Miracles in the Mundane Part 2: Short Stories

Each of these experiences could be told in their own full-length story. But, in the interest of brevity, I’ll use bullet points to give you just brief glimpses of some of these miracles in our journey. There have been miracles through people, miracles through circumstances, and miracles through timing.

And, please know that some of these miracles represent things that haven’t yet come to fruition. But that makes them all the more important to share now, because God’s kindnesses aren’t just for when the story is wrapped up in a pretty bow; they’re for the messy now. They’re to point to His presence and encouragement in the waiting.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and dig into a few of the short stories below. I know it’s a long post, but it’s so worth it. I can’t help but to share of God’s goodness, and there’s just so much of it to share! You can read a few now, save some for later. Re-read your favorites. Skip around. Or, go ahead and read ‘em all straight through because you’re just soaking in the inspiration. Whatever you do, I hope you’re encouraged as much as I was by these events, and I hope your eyes begin to open to your very own miracles in the mundane.

Pssst…have you read Part 1 yet? If not, head there first so you have some context for these stories!

Miracles through People

Friends and Fertility
One of the first miracles was the friends that God placed in our life at just the right time. At the very beginning of our infertility struggle, we didn’t really know anyone else experiencing this. And then suddenly, through our worship team at church, we connected with this couple who was relatively new to our church, and we became fast friends. A few months into our friendship, we shared with them our ongoing struggle, not knowing that they too have walked through infertility. They quickly became some of our closest friends and biggest supporters, and I absolutely know that God placed them in our lives (and us in theirs!) for such a time as this.

Even the way we connected from the beginning was all God. As an introvert, my MO is to avoid new people at all costs because the moment I attempt to make small talk, I suddenly forget all basic topics of conversation and all relevant information from my life. Basically after “so what do you do for work?” and “did you grow up around here?”, I’m useless.

And yet, I felt this completely out-of-character urge to introduce myself and to meet this random woman after serving on the worship team with her husband for the first time that weekend. I am so, so glad I trusted God with that nudge. We’ve only known them for about a year, but they truly are friends for a lifetime.

Unexpected Doctors
Early in our struggle, we wanted to pray with an elder and his wife after one of our church services. I remember heading toward the front of the church after the service, sort of awkwardly lingering by the elder with whom we were originally intending to pray, as he and his wife were busy praying with someone else. Another elder saw us waiting and invited us over to pray with him. We huddled together and shared our story (which, at that point, was only that I wasn’t ovulating and would need to start medication). He prayed with us and spoke words of life and affirmation over us, and from that point forward, we kept him updated as our story progressed.

And, as it turns out, he has some very legitimate connections in the medical field. He began to connect us with the most highly recommended doctors in Pittsburgh because they were either personal friends or friends of friends. As we began to have more appointments and shared with him our (not-so-great) experiences with our initial doctors, he provided detailed reviews, recommendations, and contact information for new doctors. We were able to have Brian’s urologist appointment moved up an entire month because of his help.

And truly, he and his wife have been amazing prayer warriors and mentors throughout this experience. We are so thankful for them, and it’s clear to us that God very intentionally connected us with them as well.

Vision: “It was a BIG baby!”
God has spoken through others with visions and words. Although visions and words are not infallible and they must be held loosely and to the light of Scripture, when God truly does speak through words and visions, it blesses both the giver and recipient in such tremendous ways. One such occurrence was a vision from our friend and worship director. While praying for us, he had a vision of us standing on stage at church for baby dedications, holding a big baby. (In my head, I can still see his hand motions and his eyes opening wide as he emphasized to us just how big this baby was. I’m both excited and scared, tbh.)

As a worship leader, baby dedications can be tough for me. For almost two years now, I’ve often stood on stage, smiling in the background, while watching family after family dedicate their sweet babies to Jesus. I am so thankful to see the church and these parents come together and commit to raising their children in the ways of Jesus, but there’s still a very real pain that flashes through my heart as I stand in the background. So for his vision to be specific to baby dedications has encouraged our hearts so much, and we can’t wait to see how the story plays out.

Vision: “I kept hearing implantation
Another vision came from another friend at church who frequently serves as a bass guitarist on the worship team with me. We shared with some worship team members that morning about our infertility. (At that time, I was on medication to stimulate ovulation, but we still hadn’t gotten pregnant. Embryo adoption was not in our minds yet.) After our worship team spent some time in prayer, she nervously approached me and said, “I have to share something with you. I often hesitate to share these things because I’m never sure how people will react, but I feel like God wants me to share this.”

She went on to say that while praying for us, she had a distinct vision of the sperm and the egg coming together and she very strongly received the word implantation. “Over and over, I just kept hearing ‘implantation, implantation’,” she explained.

At the time, as Brian and I still thought we’d get pregnant now that I was ovulating, the vision was encouraging but not all that spectacular. Only months later can I look back and realize just how incredible this vision and this word really was.

The sperm and the egg coming together? That’s exactly how our adopted embryos were created. And yes, I know that’s how all embryos are created, but her vision wasn’t romantic. Her vision was scientific–as scientific as our adopted embryos being carefully created in a lab for our hopeful donor family.

Implantation? That is exactly the part that expands our family. These embryos were not created by us; they are not our genetic material. But the moment they are transferred and implant in my uterus, we will be pregnant. Pregnant with our babies—the babies that the Lord prepared just for us.

Word: “May”
Another word came to a friend while she was praying for Brian and me. In her heart, she kept hearing the word “May.” She had no idea why, but she knew that’s the word she was getting. In fact, it felt so random to her at the time that she didn’t share it with us until weeks later. When she had been praying for us and received that word, we had no idea what the timeline would be for our embryo adoption process or when we would be going to TN for our first transfer. It wasn’t until our initial appointment in January 2020 that we learned we were being scheduled for the May 2020 transfer cycle. (Read more about that initial appointment here–there are some incredible stories from that day!)

Word/Blessing: “You’re about to be on the ride of your life”
In Fall 2019, my church worship director asked if I could help him lead worship for a memorial service. Though there is certainly sorrow when a brother or sister in Christ leaves this temporary world, there is also great joy because we know that he/she has entered the presence of our gracious Father God. So, at this memorial service, we worshiped. We sang of His goodness and faithfulness with joy-filled hearts, giving adoration and thanks to our heavenly Father. It was beautiful.

Afterward, a man came up to the stage and asked to speak to me. He didn’t know me, and I didn’t know him. But as I bent down from the stage thinking he was probably going to thank me for helping or say that I had a nice voice, he began to speak a beautiful blessing over me. He said that he saw an anointing on my life and that as I led worship, there was a light surrounding me. He also said that I was about to be on the ride of my life. As he prayed over me, he was moved to tears over the goodness of God and how he was sensing it in my life—all without knowing a single thing about me other than that I love Jesus and can sing.

Obviously not knowing me, he had no idea that we had just submitted our application for embryo adoption a month prior. And maybe, even outside of embryo adoption, God is doing more than I realize even still, and maybe there’s more craziness to come. Either way, I fully believe God is taking me on the ride of my life.

Through this man, He reminded me that I’m seen and loved by the God of the entire universe and that He has a specific plan for me. God doesn’t do reusable templates or stock purposes or generic plans for nameless, faceless people grouped by demographics or circumstances. He knows me by name, He knows the number of hairs on my head (Lk. 12:7), and He has already carefully and intentionally designed and numbered my days before I lived a single one (Ps. 139:16).

The best part? This isn’t just true for me—it’s true for you too.

Word/Blessing: “A father and mother to many”
There is a beautiful couple in our church who we consider to be spiritual mentors in our lives. Early in our infertility struggle, the woman was praying for me and shared a word God had given her, part of which was that I would be a mother to many. Although I knew it didn’t necessarily mean I would be a biological mother to many children, I wasn’t sure what it would mean. I tucked it away and treasured the encouragement.

Then, for Brian’s 30th birthday, I asked friends and family to write letters or to make little videos wishing him a happy birthday and sharing blessings or words of wisdom for his 30th year. One of the videos he received was from this couple. In the video, they mentioned that he would be a father to many. As just a week prior we had submitted our application to begin the process of embryo adoption, I realized the significance of this word and I recalled the word the woman had received for me many months prior.

Even if our own story doesn’t have the ending for which we hope, we believe that by sharing our story, by raising awareness of embryo adoption, and by writing about our experiences, God will bring life to so many embryos. In that sense, I can already see how we might be a “father and mother” to many. I don’t believe this is where that word ends, but even now it is such an encouragement to our hearts.

Miracles through Circumstances

Rainbows…and More Rainbows
Several months into our struggle with infertility, I was having a particularly bad day. It was just one of those days. I remember driving into work under the dreary grey skies feeling completely defeated, discouraged, and desperate. At one point, I finally prayed, “God… I just need to know you’re here. That you’re doing something with this. That you care.” No sooner had I prayed the words than I saw a rainbow.

Rainbows are a sign of God’s covenant of grace, a reminder of the promise given to Noah when God vowed not to destroy the earth by flood again. Even so, I thought, “Great. That was cool God, but like… a rainbow isn’t that spectacular. The weather conditions today kind of make sense for that. If you’re really speaking to me, can you maybe show me a second rainbow?

And there it was—a second rainbow.

And then a third. And then a fourth. And then a fifth rainbow. I honestly lost track of the number of different rainbows that I saw on my way to work that day, but they just kept coming.

And ever since that time, God has continued to use rainbows to remind me that He is ever present and ever faithful. There have been rainbows on difficult days (see “HSG Day” below!). Rainbows on a check from someone donating to our embryo adoption fund. A rainbow on my 2020 calendar for the month of February—the month we matched with our donor family and, Lord willing, the month that I will give birth next year if our May transfer cycle is successful.

February 2020 calendar with a rainbow

HSG Day–Meeting God at Crazy Mocha
As part of the typical infertility diagnostic process, one procedure I had to have was an HSG (hysterosalpingography…see why it’s abbreviated?). An HSG is essentially a super fun x-ray where the doctor opens your cervix with a balloon, shoots dye into your fallopian tubes, and watches the dye flow through the tubes via the x-ray machine to verify there are no blockages. BONUS fun: there is also cramping caused by the dye and you’re asked to shift positions on the x-ray table with a balloon in your cervix so they can see the dye flow.

My point here is that the HSG is an uncomfortable procedure that can cause a lot of physical pain and emotional anxiety. Brian wasn’t able to take me to the procedure because of a work conflict. We don’t have any family in the area, so I was planning to go alone. However, a sweet friend (one of the miracle friends mentioned earlier!) offered to take me.

The day started out rough. It was raining, there was unexpected construction and traffic that put us behind schedule, there was no parking at the hospital, and when we finally arrived, they couldn’t find me on the schedule. If I wasn’t panicked before, I certainly was then because this procedure had to be done at a very specific time in my cycle, the doctor had to be available for it, and my friend and I had both already rearranged our work schedules for this day. Eventually, we were told that my procedure had been scheduled at a different hospital and we needed to leave right away to get there. As we started down the road, I pulled out my phone (which had been on silent) to text Brian to let him know what was going on. I had a missed call and voicemail from the second hospital we were headed to, and they said they could not do my procedure there and I needed to go back to the first hospital. We turned around and went back to the first hospital, fairly convinced that I was not getting this procedure done that day.

I seriously don’t know what I would have done if my friend hadn’t been there with me that day. God knew that I needed someone who cared for me deeply and could keep me calm in the middle of the chaos, and he undoubtedly appointed her to be with me that day.

When we arrived back at the first hospital, the day finally started to turn around—and in a big, this-is-definitely-God kind of way. They processed me quickly and took me back to the radiology department. While we were waiting and chatting, I heard someone excitedly say my name. I looked up to see the face of another sweet friend from my church who happens to work in the radiology department. She came over and profusely apologized for all the mix-up (even though she had nothing to do with it!) and told me they were prepping the room for me. She was not originally scheduled to be the x-ray technician for my appointment, but because of the schedule mix-up, she ended up being my x-ray technician.

I had no idea how much I’d appreciate having someone I knew in that room with me. She held my hand and encouraged me the whole time and then prayed with me afterward. Then, as we were waiting (and waiting and waiting) for the report to be finalized, she came back out and told me to head down to the hospital’s Crazy Mocha to get a coffee and handed me a gift card, saying she’d bring me the report when it was ready. She may never fully know how much her kindness and thoughtfulness impacted me that day, but she was Jesus in skin and she blessed my heart so much.

As I was reading the menu at the coffee shop, I heard the cashier say, “Church girl!” I looked away from the menu and was met by yet another friendly face from church. She had no idea why I was there or what I was walking through, but she offered me warm conversation and a free English muffin, for no real reason other than kindness.

The icing on the cake of this day was that my results were great; the tubes were all clear and everything looked healthy.

One of my favorite parts of the day was that my friend who took me to the appointment shared that she was blessed by the day as well. As she also has walked through infertility, God’s kindnesses on this day blessed her in a special way too, and I’m so thankful for that. And—I kid you not—at the end of it all, the most beautiful rainbow arced over my house. (If you don’t understand the significance of the rainbow in this story, see the “Rainbows…and More Rainbows” story above.)

Rainbow outside the window on HSG day
Coffee and English muffin from sweet friends on HSG day

The Dead Rose Blooms
For Mother’s Day in May 2019, I bought my mom a little rose plant (so nice, right?). When I picked it out, the buds were just about ready to bloom. I purposely didn’t choose one that had already started to blossom, because I wanted her to enjoy the full blooming for as long as possible! It was going to be so beautiful!

Unfortunately, she took the plant home, and nothing happened.

My parents watered it, cared for it, and gave it the appropriate amount of sunlight. And still nothing happened. For MONTHS. Honestly, we were all pretty sure it was dead and that I’d just given a terrible gift. It sat on my parents’ deck all summer long, a scraggly bunch of brown sticks in a pot.

Until September.

In September, after 14 months of nothing—of infertility, testing, and heartache—we finally received the diagnosis that Brian has a genetic mutation and we would not be able to conceive.

And then, the Mother’s Day rose bush bloomed.

Something we thought was dead came to life. And not only is that who Jesus is—the resurrected King—but it’s what He does. He brings dead things to life.

And I don’t think for a moment that it was a coincidence that the rose bush I had purchased in May (see the Word – May story above), for Mother’s Day—a day that has carried pain and mixed emotions for me the last few years, bloomed to life in September as we heard words of sterility and words that represented the death of dreams, purposes, and hopes.

When that rose bush bloomed, I knew my dream wasn’t dead. My purpose wasn’t dead. My hope wasn’t dead. I didn’t know what the road ahead would look like, and I still don’t.

But I know Jesus is alive, and he’s alive in me. He’s working in my life. And I know when He works, dead things come alive.

Mother’s Day rose bush finally blooming in September 2019!

Miracles through Timing

God’s Not Done With You
As humans, we are often emotionally moved by music in a way that few other things can move us. And as a worship leader, I’m especially connected to music. In Part 3 of our infertility story, I shared about my experience as I drove away from the fertility clinic, having just learned that we had no chance of conceiving naturally.

Before I hit the end of the parking lot, hot tears streamed down my face as a heavy, deep sense of loss settled into my soul. And then, as the despair began to consume me, lyrics pierced my consciousness, like a bright light piercing the darkness:

“God’s not done with you, even with your broken heart and your wounds and your scars. God’s not done with you, even when you’re lost and it’s hard and you’re falling apart. God’s not done with you. It’s not over; it’s only begun. So don’t hide, don’t run. God’s not done with you.”

Tauren Wells, “God’s Not Done With You”

This Tauren Wells song breathed so much life into me in that moment. Sure, I was still sobbing. The brokenness didn’t go away. My chest still felt heavy.

But now, there was a hope that wasn’t there in the moments before I heard that song. As deep calls to deep, God spoke a peace into the depths of my being through that song in that moment in a way that was too soul-deep for my mind or for my emotions to process.

A few weeks later, we had an appointment with a urologist who confirmed the initial results. And as I drove away from that appointment, “God’s Not Done With You” started playing on the radio again. As I share in the Part 3 post, I cried again, but this time my tears were laced with joy. God clearly had a plan, and, with this song, He was reminding me at some of the most difficult spots that He was still working. He wasn’t done writing our story.

I’m so thankful that my gracious Father God has the final word. Not a statistic. Not a diagnosis. Not sickness. Not death.

God writes the story. And He’s not done.

When Devotions Speak
I love reading my devotions each morning (okay, so most mornings when I get up early enough). It truly makes such a difference in my entire day when I start out with God’s word and His truths soaking into my heart. He fills me up with His grace and His mercy so that together, He and I can conquer the day ahead.

I also think devotions and Scripture are so important because there have been so many times when He chooses to speak to me through them. As my devotions utilize Scripture and talk about God’s actual Word, it’s really no surprise He often speaks so strongly in this way.

After our initial appointment to the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) on January 10, 2020, I was feeling so overwhelmed. There was so much to do, so much to think through, so much to decide. As we were making the long drive back to PA the next day, I read the following lines in my devotion:

Whereas some of My followers ‘champ at the bit’ to forge ahead into new territory, others hold back even when I am clearly directing them to go forward. Moving from a comfortable season of life into a new situation can feel scary—especially to those who dislike change. However, I want you to trust Me enough to cling to Me and follow wherever I lead, whenever I choose.

Jesus Always, Sarah Young

And the next day, January 12:

Do not be terrified or discouraged, for I am with you wherever you go. …It is crucial to remember that what you can see of reality is only a very small piece of the whole. … Beloved, not only am I with you, but I have unlimited resources to help you. So look beyond the way things appear, and take courage!

Jesus Always, Sarah Young

And the next day, January 13:

All things are possible with Me! … Refuse to be intimidated by the way things look at the moment. I am training you to live by faith, not by sight. … I continue to do miracles in your world, according to My will and purposes. Seek to align your will with Mine and to see things from My perspective. Exert your faith to ask for big things, and watch in hope for Me to work.

Jesus Always, Sarah Young

He does this all the time.

He speaks through the careful timing of His Word and through the devotions that dive into His Word. He speaks directly into my situations. He speaks to me.

And every time, it’s incredible.

There were several well-timed devotions as we entered the matching process, including one reminding me at the very beginning of it all to take time to pray about it before jumping right in to start reviewing and analyzing donor profiles.

As we struggled to make a decision between two donors, He orchestrated a random clip of one of Christine Caine’s messages to pop up on my Instagram feed, in which she literally speaks to “someone on the other side of the screen who God has been asking to make a certain decision that is really so important concerning your future and what God has for you… and you’ve been trying to analyze it with spreadsheets, and pros, and cons, and you’ve gone over it and over it and over it…”

My jaw dropped as I listened to God speak through her, saying that everything I’d been going over and over was not going to make any more sense than it already did at that moment, and that I was going to need to just make a decision based on the goodness and faithfulness of God, stepping into the fullness of what He has for me.

And, I’ll close with this one. We’re about to get super META.

As I was writing this very blog post, God assured me of the validity and importance of this topic of signs and wonders and coincidences, and how they point to His presence.

On March 3, I read the lines:

My love chases after you every day of your life. So look for signs of My tender Presence as you go through this day. I disclose Myself to you in a vast variety of ways—words of Scripture just when you need them, helpful words spoken through other people, ‘coincidences’ orchestrated by My Spirit, nature’s beauty, and so on. …I want you not only to receive My bountiful blessings but to take careful note of them. … Thank Me for these ways I show up in your life; write some of them down so you can enjoy them again and again. These signs of My Presence strengthen you and prepare you for difficulties on the road ahead. …

Jesus Always, Sarah Young

I mean, COME ON.

Devotion on March 3 speaking to signs and wonders pointing to God’s presence

Just as God invited me to see His presence all around me in magnificently “mundane” ways, I truly hope that you’ve found encouragement here and that He’s opening the eyes of your heart as well.

Ask Him to show you more of Himself. And then buckle up and be on the lookout—because He will.

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