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I just woke up from a Sunday afternoon nap.

I NEVER take naps.

There’s always too much to do, too many productive things to accomplish, too few waking moments to begin with. Today, however, my body took control and drifted off into exhausted slumber. It’s been an incredible weekend spent forgetting my responsibilities and reveling in the sweet company of a childhood friend. We stayed up late watching movies. We sampled Colorado breakfast cuisine at Snooze cafe. We walked Pearl Street in Boulder, watching a hippie make music on empty buckets and an eclectic population hurry about their holiday shopping. My coffee pot was rarely empty, though my mug was drained over and over again. Tears slipped unheeded down our faces as we recounted the last many years of hardship and pain in both of our lives, the struggle of living in the gift of today, and the fears of our futures right around the corner. We commiserated regarding emotions allowed to run wild – afraid to let our anger turn into bitterness or our anxiousness to turn into the shackles of depression. We sat on the floor of my livingroom, feet tucked under folded knees, and laughed, unashamed of the smudged mascara already making dramatic shadows around full eyes.

We both want to be women of joy. Women who walk into a room and bring beauty, life, and contentment. Women who have tasted sorrow, grown compassionate, seen God do miracles. We want to learn to worship with childlike adoration and wonder, spinning around before our Father’s throne room and cuddling in the protection of His lap.

Right now, though, it hurts.

Another friend recently emailed me – a friend who seems like she has it all together – and shared her own struggle with infertility. I went to sleep praying for her last night and woke up praying for her. My supplications mingled with cries for my own miracle, my own baby, my own dream. Truly, though, I could without hindrance and with full understanding beseech God for a miracle for her, for her time of filling to come, for hope. I know what it feels like to wonder if life will ever stir within your own womb. It’s a dreadful ache of unknown. I’m so privileged to join her in her journey. So glad to remember I’m not alone.

My back to the warm fireplace this morning, words passed my lips that express conviction that I had never wanted to internalize. “I’m so thankful that I didn’t get pregnant a year and a half ago. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to taste emptiness. From a girl who purposefully did not pray for patience, I am so grateful to begin to learn the preciousness of the “passionate patience” that Romans 5 refers to. I won’t ever forget the ache, the beauty, the steadfastness of the presence of God.”

But, the ache has become tangible. No longer do I wish with girlhood wonder for a baby. No longer do I pass toy store windows and make careless comments about huge giraffes and pink teddy bears. No longer do I just wistfully dream of becoming a mother.

Now, my arms are wrapped tight. Not around my heart – no, my heart is wide open and bleeding. Not around my chest – the ache does not reside there. My arms wrap around me belly – flat and smooth. I can’t remember the first time that I caught myself gripping my empty womb, fingers reaching around hips, but it is becoming a habit more often practiced. Sometimes, I kneel and rock. Sometimes, I worship and beg. Sometimes, I am still enough to bask in the comfort of my Savior. But, it’s now physical – the pain, the desire – wound so tight that it threatens to consume my thoughts on some occasions.

I needed a Sunday afternoon nap today.

This blog – acupofbliss – was not supposed to be about infertility. It just happened. God knew that I was going to need a safe place to write, to weep, to beg, to rage. One day, those of you who expected coffee shop reviews and lessons on marriage will be gratified. Acupofbliss IS about reflections on lattes, life, and love. “Life” is just a bit weighted right now – weighty with the living. Bear with me. Check back later if you would rather not stomach some of my raw, selfish postings about myself. I admit they are selfish, self-consumed, self-absorbed. Please cut me some slack. I don’t go about my days with these stories pouring from my heart. I don’t stop and talk about my troubles while teaching history classes, eating dinner with family, texting friends.

But, here . . . here I divulge what can’t be contained anymore in my heart. Here I hope to encourage you by reminding you that you are not alone. Whether you are struggling with a desire for a spouse, desire for a baby, desire to turn back the page of today and change the past, desire for healing, desire for hope . . . I hope my ramblings and my prayers resonate with you.

Maybe you’ve not reached the point that you can thank God for your pain. I understand. What a horrific thought. Thank God for hurt? Crazy! I dare you to try it. I dare you to taste the bitterness of the words become sweetness to your soul. I’m tasting and seeing that all that God does is good – just maybe not the “good” that I envisioned. I’m wrapping my arms tight around God’s promises and not letting go.

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