What a difference a year makes

It was a few days before Mother's Day 2017. I walked to the mailbox expecting the usual junk mail that is apparently keeping the USPS afloat these days. But there it was. That white envelope clearly labeled with the return address of the surgery center. My stomach dropped as I begrudgingly tore back the paper.

I knew the medical bills were coming, but something about sending someone a $4,500 bill for a D&C mere days before Mother's Day seemed exceedingly cruel. As if having lost a son and a daughter a month prior wasn't horrific enough.

Mother's Day 2017

The girl in this photo hiding behind her $2 sunglasses and plastered-on smile was broken. Her heart was shattered, her mind anywhere but at peace, her body overweight and exhausted--the toll of months of fertility treatments and the death of a dream. She was scared of what her future held. Would she recover? Would she ever get to be a mom here on Earth? Could she handle transferring that last embryo? Could she keep putting one foot in front of the other if there was another loss?

Fast forward a year. A mere 365 days.

Mother's Day 2018

The girl in this photo looks a hot mess, but looks can be deceiving. She is crazy tired because she stayed up too late last night seeing an off-Broadway musical in Indianapolis and she doesn't quite recover from that like she used to. She has spent her Mother's Day afternoon snoozing on the living room couch and hoping beyond reason that the swelling in her feet would come down a little. Her body is ever-changing and it's still exhausted, but her heart is full and her mind is as whole as mass quantities of hormones will allow it to be. She's in awe of every kick to the ribs, every punch to the bladder and every time she can feel her daughter's head pushing on the side of her abdomen. Her life is a living testament of God's goodness, "yes" answers to prayers, the miracle of modern medicine, and never giving up hope.

Nearly seven years of waiting, praying, hoping, begging. A one-year journey from the pits of despair to being 7 weeks from meeting our daughter.

"Weeping may stay for the night, but joy comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5b (NIV)

Sarah was 90 when God gave her and Abraham a child. (Genesis 17; Hebrews 6:15)

Joseph waited 13 years to go from slavery to palace life. (Genesis 37)

Job patiently endured unimaginable suffering because he knew the Lord was faithful. (Job)

Ruth was widowed and left her homeland before eventually meeting her Boaz. (Ruth)

Elizabeth was "very old" when the Lord opened her womb and blessed her and Zechariah with a son--John the Baptist. (Luke 1)

Chances are, you're waiting for something. Maybe you too have suffered unimaginable loss or hardship. My friend, you and I are in good company. And we remain in good company when God redeems our pain.

To the woman who longs to be a mom and to the mom whose babies are in Heaven, know that my current pregnancy hasn't made me forget the pain that Mother's Day can bring. I know it well. I see you. I relate to you. I will never ever forget the struggle or the pain or the babies who are now in the arms of Jesus. You are not alone. If I can encourage you of anything, it's to hold onto your faith and never stop hoping, because oh what a difference a year can make.

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