For the Woman Who Suffers from Infertility

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I get it. You read the title of today’s post and you felt the weight of this word resting upon your shoulders. Infertility. You taste the bitterness of wanting a child so badly and yet …. still you wait. You’re not alone. You may know the statistics, that one in eight women will deal with this word, and yet, you’ve never felt more alone in your life.

There are triggers everywhere. You walk into the grocery store and see a mom delicately setting her toddler into the cart. You turn on the TV and are hit with a Pampers commercial and tiny baby coos. You walk into church and it’s child dedication week and you fight to hold back the tears. You grab the mail and there it is, another baby shower invitation.

When will it be your turn?

You shuffle through so many emotions in one day. 

Anger. Why is God letting you go through this?

Sorrow. Will it ever be your turn?

Fear. Was it something you did? Is this a punishment?

Numbness. It’s been so long, can we put up a wall around our heart?

Worry. What if you never beat infertility?

Shame. How is it possible to feel this broken?

Excitement. What was that twinge you just felt?

Girlfriend, pull up a chair next to me today. Let me hand you a cup of tea and a cozy blanket, and tell you I understand. I stood in your shoes for nearly a decade and can taste the grief rising up in my mouth as I write this. Things aren’t going the way you thought they would go. You had a dream for your life, a vision. Nothing is going the way you had planned. Where is God in all of it?

Let me tell you a story. 

A handful of years back, I was on vacation, floating in a pool, reading, when the heavy emotions of infertility started to swirl. Everywhere I looked, there were children and families. I watched a mom rubbing down her little boy with sunscreen. I watched a dad wrestle the arm floaties on his toddler. I watched a set of grandparents taking a hundred pictures. I watched as a mom floated by with her tiny baby, whispering words to him and making him giggle as he splashed gently. And as I watched, I felt so sad. Broken. Lonely. Grief-stricken.

I suddenly felt hot from the inside. My heart felt like it was crying crocodile tears. I was frozen. The sadness started to creep from my heart up my neck, tightening. I felt so empty. I couldn’t process the sudden sadness. 

A few hours later I found myself lying down in the spa area with a cool washcloth over my face, trying to sort out all my emotions. And as I lay there, the tears finally burst through, like a dam, flooding my washcloth and speaking words of grief to my Father that only tears could. I felt like I was being covered in a physical blanket of sadness and sorrow.

I kept praying it would go away. And then God stopped me, and He reminded me in that gentle, soothing way only He can, that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to want a family and to wonder when it’s going to happen. It’s okay to grieve the loss of dreams and wonder what the purpose of this is. It’s okay to acknowledge there’s a gigantic gaping hole in our heart. God is big enough for our sadness.

It was in that moment I felt like God stepped into my blanket of sorrow and closed both of us back up in it. He wanted me to acknowledge my emotions with Him by my side. He wanted to validate my feelings were okay. 

You see, God is big enough for your questions. He is big enough to hold you close when you are crying and big enough for your dreams. I know it’s hard. I know it really doesn’t get easier. I encourage you to not only invite God into your pain, but to also be brave enough to let others in as well. 

I wish I could promise you that it will all turn out okay in the end. I wish God would give you a timeline so that you knew how to handle another month with a negative test. And while I can’t do that, what I can do is reassure you that God is still in this heartache with you.

Each and every day, you are learning in a painstaking way, that it’s possible to experience joy that isn’t dependent on your circumstances.

Now let me leave you with some encouragement. God is bigger than infertility. God knows exactly how your heart is feeling. God used women struggling with infertility all throughout the Bible in BIG ways. Remember Hannah? 1 Samuel 1 shares her brokenness over the fact that her womb was closed, and yet God answered her prayers in His timing and Samuel was born. Remember Elizabeth and Zechariah? Luke 1 outlines the fact that they were barren, and yet God proved He was bigger than infertility and John the Baptist was born, at precisely the right time. These are just two examples where God reminds us that infertility isn’t without purpose. It’s not a sentence God has placed on us, but instead an opportunity. Yuck, I know. It’s a painful opportunity, but one that God can use, if we let Him, to display His goodness. 

Month after month, I whispered and cried out with my own prayer of brokenness. I routinely had to plead with God to help me trust that His plans were greater than my desires. I knew He could work a miracle, and so my prayer became that of the father in Mark 9, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!" My lack of control reminded me that God best demonstrates who He is when we are paying careful attention, when we are seeking Him instead of being fixated on our emotions.

I’ll leave you with this verse dear friend, because I don’t think it was put into the Bible by mistake. I believe God left us these words in Psalm 113:9 to encourage our hearts and remind us that He is in the business of working big miracles: “He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.” 

You are not alone. God is bigger. You can trust Him. Lean into His strength today and let your knees buckle. He is right there to catch you. 

With love,

Chelsea

 

 

Chelsea is a Midwestern girl who loves connecting with others about infertility, motherhood, and living authentically. She’s been married to Josh for almost 13 years and recently welcomed twins, Kirsten and Logan, to their family after nearly a decade of waiting and loss. Chelsea loves a good cup of coffee, a cozy bookshop and mindless reality TV. She co-authored a 6 week woman's devotional called "In the Wait", which helps women lean into God while living intentionally in seasons of waiting. She values engaging her faith and embracing difficult seasons with joy.  You can find her on her blog and Instagram. 

For the Woman Who is grieving the loss of a parent

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This is my story. It’s a story about loosing my dad here on this earth but it is a story of grief, disappointment, and the loss of hope. Grief comes in many situations and doesn’t have to be connected to death. I also carried a lot of shame for the way I felt, acted, and reacted to my situation. I admire those who clung to Jesus in their stories tighter than I did, but I want to give myself the grace to recognize that I probably clung to Jesus more than I realized. Each person that walks a similar journey can relate - or not. Details vary. What I do know, in every story of grief, is that the Lord remains the same. He is good, He is faithful, and full of love. He brings healing to the brokenhearted.  Here is my story.


If you had asked me in my early twenties what my biggest fear was I could have easily told you it was to loose my dad. I was fortunate to grow up in a house full of love, with both my parents in a small prairie town. My dad was a farmer and I never wished for any other life. He was kind and loving and adored being a father of three girls. His hope for us was to know and love Jesus, the biggest love of his own life. His faith was something he could have taken for granted but he travelled the journey to make it his own. His favourite promise is found in the book of Isaiah, "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) I loved my theological discussions with him - Bibles open and me so curious about the Lord my dad knew so well.


One August weekend and a trip to the emergency room turned our simple small town life into a reality many families walk through. The following days were filled with tests and too much time to think. Finally the dreaded diagnosis - cancer. But there was hope. His form of leukaemia, we were assured, would be something he would live with but it wouldn't kill him. Above that, we had so much hope in the healing hand of our Heavenly Father.


A few months later I found myself rushing away from church a week before Christmas. My dad had had a stroke and it wasn't looking good. The medical team was right, it wouldn't be the cancer that would kill him.


The hospital stay was three months long. Our faith as individuals and as a family had never been so strong or so united. We prayed long and hard and loud over my dad and his health. There were friends and family and strangers praying big faith filled prayers for his recovery. We knew our God was bigger than the obstacles in the way. We were believing for the supernatural in a very natural setting. I stood on many promises the Bible holds. Clinging to them and saying them over and over like, ”The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)


When that game changer of a day in March showed up, I knew what was coming but I refused to believe it. I desperately told myself it was a day for a miracle but I remember choosing clothes that morning that I didn't particularly like because I would never want to wear them again. As I sat there and watched my dad struggle through his last breaths I just watched in disbelief. What happened to “the prayer of a righteous person was powerful and effective”?


Those next five years were not my proudest moments. I wasn't rebellious or making ‘typical’ bad choices. I simply lived in disappointment. My faith was bruised in a big way. I had really believed the Lord would heal my dad on this earth. I had lost the ability to hope and refused to pray about anything that mattered, or I should say, anything that I wasn't feeling in control of. It's not that I didn't trust the Lord, but I didn't trust myself. I didn't think I could hear the Lord correctly. Reading my Bible wasn’t happening either because I didn’t think I understood it very well. I did a lot of life without the Lord. I asked Him to stay at a distance - but not too far away. He loved me so perfectly through this heartbreak. Pushing me when needed but for the most part, being gentle as we slowly built up our relationship again.


I never wanted to turn fully away from the Lord. I knew He was still good and I knew He was still God  - but wow - I struggled with hope. My only hope was heaven because nothing else was a guarantee. All I wanted to do was protect my heart from ever feeling disappointment in the Lord again. It was hard to give Him more than just a little bit of myself -  but the Lord wanted all of me back. He pursued me with all of His love and the intimate knowledge of who He created me to be.  My heart’s desire was to be in full time ministry and soon I found myself, with my disappointment baggage in tow, working at a Bible camp. Slowly I was growing to trust the Lord again, and slowly I was going from a place of simply still loving God to being so deeply in love with Him again.


Hope was still a four-letter word for me when I left for Tijuana on my second mission trip with the camp. We arrived in San Diego to sign some paper work and collect our new t-shirts before heading into Mexico. I looked at the lime green shirts with disgust. Across the front said "Hope is...". I was not impressed to say the least. My outside was definitely not going to be advertising what I felt on the inside. The whole team wore these bright, and not at all subtle, t-shirts to church on Sunday and then through Wal-Mart that afternoon. I was stopped by a lady, a Wal-Mart employee, who spoke a bit of English. She asked me, "what is hope?" I had no words. How could I answer honestly? This was at the root of my brokenness.  She answered her own question in complete sincerity, "hope is everything".  Something happened in that moment that I can't fully explain but it was healing. On a trip to help a family with a material lack I was confronted with my own poverty. The brokenness in my relationship with my Lord.


The Lord had been in close pursuit of me, and here was the turning point of healing. I spent the next weeks diving into hope, learning what the Bible had to say about it and praying I would have a hopeful spirit restored in me. Proverbs 13:12 says that deferred hope leaves us with a sick heart. I had spent five years putting off hope and my heart had been so sick. But now I was meditating on the beautiful truth of Romans 15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." I am hopeful, I am joyful, and I have traded my anxiousness in trusting God to peace in believing.


A switch has been flipped but my journey continues. I still miss my dad in a big way. I still cry. I still ask the Lord to put him in my dreams. My comfort comes in knowing that the same Holy Spirit that was in my dad, is in me. When I need advice I can go to the same source he went to. I rejoice in the truth that to live is Christ but to die is even better. (Philippians 1:21) How can I be upset that my dad is in heaven? With Jesus! I still get an overpowering ache in my chest from time to time and holidays are hard. March is still the worst month of the year, but I am trusting the Lord will restore that too.


From that first weekend of bad news and all the way through to this moment, putting my story in written words, I have seen the faithfulness of the Lord. Recently I read these beautiful words in Exodus 19:4, "You know how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself”.  I finally understood that promise from Isaiah 40:31 that my dad loved so much. Looking back I can see how the Lord carried me on eagles wings - He sustained me and I found new strength - as He brought me back to Himself.



Holly enjoys small town life in the Canadian prairies. She loves coffee, ice cream, and heart to hearts. This works out great because all of these elements pop up regularly as she serves in full time camp ministry, loving on the campers, staff and volunteers. You can get in touch with Holly at hollyepp@gmail.com  

For the Woman who is Disappointed with God

"You can't dance for at least six months, maybe longer," said the smart-looking Physical Therapist checking my ankle. "There is literally NO feeling in my ankle," I squirmed in response, trying to muster up some kind of signal to move my ankle. Grimacing, I realized that as much as I tried to flex my foot, nothing was happening. A flood of emotion and tears rose inside of me. "I’m ruined," I thought. I had recently been accepted into a prestigious dance company on my college campus. I was one of the youngest members accepted – and now I had to tell them I couldn’t dance! Eventually, I learned that I had to quit all my dance classes for the whole semester. The anger inside of me swelled. "Why would you do this Lord?" I asked.

     I'm sure you can relate to the feelings of confusion and sadness over a loss of a dream or a passion taken. Likely it was something that felt like it completed you... gone. Looking back, I can tell you exactly why the Lord took away my dancing for those six months. I was seeking dance before him. I wanted nothing more in life than to dance and succeed in my dancing. I placed it above what he wanted for me. Looking back, it seems like a distant memory but at the moment it was life-altering. A huge catastrophe. 

    Now, a little bit older and a little bit wiser, I’ve had a lot of life-altering moments like this. Moments that made me question God. I have gone through many seasons of deep discouragement, and disappointment. Seasons that whispered to me: he just doesn’t care. Seasons upon seasons that have brought me to places that I just didn’t want to be. Whether it was my long struggle with depression, or my move to New Hampshire, these times in my life were dark…I questioned his providence. Most of all, I was disappointed with the direction my life had taken.

   Now, looking back, I have the dance career I always longed for. I could never have planned for how my dance schedule fits into my life as a mother. I am able to teach and perform professionally while taking care of those who mean the most to me. God has met the desires of my heart, but in a deeper and sweeter way than I could EVER, EVER imagine. Don't cut God short by trying or pushing for your own way. Let him lead and watch to see the amazing places he brings you.

   Yet, other areas of my life are still internal struggles. My move to New Hampshire still leaves me feeling isolated and lonely most days. I still question God’s direction for my life. My season of depression, although a HUGE teaching season for me, still floods me with sad, lonely memories. 

    But, what I can say about all of this is: God has always, always ministered to my heart. He has remained steadfast and grown me in amazing ways. 

    Through this time, I have learned countless lessons. But, one of them is this: Christianity is the only religion that doesn’t talk about trying to do away with suffering, instead, Jesus says he will turn our suffering into good. He will enter into our suffering with us. He will take our loss, and count it as gain. He will teach each and every one of insurmountable lessons, but mostly, he will reside with us in the suffering.

     One of my all-time favorite quotes from Streams in the Desert says this:

      “We once saw a man draw some black dots. We looked and could make nothing of them but an irregular assemblage of black dots. Then he drew a few lines, put in a few rests, then a clef at the beginning, and we saw these black dots were musical notes. On sounding them we were singing, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow, Praise him all creatures here below.” There are many black dots and black spots in our lives, and we cannot understand why they are there or why God permitted them to come. But if we let God come into our lives, and adjust the dots in the proper way, and draw the lines He wants, and separate this from that, and put in the rests at the proper places; out of the black dots and spots in our lives He will make a glorious harmony.” 

    Let God turn your mourning into dancing, your heartache into song. God has taught me over the years that losing can be gain when we give it to Christ. Lessons learned the hard way can be blessings in disguise, and although we don’t always understand what he is doing, we can be confident that HE IS FAR BETTER than anything the world has to offer. I always go back to this verse, “Yet, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8) 

Find more of Mikella's awesome writing and heart on instagram @chasingsacred

 

For the Woman Who Fears Making Friends

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My mom kissed me goodbye and began her seven-hour drive back to Kansas as I stood in my new front door in Denver wondering what to do next. A month after college graduation, I was starting a new chapter in the Mile High City with new roommates, new singleness, new community, and a new internship. I knew no one but I did know that God had called me to this next chapter so, despite the loneliness, I felt peace. But, what was the next step after my mom left? Make some new friends!

 

At first, I frequented the park with a book just to feel like I had some companionship with runners passing by. I watched TV during meal times so it wouldn’t feel so quiet at the six-person table for one. I joined online community meet-ups for running clubs and dance lessons to meet new friends but as you can imagine not a lot of conversation was happening while I was sweating and swaying from one activity to the next.

 

My church search was slow but found one that seemed a good fit—lots of young vibrant people. I attended the info meeting but was still unsure where to get plugged in. I remained faithful attending by myself every week, hoping that I would find a friend. But ya know what? Hoping to make friends isn’t a very effective way to make friends. Avoiding conversation with strangers also wasn’t going to aid me in finding new besties. So, it was time to try a different strategy for making new friends—putting myself out there and dating potential friends.

 

Now, I wasn’t an amateur to making friends but I also wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it. I had gone to a university halfway across the country without my closest friends by my side and I survived. My community certainly didn't thrive but I graduated with a few good friends that I keep in touch with today. But something about that college experience tore off the rose-colored glasses of friendship.

 

I was often lonely, hurting for a real friend to connect with during those four years. I pushed aside women who were genuinely seeking a relationship with me because they didn’t seem as “good” as my friends from back home. I was constantly flitting from one bible study to the next, letting people down when I moved on to the next promise of “perfect friends.” By my senior year, my inner-circle of friends was non-existent and I knew I needed to change the way I viewed the role of community in my life.

 

A community of believers is a gift from God. Not every Christian is given a solid group of friends that are all pursuing Jesus and chasing after holiness.  Surrounding yourself with this type of a friend is an encouragement in itself. So, how could I approach my community with thanksgiving for what God had given me?

 

I gave a second glance at those women who were reciprocating a friendship with me and began to pursue them right back. That year I focused on loving five girls and getting to know them on a deeper level. The more time we spent together, the richer our relationships became.

 

So when it came to dating new friends in Denver, I wanted to have a posture of gratitude for the little conversations here and there that blessed me and kept me going until I found my core group of friends. But here is how I began my search for new friends:

 

1.     Asking A Potential Friend Out

 

I found a forum on our church’s site and asked if anyone was looking for some friends. I boldly asked for what I wanted. A few coffee dates followed and some of those women became fast friends for a season; some I never saw again. It was worth the uncomfortable coffee dates to get to the friends that I could see potential in.

 

2.     DTF (Determine the Friendship)

 

After six months of “doing” friendship, there were about three women that really stood out. So, when we were hanging out one-on-one I told them I wanted to go deeper. I enjoyed having lots of fun and creating memories but, I wanted to find women who could grow in their faith together. It said “I was all in” on the friendship. Declaring my commitment instantly brought us to another level of vulnerability.

 

3.     Committing to a Larger Community

 

Finally, by my first year in Denver, I had committed myself to a community of believers. These were a group of people in a variety of life-stages, careers and backgrounds. We met weekly to pray, read God’s Word and encourage one another. These folks may not have been my best friends, but being a part of a larger group was healthy for my own faith as well as, the health of the larger church.

 

Now that I have lived in Denver for five years, I can honestly say that God has provided friends for certain seasons and friends for a lifetime. Finding friends wasn’t always easy nor is it perfect now. Yet, “how wonderful and pleasant is it when brothers dwell in unity” (Ps. 133:1). How glorified is our God when we have one mind and one voice to glorify Him (see Rom. 15:6)? God has consistently shown me that when we are grateful for the gift of community, coupled with actively reaching out to others, we will find fruit in our friendships.

 

God has demonstrated what it looks like to reach down and invite us into relationship so now we can confidently invite others into relationship with us. May you be encouraged to find a new friend, reach out to your current community, or write a letter of thanks for the way a friend invited you into her life.

 

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Bio: Bailey T. Hurley is a community-builder who encourages women to root themselves in their faith so they can grow fruitful friendships.  If you want to learn more about Bailey visit her at baileythurley.com and shop her community-building products. And continue the conversation over on her Instagram at @bailey.t.hurley (https://www.instagram.com/bailey.t.hurley/)

For the Woman Who Needs to be Renewed

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The word RENEW seems so “refreshing”... doesn’t it? I picture a cold glass of water being poured onto dry, cracking ground. It is necessary for healing, but renewal hurts, it takes discipline and surrender. The ground needs to be refreshed by a continual stream…submerged and continually soaking up water, like a river. 

Over the last couple years, I have been overcome with overwhelm + exhaustion. In the midst of being a stay at home mom, having a hubby with a busy schedule and running 2 of my own businesses... my mind started becoming very cluttered. You know that meme about your brain having too many tabs open?! Yep, that was me. 

My days felt long and hard. I was a good mom, homemaker/wife, entrepreneur... but never all at once. If I was intentional in one area, the others seemed to crumble. I knew I needed to make some changes, but the weight of the burdens I felt were too consuming. 

My mind started to question everything I’ve known. As the reality of life set in, I realized that I wasn’t reaping the rewards I thought I was promised. So many areas of my life where I had faithfully surrendered to the Lord with a pure heart growing up, didn’t seem to end with the result I thought was guaranteed. I had linked spiritual obedience with worldly reward.

In high school, I was asked to share in our Chapel. I was terrified to say yes, but the Lord gave me strength. He gave me these verses and I have clung to them ever since.

 

Jeremiah 1

“The Word of the Lord came to me:
I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations…


But I protested, “Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth. Then the Lord said to me: DO NOT SAY, “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you...
Then the Lord reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with MY words.”

Just about every morning, from junior high until I got married, I would wake up, grab my Bible and spend time with the Lord until I was filled before I ever left my room. The early years of our marriage, I still kept pretty close to this routine. And once our kids came, I guess I just started to fit His Word in where I could throughout the day, but it was very scattered. Over the next 5 years, I still consumed a lot of God’s Word, and it does NOT return void. But, I knew, because I had experienced it, that there is a huge difference between reading our Bible real quick or for a specific study.. and consuming His Word as our spiritual food: our Daily Bread.

 

Being undisciplined in the physical routines of my life really started to affect my spiritual life and my mind. I started to see how much our spiritual and physical beings affect each other.

 

I don’t want to go too deep into the details of the hard season I entered.. not because I don’t want to share the “hard” stuff, but because I don’t want to give any credit to darkness or let our minds dwell on that. But, it was dark, lonely and hard. 

 

This world and all that we consume from it is so dangerous. My mind became foggy… and in that place I was so hurt, I felt under spiritual attack and I couldn’t discern things. I couldn’t even focus enough to figure out where things went wrong. 

 

Throughout this season, I knew it wasn’t good, but I still knew the Lord was there. In the midst of what felt like drowning, He was still holding onto me. His Word was hidden in my heart and that was the anchor that held me in the storm. It was assurance that He would deliver me.

 

I started to beg for rescue, I returned to Jeremiah to remind myself of the things He has done in my life and this is where He brought repentance...

 

Because He is such a good, loving Father, He first reminded me of this...

Jeremiah 2
“I remember the loyalty of your youth(thank you Lord!), your love as a bride —
How you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.”

This verse brought me to tears because a lot of my confusion was that my devotion to Him over the years reaped little reward…I was so thankful that He remembered my loyalty.. that He was/is my first Love.

Now comes the part that hurts, my sin repentance... pouring that cold water on that dry, cracked ground: In His Word, He showed me that I stopped asking for Him… I wasn’t returning and resting in His Word.He then showed me my abandonment… this one was the most painful: 

Vs. 17
“Have you not brought this on yourself by abandoning the Lord your God while He was leading you along the way?”


-I am SO SORRY LORD. Please have mercy on me + rescue me from my sin.


Vs. 20
“For long ago I broke your yoke; I tore off your chains”

So true! He set me free years ago… but my own flesh and lack of discipline had caused me to be enslaved to myself and to sin. We finally hit a point where I was so broken and discouraged that we knew we needed to create space and room for the Lord to breathe new life into our home. 

The Lord started to show me that He would set me free but something had to give... and that something was me. 

So, I put my Christian apparel business on hold... started saying no to a lot, and begged for rescue. I initially felt some physical relief, but spiritually I wasn’t experiencing Him the way I used to. I was dry, very dry… I needed my mind transformed by Him and consumed with His Word.

And as I felt Him asking me to lay all of me down, and trust that He would deliver me from myself and my foggy mind, He gave me the word RENEW.

I knew His Word held this promise: 
“Be transformed. By the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, perfect will of God.”

And so this became my prayer:
“Give me a clean heart oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me.”


His promise perfectly described my desire... I wanted clarity of mind, to discern His will.

During this whole process I was in the Old Testament, and as cliche, as it is.. I was seeing so much of myself in the grumbling Israelites.

 

Deuteronomy 1:26-27
You grumbled in your tents and said, “the Lord brought us out of the land of Egypt to hand us over to the Amorites in order to destroy us because He hates us.” 

He said He will bring us from slavery to freedom, into an abundant land... but we complain + see the “hard” and say He brought us from slavery to death!
We are in the wilderness because He saved us from something and wants to take us to a new land.. but we complain that we have to walk through the desert to get there! (Cue major eye roll)

As I began to have clarity and hope in the Lord’s revelation and promises to me… I also felt a heavier burden as my sins were shown to me, I honestly wondered if I would survive. But, the rescue of the Lord reaches deep and His mercies never end…

But, He answered with another promise: 
John 11:4: “This sickness will not end in death but is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it”
(Yes, Lord! THANK YOU.)


Then I started asking how, how would I be healed and renewed?


John 11:40-44
“Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
So, they removed the stone. Then Jesus RAISED HIS EYES and said, “Father, I thank you that you heard me. I know that you ALWAYS hear me, but because of the crowd standing here, I said this, so that they may believe you sent me. 


After He said this, He SHOUTED with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!!” ( shout of raw authority)

Hearing this, the Lord pressed into to my heart and reminded me of what He taught me long ago..

The only thing that can bring us from death to life is the WORD OF GOD!! “Imprint these Words of Mine on your hearts + minds…” Deut.11

 

Tarin Brown is small town girl who loves camo + coffee. She is the wife of a hunky basketball coach and stay at home mom to Ford + Poppy! She loves being an entrepreneur and has a passion to share God’s Word through fashion + makeup. Tarin authentically talks #reallife and shares the good + the hard as the Lord works in her life.

Connect with Tarin more here:

hey@riverraised.com

Instagram || Facebook || SHOP NOW ||  SHOP River Raised Beauty

 

For the Woman Who is a Newly Single Mom

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I stood in the master bedroom with my best friend as I awaited the moment my girls’ father was going to be served with divorce papers. I told myself not to watch because I didn’t want that moment etched into my memory, but my heart desperately needed to see justice served. The previous months were flooded with uncovering the awful things he was doing behind my back.  All hope had been lost for saving our marriage.

 

With my heart beating out of my chest, I peered through the window, seeing just a glimpse of what I knew was the beginning of the end of a covenant I made to the man I thought would love and protect me, as he vowed on our wedding day.  As soon as those papers were placed in his hands it was just the beginning of me raising our two daughters on my own. He didn’t want the responsibility of being a father, so it was up to me; it was up to me to be strong, level-headed, courageous, and brave as I was given the new title of “single mom”.

 

“According to the 2016/2017 US Census Bureau, statistics show that: "Today 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.2 million — are being raised without a father."
"During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent."

 

I’m a dreamer — yet I never dreamed this would be my story or that my daughters would be forced to be part of those statistics. As I’ve navigated these new waters, I’ve learned the importance of being surrounded by good people, getting emotional help, and pushing myself to not live in isolation.

 

I like to call these important lessons, “the three C’s.”

 

1. Church

The morning after I found out about my ex-husband’s affair, I loaded my girls into the car, eyes bloodshot from crying all night long, and drove to church. I don’t know why I decided to go, other than I knew that at that moment, I needed Jesus. I didn’t care if I talked to anyone, I just needed to be in the presence of the One who wasn’t surprised by this turn of events. 


Having a church family to lean on through the divorce process and becoming a single parent is key. Allow the church to be the covering you need and the hands and feet of Jesus; especially in practical ways like bringing you meals, offering to babysit the children, and giving you gift cards. I know it sounds scary, allowing people (often strange people) into your mess, but that’s what church is for…to help take care of you and your family when you’re in crisis mode.


Even though it may be hard to get yourself to church, engaging your faith and saying, “God, I trust You” even when you don’t necessarily “feel” it, is powerful. As you sit in service and let His truths wash over you, He will move and He will heal — even if you don’t feel it, He is always faithful. As you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you - His Word is truth and His promises are always true. It’s also a great place for your children to learn and grow in their faith as they are also walking through a very hard life transition.
 

2. Community

Now, you might be thinking, “How are church and community different?” Well, let me tell you! Community is defined by Webster Dictionary as: “a unified body of individuals” …in other words, your people, your tribe. “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1.


These are the people who have walked life with you and know the ins and outs of your story; your family, the friends you can be yourself around (and share the brokenness of your heart, honestly with), the tribe that will help hold you up and take care of you and your children as you learn to parent alone. Even if it’s just a few friends that you trust with everything in you, that’s going to be your community that you want to surround yourself with as you transition from one life season to another.


It’s also natural and healthy to have your “go-to” person, your best friend, the one person who you can tell anything to. It’s important to have that one person you can count on to answer every call and text, who encourages you to keep going, who has a good listening ear, and wisdom for when you feel like you are going to lose it.


Give yourself a bit of grace, but when you’re ready, find a tribe of fellow single moms. They are truly the ones who know exactly what it’s like raising children on your own. Your backgrounds and stories may be completely different, but you can relate in ways that other parents will not be able to. Find a support group for single moms through a local church and know that it’s okay being the initiator to develop these specific relationships. 
 

3.  Counseling

I know, I know. This “c” word is not a favorite for a lot of people. However, I was once told by a pastor that, “counseling is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of maturity.” Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”
I, personally, have been in weekly counseling since the week my girls’ father took off and it’s been the best decision I’ve made. I needed that professional to guide me through my grief and my questions, who had a similar story of being a single mom, who could impart wisdom to me, and who could be that safe place to vent, weep, cuss, and be completely vulnerable.


Sometimes it takes time to find the right counselor for yourself and it’s okay to test a few out; you want to make sure you feel secure with your counselor before you open your heart up, but don’t use the excuse that it is hard to be vulnerable to keep you from opening up.  It is hard, but it is worth it.  I promise.


Counseling will help you dig deep into the parts of your heart that need healing so that you can then be a better, more whole, loving, and non-bitter mother to your children.

 


Transitioning into single motherhood is hard and no one can truly understand what it’s like until you’re in the midst of it. But know this — you are not alone. Many women have trailed this path before us and have succeeded. I have some incredible examples of women I look up to who have made it on the other side of their singleness. They have made it through the valley and are now filled with more peace and joy then they thought possible. These women give me hope for my own story.


More importantly than that, you have a Savior who wasn’t and isn’t surprised by your new life. He will take you by the hand, if you allow Him to, and woo you into His loving arms; for His arms are the only ones who can truly satisfy. He will lead you, guide you, and fill you with peace, one day, one moment at a time. 

 

One last thing: cling to hope. 

 

Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the confession of our HOPE without wavering, for He who promised IS faithful.”

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Autumn Rae is a recently divorced single mom of two beautiful little girls, Avonlea Darling and Journey Wonder. She’s a born and raised California girl who now resides west of the Rockies in Colorado Springs where she spends her days exercising her photography skills, writing, and playing with baby dolls and everything princess. Autumn has tasted and seen the faithfulness of the Lord throughout her 29 years and is hopeful for all the things the Lord has in store for her and her daughter’s futures. Autumn Rae’s writing has also been featured in Mila Magazine.

Connect with Autumn:

Instagram @autumnraewrites

Online @ autumnraewrites.com


Autumn Rae

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