Today is my sweet nephew’s 8th birthday. 8 years ago, I showed up at the hospital and was so excited to meet the newest member of our family. I was not expecting the flood of emotions that would wash over me that day. As we were celebrating an answer to prayer and this precious new life, I was blind-sided by the gut-wrenching realization that I would probably never have a child of my own.

You see, prior to that day, a lot had happened in my life. When I was 24, I married my best friend. We were married 5 years before separating and almost 6 years before it ended and that divorce was a devastating blow. It was so painful and in the midst of that pain it was impossible to even hope for a second chance. In order to hope for anything good, it’d mean letting go of the past and for a long time I wasn’t ready to do that.

Along with letting go of the past, a lot of the pain I was feeling was a result of being forced to let go of my future as well. When my marriage ended, all of my hopes and dreams for what my life would look like went with it, and that was really hard.

I remember going to counseling as I was working through my divorce and during one session, I was trying to explain through a lot of tears that I was heartbroken to lose my husband and best friend, but also devastated that I’d never get to have a family. I felt like I had no hope and no future. I certainly couldn’t imagine falling in love and getting married in time to have a family. I was 31. I’d be home alone crying for at least a decade and by then my eggs would be rotten. These were real thoughts.

My therapist challenged me to pray and ask God for a family.

Say what?!! I thought she was insane. I’m sitting there with a broken heart and a failed marriage. I couldn’t imagine ever getting over this relationship, how could I even think about starting another one? And she wanted me to ask GOD for that?! I had promised God I’d be with my first husband forever. Then I broke that promise, and she was telling me to go back to Him to ask for ANOTHER husband?!!! Ridiculous!

It felt like the equivalent of being a teenager and getting a brand new car, totaling it, and then before my parents had even paid for the loss of that car, asking for another new car. It was crazy, but she had lots of convincing reasons to do it, so I did.

Then God answered my prayers.

I formed a friendship with someone who had also been through a painful divorce. Our friendship continued to grow and he became such a supportive person in my life. He expected nothing from me and understood my heartbreak. After a while, I guess I was healing because DANG! He was SUPER HOT! Time kept moving and slowly but surely, I was crying less and laughing more.

I remember thinking that maybe, MAYBE I could see a future with this guy. But I still wasn’t over my ex. I had things all figured out, you see, and the proper breakup-to-dating schedule looks like this:

1. You heal, heal, heal until you’re better!
2. You spend a good chunk of time alone in that healed, healthy place.

Then, if you meet someone-
3. You start a new relationship from a good, happy, healthy place in life.

I was still stuck on number 1 so there was no way anything could work.

Then one day I was on a walk. It was towards the end of autumn and leaves were falling off all the trees. Soon they’d be bare for winter and then eventually in spring, new blooms would form. Except on one tree. One tree in a field full of trees was different from all the rest. Leaves were falling like snow, but even as they were falling, new blooms were forming. It was the only tree there with blooms on it- it was sprouting beautiful pink flowers. This tree was confused. It wasn’t following the natural order of things.

In my heart, I felt like God was speaking to me through that tree. Something like:

“I know your leaves are falling, and you’ve got a lot more leaves to lose, but you’re not going to have a winter. Even as your leaves are falling, I’m allowing new blooms to form. Even though parts of you are still dying, I am bringing forth new life. It’s my gift to you.”

You guys- it BLEW my mind!!! I am a visual person and it was the perfect picture of what God was doing in my heart. I continued to pray for the desires of my heart and slowly started to believe that God had good things in store for me in spite of my mistakes and shortcomings.

Now, fast forward back to that night in the hospital…

By the time my nephew was born, Fox and I were dating. He was the only one I could imagine moving forward with, but moving forward with him meant the possibility of never having children of my own. You see, he had been in a 10 year marriage and had gotten a vasectomy prior to his divorce.

That night in the hospital- as I sat there, staring at my perfect little nephew, my choices became real to me.

Do I continue to invest in this relationship with this great guy knowing it means there’s a good chance we’ll never be able to have kids?

Or do I choose another heartbreak and end it, even though I love him, in order to be available? Available to someone I may or may not ever meet who I may or may not fall in love with, who may or may not fall in love with me, who may or may not want a wife and kids?

I was 31 so I thought if there was any chance this choice would work out, it would mean I’d have to heal from my twice-broken heart quickly, meet someone quickly, get married quickly, and get pregnant quickly.

Each choice was so painful. Do I say goodbye to being a mother or goodbye to the person I love?

Tears began to flood my eyes and I had to get out of there. I did not want to take anything away from that perfect baby boy or the joy he created in the room. I tried to hold back tears but knew the flood gates were opening so I quickly handed my nephew over and slipped away.

I went and found an empty corner in the hospital and wept. I wept. And wept. And wept. Big ugly tears. Loud slobbery sobs. It was not pretty. I was making a choice. A hard, heart-breaking choice.

That night I chose Fox.
I knew he was a gift to me and I wanted a life with him, in spite of the cost.