This will be a short and sweet post because we are here in the throes of newborn days, but we wanted to share the birth of our son Karsten on November 9, 2021. We just celebrated our ninth anniversary on November 3, so as we head into the last year of our first decade (is that confusing? Mom brain over here…) as husband and wife, we are humbled to add “Mom and Dad” to our roles.
“But courage, child: we are all between the paws of the true Aslan.”
I remember when I saw you for the first time, ten years ago today.
The summer sun still clung to the sky behind scattered clouds as I entered the Starbucks across from the dance studio where I taught. It was the first week of the new dance season, and like many times before, I was headed to the coffee shop for some post-class refreshment.
And a blind date. That’s really why I was there.
The young man sat just inside the door to the left: broad shoulders, dark blonde hair, and eyes bluer than I could’ve hoped for. (Will our son have your eyes? A mom can hope.) As he stood to shake my hand, I thought to myself, Here we go…In that moment, I had just met my husband.
Ten years feels like a significant milestone in our timeline, but it’s all relative, isn’t it? In ten years, we’ve finished degrees, gotten married, celebrated eight (almost nine) anniversaries, gone on lots of trips, worked together AND renovated two houses without killing each other, adopted a dog, consumed copious amounts of Chick-Fil-A and Icy’s, endured heartache, survived a pandemic, laughed and lived life together.
And this year, we get to begin one of our most anticipated chapters: becoming parents.
For that I am grateful.
I am grateful to my friend who had the courage to listen to what God was telling her and connect the two of us.
I am grateful I went to Starbucks that one Thursday night, ten years ago.
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
It’s no secret that I love reading and also no secret that I love the works of C.S. Lewis. My mom first read “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and “The Magician’s Nephew” out loud to my brother and I when I was in the fourth grade. Simply put, I fell in love with Narnia. I went on to read the rest of the series myself over the next year or so, searching out the themes of each of the books.
Though some books took more than one effort, I went on to read many of Lewis’ other books and one of my last electives I ever took in college was a class just on C.S. Lewis.
Fast forward a few years from college and my husband and I found ourselves facing an adversary we never planned on: infertility.
It would be impossible to trace the entire journey our hearts have taken over the last seven years (84 months/2500+ days), but suffice to say for now our hearts have traveled to the lowest depths they ever have; we have uncovered every emotion; we have thought ugly thoughts and shouted at God. Along the same path, we have found renewed strength and hope even when circumstances hadn’t changed. We have rejoiced and praised God even when circumstances hadn’t changed. We have lived our lives and started new jobs and projects along the way. We have served the local church. We have traveled the country. And we have gone to the end of ourselves and found God and kept going. And some days, we did the only thing we could do: sit on God’s lap and cry.
I have re-read some of the Narnia books periodically throughout our battle with infertility and found my heart connecting with themes my fourth-grade self glossed over.
Always winter, never Christmas. Yes. God, a thousand times yes. That’s exactly what infertility feels like.
Throughout the unfolding events in the Narnia books, when Aslan steps on the scene, peoples’ hearts are changed, even if the circumstances don’t change immediately. And often, that is how God meets us in our own trials first. Changing our hearts by His presence, even if our circumstances don’t look different yet.
So this poem has become a touchstone for me, especially over the last couple of years. It’s displayed in my office reminding me we hope in someONE not someTHING. And one day, at the end of time, everything will be made right.
But praise be to God, a glimpse of heaven on earth. At the sound of His roar, the sorrow of infertility is melting away like the last of the winter snow. We are humbled to announce we are expecting after seven long years of infertility. Baby Hanni will arrive November 2021 on the wings of thousands of prayers. There’s a lot more to the story and perhaps I’ll feel like sharing more in the future, but for now, we remain so grateful to those who have prayed for us and encouraged us throughout the years.
Baby Hanni, we can’t wait for you to join us on our adventures. You’ll be joining us in the fall, but already, spring has finally sprung in our hearts.
In case you didn’t know (or couldn’t tell), I relish the chance for introspection (ISFJ to the MAX). God continually uses reflection as a tool for my growth and I don’t do it because it sounds relevant or sophisticated – I do it to survive.
So as I looked back on our sixth year of marriage, I struggled at first to pick out a theme or to sum it up and I hated that feeling! But then God reminded me of a few things. There have been specific areas in our lives and marriage this year that I have had more than a *few* ideas of how to move forward or make a change. In other words, I had my eye on making progress, a little forward motion. And it didn’t happen.
I felt like we SHOULD BE doing this. I felt like we SHOULD make this move. And each time, the door was not only shut in our face, but I’m pretty sure we heard the key turn in the lock as well.
The truth is, God didn’t desire for us to make a change. It wasn’t necessary. There wasn’t (and isn’t) anything wrong with where we were. In fact, we were right where we should be. If we look at how God spoke to his people in the Bible, yes, there were many times he called them to a specific action. Yet the stories that bounce off our instant-or-not-at-all hardened souls are the ones where God calls his people to pause and let him act. To take a beat.
Right where we should be. What a powerful, liberating phrase.
Certain “Should Bes” snatch joy right out of our lives, like a little kid (or dog) swiping a cookie from the counter. What “Should Bes” haunt you?
You should be married already.
You should be promoted already.
You should be a parent already.
You should be graduated already.
You should HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER already.
You should be THERE (wherever there is) already.
Whatever “it” is, I encourage you to give it up to the Lord and dare to believe that you are actually where you need to be right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love setting goals and tackling them. And sin needs to be dealt with. But maybe it’s time to rest in the grace of Jesus. Maybe it’s time to turn down that internal voice that screams BE MORE DO MORE GIVE MORE LIVE MORE GO MORE MORE MORE.
Yes, we are going to grow, learn, and change. Kurtis is not the exact same person as when we first got married. Neither am I. Next year will feature a slightly different version of us as well. However, right here in this moment, is right where we should be. It is enough. We are enough.
How can we make this claim? It is because of Christ. This year, the phrase “Christ is enough” has quietly challenged me on the stage of my mind month after month. Is it more than a cliche? Do I actually, truly, deeply believe this? Do I understand what I have to give up in my mind for this to be true? Because at the end of the day, Christ really does have to be enough.
Did you read that?
Christ HAS to be enough.
Yes, there are big, big things we are longing for, hoping for, praying for. We have dreams and goals. But our sixth year of marriage has been about letting them rest in an open palm, not squeezing out through clenched hands.
Because Christ is enough, and we are right where we should be.
So we relax our grip, and remind ourselves to take a breath. Even if we have to remind ourselves hourly.
So this anniversary weekend, I’m going to enjoy time away with my hubby, eating lots of tacos, and getting that extra hour of sleep! Because that is enough.
I love you more than Chick-fil-a, Kurtis. Happy Anniversary.