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.

 

Connie’s Testimony

This is a real picture of our friend Connie. Isn’t she beautiful–inside and out? 🙂

 

For the past two years, I have been on a new type of rollercoaster ride with so many moving parts and this has definitely challenged me in my faith. I felt like if I’m special to God, why haven’t I been blessed with children?

For a while, I didn’t plan to share this until I have reached success, but I feel like I’m finding more of us who are in a similar situation. We get married later in life, work on our careers, get to know ourselves better inside out, and then when we finally think, now is a good time to bring children into the world, we find it’s not as easy to conceive as we could have as teenagers. When people would scare and warn you that you can get pregnant at a drop of a hat.

Recently, I saw a friend’s sister on Instagram share her IVF journey and this inspired me. I’m sure my story will encourage someone out there, struggling between trusting God and “infertility.”

Although it hasn’t been easy, it has challenged my faith and trust in God. I have to say though, in each of our stressful situations, God is trying to show Him who He is to you. It’s all about His relationship to you. It’s trying to show Him a deeper part of how He loves you.

In my quiet times, I know there is a purpose for this waiting period until I am able to conceive. People have prayed for me and I have several confirmations that I will have biological children. Some days, I’m confident and hopeful, while some days, I’m focused on how my period cycles have been increasing in length, then how could I get pregnant? If I can’t even find the right window?

You see, God gave me seeds of hope and expectation. My job is to stay faithful and patient. My action? To rest, worship, and rejoice for how God will work behind the scenes in His appointed time.

I’m starting to realize that the enemy loves to rob me of my hope. He likes to come in and just mess with my patience.

How does he do that? Well, he works in the natural-what we can see, while God works in the supernatural- the unseen.

So for a good six months in 2016, I let anxiety push me. I let voices from my family, peers, society tell me I’m getting old beyond my fertility age. They summarized, “It will be too late.” Now!!!!

I rushed into seeing fertility specialists, going to see acupuncturists, and doing whatever I can so that I can be as “fertile” as possible. Let me say, I had no peace. My mind was spinning and there was no joy. I felt like this was a performance show, meeting everybody’s expectations to prove that I can be fruitful by own might. Basically what I put in, I will reap.

Most recently, IVF was popping up around me in different avenues. I was curious but completely uncomfortable to my core about the process. I just knew that I physically didn’t feel good after trying several IUI’s and didn’t want to go through another intense process. I know God can work through doctors, but for us, He was clearly showing us not to go this route.

Recently, I read a book and it mentioned about how Sarah (Abraham’s wife in the Bible) took control of the situation when she and Abraham were promised a child and they didn’t conceive. She lost patience and a child was born out of their own will, not God’s plan. This decision affected the generations after.

You see, this was what I was doing. Knowing God’s promise personally for my situtation, yet I tried to conceive by my own control. I would surrender and then I take back my anxiety. I surrender and I take back again…and again…

Well today, I know that my blessing will come. It’s only a matter of time. I have to guard my heart to hold onto God’s promises and not waiver. I have to be deliberate about surrendering my anxious thoughts daily.

I appreciate any prayers and support. Thanks for all who have already been my cheerleaders. 

To be continued…

–Connie

Photo credit: Liz Franco Photography


Connie, I’m in tears as I read your journey through the past few years, your battle between desiring God’s work in your life and also wanting your desires to be met in some sort of time frame that is close. Thank you so much for sharing, as many women are currently in this place, and not many are as courageous, to share their raw emotions and bare their hearts. It is obvious how God is working in you. We’re cheering for you, and praying for you!

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.

Bethany’s Testimony

After being married for seven years, my husband and I decided we were ready to start a family. After three or four months of trying, we were thrilled to learn we were pregnant! Sadly, we miscarried at 14 weeks. I always pictured myself as a strong woman who wouldn’t be very emotional. So, I was surprised when I was devastated over our miscarriage, but I assumed I would move on easily and we would get pregnant again quickly.

After months and months of negative pregnancy tests, my husband and I decided to get checked out to figure out why we hadn’t conceived again. All the tests came back normal, and the doctors were unable to tell us why we hadn’t become pregnant again. For two years, I was on an emotional roller coaster. I found myself crying at unexpected times, and felt like the story of my life had been over taken by the pain and struggle of our miscarried and unexplained infertility.

As I talked about this with my spiritual director, she suggested I pray through a scripture in John where Jesus asked the disciples what they wanted from him. When I got to that part of the scripture, I asked the Lord to take away my pain and sadness from our miscarriage and infertility, and to give me joy.

The very first time I prayed that, I heard the Lord say, “I will.”

And honestly after that point, things that would have made me cry, didn’t anymore. I still longed to be pregnant but the overwhelming theme of my story was no longer pain and sadness. I truly believe God healed my heart at that point.

As we continued to try to conceive, my husband brought up adoption and foster-to-adopt. I wasn’t opposed to adopting, but I knew I couldn’t have my heart in both places and wasn’t ready to let go of my desire to become pregnant.

One Sunday my plans changed, and I was at church when I hadn’t expected to be. Our worship leaders sang Hillsong’s song, “Oceans.” During that song, I felt the Lord telling me that no matter how tough adoption would be, to keep my trust in him and He would get me through. I needed to turn all my worries and concerns over to him. I knew after that experience I was ready to move forward with adoption and put my desire for a biological child on the back burner.

We met with an adoption agency and turned in our application in September 2016 for private adoption and foster-to-adopt. They told us it could take years to be matched with a family. We completed our home study and all the required classes at the end of February 2017, and were cleared for adoption/foster-to-adopt.

Two weeks later, just as we were finishing putting together a crib in case we were called for foster care, we got a call telling us about a woman who was placing her child for adoption. We met with her and she chose us to be the family she placed her baby with! She invited us to come for doctors appointments, ultrasounds, and to be present for the birth of the baby – all things I never thought would be possible with adoption. At the end of May, our daughter was born and our family has begun to grow!

For those who wonder if God pays attention to details, He does.

In our state, birth parents have 30 days to change their mind about placing their child for adoption. The day that expired was June 30…the due date of our baby who we miscarried 3 years earlier! God is good and a day that once brought sadness will now be remembered with joy!

As I sit and write this, our beautiful daughter is sleeping on my chest. Although God’s plan for our family is not like I ever imagined it would be, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have learned to trust God and have seen His love and provision in so many ways that would not have been possible if our journey to parenthood had been different. I don’t know what our future has in store – biological children, more adopted children, or both (my hope) – I know God is good even in our times of struggle and pain. When all I saw was sadness, God saw a beautiful story that had been yet to be told.

–Bethany


Thank you Bethany for sharing your testimony of longing, and infertility, and how God took your sadness and turned it into joy! It really is amazing how HE is working in every detail of our lives! What an inspiring and uplifting testimony, thank you for being so raw and vulnerable with us today Bethany!

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.

Love, Rebekah

 

Don’t Forget To Add Love

I have a confession. My husband makes better chocolate chip cookies than I do. “It’s the dough,” he tells me. My cookie dough is always over worked, and my cookies are flat as pancakes. “You shouldn’t use that “thing,” he says. By that “thing,” he means my Kitchen Aid mixer. He calls it the “machine.” And gives me a look when I turn it on.

He turns it off.

“Cookies need love,” he tells me. “You need to get your hands in the dough.” He takes the metal bowl from the mixer, and takes an old-school wooden spoon and mixes the dough. “It’s too hard for me to mix that way,” I tell him. He looks up with his green eyes, sets the spoon down, puts his bare hands into the dough to make sure it’s mixed well. But not over worked.

He pops some into his mouth, “Perfect,” he says with a smile.

I sit at the counter and watch, like a student.

“See Bekah,” he says, “You need to add love,” he tells me. I push my Pampered Chef cookie dough scooper across the counter towards him. He purposefully ignores it. Instead, he takes two metal spoons from the drawer. “Why don’t you just use my scooper?” I ask. He gives me a look, shakes his head. Continues gently scooping with his two metal spoons. Until each one is carefully set on the tray.

And somehow, eight minutes later…his cookies turn out perfect. Every time.

“It’s because I add love,” he tells me. I can’t help but laugh. “Okay,” I say.

But I’ve been thinking about my husband’s cookies lately. I think about them when I’m making chili, adding in the spices, or cutting the tops off the strawberries. I think about them when I’m making the cookie dough. I hear his tender voice in my mind, “Don’t forget to add love.”

So, I do. I shut off the “machine” mode my mind automatically kicks into. And I add love. It’s those moments I stir just a little softer. I put my hands in the dough. I remember who I’m cutting the strawberries for. My daughter who squeals with delight like it’s Christmas morning when I hand her a bowl of them. My husband who will enjoy this dinner tonight, and needs a wife who will laugh across the table from him–and not frown, because she’s so busy doing all the “things.” And I think of my own mama body, that needs this food, these nutrients–to make milk for my baby boy, and energy, to care for this family, and myself–with joy.  And to do these things, finding pleasure in them. Because there is this secret, hidden pleasure you feel…when you add love.

And there’s a lump in my throat. Because I know he’s right.

You need to add love. It makes it taste better. 

It’s so easy to do it. To get caught in the routine, in the machine.

And sometimes you just get lost in it. The hustle. Like the dough whirling around in the Kitchen Aid mixer, beating hard against it’s metal sides. Because there’s always meals to plan, and food to buy, and cook, and clean off plates, and clothes, that need washed. Going round and round and round–in the machine. Like a carousel you can’t jump off of.

And sometimes you need a strong hand to reach over, and shut the machine off. And remind you to set all your gadgets down. And stick your bare hands in the dough. And…

Remember to add love. 

When you are cutting up the apples, and cheese, and turkey for lunch,

don’t forget to add love. 

When you are cooking dinner, and stirring the sauce, adding the spices,

don’t forget to add love. 

When you are filling the washer with dirty clothes, and pouring in the detergent and softener,

 don’t forget to add love. 

It’s the smallest thing, and yet the biggest thing. It is the most subtle and the most powerful thing you can do. And it somehow changes the world–their world, and yours.

And maybe that’s why God reminded us to “love” in 1 Corinthians 13…because He knew we’d forget. And He said…it’s not about how “spiritual” you are, it’s not about how much you can “accomplish,” or “do,” it’s not even about how much of your “self” you can give away–to your home, to your kids, or to other people. It’s about doing it with love.

“Love is patient and kind…it is not irritable or resentful…Love bears all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three, but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

It’s a small thing. But it’s the biggest thing.

The smile, the gentle touch, the laugh at their joke.

The way you stroke their hair.

They won’t ask for it,

But they will taste it when it’s there.

And so will you.

So roll your sleeves up, mama. Stick your bare hands in the dough. Let the flour fly like confetti. Sweep it up with a smile. Because this is your life, and theirs.

And it all tastes so much better when you,

remember to add love.

How I Found Joy During Infertility

infertility

I had heard about “infertility” before I got married. But to be honest, I always kind of shrugged it off. I was sure there were people “out there” who couldn’t get pregnant–but I never imagined I would be one of them.

Why, you ask?

Because I come from a very long line of  “fertile” women. I felt sure, if anything…it would be too easy to get pregnant.

That’s why I was so adamant about taking my “pill” each night. And making sure there were no “accidents.”

But after a few years…something changed.

And I wanted to have a baby. 

I remember how excited we were, that first fragile month that I chucked the disc of pills into the garbage can, and for the first time ever, we tried. 

A few weeks later, I took a pregnancy test before work in the morning. I couldn’t wait to announce to my husband as we both got dressed for work, that we were going to have a baby!

I never expected the test to read: negative.

I never expected the next month, and the next month, and the next to be negative, too.

And I never expected those months to turn into years, years full of “negative.” But…they did.

I was completely unprepared for the emotional journey that was “infertility.”

It felt like riding a rollercoaster every month. There was the hope that, “This month could be different!” The anticipation that comes with trying, and wondering if life has formed in you? The waiting to know. And then the dissapointment when your period returns. Again.

To go through this cycle every month, never knowing when, or if, it will end can be tiring.

Infertility wears on you.

It wears on your soul.

Everyone knows that labor hurts. But no one actually tells you that infertility hurts, too.

On the inside.

In this secret place that no one else can see. Like a locked garden.

Like a mystery.

It’s not a labor of the body, it’s a labor of the soul.

You wait and wonder. You cry and pray. You long and hope. And you try…to hold it all together. You try to hold eachother together, as husband and wife.

But sometimes, you start to sort of unravel inside.

Because you desire to be a mom with all your heart. You feel ready. You wish it could just happen the normal way (as it seems to with everyone else.)

You want love-making and baby-making to go hand-in-hand. But then…sometimes it’s not so simple.

I remember it was especially hard those months when I thought I was pregnant, only to find out I wasn’t. Because some months I really did feel different. 

I was more moody, and hungry, and tired. (How many times did I Google “pregnancy symptoms”—in hopes that I was?) But, then, my period would come.

So, it was several years of this wear and tear on my soul, before I realized: I had a choice to make. 

I didn’t even know I had a choice. (Other than to feel bummed out…pretty much all the time.)

I did know that every single month when my period came back. And every single day, in between.

I had a choice between joy and despair. 

Now let me tell you, I did’t read a self-help book to come this. I didn’t even read infertility blogs (if they existed, I didn’t know about them!)

All I did was pray. And read Scripture. And sometimes, the Holy Spirit would speak to me. When I was quiet enough to hear Him.

There were a few key things the Holy Spirit showed me during that time–and these changed me. They changed the way I saw everything.

If you have read my story about my barreness, or my second miracle pregnancy, you know that I didn’t stay barren forever.

Maybe the miracles of my pregnancies drew you to this blog, but I want to tell you about an earlier miracle. Perhaps, the most amazing of all.

This miracle happened in my soul–before I ever got pregnant.

Before I have had a child.

See, when you are barren, you often don’t simply have a barren womb. You also have a barren soul.

And I was truly barren, not just in my womb, but in my soul. I saw my life as this dry, barren wasteland. I saw only what I was lacking. I was thirsty, and I didn’t know how to be quenched.

I was angry and sad. I knew God had the power to heal me–but He wasn’t healing me.

I got to a point where I could “accept” or, “tolerate” the fact that I couldn’t get pregnant. I was able to “grit and bear it.” (And, I actually thought that I was doing pretty well–but I wasn’t.)

Because God didn’t want me to simply “tolerate” the life He was giving me.

He wanted me to embrace it.

He wanted me to enjoy it.

To enjoy Him–in it.

(Because He never left. He was there all along, even in every moment of the infertility.)

For some reason I thought I couldn’t be happy or fulfilled until He gave me a baby.

But He wanted to show me that He was enough–before I ever got a baby. (And, even if He never gave me a baby.)

I was looking for a baby to satisfy what only God could. 

All that time, I was clenching my fists closed in anger at what God had allowed in my life, but He wanted me to open my hands.

He wanted me to surrender my plans to His. My desires to His. And He wanted me to embrace the life and calling He had for me–even if I didn’t understand it at the time.

When someone gives you a gift, you don’t “tolerate” it.

You thank them for it.

And I remember when I realized I needed to thank Him.  For inferitility. (I know how absolutely crazy this sounds.) But I realized that if God had chosen this for me, it must be good, and He must have a purpose in it–even if I couldn’t see it yet.

So, I literally thanked Him for everything I could think of that was “good” about not being pregnant. I thanked Him that I didn’t have to stop excercising, or go through morning sickness, or endure labor and delivery. I thanked Him that I didn’t have to put on baby wieght, or have a flabby stomach, or vericose veins. (Yes, I was vain. But honest, nonetheless.)

The more I thanked God for His plan, and His timing, the more good I saw in it. And the more I was able to truly surrender.

It’s not that I was “giving up.” It’s that I was “giving over.” I was giving it over to God. The only One who could do anything about it.

I literally did not know what God would do.

I didn’t know if I would ever have a baby.

But right there, right in that place, where my arms were empty, and my womb was barren–was the place He wanted me to lift my arms and worship Him.

To say and mean with all my heart, “Even if You don’t give me what I desperately want, You are still enough. You are still everything. And You still have all of my heart.”

And you know what?

Something changed.

Joy came RUSHING back into my life.

My eyes began to stop seeing all the “lack” in my life. And I started to see all the beauty in it.

I began to realize what God had already given me.

And I began to cherish my husband, and my friends. My students, and family. All the ones He had already placed before me, to love. 

I started to stand in the roles He had already placed me in. I embraced my role as a wife, and at my job, and other opportunities I had to serve people. And I started to enjoy them. 

I no longer saw myself as a victim of infertility. But instead, as a daughter of God who was chosen and set-apart for His unique purpose for me. Maybe God has some wild plan for us, I could never even imagine? Maybe He will send us oversees? Maybe there is some child waiting in an orphanage that is our baby to adopt? Maybe something is coming around the corner–we never expected?

I didn’t know what it was. But I clung to the Scripture, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.” (Psalm 138:8)

One day, as I was about to leave work, I felt God speak to me, in the form of a song. (I know, it sounds strange.) I didn’t hear the music, just the lyrics. But I remember writing them down on pink sticky notes that were on my desk. And this is what I heard,

“There’s Someone living inside you,

Though not a child tucked inside your womb,

But it’s my Holy Spirit, who conquered Jesus’ tomb.

He’s alive, He’s alive, He’s alive,

Hear Him roar?

And you’re alive, you’re alive,

More than ever before.”

My heart burned, and I went home and crashed down at my piano and stuck all the sticky notes to it. But as I began to play and sing, all I could hear, was Him singing them to me. And I say this with tears,

Something broke in me. 

In that moment, hot tears rolled down my cheeks, and I was undone.

He was living in me. 

I was no longer barren.

He was alive in me, so I was alive. 

Sure, nothing changed in my womb–but my spirit came to life that day. His Spirit came to life in me.

And the presence of God surrounded me there. And He showed me that He was living in me. 

Therefore, I was alive. 

That was the day, I literally crossed from “barren to beautiful.”

I no longer saw the barreness in my life, all I could see was His beauty. And the beauty He had filled my life with.

God came, and took away my barreness.

And I had joy again. I could breathe again. And laugh again.

But most of all, live again.

Yes, I was still infertile.

But I was His. And He would not let me go.

Yes, I was still not pregnant. 

But I was exactly where He wanted me to be. And He would fulfill His beautiful purpose for me.

Yes, I still wanted to have a baby. 

But I knew He would satisfy me. Whether or not, I had a baby. And if He wanted to give me a baby, He would do it, in His time, and in His way.

Dear Barren or Infertile One,

If God has led you here, He wants to take your barreness away.

I don’t know what He will do in your physical womb. But I know what He will do in your soul, if you ask Him. 

And I believe He is about to birth something in you, more beautiful than you could ever, possibly imagine.

Maybe it’s not that you need to “pull up your bootstraps” and have more faith that you will get pregnant. 

Dear One, He already sees you and knows you. He already hears your cries. He sees your faith, and He sees where you lack faith, too. But He will fulfill His purpose for you.

He will. 

And instead of pulling up your bootstraps of faith…maybe it’s time to take off your boots. Kick them off.

And run barefoot with Him for a while.

Surrender. 

Knowing, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.” (Psalm 138:8)

Because He has an adventure waiting for you on the other side of your fears. And it’s wild, and free, and full of Him.

Chase Him, and He will take you where you never dared to go. And show you things you didn’t dream possible.

And one day, you will be running with Him, and suddenly realize you have crossed, from barren to beautiful.

And you will never go back.