I was scrolling through Instagram, pretty mindlessly, which I hate to admit happens too often, but as I was doing so I saw a post with this bible verse. “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23. I began to think about how often our thoughts are turned and twisted onto negative thoughts, resulting in negative emotions about ourselves and others. As Christians we are called to be greater and do greater things. We are not asked to look at the things of this world, but rather focus on the beauty of heaven through God’s promises.

As Christians we are called to be greater and do greater things.

As a new mom, I am often inundated with so many different tasks throughout the day, laundry, feedings, diaper changes, play time, sips of coffee, bites to eat and so on. I try to be intentional with my day, setting o a plan for what I want to accomplish. I feel as though I am at a race with myself, often times failing at what I want to get done, causing myself stress and a whole lot of worry. I get down on myself for not finishing the tasks I set out to do each day. You see, some days my heart is set on the wrong tasks and I begin to lose sight of what is really important.

He wants me to be intentional, without sacrificing my inner happiness.

Often times I am so fixated on the things of this world that I forget to give all my worries, troubles, and afflictions to God. He plans out my day before my feet hit the ground every morning, He knows my steps and determines my ways. You see, God doesn’t care if the laundry gets finished or the dishes get done every day. He wants me to be intentional, without sacrificing my inner happiness. He wants my days to be filled with peace and longing for him. Above all else, he wants to guard my heart from the negative thoughts I feel if I don’t finish what I set out to do that day. He wants me to know that I am his child and a daughter of the king.

Sisters, you are perfect in His eyes. The course of your days are already set out by him. Your worth is not in the dishes you get finished or the laundry that gets folded. Your worth is in His eyes and in His heart for you. God wants you to strive for contentment in every phase of your life, trusting in the Lord to provide all things in His time (Hebrews 13:5). To guard your hearts, as well as against a complaining spirit. If you are intentional with your relationship with God, he will make his presence known. Sisters, you must cultivate gratitude in your days, continually feeling God’s presence as he guides your ways. Give your frustrations and daily tasks to Jesus and continue to “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

To the Mother in Waiting this Mother’s Day

I know the feeling all too well. This day brings so many emotions, so many feelings of heartache and loss. Feelings of resentment and hurt, pain and suffering. I have been where you are now. I have walked through the stores, seeing the cards celebrating mothers, the flowers for mom, and the gifts for mothers. I have felt the sting that these reminders can pierce into your heart, the gut wrenching emotions that cause feelings of pity and bitterness.

But I am here to tell you, IT DOESN’T NEED TO BE THIS WAY!

Every year that Mother’s Day would roll around, I would be reminded once again of my empty arms and longing heart.

I have always wanted to be a mother, ever since I was a little girl, I played “house” with dolls, being the caretaker of my younger siblings, and always looking to find baby sitting jobs from friends and family. I always wanted to take on the role of motherhood. The title I had always been sure would one day be mine.

Every year that Mother’s Day would roll around, I would be reminded once again of my empty arms and longing heart. I would celebrate the mothers in my life, wanting that title so badly for myself, still feeling the bareness in my own womb. Even though I now hold my miracles in my arms, I will never forget the painful memories I have felt on previous Mother’s Days. The years I suffered hurt, waiting for my miracles to come, seeing women celebrate their own motherhood, which seemed to come with such simplicity.

The miracle I had been praying for came in the spring of last year when I found out I was pregnant. It was the dream I had long been hoping for and one I thought would never come. Ever since that day, I have never been more thankful for how things turned out. Every single tear, heartache and moment of suffering was worth it and I would go through it all over again because it brought me to my two miracles.

I began to understand that the Lord has a higher purpose for me, a greater reason for my hurt.

Even before my time being a mom made, I began to see things in a different light. I began to understand that the Lord has a higher purpose for me, a greater reason for my hurt. This didn’t happen over night and it took me many years to feel at ease with the path God had for my life, but I was able to overcome my grief. I found a support system in my husband, my sisters, and my family. I found other women who struggled with the same things I was struggling with. I found strength in their stories of wisdom and comforting advice. I read blogs from infertility warriors, joined ministries dedicated to coping with infertility. I listened to podcasts from experts in the field and began to find peace from my pain.

Most people don’t understand how painful this day can be for those struggling with infertility and loss. But I know. I see you. I feel your pain, I know your heartache, I have been there myself. I have all the love and feelings for you this day as you prepare to feel a stronger desire for motherhood.

My advice for you this Mother’s Day is this, be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with your heart and your emotions on this day. Let yourself feel the heartache and pain, but don’t let it overcome your hope for the day you too will be called mother. Take the time to invest in yourself and in your spouse on this day.

On this day especially, take care of you. Go for a walk, enjoy a glass of wine, read a book, indulge in your favorite dessert, whatever it is, take time for yourself, and deal with your emotions in your own way. Know that you are not alone in your needing to do so. Taking care of your emotions is a huge step in overcoming the loss and hurt associated with infertility.

Today and always, hold on to hope and God’s promises for you. I am praying peace and understanding for you. I am proclaiming healing over you and your circumstances. I am celebrating your story. I am believing in your miracle too!

Because overall, Mother’s Day is about celebrating women. Strong, selfless women who have given up everything for themselves to be called mother. It is about celebrating you, your story, and your journey to motherhood. I believe this day is about you to.

To the mother in waiting, Happy Mother’s Day.

Advice on Your Infertility Journey

Today is the last day of National Infertility Awareness Week!

Today I wanted to share some advice that I wish someone would have told me about infertility through all stages.

IT DOES GET BETTER! If you are still waiting for your baby, weather that be through a natural pregnancy, treatments, adoption, or foster care, I am here to tell you it does get better! You learn to live with infertility in a way that is positive. It took me many years but in my own way and in my own time, I have found the positives of infertility! I have said many times that I am grateful for my infertility. I view it as a blessing in disguise because of all the things it made me!

YOU ARE WORTHY! If you just found out you were pregnant, you are worthy of this pregnancy. Your body has the power to carry this pregnancy to term and you can do this! Don’t let the fear of something bad happening outweigh the beauty that is growing inside you. You were chosen for this path and you have the power to continue to speak life into your body.

YOU CAN DO THIS! If you are a new parent still adjusting to your new reality, know that you are not alone. I can remember those first few postpartum weeks, feeling so overwhelmed and anxious as I worked to take care of these two new little, precious humans. The overwhelming feeling of being their lifeline and feeling like I was doing it all wrong was so daunting. I remember feeling like if I didn’t enjoy every minute of motherhood, that I was ungrateful for these two miracles, when in fact I was just adjusting so being a new mother of two.

YOU ARE BRAVE! To all women dealing with infertility, you are some of the bravest women I know! You have dealt with so many unknowns, countless unanswered questions, numerous doctors appointments, negative pregnancy tests, and so many other things that are too numerous to list. I am here to tell you that you are BRAVE. You may have felt a sense of loss, feeling stressed, and extremely overwhelmed, yet you are still fighting! You are choosing to face the battle everyday and focus on the good. It is okay to share your emotions with friends and family, journal your feelings, pray that God allows peace to flood your heart. Know that you are not alone, that you have a whole army by your side fighting the same battle as you. I have been there, I have experienced it and I believe that your miracle is coming! You are worthy, you are brave!

I will continue to #honormystory by walking along side you, praying for you and believing in your miracles. I will #honormystory by sharing these truths and proclaiming them to the world. How will you honor yours?

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Pregnancy & Infertility

Finding out I was pregnant was one of the most exciting days of my life. I remember driving home from work, thinking maybe I should just take a test and see what the results were. To my surprise it was positive! Talk about a whirlwind of emotions! I fell on my knees praying to God right then and there thanking him for his goodness. The days, weeks, and months following would be a continuous battle of emotions.

Pregnancy doesn’t make the pain of infertility go away.

I was happy and excited but so scared and fearful. Pregnancy doesn’t make the pain of infertility go away. I guess that is something that infertility robs you of, the ability to just be thankful for a pregnancy. The ability to just go on as if everything will proceed as normal. I have talked of this before but at our first ultrasound we were told not to get our hopes up as one twin might not make it and every doctors appointment beyond that first one we were holding our breaths praying that everything would work out the way we wanted. We had to worry each appointment, would they both be growing at the same rate, would I gain enough weight to sustain a pregnancy, would I develop gestation diabetes, would my body be able to carry them to term and on and on. I suppose these are the same things that every pregnant woman worries about but after dealing with infertility, I feel like these emotions are heightened. Even after the babies were born, I still felt like something would happen to them, like it was all a dream.

I am so thankful that everything worked out the way it was supposed to and the babies were born healthy and were born at term for a twin pregnancy. Now that the twins are here, it is still a battle of constant worrying which I am sure is true for any parent.

Infertility will always be a part of my story. I will always have that experience as something that has impacted my life. I know it has been for the very best as I now have two of the world’s greatest blessings in my life. All of the tears and heartache were so worth it to get to where I am today. I will #honormystory by sharing how pregnancy has impacted my emotions after dealing with infertility.

Infertility will always be a part of my story.

If you find yourself pregnant after dealing with infertility, fearful that something will always go wrong, scared to look to the future, unable to feel the true excitement that a pregnancy brings, know you are not alone. I have been there. I know your self doubt and fear. Speak happiness over your pregnancy and healing over your body. God has you in the palm of his hand and will hold you through your trials.

You are worthy of this pregnancy! You are a true warrior! You are loved!

Psalm 113:9 He settles the barren women in her home as a joyful mother of children.

Honor Your Spouse

What better way to #honormystory than by praising my husband on his 30th birthday.

Jay, I have loved you in so many different roles. I have seen you as a friend in the start of our relationship,

ten years ago. I have loved you as a partner in our six year relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend. I have shared in your joy as a newlywed spouse, so excited to for the beautiful journey that lies ahead. I have known you as my caretaker when I could no longer take care of my self. You have been my confidant, my keeper of secrets. My shoulder to cry on when I just felt like I couldn’t continue on, as we waited to become parents. You held my hand through each negative pregnancy test, each doctors appointment, my whole pregnancy when I was as sick as I have ever been. I have seen you as my rock in this marriage journey. I have leaned into your strength and wisdom when I felt I couldn’t think for myself. You are the one who is my stronghold in times of despair.

I have known you in so many different ways and in so many different capacities. But by far the best role I have ever seen you take on is one as father. You are caring, attentive, loving, respectful, giving, brave, unflinching strong, inherently good. I am so grateful our children have you as their dad. I hope this day is as wonderful as you are.

Friends, it is so important to honor your spouse in this journey too. Men are impacted by fertility as well in more ways than we realize. Don’t forget to give each other grace. Share in each other’s struggles, surrender yourself, and your need for a baby. Hold each other through the tears and the hard times. Become one in your purpose and in your desires to become parents. Rely on one another through your pain and desperation. Pray for your marriage and ask God to hold you through your hurt. If you are struggling with infertility, I hope that you find that you can lean into your spouses strengths as much as I have relied on mine.

I will #honormystory this National Infertility Awareness Week by honoring my spouse and sharing in his many strengths. How will you honor yours?

Ephesians 4:2: “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”

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Vulnerability in Your Fertility Journey

Talking about infertility takes vulnerability. I will continue to #honormystory by sharing the most vulnerable parts of our journey navigating infertility. My diagnosis came after two years of doctors telling me “we don’t know what’s wrong,” “cysts just appear, we don’t know why,” “if we could fix it we would” and so on. All uneven lies and half truths that I just knew weren’t the answer. It wasn’t until I found a doctor 200 miles away who actually listened to me and heard my pleas until I received a diagnosis. I will never forget waking up from my surgery, hearing the words “stage 4” endometriosis. One of the worst I have ever seen in someone so young” coming from my doctors lips. A moment that will forever be etched in my mind. It would be that same doctor who held my hand and continued to fight for my fertility health for years to come.

I am always so amazed at the women who share their hearts about something that is so deeply personal. Why do we share? Because it is a message that needs to be heard! Infertility takes so much, but it will not take your voice or your openness to share your story! How will you continue to #changetheconversation and honor your story?

Psalm 17:1 Hear, O LORD, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer

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Honor Your Story

{Honor Your Story} Infertility has impacted my life for the better. I always say that I am actually thankful for my infertility because it has shaped me in so many beautiful ways. I am more patient, humble, caring, and kind towards myself. I am more reflective, empathetic, and considerate towards others. I am more loving, passionate, supportive, and thoughtful in my marriage. I am more prayerful and intentional in my relationship with Christ. I am stronger, braver, more compassionate, and ever so thankful for my role as a new mother. I have learned to lean into my journey and become grateful for it. I am all of these things BECAUSE of my infertility! That is why I am going to continue to #honormystory because it has made me into who I am today. If you are struggling with infertility, how will you honor your story?

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National Infertility Awareness Week 2020

It is National Infertility Awareness Week! This cause is something that is so near and dear to my heart! Navigating the waters of infertility, is rough and very, very messy. No one person’s story is the same and no one will ever understand the battle like those who have experienced it.

After 1,460 days, God revealed his plan to us in the most amazing way, blessing us with a pregnancy

Jay and I struggled for four years to start a family, fighting for a diagnosis, which eventually led to finding out I had stage four endometriosis, starting the adoption process, filling out countless hours of paperwork, working on an adoption profile book, eventually being gifted one from Little Ampersand and co., praying beside expectant mothers who reached out to us in their time of need, all the while grappling with the many unknowns associated with infertility. Finally after 1,460 days, God revealed his plan to us in the most amazing way, blessing us with a pregnancy.

Navigating the waters of infertility, is rough and very, very messy.

One year ago, this week at our first ultrasound, we were shocked to hear two heart beats. What a beautiful surprise to be blessed with not one but TWO miracle babies. We were told not to get our hopes up as often times it is possible that one of the babies wouldn’t make it. This phenomenon is known as vanishing twin symptom, which most often occurs before the 12th week of pregnancy. Over the next six weeks, we continued to pray that our miracle babies would survive, still in shock and awe over the news of our surprise pregnancy. In the weeks following, God continued to reveal himself and his plan for our family. At our twelve week ultrasound, we were so very thankful to AGAIN hear two beautiful heartbeats! I am going to #honormystory this week, by continuing to share the real, raw, and beautiful parts of our fertility journey!

What a beautiful surprise to be blessed with not one but TWO miracle babies.

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Out of Difficulties Grow Miracles

“Out of Difficulties Grow Miracles” 1 Peter 5:10

I have poured over these words so often these past few months. I wondered what I would say, how I would say it, and how they would be perceived by others. For me, this is the most exciting yet hardest post I have ever had to write. Jay and I have always been very transparent about our journey to parenthood and my, what a roller coaster it has been. We have prayed, cried, wondered, cried again, questioned, prayed and then prayed some more. And finally in the midst of all of this we found out we were expecting twins. Yes, you read that right! TWINS! Talk about the shock of our lives! Our amazement at this news was beyond anything I can ever explain. To tell the truth, I think we are still a little bit in shock. However, we are so elated and blessed to be chosen by God to carry these beautiful souls. We are blessed beyond measure and can’t wait for the day these two little babies are born. Today though, I want to share something that has been on my mind and my heart.

As someone who has struggled with infertility for the better part of four years, you begin to lose sight of the possibility of ever becoming pregnant. You stop planning for this adventure because it is too difficult to share in this excitement every month, only to be let down each time it doesn’t happen. For Jay and I, we came to terms with this reality, we learned to adapt to a new adventure that was ahead for us. Even though our desire to pursue adoption came before we even learned about our infertility, a deeper desire grew when we began to pursue this path to start our family. We have spent almost three years walking through the adoption process, going to all of the necessary classes, completing the countless pages of paperwork, and really envisioning this path as a way to start our family. We no longer looked to a positive pregnancy test, but a positive connection with an expectant family online. We no longer dreamt about carrying our own child, but dreamt about the day we would get the call from our agency that we were a chosen family. We no longer prayed for God to bless us on our own path to becoming parents, but prayed for the mama who would give us the most amazing gift. Three years, we let our mindsets shift to this path and we were so excited for it! So much so that when we found out we were expecting it actually took us some time to move beyond this path we had prayed for for so long. It was actually a mourning process for me as I had to once again shift my mindset back to what we had always dreamt would happen. Not to mention the fact that I was experiencing guilt about getting pregnant when so many others are still waiting for this same blessing.

We no longer dreamt about carrying our own child, but dreamt about the day we would get the call from our agency that we were a chosen family.

I really do not want this to come off as me not being excited for this pregnancy, but I think that it is a part of our story and something that needs to be talked about. Someone once told me “a pregnancy will never take away the pain of infertility” and they are right. Just because we are now pregnant does not take away the years of negative pregnancy tests, the tears that were shed or the heartache that was felt. As someone who has felt the pain of infertility, it really did take me a little bit of time to realize the reality of what is now taking place. If you are someone who has found yourself pregnant after years of infertility and feeling this way, you are not alone. I have spoken with many other women who have been through this experience and have said the same thing. I truly believe that these feelings are just apart of this fertility journey and that they are normal emotions to experience. From joy, to shock, to guilt and to unending excitement, this is just another side of infertility. There are many reasons to be excited about a pregnancy, but for someone who has dealt with infertility, the celebration of a life growing inside of you is something I will never take for granted. Four years is a long time when you heart yearns so much for a child, but many married couples wait much longer than that and I pray that they will one day soon get their positive, whether that be a positive pregnancy test or a phone call saying that their baby is out there waiting for them.

There are many reasons to be excited about a pregnancy, but for someone who has dealt with infertility, the celebration of a life growing inside of you is something I will never take for granted.

For now our adoption is on hold. With two on the way, we feel it is best for our family to wait until we feel more settled to grow our family through adoption. Our agency has held our place on the adoption waitlist for now and once these babies are a year old, we will be able to re-apply to the program again to start the home study process over. Adoption is something that will forever be on our hearts. We will always yearn for the chance to adopt a child someday. And if the cards are right, we most certainly will. We are looking forward to what is ahead and relishing in this excitement. We pray every day that this pregnancy will continue to progress in the positive manner that it already has. We will continue to share updates on our page as this has always been Journey to Baby Cournia. Even though our path to becoming parents for the first time no longer means adoption, we will continue to pray that God will bless us with this gift someday. We will continue to believe in the power of adoption and the importance that others consider this path as well.

Lord, we thank you for the two miracles you have entrusted into our care. We pray that this pregnancy will continue to yield beautiful things. We pray for the couple still waiting to become parents and ask that you bless them in your timing as well. We continue to pray for the little ones still waiting for an adoptive home and ask that anyone considering this path to parenthood begin to pray frutifully for the plans you have for them. Amen.

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To the Mother in Waiting

“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise.” Proverbs 31:25

Happy Mother’s Day! I have spent many Mother’s Days celebrating the beautiful mothers in my life. This includes my own mom, my mother in law, grandmothers, sisters, aunts and friends. I have taken the time to learn from their wisdom, their strength, and their passion when it comes to raising their children. I know this day can bring pain to the hearts of so many, those who have lost a child, given up a child for adoption, those still waiting for a child of their own and many others for reasons I may not be able to understand. I know that this day can be a burden on their hearts, as it has been in mine for the years I have yearned for a child. This Mother’s Day I want to share reasons why you SHOULD celebrate this day.

God’s promises are good and he will bless you abundantly for your faithfulness.

This day is meant to celebrate strong women! I know the emotions that this day can bring to so many, but I believe in focusing on the good. Celebrate the women in your life who have been blessed with that gift. Ask for their support and guidance as you navigate your own journey to motherhood.

We should use this day to awaken a desire to celebrate mothers always! I know that the love from the mothers in my life is cause for celebration each and every day. While we know this day is set aside to honor them, I believe that special days like today will allow for us to find ways to express appreciation to our motherly figures more than just once a year.

We are called to be stewards of the faith! Celebrating the women in our life is another way to do just that. Anytime we allow God’s grace into our lives, we are able to proclaim the goodness that he promises.

Believe you are already a mother and celebrate this day for yourself! God’s innermost desire is that women fulfill their calling. If you are on the path to motherhood and it is something you truly desire, then you are already a mother. Your time may not come tomorrow, in a week, or even a year, but I truly believe that if this is your desire and you are purposeful in your actions then your purpose will eventually be fulfilled. It may look different than what you originally planned, but faith in God also includes faith in this image.

Your time is coming! We are all called here for a purpose and that purpose will be made known in God’s timing. Just like we are all made in God’s image, I believe that there will be a time when those yearning to be mothers will finally receive that gift. Believe in this promise for your own life!

Anytime we allow God’s grace into our lives, we are able to proclaim the goodness that he promises.

If you are waiting to become a mother, I hope that this Mother’s Day you will find comfort in your sorrow. Share in the joy of other mothers and know that your time is coming. God’s promises are good and he will bless you abundantly for your faithfulness.

Dear God, we pray for all those waiting to become mothers. We ask that their worries be calmed and their fears be put asunder. We ask that you bless them abundantly in the year ahead. Bless all mothers this Mother’s Day and watch over them as they continue to be role models for their children. In your name we pray, Amen.