Thankful for What I Have Learned

I never thought we would be on this journey, but through what I have learned, I wouldn’t change a thing. I know there is a purpose to this trial. I talk a lot about being thankful and that is one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of our fertility journey. Today I wanted to share everything I have learned. The list is much more extensive than this so hopefully I will get to share more at a later day.

Words. It’s amazing how many people ask me when we will have kids. My answer always varies, but despite what it is, I always receive a response back. They range from “just go on vacation”, “just relax”, or “just adopt”. We have heard them all. They are things people think will make us feel better, but really, they just have no idea. But, how many times have I been that person? How many times have I said to someone, “Oh, you have been dating for 4 years, when do you think you will get engaged”. When maybe, just maybe, I have NO idea what the recipient of that question is going through. Maybe they have cancer, maybe they just lost a child, or maybe they are in a good place. This journey has taught me how to be more compassionate. It’s taught me to hold my tongue.  It has taught me to mind my own business and it’s definitely taught me to be careful of my words.

True friends. Since going through this journey, I’ve really realized who my true friends are. Those who have joined us in prayer. Those who have continued to reach out and let me know they are thinking of me. Those who have surprised me with cards or thoughtful gifts in the mail. Those who have not just stood aside and let us walk alone, but have joined us and walked with us. Those who have let me know they are constantly thinking about us and can’t wait to hear the good news that we are expecting. Those who are devoted to reading our blog and commenting. Those who are standing in agreement that we will be joyful parents of many children.

New friendships. I have made so many new friends through this journey, many from the blog world; girls I never would have come across if I was on a different path. I’m thankful for my friends from my Moms in the Making Group. There is something about sitting in a room with people who are going through the same thing – a bond is formed immediately and for that I’m grateful.

Marriage. Colby and I have grown so much closer. It’s during these time you either grow apart or together. Our relationship has definitely been consistent of the latter. We have shared our hearts, cried together, and laughed together. Our prayer life has increased tremendously. He has been my number one supporter and encourager.

Waiting. I  think we will always be in a period of waiting. I waited to find the right guy to marry and then waited to get engaged, then married,  and now we are waiting to have a baby. But, it doesn’t end here. I’m sure we will be waiting anxiously for our baby to take their first step, and lose their first tooth. Some waiting periods might be harder than others, but if it’s not one stage of life, it’s another. I’m so thankful for the wait as it causes us to surrender everything we desire and give it 100% to Christ.

Health.Our awareness of our health has done a 180. I’m so grateful for this journey because I have learned so much about eating right, the environment and it’s effects, and getting proper nutrition and exercise. I’m so thankful that I’m now aware of how our diet and exercise make a huge impact on our health.

God’s Will. It’s evident that my plans are way different than God’s plans. It’s amazing that in some aspects I am STILL learning. I remember my parents moving me my junior year of High school and I kicked and screamed not wanting to go, despite the fact that it ended up being one of the best things for me. I remember thinking I was going to marry one person, only for them to break my heart and marry someone a million times better for me. I know our journey now is the same. We would have had two kids by now if it were up to us, yet we are still waiting to have one. God’s plans are always so much better than ours.

Blessings. I am so blessed. I don’t want to spend time grieving something I don’t have, when I am so thankful for everything I do have. I’m so grateful to Jesus for all that He has blessed me with.

How good God is. Jesus is so good. He has just spoiled us on this journey. He consistently shows us His love. He reminds us that He has complete control. He has told us that He will bring us children in His perfect timing. Despite my brokenness, He just pours out His never ending love. He never leaves or forsakes us and He has our best in mind.

Don’t let your trial be wasted. Focus on your blessings and allow your suffering to refine you to become more like Jesus while you are waiting for your breakthrough.

Thankful for what I have learned

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50 Comments
  • Lauren
    Posted at 06:12h, 12 September Reply

    Love your example of faith and how you’re paving the path for me too. So little and strong, Miss Caroline. Thanks for living up
    To your namesake.

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 07:41h, 12 September Reply

    Related to all of these friend (except for the marriage one obviously ;)) I found myself nodding completely throughout this post! SO glad that we can encourage each other through our waiting periods!!!
    Hugs!
    🙂 Rebecca

  • Kate
    Posted at 08:25h, 12 September Reply

    What a beautiful post and wonderful reminders to us all! Thank you!!

  • Elena
    Posted at 08:34h, 12 September Reply

    Love this post!! I am also thankful for this journey. It might be hard for someone on the outside looking in to understand, but there have been so many good things to come out of it, like friends and a stronger marriage!

  • Joey
    Posted at 08:43h, 12 September Reply

    my heart aches for you. I wish people would understand that it’s none of their business. I know a lot of times people are just trying to make conversation, but I think “when will you have kids” is a question that should be taken out of the mix in general. It’s such a sensitive topic and not one that is their business. I’ve had so many people ask me if my husband and I are trying. Finally, once, I replied back “Oh, do you mean to ask if my husband and I are having lots of unprotected sex?” The person was baffled and embarrassed, and I explained to them that it’s just not an appropriate thing to ask someone. I was on the receiving end of “when are you getting engaged” for years. And I wanted to break down every time someone asked me. If it had been up to just me and J, we would probably have been married in the middle of our senior year of college. But it wasn’t just up to us. And we had a lot of trials standing in our way. And while people were just “making conversation” they were ripping my heart out of my chest! This is such a lovely post, sweet girl. It’s so hard for anyone to understand a journey they’ve never had to take.

  • Ursula
    Posted at 09:09h, 12 September Reply

    You’re so right, there is always something to learn from trials. I especially appreciate your comment about words. I think people say that stuff with the best intentions but they can be unintentionally hurtful and really, it’s not our business

  • Jaclyn
    Posted at 09:37h, 12 September Reply

    My mom always told me that when you have to work for something, you’re that much more appreciative of it and as I’ve gotten older, I understand that more and more and totally agree. Although life isn’t exactly going as I would like (or have planned) – I know when I my season comes for marriage, I know I will appreciate it that much more – especially as I’ve watched other friends get married, have a house full of kids and shake their heads later because they jumped right into it without a lot of preparation on multiple levels. As I’ve followed this blog for the past few months, you’ve brought me so much encouragement because I have finally found someone that is truly following God and His plan for their life – no matter the tests or trials they face. I was praying for you last night as I rode to my grandparents – so excited for the new season! One day we will have our promises and in the mean time, I rest in God’s Word and wait and I”m so thankful to look to the faith of othes as time keeps ticking. But He is faithful! I’m naturally a restless person, so resting and waiting is like learning a new language. Ahhh – LOL But as long as my future hubby and I can go on a few trips before we settle down, I’m happy – but I’ll be 31 in a few weeks – that was weird just writing that out. Deep breaths and one day at a time! Haha 😀 Have a good weekend!

  • Gen Delali
    Posted at 12:32h, 12 September Reply

    wow. these are powerful lessons the Lord has been teaching you on your journey! He sure is faithful! in His prefect timing, your babies will come! being thankful before the manifestation shows how we trust God. let’s keep being thankful!

  • Brittany
    Posted at 12:50h, 12 September Reply

    Wow! What a great reminder to stop and appreciate and be thankful for not only everything the Lord has given us, but also all the trials we go through! Thankful for you and your positive posts! HE knows there are excellent things ahead for y’all! Praying for you and your babies!

  • Suzanne
    Posted at 15:13h, 12 September Reply

    You always have such beautiful, heartfelt, faithful posts that are so inspiring. So grateful to know you. xoxo

  • Amanda
    Posted at 15:21h, 12 September Reply

    I definitely have to agree with the words part… I KNOW I’ve been so guilty of saying insensitive things in the past. Even now, I catch myself wanting to ask when people are getting married, and I have to bite my tongue. You just never know how your words will affect someone… they have so much power!

  • Elisha
    Posted at 15:24h, 12 September Reply

    I loved this post! Thankfulness opens the door to God’s blessings! love you twiny! xo

  • Jojo
    Posted at 17:43h, 12 September Reply

    Beautifully written, Caroline! I agree everything happens as it should. The people you meet, the things you learn is priceless.

  • Charity
    Posted at 19:42h, 12 September Reply

    Love this post and your outlook. I was beginning to see what a blessing infertility had been in changing my life, faith, marriage and friendships. It’s how I became closer to God and I can’t be more grateful. Thanks for reminding us to have an attitude of gratitude and to look at our life’s issues with grateful eyes!

  • Sheryl
    Posted at 19:53h, 12 September Reply

    My own journey has highlighted the same things in my life. I truly believe there is meaning in everything that we go through. This journey I have been on may not have been the one I planned or wanted but it has brought me gifts I may have never had. You bless everyone with each post you write.

  • CHELSEA
    Posted at 20:00h, 12 September Reply

    God honors your gratitude so much! This journey reminds us that we have to be intentional to look for ways to be grateful. Furtick says “There is always something to thank God for once you’ve made the decision to be a grateful person.” You do this so well my friend! Love you!

  • Kim Adams Morgan
    Posted at 20:54h, 12 September Reply

    Oh Caroline, I pray that one day everyone will know the meaning of your words, “don’t let your trial be wasted, let your suffering refine you to be more like Christ.”

    So many people get stuck in pain or anger and miss the beauty of this walk that is built when you walk so close with Jesus during suffering.

    Blessings, friend.

  • Tiffany
    Posted at 08:20h, 13 September Reply

    Great read, Caroline. Spot on for sure!

  • Melissa
    Posted at 08:55h, 13 September Reply

    I relate to this post so much… especially #1 & #3 & #4! I am much more compassionate & thoughtful about the words i say to others. The friendships i’ve made, though, is huge. I go to a local support group & have been going for a year. Some of the girls in the group have actually become close friends & my paths wouldn’t have crossed with theirs if not for infertility!

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 10:26h, 13 September Reply

    You are so strong! I wish more of us were like you!!! 😉

  • Emily @ EatLoveProcreate
    Posted at 12:01h, 13 September Reply

    OK, this post really made me cry. There are so many amazing lessons that can be learned through such a difficult trial, and I’m glad you are catching them right and left. I am so thankful to have met you through the blogosphere. You are truly one of a kind, and it’s people like you that make me thankful for the trials we’ve gone through too.

  • Jessica Hiltz
    Posted at 16:55h, 13 September Reply

    So, so true for me as well! God is so good!

  • Erika B.
    Posted at 17:46h, 13 September Reply

    SUCH a good post. It’s always so good to remember the blessings that come even during trials. So thankful for your perspective.

  • Síochána Arandomhan
    Posted at 21:49h, 13 September Reply

    I could identify with a lot of this, particularly the Words part. I don’t think I’ve ever been a totally insensitive jerk, but I did used to feel it was OK to tease people about when they would have kids or why not or just be flippant about it. Now I never do that. The other really profound lesson (which you talk about as well) is realizing just how much is outside of our control and finding a way to live with that – and live well.

  • Beka
    Posted at 22:53h, 13 September Reply

    You are a blessing, friend! Thanks for sharing what you have and are learning!

  • Angela
    Posted at 08:34h, 14 September Reply

    I’m stopping by through the blithday bash, but I’ve visited before. I’m still praying for you two. I recently had my first miscarriage. I do already have two children, but we’ve always wanted three. We thought we were ready for that final child, but then recently we’ve learned it’s just not time yet. Maybe ever. I don’t know. Experiencing this and all the feelings that come with it have taught me as well a better sense of compassion and understanding. Thanks for being such an encouragement to so many. As hard as it is people are learning and growing through the teachings you provide from your journey, and hopefully soon you’ll be blessed with your first child. Angela @ Trusting the Journey of Motherhood

  • Lisa
    Posted at 15:32h, 14 September Reply

    Caroline, this is such a beautiful testimony of your faith your heart. I know that God has used you mightily to minister to other women (myself being one of them). I can’t wait for the day when we can all rejoice with you as you finally welcome a little one into your life.

  • becky
    Posted at 11:31h, 15 September Reply

    I like how you said “don’t let your trial be wasted.” Truth!!!! I think it’s so easy to try and rush through infertility, jump to the next thing, then the next. Something doesn’t go the way you plan, so you change your plan. It’s so easy to rush through this trial or try to alter the outcome or try and cover up/deny your pain. But I think there are some incredible lessons to be learned through this trial. I know for a fact that God has a plan for my infertility. My character had changed, my marriage has been strengthened, my faith is stronger, I’m learning all the time! This trial has taught me so much, I’m actually quite grateful for it!

  • Chelsea @ The Contented Wife
    Posted at 08:52h, 16 September Reply

    Caroline, your attitude through this journey seems to be amazing. Your perspective and outlook is really to be admired. Too often when we go through trials, we want to wallow in our self pity, but you seem to be always looking for lessons learned. Lately I’ve been thinking about how I’ve handled myself in various trials and I don’t think I’ve done all that great. I now realize that these trials are for the building up of my faith and God wants to work everything for good for those that love Him. Thank you sharing your thoughts! It was a great reminder to look for the lessons God is teaching us.

  • Chantel
    Posted at 14:03h, 16 September Reply

    You are so positive Caroline! While we already have one child I feel as though many of these points apply to our adoption. A year or two ago I had a friend that I could really relate to while our adoption started going through some bumps and she was struggling to get pregnant. Then she get pregnant and suddenly our friendship was over and she started doing the exact things that other people did while she was struggling that bothered her.
    Keeping you in my prayers!

  • Tiffany (A Touch of Grace)
    Posted at 15:12h, 16 September Reply

    Caroline, you are such an awesome woman. You give such a positive perspective to so many things that a lot of us would be frustrated about and probably would have given up. We go through so many trials throughout our lives that if were just able to take a step back and look at what is being presented to us that maybe it’s for the best and God has a greater plan we don’t even know about.

  • Kelli {A Deeper Joy}
    Posted at 14:15h, 17 September Reply

    I think this is my favorite post that you’ve ever written Caroline. Words – yes! That’s why I try to not ask questions like that. I heard it so much just being almost 30 and not married so I know how words can hurt. Thank you for the reminder because I forget to stop and think before I talk sometimes.

    Loved hanging with you earlier!! (I had actually already started to write this comment and am just finishing it! Haha!)

  • Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom
    Posted at 14:09h, 18 September Reply

    Oh this is just beautiful and precious! So much to be thankful for. I just love your gratitude in the journey. I’m sure the Lord delights in your thankfulness as well.

    What a wonderful post Caroline.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

  • Megan
    Posted at 21:37h, 21 September Reply

    It’s so great that you and your husband are closer as a result! My husband and I are the same and I feel so incredibly lucky that we pulled each other closer for support rather than pushing each other away because we were sad.

  • sharah
    Posted at 20:45h, 24 September Reply

    ICLW – lovely post. I’m so much more careful of what I say to people now. It’s the old saying, “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” It’s easy to hurt someone with words and not even realize what you are doing.

  • Laura @ Making Baby Provence
    Posted at 14:47h, 09 October Reply

    I think I can proudly say that I have had all of these lessons, too…apart from the health. 😉 I love how well you wrote this, though.

  • Blessed Boymom
    Posted at 17:09h, 25 May Reply

    What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing.

  • Amber
    Posted at 15:12h, 26 May Reply

    Thank you for sharing. Today I really needed that waiting section. I have been so impatient lately and you gave me a great reminder.

  • Kristen Sampson
    Posted at 10:51h, 25 June Reply

    I am very sorry this is something you are going through. I admire your faith and positivity throughout it all. I have so many friends who are going through the same thing and it hurts to know its a struggle. I will keep you in my thoughts! Best of luck!

  • Chardae
    Posted at 10:53h, 25 June Reply

    I was also in a period of waiting for what felt like forever and people never understood how their words helped or hindered my feelings. I also made vast improvements to my health. The one thing I din’t get from the journey was new friends, seems like I actually lost some. And now that I’m pregnant even more have disappeared. It is comforting to know who my real friends are though. Best of luck to you on this journey!

  • Crystal
    Posted at 11:05h, 25 June Reply

    Great post and great perspective. Nathan and I tried for over two years to get pregnant with Mason. And while I know that isn’t long it sure feels like eternity when you’re in the middle of it. My heart and prayers go out to you and anyone else on this journey! And you are so right about God’s will and God’s timing. We just have to put faith into His plan.

  • Mary Gilbert
    Posted at 16:11h, 25 June Reply

    What a great post! Glad to see that your faith has grown…..for many that wouldn’t be the case.

  • Leslie
    Posted at 16:42h, 25 June Reply

    It is so hard to go through trials. Our teenage daughter has struggled the last few years with severe headaches. It has taken such a toll on her and us. It has made our faith stronger and made me look for the little things I could be grateful and thankful for each day. Praise God, he does answer prayers. I finally see the reality of that now. She is feeling much better and we are hopeful. This has just been part of her story for her to give God Glory! I hope you can see that too.

  • Jennifer DeFrates/Heaven Not Harvard
    Posted at 17:32h, 25 June Reply

    I wanted to be a young mom so I would have energy to do things with my kids. I was 38 when we got the call our baby had been born. It wasn’t my way. It wasn’t the way I wanted. But it was God’s way and timing. The wisdom I’ve gained in the years of waiting has made me a million times better mother. I watched a friend going through the adoption process, and she was waiting and waiting and waiting. it was so hard to watch, but then one day with no warning, their wait was over. They learned their baby was born. And he is a blessing to them. You may conceive, adopt, or find a different path. The pain of the waiting or losses or of never carrying a child is part of who you are forever, but God will give you strength and grace, like you are already demonstrating, to deal with it and handle the path meant for you.

  • Marissa
    Posted at 17:34h, 25 June Reply

    What a beautiful sharing of your heart. Trials can tear us apart or build us into new stronger people. Love that you’re sharing how you are growing.

    Marissa

  • Andrea
    Posted at 18:10h, 25 June Reply

    God can use every situation we have – for His purposes and to work out everything for our good 😀

  • Brandi @ penguinsinpink
    Posted at 20:30h, 25 June Reply

    Praying for you! So thankful you can see all of God’s blessings in your current situation, that is a true gift. Keep your eyes on Him.

  • MB
    Posted at 22:23h, 26 June Reply

    Trials teach us so much. I can certainly agree with the words and the friends part. Thank you for sharing your experience and bless you for being an encouragement to others.

  • Victoria @ Creative Home Keeper
    Posted at 15:45h, 27 June Reply

    Loved reading your gratitude list. I’ve gotten back into the habit of recording my blessings and it really does help keep things in perspective. Thanks for sharing your heart and journey 🙂

  • Pat Fenner
    Posted at 16:19h, 27 June Reply

    Wow – so very many lessons! I’ll bet almost each of them could be a post unto themselves!
    A friend of mine once used the term “Jesus juke”, meaning when you turn a life lesson into a spiritual one, but I believe that ALL life lessons are spiritual ones… I could especially relate to the gratitude list, too. My mother-in-law bought our kids little notebooks to use as gratitude journals… So very important!

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Caroline. What a labor of love…

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