There is joy in the journey, isn’t there?!
There is an unexplainable joy … a non-negotiable peace … and a perpetual hope … that is ours when we choose to follow Christ.
When an ordinary man or a common woman chooses to submit his or her will and ways to His higher plans and purposes … miracles happen!
The love of God invades our impossibilities!
What a God!
I have a friend who is actually much younger than I am but our paths have crossed often over the years. For some unexplainable reason, we have felt drawn to pray for one another … to support one another … and to stay in touch.
Jillian is very active in the MOPS organization and is one of the endorsers for my new book, “The Rooms of a Mother’s Heart”.
Recently, Jillian sent me an e-mail that emitted tears down my cheeks … and a shout of blessing from my lips.
I knew that you must … you simply must … hear Jillian’s story.
Jillian has written her story for us this week … I hope that you have a box of tissues handy and are ready to rejoice with her!
This story is one of God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout my entire adult-life!
I hope this encourages you to look at your story and see how God has always been there to show you His goodness and faithfulness.
When I was a teenager, I vowed not to date until I felt God tell me it was time. I had a few crushes during those years, but never really felt ready to date or that I had found anyone I was ready to marry.
I started college a month before my 18th birthday and I was excited about new experiences and friendships I would make.
I wondered often when I might find “The One” but never seriously pursued a relationship. After my third year of college, I decided to transfer to another state.
New experiences and friendships were endless, but no more than friendship type relationships seemed to on the horizon.
During summer break, I returned home to work and hang out until going back to school.
It was during this summer that I met my first and only.
He was in between his second and third year of college and I was in between my fourth year and extra year due to transferring to Nashville, Tennessee, from Rochester, New York.
I attended many college/young adult church activities with my various friends.
The moment I found out his name, Greg, I claimed I would marry him one day.
We began dating shortly after officially meeting.
Because of my unwavering confidence in this man, we dated for 4 years and FINALLY got married!
Less than a year later, we moved away to Albany to pursue his work opportunities.
We made a life in Albany and bought our first home, joined a wonderful church, and with visits to and from our Buffalo home.
During this season in life, we pursued growing our family with no success.
Three years after we were married, we began an emotionally, physically, financially exhausting process of fertility treatments.
We tried for an entire year before we decided to regroup and evaluate the path God would have for us.
Two years after we took our break we decided to return and look at other avenues for fertility.
We decided that I would have laparoscopic surgery in order to determine what was going on with my body. It was then we discovered I had endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
The statistics did not look good for us. The medical professionals gave us a very low percentage rate of ever getting pregnant on our own.
We decided to pursue fertility again and started the process all over again.
During this time, Greg lost his job due to many layoffs in his field. He lost it five months before we went through the laparoscopic surgery and discovery.
A few days after the surgery, I returned to work and was notified that I was being fired.
We also found out that our insurance company would not cover the cost of the fertility treatments either.
We were at a very vulnerable time in our lives.
God was faithful as He always is.
We felt nothing but peace and sufficiency in His goodness!
About five months later, we both found ourselves gainfully employed and very grateful and joyful in His blessings!
By the end of the year, God had shifted our hearts towards adoption.
We began to look at agencies and talk with people who have gone through the process before us.
By March of the next year, we made it official and started our adoption process with paperwork, training classes, paperwork, preparing our profiles, paperwork, fundraising, paperwork, home visits by social worker, paperwork, paperwork, paperwork…
In one short year, our adoption process was complete and final!
We had our baby boy and the judge deemed us his official parents!
We could not believe how quickly it all went and again we were thankful for God's goodness!
Just over a year later we decided to return to our home, Buffalo, NY.
I was not as willing and joyful to make the move, but trusted God would continue being faithful.
Transitions are hard no matter how large or small and we had been so happy with our lives in Albany.
However, we continued trusting in His faithfulness and that He was leading us to new places … or returning us to old ones in new ways!
We had been living in Buffalo for a year and a half without a place to call our own.
However, the day after my September birthday, we closed on a house!
My birthday gave us another amazing surprise as well … we found out I was pregnant!
What a huge surprise and miracle!
Our sweet boy was born at the end of April the next year. He filled our hearts with more love than we ever could have imagined.
Our family felt full of love and excitement and joy and we continued to praise God for all his goodness!
When I turned 39 years old, I felt a peace from God that if by the next year at age 40 I did not find myself pregnant, I would not put my body through the struggles and pain anymore.
We tried mild fertility meds with no success.
By my 40th birthday I was still at peace … although it was slightly bittersweet to have to say goodbye to the dream of being pregnant again.
I scheduled a hysterectomy that would take place on January 2, 2021.
Due to COVID restrictions on surgeries, my surgery was rescheduled a month later.
Then the hospital rescheduled the surgery once again … this time it was moved to the day before Easter.
I was at peace but ready for this all to be over … completed … finished.
A still small voice kept saying, “Maybe this is God proving He is in control and going to give me another miracle” … but I kept that voice small!
Two days after Valentine's Day, I noticed that I felt differently and had this nervous excitement of that still small voice growing increasingly louder.
I had a pregnancy test left over from before, so I decided to use it.
Why not, right?!
What a surprise!!
It showed two lines stating I was pregnant … but how could that be?
We were at a loss for words and all I could do was laugh!
I still laugh when I think about this miracle growing in me and how April 3rd, 2021, was supposed to close the door on the hope of ever having another child.
In God’s great love for me … His child … His heir … He granted me this desire.
I seriously understand how Sarah felt when she became pregnant … and today I laugh for great joy with Sarah!
So another baby will be born into this family that I call “mine” in mid-to-late-October 2021!
Who knew?! But God! –Jillian R. Merriam
I hope that Jillian’s story will restore your hope and your joy!
I hope that you will trust the God of miracles with every impossibility that you are facing in your life!
I hope that you will remind yourself daily that the God of Sarah … and the God of Jillian … is the God of you!
He is well able to accomplish what concerns you!
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!