Thursday, April 24, 2014


I have had a lot of quiet time to ponder this week and God has really been working on me. In Bible study we talked about the story of Elisha in 2 Kings 2:6. It was about seeing things from a different perspective - a heavenly perspective.
2 Kings 2:16 says, “And Elisha prayed, "Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
So that has been my prayer lately: Open my eyes Lord.
I have also been pondering dreams. A close friend of mine has been pursuing her childhood dream of being a figure skater. Ryan is finally flying which is an achievement of his childhood dream. For me my dream has been to be a mother and to have my own orphanage. Ryan and I have been praying for a child for almost six years now. But we’ll get back to that. Tuesday I came home stressed. I had a meeting and was asked to shake up the orphanage preschool program. To “make it my own.” That is a lot of responsibility and I was overwhelmed at first. I voiced my fears to Ryan and his response was exactly what I needed. He said, “Jen, you have always said you wanted your own orphanage - looks like you got it.” He got me back on the right perspective. In my alone time this week I have been praying for the program and continuing to pray for a child of my own. It is then I heard in a small whisper “Take care of the children I have given you. You keep asking for a child but I have already given you 8.” I may not be a biological mother or legal mom but just like my former foster kiddos were my babies - I am accepting these little ones as my own. It may not look how I saw my dream growing up but I think it is even more beautiful. As I think of those kids my heart is full of joy. I could yammer on about them all day.  If I am on the floor there is always one in my lap and another trying to crawl on. Or there is another little one (or two or three) doing my hair. Oh how they love to play with my hair. There is dancing and playing and learning. I am Ma Jenny or Auntie. Instead of one or two kids, I have been blessed with 8. I do not care if they are mine biologically or legally. I think of Mother Teresa and Amy Carmichael who had hundreds of children but none bio/adopted. I wonder if they still ached for one of their own or just appreciated the motherhood given to them a different way. I want to say that the ache is gone and will stay gone. That I will be content in mothering the children of others. Right now that is true. I have a peace and a joy that fills that ache. In “Dancing Upon Barren Land” Lesli Westfall urges infertile women to plant seeds of character and talent while on the infertility journey. I hope I am doing that. God is changing my perspective and opening my eyes to see my dreams through His eyes. I pray that I continue this way and do not let hormones or bitterness blind me.
When I was 17 praying for this future I did not envision it this way. (I, also, don’t think Ryan saw his dream being fulfilled like it is right now). However, I don’t think I would have it any other way. It is not always going to be pretty. I know heartache will come when I have to say goodbye. I went through that in Alaska and my heart was torn into pieces. But when goodbyes come I believe God will give me another quiver full to love and look after. Such is our messy beautiful life - to love and let go. So pursue your dreams. Pray for what is on your heart. But also be prepared for God to work it out HIS way.
I would love to share pictures of my babies with you but due to confidentiality reasons I am not allowed to take any. So instead I'll share a picture of me on an adventure enjoying my new peace and joy. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


As many of you probably already know in Africa they drive on the other side of the road than they do in America. So you sit on the other side to drive, the gearshift is on the other side of you, and the windshield wipers and turn signal are on opposite sides. It takes a little bit to get used to driving differently. As I was driving to pick Ryan up at the airport I realized there were several similarities between driving in Africa and my infertility journey. For starters as I just mentioned it take some getting used to both. I don't think anyone goes into trying to conceive expecting problems. Once you hit infertility challenges you have to make some adjustments. Eventually you get more used to it but it still feel weird. When I turned on the main road I had to fight my instincts. I kept wanting to switch sides and had to remind myself that I was already in the lane I needed to be in. I was thankful when I saw another car and could reassure myself that I was doing it right. I have to do that with this journey as well. I want to go my way but I have to stay on the path God is leading me through. Then there are the difficulties on the roads: huge potholes and animals crossing the road.  Only going a few miles I had to stop twice for herds of goats and once for a donkey. The animals don't care if a car is coming. If you have read my blog at all you already know that infertility has many difficulties. The hormones and health aspect but just as bad is the emotional side. If I am honest I can tell you I get bitter, angry, jealous... on a regular basis, especially the months that I skip a period and start to hope. Those are my potholes that I have to pay attention and swerve to miss. Only by God's mercy and a lot of prayer can I get through.

I know I have just hit on the negatives but there are positives to both as well. I love being in Africa. It is an amazing experience. Where else in the world can you camp with lions, elephants, and hippos outside your tent? From desert dry salt pans to lush deltas, the scenery is vastly different and beautiful. Infertility is part of my journey and without it I may not have had some of the great experiences and be the person I am. So as much as I wish I could erase infertility from my life- it is a part of me. I have to embrace it and try to enjoy the ride. Whatever life throws in your way be it goats, cattle, donkeys, or something much crazier- trust God and just keep driving. He will lead you where you need to be.

African sunset


Goats in the road                                                                 Driving