A Picture of Infertility


A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the depth of meaning is always in the backstory, the one no single image can ever convey.

An image tempts the viewer to fill in the narrative with all of their assumptions, and most often they are wrong.

It is National Infertility Awareness Week. We are among the 1 in 8 who have journeyed through the devastating diagnosis. Yes, devastating. There are so many moments seared in our flesh that originally felt like a slow acting poisonous arrow straight to the heart. It isn’t fair. I was certain at 22 when we first heard the news that it was the single most crushing pain I could ever experience. Now here I am, almost two decades after our infertility journey began, to offer a few words for those on the journey and those who aren’t.

Stop making assumptions about another person’s journey.  Instead, show up for those you love, be curious, be compassionate, and know two things are almost totally universal: it is a complicated-messy journey and there is always room for hope.

As I reflect on our journey to and through parenthood I am filled with exactly every emotion God has bestowed upon the human race. I grieve over all the loss and marvel over all the beauty.

I am a mom of 8 daughters. What? You can’t tell that by looking at the picture I am posting? Yeah, that is my point. You can’t assume anything accurately from this one image except, quite obviously, that these three girls are gorgeous…you would be accurate on that.

Not pictured:

The twins that died or the miscarriage less than 30 weeks ago,

All the infertility probing and needles and spread-eagling for the chance of a child,

The incredible moments of being present as another woman gave birth to a child I would raise,

The questions about stories and birth families and am I worthy of love at all?, are you sure?

The incredible depth of love that beats in my chest for the birth parents of my children,

The sorrow over having chosen children not chose you in return,

The joy over watching all the first moments, the kisses and hugs and cries of “Mommy!”

The head pounding of all the cries of “MOMMY!”

The begging and pleading and praying to God that he would just do things my way,

The humility in realizing you got a yes,

The toll it takes on your emotions, your finances, your marriage,

The realization that the story is more incredible and difficult than I could have ever imagined, or the two adult children not present at all, or all the loss that has come as they have had children and 1 million other moments that have led to this one picture.

Messy, hard, beautiful, broken, complicated journey–absolutely.

But also NEVER without hope in a God who is able to carry us through it all.

Are there chapters I wish didn’t exist? Yes.

However, it has been in the chapters I would never have chosen that God has done some of the most incredible things. The best has been in Him drawing us deeply in and inviting us into an intimacy with Him that I would not trade for anything in all the world.  And somewhere along the way He turned us into warriors, not just fighting for the daughters he has given us, but for their birth families, for their kids, for an entire group of people I would never have known.

Easy? No.

Worth it? Yes.

There is a priceless gift in the hard spaces. It is a shedding of the belief that you were ever in control and an invitation to surrender to the One who is. Holding onto the Hope that is found solely in Him, you learn you have been given the greatest gift of all: an extraordinary Savior who dreams far bigger dreams than you do.


Grief and Rainbows


I should be holding you in my arms this week…

One thought, stuck on repeat.

A deep ache seems to pound in my flesh; my body hasn’t forgotten.

It seems to know at a cellular level that a baby was supposed to be born this week.

My flesh, my mind, my heart are all struggling to compute a reality without you, a you I never even got to meet…at least not yet.

I have so much to do; there is not time to deal with the tears that keep slipping over the edges of my eyelids.

I know this space called grief, and yet it is like I am walking the road anew. The ground is unfamiliar even while the scent smells the same.

Quarantine. A weight clunks down onto my chest…

Parenting kids locked inside while they navigate puberty.

Another weight falls.

A husband stressed.


A complete upheaval of all that was once familiar, of friends.

Clunk, clunk, clunk.

Parents in health-crisis.


Caring for others.


The bank account draining.

Clunk, clunk…

Shopping in the midst of COVID-19.


The fridge breaking.

Clunk. Gasp, GASP.

My breathing is so labored the tears have permission to fall as all my effort focuses on willing my lungs and heart to just keep going—even when it feels impossible.

Stop. Scream. Cry. Tear clothes. Pour ashes on your head. Lock yourself in a bathroom. Go for a walk.

Take a moment…

To feel it all.

I should be holding you in my arms right now and blanketing your face with my kisses-

not crying over a fridge and lost groceries and pain and parents and kids and money and COVID-19.

And yet, I must cry over it all—all the hard—for this is grief, and the only way out is through. After the rain comes the rainbow, and it looks like a few who offer their words of comfort, their toilet paper, their coolers, and their acknowledgement of you, dear Cara Belle. With the rainbow comes the reminder of His promise, that He is bigger than the destruction of your world. He provided the ark, and the ark can look like beautiful friends showing up and picking up a weight to carry, the snuggles of those who are present, and the whisper of a God who has provided every life-giving piece of wood that makes up the ark during the storms, all while He carries us through them.




It is 4:15 a.m. and I can’t seem to find my friend called sleep.

My mind spins and turns and frantically but methodically tries to comprehend all that is unfolding in this season.

The house has a steady white noise of rhythmic breathing- theirs, not mine; mine is forced, theirs is a symphonic reminder of some of my most precious gifts.

I listen to the bathroom fan whirl in submission to the switch it must obey and slowly demand my own breathing to find a calm rhythm.


This space doesn’t seem fair, it smells of grief and loss and yet is somehow oddly clarifying.

The most important things seem to gleam and glow in this space, eager for the overdue acknowledgement of their splendiferous life giving fruit.

It is a pruning reality, and one where the branches that aren’t bearing life may be expertly cut away to create the conditions for new fruit to be born.


A distilled clarity of offerings that hold a fragrance of the finest perfume becomes a pouring out of what really matters in that space. A perfume submissively poured out at His feet, and one so strong that it will still linger through the breaking of bread, the garden midnights, the flagellations, the accusations, and the cross.


I pour out the perfume that has been refined in my soul over the last several months at His feet…

The baby girl who won’t be born this month,

The loss of people who were dear,

The pain of rejection,

The quilled blanket of isolation,

The mother who must undergo her cancer treatment alone,

The body that just will not heal,

The parenthood journey that refines my warrior ways,

The quarantine, the trauma-homeschooling, and all the things,

And s-u-r-r-e-n-d-e-r.

The heaviness of it all drives me to my knees in the dead of the night asking God if there is any other way…

And then He reminds me again of the Garden and the Cross that is coming…

Today is Wednesday but Friday is coming-


He grieved, He wrestled, He refused to run from the crushing spaces, He carried it all to the cross and He surrendered and sacrificed for you and for me.

“Yet not my will, but yours be done.”

The single greatest act in all of history-

Jesus willingly going to that cross.


Surrender is the choice that makes the yoke light, it is the only way to the cross, and it leads to the life after the tomb.

Friday’s coming but so is SUNDAY.


Not my will but yours be done God.

What do you need to surrender today friend?