Are you giving up?

My friends, over the last few weeks I have been a bit overwhelmed by the number of posts I've seen on social media from many of you, my infertility sisters, who seem to be completely giving up. Another cycle was cancelled. Your last transfer didn't take. The adoption process is too burdensome and the wait list is too long. The medical bills are too high. The placement fell through. The uphill battle seems to be even more daunting than ever right now, so I want to encourage you. YOU... this post is for you... the one who is about to throw in the towel and say to heck with it. The one who is saying, I've tried everything and nothing is working. To the one who says I've been praying, but where's God in all of this? This message is for you.

I was doing a devotional with my daughter the other night. She's reading well enough now that she's able to start reading her own Bible, mostly on her own and she is full of questions. As I sat her in my lap to listen to her read she started with this verse found in Psalm 20:7.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
— Psalm 20:7

Breaking down this verse into bite sized nuggets for a six year old to understand, a lump began to form in my throat and the full weight of this verse landed heavy in my gut as I realized this is the battle we fight every single day that we're affected by infertility. 

When our biggest desire goes unfulfilled for another month, another cycle, another year, can we still honestly say that we put our trust in the Lord our God? With each disappointment and seemingly unanswered prayer, do we not often start a subtle shift into placing our trust in the hands of a good doctor or a new breakthrough technology? Each injection we give ourselves or prescription that comes via special mail order to our door step is at least a tangible something we can do to overcome this injustice we've been given. Each interview we face and homestudy we've completed seems to bring us one big step closer to bringing home that bundle of joy. At least we're doing something and checking off a list that will result in what we want... right? Not quite...

As I pondered this verse with my little answered prayer on my lap, I couldn't help but remember the years when I don't think I could honestly say my trust was in God. There was a period of time during our infertility, when I had all but given up on Him. I was angry with Him. I was hurt. I was confused and I clung a bit too tightly to the hope I thought I could find in fertility treatments, surgeries, medicines, doctors. Being a full-fledged type A, I often put my trust in the to-do list that is in my control to complete. I forgot that these were merely tools given to us by that same God that loved me so much and just wanted me to put my trust back in His hands.

Scroll up a few verses and look at what the Psalmist says before he talks about where our trust should be anchored.

May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
— Psalm 20:4-5

My friends, don't give up. If the Lord our God has placed these desires in your heart and confirmed the path you're on, the trust Him. He is so much greater than any technology. He is so much more capable than the most pedigreed doctor in the country. He alone is the creator of life. He alone knows the purpose and plans for our lives. He alone knows the path our child(ren) will one day walk. And He knows how much we will grow in Him when we learn to put the to-do list away and just wait with Him. So keep your chin up. The treatments and doctors, the lawyers offices and paperwork, the holding your breath every time the phone rings is all part of the process. It's hard... so hard, but the process is not where our trust needs to lie. We trust in the name of the Lord our God and in His infinite wisdom and power.

I've been where you are right now. I wanted to give up so many times. I hurt deeper than I knew was possible when we lost our first pregnancy. But I can tell you, six years into raising the gift that God had planned for us all along, some answers to why we had to wait so long are very clear now. Of this I am convinced... God never forgot me, never let my prayers and cries go unheard, and never wavered on His plan. He knew all along exactly what was best for us, for our story, and for our daughter. 

psalm 20 7.PNG

If you're questioning what your next step is right now, take a break if you need it. Spend some time with your spouse. Spend a lot of time in prayer with God. He'll make your next step really clear when you are ready for it. But if He continues to put that desire for a child in your heart, then He will answer it in His time. 

Stick with with the process. You have to forge your way through every step of it. But trust in the Lord our God. 

Hello My Name Is...

As I talked about in my last post, A Clean Slate, Now What?, it has been a while since I've written last. So there are probably some of you whom I haven't met yet. I so wish I could meet each of you sweet friends face to face over a cup of coffee. I want to hear your story, what you're excited about, what you're struggling with, and how I can pray with you. Since that's a little difficult to do over this whole internet thing, I'll introduce myself and tell you our story and how this little space to hang out in came to be. I love that this is an safe space in the world for us to encourage each other through some tough times. I love hearing from you though emails, prayer requests and comments, so please follow us on social media (@ournotsoengineeredlife), subscribe to the newsletter (I promise we don't send out very many), leave us comments and let us know what's going on in your journey. Your story matters!

The conversations are where the best relationships are born, where we get to know each other and encourage each other through life's journeys. Please know that I do love open comments and conversations, but I also highly respect the need for anonymity, especially when you're struggling through a difficult time in your life. So right up front, I just want to assure you, privacy will be respected as we talk about prayer requests and things of that nature.

my name is.jpg

So with that... Hello, my name is Courtney. I am about as extroverted as they come and a full blown night owl. But many of my favorite people in this world are quite introverted and love running before sunrise... yes, like in the morning. Running... before sun up. I do not get it, but love them in spite of their questionable decision making. :) So wherever you find yourself fitting on the social interaction scale, you are welcome here. I am so thankful you are here and really wish I could be serving you a cup of coffee at my kitchen table right now. So let's just pretend, shall we? 

photo shoot picture courtney.jpg

I absolutely love making new friends, entertaining in our home and laughing over good food and coffee. Despite being an engineer, I'm most happy when I'm cooking, crafting, planning parties or writing. {Proof you can teach an old dog new tricks...} I'm fiercely competitive, love traveling and am not very good at relaxing and sitting still. You will almost always find a stack of three or four books by my bed that span the ranges from inspirational religious books to good old fashioned murder mysteries. Most of my time is now spent trying to make the most of our family time, keeping up with my daughter's endless energy, hosting play dates, or attending school and church functions with her. I am also a Bible study junkie. I thoroughly enjoy leading and being a part of women's Bible study groups, speaking and serving God through bringing comfort and encouragement to others who are walking through a difficult season of life. 

In 2002, I proudly graduated from the University of Alabama { Roll Tide } with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a heart that was deeply in love with this handsome guy who had graduated from the University of Florida as a Nuclear Engineer the previous year. In 2003, Rob and I were married and working for the same company. We spent our first several years together enjoying married life, being committed to our challenging and enjoyable careers, traveling and hosting parties for any and every occasion.

intro collage.jpg

When we began contemplating having a family, we were so full of excitement, nervous anticipation, dreams and plans... plans that two engineers can't resist making. For a marriage made of two people with extremely logical, Type-A personalities, we are in our comfort zone when there is very little "unknown" to be treading in. Why would there be? If we have already thought through all the variables, planned for anything, and are prepared to move forward before we ever take our first step, then the "unknowns" shouldn't be a problem. Shouldn't be... until life throws in an unexpected twist.  That was our state of mind when we entered our "5 year plan" to start a family. We were ready to begin the next phase of our lives with nothing but excitement - and a lot of naivety. We had no idea we were about to step off a cliff that would drop us into an entire world of not knowing what was to come or what to expect - but also into a world where God would become so unbelievably real in every moment of every day that we were forced to recognize that our plans are meaningless unless they fall in line with His plans, His will and His purpose.

God chose this moment in our lives to intervene, take over and show us that He is really in charge. To read more about our walk through infertility, miscarriage and our multiple rounds of IVF, click on the button below. 

Our lives took some pretty drastic turns after realizing we were going to struggle to have our family, but in hindsight, I wouldn't change a thing. Those changes and struggles brought us so much closer to each other as husband and wife, and even closer to God. I know now what a tremendous blessing it is to be called Mommy. Now, as a stay-at-home-mom, I am striving to live every day intentionally for God, supporting my husband, raising our little one and taking every opportunity to encourage others. I am passionate about telling our story so that you know that you are not alone and that there is always hope. 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
— 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I am an open book about our infertility journey and IVF processes. If you are facing fertility treatments, I would love the chance to pray with you or help you navigate through the sometimes overwhelming amount of information and decisions. I am by no means a medical expert, but I have walked in your shoes and understand many of the emotions and fears you may be facing. Please feel free to contact me or visit our prayer page to let us know how we can pray for you during your journey. You are not in this alone.

With love & laughter,

courtney signature.png
 

Learning to Live Again

Sometimes things occur that completely altar the course of our lives. A large majority of those things are good – meeting your future spouse, becoming a parent, or even a job promotion. And then there’s the things that happen that we can never be prepared for – the loss of a spouse, child, or loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of a home. My family has certainly experienced both the ebb and flow of life’s waves. We have been blessed and humbled in both the calm waves and the tidal waves. Most recently, we’ve experienced the physical, emotional, and spiritual groans as a result of my mom’s almost year anniversary diagnosis of breast cancer. It came crashing down on us and satan attempted to use it as a device to weaken our faith. But instead, as God would have it, our faith has prospered and His glory has shone like the sun for all that have witnessed my mom’s journey this past year.

You see we all will come to a crossroad, that hard thing in our life, where we must choose which path to take. We can take the path that is easy, only later to find out it is covered with thorns and brambles. Or we can take the path that tests our endurance and is our victory to joy, hope, and peace.
— Jenny

I'm beyond grateful and humbled to share over on the Persimmon Prints blog today, as we explore what it means to LIVE all this month.  Join me as I share what that has meant for our family this year, as we honor my mom and many other women fighting breast cancer during the month of October.  (Read full article here)

I love you mama!