Over the last few weeks, a new kind of darkness has set in...not the lonely darkness of grief which still hovers at times, but the darkness of fear for the future. What does God have in store for me? Will I ever get to be a mother to my own babies? This has really forced me to examine my faith. Do I really trust that God has a plan for my life - a plan that will bring him glory and be the best for me? Some days I do, but some days that's just to hard to swallow.

But God showed up this weekend, and it was so sweet.

This past weekend, I headed up to Minneapolis to attend the Women of Faith conference with Matt's mom, sister, and sister-in-law. We have been attending this conference for years and it has been such a wonderful weekend where we have gotten to bond as the women of the family and put aside the differences of our faith backgrounds and unite in our common love for Jesus. Its usually one of my favorite weekends of the year, but I have to admit, I was not looking forward to it as I have in years past. I just kept remembering how it was this weekend last year that we announced to everyone that we were pregnant. Because of our prior miscarriage, we had waited a while to tell everyone. We actually made it to 17 weeks and I was starting to show. Since I was going to see everyone in person, we figured we had to tell or they were going to think I swallowed a basketball. My mom was so excited. I remember her putting her hand on my belly. Somehow she knew right away that I was carrying a little boy. Matt's family was thrilled too. I remember that our mom's introduced themselves at the conference as grandmas to be. It was such a happy time. I remember that in the quiet moments of the weekend, I thought of how at this time next year, I would have a 7 month old baby. How exciting!

But that's not how it worked out. Here I sat this year, a childless mother. I just kept thinking, my boys should be at home hanging out together. Matt should not be home studying alone.

As I sat in my own pity party at the conference on Friday night, one of my favorite singers, Mandisa, took the stage. After of couple of lively songs, she told a story to start her slower set. A few years ago, a woman sent her a message. She was throwing a shower for a friend who was one of Mandisa's biggest fans and the friend thought it would be awesome if Mandisa would write her a note to be read at the shower. Mandisa readily agreed. A few weeks later, a very pregnant woman showed up at the front of one of her signing lines, and it turned about to be the same woman. They had a wonderful meeting and talked about the baby - who the woman found out was going to be a little boy and she was going to name him Andrew. A few weeks later, Mandisa was shocked to learn that the woman was being rushed to the hospital and they couldn't find little Andrew's heartbeat. Mandisa prayed for a miracle, but she was devastated to learn that Andrew passed away.

After telling this story, Mandisa said that she knew that there were other woman in the audience who had faced similar loss. She said she wanted us to know that in the midst of the pain and the grief, God was with us and that he loved us dearly. She then proceed to sing a beautiful song that she wrote in honor of Andrew.

How in the world, did she talk about the exact kind of tragedy I have faced this year? It was as though God was speaking directly to me. The tears flowed, but they weren't so much tears of sadness; they were more the tears of a woman who was touched to know that the God of the universe cared about her. He may not have stopped this whole mess from happening but he is holding me in the midst of the pain. It was though he was gently telling me, "Trust me. I do love you. I am still here."

It was a powerful moment. Somehow a bit of the darkness and fear that hovered over me for the past weeks just melted away. I don't know any more about what the future holds for me, but I do know who will be holding me through it. That's a beautiful comfort.


I'm back!

Sorry, I have been MIA lately, but Matt and I were on vacation. We went to New York, Cape Cod, and Boston, and get this, we took a train both ways! I think that idea sounded more idyllic when we were planning because the 21 hour trip both ways got a little long, but it was fun to roll through the heart of some beautiful small towns and look out at the glorious fall colors- especially through the Berkshires in western Massachusetts.

We had a blast out east, exploring the cities and the history of our country (Its amazing how I suddenly become interested in history when I travel....read it in a textbook and I am asleep in under 10 minutes). Here are a couple of my favorite pictures:

My favorite part of vacation was the whale watching trip we got to go on out of the Boston Harbor. Our captain took us about an hour and a half outside of Boston - so far out that no land was visible any way that you looked. We along with all the other passengers stood along the edge of the deck and scanned the ocean for any sight of a whale. After about 10 minutes of nothing, I thought to myself, "Sure, after the year I have had, of course I wouldn't actually see a whale." (Sheesh...my bratty self can come out). But then we spotted it:

The awesome spout from a blowhole of a whale! Just moments later, he came out of the surface of the water and we could see him a little more. Now, I have seen plenty of whales an Sea World or the aquarium, but this was the first whale I had ever seen in the wild, and I loved it! They are HUGE and powerful and beautiful. We saw a Minke whale and quite a few Humpback whales. One swam just under the surface of the water right next to the boat - kind of like seeing a big fish under the surface when you are at the lake, but this thing was HUGE! Matt and I were really glad to be in a big boat.

I stood there enthralled for of an hour looking for whales and gazing at the beautiful ocean and I was struck by the thought that

God's creation is amazing!