FINALLY – The New Blog Reveal!

So click on over!!!

www.hopingingod.com

:)

Posted in Family | 1 Comment

When Mother’s Day is Painful

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I know I’m supposed to be taking a blog break right now but I can’t NOT post on Mother’s Day. The reason I can’t stay is away is not because I need to wish mothers a wonderful day and tell them how great they are– those things are true, but there are plenty of other placs that will do that! My Mother’s Day post today, like often, is for the broken, the tearful, the hurt.

By the grace of God and the selflessness of his birthparents, I am now the happy mother of our son. But I spent years dreading this holiday for weeks, my empty womb feeling like it was on display for the world to see. My heart would sink, blinking back tears as the cashier at the grocery store would non chalantly say “Happy Mother’s Day!” when I walked out of the store. No, I would think to myself as I tried to catch my breath “it’s not a happy Mother’s Day for me.”

My almost 5 years of infertility, culminating with 2 miscarriages were the reason for my painful Mother’s Days… but what are yours? It could be the similar ache of empty arms and month by month passing with negative pregnancy tests… wondering if you’ll ever hear a sweet baby voice call you ‘mama.’ It could be you felt the joy of your baby coming only to hear she was no longer growing. Or they were born too early – you saw his sweet little face and held his tiny body tight, but living outside the womb was just too much for him and you wept and wept as you said goodbye. Perhaps your child ran away, is estranged or isn’t talking to you and you feel an ache over the relationship that could have been. Maybe your own mother is no longer with us… and every year on Mother’s Day, she’s all you think about. For a mama, it doesn’t matter if she passed when you’re 10 or 60… it will always stay with you. Maybe your mother was neglectful or abusive and Mother’s Day brings about memories of your trauma and at the same time grief over not having a safe, loving bond with your mother. Maybe you’re a birth mom who knows you made the right decision, but that doesn’t make you miss your child any less.

And you know what? Mothering is hard and there are lots of things that can bring pain. Maybe your child has a severe disability. You see other children make their Mother’s Day crafts on Facebook, but look to your child in their wheelchair and know he may not be able to do something like that for years. Perhaps you’re a single mother of 3 and work 2 jobs just to keep afloat, frustrated that your kids’ dad doesn’t help out and sad that you don’t get to spend as much time with your children as you wish you could. Maybe you’re a stay at home mom who feels stuck in the mundane every day and asks “is this all there is?”

There are thousands of other stories like these people are experiencing today. To each and every one of you I say: Jesus is with you. Run to him in your sorrow, your pain, your frustration, your grief. Cry out to Him!

“Cast all of you anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

Jesus cares for you. Deeply, abundantly, fully cares for you- every single bit of you. I know suffering can be confusing, even maddening sometimes, “why in the heck could this be happening to me? There’s no way in the world this could make sense!” His ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8.) God sees everything that has happened in the past, the entirety of what is happening at present and every bit that is to come. He is smoothing out and viewing the entire tapestry for his glory and for our joy. We only see a few threads. And in some seasons – perhaps in your life right now – the threads are all black as night. It looks ugly and dark and meaningless to us. But trust the Creator, the Author, the Artist. He is making your darkness into something beautiful.

 

 

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Posted in Biblical Womanhood, Holidays, Infertility, Sanctification, Suffering | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Spring Update & Blog News!

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Glorious Spring is Finally Here!!!

We’ve been out enjoying the weather with my little walking man who is OBSESSED with going “ow-si” (outside,
in case you don’t speak 1 year old.) I seriously have about 30 posts that are running around in my mind or that I have been wanting to post that I just haven’t gotten around to it because we’ve been busy living life! And sometimes I’m okay with that :-) BUT in the past month my baby turned one and we threw an awesome, super fun book – themed birthday party which I would love to blog about the details, share new recipes I’ve tried recently and about how I’ve made the switch to all homemade tortillas, making wheat sand which bread weekly and how I’ve found a new pizza crust that is amazing! I also haven’t even shared Bryan’s 12 month milestones or his official year post! Such a big deal for me! Alas all those will have to wait for a bit because….

I have decided to upgrade my blog into something brand spanking new and fabulous! I have been working on it, but… I’m not very good with technology and it is taking A LOT of time and energy and work trying to figure out all the shenanigans:) And every time I post here it makes more work for me to transfer things over to my new blog:) SO! I will be taking a short hiatus.

My plan is to work hard to get my new blog in tip top shape and to roll it out to early-mid June. Hopefully about 4-6 weeks will be enough time to be able to get things done with the demands of every day wifedom and motherhood:) I will pop back on here to let you all know it’s ready and direct you to the new site! It’s really pretty and I have a renewed vision for the direction of my blog and some neat things I want to do for the upcoming year. I really hope you continue to join me for this journey (and for my favorite cupcakes ever that I have yet to post!!)

Enjoy your spring!!

Bye bye for now,

Jackie :)

Posted in Friends | 3 Comments

Healing From Loss

IMG_3513One of the most valuable things I learned through going through infertility and our miscarriages was what real loss felt like. This has been so valuable for me because it taught me how I desperately need Jesus. Now only that, it showed me what others are going through and how to better love them through it.

I wanted to share some practical tips on how to cope with and heal from loss, from my own experiences. I am being intentionally vague here because grieving and healing from grief is much like a winding river that takes many unknown twists and turns – – each different and unique for every individual. However there are some underlying themes that I have found often to be similar and I hope these can be helpful.

 

Practical Tips on Coping with and Healing from Loss:

Know it takes time. Months, years, decades… who knows? Different people experience things differently. Try not to have too much expectations on when you’ll be “over it.” Be patient with yourself.

Know that people are just trying to help. They may say stupid things or never ask about it or talk about it too much. They mean well. I’ve been on both sides of the fence. You’ll protect your own heart if you don’t take things too personally and also know people are just trying their best!

Try to find people who can empathize with you. It’s so healthy if someone else has been through a loss and can identify with what you’re going through. You’ll never find someone with the exact same situation and its not necessarily wise to try– but you may be surprised how many people have gone through something similar.

With that being said, don’t cut people out who have no clue. Even if they can’t identify with your particular suffering or have NEVER had something hard yet in their life, they can still be there for you! They can love and care for you, encourage you and challenge you. Let them. Give them permission. They may be a little bit tentative.

Let your heart feel what it feels. But don’t stop there- cry it out to God. Feel angry? Doubtful? Faithless? Don’t run from Him- tell him!! And then listen. Let him speak balm to your heart.

Read the Psalms. I know I said I wouldn’t be too prescriptive but just try it. Psalm 6 is a good start. Do you cry yourself to bed each night? So did the psalmist. You’re not alone. God is not afraid of your big emotion. Let the psalmist speak for you when your words cannot.

Try to find a healthy balance in your life. A balance between being by yourself and being with others; resting and working; pampering yourself and being there for others. Often in suffering, we get unbalanced in one of these ways or the other.

Know yourself. Know what you need. If you’ve been out of touch, suffering can be an incredible time of self reflection and self discovery because it’s incredibly hard to hide and pretend when we’re grieving. This is a life changing process. Dealing with both at the same time can be really, extremely challenging and can actually exacerbate your grief (trust me, I’ve been there) but don’t fight either – bring them to the surface.

Stay with me here friend – I have something I think easily gets passed up. When you’re suffering, your whole world feels like it is imploding. There is often a time when you can barely go about your day, when just getting out of the bed in the morning feelings like a monumental task. But as the loss gets a little farther along, life continues. And often our brains are still solely focused on our loss and our emotions and our heart. Ourselves feel so big. It can be so freeing and life-giving to serve others. Suffering makes you turn inward towards yourself and we often have to force ourselves to curve outward and serve others, be there for them. It can be hard. We can feel like we’re “not ready,” or “not up for it” or whatever. And you know what? You might not be. That’s okay. You don’t need to be perfect to serve. Serve imperfectly. For them. For you. Not necessarily right away in your suffering. But later on. Absolutely.

Cling tight to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Trust Him that He CAN and He WILL heal you. He is big enough for your sorrow, He is big enough for your pain. He is good and He knows you fully and loves you deeply.

Posted in Infertility, Sanctification, Suffering | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

What Good Friday Was To Us Last Year

Last year, as Easter was approaching our family was brimming with excitement. We had been matched with a birth mom who was expecting a baby boy in just 3 short weeks!! I had slowly began filling up my nursery closet with green and blue instead of just yellow, we had chosen a name and we were just so excited about “our son!” We had been to several doctor’s appointments with the birth mom and gotten to experience the gender reveal on the ultrasound as well as several other ultrasounds and stress tests… Listening to the baby’s heartbeat we thought would be our son. I was preparing for maternity leave at work and it was getting more real that after 4 1/2 years of waiting and praying we were actually close to becoming parents.

It was such an exciting time for our family.

The day before Good Friday – 2013- my lovely coworkers threw me a baby shower. It was so fun to celebrate and get some fun new baby items too! They helped me load up my car with goodies – the cake and “Baby Boy” balloons included.

When I got into the driver’s seat I looked down at my phone and saw a voicemail from our social worker. I listened to it and something about the sound of her voice twisted my stomach in knots. I called back right away, but she wasn’t available. I called my husband as quick as I could, scared of the worst, but thinking it couldn’t possibly be it. It probably wasn’t anything right? He was nervous too… While we were on the phone she called back.

“I’m so sorry… The birth mom changed her mind.”

What?!? How could this be?? The mom seemed so, so sure. She had tragically lost a child to a full term stillbirth– my huge worry was that, not that she would change her mind.

I called my husband as fast as I could and cried out “she changed her mind!!!” Oh how heartbroken we were. Now here I was… Trunk full of baby items, cake with what was supposed to be his name on it and baby boy balloons celebrating the son that would never be.

After we got home and grieved and cried together, my husband encouraged me to get out of the house with a friend. He was going to unload my car and shove those things in the nursery… Where right now we needed to shut the door tight, it was just too painful.

As I was getting in the car, I saw him pull the balloons out of the back seat. My heart was in my throat. I felt like he was going to pop them (a normal way to dispose of balloons) but I just couldn’t bear it. At the same time my heart wished it, his hands did it– he let them go.

Up and up and up they went.

And I said goodbye to the baby who was not to be. I let him go.

And so our Good Friday was spent mourning, grieving and crying. But not as those who don’t have hope. After going through years of infertility, losses through miscarriage and now adoption loss we knew one thing– God is good and He loves us. And no matter how hard whatever we were going through was, we would make it out on the other side. We really, really would.

Little did we know we would experience personally the emotions that go along with this weekend – loss, disappointment, confusion on Good Friday — and hope, joy and redemption with our son being born on Easter Sunday.

God is so great and good and powerful. He gives and He takes away. Blessed Be His Name.

Posted in Adoption, Family, Infertility, Jesus, Motherhood, Outpouring of Grace, Sanctification, Suffering | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

God’s Grace in the Form of One Year.

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My heart has a million things to say and I don’t even know where to begin.

Bryan Robert – my dear son – happy first birthday!!

I cry tears of joy when I think about what a privilege it has been to be your mommy for the past year. I still remember walking into the NICU – anxiously excited – just the two of us…

then meeting you minutes later and finally becoming a family (even if we didn’t know it for certain yet.) Oh the change was so instant and so sweet!

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The road to get to you was so long. And so hard. Sometimes all around me and in me all I could see was darkness. It seemed like you would never come.

Yesterday I was holding you on my hip as you were “brushing” your teeth; I was drying my hair and we were singing. You were smiling and giggling. And my heart about exploded. And I wanted to tell that girl – – the girl I was 3 years ago, who was so scared she would never get to be a mommy, never get to rock her own babies to sleep, who worried she would always feel an aching emptiness in her heart – – look at your life now! Your mothering time with come. It will come. And it will be more beautiful and joyful than you can even imagine.

Bryan you give me continuous joy. Motherhood isn’t always easy and you are my wild man, who wears me out and gives me a run for the money. But my heart overflows with gratefulness that I get to be your mommy. And as much joy as I feel in that role and the privilege it is to raise you, my joy is even deeper because you continually point me to the greatest gift in Jesus.

I learned the hard way in infertility that the road to parenthood will let me down. My plans for my family will fall short. And even when I get my wish for a baby, my son is a flawed sinful ball of adorableness and as much joy as he brings me, he alone cannot satisfy my soul. But! This wonderful gift of motherhood and the amazing treasure he is – – they can point me to the everlasting fountain of life… Jesus… the only one who can satisfy my soul forever.

My love, the last year has been the best of my whole life. You have made your daddy and I so, so happy. It brings me life and joy beyond my wildest dreams to get to spend my days with you – playing, reading, going on adventures and just living ordinary life – watching you grow up before my very eyes.

You have brought me so much happiness. And the best part? I am continually reminded of what a gift you are and the joy I find in you continually points me to God the Father where we find immeasureable and innumerable joy! He is the source of eternal life. Bryan, every night I pray you know Him. Your mommy and daddy love you as much as we possibly can, but we fail you… more than I’d like. Jesus will never fail you. Never forsake you or let you down. He loves you infinitely more than your daddy and I do and he will literally love you for all eternity.

If you remember nothing more of what I teach you, I pray you know that.

But if you do remember more:

  • Know we wanted you, prayed for you for years and years before you came to us.
  • Know we loved you from the instant we saw you.
  • Know you are ours through and through – as much as if you would have been born to us.
  • Know that you have been evidence of God’s grace and love and kindness and faithfulness to us.
  • Know that you have been healing balm to your mama’s heart
  • Know you have brought our family joy and have brought so much wonderful loud noise and laughter into our home
  • Know you bring your extended family so much joy and are so loved by them.
  • Know you are so incredibly deeply loved by your mommy and daddy.
  • Know you are perfectly made by the hands of a loving God who knows everything about you and who loves you perfectly

Bryan I am so thankful for you first year. I love you with every fiber of my being my sweet son. God willing, I pray for years and decades more of being family together.

I love you.

Posted in Adoption, Family, Jesus, Our Son, Outpouring of Grace | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Countdown to ONE: A Year Ago Tomorrow…

My son was born.

I wasn’t laboring in a hospital or anxiously wringing my hands in the waiting room. I wasn’t even getting text play by plays or waiting nervously by the phone. I wasn’t receiving an “It’s a Boy!” balloon or cards and flowers. I was sitting at home- on the couch watching TV as my son took his first breath, cried his first cry.

I knew there was a birthmom delivering that day. I knew there was a slight possibility this could be our baby. But it was too good to be true, I couldn’t get my hopes up. Those high hopes has been dashed once and I didn’t want to get too excited in case they would be again. So I tried to be normal, not think too much about it and go to bed.

I checked my phone first thing in the morning to see if there was any updates. I figured she probably had the baby by 8am, but maybe not. Three hours later I couldn’t take it anymore- I emailed to know something. Did she have the baby? Did she already pick another family? Would the match happen soon or be days away? And well… The rest is history:)
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So my son- I know you understand I wish I would have been there for those first moments, those first hours. To see you at just minutes old, be the first person to hold you. But we both know – your life from before conception was written by the hand of a loving God. He, in his sovereign wisdom chose the birth parents you would be born to and chose us, the lucky parents that get to raise you. He knew the moment we would gasp in shock and love as we first saw your chunky cheeks and adorable 1 day old face; the heart-stopping, tear-flowing, world-spinning moment as we held you for the first time. And I don’t regret or mourn or even feel like I missed out on a single thing. Of course I wish I could have experienced everything with you, but I didn’t get to and that’s ok. Every single day, every hour, every moment we have together is a gift.

It’s such a privilege to be a family together. Bryan, I love you, I love you, I love you.

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Tomorrow you will be one whole year old. And I feel like the luckiest mama on the whole entire planet.

I will love you forever.

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Posted in Adoption, Our Son, Outpouring of Grace | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments