Meeting Jesus In The Woods

I have a friend who goes up to her cabin and spends regular weekends with Jesus. She walks in the woods and watches deer dancing in her front yard. She spends hours in her Bible. And many more hours on her knees confessing sins. She sings hymns and praises to our great and mighty King.

And I'll admit it. The first time she told me about it, I thought she was just plain weird.

But the past few years my heart has faced sorrows so deep that there are no words that can aptly describe the pain. It's like a deep black pain that just rips you apart and pulls out your soul. Stomps on it, then sticks it in a meat grinder. Then tosses it in a paper shredder for dramatic effect and stuffs it right back into your soul cavity. Broken. Ripped apart. Washed salty by all the tears. Dried out from all the sadness.

No, I'm not dramatic at all.

Infertility. Miscarriage.
Such deep, dark, burning wounds.

But my friend who meets Jesus in the woods is onto something.

When you let Jesus fill up that deep, black, painful hole inside of you, beautiful things begin to happen. {tweet this}

Years of pain are replaced with tears of joy. Knowing that someday the other side of Heaven you will dance and hug and sing with your precious babies. And you will do all these other wonderful things like go for walks and play dates and build big sand castles and talk about boy things and girl things and funny things and silly things. But these moments will be so much more. More timeless. More precious. More eternal.

That deep pain in your heart will be healed up and filled with God's glory and power and mercy. You will be so showered in grace that you will forget you only met your babies in eternity and never had a chance to love one another this side of Heaven.

My friend who meets Jesus in the woods is onto something.

Friends, when your soul is so battered and broken that you question whether it is worth believing, run to the woods. Meet Jesus there. Let him shower you in His grace. And fill you up with His love. Let Him brush away your tears and tell you it's going to be ok. That He has a plan and a purpose far greater than your tiny little human mind can possibly imagine.

And when you are done meeting Jesus in the woods, like my wise friend, wipe away your salty tears. And make sure your heart clings so tightly to Him, that you will be able to face the heavy blackness together until it becomes beautifully bright again.

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Have you ever had a special healing moment with Jesus? Tell me about it!

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When Trusting God Is All That's Left

After months of tears, boxes of Kleenex and lots and lots of prayer, God has laid it on my heart to write about a very difficult topic. It's awkward for me to say the least, to lay one of your deepest insecurities out for the world to read. But I have learned there is more healing in bringing sadness to the light, then there is stuffing it deep within your soul. Be encouraged friends. Bring your sadness and struggles into the light don't have to go through life alone.

The doctors said it will take a miracle for us to have kids naturally.

In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. Psalm 25:1 (NIV) 

The odds are stacked against us, they said. Our only options are to pop rounds of pills to spike fertility, most of which are designed for breast cancer patients or diabetics (say what?). Or we could try a few rounds of IVF. That's it. And of course, medical disclaimer here: no guarantees that any of these options will work.

You know, before we started trying to have kids, my husband and I prayed about this type of stuff, we did lots of research and talked to doctors. And we felt extremely convicted that no matter what, if this time of sadness comes, we would draw the line at natural attempts. No pills. No procedures. No test tubes. No science. Just pure old fashioned whoopee and we'd let nature take its course. *awkward silence, she said whoopee* 

So imagine how defeated we felt when we found out that it'll take a miracle to have a child if we chose to pursue said medical interventions. And with medical and statistical certainty, we were told that it ain't happening naturally. No way, no how.

Really defeated.
Extremely sad.
And quite inferior to the rest of the human race.

Yes, miracles exist. I'm sure you know of many miracle baby stories. But they just don't happen every day. Cuz if they did, they'd be called 'everdayicles.' *look, barren girl made a funny* And well, that just doesn't sound as exciting, does it? Plus, I really don't think that's a word.

Anyway, after months of being mad with God. Like really, really, really mad. And shedding lots of tears mourning the loss of a life that we have finally come to accept will never be. *pause for sorrow* We decided that all we can really do is what we're doing already... continuing to place our trust and our hope in the Lord.

When your soul is stripped bare and left hanging for all the world to see... all you have left is to trust in Him. {tweet this}

Even though we will never get preggers, *such a cold, hard, stinky reality* God works all things together for the good of those who trust in Him. (Romans 8:28) So trust we will. Trust trust trust trust trust. The more I say it, the more believable it becomes, right?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5 

It's still so hard to wrap my mind around the fact God has decided flesh and blood children are not for us. *queue tears, bring on the Kleenex!* 

Infertility. It's such a nasty, shame-filled 11-letter word. But it shouldn't be. It's not our fault. It's just our reality. And miscarriage....please don't get me started. It's like having water dangled in front of you when you've been stranded in the desert for years...only to have it yanked away at the very last second. Such heartache friends, such heartache.

But we all face trails in one way or another in this world. And wow, it leaves a soul quite weary, doesn't it?

My heart is so very heavy these days, it feels stripped bare and broken. But every day, it's healing. And I strongly feel that God has told me to write about this struggle. Even when it's horribly uncomfortable. And shameful. And I can feel your pity screaming at me over the internet, real or imagined.

I just want to be obedient. And to trust in Him.

My barrenness does not define who I am, though it seems to have monopolized most of my identity the past six months.

In the coming months, I plan to share more stories with you related to my own struggles with infertility, along with some tips on ways you can come alongside and help a couple who is facing this struggle. But my site will not become about infertility. God does not define me by my barrenness. I don't want you to either.

Reality can really suck. But we live here in the real world. And the reality is, infertility or not, we all have struggles. We all need a Savior. And at the end of the day, I think it’s really just a matter of whether or not we can hold tight to the truth that God will use every struggle, every mess, every sadness, for His glory and His purposes.

Hold tight to that today.

Hold tight to the truth that God will use every mess in your life for something beautiful. For HIS glory. Even if we may not see it this side of heaven. {tweet this}

His glory.
His purposes.
His timing.

"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

xoxo, Nicki

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Do you have a struggle that you are dealing with right now? Do you trust that the Lord has it (and you) in the palm of His hand?

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Cherish The Ordinary

How do you deal with ordinary days? Do you embrace them? Or try to shake them up?

It was just another ordinary day.

The alarm went off. I did some early am bible study, half groggy, with copious amounts of coffee. I scribbled in my prayer journal. No exciting revelations.

I went to work.
It was work. Nothing dramatic. Nothing new. Just work.

After work, I ran some errands.
*Yawn, I'm bored just writing this.*

And now I'm reflecting on my day.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened.
Nothing for the history books.
No major revelations.
No big events.
No crazy moments.
Nothing radical. Nothing big.
Just an 'oh so good, simple, very ordinary day.'

And you know what? That's a-ok with this girl.

My life has been nothing but crazy and filled with sadness these past few months. And I've learned a valuable lesson through my little soul crisis:

Not every day needs to be extra-ordinary. {tweet this}

Sometimes, in the craziness of a scheduled life, the Lord blesses us with simplicity. Likely to keep us from going postal on everyone. At least that's my theory.

Life lesson from God today:
In the craziness of life, cherish the ordinary days.

"Lord, let me be happy, even in the most ordinary moments. Let me be slow to craziness, patient in my reactions and gracious to everyone who crosses my path today. And let me learn to embrace those precious days filled with 'ordinary' smiles, hugs, laughter, love and friendship. Because every day that you let me take another breath and live another day to impact your kingdom is extra-ordinary, even when it's overflowing with simplicity. In Jesus name, Amen."

Next week I'll share a little of my soul crisis with you.

{What do you think?}
How do you deal with ordinary days? Do you embrace them? Or try to shake them up? Consider learning to "be" in those ordinary moments. They don't last for long, so cherish them!

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Life Lesson From God: Courtesy of the Police

Ever notice that God not only sends us new mercies each morning, but teaches us valuable lessons in some pretty awkward, everyday moments?

Recently  I had a little mishap with the police. The 5-Oh. The Fuzz. The Po-Po.

Smack dab in the middle of my neighborhood, btw.

It was totally humiliating.

To make matters worse, the hubby drove by just moments later. *seriously, what are the chances?* Right at that moment where the officer stands with his flashlight on (it was daylight, so that was weird) reading my license.

Awkward. *she notes in a sing song voice* 
Moments later, via text, hubby asks: "So, how much is the ticket?" Ouch.

To rub salt in my wound, the officer asks to see my registration or proof of insurance.

Me: "Officer, my husband is gonna kill me, that was him that just drove by, by the way....wait, what do you need again?" Officer exasperated: "Registration or proof of insurance ma'am."

Ma'am. Ouch. That hurts.
Me giggling, cuz that's what I do when I'm nervous: "I have it somewhere in here. Hang on."

...3 minutes later, as the Target bags are flying and the gazillion straws and napkins stored in the dash cubby are scattered all over the car...

"Crap, I really do have it, how much time you got?" As I looked up, I caught him rolling his eyes and chuckling. I took note of the wedding ring... hoping his wife is also a ditzy, disorganized blonde.

Sidenote: Have I mentioned that by now the little old lady down the street, the kids at the park and the guy who was out doing a neighbor's landscaping are all standing at the side of the street watching in wide-eyed amusement?

Another text from the hubby: "So really, how much is this gonna cost us?"

My response: "You mean besides my humility and the inability to show my face outside in our neighborhood this Fall?" Him: "Yeah. Besides that."

With all this drama and intrigue and half the neighborhood watching, I must have robbed a bank or something, right?

Nope. I choose to take the stop sign as a suggestion.

Officer: "Stop signs are not suggestions ma'am. I'll give you just a warning today."
Me: "Whew. Thanks. I really do have that registration in here somewhere."
Officer: "You really might want to think about being a little more organized ma'am."
Me (in head): STOP SAYING MA'AM!
Me (out loud): "I will officer. Have a great day!"

Life lesson: Slow down. Stop being so focused on EVERYTHING else that we literally miss the signs right in front of us.

Let's be honest...aren't you guilty of that too? We are so caught up in our own lives, the long list of chores, errands, etc. that sometimes life (or a stop sign) literally passes us right on by.

I am the first to admit that I have been far too busy focusing (ok, obsessing) on my current soul crisis, that I have been missing out on life. And living. And friendships. And laughter. And all the other wonderful things God has in store for me.

Don't be too busy friends. Don't miss all the wonderful, messy, glorious things that God places in front of you each day. The person in the grocery store line that needs a word of encouragement. Or a child that wants you to take delight in the dead bug they just found. A family pet craving your affection. Or the tired spouse who walks through the door at the end of a long day with a migraine. Don't miss out on LIVING, because you are too focused on your sadness, drama, relationship issues...or pretty much anything else that seems to be taking up negative space in your life.

Be present in your life.
Don't miss the beautifully messy moments God has planned for you today. {tweet this}

Pay attention to the signs (both literal and figurative) that God places before you.

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Has God taught you any life lessons this week? I'd love to hear from you!

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