How God Has Been Moving at Barren to Beautiful

Things have been a little quieter on my blog this month–and I want to share why. Behind the scenes, God has been moving in a mighty way. Just like when a seed is planted in the dirt–it doesn’t look like anything is happening. But it is. Underground–life is taking form, and suddenly, it pushes through the dirt, and springs forth.

200 Women Join the 20-Day Bible Reading Plan

Over the last month, from November 1st-20th, over 200 women from all over the world joined me for an adventure seeking God every day by following a 20-Day Infertility Bible Reading Plan. (This plan, called, “Yet I Will Rejoice: Bible Reading Plan,” was created by Kristy at Organic Christian Living. You can check it out here!)

In our “female-only,” “closed,”  Facebook group, we interacted with the Bible passages for each day and got to share what God was revealing to us. Also, most evenings, I held “Live Nightly Prayer,” where I would pray that day’s scripture over the women and share specific things God laid on my heart for that day.

None of this was my plan. (Especially to do “Facebook Live!” at the end of the day, when my mind was tired, my make-up was all wiped off from the day, and my kids wiped their food on my clothes.) I’m a writer–I like to have things written just so. But speaking, and doing it “live” from my living room or kitchen table–felt so out of my comfort zone–or giftings. But, you know what God kept reminding me? “This isn’t about you, it’s about Me.” So…I pressed that very scary “live” button–and did just that…live. 

I shared things I hadn’t planned on sharing, talked longer than I meant to, laughed, cried, and even on the last night…sang.

But God had things to say to these girls–life-changing things–and He chose me in my weakness, so He could show Himself strong. Because it’s not about speaking with “eloquence,” it’s just about speaking in obedience, and letting His Spirit take over. 

Let me tell you, it was such a sweet time. If you are one of the ladies who participated: Thank you. What a beautiful, called, set-apart group of women you are. I learned so much walking alongside these ladies, hearing their hearts pour out for God, and allowing themselves to be changed by His living, breathing Word in the Bible. Opening their minds and hearts up to His will, above their own.

It’s a beautiful thing–when barren women come together–seeking the greatest Beauty of all–Jesus Christ. 

And He opens their eyes, to His beauty. 

I believe this 20-Day adventure was only the beginning of a new journey for them. Of God opening their eyes to His beauty–all around. Because even for the woman who perhaps didn’t feel she “changed” during this 20-day journey–I believe change is coming.

There is a Scripture in Galatians 6:7-8 that says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”

That’s what the last month has been. Digging in the dirt. Planting seeds. Watering ourselves with the Word of God, opening up our hearts and lives to His Spirit. Because even if we can’t see it yet–the blooms will eventually come.

We sow to the Spirit, and we will reap from the Spirit. And He will bring a beautiful harvest in His time, and in His way. 

(If you are reading this, and happened to miss the 20-Day Bible Reading Plan you can access it and follow it on your own here. )

God is moving in women’s hearts all over the globe, taking them from barren to beautiful.

How This Blog Began

When I started this blog, about 3 years ago–I had no idea what God would do with it.  I had no idea how to even start a blog. I literally took “Blogging for Dummies” out from the library and renewed it as many times as I was allowed.

God gave me the name, “Barren to Beautiful,” because that’s what He did in me.

He had changed me. He had opened my eyes. And He did this before I ever got pregnant. DURING infertility, when there was no hope given to me, He came close.

He met me in the desert.

I was a sad, angry, broken woman. I had a barren womb, yes, but I also had a barren soul. With clenched fists, trying to tolerate God’s plan for me. Trying to be okay with it. I often looked out and saw my life as a dry, barren wasteland. Dry, cracked earth. Nothing grew there.

“But that’s not what I see,” the Lord whispered. 

I say this with tears.

“That’s not what I see.” 

He opened my eyes. To the beauty all around me. 

He opened my eyes to Him.

To His beauty. 

He took me from seeing me life as barren…to beautiful.

Because wherever God is, there is beauty.

(You can read more of my story here.  )

This is why I started this blog. The things He spoke to me in the darkness–I now proclaim from the rooftops. Whatever “rooftops” He gives me. I have to share these things. I have to tell of His wonderful works. He healed my womb. He gave me two beautiful children. But He also healed my soul–and this perhaps was the biggest miracle of all.

Because whether we can have babies, or not; whether we are married, or single, whether we have the life we dreamed, or not–we are all barren inside apart from Jesus Christ.

And He has come to take us from barren to beautiful. 

He pours out streams in the desert, and rivers in the wastelands. 

Of our souls. 

So if the Spirit has led you here, I believe He wants to take your barreness away–and show you His beauty.

That’s why this blog began. That’s why it continues. That’s why I continue–because I believe with all my heart–this is true. 

Women (from all over the world) Begin Sending In “Barren to Beautiful” Testimonies (Because God is Moving)

Last Spring, the Lord prompted me to ask for testimonies of women who have been healed of either a barren womb, or a barren soul, or both. So, I did.

And here’s what happened: I recieved testimonies from all over the world. More testimonies than I could even read. Incredible stories of God working in women’s lives and hearts–bringing them to life. And I began publishing them for “Testimony Tuesdays,” maybe you’ve read some? And…I still have a big stack of them in my inbox, that I have not even gotten to read yet. I actually had to “close” submissions until spring or summer because I was getting so many.  But isn’t this an amazing problem to have? 

God is healing barren souls and barren wombs. God is moving, wooing, loving His daughters and calling them closer to Himself.

And the barren are singing again. 

I love that this isn’t just about my testimony, or my story anymore. It’s about yours, too. It’s about God–and what He is doing.

Because this isn’t simply about women getting pregnant, or God healing barren wombs. Sometimes, He does that. He did it for me (even when I was faithless, He did it.) But what this is about, is God healing barren souls This is about women laying down their lives, their plans, their dreams, and abandoning themselves fully to the Lord, desiring Him above all else, letting their arms fall open like a book–in surrender, in trust, and in hope–because they have a good, good Father. And He is calling His daughters back to Himself. And He is taking them from barren…to beautiful.

New Blog Design In the Works

Over the last couple years of blogging, I’ve had some site updates I’ve been neglecting to make–just because tech issues are a BIG weakness for me. (Remember the “Blogging for Dummies” book?) Yeah.

However, I recently purchased a new theme from Restored 316 to update Barren to Beautiful–basically this will give my blog a little (or big) makeover. (Eek!) I’m really excited to make this change, as it will make it so much easier for you to find the articles you are looking for and organize everything, and it will also be great for whatever future God has in store has for “Barren to Beautiful.” However, trying to watch hours of video tutorials, while nursing my son, and being on the phone with my hosting provider, and having my blog most-likely appear side-ways for days on end…scares me a little. 

It might take me weeks…or months. (Because my kids need me a lot, every day…And I’m THE worst multi-tasker… #mommyblogger)

Even though it would be nice to have undisturbed hours to write and work on this blog, I have to remember, that these beautiful kids, are answers to my sobbing prayers.  And they are walking miracles of His goodness to me. So, it’s okay. Whatever God has called me to as a mom, wife, writer and blogger–He will also give me the grace, energy, and time to do it. (And if my blog is sideways for a couple days…you’ll understand, right?)

 

So much love to you,

I’m honored to be walking this journey with you,

From Barren…to Beautiful,

Rebekah

Photo credit: Sarah D’Attoma of D’Attoma Studios Photography

Amanda’s Testimony

In 2014, we decided it was time to grow our family. My husband and I knew that there could be roadblocks because I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). We set out with our trust in God that it would happen, but then my cycle stopped altogether. We were referred to an endocrinologist who specializes in infertility.

As I sat in the room for tests to be conducted on my womb, I repeated my mantra of “Be still and know,” one thousand times. I kept telling myself that the tests would come back clear. However, the doctor reported that polyps and a misshaped uterus were preventing me from being able to conceive. Still, I told myself, “Be still and know.”

That following Sunday at church, our pastor gave a sermon where he spoke about the lessons God was teaching us in our current season, whatever that may be. My husband and I knew that in our current situation of infertility, the Lord had something further that we needed to learn. This lesson was surrender. We needed to turn all of ourselves over to him and to trust in His steadfast love. We took steps to eat better, to be more active, to love each other more, and most of all, to spend more time with Him.

On November 11, 2014, I underwent surgery to make my womb a place in which a baby could grow. Over the next few months, we continued waiting for the next step in our treatment. Finally, the time had come to try to conceive. Again in church, the sermon spoke to our hearts. Our pastor spoke of miracles on the horizon because nothing is impossible for the Lord. Our miracle was in the making. Luke 1:45 says, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.”

Exactly one year to the day of my surgery, we welcomed our incredible little Jonah into the world. We called him our wink from God because every time we saw 11:11 on a clock, my husband and I would pray for a baby and here he was on 11/11/15.

God decided that we should be blessed again with another child. In February of this year, we discovered that without any medical intervention, I had conceived again. The first few weeks of the pregnancy, we faced concerns that the baby might not be growing. Again, I turned to the word of the Lord and was reminded of the following: Hebrews 11:1-2 “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.” It was time to, “Be still and know.”

My pregnancy continued to progress with minor bumps along the way until August 20th at 1:50 am, when I woke up to my water unexpectedly breaking. I immediately woke my husband up to rush me to the hospital. This was the longest 15 minute drive of our lives. As I shook and poked my belly, praying and begging for movement, some kind of response. I was getting none.

I look back at that drive now and realize there was a great presence of peace that I wasn’t able to grasp then, but now see that God was with us every moment of the way. As soon as we got to the hospital, I was hooked to the heart monitor and we heard Samuel’s heartbeat. Greg and I immediately said prayers of gratitude because we thought we’d lost our son before we had a chance to hold him.

Because I was only 32 weeks along, we were told that I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks to give the baby more time to grow. This hit us hard because we have our first to care for. I felt deep grief as I missed him so much, even with his twice daily visits. But again God showed us great support through our family and friends during this time.

Midway through my first week stay in the hospital, I started bleeding heavily. My placenta had an abruption and kicked me into labor at 33 weeks. After hours of labor, Samuel entered the world with a magnificent cry. This cry was the most beautiful sound. It overcame our fear that he would need assistance breathing. Again we praised God.

He truly makes all things possible.

Samuel had to stay in the NICU for 13 days; during which God showed us growth daily. Samuel is now a month old and is progressing normally.

Through our two beautiful boys, our family has truly learned of God’s faithfulness. His love abounds!

–Amanda

Amanda, Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Isn’t it incredible how God is always with us, giving us peace through the trials and celebrating with us in our times of JOY? Having such a sense of TRUST IN GOD, in such a huge part of dealing with infertility, and we couldn’t be more happy for you and your husband, and now your growing family!! Thanks again for sharing your beautiful testimony with us!

 

Infertility Bible Reading Plan: Yet I Will Rejoice

Have you ever wondered what God says about infertility? About not getting pregnant? About deeply longing and desiring something you don’t have?

When I was trying to conceive, I felt like my emotions were constantly rising and falling with my hormones, mood swings and my (ever faithful) periods. The only place I could find any sort of peace, comfort or hope was in God’s word.

That’s what this is about.

Sometimes you just need to put down the “fertility charting” and “Getting Pregnant 101” books and pick up the only book that really can bring life to your soul: the Bible.

That’s why I’m so excited to share with you the “Yet I Will Rejoice: Infertility Bible Reading Plan.” It’s a 20-day Bible reading plan to fill you with truth and hope during this season of infertility–or just any “barren” season of life you may be in.

I believe this reading plan could literally change the trajectory of your life. (Not because it will somehow magically make you pregnant.) But because when your desires, longings, fears, and dreams meet God through His word–there’s like a holy collision that takes place.

This is where the journey gets real. It’s where you exchange your ashes for His beauty. 

Where your deep thirst encounters the Living Water of Jesus. 

Because if your’re thirsty, He invites you come.

And I invite you to come. Come on a spiritual journey for 20 days as you follow the “Yet I Will Rejoice: Infertility Scripture Reading plan,” and hear what God might want to say to you. 

This plan was created by my beautiful friend Kristy from Organic Christian Living.  And you want to know something?

(She’s in your shoes. Right now.)

She’s currently walking this road, and she knows exactly how you feel.

But she’s made the choice to keep walking, to keep trusting God, and to allow Him to fill her with life, no matter where He leads her and her husband. Because she knows it will be good and full of God. 

Here’s what Kristy says about why she created this plan:

“Shortly after you get married, everyone starts to ask the same question, “soooo…when are you going to have a baby?” I don’t think any woman is ever comfortable answering that question, but for those of us who are trying to get pregnant, it’s a hurtful reminder of something we want, but can’t have. For as long as Ryan and I have been married, we’ve been asked this question, and as long as we’ve been married, we’ve been unsuccessfully trying to have a baby. After our first 12 months of trying to conceive, we officially joined the infertility club back in 2013, a club I never thought I would be a part of, especially at the age of 23.

Although it’s something women rarely talk about, infertility affects 1 in 10 couples, so chances are, you or someone you know is struggling with it today. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant, but can’t, I made this month’s bible reading plan just for you. And if this isn’t a trial you’re experiencing, maybe you’ll still want to take part in this study to gain a better idea of what other women go through when they’re unable to get pregnant. Or, maybe you’ll just want to share it with someone you know.

Over the next 20 days, we’re going to see how God uses even infertility to accomplish His purposes and bring glory to His name, and how we can rejoice in the midst of our pain. My prayer for all of us is that we would not judge God’s goodness by our ability to carry a child, but that we would trust His plan and His process for our lives.”

—Kristy, Organic Christian Living

Here is the plan:

(Right click and save image to your phone or device so you can easily access it. Or, print it out.)

How to get the most out of the “Yet I Will Rejoice: Infertility Bible Reading Plan”:

  1. Right click on the above image and ‘save image’ to your phone or device. Or, print it out.
  2. Every day before you start reading, ask the Lord to speak to you, draw you closer to Him, and for Him to reveal Himself to you through His Word.
  3. Join the Barren to Beautiful “Yet I Will Rejoice” Facebook group and interact with a community of women who will be following the plan together beginning November 1–November 20 (2017) in preparation for Thanksgiving, which is November 23.
  4. Visit Organic Christian Living, to access the original reading plan and read Kristy’s commentary about each of the four sections of the reading plan: In His Sovereignty, In His Perfect Timing, In Who He Is, and In My Salvation. Although you’re free to read all four summaries at once, I recommend reading one section overview at a time before you begin reading that section’s scriptures.
  5. Download the 20 day Yet I Will Rejoice Scripture Writing Plan by signing up at Kristy’s beautiful site Organic Christian Living. (You can find this by scrolling through the Reading plan.) The Scripture writing plan compliments the Bible reading plan and really helps you to really soak in God’s word.  (Plus, there is a darling “Yet I Will Rejoice”  frame-worthy printable you can get over there when you sign up!)

Lastly, I’m praying for you. Out of all the words I could write on this blog, nothing can compare with you meeting with God in His word for yourself. I am confident He will speak to you. 

I don’t know if He will take the barreness from your womb, but I do know and am praying He will take the barreness from your soul. I don’t know if He will give you a baby, but I do know He will give you Himself–and He is the greatest gift of all.

Now go join our special “Yet I Will Rejoice”: 20-Day Reading Plan” Facebook group to be reminded to follow the reading plan each of the 20 days and participate with other women walking this journey. Our interactive Facebook group will run from Wednesday, November 1-November 20 (just in time for Thankgsgiving)! So, you have a few days to get your reading plan saved and all your ducks in a row before we begin. Click –> here to be directed to the “Yet I Will Rejoice”: 20-Day Reading Plan Facebook group .  (Only females can join this closed FB group.) Hope to see you there!

Love, Rebekah

 

Stephanie’s Testimony: When God Grows Your Family His Own Way

It had been two and half years of trying. Praying. Hoping. Testing. And nothing to show for it.

We made an appointment, and found ourselves in the fertility specialist’s office, eager for answers. It was there we learned of the obstacles standing in our way. Endometriosis, and multiple cysts in each ovary. I immediately began crying, upset at this first revelation that my body was not as healthy as I had always imagined it to be. The doctor kindly scolded me, telling me that our situation was completely workable.

A few months later, I left his office after our first IUI. I should’ve felt excited at the possibility that this might bring about our first child, but I didn’t. I knew it wouldn’t work. It wasn’t that I felt hopeless about the treatments. But, I felt peaceless. This wasn’t the route God was calling us to.  A few weeks later, the negative test confirmed it.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were supposed to build our family a different way. On a cold December night, my husband and I were on a date, and somewhere between the appetizer and main course I mustered up the courage to tell him what had been crowding my thoughts for the past three days.

“I know you wanna keep trying the treatments, but… I wanna adopt.”

I expected him to be my cheerleader, telling me that maybe one or two treatments would be all it would take. After all, I knew he wanted “one of our own,” as people like to say.

But he didn’t. He put down his fork, looked me in the eye, and said, “Let’s do it.”

***

A month later we were sitting in a foster care meeting, feeling led by the Lord to take that risky route (where adoptions are possible only 40% of the time) rather than go through an agency where we’d be guaranteed a newborn.

Four months, several home inspections, and multiple interviews later, we received news that we passed the review board, and we were approved foster parents. We also learned right then that there was a seven-week old girl that needed a new home by Friday.

Of course, we said yes.

We brought that 8-pound bundle home two days later, called her Sweet Pea, and immediately began to pray that she’d become our forever daughter. We asked our friends to pray the same.

Thirteen months later, she did.

***

A month after the adoption, I had an afternoon of excruciating pain.  An appointment with the fertility specialist was booked for the following week.

After his examination, he took off his gloves, defeated.

I hesitated to ask the question, but needed to hear the answer.

“Last time we were here, you seemed so hopeful, so positive that you could help us… now it seems like you can’t?”

He looked me in the eye. “Look, I believe in miracles, but… no. I don’t think you’ll be able to get pregnant. There is just too much scarring. I wouldn’t even recommend in vitro at this point. The odds are just not there… if I were you, I’d think about having your ovaries removed sooner rather than later.”

***

The rest of the year was a mess of emotions, both extreme bliss that we had reached forever with Sweet Pea, and yet also a deep sadness as I struggled to accept the doctor’s diagnosis. Even though I didn’t feel confident in the treatments before, it hurt my heart to think I’d never carry a child inside of me.

Six months later, I began feeling terrible. I scolded myself, wondering how on earth I could ignore his advice when it had gotten so much worse in just a year and a half. How could I not believe it would continue to get worse? Maybe I should’ve had the surgery.

Christmas was coming, and with it, a trip to my parents house in California, 700 miles away. I felt very off, and on the car ride out, I let my husband know how I’d been feeling. Weak, tired, losing weight unintentionally, yet somehow, more bloated than ever.

Christmas Eve, I was watching my mom play with Sweet Pea on the floor, and my husband announced he was going to the store. I motioned him close so no one else would hear, then whispered, “Get a pregnancy test. I know it will be a waste of money, but…”

He smiled sympathetically, and an hour later he handed me the box. I went into the bathroom with not even a hint of enthusiasm, knowing it’d say negative as had all the dozens that came before it.

After testing, I stuck the cap back on and walked to the sink to lay it on the counter where I planned to give it the recommended two minutes. Instead, as I watched the little line work its way across the screen to show that it was working, immediately there was the darkest, clearest, most non-vague plus sign staring me down.

Was this really happening??

It was.

What a Christmas gift.

Seven and a half months later, I delivered a miracle.

That miracle just turned two, and big sister is now four. They are my daily reminders of God’s faithfulness and that He does not work on our timetable. Had we gotten pregnant when we originally planned, we would have never gone the foster route and we wouldn’t have our Sweet Pea. God orchestrated our approval on the exact day she became available, not by chance, but by His divine plan. We were meant to be her parents.

Three weeks before our biological daughter was born, God allowed us to move back to California, something we’d be praying and hoping for years. We lived with my parents that summer, which ended up being the biggest blessing as I had an emergency c-section followed by a really rough recovery. My mom was newly retired and available to take care of Sweet Pea 24/7 so I could focus on healing and our newborn. Looking back, it’s so evident all the ways God took care of us.

His timing really is perfect.  


God is so mysterious sometimes, espcially when He doesn’t answer the way we want Him to. But so often, that “mystery” we felt at the beginning is later replaced by God’s deep wisdom, as He had a plan all along. God is not anxious, and He always knows exactly what He’s doing, and why. To read more about Stephanie’s story, you can check out her blog, Thank You Infertility.

If you would like to share your testimony of how God has healed your womb, or how He has healed, or is healing your soul (whether or not you have a baby) please email me at [email protected] and check out the writer’s guidelines at “Want To Share Your Testimony?” You can also subscribe with your email address, or follow along on my Facebook Page.

Adrie’s Testimony: When Dreams Come True

As I am writing this, I get to stare at my now almost four year old miracle baby daughter. A daughter that was not suppose to be here without struggling to concieve. But God’s timing and miracle’s are beyond human comprehension…

You see, I suffer from PCOS and rarely have regular periods. When I was diagnosed, I was told that it would be difficult for me to conceive, if at all possible. The doctor told me that we would have to try fertility treatments when we are ready to start trying for a baby.

When my husband and I got engaged, I told him that he has to be sure that he wants to marry me if chances are good that I might not be able to bare a child. He made peace and ensured me that he will be okay if we don’t get pregnant. It always bothered me until one day I prayed to the Lord and said that, I now give it over to him completely. I am no longer going to worry about it or feel saddened by it.

We did get married and I was on contraceptives to try and ease my PCOS  related symptoms. We decided that we would go on a fertility treatment one year after marriage. Four months after we got married, I had a dream. In my dream I was given the words: “Nothing is impossible to God.” In my dream, I saw my toddler daughter named Mea. When I woke up, I truly believed I was pregnant. I did a test and it was negative. (Remember, I was still on contraceptives). Despite this, I still was convinced that I was pregnant. I decided to take another test the following day. There was a faint second line on the stick. My brain was telling me one thing–and my heart something else. It simply was not possible.

I then Googled the words given to me in my dream and learned that it was in fact Luke 1:37! (For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:37) I called my husband and we went to our doctor. He was also very skeptical and said that the sonar does show that it looks like I ovulated, but we must not get our hopes up and come back in two weeks time.

Two weeks passed and we were back at the doctor. Then the sonar did show our little miracle! Everything was not smooth sailing, as I had a threatening miscarriage early on. Thanks to a miracle working God and a wonderful doctor, our baby carried through and we had no severe further complications. When the sonar eventually confirmed the baby’s sex, I knew what her name was suppose to be.

We decided to name her Mea-Lemé. Our pastor told us to search for the meaning of her name because it will mean something. To our surprise, or rather amazement, Mea means work of the Lord, to bitterly desire something, deeply hoped for child, daughter, mine. How faithful is our God? Our beautiful blue-eyed blonde girl truly is our greatest blessing and we thank God for her each day. Even though we might not have another, we leave that up to the Lord. To all the women out there, stay positive. Let go and let God!

–Adrie


I am in awe of God. Thank you so much for sharing your story Adrie, and I think so many women who read these testimonies can relate to what you’ve been through, not only with your struggle in dealing with PCOS, but also in longing, yearning to be pregnant, then praying to carry to term, a healthy and happy baby. What a beautiful story! Adrie, you’re so brave to share with us!

If you would like to share your testimony of how God has healed your womb, or how He has healed, or is healing your soul (whether or not you have a baby) please email me at [email protected] and check out the writer’s guidelines at “Want To Share Your Testimony?” I feature a Testimony each Tuesday, you can also subscribe with your email address, or follow along on my Facebook Page.

Photo by Daniela Rey on Unsplash