Confessions, Infertility, Letters to My Kids

The Unspoken Club

As our little girl’s due date looms closer and closer, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of preparation and the questions of inquiring minds…but it’s impossible to forget where we were just months ago. In March I was truly believing that God might be calling us to childlessness. My identity was steeped in infertility, my spiritual journey rooted in that ache, my hopes dwindled. And we were ok.

For the past many years, since first sharing our story, we have been covered in prayers and support. And then there’s the unofficial club we joined – the Infertility Club. There were a few friends who confided that they, too, were unable to conceive. Together we walked through the tears, the anger, the envy, the heartbreak. We experienced tests, doctor’s appointments, artificial hormones, invasive procedures, and shared all the details because one of us was inevitably headed down the same road. We knew what to expect when we walked into the doctor’s office because good friends told their own nitty gritty stories to reassure us.

And our entire goal was to see each of us become parents.

But when you leave you that Club, it’s with mixed feelings. You get a call from your friend who lovingly shares her joyous news with you hoping you won’t be devastated by it. This is the whole point, isn’t it? Yeah, but this is a sisterhood that can’t be duplicated. And it feels a little bit like betrayal to be the “successful one.”

So as I watch my belly bubble with little movements and complain about the weight gain and the heartburn, my heart aches for the friends I’ve left behind. In my joy, they rejoice. And in their sorrow, I mourn.

To the unspoken, hush-hush sisterhood of infertility, my love abides and my prayers continue.

Fitness, Letters to My Kids, Ministry

A Call to Self-Discipline

Dear Daughter of Mine,

As your Daddy pastors our church and I learn ministry alongside him, we both hold deep convictions that discipleship must remain our core focus. As individuals, as leaders, and as a church, we must be in constant pursuit of Jesus, to know Him more and be changed into His likeness.

This morning at the gym, I was challenging my arms with some slow reps of heavy weights. The work was hard, but it felt good. I knew I was becoming stronger through the pain, being a good steward of the body I’ve been given. I want to be an example to you, my daughter, of how to respect your body, how to care for it, and how to continually make it more holy. Yes, I believe our physical body should be in pursuit of God’s holiness – the wholeness He created us for – just as our spirits ought to be.

I paused to take a breather and stretch my shoulders. And the metaphor hit me like a ton of bricks:

Christian discipleship is a mirror of physical fitness. Each individual is in charge of their own spiritual and physical health. No one can force us to read our Bibles or pray in earnest. No one can force us to develop a workout routine and stick to the challenge. We must embark on our personal journey of self-discipline. We must decide in our own hearts to pursue Jesus more deeply, to go through the dark parts of our souls, to confess sins hidden, to learn passion for the Scriptures. We must decide in our own minds to go to the gym, to lift heavier weights, to go a longer distance, to increase resistance, to love the strength we build.

And in both cases our work is never complete. We may reach a new milestone in our Christian discipleship or cross a physical limit in our workouts. We may experience “highs” when we feel like we’ve found the center of our purpose in Christ, or when we can’t imagine living life without fitness. But self-discipline comes into play when we realize that we may have achieved a goal, but our job is not finished. We cannot take a few weeks off and expect to maintain our strength. We cannot say, “I’ve done it. I’ve reached my goal. I’m finished working out (or I’m finished praying.)” It’s ludicrous in both cases. Even the healthiest person – spiritually or physically – realizes their humanity, sees how far they have to go, and knows there are many challenges ahead of them.

The process of physical fitness and the journey of Christian discipleship are never complete. We must embark on their paths with the Spirit God gave us…the Spirit that does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). We ought to anticipate the hard days, the lazy days, the pitfalls, and pursue holiness in our bodies and our spirits. Let us not give up strict training. Let us run the race marked out for us so as to get the prize (1 Corinthians 9:23-25; Hebrews 12:1).

Loving you,
working to be all I was created to be,
longing to be a good example for you,


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Husband, Infertility, Letters to My Kids, Pregnancy

Woah, Baby!

Dear Little Girl,

The most incredible experience in my life (…in my life…? *Mel, that’s kind of dramatic* …but really it’s true…happened on Tuesday night as I crawled into bed. With head propped on two pillows and a third folded up under my legs (because all the pillows are necessary at this point in pregnancy sleep), I turned out the light. Your daddy got in bed next to me, and we chatted for a few minutes. All of sudden *bubble, bubble, bubble* you started moving. Within a moment, the bubbles became full out KICKS eliciting a “WOAH” from your mama. Kevin reached his hand over to my belly hoping to feel what I was feeling. We weren’t expecting anything, but then, “Was that you, Melanie?” Nope, that was definitely the baby!

We started giggling and our grins practically pierced the darkness in the room. The next five or ten minutes you were going to town, Daddy feeling every one of those kicks. It was incredible.

(side note: I had eaten a couple slices of cinnamon sugar toast just before bed and we’ve deduced that you love cinnamon. Your first big kick was at Taco Bell after munching on Cinnamon Twists last Thursday, August 13th.)

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Since that moment, my entire perspective seems to have shifted. I can’t describe the life changing moment in words or even telling someone with a smile broadening ear to ear. But your life is changing mine, Sweet Girl. As I learn to accept my new limitations, admit defeat, buy bigger sizes, and walk a whole lot slower, I am recognizing the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. God is using you to make me the woman He desires me to be. As much as I don’t feel ready for any of this, I can say with confidence that the five years of waiting was the Lord preparing my heart for this deep transformation. And for that I am thankful.

We can’t wait to see you, Daughter.


Your Mommy

Letters to My Kids, Pregnancy

Seeing Her Face

Dear Little Girl,

I could hardly wait until my doctor’s appointment Friday, August 7th. It was my 20 week ultrasound and we were going to get to see you for the first time (well, the first time since you looked like a gummy bear.) Since those moments, I haven’t been able to wipe this smile off of my face.

You are so beautiful.

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It was incredible, truly, to hear that your heart was healthy with all four chambers, that your umbilical cord had the right components, that your spine was strong, and your bladder was working. I saw your mouth opening and closing, and you were quite active, waving your arms, and once giving a “praise the Lord” gesture. I loved every minute of it!

I thank the Lord for the way He is knitting you together, and that He chose me to be your mother.

Loving you!