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 today...you 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.

{What do you think?}
Has God taught you any life lessons this week? I'd love to hear from you!

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Alive & Kicking!

Last week I relaunched my blog. Did you get a chance to check it out yet?

If you haven't noticed, the design, direction and tone of my website is entirely different. Actually it has been for like a year or so. You could say I've been a little slow in updating you. Ahem. Procrastinate much? You bet! (If you're reading this via email subscription, pop over to my site and check it out.)

My blog is no longer called "A Joyfilled Life." Not that I don't have a life filled with joy. I sure do. Most days. But God's been showering me in so much grace during my little soul crisis, that last year I bought a new domain and have been waiting for just the right time to launch my new site.

Why the new name? Because at the heart of why I find so much joy in the 'fragrant muck' of life, as Frederick Buechner so eloquently puts it, is God's abundant grace.

The evolution of the name change began years ago when a dear family friend, who happens to be a very wise pastor and a professor of important theological things, once asked me what my 'secret' was for being so bubbly.

I've been pondering that question for over a year and recently gave him my "final" answer. One I'll share in more detail here at some point.

But for now can I just say I'm excited about this new direction in my online ministry? Like crazy excited!

God has been screaming at me to write more for years now. And I've been ignoring Him big-time. It's not a good thing to ignore your Creator, by the way. He often will do alot of things to get your attention.

But that's also a story left for another day.

This week, I just wanted to touch base and tell you about a few important things.
  1. I am going to post regularly. Shocking, I know. My long term goal is to post a few times a week, but for now, I'll ease my way into it by posting once a week, every Monday.
  2. I have such a love/hate relationship with Facebook. If you haven't noticed, it's really hard to get page updates in your news feed anymore. So to make sure you don't miss a post, you will need to follow along with me by doing this crazy thing called “subscribe.” You’ll get posts delivered weekly to your email. (I won't spam the crap out of you, I promise.)
  3. I will eventually do some fun Facebook stuff. So, if you don't already like me on Facebook, you might want to consider doing that so we can become the bestest of friends, swap recipes and share each others crazy secrets. Um, kidding. But you can follow me on Facebook if you want. Click "like" on the sidebar, I made it easy for you! No pressure. (insert social pressure! j/k)
  4. I want to hear from you! It encourages my heart so deeply when I get wonderful emails and comments. Please consider leaving a comment on a post that you like, or just respond by email to the post you receive via email each week, ok?
  5. Speaking of leaving comments, I made it crazy easy for you to leave a message right here on my blog. I switched platforms and installed a fun commenting system. So if you are logged into Facebook, you can click on the comment section and leave a message that way, or you can post it anonymously, or even use an email account or other social media program. You will be notified of replies and it'll be a lot of crazy fun! Give it a try and see how you like it. (And if you need help figuring it out, let me know.)
Ok, lots to write. Lots to share. Some will make you cry. Others will make you laugh. But they will all remind you (and me) that we are showered in grace each and every moment of this crazy, beautiful life.

Blessings and love to you! xoxo Nicki

Coming up next week:
"Life Lesson From God: Courtesy of the Police." doh!

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