Friday, February 13, 2009

A letter to me at 23

In the past few weeks, I have read a number of thought-provoking blog posts containing "Letters to my 20 year old self". After Jennifer passed on the Honesty Award to me, I thought about what I would honestly write in a letter to the 23 year old, one-year married Rachel. That is the part of me who would need a letter the most.


"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or Him be glory..." Ephesians 3:20

Dear Rachel,

Yesterday you (the future you) blew out your candles on your 26th birthday cake.

As of today, you have still not become pregnant.

Calm down, girl. I haven't finished yet.

You are not pregnant, but guess what? You are a mother!

Read on and I'll explain.

I know you are going through an incredibly difficult time right now. I know you feel lonely and sad and angry and jealous and heartbroken and confused.

You lay in bed at night staring into the darkness as tears soak your pillow and wonder if you will ever be a mom. You wake each morning and pray to God to help you, to give you peace. You pray boldly and ask the Lord to bless you and Josh with a child.

As I sit here writing this letter to you today, I cry with you. I just want to take you in my arms, hug you so tightly, and tell you that you will get through this. You will be happy. You will be granted the peace you long for.

You feel like you are the only one going through the thorn that is infertility. All around you there are couples cooing over their babies......and you feel very much alone. You read countless books that say 10% of all couples are suffering through this hardship....and yet you wonder "Who and where are all these people?! I don't know any of them!"

So for the most part you stay silent. You bottle up your feelings, put a smile on your face, and convince yourself that you are doing just "fine". You save your occasional breakdowns for your husband or for those late night cry sessions.

In regards to that point....Go ahead and give yourself 10 minutes for a good cry. Punch that pillow! Stomp that foot! And then say a big prayer and move on. Also, don't take everything out on Josh. He is your best friend and your biggest cheerleader. He, too, is going through this. You are in this together!

By the way, you are now married to a soon-to-be
pastor. Don't worry, it's Josh! He will trade in his hammer for a Hebrew book. He will work incredibly hard and be blessed because of it. He will continue to be the most incredible husband. Oh, and I'm writing this to you from Indiana. I know you think you could NEVER EVER live outside of Wisconsin without having a break down, but you can! The people at church will become like your family away from home.....and you will cherish the visits back to your home state.

Rachel, you are blessed to be a part of an amazing Sisterhood. You have the privilege of standing among the great women of the Bible who suffered through the pain of infertility - Hannah, Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth, Rebekah. Women who lived a few thousand years before you, but completely felt what you are feeling - the longing to have a child and the disappointment of not holding that child in your arms. They are your Sisters.

In years to come, you will meet more amazing Sisters who will immediately be bonded to you because of the struggle you share. When one of those Sisters is blessed with a child, you will rejoice with them. When one of their heart's ache, your heart will ache. You will encourage each other and pray for each other. Because you GET IT. You get it. Seek out these Sisters. They are out there! You will be blessings to each other. Once you are a part of the Sisterhood, you're in for a lifetime. The pain may surely fade, but the scars and experiences will forever be somewhere deep in your heart.

Along the way, you will also be encouraged by incredible family and friends. Ones you know in every day life and ones that you may never meet face to face on this earth. They will follow your journey to your baby and give thanks that you will soon be a mother. You will love them all dearly.

I know you long for the time that upon the announcement of another woman's pregnancy, there will no jealous feelings mixed in with your happiness for them.....and therefore no feelings of guilt because of that jealousy. I can assure you, Rach, that that time will most certainly come.

So yes, like I said in the beginning of this letter, you ARE a mother! Congratulations! You are anxiously awaiting the phone call that will bring the news of your baby who is half way across the world. You and Josh are giddy with excitement. Your heart has already swelled and you haven't even seen your baby's face or held him in your arms. Your love for this little one takes your breath away.

Believe it or not, in the near future you will see infertility as a blessing! It has brought you closer to the One who loves you more than anyone else. The aching you feel now will intensify the joy you will feel the moment you see your baby's face even more! You and Josh will be better parents because of what you have gone through. God will use the next few years to mold and prepare you to be Christian parents focused on bringing up one of His precious lambs to know Jesus.

Just days before your 26th birthday, you will here this song on the radio...

Get a playlist!
Standalone player
Get Ringtones

You'll sing along with the words and tear up. You will say "Yes! That's it!"

And I wouldn't change a thing

I'd walk right back through the rain

Back to every broken heart

On the day that it was breakin'

And I'd relive all the years

And be thankful for the tears

I've cried with every stumbled step
That led to you and got me here, right here

Rachel, please know that in 3 years, you will not want to change a single step in your journey toward motherhood. I'm not saying the path will be easy, but you WILL be thankful for each step....those that were made with confidence and those that were stumbled. Either way, the Lord is holding your hand and He is guiding you. Simply follow Him!

Now, go read a good book - most importantly The Word, take up a new hobby (blogging for example - yes that is an actual thing!) spend time with family and friends, cherish each moment with Josh, and give thanks and glory to God in everything. In a few short years your life will change. Don't let your longing to be a mother stop you from enjoying each precious moment. Every day is a gift.

Most of all, Rach, cling to God's promises. You are a sinner who has been saved by the Savior. You are forgiven for every sin, every jealous thought, every doubt. He has promised to be with you always. And my, oh my, does He love you!

Yes, you are a mother. As you will blow out your candles on your 26th birthday cake, you will say a prayer for a sweet baby who is over 6 thousand miles away, but so close in your heart......that baby, your baby, will make you a mom. Neither you nor I know the exact time when you will hold your precious little one, but the time is coming! (Insert here the 2 of us squealing and high-fiving and crying happy tears!)

Chin up, girl. Smile.

You are blessed. You are a mother.

In His Hands,



  1. Beautiful post Rach. You got me a little teary at my desk at work. You have no idea how much I too needed that post. Thanks so much my Sister...

  2. What an amazing letter, Rach! You have learned so much during your last 3 years. I loved your letter to your previous self. Thank you for sharing it.

    "Don't let your longing to be a mother stop you from enjoying each precious moment. Every day is a gift." I so needed a letter from the future to tell me this a few years ago... and I still fall into this trap some days.

    All of your Sisters are going to be dancing in the streets the day that your referral comes!

  3. Oh my - Rachel this was amazing! I have enjoyed SO many of your posts, but I do believe that this one right here was the best you have ever created.
    THis will be something you can look at on the days that you need reminded. It will be something that you can share with your child someday. It is, in a word, beautiful!

  4. i need a tissue :). i have been thinking a lot about what i was doing 2 years ago this month; mourning another loss. i too, wish i could have had a letter from the future! it would have helped so much, but with al we have bee through, i wouldn't change a thing about our life circumstances either. especially when i look at cohen's picture. i know he is the baby that God always meant for us :) . we just took the long road to get to him!

    i come home everyday with hope of finding news from you and Joanna. i can't wait to rejoice with you both!


  5. Hey can I get a letter from Rachel to MY 23 year old self???
    That was AMAZING Rach.
    How was your birthday?

  6. This was so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  7. Oh my gosh, Rachel. Can you please quit making me cry!!!

  8. This made me tear up. Your child will be blessed to have you as a mother.

  9. You know I am that I am YOUR sister.
    Know that I am here for you for anything.
    Also know that I know all of those feelings too!!!!

    Awesome Post

  10. I could have used that letter at 23! Every word could have been written by me. You're almost there! BTW- Happy Birthday! You were born on a great day, you and my son share a birthday!

  11. You'd think I would have learned my lesson from your video post, but no. Once again you have me crying at work! :)

    Wonderful letter - so full of hope and joy. Your blog blesses me every time I read it.

  12. What a beautiful letter Rachel. I wish I had your way of expressing things. And I wish I had that letter a few years ago too. And you will be a better mother because of all that you have been through. It's amazing that you already have the forsight to recognize that. Thank you so much for sharing your post!

  13. wow what an awesome post. i might need to think about writing that letter to my 20 year old self too. There have been trials but God has been good and faithful!

  14. That's really profound, and yes you are a mother and your children are blessed to have you.

  15. Oh, I just want to give you a great big hug. This was beautifully written...every time I read your posts, I am so struck by what an open heart you have - even amidst the hurt and tears, you still just want what God wants for you. I have so much to learn from you, sister! Many prayers and blessings for you and your hubby...and may your arms be filled SOON with that precious baby.

  16. That was awesome... I had chills all over my body as I read that letter. Your writting is a wonderful gift that is and will touch many hearts. I am so glad you are chosing to share here. Even more glad I found you in this big blogging world.


  17. What a beautiful letter--thanks for sharing! It was meaningful because I could have written many of the same things. I had to smile when I read the part about the Rascal Flatts song. I love that song and everytime I hear it, I tear up and think of our baby, too. :)

  18. Thankfully I'm the only one home right now, because I am CRYING. My freshly-applied-makeup-because-we-are-going-out-tonight has suffered.

    I'm so thankful for a God who is big enough to run the world and yet cares about each one of our deepest needs and desires.

  19. As I sit here reading your blog and crying, I might add... it was beautiful. I too have suffered through infertility the past 4 years. I do have a son that is 6 years old and a blessing, but we have wanted another precious gift for so long. I know it might sound odd because I do have one angel but God gave me a desire for more children and the pain is still there and real when you can't have anymore on your own. We too are blessed to be adopting our secound child from Korea. As a sister from God and infertility. I pray with you and rejoice with you as you are "paper pregnant" waiting for that picture of God's baby sent for you and your husband. May God give you peace and may he wrap his arms around the both of us until we met our angels from Korea. Blessings,

  20. a great post...

    so many of my same feelings and memories of pre-Tulip. love the part about the sister-hood with other Biblical women/mothers...that was beautiful.

    thanks for sharing.

  21. Love this post, Rachel. I think one day, when we all have our children, we should put all our old self letters in a book to share with the the others who are just starting this journey of infertility. I wish I would have had a book like that 8 years ago.

  22. Wow Rachel! You always amaze me with your posts. Thanks for sharing! We are praying that you hear news of your little one soon. Your baby will be so blessed to have you and Josh for parents.

  23. This was an amazing letter. It really touched me. My husband and I have started trying and have not been able to conceive yet and what you wrote about how you were feeling are so similar to mine. Thank you for being so honest and sharing this. I will rejoice with you when you have your baby in your arms.

  24. Wow what a powerful letter. We just adopted our second little boy from Korea. How true your words are. I am glad now for the infertility because it has given me the babies that I have now. You brought tears to my eyes because even though that part of my life may be through how true it is that it has helped us become who we are.

  25. Rachel,

    I have just found your blog and I am in tears reading this post. I SO relate to your feelings.

    My husband and I are praying about adoption. We have only been married for 2 years, so unfortunately we don't qualify to adopt from Korea for another year.

    Thank you, thank you for being open with your struggles. We are not alone in this journey!


  26. This is such a beautiful letter. I'm so glad you shared it. As a sister in infertility, your path is inpsiring. I'm so glad that you are so close to having him in your arms. From what I see your blogging has touched a lot of people. Thanks and God Bless!

  27. gah!
    tears....lots of tears over here.
    love this so.
    you are blessed and i am blessed to know you. :)



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