Have you ever wondered why you don’t get something you’ve asked for? Why, if you are a good person who lives a good, loving life, are you without the one thing you yearn for? Ever felt that you don’t ask for much therefore you should get the one thing you ask for? I can answer yes to all of these. Many can. Why then do we all have these questions? Well, I have come to learn that the journey towards the gift we desire is actually the gift itself. The journey of questions, hopes, desires yet to be fulfilled or answered, is actually the most rewarding thing. It shapes you.
My dear friends Greg & Jen have walked this path. It was a 10 year journey and I was able to walk alongside them for the last 3 years and see them receive the hope and desire they had longed for.
I met Greg & Jen when I was in California with work and soon after they moved to Canada and began working at the same organization as I did. We became fast friends. He loved Seinfeld and would always bring it into daily conversations and she loved planning amazing parties and was the BEST host! They were the couple that I could vent to about things I was going through and they responded with sound wisdom and compassion. They have always been the solid, mature, wise couple that so many people cling to. They are faithful friends.
Through their laughter, the council they gave others, the faithfulness to those in their lives there was a deep, soul wrenching desire that they carried. Most of the time I didn’t see it, but I remember only one time I did see the heartbreak of this unanswered hope they had. When you get a glimpse into the heart of strong people and you see their heart fighting to hold on to hope, it shakes you. Normally you are used to them having compassion for you, but now you are the one that has compassion for them when you see the unfulfilled desire of their hearts.
What was this hope, this desire? A child. Greg & Jen believed for a child for 10 years. I cannot relate, as I have not walked in their shoes. The only thing that many of us can relate to is a hope, a desire, and a dream that we believe for that has not come to pass.
Greg & Jen were married in 1995 after a year of dating where they first met at YWAM (Youth With A Mission). They had wanted to wait until they tried for children as they had a whirlwind courtship. Jen had dreamed of having 3 children before the age of 30. She married Greg when she was 24 and he was 30. So at the age of 27 Jen was ready to start the next chapter of their life. However, they didn’t get pregnant. Jen was not concerned. She knew she was supposed to be a mom, as she had always wanted to be one since she was a little girl. A year passed and nothing, and another year passed and nothing. Soon the questions started to rise, but no answers.
They continued to pray about it and keep hope alive. It was difficult for them as they were leaders of the young married couples in their church and they would see them starting to have children and yet the question was still in their hearts, “When will it be our turn?” They continued seeing friends and family having children, but they kept their faith alive believing that God would do it. They had faith for it!
Soon into this journey of questions and wondering when they would get pregnant, they sought out medical advice. They learned that there was a problem that wasn’t allowing them to conceive. It was hard news to handle but they knew that a miracle could and would happen.
The waiting continued as did the prayer and petition in their hearts. During this time they moved to Canada and began working for the same organization I did. It was at the 10 year mark of them being married when they heard a preacher speak and during this message Jen felt a release to try another avenue of conception. Jen loves looking for little signs to confirm what is in her heart and the fertility clinic they went to was called Genesis and the message they gave was about “New Beginnings”! Greg & Jen decided to have a procedure done that would encourage pregnancy. The procedure would be costly, money they didn’t have. So here was another thing they had to believe for! They needed $12,000.00 and had no idea how it would come into their hands! I actually remember the day when they told me that they had received a cheque in the mail from someone in their lives for that exact amount!! The person had no idea what the money was for or what the actual amount that Greg & Jen needed. Greg & Jen were like two kids in a candy store. They were excited, relieved, hopeful, expectant and more than thankful! It was a beautiful thing to see. Receiving that cheque was a sign to them that they were going down the right path; they chose an option that was difficult for them but God blessed their choice with His provision.
Soon after the procedure was done, they received the phone call that Jen was pregnant! Jen remembers to this day the phone call she received at work. She was beyond ecstatic and she had to immediately call Greg. He was numb, “Is this really happening?” They immediately told family and friends to they could pray and keep this pregnancy in right health the whole way through.
At 33 weeks Greg & Jen were on their way to their baby shower when Jen received a call from her Doctor saying that she needed to get admitted right away as she was developing preeclampsia. This was not news that they wanted to hear. They made their way to the hospital and the baby shower they were about to attend turned into a prayer meeting! The next day Jen was rushed to surgery to have a C-section as the baby was in distress. Jen delivered a beautiful 3lb baby girl who they named Isabelle (Consecrated to God) Ann. Their gift. The gift they had been waiting for, hoping for, believing for, was finally in their world. What a miracle! Jen jokes that maybe God couldn’t wait any longer and gave them Isabelle early! Isabelle spent 10 days in the NICU. The day they were able to bring home their tiny bundle of love was a victory for them!
Isabelle is now 8 years old and has grown into a beautiful little girl who is great at reading, playing with her cousins, loving Girl Scouts and has the most infectious laugh. She is the pride and joy of her parents!
My conversation was in depth, so I wanted to share a few thoughts from my friends that I hope will encourage the journey you are on!
Jen – “When it came to doubt, I had to remember what God had done in the past, what He had done in other people’s lives, and pray for His grace.”
Greg – “There were times when my faith was stronger than Jen’s and times when her faith was stronger than mine. We always had to encourage each other and be real with each other.”
Greg – “My relationship with God during this season? I became closer to Him on this journey. Being real in my emotions with Him. Hearing His voice saying, ‘Hey, I haven’t forgotten about you.”
Jen – The 10 years were hard. I do not like to be uncomfortable. I had to exercise that faith muscle, that is the only way it will get exercised is by going through those times. I am thankful for that as I can believe God for things and contend for them. I hope that was the hardest thing I had to go through, to be completely honest. It was hard but it was good.
Greg – Never give up. Don’t ever give up. Continue to pursue, to press in. Keep pressing in. I always tell people to press in and keep going, so I have to practice what I preach.
Do it with all your strength, all your might. Believe that you already have it before you have it. That’s a big thing. That’s what gets you over the hump. We are contending for it, we receive it in our hearts as though we already have it!
Jen – I still contend for that gift, that Isabelle will be everything that God has for her. She is a gift, always a gift. Never losing sight of this.
Jen – There was a lot of heartache in the journey. You’re walking through it and your not sure. You don’t know if it is God’s will for you, as I didn’t have a ‘word’. I was believing and trusting God, but I wasn’t sure. I knew He was good and was good to me. The whole time you are hoping that it will work out for you. When you don’t know and aren’t sure what is around the corner, there is nothing you can really do but trust God. You only have 2 options: trust God or don’t trust Him and lead a miserable life. Even if He didn’t give us Isabelle, it would be tough. We’d go on, we would continue.
Greg – It’s through the trials, dark times, where those things are being brought to light and God is grooming you and allowing you to experience the process. He is knitting your hearts stronger together with His heart. There are days where you say, “I don’t know”, but then you press through.
Jen – Sometimes it doesn’t happen the way you expected it to happen. I thought we would have more than one child, but right now we don’t. I am coming to terms that it might just be the one. I am thankful for the one. God is gracious to us, I am so thankful for the one!
Can you imagine? You have wanted something since you were little, dreamt of it, knew it was going to happen, but then it didn’t. Then you walked a path that you had to believe for it, have faith for it, fight for, contend, push fear away, hold your ground, stay in the trenches, deal with every emotion on every day, have it as a constant thought in your mind to then still see no breakthrough. After you make a slight turn, with the leading of God’s voice, you see it. There it is! You have it. The thing you have wanted your whole life is now in your hands. The emotion that comes with that can’t be explained, nor can people understand who have never walked that path before. All we can do is applaud you for your faith filled fight! We see the win!