Waiting for Baby Bird

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay This Thanksgiving

To the One Hurting This Thanksgiving smaller

Hey there sweet friend,

Have you ever googled Thankful for infertility? I have. And all of the articles at the top of my search were written by women who had reached the other side. They were the ones no longer in the trenches and throes of infertility. The ones who have had their adoptions finalized. The ones who have given birth to healthy babies. The ones who have had their dreams fulfilled, no longer pouring every last penny into medicine and doctor appointments. And they were the ones no longer gasping for air from the deep heartache of a miscarriage or a failed adoption.

Given the fact they were living on the other side, I believe it was easier for them to look back and be thankful for all that infertility had taught them. They could see through the eyes of grace how it strengthened their marriage, renewed their faith, and brought them blessings in disguise. They could see how their journey through their miscarriage made them stronger and braver. They could see how everything that went wrong, helped make all things right. And they could see all of this because they were on the mountain top looking down.

But you– the one still fighting for your dream. The one whose heart is still painfully aching from a miscarriage. The one who just discovered another treatment cycle has failed. And the one who is hanging onto hope by a thread. I am writing this article for you. Because I want you to know that this Thanksgiving, as you carve the turkey, pass the stuffing and put way too much whip cream on your pumpkin pie, it’s okay if you are struggling to be thankful.

Sure, you can name one thing or even several things…your home, your job, your spouse, or even the food in which you are about to partake…but the one joy you thought or hoped you were going to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday, you can’t mention. And maybe it is because you have recently learned that the miracle that once filled your womb isn’t going to fill your arms. Or the plans you made in order to make this year different, have failed. And failed miserably. Or maybe it’s because the dreams you believed were coming true, have instead turned into a nightmare.

And my heart aches for you. Because I get it. I understand. I even understand the pressure you are under to still be joyful and thankful for all that still remains. And I understand the guilt you feel when you can’t, and the shame you have when you aren’t, even though you know you should be. You know you live an abundant life, but it’s just so hard to see it right now. Therefore this guilt, and this shame, on top of all of this heartache? It just makes the stress of the holiday much more difficult to bear. And it makes you feel like a horrible person, am I right? But friend, as you venture into Thanksgiving this week, I want to tell you something from my heart to yours: It’s okay.

It’s okay if you are unable to fight back the tears as you gather around the table to give thanks.

It’s okay if you can’t see how your miscarriage could ever be woven into some master plan of good.

It’s okay to be sad…even outraged…that your life isn’t going according to plan.

It’s okay if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry when the emotions become too overwhelming, the thoughts become too painful, and the heartache you have becomes too strong.

It’s okay to be angry and confused at the unfairness infertility brings.

It’s okay if you don’t sweep your emotions underneath the kitchen rug you are standing on while you peel the potatoes, but rather open up and tell your family how your womb aches. Your heart hurts. And the hope you have is fading.

And it’s okay to shake your fist to the heavens and tell God exactly how you feel. Not holding anything back.

It’s okay to question why your plans are not good enough or the timing isn’t right.

It’s okay to be mad that you have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours at the doctor’s office just to be given a chance to have what seems to come so naturally and easily to others.

And it’s okay to hurt, to cry, and to still feel disappointed even though others think you should have moved on by now.

It’s okay to tell your Aunt Judy with grace that it’s not really her place to ask when you are going to have children.

It’s okay if while grocery shopping for thanksgiving dinner you see a pregnant woman in the same aisle as you and you need to turn your head. Even move to another part of the store. Or wipe away a tear.

It’s okay if you decline the invitation to hold your cousins baby or walk away from a conversation about motherhood.

It’s okay if you decide to cook a meal for just you and your spouse…forgoing the traditional family affair.

Friend, basically I want you to know it’s okay to not be okay this Thanksgiving.  

So give yourself the gift of grace. Because you are not a horrible person.  You are a normal human being with normal emotions after experiencing loss and constant disappointment and heartache.   Even the most perfect person has occasional trouble seeing the joy through the pain. So, sweet friend, don’t beat yourself up or kick yourself down. Just do the best you can and try to remember through the holiday season that it won’t always be this hard, or this overwhelming, or this stressful. Because just like the women in the articles wrote, night always turns to dawn. Seasons always change.  And the valley you are in today might be the one you are looking down on tomorrow. But until that time comes, just know that it’s okay to not always be okay even if it is Thanksgiving.

With LoveI would love to connect with you on a personal level, so if you liked this post, pass it on.Then come find Waiting for Baby Bird on the public Facebook page or join me on Instagram @waitingforbabybird. I can’t wait to “meet” you!


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Tales of Fostering

Why I Pray Our Foster Daughter Returns Home

Why I Pray Our Foster Daughter Returns Home Square

I have drafted this post in my head several times in the last few months.  And especially so in the past few weeks.  But every time I sit down to put my thoughts into words and pen them on paper, I can’t.  I fall short every single time of being able to adequately express my heart.  A heart that wholeheartedly loves and cherishes a child who has called my home her own for the last 21 months.  But also from a heart that aches for her mother; a woman who has caused my faith to stretch in unimaginable ways and my love for the lost and hurting to reach a level that just doesn’t make sense.

I’ll never forget the first time I met her. Our foster daughter had been living with us for almost six months before I shook her hand and looked her in the eyes. Eyes that…well…pierced my soul. I will never forget the emptiness I saw in her that day. She was hurting. Her life was in a hopeless state. I could see her heart was broken. Actually, shattered. And her mind seemed to be controlled by the pains of her past that I just couldn’t understand because I had never faced them.

I remember our foster daughter taking her five tiny fingers that were wrapped in mine and letting them fall to her side as she sat next to her Momma and colored.  My husband and I just stood in the corner, watching from a distance as we waited for our case number to be called.  I wasn’t jealous.  I didn’t sense the need to try to compete. I surprisingly didn’t have feelings of anger or thoughts that she didn’t deserve her.  But I must admit, before I saw her for the first time that day, I did.  Because in my eyes, she was the sinner and I was the saint. She was the one undeserving to be her mother.

But on that day, while walking up the steps to the court house, I asked the Lord to help me see her the way He saw her. I didn’t want to see her the way the investigators painted her. I didn’t want to look at her the way her past and present spoke of her. I didn’t want to see her as the sinner I had written her off to be. I didn’t want to condemn her for the poor choices she has made. Or label her as a bad mom, sister, daughter, or friend. I wanted to see her the way He saw her.

I wanted to see her through the eyes of grace. 

Because friends, who am I to judge?  Her life could have easily been mine. I could have been the one seeking the love my soul craved from men who didn’t care about me.  I could have been the one chasing friends who were chasing the world and the emptiness that worldly pleasures so often bring.  It could have been me sitting in the court room with my children taken away, broken and lost…but it isn’t.  And I believe it’s because I had parents who weren’t afraid to put their foot down.  And friends who genuinely cared about my life.  But most of all, I believe it’s because I fell in love with a man named Jesus 15 years ago.  A man this woman has probably never met, but I pray every night she comes to know.

Because I have hope to believe that if she meets Him?  If she see’s her worth in Him?  If she understands the love He has for her?  She would be set free from the chains that hold her down.  The chains of depression.  The chains of hopelessness.  The chains of meaningless drugs and alcohol,and friends that influence her in ways that keep her captive.  And the chains that keep her from being the Momma this precious little girl desperately needs her to be…

This is why I often look away when a friend, family member, or even stranger says to me, “I hope you get to keep her forever.”  Because while I would love to raise this beautiful five-year old little girl who has captivated our hearts with the sweetest giggle, cutest smile, and softest blonde curls, I hate the notion and even the idea that if I do get to keep her, and if she does take on my last name, it will be because her Momma failed.  She lost and I somehow won.  And so my heart is often pulled in two different directions as a war rages within my soul.  Because truth be told, I really don’t want to win. I don’t want her to fail.  I don’t want to see her continue to live the life of brokenness.  A life full of heartache that has been damaged and destroyed.  Instead, I want to see her living in the fullness that Jesus mercifully died to give her. A life that is happy and healthy. Restored and redeemed.  Blessed and full of joy.

Don’t get me wrong, this prayer I pray isn’t easy. It is not always done in love or without tears. And they are not always spoken without fear and doubt. Because let’s face it, as a former child abuse case worker, I know first hand the grim statistics and the harsh reality of those who return to their old ways and nestle back into their bad habits. But friends, I can’t help but choose to believe nothing is too hard for the Lord (Genesis 18:14) and that He desires, loves, and even craves to make the broken whole. And that He specializes in taking our “uglies” and making them beautiful again.

Jeremiah 18:4-6 is such a beautiful image of this. It shows God sitting at the potter’s wheel, looking down at the flawed piece of pottery, and refusing to toss it. Refusing to overlook it and write it off as worthless, damaged, and without hope of ever being useful. Instead God, the potter, makes another jar using all the same clay and all the same cracks to make something new. There is no junk pile or flaws. Only the beautiful art His mighty, yet delicate fingers creatively restored.

I also can’t help but think of Saul.  He was on the road to Damascus ready to kill the disciples. He was on a mission to stop the message of the gospel and destroy anyone who tried to get in his way.  But while on that road, God stepped in. And Saul, who later became known as the Apostle Paul and wrote 13 books of the New Testament, fell in love with a Man that he once ran from. A Man that he once hated. A Man that supernaturally turned his life around and empowered him to not only heal the sick with just his handkerchief, but also raise the dead.  And you know, if Jesus can save Him?  If He can turn this sinner’s life around, then why can’t He save her? Why can’t she be rescued and delivered?  Why can’t her family that is broken and destroyed meet His unfailing love and receive His healing? Why can’t this woman who has been wrecked by the sins of this world, be saved by His grace? I have hope to believe she can and faith to believe she will.

For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:45).

And so this is why I pray our foster daughter returns home; returns to her mother’s arms.  Now, hear me out. I don’t want you thinking I am cold and heartless and every night I bow my head and pray that she no longer be in my home, nestled underneath the blankets I just tucked her in. But I realize that in a sense, I am.  Because when I do bow my head every night and pray for her Momma, I am doing just that.  And you know, I am okay with it. I have peace with my prayer.  Because ultimately, I know that if she does return to her family, it will be because her Momma’s life has been ravished by the One who has been relentlessly pursuing her.  And the chains that have been holding her down for most of her life?  Have finally been broken.  And the Momma God designed and created her to be for this little girl?  And the woman He designed her to be for His Kingdom? Has finally been set free.

Will it be easy to pack our foster daughter’s bags and say good-bye? I don’t even have an answer for that.  There aren’t words in my vocabulary to express how painstakingly hard it would be.  Or how many tears I would shed.  Or the ugly cry groans I would make.  Even typing this post was unimaginably hard. But I know that at the end of the day, He will hold me.  I know that He will wrap His love, His peace, and His mercies around my aching heart.  And I know that if this were to happen, He will be just as faithful to mend my broken heart, just as He was faithful to mend her sweet Momma’s.

I realize not everyone will have these same feelings, thoughts, or opinions.  Nor will they have this same hope for her family, and that is okay. I don’t expect everyone to. But for me and my convictions?  I can’t help but hope for the impossible and pray for a miracle. It’s what I do for my life, and for my family, so why shouldn’t I also do it for hers?

With Love


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