”you must be wIlling to leave the life that you planned in order to find the one waiting for you” -Joseph Campbell
So here we are- almost TEN months into our journey here. Ten months of uprooting everything we knew and loved and plopping ourselves into a whole new land. Ten months of learning a language (that we still don’t really have down), ten months of no hot showers, hot temps, burning our garbage, and dealing with second hand trauma. Ten months of being tested to our core- past our limits and stretched beyond measure. Here we still stand- ten months in- learning to cope with constant guilt and overwhelming grief.
“Okay, okay already”- you must be thinking! You get it, right? Well, let’s be honest, you probably don’t quite get it but I am not asking you to. I am not writing to make you feel bad for us or to make you feel more compassion for our situation. I am learning to process and progress. I am learning to share the journey from within so I am not stuck holding on tight- trying not to lose myself, when really I need to be sharing. When we cling to our lives, we lose them but when we let go and lose it for His sake we surely will find them. (Matthew 10:39). Here goes vulnerable (GULP!)
We came down here in such joyous hope. Surrendering everything we had and everything we had longed for to the Lord. We were ready for this, and believing the struggles of infertility would be completely washed away and no remnants would be left behind. I may have personally thought that I would forget the struggles altogether- the failure every month, the negative results of so many pregnancy tests, people attacking our efforts (yes people actually had some nasty things to say against our struggles *as if we had created them ourselves or known what to expect*) and the not knowing why we couldn’t do naturally what we so very badly wanted to: just to be a mom and a dad.
We moved here knowing new struggles await. But for some reason not realizing in the middle of the prepping to leave and the packing, the old struggles tucked themselves inside our clothes and coffee mugs. And now we have 11 wonderful kids who we came to love and are continuing to do just that each day here; but, we also know there is a still a desire to have a child of our own. One we can’t quench.
The past several days I have read various infertility journeys containing a vast range of success stories and talking about God’s goodness but I don’t know that there are enough of us writing, crying out really, about the Goodness of God in the midst of our mess. That sometimes it’s just so easy to forget to share the struggles; however, when we get our breakthrough or cross that finish line or the prayer is answered the way we wanted, we find it so easy to get up and shout it to the mountains.
So now, ten months in to our time here in Haiti, and almost 60 months in to our struggles of infertility— I can look around and see hardship but tell you endless stories of the abounding love of Christ. I can write you poem after poem about His limitless favor and grace so heavy it crushes and envelopes me. My womb is still barren and sometimes my heart aches but I know that I am loved to my core and I am here for such a time as this. We don’t see the fruits of our labor often here, my kids know we are here to love them but they still test the limits of just how far this love for them will reach and some days it’s hard to bear.
Its hard to be here making friends of strangers and missing community back home. To feel lonliness so weighty it crushes your windpipes. God has done abundant goodness in providing connections and new friends when it was almost too much for us.
Yes dear readers- He is so faithful and so Good to us in the answered prayers. But in the unanswered prayers He is the same God. He is good while my heartbeats to hold a baby I call my own. When my tears wallow me up- I realize I find my comfort in His embrace. I can’t explain it more than at the pit of my soul, I know I will be ok. When my flesh wants to give in and give up- I know, that I know my God is holding my hand, kissing my forehead and encouraging me forward. And lastly when I have lost all control- I know that I don’t have to cling to myself, I won’t slip away because of my inability to hold on... I will stay grounded because I am HELD. Held so tightly I can almost tangibly feel it. I pray for you right now dear friend, that you feel this security too. This immeasurable Love that is lavished on you- I pray you feel it in the mess. I pray you reach out when you need to and I pray when you can’t, you find comfort in the best Daddy there ever was.
I pray you Abide,
much love- Kristen ♥️
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw