The Opportunity in a Broken Heart – part 2

July 6, 2016
The Day We Lost Our Baby.
D&C Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.

(continued from The Opportunity in a Broken Heart Part 1)

I want to be someone that loves fully, hopes fully, and grieves fully. I want to be someone that invites others into that space with me.

“Why?” you might ask. Well, because I know that it’s healthy. And that it’s real.

Most of us have unprocessed pain in our life. And when we find or create a safe space to talk about it — we pry open the top on a can of worms that was festering in our souls — spoiling even the good stuff. It’s not compartmentalized into tidy little boxes for most of us, it’s all tangled up together inside of you.  And one rotten can spoil everything.

I don’t want my good stuff spoiled. So into this can of worms I go.

I say yes. I say yes to this opportunity in my freshly broken heart.

I say yes to inviting you, my community, into my story.

Am I scared? Yes. I don’t like worms and I really don’t like pain.

Do I like my story? Not today.

Am I sorry for inviting you into it? No way.

Why? Because this is real life. Real life is pretty sometimes. But other times is royally sucks. But it’s part of our story — it’s all part of our “whole”.

“We are the sum total of all of our parts.
And when we choose to just share the sparkly, pretty stuff  
— that’s fake and it’s bullshit and I’m not about that.”

To make matters even more pathetic this morning, my extended family was here visiting. My aunt and my precious, innocent 11 year-old cousin Cassey were with me today at the Dr’s office when we got the horrifying news that our baby had died.

When I was able to stop sobbing long enough to give Cassey a tight hug, these words spilled out of my mouth:

 “I’m so sorry that you have to see this. I only want you to see beautiful things in life. But life is painful and hard sometimes. And this is one of those terrible, painful, hard things. I’m so sorry you have to see this. But this is part of real life right now…this is real.”

So, I choose to be real with you, too.

And I hope you’ll choose to be real, too.

What’s something in your life that you need to be real about? Do you need to get real about it and share it with someone else? Or do you need to simply face it, and be real with yourself?
Be brave. I believe in you.
It’s worth the risk.

The Opportunity in a Broken Heart

The Opportunity in a Broken Heart
July 6, 2016
The Day We Lost Our Baby.
D&C Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.

As long as I can remember, I have always been an opportunist. Always looking for a way to make the most of every opportunity.

Sometimes this has rewarded me with incredible, juicy insights on how to squeeze the life out of every precious experience. Sometimes it has gotten me into trouble for taking it a little too far  and find myself over-indulging and erring on gluttony. And sometimes… well, sometimes… it’s just really hard to feel all there is to feel in an experience. Like today.

A few months ago my husband Seth and I started trying to get pregnant… and we did! We were so excited and so full of hope.

My mom has a really rough medical history in carrying babies to full term. “Rough” = 5 miscarriages, 1 ectopic pregnancy, and one 6 week early baby: me!  🙂

So,  the whole ‘getting pregnant’ and ‘being pregnant’ experience was joy and hope laced with threads of anxiety and fear.  I did my absolute best to drown out the ugly emotions with as much belief, faith, and positivity  as I could possibly muster. I was constantly reminding myself to take my thoughts captive, rebuke fear, and speak life-giving thoughts into my atmosphere, over my body, and over my baby.

And I DID.

Hard core. Day in and day out. For 11 weeks. All the way up until this very morning… when my worst fears came true.

We went in for a regular sonogram check-up, and found no heartbeat.

We lost our baby.

My heart is breaking now in a new kind of way. The kind of way no one ever wants to grow familiar with.

We’ve been very very fortunate to have lots of friends sending us notes of encouragement already today. Bottles of wine and craft beer dropped off at the doorstep. And a sushi dinner getting delivered tonight. But even relishing in my beloved sushi and craft beer seems like squirting a water gun on a raging house fire.

The grief, confusion, and pain is like smoke around I fire that I can’t even see yet.

But what I can see clearly is the weighty burden of this new and awful “opportunity”.

The opportunity in a broken heart.

You see, when your heart isn’t just “broken”, but it’s ripping and tearing in places you didn’t even know you had, you have a two options:

1) You can stuff it all down and in. Down and in. Down and in, as far as it’ll go. And then do your very best to drown out your heart’s desperate cries with distraction of all kinds.


2) You can open up wide, dive in deep, let it all hang out, and see what’s there.

It’s only been a few hours since I got this paralyzing news. But I already know: I am choosing the latter.

Already, my face hurts from crying.

I have a sinus headache from blowing my nose.

And I do NOT for the life of me understand why this happened.  BUT… I am choosing to believe, choosing to trust, and choosing to share. (Lucky you!)

But seriously. We ALL have pain.

Maybe you haven’t recently lost a baby, but you’ve lost something.

Something died along the way, at some point. A person, a relationship, a hope, or a dream.

Something you loved. Something you risked your heart to love.

How did you grieve it? Did you even grieve at all?

I want to be the kind of person that risks my heart to love and hope fully… and then bravely opens up to experience the depths of pain that come with that risk.

Do you have any cans of worms that you’re tip-toeing around in your heart?

How can you muster up the bravery to crack it open?

Who do you know that would stand by you to root through it?

You can do it.

It’s worth it.

Continue reading in part 2

What’s a Wholeness Journey?

Wholeness Journeys are new adventures my friend Jessica Dahl and I are excited to invite you on!
Below you will find the Trip Description for our upcoming March 2017 Trip. Our March Guatemala trip is now full, but there are more trips in the works!
If you are interested in joining us on the next Wholeness Journey, please email me directly.

Wholeness Journey
March 11-19, 2017

Do you long for something greater? Are you hungry to break out of your day-to-day life and connect with God, yourself, and others in a deep and powerful way?

This is an invitation to embark on a journey outside of your everyday, emerge into a new culture, and discover yourself in a new way. To adventure, minister, and discover the beauty of wholeness in mind, body, and spirit through Jesus Christ.

Join us on a Wholeness Journey to Guatemala!

Guatemala is rich in natural beauty—from the shores of Lake Atitlan, to the peaks of its 37 volcanoes, this Central American nation is one of the most beautiful in the world.

Sadly, there are ugly things happening in the lives of women in Guatemala.

  • Guatemala has the highest tolerance for violence against women in all of Latin America.

  • Infidelity and domestic abuse are rampant.

  • Women are often treated as second-class citizens.

The women of Guatemala long to know their true worth and value. They need to know they can be made whole through the redeeming power of Jesus Christ.

Will you join us to discover and share God’s freedom, healing, and wholeness in Guatemala?

Your trip leaders, Christina Barnes and Jessica Dahl, are both trained missionaries and yoga instructors. They bring the combined experiences of The Beyond Project and Beauty for Ashes to lead you in this unique combination of a women’s mission trip and a Christian yoga retreat.

You’ll start your trip along the charming cobble-stoned streets of Antigua, as you get to know your team and pray into what the Lord has in store for your Wholeness Journey. Then you’ll head to Lake Atitlan, one of the most beautiful places in the world, where you’ll spend five days refreshing your soul at the stunning eco-resort, Isla Verde. You will conclude your trip back in Antigua where you’ll create action steps to keep walking into the whole and purposeful life God has uniquely designed for you!

During your stay at Lake Atitlan, you will:

  • Attend inspirational workshops on spiritual growth and maturity

  • Enjoy rejuvenating yoga classes and organic meals

  • Adventure in the natural beauty of the lake by kayak, hiking, or zipline (optional)

  • Learn to share your unique story, giftings, and wholeness journey with others

  • Host women’s retreats where you’ll minister to hurting women of Guatemala

Most of the women you’ll minister to are from indigenous and very poor backgrounds. Many of them have suffered abuse, been abandoned, widowed, or are single mothers. They will range in age from early 20s to 80s, but all will be hungry to learn more about their true worth and value in Christ.

Why Yoga?

We were created as body, mind, and spirit. The exercise of yoga can help us:

  • Become more connected with our physical body

  • Increase mental clarity

  • Attune our spiritual ears in meditation and listening prayer to become more sensitive to hearing God’s voice in our lives

Through this unique missions trip and personal retreat experience you will delve to new depths of faith, adventure, and wellness. Stepping out of your comfort zone, serving women in need, and pressing into the wholeness God has for you.

Are you ready to embark on your Wholeness Journey to Guatemala?

How to Win at Mornings (When You’re Not a Morning Person)

There are SO many birds outside this morning. So much movement.

As I sit quietly on my patio chair looking up at noisy birds in the tall pine branches stretching across the morning sky, I try to hear their chatter the way my husband does: as “a beautiful melody of nature inviting him into a bright new day”. As my blurry morning mind strives for this eco-engaged-peaceful mindset, something moves too-close right behind me. Startled, I swing around to a bird frantically taking flight from the patio lights strung just overhead. I freak out and spill my coffee.

Is the world always this awake at 7am?

I’m certainly not.

But here I am, trying, again, to not suck at waking up in the morning. Did you know you could suck at that? Well, you can. And I do.
How does one suck at waking up? Well, waking up several times and going back to sleep. Sometimes even peeling myself out of bed and across the room to go the bathroom… and then crawling lazily and happily back into cozy bed.
It’s like my snooze button has like its own little melody to my morning mind. My brain has programmed it in as the “sounds of the morning.”
Yes, yes, I’ve tried changing the ring tone.
I’ve even tried making it favorite parts of favorite songs. That doesn’t work either. I smile to the song and then snooze it and go back to sleep. Eventually I lose taste for a perfectly good song during my waking hours. The song will come on in the middle of the day and when that part comes, I feel a pang of negative emotion and reach for my phone to make it stop. Another song ruined by sucking at mornings!
But alas, I’m trying again because I’d like to become a writer. A blogger. A sharer of my words. Here. In this space.  And morning seems to be the time to do it.
We’ll see.
< Note: 4 Months Later…. I suck a little less at mornings now because of THIS YOGA SEQUENCE that I have committed to doing every morning. Yep. Every morning. And that picture is me leading some World Racers through a yoga class at 7:00am this week! Not bad for someone who is anti-structure. And anti-morning 🙂 >

Don’t Call it “A Pregnancy”

On August 1st, I shared the following on Facebook.
It was the most shared and commented upon post I’ve ever written. More popular than my world race adventures, my engagement announcement or even my wedding photos. Turns out people were touched by the sharing of my pain. So, I thought it appropriate to share my words with you here, as well. This was how the story of my loss began to unfold, publicly.
August 1, 2016
Friends & Family,
I have sad news to share.
I had been waiting to post a blog about this, but it’s been taking me longer than planned…as most things do. So, I’m opting to invite you into the story that’s playing out in my life, right here.
Today, was going to be our ‘Gender Reveal’.
At 15 weeks.

My mom had a flight to be here, the Dr’s appt was scheduled, and my best friend and I had several creative ideas on the cutest way to reveal whether Seth and I would be having a baby boy or a baby girl.

But there’s no party scheduled for today.

We found out 3 weeks ago that we wouldn’t be having a party.

We lost the baby at 11 weeks.

And my heart still hurts from that news.

I asked Mom to reschedule her flight, we packed our party ideas away in the ‘baby box’, and I guess the Dr’s office cancels future appointments when this happens. Which is why they won’t schedule you more than two appointments out, because…well… “anything can happen.”

And they were right.

A mentor encouraged me early on to call it a baby. “Don’t call it a pregnancy,” she said. “It’s a baby.” And I’m glad I took her advice.

We didn’t just end a pregnancy, we lost a baby. We lost a loved one. A very loved one, just… a loved one we hadn’t met yet. A loved one that we’d been daydreaming about, praying for, planning for, and expecting.

No…saying “I lost a pregnancy” just would not cut it.

We lost a baby. And all the hopes and expectations that come with it.

I share this with you not for your pity, but to share my heart with you. And maybe even encourage you if you’ve been wrestling through some pain. You’re not alone.
I do intend to write a blog – and I will share that with you when I do.   (5 weeks later, these words finally made it onto a blog!)
In the meantime, I wanted to invite you into my story. And to let you know that I still believe God is good and I’m holding out for hope to build again.

I think that’s really the only way to heal.

Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement.

Near or far, I’m blessed to have you in my life.