Is your back against a wall?

We’re coming up on the FIVE YEAR anniversary of Reagan’s crisis. It happened April 8, 2014. Back then, things looked grim, like they were over. But oh, how God can take the really awful things and make them really awesome. Only God can take a locust destroyed land, and restore it, as if the locusts were never there.

It’s not every day we talk about locusts, but I got wrapped up in reading Exodus 10 and the surrounding chapters this morning. It says one day God blew in a strong east wind all day and night, and in the morning locusts “invaded” Egypt and “covered all the ground until it was black.”

Can you imagine?!

Let me briefly unpack what happens next. Pharaoh was angry, he summons Moses, says he’s sorry, asks for the locusts to leave, and then God brings a strong west wind and they all blow away into the Red Sea until not one locust was left in Egypt.

The plague of the locusts was actually the eighth plague out of ten that God brought to Egypt leading up to the mass exodus of the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt. I know when we go through hardships, like a locust eating hardship, we’re often we’re quick to blame God.

“How can He do this to me?”
If he was a loving God, he would never do this.”

Those questions are human and valid, but they come from a place that lacks the full knowledge of what God knows. When looking at the 10 plagues and the exodus from Egypt, God gave Pharaoh nine solid chances to let his people go, it was the 10th plague when Pharaoh had enough and couldn’t take it anymore and finally let the Israelites go.

Want to know what’s even more crazy? When the Israelites are set free, God doesn’t take them on the shortest path out of Egypt, he takes the long, scenic route. He took them around the desert and he had good reason, it says in Exodus 13:17-18 that God knew if they went the shortest way, they could face war and then run back into Egypt and into slavery.

Ugh…reading this, for me was super impactful. I really feel like our family has really gone off the beaten path to get to where we are. But God knew something we didn’t. In order for our family to get here, with our faith, with our marriage, with our ability to communicate and enter into someone else’s hard space and speak some of God’s hardest truths, with confidence, we had to walk that path. We had to go the long way around.

It gets better though, for the Israelites and for you! I’m telling you, read the plagues in Exodus and about God’s deliverance of Israel, the Bible is for sure not boring in these chapters.

Good news, the Israelites escape, even though they went the long way, but now their backs are literally against a wall, a wall of water known as the Red Sea, and it looks like it’s over because the entire Egyptian army is racing toward them. But God made a way. He said:

The Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” – Exodus 14:13-14

What if that was our stance toward every arrow that is flung in our direction? In sickness, in financial trouble, in marital woes, with our children, with our enemies. The Israelites stood there looking back, and God said, don’t you worry about that army of 600 of Pharaoh’s finest chariots loaded up with officers and his entire army of troops coming after you; I’ll fight that battle, you just be still.

I’ll fight the battle with Reagan, just be faithful to me, Rob and Anne-Marie.
The Lord will fight and she’ll walk again. You be still.
The Lord will fight and she’ll eat again. You be still.
The Lord will fight and she’ll talk again. You be still.
The Lord will fight and she’ll read. You be still.
The Lord will fight and she’ll smile and laugh, and we will take the long way to get there.

The thing that’s cool about going the long way, is you will only see beautiful things, gain wonderful wisdom and walk with confidence when you go the long way.

Five years ago, I firmly believed it was impossible for Reagan to re-gain anything back. You know what else looked impossible? Escaping Pharaoh’s army.

Did you know that the Red Sea has a maximum depth measured at 8,200 feet and has an average depth of 1,640 feet? Neither did I. God made a way for the Israelites by splitting the sea and they walked across on DRY LAND. The Bible is super clear that the land was dry.

“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”
– Exodus 14:21-22

If you feel like you’re drowning, or in a place that seems hopeless and a place where you future feels less than sure, remember what God has already done, and if you can’t remember what he’s done in your life, man…Exodus is a really cool place to be reminded of what God can do, what He has done and that putting your faith in Him is a great place to start.

If you’re thinking, “Yeah but that was so long ago, he won’t do that for me.” Then look at my family, because if God can restore us and Reagan, he can restore you too. He can take whatever you are struggling with and turn it into something beautiful that has a purpose. The path to restoration might not look how you want it to, it never does to be honest. You’re most likely on the scenic route, where you’ll see really beautiful things and learn something you never could with a shortcut. Then and only then, will you walk confidently out of your hopeless situation feeling hopeful, strong and a lot wiser.

Moving on

After three or so years to try and have a baby, we’ve decided to pursue adoption. We asked ourselves, “do we want to be parents, or just try to get pregnant.” The answer to us was clear…we want to be parents. Here’s how we came to that decision…

The doors to seeking fertility treatment just seemed to be closing. We did a total of 15 rounds with our fertility clinic. It started about two years ago with medications of letrizol at two different doses for several rounds as well as an ovidrel shot. After six or seven rounds of this, which included about 2-3 appts each month we decided to stop. We put our fertility treatment on hold for about 18 months, and then began again with a different doctor at the same clinic. We did clomid, 3 shots of follistim and ovidrel, and I also took a steroid every day during the duration of treatment b/c it was supposed to aid in getting pregnant based on their research. We did five IUI’s and I even had a surgery to widen my cervix. Even still, when all the tests looked good, when the follicles and sperm analysis were the best possible results, pregnancy never came about. A positive result was never seen. I realized that even if we did want to go through IVF, God would decide whether we became pregnant, not the doctors. So if it hasn’t happened up to this point, why do I think I could alter God’s plans through IVF. I want to say that ethically and morally we are ok with IVF within certain guidelines and would not judge someone for proceeding with IVF to build their family.

We discussed how proceeding with IVF might look like. You might have up to 60 shots in one month, you have a surgery to retrieve the eggs, and the raging emotions I felt while on a much more mild treatment path, made me not want to experience more intense mood swings, emotions, physical discomfort and cryfests. What fertility treatments do to your body should not be overlooked. Watching Guilianna Rancic’s struggle to get pregnant really hits home with me. And b/c IVF makes your hormones go crazy, you allow your health to be at risk, in her case, the drugs activated the cells in her body and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer runs in my family on both sides. It’s just not worth it to me to pursue IVF when the cons outweigh the pros. The pro is, you may get pregnant and can have a biological child (something people take for granted). The cons are added emotional, mental and physical stress, not to mention the financial cost, plus potential for constant disappointment, which I’d had enough of. I was done and wanted to move on.

Adoption is something you have to warm up to, in my opinion. You have to make a conscious decision to care for a child, not of you physically. But adoption is also a beautiful way to parenthood and something I believe you are called to. Adoption is not for everyone, but hopefully it is for us and we are chosen to parent beautiful children through it. We both want to be parents, and I’m excited, hopeful and optimistic about achieving that through adoption.