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!

 

Sarah’s Testimony

My name is Sarah and I am married to David. It will be our 10th Wedding Anniversary next year in January. We got pregnant with our first child about 2.5 years after we got married. This pregnancy was fine and we gave birth to a healthy son at 42 weeks gestation via emergency c-section.
So, then when he was 18 months we started trying for a second baby. Anyway, in a snippet, we had three miscarriages in a row. We couldn’t understand it especially since we already had one healthy child. It was a very hard time as I longed and desired a second child so much. It was hard seeing friends have second and even third children. This for me each time was like a stab in the chest.
However, my local healing rooms team prayed for me for spiritual deliverance from some of the strongholds in my life and God delivered me in a powerful way. I also received specific medical care which helped my body physically prepare for another child.  So it was a huge answer to prayer when we finally had our much longed for second child 4.5 years after our son. Now we are blessed with a son and a daughter!!! What a mighty God we serve!!!!
–Sarah, from the U.K.
UPDATE: Sarah is now 20 weeks pregnant with her third child and rejoices that the Lord has done this.

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.

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

 

Ruth’s Testimony

 

I married my high school sweetheart and while getting married at age 19 certainly would pose its share of challenges, I was no stranger to the valleys and desert places we can find ourselves in when God’s plan doesn’t seem to fit with the expectations we set in our hearts. My mom went to be with Jesus when I was 15, and through that loss God revealed his unconditional and unwavering love for me when I met the man who would be my future spouse that same year.

Fast forward 3 years after our wedding and with the same feelings I had when the Lord told me who I would marry, I had a dream I was pregnant and that my husband and I needed to stop using birth control and begin on our journey to start a family. I was 22, my husband 23, both of us pretty fresh out of university and trying to navigate our career paths and definitely not in the world’s eyes “ready” for kids; however, I did not question God’s voice and neither did my husband since we had seen his goodness when we stepped out in faith.

That dream of being pregnant was in December of 2012, and I still remember at Christmas in my stocking my husband gave me a gift certificate for a maternity clothing store and I couldn’t have been more thrilled! While it was just a little folded up piece of paper, for me, it was a gesture that meant my husband trusted in what God had said to me and that he was ready for this new season.

I describe that first year of “trying” as having emotional bumps. Not necessarily roller coaster type feelings, but just that hopefulness that the next month would be the month. A year and a half after trying for a baby, the focus on having a family actually began to get fuzzy, as we were facing totally unrelated health complications for my husband. By the summer of 2015, he was at the point where working even part-time was almost unbearable due to the pain in his knees. He had started his own company the previous year and God knew he would need the flexibility to be able to take off as much time as he would need to get a diagnosis and hopefully find healing.

As Psalm 136 says, “His faithful love endures forever” and by the spring of 2016 my husband was back working full-time. Through those couple years, I remember holding on to the scripture in Ecclesiastes 3 that says there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven, and through many tears shed over the pages of my journal, I knew this season would end and a new one would begin, one that would include a baby.

At the end of 2015, we had already decided that since it had been 3 years of trying to conceive without any success it would be wise to begin looking into why we hadn’t got pregnant. So throughout 2016, we went for numerous tests and were eventually put on a path that would lead to IVF.

As I write this I am days away from finding out if we are pregnant through the IVF journey we have been on. Yet, while we have expectant hearts for a new life to come into our home, I have discovered in the past 5 years that God’s plan is not for my story to end with saying that “God has blessed us with a child (whether it be through IVF or not) and that God can do it for you too.”

Instead, my story is one that speaks to what you learn and how you grow in the waiting.

My story is one that speaks to what you learn and how you grow in the waiting.

We live in a culture where waiting is not valued, time is of the essence and “wait times” create frustration and angst. For me, it has been in the waiting where Jesus has spoken to me and told me I am his beloved, that his timing is perfect. There is a song by Bethel Music, called “Take Courage” and I have soaked in God’s presence as I have listened to it many times, maybe you have, too. It goes,

“Slow down take time
Breathe in He said
He’ll reveal what’s to come
The thoughts in His mind
Always higher than mine
And He’ll reveal all to come

Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting, he’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing, He’s never failing

You who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep Your promise to me
That I will rise in Your victory”

It’s easy to be discontent in the waiting and to feel that you will only be able to say, “He is good,” when the victory comes. However, I believe what you do and how you respond in the waiting can actually be just as powerful of a testimony as when you tell others about the miracle you received.

I was recently listening to a sermon where the pastor was speaking on David’s victory over Goliath and the preacher said, “When bravery and faithfulness meet, miracles are often the result.” Bravery and faithfulness are choices I must make every day so I am not shaken by the waves of doubt, grief, and the longing desires of my flesh.

Daily, God meets me in the waiting and I know I will be waiting on a countless number of things for the rest of my life, so I will find true rest and joy as He weaves together testimony after testimony of his goodness and faithfulness in my waiting so I can encourage others in theirs.

-Ruth

UPDATE: Praise the Lord! Ruth sent this testimony several months ago, and since then, Ruth has become pregnant, she recently confirmed she is now 11.5 weeks pregnant. It is amazing how God truly works in the “waiting periods” of our lives.


Amen Ruth! Thank you for sharing your testimony on how to wait, in the hard times and in the most gracious way. When God doesn’t answer our prayers as soon as we hope, it doesn’t mean He still isn’t there for us, it doesn’t mean He is choosing to ignore us, but like you said, it becomes a time to find true rest and joy as He weaves together testimony after testimony of his goodness and faithfulness. And now, Congratulations on this little blessing you’ve been praying for!

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.