pain, no matter its nature.

I learned this valuable lesson in the physical realm back in 2005 and the emotional realm in 2013.

So what will 2014 bring?

I read a quote on New Year’s Eve that really spoke to me:
“A new year is at hand,” the king said. “We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.”
King George VI

That is my prayer for 2014, that I remain undaunted in my commitment to the Lord and His sovereignty and goodness, no matter what befalls me this upcoming year. Whether it be another year of not having the opportunity to be a mother, another year of disappointments and confusion, or even death. By God’s grace, as long as I’m alive, I pray I remain undaunted in my commitment to Him.

Lord, let it be so.

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