Blessings in the Desert

“Something broke inside me that day. Something cracked, and all the energy and fear and roiling anger drained out. I felt calm and empty. I felt sad but not devastated. I was exhausted and couldn’t carry it anymore. Enough.”


Last year, I read a blog post by Shauna Niequist called Enough that rocked my world. Besides being a blogger, Shauna is the author of several amazing books and speaker. She also struggled with infertility after her first son was born. I knew she had wisdom, but at the time I wasn’t ready to soak up her words.

I wasn’t ready to say enough. I felt that if I let go of the reins, I would actually be letting go of my deep longings to be a mother. There were (are) constant swirling thoughts in my head, such as: Will I be satisfied if I never have a biological child? Will I be okay surrendering my desires to God?

Last month I didn’t immediately go into a funk when my period came. I’m not sure if I’m more attuned to God or if, in fact, over time you simply realize life goes on; It’s not worth wallowing every time someone else gets pregnant.

I’ve been reading Bread & Wine by Shauna and didn’t realize that the same post, Enough, was from a chapter in the book (or maybe the blog post was put in the book). Reading it now — two years into this infertility journey — I’m coming to a more holistic understanding. An understanding that God knows more than me and that He loves me more than I know. He’s not a genie who waves his hand to erase my pain, but He meets me in the pain and allows good (not necessarily what I thought would be good) to happen when I’m open and ready.

“I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I’m longing for something more.”

Jordan and I have been given time — nearly seven years — to develop a specific rhythm for our marriage. We’ve made mistakes, traveled, developed some incredible friendships, and started a business; things that would have been more difficult, though not impossible, to do with children. I’m choosing to look at this season as a blessing — like a river flowing in the desert.

What is your river?


33 thoughts on “Blessings in the Desert”

  1. I love your outlook on this. I know what an incredibly painful journey you’re on. But your perspective…this is beautiful. And keep sharing it. It’s part of your story, and it will be an encouragement to so many other women who are struggling with the same thing, but are too ashamed to share their stories. You have a beautiful, honest heart.

  2. “Enough” was hands down my favorite chapter of the whole book. It feels like every woman I know is either pregnant or nursing, and it’s really painful to be the one who isn’t. I have to admit that I think I’m still far away from reaching my “enough,” but I’m working on it. Like you said, these past few years for me have been about learning that God always doesn’t erase or prevent pain but that he feels pain with us, and this is how he is good. It’s hard to wrap my mind around, but it brings comfort to know that Jesus weeps with us. Thanks for sharing this honest and heartfelt words. I needed them today!

  3. I needed this today. Like, so much.

    “I’m choosing to look at this season as a blessing — like a river flowing in the desert.”

    I’ll meet you there. xo

  4. Catherine, I pray for you often. I know we’re mere acquaintances only through the web but you are on my baby prayer list… not just for a baby but for peace in the season. Infertility sucks… there’s no way around the pain but I relate to this post so well. Some rivers are smaller than others. Here lately the river has been the way He’s using this struggle…. there were so many women in my home town struggling secretly. I would have never known or been able to pray for or encourage them had I not longed for a baby as well. I’m really thankful for that. I’m thankful that you’re getting rivers in the dessert too.

    1. Thank you, Brandy. It really is quite amazing all of the people I am rooting for and also mourning with that I’ve never met. I too have been privy to the struggles of many, mostly because I shared mine. It’s a confusing at times because I am really grateful for that opportunity while still wishing this season had never happened.

  5. Such a real, honest, raw post that is beautifully written. You are not only processing through your own journey, but being a voice of truth to others walking through the same circumstances. Blessing to your family!

  6. Absolutely beautiful words Catherine. I am constantly relearning that God knows more than me. Every time I’ve asked “why?” about a certain situation I have seen that He was working through it the whole time. And yet, I get to that point again of not trusting and worrying why I’m in the situation I’m in. Your words are such an encouragement and I am thinking about you and praying for you!

    1. Thank you, Rebecca! So often I want to rush through situations — to get them over with, but really most tough situations still have beautiful moments throughout. I need to learn to trust like you said.

  7. While our rivers are different, the sentiment is the same. I read this on Monday when you wrote it and have been thinking on it all week. This was so beautifully written and thought-provoking and I thank you for that. Know that you’re being prayed for.


  8. I have read Bread & Wine, but I’ve never actually read her blog which I’m about to pop over to in just a sec. 🙂 Enough sounds like something I’d really love to read. I have a little bit of personal experience on this topic, and all I can say is that it is so good to hear that you have such strong and unwavering faith in God to provide. That is really beautiful and inspiring!

  9. Thank you for sharing your innermost feelings. This post is so raw and honest, and I’m so in awe that you are able to look past the heartache and find blessings. That’s what we are called to do, though. 🙂 As someone who is longing and waiting to have a child, myself, this is what I needed to hear, and I appreciate it.

    1. Oh Gennie. I’m honored my words meant something to you. There are many days where I have a hard time looking past my own troubles, but everyone has something or will have something. I don’t function well when I’m wallowing. xoxo

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