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Hardship & Healing

October 7, 2016

If you have ever struggled with infertility (or anything really), there’s someone I would like you to meet. This woman struggled with bleeding for 12 years. Twelve! She was considered to have less value than others and did everything within her power to resolve her issues. But regardless of her efforts she only found her condition growing worse with each passing year. I imagine she was exhausted, frustrated, heartbroken and weary. Let’s take a look at her story…

“A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse – after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. For she thought, “If I just touch His garments, I will get well.” Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My garments?” And His disciples said to Him, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.” Mark 5:25-34 (NASB)

So this story is about a woman desperate and at the end of her rope. She had nowhere to turn and no one to turn to. Then she hears about Jesus and thinks this is it. I have to get to Him. As she made her way through the crowd, I can imagine them looking down on her in disgust. People with her condition would have been known, loathed, considered unclean, and would have been shunned rather than loved. But she knew, if she just made her way to Jesus, she would be healed.

Her healing was a miracle. No doubt. But what I love most about it is what happened after she was healed. Jesus knew what was happening. He knew she had touched Him and that she was immediately healed of her bleeding. But He still asked who touched Him. I believe He did this for many reasons, but here are two I can’t help but highlight.

First, it made everyone stop in their tracks. I imagine Jesus stopping this huge crowd around Him, turning, looking around, and pretending He doesn’t see her. He was making his actions known, and caused the crowd to wonder what was going on. It’s clear His disciples were totally confused as you can read the sarcasm in their voice, “You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?” ‘ And as all of this was happening, the woman that was healed is terrified knowing exactly what she had done and realizing she was being called out for it by Jesus himself.

Another reason I think He stopped and addressed what happened was to allow this woman the opportunity to publicly announce her faith and healing. She could have remained hidden in the crowd, but by acknowledging what happened it solidified her faith, served as a testimony to Christ’s power and healing, and restored her in the eyes of the crowd. Her healing was an example of how Christ loves all, including those that people feel are unlovable or of less worth. He knew by publicly commending her faith He would be healing her heart, exalting her in front of the crowd and allowing her the opportunity to serve as an example of His power, goodness and love to those that had previously shamed her.

So, why am I sharing this with you? Well, I think it’s safe to say we all encounter hardship. Either something has happened in our life that hurt use deep and just won’t heal, we feel God has forgotten us in some way, life hasn’t gone the way we think it should, we feel we deserve more than what we have, or we have found that life is simply harder than we think it should be. We don’t know why we have to deal with something that’s happened out of our control, and feel we’re stuck in the mud without the energy or ability to get out.

But like the woman that was healed, we have to have faith. I’m sure she wondered why she had to endure bleeding for 12 years and all the pain and ridicule that came with it. But I think if she hadn’t, God wouldn’t have been able to use the moment of her healing and testimony without that hardship first happening. It wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable if she had only been bleeding for a little while, but by having this condition for 12 years and countless physicians trying to make her well with no success, it allowed all glory and credit to go to Jesus Christ, not just on that day, but every day since. He healed her and there was nothing anyone could say to her to dispute that fact.

So I share this to say as we go through life and have hardship, I pray that we learn to trust God in the midst of our chaotic world. It’s not always easy and we probably won’t receive healing like the woman did, but when we trust God and have faith like she did, I know He can heal our hearts and use our pain for something good. He can use us and our testimonies in ways we never dreamed were possible. He can increase our faith as we release our lives to Him. And no matter the trial or hardship before us, He can heal our souls, provide a peace unlike anything before, and provide us with a testimony that lasts beyond our lifetime.

Actions Speak Louder than Words

August 28, 2014

If there is one thing parenting has taught me (and continues to teach me), it is that our actions speak so much louder than any words ever will. We can tell our kids to do something, but if we’re not a living example of how we hope they will behave as they grow, than our words will fall on deaf ears. We can say we’re a good parent, but if we don’t make the most of the time we get with our kids than we need to reevaluate our priorities. If we don’t model our faith, hard work, discipline, friendship, honesty, loyalty, strength, integrity, perseverance, forgiveness, kindness, etc. it will be much harder for our children to understand the importance of these virtues. We are the biggest example our children will learn from, and I’m so thankful my daughter has such an amazing man in her life.

My husband is incredible. He works long hours, but always makes sure our daughter and I know that we come first. He rushes home each night, often turning down important networking opportunities, in order to get as much family time in as possible before our daughter heads to bed. If there’s something he can’t get out of, he still manages to get home, and then sneaks out once our daughter’s gone to bed. He wakes up early to get his workouts in while she eats breakfast so he can model the importance of being healthy while still allowing us to have family time before he leaves for work.  He plans, prepares, and cooks all of our meals to make sure we are all eating well, and so that I have one less thing to worry about.

My husband delights in our daughter, always lighting up when she runs into his arms yelling “Daddy!”. He makes her stuffed animals come to life until she falls over in delight full of giggles. He loves, laughs, wrestles, reads, colors, plays games, has dance parties, snuggles, kisses, disciplines, and simply makes the most of every moment he gets with our precious girl.

My husband is also my best friend, and partner in life. He is a man of strength, and a man of God. He’s handsome, smart, talented, powerful, funny, honest, trustworthy, loyal, and the only man I would ever want leading my family or to grow old with. We’ve been together for almost 15 years, and I still feel like I’m continuing to fall in love with him more and more. He knows me better even than I know myself, and always supports my dreams. When I needed to have a career he was my biggest cheerleader. When I wanted to stay home to raise our daughter he made it happen. He has and continues to teach me how to love, laugh, have confidence in myself, trust God in all things, how to let go, and how to live. He loves me, challenges me, comforts me, believes in me, and is the most important person in my life. He makes me a better person, and he always makes sure I know I’m the only woman in the world that matters to him.

My husband models what it means to live out your faith, to love and cherish your family, to work hard, follow your dreams, to be disciplined, and to set priorities in your life. She doesn’t know it now, but everything he does is showing her love, building her confidence, instilling her values, setting the foundation for their relationship as she grows, and serving as a living example of what a real man, husband, and father is. He’s the kind of man I pray our daughter finds when she’s older (much older), and through him she can see the blessings that come when you marry a man that leads your family in faith, is your best friend, your life partner, reminds you of your value, and is a man that you know will always love, honor and support you throughout life.

Worth the Wait

September 19, 2013

This Saturday we will be celebrating my daughter’s first birthday. Just typing that sentence alone blows me away, and brings so much joy to my heart. My daughter is truly a miracle, a medical marvel, and it still amazes me that she’s really here and all mine to love, care for, and treasure. Read more

Love Before, During, and After Infertility

June 16, 2013

I fell in love with my husband pretty soon after meeting him. In college, before even having our first date, I told a friend that I thought I had met the man I was going to marry. He had almost instantly become my best friend, had a genuine heart for God like I had never witnessed up close, was handsome, challenged me, believed in me, and supported me. We were just naturally drawn to each other, fit together like two pieces to the same puzzle, and simply enjoyed each other’s company. Read more

Mother’s Day

May 11, 2013

This Sunday will be the first Mother’s Day I get to celebrate with a baby in my arms. I have dreamed of being a mom all of my life, and in some ways, it’s still hard to believe my dream has finally become a reality. I spent so many Mother’s Days trying to forget the day even existed. Going to church only resulted in fighting back tears as I watched baby dedications, and was constantly reminded that I still was not a mom…even after all of my efforts.

If you can relate, then I’m writing this for you. I have been in your shoes, and know how hard it is when the one thing you want more than anything in this world remains missing from your life. I have cried more tears than I can count, screamed at God in anger, begged God to fulfill my request, collapsed in my husband’s arms each month for years, and continually asked one question throughout it all…why me.

These two words haunted me over these painful years. I didn’t understand how the God of mercy and love would allow so much pain to be poured onto His child, and leave a very Godly desire unfulfilled.

But the truth comes from His word…

“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” John 16:20

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

“He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” Psalm 145:19

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 

His word reminds us that no matter how things look in the given moment, He sees the big picture, knows our future, and has it all in His hands. It assures us that if we stay focused on Him, trust in His plan, His timing, and His way that He will turn our grief to joy. It’s a promise that we can hold true to even when we don’t understand how or when that promise will be fulfilled. Shortly after learning about my pregnancy, a pastor said during his sermon that everyone wants a miracle, but they don’t want to go through the trial that requires a miracle to happen.

They say hindsight is 20/20, and looking back on it all now I can see that I wasn’t forgotten. He saw my pain, each tear that fell, and His heart broke with mine. His heart broke because He knew He was going to fulfill my dream in a way I never imagined was possible, but He also knew it would take some time. He knew I needed to go through the pain, learn the life lessons that only infertility would teach me, provide me with the opportunity to use my pain to reach others for Him, and learn to release everything including my dream of being a mom to Him. This was my trial which required a miracle. I had been told by doctors a pregnancy was no longer an option. The doors to adoption had been closed. But in the end it was this trying time that would be required before my miracle could happen. He was going to line everything up perfectly to knock my socks off when He finally did reveal His plan, fulfill my dream, and do it all while surpassing my wildest expectations.

So if you find yourself having a hard time, struggling with the unknown, and desperate for an answer to your prayers…please know you are not alone and that God is with you. Keep your eyes focused on Him. Look for ways to use your pain to help others. Surrender your life, your dreams, and everything you have each day to Him. Because even though you may not feel Him, see Him, or hear Him, He is next to you, patiently waiting, and excited to reveal His work in His perfect time. I promise He has not forgotten you, and will one day fulfill your Godly desire in a way that only He can.

Don’t Ignore the Pain of Infertility, Even on the Other Side

April 25, 2012

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, and the theme for this year is “Don’t Ignore Infertility”. Although I have been blessed to reach the other side by being surprised with a miracle pregnancy, infertility is still something I think about on a daily basis.

I think most people think that once you achieve a pregnancy, all of the heartache and trauma of infertility automatically disappears. But I have learned that’s not the case. The memories are still fresh, and although the pain has been softened and replaced with joy, the scars remain and a layer of guilt has been added. Read more

When Dreams Come True — My Infertility Miracle

March 6, 2012

In 2007 my husband and I began our journey into parenthood with no idea what we were in for. Like most couples, we didn’t expect it would lead us down the road of infertility. After I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), we went through years of fertility treatments until my body finally gave out in 2010, and we were told conceiving a child of our own just wasn’t possible. The news was devastating, but eventually we accepted it and moved on. We began exploring our options for adoption, but after almost two years of research and prayer, we simply didn’t have peace in knowing that was God’s ultimate plan for our family. Read more